CONNECTIONS News – 05/26/2013

Connecting man to man to God
For week of May 26, 2013
Issue 461

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:

  • RESEARCH: MANY CHURCHGOERS NOT OPEN ABOUT THEIR FAITH
  • PROOF OF HEAVEN POPULAR, EXCEPT WITH THE CHURCH
  • HONORING A PARENT FOR WHOM YOU HAVE LITTLE RESPECT
  • WHATEVER YOUR ADDICTION, GOD’S GRACE IS THE ONLY HOPE FOR A WAY OUT
  • DO ALL CHILDREN GO TO HEAVEN?
  • SUPREME COURT TO REVISIT CHURCH-STATE SEPARATION
  • STICKY FAITH: WHAT KEEPS KIDS CONNECTED TO CHURCH?
  • JONI EARECKSON TADA, HUSBAND: CANCER ‘BRUISING OF A BLESSING’ ON OUR MARRIAGE
  • MIRACLE MAN SURVIVES EXPLOSION AND FIRE THAT BURNED 95% OF HIS BODY, GIVES GLORY TO GOD
  • ATHEIST GROUP SENDS BOOKS TO GEORGIA STATE PARKS TO PLACE NEXT TO GIDEON BIBLES INSIDE CABINS
  • A DISTRESSING MAP OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOM AROUND THE WORLD
  • FRIDAY NIGHT REPLAY
  • MUCH, MUCH MORE . . .

May the God of endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude toward each other, similar to Christ Jesus’ attitude. That way you can glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ together with one voice.”
– Romans 15:5-6 (CEB)

     CONSIDER
The less secure people are in their beliefs, the more strident they become. Conversely, the more confident people are of the truth, the more grace they exhibit to those who don’t agree. “Tolerance is the natural endowment of true convictions,” wrote Paul Tournier.”
– Charles W. Colson (1931-2012), The Body, Waco: Word, 1992, p. 102

     RESEARCH: MANY CHURCHGOERS NOT OPEN ABOUT THEIR FAITH
While many Christians know Scripture proclamations such as “For I am not ashamed of the gospel . . .” (Rom. 1:16), not all churchgoers are particularly transparent or open about their faith, research reveals.

A LifeWay Research survey of Protestant churchgoers identifies “Unashamed” as one of 8 attributes of discipleship that consistently show up in the lives of maturing Christians.

Being unashamed connotes a boldness to stand for one’s beliefs in conversation and lifestyle, explained Scott McConnell, director of LifeWay Research.

“There are two elements to this discipleship attribute: being unashamed of Jesus Christ around nonbelievers and showing transparency among other Christians,” he said. “This transparency is seen when a mature disciple is open to spiritual accountability and willing to share about challenges with other believers…. Read this in full at
http://www.lifeway.com/Article/research-many-churchgoers-not-open-about-their-faith

     PROOF OF HEAVEN POPULAR, EXCEPT WITH THE CHURCH
by John Blake
Heaven used to be a mystery, a place glimpsed only by mystics and prophets. But popular culture is filled with firsthand accounts from all sorts of people who claim that they, too, have proofs of heaven after undergoing near-death experiences.

Yet the popularity of these stories raises another question: Why doesn’t the church talk about heaven anymore?

Preachers used to rhapsodize about celestial streets of gold while congregations sang joyful hymns like “I’ll Fly Away” and “When the Roll is Called up Yonder.” But the most passionate accounts of heaven now come from people outside the church or on its margins…. Read this in full at
http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/05/19/proofs-of-heaven-popular-but-not-with-the-church/

     HONORING A PARENT FOR WHOM YOU HAVE LITTLE RESPECT
by Clare De Graaf
I have a close friend whose father was both distant and hard on him. The son could never please his father and apparently neither could the man’s wife, my friend’s mother. No physical abuse, just selfish, disrespectful behavior. On top of it, the man claimed to be a Christian – a pillar in his church.

So Clare, when the Bible says, “Honor your father and your mother”, how does that work? I have no respect for the man at all! So, I can’t believe God expects me to honor and respect him.”

Actually, God does,” I told him. “There are a lot of really lousy fathers in the Bible, and nowhere does God give their children a pass on honoring or respecting them. So, here’s how I think honoring a parent who doesn’t appear to deserve much honor, works in real life” …. Read this in full at
http://www.claredegraaf.com/2013/05/20/honoring-a-parent-for-whom-you-have-little-respect/

     I’M STILL LEARNING TO FORGIVE
by Corrie ten Boom
It was in a church in Munich that I saw him, a balding heavy-set man in a gray overcoat, a brown felt hat clutched between his hands. People were filing out of the basement room where I had just spoken. It was 1947 and I had come from Holland to defeated Germany with the message that God forgives.

And that’s when I saw him, working his way forward against the others. One moment I saw the overcoat and the brown hat; the next, a blue uniform and a visored cap with its skull and crossbones. It came back with a rush: the huge room with its harsh overhead lights, the pathetic pile of dresses and shoes in the center of the floor, the shame of walking naked past this man. I could see my sister’s frail form ahead of me, ribs sharp beneath the parchment skin. Betsie, how thin you were!

Betsie and I had been arrested for concealing Jews in our home during the Nazi occupation of Holland; this man had been a guard at Ravensbruck concentration camp where we were sent.

“You mentioned Ravensbruck in your talk,” he was saying. “I was a guard in there.” No, he did not remember me.

“But since that time,” he went on, “I have become a Christian. I know that God has forgiven me for the cruel things I did there, but I would like to hear it from your lips as well. Fraulein, …” his hand came out, … “will you forgive me?” …. Read this in full at
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/questionofgod/voices/boom.html

     ‘DUCK DYNASTY’ STARS PHIL, MISS KAY: HOW JESUS CHRIST SAVED THEIR MARRIAGE, RESTORED THEIR FAMILY
Phil and Kay Robertson, the patriarch and matriarch of A&E’s highest-rated reality show, “Duck Dynasty,” were guests on CBN’s “700 Club” recently to talk about their family’s success and to share how their faith in Jesus Christ saved their marriage, which is about to hit the 50-year milestone.

The motto of “faith, family, and ducks,” is a running theme for the Robertson family, whose Duck Commander business in Monroe, La., is the backdrop for the reality television show that beat out American Idol with 9.6 million viewers during their hour-long season finale…. Read this in full at
http://www.christianpost.com/news/duck-dynasty-stars-phil-miss-kay-how-jesus-christ-saved-their-marriage-restored-their-family-96101/

     CULTIVATING IDEAS AND THINKING DEEPLY CAN BE SPIRITUAL ACTS OF LOVE
by Mel Lawrenz
Some of the most powerful influences in our lives are invisible, sometimes very small, often hypothetical. Ideas. They fill our minds, they motivate our actions. They shape how we view reality and — just as important — possible new realities.

Ideas are also at the core of spiritual influence. They are powerful realities that move invisibly from one person to another. They change and develop. It is almost like they have a life of their own. Leaders should always be asking, “What are the very best ideas I can flow to others? Is there one big idea God has influenced me with that ought to be the big idea I pass on to others? …. Read this in full at
http://www.christianitytoday.com/le/2013/may-online-only/whats-big-idea.html

     THOUGHTS ON FISHING
by Brian Nixon
Recently, I went to a small fishing lake with a friend of mine, Jarrett Petero. He’s getting into fishing. He thought I should tag along. I did. After two hours of casting, untangling lines, and eating mustard-flavored peanuts, I came up empty handed. No fish. I did see the fish, however. They were in the water. But they didn’t bite my line. A few swam up to it and looked at it. One even snipped at it. And in my mind, I just knew they were saying to themselves, “Oh, this is the guy that’s only caught three of us — and with help from other people. Let’s make him miserable.”

The time allowed me to ponder Jesus’ words to two fishermen, brothers, Peter and Andrew. In Matthew 4:18-20 it reads, “Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishermen. And he said to them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him…”

Two things stand out in the passage. One, Peter and Andrew left something they were good at to follow Jesus; and two, the Lord used the talent they had for his purposes. In a sense, Jesus called them to leave the very thing that brought them their sustenance, only to use the gifting for greater purposes: His kingdom…. Read this in full at
http://www.assistnews.net/Stories/2013/s13050089.htm

     VIDEO: DALLAS WILLARD ON WHAT THE CHURCH NEEDS TO GET RIGHT
John Ortberg and the late Dallas Willard discuss the centrality of Jesus’ message in the Gospels: how to get into heaven before you die. Willard also explains that the kingdom of God is God in action; the same thing as grace…. Watch this video at
Part 1: http://www.churchleaders.com/pastors/videos-for-pastors/147144-what-does-the-church-need-to-get-right.html
Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0n_nsEoQKhY

     WHATEVER YOUR ADDICTION, GOD’S GRACE IS THE ONLY HOPE FOR A WAY OUT
by Laura Leonard
When Heather Kopp arrived at rehab, she didn’t fear the physical agony of withdrawal or the chance that she would relapse. Rather, she worried she wouldn’t fit in. A 40-something mom of two and a veteran of Christian publishing, Kopp had never been in jail or on the streets. Her husband drove her from their comfortable Colorado Springs home to a group facility where the other patients, she feared, would look down on her for not having fallen quite as far. She’d simply let a nightly glass of wine turn into two, which turned into a bottle, which eventually led to additional mini bottles hidden and secretly chugged in the bathroom. Soon enough, every moment of her life revolved around her next chance to sneak away for a drink. It was a bad situation, but it wasn’t exactly the kind of flashy rock-bottom story that, say, sells memoirs.

But Sober Mercies: How Love Caught Up With a Christian Drunk (Jericho Books) proves just how wrong she was to minimize the depths of her descent. Kopp’s highly readable account draws the reader in, opening up a window into the mind of a burgeoning alcoholic. But as it moves through her rehab and recovery phases into her struggle to understand God’s presence amid her alcoholism, the book grounds everything in a universal truth: Substance abuse is a physical manifestation of a spiritual addiction to sin. And everyone, it turns out, is an addict…. Read this in full at
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2013/may/divine-rehab.html?paging=off

     VERSE TO PONDER
What of the wisdom from above? First, it is pure, and then peaceful, gentle, obedient, filled with mercy and good actions, fair, and genuine. Those who make peace sow the seeds of justice by their peaceful acts.”
– James 3:17-18 (CEB)

     CONSIDER
The great secret of successful marriage is to treat all disasters as incidents and none of the incidents as disasters.”
– Harold Nicholson

     DONALD MILLER, CHRISTIAN ICONOCLAST
by Joshua DuBois
Donald Miller is one of the last great Christian iconoclasts. After growing up in a fundamentalist household in Pearland, Texas, Miller broke free from empty orthodoxy and discovered his true faith while a student at ultra-liberal Reed College in Portland. This journey was recorded in Miller’s 2003 bestseller, Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality, a memoir that sent shock waves through the Christian world. “Blue Like Jazz” developed such a fan base that its readers crowd-funded more than $300,000 to turn the book into an independent film. “Jazz” and Miller’s followup works, including “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years,” have helped a new generation of evangelicals define themselves, with hundreds of thousands of fans joining Miller to embrace the title “follower of Jesus,” rather than simply “Christian.”

Miller now has a new project called Storyline, which promises to help people get beyond empty success to “live a better story.” I asked him via email about Storyline, his next book, and what his search for meaning is all about…. Read this interview in full at
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/05/19/donald-miller-christian-iconoclast.html

     DO ALL CHILDREN GO TO HEAVEN?
by Jim Denison
The greatest miracle of the Incarnation is not that God visited us—as Creator, he has every right to enter his creation. All through the Hebrew Bible, we find God intervening in the affairs of our planet.

The greatest miracle of the Incarnation is that this Creator chose to come to us as a baby. The One who holds the universe in the palm of his hand (Isa. 40:12) reduced his omnipotence into a miniscule fetus and was born as a helpless baby. Hands that held the universe were sheltered in a mother’s arms. Christmas shows us what God thinks of babies.

As I write, our nation is grieving the horrific deaths of 10 children in a freak storm in Oklahoma. Seven were pulled from the wreckage of an elementary school. Watching the news coverage of the tornado, many of us are asking faith’s hardest questions: Why did God allow such a tragedy? Why didn’t he prevent it, or at least shelter these innocent, helpless children? What do we do now?

And the question we’ll address here: What happened to the children when they died? …. Read this in full at
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2013/may-web-only/do-all-children-go-to-heaven.html?paging=off

     THE GOAL OF FAITH
Risk, as we have seen, is indispensable to any significant life, nowhere more clearly than in the life of the spirit. The goal of faith is not to create a set of immutable, rationalized, precisely defined and defendable beliefs to preserve forever. It is to recover a relationship with God.”
– Daniel Taylor, The Myth of Certainty, Jarrell, 1986, p. 123

     SUPREME COURT TO REVISIT CHURCH-STATE SEPARATION
The Supreme Court has agreed to revisit in the fall the issue of church-state separation and decide whether a town council can begin most of its monthly meetings with a prayer from a Christian pastor.

Thirty years ago, the court upheld a state legislature’s practice of beginning its session with a nondenominational prayer. The justices said that “to invoke divine guidance on a public body entrusted with making laws” did not violate the 1st Amendment’s prohibition on an “establishment of religion.”

But since then, several lower courts have said that a city council or county board may violate the 1st Amendment if its opening prayers favor one religion…. Read this in full at
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-court-prayer-20130521,0,5618989.story

     STICKY FAITH: WHAT KEEPS KIDS CONNECTED TO CHURCH?
by Jen Bradbury
When I first started in youth ministry, I did everything I could think of to attract and engage high school youth. I held monthly social events and service projects. My Sunday school classes and weekly youth group meetings included crazy games, youth-only worship with contemporary Christian music, and discussions of relevant topics.

I chose topics based on what I thought youth cared about, so we talked a lot about friendships, sex and alcohol. While I tied these topics to scripture, I rarely focused on Jesus. I assumed that the youth, who had grown up in the church, already knew the Jesus story well and were likely to be bored by it. Rather than help students cultivate a lifelong relationship with Christ, I focused on getting them to live a Christian lifestyle. I had zero tolerance for inappropriate behavior.

Only a handful of the youth I worked with in that year are attending church today. My extensive efforts at reaching them seem to have made little difference…. Read this in full at
http://www.christiancentury.org/article/2013-05/sticky-faith

     JONI EARECKSON TADA, HUSBAND: CANCER ‘BRUISING OF A BLESSING’ ON OUR MARRIAGE
Joni Eareckson Tada, president of TV and radio ministry “Joni and Friends” and a prominent disabilities advocate, became well-known among Christian circles ever since her story of quadriplegia and God’s grace was told in her autobiography and subsequent feature film, “Joni.” It’s the story of how the Maryland native found new life as a renowned painter, and later a voice of encouragement to the disabled all over the world after enduring the crippling diving accident at age 17.

Perhaps less is known about Tada’s husband Ken, a retired history teacher, and their married life together. Although Ken Tada is a more visible presence on mission trips, speaking appearances, and retreats, both Ken and Joni Eareckson Tada have never written about their marriage until now. The recently published book Joni & Ken: An Untold Love Story shares details about their whirlwind courtship, home life together, and their bouts with quadriplegia, chronic pain, and later, cancer…. Read this in full at
http://www.christianpost.com/news/joni-eareckson-tada-husband-cancer-bruising-of-a-blessing-on-our-marriage-pt-1-95783/

     MIRACLE MAN SURVIVES EXPLOSION AND FIRE THAT BURNED 95% OF HIS BODY, GIVES GLORY TO GOD
by Mark Ellis
Billy Jack McDaniel knew the risks of work on drilling rigs. Injuries and death in the oil field are common, mostly due to human error. But when a pressure seal on his rig failed, which allowed natural gas to escape, he came face-to-face with eternity in a horrific explosion and fire.

It didn’t take much to ignite,” recalls McDaniel, who found himself 150 feet high on a maintenance platform when the rig exploded. “I watched the fire. It came and got me. There was nowhere to go, nowhere to run.”

His body ignited like a marshmallow too close to an open flame. But this was no Boy Scout campfire. McDaniel found himself seared by 2,000-degree temperatures. Usually, people’s eyes melt at 1,200 degrees…. Read this in full at
http://blog.godreports.com/2013/05/miracle-man-survives-explosion-and-fire-that-burned-95-of-his-body-gives-glory-to-god/

     STUDY: CHILDREN START WATCHING PORN AT AGE 6
Kids start watching porn online from as early as the age of 6 — and are flirting on the Internet from the age of 8 —a ccording to a Bitdefender marketing study of over 19,000 parents worldwide.

The antivirus company’s marketing research shows that the age of kids accessing instant messaging and computer games is decreasing. Some 3.45% of children chatting with friends via instant message and 2% of computer game addicts are 5 years old…. Read this in full at
http://www.charismanews.com/culture/39537-study-children-start-watching-porn-at-age-6

     ONENESS
It is out of the question to be one with Him in any other way than in the way of nature, and character, and life. Unless we are Christ-like in our thoughts and our ways, we are not one with Him, no matter how we feel.”
– Hannah Whitall Smith (1832-1911), Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life, London: F. E. Longley, 1876, p. 130 (new ed.)

     GAUGING YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS
To ascertain where you really are with the Lord, recall what saddened you the past month. Was it the realization that you do not love Jesus enough? That you did not seek his face in prayer often enough? That you did not care for his people enough? Or did you get depressed over a lack of respect, criticism from an authority figure, your finances, a lack of friends, fears about the future, or your bulging waistline?”
– Brennan Manning

     HEAR THE BIBLE
To have heard the Bible speak is to be prepared not for maturity, balance, poise, riches, but for the poverty and distress and uncertainty of thought and action that are so desperately characteristic of human life. The Bible takes human mortality seriously, that mortality which the preacher does not hide from you even when you stand on the threshold of life. To wrestle with the theme of the Scriptures is your proper preparation for the rough things of human life, as we see it, and observe it, and are immersed in it. The Truth which is being spoken to you most clearly in the Scriptures is your only protection against cynicism and skepticism, just as it is your only protection against that false romanticism which is the modern cruel substitute for faith in God.”
– Sir Edwyn C. Hoskyns (1884-1937), We are the Pharisees, London: SPCK, 1960, p. 8

     DO WE BELIEVE?
The great question for us now is, Do we believe in that love of God which Christ taught by His words, and of which His followers saw in His voluntary death a crowning manifestation? And remember that even belief in the love of God will do us no good unless it awakes answering love in ourselves — unless it adds to our hatred of the sin which separates us from God and increases our love of other men.”
– James Hastings Rashdall (1858-1924), Principles and Precepts, Oxford: B. Blackwell, 1927, p. 126

     THE BOOK WE STILL CAN’T SPARE
by Lars Walker
Despite my well-deserved international reputation as a coward, I occasionally get into arguments with people, mostly on Facebook where no one can punch you. It was during such an argument recently that someone actually implied that I was a liar, one vice for which I don’t have a reputation, as far as I know. We were discussing….never mind; that’s another essay. But when she asked me where I got my ideas about right and wrong, I said that I’d read the Bible. My opponent laughed that off. She’d never read the whole Bible, she said, and she was pretty sure I hadn’t either.

It was one of those “taken aback” moments that come more and more often as you get older. I realized in a fresh new way that I’m a creature of another century. I have in fact read the Bible more than a dozen times, and I can remember a day when reading the Bible all the way through, though certainly regarded as an accomplishment, didn’t rank alongside claims to have climbed K2 or to have built a model of Graceland out of toothpicks. It’s a long book, I’ll grant you, but not that much longer than The Lord of the Rings.

Now if you’re expecting me to lament the passing of Biblical literacy in our generation, well, I do, but my point here is a larger (or smaller) one. My fears for the future are many, but the one I’m thinking of just now is my fear of losing things that make participatory democracy workable.

Some of you are saying, “This idiot thinks you need the Bible to have a democracy! Nonsense! We have the legacy of the Enlightenment! We have science! We have information and communications unheard of in history! We’ll do just fine without one old book, thanks for asking.”

Still, I beg to differ. Here’s my case…. Read this in full at
http://spectator.org/archives/2013/05/21/the-book-we-still-cant-spare

     ATHEIST GROUP SENDS BOOKS TO GEORGIA STATE PARKS TO PLACE NEXT TO GIDEON BIBLES INSIDE CABINS
The American Atheists of Cranford, NJ, announced they will be sending books on atheism to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to be placed next to Gideon Bibles inside every cabin and lodge at the state’s parks…. Read this in full at
http://www.christianpost.com/news/atheist-group-sends-books-to-georgia-state-parks-to-place-next-to-gideon-bibles-inside-cabins-96171/

     WHY THE BIBLE IS THE BEST GRADUATION GIFT YOU CAN GIVE
by Doug Birdsall
New graduates will face the challenges of finding jobs, managing finances and building healthy relationships and families. As loved ones search for the perfect gift to launch their graduate into the next phase of life, what the class of 2013 may need more than anything is a seemingly difficult gift to give: wisdom.

But how do get this wisdom handed over in real time to those stepping out of their comfort zones and into the real world? How can a gift show our support and optimism for their future ahead, while also equipping graduates to face whatever life may bring?

Perhaps it is as simple as a visit to your neighborhood bookstore, favorite online retailer or even a free downloadable App to give what is arguably the ultimate instruction manual on life: the Bible…. Read this in full at
http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2013/05/19/why-bible-is-best-graduation-gift-can-give/

     3 WAYS WE CENSOR THE BIBLE
by Dave Barnhart
In a post on my blog last fall, I talked about the “secret” history of Red Alabama, and how that history gets sanitized. How we sanitize history is the subject of the book Lies My Teacher Told Me, which argues that how we teach history affects our thinking and our politics. There is a similar “secret” history of biblical interpretation, which also affects both our thinking and our politics.

I’m doing a Bible study called “Your Vulgar Bible” on Monday nights in a local pub. I’m sharing the stories and passages that don’t get preached. These are stories that do not get shared, either from the pulpit or in Sunday schools, and so people get a skewed vision of the Bible.

I argue that there are three ways the Bible gets censored: …. Read this in full at
http://www.ministrymatters.com/all/article/entry/3911/three-ways-we-censor-the-bible

     IS THE BIBLE UNCLEAR? A GUIDE FOR THE PERPLEXED
by Roger E. Olson
First, speaking only for myself, and realizing I will sound like a fundamentalist here, I don’t think the Bible is all that unclear if read and studied properly, that is, reasonably–recognizing the Bible for what it is (now I’ll stop sounding like a fundamentalist)–not a source book of propositional answers to curious questions but a complex narrative written and compiled by human authors led by but not over ridden by the Holy Spirit.

Second, still speaking only for myself, in my opinion, everything we need to know to have a sound relationship with God and to become whole and holy persons is clear in Scripture.

Third, just because people disagree about what a text means does not mean it isn’t clear. There are all kinds of reasons why people don’t “see” what is clear. They approach scripture with preconceived interpretive frameworks that don’t really fit all of scripture or they are morally challenged and don’t want the Bible to contradict their lifestyle or vested interests or they are looking for harmony beyond what the Bible offers or was intended to offer. There are many conceivable reasons why people disagree about what the Bible says…. Read this in full at
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/rogereolson/2013/05/is-the-bible-unclear-a-guide-for-the-perplexed/

     THE PENTAGON’S PROBLEM WITH PROSELYTIZING
by Mollie Ziegler Hemingway
In early April, Army Reserve soldiers in Pennsylvania were told in a redeployment briefing that evangelical Christians and Roman Catholics were “extremists,” the same category as al Qaeda. Later that month, the Southern Baptist Convention’s website was blocked on Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps bases due to what the military’s software filter told Web users was “hostile content.” And in early May, news reports said that an anti-Christian crusader had proposed new rules for the Pentagon so that military-service members could be court-martialed for sharing their faith.

But the initial reports on these matters were exaggerated, taken out of context or simply false. The Army Reserve briefing materials in Pennsylvania were quickly corrected, and the alleged website ban turned out to be a software glitch. On May 2, the Pentagon issued a statement reiterating its policy that personal evangelism is permitted:
“The US Department of Defense has never and will never single out a particular religious group for persecution or prosecution,” assured Lt. Cmdr. Nate Christensen in the statement. “The Department makes reasonable accommodations for all religions and celebrates the religious diversity of our service members.”

So is the case about Pentagon policy closed? Not at all, say some religious-liberty advocates…. Read this in full at
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323744604578470903522950138.html

     VATICAN REVIVES ITS ANCIENT PATRONAGE OF THE ARTS
For centuries, popes sponsored the work of artists such as Michelangelo, Raffaello, or Bernini, who went on to create some of their masterpieces within the very walls of the Vatican.

Yet over time, the marriage between art and faith grew stale — the Vatican’s culture minister even called it a “divorce” — with the Roman Catholic Church finding itself estranged from the art world it did so much to create.

Now, in a bid to revive its ancient tradition of arts patronage, the Holy See is participating with its own pavilion at the 2013 Venice Biennale, a leading international arts festival.

The exhibition (http://www.cultura.va/content/cultura/en/eventi/europa/venezia.html), unveiled May 14 at the Vatican, features works by contemporary artists taking their cues from the Book of Genesis…. Read this in full at
http://www.religionnews.com/2013/05/14/vatican-revives-its-ancient-patronage-of-the-arts/

     A DISTRESSING MAP OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOM AROUND THE WORLD
The US Commission on International Religious Freedom has issued a report highlighting those it calls the worst violators of religious freedom in the world. Among them are many Asian and Middle Eastern governments, although some Western European countries are also included.

The report from the bipartisan advisory body divides violators into three categories. Fifteen “tier 1” nations, marked red on the map, have committed “particularly severe” violations that are “systemic, ongoing and egregious.” That includes all the countries you’d expect, as well as a few worsening problem areas, such as Egypt and Nigeria. The “tier 2” countries are said to be “on the threshold” of meeting tier 1 status and include states that might have serious problems but, often, are at least making an effort to address them. A small third category of nations under “monitoring” for violations includes, among other states, some in Western Europe…. Read this in full and see the map at
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/05/03/a-distressing-map-of-religious-freedom-around-the-world/

     CONSIDER
If God is here for us and not elsewhere, then in fact this place is holy and this moment is sacred.”
– Isabel Anders

     VERSE TO PONDER
God isn’t unjust so that he forgets your efforts and the love you have shown for his name’s sake when you served and continue to serve God’s holy people.”
– Hebrews 6:10 (CEB)

     THIS WEEK’S HYMN: GRACIOUS SPIRIT, HOLY GHOST
Words: Christopher Wordsworth, 1862
Music: Friedrich Filitz, 1847

Gracious Spirit, Holy Ghost,
Taught by Thee we covet most
Of Thy gifts of Pentecost
Holy, heavenly Love.

Faith, that mountains could remove,
Tongues of earth or heaven above,
Knowledge—all things—empty prove,
Without heavenly Love.

Though I as a martyr bleed,
Give my goods the poor to feed,
All is vain — if Love I need;
Therefore, give us Love.

Love is kind, and suffers long
Love is meek, and thinks no wrong,
Love than death itself more strong;
Therefore, give us Love.

Prophecy will fade away,
Melting in the light of day,
Love will ever with us stay;
Therefore, give us Love.

Faith will vanish into sight;
Hope be emptied in delight;
Love in heaven will shine more bright;
Therefore, give us Love.

Faith and Hope and Love we see
Joining hand in hand agree;
But the greatest of the three,
And the best, is Love.

From the overshadowing
Of Thy gold and silver wing
Shed on us, who to Thee sing,
Holy, heavenly Love.

>from NetHymnal at
http://nethymnal.org/htm/g/r/gracspir.htm

     FRIDAY NIGHT ARCHIVE REPLAY – 05/24/2013
RECOGNIZING FALSE PROPHETS
False prophets are all over the landscape today, and they are a sign of the times pointing to the soon return of Jesus.
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thepath/2013/05/25/recognizing-false-prophets


     ON PRAYER

We cannot attain to the understanding of Scripture either by study or by the intellect. Your first duty is to begin by prayer. Entreat the Lord to grant you, of His great mercy, the true understanding of His Word. There is no other interpreter of the Word of God than the Author of this Word, as He Himself has said, “They shall be all taught of God.” (John 6:45) Hope for nothing from your own labors, from your own understanding: trust solely in God, and in the influence of His Spirit. Believe this on the word of a man who has experience.”
– Martin Luther (1483-1546), in a letter (see What Luther Says: An Anthology, #233), quoted in History of the Great Reformation of the Sixteenth Century in Germany, Jean Henri Merle d’Aubigne, London: Walther, 1838, p. 320

     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. 

33 of the Most Beautiful Abandoned Places in the World
http://www.nature-pictures.info/the-33-most-beautiful-abandoned-places-in-the-world/

39 of the World’s Most Inspiring Routes for Road Trips
http://matadornetwork.com/trips/38-of-the-worlds-most-inspiring-routes-for-road-trips-pics/

The Art of Manliness
http://www.artofmanliness.com/

RadioTower: 6,000 Free Internet Radio Stations
http://www.radiotower.com/

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.) 

If it weren’t for Venetian blinds, it would be curtains for everybody.
Frank Coleman, Editor
frank@frankcoleman.com

Thanks for welcoming CONNECTIONS into your in-box! 

CONNECTIONS is a periodic newsletter of announcements, news, recommendations, articles, and other information helpful to men in our spiritual growth. Thanks for welcoming CONNECTIONS into your in-box! 

The CONNECTIONS Team offers a variety of activities for men to interact with other men on our journey of faith in Christ together. Large group, small group, and one-to-one events encourage relationship building and spiritual strengthening that result in maximizing the potential we all have in Christ. 
Contact Min. Frank Coleman, 773-410-1483, frank@frankcoleman.com if you’d like to participate in a men’s discipleship program. 
Path Of Life Ministries is located in Chicago, IL.
Visit our website at: http://www.pathoflifeministries.org/  

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

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