Issue 379The 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 time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!”
“A Christian is a mind through which Christ thinks, a heart through which Christ loves, a voice through which Christ speaks, a hand through which Christ helps.”
FOUR WAYS CHRISTIANS CAN INFLUENCE THE WORLD
by John R. W. Stott
Alienation was originally a Marxist word, and Karl Marx meant by it the alienation of the worker from the product of his labors. When what he produces is sold by the factory owner, he is alienated from the fruits of his work. But nowadays the word alienation has a much broader meaning of powerlessness. Whenever you feel politically or economically powerless, you are feeling alienated.
Jimmy Reid, the well-known Marxist counselor in Glasgow and leader of the Clydeside Ship Workers, when he was rector of Glasgow University, said, “Alienation is the cry of men who feel themselves to be the victims of blind economic forces beyond their control. Alienation is the frustration of ordinary people who are excluded from the processes of decision-making.” Have we any influence? Have we any power? That’s the question…. Read this in full at
THESE WORLD SERIES UMPS HAVE SEEN CHRIST CHANGE LIVES
He’ll be on the field for every game, right in the middle of the action, but he won’t throw a pitch or take a swing.
Ted Barrett feels the pressure nonetheless. He knows the stakes are high in the World Series between the Texas Rangers and the St. Louis Cardinals. But while the players will all be doing their utmost to leave their mark on the Fall Classic, Barrett and five other guys hope that nobody even knows they are there.
But his job on the field isn’t the only place where Barrett likes to deflect attention. As a Christian and one of the founders of the ministry Calling for Christ (CFC) (http://callingforchrist.com/), Barrett ultimately hopes that his actions point to Jesus…. Read this in full at
NEW BOOK ‘NEARING HOME’ FROM BILLY GRAHAM HELPS READERS “LIVE LIFE TO THE VERY END”
by Michael Ireland
“All my life I was taught how to die as a Christian, but no one ever taught me how I ought to live in the years before I die. Growing old has been the greatest surprise of my life,” says Dr. Billy Graham in his new book, Nearing Home: Life, Faith, and Finishing Well (Thomas Nelson, 978-0-8499-4832-9, $19.99, October 2011).
In this moving narrative, Billy Graham shares his personal experience of growing older, but also teaches some important lessons on how to view our time here on Earth. He says that the Bible makes it clear that God has a specific reason for keeping us here. So what is His purpose for these years, and how can we align our lives with it? How can we not only learn to cope with the fears and struggles and growing limitations we face but actually grow stronger inwardly in the midst of these difficulties?
Dr. Graham, world-renowned author, preacher, and evangelist, has delivered the gospel message to more people face–to-face than anyone in history and has ministered on every continent of the world. Millions have read his inspirational classics, including Angels, The Secret of Happiness, Peace with God, The Holy Spirit, Hope for the Troubled Heart, and How to be Born Again.
“The best way to meet the challenges of old age is to prepare for them now, before they arrive,” says Dr. Graham. “I invite you to explore with me not only the realities of life as we grow older but also the hope and fulfillment — and even joy — that can be ours once we learn to look at these years from God’s point of view and discover His strength to sustain us every day.” …. Read this in full at
BELIEVERS CONTINUE TO SIN BECAUSE WE’VE NOT DECIDED TO STOP
by Clare De Graaf
It’s tough to hear it said that bluntly, isn’t it? We’d prefer to think we’re just victims of forces more powerful than ourselves and while we know we probably could do better, here’s where I think most of have landed.
Most Christians have come to terms with an acceptable level of sin in their lives and feel it is unnecessary, too difficult, or too costly to do much better.
And we often find it much easier to substitute religious activities and services to others, to assuage our guilt and balance the scales we feel ourselves standing on before God. If, intuitively you know this is true in your life, then where do you go from here? …. Read this in full at
THE RELIGION OF MASCULINITY
by Jeremy Postal
Aggressive, risk-taking and adventurous behaviour is actually part of a man’s make-up and wiring. Testosterone, a hormone found roughly 15 times more in men than in women, drives men to compete, act impulsively and dominate, to boast and tell stories, and to take risks that could really, really hurt. Serotonin, on the other hand, (a hormonal equivalent to the voice of reason) is found in lower levels in men than in women.
Unfortunately, in their hot pursuit of the religion of masculinity, many men have used their aggressive and forceful behaviour to abuse the people around them, be absent from their children or justify their addictions to porn, violent video games and just about anything else….
Whether a man drives a big truck and can snake his own toilet or spends his days as a desk jockey and commutes listening to soft rock, God has instilled in him manliness to be used for good.
Dr. Larry Crabb, in his book titled The Silence of Adam: Becoming Men of Courage in a World of Chaos, states, “The only way to be manly is first to be godly.”…. Read this in full at
CBN IS 50 YEARS OLD
The Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) began as a small television station in Portsmouth, Virginia, founded by a young man named Pat Robertson and his wife Dede. Today it’s a worldwide television and communications ministry that takes the gospel of Christ to millions every day. Fifty years ago on October 1, 1961, CBN began broadcasting as the first Christian television station in the nation. And if that were not enough, other significant entities created by Dr. Robertson and birthed through the ministry of CBN – organizations like Operation Blessing and Regent University – join CBN in having an impressive influence on the world today…. Read this in full at
THE SMELLS WE CARRY
“Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were thrown into the fiery furnace. When God brought them out, not a hair on their heads was burned. Scripture makes an interesting distinction: ‘there was no smell of fire on them’ (emphasis mine). In other words, they went through a fiery situation where they should have been burned, but they came through without even the smell of smoke [Daniel 3:12-27].
“God doesn’t want you to go through fiery trials and smell like them for the rest of your life. Sometimes I meet people who have been through a fiery trial, and every time I’m around them, that’s all they can talk about. Maybe you were burned in a relationship. Maybe you were burned in a business deal. Maybe you were burned at a church because some preacher was a hypocrite or somebody hurt you. Perhaps now you judge everybody the same way. If you’re going to win your faith fight, first you have to gain victory over what you smell.
“I don’t want to smell like everything I’ve been through. Ministry has taken me through a lot of stuff. People in ministry can take home the smell of their work. We deal with problems and lots of messy issues, but I don’t want to take that smell home to my kids. Just imagine how those Old Testament priests must have smelled: the blood, the gore, the burning of sacrifices. That’s why the priests had to burn incense. God said, ‘To kill the smell of ministry, burn incense.’ Worship is a type of burning incense. Worshiping helps grant us victory over smell.
“Maybe your marriage stinks, but still believe. Maybe your finances stink right now, but still believe. Maybe your children are going through a season in which it seems like they just can’t get their act together and you feel like giving up. In spite of what you smell, in spite of what you feel, in spite of what you see, in spite of what you hear, in spite of what you taste, you have to realize that our God is able. If you’re going to conquer, you have to get your foot on your sense of smell. Even though you’ve been through the fire, you don’t have to smell like it. Burn some incense of praise.”
Excerpted from What is God Really Like?
PRAY FOR THE PRESIDENT? YES THOU SHALT.
Republican presidential contender Rick Perry recently urged social conservatives to pray for President Barack Obama.
“As I campaign for president, I not only ask you for your vote and your support, I ask for your prayers. I ask you to pray for our country. I ask you to pray for our president to give him wisdom, to open his eyes,” the Texas Governor told an audience in Florida last month.
Doing just that is the stated mission of the Presidential Prayer Team (http://presidentialprayerteam.com).
Conceived in November 2000 in an adult Sunday school class in Scottsdale, Arizona, the PPT – or “The Prayer Team,” as it calls itself – takes its charge from the words of the Apostle Paul to his disciple Timothy: “First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. (1 Timothy 2:1-2)…. Read this in full at
IDOP SUNDAY 2011: NOVEMBER 13TH
Pray for us … This is the plea of persecuted Christians around the world.
Today around the world over 200 million are suffering for their faith in Jesus Christ. Each year, Christians in over 130 countries stand in prayer with our persecuted sisters and brothers through the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP). Join with us as Christians across Canada unite in prayer for our brothers and sisters who suffer because they declare their faith in Christ…. Read this in full at
BEEN THERE, DONE THAT
Three brothers, ages 92, 94, and 96, live in a house together. One night the 96-year-old draws a bath. He puts his foot in and pauses. He yells to the other brothers, “Was I getting in or out of the bath?”
The 94-year-old yells back, “I don’t know. I’ll come up and see.” He starts up the stairs and pauses, “Was I going up the stairs or down?”
The 92-year-old was sitting at the kitchen table having coffee listening to his brothers. He shakes his head and says, “I’m sure glad I never get that forgetful, knock on wood…” He then yells, “I’ll come up and help both of you as soon as I see who’s at the door.”
WHY A CHALLENGE FOR THE BODY IS A CHALLENGE FOR THE SOUL
“Mark Rhode is typical in his struggle with overeating. Where he is not typical has to do with his passion for ultra distance events in cycling. ‘Ultra distance’ is a polite way of saying absolutely insane. As I write these words, the race Mark is training for goes from Seattle to Spokane [through 284 miles of] mountains that make you wish you had oxygen at the top.
“Mark’s discipline on the bike hasn’t cured his propensity toward overeating or eating the wrong kinds of food, and that concerns him. It also concerns him that this is a battle he rarely hears addressed from the pulpit. He says, ‘We’ve been taught about adultery and lying and stealing and coveting; about lust and alcoholism and smoking and drug abuse. But many evangelical pastors who preach against these things are visibly overweight or obese. I don’t say this to judge them — I struggle with the same thing. But sometimes I wonder. Sure, they may have conquered the online porn, but it seems like they’re ‘medicating’ with food; I get that, because I do the same thing.’
“It is this battle that has led Mark toward the ultra distance events on his bike. ‘For me, getting into these events is like attacking my demons head on.’ The issue isn’t how he looks in the mirror; it’s a spiritual one. Second Corinthians 12:9 drives Mark’s life and approach toward food and personal discipline: ‘“[God’s] power is made perfect in weakness.” This defines the whole theological underpinning for why I do endurance events. I am weak; I am broken; my sins [include] a lack of discipline and gluttony. Riding my bike is a physical way to address what I lack, and God provides through his power.’
“Is there any way that, like Mark, we can begin to address some neglected issues and more actively participate in God’s refining process in our souls and thereby become more useful to the Master and better prepared to do more good works? Can challenges lived out in our bodies point out our need to tend more earnestly to our souls?
“If I am successful at all this teaching won’t be burdensome but liberating. What God asks us to give up are the very things that Scripture and the Christian classics testify make war against us — things that not only make us miserable but also keep us from more profound and deeper joys than we could ever have imagined.”
Gary Thomas in Every Body Matters: Strengthening Your Body to Strengthen Your Soul
THE CHURCH CAN END EXTREME POVERTY
by Scott C. Todd, author of Fast Living: How the Church Will End Extreme Poverty (http://live58.org)
Here’s a headline I haven’t read or heard yet: We’re winning the battle against extreme poverty. I know that sounds unbelievable, but it’s not. It’s just that we’re conditioned to believe the opposite is true.
Every “breaking news” item that hits my inbox or travels across the bottom of the TV screen carries the potential to be another gut punch to the world’s poor. A hurricane in the Caribbean. An earthquake in Asia. A famine in Africa. Or a disease outbreak anywhere.
When we hear enough bad news, “crisis fatigue” kicks in. Often we go into protection mode to deaden the impact or filter the news out altogether. We turn the channel. Read something else. Or simply focus on our own lives. They’re topical anesthetics to deaden the ache of chronically bad news…. Read this in full at
WHAT TWITTER CAN TEACH THE CHURCH
by Elizabeth Evans Hagan
First, say what we need to say and stop. The days of long typed memos addressed with a stamp on a letter in the mail are over. If we want to make connections with new colleagues or potential church members, we must speak concisely. It is easy to fall into the temptation — especially in religious life – to think the prettier the words, the better. The truth is people stop reading or listening if their attention is not fully engaged from the start to the finish…. Read this in full at
VERSE TO PONDER
“Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.”
“The miracles of Jesus were the ordinary works of his Father, wrought small and swift that we might take them in.”
CAN THE CHURCH LEARN TO LOVE THE MEDIA?
by David Sanford
Try asking 80 church executives if the “secular” media are friends or foes. Every time I take this poll at a church leadership conference or seminary, one or two hands timidly go up for “friends.” The rest go sky high for “foes.” What’s your vote?
Over the course of his prolific career, Cal Thomas has been one of America’s most popular media commentators on television, radio and in print. While the mainstream media often is biased, Thomas believes the bias “isn’t always deliberate.” Often, a reporter’s bias is borne out of a bad church experience or personal tragedy that produced deep feelings of disappointment with God.
In one of his hundreds of articles, Thomas shared, “Unlike many Christians I meet, I’ve decided not to be content with cursing the media’s spiritual darkness, but to devise a strategy for doing something.” That strategy involves getting to know others in the media, develop genuine friendships, and then share the love of Jesus Christ…. Read this in full at
THE EVANGELICAL REJECTION OF REASON
by Karl W. Giberson and Randall J. Stephens
Like other evangelicals, we accept the centrality of faith in Jesus Christ and look to the Bible as our sacred book, though we find it hard to recognize our religious tradition in the mainstream evangelical conversation. Evangelicalism at its best seeks a biblically grounded expression of Christianity that is intellectually engaged, humble and forward-looking. In contrast, fundamentalism is literalistic, overconfident and reactionary.
Fundamentalism appeals to evangelicals who have become convinced that their country has been overrun by a vast secular conspiracy; denial is the simplest and most attractive response to change. They have been scarred by the elimination of prayer in schools; the removal of nativity scenes from public places; the increasing legitimacy of abortion and homosexuality; the persistence of pornography and drug abuse; and acceptance of other religions and of atheism…. Read this in full at
MARITAL BLISS IS HARMED BY MATERIALISM, STUDY FINDS
When couples care too much about money, their marriage may suffer, a new study finds.
Researchers at Brigham Young University Provo, Utah, and William Patterson University, Wayne, NJ, looked at more than 1,700 US couples to determine how their attitudes toward money affected their marriages.
Couples who said money wasn’t important to them scored about 10% to 15% better on measures of relationship quality, such as marriage stability, than couples in which one or both partners were materialistic. Also, couples in which both partners said they valued lots of money — about 20% of the couples — fared worse than couples who were mismatched and just had one materialist in the marriage…. Read this in full at
LIBERTY UNIVERSITY’S JOHNNIE MOORE SPEAKS THE LANGUAGE OF YOUNG EVANGELICALS
Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 10 am, more than 10,000 students pour into the Vines Center at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., to hear top-line musical worship performances and talks by the likes of Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann and the Rev. Rick Warren, all recent speakers.
Liberty’s “convocation” is the largest regular gathering of young evangelicals in the US.
And the guy who picks who speaks is Johnnie Moore, a charismatic campus preacher and Liberty vice president who at 28 is becoming a heavy-hitter in the world of conservative Christianity. At a time when young white evangelicals are pushing back against the marriage of their faith with the GOP, Moore looks like he might be a key to the future, espousing a Christianity that is at once orthodox and social justice-minded. He is the go-to adviser for some conservative leaders trying to understand what is going on…. Read this in full at
ANONYMOUS SENATOR HOLDING RELIGIOUS FREEDOM COMMISSION ‘HOSTAGE’
The US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) is a small commission that monitors religious freedom. Last month, the House of Representatives voted 391–21 to reauthorize the USCIRF. The Senate, however, has not voted because one anonymous U.S. Senator is blocking a vote. If the Senate fails to act by November 18, the USCIRF will cease to exist.
In the Senate, consideration of legislation often requires unanimous consent. This means that any Senator can block legislation from consideration. The Senate rules allow what is often called a “secret hold.” A Senator can put a hold on a bill by telling his or her party leader that the Senator opposes consideration of a bill. The Senator’s name is not made public. In the case of the USCIRF, there is one Senator placing a hold on the reauthorization bill…. Read this in full at
WHEN CHILDREN ARRIVE, IRAQ’S CHRISTIANS LIVE DOUBLE LIVES
Little Nuria and her sisters love singing songs about Jesus. But when people Nuria doesn’t know ask her if she’s a Christian, she doesn’t know what to answer; instead, she looks questioningly at her mother or father.
She is 6 years old and goes to a Christian school in Kirkuk, Iraq. When her aunts and uncles visit, her mother purges the house of anything that points to their Christian faith: the cross on the wall, the Bible, her Christian storybooks. Nuria knows her relatives are Muslims, but sometimes she forgets and she or one of her sisters starts to hum a Christian tune…. Read this in full at
OUT OF EGYPT: THE WINTER OF PERSECUTION FOR COPTIC CHRISTIANS
by Michael Milton
Is the Arab spring turning into a winter of persecution?
Coptic Christians have now left their home in Egypt and have joined the growing refugee movement. Of the 80 million people living in Egypt, approximately 8 million of them are Christians. According to Church tradition, Christianity came to Egypt in AD 42 through the evangelistic preaching of St. Mark. In that day, Mark, who wrote the Gospel of Mark, joined with others to fan out across the face of the earth with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Philip Jenkins, the Edwin Erle Sparks professor of the humanities in history and religious studies at Penn State University, describes in his book, The Lost History of Christianity, how the ancient Church, east of the Roman Empire, in places like Persia and Syrian and Egypt, flourished until killed off or run out by radical groups, particularly Muslims…. Read this in full at
THE WORTHY MISSION TO GET JOSEPH KONY
by Michael Gerson
When President Obama announced last week the deployment of 100 US military advisers to aid in the pursuit of Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), reaction was swift. Michele Bachmann criticized “unnecessary foreign entanglements,” while admitting, “I do not know enough about it to comment on it.” Rush Limbaugh called the LRA “Christians” and accused Obama of sending American troops “to wipe out Christians in Sudan, Uganda,” before promising to do some “research on it.”
In both cases, it is remarkable that public figures feel no hesitancy — no internal check of propriety or shame — about offering opinions while admitting ignorance. A few minutes on the Internet would have sufficed. The LRA is a brutal rebel group headed by a messianic madman. Its victims — captured boys turned into soldiers, captured girls forced into sexual slavery, villagers put to the machete — have been the focus of activism by Christian organizations and human rights groups for decades…. Read this in full at
GOD, LIQUOR, AND THE GOSPEL OF KEN BURNS
by Ben Stevens
How will we remember events like Prohibition (http://www.pbs.org/kenburns/prohibition/): as pithy, hypocrisy-filled, hyper-religious excess, or as well-intentioned, family-centric crusades to save society from its drunken stupor? I have no doubt there will be plenty of occasions to consider the true merits of the former option. As such, I humbly submit that, in trying to understand history on its own terms, the latter deserves our consideration as well…. Read this in full at
CELEBRATE 7 BILLION PEOPLE
Steven W. Mosher, President of the Population Research Institute (PRI) (http://pop.org/), will address the media at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, October 31st 2011, on the topic of the birth of the world’s seven billionth person.
The United Nations Population Division has projected October 31st 2011 as the day on which the world will be home to seven billion people. “This is a happy occasion,” says Mosher, a leading population expert and best-selling author. “The world’s population has more than doubled since 1960, and humanity has never been so prosperous.”
The family planners, supported by assorted radical feminists, environmental extremists, and no-growth types, are abusing this milestone to promote the myth of overpopulation and to raise more money for their anti-people projects. “The attitude of the anti-people types is arrogant and elitist,” says Mosher. “They say, in effect, to Africans, Asians and Latin Americans: ‘There are just enough of us, but there are way too many of you.'”
According to Mosher, “Contrary to what you might hear, the most pressing problem in country after country today is not overpopulation, but underpopulation. In a time of fiscal austerity, the last thing that we need to be doing is spending more tax dollars to drive down the birth rate, reducing the amount of human capital available, and making us all poorer in the long run.” …. Read this in full at
“We ought not to be weary of doing little things for the love of God, who regards not the greatness of the work, but the love with which it is performed.”
Brother Lawrence (c.1605-1691), The Practice of the Presence of God, New York, Revell, 1895, p. 17
VERSE TO PONDER
“This is what the LORD says- your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: ‘I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.’”
THIS WEEK’S HYMN: LORD, IN THY NAME THY SERVANTS PLEAD
Words: John Keble, 1856
Music: Thomas Ravenscroft 1621
Lord, in Thy Name Thy servants plead,
And Thou hast sworn to hear;
Thine is the harvest, Thine the seed,
The fresh and fading year.
Our hope, when autumn winds blew wild,
We trusted, Lord, with Thee:
And still, now spring has on us smiled,
We wait on Thy decree.
The former and the latter rain,
The summer sun and air,
The green ear and the golden grain,
All Thine, are ours by prayer.
Thine too by right and ours by grace,
The wondrous growth unseen,
The hopes that soothe, the fears that brace,
The love that shines serene.
So grant the precious things brought forth
By sun and moon below,
That Thee in Thy new heav’n and earth
We never may forgo.
>from NetHymnal at
“Almighty and most merciful Father, whose clemency I now presume to implore, after a long life of carelessness and wickedness, have mercy upon me. I have committed many trespasses; I have neglected many duties I have done what Thou hast forbidden, and left undone what Thou hast commanded. Forgive, merciful Lord, my sins, negligences, and ignorances, and enable me, by thy Holy Spirit, to amend my life according to thy Holy word, for Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.”
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), Prayers and Meditations, London: Verner, Hood, and Sharpe, 1806, p. 191
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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Remember, gravity is not just a good idea. It’s the law.
Min. 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!
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