CONNECTIONS News – 12/29/2013

Connecting man to man to God
For week of December 29, 2013
Issue 491

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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Simeon took Jesus in his arms and praised God. He said, “Now, master, let your servant go in peace according to your word, because my eyes have seen your salvation. You prepared this salvation in the presence of all peoples. It’s a light for revelation to the Gentiles and a glory for your people Israel.”
– Luke 2:28-32 (CEB)

Faith does not eliminate questions. But faith knows where to take them.”
– Elisabeth Elliot

With Advent ended, we’re now in the season of Christmas.

by Scot McKnight
There are two Marys. One wears a Carolina blue robe, exudes piety from a somber face, often holds her baby son in her arms, and barely makes eye contact with us. This is the familiar Blessed Virgin Mary, and she leads us to a Christmas celebration of quiet reflection.

Another Mary — the Blessed Valorous Mary — wears ordinary clothing and exudes hope from a confident face. This Mary utters poetry fit for a political rally, goes toe-to-toe with Herod the Great, musters her motherliness to reprimand her Messiah-son for dallying at the temple, follows her faith to ask him to address a flagging wine supply at a wedding, and then finds the feistiness to take her children to Capernaum to rescue Jesus from death threats. This Mary followed Jesus all the way to the Cross — not just as a mother, but as a disciple, even after his closest followers deserted him. She leads us to a Christmas marked by a yearning for justice and the courage to fight for it. Like other women of her time, she may have worn a robe and a veil, but I suspect her sleeves were rolled up and her veil askew more often than not…. Read this in full at

by Clare De Graaf
Yes, you read that right! What was the nature of the second member of the trinity before he was the God/Man Jesus? (By the way, only we Christians, not the Bible, call him “the second member of the Trinity”.)

At Christmas, we celebrate the birth of Jesus, but it’s important we remember that the God-part of Jesus pre-existed his putting on of flesh as the Incarnate Jesus. Because he was and is God, Jesus the Spirit is eternal and pre-existed everything. So, what was he like back then? That raises all kinds of questions for me:…. Read this in full at

by Fred Bittner
Every January, millions of people begin their year with New Year’s resolutions. Losing weight, getting organized, exercising more, eating healthier, and managing finances better are some of the most common resolutions. But what about making spiritual New Year’s resolutions?

We make commitments and tell our friends and family on January 1st, only to give it all up by January 3rd. But as humans, our struggle for consistency goes way beyond resolutions. Making commitments we can’t keep runs all through society, back to Biblical times. In the Bible, James spoke of some people who can teach us a valuable lesson about great intentions that aren’t aligned with God’s will:…. Read this in full at

by Dr. Claude Mariottini
Two weeks ago, my blog became part of the Bible Gateway Blogger Grid. According to Bible Gateway, “Bible Gateway Blogger Grid (BG²) is an international network of independent bloggers who meaningfully blog-and who are serious-about matters relating to the Bible.”

If you are not familiar with Bible Gateway, the site offers many tools to people who want to study the Bible. Its online Bible search engine allows people to search several Bibles in English, Spanish, and several other languages…. Read this in full at

by Bryan Bibb
My Religion 216 “Digital Bible” students are currently taking their final exam, and rather than grade papers while I wait, I decided to post their exam to see how well you all would do…. Read this in full at

by John W. Martens
he early Christians relied on cutting edge technology as they compiled and disseminated the texts of the New Testament to the churches and Christians of the earliest centuries. The Apostle Paul would send letters with emissaries to respond to issues that had been raised by the Christians in Corinth or Thessalonica. Paul’s letters were versions of the common Greco-Roman letter, expanded and “Christianized” through language and content to reflect the needs of the first churches. In a similar way, Christians jumped on the new technology of the codex instead of the more common scroll, influencing the wider culture in this regard.

Today, Christians are engaging with Scripture on the internet and beginning to explore the possibilities for reading and praying with the Bible online. The World Wide Web presents an unparalleled opportunity to bring the word of God to anyone anywhere in the world. Access to online resources brings the hopes of “Dei Verbum” ever closer to fulfillment that “easy access to Sacred Scripture should be provided for all the Christian faithful” (No. 22) and that “prayer should accompany the reading of Sacred Scripture, so that God and man may talk together; for ‘we speak to Him when we pray; we hear Him when we read the divine saying’” (No. 25). In reading the Bible online we become a part of the ancient church’s practice through this new technology…. Read this in full at

Each of us leads a secret thought life, an invisible life known only to us- it is not known to others. This secret life is usually very different from the visible you- the you that is known by others. Yet it is the real you, the you that is known by our God.”
– Patrick Morley

Looking for where the seven deadly sins are most common in America? There’s a map for that.

Actually, there’s a couple of maps. These maps — originally published in 2009, when Kansas State University geographers researched and mapped out where the seven deadly sins are most prevalent in the United States — recently resurfaced on Memolition, an online news site, and are gaining attention, Yahoo News reported.

Each map shows a mostly pale yellow United States with splotches of blue and red splattered throughout. Red regions show where that specific deadly sin is more prevalent, whereas blotches of blue show where it is seen less, according to Yahoo…. Read this in full at

Temptation … cannot be sin; and the truth is, it is no more a sin to hear these whispers and suggestions of Satan in our souls, than it is for us to hear the swearing or wicked talk of bad men as we pass along the street. The sin only comes in either case by our stopping and joining in with them.”
– Hannah Whitall Smith (1832-1911), Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life, London: F. E. Longley, 1876, p. 139

Teacher, what is the greatest commandment in the Law?” [Jesus] replied, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: You must love your neighbor as you love yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.”
– Matthew 22:36-40 (CEB)

We are only as good as what we love.”
– Sam Bellow

Christmas is a dangerous time for Christians to celebrate the birth of Jesus in many countries around the world.

The apparent targeting of Christians occurred again Wednesday in Baghdad, Iraq where militants killed at least 37 people — most of them Christians — in two bomb attacks, according to BBC News. One bomb exploded outside of the St. John’s Catholic Church while worshippers were leaving a Christmas Day service, killing at least 26. Another bomb ripped through an outside market in a Christian neighborhood, killing at least 11. There were an estimated 60 wounded in the two bombings.

Pastor Tariq (not his real name) told Open Doors recently that “churches are targets for terrorists, especially on Christmas Day. Many Christians stay home because they are too afraid.” …. Read this in full at

by Lynn Wilder
n a Friday in January 2006, at home in Alpine, Utah, I received a phone call from my third son, Micah, that changed my life.

My family and I loved living in “Zion,” the result of a decision that my husband, Michael, and I had made as young adults to join the Mormon Church. For eight years, I had been a professor at Brigham Young University (BYU), the flagship school of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). Michael was a high priest, a bishopric member and high counselor, temple worker, seminary teacher, and Sunday school president. Our first son, Josh, and second son, Matt, had served the church’s obligatory two-year evangelizing missions. Our daughter Katie pleased church leaders as well with her faith in Jesus Christ and Joseph Smith.

I looked down on Christians who followed the Bible. They had part of the gospel, but I had the fullness of it. I kept the laws and ordinances of Mormonism. When I took the sacrament of leavened bread and water each week at our Sunday meeting house, I was letting the sin janitor sweep away all iniquity. I believed the Mormon Church secured my eternal life…. Read this in full at

We want to create an educational tool that speaks to our current and future cultures. From the very beginning ‘The book of proverbs’ has been known as ‘The Book Of Wisdom,’ credited to the pen of Solomon. It is a great and wonderful book for people of all ages. The purpose of Proverbs is really a book of moral instructions on everyday living, on how to live a life pleasing to God and how to be more peaceful with those around you.

We love Proverbs and wanted to start off with this book, for the very same reasons given in the first seven verses which form the prologue where the reader is called to serious study for their own benefit. In just a few brief words, you are introduced to:
(1) The genre of this literature, in verse.1;
(2) A direct and clear purpose, in verses 2-6;
(3) The main motto, in verse 7. Mentioned 14 times in the book

A “proverb” is a wise saying. It is similar to a parable, often it bears a hidden message, which uses metaphors and similes, with a richness and depth that we would love to capture and bring out in a visual format…. Read this in full at

The study of God’s Word for the purpose of discovering God’s will is the secret discipline which has formed the greatest characters.”
– James W. Alexander

Stress and strain have caught up with me, but your commandments are my joy!
– Psalm 119:143 (CEB)

Words: Charles Wesley, 1745
Music: Charles H. Gabriel (1856-1932)

All glory to God, and peace upon earth,
Be published abroad at Jesus’ birth;
The forfeited favor of Heaven we find
Restored in the Savior and Friend of mankind.

Then let us behold Messias the Lord,
By prophets foretold, by angels adored;
Our God’s incarnation with angels proclaim,
And publish salvation in Jesus’ Name.

Our newly born King by faith we have seen
And joyfully sing His goodness to men,
That all men may wonder at what we impart,
And thankfully ponder His love in their heart.

What moved the Most High so greatly to stoop,
He comes from the sky our souls to lift up;
That sinners forgiven, might sinless return
To God and to Heaven; their Maker is born.

Immanuel’s love let sinners confess,
Who comes from above, to bring us His peace;
Let every believer His mercy adore,
And praise Him forever, when time is no more.

>from NetHymnal at

I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go.”
– Abraham Lincoln


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!

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

Better Jobs
Raises or bonuses
Sales & commissions
Business Growth
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.]

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5 Views on Biblical Inerrancy

17 Most Perfectly Timed Photos Ever

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.) 

The butcher backed up into the meat grinder and got a little behind in his work. 
Frank Coleman, Editor

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, if you’d like to participate in a men’s discipleship program. 
Path Of Life Ministries is located in Chicago, IL.
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