CONNECTIONS News – 09/15/2013

Connecting man to man to God
For week of September 15, 2013
Issue 476

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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Those who lend generously are good people — as are those who conduct their affairs with justice.”
– Psalm 112:5 (CEB)

     CONSIDER
Only as man brings his life into harmony with God does that life have balance and meaning. Then man finds that he is not simply a mass of dancing dirt, coming from nowhere and going nowhere.”
– Henry Schmidt

     LARGE LAYOFFS AT TWO COLORADO SPRINGS MINISTRIES
Two high-profile Colorado Springs ministries will be cinching their budgetary belts a little tighter this fiscal year. Unfortunately for employees, the result is a dramatic reduction of staff.

According to The Gazette, Focus on the Family will cut 40 current positions in response to a $3 million budget deficit as well as a “restructuring” process emphasizing tech and digital operations. Focus will add 11 jobs in those departments.

“The restructuring leaves Focus with about 640 employees, or less than half of the 1,400 it employed at its peak in 2002,” notes The Gazette.

Meanwhile, NavPress — the publishing arm of The Navigators — told The Gazette it will lay off at least 75% of its 29 staff members.

The news comes shortly after NavPress and Tyndale announced a new “publishing alliance to grow the influence and impact of the well-established and respected NavPress brand.” …. Read this in full at
http://www.christianitytoday.com/gleanings/2013/september/layoffs-focus-on-family-navpress-tyndale-merge.html

     US FEDERAL COURT KEEPS ‘IN GOD, WE TRUST’
A challenge to America’s national motto has been struck down by a federal district court. Dr. Michael Newdow and the Freedom From Religion Foundation sued to have “In God, We Trust” deleted from US currency.

The court stated there was ample body of case law and they could only come to one conclusion. The order rejects arguments the motto violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

The American Center for Law and Justice represented 41 members of Congress and almost 90,000 Americans who opposed Newdow’s lawsuit…. Read this in full at
http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2013/September/Federal-Court-Keeps-In-God-We-Trust/

     HOW TO PRAY FOR YOUR CITY
by Mac Pier
In 1983, my wife and I traveled to India on a short-term mission trip. We spent ten weeks in Bihar, a state the size of Nebraska, just below Nepal. Buddhism was founded in Bihar, and the state is a stronghold for both militant Hinduism and Islam. Bihar had 100 million people. The ratio of Christians to Muslims and Hindus was 1 to 100,000.

I was part of a very passionate team there. We gathered each Friday for three to nine hours to pray. We believed God could do anything, even in a place as challenging as Bihar. In the 30 years since, it has been encouraging to see the progress from the strength of those prayers.

Following our trip to India, we moved to Flushing, Queens, a cross-cultural community that is home to over 100 language groups. Our plan was to stay only two years, then return to India. We then began to feel God had called us to remain in New York City. We accepted the call and have lived in Flushing ever since…. Read this in full at
http://www.christianitytoday.com/thisisourcity/newyork/how-to-pray-for-your-city.html?paging=off

     ONLINE BIBLE READING HITS NEW HIGH, AMERICAN BIBLE SOCIETY SAYS
A whopping 41% of Americans used the Internet to read the Bible in the past year.

According to the American Bible Society’s “State of the Bible 2013” survey, Americans are increasingly looking to digital devices to read the good book. The study revealed that 29% of Americans said they searched for Bible verses on smartphones, while 17% read the Bible on a Kindle or an iPad, according to the Washington Examiner.

The data shows a continual shift to digital content. The number of Bible readers who use their smartphone or cell phone to search for Bible content has increased each year, with a 6% increase in the use of this format from 2012,” said the Society. “Use of Internet to find Bible content has also increased, up 4% from 2011.” …. Read this in full at
http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2013/09/04/online-bible-reading-hits-new-high-american-bible-society-says/

     DIFFERENCES, OR CONTRADICTIONS? RESPONDING TO APPARENT CONTRADICTIONS IN THE BIBLE
by Darrell Bock
Do differences in Bible accounts automatically mean contradiction? Recently, the blogger Friendly Atheist drew attention to a website where an array of supposed Bible contradictions are presented in a large chart.

Most of the apparent contradictions on the list are well known to anyone who teaches the Bible. Is the creation story the same in Genesis 1 and Genesis 2? Where were the Ten Commandments given — on Mt. Sinai or Mt. Horeb? Who was the father of a given biblical figure, person A or person B? Does Paul teach salvation by faith while James teaches salvation by works?

The chart also highlights other areas where life in biblical times, especially in the Old Testment, differs from moral standards we hold today — for example, the cases of polygamy in the Old Testament. The chart also lists Bible passages we find uncomfortable today, such as texts that seem anti-homosexual or anti-women. (The book of Genesis is the big offender here.)

So what is one to make of claims of clear contradictions in Scripture? Do (or should) such lists leave religious Bible believers speechless? …. Read this in full at
http://www.biblegateway.com/blog/2013/08/differences-or-contradictions-responding-to-apparent-contradictions-in-the-bible/

     ANALYSIS: IS ‘JUST WAR’ DOCTRINE ANOTHER VICTIM OF THE SYRIAN CONFLICT?
by David Gibson
Even as the world’s powers grasped for a last-minute resolution to the crisis in Syria, it remained an open question whether any amount of diplomacy could prevent the conflict from claiming at least one more victim: the classic Christian teaching known as the “just war” tradition.

The central problem is not that the just war doctrine is being dismissed or condemned, but that it is loved too much. Indeed, both sides in the debate over punishing the Syrian regime for using chemical weapons are citing just war theory, but are reaching diametrically opposed conclusions…. Read this in full at
http://www.religionnews.com/2013/09/11/analysis-is-just-war-doctrine-another-victim-of-the-syrian-conflict/

     TIPS FOR SUCCESSFUL SCHOOL YEARS
by Bill Ellis
These simple tips for success in school, at any grade or age level, could possibly be the counsel and inspiration to make it all happen. I recognize that most students are not avid newspaper readers. That is their loss.

It becomes the responsibility of parents, siblings, friends and teachers to pass these words, with their added influence on to those children, youth and young adults whom they know. Here are the tips.

1. READ books of biography, history, science, economics, geography and other areas of study. I know a beautiful and very talented young lady who read every night for an hour before going to sleep. Scholarships and academic honors were her rewards.

2. SPEAK so you may be understood. Put your mind in gear before your mouth goes into motion. Do not be a babbler. Learn to speak clearly and distinctly. Think about what you are going to say before saying it.

3. MORAL standards are necessary for success. Employers are not looking to hire people with low and faulty morals…. Read this in full at
http://www.assistnews.net/Stories/2013/s13090058.htm

     THE WARS OVER CHRISTIAN BEARDS
You’re more likely to see a beard in the pulpit today than at any time since the 1800s. But beards — especially among clergy — were once serious, symbolic matters. They separated East from West during the Great Schism, priests from laity during the Middle Ages, and Protestants from Catholics during the Reformation. Some church leaders required them; others banned them. To medieval theologians, they represented both holiness and sin. But historian Giles Constable says that rules on beards sound more forceful than they really were. Clergy (especially powerful ones) were likely to follow fashion in their day, too. Here’s a timeline:

c. 195
Clement of Alexandria calls the beard “the mark of a man” and says “it is therefore unholy to desecrate the symbol of manhood.” Many other church fathers made similar remarks about beardly manliness. But most early church clergy were either beardless or had a closely trimmed beard…. Read this in full at
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2013/september/wars-over-christian-beards.html

     VERSE TO PONDER
I’ve chosen the way of faithfulness; I’m set on your rules.”
– Psalm 119:30 (CEB)

     CONSIDER
We can stand affliction better than we can prosperity, for in prosperity we forget God.”
– D. L. Moody

     THE MOST AWKWARD DINNER OF ALL TIME (AND JESUS WAS A GUEST)
Excerpt from Who Is This Man? by John Ortberg
Compassion is a quality Jesus might be most famous for. [But in] a story told in all four Gospels, he saw people exploiting the poor in the temple; he took out a whip and drove them away, scattering their money and overturning their tables and saying, “How dare you.”

Most of us Highly Sensitive People do not throw furniture… Jesus was as militant as he was compassionate. How can this man be that man? There was a day when he exhibited both qualities together.

It was one of the most awkward dinner parties of all time. Jesus had been invited to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee, and Jesus was being carefully watched. A man with edema — a painful, unattractive, sometimes dangerous condition in which parts of the body fill with fluid — was present.

It was a Sabbath. In that Jewish society, no medical treatment was to be offered on the Sabbath unless someone’s life was in jeopardy. If Jesus had been an affable guest, he would have pretended not to notice the man. But Jesus was not affable. He called everyone’s attention to the man.

Jesus was sensitive to suffering. He asked if it was permissible to heal this man on the Sabbath. This was not an abstract discussion; the man was listening. Making religious leaders have this discussion with the man looking right at them, seems insensitive on Jesus’ part.

No one said a word. Jesus touched the man and healed him. The diners were not happy about this. The host did not invite the man to stay for dinner, so Jesus did what the host should have done and bade the man farewell. This was awkward. If Jesus had smooth social radar, he would have recognized that now was the time to change the subject.

Jesus did not have smooth social radar. He asked, “If one of you has a child or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately pull it out?” And they had nothing to say. This was not a comfortable silence. A storm was about to break.

The issue was not that Judaism was a religion of legalism and Jesus came to start a new religion called Christianity. The issue was what was the worth of a human being?

Jesus was on a roll now. “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

Jesus was not giving a law here. He was contrasting God’s [values] with ours. Inviting the poor for dinner might be a possibility, if unusual. But the crippled, the lame, and the blind — that’s another matter. Anything malformed or defective was considered by Pharisees to be unable to reflect the perfect holiness of God [and they treated] their homes as miniature temples. For Jesus to tell this prominent Pharisee to deliberately invite [these human beings] into his holy little temple was a deliberate slap in the face. Jesus was telling him to put on his guest list people whose defects offended him.

Jesus’ crankiness and compassion came from the same source: his outrageous love for every individual, and his pain when anyone is undervalued. In all the stories of Jesus’ compassion, we are never told that he had compassion on someone because they deserved it. It was only because they were in need.

     WHY I DROPPED CHURCH AND JOINED THE CHURCH
by Matt Marino
I came of age outside of the faith. At eighteen God found me. From that day forward, and with a love that was not my own, I have not been able to help but love Jesus back, and work for the welfare of others with the overflow of that love. Yet, even with all that love, I am sorry to say, I did not love church. I liked the idea of church. I liked lots of people at church. I just didn’t like church.

At least not until I discovered the Church: The Church historic. In the Church historic; orthodox, catholic and reformed, I found something larger than I.

I came to value Christ’s bride when I wandered into an expression of it that immersed me in a different and embodied narrative: the grand story of God’s creation, fall, redemption and working toward final justice. The Church, described by the Creeds, nourished by the Sacraments, defined by the Scriptures and led by the Holy Spirit through the 3-fold ministry, is something one can stand lashed to when the storms of life come…. Read this in full at
http://thegospelside.com/2013/09/09/why-i-dropped-church-and-joined-the-church/

     N.T. WRIGHT WANTS TO SAVE THE BEST WORSHIP SONGS
The scholar urges the church to stop neglecting Jesus’ prayer book.
N. T. Wright wants to see today’s media-saturated church shaped anew by a form of worship and prayer that has shaped the people of God for centuries. In The Case for the Psalms: Why They Are Essential (HarperOne) the churchman and biblical scholar calls our casual neglect of the Psalter a crisis in contemporary Christianity. Andrew Byers, a chaplain at St. Mary’s College at Durham University, spoke with Wright about aligning our values, theology, and perception of reality with the songs, poems, and prayers that saturated the hearts and minds of both Jesus and Paul.

Q: Why would anyone need to make a “case for the Psalms”?

A: Over my lifetime, I have watched churches that used to sing the Psalms in their weekly worship cease to do so and often substitute modern worship songs. There is nothing wrong with modern worship songs. But I have seen the Psalms get a little neglected, then ignored altogether. At the same time, many churches that retain the Psalms use them in a way that fails to do justice to their richness and depth.
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2013/september/nt-wright-saving-psalms.html?paging=off

     CHURCHES TO OBSERVE WORLD WEEK FOR PEACE IN PALESTINE AND ISRAEL
Churches, faith-based organizations and civil society groups will observe the World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel from 22 to 28 September 2013, invoking prayers, action and advocacy for justice and peace in Palestine.

Initiated by the WCC’s Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum (PIEF), the World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel is a call to end the Israeli illegal occupation of Palestinian land, urging justice and peace for all people.

Theme for this year’s week of prayer is ‘Jerusalem, the city of justice and peace.’ …. Read this in full at
http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/19051

     CONSIDER
Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength. It does not enable us to escape evil. It makes us unfit to face evil when it comes. It is the interest you pay on trouble before it comes.”
– Corrie ten Boom

     VERSE TO PONDER
But if we live in the light in the same way as he is in the light, we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from every sin.”
– 1 John 1:7 (CEB)

     THIS WEEK’S HYMN: SEND THE FIRE
Words: William Booth, in the Salvation Army’s War Cry, April 14, 1894
Music: Frederick Booth-Tucker

Thou Christ of burning, cleansing flame,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
Thy blood bought gift today we claim,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
Look down and see this waiting host,
Give us the promised Holy Ghost;
We want another Pentecost,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!

God of Elijah, hear our cry:
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
To make us fit to live or die,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
To burn up every trace of sin,
To bring the light and glory in,
The revolution now begin,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!

Tis fire we want, for fire we plead,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
The fire will meet our every need,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
For strength to ever do the right,
For grace to conquer in the fight,
For power to walk the world in white,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!

To make our weak hearts strong and brave,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
To live a dying world to save,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
O see us on Thy altar lay
Our lives, our all, this very day;
To crown the offering now we pray,
Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!

>from NetHymnal at
http://nethymnal.org/htm/s/e/sendfire.htm

     ON PRAYER
Prayer no longer seems like an activity to me; it has become the continuing language of the relationship I believe God designed to fulfill a human life.”
– Keith Miller

     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. 

Follow Bible News & Verses on Twitter
http://twitter.com/BibleGateway

Christian Media Magazine
http://christianmediamagazine.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.) 

I didn’t like my beard at first. Then it grew on me.
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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