CONNECTIONS News – 04/20/2014

Connecting man to man to God
For week of April 20, 2014
Issue 507

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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Christ died for our sins in line with the scriptures, he was buried, and he rose on the third day in line with the scriptures.
– 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 (CEB)

Joy is the serious business of heaven.”
– C. S. Lewis

Bubba Watson shot a three-under-par 69 on April 13 at Augusta National, cruising to his second Masters championship in three years. An outspoken Christian, he took to Twitter following the win and proclaimed himself “blessed.”

“I want to thank everyone for the support, encouraging words & congrats that have poured in this week!” he tweeted. “I feel incredibly blessed.”

Watson, of Bagdad, Fla., identifies himself on Twitter as “Christian. Husband. Daddy. Pro Golfer.” Only 16 other golfers have won multiple Masters titles, including Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Arnold Palmer and Phil Mickelson.

“It’s overwhelming,” Watson said after the win. “To win twice, to be with those great names. … A small-town guy named Bubba now has two green jackets. It’s pretty wild.” …. Read this in full at

by Jesse Carey
Next year, when David Letterman signs off as host of The Late Show for the last time, Comedy Central star Stephen Colbert will take over, positioning himself as the new face of CBS late night.

Though he’s made a name for himself by creating an over-the-top persona satirizing the hyper-conservative on The Colbert Report, the real Stephen Colbert — the one headed to CBS — is very different from the character he’s created. When he’s not in front of the camera, Colbert is frequently teaching Sunday school, attending mass, or spending time with his family, who are all devout Catholics. Here are six times the funnyman got serious about one of his favorite topics: faith…. Read this in full at

Cliff Barrows, original Billy Graham Crusade Team member, longtime music director and host of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s flagship radio program Hour of Decision, celebrated his 91st birthday on April 6.

Born in 1923 in Ceres, Calif., Barrows was just 22-years-old when he joined Billy Graham in his early ministry days at Youth for Christ, and he has served as an integral part of BGEA since its inception in 1950. Barrows recently said about his time of ministry with Graham, “I have tears of joy and gratitude to the Lord for the privilege of working with such a man who cares so deeply about people, who has a passion for saving souls, and who, over the course of his long life, has given his heart to the world.”

As Barrows embarks on another decade in his life, he will take on a new challenge – the debut of Hour of Decision Online. “I’m grateful that we have the privilege of beginning another dimension of our radio ministry online,” said Barrows. “The wonderful thing about it is we are going to have music on the program – which has been so important to our ministry since the beginning. And you can listen morning, noon and night.” …. Read this in full at

The benefits [of the resurrection] are innumerable. To list a few: Our illnesses don’t seem nearly so final; Our fears fade and lose their grip; Our grief over those who have gone on is diminished; Our desires to press on in spite of the obstacles is rejuvenated… Our identity as Christians is strengthened as we stand in the lengthening shadows of saints down through the centuries, who have always answered back in antiphonal voice: “He is risen, indeed!” – Charles Swindoll

How different is the epitaph on the tomb of Jesus! It is neither written in gold nor cut in stone. It is spoken by the mouth of an angel and is the exact reverse of what is put on all other tombs: “He is not here; for he is risen, as he said.” (Matthew 28:6) – Billy Graham

by Andreas J. Köstenberger and Justin Taylor

Jesus didn’t die when he was 33 years old.

The common assertion seems reasonable that if Jesus “began his ministry” when he “was about thirty years of age” (Luke 3:23) and engaged in a three-year ministry (John mentions three Passovers, and there might have been a fourth one), then he was 33 years old at the time of his death. However, virtually no scholar believes Jesus was actually 33 when he died. Jesus was born before Herod the Great issued the decree to execute “all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under” (Matt. 2:16, ESV) and before Herod died in the spring of 4 BC If Jesus was born in the fall of 5 or 6 BC, and if we remember that we don’t count the “0” between BC and AD, then Jesus would have been 37 or 38 years old when he died in the spring of AD 33 (as we believe is most likely). Even if Jesus died in the year A.D. 30 (the only serious alternative date), he would have been 34 or 35, not 33 years old. No major doctrine is affected by this common misconception. But don’t damage your credibility by confidently proclaiming “facts” from the pulpit that are not true…. Read this in full at

by Lauren Davidson
Passover is a festival of questions, many of which can be summed up by the single query: “Why is this night different from all other nights?” Here’s one answer: It’s the Jewish festival that non-Jews love to observe.

The seder, the ceremonial feast held on the first two nights of Passover, is one of the most intricate rituals in the Jewish calendar, kicking off an eight-day stretch of complicated and demanding dietary restrictions. The initial meal, which ranges from eating bitter herbs to reciting Talmudic passages in a foreign language, usually lasts for several hours — and dinner isn’t served until more than halfway through…. Read this in full at

by Ed Stetzer
For about a month, we’ve been running a series of blog posts on the atonement. A number of thought-leaders on the subject have shared and will share a bit from their studies on the scarlet thread that runs through the entirety of the Scriptures.

Two weeks ago, Dr. Scot McKnight, Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary reflects on the atonement from Exodus and Leviticus.

Last week, Dr. Robert Vasholz, professor emeritus of Old Testament at Covenant Theological Seminary, writes on the atonement in Hosea.

This week, Dr. Kenneth Mathews, Professor of Divinity at Beeson Divinity School, explores the atonement through the lens of Leviticus 16.

Here are all of the parts of our series on the atonement in the Old Testament: …. Read this in full at

No Jesus movie can please everyone. The most recent, “Son of God,” received mixed reviews from Christian audiences. Critics pointed to the film’s casual — even too-handsome — portrayal of Jesus, the inclusion of Mary Magdalene with the apostles and the apparent downplay of man’s need for a Savior. Jesus Film Now comes the 35th anniversary edition of “Jesus Film.” Shot on location in Palestine, using actual biblical sites and a largely Israeli cast, the 1979 movie is a nearly verse-by-verse retelling of the Gospel of Luke, with almost every word of Christ’s dialogue taken from the Bible.

The film has been translated into 1,200 languages, producers say, and shown by missionaries in remote villages — on bedsheets hung from the wings of propeller planes. Thirty-five years after its release by Inspirational Films, the unembellished story of Christ remains powerful. We see the boy Jesus ask his parents in perfect innocence, “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” We watch as the man Jesus is baptized in the Jordan River by his awestruck cousin, John. We see Jesus and the apostles in Zaccheus’ house, laughing at the tax collector’s newfound generosity…. Read this in full at

Watch The Jesus Film online

by Dr. David L. Turner
The 2014 Easter season coincides with another resurrection of a sort—that of the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife (GJW).
Harvard Professor Karen L. King’s original announcement of this find at the International Association of Coptic Studies conference in Rome led to much furor in September 2012. Although other ancient texts mentioned Jesus’ close relationship to Mary Magdalene, this was the first time Jesus was ever said to speak of “my wife.” Scholars were generally skeptical of the fragmentary manuscript due to its mysterious provenance, its small size (8 cm. wide by 4 cm. high, containing eight partial lines, evidently trimmed out of a larger papyrus sheet), its apparently having been written or brushed by a blunt stylus, its likely dependence on phraseology from the Gospel of Thomas (101, 114), and its debatable grammar and spelling. King’s naming this fragmentary text a Gospel (GJW) contributed to the sensationalism….. Read this in full at

by Joshua Shaw
Much has been written over the past few years about the lack of male involvement and discipleship in the local church. Books on how to create engaging worship services that are gritty and rock n’ roll-ish, or how-tos on organizing “man” events of weight lifting, eating grilled beef, and drinking beer (sorry to my Baptist friends) are in abundance. But where are the men?

One would think that with the rise of church planting and prolific pastors and authors advocating for a type of “strong man” Christianity, we would see a difference in the membership of young fast-growing churches. But from mine and many others’ experiences, this trend of a manless Christianity has not only continued, but gotten worse.

We have done everything we can to open the doors for their acceptance and involvement, but when push comes to shove, the idea of staying at home watching ESPN, designing a logo for a new company, finishing a work project, or merely sleeping in, becomes top priority.

With this sad reality in mind, I want to share what I believe to be the 7 foundational actions we need to take as leaders to successfully engage the men within our churches…. Read this in full at

by Clare De Graaf
There’s a question I’ll occasionally ask the men I’m spiritually mentoring, especially if they exhibit a lack of contentment, healthy relationships or seem “stuck” spiritually. “What are you trying to keep secret that needs to be brought into the light?”

Everyone has secrets. Some secrets are simply embarrassing. We’d prefer people not know because they’d make us look foolish, or naïve.

Other secrets are about others – we’re keepers of other people’s secrets. We hold them in trust for them either because they’ve asked us to do so, or because we don’t want to dishonor them by letting their secrets out.

I don’t think Christians should worry if these are their only secrets, unless the secrets we keep for others keep them from getting help they desperately need. But other secrets may be toxic or cripple you spiritually, relationally or emotionally…. Read this in full at

Everyone has a worldview with either more or less ingrained foundational principles. Twentieth century theologian Carl F. H. Henry asserted that “Divine revelation [is] the basic epistemological axiom.” That is, if God does not provide knowledge (and even the mind and ability to assimilate that knowledge), we can have no certainty about anything. Humanity’s Creator has spoken to it what is good and right; sinners simply suppress that truth (Rom 1.18-32).

Before evaluating any issue, therefore, the question is: Is one’s worldview — one’s reasoning of everything — grounded in divine revelation, or in self-preservation and self-interest?

Simply telling someone who doesn’t follow Jesus Christ that he or she is wrong and you disagree with his or her conclusions will usually only spark an unresolvable debate (not because the issue is unresolvable, but because the darkened anti-God, self-preserving mind will always ultimately reject holiness [Rom 8.7-8; Titus 1.15-16])…. Read this in full at

Last year, a study found that the United States was the world’s most charitable nation. Now, results from a recent survey may provide insight into why that is.

American Bible Society’s fourth annual “State of the Bible” survey included a new question about charitable giving. The results, when broken down by level of Bible engagement, reveal that those who are most engaged with the Bible – who read it regularly and hold a high view of Scripture – donated an average of $3,259 per year to nonprofit organizations. Those who demonstrated the most skepticism about the Bible averaged just $584 in nonprofit donations.

“While anyone who has ever taken a statistics class knows correlation does not equal causation, the results of this survey are certainly intriguing,” says American Bible Society Executive Vice President for Mission Advancement R. Mark Dillon…. Read this in full at

All have sinned and fall short of God’s glory, but all are treated as righteous freely by his grace because of a ransom that was paid by Christ Jesus.
– Romans 3:23-24 (CEB)

Every single act of love bears the imprint of God.”
– Author Unknown

From the slaughter of 60 Catholic priests by Iraqi Islamists four years ago to what one historian calls “hellish concentration camps for Christians” in Eritrea, journalist John Allen sees followers of Jesus as “indisputably…the most persecuted religious body on the planet.” So he writes in his latest book, The Global War on Christians (Random House, 2013), which cites such authorities as the International Society for Human Rights, noting that the group identifies 80% of religious freedom violations worldwide as targeting Christians.

Allen, an expert on the Vatican, was a senior correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter and an analyst for CNN and National Public Radio before being recruited recently as a Boston Globe editor and writer. He has also written elsewhere about anti-Christian persecution. Yet according to David Frankfurter, a College of Arts & Sciences professor and chair of religion, his take is overblown. Frankfurter, whose expertise includes the religion-violence nexus, shares his views with Boston University Today…. Read this in full at

Craig James, the former SMU running back-turned-TV talking head-turned-candidate for US Senate, has been out of work since September, when he was fired from Fox Sports. Finally, he has a new job: as the assistant to Family Research Council President Tony Perkins.

James’ job description, per the press release: “Craig will cultivate relationships with like-minded Americans across the country who share a common concern for the growing hostility toward free speech and religious liberty in the U.S. He will continue to share his own story of religious discrimination and educate Americans to the expanding threats to our First Freedom.” …. Read this in full at

by Stephen Mattson
Many people exploit the Bible to furiously cast judgment on others — sinfully using condemnation, guilt, shame, fear, and hatred to abuse others — all under the guise of “accountability” and the false premise of “Christianity.”

But according to the Bible, various people were used by God to do amazing things, and these individuals were often described as righteous and holy … even though they were dramatically flawed.

To be human is to be imperfect, and although we shouldn’t glorify sin or purposefully live in sin, we need to be careful about labeling others at “heretics,” “unbelievers,” and “sinners.” Because in reality, contrary to everything we assume, those whom we detest just might be favored by God.

Sinful attributes and misdeeds don’t disqualify you from a life of holiness, righteousness, and Godliness, but we often treat people as such — and condemn them to an eternity in hell. But according to the Bible, you might be a ‘Christian’ even if you…. Read this in full at

by Greg Hicks
The story of the Bible in English becomes even more intriguing when you look more closely at its origins and evolution. Massive tomes have been written about the subject, but there are a number of high points that are essential to the story.

The first important translation of the Bible into English was undertaken by John Wycliffe and his followers in the 1380’s. Wycliffe, a theologian at Oxford University, felt that the worldliness and excessive wealth of the late medieval Church would dissipate if believers could read the Gospels for themselves, with their straightforward accounts of the simple, God-centered lives of Jesus and his Apostles. Because of these views Wycliffe has frequently been called “the morning star of the Reformation.” As they gained in popularity his teachings panicked the ecclesiastical authorities, and the mere possession of a Wycliffe Bible was officially condemned as heresy in the 15th century. To reinforce the point, Wycliffe’s remains were exhumed and burned, and his ashes thrown into the River Swift. Since the Wycliffe Bible appeared long before the invention of the printing press in the 1450’s the few copies that have survived are handwritten manuscripts rather than printed books…. Read this in full at

by Kenneth L. Waters Sr.
Are the End Times finally at hand? To some Christians, the answer will be as clear as the moon in the sky.

The early morning hours of April 15 saw a rare celestial event: a “blood moon,” which occurs when the Earth spins between the sun and the moon.

During this lunar eclipse, the shadow of the Earth catches the refracted sunlight, casting a reddish sheen upon the moon.

Christians who draw a divine connection to the celestial show are citing the Bible’s Book of Acts, in which God says: “And I will show wonders in Heaven above and signs in the Earth beneath, the sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.” …. Read this in full at

Also see: ‘Blood moon’ sets off apocalyptic debate among some Christians

The Mustang, Okla., school board voted April 14 to adopt a Bible course developed by Steve Green, clearing the way for the Hobby Lobby president, whose suit against the Affordable Care Act is currently before the U.S. Supreme Court, to enter another charged arena at the borderline of church and state.

The board, whose district is practically in Hobby Lobby’s Oklahoma City backyard, agreed to beta-test the first year of the Museum of the Bible Curriculum, an ambitious four-year public school elective on the narrative, history and impact of the Good Book.

For at least the first semester of the 2014-15 year, Mustang alone will employ the program, said Jerry Pattengale, head of the Green Scholars Initiative, which is overseeing its development. In September 2016, he hopes to place it in at least 100 high schools; by the following year, “thousands.” …. Read this in full at

by Henry G. Brinton
Just in time for Passover and Easter, an annual survey by the American Bible Society reveals that regular reading of the Bible has remained about 19% of American adults since 2011. At the same time, 19% are now “skeptical” of the Bible, up from 10% in 2011.

The main reason? Millennials.

These young adults, ages 18 to 29, according to the survey, are far less likely than older adults to want Scripture to play a bigger role in American life. In fact, only 30% of Millennials believe that the Bible has too little influence in society, compared with 50% of all adults.

But why would Millennials want more Scripture? They were born in the 1980s era of televangelist scandals. In the 1990s, they saw the religious right wage war against the gay rights movement. Then, in the 2000s, they witnessed the Roman Catholic Church’s child sexual abuse scandal…. Read this in full at

Almost 600 years after Pope Nicholas V founded the Vatican Apostolic Library, the Holy See is now turning to 50 experts, five scanners, and a Japanese IT firm to digitize millions of pages from its priceless manuscripts, opening them to the broader public for the first time.

When the project is finished, one of the richest and most important collections of historical texts in the world will be available with a click of the mouse — and free.

The plan marks a revolution for an institution known as the Popes’ Library, which houses more than 82,000 manuscripts, some dating back to the second century. Scholars must now submit a detailed request to gain access to the library, which sits within the Vatican walls. The most precious works of art, such as a 1,600-year old manuscript displaying Virgil’s poems once studied by Raphael, have been mostly off-limits…. Read this in full at

by Shankar Vedantam
Pakistan, Palestine and Turkey are very different places. Turkey is the most European and Pakistan is widely seen as the most religious. And the research comes to us via Phillip Brenner, a sociologist at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. He’s conducted several studies that explore this contrast between what people say about themselves and their actual behavior.

One technique he uses is to track what people tell their diaries. It turns out if you ask people how often they exercise, for example, they’ll tell you they exercise very often but when you look at their diaries, people tell their diaries they exercise far less often than they tell pollsters. And it’s the diary entries that match how often their gym membership cards get swiped.

What he finds in these three different places is that people tend to be reporting that they pray more than they actually do. And this finding is similar to the finding that Brenner made a couple of years ago when it comes to church attendance in the United States. And people in the United States say they go to church but large numbers actually don’t.

And what’s interesting is in both places the people who are over-reporting their religious behavior have something in common…. Read this in full at

by Chris Stedman
Last month, the British Humanist Association (BHA) made waves around the world by launching a new video series, “That’s Humanism!” These concise, engaging, and thoughtful videos speak to important questions (“What makes something right or wrong?” “How can I be happy?” “What should we think about death?”) from a Humanist perspective. For many, the voice addressing those questions was instantly recognizable—it belongs to Golden Globe Award-nominated actor, comedian, author, and activist Stephen Fry, who narrates the video series. Fry, a distinguished supporter of the BHA, has been an outspoken voice for Humanism for years. I spoke with him about why he decided to narrate these videos, how Humanism informs his approach to life, and what else the BHA is currently working on…. Read this in full at

In a ruling that human rights groups are calling historic, India’s Supreme Court on Tuesday granted the country’s transsexual and transgender individuals the right to self-identify their gender.

The ruling means transsexual and transgender people and those who identify as belonging to the “third gender” will not be required to submit medical evidence of their sexuality to be recognized by the government as a member of that gender, said Tripti Tandon, a lawyer for one of the plaintiffs.

A plea was filed before the Supreme Court by India’s National Legal Services Authority in 2012 on behalf of the transsexual and “hijra,” or third-gender, communities.

“The Supreme Court ruled that everyone has the fundamental right to have their gender identified and recognized in the law without any discrimination,” Tandon said. “And it’s self-identification of the gender as opposed to medically or surgically assigned one.” …. Read this in full at

If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. But if you look at Christ, you’ll be at rest.”
– Corrie Ten Boom

He carried in his own body on the cross the sins we committed. He did this so that we might live in righteousness, having nothing to do with sin. By his wounds you were healed.
– 1 Peter 2:24 (CEB)

Words: Mrs. R. N. Thomas, 1900
Music: Isaac H. Meredith

All hail to the Prince of Life,
All hail to the Lord divine!
For over the whole glad earth
His glorious light shall shine!
He comes from the tomb of night,
The shadow of death laid by,
He comes as a Conqu’ror comes,
His banner of light on high.

All hail to the Prince of Life!
Hosanna to Him we sing—
He comes as a mighty Victor,
He comes as a conq’ring King!

Go forward ye sons of men
And welcome the glorious King!
Go meet Him with songs of joy
That over His path shall ring!
He brings from the grave of death
The blessing of life and peace,
Who seeks Him shall find a part
In joys that shall never cease.

Then come with your hearts of love
And come with your songs of praise,
For Christ Who hath ris’n indeed
Your anthems of vict’ry raise!
For never in ages past
And never in coming years
Shall Victor and Monarch rise
Like Him Whom the world reveres.

>from NetHymnal at

To pray earnestly and live carelessly is to proclaim that a man is not spiritually minded in his prayer.”
– John Owen (1616-1683), The Grace and Duty of being Spiritually Minded [1681], in Works of John Owen, v. VII, London: Johnson & Hunter, 1852, I.6, p. 295


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.

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Check out Bible Gateway’s soon-to-be-released new website

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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 new government study found that women who carry a little extra weigh live longer than men who mention it.  
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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