Connecting man to man to God
For week of February 12, 2012
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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“Brothers and sisters, we must always thank God for you. This is only right because your faithfulness is growing by leaps and bounds, and the love that all of you have for each other is increasing.”
2 Thessalonians 1:3 (CEB)
“There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.”
POWERPOINT SLIDES AVAILABLE FOR LENTEN BIBLE READINGS
In time for the beginning of the centuries-old tradition of Lent on Ash Wednesday (Feb. 22), churches, bloggers, and others can now share the season’s official and coordinated Bible readings in a free PowerPoint® presentation consisting of vivid color photography of nature scenes combined with Scripture verses from the new bestselling Bible translation Common English Bible (http://CommonEnglishBible.com).
The presentation (http://CommonEnglishBible.com/CEB/LentDownloads and http://slideshare.net/CommonEnglishBible) is comprised of nine Bible readings to observe Ash Wednesday, each Sunday of Lent, Good Friday, and Easter. It’s flexible enough to display only portions from it or all the slides, and to present them prior to or during church services, embed in blogs and other websites, or email to friends. Verses are selected from the Revised Common Lectionary (Year B) …. Read this in full at
THE GLOBAL WAR ON CHRISTIANS IN THE MUSLIM WORLD
by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
We hear so often about Muslims as victims of abuse in the West and combatants in the Arab Spring’s fight against tyranny. But, in fact, a wholly different kind of war is underway—an unrecognized battle costing thousands of lives. Christians are being killed in the Islamic world because of their religion. It is a rising genocide that ought to provoke global alarm.
The portrayal of Muslims as victims or heroes is at best partially accurate. In recent years the violent oppression of Christian minorities has become the norm in Muslim-majority nations stretching from West Africa and the Middle East to South Asia and Oceania. In some countries it is governments and their agents that have burned churches and imprisoned parishioners. In others, rebel groups and vigilantes have taken matters into their own hands, murdering Christians and driving them from regions where their roots go back centuries.
The media’s reticence on the subject no doubt has several sources. One may be fear of provoking additional violence. Another is most likely the influence of lobbying groups such as the Organization of Islamic Cooperation — a kind of United Nations of Islam centered in Saudi Arabia — and the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Over the past decade, these and similar groups have been remarkably successful in persuading leading public figures and journalists in the West to think of each and every example of perceived anti-Muslim discrimination as an expression of a systematic and sinister derangement called “Islamophobia” — a term that is meant to elicit the same moral disapproval as xenophobia or homophobia…. Read this in full at
WYCLIFFE REAFFIRMS IT DID NOT DELETE ‘FATHER,’ ‘SON,’ FROM BIBLE TRANSLATIONS
Wycliffe Bible Translators denied allegations that it removed the terms “father” and “son” from Bible translations meant for Muslim countries and said any problematic texts are no longer being distributed.
Russ Hersman, senior vice president of Wycliffe Bible Translators USA, told The Christian Post that many of the works that critics like the organization Bible Missiology have pointed to as changing familial terms for God and Jesus have either done no such thing or have already been pulled from circulation.
of the Prophets] was an audio drama that originally substituted inadequate familial terms in the mid-1990s. Since that time, the translation has been removed from circulation and will not be re-released until it has been corrected and revised,” said Hersman…. Read this in full at
DARK ARROWS AND LIGHT ARROWS
by Clare De Graaf
“Alright Clare, I have a very important and potentially tough meeting today. Exactly what does it mean to be led by the Holy Spirit in that meeting?”
That’s the question a CEO of a major company posed to me a few years ago over breakfast. He didn’t want the theologically correct answer; he wanted advice in a way he could understand and use. Today! So, here’s what I told him.
“John, you’re an amazingly gifted man. You have an MBA from one of the best schools in the country. You’re athletic, aggressive, intelligent and have wonderful communication skills – a natural born leader. You’re also a serious follower of Jesus, which means you’ve been given unique spiritual gifts as well.
“And today, when you go into that meeting I know you’ll use every skill and gift you have to charm and persuade everyone to agree to your proposal. I’d like you to think of all these wonderful skills, even your spiritual gifts as white arrows. White arrows are simply all your natural and spiritual gifts, your life experiences and all the knowledge and virtuous skills you’ve acquired.” …. Read this in full at
DON’T FORGET VALENTINE’S DAY, FEB. 14
11 Easy — and Mostly Free! — Ways to Say “I Love You”
To strengthen unions, marriage experts advise couples to “make weekly dates” or “go away on a couple’s weekend.” Those are great ideas, but let’s be realistic: how often can busy couples expect to drop everything and get away? These 11 quick and simple ways to express love let busy couples rekindle romance among the chaos of everyday life.
1. Embrace your past. Assemble a scrapbook together, pull out your wedding video, or write your own personal romance story. Reliving special memories together is a great way to strengthen your bond.
2. Be kids together. Have a pillow fight, challenge each other to a game of hopscotch, or cuddle on the couch and laugh as you watch cartoons.
3. Wrap your mate in love. While your sweetie showers, sneak her towel into the dryer, and as she steps out, wrap her in fluffy warmth. Or use the same idea to warm her feet when she snuggles in bed on a chilly autumn night…. Read this in full at
GIANTS’ STAR: GOD GAVE ME ANOTHER ‘OPPORTUNITY’
For much of the season, Chase Blackburn watched the NFL season the way millions of other fans did – from his couch. He ended the season, however, in the middle of the New York Giants Super Bowl victory celebration.
“God gave me another opportunity to play,” Blackburn said at the Super Bowl media day Jan. 31. “I’m just trying to make the most of it.”
A six-year veteran linebacker with the Giants, Blackburn became an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2010 season and fully expected to continue his career in 2011. But no team was interested, so he had begun pursuing a second career as a teacher.
But his future in the classroom had to wait when the Giants signed him prior to their week 13 game against Green Bay on Dec. 4.
In Sunday’s Super Bowl XLVI win over New England in Lucas Oil Stadium, Blackburn made one of the game’s biggest plays…. Read this in full at
HOW TO ANSWER ‘WHY WOULD GOD ALLOW EVIL?’
The number one lie that Christians are often confronted with is the argument that evil, pain, and suffering prove that there is no God, said author and apologist Mark Mittelberg.
Providing a rebuttal to the question of why God would allow such things can be challenging, said Mittelberg, who is the author of The Questions Christians Hope No One Will Ask and other books about defending the Christian faith.
Mittelberg told The Christian Post recently that in fact, it was the issue of evil that initially led the renowned author and scholar C. S. Lewis into atheism. However, upon further reflection, Lewis began to see that if there is no God, then there is no such thing as evil either.
“Evil can only be known and measured against a standard of good. Apart from God and the morality that flows from Him there is no standard – and therefore no evil either,” he explained. “But we know in our hearts – it’s inescapable – that evil is real.” …. Read this in full at
CHRISTIANS NEED TO EXAMINE THE MORAL FRAMEWORK BEHIND THE CONCEPT OF ‘ETHICAL OIL’
by John Hiemstra
The topic of oilsands production has long been contentious, with environmental critics at home and abroad branding oilsands as ‘dirty oil,’ in large part due to the environmental impact caused by the extraction process.
Now, the idea of ‘ethical oil’ has entered Canadian politics like a lightening bolt, mainly due to Environment Minister Peter Kent who seems to have taken a cue from lobbyist Ezra Levant. ‘Ethical oil’ is considered to be the opposite of ‘conflict oil,’ which is produced in countries with poor human rights records.
The idea seems to have caught on. Today, many Canadians think America’s real choice is between Canada’s ‘ethical oil’ or ‘unethical oil’ from tyrannies like Saudi Arabia, Nigeria or Iran. Is this a healthy development? Should Christians join the ‘ethical oil’ parade? …. Read this in full at
THE DAY’S RESULT
Is anybody happier because you passed his way?
Does anyone remember that you spoke to him today?
The day is almost over and its toiling time is through;
Is there anyone to utter now a kindly word of you?
Did you give a cheerful greeting to the friend who came along,
Or a churlish sort of “Howdy”; then vanish in the throng?
Were you selfish, pure and simple, as you rushed along your way,
Or is someone mighty grateful for a deed you did today?
Can you say tonight, in parting with the day that’s slipping fast,
That you helped a single brother of the many that you passed?
Is a single heart rejoicing over what you did or said?
Does the man whose hopes were fading now with courage look ahead?
Did you waste the day or lose it, was it well or poorly spent?
Did you leave a trail of kindness, or a scar of discontent?
As you close your eyes in slumber, do you think that God would say,
“You have earned one more tomorrow by the work you did today?”
DO NOT JUDGE?
not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you
others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it
measured to you.’ Matthew 7:1 NIV]
“Few sayings of Jesus have caused more frustration than his words about judging. From everything else Jesus taught, we know Jesus wasn’t telling us just to turn a blind eye to sin. So we struggle to find a way to sort out sin without actually calling it that, so that we won’t sin by judging.
“But this teaching of Jesus grows much more applicable when we hear how it fits into the wider conversation going on among Jewish thinkers.
“In about 120 BC, Yehoshua ben Perachia, one of the earliest rabbinic sages, shared the following wisdom: ‘Judge each person with the scales weighted in their favor.’ The saying evokes the imagery of the ancient marketplace, where a merchant measures out grain by pouring it into one pan of a hanging scale until it swings level with the weighted side. A friendly shopkeeper will heap a little extra on, letting the pans tilt past the balance point. The idea is that you should ‘weigh’ the deeds of others on the side of generosity. Simply put, give others the benefit of the doubt.
“Jesus employed a similar metaphor about judging: ‘A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you’ (Luke 6:38). Jesus too says that we should let our scales of justice fall past the balance point, bestowing on others a little more than they deserve.
“In almost every situation, a person can either look for a good or a bad motive behind other people’s behavior. The way you choose to interpret others’ motives has a profound effect on the way you react to them… I’m still working on putting this into practice, but imagine the possibilities if I consistently looked at other people in the best possible light… When I heard someone insulting my faith, I might say, ‘That person must have had a bad experience with the church in order to make him feel that way.’ Truly, this small practice can change your entire outlook on life.”
Lois Tverberg in Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus: How the Jewish Words of Jesus Can Change Your Life
FAMILYFICTION EDGE MAGAZINE
The debut issue of FamilyFiction Edge Feb/Mar 2012 features interviews with Frank Peretti, Terri Blackstock, Bill Myers, and more! FamilyFiction Edge is devoted to Christian authors who write Suspense, Speculative Fiction, YA/Teen, Comics and DVDs. Read it online at
BAVARIA’S IGLOO OF WORSHIP
CNN’s Diana Magnay reports on a snow church made famous by a postcard in a chilly Bavarian village…. See this video report in full at
PUTTING SIN TO DEATH
by Tim Challies
This is my once-monthly post on the Puritan John Owen. In this series of posts I am sharing some of what John Owen says about putting sin to death, or what he calls mortification. I have been going through John Owen’s book OVERCOMING SIN AND TEMPTATION and trying to distill each chapter to its essence—to a few choice quotes that capture the flavor of what Owen is trying to communicate.
So far we’ve looked at THE FOUNDATION OF MORTIFICATION, we’ve been encouraged to DAILY PUT SIN TO DEATH, to understand that IT IS THE HOLY SPIRIT WHO PUTS SIN TO DEATH and to acknowledge that YOUR SPIRITUAL LIFE DEPENDS UPON KILLING SIN. Last month we saw WHAT IT IS NOT TO PUT SIN TO DEATH. Today we look to the flip-side of last month’s teaching and see what it is to put sin to death.
Though this quote serves as introduction rather than the main point, I thought it was too good not to share: “
The reason why a natural man is not always perpetually in the pursuit of some one lust, night and day, is because he has many to serve, every one crying to be satisfied; thence he is carried on with great variety, but still in general he lies toward the satisfaction of self.” …. Read this in full at
5 RULES THAT ALLOW FRIENDS TO BE REAL FRIENDS
by John Ortberg
What an unusual gift lies behind that word “friend.” Some things in life we can acquire by direct effort—people can make a pile of money, or get their bodies into great shape. But no one can make someone become their friend. Friendship happens, when it happens at all, as a gift.
People in church ministry are particularly vulnerable when they don’t have friends. Another friend of mine told me recently a depressing litany about how many pastors are depressed, or have strayed sexually, or would take up another line of work if they thought they could get a good job. The single most powerful indicator of whether or not someone in pastoral ministry will be able to sustain their ministry is this: do they have a “full-disclosure friend,” someone before whom they have no secrets?
What does a full-disclosure friendship look like? Another friend of mine (actually, he’s a guy I really admire and like a lot, but we’ve never lived in the same town, so I probably can’t legitimately call him a friend; he’s more of a deeply-admired-good-chemistry-semi-disclosing-acquaintance) just gave me the five rules anyone needs to know…. Read this in full at
A RED-LETTER DAY AWAITS YOU
by Rick Marschall
“The words of our Savior in red,” some Bibles say on their spines. But what about the words printed in black? I recently posted a picture on Facebook of a tattered Bible, opened to no place in particular, but the two pages looking like a Technicolor spectacular, with notes, revelations, and reminders in its margins. Bookmarks and Post-It notes splayed forth from many spots. Many people mark verses and passages that speak — or shout — to them in their Bibles.
Accompanying this picture I found was the quotation by Charles Spurgeon, “People whose Bibles are falling apart usually lead lives that aren’t.” It reminded me of the country song whose title warned listeners against “dust on the Bible.”
There are some devout people who think that any notes or marks we make in the Holy Bible is a form of desecration, but I am of the school that thinks that scripture, the Holy Word, is also God’s User Manual for Life. I suspect it pleases Him when we are touched by a truth… want to revisit things easily… find ways we can organize the wisdom, commands, and promises… and know it all better…. Read this in full at
VERSE TO PONDER
“You have heard that it was said, You must love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who harass you so that you will be acting as children of your Father who is in heaven. He makes the sun rise on both the evil and the good and sends rain on both the righteous and the unrighteous.”
Matthew 5:43-45 (CEB)
“Joy is not gush; joy is not jolliness. Joy is just perfect acquiescence in God’s will because the soul delights itself in God Himself.”
Hammer William Webb-Peploe
THE SOURCE OF UNFAILING LOVE
“Each of us has tried to make another person’s love the foundation for our love for others — maybe a parent, friend, or spouse. But what happens when we don’t feel their love? We can get trapped in the downward spiral of ‘you don’t feel like loving me, so I won’t feel like loving you,’ and then it becomes abundantly clear that we need a stronger foundation. We need a love that will never fail us.
“Jesus loves you just like that. Jesus laid down his life for you! The most eternally significant moment in your life comes when you first recognize the truth, ‘Jesus loves me.’
“You cannot give what you have not received. You cannot give unconditional love unless you have received unconditional love. You cannot give unselfish love unless you have received unselfish love. You cannot give patient love unless you have received patient love. You cannot love in forgiveness unless you have been loved in forgiveness.
“Ephesians 5:1-2 reads, ‘Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.’ One of the most empowering steps you can take to love others is to realize that you yourself are a dearly loved child. Never get over that!”
Tom Holladay in Love-Powered Parenting: Loving Your Kids the Way Jesus Loves You
AIR FORCE REMOVES ‘GOD’ FROM LOGO
A group of Republican lawmakers is protesting the removal of a reference to God in the patch logo for the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO), The Hill reports.
The patch included a line in Latin — common for military patches — that translated to “Doing God’s Work with Other People’s Money.” However, after the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers complained, the Air Force replaced the line several weeks ago with the Latin for “Doing Miracles with Other People’s Money.”
Thirty-five legislators, led by Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.), wrote a letter to Air Force Secretary Michael Donley and Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz, urging them to restore the original logo. “It is most egregious,” Forbes said. “The Air Force is taking the tone that you can’t even use the word ‘God.’ … It is a very dangerous course to take.”
THE NEW CHRISTIAN ABOLITION MOVEMENT
“We know from talking to other victims and other agencies that girls are taken to truck stops and they’re actually traded,” says Danielle Mitchell, North Carolina human trafficking manager for World Relief. World Relief is a Christian nonprofit attached to the National Association of Evangelicals and is best known for its efforts to combat global hunger and respond to disasters around the world. Mitchell is trying to tackle a disaster in her home state. And she is not alone…. Read this in full at
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS GUARD SETH OLSEN SEES FIRST HAND HOW LIFEWATER INTERNATIONAL BRINGS CLEAN WATER AND HOPE TO THE WORLD’S POOREST PEOPLE
by Michael Ireland
San Luis Obispo, California-based Lifewater International is a non-profit, Christian group that is working with other non-profits in Africa to bring safe water, sanitation and hygiene education to some of the poorest communities in the world.
According to UNICEF and the World Health Organization, diarrhea alone kills more young children than AIDS, malaria and measles combined.
But by training their local partner to dig a new well just outside their community, Lifewater has provided the people of Alyet Village in northern Uganda with sustainable access to safe water that will not only improve their health, but reduce their exposure to rapes, assaults, and kidnappings…. Read this in full at
THE ART OF NAZI HUNTING: HOW ISRAEL’S MOSSAD FOUND ADOLF EICHMANN
“Operation Finale: The Story of the Capture of Eichmann” is a museum exhibition that chronicles the secret Mossad operation that stalked and captured Nazi war criminal Adolph Eichmann from his refuge in Buenos Aires, and smuggled him to Israel to stand trial for his role in organizing the Final Solution. Eichmann was the chief logistician of the Holocaust, and the exhibit at the University of Tel Aviv is satisfying in every possible way: Not only seeing justice done, but laying eyes on the homespun artifacts of early spycraft that made it happen, like the stubby metal needle that administered a sedative before the prisoner was led, dressed in the uniform of a flight navigator, up the staircase of the El Al plane that carried him across the Atlantic.
The exhibit, at The Museum of the Jewish People, has it all: The soft leather briefcase with a camera hidden inside, its shutter activated by a button on the bottom pressed by an Israeli agent who pretended to happen by the house on Garibaldi Street on day in 1960, inquiring about investments in the area. Here are the black and white images, captured at an upward angle, of the man calling himself Ricardo Klement: A thin bald figure gesturing with arms akimbo, some quality of arrogance on display along with the actual prints, their negatives, and even the cardboard sleeve of the Buenos Aries photo shop that developed them…. Read this in full at
MORTALITY BY OCCUPATION
When General Douglas MacArthur retired from the military in 1951, he stated famously, “Old soldiers never die, they just fade away.” But five-star generals are not the only ones who never die:
Golfers never die, they just lose their drive.
Lumberjacks never die, they just pine away.
Accountants don’t die, they just lose their balance.
Bank managers don’t die, they just lose interest.
Vehicle mechanics? They re-tire every day.
Engineers never retire, they just lose their bearings.
Beekeepers never retire, they just buzz off.
Musicians never retire, they just decompose.
Watchmakers never retire, they just wind down.
Academics never retire, they just lose their faculties.
Old librarians never die, they just check out, become overdue, and lose their circulation.
Old milkmaids never die, they just kick the bucket and lose their whey.
Old math professors never die, they just go off on a tangent.
Old mimes never die, they’re just never heard from again.
FROM PLACE OF PRAYER TO PLACE OF BEER
by Richard Allen Greene
The leafy, genteel north London neighborhood of Muswell Hill is well stocked with stores, coffee bars, restaurants and apartments.
It also has plenty of churches – at least four were built within a few hundred yards of each other, thanks to the generosity of the developer who built Muswell Hill in the late 19th century.
It turned out that was too many.
Britain’s Presbyterians and Congregationalists merged in 1972, leaving Muswell Hill with a church that had no congregation.
It was nearly torn down, then saved by local protests, and was briefly used as offices, abandoned, and finally turned into a pub in 1995.
I visited the church-turned-beer-hall recently to take a look…. See this in full at
“Our future is not about what we have or don’t have, or about what might happen or what might not happen. Our future is all about Who we know and how well we know Him.”
VERSE TO PONDER
“Those of you who love the LORD, hate evil! God guards the lives of his faithful ones, delivering them from the power of the wicked.”
Psalm 97:10 (CEB)
THIS WEEK’S HYMN: Have Mercy
Words & Music: Ken Bible, 2002
In our arrogance and pride
We come to You.
In our weakness and our guilt
We look to You.
O Lord, our Lord,
O Lord, our Lord,
In our trouble and our pain
We come to You.
In our darkness and our grief
We look to You.
Mighty God of love and power
We come to You.
You are here, and You are now-
We look to You.
>from NLNWhymns at
grant through the yearly observances of holy Lent,
that we may grow in understanding
of the riches hidden in Christ
and by worthy conduct pursue their effects.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.
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).
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
I’ll add your name to the list for the time you’ll be away.]
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Change is good as long as I don’t have to do anything differently.
Min. 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, frank if you’d like to participate in a men’s discipleship program.
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