CONNECTIONS News – 04/27/2014

Connecting man to man to God
For week of April 27, 2014
Issue 508

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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Live in this way, knowing that you were not liberated by perishable things like silver or gold from the empty lifestyle you inherited from your ancestors. Instead, you were liberated by the precious blood of Christ, like that of a flawless, spotless lamb.
– 1 Peter 1:18-19 (CEB)

Life begins when a person first realizes how soon it will end.”
– Marcelene Cox

Officially, the People’s Republic of China is an atheist country but that is changing fast as many of its 1.3 billion citizens seek meaning and spiritual comfort that neither communism nor capitalism seem to have supplied.

Christian congregations in particular have skyrocketed since churches began reopening when Chairman Mao’s death in 1976 signalled the end of the Cultural Revolution.

Less than four decades later, some believe China is now poised to become not just the world’s number one economy but also its most numerous Christian nation.

“By my calculations China is destined to become the largest Christian country in the world very soon,” said Fenggang Yang, a professor of sociology at Purdue University and author of Religion in China: Survival and Revival under Communist Rule.

“It is going to be less than a generation. Not many people are prepared for this dramatic change.”

China’s Protestant community, which had just one million members in 1949, has already overtaken those of countries more commonly associated with an evangelical boom. In 2010 there were more than 58 million Protestants in China compared to 40 million in Brazil and 36 million in South Africa, according to the Pew Research Centre’s Forum on Religion and Public Life…. Read this in full at

We need to warn [secretly self-complacent] persons that there is no shortcut to holiness. It must be the business of their whole lives to grow in grace and continually to add one virtue to another. It is, as far as possible, ‘to go on to perfection.’”
– William Wilberforce (1759-1833), Real Christianity, ed. James Houston, Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook, 2005, p. 170

by Jon Payne
I want to grow in making the Bible a regular part of our family life. I also want to inspire all of the families in our church to make this a regular practice. Family devotions can be daunting for many fathers and mothers. We’re not sure if we’ll choose the right topic or ask the right questions. Younger children are easily distracted. Older children can be reluctant to talk about spiritual topics.

Yet, a practice of family devotional time doesn’t have to start off breaking any quantity or quality records. We don’t have to have lots of profound insights or the perfect conversational leadership. We simply want to demonstrate the value of God’s Word and allow our children to hear it read. We want to show that we believe these Words to be true, and so respond in prayer to the God who wrote them.

Here’s how family devotions look in our house…. Read this in full at

Video: This Scientific Study Proves It – Obeying the Bible Is Good for You

Be kind one to another….

Dr. Nabeel Qureshi is a former devout Muslim who was convinced of the truth of the gospel through historical reasoning and a spiritual search for God. Since his conversion, he’s dedicated his life to spreading the gospel through teaching, preaching, writing, and debating. He’s given lectures at universities and seminaries throughout North America, including New York University, Rutgers, the University of North Carolina, and the University of Ottawa.

Bible Gateway interviewed Dr. Qureshi about his book, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity (Zondervan, 2014)…. Read this in full at

After traveling 250,000 miles through Dar al-Islam (“House of Islam”) as Muslims call their world, career missiologist David Garrison came to a startling conclusion:

Muslim background believers are leading Muslims to Christ in staggering numbers, but not in the West. They are doing this primarily in Muslim-majority nations almost completely under the radar — of everyone. In the new book, A Wind in the House of Islam: How God is Drawing Muslims Around the World to Faith in Jesus Christ, Garrison takes the reader on his journey through what he describes as the nine rooms in the Muslim-majority world: Indo-Malaysia, East Africa, North Africa, Eastern South Asia, Western South Asia, Persia, Turkestan, West Africa, and the Arab world. Muslims in each of those regions have created indigenous, voluntary movements to Christ…. Read this in full at

I am eighty-five years old and I am so thankful that I am able to continue the work I love. God has a plan for every life. All of us are called to be the light of the world wherever He places us. We are within His perfect guidance when we trust and obey Him. A tool does not decide where to work. It is the Master who decides where it is to be used.”
– Corrie ten Boom

Christianity is not a voice in the wilderness, but a life in the world. It is not an idea in the air but feet on the ground, going God’s way. It is not an exotic to be kept under glass, but a hardy plant to bear twelve manner of fruit in all kinds of weather. Fidelity to duty is its root and branch. Nothing we can say to the Lord, no calling Him by great or dear names, can take the place of the plain doing of His will. We may cry out about the beauty of eating bread with Him in His kingdom, but it is wasted breath and a rootless hope, unless we plow and plant in His kingdom here and now. To remember Him at His table and to forget Him at ours, is to have invested in bad securities. There is no substitute for plain, every-day goodness.”
– Maltbie D. Babcock (1858-1901), Thoughts for Every-day Living, New York: C. Scribner’s sons, 1901, p. 48

by Clare De Graaf
On the cabinet next to the sink where I get myself ready every morning, I have a small, plastic coated piece of paper with my summary of my personal mission statement, “The purpose of my life is to make God look good.” Under that statement are four phrases or rules of life that give “teeth” to what making God look good mean. So here’s what it looks like:

The purpose of my life is to make God look good.
* Love God enough to trust yourself to Him completely.
* Be kind, generous and forgiving toward everyone today.
* Resist the power of sin and rescue others still victims of it.
* Introduce Jesus and the “way of Jesus” to others.

If you like them, I’d invite you to adopt them as your own. They keep Jesus’ marching orders and mission for my life, simple, memorable and alive.

I’ve also given copies to my children and older grandchildren. I want them to know the man, by the grace of God, I aspire to be. You too, may want to print them off and head down to Kinko’s to have them plastic-coated for your children, grandchildren or those you’re mentoring…. Read this in full at

How easily we forget that the church was founded by disciples who betrayed their master. None was willing to stand by Jesus as the religious and political authorities condemned him to death. At his moment of greatest need, the disciples fled in the darkness. The boldest of the lot, Peter, was the very one who cursed and denied him three times before the cock crew. It was for traitors that Jesus died.”
– Philip Yancey (b. 1949), Soul Survivor, New York: Doubleday, 2001, p. 285

Interview by Jordan Hylden
The Book of Common Prayer (BCP) has had an illustrious and checkered career since Archbishop Thomas Cranmer first introduced it to the Church of England back in 1549, almost 500 years ago. If you’ve ever pledged to be faithful to someone “till death do us part,” mourned to the words “earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust,” or hoped for “peace in our time,” you’ve been shaped by Cranmer’s cadences, perhaps without knowing it. Alan Jacobs, Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Baylor University and former professor of English at Wheaton College, has given us a lively recounting of the old Anglican prayer book’s history in this new “biography,” part of Princeton University Press’s Lives of Great Religious Books series. Jordan Hylden, a doctoral candidate in theology and ethics at Duke University Divinity School, corresponded with Jacobs about the BCP’s global reach and its mixed reception by evangelicals…. Read this in full at

by William H. Willimon
If you listen to much of our preaching, you get the impression that Jesus was some sort of itinerant therapist who, for free, traveled about helping people feel better. Ever since Fosdick, we mainline liberals have been bad about this. Start with some human problem like depression; then rummage around in the Bible for a relevant answer.

The problem is, we’re starting with our current definitions of our problems. Maybe the Bible couldn’t care less about our problems, as we define them. Where did we get words like depression, anxiety, self-esteem, felt needs? Not from the Bible. In regard to depression, I can name you passages where the Bible appears to provoke depression rather than cure it! And my “felt needs,” before I meet the Bible, are usually the result of sin rather than the path to salvation…. Read this in full at

It might be well for us not to turn away too quickly from Judas, with a feeling of abhorrence. He is nearer to us than we imagine. He did nothing else than to hold this last, inner position of man against God in a critical moment and with obstinacy. He profoundly perceived that with Jesus and himself it was either He or ‘I’” and he decided for the ‘I.’”
– Karl Barth (1886-1968), from “Jesus and Judas,” in Come Holy Spirit: Sermons, New York: Round Table Press, 1933, reprint, Mowbrays, 1978, p. 131

More than two years after first making his request, Army Maj. Ray Bradley can now be known as exactly what he is: a humanist in the US military.

I’m able to self-identity the belief system that governs my life, and I’ve never been able to do that before,” said Bradley, who is stationed at Fort Bragg in North Carolina and works on supporting readiness of the Army Reserve’s medical staff.

Lt. Col. Sunset R. Belinsky, an Army spokeswoman, said April 22 that the “preference code for humanist” became effective April 12 for all members of the Army…. Read this in full at

Ever since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities — God’s eternal power and divine nature — have been clearly seen, because they are understood through the things God has made. So humans are without excuse.
– Romans 1:20 (CEB)

Every thought a person dwells upon, whether he expresses it or not, either damages or improves his life.”
– Lucy Malory

by Shon Hopwood
It didn’t take a moment of genius introspection to realize that doing life my way had led to nothing but disaster and destruction. It was the summer of 2009, and I had just completed an almost 11-year sentence in federal prison for my role in five bank robberies I had committed as a foolish young man. After my release, I moved into an apartment with the love of my life, Annie. Two weeks later I proposed. One week after that, we learned she was pregnant.

At age 35, I was about to become a husband and father. We had no money and no real plan for our future.

It may terrify you to know that I grew up in a Christian home in rural Nebraska with parents who had started a local church. When my high-school basketball career faded and college and the military fell through, I was left with a complete lack of purpose, susceptible to addiction and depression. When my equally adrift best friend suggested we rob a bank, it struck me as a legitimate idea…. Read this in full at

Bible Gateway offers more than 60 email devotionals, verse-of-the-day newsletters, and Bible reading plans. Among them for the past several years has been All the Men of the Bible, a devotional of excerpts from the book of the same title by Herbert Lockyer.

Bible Gateway has refreshed the newsletter so that it now is delivered to your inbox weekly, comprised of excerpts from the book Men of the Bible: A One-Year Devotional Study of Men in Scripture by Ann Spangler and Robert Wolgemuth.

This devotional provides inspirational insight into the life and character of one man from the Bible — such as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Jesus, and Paul — for every week of the year. It explains who the man was and the lessons from his life’s story that can be learned and applied by readers today…. Read this in full at

by Jack Wellman
Friends are so important but godly friends are even more precious to the believer. What does the Bible say about friendship?

David and Jonathan, King Saul’s son, were about as good and close of a friend to one another that is humanly possible.  First Samuel 18:1-3 put it like this, “the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David.” What a great description of friendship and you cannot find a better one than that in the Bible.

One thing that separates friends is gossip because he or she “who repeats a matter separates close friends” (Prov 17:9b) but “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity” (Prov 17:17). Clearly friends love us “at all times” which means through the good times and the bad, through success and defeat and brother or sisters (friends) are born for our times of adversity…. Read this in full at

by Garrett Kell
For Christians, the Bible is the most precious and important book we possess. In its pages are the divinely inspired words that guide us to know and love our God.

After the Bible, there are a few books that every believer should probably read, reread, and apply. On this short list would be works like Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, Pilgrim’s Progress, Augustine’s Confessions, Mere Christianity, Knowing God, and Operation World. But even these great works fall behind what I consider the second most important book for every Christian.

What book is that? Your local church’s membership directory.

Now, before you roll your eyes and run off to read something else, give me a moment more of your time…. Read this in full at

An Egyptian writer has called on his nation to sue the state of Israel over the 10 biblical plagues.“We want compensation for the plagues that were inflicted upon [us] as a result of the curses that the Jews’ ancient forefathers [cast] upon our ancient forefathers, who did not deserve to pay for the mistake that Egypt’s ruler at the time, Pharaoh, committed,” columnist Ahmad al-Gamal wrote.

The column was published in the Egyptian daily Al-Yawm Al-Sabi on March 11 but was more recently translated into English by MERMI.

For what is written in the Torah proves that it was Pharaoh who oppressed the Children of Israel, rather than the Egyptian people,” he added.Al-Gamal went on to describe the plague as told in the Bible…. Read this in full at

Love — and the unity it attests to — is the mark Christ gave Christians to wear before the world. Only with this mark may the world know that Christians are indeed Christians and that Jesus was sent by the Father.”
– Francis A. Schaeffer (1912-1984), The Mark of the Christian, Inter-Varsity Press, 1976, p. 36

by Ruthie Dean
Last week, I saw a woman slam the car door in her husband’s face and storm off inside the grocery store. Then there was the couple sitting next to me, the man staring at his phone the entire time his wife shared with him her concerns about one of their children. I saw someone post a rant on Facebook about their spouse that ended with, “MEN!”

Relationships are hard, and we’ve probably all done something similar to the examples above. But that doesn’t excuse the cavalier mistakes we sometimes allow for in our romantic relationships. Dating and especially marriage relationships can be tools for showing Christ’s love—to the other person and to those around you. Too often, we take our spouses for granted and forget that good relationships don’t just happen. They take work…. Read this in full at

A remarkable tale of real-life WWII heroism, Walking with the Enemy arrived in theaters April 25, from Liberty Studios. Powerfully directed by Mark Schmidt, the motion picture is a haunting telling of Hungarian war hero Pinchas Rosenbaum’s story of courage, sacrifice and redemption against the backdrop of war-torn Budapest near the end of WWII. A testament to the endurance of the human spirit, Walking with the Enemy features breathtaking cinematography and gripping scenes in which hope triumphs over despair and “righteous gentiles” come to the aid of their Jewish brethren…. Read this in full at

Watch the trailer

Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in thee.”
– St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430), Confessions [397], Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1886, I.i, p. 1

I give them eternal life. They will never die, and no one will snatch them from my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them from my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
– John 10:28-30 (CEB)

O sacred Head, now wounded,
with grief and shame weighed down,
Now scornfully surrounded
with thorns, Thine only crown;

How art Thou pale with anguish,
with sore abuse and scorn!
How does that visage languish,
which once was bright as morn!

What Thou, my Lord, hast suffered,
was all for sinners’ gain;
Mine, mine was the transgression,
but Thine the deadly pain.

Lo, here I fall, my Savior!
‘Tis I deserve Thy place;
Look on me with Thy favor,
vouchsafe to me Thy grace.

-Bernard of Clairvaux (1091-1153), included in Masterpieces of Religious Verse, James Dalton Morrison, ed., New York: Harper & Bros., 1948, p. 198

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

Prophets, prophecies, prophesying, modern-day prophets…Many are asking questions on this matter.
Here is a simple question: ‘Are There Really Prophets in Today’s Church? 

Scripture tells us to….”Watch out for false prophets. They shall come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves….” (Matthew 7:15-16)
Last week I attempted to cover this topic & didn’t do too good a job.
I tried to cram too much information into a limited time slot and lost/confused/etc. a few people from the reports I got back. Let’s give it another shot.


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.

The Complete Gift Solution

Books, Music & More!

Get your domain name here!

Tell us what sites you find enjoyable and why. 

Infographic: The 10 Most Popular Books of the Bible (and Why)

Infographic: Get More Out of Google

18 Amazing Facts about the Human Body

Pythagorean cup

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.) 

The math professor went crazy with the blackboard. He did a number on 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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