CONNECTIONS News – 01/26/2014

Connecting man to man to God
For week of January 26, 2014
Issue 495

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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From now on, brothers and sisters, if anything is excellent and if anything is admirable, focus your thoughts on these things: all that is true, all that is holy, all that is just, all that is pure, all that is lovely, and all that is worthy of praise.
– Philippians 4:8 (CEB)

If I can write an unkind letter, speak an unkind word, think an unkind thought without grief and shame, then I know nothing of Calvary love.”
– Amy Carmichael (1867-1951), If [1938], London: SPCK, 1961, p. 9

When it comes to US cities that embrace the Bible, Tennessee still has bragging rights. The latest release ranking from American Bible Society finds Chattanooga, Tenn., is America’s most Bible-minded city. Chattanooga takes over the number-one ranking from Knoxville, which claimed the top spot in 2012.

American Bible Society‘s study of America’s Most Bible-Minded Cities found that, while the Bible Belt continues to perform strongly, East Coast cities continue to bring up the rear. While ranked number one in Bible mindedness, Chattanooga ranks 87th in population size. Just one of the top 10 Bible-minded cities ranks in the top 25 cities by population size. Charlotte, NC, America’s sixth most Bible-minded city is the 25th most populous city…. Read this in full at

Peyton Manning led the Denver Broncos to decisive victory over Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. The Broncos are now AFC Champions and will match up against the NFC Champion Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII. Peyton’s performance in this year’s Playoffs has been a continuation of his performance in the regular season, which amounts to the greatest statistical regular season at the quarterback position in the 94-year history of the National Football League (NFL). This regular season saw Manning set records in yards passed in a season (5,477) and touchdowns thrown in a season (55), and he led his team to accumulate more points (606) in a regular season than had ever been done before. Manning also tied the record for touchdowns thrown in a game (7) in the Broncos Week 1 win over the defending Super Bowl Champions, the Baltimore Ravens.

Any fan of Peyton Manning or the NFL generally knows that Manning is the consummate professional. He treats the fans, media personnel, teammates, and opponents with respect. He works as hard — and probably harder — at his craft than any other player in the league. And he produces one fun, family-friendly commercial after another, showing his sense of humor and a humble assessment of his own importance. But what many fans of Manning and the NFL may not be aware of is Manning’s Christian faith…. Read this in full at

The Seattle Seahawks offensive lineman Russell Okung took part in Fellowship of Christian Athletes Magazine’s popular “6 Questions” feature. This is what he had to say about his career and his faith…. Read this in full at

Read this issue from 1993 at

by Alex Sibley
Having won only one game in three years, the Thomas Jefferson Patriots high school football team in Dallas needed hope. Team chaplain Luis Lama used My Hope America with Billy Graham to fill the void.

Lama, associate minister of Prestonwood Baptist Church En Español, used My Hope’s video resources to culminate a 10-week study of the Gospel of John.

They were captivated,” Lama said. “They were focused. At the end of the video, I got up and gave a testimony. And I prayed and gave an invitation. And I believe that was the best possible way that we could end the chapel series with these students, because 15 students [and one coach] came to Christ.” …. Read this in full at

by J. Lee Grady
I’m not a cold-weather guy. I live in central Florida, a land of flip-flops, shorts and water parks that stay open 365 days a year. Our average temperature in Orlando in January is 71 degrees. In the summer, a humid 95 is fine with me.

But I have friends in Minneapolis, Rochester, Philadelphia and Baltimore who endured the “polar vortex” of 2014. We haven’t seen temperatures like that in more than two decades. It was minus 40 in Minnesota in early January. The mercury hit minus 13 in Milwaukee. It was so cold in Chicago (minus 16) that the polar bear at the Lincoln Park Zoo was moved indoors!

When this record-breaking deep freeze hit, I was reading the book of Romans—and Romans 12:11 jumped off the page. The apostle Paul told his followers that in order to please God they needed to be “fervent in spirit” (NASB). The Greek word for “fervent,” zeo, means “to boil with heat.” We have a responsibility to stay hot for God no matter how cold our spiritual environment is.

But how do you stay “on fire” for the Lord? How can you raise your spiritual temperature at a time when many people’s faith has gone from lukewarm to freezing? Here are some steps you can take to reach the boiling point:…. Read this in full at

by Shane Raynor
If you want to start a lively discussion, just bring up the subject of faith. Not faith in the religion sense (What faith do you belong to?), but faith meaning belief or trust (How much faith do you have?)

In a society where we value equality, suggesting that faith can or should be quantified is almost taboo. Oh, we don’t have so much of a problem with the notion that someone can train and run faster or farther than someone else. And if I practice shooting free throws and get my percentage higher than another person, it may irritate them and spur competition, but it doesn’t usually offend anyone. Even if they’re envious, people usually have a certain amount of respect for those who discipline themselves and produce fruit from that discipline. But if you suggest that someone has a lot of faith, or that perhaps someone lacks faith, you may suddenly have a fight on your hands…. Read this in full at

by Ron Edmondson
No doubt, if you live a “normal” life there will be decisions you have to make that take courage. You will often have to walk by faith, be willing to risk everything, and trust God for the results, which often seem slow to arrive.

Sometimes doing the right thing is not the easiest thing to do. Most of the time, it takes courage to follow your heart, conviction, or God’s calling on your life.

But, when we act with courage into the places where God leads, it always brings greater rewards than we could imagine.

I reflected recently on some random examples that I have seen people make over the last few years…some of them from within my own family…that took courage, but the results were huge. At the time, some of them may or may not have seemed to be that “big of a deal”…and some of them were obvious risks, but in the process of completing them, the courage required can be equally huge…. Read this in full at

HCJB Global announces that the 82-year-old ministry, founded in Quito, Ecuador, is changing its name to Reach Beyond. The new name and the release of the Reach Beyond Mission Manifesto are intended to encourage and challenge Christians worldwide to reach beyond their comfort zones and perceived limitations to share the love of Jesus in places where the gospel has seldom, if ever, been heard.

The mission is defined by the tagline, “The Voice and Hands of Jesus. Together.” Through its “voice” ministries, the mission works with partners to use radio and modern media to make the gospel accessible in places where it typically isn’t available.

The “hands” ministries of the mission provide much-needed healthcare service in places where even common medical help isn’t readily available. Reach Beyond “hands” ministries takes many forms, including mobile community healthcare clinics, counseling centers in war-torn areas, clean water projects and general hygiene training, all with an emphasis on demonstrating the love of Jesus to recipients of the care…. Read this in full at

The New Testament begins with the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. No part of the Bible is so important as this, and no part is so full and complete. Four distinct Gospels tell us the story of Christ’s doing and dying. Four times over we read the precious account of His works and words. How thankful we ought to be for this! To know Christ is life eternal. To believe in Christ is to have peace with God. To follow Christ is to be a true Christian. To be with Christ will be heaven itself. We can never hear too much about Jesus Christ.”
– J. C. Ryle (1816-1900), Expository thoughts on the Gospels, with the text complete, St. Matthew, Ipswitch: William Hunt, 1856, p. 2

by Clare De Graaf
It’s been said, “People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones!” And, we Christians do live in glass houses – at least we’re supposed to. Jesus said, “A city on a hill cannot be hid, “and “Let your light so shine before men…” Our lives should be an open book. However, living like that carries its own risks. It makes us vulnerable to the criticism of others and that scares the wits out of us.

So imagine a street with glass houses on either side. There are things going on in my neighbors’ lives that are as visible to me as my actions and attitudes are to them. As we pass each other’s houses and see good, Christ-like behavior we shout a word of encouragement to them and cheer them on as we should. “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” I Thess. 5:11

However, occasionally we see something in their lives that’s troubling. It may not be anything big, but it’s a pattern that unsettles us because we know it’s either wrong or suspect it’s at least very unwise. In either case it’s a behavior that doesn’t appear to square with scripture or in our opinion, doesn’t make God look good. Something in their lives is moving in the wrong direction and we have this impression from God to speak up by picking up a small stone and tossing it their way, hoping this clink on their window will get their attention and have its hoped for outcome – a cessation of whatever the issue is.

Just then we notice that our neighbor isn’t at home. They’re actually standing in front of our house with a stone of their own in hand about to warn us of something they see in our lives. So, here we have two good willed people, who know right from wrong, who care about preserving godly behavior – not religious busybodies, but serious would be followers of Jesus. Our eyes meet, but instead of giving and receiving loving admonishment, something else occurs. Wordlessly we make a deal with one another to mutually suspend moral judgment. I’ll drop my stone, if you’ll drop yours. Consensual hypocrisy…. Read this in full at

Awake, glad heart! get up, and sing!
It is the birth-day of thy King.
Awake! awake!
The sun doth shake
Light from his locks, and, all the way
Breathing perfumes, doth spice the day.
Awake, awake! heark how th’ wood rings,
Winds whisper, and the busie springs
A concert make;
Awake! awake!
Man is their high-priest, and should rise
To offer up the sacrifice.
I would I were some bird, or star,
Flutt’ring in woods, or lifted far
Above this inne
And rode of sin!
Then either star or bird should be
Shining or singing still to thee.
… Henry Vaughan (1622-1695), The Poetical Works of Henry Vaughan, Boston: Osgood, 1871, p. 119

Sociologist Robert Woodberry has dug into one of the great enigmas of modern history: why some nations develop stable representative democracies — in which citizens enjoy the rights to vote, speak, and assemble freely — while neighboring countries suffer authoritarian rulers and internal conflict. Public health and economic growth can also differ dramatically from one country to another, even among countries that share similar geography, cultural background, and natural resources.

In search of answers, Woodberry traveled to West Africa in 2001. Setting out one morning on a dusty road in Lomé, the capital of Togo, Woodberry headed for the University of Togo’s campus library. He found it sequestered in a 1960s-era building. The shelves held about half as many books as his personal collection. The most recent encyclopedia dated from 1977. Down the road, the campus bookstore sold primarily pens and paper, not books.

Across the border, at the University of Ghana’s bookstore, Woodberry had seen floor-to-ceiling shelves lined with hundreds of books, including locally printed texts by local scholars. Why the stark contrast?

The reason was clear: During the colonial era, British missionaries in Ghana had established a whole system of schools and printing presses. But France, the colonial power in Togo, severely restricted missionaries. The French authorities took interest in educating only a small intellectual elite. More than 100 years later, education was still limited in Togo. In Ghana, it was flourishing…. Read this in full at

by Andy Rau
The question of whether Adam and Eve actually existed—as real people who lived in real history and who are the parents of all humanity—has become a touchy question within evangelical Christian theology.

Some scholars insist that a historical Adam is necessary; after all, the apostle Paul contrasts Adam and Jesus and seems to view Adam as equally historical, and many Christian doctrines have traditionally hinged on Adam. Other scholars doubt both the existence of a man named Adam and his necessity to our faith.

Underlying the disagreement about Adam are questions about evolution and the inerrancy of Scripture, the kind of issues by which institutions define themselves and over which professors can lose jobs.

To give you a taste of the different views and what’s at stake in this debate, we’ve collected new videos from contributors and editors of the new Zondervan book, Four Views on the Historical Adam…. Read this in full at

Sing for joy, O heavens, for the LORD has done this; shout aloud, O earth beneath. Burst into song, you mountains, you forests and all your trees, for the LORD has redeemed Jacob, he displays his glory in Israel.
– Isaiah 44:23 (NIV)

Perhaps you will forget tomorrow the kind words you say today, but the recipient may cherish them over a lifetime.”
– Dale Carnegie

Divorce is higher among religiously conservative Protestants – and even drives up divorce rates for other people living around them, a new study finds.

The study, slated to be published in the American Journal of Sociology, tackles the “puzzling paradox” of why divorce is more common in religiously conservative “red” states. If religious conservatives believe firmly in the value of marriage, why is divorce especially high in places like Alabama and Arkansas?

To figure that out, researchers from the University of Texas and the University of Iowa analyzed county divorce statistics against information from an earlier study of religious congregations. They categorized Protestant denominations that believe the Bible is literally true as “conservative Protestants.” …. Read this in full at,0,7835151.story#ixzz2rBU8Ondl

In an effort to provide a place for Christians in the Middle East and from around the world to gather for pilgrimage and baptism, members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land have officially opened the Evangelical Lutheran Church at Bethany-Beyond-the-Jordan. Dedicated on Jan. 6, 2014, Bethany-Beyond-the-Jordan is located where Christians believe John the Baptist baptized Jesus.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, a companion of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), is one of seven Christian church bodies granted a parcel of this baptismal land by H.M. King Abdullah II of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Both the ELCA and the Lutheran church in Jordan and the Holy Land are members of The Lutheran World Federation — a global communion with 142 member churches in 79 countries representing more than 70 million Lutherans. The ELCA is the communion’s only member church from the United States.

The Rt. Rev. Dr. Munib Younan, bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, presided over the dedication ceremony attended by more than 200 clergy, royalty and guests from around the world. Prince Raed bin Zeid of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan attended the service as the representative of King Abdullah…. Read this in full at

by Lauren Markoe
Growing up in small-town Georgia, John B. Johnson had family friends who ran the funeral home down the street, so the particulars of a typical American funeral — the embalming, the heavy casket and remarks about how great the deceased’s hair looked — were all familiar to him.

When the time came, he assumed, his funeral would look much the same.

But Johnson, now 44, envisions a different sort of send-off for himself: a “green burial” that draws both upon his faith and his commitment to the environment. For Johnson and others like him, a green burial is a way to care for the Earth and answer to the part of his soul that recoils at the pomp of the average American funeral, and takes seriously the biblical reminder: “For dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”

It’s the notion that Jesus was so humble,” said Johnson, an Episcopalian who lives in Washington, D.C. “I am a follower and I want to follow that example. I want my death as humble as I think Jesus lived.”
…. Read this in full at

Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono may be the first Indonesian president to acknowledge publicly he believes in witchcraft. In a recently published memoir, he describes a “horror movie” style encounter with black magic at his residence.

Suddenly, my wife screamed,” writes Yudhoyono in the 900-page book, “Selalu Ada Pilihan” (There is Always a Choice). “There was this thick dark cloud hovering beneath the ceiling, trying to enter my bedroom. I then asked everybody to pray to seek Allah’s help. I closed the door to my room but left others wide open. The revolving clouds eventually headed out of my house.”

Witchcraft is prohibited in Islam. However, the practice is widespread in Indonesia, which has the world’s largest Muslim population. A 2012 survey by the Pew Forum showed that 69% of Indonesian Muslims believe witchcraft is real…. Read this in full at

Forgiveness is not an emotion, it’s a decision.”
– Randall Worley

Anyone who needs wisdom should ask God, whose very nature is to give to everyone without a second thought, without keeping score. Wisdom will certainly be given to those who ask.
– James 1:5 (CEB)

Words: Adelaide A. Procter, 1858
Music: Frederick C. Maker, 1876

My God, I thank Thee, who hast made
The earth so bright,
So full of splendor and of joy,
Beauty and light;
So many glorious things are here,
Noble and right.

I thank Thee, too, that Thou hast made
Joy to abound;
So many gentle thoughts and deeds
Circling us round,
That in the darkest spot of earth
Some love is found.

I thank Thee more that all our joy
Is touched with pain,
That shadows fall on brightest hours,
That thorns remain;
So that earth’s bliss may be our guide,
And not our chain.

For thou who knowest, Lord, how soon
Our weak heart clings,
Hast given us joys, tender and true,
Yet all with wings;
So that we see gleaming on high
Diviner things.

I thank Thee, Lord, that Thou hast kept
The best in store;
We have enough, yet not too much
To long for more:
A yearning for a deeper peace
Not known before.

I thank Thee, Lord, that here our souls
Though amply blessed,
Can never find, although they seek
A perfect rest;
Nor ever shall, until they lean
On Jesus’ breast.

>from NetHymnal at

It is possible [through prayer] for the most obscure person in a church, with a heart right toward God, to exercise as much power for the evangelization of the world, as it is for those who stand in the most prominent positions.”
– John R. Mott (1865-1955), The Pastor and Modern Missions, New York: Student Volunteer Movement for Foreign Missions, 1904, p. 203


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.]

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

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World Clock

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Evolution of the Web

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.) 

Police were called to a day care where a 3-year-old was resisting a rest. 
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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