CONNECTIONS News – 05/05/2013

Connecting man to man to God
For week of May 5, 2013
Issue 458

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:

  • ARE CHRISTIANS MORE LIKE JESUS OR MORE LIKE THE PHARISEES?
  • NFL QUARTERBACK DREW BREES SPEAKS ABOUT HIS FAITH IN JESUS
  • THE SHEPHERD
  • THE LINKS BETWEEN FAMILY AND FAITH
  • RED LETTER CHRISTIANS
  • STUDY: FAMILIES HOLD MOST SWAY WITH TEENS
  • SURVEY: MANY AT CHURCH NOT HELPING OTHERS GROW
  • THE SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE SIN
  • THE SECRET FAITH OF WASHINGTON
  • THE OCEANS DECLARE THE GLORY OF GOD
  • GO AND MAKE DISCIPLES
  • 15 COUNTRIES CITED FOR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM VIOLATIONS
  • FRIDAY NIGHT ARCHIVE REPLAY
  • MUCH MORE . . .

 

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
– Romans 15:13

     CONSIDER
Who is strong? – He who can limit himself.
Who is rich? – He who is happy with what he has.”
– The Talmud

     ARE CHRISTIANS MORE LIKE JESUS OR MORE LIKE THE PHARISEES?
One of the common critiques leveled at present-day Christianity is that it’s a religion full of hypocritical people. A new Barna Group study examines the degree to which this perception may be accurate. The study explores how well Christians seem to emulate the actions and attitudes of Jesus in their interactions with others.

The research project was directed by David Kinnaman, president of Barna Group, in conjunction with John Burke, author of Mud and the Masterpiece, a book exploring the attitudes and actions of Jesus in all of his encounters.

In this nationwide study of self-identified Christians, the goal was to determine whether Christians have the actions and attitude of Jesus as they interact with others or if they are more akin to the beliefs and behaviors of Pharisees, the self-righteous sect of religious leaders described in the New Testament.

Kinnaman commented on the creation of a “Christ-like” scale: “Our intent is to create some new discussion about the intangible aspects of following and representing Jesus. The study is meant to identify baseline qualities of Jesus, like empathy, love, and a desire to share faith with others — or the resistance to such ideals in the form of self-focused hypocrisy. The statements are based on the biblical record given in the Gospels and in the Epistles and our team worked closely with a leading pastor, John Burke, to develop the survey questions.” …. Read this in full at
http://www.barna.org/faith-spirituality/619-are-christians-more-like-jesus-or-more-like-the-pharisees

     FORMER NFL QUARTERBACK ENCOURAGES OTHERS TO BE THEIR BEST
by Tonya Andris, Inside The Pew
For 14 seasons, Randall Cunningham was the versatile NFL quarterback whom teams depended on to make miracles happen on the gridiron.

Now, Cunningham, 50, is a pastor, a mentor, and an author. His second book, “Lay It Down: How Letting Go Brings Out Your Best,” (Worthy Publishing, $19.99) was recently released.

The book takes readers through several episodes in his professional and private life that brought him to rely on God for support and clarification. The most pressing situation – the accidental drowning death of his 2-year-old son, Christian, in 2010. Cunningham fittingly alludes to the death of his son in the title of chapter 2, “The Biggest Hit I Ever Took.”

Instead of showing frustration for his son’s death, Cunningham immediately praised Him. “I got in my car, backed out of the driveway, and began to scream, ‘Hallelujah! Praise God! Thank you! I love you, God.” …. Read this in full at
http://www.assistnews.net/Stories/2013/s13040135.htm

     NFL QUARTERBACK DREW BREES SPEAKS ABOUT HIS FAITH IN JESUS
Drew Brees is the quarterback for the New Orleans Saints of the National Football League. In this video interview for Victory magazine, he openly shares about his faith, how he came to faith in Jesus, and what that means being an NFL athlete…. Read this in full at
http://gnli.christianpost.com/video/nfl-quarterback-drew-brees-speaks-about-his-faith-in-jesus-9403

     WHEN THE CHURCH IS AT ITS BEST
by Ircel Harrison
Hardly a day goes by that I do not read some criticism of the church — whether in its local, national, or global expressions. I acknowledge that there is much to criticize but there is much to praise as well. As I worshipped last Sunday, I started thinking, “When is the church at its best?” Several things came to mind.

First, the church is at its best when it engages people in authentic worship that brings them into the presence of God. Of course, God is the audience in worship and we are the performers, but we know when worship is working when we are brought face to face with the God who is both transcendent and immanent…. Read this in full at
http://www.abpnews.com/blog/ministry/when-the-church-is-at-its-best-2013-04-29/

     THE SHEPHERD
by Timothy Dalrymple
In the world of American media, an invitation to the Faith Angle Forum, now in its 14th year, is a golden ticket, and the man sending out the invitations is Michael Cromartie, a beltway believer whose meandering political and religious journey has rendered in him a rare talent for friendships on both sides of the aisle.

Cromartie converted to Christianity as a teenager in the Vietnam War era, proclaimed himself a progressive pacifist, and joined a Christian commune. Shortly after joining Chuck Colson’s then-new Prison Fellowship, however, he was literally mugged by reality when thieves invaded his hotel room in Denver in 1978 and left him bound and gagged. (Cromartie managed to convince the burglars to leave his new tie so he could still attend his meetings with dignity.) That experience and Colson’s influence produced a paradigm shift, and Cromartie went on to work for the conservative Ethics and Public Policy Center, where he is now vice president and director of the Evangelicals in Civic Life project. From his perch on M Street five blocks from the White House, he has served as a consigliere for conservative Christians in the nation’s capital…. Read this in full at
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2013/may/shepherd-michael-cromartie-faith-angle-forum.html?paging=off

     THE WONDER OF COLOR
There is not one blade of grass, there is no color in this world, that is not intended to make us rejoice.”
– John Calvin

     THE LINKS BETWEEN FAMILY AND FAITH
The family that prays together, stays together. That folksy motto, which was first used in a Catholic campaign to encourage households to say the rosary, became popular in America after the second world war when the nation underwent a temporary upturn in both fecundity and piety.

The two phenomena were intimately connected, thinks Mary Eberstadt of the Ethics and Public Policy Centre, a think-tank based in Washington, DC. Her short, elegantly written book, How the West Really Lost God: A New Theory of Secularization, repeatedly shows that strong families help to keep religious practice alive, and that too many people see a causal connection running exclusively in the opposite direction.

In other words, it is widely assumed that people form large families because they hold traditional beliefs, and that when they abandon those beliefs, they stop creating those families. For Ms. Eberstadt, the link between robust families and resilient faith is reminiscent of bonds forming a double helix: dynamic, self-reinforcing and flowing endlessly in both directions. And if there is one trend for her which has primacy, it seems to be the influence of the family on everything else. Where it is strong, people continue to pray, publicly and privately; where ties of kin disintegrate, so does religion…. Read this in full at
http://www.economist.com/news/books-and-arts/21576642-links-between-family-and-faith-ties-bind

     RED LETTER CHRISTIANS
by Clare De Graaf
If you’re a parent, grandparent or mentor, there’s an alarming trend coming your way – “red letter Christians.”

Six months ago two hugely influential writers, Tony Campollo and Shane Claiborne, wrote a book titled, The Red Letter Revolution. In the author’s own words, the basic premise of their book is this:

Not only do we say that the red letters (the actual words of Jesus in red letters in the four gospels) are superior to the black letters of the Bible, but Jesus said they were! Jesus over and over again in the Sermon on the Mount, declared that some of the things that Moses taught about such things as divorce, adultery, killing, getting even with those who hurt you and the use of money, had to be transcended to a higher morality.”

In all fairness, I agree, as do most theologians, that the last part of this quote is true. Jesus did “toughen up” and raised the bar of Moses’ teaching in all of these areas. But that’s exactly why this book and this red letter revolution idea is so dangerous. It mixes, “let’s just live like Jesus” (and who’s going to argue with that!) with making the rest of the Bible, including the balance of the New Testament books a virtual footnote…. Read this in full at
http://www.claredegraaf.com/2013/04/29/red-letter-christians/

     LET’S NOT OVERLOOK THE ASCENSION
by Josh Tinley
Thursday May 9 is the Feast of the Ascension, at least in the West. (Eastern Orthodox Christians will celebrate it on June 13.) It is the 40th day after Easter and the day on which, according to the opening verses of Acts of the Apostles, Jesus ascended into heaven.

Luke, the author of Acts, mentions the Ascension briefly at the end of his Gospel. Other than that, the only mention of the event comes from the longer ending of the Gospel of Mark, Mark 16:19, though 1 Timothy 3:16 mentions that Jesus was “taken up in glory” and Ephesians 4:10 says that Jesus “climbed up above all the heavens.” …. Read this in full at
http://www.ministrymatters.com/all/article/entry/2844/lets-not-overlook-the-ascension#axzz2SB70LFEs

     THE CONTINENTAL DIVIDE
by Rick Marschall
We all should think more often about the seemingly natural or random events in our lives that, actually, have altered the course of our existence. Sometimes for the better; sometimes for the worse; sometimes in ways we cannot know… yet incidental factors start us on paths that never would have otherwise happened. Without some raindrop, so to speak, falling to the left or right of our personal Continental Divides…. Read this in full at
http://www.mondayministry.com/blog/2013/04/28/the-continental-divide/

     WILL WEA REPORT RESOLVE DEBATE OVER WYCLIFFE BIBLE TRANSLATIONS FOR MUSLIMS?
Bible translations that avoid the phrase “Son of God” have proven successful among Muslims. But dismay by some missionaries and scholars recently led at least two denominations—including the three-million-member Assemblies of God—to threaten boycotts of Wycliffe Bible Translators unless it ended the practice.

In hopes of ending the controversy, Wycliffe asked the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) to referee the debate. The WEA’s panel of experts has now released 10 recommendations.

Bible translations aimed at Muslim audiences have tended to omit terms like “God the Father” and “Son of God” in order to avoid sexualized misreadings that would cause offense. But according to the WEA report, Bible translators should use the words “father” and “son” to refer to the distinct persons of the Trinity whenever possible. However, the WEA also recommends choosing “the most suitable words in light of the
semantics of the target language.” …. Read this in full at
http://blog.christianitytoday.com/ctliveblog/archives/2013/04/wea-wycliffe-muslim-bible-translation.html

     STUDY: FAMILIES HOLD MOST SWAY WITH TEENS
Think your teenager is looking to their peers and the Internet to solve all of life’s problems? Think again. Teens around the world are still looking to their families for answers.

In coordination of International Day of Families (May 15), OneHope (http://onehope.net/) is sharing its Spiritual State of the World’s Children research findings: the teenage “norm” has gone global — crossing cultural and religious boundaries — and family-life is one of the biggest influences of teen behavior…. Read this in full at
http://www.christiannewswire.com/news/6749772014.html

     CHILDREARING Q&A (IN HONOR OF MOTHER’S DAY)
Q. Should I have a baby after 35?
A. No, 35 children is enough.

Q. I’m two months pregnant now. When will my baby move?
A. With any luck, right after he finishes college.

Q. How will I know if my vomiting is morning sickness or the flu?
A. If it’s the flu, you’ll get better.

Q. What is the most common pregnancy craving?
A.. For men to be the ones who get pregnant.

Q. What is the most reliable method to determine a baby’s sex?
A. Childbirth.

Q. My wife is five months pregnant and so moody that sometimes she’s borderline irrational.
A. So what’s your question?

Q. How long is the average woman in labor?
A. Whatever she says divided by two.

Q. My childbirth instructor says it’s not pain I’ll feel during labor, but pressure. Is she right?
A. Yes, in the same way that a tornado might be called an air current.

Q. When is the best time to get an epidural?
A. Right after you find out you’re pregnant.

Q. Is there any reason I have to be in the delivery room while my wife is in labor?
A. Not unless the word “alimony” means anything to you.

Q. Is there anything I should avoid while recovering from childbirth?
A. Yes, pregnancy.

Q. Does pregnancy cause headaches?
A. Pregnancy causes anything you want to blame it for.

Q. Do I have to have a baby shower?
A. Not if you change the baby’s diaper very quickly.

Q. Our baby was born last week. When will my wife begin to feel and act normal again?
A. When the kids are in college.
http://www.mikeysFunnies.com

     SURVEY: MANY AT CHURCH NOT HELPING OTHERS GROW
Almost three out of every four churchgoers say they have significant relationships with people at church, but less than half are intentionally helping other believers grow in their faith, according to a study by LifeWay Research.

The survey of Protestant churchgoers identifies “Building Relationships” as one of eight attributes of discipleship that consistently show up in the lives of maturing Christians. The survey is part of a larger study identifying traits of transformational discipleship.

Results of the “building relationships” questions reveal a seeming disconnect between churchgoers actually pressing into new relationships or participating in discipling other Christians…. Read this in full at
http://www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=40152

     THE SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE SIN
by Jason Todd
Most Christians today like to say that all sins are “equal” in the eyes of God, that there is no scale of less or worse sins, that a white lie or a homicide alike would have been enough to require Christ to die on the cross. We say this in theory, but in practice, we know that a white lie won’t get you kicked off the church leadership team. And a homicide likely will.

In practice, there are some sins that are socially acceptable, even in the Church. There’s one sin in particular that has pervaded our society and churches so silently we hardly give it a second thought, and that is the constant hunt for more over what is enough. Or, in an uglier terminology, what is known as gluttony.

When I think about gluttony, I think about my desire to shove a dozen donuts into my mouth and wash them down with chocolate milk. Or perhaps it’s my tendency to mindlessly feed chips to a stomach that’s no longer hungry. Many of us can look at the sin of gluttony and think, “That’s not really my struggle.” Or, we think, “What’s the big deal?” After all, most congregations have compulsive over-eaters among them, and they’re not considered “less spiritual” or “backslidden” for it…. Read this in full at
http://www.relevantmagazine.com/god/practical-faith/socially-acceptable-sin

     PRESIDENTIAL PROCLAMATION — NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER, 2013
by the President of the United States
Americans have long turned to prayer both in times of joy and times of sorrow. On their voyage to the New World, the earliest settlers prayed that they would “rejoice together, mourn together, labor, and suffer together, always having before our eyes our commission and community in the work.” From that day forward, Americans have prayed as a means of uniting, guiding, and healing. In times of hardship and tragedy, and in periods of peace and prosperity, prayer has provided reassurance, sustenance, and affirmation of common purpose.

Prayer brings communities together and can be a wellspring of strength and support. In the aftermath of senseless acts of violence, the prayers of countless Americans signal to grieving families and a suffering community that they are not alone. Their pain is a shared pain, and their hope a shared hope. Regardless of religion or creed, Americans reflect on the sacredness of life and express their sympathy for the wounded, offering comfort and holding up a light in an hour of darkness.

All of us have the freedom to pray and exercise our faiths openly. Our laws protect these God-given liberties, and rightly so. Today and every day, prayers will be offered in houses of worship, at community gatherings, in our homes, and in neighborhoods all across our country. Let us give thanks for the freedom to practice our faith as we see fit, whether individually or in fellowship…. Read this in full at
http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/05/01/presidential-proclamation-national-day-prayer-2013

     VERSE TO PONDER
Speak out, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
– Proverbs 31:9

     CONSIDER
The best way to prepare for the coming of Christ is never to forget the presence of Christ.”
– William Barclay

     THE SECRET FAITH OF WASHINGTON
Joshua DuBois, President Obama’s recently-resigned point man on faith, dispels a widely believed myth about Washington, DC – that it’s godless. In Newsweek, DuBois writes: “Washington is filled with people at the height of political power who are practicing their faith seriously and profoundly, but largely out of public view … God is far more present in Washington than most Americans realize.” …. Read this in full at
http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2013/04/29/joshua-dubois-on-the-secret-faith-of-washington.html

     VERY PUNNY
What do you call it when you move two 10 cent coins from one pocket to the next?
A PARADIGM shift.

     DUCK DYNASTY STAR: FAME IS FLEETING; WHAT MATTERS MOST IS JESUS CHRIST
Phil Robertson, the patriarch of the Robertson family whose Duck Commander business is the backdrop for A&E’s hit program “Duck Dynasty” has released a new book titled, Happy, Happy, Happy, in which he shares his faith in Jesus Christ, his knowledge about the founding fathers, and how he’s grown Duck Commander into a multimillion dollar business.

The hour-long season finale of Duck Dynasty was the most-watched program on television, beating American Idol with 9.6 million viewers, which is a record for A&E.

Robertson credits all of his family’s success to their faith in Jesus Christ and their devotion to living a Christian lifestyle. He says his family has managed to stay humble, amid all of the fame, because they know that all blessings come from God; and in the end, everyone’s going to the same place: a six-foot hole…. Read this in full at
http://www.christianpost.com/news/duck-dynasty-star-fame-is-fleeting-what-matters-most-is-jesus-christ-94805/

     THE OCEANS DECLARE THE GLORY OF GOD
Since 1984, Jorge Vazquez has worked at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. For the past decade he has been part of the JPL Group for High Resolution Sea Surface Temperatures, an international group of NASA scientists and scholars studying climate change. Vazquez says, “I study the world’s ocean from my computer, using data from a series of NASA satellites that orbit Earth . . . to measure how climatic changes affect local regions like California’s coast.”

Vazquez recently spoke with Kingdom Calling author Amy L. Sherman about how his scientific pursuits as an oceanographer contribute to shalom in his community and in the wider Creation…. Read this in full at
http://www.christianitytoday.com/thisisourcity/7thcity/oceans-declare-glory-of-god.html

     ARE YOU A NOBODY?
Moses spent forty years thinking he was somebody; then he spent forty years on the backside of the desert realizing he was nobody; finally, he spent the last forty years of his life leaning what God can do with a nobody!”
– Dwight L. Moody

     MISSION ARLINGTON IS TAKING CHURCH TO THE PEOPLE
Management theorists talk about five elements an organization needs to effect significant change: vision, skills, incentives, resources and an action plan.

But the First Baptist Church of Arlington, Texas, and Tillie Burgin, the resourceful leader of Mission Arlington, have stood that theory on its head for 27 years.

Burgin, 76, said she never envisioned creating a multimillion-dollar social services network when the church asked her to start a Bible class in a low-rent apartment complex in 1986. Resources, she said, tend to show up providentially when they’re needed. And she consistently, even defiantly, insists that she’s never had anything remotely like an “action plan.”

If you can explain it, it’s not of God,” she said…. Read this in full at
http://www.faithandleadership.com/features/articles/mission-arlington-taking-church-the-people

     RELIGION WRITER CRITICAL OF EVANGELICALS APOLOGIZES TO JIM DALY, FOCUS ON THE FAMILY
Focus on the Family President Jim Daly has impressed at least one liberal journalist with his confessions, generosity and hospitality. In researching his new book on evangelicals, religion and culture writer Tom Krattenmaker traveled to Colorado Springs, Colo., and spent some time at the FOTF headquarters. The result of the visit was a book challenging his fellow progressives to stop stereotyping evangelicals and realize that they can work together for the common good.

In The Evangelicals You Don’t Know: Introducing the Next Generation of Evangelicals (2013), Krattenmaker reports on an angst felt among many evangelicals regarding how they have engaged with their culture….Read this in full at
http://www.christianpost.com/news/religion-writer-critical-of-evangelicals-apologizes-to-jim-daly-focus-on-the-family-95030/

     GO AND MAKE DISCIPLES
Excerpted from Sanctuary: Finding Moments of Refuge in the Presence of God by Dr. David Jeremiah
You are awesome, O God, in your sanctuary; the God of Israel gives power and strength to His people. Praise be to God! — Psalm 68:35 (NIV)

Finding refuge is not a concept most of us relate to in the physical sense. We have our comfortable homes and vehicles and the freedom to come and go without restraint.

The physical freedom we experience can sometimes hide the emotional need for refuge, until someone or something brings it all to the surface and we can’t ignore the reality of our need. It is at this very point in time that our concept of God comes clearly into focus.

If we’re not careful we can spend all our lives around the circumference of the circle of knowing God and never actually get to the center of it. It’s easy to get caught up in the mechanics of living a Christian lifestyle and not truly understand what it means to live a Christian life.

Webster defines sanctuary as “sacred, a holy place, as a building set aside for worship, a place of refuge or protection.” In the New Testament we are told that our bodies are the temples of God. We are to live as a sanctuary of His presence.

Many Christians make the mistake of thinking that just because they are believers in Christ, just because they read the Bible, just because they have the Holy Spirit living in them, they should be immune from the trials and pressures of this earthly life. Doctors’ and counselors’ offices are filled with sincere Christians who find it difficult, if not impossible, to maintain peace and perspective in a stress-filled world.

Oftentimes for Christians our practice comes first, and our theology follows behind it. We decide what we’re going to do, and then we try to find a theology that makes us comfortable in doing it. But God is not affected by what we believe about Him. Our opinions of Him don’t change who He is. If we don’t know who He is, we may end up creating a God in our minds who meets our fancies or letting other people create God for us. We need to find God in His Word and through His Son, Jesus Christ. We need to know the God who is our refuge.

When Jesus was ready to go back to heaven, He gave one assignment to the apostles. He said, “Therefore, go make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19).

Making disciples is one thing, but being a disciple is quite another without the next words He spoke: “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (v. 20).

God is with us! We celebrate that truth when we call Him “Immanuel.” It means “God with us.” Not God somewhere beyond the stars, but God here with us, encouraging us, ministering to us, helping us.

In times when we’re tempted, we understand that He is here, and it brings us up short in our conduct. And in times when we have difficulties in life, we know that we don’t go through them by ourselves. His consistent message through the whole Bible is that He will be with us. Because God is with us, we are His sanctuary and He is our Refuge.

     DIED: GEORGE JONES, LEGENDARY COUNTRY AND GOSPEL SINGER
Musician turned to God late in life after rebellious lifestyle landed him in a coma…. Read this in full at
http://blog.christianitytoday.com/ctliveblog/archives/2013/04/died-george-jones-country-gospel-singer.html

     MODERN HYMN WRITERS REVIVE A LOST MUSICAL ART
Most songwriters in Nashville want to get their songs on the radio. Keith and Kristyn Getty hope their songs end up in dusty old hymnbooks.

The Gettys, originally from Belfast, Ireland, hope to revive the art of hymn writing at a time when the most popular new church songs are written for rock bands rather than choirs.

They’ve had surprising success.

One of the first songs that Keith co-wrote, called “In Christ Alone,” has been among the top 20 songs sung in newer churches in the United States for the past five years, according to Christian Copyright Licensing International. It is also a favorite in more traditional venues — including the recent enthronement service for Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby…. Read this in full at
http://www.religionnews.com/2013/04/30/modern-hymn-writers-revive-a-lost-musical-art/

     WHY HYMNALS MATTER
by Mary Louise Bringle
Hymnals are more like telephones than automobile tires. Tires wear out visibly and require replacing. Telephones, on the other hand, seldom wear out, yet still get replaced when updated models offer new features attractive enough to warrant the change.

Like telephones, hymnals are built to last. Aiding their durability is the fact that they get limited outings (mostly on Sundays, often in the hands of gentle users). As physical books, even after 20 or 30 years their spines remain unbroken and their pages unwrinkled. Even more significantly, as collections of the church’s cherished songs, the hymnal’s contents may actually improve with the familiarity of age…. Read this in full at
http://www.christiancentury.org/article/2013-04/singing-one-book

     YOUNG MUSICIAN: CHURCH ORGAN THRIVING
South Main Baptist Church organist Daryl Robinson is tearing it up in the music world, winning awards and dazzling venues both sacred and secular.

“Daryl brings freshness and excitement to the hymn singing” and “is equally strong accompanying ensembles of all sizes,” said Stephen Bedford, interim music director at the Houston church.

Robinson’s age, 29, also challenges the common assumption in church music that the church organ is extinct. He said many church members still appreciate what the organ brings to worship.

I really do think (the organ) is on the upswing for traditional worship, and I think there will be a great reenergizing for the organ and organists,” he said.

That comment jibes with consistent and recent statements by experts across the sacred music realm that the organ, after plateauing for a couple of decades, is on the upswing. Many congregations are refurbishing, upgrading, or adding the instruments to their sanctuaries…. Read this in full at
http://www.abpnews.com/ministry/people/item/8458-young-musician-church-organ-is-thriving

     BUSH LIBRARY DEDICATION TAKES SPIRITUAL TONE
An affair that drew all five living American presidents to Dallas on Thursday (April 25) opened and closed in prayers referencing the prophet Micah’s call “to do justice and love kindness and walk humbly with our God” and success that “yet ultimately rests in Your providential care.”

And as an estimated 10,000 people waited for George W. Bush to speak during the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Library on the Southern Methodist University campus, a choir sang the words “as He died to make men holy let us die to make men free” in a rendition of “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

Such spiritual language accented the dedication of the library named for a president who counted himself among the Christian evangelicals who so strongly supported him…. Read this in full at
http://www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=40150

     INCLUSIVE PRAYERS NOT AN ISSUE FOR MILITARY CHAPLAINS, SENATE CHAPLAIN SAYS
Military chaplains cannot be forced to do something in opposition to their theology, but they may have problems with being accused of “hate speech” for teaching what scripture says about homosexuality, Barry Black, the US Senate Chaplain and a former military chaplain, told a Heritage Foundation audience April 29. He also said he does not believe that the occasions where military chaplains are expected to pray inclusive prayers is a serious problem.

The military directives make clear, Black said, that military chaplains cannot be forced to do something they are opposed to doctrinally. He added, though, that some military chaplains may find themselves in a bind because of the Scripture passages that describe homosexual behavior as a sin…. Read this in full at
http://www.christianpost.com/news/military-chaplains-must-contend-with-hate-speech-accusations-inclusive-prayers-not-an-issue-senate-chaplain-says-94955/

     I’M JUST NOT WIRED THAT WAY
by Marc Cortez
I spend a lot of time alone. And I like it. Working on my laptop, reading a book, or just listening to the birds outside my window, I cherish any time I get to myself. As an introvert, I’m wired that way. I enjoy (some) people, but I need my time alone.

I worry, though, about the possibility that embracing how I’m “wired” can become an excuse, a temptation to avoid opportunities/responsibilities simply because I don’t enjoy them or because they’re hard for me. When that happens, my strengths turn into weaknesses and I become my own enemy…. Read this in full at
http://www.christianity.com/christian-life/i-m-just-not-wired-that-way.html

     THE HIDING PLACE’: ALIVE AND WELL!
by Aubrey Beauchamp RN
A friend called and said she had tickets for “Ten Boom – The Musical”.

It’s a stage production of The Hiding Place,” she said. “I thought about you immediately, since you are from Holland and knew Corrie ten Boom.”

Yes, I had read the book, seen the movie and knew Corrie ten Boom. But having lived through WW-II in Holland, I was not sure I wanted to see yet another version of The Hiding Place. But my friend had tickets, so we did go.

As we entered the huge, 1.800 seat auditorium at Calvary Church in Santa Ana, CA, I was surprised to read in the program that this was a musical production. Curious, I watched as the first scenes began to unfold. The stage was transformed into scenes from Holland in the ‘30s. Very realistically! The background, the furniture, wardrobes and appearance transported me back to my native country. I almost expected them to speak Dutch with English subtitles somewhere, but that didn’t happen…. Read this in full at
http://www.assistnews.net/Stories/2013/s13040151.htm

     15 COUNTRIES CITED FOR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM VIOLATIONS
It can be hard to come up with a list of countries with the most egregious records on religious freedom when some of the world’s worst offenders aren’t even nation states.

For its annual report of violators, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (http://www.uscirf.gov) counts 15 nations where abuse of religious liberty is “systemic, egregious, and ongoing.”

But the commission, which was created by Congress in 1998 as an independent watchdog panel, also wants to highlight the crimes of non-nations, which for the first time this year get their own section in the report.

USCIRF added a special emphasis on non-state actors, as their violent actions are a growing threat to religious freedom,” said Knox Thames, the commission’s director of policy and research…. Read this in full at
http://www.religionnews.com/2013/04/30/u-s-commission-announce15-countries-cited-for-religious-freedom-violations-worlds-15-worst-violators-of-religious-freedom/

     HISTORY CAPTURED: 100-YEAR-OLD TIME CAPSULE OPENED
The First Lutheran Church of Oklahoma City dug up and opened its Century Chest, a time capsule that was buried under the church 100 years ago.

The artifacts inside the copper chest were remarkably well intact. Credit for that goes to the church’s Ladies Aide Society, the group that buried the capsule a century ago. The group buried the chest in double concrete walls and under 12 inches of concrete, according Fox News. It also left guidelines on how to unearth the capsule.

The chest was full of treasures. Among the finds: a newspaper from the day the capsule was buried (April 22, 1913); a dress; a telephone; a flag; a pen used by President William McKinley; a camera; and a pair of women’s shoes that still had their shine. Perhaps most remarkable was a phonograph record featuring voices of citizens from the era…. Read & see this in full at
http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow/100-years-later-time-capsule-opened-185852550.html

Also see video at
http://www.thv11.com/news/article/262010/70/History-captured-100-year-old-time-capsule-opened

     CHILDREN ON TRACK FOR A HEART ATTACK
Do you know how old your kids’ arteries are? It’s a potentially important question as scientists increasingly uncover links between healthy habits in childhood and risk for heart disease later in life. And there are growing concerns about the cardiovascular health of millions of children in the US who are considered obese or overweight…. Read this in full at
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323798104578453123376765286.html?mod=djemLifeStyle_h

     CONSIDER
The brook would lose its song if the rocks were removed.”
– Author Unknown

     VERSE TO PONDER
Learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.”
– Isaiah 1:17

     THIS WEEK’S HYMN: CHRIST IS RISEN! HALLELUJAH!
Words: John S. B. Monsell, 1863
Music: Frederick Maker, 1881

Christ is risen! Hallelujah!
Risen our victorious Head!
Sing His praises! Hallelujah!
Christ is risen from the dead!
Gratefully our hearts adore Him,
As His light once more appears,
Bowing down in joy before Him,
Rising up from grief and tears,
Christ is risen! Hallelujah!
Risen our victorious Head!
Sing His praises! Hallelujah!
Christ is risen from the dead!

Christ is risen! all the sadness
Of His earthly life is o’er,
Through the open gates of gladness
He returns to life once more;
Death and hell before Him bending,
He doth rise, the Victor now,
Angels on His steps attending,
Glory round His wounded brow.
Christ is risen! all the sadness
Of His earthly life is o’er,
Through the open gates of gladness
He returns to life once more.

Christ is risen! henceforth never
Death or hell shall us enthrall;
We are Christ’s, in Him forever
We have triumphed over all;
All the doubting and dejection
Of our trembling hearts have ceased,
Tis His day of resurrection!
Let us rise and keep the feast.
Christ is risen! henceforth never
Death or hell shall us enthrall;
We are Christ’s, in Him forever
We have triumphed over all.

>from CyberHymnal at
http://cyberhymnal.org/htm/c/i/cirhallj.htm

          FRIDAY NIGHT ARCHIVE REPLAY – 05/03/2013
ONE PASTOR SYSTEM ERROR
What was the scriptural pattern for leadership and shepherding?
Where did it all go wrong?
The hierarchical system of church government, where a pastor (with perhaps an assistant) is perched on the apex of a pyramid of say seven elders and twelve deacons, developed slowly and has encroached itself solidly in the psyche of “church” goers today.
Let’s look into this heresy.
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thepath/2013/05/04/one-pastor-system-error

     ON PRAYER
I have often learned much more in one prayer than I have been able to glean from much reading and reflection.”
– Martin Luther

     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. 

BBC World Service: Witness
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p004t1hd

Cabela’s Spring Thunder
http://cabelasspringthunder.com/

NBA Playoffs 2013 (Finals June 6 – June 20)
http://www.nba.com/playoffs/

NBA Finals: All-Time Champions
http://www.nba.com/history/finals/champions.html

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.) 

Money doesn’t change you. It magnifies who you are.
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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