Connecting man to man to God
For week of October 27, 2013
The weekly newsletter of Path Of Life Ministries.
Our mission is to lead men to Jesus Christ and provide opportunity for Christian men to grow in their faith and minister to others.
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The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the LORD; the knowledge of the holy one is understanding.
- Proverbs 9:10 (CEB)
“My worth to God in public is what I am in private.”
- Oswald Chambers
DEPRESSION AND THE CHURCH
by Andy Rau
This year has seen a dramatic increase in the amount of discussion within the Christian church about depression and mental illness. Sparked to a large extent by the tragic death of Rick Warren’s son earlier this year, many Christians are calling for the church to reconsider its understanding of and approach to mental illness, a condition that afflicts countless churchgoers despite the fact that it’s rarely discussed within the church environment.
I’ve hunted down many insightful and thought-provoking essays and blog posts on this topic, and have listed some of the best ones.... Read this in full at
THE GOSPEL OF GHOUL
by Timothy George
I believe in hell. Not only the hell within, for there are those “private devils that hang like vampires on the soul,” to use the language of Thomas Merton — and not only the metaphorical hell around evident in war, violence, and destructive evil on a global scale — but also the hell to come. This orthodox Christian belief is firmly grounded in the teaching of Jesus, as well as in the inspired writings of the apostles. As Joseph Ratzinger said in a book on eschatology: “Dogma takes its stand on solid ground when it speaks of the existence of hell and of the eternity of its punishments.”
C. S. Lewis famously described two equal and opposite errors into which people fall when thinking about things infernal. The first is disbelief and denial, a familiar pattern in forms of rationalist religion. The other is to cultivate “an excessive and unhealthy interest” in Satan and his pomp. The latter is on full display in what has become a thriving phenomenon within the subculture of American fundamentalist and evangelical churches: the seasonal appearance of a Halloween alternative known as Hell House or Judgment House.... Read this in full at
INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER FOR THE PERSECUTED CHURCH - IDOP
Nov. 3 & 10
THE DANGER TO YOUR FAITH OF BEING “LIKED”
by Clare De Graaf
Last year I was traveling with a small group of college seniors through Europe teaching history and a biblical worldview. After a worship service in Paris, we exited the hotel where they were meeting and started walking toward the Eiffel Tower.
As we approached the tower one of the guys had an idea. “Why don’t we have a contest? Each of us take a photo of the tower on our phone, Instagram it and see who gets the most number of likes on Facebook. Some of the guys had more “friends” than others, so after working out a handicap system, they went to work.
What happened was fascinating. I watched their spirits rise or fall based on the number of “likes” coming in, or not. Some of the more confident guys, ended up with the fewest likes, and were obviously frustrated and disappointed. Of course, the winner was elated.... Read this in full at
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO GRACE?
by Mark Galli
Three stories that illustrate the crisis of grace today.
I was visiting a Texas megachurch that was baptizing 200 people one Sunday morning. A few of the candidates for baptism were interviewed by the pastor on stage, and the script went like this: after the candidate's testimony of new life in Christ, the pastor asked if the candidate believed that baptism saves us. The prompted answer was, of course, no. Then he asked the candidate what does save us, and this time the prompted answer was our faith in Jesus as God incarnate and/or our trust in his sufficient death on the cross. The answers were formally correct, but "faith," it seems, had become a new work. We weren't so much saved by Christ as by our mental assent to a few theological propositions.
I was at another church where the message was grounded in those astounding and miraculous verses that culminate in "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me" (Gal. 2:20, ESV). Things were going well until we got to the end, when the preacher said, "Have you experienced grace?" His tone, and the background music that swelled as he prayed, suggested we were not saved by faith in what Christ accomplished but by a certain type of religious feeling we might have.
Third: I was speaking with a professor at a Christian university, and we were talking about the relationship of grace and good works. At one point he said, "We are saved by grace, yes, but after that, the Christian life is mostly about our effort to live a Christlike life."
I pick these three anecdotes for three reasons: First, they are typical of messages I hear in my travels as CT's editor. Second, these were taught by pastors and teachers of the faith, who one would hope would have a deeper appreciation of grace. And third, they represent what have become the three main alternatives for the simple biblical message of salvation by grace through faith.... Read this in full at
GAVIN MACLEOD: ‘LOVE BOAT’ CAPTAIN NOW ‘AMBASSADOR FOR CHRIST’
To many, he is Murray from “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” or Captain Stubing from “The Love Boat.” But Gavin MacLeod — whose acting career is bookended with a spiritual TV program and a Christian movie — says his new calling is “ambassador for Christ.”
The 82-year-old actor is out with a new book, “This Is Your Captain Speaking: My Fantastic Voyage Through Hollywood, Faith & Life.”
He writes about how his star-studded career was interspersed with a faith walk that began as a Roman Catholic, detoured through the New Age movement in the 1970s, and ended up firmly planted in the Pentecostal faith. That path included depression, alcohol and divorce, but he credits God’s forgiveness with carrying him through.... Read this in full at
FEAR OF HEAVEN
“We fear heaven as our ancestors feared hell. The notion seems quaint, cowardly, an escape from this world's problems. What inversion of values, I wonder, has led us to commend a belief in annihilation as brave and dismiss a hope for blissful eternity as cowardly?”
- Philip Yancey (b. 1949), Soul Survivor, Hodder & Stoughton, 2001, p. 221
BAPTISM RATES SLIDE DESPITE HIGH-PROFILE BOOSTS
The rite of baptism got big press as Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby christened Prince George, a future king of England on Oct. 23.
Welby made it a teachable moment for a country where only one in six are baptized. In a YouTube video, he explains that by bringing their son forward for baptism, Prince William and Duchess Catherine are “bringing God into the middle of it all.”
Last month, Pope Francis gave the sacrament a boost when he called a pregnant, unmarried woman to encourage her faith and offered to baptize her baby. While his main message was anti-abortion, his call also reminded Catholics that children of unmarried parents are welcome in the church.... Read this in full at
VERSE TO PONDER
“I want to do your will, my God. Your Instruction is deep within me.”
- Psalm 40:8 (CEB)
“If you are going to be used by God, he will take you through a multitude of experiences that are not meant for you at all; they are meant to make you useful in his hands.”
- Oswald Chambers
AIDE SHARES THE BIBLE DEVOTIONALS HE SENT TO PRESIDENT OBAMA EACH MORNING
President Obama may not attend church most Sundays, but a new book reveals the Bible verses and prayers that he reads every morning.
“The President’s Devotional,” released Oct. 22 by Pentecostal minister turned political aide Joshua DuBois, is a compilation of 365 of the more than 1,500 meditations DuBois has sent the president since he started working for him in the US Senate.
DuBois, who left his White House post in February, spent his weekends reading and praying over what he would send to Obama’s Blackberry the next week. He drew from the words of the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, the songs of Nina Simone and Bob Dylan, and the activism of Fannie Lou Hamer and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.... Read this in full at
THE PRAYERS INSIDE THE PRESIDENT'S BLACKBERRY
by Joshua DuBois
One thing is for sure: I didn't feel ready to send morning devotionals to the next President of the United States.
I was a young staffer, 25 years old, on Barack Obama's 2008 campaign. I had known Obama for a few years, and at the time worked as faith outreach director for his campaign.... Read this in full at
PORNOGRAPHY ON MOBILE DEVICES FUELING ADDICTION, BROKENNESS
By 2017, access to pornography on smartphones and tablets will be available to 250 million people worldwide, according to a new study from Juniper Research, a London-area analyst of the wireless sector.
Higher-resolution screens, faster networks and personal security offered by password-protected phones and tablets will make the devices the fastest-growing distribution channels for adult content since the Internet was created, according to the study, released Sept. 25.
Adult entertainment companies also are beginning to create content specifically for the portable devices because of "the increasing trend towards tablets becoming personal, as opposed to shared household devices," according to a report by the Center for Media Research in Lincoln, Neb., Oct. 11. And much of the content may be available free, making its use more likely and more easily hidden, according to analysts.... Read this in full at
CHRISTMAS DISPLAYS, CELEBRATIONS IN MO PUBLIC SCHOOLS ARE OK UNDER NEW STATE LAW
Folks can practice, mention, celebrate, or discuss any federal holiday in any public park, school, or place, according to Statute 9.015, passed last month when the Missouri state house voted to override Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of the bill. There are 10 federal holidays, including Columbus Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day. Christmas Day is the only holiday associated with a religion.
Rep. Jill Schupp, D-Creve Coeur, says that while the 32-word law covers all ten federal holidays, "It's really just about one holiday: Christmas." .... Read this in full at
PASTOR CARL SANDERS FOILS ROBBERY WITH HIS OWN GUN: PISTOL-PACKING PREACHER SHUTS DOWN INDIANA CRIME
Pastor Carl Sanders only intended to pull out his wallet when he walked into the Evansville Dollar General Store on Friday night, but he ended up pulling out his gun when he happened upon a robbery in process.
25-year-old Jermaine Dewayne Marshall yelled at Sanders to get on the floor, threatening him with what appeared to be a gun wrapped in plastic after hitting the clerk behind the register in the face multiple times.
"He was telling me to get on the ground," Sanders told WFIE Evansville. "That's when I pulled my weapon and said, 'No, you get on the ground.'" .... Read this in full at
“Let the seeking man reach a place where life and lips join to say continually, "Be thou exalted," and a thousand minor problems will be solved at once. His Christian life ceases to be the complicated thing it had been before and becomes the very essence of simplicity.”
- A. W. Tozer (1897-1963), The Pursuit of God , Christian Publications, 1982, p. 97
RECOVERING A MORAL CRITIQUE OF DEBT
by Robert Parham
Progressive Christians have a truncated moral agenda when it comes to economic debt. They prioritize immediate federal spending and gloss over the adverse, long-term consequences of the federal debt.
They often disparage those concerned about debt as having selfish or greedy motives. Some charge those concerned about the government spending money it doesn't have as having a racist agenda. I confess my own contribution to shrinking the moral agenda to the point that economic debt gets ignored.... Read this in full at
SUPREME COURT AFFIRMS MONKS’ RIGHT TO SELL CASKETS
A group of Catholic monks can continue selling their handmade caskets after the US Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal from Louisiana funeral directors.
“We really can now move forward without worrying about being shut down,” said Deacon Mark Coudrain, manager of St. Joseph Woodworks in Covington, La. “This is going to affect a lot of other people. A lot of people are going to have opportunities to do things that are their legal right to generate revenue.” .... Read this in full at
22% OF EUROPEAN JEWS AFRAID TO WEAR KIPPAH, STUDY REVEALS
A quarter of respondents in a major survey of Jews from nine European countries said they avoid visiting places and wearing symbols that identify them as Jews for fear of anti-Semitism.
Fear of wearing a kippah and other identifiably Jewish items was especially strong in Sweden, where 49% of 800 respondents said they refrained from such actions, in a survey conducted this year among more than 5,100 Jews by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights.... Read this in full at
“Oh, how horrible our own sins look when they are committed by someone else.”
- Charles Swindoll
VERSE TO PONDER
“Hope in the LORD! Be strong! Let your heart take courage! Hope in the LORD!”
- Psalm 27:14 (CEB)
THIS WEEK'S HYMN: CREATION’S LORD, WE GIVE THEE THANKS
Words: William D. Hyde, 1903
Music: 1690; harmonized by William H. Monk, 1847
Creation’s Lord, we give Thee thanks
That this Thy world is incomplete;
That battle calls our marshaled ranks;
That work awaits our hands and feet.
That Thou hast not yet finished man;
That we are in the making still,
As friends who share the Maker’s plan
As sons who know the Father’s will.
Beyond the present sin and shame,
Wrong’s bitter, cruel, scorching blight,
We see the beckoning vision flame,
The blessèd kingdom of the right.
What though the kingdom long delay,
And still with haughty foes must cope?
It gives us that for which to pray,
A field for toil and faith and hope.
Since what we choose is what we are,
And what we love we yet shall be,
The goal may ever shine afar—
The will to win it makes us free.
>from NetHymnal at
"Our true character comes out in the way we pray."
- Oswald Chambers
PRAY FOR PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS TODAY
DAILY BLESSING PACT
Use the following list as your daily prayer guide. Think of a brother or situation that applies and lift them up in prayer.
I am agreeing in prayer with you for God’s blessings to overtake you!
Favor with God and man
Be in God’s will
Raises or bonuses
Sales & commissions
Estates & inheritances
Rebates & returns
Checks in the mail
Gifts & surprises
Money to be found
Bills decrease while blessings increase
"And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God" (Deut. 28:2).
[As you travel on business or vacation, let me know if you'd like us to add you to our prayer chain to pray for your safety and spiritual effectiveness. I'll add your name to the list for the time you'll be away.]
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Frank Coleman, Editor
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CONNECTIONS is a periodic newsletter of announcements, news, recommendations, articles, and other information helpful to men in our spiritual growth. Thanks for welcoming CONNECTIONS into your in-box!
The CONNECTIONS Team offers a variety of activities for men to interact with other men on our journey of faith in Christ together. Large group, small group, and one-to-one events encourage relationship building and spiritual strengthening that result in maximizing the potential we all have in Christ.
Contact Min. Frank Coleman, 773-410-1483, firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to participate in a men's discipleship program.
Path Of Life Ministries is located in Chicago, IL.
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