CONNECTIONS News – 04/21/2013

Connecting man to man to God
For week of April 21, 2013
Issue 456

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:

  • LIFE ORGANIZES ITSELF AROUND THE HEART
  • GOD’S DESIGNATED WAY TO SOLVE OUR PROBLEMS
  • THINK ON THESE THINGS
  • THE TROUBLE WITH CUSSING CHRISTIANS
  • JACKIE ROBINSON’S FAITH MISSING FROM “42″ MOVIE 
  • WHY MULTIPLE TRANSLATIONS MIGHT EVEN BE BETTER THAN SCRIPTURE IN ITS ORIGINAL LANGUAGES 
  • NEW BARNA STUDY EXPLORES TRENDS AMONG AMERICAN DONORS
  • SPORTS SPECTRUM DAILY LAUNCHED TO DELIVER BREAKING SPORTS NEWS FROM A CHRISTIAN PERSPECTIVE
  • HOW POST-CHRISTIAN IS AMERICAN SOCIETY?
  • WHY STUDY CHURCH HISTORY? GETTING BEYOND AMERICAN-EVANGELICAL AMNESIA 
  • THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT?
  • FRIDAY NIGHT ARCHIVE REPLAY
  • MUCH MORE . . .


Don’t do anything for selfish purposes, but with humility think of others as better than yourselves. Instead of each person watching out for their own good, watch out for what is better for others.
- Philippians 2:3-4 (CEB)

     CONSIDER
Nothing sets a person so much out of the devil’s reach as humility.”
- Jonathan Edwards

     GEORGE BEVERLY SHEA DIES; SANG WITH BILLY GRAHAM
Legendary Gospel music singer George Beverly Shea, whose career spanned much of the 20th century and who long served the Rev. Billy Graham, died April 16, 2013, in Asheville, NC, at 104 after a short illness.

The Canadian-born Shea was a Grammy-winning singer, whose deep rich voice led him to be known as “America’s beloved gospel singer.” He recorded 70 albums, toured the world, and earned 10 Grammy nominations. He won a Grammy in 1965, and the Grammy organization gave him a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011…. Read this in full at
http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/people/2013/04/16/george-beverly-shea-dies-billy-graham/2089545/

GEORGE BEVERLY SHEA, BILLY GRAHAM’S SINGER, DIES AT 104
Mr. Shea’s vocal style was characterized by a resonant bass-baritone, impeccable diction, sensitive musical phrasing and an unshowmanlike delivery that nonetheless conveyed his own ardent religious conviction…. Read this in full at
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/18/arts/music/george-beverly-shea-billy-grahams-singer-dies-at-104.html?_r=0

DIED: GEORGE BEVERLY SHEA, LONGTIME SINGER AT BILLY GRAHAM CRUSADES
This obituary has been substantially updated with videos, photos, commentary, and other links…. Read this in full at
http://blog.christianitytoday.com/ctliveblog/archives/2013/04/died-george-beverly-shea-billy-graham-crusades-gospel-singer.html

GEORGE BEVERLY SHEA, BILLY GRAHAM’S BOOMING BARITONE, DIES
http://www.christianpost.com/news/george-beverly-shea-billy-grahams-booming-baritone-dies-94098/

REMEMBERING GEORGE BEVERLY SHEA
by William Martin
During the several crusades I attended while doing research for A Prophet with Honor—The Billy Graham Story, I often had dinner after the service in the restaurant of the hotel where members of the crusade and a number of the ministry’s longtime friends were staying. Shea, of course, was known to all and could easily have played the celebrity, waiting for people to come to him. But on numerous occasions, I saw him rise from the table and cross the room to greet someone who had just arrived.

When I first met Shea, he was 78. Over the years, I marveled at how he seemed always to be much the same. After a crusade service in Dallas in 2002, when he was 92, I complimented his singing and marveled at his ability to still sing with such simple beauty and resonance—as if he were rolling out a warm blanket over the congregation. He thanked me, but said with a twinkle, “I think I sounded better when I was 90.” …. Read this in full at
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2013/april-web-only/remembering-george-beverley-shea.html?paging=off

THE STORY OF GEORGE BEVERLY SHEA’S SIGNATURE TUNE
by David Neff
The song most associated with Billy Graham is “Just As I Am,” but Bev Shea’s signature tune is clearly “How Great Thou Art.” Even though nearly every gospel artist – from Elvis Presley to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir – has recorded it, it is Bev Shea’s tune. Here’s the story of that song.

George Beverly Shea’s first contact with “How Great Thou Art” dates to 1954. But the song itself dates to 1885, when Swedish pastor Carl Gustav Boberg was caught in a thunderstorm…. Read this in full at
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2013/april-web-only/how-great-thou-art-100-year-old-bass.html?paging=off

Read more coverage of George Beverly Shea’s death at
http://goo.gl/XIDjh

     ‘RAGAMUFFIN GOSPEL’ AUTHOR BRENNAN MANNING DIES
Brennan Manning, the Christian author, Franciscan priest, speaker and theologian best known for his book, The Ragamuffin Gospel, died on Friday following several years of declining health. He was 78.

Manning’s sister and brother-in-law, Gerry and Art Rubino, announced his passing on Manning’s website and Facebook page, adding that, “While he will be greatly missed we should all take comfort in the fact that he is resting in the loving arms of his Abba.” …. Read this in full at
http://www.charismanews.com/us/39076-ragamuffin-author-brennan-manning-dies

REST IN PEACE, BRENNAN MANNING
by Jana Riess
Oh no!” That was my response this morning when I saw on Twitter that Brennan Manning, the alcoholic ragamuffin saint, passed away April 12.

I first found Manning through The Ragamuffin Gospel, as many people do. I was struck by his raw honesty and entire dependence on God. Billing itself as “good news for the bedraggled, beat-up, and burnt-out,” the book was a fresh cup of grace to many who were tired of fellow Christians’ legalism and judgment.

And did he ever need that cup of grace. Luther once famously said to “sin boldly,” and it pleases me to think that Manning did just that. By that I don’t mean that he sinned any more than most of us. I think that for him, “sin boldly” was not so much a license to sin as a license to talk about it. He was not a hider…. Read this in full at
http://janariess.religionnews.com/2013/04/13/rest-in-peace-brennan-manning/

BRENNAN’S OBITUARY
Brennan Manning, April 27, 1934 – April 12, 2013
Suffering, failure, loneliness, sorrow, discouragement, and death will be part of your journey, but the Kingdom of God will conquer all these horrors. No evil can resist grace forever.”

Richard Francis Xavier Manning, better known to legions of faithful readers as author, speaker, and contemplative Brennan Manning, for whom grace was irresistible, completed his earthly journey on Friday, April 12 at 12:10AM. He is now resting safely in the arms of his Abba.

Brennan was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. After attending St. John’s University for two years, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps, serving overseas as a sports writer for the U.S. Marine Corps newspaper. Upon his return, Brennan began a program in journalism at the University of Missouri. He departed after a semester, restlessly searching for something “more” in life. “Maybe the something ‘more’ is God,” an adviser suggested, triggering Brennan’s enrollment at Saint Francis Catholic seminary in Loretto, Pennsylvania…. Read this in full at
http://brennanmanning.com/

THE PATCHED-UP LIFE AND UNSHABBY MESSAGE OF BRENNAN MANNING
by Agnieszka Tennant
The first time the late singer-songwriter Rich Mullins heard former Franciscan priest Brennan Manning on tape as he drove through the edge of the Flint Hills in Kansas, his eyes filled with tears. He steered the truck to the side of the road. There, as he later wrote, the message “broke the power of mere ‘moralistic religiosity’ in my life, and revived a deeper acceptance that had long ago withered in me.”

Dallas Willard, who penned The Divine Conspiracy and Renovation of the Heart, once wrote that Manning’s writing “throws firebrands into your soul.”

Singer and writer Michael Card calls Manning when he’s “in a bad place” and has named his oldest son after him. The priest’s book Lion and Lamb: The Relentless Tenderness of Jesus “healed my image of God,” Card told Christianity Today…. Read this in full at
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2004/june/22.42.html?paging=off

THE RAGAMUFFIN LEGACY
by Ben Simpson
For many Christians, Brennan Manning and grace are synonymous. Therein lies the scandal, and the triumph.

Let’s start with the scandal. Richard Francis Xavier “Brennan” Manning was an alcoholic and an addict. He hurt those close to him by compulsive lying, mainly due to hide his drinking, or if not, as he put it, to “stay in practice.” He was a former Franciscan priest, who broke his vows to marry. He later divorced.

But then there’s the triumph. Manning was a powerful writer and speaker, beloved and respected for his passionate witness to the expansiveness of God’s mercy and forgiveness, the availability of intimacy and communion with “Abba, Father,” and the inexhaustible grace of Jesus Christ. And he would know…. Read this in full at
http://www.relevantmagazine.com/god/practical-faith/ragamuffin-legacy

     SELF-KNOWLEDGE
Unfortunately, contemporary men and women simply do not value self-knowledge in the same way that all preceding generations have. For us technocratic knowledge reigns supreme. Even when we pursue self-knowledge, we all too often reduce it to a hedonistic search for personal peace and prosperity. How poor we are! Even the pagan philosophers were wiser than this generation. They knew that an unexamined life was not worth living.”
- Richard J. Foster, Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home, HarperCollins, 1992, p. 30

     LIFE ORGANIZES ITSELF AROUND THE HEART
by Clare De Graaf
I had a great discussion with one of our grandchildren a few weeks ago, while on vacation. The question came up of why Christians would make sinful choices, when based on the Bible, we ought to know better. So, here’s what I told him, but in more simple terms.

Our “heart” is the control center of our will – it is what gives orientation to everything we do. If our heart wants something bad enough, whether good or evil, it will tempt us to believe information, or make choices which help us get that which we want and reject information and choices which hinder us in that quest. Often we “want” two opposing things which fight for our attention – the thing we really want and the thing we know we should want.

Once we’ve set our heart on something that we know is wrong, or strongly suspect is wrong, our minds go into full swing to set up justification logic for the sole purpose of sweeping guilt out of the path to the thing we want. We then subconsciously form a theology or a belief system to fit the desires of our heart, rather than God’s heart and it morphs into new “truth” for us.

On top of that, the human heart has a way of giving itself “credit” for just wanting to do the right thing. We also give ourselves additional credit for good moral decisions we’ve made in the past. This moral bank account, often frees up our conscience to justify our sinful behavior…. Read this in full at
http://www.claredegraaf.com/2013/04/15/life-organizes-itself-around-the-heart/

     MY TAKE: NOTHING WRONG WITH NAZI ASSIGNMENT
by Stephen Prothero
School officials in Albany, New York, are racing to control the damage after a teacher at Albany High School gave students a persuasive writing assignment that challenged them to defend the proposition that “Jews are evil.”

After studying Nazi propaganda and rhetoric, sophomores in three English classes were instructed to imagine that their teacher was “a member of the government in Nazi Germany” and to prove that that they were “loyal to the Nazis.”

But this unidentified teacher is now caught up in a propaganda swirl of his or her own…. Read this in full at
http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/04/13/my-take-nothing-wrong-with-nazi-assignment/

     GOD’S DESIGNATED WAY TO SOLVE OUR PROBLEMS
by Patrick Morley, PhD
We all know the problems — divorce, fatherlessness, domestic abuse, racism, crime, corruption, apathy, and poverty, to name a few. Some of the stats are alarming:
* NBC News just reported 42% of women prefer cohabitation over marriage.
* 74% of people under 30 are not married.
* Today, the US Federal debt is $53,350 per every man, woman, & child.
* 41% of babies are born to single mothers.
* 18% of pregnancies are terminated by abortion.
* 28% of children live in a single parent home.
* Church attendance has dropped to 17.7% overall and 13.3% among men.

Jesus sees these problems too, so what is His solution? There’s ultimately one and only one solution to these problems: A wholesale outpouring of the gospel of grace that changes our character and conduct. But how do we release this gospel? Making disciples is God’s designated way to release the power of the gospel on each and every one of these problems.

The Scriptures actually put disciple-making into the category of a moral issue — a choice between right and wrong, obedience and disobedience. But is that true? Is making disciples really a “moral” issue? That’s an important question…. Read this in full at
http://www.maninthemirror.org/weekly-briefing/509-gods-designated-way-to-solve-our-problems

     THE TRAITS THAT MAKE A LEADER
What’s the most important quality in a leader? According to a new survey of Christian adults conducted by the Barna Group in conjunction with Brad Lomenick, president of the Catalyst conference, the primary answer is “integrity.” More than half (64%) of Christians say integrity is one of the most important traits a leader must have. Other traits Christians say are important include authenticity (40% listed this as a vital characteristic) and discipline (38%). In fact, Christian adults chose all three of these qualities above “passion for God” — less than one-third (31%) listed that as a necessary trait. The traits Christian adults were least likely to select as most important are humility (7%) and purpose (5%)…. Read this in full at
http://www.barna.org/culture-articles/615-christians-on-leadership-calling-and-career

     6 CONSIDERATIONS FOR LEADERS WHO ARE NOT STEVE JOBS
by Thom Rainer
Steve Jobs casts a long shadow. Indeed, it is hard to believe that it has been 18 months have since his death. The passing of the noted Apple co-founder engendered a plethora of articles, presentations and books, most notably the impressive biography by former Time editor Walter Isaacson. Indeed, I was among those who weighed with my article on 10 lessons about organizational leadership from Steve Jobs. Though Jobs will never disappear from the annals of business history, the “buzz” has subsided.

As I reflect on the life and contributions of this enigmatic man, a sobering reality struck me. We can write about Jobs’ successes and genius, and offer leadership lessons learned. However, the fact remains that most of us will never attain Jobs’ genius or notoriety. Are there really lessons from his life and leadership that we can apply in our seemingly mundane lives? After reading through some of the posthumous literature and meditating on it, I indeed learned six lessons for the mostly-ordinary rest of us…. Read this in full at
http://www.churchcentral.com/blog/10197/Six-considerations-for-leaders-who-are-not-Steve-Jobs

     THINK ON THESE THINGS
Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8 (NIV)

Dear Jesus,
This is glorious — yet disconcerting! My thinking is not only the part of me that feels most hidden and secret; it is also the most difficult part of my behavior to master. In relationships with other people I can interact with them while keeping my secret thoughts to myself. Your ability to read my every thought is alarming, but it is also wonderful. It’s a relief that there is Someone from whom I cannot hide: Secretiveness breeds loneliness. Moreover, the fact that You care about every aspect of me — even all my thoughts — demonstrates how important I am to You.

Beloved,
I know how difficult it is for you to control your thoughts. Your mind is a battleground, and evil spirits work tirelessly to influence your thinking: even deceiving you with intrusive thoughts at times. Your own sinfulness also finds ample expression in your thoughts. You need to stay alert and fight against evil! I fought and died for you, so remember who you are and Whose you are. Thus, you put on the helmet of salvation. This helmet not only protects your mind, it also reminds you of the victory I secured for you on the cross.

Your thoughts are precious to Me because you are My treasure. As soon as your thinking turns My way, I notice and rejoice. The more thoughts you bring to Me, the more you can share in My Joy. I disarm evil thoughts and render them powerless. Then I help you think about things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable — excellent and praiseworthy things. Ponder these things, while resting in the Peace of My Presence.
Excerpted from Dear Jesus: Seeking His Light in Your Life by Sarah Young

     THE TROUBLE WITH CUSSING CHRISTIANS
by Carolyn Arends
Apparently my mother was right all along. One sin leads to another. And we shouldn’t use bad words.

Except … it’s cool these days to be a Christian who swears. It gives the curser an “I’m into Jesus, but I’m not legalistic” badge. A recent tweet about a behavioral study that linked swearing and honesty went viral among my church friends (although no one could produce a link to the actual study). Many of these friends point to the arbitrariness of the cuss-word system…. Read this in full at
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2013/april/what.html?paging=off

     JACKIE ROBINSON’S FAITH MISSING FROM “42″ MOVIE
by Eric Metaxas
A new film about Jackie Robinson, titled “42” — the number he wore during his historic career — tells the triumphant story of how the Civil Rights icon integrated professional baseball by playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers. But there’s a mysterious hole at the center of this otherwise worthy film.

The man who chose Robinson for his role, and masterminded the whole affair, was Dodgers General Manager Branch Rickey, played by Harrison Ford. In their initial meeting, the cigar-chomping Rickey makes it clear that whoever will be the first African American in major league baseball will be viciously attacked, verbally and physically. So Rickey famously says he’s looking for a man “with guts enough not to fight back.” He needs someone who will resist the temptation to retaliate. Robinson agrees to go along with it.

But where did Rickey get that crazy idea and why did Robinson agree? The film doesn’t tell us, but the answers to these questions lie in the devout Christian faith of both men…. Read this in full at
http://www.religionnews.com/2013/04/12/jackie-robinsons-faith-missing-from-42-movie/

     WHY MULTIPLE TRANSLATIONS MIGHT EVEN BE BETTER THAN SCRIPTURE IN ITS ORIGINAL LANGUAGES
by Jost Zetzsche
From countless pulpits every week we hear an implicit message that has wormed its way into our minds: We lack the key to unlocking the secrets of Scripture because we don’t know the original languages. Sure, we have translations of the Bible — a lot of them, in fact. But pastors tell us again and again that, unlike the term in the Bibles in our laps, the true meaning of any given term in the Old or New Testament is something quite different. It’s a bit like pre-Reformation times, when illiterate believers had to depend on church authorities to tell them what the Bible said and meant.

A little overdrawn? Perhaps. But many Christians assume that they could glean a deeper and more profound meaning from Scripture if only they knew the original Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic.

As a working translator, I have studied translation for years. And though I would agree that knowing the original languages is key for any other text, when it comes to the Bible, I don’t. In fact, I believe that translations of Scripture are not secondary fill-ins. Rather, they are integral to the ongoing and primary expression of God’s message to us…. Read this in full at
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2013/april/knowing-what-bible-really-means.html?paging=off

     BLESSING MAN
To recognize with delight all high, and generous, and beautiful actions; to find a joy even in seeing the good qualities of your bitterest opponents, and to admire those qualities even in those with whom you have least sympathy — this is the only spirit which can heal the love of slander and of calumny. If we would bless God, we must first learn to bless man, who is made in the image of God. Frederick W. Robertson (1816-1853), Sermons Preached at Trinity Chapel, Brighton, v. III, Boston: Ticknor & Fields, 1859, p. 60-61

     NEW BARNA STUDY EXPLORES TRENDS AMONG AMERICAN DONORS
In a new poll from the Barna Group, more than half of Americans said they have donated money or items (or both) to a cause they cared about during the last year. And only 13% of Americans say they haven’t donated any money to charity in the past 12 months.

Those highly charitable patterns exist despite the fact that over one-third of Americans (37%) say that though they are financially stable right now, they’re just making ends meet. Another one in four adults say they are struggling to make ends meet (25%). Only one-quarter of adults consider themselves financially secure. On the extreme ends, 4% of adults report having “more than they need,” while 5% say they require financial assistance to make ends meet…. Read this in full at
http://www.barna.org/culture-articles/611-new-barna-study-explores-trends-among-american-donors

     VERSE TO PONDER
If you confess with your mouth “Jesus is Lord” and in your heart you have faith that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Trusting with the heart leads to righteousness, and confessing with the mouth leads to salvation.
- Romans 10:9-10 (CEB)

     CONSIDER
There is a radiance hidden in your heart that the world desperately needs.”
- John and Stasi Eldredge

     SPORTS SPECTRUM DAILY LAUNCHED TO DELIVER BREAKING SPORTS NEWS FROM A CHRISTIAN PERSPECTIVE
Following the remarkable success of the seasonal More Than Gold Olympic Updates and the Super Bowl Updates, Sports Spectrum Daily (http://sport.org/) provides two, 2-minute updates every Monday through Friday, 261 days a year.

Providing listeners with fresh sports news, game statistics, and actualities, and Christian commentary and interviews, this addition to the Christian Radio repertoire won’t disappoint…. Read this in full at
http://kempandcompany.cc/blog/listeners-want-breaking-sports-news-from-a-christian-perspective-sports-spectrum-daily-delivers/

     ONE SCALE OF SPIRITUAL MATURITY
by Marshall Shelley
Years ago, one of the world’s richest men, John D. Rockefeller, was asked, “How much money is enough?” He famously answered, “Just a little bit more.”

American culture and certainly its economy are built on that principle: you need more than you’ve got. You need to earn more. You need to spend more to accumulate more and better stuff.

Church leaders recognize the deeper issues here, financial and spiritual. To take financial issues first, experts these days are attributing current economic difficulties to a number of things: bad mortgage lending practices, lack of regulatory oversight, and globalized market structures. Economic conditions are complicated and grim.

I’m reminded of the assessment of Alfred Kahn, Jimmy Carter’s outspoken inflation-fighting czar in another financially troubled time, who said, “Anybody who isn’t schizophrenic these days just isn’t thinking clearly.” …. Read this in full at
http://www.christianitytoday.com/le/2013/spring/our-scale-of-spiritual-maturity.html

     HOW POST-CHRISTIAN IS AMERICAN SOCIETY?
The Barna Group has “created an aggregate metric of post-Christian culture” based upon 15 measures:
post-Christian = meet at least 60% of the following 15 factors (9 or more factors) highly post-Christian = meet at least 80% of the following 15 factors (12 or more factors)
1. do not believe in God
2. identify as atheist or agnostic
3. disagree that faith is important in their lives
4. have not prayed to God (in the last year)
5. have never made a commitment to Jesus
6. disagree the Bible is accurate
7. have not donated money to a church (in the last year)
8. have not attended a Christian church (in the last year)
9. agree that Jesus committed sins
10. do not feel a responsibility to “share their faith”
11. have not read the Bible (in the last week)
12. have not volunteered at church (in the last week)
13. have not attended Sunday school (in the last week)
14. have not attended religious small group (in the last week)
15. do not participate in a house church (in the last year)…. Read this in full at
http://www.barna.org/culture-articles/613-how-post-christian-is-us-society

     WHY STUDY CHURCH HISTORY? GETTING BEYOND AMERICAN-EVANGELICAL AMNESIA
by Don Sweeting
Our culture disposes us to a short term memory. We’re a relatively young nation. We are present-oriented. And when it comes to the past, we have amnesia. Sadly, American Evangelicalism does not escape these trends.

So what’s the benefit of studying history? It’s massive! Let me briefly outline some of the blessings of studying church history.

1. It reaffirms a Biblical value of looking to the past
Of course, the Bible celebrates what’s new—new wine skins, new creatures in Christ, and a new heaven and earth. But multiple Scriptures call us to remember God’s deeds in the past. Deuteronomy repeatedly calls its readers to “remember,” and to look backwards for the sake of going forward. In Hebrews 11, inspiration to run the race today comes from recalling the great cloud of witnesses from yesterday. Even in Revelation, there’s special honor given to godly martyrs (Revelation 6.9; 20.4), and to the twelve sons of Israel and twelve apostles (Revelation 21.12-14)…. Read this in full at
http://donsweeting.wordpress.com/2013/02/01/why-study-church-history-getting-beyond-american-evangelical-amnesia/

     ARCHAEOLOGICAL FIND FROM ABRAHAM’S HOMELAND?
British archaeologists have discovered a massive complex in southern Iraq that Southern Baptist archaeologists say may shed new light on the life and times of the biblical patriarch Abraham.

The structure, believed to be 4,000 years old, is about the size of a football field and may have been an administrative center for the ancient Sumerian city of Ur, believed to be located about 12 miles away and at the height of its power before the time of Abraham. The new find, announced in early April, includes a complex of rooms around a large courtyard, according to the Associated Press. An “Ur” is mentioned in Genesis…. Read this in full at
http://www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=40085

     WHEN CHRISTIANS WORK ON COMMISSION
by Rick Marschall
One of the very tantalizing aspects of Bible scholarship is when you come upon different versions of the same events. Professional skeptics pounce upon “different facts,” ready to assert that Scripture contradicts itself, and therefore cannot be true. But I said “different versions,” not “different facts.” In fact it is more than tantalizing to see how the Bible is full of nuance and shades of meaning and diverse descriptions – all bringing a richness to believers in its message.

Similarities in God’s word, His message, are pathways leading to the same goal. Besides, any seeming contradictions are not really anomalies at all, and never involved important points of doctrine. Skeptics huff and puff about unimportant matters. Sometimes Christians do, too…. Read this in full at
http://www.mondayministry.com/blog/2013/04/14/when-christians-work-on-commission/

     TOUCHING GOD IN THE IRANIAN DARKNESS
Maryam Rostampour and Marziyeh Amirizadeh spent a harrowing eight months in one of Iran’s most notorious prisons because of their Christian faith. Born and raised as Muslims, both women grew unsatisfied with the teachings of the Koran and converted to Christianity after personal encounters with Jesus.

Sensing a call from God, Marziyeh and Maryam spent several years in Tehran passing out Bibles and talking about Jesus. They were arrested in 2009 for promoting Christianity, and were ordered to renounce their faith or face execution. Refusing to turn from Christ, the women spent almost a year in the women’s ward of Evin Prison, where they saw the harsh effects of Islamic law on women and, consequently, found hearts that were open to the hope of Jesus.

After international pressure from the United Nations, Amnesty International, and other human rights groups, the women were released in November 2009. They left Iran to continue ministry through writing and speaking in the United States, and they are currently seeking US citizenship while living near Atlanta, Georgia. Freelance reporter Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra spoke with both women about their memoir, Captive in Iran: A Remarkable True Story of Hope and Triumph Amid the Horror of Tehran’s Brutal Evin Prison (Tyndale Momentum)…. Read this in full at
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2013/april-web-only/touching-god-in-iranian-darkness.html

     NOT KNOWING HOW IT WORKS
We believe that the death of Christ is just that point in history at which something absolutely unimaginable from outside shows through into our own world. And if we cannot picture even the atoms of which our own world is built, of course we are not going to be able to picture this. Indeed, if we found that we could fully understand it, that very fact would show it was not what it professes to be–the inconceivable, the uncreated, the thing from beyond nature, striking down into nature like lightning. You may ask what good it will be to us if we do not understand it. But that is easily answered. A man can eat his dinner without understanding exactly how food nourishes him. A man can accept what Christ has done without knowing how it works: indeed, he certainly would not know how it works until he has accepted it.”
- C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), Mere Christianity, New York: MacMillan, 1952, reprint, HarperCollins, 2001, p. 55

     THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT?
by Wayne Stiles
In this age of entitlement, personal responsibility isn’t often discussed. Neither is the concept of sin. But just how many of our wrong choices can we blame on outside influences? In this hard-hitting, convicting article, we are reminded to humbly acknowledge our sins so we can learn to resist them, while also experiencing the cleansing from them that we have received through the person and work of Jesus Christ…. Read this in full at
http://www.insight.org/library/articles/christian-living/devil-made-me-do-it.html

     DEATH CAFES’ NORMALIZE A DIFFICULT, NOT MORBID, TOPIC
by Janice Lloyd /
No one wants to talk about death at the dinner table, at a soccer game or at a party, says Lizzy Miles, a social worker in Columbus, Ohio. But sometimes people need to talk about the “taboo” topic and when that happens, they might not be able to find someone who will listen, she says.

Whenever people hear I’m a hospice worker, they talk to me about death. It doesn’t matter if I’m on an airplane, gambling in Las Vegas, or in a grocery store line,” she said. “I really see firsthand the need to let people talk. It’s my gift to others.”

Her gift sparked the birth of “death cafes” in the US, a trend that started in England and is about to take off across America, she said. The casual get-togethers are held at coffee shops, restaurants and, recently in Atlanta, at the historic Oakland Cemetery. Hosts are social workers and chaplains — no professional association, philosophy or religion sponsors them, and no one tries to sell anything like coffins or funeral plots…. Read this in full at
http://www.religionnews.com/2013/04/15/death-cafes-normalize-a-difficult-not-morbid-topic/

     WHEN GOD IS YOUR THERAPIST
by T. M. Luhrmann,
It had never occurred to me to think of God as a therapist when I began to spend time, 10 years ago, at an evangelical church in Chicago. Like many secular observers, I was interested in the fact that people like me seemed to experience reality in a fundamentally different manner. I soon came to realize that one of the most important features of these churches is that they offer a powerful way to deal with anxiety and distress, not because of what people believe but because of what they do when they pray…. Read this in full at
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/14/opinion/sunday/luhrmann-when-god-is-your-therapist.html?src=me&ref=general&_r=0

     WANT YOUR ASHES SPREAD WHERE JESUS WALKED?
by Sara Sidner
When I am visiting the United States and tell people I live in the Middle East I generally get one of two responses: “Seriously? Isn’t it dangerous? Stay safe out there.” Or some version of: “Wow. There is so much Biblical history there. I have always dreamed about going to the Holy Land but doubt I’ll ever get the chance.” I never thought I’d be able to give the latter this option for a visit. A new business called Holy Land Ash Scattering is targeting US Christians as customers…. Read this in full at
http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/04/12/want-your-ashes-spread-where-jesus-walked/

     CONSIDER
To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover the prisoner was you.”
- Unknown

     VERSE TO PONDER
Don’t be in debt to anyone, except for the obligation to love each other. Whoever loves another person has fulfilled the Law.
- Romans 13:8 (CEB)

     THIS WEEK’S HYMN: ALL YE THAT SEEK THE LORD WHO DIED
Words: Charles Wesley, 1746
Music: Wenzel Müller (1767-1835)

All ye that seek the Lord Who died,
Your God for sinners crucified,
Prevent the earliest dawn, and come
To worship at His sacred tomb.

Bring the sweet spices of your sighs,
Your contrite hearts, and streaming eyes,
Your sad complaints, and humble fears;
Come, and embalm Him with your tears.

While thus ye love your souls t’employ,
Your sorrow shall be turned to joy:
Now, let all your grief be o’er!
Believe, and ye shall weep no more.

An earthquake hath the cavern shook,
And burst the door, and rent the rock;
The Lord hath sent His angel down,
And he hath rolled away the stone.

As snow behold his garment white,
His countenance as lightning bright:
He sits, and waves a flaming sword,
And waits upon his rising Lord.

The third auspicious morn is come,
And calls your Savior from the tomb,
The bands of death are torn away,
The yawning tomb gives back its prey.

Could neither seal nor stone secure,
Nor men, nor devils make it sure?
The seal is broke, the stone cast by,
And all the powers of darkness fly.

The body breathes, and lifts His head,
The keepers sink, and fall as dead;
The dead restored to life appear,
The living quake, and die for fear.

No power a band of soldiers have
To keep one body in its grave:
Surely it no dead body was
That could the Roman eagles chase.

The Lord of Life is risen indeed,
To death delivered in your stead;
His rise proclaims your sins forgiv’n,
And show the living way to Heav’n.

Haste then, ye souls that first believe,
Who dare the Gospel-Word receive,
Your faith with joyful hearts confess,
Be bold, be Jesus’ witnesses.

Go tell the followers of your Lord
Their Jesus is to life restored;
He lives, that they His life may find;
He lives, to quicken all mankind.

>from NetHymnal at
http://nethymnal.org/htm/a/y/t/aytslowd.htm

     FRIDAY NIGHT ARCHIVE REPLAY – 04/19/2013
EVANGELISTIC MALPRACTICE – REPLAY
A great army of personal soul-winners has been mobilized to reach the world for Christ.
An astounding number of conversions are racked up but the problem is this: The conversions don’t stick!
What is behind all this malpractice?
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thepath/2013/04/20/evangelistic-malpractice–replay

     ON PRAYER
Have you ever thought what a wonderful privilege it is that every one each day and each hour of the day has the liberty of asking God to meet him in the inner chamber and to hear what He has to say?”
- Andrew Murray

     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: Two Kids Sing “Hallelujah”
http://www.godfruits.com/a-duet-that-will-make-you-hang-on-every-note-two-kids-sing-hallelujah-15975.php

Video: How astronauts cry in space
http://mashable.com/2013/04/12/chris-hadfield-cries-in-space/

Reasons to Believe
http://www.reasons.org/

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’ve been reading a book all week called “Anti-Gravity”…I just can’t put it down!
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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Comments

  • HTvQzaQM  On July 15, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    318094 789589Keep all the articles coming. I love reading through your things. Cheers. 270277

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