CONNECTIONS News – 01/05/2014

Connecting man to man to God
For week of January 5, 2013
Issue 492

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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BIBLE VERSES TO HELP START THE NEW YEAR
Philippians 4:13
I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

Psalm 20:4
May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.

Lamentations 3:22-24
Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”

Psalm 51:10
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Ezekiel 36:25-27
I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.

Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Proverbs 16:3
Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.

Proverbs 19:21
Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.

2 Timothy 2:22
Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

Romans 12:1-2
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will.

1 Chronicles 16:34
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.

Psalm 23:6
Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

Romans 8:28
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Philippians 4:8
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.

1 Peter 3:15
But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.

Hebrews 10:23
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

Isaiah 64:3-4
For when you did awesome things that we did not expect, you came down, and the mountains trembled before you. Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.

CONSIDER
True repentance is to cease from sin.”
– St. Ambrose of Milan (Aurelius Ambrosius) (339-397), attributed

PERSONAL MANIFESTOS FOR 2014
As the new year dawns, you may find one of the following declarations personally useful guidance:

A MAGNA CHARTA OF TRUST BY AN OUT-OF-CONTROL DISCIPLE
“I once was a control junkie, but now am an Out-of-Control Disciple. I’ve given up my control to God. I trust and obey the Spirit. I’ve jumped off the fence, I’ve stepped over the line, I’ve pulled out all the stops. There’s no turning back, looking around, slowing down, backing away, letting up, or shutting up. It’s life Against the Odds, Outside the Box, Over the Wall, the game of life played Without Goal Lines other than ‘Thy Will Be Done….’ I am not here to please the dominant culture. I live to please my Lord and Savior”…. Read this in full at
http://www.leonardsweet.com/article_details.php?id=15

A JESUS MANIFESTO FOR THE 21ST CENTURY CHURCH
Christians have made the gospel about so many things … things other than Christ.

Jesus Christ is the gravitational pull that brings everything together and gives them significance, reality, and meaning. Without him, all things lose their value. Without him, all things are but detached pieces floating around in space.

It is possible to emphasize a spiritual truth, value, virtue, or gift, yet miss Christ . . . who is the embodiment and incarnation of all spiritual truth, values, virtues, and gifts.

Seek a truth, a value, a virtue, or a spiritual gift, and you have obtained something dead.

Seek Christ, embrace Christ, know Christ, and you have touched him who is Life. And in him resides all Truth, Values, Virtues and Gifts in living color. Beauty has its meaning in the beauty of Christ, in whom is found all that makes us lovely and loveable.

What is Christianity? It is Christ. Nothing more. Nothing less. Christianity is not an ideology. Christianity is not a philosophy. Christianity is the “good news” that Beauty, Truth and Goodness are found in a person. Biblical community is founded and found on the connection to that person. Conversion is more than a change in direction; it’s a change in connection. Jesus’ use of the ancient Hebrew word shubh, or its Aramaic equivalent, to call for “repentance” implies not viewing God from a distance, but entering into a relationship where God is command central of the human connection.

In that regard, we feel a massive disconnection in the church today. Thus this manifesto…. Read this in full at
http://www.leonardsweet.com/article_details.php?id=48
http://www.ptmin.org/AJesusManifesto.pdf

JOHN WESLEY’S COVENANT PRAYER
“I am no longer my own, but yours. Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will; put me to doing; put me to suffering; let me be employed for you or laid aside for you, exalted for you, or brought low for you”…. Read this in full at
http://inthestoryline.com/2010/10/11/john-wesleys-covenant-prayer/

THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE UNASHAMED
“I’m part of the fellowship of the unashamed. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I’m a disciple of His. I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away or be still. My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, my future is secure. I’m finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, mundane talking, cheap living and dwarfed goals”…. Read this in full at
http://www.gospeltruth.net/unashamed.htm

A PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
I pledge allegiance to Jesus Christ, my rescuer and leader, and to his command, ‘Love one another, as I have loved you.’ I pledge to live this day by faith in God, to love him with all my passion, character, intellect, and muscle, to forgive quickly, and to exhibit the Holy Spirit fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (copyright 2010, jonathan.petersen@comcast.net)

BIBLICAL ARCHAEOLOGY’S TOP TEN DISCOVERIES OF 2013
by Gordon Govier
Biblical archaeology discoveries made in 2013 have given us new information about biblical events and people. This list is subjective, and based on news reports rather than peer-reviewed articles in scientific publications.

These discoveries illustrate the important work that goes on at excavations across Israel every year, and just scratch the surface of what has been found in 2013. Quite possibly a decade from now, with added perspective and more digging, the most important discoveries of 2013 may look different than this list.

1. The Egyptian Scarab of Khirbet el-Maqatir
This tiny 3/4-inch long amulet, carved in the familiar shape of a dung beetle, has been dated to the Late Bronze I period, 1550-1450 BC. Its discovery in the remains of a fortress at Khirbet el-Maqatir, nine miles north of Jerusalem, strengthens the case being made by the excavators that this site is the real location of Ai, the city destroyed in Joshua 8…. Read this in full at
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2013/december-web-only/biblical-archaeologys-top-ten-discoveries-of-2013.html?paging=off

POPULAR NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS
Check out some New Year’s resolutions that are popular year after year.
* Drink Less Alcohol
* Get a Better Education
* Get a Better Job
* Get Fit
* Lose Weight
* Manage Debt
* Manage Stress
* Quit Smoking Now
* Save Money
* Take a Trip
* Volunteer to Help Others…. Read this in full at
http://www.usa.gov/Citizen/Topics/New_Years_Resolutions.shtml

2013 YEAR IN REVIEW ON BIBLE GATEWAY
The end of the year brings lists upon lists of what transpired the previous 12 months. Bible Gateway is no exception.

In 2013, BibleGateway.com (@BibleGateway) was visited 456 million times and generated more than 1.5 billion views (yes, that’s right: with a “b”). Visitors spent more than 76 million hours exploring the Bible and scriptural matters on BibleGateway.com.

English was by far the language of choice for users, followed by Spanish, Portuguese, and French (31% of our visitors were from outside the USA). People visited BibleGateway.com from a total of 242 countries or territories, including Vatican City, Israel, Palestine, China, Vietnam, Cuba, and North Korea. The top 10 countries visitors came from were the USA, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Mexico, Philippines, Colombia, Singapore, and South Africa…. Read this in full at
http://www.biblegateway.com/blog/2013/12/2013-year-in-review-on-bible-gateway/

NEW YEAR’S DEVOTIONS FROM BIBLE GATEWAY
How will you grow closer to God in 2014? Would you like to spend more time in prayer, reflection, and Bible reading this year? Bible Gateway has gathered a selection of email Bible reading plans and devotions (drawn from its complete list of devotionals) that will help get your New Year off to a good start. Just check the box next to the devotion(s) you want to receive, fill out the information at the bottom of the page, and click Sign up to subscribe.
http://www.biblegateway.com/holiday-devotions

SHOULD CHRISTIANS READ THROUGH THE ENTIRE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR?
More than 7.5 million reading plans were completed by YouVersion users last year (25 of its 700+ are whole-Bible plans). BibleGateway.com will begin tracking completion rates for its 15 plans this year. Christianity Today asked several experts whether Christians should try to read through the whole Bible in a year. The magazine arranged their answers along a spectrum from the “yes” answers at the top to “no” answers at the bottom…. Read this in full at
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2014/january-february/one-year-bible-reading-plan.html

GET THE BIG PICTURE
Read through the Bible during the year. Read two passages a week for 50 weeks and in a year you get a “big picture” of the Bible without getting bogged down. Use this webpage as a guide as you study from your own Bible, or click the selected passage to open the reading online in a new browser window. Click on the links to read each passage….
http://www.thornapple.org/read-through-bible

BIBLE READING PLANS FOR 2014
http://www.biblegateway.com/reading-plans/
http://www.biblica.com/bibles/daily-reading/
http://www.bible-reading.com/bible-plan.html
http://www.bibleplan.org/
http://lectio.americanbible.org/

TWELVE QUESTIONS EVERY THOUGHTFUL CHRISTIAN SHOULD ASK THEMSELVES ANNUALLY
by Clare De Graaf
Was I a good investment for God this year?

I’m serious! Have you ever thought of your life as a love gift Jesus gave to the Father for the purpose of serving in his kingdom, both in this life as well as the next?

And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.” Revelation 5:9-10

You were purchased by Jesus for a purpose beyond your personal, eternal salvation. You and I are an investment of sorts and as such have a mission from God. So, how are you doing? …. Read this in full at
http://www.claredegraaf.com/2011/12/26/the-examined-life-twelve-questions-every-thoughtful-christian-should-ask-themselves-annually/

SUPER BOWL XLVIII (48)
The football game will be played Feb. 2, 2014, at MetLife Stadium at the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_Bowl_XLVIII

WHAT ARE YOU THINKING OF?
If you read history, you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next. The Apostles themselves, who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English Evangelicals who abolished the Slave Trade, all left their mark on Earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven.”
– C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), Mere Christianity, New York: MacMillan, 1952, reprint, HarperCollins, 2001, p. 104

HAPPY NEW YEAR!
* Colossians 3:13 – New Year’s Resolution: “Forgiveness – Start the New Year with a Clean Heart”
* Matthew 25:34-40 – New Years Resolution” “Serve Others”
* 1 Corinthians 19:20 – New Years Resolution: “Improve Your Physical Health”
* Matthew 14:22-23 – New Year’s Resolution: “Spend Time with God”
* Mark 12:29-31 – New Year’s Resolution: “Loving God = Loving Others” …. Read this in full at
http://www.crossgate.org/happynewyear

A PRECEDENT FOR THE NEW YEAR (LUKE 2:13-20)
by:J. Hampton Keathley, III
We stand on the threshold of a new year. Most people generally look at the new year as a fresh beginning, as an opportunity to kind of start over, to overcome a habit, or do a better job of something they see as important and that needs improvement. It may be parenting, being a better spouse, losing weight (which, by the way, is the number one resolution according to polls taken). It may be developing different priorities, using our time better, or a whole host of things that people would like to change.

So, we usually hear a lot about New Year’s resolutions, resolutions which are usually broken in a matter of weeks. Many people are very pessimistic about the whole issue of making resolutions, and rightly so, because so many good intentions are followed by a history of past failures.

But the new year is a time to reflect and think about what the past year has brought and what the new year could bring. It is a time to stop and analyze, to take stock of our priorities, values, pursuits, and goals. We need to ask questions like “Who am I, what am I doing with my life? What should I be doing as a Christian with my life and the stewardship God has given me?” After all, according to the Word of God, all of life is a stewardship–a stewardship of our time, talents, treasures, and God’s truth. In other words, since God’s plan and our stewardships revolve around and through the life of His Son, Jesus Christ, we need to each ask “How well am I responding to the Savior and the spiritual life that He has given me?” …. Read this in full at
https://bible.org/article/precedent-new-year-luke-213-20

CONSIDER
Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.”
– Benjamin Franklin

THE HEAVENS PROCLAIM THE GLORY OF THE LORD
by David Clayton
Many people that I have come across say that they believe in God, and might even acknowledge the need to conform to a moral code (quite how they discern it is another matter) but see no reason for ‘organized religion’, which they see as arbitrary creation of mankind. I think that the beauty of the cosmos provides an answer to this question and here’s why.

There is a book (and a film made from book) called The Privileged Planet: How Our Place in the Cosmos is Designed. I show the film regularly to my students. Produced in 2004 by the Discovery Institute and written by Jay Richards and Guillermo Gonzalez, it describes how recent developments in astrophysics impact our sense of the place of the earth in the universe and the chances of life occurring within. It runs through all the conditions necessary for mankind to exist. (For example, we have an atmosphere that both shields us from the harmful part of the solar spectrum and is transparent to the life sustaining part of the same spectrum.) Then it details the chances of all these conditions (and there are dozens) occurring in the same place through the “random” processes that govern the laws of physics and chemistry in the universe. When all these probabilities are taken into account, the mathematics says that the chance of a place existing that can support us is negligible — so low that it is almost certain that there is no other life in the universe at all. The earth is probably the only planet in existence in the universe that can sustain intelligent life. Furthermore, it is surprising given the probable age of the universe that these conditions occurred even once, here on earth…. Read this in full at
http://www.crisismagazine.com/2011/the-heavens-proclaim-the-glory-of-god

CONSIDER
During the New Year may you have:
enough happiness to keep you sweet – enough trials to keep you strong,
enough sorrow to keep you human – enough hope to keep you happy,
enough failure to keep you humble – enough success to keep you eager,
enough friends to give you comfort – enough wealth to meet your needs,
enough enthusiasm to make you look forward to tomorrow, and
enough determination to make each day better than the day before.
– Melvin Newland

THIS WEEK’S HYMN: FROM GLORY UNTO GLORY
Words: Frances R. Havergal, 1873
Music: Berthold Tours, 1872

From Glory unto Glory!” Be this our joyous song,
As on the King’s own highway we bravely march along!
From Glory unto Glory!” O word of stirring cheer,
As dawns the solemn brightness of one more glad new year.

Our own belovèd Master “hath many things to say.”
Look forward to His teaching, unfolding day by day;
To whispers of His Spirit, to insight clear and sweet,
To blessèd consolation, while resting at His feet.

From Glory unto Glory!” Our faith hath seen the King.
We own His matchless beauty, adoringly we sing;
But He hath more to show us! O thought of untold bliss!
And on we press rejoicing in blessèd hope to this:—

To marvelous outpourings of ‘treasures new and old,’
To largess of His bounty, paid in the King’s own gold,
To glorious expansion of mysteries of grace,
To radiant unveilings of brightness from His face.

From Glory unto Glory!” What great things He hath done,
What wonders He hath shown us, what triumphs He hath won!
We marvel at the record of blessings of the year!
But sweeter still than Christmas rings out His promise clear—

That “greater things,” far greater, our longing eyes shall see!
We can but wait and wonder what “greater things” shall be!
But glorious fulfillments rejoicingly we claim,
While pleading in the power of His prevailing Name.

From Glory unto Glory!” What mighty blessings crown
The lives for which our Lord hath laid His own so freely down!
Omnipotence to keep us, omniscience, too, to guide,
Jehovah’s blessèd presence within us to abide!

The fullness of His blessing encompasseth our way;
The fullness of His promise crowns every brightening day;
The fullness of His glory is beaming from above,
While more and more we realize the fullness of His love.

From Glory unto Glory!” Without a shade of care,
Because the Lord Who loves us will every burden bear;
Because we trust Him fully, and know that He will guide,
And know that He will keep us at His belovèd side.

From Glory unto Glory!” Though tribulation fall,
It cannot touch our treasure, when Christ is All in All!
Whatever lies before us, there can be naught to fear,
For what are pain and sorrow when Jesus Christ is near?

From Glory unto Glory!” O marvels of the Word!
With open face beholding the glory of the Lord,”
We, even we (O wonder!) “are changed into the same,”
The image of our Savior, to glorify His Name.

Abiding in His presence, and walking in the light,
And seeking to do always what is “pleasing in His sight”;
We look to Him to keep us “all glorious within,”
Because the blood of Jesus is cleansing from all sin.

The things behind forgetting, we only gaze before
From Glory unto Glory,” that “shineth more and more,”
Because our Lord hath said it, that such shall be our way,
(O splendor of the promise!) “unto the perfect day.”

From Glory unto Glory!” Our fellow travelers still
Are gathering on the journey! The bright electric thrill
Of quick, instinctive union, more frequent and more sweet,
Shall swiftly pass from heart to heart in true and tender beat.

And closer yet, and closer, the golden bonds shall be,
Enlinking all who love our Lord in pure sincerity;
And wider yet, and wider, shall circling glory glow,
As more and more are taught our God’s mighty love to know.

O ye who seek the Savior, look up in faith and love;
Come up into the sunshine, so bright and warm above!
No longer tread the valley, but, clinging to His hand,
Ascend the shining summits and view the glorious land.

Our harp notes should be sweeter, our trumpet tones more clear,
Our anthems ring so grandly that all the world must hear!
O royal be our music, for who hath cause to sing
Like choruses of saved ones, the children of the King?

O, let our adoration for all that He hath done
Peal out beyond the heavens, while voice and life are one;
And let our consecration be real, and deep, and true.
O even now our hearts bow, and joyful vows renew!

In full and glad surrender we give ourselves to Thee,
Thine utterly, and only, and evermore to be!
O Son of God, who lov’st us, we will be Thine alone,
Our being and possessions, shall henceforth be Thine own!”

Now onward, ever onward, “from strength to strength” we go,
While “grace for grace” abundant shall from His fullness flow,
To glory’s full fruition, from glory’s foretaste here,
Until His very presence crown happiest new year.

>from NetHymnal at
http://nethymnal.org/htm/f/r/fromglor.htm

ON PRAYER
Heavenly Father, for this coming year
Just one request I bring.
Teach me to do the thing that pleases You.
I want to know Your guiding voice,
To walk with you each day.
Heavenly Father,
Make me swift to hear and ready to obey;
And thus the year I now begin
A happy year will be,
If I am seeking just to do
The thing that pleases You.”

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. 

Yahoo! News Year in Review
http://news.yahoo.com/year-in-review/

The Wall Street Journal Year in Review
http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304475004579276751433735152

National Geographic Year in Review
http://www.nationalgeographic.com/year-in-review-2013/

Dave Barry’s Year in Review
http://www.star-telegram.com/2013/12/30/5445936/dave-barrys-2013-year-in-review.html

ABC News Year in Review
http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/video/2013-year-review-newsmaking-moments-21346883

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.) 

Happy New Year!
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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