For week of August 28, 2011
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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“To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.”
Proverbs 8:13 (NIV)
“Home interprets heaven;
Home is heaven for beginners.”
Charles Henry Parkhurst
QUAKE DAMAGES WASHINGTON’S NATIONAL CATHEDRAL
Three spires on the Washington National Cathedral, site of state funerals for several presidents, broke and fell and the Capitol suffered some minor damage in Aug. 23’s earthquake.
Richard Weinberg, director of communications at the Episcopal cathedral, said the 30-story-high central tower had suffered “significant” damage with three of the fleurs-de-lys shaped corner spires breaking off and falling to the ground.
“A fourth is leaning,” said Weinberg. “There was other minor structural damage to buttresses and smaller pinnacles.”
No one was injured but the cathedral — host to state funerals and memorial services for many US presidents and the site of several presidential inaugural prayer services — was closed to the public so the building could be inspected.
The National Cathedral, which weighs 150,000 tons and took 83 years to complete, is the highest point in Washington. It’s a solid masonry structure made of limestone blocks placed one atop another…. Read this in full at
WEBB SIMPSON GIVES JESUS CHRIST CREDIT IN FIRST PGA TOUR WIN
The PGA’s Webb Simpson won his first title as a professional golfer Aug. 21, and he says it was Jesus Christ’s presence that got him through.
“I’d be stupid not to thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,” he told CBS Sports after winning the Wyndham Championship, “because it was tough out there and I was nervous, and I felt his presence all day.”
Simpson, who is outspoken about his Christian faith, studied religion at Wake Forest University. In addition to his faith he also had the support of the hometown crowd. The tournament is played at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, NC, which is only about 30 miles from Wake Forest and 80 miles from Raleigh, where he grew up…. Read this in full at
FAITH INTO ACTION
“In today’s world, wracked by terrorism, poverty, lawlessness, disease, and violence, the message of the gospel and the need for Christians who put their faith into action has never been more acute. We, the followers of Jesus Christ, are an integral part of God’s plan for the world–the same world that God loved so much–“that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). In this famous verse we see the depth of God’s love for our world. It was not a passive and sentimental love but rather a dynamic, active, and sacrificial love. For God so loved the world that he acted!”
Richard Stearns, President of World Vision, Inc., Introduction to Faith In Action Study Bible: Living God’s Word in a Changing World 
EUGENE NIDA, WHO REVOLUTIONIZED BIBLE TRANSLATIONS, DEAD AT 96
His name might not be prominent, but Eugene A. Nida’s influence can be found in most Christian homes—more specifically, in their Bibles.
Nida, one of the leading advocates for dynamic equivalence translation, died August 25 at a hospital in Brussels, Belgium. He was 96.
Dynamic equivalence translation (a phrase which Nida coined) is a “meaning-based” approach to biblical translation; it focuses on translating “thought-for-thought” rather than “word-for-word.” In a 2002 interview with Christianity Today, Nida said that this shift in translation was his most important contribution: “To help people be willing to say what the text means—not what the words are, but what the text means.” …. Read this in full at
GOD BELIEVES IN YOU
by Rick Marschall
I currently am reading Timothy Keller’s book The Reason for God – rather overdue on my part – and enjoying his manner of sharing the Gospel with his congregation at Redeemer Church in Manhattan. “Enjoying” is an insufficient description – I am intrigued, challenged, provoked.
The book wastes no pages before listing Keller’s responses to contemporary culture’s main “problems” with what he calls his orthodox Christianity: hewing to scripture, stressing personal salvation, the centrality of Jesus. Many of the questions he confronts are variations of a basic challenge to the existence of God Himself. It is not new; it has been asked by skeptics, non-believers, and anguished doubters throughout history. “How can I believe in a God who…”. The sentences end with questions about “allowing” sickness, “overseeing” brokenness and hatred, “watching Christians kill each other.”
Keller brilliantly parries the arguments of those who claim a better, or “higher,” morality than the Bible’s; and who maintain that the natural state of the universe, and the universe’s inhabitants, can admit to no God of any sort…. Read this in full at
‘SEVEN DAYS IN UTOPIA’: NON-PREACHY FILM LOOKS TO INSPIRE
Using the game of golf as a metaphor for life, family, work, and faith, the new film “Seven Days in Utopia,” based on David L. Cook’s novel Golf’s Sacred Journey, gives audiences a whole new look at golf, on and off the course.
The movie, which stars critically acclaimed actor Robert Duvall, follows the story of a young golfer named Luke Chisolm (Lucas Black) set on making the pro tour.
When his first big shot turns out to be a very public disaster, Luke, hoping to escape the pressure and limelight, drives off from the tournament only to find himself stranded in a small town in Texas.
It’s there in Utopia – population of less than 400 – where he meets an eccentric rancher and former PGA Professional by the name of Johnny Crawford (Duvall) who teaches him not only about a better swing, but a better way of life.
The inspiring film, like the novel, hopes to offer everyone, not just golfers, insight and a different perspective that changes the way we think, play, and act…. Read this in full at
DUKE PROF.: AMERICAN’S RELIGIOUS FAITH WANING
Despite the prominence of religious believers in politics and culture, America has shrinking congregations, growing dissatisfaction with religious leaders and rising numbers of people who do not think about faith, according to a new study by a Duke University expert.
In “American Religion: Contemporary Trends,” author Mark Chaves argues that over the last generation or so, religious belief in the US has experienced a “softening” that effects everything from whether people go to worship services regularly to whom they marry. Far more people are willing to say they don’t belong to any religious tradition today than in the past, and signs of religious vitality may be camouflaging stagnation or decline.
“Reasonable people can disagree over whether the big picture story is one of essential stability or whether it’s one of slow decline,” said Chaves. “Unambiguously, though, there’s no increase.”
Chaves, who directs the National Congregations Study, used data from that research and from four decades’ worth of General Social Survey results to draw what he aims to be an overview of contemporary American religion…. Read this in full at
Also see “Americans Have Lost Faith In Religious Leaders And Church Attendance, New Book Says”
WORKING CLASS WHITES NOT SO FAITHFUL IN CHURCH ATTENDANCE
It has long been accepted wisdom that less-educated, working-class white Americans are the nation’s most faithful churchgoers. However, a study just released at the American Sociological Association’s annual convention dispels that widely-held perception.
Over the past four decades, monthly church attendance by moderately educated whites – defined as those with high school diplomas and maybe some college – has declined to 37% from 50%, according to the study co-authored by sociologists W. Bradford Wilcox of the University of Virginia and Andrew Cherlin of Johns Hopkins University.
Church attendance by the least educated whites – defined as those lacking high school diplomas – fell to 23% from 38%…. Read this in full at
also see “Less educated Americans are losing religion, study finds”
CULTURE ISN’T KILLING THE CHURCH. GRIEF IS.
by Keith Anderson
I recently attended a retreat with a number of church friends. We spent part of our time together looking at sociological data on religion in America over the last 60 years. We paid particular attention to mainline denominations, including their declining attendance and size. Over the course of an hour, we talked about all sorts of political, cultural, and sociological reasons for that decline. Not once, however, did we talk about anything the church may have done (or not done) to contribute to its decline. To be fair, that question wasn’t put to us, as such.
This rather remarkable omission highlighted for me the struggle the church has with honest self-critique. This one instance is entirely consistent with almost every other conversation I have with friends and colleagues about church decline. The discussion is mostly about how cultural forces are eroding the church. We portray the church as a victim of culture…. Read this in full at
HYPOCRISY VERSUS LIFE
Ye call Me master and obey Me not;
Ye call Me Light and see Me not;
Ye call Me Way and walk not;
Ye call Me Life and desire Me not;
Ye call Me Wise and follow Me not;
Ye call Me Fair and love Me not;
Ye call Me Rich and ask Me not;
Ye call Me Eternal and seek Me not;
Ye call Me Gracious and trust Me not;
Ye call Me Mighty and honor Me not;
Ye call Me Just and fear Me not;
If I condemn you blame Me not!
A MISSING MONUMENT TO RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
by Seth Liipsky
The annual reading of George Washington’s letter to the Jews—which took place this weekend at the Touro Synagogue in Newport, R.I.—will echo with extra significance this year, as a campaign is now under way to make the original letter available for public viewing.
The campaign was launched earlier this year by the Jewish Daily Forward after the newspaper discovered that Washington’s letter—in which he vowed that the new American government would “give to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance”—is locked away in storage by an owner who is loath to share access with the rest of his countrymen.
Neither the Forward nor anyone else is suggesting that the owner, who bought the letter in 1949, is not within his rights. The letter is, after all, private property. But it is also a national treasure, containing one of the greatest statements on religious liberty of all time. And the campaign to give it a public home—so it can be leaned over and read as the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are—comes at a time when the free exercise of religion is increasingly constrained around the world.
The Pew Research Center found this month that between mid-2006 and mid-2009, restrictions on religious beliefs and practices rose in 23 of the world’s 198 countries, affecting roughly a third of the world’s population. It’s a trend that spans the globe, from Asia through Europe and into the Middle East.
A FEW TOOLS OF REDEMPTION
“I would like to think that I am basically okay, that I am not a person in need of major help. I would like to think that I am one of the good guys, that I am basically righteous. Okay, I’m not perfect. Maybe I do need some minor tweaking, but that’s all. But the truth is, I am not okay. I have a deep and abiding sin problem that I have no ability whatsoever to solve. I give empirical evidence every day that this dark thing lives inside me. Maybe I show it as a moment of irritation or selfishness … unkind words or a vengeful action. Maybe it’s shown in an unwillingness to serve or a refusal to give in impatience with other people or anger at my circumstances. Perhaps it’s revealed in demanding to be right or in control. Somehow every day I prove I am a person in need of help – and so do you. God is working and will continue to work to solve our biggest problem and to meet our biggest need. And he will be faithful to his agenda until forever is our final home.
“And how does God transform us? Well, he has chosen to keep us for a while in this terribly broken world, where he patiently uses surprise, hardship, disappointment, and trial to prepare us for the perfection that is to come. God doesn’t allow us to be exposed to and personally experience these things because he doesn’t care for us, but precisely because he does. With patient grace, he employs the hardships of life in this fallen world as his tools of redemption. He knows how self-righteous and self-reliant we can be how strong our trust is in our own wisdom and strength. He knows we think we’re okay and the other guy is in need of redemption. So he leads us into situations that take us way beyond the limits of our own strength and wisdom to expose our weaknesses of character, wisdom, desire, thought, word, and action. And he does all of this so that we will admit our need, cry out for his help, and receive his transforming grace.
May forever give all of us eyes to see and hearts to understand. May we look at difficulty and see God’s grace. When we are asked to wait, may we remember that we are being blessed with God’s patient love. When our plan fails, may we remember that we are being graced with a much better plan. And when our suffering seems too much to bear, may we remember that a day is coming when we will look back and think that our sufferings were small in comparison to the glories that are ours to enjoy forever.”
Paul David Tripp in Forever: Why You Can’t Live Without It
CAN THE CHRISTIAN CRUSADE AGAINST PORNOGRAPHY BEAR FRUIT?
Not long ago, it was unheard of for a pastor to talk about sex from the pulpit. Today, clergy are talking about porn.
Many evangelical pastors say they don’t have a choice. The Internet has made porn unavoidable; it’s everywhere. And porn, they say, leads to a lack of intimacy in marriage, threatening the biblical mandate to get and stay married.
In the past few years, Christian leaders have established online ministries to tackle the problem, hosting anti-porn podcast sermons and Web chats. The popular evangelical blog Crosswalk.com recently ran an article headlined “How many porn addicts are in your church?” …. Read this in full at
STURGIS: 539 PROFESSIONS OF FAITH & FIRST VOLUNTEER FATALITY
Encounters at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally between 160 evangelistic volunteers and 4,800-plus biker enthusiasts led to 539 professions of faith in Jesus Christ over an 8-day period at the famed event.
It was the sixth year for the outreach to bikers, biker-wannabes, and onlookers organized by the Dakota Baptist Convention (DBC) and supported by volunteers from across the nation drawn by word of mouth and by the ministry’s website, www.sturgisbikegiveaway.com.
Motorcycle enthusiasts comprise one of the nation’s largest affinity groups, with South Dakota the rally drawing about a half-million participants each August.
“We know that what we do in Sturgis is not just dependent on people being prepared to share their testimony, or in the number of volunteers, but on the Holy Spirit being there in power,” said Garvon Golden, DBC interim executive director and coordinator of the Sturgis ministry. “Prayer is the key component to the effectiveness of our ministry in Sturgis.” …. Read this in full at
TOM CLANCY AND TERRORISM: IN A DANGEROUS WORLD, GOD DOES NOT OFFER SECURITY, BUT SIGNIFICANCE
by Jim Denison
Tom Clancy first introduced us to Jack Ryan nearly 30 years ago. Fans have watched as Ryan saved the world from nuclear war, single-handedly defeated Irish terrorists, took down a Colombian drug cartel and eventually became president.
Now we have a new Clancy hero — a Navy SEAL turned CIA operative named Max Moore. Moore is the star of Clancy’s latest novel, Against All Enemies.
Guilt-plagued over the death of his best friend during an earlier operation, Moore compensates by risking his life on seemingly every one of the novel’s 768 pages. The plot is fast-paced and brings the usual Clancy techno-warfare to bear on the latest headlines.
The plot is frightening: Islamic terrorists use Mexican cartel drug-smuggling tunnels to bring surface-to-air missiles into our country, which they fire on commercial jets as they take off from indefensible airport runways…. Read this in full at
VERSE TO PONDER
“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”
“Watch lest prosperity destroy generosity.”
Henry Ward Beecher
VIRGINIA MAN LOBBIES FOR RELIGION MUSEUM
Chris Stevenson first became interested in the intersection of faith and public life while studying civics in college.
A few decades later, he had a revelation of sorts: “There was one great story that remains to be told by a professional museum, the indispensability of faith in America’s history.” Thus, the idea to create a National Museum of American Religion in the District was born.
But Stevenson, 41, a business manager for an air traffic organization in Northern Virginia, has found that turning his dream into reality is an unexpectedly complicated undertaking involving a number of logistical, professional and personal challenges.
For example, he was not the only one lobbying for a new national museum in Washington. Several other projects — the National Museum of the American Latino, the National Women’s History Museum and the American Museum of American People — have been proposed to Congress and the Smithsonian Institution in recent years…. Read this in full at
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM UNDER ASSAULT
A commentary in USA TODAY by Thomas S. Kidd describes how “we are seeing a marked erosion of what America’s Founding Fathers considered the ‘first freedom’: the liberty of religious conscience.” Recent studies show that nearly a third of the globe lives with severe religious restriction, but even in America there are signs that our historic commitment to this freedom is wavering. And Middle Eastern uprisings against repressive governments have precipitated a treacherous new era for Christian minorities. Muslim-dominated countries tend to have high government restrictions and social pressures against religious freedom, while in the US religious freedom takes a hit with an FBI-estimated 1,500 religious hate crimes annually, the majority of which are against Jews. Anti-Muslim sentiment is prevalent, while Christians also encounter both frivolous and real judicial infringements upon their rights to worship…. Read this in full at
WILL CHRISTIANITY SPREAD IN A POST-GADDAFI LIBYA?
NATO-backed rebel forces in Libya seized control of much of Tripoli on Aug. 21 after months of brutal war tactics by Muammar Gaddafi -– the longest-running Arab leader ever.
In one part of Tripoli, a local imam sang not the call to prayer but the national anthem of the pre-Gaddafi monarchy, according to BBC News.
Christian leaders like Nik Ripken are praying for stability. “Often we ask people to pray that governments provide the safety and security necessary for the Gospel to spread, such as the early church had under the Roman Empire,” said Ripken, who has served 25 years with the International Mission Board and is an expert on the persecuted church in Muslim contexts. “But when stability is the stability of governments that deny their people even access to Jesus, then that is the worst form of persecution.”
Ripken asks believers worldwide to pray for the kind of stability in Libya where access to Jesus is a basic human right…. Read this in full at
STATE DEPT. TRIES TO RAISE VISIBILITY OF RELIGION
Often accused of ignoring religion as they craft foreign policy, the White House and State Department are trying to show that religion is a rising priority for US diplomacy.
The most recent case in point: Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in Istanbul on July 15 promoted a new US-backed international agreement to protect freedom of speech and religion, an accord described by her department as a “landmark” change.
“These are fundamental freedoms that belong to all people in all places,” Clinton said, “and they are certainly essential to democracy.”
Elsewhere in the State Department, its school for Foreign Service officers rolled out a new course in June on how diplomats can practice “religious engagement.”
And the National Security Council is touting a new partnership with the White House Office on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, which represents a “renewed focus on the intersection of religion and foreign policy across the United States government,” faith-based director Joshua DuBois wrote in a July 11 blog post…. Read this in full at
UK’S EQUALITY BODY’S U-TURN ON RELIGIOUS LIBERTY DISAPPOINTS CHRISTIANS
Christians have reacted with a mixture of disappointment and alarm after the equality quango appeared to backtrack on its pledge to support Christians.
In July, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) stated that “reasonable accommodation” of religious beliefs was “needed”.
It made the announcement after applying to intervene in four cases involving religious discrimination in the workplace that have come before the European Court of Human Rights.
They involve Nadia Eweida, a British Airways check-in worker who was denied the right to wear her cross necklace; nurse Shirley Chaplin, who was removed from ward duties, also for refusing to remove her cross necklace; relationships counsellor Gary McFarlane, who was sacked for saying he would not be able to give sex therapy to same-sex couples; and registrar Lillian Ladele, who was disciplined after requesting not to conduct civil partnership registrations…. Read this in full at
FRANCIS COLLINS DECRIES ‘ANGRY ATHEISTS’ IN SCIENCE
Calling conflicts between religion and science “overstated,” National Institutes of Health chief Francis Collins said vocal atheists are giving the public a false impression of science.
The former head of the US human genome program and an evangelical Christian, Collins founded the BioLogos Foundation dedicated to “the integration of science and Christian faith,” before moving to NIH. His comments came at a USA TODAY editorial board meeting.
Asked about complaints from researchers such as Harvard’s Steven Pinker, over an avowed Christian heading a scientific agency, Collins said, “angry atheists are out there using science as a club to to hit believers over the head.” He expressed concern that prominent researchers suggesting that one can’t believe in evolution and believe in God, may be “causing a lot of people not familiar with science to change their assessments of it.” …. Read this in full at
SCIENTISTS HINT HIGGS BOSON “GOD PARTICLE” MAY BE A MIRAGE
Scientists chasing a particle they believe may have played a vital role in creation of the universe indicate they’re coming to accept it might not exist after all.
But they stress that if the so-called Higgs boson turns out to have been a mirage, the way would be open for advances into territory dubbed “new physics” to try to answer one of the great mysteries of the cosmos.
The CERN research centre, whose giant Large Hadron Collider (LHC) has been the focus of the search, said it had reported to a conference in Mumbai that possible signs of the Higgs noted last month were now seen as less significant.
A number of scientists from the centre went on to make comments that raised the possibility that the mystery particle might not exist…. Read this in full at
OUR PURSUIT OF JUSTICE IN THE PRESENT FORESHADOWS THE PERFECT JUSTICE OF AN AGE TO COME
by David Neff
The church in which I grew up talked a lot about the imminence of the Second Coming and the Day of Judgment. We focused on being personally prepared—confessing our sins and our faith in Jesus, and cultivating our particular forms of piety. Our drive was to convert souls for heaven.
In preparing so assiduously for the last days, we missed something important: our responsibility to address the real needs of desperate people. If the world and its ills will soon pass away, these needs will feel less urgent. I have come to believe, however, that the Bible’s vision of eschatology discourages such forgetfulness. Living in the last days means relieving the needs of particular people, and confronting the ills of all humanity.
The Bible frames help for the needy as a sign that God’s kingdom has invaded this present age. In this light, acts of justice and compassion are a form of gospel proclamation. What follows are six big ideas that connect biblical eschatology, biblical justice, and gospel proclamation…. Read this in full at
LITANY FOR THE CONVERSION OF INTERNET THUGS
“From faceless Facebook admin drones, spare us O Lord.
From tweeting Twitter idiots, spare us O Lord.
From heart-hardened spammers, spare us O Lord.
From liberal nut-case smear-blogging hacks, spare us O Lord.
From thread-dominating combox trolls, spare us, O Lord.
From sophomoric drive-by commentators, spare us, O Lord.”
…. Read this in full at
“By its very nature Christianity is enthusiastic; it means living in faith, hope, love and joy.”
William H. Hadnut
VERSE TO PONDER
“The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
Psalm 34:17-18 (NIV)
THIS WEEK’S HYMN: GOD OF THE NATIONS, WHO HAST LED
Words: Frederick Edwards, 1906
Music: Horatio W. Parker, 1918
God of the nations, who hast led
Thy children since the world began,
Through doubt and struggle, pain and tears,
Unfolding Thy eternal plan;
From countless hilltops as of old
The fire upon the altar flares;
Through countless rites, in countless tongues,
Men offer their imperfect prayers;
Hasten the time of our release,
Bring in Thy reign of truth and peace.
O Jesus Christ, incarnate Son,
Who bore our flesh that men might see
The vision of the perfect life
Fashioned in their humanity;
By all Thy words of heavenly truth,
By all Thy deeds of mercy wrought,
By all the passion of Thy cross,
By the redemption Thou hast brought;
Hasten the time of our release,
Bring in Thy reign of truth and peace.
O Holy Spirit, who dost touch
The prophets with Thy sacred fire
Eternal wisdom to whose light
All seekers after truth aspire;
Behold the warring sons of men,
The helpless by the strong oppressed,
The truth with error still concealed,
The evil grudgingly confessed;
Hasten the time of our release,
Bring in Thy reign of truth and peace.
O God triune, Thy Church today
In penitence before Thee kneels
Mourning her years of slothful ease,
Her deafness to the world’s appeals;
Divided where she should be one,
Enamored of a lesser strife,
Tithing the mint and cumin while
Men perish for the Bread of Life;
Hasten the time of our release,
Bring in Thy reign of truth and peace.
Restore to us the vision, Lord,
Descend with fires of Pentecost;
Our tongues unloose, our hearts inflame,
To preach the Gospel to the lost:
Here at Thy feet our prayer is made,
Here life and wealth we dedicate;
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done,
Lord, Thy anointing we await;
Hasten the time of our release,
Bring in Thy reign of truth and peace.
>from NetHymnal at
“The more we receive in silent prayer, the more we can give in our active life. Silence gives us a new outlook on everything. We need silence in order to touch souls. The essential thing is not what we say, but what God says to us and through us. Jesus is always waiting for us in silence.”
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).
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Video: Washington’s Grand Monument to Martin Luther King Jr.
http://www.time.com/time/video/player/0,32068,1127489438001_2090288,00.html (also see http://www.mlkmemorial.org/)
Evolution of Camera and Photography – Designzzz Infographic
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Is there another word for synonym (or thesaurus, for that matter)?
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.
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