Connecting man to man to God
For week of November 10, 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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And now, our God, we thank you and praise your glorious name.
- 1 Chronicles 29:13 (CEB)
“A good friend will sharpen your character, draw your soul into the light, and challenge your heart to love in a greater way.”
- Author Unknown
GIVE THANKS: BIBLICAL STORIES ABOUT GRATITUDE
Get into the Thanksgiving spirit with this twice-weekly email devotional. Every Tuesday and Thursday, you'll read a Scripture passage that illustrates what it means to live a life of thankfulness and gratitude. It is sent only through Thanksgiving Day. Sign up at
50 YEARS LATER, C.S. LEWIS’ LEGACY SHINES IN US, NOT HIS HOMELAND
by Trevor Grundy
When he died on Nov. 22, 1963 hardly a soul blinked in Northern Ireland where he was born or in England where he spent most of his working life as one of the world’s greatest Christian apologists.
Clive Staples Lewis was a week short of 65 when he suffered a heart attack at his home in Oxford. The obituary writers barely noticed his demise, in part because he died on the same day that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas.... Read this in full at
Devotion signifies a life given, or devoted, to God. He therefore is the devout man, who lives no longer to his own will, or the way and spirit of the world, but to the sole will of God, who considers God in everything, who serves God in everything, who makes all the parts of his common life, parts of piety, by doing everything in the name of God, and under such rules as are conformable to His glory.”
- William Law (1686-1761), A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life , London: Methuen, 1899, p. 1-2
DOES GRACE MAKE US LAZY?
The gospel declares that, because of Christ's finished work for us, we already have all of the justification, approval, security, love,worth, meaning, and rescue we long for and look for in a thousand different people and places smaller than Jesus.
The gospel announces that God doesn't relate to us based on our feats for Jesus but Jesus' feats for us. Because Jesus came to secure for us what we could never secure for ourselves, life doesn't have to be a tireless effort to establish ourselves, justify ourselves, validate ourselves.
He came to rescue us from the slavish need to be right, rewarded, regarded, and respected. The gospel announces that it's not on me to ensure that the ultimate verdict on my life is pass and not fail.... Read this in full at
ANOTHER ANGLE — ONE MORE STEP
by Stephen Copeland
Carolina Panthers long-snapper JJ Jansen looked at me from across the table. He had an intense strain in his eyes. I noticed sweat forming on his nose. His leg started to shake, causing our coffees to rattle on the table as if there was a coming storm. I looked at him, confused.
“Stephen,” he said, “I have something to tell you.” “Yes?” I said. “I’m Catholic,” he replied, as I choked, coughed, and coffee sputtered out of my mouth. “I know, I know,” he said apologetically, casually wiping off his shirt like it was no big deal at all, “I should have told you sooner.”
I sighed. “Yeah, you should’ve,” I said firmly, turning to the side and zipping up my backpack. “I think we need some space between us.” And I walked away, praying for his salvation.
This didn’t happen, obviously. If it ever did happen, I’d deserve one of JJ’s long snaps to the groin…as I stood five feet away…not wearing any boxers.
I did find out Jansen was Catholic, which I didn’t know; and he found out I used to be Catholic, which he didn’t know. Though we typically meet to talk about faith over our coffee addictions, this discovery propelled our conversation into something I’ve wanted to write about for a while, but didn’t know exactly how.... Read this in full at
by Clare De Graaf
A few weeks ago I had a young guy I was mentoring in my car, on our way to have a meal together. As I was talking, he pulled out his cell phone and started checking his email and returning texts.
I stopped talking in mid-sentence. After a few seconds of awkward silence he asked, “What’s the problem?” “The problem”, I said, “is that we were in the middle of a conversation and you began having a “conversation” with someone else. So, I thought I’d let you finish before we re-engage.”
“Oh, I’m sorry I just wanted to return these messages before I forgot them,” he said a bit embarrassed. “I know what you were doing”, I replied, “and your generation thinks nothing of it. But, those of us over 50 think it’s not respectful behavior – good manners. So tonight let’s talk about that. You help me understand what’s important to your generation and I’ll share the expectations of mine.”
At dinner, I explained that as we go through life, we’re constantly sending out messages; not just verbally, but also in our body language that communicates what and who we value. That’s why I purposely chose to go silent. It was a non-verbal message to make memorable, a discussion about why manners are important.... Read this in full at
CONSIDER THE BIRDS OF THE BIBLE
by Debbie Blue
As long as humans have been breathing, they've invested birds with meaning.
They fly all over the Bible - from beginning to end - and they have a prominent place in the founding narratives of almost every culture and religion. They are not just bones and feathers. They are strength or hope, omen and oracle.
In the Bible's first book, Genesis, God hovers over the face of the water like a dove, the Jewish sages suggest in the Talmud. In its final book, birds gorge on the flesh of the defeated "beast" in Book of Revelation.
Birds are the currency of mercy, sacrificed to God in the hopes of winning blessings or forgiveness. They bring bread to the prophets. Abraham has to shoo them away from his offering, and a pigeon accompanies Jesus on his first visit to the temple.
Jesus told us to "consider the birds." I love this about him, and I've taken his advice to heart.
In doing so, I've found paying attention to these wild, awesome animals reveals hidden layers of meaning in the Bible and new lessons for modern Christians looking for grace in unexpected places.
Here are a few of the surprising things I've learned about Bible birds.... Read this in full at
WHERE THE MOST CHRISTIANS LIVE AS MINORITIES
Pew Research recently highlighted the top 10 countries with the largest number of Christians living as minorities. Here's the list (ranked by percentage of Christians, not by total number of Christians):
1) Nigeria: 78,050,000 Christians (49.3% of population)
2) Ivory Coast: 8,710,000 Christians (44.1% of population)
3) Chad: 4,560,000 Christians (40.6% of population)
4) South Korea: 14,170,000 Christians (29.4% of population)
5) Kazakhstan: 3,970,000 Christians (24.8% of population).... Read this in full at
WHAT IS THE COMMUNION OF SAINTS?
by Katie Shockley
When we gather in worship, we praise God with believers we cannot see. When we celebrate Holy Communion, we feast with past, present, and future disciples of Christ. We experience the communion of saints, the community of believers––living and dead. This faith community stretches beyond space and time. We commune with Christians around the world, believers who came before us, and believers who will come after us. We believe that the church is the communion of saints, and as a believer, you belong to the communion of saints.
The apostle Paul uses the Greek word koinonia for communion. The subtleties of koinonia embrace community and fellowship. He describes a community bound together in faith and common experience. Koinonia richly depicts believers coming together in the hopes of harmony and worship of God. This is the deep and rich unity we celebrate as the communion of saints.... Read this in full at
NEW BIBLE GATEWAY POLL RESULTS: BIBLE APPS & READING HABITS
Six out of every ten people say Bible apps for their mobile devices have caused them to read the Bible more than they did before they downloaded the apps. That’s according to Bible Gateway’s latest online poll, in which more than 10,000 people voted.
The poll asked “Have Bible reading apps for mobile devices changed your Bible reading habits?” Out of a total of 10,072 votes cast in the poll, the majority say they read the Bible much more (37%, 3,749 votes) or somewhat more (23%, 2,350 votes) than they used to before getting Bible apps.... Read this in full at
JESUS IS GREAT, BUT HIS PEOPLE … EH, NOT SO MUCH
by Jarrid Wilson
I think we’d be surprised to know how many people in this world actually like the person of Jesus Christ, but aren’t keen on becoming a Christian due to the examples set forth by his followers.
For centuries, we’ve used different tools and methodologies to reach people in the name of Christ, but I feel like the ideology of the great commission was intended to be more simple than we make it out to be.
I believe we need to rethink the way we are evangelizing, witnessing, making disciples or whatever else you may call it.
Why? Because the way we’re working isn’t working anymore. Church attendance is on the decline, and the amount of self-proclaimed believers is getting lower every single day.... Read this in full at
“I suddenly saw that all the time it was not I who had been seeking God, but God who had been seeking me. I had made myself the centre of my own existence and had my back turned to God. All the beauty and truth which I had discovered had come to me as a reflection of his beauty, but I had kept my eyes fixed on the reflection and was always looking at myself. But God had brought me to the point at which I was compelled to turn away from the reflection, both of myself and of the world which could only mirror my own image. During that night the mirror had been broken, and I had felt abandoned because I could no longer gaze upon the image of my own reason and the finite world which it knew. God had brought me to my knees and made me acknowledge my own nothingness, and out of that knowledge I had been reborn. I was no longer the centre of my life and therefore I could see God in everything.”
- Bede Griffiths (1906-1993), The Golden String , Bede Griffiths, London: Fount Paperbacks, 1979, p. 97
US AIR FORCE MAKES 'GOD' OPTIONAL IN HONOR CODE
by Emily Smith
The US Air Force Academy has decided to make phrase "so help me God" optional in its honor code after an activist group protested that requiring all cadets to recite it violates their rights.
The complete oath reads: "We will not lie, steal, or cheat, nor tolerate among us anyone who does, so help me God."
Cadets are required to recite the oath when they complete basic training. It is also taken by the entire cadet wing each year as re-affirmation of their commitment to the honor code, said AFA spokesman Major Brus Vidal.
The Military for Religious Freedom Foundation, a watchdog group that has waged repeated battle with the armed services, took issue with the last clause of the sentence, saying that no cadets should be forced to make a promise to God.... Read this in full at
VERSE TO PONDER
Sing to the LORD with thanks; sing praises to our God with a lyre!
- Psalm 147:7 (CEB)
“Being a Christian means accepting the terms of creation, accepting God as our maker and redeemer, and growing day by day into an increasingly glorious creature in Christ, developing joy, experiencing love, maturing in peace.”
- Eugene Peterson
HOW DID THE APOSTLES VIEW OLD TESTAMENT SCRIPTURE?
by J. D. Greear
I wonder sometimes whether the earliest apostles would recognize the way we treat the Old Testament. At best, the first half of our Bible serves as a lengthy preamble to the real Bible, the New Testament. At worst, it’s seen as an archaic relic of an unenlightened society. But from day one, the apostles had a very different view of the Old Testament. They saw it as:.... Read this in full at
VIDEO: DID JESUS PREACH THE GOSPEL?
In this two-part video, Scot McKnight seeks to answer the question: Did Jesus Preach the Gospel? "I believe we have developed a personal-salvation culture at the expense of a gospel culture," says McKnight.... View this video at
THE LIFE OF JESUS: A CHRONOLOGICAL STUDY
The Old Testament covers 1,600 years of historical narrative from the call of Abraham (about 2091 BC) to the prophecy of Malachi (about 430 BC). The historical narrative of Matthew through Acts covers only about 53 years, from the births of John the Baptist and Jesus (about 6 BC) to the Roman imprisonment of Paul (AD 59). Although Matthew and Luke narrate the birth of Jesus and some stories of his childhood, the Gospels focus on the ministry of Jesus from about AD 26 to 30. The letters of John and the Revelation were written near the end of the first century AD, but do not continue the narrative of the apostolic era.
Integrated into the historical narrative of the Gospels are conceptual parallels from Acts and 1 Corinthians, as well as genealogies from Ruth and 1 Chronicles.... Read this in full at
CAN ARCHAEOLOGY HELP CONFIRM THE BIBLE?
by David Roach
Whenever there’s an archaeological discovery related to the Bible, conflicting interpretations by supposed experts can leave a believer’s head spinning. Take the recent discovery in Israel of a palace from the era of King David. An archaeologist from Hebrew University in Jerusalem says there’s “unequivocal evidence” that David and his descendants ruled at the site. But critics, including some committed believers, say it could have belonged to other kingdoms and that David’s palace likely would have been in Jerusalem some 18 miles to the northwest. Still others claim there is no archaeological evidence that David even existed. Similar confusion ensued this spring when archaeologists discovered a massive complex that may have been an administrative center in Abraham’s native Ur, with division over whether the patriarch’s Ur was at that site or farther north..... Read this in full at
CHANGING LIVES WITH SKATEBOARDS
Jacob Henley and Will Anderson of Nashville started a company with a unique vision — to mentor urban young men by employing them to help make beautiful, high-quality skateboards. It looks like an awesome ministry, and it's a great example of taking the church outside the church walls into the community. Check out their new video trailer at
SHOULD CHRISTIANS READ THE QUR'AN?
Read three viewpoints at
AMID SYRIA’S CIVIL WAR, A 40-FOOT STATUE OF JESUS RISES ON MOUNTAIN TOP BETWEEN FRONT LINES
In the midst of a conflict rife with sectarianism, a giant bronze statue of Jesus has gone up on a Syrian mountain, apparently under cover of a truce among three factions in the country’s civil war.
Jesus stands, arms outstretched, on the Cherubim mountain, overlooking a route pilgrims took from Constantinople to Jerusalem in ancient times. The statue is 12.3 meters (40 feet) tall and stands on a base that brings its height to 32 meters (105 feet), organizers of the project estimate.... Read this in full at
THE CHANGING FACE OF UK CHRISTIANITY
Leaders of key UK Church denominations and mission organisations gathered at the Evangelical Alliance on October 30 to hear about the changing tide of global missions, and share their stories, as Christians from across the global south come to the UK to minister.
Rev Joel Edwards, international director of Micah Challenge and former general director of the Evangelical Alliance, said "God is turning the tables. He is turning them for a united Church. There is a call for partnership in this missionary enterprise - God is bringing us in to do a new work and develop new partnerships. Not to replace people but to join the enterprise for mission to which God has called us". He challenged reverse missionaries to embrace radical and transforming roles, bringing structural and systemic change and challenging contemporary injustices.... Read this in full at
UC IRVINE STUDENTS TRY 'SPEEDFAITHING'
You have 10 minutes to sell someone on Catholicism, no more than that to distill the teachings of the Koran or the foundations of Mormonism.
It's speed-dating for religion, and in a burst of faith-driven curiosity, dozens of students at UC Irvine raced from room to room recently to listen to religious students (and two atheists) break down the core tenets of their belief system while on the clock.... Read this in full at
TO STAVE OFF DECLINE, CHURCHES ATTRACT NEW MEMBERS WITH BEER
by John Burnett
With mainline religious congregations dwindling across America, a scattering of churches is trying to attract new members by creating a different sort of Christian community. They are gathering around craft beer.
Some church groups are brewing it themselves, while others are bring the Holy Mysteries to a taproom. The result is not sloshed congregants; rather, it's an exploratory approach to do church differently.... Read this in full at
OXFORD SCHOLAR THINKS EVEN ATHEISTS SHOULD STUDY THEOLOGY
Many outside Christendom are taking note as the cultural effects of losing biblical literacy are making themselves strongly felt. An article in The Atlantic explains why even atheists should study theology for its mind-broadening approach, unique position in academics, and cultural and historical import.
Says Tara Isabella Burton, a Clarendon Scholar at Trinity College, Oxford: “While the study of history taught me the story of humanity on a broader scale, the study of theology allowed me insight into the minds and hearts, fears and concerns, of those in circumstances wildly different from my own.” .... Read this in full at
“When we understand that He is Lord of our time, we realize that interruptions are of His planning. They become opportunities to serve rather than plagues to keep us from functioning.”
- Karen Mains
VERSE TO PONDER
Praise the LORD! Give thanks to the LORD because he is good, because his faithful love endures forever.
- Psalm 106:1 (CEB)
THIS WEEK'S HYMN: FOR ALL THE BLESSINGS OF THE YEAR
Words: Albert H. Hutchinson
Music: Robert N. Quaile (1867-1927)
For all the blessings of the year,
For all the friends we hold so dear,
For peace on earth, both far and near,
We thank Thee, Lord.
For life and health, those common things,
Which every day and hour brings,
For home, where our affection clings,
We thank Thee, Lord.
For love of Thine, which never tires,
Which all our better thought inspires,
And warms our lives with heavenly fires,
We thank Thee, Lord.
>from NetHymnal at
“He who has learned to pray has learned the greatest secret of a holy and happy life.”
- William Law
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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Did you hear about the guy whose whole left side was cut off? He's all right now.
Frank Coleman, Editor
Thanks for welcoming CONNECTIONS into your in-box!
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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