Connecting man to man to God
For week of February 21, 2016
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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I’m convinced that nothing can separate us from God’s love in Christ Jesus our Lord: not death or life, not angels or rulers, not present things or future things, not powers or height or depth, or any other thing that is created. Romans 8:38-39 (CEB)
“If God is your partner, make your plans large.”
STUDY BIBLE SCHOLAR CHARLES RYRIE DIES
by Art Toalston
Charles C. Ryrie, a scholar whose name abounds on Ryrie Study Bible editions with more than 2.6 million in print in multiple languages, died Feb. 16 in Dallas at age 90.
Known for his end-times theology of dispensationalism, Ryrie was a longtime systematic theology professor at Dallas Theological Seminary and a longtime member of First Baptist Church in Dallas.
At FBC Dallas, Ryrie became close friends with the current pastor, Robert Jeffress, and his predecessors at First Baptist, O.S. Hawkins and Mac Brunson.
Hawkins, now president of the SBC’s GuideStone Financial Resources who served at First Baptist from 1993-97, said in comments to Baptist Press: “If ever there lived a man whose life was immersed in the Bible it was Charles Ryrie. This is evident not only in the legacy he left in the Ryrie Study Bible, his amazing collection of rare and antique Bibles and books, but his passion to never stop studying even into his ninth decade of life.
“What many do not know,” Hawkins noted, “is that he was a great churchman” who attended regularly…. Read this in full at
THEOLOGY FOR EVERYONE: THE LEGACY OF CHARLES RYRIE
by Andy Rau
We were saddened this week to learn that Charles Ryrie, a Bible scholar who made his mark with a groundbreaking popular study Bible and many other books, died at age 90 after a long and remarkable life.
Ryrie was a prolific writer who penned many books about Christianity, covering a wide variety of topics—but a common thread through all of them was a clear passion for helping “average” Christians understand their Bibles. Although words like “doctrine” and “theology” can be intimidating — with their suggestion of stuffy scholarship, esoteric religious debates, and advanced seminary degrees — Ryrie was bold in his belief that these were words that can and should fit comfortably into the vocabulary of every Christian. Theology shouldn’t scare off anyone, he wrote in Basic Theology: A Popular Systematic Guide to Understanding Biblical Truth…. Read this in full at
ANTONIN SCALIA: DEVOUT CHRISTIAN, WORLDLY JUDGE
by Thomas Berg
“He was a man. Take him for all in all. [We] shall not look upon his like again.” Those words from Hamlet seem appropriate on the death of US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. He had a powerful effect on the Court and on the law more broadly. Scalia was the most eloquent and prominent proponent of the idea that the Constitution should be interpreted according to the “original meaning” of its words: the meaning they had at the time of their adoption. He argued, in his inimitable style, for a “dead Constitution”—whose meaning is fixed until changed by formal amendment—over a “living Constitution” that a judge can manipulate into whatever shape he wishes.
Moreover, except for Ruth Ginsburg, it is hard to imagine another justice becoming so visible in the broader culture. Many who hated Scalia’s rulings could not help but be entertained by his razor-sharp writing, which he used especially in his dissenting opinions to carve up the majority’s reasoning (my favorite is Planned Parenthood v. Casey, where among other things he referred to the majority’s “Nietzschean vision of us unelected, life-tenured judges—leading a Volk who will be ‘tested by following’” the Court’s rulings obediently). In a talk at my law school last November, he said that he wrote his dissents “mainly for you guys, for law students.” His eloquence inspired generations of lawyers and students convinced by his judicial philosophy…. Read this in full at
DIED: DON MCCLANEN, FOUNDER OF FELLOWSHIP OF CHRISTIAN ATHLETES
by Morgan Lee
Don McClanen, who founded the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) in 1954, has died at the age of 91.
“Don’s unwavering commitment and vision truly enabled FCA to grow to where it is today, encouraging millions of coaches and athletes to lead lives that are dedicated to Christ,” said Les Steckel, FCA president and CEO, in a statement. “Sixty-two years later, that vision is alive and well through FCA, influencing lives for Christ across the globe — an amazing legacy.”
McClanen was born on February 3, 1925, in Trenton, New Jersey. He served in the Navy during World War II, then attended Oklahoma State University. After graduation, McClanen coached high school basketball before becoming the athletic director and men’s basketball coach at Eastern Oklahoma University…. Read this in full at
BIBLE GATEWAY LAUNCHES BIBLE GATEWAY PLUS
In addition to the substantial free Bible content and functionality available to you every day, Bible Gateway is now providing you a way to augment your online Scripture reading and study with no banner ads and more Bible study content.
Bible Gateway Plus is a new subscription program that allows members—for a nominal monthly fee following a 30-day free trial—to read, search, and study the Bible with no distractions from banner advertisements. Subscribers also have 24/7 online access from any Web-friendly computer or device to Bible Gateway’s valuable library of bestselling and critically-acclaimed digital Bible study resources that complement the study of any Bible translation…. Read this in full at
HOW GOD USED MY ALCOHOLISM FOR MINISTRY
by John Baker
Since the beginning of time, men and women have searched for happiness — usually in all the wrong places, trying all the wrong things. But there’s only one place where we can find tested-and-proven, absolutely-gonna-work principles that will lead to healing and happiness. These principles come in the form of eight statements from the truest of all books — the Bible — and from the most revered Teacher of all time — Jesus Christ. Jesus laid out these principles for happiness in the Sermon on the Mount in the gospel of Matthew, chapter 5 (the Beatitudes).
Change, Jesus says, can be ours, but the pathway to change and happiness may not be exactly what we’re expecting. From a conventional viewpoint, most of the following eight statements don’t make sense. At first they even sound like contradictions. But when you fully understand what Jesus is saying, you’ll realize these eight statements are God’s pathway to wholeness, growth, and spiritual maturity…. Read this in full at
JERUSALEM WAS INHABITED AS FAR BACK AS 7,000 YEARS AGO, ARCHAEOLOGISTS FIND
Archaeologists have unearthed the oldest known remains of an ancient settlement on the site of modern-day Jerusalem, dating back some 7,000 years, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced February 17.
The finds were uncovered by the IAA during excavations carried out prior to the laying of a new road in the Shuafat neighborhood in northeastern Jerusalem.
The excavation exposed two houses with well-preserved remains and floors containing various installations as well as pottery vessels, flint tools, and a basalt bowl, the IAA said.
Experts have dated the finds to 5,000 BCE, the beginning of the Chalcolithic era, also known as the Copper Age. During the period, which stretches back to 3,000 BCE, man started using copper tools for the first time, a revolutionary advancement from the stone tools previously used…. Read this in full at
5 TRUTHS TO KNOW ABOUT PSALM 119
by Debbie McDaniel
Found in the center of God’s Word, Psalm 119 is the longest chapter of the Bible. Important themes, found throughout its 176 verses, focus on the Truth and necessity of God’s Word and on His very character. Charles Spurgeon liked this Psalm so much, he was quoted as saying, “We might do well to commit it to memory.” But there are other deeper truths within this great chapter of the Bible that we may sometimes overlook. All too often, maybe simply because of its length, we read through it too quickly. Or we skip forward to something else, or just read a verse here or there, but possibly never look at the entire chapter as a whole, or think about who wrote it, and what the real point of it even is. In looking deeper, we can discover so much wisdom, hidden gems that reveal the richness of our God coming to life through its words…. Read this in full at
GALLUP POLL:NEW HAMPSHIRE LEAST RELIGIOUS STATE, MISSISSIPPI THE MOST
New Hampshire is the least religious state in the USA, edging out Vermont in Gallup’s 2015 state-by-state analysis. Mississippi has extended its eight-year streak as the most religious state, followed closely by neighboring Alabama.
Gallup classifies Americans into three religious groups based on their responses to a question measuring religious service attendance and how important religion is in their daily life. Very religious Americans are those who say religion is important to them and who attend services every week or almost every week. Nonreligious Americans are those for whom religion is not important and who seldom or never attend religious services. Moderately religious Americans meet just one of the criteria, either saying religion is important or that they attend services almost every week or more.
Gallup began tracking several religious indicators on a daily basis in 2008. Some of these indicators have shown significant change over this time, most notably the percentage of Americans who report no formal religious identity when asked to name their religious preference. But the percentage classified as very religious on the basis of their attendance and view on the importance of religion has stayed remarkably stable. In 2008, 41% of Americans were very religious, 29% moderately religious and 30% nonreligious. In 2015, those same percentages are almost identical: 40%, 29% and 31%, respectively…. Read this in full at
JOHN PIPER ANSWERS: DOES THE BIBLE SAY TO KILL HOMOSEXUALS?
Podcast listener Luke writes in: “Dear Pastor John, I want to first thank you for the Ask Pastor John podcast and for your obedience and love for the Lord. One thing I have always struggled to communicate is the difference between the Old Testament Law and the fulfilled Law after Christ. I have many atheist friends who press me here, specifically when it comes to homosexuality. Why do we as Christians not believe practicing homosexuals should be killed for their sin if that is exactly the prescription in our Bibles in Leviticus 20:13? How would you answer this objection?”
This is huge and absolutely crucial. And we need an answer for it to those who ask. It is such a common response for somebody that has a smattering of knowledge or has just read that there are these verses in the Bible like that. And it is not difficult to answer this problem. It just takes a little willingness on the part of people to listen for a few minutes as we describe the nature of the Christian Bible.
So you have to ask for a few minutes. It might be helpful to start with an analogy. I think, right off the bat, this might be helpful. You might say to the person who is asking that question: Suppose a book is written for the military and in Chapter 1 it deals with how soldiers should relate to each other during basic training stateside. Chapter 2 deals with how soldiers should relate to each other and to their captured enemies on the battlefield. Chapter 3 deals with how soldiers should relate to each other and to their captors if any of them is taken captive and imprisoned. And the fourth chapter deals with how they should relate to each other and to the enemy if they are infiltrated behind enemy lines. Would anyone accuse a soldier of disobedience if while he is captured as a prisoner of war he obeys the instructions in Chapter 3 rather than the instructions in Chapter 1? No. Nobody would. That is the way the book intends to be used.
Now that is the kind of book the Bible is. It was written under God’s inspiration over a period of 1,500 years or so through various periods when God dealt with His people in different ways. Not everything that the Bible designed for God’s people Israel under the judges or under the kings or that God designs for Christians under the apostles in the New Testament is the same. Putting to death adulterers, putting to death homosexuals, putting to death the sons who curse their parents, all these penalties belonged to a particular season in the history of God’s dealings with His covenant people, and those dealings have changed dramatically with the coming of God’s Son Jesus Christ into the world. That is the basic nature of the Bible and of redemptive history that we need to get across to our critics…. Read this in full at
PERSECUTION: THE NEW NORMAL
by Tom Doyle
As a new believer in high school, I fell in love with Jesus and began to devour his Word. One of my first stops was the book of Acts. I envisioned myself as one of the disciples spreading the gospel around the known world. I vividly remember thinking, “I’m glad the Roman Empire collapsed, and we live in a more civilized world now. Thank you, God, that all that persecution is over and done with.”
Whatever made me think such suffering was off the table? Especially when Jesus clearly promised persecution for his followers.
Just look at contemporary headlines. Even secular news sources now regularly cover the growing inhumane treatment of Christians throughout the world:
* 40 Egyptian churches burned to the ground.
* House-church leaders sentenced to Iran’s infamous Evin Prison.
* 80 Christians murdered in North Korea for merely owning a Bible.
* Believers nailed to crosses in Syria.
And that’s the news from just one month in 2014…. Read this in full at
IS THE IDEA OF A “CHRISTIAN TOURIST” AN OXYMORON?
by Clare De Graaf
Does Jesus consider you a Christian tourist or one of his ambassadors?
I threw this question out to a group of leadership men one morning in a monthly discussion group I lead called 1st Tuesdays. I could tell that initially most of the men put themselves in the Christian ambassador column. However as the conversation went on and we began to explore the differences between a Christian ambassador and Christian tourists, several of the men grew more quiet and thoughtful. It’s also been a word picture I’ve used with our children and grandchildren, to help them better understand the mission of true kingdom people.
The term ambassador as a descriptor for Christians comes from Paul. “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.” 2 Cor. 5:20a
Of course, everyone always presses me to define the difference between the two, so I explain it this way.
The two primary tasks of an ambassador are these; to advance the interests of the country that sent him/her and conduct themselves personally in such a way as to be a credit to their country. Ambassadors know they are aliens in a foreign land. Their citizenship and therefore their loyalty, is to a different country. They’re only on temporary assignment and in many cases their assigned country is dangerous…. Read this in full at
COULD THERE BE A DEEPER RATIONALE FOR THE FIRST COMMANDMENT?
by Mark Galli
Lent is, among other things, a season of self-examination, and one traditional tool for self-examination is the Ten Commandments. In measuring my life against them again, I see failure at every step. That is not new or interesting. What struck me with new force recently is this: we live in a culture that makes it next to impossible to obey three of these classic ten.
Today, I’ll reflect only on the first: “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below” (Ex. 20:4, NIV).
We usually understand this as merely a prelude to what follows, the prohibition against worshiping idols. But what caught my attention recently is the sweeping nature of the command — it appears to prohibit all images — and the strong break between this sentence and the following one about idols. One could make a case — such a case has, in fact, been made by Jacques Ellul, among others — that the prohibition against images has a logic of its own apart from idol worship…. Read this in full at
A DEPUTY SHONE A SPOTLIGHT, FOUND A BIBLE, AND LIT UP A LIFE
by Kim Kimzey
Robert Morris had lost a lot. His mother and father had died. A sister would follow. And it was after her death that he lost a part of himself.
Morris spiraled into addiction. He was an alcoholic and a drug addict. He was also homeless. He was living in a tent and even that was gone.
Several months ago, his shelter washed away in a flood. Morris was soaking wet and walking down Buncombe Road when Greenville County Sheriff’s Deputy Matt Holman shined a spotlight on him.
Morris shared their encounter in a call to 911 that was recorded and has been shared by the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office on YouTube.
Morris did not call to file a complaint or report a crime. He called to simply share a story about Holman.
Morris and Deputy Holman walked to a nearby church…. Read this in full at
10 QUESTIONS ALL CHRISTIANS SHOULD ASK THEMSELVES
by Joseph Mattera
Often, many of us in leadership are so used to being engrossed in activities and giving advice and direction to people that we do not have enough time for self-reflection.
The following are 10 questions every leader should continually ask themselves:
1. Am I involved in an activity without purpose? Often we make the mistake of thinking that much activity is equal to productivity. Sometimes the busiest people can be the most unproductive people because they major on the trivial things in life, instead of the most important things. We all have to discern between good things and God things to do.
2. Do I value programs more than the people around me? Often leaders are so institutionally minded that they focus most of their energy on developing programs rather than investing in developing the people around them. Biblically speaking, Jesus did not build a huge organization, but He built a great leadership team that would eventually create the greatest movement the world has ever seen.
3. Am I seeking God commensurate to the call and assignment of God in my life? The more influential you become, the more opportunities will come your way that can crowd God out from your world. We should never be too busy to pray! God can only trust us with true influence based on our understanding of His ways and intimate knowledge of His person…. Read this in full at
Sung to the tune of the Beatles’ song “Yesterday”
All those backups seemed a waste of pay.
Now my database has gone away.
Oh I believe in yesterday.
There’s not half the files there used to be, And there’s a milestone hanging over me The system crashed so suddenly.
I pushed something wrong
What it was I could not say.
Now all my data’s gone
and I long for yesterday-ay-ay-ay.
The need for back-ups seemed so far away.
I knew my data was all here to stay,
Now I believe in yesterday.
VERSE TO PONDER
Who will separate us from Christ’s love? Will we be separated by trouble, or distress, or harassment, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? But in all these things we win a sweeping victory through the one who loved us. Romans 8:35,37 (CEB)
“The million little things that drop into our hands, the small opportunities each day brings, He leaves us free to use or abuse and goes unchanging along His silent way.”
SCIENCE PROVES YOUR BRAIN RECOGNIZES THE REALITY OF GOD, RESEARCHERS SAY
by Jessilyn Justice
Even if you were never taught to believe in God, your brain could still recognize His existence. Such is the premise of Romans 1, and a roundtable discussion set to air on National Geographic.
According to National Geographic, fascinating new research has uncovered the possibility that believing in God may be hardwired in our brains.
“Psychologists and anthropologists deemed that children left to their own devices would have some conception of God. Some attribute this to our innate sense of detecting patterns in the world (as to discern predators or prey in nature), while others propagate the notion of a ‘supersense’-or a cognitive tendency to infer hidden forces in the world working for good or ill,” says Shaheen E. Lakhan, who holds several doctorate degrees, including an M.D.
Lakhan’s statements back up those of Andrew Newberg, who actively researches “neurotheology.” …. Read this in full at
THE STANDUP MISSIONARY MAKING SOLDIERS SING
Their numbers have dwindled to just 13 over the years, but the role of the scripture reader in British military life is still a vital one.
Their job is similar to that of a missionary, to share their faith with service personnel and to provide pastoral help when needed.
Scripture readers have been around for 179 years. They became better known during the Second World War, when they used to go into the trenches and recite the scriptures to the soldiers who couldn’t read…. Read this in full at
LETTERS TO THE CHURCH: PAUL’S EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS
Did you know that most of the books that comprise the New Testament are actually letters? In the days of the early Christian church, it was impractical for the apostles to personally visit each fledgling Christian community, so the central tenets of the faith were spread throughout the Near East in the form of letters written to individual congregations.
These letters (also known as “epistles”) contain both general Christian teaching and specific instructions for the congregation to which they were addressed. The “Pauline epistles” — letters written by the influential apostle Paul—are particularly central to Christian belief.
During Lent, take a look at a different epistle — and imagine what it would be like to receive such a letter! The first letter on our tour is the book of Romans…. Read this in full at
RIDING A HARLEY & THE MISSION OF GOD
by Tim Yarbrough/Arkansas
I ran across a Twitter post by a motorcyclist the other day reminding fellow bikers to always stop when they see one of their own broken down on the side of the road.
The comment got me to thinking about things I’ve learned riding my Harley-Davidson Road King along the highways and byways of our state.
As I consider the believer’s calling and mission to the cause of Jesus Christ and to make Him known, there are some biker parallels: …. Read this in full at
FATAL SHOOTING & MURDER CHARGE TURNED HIM TO CHRIST
by Jessica Vanderpool
When John Eric Schmidt was charged with second-degree murder, no one could have known that less than a year later, not only would the charge have been dropped, but Schmidt would be celebrating a newfound eternal freedom through salvation in Christ.
Schmidt, 53, of North Little Rock, was charged with second-degree murder after shooting 32-year-old Chad Johnson during what Pulaski County sheriff’s deputies said was a property dispute, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. The incident took place at Graves Memorial Baptist Church in North Little Rock. Schmidt, who has emergency medical training, then tried to administer first aid to Johnson, but Johnson died en route to the hospital. Schmidt required medical attention for his injuries.
Authorities recently dropped the murder charge against Schmidt, according to the Democrat-Gazette…. Read this in full at
MICHAEL W. SMITH SHARES HIS TESTIMONY AND DISCUSSES NEW ALBUM
Popular Christian singer and songwriter Michael W. Smith recently shared details of his testimony and discussed his new album “Hymns II: Shine on Us” while appearing on The Church Boys podcast.
Smith said that he became a Christian at the age of 10.
“I remember sitting with all my friends and just something happened. It was like an epiphany,” Smith said. “A light bulb went off. Jesus really is who he said he was.”
However, Smith fell away from the faith some years later, and developed a drug problem.
I lost my way,” he said. “Still, to this day, I can’t believe I did that for four years and got deceived and almost died a couple of times.”
God did not leave Smith to wallow in his sin, however…. Read this in full at
THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD OR PREDATOR?
by Knut M. Heim
Psalm 23 offers hope and encouragement like no other poem. Countless Jews and Christians have found in this short psalm solace in the face of life’s greatest challenges, including death. Two verses in particular (4 and 6) have given the psalm such power:
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil … and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (KJV, used throughout)
But some modern readers find its language foreign and patronizing.
Most readers today tend to think of sheep as dumb farm animals that are easily manipulated. Suggesting that we are like docile creatures that follow a leader en masse touts mindless religiosity. Our culture teaches us to be independent and self-sufficient. To compare humans to sheep is offensive…. Read this in full at
BETTER TOGETHER: RELIGIOUS ATTENDANCE, GENDER, AND RELATIONSHIP QUALITY
by W. Bradford Wilcox and Nicholas H. Wolfinger
In this Institute for Family Studies research brief, we take up a related question: What is the association between regular religious attendance and relationship quality for married and unmarried couples? Religion is most likely to foster better family outcomes when faith is shared, so we consider the effect of attending services together (as opposed to by oneself) on relationship quality. This brief extends the analysis of religion and relationship quality for black and Latino couples presented in our recent book, Soul Mates: Religion, Sex, Love and Marriage Among African Americans and Latinos, to Americans in general.
We analyze a national sample, the 2006 National Survey of Religion and Family Life, of about 1,600 working-age adults (18-59) who are in a heterosexual romantic relationship, married or unmarried, and find that religious attendance is not consistently associated with higher relationship quality among heterosexual couples.1 If just the woman attends services, the couple is less happy than if he attends alone, both attend, or neither attends religious services regularly. Men and women in couples where neither partner attends are also less happy than couples where the man attends, either with or without his partner. Seventy-eight percent of men and women in couples who regularly go to services together, or where only the man attends regularly, report that they are “very happy” or “extremely happy,” after adjusting for differences in race, age, education, marital status, region, and other factors. By contrast, 67 percent of men and women in relationships where neither partner attends are happy, and just 59 percent of people in couples where only she attends regularly report they are very happy. Clearly, shared attendance and his attendance are linked to higher self-reported relationship quality…. Read this in full at
“Christianity helps realign my disarray.”
VERSE TO PONDER
This is love: it is not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son as the sacrifice that deals with our sins.
~1 John 4:10 (CEB)
THIS WEEK’S HYMN: AWHILE IN SPIRIT, LORD, TO THEE
Words: Joseph F. Thrupp, 1853
Awhile in spirit, Lord, to Thee
Into the desert we would flee;
Awhile upon the barren steep
Our fast with Thee in spirit keep.
Awhile from Thy temptation learn
The daily snares of sin to spurn,
And in our hearts to feel and own
Man liveth not by bread alone.
O Thou once tempted like as we,
Thou knowest our infirmity;
Be Thou our Helper in the strife,
Be Thou our true, our inward Life.
And while, at Thy command we pray,
“Give us our bread from day to day,”
May we with Thee, O Christ, be fed,
Thou Word of God, Thou living Bread.
>from NetHymnal at
“God insists that we ask, not because He needs to know our situation, but because we need the spiritual discipline of asking.” Catherine Marshall
PRAY FOR PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS TODAY
you travel on business or vacation, let me know if you’d like
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Archaeologists never discover anything new.
Frank Coleman, Editor
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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 if you’d like to participate in a men’s discipleship program.
Path Of Life Ministries is located at 6459 S. Campbell Ave. Chicago, IL 60629.
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