CONNECTIONS News – 02/02/2014

Connecting man to man to God
For week of February 2, 2014
Issue 496

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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Conduct yourselves with all humility, gentleness, and patience. Accept each other with love, and make an effort to preserve the unity of the Spirit with the peace that ties you together.
– Ephesians 4:2-3 (CEB)

CONSIDER
How far away is heaven? It is not so far as some imagine. It wasn’t very far for Daniel. It was not so far off that Elijah’s prayer, and those of others could not be heard there. Men full of the Spirit can look right into heaven.”
– Dwight L. Moody

BIBLE GATEWAY’S MOST “BIBLE-MINDED” CITIES IN CANADA
Steinbach, Manitoba ranks #1 as the online Bible search website Bible Gateway’s most “Bible-minded” city in Canada for 2013.

Bible Gateway analyzed visitor data from Canadian cities and compiled a list of the top 50 cities…. Read this in full at
http://www.biblegateway.com/blog/2014/01/bible-gateways-most-bible-minded-cities-in-canada/

WHAT ARE BIBLE GATEWAY’S MOST “BIBLE-MINDED” USA CITIES?
Bible Gateway wondered about what its website statistics would reveal about the most “Bible-minded” cities in the USA. Crunching the numbers from 2013, it came up with charts that indicate Bible Gateway’s popularity in US cities while also controlling for population (so more-populous cities don’t dominate the top spots). The charts show some differences between recent American Bible Society/Barna Group data and its own. However, note that Bible Gateway measured different things: the ABS/Barna survey measured Bible reading and agreement that the Bible is accurate, while Bible Gateway’s data shows overall usage regardless of how the reader feels about the Bible’s accuracy…. Read this in full at
http://www.biblegateway.com/blog/2014/01/what-are-bible-gateways-most-bible-minded-cities/

JESUS’ — THE MOST VIEWED FILM OF ALL TIME — TO RELEASE IN HIGH-DEFINITION FOR 35TH ANNIVERSARY
In honor of its 35th anniversary, “JESUS” – the most watched film in history, having been viewed billions of times – has now been re-mastered in high-definition with a complete new musical score in Dolby 5.1 surround sound.

Amid a wave of biblical theatrical movies releasing this spring, this classic film, re-titled “The JESUS Film,” will have select theatrical showings around the nation beginning in March. Additionally, partnering with Cinedigm and Mission Home Video, the high-definition film will be available on Blu-ray, DVD, and digital format in retail and online stores nationwide April 1.

The JESUS Film” is a faithful depiction of Christ’s birth, ministry, death and resurrection as told in the biblical account from the Gospel of Luke. Virtually every word Jesus speaks in “The JESUS Film” is quoted from Scripture, with 450 leaders and scholars having reviewed the script for biblical accuracy. Further historical accuracy was ensured using clothing, pottery and other props made with first-century methods to portray a 2,000-year-old Palestinian culture…. Read this in full at
http://pressreleases.religionnews.com/2014/01/27/jesus-viewed-film-time-release-high-definition-35th-anniversary/

MANDISA WARY OF GRAMMYS’ ‘ALLURE OF PLEASURE’
Mandisa, winner of this year’s Grammy for best contemporary Christian music album, explained on Facebook why she chose not to attend the event that was replete with expressions of immorality.

Mandisa, honored for her “Overcomer” release, cited “the allure of pleasure, the passion to have things and the pompous sense of superiority,” words from a translation of 1 John 2:15-16 warning believers not to fall in love with the world’s ways or worship the things it offers.

Beyond Mandisa, this year’s Grammys sparked an array of social media reaction among Christians. Ed Stetzer, on a blog, noted that the Grammys “are not representative of our culture, but in some ways they are indicative of its shifts.” …. Read this in full at
http://www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?id=41920

SEHAWKS PLAYERS TALK ABOUT THEIR FAITH
Pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church sat down with a few of the Seattle Seahawks players and one of the coaches to talk about their faith in Jesus Christ and how it intersects with life on and off the football field…. Read this in full at
http://www.haventoday.org/video-seahawks-players-talk-about-their-faith-gd-974.html

SEAHAWK PLAYERS SEEK TO BE CHAMPS BEYOND SUPER BOWL
Surrounded by a horde of reporters probing about nearly every aspect of the Super Bowl — including questions not related such as “Where’s Waldo?” and “Who is your favorite hockey player?” — several Seahawks players enjoyed their moment on one of the biggest stages in sports to share their faith in Jesus.

“God has me here for a very particular reason,” Russell Wilson, the Seahawk’s star quarterback, told reporters as he sat in the middle of cameras and microphones at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.

“Just to be here in front of all these people, to go against the odds when everybody told me I couldn’t. That’s all God. That’s not me,” Wilson, who at 5-11 has been criticized in the past for his size and ability, said Jan. 28. “My faith … brought me a long way.” …. Read this in full at
http://www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?id=41925

BRONCO LEANS ON FAITH, TEAM AFTER DIAGNOSIS
Jacob Tamme is used to intense competition. He’s taken hard hits on the football field in games and in practice during his six years in the NFL. But when his wife Allison was diagnosed with thyroid cancer last year, the Denver Bronco said he was forced to rely on his Christian faith more than ever.

Tamme, who caught a touchdown pass in the Broncos’ win against the Patriots in the AFC Championship, said his team’s Super Bowl run this season has been the opportunity of a lifetime. But he said his relationship with Jesus has helped him overcome. Now one year after his wife was first diagnosed with cancer, the backup tight end reflected on how his faith has sustained him and his family. After successful surgery and treatment, Allison is a cancer survivor.

“My faith has been key,” Tamme said Jan. 28 as reporters gathered around him and other players at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ, for media day during Super Bowl week…. Read this in full at
http://www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?id=41926

3 THINGS LEADERS CAN LEARN FROM SEAHAWKS QUARTERBACK RUSSELL WILSON
1. Be willing to take big risks when the opportunity arises.
2. Don’t be afraid to depart from tradition.
3. Assume your job is always on the line…. Read this in full at
http://www.businessinsider.com/startup-ceos-can-learn-from-russell-wilson-2014-1

CONVERSATIONS WITH YOUNG CHRISTIANS LEAVING THE CHURCH
by Clare De Graaf
If Christianity were true, it would produce better people.”

That’s where the real conversation often begins after thirty minutes of pleasantries and them sharing their personal history over a warm cup of coffee at Starbucks. They just lay it out. “This is why I don’t go to church anymore.” Sometimes in the way they make that statement, I sense they’re not really convinced Christianity isn’t true, but hope if they say it out loud, often enough they will. However, the second part, about Christianity not producing better people – in that, they’re true believers! Regardless, they just lay it out, unsure of how I’ll react, or where the conversation goes from there.

Who are these people and how did they find me?

Their parents usually call me – desperate. “Would you please call our son and talk to him about his faith?” They are parents of students, or young adults who’ve grown up in the church, but have left. They’ve done everything right, they say. They attend a Bible believing church. Their son went to youth group – even went on a missions trip to Kenya in high school. But he went off to college and came back changed. We should never have sent him to a godless, secular college. We know that now.

The mother often takes the lead, her husband on an extension, or speakerphone. They’re broken-hearted and out of answers. A friend of a friend told them to give me a call. I’m honored, but I’m honest with them. I don’t have a blueprint for winning people back to faith. That’s the Holy Spirit’s job. But, I’d be honored to make a call and offer to meet with their son and find out why – why they no longer believe…. Read this in full at
http://www.claredegraaf.com/2014/01/27/conversations-with-young-christians-leaving-the-church/

PLAN AHEAD
VALENTINE’S DAY: Friday, February 14

HAPPINESS VS. JOY
by Rick Marschall
There is a difference between happiness and joy, and the difference is not just one of grammar or philology, but of theology — that is, the nuances can hold lessons for our lives. At the least, let us consider the two words and take away some things that we might pass on to others, or remember ourselves in future reading or conversations.

The real distinction can, “unhappily,” be a bit frustrating to ascertain, as dictionaries these days tend to be sloppy. Too many dictionaries help us this way: “Happiness, n. The state of being happy.” And “Joy, n. The emotional result of being joyful or cheerful.” These should be moved in such dictionaries to the “D” section… for “Duh.”

Dictionaries I consulted helped when synonyms for Happiness included Bliss, Blessedness, and Bliss (in other words, an emotion on the path to Joy). A definition for Joy I found wrote, “A feeling of extreme happiness” (also holding happiness relatively subordinate). So… general consensus is that Joy is the superior state of emotion…. Read this in full at
http://www.mondayministry.com/blog/2014/01/26/happiness-versus-joy/

HAM-ON-NYE DEBATE PITS ATHEISTS, CREATIONISTS
by Kimberly Winston
Bill Nye may be “The Science Guy,” but Ken Ham is the “Answers in Genesis” man, and a debate between the two over the origins of life has nonbelievers and Christians wringing their hands.

Nye, host of a beloved television science series, and Ham, president of a creationist apologetics ministry, will meet at the Creation Museum, where Ham is also the president, on Feb. 4. In what some wags are calling “the Ham-on-Nye debate,” they will weigh this question: “Is creation a viable model of origins?”

In truth, both sides answered that question long ago — Nye with Charles Darwin’s work on the origin of species and Ham with the first book of the Bible. Yet many observers — both religious and nonreligious — say the debate is a very bad idea…. Read this in full at
http://www.religionnews.com/2014/01/30/ham-nye-debate-pits-atheists-creationists/

VERSE TO PONDER
God is spirit, and it is necessary to worship God in spirit and truth.
– John 4:24 (CEB)

CONSIDER
Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.”
– Mother Teresa

ACADEMY DISQUALIFIES OSCAR-NOMINATED SONG ‘ALONE YET NOT ALONE’
In a move with few precedents in the 86-year history of the Academy Awards, the board of governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has decided to disqualify an Oscar nominee prior to the Oscars ceremony itself. “Alone Yet Not Alone,” a little-heard tune from a little-seen film of the same name, will not appear on Oscar ballots when the final round of voting begins on Feb. 14. And the Academy will not announce a replacement nominee…. Read this in full at
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/race/academy-disqualifies-oscar-nominated-song-675480

WHERE ARE THE SONGS OF LAMENT IN WORSHIP?
by Hillary Kimsey
Lee and I grew up in church together. We were usually co-champions in Sunday school Bible trivia. We loved Lord of the Rings. We went on a couple dates.

The night before the first final exam of my college career, Lee was diagnosed with leukemia. He was 18. After years of chemo, two relapses and a failed bone marrow transplant, he died at 24.

When Lee died, I refused to sing Chris Tomlin’s How Great is our God at the funeral. The last thing I wanted to sing while I was weeping and cursing God was:
How great is our God.
Age to age he stands
and time is in his hands.
Beginning and the end.

If God was so great then my beloved friend, my brother, would not be dead. If time was in God’s hands, then God decided Lee’s time was up. Never have I been more angry at God than in that moment. Never before had I longed to sing a song of accusation or doubt or despair. Yet, church told me to sing about the unlimited power and impersonal might of God…. Read this in full at
http://www.abpnews.com/opinion/commentaries/item/28281-where-are-the-songs-of-lament-in-worship

BARNA GROUP & ZONDERVAN ANNOUNCE 10TH FRAME AUTHOR
Chris Travis, a New York-based writer and pastor, has been selected to write the 10th FRAME, the next entry in the new FRAMES series launched on January 7, 2014, by Barna Group research firm and Zondervan. Travis will address the epidemic of narcissism in Lovers of Themselves: The Rise of American Narcissism, in a minibook to be released later this year.

The FRAMES platform addresses critical trends of the day in what will be an annual series combining softcover minibooks, ebooks, DVDs, infographics, digital and social elements, and live events. David Kinnaman, president of Barna Group, calls cultural analysis “the new apologetic.” He designed FRAMES to equip people to think differently about their lives in the midst of a digital-Babylon-like world. Each FRAME tackles a trend on which the church is called to speak prophetically, written by passionate, informed people who offer a fresh perspective. Each one includes major new research from Barna Group.

Travis joins the impressive roster of writers, thinkers, pastors, and activists who wrote the first nine FRAMES, such as Kinnaman, Claire Diaz-Ortiz, Bob Goff, Nicole Baker Fulgham, Jun Young, Jon Tyson, and others. See these authors present the topics of their FRAMES during a webcast (http://new.livestream.com/accounts/6744258/events/2690471)…. Read this in full at
http://pressreleases.religionnews.com/2014/01/29/barna-group-zondervan-announce-10th-frame-author/

WHAT I LOVE WHEN I LOVE MY GOD
by David Brooks
There is a strong vein of hostility against orthodox religious believers in America today, especially among the young. When secular or mostly secular people are asked by researchers to give their impression of the devoutly faithful, whether Jewish, Christian or other, the words that come up commonly include “judgmental,” “hypocritical,” “old-fashioned” and “out of touch.”

It’s not surprising. There is a yawning gap between the way many believers experience faith and the way that faith is presented to the world. …. Read this in full at
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/28/opinion/brooks-alone-yet-not-alone.html?_r=0

TOP BRASS SAY THEY’RE NOT AWARE OF BIAS AGAINST MILITARY CHAPLAINS
Lawmakers peppered Pentagon officials Jan. 29 about claims that military chaplains have faced discrimination for their beliefs, and time and again, chaplains and personnel officials said they were unaware of any bias.

Virginia Penrod, deputy assistant secretary of defense for military personnel policy, told the House Subcommittee on Military Personnel that she could not cite specific instances where chaplains had to preach a sermon or oversee a ceremony that conflicted with their beliefs.

There’s absolutely nothing in policy or code that prohibits a chaplain from praying according to the dictates of their faith,” she said…. Read this in full at
http://www.religionnews.com/2014/01/29/top-brass-say-theyre-aware-bias-military-chaplains/

WHEN JUDGES BELIEVE IN ‘NATURAL LAW’
by Anthony Murray
At least two Supreme Court justices think there’s a divine legal code underlying the Constitution. How will this influence the outcomes of Hobby Lobby and other cases where the plaintiffs claim a moral high ground? …. Read this in full at
http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2014/01/when-judges-believe-in-natural-law/283311/

NEAR ST. PETER’S, AN ANCIENT BURIAL SITE OPENS TO THE PUBLIC
In the first century B.C., a grassy hillside just north of what is now St. Peter’s Square was used as a burial place for local Romans.

It remained in use through dozens of mudslides and avalanches, until the early fourth century A.D., when work on St. Peter’s Basilica began and the more than 1,000 graves were covered over. Soon after, it was forgotten as the construction of the Vatican City grew up around it.

It remained that way until the 1950s, when plans to build a parking lot on what appeared to be an undeveloped field uncovered a small part of the 10,000-square-foot necropolis, or cemetery. That’s when excavations began.

Now, two generations and hundreds of thousands of dollars later, the Vatican is ready to let the public see what it uncovered…. Read this in full at
http://www.religionnews.com/2014/01/29/near-st-peters-ancient-burial-site-opens-public/

SYRIAN BATTLE EDGES CLOSER TO HISTORIC CRUSADER CASTLE
January 29 — President Bashar al-Assad’s forces have surrounded rebels near the already war-damaged Crusader castle of Crac des Chevaliers, a UNESCO World Heritage site in central Syria, residents said on Wednesday.

Crac des Chevaliers, built by the Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem in the 12th-13th centuries and among the best-preserved examples of the Crusader castles, suffered mortar hits last year when rebels from the town of al-Hosn below the hill-top castle hid behind its thick stone walls, built for battles hundreds of years ago. The violence had died down until this week…. Read this in full at
http://blogs.reuters.com/faithworld/2014/01/29/syrian-battle-edges-closer-to-historic-crusader-castle/

CONSIDER
Heaven is home.”
– Billy Graham

VERSE TO PONDER
We aren’t fighting against human enemies but against rulers, authorities, forces of cosmic darkness, and spiritual powers of evil in the heavens. Therefore, pick up the full armor of God so that you can stand your ground on the evil day and after you have done everything possible to still stand.
– Ephesians 6:12-13 (CEB)

THIS WEEK’S HYMN: TEACH ME TO PRAY, LORD
Teach me to pray, Lord, teach me to pray;
This is my heart-cry day unto day;
I long to know Thy will and Thy way;
Teach me to pray, Lord, teach me to pray.

Refrain
Living in Thee, Lord, and Thou in me,
Constant abiding, this is my plea;
Grant me Thy power, boundless and free,
Power with men and power with Thee.

Power in prayer, Lord, power in prayer!
Here ’mid earth’s sin and sorrow and care,
Men lost and dying, souls in despair;
O give me power, power in prayer!
Refrain

My weakened will, Lord, Thou canst renew;
My sinful nature Thou canst subdue;
Fill me just now with power anew;
Power to pray and power to do!
Refrain

Teach me to pray, Lord, teach me to pray;
Thou art my pattern day unto day;
Thou art my surety, now and for aye;
Teach me to pray, Lord, teach me to pray.
Refrain

Source: http://www.hymnal.net/hymn.php/h/766#ixzz2rwYcBNN9

ON PRAYER
It is clear that he does not pray, who, far from uplifting himself to God, requires that God shall lower Himself to him, and who resorts to prayer not to stir the man in us to will what God wills, but only to persuade God to will what the man in us wills.”
– Thomas Aquinas (1225?-1274)

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. 

Online Bible Search
http://BibleGateway.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.) 

A thief fell into wet cement. He became a hardened criminal.  
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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