CONNECTIONS News – 04/06/2014

Connecting man to man to God
For week of April 6, 2014
Issue 505

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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So then let’s also run the race that is laid out in front of us, since we have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us. Let’s throw off any extra baggage, get rid of the sin that trips us up, and fix our eyes on Jesus, faith’s pioneer and perfecter. He endured the cross, ignoring the shame, for the sake of the joy that was laid out in front of him, and sat down at the right side of God’s throne.
– Hebrews 12:1-2 (CEB)

CONSIDER
Often, in the midst of great problems, we stop short of the real blessing God has for us, which is a fresh vision of who He is.”
– Anne Graham Lotz

RANDLE TAKES ‘SOLID’ FAITH INTO FINAL FOUR
When he takes the court Saturday in a Final Four matchup with Wisconsin, Kentucky forward Julius Randle will be close to home.

The freshman star who has led the eight-seeded Wildcats to an unlikely Final Four berth is a graduate of Prestonwood Christian Academy in Plano, Texas, just down the road from AT&T Stadium in Arlington. PCA is a ministry of Prestonwood Baptist Church.

“Julius is a great young man who is solid in his faith,” Jack Graham, pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church, said. “He and his mother, Carolyn, have an incredible bond, and it is wonderful to see how he is devoted to her. Julius loves his family, and he loves his family at PCA, where he was a good student for six years.” …. Read this in full at
http://www.bpnews.net/42302/randle-takes-solid-faith-into-final-four

NOAH” GENERATES A FLOOD OF BIBLE READERS OVER THE WEEKEND
by Andy Rau
Christian critics have given Noah mixed reviews, but one thing Darren Aronofsky’s epic did accomplish was to get people reading the original story of Noah in the Bible. Over the weekend, visits to the Noah story in Genesis 6-9 at Bible Gateway saw a 223% increase over the previous weekend! I imagine this represents a lot of Noah viewers looking to compare the film with the original story, or people just refreshing their memory of a classic Bible story that everybody’s suddenly talking about.

Predictably, the Noah film drew mixed reviews from Christian critics over the weekend: some reviewers appreciated the biblical themes and questions raised by the movie, while others sharply criticized its departures from the Genesis account…. Read this in full at
http://www.biblegateway.com/blog/2014/04/noah-generates-a-flood-of-bible-readers-over-the-weekend/

HOW BIBLICALLY ACCURATE IS NOAH MOVIE?
by Miriam Krule
Like the Bible itself, the Noah movie begins its story at the very beginning. At one point Noah tells his children the story of creation and broadly stays true to Genesis, though he conflates the second and fourth days: The Bible tells us that the greater and lesser lights (commonly accepted to be the sun and moon) were created on the fourth day, not the second.

When it comes to the current state of the land, the movie sets up two factions: Lemech and Noah, the good men, and Tubal-Cain and his people, the “evil” men. The evil men are descendants of Cain, which is in line with what the Bible states in Chapter 3: According to that chapter, Cain moved eastward and built cities and had children…. Read this in full at
http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2014/03/28/noah_movie_biblical_accuracy_how_the_darren_aronofsky_movie_departs_from.html

READ THE BIBLE STORY FROM GENESIS 6-9
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=genesis6-9

TIME FOR THE BIBLE
We need to confess to God our sin of neglecting His Holy Word. We have time enough–we take time–to read the writings of fellow-sinners, yet we have little or no time for the Holy Scriptures. The Bible is a series of Divine love letters, and yet many of God’s people have scarcely broken the seals.”
– A. W. Pink (1886-1952), The Divine Inspiration of the Bible, Swengel, Pa.: Bible Truth Depot, 1917, p. 139-140

BIBLICAL EPICS
by Kim Lawton
Hollywood is always on the look-out for a new box-office miracle. And it just might help to start with the bestselling book of all time.

Whenever Hollywood wants to go big, it often goes biblical,” says Craig Detweiler, professor, Pepperdine University. “The Bible is loaded with amazing source material, right? Fascinating characters, epic struggles, a big canvas, and global recognition, you know? So obviously for Hollywood looking for source material that they can get that is affordable, that’s in the public domain, look no further than the Bible.”

Ten years ago, the Passion of the Christ earned $600 million dollars and proved that biblical epics can be very lucrative. Now, new digital technologies have made it easier than ever to adapt spectacular Bible stories for the big screen…. See this video news report in full at
http://www.pbs.org/wnet/religionandethics/2014/04/03/april-4-2014-biblical-epics/22608/

MAKE NO CAMEL BONES ABOUT IT: ARCHAEOLOGY AND THE BIBLE
by Eric Metaxas
Recently, two researchers from Tel Aviv University made headlines when they claimed that the Bible’s historicity was undermined by, of all things, camel bones.

The camel bones in question were discovered in ancient copper mines south of the Dead Sea. After dating the bones to the tenth century before Christ, the researchers concluded that the stories of Abraham and other patriarchs possessing camels 1,000 years earlier could not have been true.

But why let the facts get in the way of a good headline? As Todd Bolen of the Master’s College told Christianity Today, their conclusion, based on a single finding, was definitely “an overreach.”

And Titus Kennedy of Biola pointed out that “a camel is mentioned in a list of domesticated animals from Ugarit, dating to the Old Babylonian period,” which ran from 1950-1600 BC, around the time of the biblical patriarchs…. Read this in full at
http://www.breakpoint.org/bpcommentaries/entry/13/24917

DIFFICULT BIBLE PASSAGES: 1 SAMUEL 28 – THE EPISODE IN THE OT ABOUT SAUL & THE WITCH OF ENDOR
by Bill Muehlenberg
The episode in the Old Testament about Saul and the witch of Endor raises a number of questions, chief of which is this: Can God use a means which he had expressly forbidden elsewhere? Other questions include: Did Samuel actually return from the dead? Did the witch successfully do this? Was the entire appearance a deception?

Let’s begin with a bit of background. The Philistines had come down to within around five miles of where Saul was staying. This was a serious incursion. As Mary Evans notes, “This was no minor battle to be carried out between the standing armies but a major show down between the two nations.”
By this point Saul had well and truly lost God’s favour. Indeed, God had departed from him. His kingdom was taken away from him and he was rejected as king (1 Sam. 13:14; 15:28). Because of his sin and rebellion, Saul was no longer the brave king he used to be but a fearful man: “When Saul saw the Philistine army, he was afraid; terror filled his heart” (v. 5)…. Read this in full at
http://billmuehlenberg.com/2014/04/03/difficult-bible-passages-1-samuel-28/

GRATITUDE
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
– Melody Beattie

FORMER ATHEIST: ‘LIFE IS BETTER SERVING GOD’
Mike Rushton, the youngest of three boys, grew up tough. His dad borrowed boxing gloves and taught his sons how to fight. “We were always told not to ever start a fight, but if we were involved in a fight we better not lose,” he said. “We did not lose many fights.”

His father did not attend church, but Rushton’s mother was a faithful Christian who made sure her sons went with her to worship on Sundays. When Rushton turned 13, he got a job working the late shift at a local café. His dad, who considered money to be more important, allowed his son to stop going to church.

Rushton went to work at a cotton mill when he was 16. “During those years I believed there was a God,” he said, “but I didn’t have any place in my life for Him.”

The teenager became disillusioned about Christianity when he had a heated exchange with his former fourth-grade Sunday school teacher, who worked at the cotton mill…. Read this in full at
http://www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?id=42278

ARE YOU AN ATHEIST?
I hold that secret sin, if anything, is the worst of sin; because secret sin implies that the man who commits it has Atheism in his heart. You will ask how that can be. I reply, he may be a professing Christian, but I shall tell him to his face that he is a practical Atheist, if he labors to keep up a respectable profession before man, and then secretly transgresses. Why, is not he an Atheist, who will say there is a God, yet at the same time thinks more of man than he does of God? Is it not the very essence of Atheism — is it not a denial of the divinity of the Most High when men lightly esteem him and think more of the eye of a creature than of the observation of their Creator?

There are some who would not, for the life of them, say a wicked word in the presence of their minister, but they can do it, knowing God is looking at them. They are Atheists. There are some who would not trick in trade for all the world if they thought they should be discovered, but they can do it while God is with them; that is, they think more of the eye of man than of the eye of God; and they think it worse to be condemned by man than to be condemned by God. Call it by what name you will, the proper name of that is practical Atheism.”
– Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892), Sermons of the Rev. C. H. Spurgeon of London, third series, New York: Sheldon, Blakeman and Co., 1857, p. 171-172

WHEN DID CHRISTIANS BECOME SO MEAN?
by Ron Edmondson
Okay, this one will get me into trouble. Especially if the shoe fits. Wait for the comments on this one. But I have to ask… When did Christians become so mean?

Not all Christians. Most Christians I know are nice. Very nice. But, I’ve met some mean ones lately.

Now, let me be clear. I am one. A Christian that is. (Hopefully not mean—too often.) In fact, I’ve centered my life around my faith and even am vocationally supported by Christians. (So I love you! I really do.)

But, when did some of you — my brothers and sisters in Christ as we are often referred to — become so mean?

It’s mostly online. You write something they don’t agree with, and instead of a healthy disagreement, they blast you. Right there on your Facebook wall or with a hurting comment on a blog post. Where everyone can read it. In fact, some people read it even before the one who wrote the post reads it. I’ve even had guest bloggers tell me they don’t want to post anymore because of the comments…. Read this in full at
http://www.ministrymatters.com/all/blog/entry/4896/when-did-christians-become-so-mean?

THE DO’S AND DON’TS FOR DEALING WITH A SUBSTANCE ABUSER
by Clare De Graaf
A few weeks back I sat in a coffee shop with a bright young businessman, late 30’s, college educated and good looking. He had everything going for him, but two things; he was spiritually lost and an alcoholic, but he just wouldn’t admit either was true! And the reality is, if you don’t believe you have a problem, you’ll not look for a solution!

Sooner or later, your family will be impacted by drug or alcohol abuse. Either that, or one of the people you mentor will have this problem, like my guy. To simplify the conversation, I’ll concentrate on alcohol abuse, but many of the ways to address the issue applies to drug abuse as well.

The Boy Scouts have a motto, Be Prepared. So the purpose of this blog is to equip you to do emotional, spiritual and relational triage. These are the things you ought to do and should not do when you find out a person you care for has a problem…. Read this in full at
…. Read this in full at
http://www.claredegraaf.com/2014/03/31/the-dos-and-donts-for-dealing-with-a-substance-abuser/

VERSE TO PONDER
Fools say in their hearts, ‘There is no God.’
– Psalm 14:1 (CEB)

CONSIDER
Not what we give but that we share, For the gift without the giver is bare.”
– James Russell Lowell

BURGER WITH A SIDE OF BIBLE: COMPANIES MIXING RELIGION WITH RETAIL
by Clare O’Connor
Hobby Lobby doesn’t want to cover its employees’ morning after pills. Chick-fil-A backs “traditional marriage” as opposed to the same-sex variety. Then there are Forever 21 Forever 21 and In-N-Out Burger, which print Bible verses on their bags.

Who knew so many major US corporations were so devoutly religious?

Well, we at Forbes did, since we track not just the performance of public and private companies but the interests and proclivities of their founders and CEOs — like evangelical Hobby Lobby billionaire David Green’s pet project, the Museum of the Bible, set to open in the next year or two…. Read this in full at
http://www.forbes.com/sites/clareoconnor/2014/04/01/burger-with-a-side-of-bible-companies-mixing-religion-with-retail/

AIR FORCE REMOVES BIBLE FROM POW-MIA DISPLAY
by Todd Starnes
On March 14 Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh told members of the House Armed Services committee that there was no war on religious liberty.

“The single biggest frustration I’ve had in this job is the perception that somehow there is religious persecution inside the United States Air Force,” the general told lawmakers. “It is not true.”

If that’s true, perhaps Gen. Welsh could explain why a Bible was removed from a POW/MIA Missing Man Table at Patrick Air Force Base in Florida. The removal of the Good Book was first reported by the Gannett-owned newspaper Florida Today…. Read this in full at
http://www.christianpost.com/news/air-force-removes-bible-from-pow-mia-display-117181/

SOME STATES SEEK TO BLESS PRAYER IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Religious groups have been testing the limits on prayer in public school for decades. Now they think they’ve come up with a new strategy that will allow students to pray wherever and whenever they want.

Bills have been moving in a number of states that would allow students to engage in prayer at school functions such as graduation.

“I believe there’s discrimination involved, yes I do, against individuals who would like to express some value to their faith,” says state Sen. Ferrell Haile, sponsor of a school prayer bill in Tennessee awaiting approval from GOP Gov. Bill Haslam.

Haile says his bill would merely allow students to express faith in the same way they talk about any other subject. But school board lawyers and civil liberties activists warn it could violate constitutional restrictions against state-sponsored religion.

“Church-state turns out to be the thread, if not the rope, that connects so many of these things together,” says Barry Lynn, executive director of the advocacy group Americans United for Separation of Church and State…. Read this in full at
http://www.npr.org/2014/04/02/298338846/some-states-seek-to-bless-prayer-in-public-schools?ft=1&f=1016

HONESTY IN A CULTURE OF CHURCH TABOOS
by Callie Glorioso-Mays
Two pink lines. When my husband and I saw them, we imagined all of our plans and dreams fading away. First came anger and then, swiftly, relentlessly: shame. I was pregnant.

To others, our situation looked ideal. We were young, relatively healthy, and my husband had a steady job with full benefits. And we had wanted children. Just not yet. Who could we talk to?

We recoiled from Church, feeling isolated by our lack of joy. We didn’t want to wound couples that were unable to conceive by voicing our disappointment over this baby, so we kept our mouths shut and our sorrows to ourselves…. Read this in full at
http://www.relevantmagazine.com/god/church/honesty-culture-church-taboos

ULTIMATE FIGHTING AND ULTIMATE ETHICS
by Gordon Marino
On April 12, 2014, Manny Pacquiao will enter the ring at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas to fulfill what he believes is his God-given calling: to beat another man—in this case, opponent Tim Bradley—to bloody unconsciousness or exhaustion. A Filipino world-class professional boxer, Pacquiao has been called a “Bible-quoting maniac” by Rick Warren, and attributes his stunning 55-5 record to Providence. When an ESPN reporter asked in 2012 whether faith makes him a better boxer, Pacquiao said, “If God is with you, who can be against you? All things are possible with God.”

Pacquiao is hardly the first professional athlete to bring God into the game. But boxing and mixed martial arts (MMA) — known as “combat sports” wherein man-on-man violence is the end goal — raise unique ethical questions about whether certain games are incompatible with Christ’s teachings. Meanwhile, some ministry leaders have used ultimate fighting to attract young men in a “chickified” culture. “Jesus Didn’t Tap” is the name of a Christian mma clothing line, as well as a mantra for a high-octane masculinity espoused by the likes of Mark Driscoll. Guts Church in Tulsa held an annual “fight night” amateur boxing match for six years until a 24-year-old participant died in 2011. “Human cockfighting,” as one senator has called MMA, draws millions of dollars and spectators — as well as concern over violence for violence’s sake…. Read this at
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2014/april/ultimate-fighting-and-ultimate-ethics.html

‘HEAVEN IS FOR REAL’: AN INTERVIEW WITH TODD BURPO
by Richard Propes with The Independent Critic
You may not recognize the name Todd Burpo right away, but there’s a pretty good chance that you’ve read his book or, at the very least, you’ve heard the story of how the Nebraska pastor’s four-year-old son Colton’s near-death experience during a surgery led to an extraordinary testimony of his visit to heaven. When he awoke from that surgical procedure, Colton returned to the family home with memories and experiences that even many Christians, including for awhile Todd himself, would consider to be impossible as he was able to describe his parents’ behaviors while he was on the operating table and, perhaps, even more dramatically, he was able to share dramatic testimonies about family events of which he’d never been told. Heaven is for Real became a best-selling book and has sold over 8 million copies. Heaven is for Real now arrives in movie theaters on Easter and Todd Burpo, the real life father of Colton, took some time out of his busy schedule to talk to The Independent Critic…. Read this in full at
http://www.faithvillage.com/article/b0b12ddc05ca406ab7ca2961e445dc5b/heaven_is_for_real_an_interview_with_todd_burpo

SLOW CHURCH MOVEMENT FIGHTS THE ‘MCDONALDIZATION’ OF CHURCH
by Bob Smietana
Going to church these days can be a bit like eating at a fast food joint. It might be quick and tasty. But it won’t satisfy your soul.

You can’t franchise the kingdom of God, say the authors of “Slow Church,” a new book from InterVarsity Press that applies the lessons of the slow food movement to congregational life.

C. Christopher Smith and John Pattison, the book’s authors, are part of a loose network of writers, friends, theologians and pastors worried about what they call the “McDonaldization” of church. They say too many small churches try to mass-produce spiritual growth by copying the latest megachurch techniques…. Read this in full at
http://columbiafavs.com/2014/03/27/slow-church-movement-fights-the-mcdonaldization-of-church/

IS AN ONLINE CHURCH REALLY A CHURCH?
by Ed Stetzer
it’s 2014. Every church should have an online presence.

Your church people and your community are there, so you should be as well. But that is different than referring to something that happens via your website as a “church.”

Can an online gathering of Christians be classified as a church? Let’s think through this by asking five questions.

Should Churches be Online?
If a church is not online, then it is not actually engaging the culture. A church needs to be where the people gather and they are online and on social media sites…. Read this in full at
http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2014/april/is-online-church-really-church.html

GRAHAM’S GRANDKIDS COLLECT THANK-YOU’S FOR ‘DADDY BILL’
by Adelle M. Banks
The grandchildren of evangelist Billy Graham have long been influenced by their famous “Daddy Bill.” But the children of daughter Virginia “Gigi” Graham wondered what kind of influence he had on other people — those who attended his crusades or who watched him on TV.

The end result: “Thank you, Billy Graham,” a new book culled from the hundreds of comments that admirers have left on a website the grandchildren created. The responses came from 19 countries and a wide range of experiences, from ordinary people and family members who were influenced by the now-95-year-old Graham…. Read this in full at
http://www.religionnews.com/2014/04/02/grahams-grandkids-collect-thank-yous-daddy-bill/

CONSIDER
All our fret and worry is caused by calculating without God.”
– Oswald Chambers

VERSE TO PONDER
He was pierced because of our rebellions and crushed because of our crimes. He bore the punishment that made us whole; by his wounds we are healed. Like sheep we had all wandered away, each going its own way, but the LORD let fall on him all our crimes.
– Isaiah 53:5-6 (CEB)

THIS WEEK’S HYMN: LO! NOW IS OUR ACCEPTED DAY
Words: Attributed to Gregory I; translated from Latin to English by John M. Neale
Music: Carl P. E. Bach, 1784

Lo! now is our accepted day,
The time for purging sins away,
The sins of thought, and deed, and word,
That we have done against the Lord.

For He the Merciful and True
Hath spared His people hitherto;
Not willing that the soul should die,
Though great its past iniquity.

Then let us all with earnest care,
And contrite fast, and tear and prayer,
And works of mercy and of love,
Entreat for pardon from above;

That He may all our sins efface,
Adorn us with the gifts of grace,
And join us to the angel band,
Forever in the heavenly land.

Blest Three in One and One in Three,
Almighty God, we pray to Thee,
That Thou wouldst now vouchsafe to bless
Our fast with fruits of righteousness.

>from NetHymnal at
http://nethymnal.org/htm/l/n/lnioaday.htm

ON PRAYER
[In prayer] we want to move closer to God, the source and goal of our existence, but at the same time we realize that the closer we come to God the stronger will be his demand to let go of the many ‘safe’ structures we have built around ourselves. Prayer is such a radical act because it requires us to criticize our whole way of being in the world, to lay down our old selves and accept our new self, which is Christ… Prayer therefore is the act of dying to all that we consider to be our own and of being born to a new existence which is not of this world.”
– Henri J. M. Nouwen (1932-1996), originally in “Letting go of all things” in Sojourners8, May 1979, p. 5-6, The Only Necessary Thing, p. 39

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. 

15 Famous Landmarks Zoomed Out
http://www.demilked.com/15-famous-landmarks-zoomed-out/

The Cross video program
http://myhopewithbillygraham.org/programs/the-cross/

Entrust from Precept Ministries
http://entrust.precept.org/

FaithlifeTV
http://faithlifetv.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.) 

Thieves who steal corn from a garden could be charged with stalking.  
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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