CONNECTIONS News – 03/09/2014

Connecting man to man to God
For week of March 9, 2014
Issue 501

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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LORD, you are my God. I will exalt you; I will praise your name, for you have done wonderful things, planned long ago, faithful and sure.
– Isaiah 25:1 (CEB)

The enthronement of Christ in the heart secures the dethronement of self, for two cannot occupy the throne at the same time.”
– J. Oswald Sanders (1902-1992), The Pursuit of the Holy, Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Pub. House, 1972, p. 30

by Philip Jenkins
In recent days, the Crimean peninsula has been at the heart of what some have described as the greatest international crisis of the 21st century. But this is not the first time the region has been so critical to international affairs. Many educated people have at least heard of the great struggle known as the Crimean War (1853-56), although its causes and events remain mysterious to most non-specialists.

If the conflict is remembered today, it resonates through the heroic charitable efforts of Florence Nightingale and the foundation of modern nursing. Actually, that earlier war deserves to be far better known as a pivotal moment in European religious affairs. Without knowing that religious element, moreover — without a sense of its Christian background — we will miss major themes in modern global affairs, in the Middle East and beyond.

Given its date, that religious emphasis may seem wildly anachronistic. This was, after all, a highly modern struggle between the Great Powers of the day: Britain, France, and the Ottoman Empire against Tsarist Russia. The war was fought with highly modern technology, including railroads and telegraphs, not to mention deadly artillery. Some 800,000 died, almost half from disease—at least as many fatalities as in the American Civil War of the next decade…. Read this in full at

Google has just announced the launching of Google Maps Gallery, a new way for organizations to share and publish their maps online via Google Maps Engine.

One interesting map is Lands of the Bible 1967 Map (© National Geographic Society), which is transparently overlayed on top of a map of the current Middle East.

This unique map was created in 1967 for the National Geographic Magazine and has been reprinted in its original format. Filled with reference information, the map includes insets of: The Holy Land, Walled city of Jerusalem, Traditional route of the Exodus, St. Paul’s four great journeys, and The Crusades…. Read this in full at

by Derwin Gray
Growing up on the west side of San Antonio, I believed in god — the god of football. The game was my ticket out of an early life saturated with violence, addiction, abuse, and chaos.

I was raised by my grandmother, because my parents were only teenagers when I was born. They were children bringing a child into the world. As much as they wanted to care for me, the hurt and brokenness in their lives prevented them. “Grannie” was a Jehovah’s Witness, so that was the religion I knew. After a while, even that went away.

We were not poor. We were “po.” We couldn’t afford the other o and r. We didn’t eat meals together. We didn’t pray together. There were good times, like when we’d go fishing or when my grandfather would come home after work in the evenings. By the time I was 13, however, I looked at my environment and told my grandmother, “I’m going to do something with my life.” …. Read this in full at

The usual biblical word describing the “no” we say to the world’s lies and the yes we say to God’s truth is repentance…

Repentance is not an emotion. It is not feeling sorry for your sins. It is a decision. It is deciding that you have been wrong in supposing that you could manage your own life and be your own god; it is deciding that you were wrong in thinking that you had, or could get, the strength, education and training to make it on your own; it is deciding that you have been told a pack of lies about yourself and your neighbor and your world. And it is deciding that God in Jesus Christ is telling you the truth.”
– Eugene H. Peterson (b. 1932), A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, InterVarsity Press, 2000, p. 29-30

by BJ Stockman
Hate doesn’t normally come up in the list of Christian virtues. But it should.

We are to hate what is evil. This is a command, and a neglected one at that. God through the prophet Amos called his people to: “Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts” (Amos 5:15). Notice how hating evil relates to justice. Justice requires hating injustice. There is no passivity here. Evil is not to be tolerated. It is to be hated. So much for tolerance…. Read this in full at

Clare De Graaf
I believe God will meet all my needs. But, I’m not sure he’ll meet all my needs. That’s my fear.”

My wife, Susan, and I recently attended a weekend retreat sponsored by Generous Giving, a ministry that encourages thoughtful, biblical generosity. So, here we were sitting around a huge stone fireplace in a Christian camp lodge, with seven Christian couples, most of whom were strangers, talking about stewardship.

My first observation is that it’s often easier to talk to strangers about this topic than our friends. With strangers, we can read what the Bible says and nod our heads in agreement – safe, knowing full well, they don’t have a clue as to how we really live – what we’re really like.

But, thanks to our moderator, the minute that statement made at the beginning of this blog was thrown out, everyone nodded silently. We had found common ground! There are people who truly lack food and shelter, the basic needs of life, but not this group! All our needs have been met. But, in that statement we immediately recognized that our hearts have slowly morphed so that many of our “wants” have now become our “needs”! …. Read this in full at

The Bible in American Life” is a national study by the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture. The purpose of the study is to understand better how Americans use the Bible in their personal daily lives and how other influences, including religious communities and the Internet, shape individuals’ use of Scripture…. Read this in full at

by Doug Schlegel
In 1524, the son of a Parisian printer took over his father’s business at the age of 21. There is nothing particularly unusual about a son taking over the family business, but the previous year, Robert Estienne had revised the Latin edition of the New Testament. Its subsequent publication was the first occasion of years of controversy that were to follow.

The controversy? Estienne had run afoul of the powerful and influential Roman Catholic faculty of the Sorbonne who thought it was a dangerous thing to have the Bible in the hands of ordinary farmers and shopkeepers.

Estienne was undeterred and continued to publish editions of the Bible for sale and distribution as well as to speak approvingly of the Reformers’ theological views that were then being circulated. He even published many of Melanchthon’s works, further antagonizing his opponents…. Read this in full at

by Marc Cortez
For some time now, people have been rightly concerned about the trajectory of biblical literacy. Talking to those who have been teaching Bible/theology for many years, they all say that one of the greatest challenges they face is that people just don’t know the Bible like they used to. So they spend far more time teaching basic biblical literacy and consequently less time building on that foundation.

And it’s a real problem, one that affects people’s ability to understand the whole scope of what the Bible has to say, how that relates to individual stories and verses, and how all of it connects to the challenging issues that people face every day. But it’s a problem that we will not solve by mastering Bible trivia…. Read this in full at

by Chris Page
Bible Gateway is one of the cleanest, most efficient apps for interacting with the Bible that you can find for your Android. It gives you plenty of ways to read or hear the Bible and lets you enjoy your favorite or most important passages over and over. This is an excellent Bible study app, even if you’re just beginning your study.

This app isn’t just a pocket Bible, but a complete resource for all of the major translations of the book. It lets you create an account — or log in through Facebook — and track your Bible study, read any chapter from any translation you want, and even listen to the Bible read by one of several readers in multiple languages. In addition to an impressively clean interface for reading the Bible, Bible Gateway offers a verse of the day, around which you can structure your study. You can make notes about your reading, as well as share any verse you choose right from the app on multiple social networks and messaging platforms…. Read this in full at

Download the free Bible Gateway App for either iPhone or Android at.

by Jeffrey Kranz
Sometimes in the Bible, God communicates to people in dreams. Some of them are symbolic (like the dreams in Daniel), and some involve explicit instructions from God.

Dreams fascinate me, and I figure they’re interesting to you, too. Since God has revealed some of His word through dreams, I thought it might be cool to find all the dreams in the Bible.

So, I Bible-geeked out and made this for you…. Read this in full at

by Paul Wilkinson
I’m writing this in a vacuum, because I haven’t exactly seen done what I am proposing here. I just see a need. So here’s the proposal, and if you have any suggestions or revisions based on experience with a church that’s doing this please leave a comment.

Social media, as we have come to know it, is with us to stay. The platforms will migrate over time, but a generation has grown up communicating on line, and overall, I would say that for the church, this is a good thing. We can start a conversation at a weekend service, and continue it all week. We can learn that people have specific interests, and send them links to articles and channels of interest. It replaces the classic “encouragement notes” or “thinking-of-you cards.” …. Read this in full at

I’ve commanded you to be brave and strong, haven’t I? Don’t be alarmed or terrified, because the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.
– Joshua 1:9 (CEB)

If there is a Creator God, there is nothing illogical at all about the possibility of miracles. After all, if he created everything out of nothing, it would hardly be a problem for him to rearrange parts of it as and when he wishes.”
– Timothy Keller

Has archaeology confirmed the existence of any of the people mentioned in the Bible? In his article “Archaeology Confirms 50 Real People in the Bible” in the March/April 2014 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review (BAR), Purdue University scholar Lawrence Mykytiuk identifies 50 figures from the Old Testament that he says have been confirmed archaeologically. An accompanying chart lists Israelite kings, Mesopotamian monarchs, and lesser-known figures who are both mentioned in the Bible and present in the archaeological data. Bible Gateway interviewed Dr. Mykytiuk about his findings:…. Read this in full at

Every year, beginning on Ash Wednesday and ending on Easter Sunday, millions of people celebrate the 40 days of Lent by giving up—fasting from—certain foods or activities. It’s a practice with a rich history among many Christian traditions. But how likely are believers today to participate in Lenten disciplines—and, if they do choose to fast, what are they fasting from?

The majority of adults (72%) are aware of the Christian tradition of giving something up for Lent. Even among non-Christians, awareness of Lent is at about the same level (70%). Yet in spite of this widespread awareness of the season, only 17% of all adults—roughly one-fifth of those who know about the season—have practiced Lenten fasting in the last three years. The same number (17%) plan to give something up for Lent again this year.

Not surprisingly, practicing Catholics are among the most likely to have participated in Lent, with just over two-thirds (65%) saying they have celebrated the fast in the past three years. But many Protestants have also adopted the habit: one in six practicing Protestants (15%) say they have fasted for Lent in the past three years, and about the same number (16%) say they plan to fast this year…. Read this in full at

We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God, who will thwart our plans and frustrate our ways time and again, even daily, by sending people across our path with their demands and requests. We can, then, pass them by, preoccupied with our important daily tasks, just as the priest–perhaps reading the Bible–passed by the man who had fallen among robbers. When we do that, we pass by the visible sign of the Cross raised in our lives to show us that God’s way, and not our own, is what counts.”
– Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), Life Together [1954], tr. Daniel W. Bloesch & James H. Burtness, Fortress Press, 2004, p. 99

by Jayson Bradley
Researchers tell us that the more we’re exposed to perfect bodies in the media, the more we’re dissatisfied with our own. That dissatisfaction goes for any area where we’re regularly and confronted with the idea that everyone else is more successful, richer, smarter, or better than we are.

It would be one thing if the celebrity images that wreaked havoc on our self images were real, but they’re not. They’re airbrushed and photoshopped—the flaws are hidden and the strengths are accented. We let illusion dictate reality…. Read this in full at

by David Platt
In the wake of Super Bowl XLVIII, Albert Mohler commented on a recent essay published in The Washington Post titled “Is Religion Losing Ground To Sports?” Their answer was yes, and so was Mohler’s. According to him,
The fastest-growing segment of the American public in terms of religious identification is the ‘nones,’ designating those who identify with no religious tradition at all. At the same time, a religious dedication to sports has been growing. While correlation does not prove causation, the links between these two developments are haunting.”

How is it haunting? Mohler pointed out the undying devotion of adolescent athletes and their parents who scarcely miss a practice, much less a game, while simultaneously, “team sports activities or other forms of organized athletics have taken many evangelical families away from church activities.” What is the object of our worship? To top off this sobering comparison, he metaphorically referred to the stadium in which next year’s already-anticipated Super Bowl will be held as a “cathedral” and the travel of the masses to it as a “pilgrimage.” …. Read this in full at

by Randy Alcorn
I’ve been asked, Do you think that how you dress is important when you attend church? Isn’t that part of showing respect for the things of the Lord?

I think showing respect to the Lord involves different things for different people in different places. Dress is cultural. Some in jeans and t-shirts are wholly focused on the Lord, lost in worship and adoration. Some in suits and ties can sit there in anger, lust, and indifference to the Lord (just like some of those in jeans are no doubt doing, but I doubt they are doing them more) …. Read this in full at

While this list is directed at those who preach, it’s equally applicable for anyone who speaks publically or gives a presentation:
1. Present one great idea.
2. Set a time limit.
3. Collaborate.
4. Put time into visuals.
5. Practice.
6. Stay away from notes…. Read this in full at

A Christian ministry that plans to build a Noah’s Ark replica in Kentucky has raised enough money to go ahead with the $150 million project – and is thanking an adversary for boosting its support.

Creation Museum founder Ken Ham announced that a municipal bond offering has brought in enough money to begin the long-delayed “Ark Encounter,” a theme park featuring a 510-foot-long model of Noah’s Ark near the Kentucky-Ohio border.

Ham credited the funding bump to Bill Nye “the Science Guy,” a popular commentator on science issues who faced off against him in a widely publicized February 4 debate over evolution.

Ham said the media attention surrounding the debate prompted supporters who had registered for bonds to follow through with complex paperwork needed to complete the funding…. Read this in full at

Anyone who serves God will discover sooner or later that the great hindrance to his work is not others but himself.”
– Watchman Nee

My plans aren’t your plans, nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD. Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my plans than your plans.
– Isaiah 55:8-9 (CEB)

Words: Unknown author, 11th Century
Music: Rouen church melody

The fast, as taught by holy lore,
We keep in solemn course once more;
The fast to all men known, and bound
In forty days of yearly round.

The law and seers that were of old
In divers ways this Lent foretold
Which Christ, all seasons’ King and Guide,
In after ages sanctified.

More sparing therefore let us make
The words we speak, the food we take,
Our sleep and mirth, and closer barred
Be every sense in holy guard.

In prayer together let us fall,
And cry for mercy, one and all,
And weep before the Judge’s feet,
And His avenging wrath entreat.

Thy grace have we offended sore,
By sins, O God, which we deplore;
But pour upon us from on high,
O pardoning One, Thy clemency.

Remember Thou, though frail we be,
That yet Thine handiwork are we;
Nor let the honor of Thy Name
Be by another put to shame.

Forgive the sin that we have wrought;
Increase the good that we have sought;
That we at length, our wanderings o’er,
May please Thee here and evermore.

We pray Thee, holy Trinity,
One God, unchanging Unity,
That we from this our abstinence
May reap the fruits of penitence.

>from NetHymnal at

Pray the largest prayers. You cannot think a prayer so large that God, in answering it, will not wish that you had made it larger.”
– Phillips Brooks (1835-1893), The More Abundant Life: Lenten Readings, Dutton, 1906, p. 103


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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Video: Sermon by Gary Burge on Psalm 23

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 remember the good ol’ days when “snap crackle pop” were sounds I heard from my cereal, not my body.  
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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