CONNECTIONS News – 03/30/2014

Connecting man to man to God
For week of March 30, 2014
Issue 504

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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He was despised and avoided by others; a man who suffered, who knew sickness well. Like someone from whom people hid their faces, he was despised, and we didn’t think about him. It was certainly our sickness that he carried, and our sufferings that he bore, but we thought him afflicted, struck down by God and tormented.
– Isaiah 53:3-4 (CEB)

CONSIDER
One of the most important missionary journeys a Christian can make is to walk next door.
– Unknown

AMERICANS DIVIDED ON THE IMPORTANCE OF CHURCH
What, if anything, helps Americans grow in their faith? When Barna Group asked, people offered a variety of answers—prayer, family or friends, reading the Bible, having children—but church did not even crack the top-10 list.

Although church involvement was once a cornerstone of American life, US adults today are evenly divided on the importance of attending church. While half (49%) say it is “somewhat” or “very” important, the other 51% say it is “not too” or “not at all” important. The divide between the religiously active and those resistant to churchgoing impacts American culture, morality, politics and religion.

Looking to future generations does not paint an optimistic picture for the importance of churchgoing. Millennials (those 30 and under) stand out as least likely to value church attendance; only two in 10 believe it is important. And more than one-third of Millennial young adults (35%) take an anti-church stance. In contrast, Elders (those over 68) are the most likely (40%) to view church attendance as “very” important, compared to one-quarter (24%) who deem it “not at all” important. Boomers (ages 49—67) and Gen Xers (ages 30—48) fall in the middle of these polar opposites. While the debate rages about what will happen to Millennials as they get older—Will they return to church attendance later in life?—they are starting at a lower baseline for church participation and commitment than previous generations of young adults…. Read this in full at
https://www.barna.org/barna-update/culture/661-americans-divided-on-the-importance-of-church

CONSIDERING “NOAH”: WHAT MAKES A GOOD (OR ACCURATE) BIBLE FILM?
by Andy Rau
Are you planning to watch the Noah movie? Unless you’ve managed to stay completely off the internet in recent weeks, you’ve witnessed some of the many ongoing discussions, reviews, and debates about the film’s merits, both as a work of art and as a dramatization of an important Bible story. The movie premieres today in U.S. theaters, so everybody can finally weigh it against their expectations.

Whether you’re going to see the film or not, we’d be remiss if we didn’t encourage you to read the Bible’s account of Noah and the Great Flood. It’s found in Genesis 6-9, and is a surprisingly quick read — particularly if you’ve never read this classic story, take five minutes to check it out…. Read this in full at
http://www.biblegateway.com/blog/2014/03/considering-noah-what-makes-a-good-or-accurate-bible-film/

NOAH MOVIE: COURAGE, FAITH, HOPE
by Rusty Wright
How would you feel if you thought you heard God telling you he was going to destroy every living thing on earth with a great flood?

Except he wanted you to build a boat to survive the tumult with a few relatives and a slew of creatures.

Would you jump at the challenge? Run and hide? Ask – as Bill Cosby did in his classic comedy routine portraying Noah – “Right! Who is this really?”

Perhaps you’ll sense how the biblical Noah felt. Paramount Pictures and director/co-writer Darren Aronofsky bring Noah to the big screen in North America and worldwide throughout late March and April. The cast includes Russell Crowe in the title role, Jennifer Connelly, Emma Watson and Anthony Hopkins.

With breathtaking cinematography, this film imagines some intense struggles for Noah and his family. We see sorrow for lost masses, interpersonal conflicts, and practical realities of living on a creature-packed craft…. Read this in full at
http://rustywright.com/articles/noah-movie-courage-faith-hope/

‘NOAH’ FILM MAY BE WAY TO ENGAGE UNCHURCHED
by Jeff Brumley
The new film Noah has yet to hit big screens nationwide, but that hasn’t kept some critics – namely conservative Christian and Muslim ones – from blasting the film for deviating from the strict scriptural text that inspired it.

Some evangelicals sounded the alarm against the portrayal that even its director, Darren Aronofsky, reportedly described the $150 million project as “the least biblical film ever made.” Several Middle Eastern nations have said they would ban its showing.

As a result, Paramount Pictures agreed to add a disclaimer that the action-packed blockbuster takes artistic license with the story and that the full version can be read in the book of Genesis…. Read this in full at
http://www.abpnews.com/culture/media-and-arts/item/28518-baptist-pastor-noah-film-may-be-way-to-engage-unchurched

THE HOBBY LOBBY PRESIDENT IS ALSO BUILDING A BIBLE MUSEUM FOR OVER $70 MILLION
by Nora Caplan-Bricker
Hobby Lobby’s president, Steve Green, is looking to enshrine his religious beliefs in Washington, DC with a museum devoted to the Bible, for which he purchased a $50 million property in 2012.

The new attraction will house a collection of historic Bibles that Green has been assembling since 2009. His holdings range from a hand-illustrated Martin Luther New Testament to a Torah from the Spanish Inquisition; experts have valued them at between $20 and $40 million. The as-yet-unnamed Bible museum, which is slated to open in the spring of 2017, will sit at 3rd and D Streets in Southwest DC, in an 8-story warehouse that Green plans to complement with a two-story addition. A report from the city’s Historic Preservation Review Board even compared the mock-ups to London’s Tate Modern. The museum’s goal, according to the mission statement in its 501(c)3 tax filings for 2011, the most recent year available, is “To bring to life the living word of God, to tell its compelling story of preservation, and to inspire confidence in the absolute authority and reliability of the Bible.” …. Read this in full at
http://www.newrepublic.com/article/117145/museum-bible-hobby-lobby-founders-other-religious-project

THE “OTHER” 10 SECOND RULE
by Ron Parsons
Over the years, I’ve talked with many men and women who have been involved in affairs. One of the most salutary things is to realize that with many of them, they didn’t intend to be unfaithful to their partners. They sometimes blurt out, “It just happened.” They will normally go on to talk about some innocent event in which they were involved (often a genuine desire to help the other person in some way), and then go on to say, “It suddenly got out of hand.”

When is the battle won or lost in an affair? Is it decided at the bedroom door? No. The battle is so often decided when somebody smiles at you across a room and you have ten seconds to decide whether you will walk those twenty feet or keep talking to the boring colleague next to you. There is, in so many affairs, a line that has to be crossed. The tragedy is that so often it is drawn very near the beginning of the relationship, but once it is crossed, it is hard to go back.

I spoke recently with a man who was in the middle of an affair. He’d lost just about everything. He said: “Rob, she offered me a lift. The second I got in that car, it was as if it was all decided.” …. Read this in full at
http://www.claredegraaf.com/2014/03/27/the-other-10-second-rule/

VERSE TO PONDER
God caused the one who didn’t know sin to be sin for our sake so that through him we could become the righteousness of God.
– 2 Corinthians 5:21 (CEB)

CONSIDER
Spread abroad the name of Jesus in humility and with a meek heart; show him your feebleness, and he will become your strength.”
– Thomas Merton

WAS JESUS DIVINE? PUBLISHER HEDGES BETS WITH BART EHRMAN’S NEW BOOK
by John Murawski
Set side by side, the book jackets look almost like matching woodblock prints of a bearded, haloed figure. The titles mirror each other, too, featuring the same trio of names: Jesus, God, Bart Ehrman.

On one of the volumes, How Jesus Became God, Ehrman is clearly the author; but in the reversed How God Became Jesus, Ehrman is the nemesis of a concerted rebuttal.

So what gives?

The two books are an unusual publishing experiment, in which HarperCollins arranged to have a team of evangelical scholars write a counterargument to its hot-selling superstar writer. Ehrman and the evangelical team exchanged manuscripts and signed nondisclosure agreements so as not to pre-empt each other, but otherwise worked independently for their own HarperCollins subsidiaries, HarperOne and Zondervan.

I’ve never heard of anything quite like this,” said one of the evangelical authors, Craig Evans, a New Testament scholar at Acadia Divinity College in Nova Scotia. “The usual scenario is that a dubious or extreme book comes out, then a ‘correction’ appears one to two years later.” …. Read this in full at
http://www.christiancentury.org/article/2014-03/was-jesus-divine-publisher-hedges-bets-bart-ehrman-s-new-book

Also see interview “MICHAEL BIRD DISCUSSES BART EHRMAN’S NEW BOOK (AND AN UNUSUAL REBUTTAL)”
http://www.biblegateway.com/blog/2014/03/did-the-early-church-invent-jesus-divinity-after-the-fact-michael-bird-discusses-bart-ehrmans-new-book-and-an-unusual-rebuttal/

5 REASONS YOUR MARRIAGE NEEDS CHURCH
by Bryan Van Slyke/Manturity
Congratulations, you’re married. You will never need help from anything or anyone ever again.

That’s dangerous thinking, but I’m inclined to believe a lot of newlyweds or a lot of couples in the early stages of marriage think that way. Why? Sometimes marriage can make people think that the amazing person they just married will be their answer to life’s problems.The reality? Without help, new marriages will suffer and suffer quickly! Problems will arise out of the smallest things, and tempers will get worse over time. Welcome to marriage…. Read this in full at
http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/43309-5-reasons-why-your-marriage-needs-church

WORLD READY FOR A SECOND PENTECOST OUTPOURING?
Could the world experience a second Pentecost? That’s the hope of a global movement called Empowered 21, with organizers setting their sights on Jerusalem, where the first Pentecost took place.

Recently, Christian leaders came from around the world to Jerusalem to worship, pray, and plan for what they call E-21.

“It’s amazing to see how many wonderful leaders God has raised up to partner with this goal of seeing every individual touched by a real encounter with the Holy Spirit by the year 2033. It’s stunning,” Bill Johnson, from Bethel Church, said…. Read this in full at
http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/insideisrael/2014/March/World-Ready-for-a-Second-Pentecost-Outpouring/

WHAT’S THE PLACE OF THE BIBLE IN AMERICAN CHRISTIANITY? SURPRISING RESULTS FROM A NEW SURVEY
by Andy Rau
There have been quite a few surveys in recent years looking to better understand the ways that American Christians do and don’t put their personal faith into practice. Every time I hear of a new survey, I never know if I’m going to be pleasantly surprised or just depressed by what it reveals about the American church. Well, a new survey this month provides some food for thought, and some good cause to hope that a lot of Americans do make the Bible a central part of their religious life.

The survey in question was undertaken by the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture and contributes a hefty batch of new data to fuel the ongoing discussion about Christianity in America. The Bible in American Life Report contains a lot of fascinating detail, particularly about how American Christians interact with the Bible.

http://www.biblegateway.com/blog/2014/03/whats-the-place-of-the-bible-in-american-christianity-surprising-results-from-a-new-survey/

GOD IS THE GREAT HEALER’
by Dan Wooding
Hundreds of Christian doctors and medical professionals from around the world are making plans to travel to Sofia, the political, economic and cultural center of Bulgaria, for the 11th Annual World Christian Doctors Network (WCDN) Conference, where they meet to “Glorify the Great Physician” and discuss “Medicine, Science and Spirituality.”

Each of these medical professionals, who will convene at the Sheraton Sofia Balkan Hotel, believes that “spiritual healing” is an answer to sickness in the 21st Century. They say that medicine alone cannot deal with some of today’s worst illnesses. But they also believe that miracles should be “documented” and various respected doctors will present actual case studies of miracles with the medical evidence to back them up.

After the audience has heard the presentation, which is also projected onto a large screen in the hotel’s ballroom, they can ask them questions about each “miracle.” …. Read this in full at
http://www.assistnews.net/Stories/2014/s14030142.htm

CONSIDER
Joy is the echo of God’s life within us.”
– Joseph Marmion

VERSE TO PONDER
My deliverance and glory depend on God. God is my strong rock. My refuge is in God.
– Psalm 62:7 (CEB)

THIS WEEK’S HYMN: JESUS WALKED THIS LONESOME VALLEY
Words & Music: American spiritual

Jesus walked this lonesome valley.
He had to walk it by Himself;
O, nobody else could walk it for Him,
He had to walk it by Himself.

We must walk this lonesome valley,
We have to walk it by ourselves;
O, nobody else can walk it for us,
We have to walk it by ourselves.

You must go and stand your trial,
You have to stand it by yourself,
O, nobody else can stand it for you,
You have to stand it by yourself.

>from NetHymnal at
http://nethymnal.org/htm/l/o/lonesome.htm

ON PRAYER
A satisfying prayer life… elevates and purifies every act of body and mind and integrates the entire personality into a single spiritual unit. Such prayer can only be the result of a life lived in the Spirit…In the long pull we pray only as well as we live.”
– A. W. Tozer (1897-1963), The Root of the Righteous, Christian Publications, 1955, p. 81

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. 

Infographic: Dining Etiquette Around The World
http://firstwefeast.com/eat/infographic-of-dining-etiquette-around-the-world/

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 wonder how much deeper the ocean would be without sponges.  
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.net/  

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