Connecting man to man to God
For week of June 22, 2014
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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Like a parent feels compassion for their children— that’s how the LORD feels compassion for those who honor him.
– Psalm 103:13 (CEB)
“God is impressed, not with noise or size or wealth, but with quiet things…things done in secret – the inner motives, the true heart condition.”
– Charles Swindoll
PEOPLE OVERWHELMINGLY USE PRINT BIBLES IN CHURCH
Whether it’s leather, hardcover, or softcover, the vast majority of Bible Gateway users responding to an online survey say they use print, not digital, versions of the Bible when they attend their worship services.
Readers of the Bible Gateway Blog were asked “What edition of the Bible do you most often take to church?,” to which more than 17,000 responded. Of that number, a total of 95% bring their hardcover (31%), fashionable color leather or simulated leather (31%), black leather (30%), or softcover (2%) bound Bibles to church or use the pew Bible (1%) supplied by the church during the service.
As for digital texts, only 2% use a Bible app on their smartphones and 1% on their tablets…. Read this in full at
THE CRISIS OF BIBLICAL ILLITERACY
by Kenneth Berding
Stacey Irvine ate almost nothing but chicken nuggets for 15 years. She never tasted fruits or vegetables. She occasionally supplemented her diet with French fries. One day her tongue started to swell and she couldn’t catch her breath. She was rushed to the hospital, her airway was forced open, and they stuck an IV in her arm to start pumping in the nutrients she needed. After saving her life, the medical staff sent her home, but not before they warned her that she needed to change her diet or prepare herself for an early death.
I’ve heard people call it a famine. A famine of knowing the Bible. During a famine people waste away for lack of sustenance. Some people die. Those who remain need nourishment; they need to be revived. And if they have any hope of remaining alive over time, their life situation has to change in conspicuous ways.
During normal famines people don’t have access to the food they need. But Stacey Irvine could have eaten anything she wanted. She had resources, opportunity and presumably all the encouragement she needed to eat well. Can you imagine what would happen if all of us decided to follow her example and discontinued eating all but non-nutritious foodstuff? If we happened to beat the odds and live, we undoubtedly would suffer in the long run from nutrition-related chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease.
Like Stacey Irvine, we’re killing ourselves. It’s surely not for lack of resources; nevertheless, we are in fact starving ourselves to death…. Read this in full at
FAITH ISN’T ABOUT FINDING ANSWERS
by Jesse Carey
If you have a number of Christian friends in your Facebook network or Twitter feed, it’s not uncommon to regularly come across blog posts that are “in defense of” a certain principle, offer a rebuttal to another argument or pose a strongly worded response to someone else’s thoughts on faith.
In many parts of evangelicalism, social media has fueled a culture that fosters sharp answers and instant responses to questions that – before the era of social media – commanded real contemplation.
Everyone seemingly has an answer, because somewhere along the line, that’s what culture mistakenly told us to look for, and that’s what we mistakenly spend our time arguing about online: answers…. Read this in full at
DON’T MISS FULFILLMENT
“Your life is to be lived in such a way as to reflect Him, to show the world the character of God- His love, His peace, His mercy, His gentleness. You are to live for Him, to accomplish His will. To miss this purpose is to miss fulfillment. It is to have existed rather than to have lived.”
– Kay Arthur
HOW I BECAME THE FIRST-EVER CHRISTIAN IN MY FAMILY LINEAGE
by Alexander Chu
Click … click … click. I could hear my parents in the other room using a handheld tally counter as they recited mantras. In one day in our home, the counter might reach 1,000 clicks, or 2 hours of meditation. They chanted in order to clear their minds and purify themselves, seeking perfect enlightenment in the way of the Buddha.
Each morning, I would wake up to the smell of incense burning. Oranges and pineapple cake were offered in front of Buddha statues in a room designated for meditation. Our home was like a temple. On each wall hung a Buddha portrait, totaling more than 30 deities throughout the house. A statue of the Grand Master, revered as a living Buddha, stood at the center of our home. My parents spoke often about discipline, wisdom, and training the mind according to the Four Noble Truths…. Read this in full at
READING THE BIBLE MISSIONALLY
by Robert Lynn
What do you do with an overgrown field if you want to plant? If you’re an avid gardener or a farmer, you already know this. However, for the rest of us, a little instruction might be helpful. You have to clear the ground. Out comes the chain saw (or maybe even a tractor) because trees need to be felled. Better have your stump grinder on hand as well. Then there are rocks and boulders that need to be removed. After that, there’s brush to deal with. Lastly, you’ll want to rototill the remaining plant material into the soil to enrich it with nitrogen and other nutrients.
May I suggest that in some important ways our field of Bible study has become overgrown with assumptions and practices that leave us unprepared to do the biblical reflection necessary for engaging God’s mission in the world? The cultural history of the West is such that we’ve spent centuries reading the Bible with a sense of the Church as chaplain to a world that shared our assumptions. However, that world has changed significantly. Consequently, the ground needs some serious clearing in order for us to engage the Scriptures in new ways in a social setting that is more like AD 50 than 1950…. Read this in full at
“I’LL NEVER GET CAUGHT!” AND OTHER LIES WE TELL OURSELVES
I can’t tell you how many men have sat in my office, crying their eyes out, having been caught having an affair, and shocked to have been caught. Twenty-five? Maybe more. What delusion makes them think they’ll never be caught?
One of my favorite non-Christian authors is Garisson Keillor. While he and I are worlds apart theologically, he is one of the funniest writers I know. He’s also an astute observer of human nature. In this story I’m about to quote, he gets right to the heart of the spiritual problem that every man I’ve met with had.
Most of his stories take place in the fictional small town of Lake Wobegen, Minnesota, in the mid-50s. Flo is the town’s self-righteous know-it-all. In this excerpt from Lake Wobegen, Summer 1956, she’s waxing eloquent to a bunch of women around the beauty parlor, after one of their husbands is found unfaithful…. Read this in full at
FATHERHOOD’S CALL TO DUTY
by Ravi Zacharias
My father-in-law had a great impact on my life. A father to four daughters, he always considered me the son he never had. In one of our farewell conversations before he died in 2005, I’ll never forget a particular word he used, a noble four-letter word that epitomized his own life: duty.
When the Second World War began, my father-in-law dutifully enlisted to serve in the Royal Canadian Air Force as a navigator. He navigated brilliantly by the stars. He served his country and a cause for the world with duty and honor at a perilous time in history. As he faced death, duty came up again. He worried that he had not left his finances in better shape for his wife. The truth is he had provided for her, but with his sudden diagnosis, he suddenly felt uncertain. I said to him, “Please don’t worry about it, Dad. We’ll be there to take care of her.” He paused, overwhelmed by the weight of his limited time, and said in somber tones, “But it was my duty to do so,” and the tears ran down his face…. Read this in full at
THE TOP 10 THINGS PHARISEES SAY TODAY
by Carey Nieuwhof with
Chances are if you’re a Christian your desire is to be more like Christ. Which is great. But are you? How would you know?
A recent Barna study owned me. The survey revealed that 51% of North American Christians polled possess attitudes and actions that are more like the Pharisees than they are like Christ. In other words, the attitudes of most Christians were described as self-righteous and hypocritical.
According to the study, only 14% of Christians survey reflected attitudes and actions that better resembled the attitudes and actions of Christ.
What surprised me (as well as study author David Kinnaman) is how my attitudes and actions still need work; I’m far too much like a Pharisee and not enough like Jesus. I was so bothered by it I taught an entire series about it. And what breaks my heart is that I think the Pharisee in many of us is killing the mission and effectiveness of the church.
So how do you know how much Pharisee resides within you? …. Read this in full at
THE STORY OF HEAVEN
by Max Lucado and Randy Frazee
All through the story of the Bible two parallel and beautiful dramas unfold:
There is the Upper Story. God is real, He is present, and He is working on our behalf. Heaven is breaking into the world more than we recognize, and the story of God’s seeking love, perpetual grace, and longing for relationship with ordinary people is breathtaking.
There is also the Lower Story. We live on earth. We make mistakes, run from God, and resist His overtures of love. Sometimes we get so mired in the Lower Story that we fail to recognize God’s presence breaking into our world. We forget that the God of Heaven longs to have a growing relationship, a friendship, with us – and ultimately sent His Son, Jesus, who died for our sins and rose again to restore that relationship for all who will believe…. Read this in full at
GOD’S KINGDOM VISUALIZED: AN INTERVIEW WITH GARY BLACK JR.
The late Dr. Dallas Willard’s bestselling book The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life in God (HarperOne, 1998) revolutionized how we understand Christian discipleship. Willard taught Jesus is not a remote savior, waiting for us in heaven after we die, but a leader and teacher to whom we apprentice ourselves to fulfill what Jesus had in mind when he declared that the “kingdom of God has come.”
In The Divine Conspiracy Continued: Fulfilling God’s Kingdom on Earth (HarperOne, 2014), Willard (@DallasAWillard & @DWillardCenter) and theologian Dr. Gary Black Jr. lay out the next stage in God’s plan as this generation’s disciples enter into positions of leadership and transform the world from the inside out. Christians are not called to protect themselves from the world but to step into the world to lead and serve, and in doing so, bring the kingdom of God to earth.
Bible Gateway interviewed Dr. Black about his book with Dr. Willard…. Read this in full at
WALK WITH PATIENCE
by Paul Tripp
God’s patience is referenced all the time – Numbers 14:18, Psalm 86:15, Nahum 1:3, Romans 2:4, and 2 Peter 3:9 are just a sampling. Throughout Scripture, God withholds judgment and extends mercy in patient love.
In the Old Testament, God is sometimes portrayed as a wrath-slinging deity void of patience, but all you need to debunk that portrayal is a list of Old Testament messengers. Prophet after prophet after prophet after prophet after prophet after prophet (you get the idea) come to Israel, essentially saying the exact same thing as the one before. Only a God of patient love would continue to offer His children a chance to repent and change…. Read this in full at
VERSE TO PONDER
Husbands love your wives just like Christ loved the church and gave himself for her.
– Ephesians 5:25
“It’s impossible to overestimate the unimportance of most things.”
– John Lange
THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS THE GIFT OF EVANGELISM
by Ed Stetzer
Why is it that Christians are always looking for ways to talk themselves out of doing evangelism?
It’s pretty clear that God sent Jesus into the world to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10). Jesus acted on full authority of God and commissioned us to make disciples (Matt. 28:16-20). We have been sent into the world just as Jesus was sent (John 17:18; 20:21).
Yet, it seems to me a whole lot of people are talking themselves out of their calling to do evangelism for a lot of reasons. Let me tackle just two. Simply put, Christians need to stop thinking evangelism is a spiritual gift and stop thinking you can preach the gospel without words…. Read this in full at
HE IS OUR FUEL
“God designed the human machine to run on Himself. He is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn…That is why it is no good asking God to make us happy in our own way without bothering about religion. God cannot give us a happiness apart from Himself, because there is no such thing.”
– C. S. Lewis
10 WAYS TO MAKE YOUR SMART PHONE A SPIRITUAL RESOURCE
by Geoff Waugh
We live in a technologically rich (and distracting) culture. Most of us have smart phones, tablets, laptops and all the accessories to go along with them. We can check email, send a text, upload a photo, or update our status almost anywhere and anytime. This is a great resource, but it can also be very distracting and time consuming. Despite all our modern conveniences many of us struggle to fit everything in that we’re required to do for our job and family much less spend quality time with God regularly.
So here are 10 ways you can use your smart phone or tablet to bring you closer to God and to pray more often…. Read this in full at
HAVING A REPUTATION OF LOVE
by Todd Stevens.
Many people have reputations that can be summed in just a word or two. Thomas Edison: inventor. Jeff Foxworthy: hilarious. If someone summarized you in just a few words, how would they describe you? I was a Christian for years before I realized Jesus had specified exactly what my reputation should be.
“Remember the ways that I have loved you, and demonstrate your love for others in those same ways. Everyone will know you as My followers if you demonstrate your love to others.” (John 13:34b-35, The Voice)
Jesus said that as a person who follows Him, I should be known for loving other people the way He loved me. Every person I know thinks of himself as a loving person. I’ll bet you think of yourself that way, too. After all, you’re kind to strangers, don’t kick puppies, and sometimes even yield to other drivers. The problem with your self-assessment, though, is that you don’t get to decide what your reputation is. By definition, your reputation is determined by others. In fact, even your enemies play a part in deciding your reputation. That’s a scary thought…. Read this in full at
NEW SURVEY FINDS EVEN LIBERALS LARGELY FAVOR CHRISTIANS OVER OTHER TYPES OF MARRIAGE PARTNERS.
Most Americans would rather have their children marry “born-again Christians” than atheists or other types of marriage partners, according to a new study from the Pew Research Center.
Across ideological lines, 1 out of 3 Americans (32%) say they would be happy if an immediate family member married a born-again Christian. Meanwhile, only 9% of all Americans say such a marriage would make them unhappy.
While trends carried across ideological boundaries, the results from Pew’s study of US political polarization varied considerably between liberals and conservatives.
More than half of “consistently conservative” Americans (57%) would be happy to have a born-again Christian in the family, while only 16% of “consistently liberal” Americans say the same. By comparison, 27% of the most liberal Americans were unhappy at the thought, as were only 3% of the most conservative…. Read this in full at
IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO BECOME A GREAT DAD
He grew up in a dysfunctional family and bounced through the foster care system, an unlikely background for someone destined to lead an evangelical family-equipping organization. But that’s just where Jim Daly finds himself today, as the President and CEO of Focus on the Family. Daly’s first book, Finding Home, detailed his difficult childhood. His latest book, The Good Dad: Becoming the Father You Were Meant to Be, shows that a rough upbringing need not ruin one’s ambitions of leading a healthy family. Pastor and author Daniel Darling spoke with Daly about how men, no matter how broken their past (or present), can become godly fathers…. Read this in full at
ON CAMPUS AND OFF, WE’RE STICKING WITH JESUS
by Lisa Rieck
InterVarsity Christian Fellowship is facing a question similar to the one Jesus asked his disciples in John 6: Will you keep following me when adversity comes, when others want nothing to do with me?
More and more frequently, schools are threatening to derecognize student groups who require their leaders to affirm the organization’s core beliefs. Because InterVarsity requires its student leaders to affirm InterVarsity’s Doctrinal Basis, a summary of core Christian beliefs, and to attempt to reflect biblical standards in their choices, some universities have labeled us as discriminatory. And so, on a few campuses, we’ve been dismissed. Derecognized as a student organization. Denied the rights given to other campus clubs.
So what do we do now? What happens when the campuses we’re called to, the campuses we love, want nothing to do with Jesus?…. Read this in full at
OVER 550 CHRISTIAN GIRLS KIDNAPPED IN EGYPT SINCE 2011
by Mark Ellis
The world reacted in horror and revulsion at the kidnapping of 276 Nigerian schoolgirls in April. But twice as many Coptic Christian schoolgirls in Egypt have vanished slowly, one-by-one, in kidnappings that remain unsolved.
Since January, 2011 through March, 2014, over 550 Christian girls were kidnapped by Muslim men and forced to convert and marry their abductors, often after suffering violence at the hands of their kidnappers, according to the Association of Victims of Abduction and Forced Disappearance (AVAFD)…. Read this in full at
LUIS PALAU LOVE ALASKA CAMPAIGN REACHES ENTIRE STATE WITH THE GOSPEL
International evangelist Luis Palau and his evangelist son Andrew have wrapped up a six-month-long initiative in Alaska, partnering with hundreds of faith, business, and civic leaders to serve the state and share a clear message of hope through Jesus Christ.
The campaign concluded with two major festivals, one led by Luis Palau in Anchorage, the other in Fairbanks with Andrew. Both festivals enjoyed the support and participation of many local churches as well as some of Christian music’s most beloved artists, including TobyMac, Thousand Foot Crutch, Lincoln Brewster, Kutless, and many more…. Read this in full at
WE’VE SEEN MEGACHURCH. BUT HOW ABOUT MICRO-CHURCH?
by Rev. Emily M. D. Scott
One thousand square feet. It’s not much space for a church. About the same square footage as two bowling lanes, to give you an idea. “Why so small?” you might ask. The answer is both economical and theological. Economically, our church is located in Brooklyn, and 1,000 square feet is what we can afford. Theologically, we’ve discovered that building big community happens on a small scale: 30 people around dinner tables, sharing a meal they’ve made together…. Read this in full at
THE PLIGHT OF CHRISTIANS IN IRAQ
by Mel Lawrenz
When we hear the phrase “land of the Bible” we think of Israel for obvious reasons. But many of the key turning points in the story of God in the Old Testament take place elsewhere, especially in a geographical area we know today as Iraq.
Genesis describes the birth of humanity in the region of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, which are in Iraq. Abraham’s hometown, Ur, was in Iraq. The Assyrian empire, including the ancient city of Ninevah to which Jonah went, is in the north of Iraq. The Babyonian empire was located in Iraq. The city of Babylon, the ancient capital where Nebuchadnezzar reigned, is just 25 miles north of modern Baghdad. The shame of the tower of Babel is located in Iraq. The remarkable life of Daniel took place in Iraq…. Read this in full at
The will of God is the measure of things.
VERSE TO PONDER
Sing to God! Sing praises to his name! Exalt the one who rides the clouds! The LORD is his name. Celebrate before him!
– Psalm 68:4
THIS WEEK’S HYMN: GOD’S WORD IS OUR GREAT HERITAGE
Author: Nikolai F. S. Grundtvig, 1817
Translated by: Ole G. Belsheim, 1909
[To the tune of A Mighty Fortress is our God]
God’s Word is our great heritage
And shall be ours forever;
To spread its light from age to age
Shall be our chief endeavor.
Through life it guides our way,
In death it is our stay.
Lord, grant, while worlds endure,
We keep its teachings pure.
Throughout all generations.
VIDEO: The Late Dallas Willard Describes Each Morning With God
PRAY FOR PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS TODAY
FRIDAY NIGHT RECAP
MAN’S ‘ORDER’ OR GOD’S PRINCIPLES? (PART 2)
Aired – 6/20/2014 – 10:00PM central
Continuing the lesson from last week
Scripture does not mention an “order of worship”. The ‘order of worship’ is a result of man’s imagination and tradition. Instead of a list of commandments (or orders) God has given principles to guide us so that our assemblies may accomplish their intended purpose (Eph.4). Following these principles also preserves order, decency, and peace.
The assembly should be a place of freedom where each individual may contribute and where spontaneity and creativity are not quenched. It is a meeting of loved ones, of family, each there to help the other. The assembly is made up of lively stones not dead wood. We should not assemble solely to receive, but also to give. Do your present assemblies provide such opportunities?
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 the church guys 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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The best way to learn is to teach.
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.
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