CONNECTIONS News – 04/07/2013

Connecting man to man to God
For week of April 7, 2013
Issue 454

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:

  • NORTH KOREAN CHURCH LEADERS ASK FOR PRAYER AMID WAR PREPARATIONS
  • THE GREATEST COMEBACK OF ALL TIME
  • 64% BELIEVE JESUS CHRIST ROSE FROM THE DEAD
  • WHY A WHEATON COLLEGE PROFESSOR SMEARED JESUS IN HUMAN DIRT
  • A BOOK DOCTOR IN DALLAS PATCHES UP WELL-LOVED BIBLES
  • AFTER THE FALL: A CLIMBER’S TRUE STORY OF FACING DEATH AND FINDING LIFE
  • BIBLE SHAPED AMERICA, HISTORIANS AT FORUM SAY
  • GLOBAL ASSAULT ON CHRISTIANS
  • WHAT REAL PERSECUTION LOOKS LIKE
  • FRIDAY NIGHT ARCHIVE REPLAY
  • MUCH MORE . . .


So then let’s also run the race that is laid out in front of us, since we have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us. Let’s throw off any extra baggage, get rid of the sin that trips us up, and fix our eyes on Jesus, faith’s pioneer and perfecter. He endured the cross, ignoring the shame, for the sake of the joy that was laid out in front of him, and sat down at the right side of God’s throne.
– Hebrews 12:1 (CEB)

     CONSIDER
The Cross is a picture of violence, yet the key to peace, a picture of suffering, yet the key to healing, a picture of death, yet the key to life.”
– David Watson

     NORTH KOREAN CHURCH LEADERS ASK FOR PRAYER AMID WAR PREPARATIONS
North Korean church leaders are asking Christians worldwide to pray for their country amid increased war threats and combat preparation by North Korean military officials.

Prayer for beleaguered believers in North Korea is more important than ever, says Open Doors, an organization that supports persecuted Christians in 60 countries.

According to underground Christians, there is a war-like atmosphere in the country:

We are to meet the decisive battle with a gun in one hand and a hammer in the other,” summarized a Christian leader about the message the North Korean people recently received from the “high command.” …. Read this in full at
http://www.opendoorsusa.org/press/2013/04-April/North-Korean-Church-Leaders-Ask-for-Prayer-Amid-War-Preparations

     WARE: FRACTURED LEG IS “ALL PART OF GOD’S PLAN”
University of Louisville basketball guard Kevin Ware says the gruesome injury he suffered in his school’s NCAA tournament victory over Duke University, in which his right shin bone snapped and protruded though the skin, was part of “God’s plan.”

“This is all God. This is all God’s plan. He would never let anything happen that He wouldn’t want to happen,” he told CNN. He said he believes there’s a reason for everything, but “I don’t know what the reason is going to be” for the injury. “It is just a process. I’m ready for it,” he said…. Read this in full at
http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/03/sport/kentucky-louisville-ware/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

     NATIONAL TRAGEDY AND THE EMPTY TOMB
by Philip Yancey
It’s my own fault, writing a book titled Where Is God When It Hurts? In the more than three decades since publishing it, I’ve been asked to address the question dozens of times and in daunting circumstances — none more daunting, perhaps, than what I faced last year.

In March I visited churches in the Miyagi Prefecture of Japan, one year after a tsunami slammed into the island with the velocity of a passenger jet, snapping railroad tracks and scattering ships, houses, and airplanes across the ravaged landscape. In its wake, with 19,000 dead and whole villages swept away, a busy nation with scant time for theological questions could think of little else.

In October I spoke in Sarajevo, a city in Bosnia and Herzegovina that went four years without heat and electricity and with little food and water as it endured the longest siege in modern warfare. Ten thousand residents died from daily sniper fire and grenades and mortars that fell from the sky like hail. “The worst thing is, you get used to the evil,” one survivor told me. “If we knew in advance how long it would last, we would probably have killed ourselves. Over time, you stop caring.”

Then, after Christmas, I accepted perhaps the hardest assignment of all — not in terms of quantity of suffering (can it ever be quantified?) but in the sheer intensity of horror. I addressed the New England town of Newtown, Connecticut, a community reeling from the murder of 20 schoolchildren and 6 teachers and staff just days prior…. Read this in full at
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2013/april/national-tragedy-and-empty-tomb.html

     MAKE NO MISTAKE
Make no mistake: if He rose at all
it was as His body;
if the cells’ dissolution did not reverse, the molecules
reknit, the amino acids rekindle,
the Church will fall.
… John Updike (1932-2009), from “Seven Stanzas at Easter”, in Telephone Poles and Other Poems, New York: A. Knopf, 1963, p. 72

     OUTSIDE THE EMPTY TOMB
After rising from the dead, Jesus appeared early on Sunday morning to Mary Magdalene, whom he had delivered from seven demons. She went to his former companions, now weeping and carrying on, and told them. — Mark 16:9–10 (MSG)

Can you imagine what that moment was like for Mary Magdalene as she knelt at the entrance to the empty tomb, weeping? Jesus had saved her life, and then she had watched as he was beaten and executed. Now this was all she had left, the bitter blessing of anointing his body with myrrh and aloe, but even that had been taken away from her.

In agony of soul, she reached out to a stranger for help . . . and found herself at the wounded feet of Christ, who spoke her name. There is something so deeply personal and intimate about hearing someone say your name.

Only a few moments before, Peter had been there, and John had been there, but Jesus chose to show himself first to Mary. She was chosen to be the first evangelist!

I don’t know how you view your life or the events that have brought you to where you are today. I don’t know how inadequate you may feel or what physical ailments you may have. But I do know that there is nothing about your life that is an accident. When we look only at external circumstances, we are in danger of missing the whole point of the miracle and gift of the life we have been given.

After the death and resurrection of Christ, Pilate was still in power, Herod still ruled, and the Roman soldiers still rode their horses through the streets of Jerusalem — but everything had changed.

When you know that the God who holds the universe in place knows all that is true about you and loves you enough to die for you, how could life ever be meaningless again?”
– Sheila Walsh in Daily Gifts of Grace

     THE GREATEST COMEBACK OF ALL TIME
by Rick McDaniel
Jesus was the most important person who ever lived. His life, death and resurrection literally changed the course of human history, experiencing the ultimate setback and the ultimate comeback. Jesus began his life miraculously, having been born of a virgin. Conceived by the Holy Spirit through the Virgin Mary, Jesus was literally both God and man. Jesus was unique, which was recognized by the religious scholars of his day when he was still young. Jesus launched his public ministry when he was thirty years old. He overcame the temptation of the Devil in the desert, proclaimed himself to be the Messiah, and gathered together a team of 12 disciples. He traveled throughout his region performing good works, healing the sick, and teaching God’s message. He performed many miracles and created quite a stir among many religious leaders. Jesus predicted that the kingdom of God would come, but it would not be an earthly kingdom or a political revolution. Rather, Jesus would become the leader of each individual’s life and establish his teachings as the way to live. Many chose to become Jesus’ followers, and he gained great popularity with the general public…. Read this in full at
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rick-mcdaniel/the-greatest-comeback-of-all-time_b_2945725.html

     JESUS EVEN AN EXAMPLE IN DYING
by Bill Webb
We can’t lay down our lives for the sins of others, but we can live our lives in such a way as to impress unbelievers with our faith in God and his faithfulness to us. Even if we are called upon to share in his suffering, we live and die with the promise of sharing in his resurrection.

Sometimes we learn more about ourselves when the going gets tough than we do in those infrequent intervals when we seem to be coasting through life. We also learn more about Jesus — God-become-man — when we watch how he dealt with earthly pressures and challenges.

His example during such times should help his followers today as they seek to be more Christ-like in their own flesh-and-blood human existence…. Read this in full at
http://www.wordandway.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2861&Itemid=9

     EASTER’S GREAT ROLE-PLAYING GAME
by Rick Marschall
Many of the new games that absorb young people worldwide – virtually obsessing them – are role-playing games. Video games, “gaming,” computer games, hand-held games, are largely dependent upon tech innovations and New Media. (That’s me, back there, in the dust.) The designs enable players to choose identities and play roles, and engage in “what if” scenarios.

When I worked for Marvel and for Disney, and otherwise wrote fiction, the goal generally was to focus on one character, develop a personality for him/her, and define a clear narrative path, with beginning, middle, and end. Today the computer gamers deal in bifurcation of heroes’ personalities and narrative options (or quadfurcation – yes, that’s a word – or further dispersal of story elements… what if’s… alternate realities).

My son-in-law is a computer-game programmer. As I said, part of my background is in comics and superheroes. When we get together, we usually talk about… the grandkids and the weather. Ha! Superficially similar, the new, popular adventure media are worlds apart from the… “old.”

However, I got to thinking recently about the Easter story in a new way. Through the prism of “role-playing.” Can we imagine ourselves as some of the principal players? What we would have done? How we would have reacted? …. Read this in full at
http://www.mondayministry.com/blog/2013/03/29/easters-great-role-playing-game/

     64% BELIEVE JESUS CHRIST ROSE FROM THE DEAD
Most Americans say they strongly believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead. But do they really? If belief doesn’t result in personal (and collective) change, is it really faith?

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 64% of American adults believe Jesus rose from the dead, while 19% reject the central Christian tenet of the Resurrection. Seventeen percent (17%) are not sure. See the survey question wording at http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/lifestyle/questions/march_2013/questions_easter_march_23_24_2013

The survey of 1,000 Adults was conducted on March 23-24, 2013 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC.
http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/lifestyle/holidays/march_2013/64_believe_jesus_christ_rose_from_the_dead

     WHY A WHEATON COLLEGE PROFESSOR SMEARED JESUS IN HUMAN DIRT
David Hooker spent a lot of this past Lent playing in the dirt — specifically the dirt of students at Wheaton College, Illinois, where Hooker has taught art for 8 years. With help from the Christian college’s custodians, he collected the hair, skin cells, nail clippings, and other ephemera vacuumed up in the dorms, then has ritually applied it to a 5-foot-tall corpus of Christ that he bought for $4,000 from a vestments company that resells de-commissioned vestments from churches. Titled Corpus, the dirt-covered Christ is on display in Wheaton’s biblical and theological studies department.

Hooker spoke with Christianity Today managing editor Katelyn Beaty about why the piece is anything but sacrilegious…. Read this in full at
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2013/march-web-only/why-wheaton-college-professor-smeared-jesus-in-human-dirt.html

     RARE TV APPEARANCE FOR TURIN SHROUD, CHRISTIANITY’S FAMOUS RELIC
What may be the most famous religious relic of them all, the Turin Shroud (http://www.shroud.com/), made a rare appearance on Easter Saturday — on Italians’ TV screens.

One of Benedict XVI’s last acts as pope, according to Vatican Radio, was to authorize the broadcast of video of the shroud from Turin Cathedral, where the mysterious Christian relic is kept, out of sight, in a bulletproof, climate-controlled glass case.

According to Vatican Radio, only once before have images of the centuries-old linen cloth been broadcast. That was in 1973, at the request of then-Pope Paul VI…. Read this in full at
http://us.cnn.com/2013/03/29/world/europe/italy-turin-shroud/index.html
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/9962709/Pope-Francis-links-Turin-Shroud-to-Jesus-Christ-as-cloth-is-shown-on-television-for-Easter.html
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-21984018

Also see “The Turin Shroud in Detail”
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8612315.stm

     THE FEAR OF GOD
by Clare De Graaf
What does it mean to fear God? I was asked that question recently by a relatively new Christian. He’d been brought to faith; attracted by the love of God for him in spite of his complete immorality and blasphemy of God. Then he fell in love with Jesus and the rest, as they say, was history.

But, now he’s reading the Bible and Christian books and they talk of the need to fear God and he’s confused. (And truthfully, so am I occasionally.) “How do I both love God and fear him at the same time?,” he asked. A great question. So, here’s what I told him and I’d be interested to hear, if you agree…. Read this in full at
http://www.claredegraaf.com/2013/04/01/the-fear-of-god/

     THE DEATH OF DEATH
by Clay Morgan
Vampires, zombies, ghosts, and undead creatures appeal to us because eternity has been set in our hearts. Our limited minds aren’t able to comprehend infinity, yet humankind has long been obsessed with immortality. We feel that there’s something beyond this existence. A person’s soul, spirit, essence, or whatever we want to call it must live forever.

In all our speculation we’ve created fictional scenarios in which life beyond the grave happens right here on earth. It’s part of what makes creatures of the night so interesting. In some ways, visions of undead hordes aren’t too far from what the Bible predicts. That’s what resurrection is, after all. Dead people will come back to life. If Scripture is accurate, then we are all getting a seriously extreme makeover for eternity—a version of our bodies that can never be destroyed.

Paul said the perishable will become imperishable. First century believers like the Corinthians were already asking him how such a thing could be possible. “How are the dead raised?” they wondered. “With what kind of body will they come?” It’s like they were saying, “How could this possibly work? What would a corpse look like if it was pulled from the grave? Are you nuts?!” Even New Testament listeners in places like Corinth envisioned grim, zombielike bodies…. Read this in full at
http://www.ministrymatters.com/all/blog/entry/3760/the-death-of-death

     COMMIT EVERYTHING TO GOD
Nothing is too great and nothing is too small to commit into the hands of the Lord.”
– A. W. Pink (1886-1952), in a letter, April 14, 1940

     A BOOK DOCTOR IN DALLAS PATCHES UP WELL-LOVED BIBLES
Especially in evangelical churches, worshipers often bring their own Bibles to church, so they can write marginalia, dog-ear pages, and tuck in things of special interest, religious or otherwise. What they tuck in, Candice McKay finds.

At the Book Doctor, a book repair and restoration business in the trendy Bishop Arts District neighborhood, the Bible is one of the big three. “We’re kind of Bibles, cookbooks, and kids’ books,” Ms. McKay said from behind her store’s counter. “Those are the things people want to save or pass on.”

Ms. McKay, 40, grew up here, then left to major in art history major at Kenyon College, in Ohio. After college, she worked at Yale University Press, where a co-worker taught her how to bind books. When she and her husband moved back to Texas, she took a class in the shop she now owns…. Read this in full at
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/30/us/a-book-doctor-in-dallas-patches-up-well-loved-bibles.html?ref=books

     AFTER THE FALL: A CLIMBER’S TRUE STORY OF FACING DEATH AND FINDING LIFE
Craig DeMartino describes himself as a regular guy and a climbing junkie. His life was going well — until the fall. The fall that should have killed him.

After The Fall: A Climber’s True Story of Facing Death and Finding Life (Kregel Publications) recounts DeMartino’s traumatic and compelling story.

After falling 100 feet during a climb, DeMartino found himself in a living nightmare. Trusting and hoping the doctors could fix his broken limbs and cure the intolerable pain, he soon learned that God had a whole different plan. But first, he had to seek God to discover what that plan was. That’s where he’d find comfort beyond the pain, and hope for his future (even though it meant a very different future from the one he and his wife had envisioned).

Miracles play an important part in DeMartino’s journey — eight he specifically highlights — as well as the people God puts in his path that are instrumental in helping him find his way and make the best choices for himself and his family. Through it all, he becomes a new man with a powerful platform to share Christ. Who can ignore a high-achiever who is missing a limb? …. Read this in full at
http://www.examiner.com/review/after-the-fall-a-climber-s-true-story-of-facing-death-and-finding-life

     DRAWING FROM THE SOURCE
In the following excerpt from the book Creature of the Word (B&H Books), written by Matt Chandler, Josh Patterson, and Eric Geiger, substitute the word “Christian” in place of “Church” and consider how this principle pertains to your daily life:

“The 137-mile long Atchafalaya River is a distributary of the Mississippi River that meanders through south central Louisiana and empties into the Gulf of Mexico, serving as a significant source of income for the region because of the many industrial and commercial opportunities it offers. Yet as scenic, productive and enriching as this river is, it owes all its strength—all of it—to the mighty Mississippi.

“That’s because a distributary doesn’t have its own direct water source; it is an overflow of something else. So when the Mississippi is high, the Atchafalaya is high; and when the Mississippi is low, the Atchafalaya is low. What the Atchafalaya accomplishes depends wholly on something other than itself.

“The Church is a lot like the Atchafalaya River. Anything of value she accomplishes is always tied to her source. So if she somehow loses connection with it—with her first love, the Living Word—she loses all power. She dries up and empties. If any church becomes fed by a less potent source, by some other supply system than the gospel of Christ, her level of transformative power is directly affected. It’s like trying to overflow the banks of a river with a twelve-ounce bottle of water. Impossible. Pointless…

“Just as the river forms distributaries, the gospel forms the Church. The distributaries do not form the river, just as the Church does not form the gospel. When a church confuses the order, she loses her true effectiveness. When a church chooses something other than the river of the gospel as the driving force behind her teaching, programming, staffing and decisions, she empties herself of all power. Instead of becoming a distributor of life, she becomes a distributary of death. She doesn’t really have anything else to offer.”
http://www.amazon.com/Creature-Word-The-Jesus-Centered-Church/dp/1433678624/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364913163&sr=8-1&keywords=creature+of+the+word

     WHO DEFINES DOCTRINE?
by David Neff
Truth is eternal, but the language of truth—precisely what believers believe, how they summarize it, and what dimensions they emphasize—changes. Doctrine is conditioned by events and movements.

One example is the Rule of Faith—the words repeated by those about to be baptized into the early Christian church. It no doubt began as something like 1 Timothy 3:16 (“He appeared in a body, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory,” NIV 1984), a summary of the Christ event. By the year 381, it had become what is now called the Nicene Creed, a careful delineation of the life and work of the Trinity. The language of truth had changed in reaction to at least four heresies—Arianism, Apollinarianism, Macedonianism, and Chiliasm…. Read this in full at
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2013/march/who-defines-doctrine.html?paging=off

     VERSE TO PONDER
He was pierced because of our rebellions and crushed because of our crimes. He bore the punishment that made us whole; by his wounds we are healed. Like sheep we had all wandered away, each going its own way, but the LORD let fall on him all our crimes.
– Isaiah 53:5-6 (CEB)

     CONSIDER
A man who has faith cannot be unhappy, because he is never alone.”
– Leo Tolstoy

     BIBLE SHAPED AMERICA, HISTORIANS AT FORUM SAY
Scripture has had a tremendous influence on the rights of citizens throughout American history, two historians said at a recent Washington, DC, forum.

“The Bible permeated both private expressions and the public announcements of those who shaped the new nation and its political institutions,” said Daniel Dreisbach, an author and a law professor at American University.

The Founding Fathers were not as religiously conventional as history textbooks make them out to be, he said.

“The Bible’s influence is not merely ignored in the scholarship; rather, many scholars contend that the leading founders — influenced by rationalism, the enlightenment — rejected biblical ideas,” Dreisbach said in the March 20 forum hosted by the Family Research Council.

Although many see the Founding Fathers as deists, Dreisbach said this may not have wholly been the case…. Read this in full at
http://www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=40001

     TRUE HAPPINESS
by Gary L. Welton
One of the most famous opening lines in literature comes from Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina: “All happy families are like one another; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

Great literature causes us to think and ponder; it directs us to the significant questions of life. As such, it might have multiple meanings at different levels or with different applications. What was Tolstoy trying to say?

At face value, the line never quite made sense to me. Instead, one might argue that all unhappy families are the same, where all individuals seek their own selfish ends. Only happy families allow each other to be unique and different individuals. I think I can make a strong case for the opposite quote, “All unhappy families are like one another; each happy family is happy in its own way.”

But I’m glad to let Tolstoy write the quote; he is clearly a much better writer than I. But what does he mean? After I reread Anna Karenina a few years ago (I have a rule that no novel is allowed to be on my all-time favorite list until I have read it at least twice), I took advantage of modern technology, and conducted a word search of the book for the various forms of “happy” using a gutenberg.org online version. Personally, I prefer to read paper books, but electronic tools do allow for searches that would not otherwise be feasible. Also, I apologize, but I worked with an English translation. I would so love to be able to read Anna Karenina in the original language…. Read this in full at
http://www.visionandvalues.org/2013/03/true-happiness/

     DIED: EDITH SCHAEFFER, CO-FOUNDER OF L’ABRI WITH HUSBAND FRANCIS
Edith Schaeffer, who along with her husband Francis founded the influential L’Abri Fellowship in Switzerland, died at home March 30. She was 98.

Her son, Frank Schaeffer, announced her passing on his Patheos blog. “Mom completed a dramatic life with a final flourish: she died on Easter Saturday, to join her risen Lord,” he wrote, later noting:

Mom was a wonderful paradox: an evangelical conservative fundamentalist who treated people as if she was an all-forgiving progressive liberal of the most tolerant variety. Mom’s daily life was a rebuke and contradiction to people who see everything as black and white. Liberals and secularists alike who make smug disparaging declarations about “all those evangelicals” would see their fondest prejudices founder upon the reality of my mother’s compassion, cultural literacy and loving energy.” …. Read this in full at
http://blog.christianitytoday.com/ctliveblog/archives/2013/04/died-edith-schaeffer-cofounder-labri-husband-francis.html

Also see GOODBYE MOM, EDITH SCHAEFFER 1914 – 2013 RIP
by Frank Schaeffer
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/frankschaeffer/2013/03/goodbye-mom-edith-schaeffer-1914-2013-rip/

     ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT
by John Burke
Your life, as we will see, was meant to be a tool of restoration in the hands of the Master Artist. But we must become more like Jesus than the Pharisees — and that starts with the right attitude of heart. Jesus must have pictured what he created people to be, and that vision affected how he felt about them. I’m sure those he encountered picked up on his attitude toward them, and that’s probably why so many muddied people flocked to him — in his eyes they saw a glimmer of hope for who they were meant to be.

I’m convinced that people intuitively pick up on our attitude toward them. What’s in our hearts toward people will be felt by them…. Read this in full at
http://www.faithvillage.com/article/e4ffa7a346204c1c927cc310577c34c4/attitude_adjustment

     GLOBAL ASSAULT ON CHRISTIANS
by Mark Tooley
Religious liberty scholar Paul Marshall, journalist Lela Gilbert, and human rights lawyer Nina Shea have released a new book on international torment of Christians by Islamists and communists called Persecuted: The Global Assault on Christians (Thomas Nelson). Their launch was March 27 at the Hudson Institute, where all three are affiliated, with Dietrich Bonhoeffer biographer Eric Metaxas moderating.

It’s rarely if ever fashionable among Western elites to focus on persecution of Christians. According to secular and leftist mythology, Christians are habitually the persecutors and imperialists. Victims groups are typically non-Christians. But today most Christians are outside the West, in the East or Global South, where hundreds of millions are routinely vulnerable to oppressive regimes and/or hostile movements. The largest persecuted Christian group is in China. But persecution of Christians is most ascendant against Christians in majority Muslim countries…. Read this in full at
http://spectator.org/archives/2013/03/28/global-assault-on-christians

     WHAT REAL PERSECUTION LOOKS LIKE
by Nina Shea
In September 2005, a middle-aged woman was taken by state security officials from her home in North Korea’s North Pyongan Province. She was put under arrest and taken to a local farm, where government officials had assembled in the threshing area to carry out her punishment. The sole civilian witness eventually fled to South Korea and reported what unfolded next to the Database Center for North Korean Human Rights. As he told the private human rights group, “Guards tied her head, her chest, and her legs to a post, and shot her dead.” He added, “I was curious why she was to be shot. Somebody told me she had kept a Bible at her home.”

Merely having the Christian Scriptures, which likely were smuggled across the border from China, put the unknown woman under suspicion of converting to Christianity, and perhaps even sharing her new faith with others. Our research, drawn from United Nations studies, US governmental sources, newspaper accounts and documentation from churches, think tanks and human rights groups, found that in North Korea, Iran, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere, Christian conversion is treated as a capital crime or otherwise severely punished.

The right of conversion, as long as it is not forced, is an integral part of the fundamental human right to religious freedom. Yet, as we document in our new book, “Persecuted,” in many countries, in various parts of the world, and stemming from various motives, religious conversion draws horrific reprisals…. Read this in full at
http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/04/03/my-take-what-real-persecution-looks-like/

     THE BIBLE’S RESURRECTION TALES SHOW US FAITH BASED ON PEACEFUL PERSUASION.
by Joseph Loconte
Whether read as history or allegory, the resurrection stories in the Gospels offer an approach to faith that challenges the militant religions of our own day.

Consider the account in Luke’s gospel about two disciples of Jesus, just days after his crucifixion, fleeing Jerusalem for their home in nearby Emmaus. They are fugitives: Jesus was executed on the charge of sedition, after all, and it is not safe for his followers to remain in the city. His horrific death has cast them into a storm of grief and doubt.

Somewhere along the road to Emmaus, Jesus appears to the men as “a stranger” — they don’t immediately recognize him — and a conversation ensues. The stranger upbraids them for their politicized religion, that is, for thinking that Israel’s Messiah would be a military or political liberator. Rather, he explains, the Messiah was meant to suffer for the sake of his people in order to win them spiritual freedom: “And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he explained to them what was said in the Scriptures concerning himself.” Finally, by the end of their journey — after talking and debating and sharing a meal together — the travelers recognize who the stranger is.

The disciples have been guided, not coerced, out of their skepticism. Their objections have been met with reason, not force. The stranger has described the world they were meant to live in, a world drenched in beauty, peace, justice and love. They are cut to the quick: “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scripture to us?” …. Read this in full at
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323978104578334280070738430.html

     CONSIDER
When I speak of a person growing in grace, I mean simply this- that his sense of sin is becoming deeper, his faith stronger, his hope brighter, his love more extensive, and his spiritual mindedness more marked.”
– J. C. Ryle

     VERSE TO PONDER
We have been ransomed through his Son’s blood, and we have forgiveness for our failures based on his overflowing grace.
– Ephesians 1:7 (CEB)

     THIS WEEK’S HYMN: JESUS CHRIST IS RISEN TODAY
Words: 14th Century Bohemian Latin carol
Music: Robert Williams, 1817;

Jesus Christ is risen today, Alleluia!
Our triumphant holy day, Alleluia!
Who did once, upon the cross, Alleluia!
Suffer to redeem our loss, Alleluia!

Hymns of praise then let us sing, Alleluia!
Unto Christ, our heavenly King, Alleluia!
Who endured the cross and grave, Alleluia!
Sinners to redeem and save, Alleluia!

But the pains which He endured, Alleluia!
Our salvation hath procured, Alleluia!
Now above the sky He’s king, Alleluia!
Where the angels ever sing, Alleluia!

Sing we to our God above, Alleluia!
Praise eternal as His love, Alleluia!
Praise Him, all you heavenly host, Alleluia!
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, Alleluia!

>from NetHymnal at
http://nethymnal.org/htm/j/c/jcirtoda.htm

     FRIDAY NIGHT ARCHIVE REPLAY – 04/05/2013
WHO IS JESUS?
The most important question we face today is — Who is Jesus Christ?
Simply learning what the Bible says about Jesus is not enough. Once you’ve heard who He is and what He came to do, you must respond.
What will you do with Jesus?
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thepath/2013/04/06/who-is-jesus

     ON PRAYER
To pray is to change. This is a great grace. How good of God to provide a path whereby our lives can be taken over by love and joy and peace and patience and kindness and goodness and faithfulness and gentleness and self-control.”
– Richard J. Foster

     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. 

Daily Hope with Rick Warren radio program
http://www.rickwarren.org/

ChristianRadio.com
http://www.christianradio.com/

Time Lapse Video: Building an NCAA Final Four basketball court
http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=50143862n

Photo Gallery: The most religious US metropolitan areas
http://www.religionnews.com/2013/04/02/photo-gallery-the-most-religious-u-s-metropolitan-areas/

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.) 

Some cause happiness wherever they go. Others, whenever they go. Which one are you?
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/  

Subscribe!
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Get Archives of all past issues here:
http://www.pathoflifeministries.net/connections/archives_all.html

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