Connecting man to man to God
For week of December 22, 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 angel said, ‘Don’t be afraid, Mary. God is honoring you. Look! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great and he will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of David his father. He will rule over Jacob’s house forever, and there will be no end to his kingdom.’”
- Luke 1:30-33 (CEB)
“Whatever you do, find the God-centered, Christ-exalting, Bible-saturated passion of your life, and find your way to say it and live for it and die for it. And you will make a difference that lasts. You will not waste your life.”
- John Piper
AUTHOR JIM REIMANN DIES
James Gilbert Reimann, 63, of Atlanta GA, went to be with the Lord, Dec. 18. He was born in Chattanooga, TN. He graduated from Georgia State University receiving a bachelor’s degree in finance. He married Pamela in 1972.
He founded and owned The Christian Armory, “1988-1989 Store of the Year” by the Christian Booksellers Association, was the COO of Family Christian Stores, the editor of “My Utmost for His Highest”, “Streams in the Desert”, “Morning by Morning” and “Evening by Evening”, and led 26 Bible-teaching tours to Israel.... Read this in full at
PASTOR AND FORMER NFL PLAYER KEN HUTCHERSON PASSES AWAY AT AGE 61
Pastor Ken Hutcherson of Antioch Bible Church in Redmond, Wash., died Dec. 18 after battling cancer for more than a decade. The faith leader and star of TheBlaze TV’s “Hutch” was 61.
The church announced on its website: “Antioch Bible Church sadly announces that shortly before noon today our Senior Pastor Dr. Ken Hutcherson was ushered in the [presence] of the Lord. Please pray for comfort and peace for the family. The family asked that you give them some privacy at this time. Please no phone calls or [visits].”
Hutcherson, known as “Hutch” to his friends, led a remarkable life that began in the South during the era of segregation.... Read this in full at
WHAT WE FORGET ABOUT JESUS
by Josh Hatcher
We know a lot about Jesus, but certain characteristics we tend to forget or ignore, like the fact He was a smelly homeless guy who ticked off a lot of political and religious leaders with His claims to be God. We can't know Jesus fully unless we realize some commonly known, but often unconsidered facts. Without them, we can't really know Jesus; we only know about Him. We tend to be ignorant of the history, the deity, the humanity that defined Him.
He Wasn’t White
Jesus was from the line of David. He was an Israeli. He was Jewish. Our Sunday school books and children’s Bibles and the pictures on Grandma Nadine’s wall has painted a beautiful Caucasian western European blonde-haired blue eyed picture for us. But in reality, He was not a European, He was Middle-Eastern. And at that time in history, Jews were some of the most hated people in the world.... Read this in full at
SHOULD I GIVE A COW OR CASH FOR CHRISTMAS?
by Bruce Wydick
A few weeks ago the Heifer Project animal gift catalog made its annual pilgrimage through our mail slot, landing on our entryway floor right on time for the holidays. Donating a farm animal to a family in a developing country as a Christmas gift to another has become a tradition in our own family. Over the years, I have been the patron donor of chickens, a goat, rabbits, frankly, enough farm animals to make Old McDonald jealous. One year I gave (part) of a water buffalo to my younger brother.
This is an increasingly common Christmas present—to make a donation to a poor family in a developing country in the name of a loved one. Increasingly, organizations such as the Heifer Project, World Vision, Samaritan's Purse, Kiva, and other charitable organizations send out gift catalogs and online promotions with a bounty of attractive Christmas gifts to choose from: a pig for a family in Nepal, a microfinance gift certificate for a budding entrepreneur in El Salvador, a freshwater well in Ethiopia.
With so many options available, the obvious question is: Which gifts have the biggest positive impact for the poor? This is a question that interests me not just as a Christian but as a development economist. Do these donations really make a difference, and if so what kind of difference? .... Read this in full at
BARNA: MILLENNIALS SHARE CHRIST MORE THAN ANY OTHER GENERATION
A Barna study is revealing the truth about U.S. Millennials, the generation born after 1980. Skeptics argue that Millennials put social justice above their faith and are leaving the church in droves.
But Barna’s study shows Millennials are sharing the gospel more than any other generation.
“By a previous generation’s standards, they seem low-key, a little disengaged or disinterested,” notes Greg Jao with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. “But when you actually watch their behavior, you begin to see the Millennial generation … is highly engaged with their faith.” .... Read this in full at
NO TOLERANCE WITHOUT CHRISTIANITY
by Ken Starr
In a recent speech at Georgetown University, a British cabinet minister said some startling things about Christians in the Middle East:
"Across the world, people are being singled out and hounded out simply for the faith they hold…. [Middle Eastern Christians] are rooted in their societies, adopting and even shaping local customs. Yet ... [a] mass exodus is taking place, on a Biblical scale. In some places, there is real danger that Christianity will become extinct."
Such a public expression of concern about Christians is unusual for a Western government official. This speech was particularly striking because it was delivered by a Muslim – Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, a Brit born of Pakistani parents. Warsi understands better than most the costs to the Middle East if Christians flee.
The silence of Western governments about this phenomenon and its primary cause – the rise of Islamist extremism – is at best short sighted. The Christian exodus represents not only a humanitarian.... Read this in full at
BIBLE HELPED CONVICT IN DARK TIMES
While Tim Montgomery awaited sentencing in 2008 on drug trafficking charges, he sat in a holding cell and contemplated his future.
“Everyone said I was going to get 17 years,” Montgomery said. “I’m sitting there thinking, ‘I can’t do 17 years.’ I said, ‘You know what, I’m going to kill myself.’?”
Another cellmate on the other side of the wall consoled Montgomery.
“Keep your head up, it’s not as bad as you think,” Montgomery recalled his cellmate saying.
“They’re going to give me 17 years,” he said.
“I’ve already done 23, and I’ve got 36.”
“How do you do it?”
“I pray every day.” .... Read this in full at
HAS HOLLYWOOD SEEN THE LIGHT? BIBLICAL FILMS ABOUND!
by Luke Hamilton
I miss the days when Hollywood ignored God. Until recently, the fastest way to kill your career in Tinseltown was to utter that three-letter-word: G-O-D. If you were to drop the G-bomb in Hollywood without following up with "damn" or a genuflection to L. Ron Hubbard, you'd find yourself staring at a lot of slammed doors. The only thing studio producers and directors enjoy more than ignoring God is slandering Him. All that began changing several years ago, when films which openly spoke about God and religious belief had surprisingly strong showings at the box office. Films like The Passion of the Christ, which grossed $370m and earned 3 Oscar nominations, and The Blind Side, which grossed $300m with 2 Oscar nominations, have really challenged the rabidly anti-theistic predilections of many Hollywood moguls.
Studios in Hollywood are waking up to the fact that Bible-believing Americans love to support films which speak of them and to them. In response, producers have packed the assembly line with films like Darren Aronofsky's Noah, a mini-series remake of The 10 Commandments produced by Harvey Weinstein, and a reboot of the Left Behind series, starring Nicholas Cage. Before we start applauding the miraculous conversion of the film and television industry, let's remember that studio producers have allegiance to their pocketbooks (first), their leftist political ideologies (second), and their respect for God and His people (never). We assume incorrectly that Hollywood is godless; there is a god in Hollywood and his name is Mammon.... Read this in full at
TOP 10 RELIGION STORIES OF 2013
He’s Time magazine’s Person of the Year, the most talked about topic on Facebook and the most popular baby namesake in Italy. No surprise, Pope Francis is also the top Religion Story of the Year and the Religion Newsmaker of the Year, according to a poll of Religion Newswriters members.
Francis beat out his predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who was the No. 2 story, and evangelist Billy Graham — who recently turned 95 and is reportedly ailing — for the newsmaker designation. Benedict made news when he became the first pope to resign in almost six centuries.
The rankings were based on results of an online ballot conducted between Dec. 12 and 16. Only Religion Newswriters Association members were eligible to vote.... Read this in full at
VERSE TO PONDER
“As he was thinking about this, an angel from the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because the child she carries was conceived by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you will call him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.’”
- Matthew 1:20-21 (CEB)
“A man can no more take in a supply of grace for the future than he can eat enough for the next six months, or take sufficient air into his lungs at one time to sustain life for a week. We must draw upon God’s boundless store of grace from day to day as we need it.”
- D. L. Moody
ABC NEWS'S PAULA FARIS TALKS OPENLY ABOUT HER FAITH
While many people distrust the secular media, some Christians actually feel called to make a difference in that field.
Recently, ABC News correspondent Paula Faris spoke openly with CBN News about the challenges of working in secular news and the grace to overcome them.
For the past two years Faris has been a fresh, familiar face on ABC News. But the Jackson, Mich., native said she never planned to go into the television business.
"I didn't grow up thinking I want to be a reporter, I want to be an anchor," Faris told CBN News. "In fact, I remember my high school drama teacher was the one that encouraged me to go to college for broadcasting because at that time I didn't know what I want to do." .... Read this in full at
NEW TOOL OPENS DOOR TO MORE OLYMPIC MINISTRY
Athletes from around the world will soon converge in Sochi, Russia, for the 22nd Olympic Winter Games in February 2014. Millions across the globe will gather around their television sets to watch this event. For Christians, this creates a unique opportunity to share the Gospel, not only at the games but within their own communities.
While it is important to use the Olympics as an opportunity to share the Gospel in the host city, it is important for Christians to use the event to spread the Gospel around their own communities, said Marc Ira Hooks, an IMB correspondent based in Europe and co-director of the Engage Sochi project.
The International Mission Board launched "Engage Sochi" earlier this year as an evangelism and church planting project for the 2014 Winter Olympics. The Engage Sochi team prepared a resource kit called "Engage Your Community." The kit helps Christians use the Olympic Games as a way to share the Gospel regardless of their location.... Read this in full at
“To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything He has given us -- and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him. Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful man knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference.”
- Thomas Merton (1915-1968), Thoughts in Solitude , Macmillan, 1999, p. 48
HONESTY AND ETHICS RATING OF CLERGY SLIDES TO NEW LOW
Americans' rating of the honesty and ethics of the clergy has fallen to 47%, the first time this rating has dropped below 50% since Gallup first asked about the clergy in 1977. Clergy have historically ranked near the top among professions on this measure, hitting a high rating of 67% in 1985.... Read this in full at
CHURCHES TAKE TO YOUTUBE, INSTAGRAM TO SPREAD THE GOSPEL AT CHRISTMAS
The Christmas holiday brings peak attendance for most churches, and an increasing number of US religious groups are using the boom time to wow parishioners with virtual choirs on YouTube and Instagram advent calendars.
More than 500 churches will stream Christmas sermons online this year, up from just a handful in 2007, said DJ Chuang, host of the Social Media Church, a podcast with church leaders about social media. Hundreds more started Instagram and Pinterest accounts this year to post photos of baptisms and quotes from the gospel, he said.
“Instagram is like the modern day stained glass window,” Chuang said. “They use it to tell the stories of the church.” .... Read this in full at
THE PRESIDENT’S DEVOTIONAL: READING SCRIPTURE IN THE WHITE HOUSE
by Andy Rau
If you were the President of the United States, would you still find the time for daily devotions?
I can attest from personal experience that it’s hard keeping up with regular devotions and Bible reading amid work, family, and other commitments—and I say that as somebody who works at a Bible website, where it couldn’t possibly be easier for me to access a Bible anytime I want to. I can’t imagine how much more difficult it would be to fit devotional reading into a day whose duties also included handling international crises, wrangling with Congress, and surviving the endless grind of everyday American political culture.
But precisely because of those challenges, time for Bible reading, prayer, and devotions would be all the more critical for a national leader. Martin Luther famously quipped “I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer;” if that’s true for me and my busy day, it’s even more true for the “leader of the free world.” .... Read this in full at
“I JUST DON’T CARE!”
by Clare De Graaf
If you’ve heard, “I just don’t care” from your kids about things you think Christians really ought to care about deeply, you’re not alone.
A few months ago, I was having dinner with a few great kids – students at a local Christian college. We were talking about the homosexuality issue, which I blogged on last week. At the end of our extensive discussion, one of the young men said, “I just don’t care – it’s just not a big deal to me, one way or another.” Sound familiar?
So, I asked him this question. “Based on what we read in the Bible, do you think God cares one way or another about this issue?” “Yeh, I think he doesn’t like the idea of anyone having sex outside of marriage”, he replied. “Again, based on the Bible do you think he feels strongly about it, or just has a preference?” I asked. “He apparently feels strongly about it,” he answered honestly.
“Well, if you claim to be a follower of Jesus, then whatever is important to God, must become important to you! His worldview must become your worldview, whether you personally agree with it or not. If you’re not prepared to make that one of the supreme goals of your life, you may want to re-think whether or not, you’re a true Christian.” He was shocked, so I went on to explain.... Read this in full at
FOR ARTIFACTS FROM CLOSED CHURCHES, AN AFTERLIFE ON STATEN ISLAND
There will soon be a rooftop swimming pool where the copper-domed bell towers of Mary Help of Christians once rose.
Formerly a hub of the East Village’s Italian-American community, the site of the Roman Catholic church is now slated for a 158-unit rental building, complete with basement gym and rooftop gardens — a familiar trajectory for a growing number of houses of worship as church attendance falls and real estate values soar.
In the rubble-strewn lot on Avenue A between 11th and 12th Streets where Mary Help of Christians and its school and rectory long stood, a rusty basketball hoop and strip of blacktop are all that is left. But perhaps unknown to those mourning the church’s passing, much of what was precious inside it — and other now-closed Catholic churches — sits in a Staten Island warehouse, awaiting a second chance.... Read this in full at
“One of the most lasting pleasures you can experience is the feeling that comes over you when you genuinely forgive an enemy- whether he knows it or not.”
- O. A. Battista
VERSE TO PONDER
“You, [Jesus], will be called a prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way. You will tell his people how to be saved through the forgiveness of their sins. Because of our God’s deep compassion, the dawn from heaven will break upon us.”
- Luke 1:76-78 (CEB)
THIS WEEK'S HYMN: LIFT UP YOUR HEADS, REJOICE
Words: Thomas T. Lynch, 1856
Music: John Stainer, 1875
Lift up your heads, rejoice, redemption draweth nigh;
Now breathes a softer air, now shines a milder sky;
The early trees put forth their new and tender leaf;
Hushed is the moaning wind that told of winter’s grief.
Lift up your heads, rejoice, redemption draweth nigh;
Now mount the laden clouds, now flames the darkening sky;
The early scattered drops descend with heavy fall,
And to the waiting earth the hidden thunders call.
Lift up your heads, rejoice, redemption draweth nigh;
O note the varying signs of earth, and air, and sky;
The God of glory comes in gentleness and might,
To comfort and alarm, to succor and to smite.
He comes, the wide world’s King, He comes, the true heart’s Friend,
New gladness to begin, and ancient wrong to end;
He comes, to fill with light the weary waiting eye;
Lift up your heads, rejoice, redemption draweth nigh.
>from NetHymnal at
“For Jesus, prayer was a vital element in making God’s power available to people in need.”
- Jim Reapsome
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, email@example.com if you'd like to participate in a men's discipleship program.
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