CONNECTIONS News – 01/13/2013

Connecting man to man to God
For week of January 13, 2013
Issue 442

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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He has told you, human one, what is good and what the LORD requires from you: to do justice, embrace faithful love, and walk humbly with your God.
- Micah 6:8 (CEB)

     CONSIDER
Our society today bears all the marks of a God-starved community. There is little real moral authority because no ultimate Authority is known or acknowledged.”
- J. B. Phillips (1906-1982), God Our Contemporary, New York: Macmillan, 1960, p. viii

     SURVEY: MATURING BELIEVERS EXERCISE FAITH, TRUST
Christians who are progressing in spiritual maturity are more likely to exercise their faith by trusting God even in difficult circumstances, according to a survey by LifeWay Research.

“Exercising Faith” is one of eight attributes of discipleship that consistently show up in the lives of maturing Christians. The attributes are part of the Transformational Discipleship study conducted by LifeWay Research.

Among the eight attributes of discipleship tested, churchgoers have higher scores for Exercising Faith than any of the other attributes, said Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research. Yet, he points out, only 13% of attendees were able to give the best response to all of the questions in this attribute.

“It is easy to say God has a purpose for everything in life, but it requires faith to enjoy seeing His plan unfold in difficult times,” Stetzer said…. Read this in full at
http://www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=39478

     HOW NOT TO READ YOUR BIBLE IN THE NEW YEAR
by Matt Smethurst
When it comes to daily (or not-so-daily) Bible reading, January 1 can be a welcome arrival. A new year signals a new start. You’re motivated to freshly commit to what you know is of indispensable importance: the Word of God.

Yet this isn’t the first time you’ve felt this way. You were entertaining pretty similar thoughts 365 days ago. And 365 days before that. And 365 days … you know how it goes.

So what’s going to make 2013 different? What, under God, will keep you plodding along in April this year when staying power has generally vanished in Aprils of yore?

From one stumbling pilgrim to another, here are 5 suggestions for what not to do in 2013…. Read this in full at
http://www.churchleaders.com/worship/worship-articles/164743-matt-smethurst-how-not-to-read-your-bible-new-year.html

     BIBLES USED BY KING, LINCOLN TO BE PART OF OBAMA’S SECOND INAUGURATION
Martin Luther King Jr. carried a black leather King James Bible on his journeys as a young pastor starting out in Montgomery, Ala. He turned to this “traveling Bible” for inspiration, his family says, as he fought for freedom and equality.

US President Obama will put his hand over King’s well-worn Bible at his public swearing-in at the US Capitol Jan. 21, the holiday celebrating the birthday of the slain civil rights leader. King’s Bible will be stacked with the burgundy velvet and gilded Bible used by President Abraham Lincoln at his first inauguration…. Read this in full at
http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/inauguration/obama-to-take-oath-on-bibles-used-by-martin-luther-king-jr-lincoln/2013/01/09/b9e7d3be-5aa1-11e2-88d0-c4cf65c3ad15_story.html

     EXPLORING ‘GOD BEHAVING BADLY’
Kevin Glenn is already hearing the grumbling about his 9-week sermon series on “God Behaving Badly,” and it hasn’t even begun yet. “I have people complaining about the title,” said Glenn, pastor of Memorial Baptist Church in Columbia, Mo. “They say there’s no way God can behave badly.”

Even so, the series will kick off when author David Lamb (http://davidtlamb.com/) visits Memorial to preach on his 2011 book God Behaving Badly: Is the God of the Old Testament Angry, Sexist, and Racist? The book delves into Old Testament passages that many Christians would rather ignore – such as a group of boys being mauled by bears at Elisha’s request in 2 Kings – and that many in the New Atheist movement love to extol.

Glenn said he decided to take on the controversial subjects raised in the book to equip himself and his church to better handle critics who focus on such texts. “New Atheism builds their whole argument on passages like that,” Glenn said. “The series is a way for me to address some of the questions I get from non-believers and nervous Christians about these things.”

That’s also why Lamb, a professor of Old Testament at Biblical Seminary in Hatfield, Pa., decided to write the book. “It frustrates me a little bit because we need to dig deeper,” Lamb said. “There is a lot more to the Bible than the ‘mean God’ of the Old Testament and the ‘nice God’ of the New Testament.” …. Read this in full at
http://www.abpnews.com/faith/theology/item/8124-series-confronts-god-behaving-badly

     31 QUESTIONS TO ASK AT THE START OF A NEW YEAR
by Don Whitney
Once, when the people of God had become careless in their relationship with Him, the Lord rebuked them through the prophet Haggai. “Consider your ways!” (Haggai 1:5) he declared, urging them to reflect on some of the things happening to them, and to evaluate their slipshod spirituality in light of what God had told them.

Even those most faithful to God occasionally need to pause and think about the direction of their lives. It’s so easy to bump along from one busy week to another without ever stopping to ponder where we’re going and where we should be going.

The beginning of a new year is an ideal time to stop, look up, and get our bearings. To that end, here are questions to ask prayerfully in the presence of God (answer one question each day for a month)…. Read this in full at
http://www.christianity.com/christian-life/spiritual-growth/ten-questions-to-ask-at-the-start-of-a-new-year-11643580.html

     WHAT FORNICATION REALLY MEANS
by Russell Moore
The word “fornication” is almost never used these days except among those who want to ridicule backward, Puritan sexual norms of the most Hawthornian sort. The word is sometimes used to ridicule Christian sexual counter-revolutionaries as prissy prigs who talk like a late 1980s Saturday Night Live version of the “Church Lady.”

But that’s just it. The joke doesn’t really work because Christians don’t talk like that, in public or in private, at least not any more. And they haven’t for a long time. “Fornication” sounds as creepy and out-of-place to a Christian’s ears as it does to anyone else’s. Sure, we talk about sexual morality and warn against sexual immorality, but those are the words we use, on our best days. More commonly, we teach our children and our single church members to “practice abstinence” or to avoid “premarital sex.”

Could it be that the loss of the words “fornicate” and “fornication” is about something more than just updating our vocabulary to connect with the society around us? Could it be that we’ve lost something crucial about the grammar of the Christian faith? Moreover, could it be that, by using the language of “premarital sex,” we’ve implicitly ceded the moral imagination to the sexual revolutionaries? …. Read this in full at
http://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=26-01-020-v

     YOU CAN’T LEGISLATE MORALITY” – REALLY?
by Clare De Graaf
A few weeks ago in response to the Newtown shootings, Wayne LaPierre, the vice-president of the National Rifle Association (NRA) went before the nation on Meet the Press and said this about gun control, “You can’t legislate morality.” Really? Regardless of how you feel about gun control, Mr. LaPierre is wrong.

A few months ago, I was with a group of very bright college seniors and one of them made a similar statement about same-sex marriage, “You can’t legislate morality.”

Of course, you can!” I said. “We legislate morality all the time and I think you’re happy we do and here’s why.” …. Read this in full at
http://www.claredegraaf.com/2013/01/07/you-cant-legislate-morality-really/

     LAW AND LES MISERABLES REVISITED
by Jason B. Hood
In a famous scene at the beginning of the story of Les Miserables, we encounter a thief named Valjean, newly released from prison named. After being turned away for being a convict he is finally welcomed by a priest. He repays the priest by stealing sliver at night and running away. When he is caught with the silver and dragged back to the priest, the priest forgives him for stealing and even gives him more than he had stolen. In the musical version, the priest sings, “By the Passion and the Blood, God has raised you out of darkness; I have bought your soul for God!”

Through this encounter with grace, which is far more beautiful than I can portray in this summary, Valjean is reformed and transformed. Meanwhile, the antagonist, a policeman named Javert, hunts Valjean down ruthlessly, convinced of his own righteousness.

The common approach to the story is that we see in this story a sharp contrast between the law (Javert) and the gospel (the priest and Valjean), and there’s certainly a sharp distinction between the two approaches.

But there’s another way to look at the narrative. When the priest and Valjean depict grace, they are in fact keeping the law. The priest is obeying the commands of Jesus: loving his neighbor, turning the other cheek, doing mercy, and forgiving freely as he has been freely forgiven by God.

In other words, we’re not just seeing a beautiful portrait of grace and gospel in Les Miserables. We’re seeing a beautiful portrait of law and commands…. Read this in full at
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2013/january-web-only/law-and-les-miserables-revisited.html?paging=off

     EXPENDABLE LIFE
Missionaries constantly face expendability. And people who do not know the Lord ask why in the world we waste our lives as missionaries. They forget that they too are expending their lives. They forget that when their lives are spent and the bubble has burst they will have nothing of eternal significance to show for the years they have wasted.

Some might say, isn’t it too great a price to pay? When missionaries consider themselves–their lives before God–they consider themselves expendable. And in our personal lives as Christians isn’t the same thing true? Isn’t the price small in the light of God’s infinite love?”
- Nate Saint (1923-1956), quoted in Jungle Pilot: The Life and Witness of Nate Saint, Russell T. Hitt, Zondervan, 1974, p. 158

     JESUS WAS A DIRTY, DIRTY GOD
by Johnnie Moore
Jesus was a lot more like you than you think, and a lot less clean cut than this iconic image of him that floats around culture.

You know the image. It’s the one where Jesus is walking like he’s floating in robes of pristine white followed by birds singing some holy little ditty. He’s polished, manicured, and clearly – God.

But despite the Christian belief that Jesus was both fully God and fully man, Jesus was a rather dirty God. He was the “earthly” son of a carpenter, and life in the first-century was both more lurid and unfinished than our collective religious memory seems to recall.

To that end, I suggested recently to several astounded colleagues of mine that Jesus actually had to go to the bathroom, perhaps even on the side of the road between Capernaum and Jerusalem.

What tipped them over the edge was when I insinuated that Jesus, like almost every other human being living in the rural world in that time, might have even had dysentery on an occasion or two.

Someone said, “You mean that Jesus might have had severe diarrhea?”
Yep,” I replied, “That’s exactly what I mean.”

It seems like an obvious statement if you believe that Jesus was “fully God” and “fully man” (as most evangelicals believe and call the Incarnation), but to some of us it seems in the least, inappropriate, and at the most, sacrilege, to imagine Jesus in this way. We might believe that God was also man, but we picture him with an ever-present halo over his head…. Read this in full at
http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/01/05/my-take-jesus-was-a-dirty-dirty-god/

     WHAT?
In a church one Sunday morning, a preacher said, “Anyone with ‘special needs’ who wants to be prayed over, please come forward to the front by the altar.”

With that, Bill got in line, and when it was his turn, the preacher asked, “Bill, what do you want me to pray about for you?”

Bill replied, “Preacher, I need you to pray for help with my hearing.”

The preacher put one finger of one hand in Bill’s ear, placed his other hand on top of Bill’s head, and then prayed and prayed and prayed, and the whole congregation joined in with great enthusiasm.

After a few minutes, the preacher removed his hands, stood back and asked, “Bill, how is your hearing now?”

Bill answered, “I don’t know. It ain’t ’til Thursday.”
http://www.mikeysFunnies.com

     DISENCHANTMENT WITH ATHEISM
by William Lane Craig
Are the obstacles to belief that trouble you really so insuperable?
I don’t think so. Consider that the kalam cosmological argument from the beginning of the universe, the teleological argument from the fine-tuning of the universe for intelligent life, the moral argument for a personally embodied Good, and the ontological argument for a maximally great being each requires in its own way the existence of a personal deity. Each of these arguments is incompatible with the existence of an impersonal God, such as is featured in pantheistic religions like Taoism, Advaita Vedanta Hinduism, and Buddhism. They narrow down the options of the world’s major religions to the great monotheistic faiths of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Deism…. Read this in full at
http://www.reasonablefaith.org/disenchantment-with-atheism

     TOP 10 DISCOVERIES IN BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLOGY IN 2012
by Gordon Govier
Each year several dozen institutional archaeological excavations and multiple more salvage excavations take place in the lands of the Bible.

Some excavations draw attention because of the exciting dimensions of their discoveries. Many more compile important information from less dynamic discoveries that help us better understand the biblical world in its social context.

Following are some of the most exciting discoveries announced in the past year, taken from the news digests of ARTIFAX magazine, and reported on The Book & The Spade radio program.

#1) Huqoq Synagogue Mosaic The ancient village of Huqoq is located three miles west of the Sea of Galilee shore near the sites of Magdala and Capernaum. Excavated by archaeologist Jodi Magness, a Distinguished Professor of early Judaism at North Carolina University at Chapel Hill, the mosaic floor of this synagoue is of the highest quality. The mosaic depicts Samson tying the tails of foxes together and also shows two faces around an inscription. This synagogue dates several centuries after the time of Christ and is expected to provide new information about the development of synagogues in the Galilee…. Read this in full at
http://www.assistnews.net/Stories/2013/s13010025.htm

     WORLD’S NEWEST NATION NOW HAS OWN BIBLE SOCIETY (AND ALREADY OUT OF BIBLES)
The world’s newest country now is now home to the world’s newest Bible Society chapter — which is already out of Bibles.

The Bible Society in South Sudan officially launched on December 18, nearly a year after the chapter first registered. According to the News Agency of South Sudan, “The society will help the country in the dissemination and translation of Holy Bible and scriptures into South Sudanese local languages.” …. Read this in full at
http://blog.christianitytoday.com/ctliveblog/archives/2013/01/worlds-newest-nation-now-has-own-bible-society-south-sudan.html

     SUFFERING FOOLS GLADLY
by David Brooks
When you actually witness somebody in the act of not suffering fools gladly, it looks rotten. Once I watched a senior member of the House of Representatives rip into a young reporter after she nervously asked him an ill-informed question.

She was foolish about that particular piece of legislation, but, in the moment, he looked the bigger fool. He was making a snap judgment about a person with no real information about her actual qualities. He was exposing a yawning gap between his own high opinion of himself and his actual conduct in the world. He was making the mistake, which metaphysical fools tend to make, that there is no connection between your inner moral quality and the level of courtesy you present to others.

Smart people who’ve thought about this usually understand that the habits we put in practice end up shaping the people we are within. “Manners are of more importance than laws,” Edmund Burke wrote. “Manners are what vex or soothe, corrupt or purify, exalt or debase, barbarize or refine us, by a constant, steady, uniform, insensible operation, like that of the air we breathe in.”

I don’t give myself high marks on suffering fools. I’m not rude to those I consider foolish, but I strenuously and lamentably evade them. But I do see people who handle fools well. Many members of the clergy do, as do many great teachers…. Read this in full at
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/04/opinion/brooks-suffering-fools-gladly.html

Also see “Pastors Suffer Fools” by Martin E. Marty
http://divinity.uchicago.edu/martycenter/publications/sightings/archive_2013/0107.shtml

     VERSE TO PONDER
Wash! Be clean! Remove your ugly deeds from my sight. Put an end to such evil; learn to do good. Seek justice: help the oppressed; defend the orphan; plead for the widow.
- Isaiah 1:16-17 (CEB)

     CONSIDER
Life is deep and simple, and what our society gives us is shallow and complicated.”
- Fred Rogers

     GOD IS ALIVE AND WELL IN AMERICA, SAYS GALLUP CHIEF
Despite a deep drop in the number of Americans who identify with a particular faith, the country could be on the cusp of a religious renaissance, says Frank Newport, editor-in-chief of The Gallup Poll.

Grounded in more than a million Gallup interviews, Newport’s new book, “God is Alive and Well,” argues that the aging of the baby boomers, the influx of Hispanic immigrants and the links between religion and health could portend a bright future for faith in America.

He spoke recently to Religion News Service about his Southern Baptist roots, why mainline Protestants need to have more babies, and why companies should reward employees who attend church.

Q: What’s the single most important trend in American religion today?
A: One trend that I’m asked a lot about is the rise of the “nones,” about which there’s a huge amount of publicity, but which is often misinterpreted. When Gallup asked the question about religious identity back in the 1950s, almost zero would say they have “none.” People would say “Baptist” or “Catholic” even if they were not particularly religious. Now, 18% of Americans, according to Gallup polls, say they do not have a particular religious identity. That doesn’t mean that 18% are atheists — only 5% or 6% say they don’t believe in God — but people are changing how they express their religiosity…. Read this in full at
http://www.religionnews.com/2013/01/07/god-is-alive-and-well-in-america-says-gallup-chief/

     FEWER THAN 2 IN 5 AMERICANS SAY HOMOSEXUALITY IS SIN
According to new data from LifeWay Research, only 37% of Americans believe that homosexual behavior is a sin — down 7% from similar data collected just over a year earlier.

The new statistics came just hours after Pastor Louie Giglio withdrew from giving the benediction at President Barack Obama’s inaugural address over his previous remarks on homosexuality…. Read this in full at
http://blog.christianitytoday.com/ctliveblog/archives/2013/01/lifeway-fewer-than-2-in-5-americans-say-homosexuality-is-sin.html

     LORDSHIP
When Jesus is truly our Lord, he directs our lives and we gladly obey him. Indeed, we bring every part of our lives under his lordship- our home and family, our sexuality and marriage, our job or unemployment, our money and possessions, our ambitions and recreations.”
- John Stott

     THE BIBLE IS NOT THE CENTER
by Scot McKnight
The Bible has always played an unimpeachable role in Christianity … It is not, however, the central focus of Christian faith. That position belongs to God, and Christians are called to trust him. … Coming to the realization that the Gospel is not at stake with every interpretive challenge will encourage a fruitful dialog between religious and critical readings of Scripture.”
– Peter Enns, (p. 159-160)

The final essay in the new book by Marc Zvi Brettler (Brandeis University), Peter Enns (Eastern University) and Daniel J. Harrington (Boston College), The Bible and the Believer: How to Read the Bible Critically & Religiously is by Peter Enns. Following Brettler’s Jewish view and Harrington’s Catholic view, Enns looks at a Protestant view of scripture and biblical criticism. Because Protestantism covers a broad range from the very liberal (for whom biblical criticism is no problem) to the very conservative (for whom it is heretical), he chooses to focus on the broad middle, that portion of Protestants who take scripture seriously but who also have interest in the ways in which biblical criticism and Christian faith can (or must) be in dialogue.

Enns begins by discussing a bit of the history describing how we got to the present situation. He looks at the concept of sola scriptura developed in the reformation. He describes the challenges of the 19th century, those introduced by science (the age of the earth and Darwin’s publication of On The Origin of Species), archaeological discoveries (especially ancient Egyptian, Mesopotamian, and Canaanite texts), and biblical criticism (especially textual and source criticism). This history provides some context for the discussion of the relationship between critical and religious readings of scripture that follows…. Read this in full at
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/jesuscreed/2013/01/03/the-bible-is-not-the-center-rjs/

     GOD IS GOOD” – ALL THE TIME?
by Rick Marschall
Giants of faith do not always act like giants – usually they don’t, not showy – and sometimes don’t look like giants. Pete was a guy in a Saturday morning Bible study, a men’s group I belonged to a couple decades ago in suburban Connecticut. There was not one, but two astonishing aspects of faith he quietly manifested, that have stuck with me through the years.

The group was a mixed lot, as such gatherings probably should be. We had a vice president of a major international corporation. We had a “new Christian” who, bless his heart, in spiritual fervor responded to every comment with “Y’see…” believing he had been graced with all answers to all things. Some of us were hungry for the Word; some felt the need to be hungry all over again.

Pete was the quietest of us all. He was not nervous, nor was he shy. He was just quiet. Short guy, kind of a leprechaun beard. But when he did talk, his faith – the logic of his faith – was memorable…. Read this in full at
http://www.mondayministry.com/blog/2013/01/06/god-is-good-all-the-time/

     FORMER GANG MEMBER MINISTERS IN PRISON, STARTS A CHURCH, AND RUNS A BIBLE SCHOOL
by Michael Ireland
From being a gang member and living a life of frequent violence, to becoming a pastor and celebrating the 20th anniversary of his church this year, Rev. Bill Hieb now runs an international Bible school focused on training missionaries in several countries to spread the Gospel.

My life is a testimony in the early days of what was known as bad, and so good has come out of it I trust,” he told ASSIST News in a recent interview.

Hieb was born in 1951, in Stillwater, the birthplace of the State of Minnesota. He lived there for a few years before moving to St. Paul. “And it was in St. Paul which I consider my formidable years of growing up and being educated, as well as being exposed to some of the issues of life,” he said…. Read this in full at
http://www.assistnews.net/Stories/2013/s13010029.htm

     CHURCH SIGN: ‘GOD WANTS SPIRITUAL FRUITS, NOT RELIGIOUS NUTS’ GETS STRONG REACTION
A small church on Madison Avenue in New York City is turning heads these days — especially to look at the church’s messages out front.

“It’s amazing the amount of attention that those signs get,” Brian Crowson, office manager of Madison Avenue Baptist Church told The Huffington Post, “We’ve been in the New York Post, the Drudge Report and others.” …. Read this in full at
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/08/god-wants-spiritual-fruit-church-sign_n_2426026.html?utm_hp_ref=religion

     THE HIDDEN MYSTERY OF 60K CHRISTIANS
by Mollie Hemingway
Why did most mainstream media fail to even notice that some 60,000 young Christians were gathered in Atlanta in recent days for a large evangelical conference called Passion 2013?

Surely we can find stories in a crowd of 60,000 college students and young adults. Surely there’s something interesting about what they heard or saw, what they discussed. Surely it would be interesting to look at who critiqued the conference. Surely there’s something worth just noticing about evangelical young adults gathered at this moment…. Read this in full at
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/getreligion/2013/01/got-news-the-hidden-mystery-of-60k-christians/

     PBS SERIES DEPICTS AMERICAN ABOLITIONISTS AS FIRED BY FAITH
As America marks the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, PBS premieres a 3-part series, “The Abolitionists” (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/abolitionists/).

Documentarian Rob Rapley, the writer and director of the series, talked with Religion News Service about the role religion played in the lives of the abolitionists.

Q: How would you sum up the role of faith in the work of American abolitionists?
A: It was a time in which religion played a central role in American life with the Second Great Awakening. Every one of the abolitionists was shaped very much by their faith. In fact, they would have defined themselves first by their faith before any other category…. Read this in full at
http://www.religionnews.com/2013/01/04/pbs-series-depicts-american-abolitionists-as-fired-by-faith/

     RG3 AND DYING CHURCHES
by Alan Rudnick
An NFL team’s season-ending loss is a parable for dying churches that wait until too late in the game to make changes that might affect their outcome…. Read this in full at
http://www.abpnews.com/opinion/commentaries/item/8120-rg3-and-dying-churches

     THOUSANDS OF CHRISTIAN COMMUNICATORS TO GATHER FOR NRB 2013
Soon, thousands of Christian media and ministry professionals will converge at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, TN, to take part in the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) Convention & Exposition (http://nrbconvention.org/) – the world’s largest annual gathering of Christian communicators.

Beginning March 2, top Christian media professionals and leaders attending the four-day event will be exposed to new tools, services, ideas, inspiration, and relationships that can advance their organizations and themselves. They will attend a broad range of educational sessions; engage in hands-on activities from the exhibit floor training pavilion; and be inspired by nationally and internationally known speakers and artists.

It’s a group of men and women committed to using every electronic media platform available to us to reach the world for Jesus Christ,” explains NRB President & CEO Dr. Frank Wright. “It’s the embodiment of the body of Christ that we see at the Convention.” …. Read this in full at
http://pressreleases.religionnews.com/2013/01/08/thousands-of-christian-communicators-to-gather-for-nrb-2013-2/

     BRAD PITT CIRCLING BIBLICAL EPIC VILLAIN TURN IN ‘PONTIUS PILATE’ AT WARNER BROS
by Mike Fleming Jr.
Brad Pitt is circling the title role in Warner Bros‘ Pontius Pilate, the drama about one of history’s most vilified figures. The studio acquired a script by Woman On Top scribe Vera Blasi with Mark Johnson producing through his Gran Via banner. Pitt is not committed, but it could well move that way quickly.

I revealed this project last summer, when the studio acquired Blasi’s script. I got hold of a draft and it’s very strong stuff and has the makings of a compelling period big budget film. This script follows the evolution of Lucius Pontius Pilate from the sensitive son of a Roman Knight into a ferocious soldier whose warrior exploits make him a general and puts him on a political track under the Roman Emperor Tiberius. Promised a military governorship in Egypt, Pilate is instead assigned by Tiberius to become the prefect of Judea, at a time when Jerusalem was a cauldron of religious tensions between various factions of the Jewish faith. Pilate veers from the political fast track into the express lane to hell and historical infamy. Rather than a straight ahead Biblical film, Blasi’s script reads almost like a Biblical era Twilight Zone episode in which a proud, capable Roman soldier gets in way over his head. His arrogance and inability to grasp the devoutness of the citizenry and its hatred for the Roman occupiers and their pagan gods leads him to make catastrophic decisions. All of this puts him in a desperate situation and in need of public approval when he is asked to decide the fate of a 33-year old rabbi accused by religious elders of claiming he is King of the Jews. Along the way, such Roman emperors including Caligula and Tiberius and New Testament figures like John the Baptist, Salome and Mary Magdalene are seen in a tale that culminates with Pilate’s fateful decision to allow Jesus Christ to be crucified…. Read this in full at
http://www.deadline.com/2013/01/brad-pitt-circling-biblical-epic-villain-turn-in-pontius-pilate-at-warner-bros/

     MAJOR MILESTONE PASSED AS FAITH COMES BY HEARING NOW HAS SCRIPTURE RECORDINGS IN OVER 700 LANGUAGES
by Jeremy Reynalds
Audio Bible ministry Faith Comes By Hearing (FCBH) has added nine Audio New Testament recordings, expanding its catalog of recorded Scriptures to 703 languages.

According to a news release made available to the ASSIST News Service, the ministry has gone from 600 to 700 recordings in just 13 months. Spoken in virtually every country in the world, the 703 recordings as a whole represent a potential outreach to more than 5 billion people – or in other words, over two-thirds of the world’s population.

Combined, these newest recordings represent more than 1.1 million people who now have God’s Word in audio available in their heart language. Jola-Fogny is the largest of these language groups, spoken by over 400,000 people primarily in The Gambia. The smallest is Carapana, with 650 speakers…. Read this in full at
http://www.assistnews.net/Stories/2013/s13010031.htm

     AFRICAN COUNTRIES MAKE PERSECUTION SURGE ON OPEN DOORS WORLD WATCH LIST
Persecution of Christians in Africa vastly increased in 2012, according to the Open Doors 2013 World Watch List (http://www.worldwatchlist.us/) of 50 countries where Christians face the most severe persecution for their faith.

The number of countries on the African continent sharply increased on the annual list due to the increasing influence of Islam, states Open Doors, an organization that supports persecuted Christians worldwide. Mali is a newcomer on the list and holds the No. 7 position. Tanzania (No. 24), Kenya (No. 40), Uganda (47) and Niger (No. 50) also moved onto the World Watch List and Ethiopia is one of the strongest risers (from No. 38 to No. 15) on the list. In addition, the small African country of Eritrea made the Top 10 for the first time at No. 10. Libya climbed from No. 26 to No. 17…. Read this in full at
http://www.christiannewswire.com/news/3877971212.html

     ATHEIST CHURCH ‘SUNDAY ASSEMBLY’ IS FIRST OF ITS KIND IN BRITAIN
Britain’s first atheist church has held its very first meeting at The Nave, a former church-turned-performance space, in Islington, North London.

According to the Islington Gazette, stand-up comedians Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans founded the so-called godless church because they wanted a space where non-religious folks…. Read this in full at
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/08/atheist-church-sunday-assembly_n_2432911.html?utm_hp_ref=religion

     CONSIDER
Don’t let yesterday use up too much of today.”
- Will Rogers

     VERSE TO PONDER
Therefore, once you have your minds ready for action and you are thinking clearly, place your hope completely on the grace that will be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed.
- 1 Peter 1:13 (CEB)

     THIS WEEK’S HYMN: ANOTHER YEAR IS DAWNING
Words: Frances R. Havergal, 1874
Music: Samuel S. Wesley, 1864

Another year is dawning, dear Father, let it be
In working or in waiting, another year with Thee.
Another year of progress, another year of praise,
Another year of proving Thy presence all the days.

Another year of mercies, of faithfulness and grace,
Another year of gladness in the shining of Thy face;
Another year of leaning upon Thy loving breast;
Another year of trusting, of quiet, happy rest.

Another year of service, of witness for Thy love,
Another year of training for holier work above.
Another year is dawning, dear Father, let it be
On earth, or else in Heaven, another year for Thee.

>from NetHymnal at
http://nethymnal.org/htm/a/n/anothery.htm

     FRIDAY NIGHT ARCHIVE REPLAY
Listen to Friday night’s Path Of Life fellowship gathering online broadcast on Blogtalk radio here:
“THE FOUR FOLD MINISTRY”
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thepath/2013/01/12/the-four-fold-ministry

     ON PRAYER
If you have so much business to attend to that you have no time to pray, depend upon it, you have more business on hand than God ever intended you should have.”
- D. L. Moody

     PRAY FOR PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS TODAY 
http://christiansincrisis.net/

     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!

PERSONAL
Marital harmony
Family unity
Children saved
Faithful pastor
Spirit-filled church
Real friendships
Relatives redeemed
Educational benefits
Recreational time
Fulfilling career
Favor with God and man
Be in God’s will

FINANCIAL
Better Jobs
Raises or bonuses
Benefits
Sales & commissions
Business Growth
Settlements
Estates & inheritances
Investment increase
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.]

     CLASSIFIEDS
Are you looking for something or do you have something to sell? Let me know and I’ll put it in this newsletter.

The Complete Gift Solution
http://www.FranksWorldOfGifts.com

Books, Music & More!
http://www.ChristianConnectionBooks.com

Get your domain name here!
http://www.GoGlobalDomains.com

     SHARE YOUR FAVORITE WEBSITES 
Tell us what sites you find enjoyable and why. 

VIDEO: 4-star gen. Stanley McChrystal: Listen, learn … then lead
http://www.ted.com/talks/stanley_mcchrystal.html

Faithlife: Read the Bible in 2013
https://faithlife.com/bible-2013

All links to websites are provided as a service, and do not imply endorsement by this ministry. 

(BTW: whenever the URLs in this newsletter are too long to turn into links on your e-mail program, just copy the entire URL (two lines or more) and paste it into a temporary email message. Then delete the return in the middle of it and copy it again. Then paste it into your web browser and hit enter.) 

I’d give you a piece of my mind, but I’m on the last one.
Frank Coleman, Editor
frank@frankcoleman.com

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@frankcoleman.com if you’d like to participate in a men’s discipleship program. 
Path Of Life Ministries is located in Chicago, IL.
Visit our website at: http://www.pathoflifeministries.org/  

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http://www.pathoflifeministries.net/connections/archives_all.html

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