CONNECTIONS News – 03/03/2013

Connecting man to man to God
For week of March 3, 2013
Issue 449

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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IN THIS ISSUE:

  • INTERVARSITY TO FILE BRIEF ON ATTEMPTS TO RESTRICT RELIGIOUS LIBERTIES AT UNIVERSITIES
  • EVANGELISM AND THE SPIRITUAL JOURNEY TOWARD GOD
  • FOR AGING RELIGIOUS LEADERS, IS IT STILL ’TILL DEATH US DO PART’?
  • NORTH KOREA’S ‘HATRED OF CHRISTIANS’ PUTS 70,000 BELIEVERS IN PRISON
  • CHRISTIANS SHOULD RECOVER BIBLICAL GRACE, SHANE CLAIBORNE SAYS  
  • WHY PUBLIC SCHOOLS SHOULD TEACH THE BIBLE
  • DAVID PLATT: CASUAL, CULTURAL CHRISTIANITY IS LEADING PEOPLE TO HELL
  • FIREHOUSE ACCOUNTABILITY: THERE HAS TO BE A BETTER WAY TO LOOK OUT FOR EACH OTHER
  • FRIDAY NIGHT ARCHIVE REPLAY
  • MUCH MORE . . .

Do I have anyone else in heaven? There’s nothing on earth I desire except you. My body and my heart fail, but God is my heart’s rock and my share forever.
- Psalm 73:25-26 (CEB)

     CONSIDER
There’s a difference between knowing God and knowing about God. When you truly know God, you have energy to serve him, boldness to share him, and contentment in him.”
- J. I. Packer

     FRIENDS SAY FAITH CAME FIRST FOR CLIBURN
News reports of Van Cliburn’s Feb. 27 death in Fort Worth, Texas, extolled the internationally acclaimed pianist as one of history’s greatest classical musicians. Friends at Broadway Baptist Church in Fort, Worth, Texas, however, remember him as a great Baptist whose Christian faith came before his career.

Cliburn shot to fame at age 23 by winning the 1958 International Tchaikovsky Competition – and with it the hearts of Nikita Khrushchev and the Russian people. It was said the accomplishment did more to ease Cold War tensions than any diplomacy could…. Read this in full at
http://www.abpnews.com/ministry/people/item/8261-baptist-faith-was-first-for-cliburn-friends-say

     INTERVARSITY TO FILE BRIEF ON ATTEMPTS TO RESTRICT RELIGIOUS LIBERTIES AT UNIVERSITIES
Leaders at InterVarsity Christian Fellowship look forward to submitting statements to the US Commission on Civil Rights about incidents where universities have attempted to restrict the religious liberties of student groups in the name of non-discrimination, the organization said Feb. 28.

Over the last several years, some colleges have tried to, and in some cases successfully, implemented policies that call for religious student groups to not use religious criteria in leadership selection. The Civil Rights commission announced last month a briefing to be focused on reconciling non-discrimination policies with religious liberties scheduled for later this month…. Read this in full at
http://www.christianpost.com/news/intervarsity-to-file-brief-on-attempts-to-restrict-religious-liberties-at-universities-91022/

     EVANGELISM AND THE SPIRITUAL JOURNEY TOWARD GOD
by Clare De Graaf
How does a Calvinist evangelize? That was the question asked of me in a Q-&-A session after I spoke at a church a few weeks ago. My answer was one I’ve given many times before. “Evangelism for a Calvinist is like being a good real estate agent – our only obligation is to list and show. We don’t have to close!”

By that I mean my only obligation and privilege is to introduce people to Jesus and show them what it means to live like Jesus and for Jesus. I don’t have to “get them saved”. That’s the Holy Spirit’s responsibility. Believing that takes all the pressure off. To illustrate, I went on to tell this story…. Read this in full at
http://www.claredegraaf.com/2013/02/25/evangelism-and-the-spiritual-journey-toward-god-part-i/

     THE MYSTERIOUS MEMORY OF GOD
by Rick Marschall
Can God make a rock so big that even He cannot lift it? That age-old wise-guy challenge from skeptics is supposed to stop believers in our spiritual tracks. But it is a syllogism, more correctly a syllogistic fallacy. It does not confront the Creator of the Universe in an existential contradiction, but rather exposes puny human minds when they are unable to comprehend the vast, all-encompassing, limitless powers of God.

It is, besides, a fallacy built on the inherent strictures of language and linguistics. A philosophical “gotcha” whose purpose is not seeking truth but annoying the faithful. Christians, if they engage in certain debates, should rely more on the “God is God” response: if we could explain EVERYTHING (especially to hostile people), well, God would not be God, because we would be obviating the necessity of His being. No, I am grateful for mysteries.

Skeptics are not at all concerned with God, anyway; nor rocks; nor our souls, except to introduce viral doubts. The character Matthew Harrison Brady in the play “Inherit the Wind” delivered a great line that is constructive: “For my part, I am more concerned with the Rock of Ages than the age of rocks.” Or their size or weight.

Oh, rocks count. So do mountains. I heard someone say this week that if mountains were nice and smooth, they would be impossible to climb over. It’s hard enough! — but those crags and rough peaks and jagged crevices, when all is said and done, make it easier to climb over than a vertical, smooth monolith. Yes, we are talking metaphors here…. Read this in full at
http://www.mondayministry.com/blog/2013/02/24/the-mysterious-memory-of-god/

     REMEMBERING C. EVERETT KOOP (AND LEWIS SMEDES)
by Roger Olson
Monday, Feb. 25, former US Surgeon General C. Everett Koop died at his home in New Hampshire. He was 96.

Anyone who paid attention to public controversies knew of him in the 1980s as a rock-ribbed conservative evangelical appointed by President Ronald Reagan — perhaps as a bone thrown to his evangelical supporters. At least that’s how some regarded his appointment.

He turned out to be a strong advocate for AIDS research in spite of his well-known moral opposition to homosexual behavior. He also led a public campaign against smoking. He did not turn out to be quite what conservatives hoped for — a strong public voice against homosexuality and abortion.

I knew of Koop before his appointment to public office. He was vaguely associated with Francis Schaeffer on some pro-life projects. Also, his 1976 book The Right to Live, The Right to Die was hailed as a major pro-life book by conservatives before his appointment.

Koop was a hero to those of us who considered ourselves part of the conservative Christian pro-life movement during the 1970s and early 1980s — before it was largely taken over by anti-abortion fanatics who would criminalize abortions for young rape and incest victims as well as banning some methods of birth control that prevented implantation of fertilized eggs…. Read this in full at
http://www.abpnews.com/opinion/commentaries/item/8253-remembering-c-everett-koop-and-lewis-smedes

     THE EMBATTLED CAREER OF DR. KOOP
by Philip Yancey
In three decades of surgery at Philadelphia’s Children’s Hospital, C. Everett Koop pioneered techniques that saved the lives of premature and malformed babies. Meanwhile, in another wing of the hospital an abortion clinic opened, capable of eliminating 10 to 15 lives in the time it took Koop to save 1 or 2. Abortion increasingly became for Koop a simple, black-and-white issue. When he finally spoke out on abortion, he spoke with conviction, calling the Roe v. Wade ruling “the most important event in American history since the Civil War.”

For a time Koop even suspended his brilliant career in pediatric surgery to go on the stump with L’Abri founder Francis Schaeffer. In a dramatic scene from the Schaeffer-produced film series Whatever Happened to the Human Race?, Koop looked out on a thousand naked dolls strewn across the salt wastes of the Dead Sea and proclaimed, “I am standing on the site of Sodom, the place of evil and death.” …. Read this in full at
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/1989/october-20/embattled-career-of-dr-koop.html?paging=off

     AN INTERVIEW WITH C. EVERETT KOOP
Q: When did you become a Christian?
A: I was raised in a Christian home, but with no idea what it meant. For a while I went to the Baptist Church of the Redeemer without knowing what a redeemer was. One Sunday morning I walked into the balcony of Philadelphia’s Tenth Presbyterian Church out of obligation to a nurse who had babysat for us. Right away I was impressed with Barney [Donald Grey Barnhouse], who had the most arresting voice and personal style.

That night he was speaking from Hebrews about Jesus being a priest after the order of Melchizedek. As a child I had lived across the street from a church, where on Saturday nights I could watch the priest play poker and drink whiskey out of a bottle until he vomited out the window. It puzzled me that Jesus should be called a priest.

So at first, wondering if this guy Barnhouse was off his rocker, I went back in order to prove him wrong. And I consider this a real miracle: Although I was the only pediatric surgeon within 400 miles, I never had a true emergency that kept me from attending church morning and evening. The day came, and I can’t tell you how or when, that I realized I was inside the fold rather than outside…. Read this in full at
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/1989/november-3/c-everett-koop-surgeon-generals-warnings.html?paging=off

     THE END IS NOT THE END
by C. Everett Koop
My mother was 87 when she died of uterine cancer. She was in a coma, during which people actually asked me if I wanted to put her on dialysis. That would have been ridiculous for personal, spiritual, and economic reasons.

I do not believe — and have never taught — that every patient should be kept alive for the longest time possible. Nor have I said every patient has to have the last bit of high-tech heroic treatment available. I do believe in the right of the patient to say, “I have lived my life,” and to choose his or her own treatment. But that question becomes complicated when we consider the decisions people make for others who are not cognitive and have not made their final wishes known.

Right now, I am 70 years old and in excellent health. If my kidneys shut down tomorrow, let’s say, after a severe infection, I don’t know how long I would want to be on dialysis. It would be foolish and a waste of resources for me to have a kidney transplant at my age. I would probably opt to clean up my affairs, say goodbye to my family, and drift out in uremia…. Read this in full at
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/1987/march-6/end-is-not-end.html

     WHO PUT THE 3:16 IN JOHN 3:16?
by Mark Coppenger
Like the fellow who thought he’d be crossing visible longitude lines on his ocean voyage to Europe, some may think that the chapter and verse divisions were on the sheet when apostles such as John (or psalmists such as David) wrote down Scripture. But no, they wrote letters and poetry and Gospels and other history without numbering. Those markers were added centuries later. Indeed, when Jesus referred to Exodus 3:6 in Mark 12:26, He simply located it in “in the passage about the burning bush.” Neither the “12:26” nor the “3:6” were yet in place…. Read this in full at
http://www.biblemesh.com/blog/2013/02/13/who-put-the-316-in-john-316/

     WHAT A GARDEN CAN TEACH US: A LENTEN REFLECTION
by Joel J. Miller
I spent some time this weekend gardening. Megan and I recently purchased a new house — actually, a very old one — and it was evident that the yard work had slipped. So after mustering up the resolve, we sallied forth with clippers and rakes in hand.

And what did we have to show for our efforts besides seven bags of leaves and clippings and one rather large pile of branches and scrub? …. Read this in full at
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/joeljmiller/2013/02/what-a-garden-can-teach-us-about-our-hearts/

     DANGEROUS LENT
by Bill Leonard
In my Baptist upbringing we didn’t pay much attention to Lent. Ash Wednesday, for example, was just another prayer meeting night. Yet, we did not disregard the classic Christian struggles — repentance, confession, humility, mortality — that bubble up during the Lenten season.

Rather, they overtook us at seasonal revivals, when sinners saved and unsaved were called to conversion, repentance and renewal. People got saved “hard” at those revivals — “testifying” to all sorts of sins, omitted and committed, that had weighed them down and held grace at bay far too long.

I recall sultry summer nights when as a teen I sat in revival services, filled to the brim with adolescent testosterone and evangelical zeal — both of which can kill you — listening to the public confessions of folks who were leaving their sins behind, but not until they recounted them in colorful and dramatic detail to the rest of us. At the revivals, ashes weren’t distributed on the forehead. They were strewn all over the heart…. Read this in full at
http://www.abpnews.com/opinion/item/8260-dangerous-lent

     NEW BOOK ‘KILLING JESUS’ AVAILABLE FOR REVIEW NOW VIA ELECTRONIC GALLEY
Birthed from in-depth research and international travel, New York Times bestselling author Stephen Mansfield’s latest book, Killing Jesus: The Unknown Conspiracy Behind the World’s Most Famous Execution (Worthy Publishing) reveals gritty details of political and religious intrigue. The book releases May 7, 2013, and electronic galleys are available now for select reviewers.

Retailers and fans have been eagerly awaiting a peek at Mansfield’s new book since it was announced in fall 2012. The book’s website, http://www.KillingJesus.com, goes live on March 11 and will include book excerpts, video from Mansfield, and links for pre-orders…. Read this in full at
http://www.christiannewswire.com/news/8587671591.html

Also see “Bill O’Reilly’s Next Book: ‘Killing Jesus’”
http://www.mediabistro.com/tvnewser/bill-oreillys-next-book-killing-jesus_b167623

     CHRISTIANS SHOULD RECOVER BIBLICAL GRACE, SHANE CLAIBORNE SAYS
The gospel is one of love and grace, and God is in the business of loving people back to life, Christian activist, bestselling author, and a leader of the New Monasticism movement Shane Claiborne reminded his audience Feb. 23 at The Justice Conference. If Christians recover the centrality of grace, Claiborne is hopeful the death penalty will be abolished and gun shops will be shut down.

He used the examples of King David and Saul (Paul before he became a follower of Jesus Christ) from Scripture to illustrate the power of grace. David already had seven wives when he used deception to murder Bathsheba’s husband. Yet, even David was not beyond redemption, Claiborne noted. “Even if you have seven wives and try to kill someone, the Bible is good news.” …. Read this in full at
http://www.christianpost.com/news/christians-should-recover-biblical-grace-shane-claiborne-says-90787/

     WHY PUBLIC SCHOOLS SHOULD TEACH THE BIBLE
By Roma Downey and Mark Burnett
Have you ever sensed in your own life that “the handwriting was on the wall”? Or encouraged a loved one to walk “the straight and narrow”?

Have you ever laughed at something that came “out of the mouths of babes”? Or gone “the extra mile” for an opportunity that might vanish “in the twinkling of an eye”?

If you have, then you’ve been thinking of the Bible.

These phrases are just “a drop in the bucket” (another biblical phrase) of the many things we say and do every day that have their origins in the most read, most influential book of all time. The Bible has affected the world for centuries in innumerable ways, including art, literature, philosophy, government, philanthropy, education, social justice and humanitarianism. One would think that a text of such significance would be taught regularly in schools. Not so. That is because of the “stumbling block” (the Bible again) that is posed by the powers that be in America.
It’s time to change that, for the sake of the nation’s children. It’s time to encourage, perhaps even mandate, the teaching of the Bible in public schools as a primary document of Western civilization…. Read this in full at
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324338604578326150289837608.html

     VERGE 2013 CONFERENCE – MAKING DISCIPLES FOR JESUS
The Verge Network is a group of connected Christians working together to promote Christian community. The Verge Network held its first conference in 2010. Mar. 1, The Christian Post live blogged the event as Christians discussed and learned about how to make disciples of Jesus Christ…. Read this in full at
http://blogs.christianpost.com/cp-events/live-blog-verge-2013-conference-making-disciples-for-jesus-14866/

     DAVID PLATT: CASUAL, CULTURAL CHRISTIANITY IS LEADING PEOPLE TO HELL
David Platt spoke on the issue of discipleship at this year’s Verge Conference, asking what it means to know Christ biblically and to be an actual disciple of Jesus Christ. “How we answer the question will affect in every way how we make disciples,” Platt told thousands of attendees Mar. 1 at the The Moody Theater in Austin, Texas.

“We’re living in a day when it means almost nothing to be a Christian,” said Platt, sharing recent statistics that show many self-professed believers in the US are “marginally committed to Jesus,” which he said shows that many are “deceived” about their relationship with Christ…. Read this in full at
http://www.christianpost.com/news/david-platt-casual-cultural-christianity-is-leading-people-to-hell-91058/

     CAN FAITH GUARANTEE SUCCESS?
by Philip Wise
Have you ever wanted something so badly that you offered God a deal? I’ve talked with many people who have. Middle-aged folks, who have never married but desperately wanted to, have confided that they made a deal with God, that if God would provide someone who would fall in love with them, they would do such-and-such. I know businesswomen who have made deals with God over a new job or a big sale. I’ve known spouses who have made deals with God if God will just keep their sin secret. I’ve known men who have made deals with God in relation to financial security. I’ve counseled patients who have already made a deal with God about surviving surgery. I’ve even made a few deals of my own concerning my children’s health or spiritual well-being…. Read this in full at
http://www.ministrymatters.com/all/article/entry/3660/can-faith-guarantee-success#axzz2M9t7thAW

     WHAT?
“Oh, master…tell me of fate.”
“Ah, my son…it is what has brought great nations together. It has made the world a smaller place in which to live. It has inspired men of worth to work endless hours. It will some day enable men to span the universe and light years of travel will soon become mere seconds in time.”

“And that, my master, is fate?”

“Oh, FATE! I thought you said FREIGHT.”
http://www.mikeysFunnies.com

     DEFLATING PRIDE
by Charles R. Swindoll
Look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the quarry from which you were dug. Isaiah 51:1

In the Hebrew text, the word quarry actually refers to “a hole.” The old King James Version doesn’t miss it far: “the hole of the pit whence ye are digged.”

Never forget “the hole of the pit.”

What excellent advice! Before we get all enamored with our high-and-mighty importance, it’s a good idea to take a backward glance at the “hole of the pit” from which Christ lifted us.

And let’s not just think about it; let’s admit it. Our “hole of the pit” has a way of keeping us all on the same level—recipients of grace…. Read this in full at
http://www.christianity.com/devotionals/todays-insight-chuck-swindoll/today-s-insight-february-25-2013.html

     TONY HALE AND DONALD MILLER TALK ABOUT FAITH, FAME, POLITICS — AND THE EPICNESS OF BEING BUSTER BLUTH
Did you know best-selling author Donald Miller is friends with Tony Hale—as in Buster Bluth, Arrested Development Tony Hale? Well, he is.

So, Relevant magazine got to thinking: What if Don and Tony sat in a room together—with a tape recorder between them—and had a conversation? They could talk Arrested Development (14 brand-new episodes will appear like magic on Netflix in May), faith (yes, Tony is a believer), staying grounded in Hollywood (turns out, it can be done) — and really, any old thing the two of them, as friends, wanted to chat about.
What would it be like to listen in on their conversation? Well, it’d be like this…. Read this in full at
http://www.relevantmagazine.com/culture/tv/hey-brother

     ‘ONE MILLION MEN PORN FREE’ PASTOR: YOU FORGET ABOUT GOD, FAMILY WHEN ADDICTED TO PORN
Pornography is an unspoken word in most congregations, but this powerful addiction is permeating Christian households, and is destroying marriages and parent-child relationships.

To combat the addiction to pornography, Pastor Jay Dennis of First Baptist Church at the Mall in Lakeland, Fla., created his own program, “One Million Men Porn Free,” because he wasn’t able to find resource materials that he could use to defeat the devastating effects the lure of pornography had on members of his church…. Read this in full at
http://www.christianpost.com/news/one-million-men-porn-free-pastor-you-forget-about-god-family-when-addicted-to-porn-90771/

     VERSE TO PONDER
God didn’t give us a spirit that is timid but one that is powerful, loving, and self-controlled.
- 2 Timothy 1:7 (CEB)

     CONSIDER
We have not been created for the purpose of finding our ultimate satisfaction in a job. There is no spouse whom we were ever meant to take as the ultimate concern in our life. We have been made for the purpose of knowing God.”
- Mark Dever

     FIREHOUSE ACCOUNTABILITY: THERE HAS TO BE A BETTER WAY TO LOOK OUT FOR EACH OTHER
by Michael Cheshire
When I was younger I attended an “accountability group” for a while. It was made of several unmarried men in their early twenties who wanted to stay accountable to each other for things men struggle with. That’s a softball way to say we were supposed to stop each other from watching porn, having sex, getting drunk, or doing anything else that seemed sinful.

It didn’t work at all. Sure, it all sounded great, but it quickly became apparent that mere accountability wouldn’t compensate for what we lacked in character and maturity. Each week, we would meet for an hour or so and confess our bad thoughts and deeds. Every week, some of us would do good and some not so good. But for one young guy, every week was an epic fail. He had developed an addition to porn at a very young age, as well as some drug addictions, so he was just a real mess…. Read this in full at
http://www.christianitytoday.com/le/2013/february-online-only/firehouse-accountability.html

     YOU CAN’T MAKE EVERYONE HAPPY
by Craig Groeschel
Hello, my name is Craig Groeschel and I’m a recovering people-pleaser.”

If there were a 12-step group for those obsessed with the approval of others, I’d certainly introduce myself this way. For as long as I can remember, I’ve battled this desire to be liked.

Growing up, I had to have clothing with the right labels or I’d feel less than adequate. I had to have the right friends, join the right social clubs and drive the right car (which I never did) to be accepted by those around me. Most decisions I made were laced with the underlying questions, “What will they think?” “Will they like me if I do this?” “Will this help me fit in?” …. Read this in full at
http://www.relevantmagazine.com/god/practical-faith/you-cant-make-everyone-happy

     FOR AGING RELIGIOUS LEADERS, IS IT STILL ’TILL DEATH US DO PART’?
When aging religious leaders reach the top echelons of temporal and spiritual power, their followers have a certain expectation: Till death us do part.

But Pope Benedict XVI’s surprise resignation has shifted that calculus, prompting introspection about traditional understandings of religions’ senior management and when, if and how to let them go.

While many rank-and-file pastors and priests retire in their 60s, their superiors maintain their posts far longer: Benedict is resigning at 85, the same age as Mormon President Thomas Monson. The Dalai Lama is 77 and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the world leader of Eastern Orthodoxy, is the youngest of the lot at 72.

Some religious leaders prefer to step aside before they die in the job. Former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams retired last year at the relatively young age of 62. Others are term-limited and ease themselves into retirement and fade from the public scene.

Evangelist Billy Graham, now 94, turned the reins of his evangelistic association over to his son Franklin in 2000 but continues to comment on the political scene…. Read this in full at
http://www.religionnews.com/2013/02/25/for-aging-religious-leaders-is-it-still-till-death-us-do-part

     MARCH MADNESS: MAKE YOUR PICKS IN THE VATICAN’S SWEET SISTINE BRACKETS!
More than 100 Roman Catholic cardinals will gather in the Sistine Chapel in March. One will emerge as pope (http://twitter.com/Pontifex). Who will it be? The “Sweet Sistine” is Religion News Service’s guess at the top candidates from each continent…. Read this in full at
http://www.religionnews.com/2013/02/25/march-madness-make-your-picks-in-the-vaticans-sweet-sistine-brackets/

     CHOOSING A NEW POPE? THERE’S A SPOTIFY PLAYLIST FOR THAT
In his last hours on the job, Pope Benedict XVI asked the world to pray for the church, and now there’s a music playlist to put people in the mood for love.

That would be the love of the Holy Spirit. The cardinal who will choose the next pope will pray for guidance, but all believers need to pray along, says theologian Timothy O’Malley, director of the Notre Dame Center for Liturgy.

The music site Spotify called on O’Malley and other experts at University of Notre Dame to select two dozen chants, hymns, suites, orchestral music and more at Conclave: Institute for Church Life, University of Notre Dame…. Read this in full at
http://www.religionnews.com/2013/02/28/choosing-a-new-pope-theres-a-spotify-playlist-for-that/

     BENEDICT GETS NEW TITLE, LOSES RING AND RED SHOES
Pope Benedict XVI is the world’s first prelate to be known as “His Holiness Benedict XVI, Roman pontiff emeritus.” …. Read this in full at
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2013/02/26/pope-benedict-swiss-guard-ex-pope/1948065/

Also see “The Pope Emeritus’ New Shoes And The Mexican Man Who Makes Them”
http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/03/01/173183720/the-pope-emeritus-new-shoes-and-the-mexican-man-who-makes-them?ft=1&f=1016

     POPE BENEDICT XVI’S FINAL PUBLIC WORDS AS PONTIFF
Pope Benedict XVI delivered his final public words as pope Feb. 28 to well-wishers gathered at the papal vacation retreat in Castel Gandolfo south of Rome. Here is the translation of what he said, delivered to a roaring crowd: …. Read this in full at
http://news.yahoo.com/pope-benedict-xvis-final-public-words-pontiff-175332993.html

     TIMELINE: FINAL DAYS OF BENEDICT XVI’S PAPACY AND THE CONCLAVE TO ELECT A NEW POPE
Here’s a timeline to browse significant events planned before Benedict’s resignation and what happens afterwards. We’ll update this timeline when the Vatican announces a date for the start of the conclave…. Read this in full at
http://www.religionnews.com/2013/02/28/timeline-final-days-of-benedict-xvis-papacy-and-the-conclave-to-elect-a-new-pope/

     A NEW POPE, A NEW NAME: HERE’S SOME POPULAR PICKS TO CHOOSE FROM
One of the new pope’s first jobs will be picking a name, and the choice is entirely up to him. Here’s a list of his predecessors’ top picks to help him get started…. Read this in full at
http://www.religionnews.com/2013/02/28/a-new-pope-a-new-name-heres-some-popular-picks-to-choose-from/

     GET YOUR BEARD ON: A CALL TO UNTRIMMED SPIRITUALITY IN A CLEAN-SHAVEN WORLD
by Tyler Blanski
From bearded indie rockers to hipster barkeeps, facial hair is in. And with it come rumors of a holy renaissance. Men and women everywhere are rediscovering the hairy lore of church history, the long curly whiskers of the saints, the bearded patriarchs of the Bible, and how our own spiritual lives can be gnarly and unclipped.

What is more spiritual than facial hair? Socrates and Plato sported the philosophers beard, King David was the first of the bearded poets, and who can forget the gross and swarthy beard of Jesus of Nazareth? Jesus immortalized the beard. To this day, no matter how many centuries have passed since his ascension, growing a thick beard is a pastime for holy men (and maybe even a few women)…. Read this in full at
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tyler-blanski/get-your-beard-untrimmed-spirituality-in-a-clean-shaven-world_b_2775917.html

     DON’T CALL US ‘THE NONES’: IN PRAISE OF RELIGIOUS INDEPENDENCE
by Christian Piatt
I’ve heard a lot about “the nones” lately. No, don’t conjure up images of cantankerous ladies in penguin-like habits enforcing Catholic-school order. These “nones” are the new “spiritual but not religious.”

The Pew Center, a major force in the socio-cultural research world, issued a report last fall that found one in three young adults in the U.S. chooses “none of the above” when asked about their religious affiliation or identity. We humans love ourselves a meme, so of course, the “nones” became a new category of person that hadn’t exactly been labeled as such before.

So what’s the big deal? Who cares if they’re a “none?” For me, it smacks of a dying modernist mindset that simply doesn’t fit anymore. That, and it also imparts a negative connotation on them, as if they lack something everyone else has. Maybe, but not necessarily…. Read this in full at
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/guest-voices/post/dont-call-us-the-nones-in-praise-of-religious-independence/2013/02/25/68a4a5ea-7f54-11e2-b99e-6baf4ebe42df_blog.html

     HOW TO READ THE R-RATED BIBLE WITH CHILDREN
by Sarah Hinlicky Wilson
The simple fact is that the Bible is not a book fit for children, neither in its unsavory parts—murders, rapes, genocides, betrayals, mauling by wild animals, curses, divine retribution and apocalyptic horrors—nor in many of its neutral or even uplifting parts, including statutes and ordinances, proverbs, genealogies, geographies, prophecies, censuses and pretty much all of the epistles. It’s no surprise that most of these sections get dropped from children’s versions altogether, though at some point we may begin to wonder with what justification they still call themselves Bibles. Scripture is definitely something to ease the little ones into, not drop them in cold. So what’s the best way to go about it? …. Read this in full at
http://www.christiancentury.org/article/2013-02/r-rated

     ITALIAN APPAREL COMPANY REGISTERED ‘JESUS’ AS TRADEMARK, PROTECTS IT DEVOUTLY
In a branding coup of biblical proportions, an Italian jeans maker persuaded the US Patent and Trademark Office in 2007 to register the word “Jesus” as a trademark, giving the company exclusive rights in America to sell clothing bearing the name of Christianity’s central figure.

Since then, the owner of the trademark, Jesus Jeans, has clamped down on Jesus-themed apparel, pitting its litigators against more than a dozen other startup clothing lines it claims appropriated “Jesus” without the company’s blessing. The company doesn’t have a trademark on images of Jesus, just the word…. Read this in full at
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324432004578302060560501092.html

     MASS. SCHOOLS TO ALLOW BOYS IN GIRLS’ RESTROOMS
Under a sweeping directive issued by the Massachusetts Department of Education, boys and girls who identify as the opposite sex now are allowed to use whichever school bathroom and locker room they feel most comfortable in, and schools are discouraged from using gender-based clothes and from conducting gender-based practices — even from lining up elementary-aged children based on their sex…. Read this in full at
http://www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=39776

     CHINA ISN’T TRYING TO WIPE OUT CHRISTIANITY
by Brent Fulton and Jan Vermeer
According to the latest statistics from China Aid, 13.8% more Christians in China were persecuted last year as compared with 2011, continuing a trend of increasing persecution that goes back to at least 2007.

On their face these numbers appear to be cause for serious alarm, and the China Aid report has in fact spawned headlines decrying the beginning of the end of the house church in China. However, upon closer examination these statistics do not support China Aid’s assertion of a nationwide government-sponsored campaign against Christianity in China…. Read this in full at
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2013/february-web-only/china-isnt-trying-to-wipe-out-christianity.html?paging=off

     NORTH KOREA’S ‘HATRED OF CHRISTIANS’ PUTS 70,000 BELIEVERS IN PRISON
Persecution of Christians in North Korea shows no sign of abating under the country’s new leader, Kim Jong-Un, according to a report by the worldwide ministry Open Doors.

“The fanatical regime, which rules the destitute country of 24 million people with a proverbial iron fist, has a special hatred for Christians,” Jerry Dykstra of the California-based Open Doors USA noted. “North Korea is in a league of its own when it comes to persecution of Christians.” …. Read this in full at
http://www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=39775

     UN TOLD ATHEISTS FACE DISCRIMINATION AROUND GLOBE
Atheists, humanists, and freethinkers face widespread discrimination around the world with expression of their views criminalized and subject in some countries to capital punishment, the United Nations was told Feb. 25.

In a document for consideration by the world body’s Human Rights Council, a global organization linking people who reject religion said atheism was banned by law in a number of states where people were forced to officially adopt a faith.

“Extensive discrimination by governments against atheists, humanists and the non-religious occurs worldwide,” declared the grouping, the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) which has some 120 member bodies in 45 countries.

In Afghanistan, Iran, Maldives, Mauritania, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan “atheists can face the death penalty on the grounds of their belief” although this was in violation of UN human rights accords, the IHEU said…. Read this in full at
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/25/us-rights-atheists-idUSBRE91O0Z920130225

     CONSIDER
A humble heart is like a magnet that draws the favor of God toward us.”
- Jim Cymbala

     VERSE TO PONDER
Little children, let’s not love with words or speech but with action and truth.
- 1 John 3:18 (CEB)

     THIS WEEK’S HYMN: HALLELUJAH! WHAT A SAVIOR
Words & Music: Philip P. Bliss, 1875

Man of Sorrows! what a name
For the Son of God, who came
Ruined sinners to reclaim.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
In my place condemned He stood;
Sealed my pardon with His blood.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Guilty, vile, and helpless we;
Spotless Lamb of God was He;
Full atonement!” can it be?
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Lifted up was He to die;
It is finished!” was His cry;
Now in Heav’n exalted high.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

When He comes, our glorious King,
All His ransomed home to bring,
Then anew His song we’ll sing:
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

>from NetHymnal at
http://nethymnal.org/htm/h/a/halwasav.htm

     FRIDAY NIGHT ARCHIVE REPLAY – 03/01/2013
Listen to last Friday night’s (03/01/2013) Path Of Life fellowship gathering online broadcast on Blogtalk radio here: “FALSE PROPHETIC VOICES”
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thepath/2013/03/02/false-prophetic-voices

     ON PRAYER
We lie to God in prayer if we do not rely on him afterwards.”
- Robert Leighton

     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. 

Glossary of church architecture
http://www.kencollins.com/glossary/architecture.htm

Glossary of Britain’s medieval cathedral architecture
http://www.britainexpress.com/History/medieval/church-glossary.htm

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.) 

We occasionally stumble over the truth but most of us pick ourselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.
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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