Connecting man to man to God
For week of December 1, 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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“In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.”
- John 1:1 (CEB)
“Jesus, please teach me to appreciate what I have before time forces me to appreciate what I had.”
- Susan L. Lenzkes
WHAT ENCOURAGES BELIEF IN GOD? AMAZING SIGHTS OF 'PLANET EARTH,' SAYS NEW STUDY
Researchers at the Association for Psychological Science have released a new study that suggests that awe - specifically brought on by nature - increases one's tendency to believe in God.
Psychological scientist Piercarlo Valdesolo of Claremont McKenna College and colleague Jesse Graham of the University of Southern California showed study participants either footage of BBC's "Planet Earth" nature documentary series or "neutral" news interviews.
After watching the clips, Valdesolo and Graham asked participants "how much awe they felt while watching the video, and whether they believed that worldly events unfold according to some god's or other non-human entity's plan." .... Read this in full at
HARD WON LESSONS ON LEADERSHIP
by Clare De Graaf
Perception is truth to those who believe it. I’ve previously defined a worldview as the sum total of everything you believe to be true, whether it is or not.
When you’re a leader, some people you lead will not share your worldview. I’m not talking about whether they are Christians, or whether they share the same philosophy or politics. On the most elemental level, everyone believes certain facts to be true, that you do not. And, unless you understand exactly what their truth is, you can’t begin to solve problems or change in an organization.
I once met with an employee I supervised in a non-profit, whose performance was not meeting my expectations. Obviously, she thought she was doing exactly what I wanted. I didn’t. As we talked, it quickly became apparent there was something missing – we simply weren’t getting anywhere. I was getting frustrated and close to violating this proverb, “The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, and whoever has understanding is even-tempered.” Proverbs 17:27.... Read this in full at
C.S. LEWIS THE EVANGELIST
by Philip G. Ryken, Ph.D.
The important thing about C.S. Lewis is not how many people have read him, but the extent to which reading him has become a life ‑ transforming experience. Popularity is not the same thing as influence; C.S. Lewis has had both.
C.S. Lewis is usually considered to have had a substantial influence on atheists, agnostics, and other unbelievers. In the first critical study of his thought, Chad Walsh identified him as the Apostle to the Skeptics. One often sees references to the “numerous” or even “countless” people whom C.S. Lewis has brought to faith in Jesus Christ. To cite just one example, the evangelist Stephen F. Olford speaks of knowing “not just scores, but hundreds of intellectual people…[who] have come to Christ subsequent to reading [Mere Christianity].” .... Read this in full at
WHY WE SHOULD READ DEVOTIONALS LEADING UP TO CHRISTMAS
by Mel Lawrenz
Why should we take time to do devotional readings leading up to Christmas? Because it is an excellent way to “treasure” and to “ponder.”
In Luke’s account of the Christmas story we read: “Mary treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19). That’s what she did in response to the shocking news the shepherds gave about an angelic multitude announcing “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests” (Luke 2:14).
In this noisy, troubled, uncertain time in which we live, we need to take time to let the message of the advent (coming) of the Lord Jesus sink in. To “treasure” it. To “ponder” it. Devotional reading is a great way to do that.... Read this in full at
COUNTRIES THAT ARE BAD FOR CHRISTIANS ARE GOOD FOR DISTRIBUTING BIBLES
Demand for Bibles and other forms of Scripture has surged in areas of the world where Christians most frequently face religious freedom violations.
The United Bible Societies (UBS), which represents 146 Bible societies in more than 200 countries and territories, reports:
"Global Scripture distribution by Bible Societies rose by 6%, from just over 381 million in 2011 to more than 405 million in 2012. Of that 405 million, 32.1 million were full Bibles, matching 2011's record-breaking year of Bible distribution." .... Read this in full at
JONI & KEN TALK ABOUT THE BENEFITS OF READING THE BIBLE TOGETHER IN ONE YEAR
Ken and Joni Eareckson Tada are celebrating their eighth anniversary of reading together the Bible through in a Year.... Read this in full at
“Those who put themselves in His hands will become perfect, as He is perfect - perfect in love, wisdom, joy, beauty, health, and immortality. The change will not be completed in this life, for death is an important part of the treatment. How far the change will have gone before death in any particular Christian is uncertain.”
- C. S. Lewis
AIRPORT CHAPLAINS LET FLIERS CONNECT WITH HEAVENS
By Scott Mayerowitz
The Rev. Frank Colladay Jr. stood at the end of the gate waiting. On the arriving plane was a passenger whose husband had just died of a heart attack on another flight. Her name was Linda Gilbert. The two had never met before.
Colladay's parish happens to be the world's busiest airport. His flock consists of people passing through who might need comfort, spiritual advice, or someone to pray with.
On this day, a traumatized Gilbert needed even more. Colladay guided her through Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, drove her in his silver Ford Fusion to the medical examiner to see her husband's body and arranged for a flight home for both of them.
"He didn't say a whole lot. But just his presence being there, it just felt comforting and reassuring," Gilbert says. "I didn't know that airports have chaplains."
Most people don't.... Read this in full at
WHAT A MODEL FOR ETHICAL CONSUMPTION CAN LOOK LIKE
interview by Caryn Rivadeneira
In her new book on consumption, Laura Hartman opens with a panicky scene: Hartman standing frozen in front of fresh vegetables — overwhelmed with the choices and moral dilemmas (e.g., "Where, how, and by whom was this made?" "Is it right to spend so much more for organic?" "Do I really need this at all?") presented in each of them.
It's a scene that she suggests is common for those of us who care about "consumption ethics." In fact, Hartman says she wrote The Christian Consumer: Living Faithfully in a Fragile World because of scenes like that one—because we live in a time and place where the consumption choices are "mind-boggling" yet "morally important."
Hartman, who is a religion professor at Augustana College (Illinois), found that most existing literature on consumerism focuses on what is wrong with consumption rather than illuminating what good consumption can look like. I spoke with Hartman on why she offers a vision of consumption ethics.... Read this in full at
VERSE TO PONDER
In the past, God spoke through the prophets to our ancestors in many times and many ways. In these final days, though, he spoke to us through a Son. God made his Son the heir of everything and created the world through him.
- Hebrews 1:1-2 (CEB)
“Always put off until tomorrow what you shouldn’t do at all.”
- Morris Mandel
THE MOST BEAUTIFUL CHURCHES IN THE WORLD
by Greg Atkinson
I’m going to list the most beautiful churches in the world. Are you ready? Follow me: If I said, “You have a beautiful church”, would you reply, “Thanks. When did you visit our building?” or would you reply “Thanks. Who did you meet?”
It’s simple and subtle, but potentially dangerous. So often we refer to churches’ facilities or campuses and define that as a “church”, as if they’re synonymous. One of the reasons that I love church plants and those in portable facilities is that they don’t have to overcome this hurdle like churches with their own building.
We don’t go to church. We are the church. If you want to see the most beautiful churches in the world, you’ve got to spend some time with believers that are sold out to Jesus, filled with His love and grace, display the fruits of the Spirit and have a passion to serve their community.... Read this in full at
DRILLING FOR OIL, BASED ON THE BIBLE: DO OIL AND RELIGION MIX?
say an oilman has to be a gambler, but can he be a prophet?
Zion Oil & Gas, based in Dallas, is a publicly traded company that believes it is commanded by the Bible to search for oil in Israel, both to help the Holy Land and make money for investors. The 22 employees of Zion Oil in Texas and Israel, and many of its 30,000 investors, believe the company is on a mission from God.
"God creates this. He provides the money and the place where to drill. Now why we haven't got the oil yet, I don't know. I have never drilled one oil well I didn't expect to find oil," says John Brown, Zion founder & CEO.... Read this in full at
HOW DID THE BIBLE SPREAD? JERUSALEM EXHIBIT TRACES A REMARKABLE JOURNEY.
Copied by Jewish scribes and Christian monks. Written on everything from tiny silver scrolls to papyrus that turned brittle with time. First published for a mass audience by Gutenberg; now available in 2,800 languages.
These are fragments of the story of how the Bible evolved from the days of ancient Israel to the days of Barnes and Noble.
Now the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem has launched a landmark exhibit tracing that story, drawn largely from the collection of American philanthropist Steve Green.... Read this in full at
VATICAN PUTS ST. PETER'S BONES ON DISPLAY FOR THE FIRST TIME
Pope Francis, the 266th Bishop of Rome, recently held what the church believes are the bone fragments of St. Peter, the apostle and the first bishop of Rome.
Pope Francis cradled the relics during a mass at St. Peter's Square, which marked the end of the global church's Year of Faith. It was also the first time the Catholic Church has displayed the relics in public.
The Guardian reports there is much mystery and intrigue concerning the eight pieces of bone. No pope has ever definitively said the bones are the remains of St. Peter, but in 1968 Pope Paul VI said the bones found underneath St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican had been "identified in a way that we can consider convincing."
The Associated Press reports that archaeologists dispute the finding.
But the story is still alluring. The Guardian bases its story on The Ears of the Vatican, the 2012 book by Bruno Bartoloni. According to the book, the relics were discovered in 1939, as archaeologists were excavating in the grottoes of St. Peter's Basilica to bury Pope Pius XI.... Read this in full at
WASHINGTON, DC’S FREER GALLERY DISPLAYS TWO ANCIENT BIBLES OVER THE HOLIDAYS
The Freer Gallery of Art is showing off two rare Bibles from its archives through Feb. 16, 2014.
The Bibles, written in Greek and bought by art collector Charles L. Freer in the early 1900s, date from the 3rd and 4th centuries. They are seldom on display because of their fragility and sensitivity to light.
One Bible, now known as the “Washington Codex,” contains additional material, a logion, attached to the Gospel of Mark.... Read this in full at
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM RESTORATION ACT MARKS 20TH ANNIVERSARY
At a Capitol Hill event sponsored by the Christian Legal Society in honor of this anniversary, a number of key leaders reflected on the significance of Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) at its initial enactment and continuing today. Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) opened the session and were followed by Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA), Chairman of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, and Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), one of the sponsors of RFRA when it was originally being considered in Congress.
RFRA was birthed after the US Supreme Court's Employment Division v. Smith decision in 1990 startled many religious liberty advocates. The reasoning of the Smith decision, which ruled against a Native American constitutional claim for using peyote in religious ceremonies, effectively set a new, broad, and much lower standard for the First Amendment's Free Exercise of Religion clause to apply. J. Brent Walker, Executive Director of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, said, "the US Supreme Court effectively neutered the First Amendment's Free Exercise Clause by giving government the ability to enforce generally applicable laws that would indirectly burden someone's exercise of religion." A broad 63-member coalition with members spanning far across religious and political lines formed to push Congress to pass new protections against a substantial burden on religious expression.... Read this in full at
'THE BAY BOOK OF PSALMS,' USA'S FIRST PRINTED BOOK, AUCTIONED FOR RECORD $14.2 MILLION
It's believed to be America's first printed book. And now it's the world's most expensive.
'The Bay Book of Psalms,' a translation of Biblical psalms published in 1640, sold for a record $14.2 million Nov. 26 at Sotheby's in New York, setting a new world auction record for any book.
The previous record of $11.5 million was set in December 2010 for John James Audubon's 'Birds of America.' .... Read this in full at
BRITAIN STILL A ‘CHRISTIAN COUNTRY,’ SAYS UK GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL
Britain is still a “Christian country” despite a fall in regular church attendance, Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, has insisted.
He told an audience of politicians and churchmen that people in public life should never be made to feel they must “apologize” for speaking about their faith.... Read this in full at
“The three essential rules when speaking of others are: Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?”
- Unknown Author
VERSE TO PONDER
Therefore, the Lord will give you a sign. The young woman is pregnant and is about to give birth to a son, and she will name him Immanuel.
- Isaiah 7:14 (CEB)
THIS WEEK'S HYMN: THE ADVENT OF OUR GOD
Words: Charles Coffin, Paris Breviary, 1736 (Instantis adventum Dei); translated from Latin to English by John Chandler, Hymns of the Primitive Church, 1837.
Music: Doncaster, Samuel Wesley, in Psalms and Hymns for the Service of the Church, 1837
The advent of our God
Our prayers must now employ,
And we must meet Him on His road
With hymns of holy joy.
The everlasting Son
Incarnate deigns to be;
Himself a servant’s form puts on
To set His people free.
Daughter of Zion, rise
To meet thy lowly King,
Nor let thy faithless heart despise
The peace He comes to bring.
As Judge, on clouds of light,
He soon will come again,
And all His scattered saints unite
With Him in Heaven to reign.
Before the dawning day
Let sin’s dark deeds be gone;
The old man all be put away,
The new man all put on.
All glory to the Son
Who comes to set us free,
With Father, Spirit, ever One,
Through all eternity.
>from NetHymnal at
“Our prayers are rendered ineffectual in the same degree as they take a different course than that in which the Spirit would lead us. And they become even more impotent when we come in conflict with the Spirit and grieve Him.”
- O. Hallesby (1879-1961), Prayer, London: Inter-Varsity Fellowship, 1943, reprint, Augsburg Fortress Books, 1975, 1994, p. 117
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
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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