CONNECTIONS News – 05/18/2014

Connecting man to man to God
For week of May 18, 2014
Issue 511

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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You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:13-14

CONSIDER
“The destined end of a man is not happiness, nor health, but holiness. God’s one aim is the production of saints.”
– OswaldChambers

A SUMMARY OF RECENT BIBLE READING SURVEYS
The Bible remains America’s favorite book, according to the most recent Harris Poll. This year, just as in 2008 when The Harris Poll last asked this question, the number one book is the Bible. It’s now followed by Gone with the Wind, Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, and To Kill a Mockingbird. The Bible ranks first across all demographic groups, including men, women, Millenials, GenXers, Baby Boomers, White, Black, Hispanic, Republicans, and Democrats.

According to the American Bible Society’s (ABS) 2014 State of the Bible survey, African-American adults are more Bible friendly than the general US population. They also lead in the use of technology and frequent Bible reading when compared to all other races as well as the combined US adult population.

According to the Canadian Bible Engagement Study (May 2014), 55% of Canadians never read the Bible, 28% seldom read the Bible, 7% read it a few times a year, and 11% read it once a week or more frequently…. Read this in full at
http://www.biblegateway.com/blog/2014/05/a-summary-of-recent-bible-reading-surveys/

POLL: AMERICANS STRETCH THE TRUTH ON ATTENDING CHURCH
by Cathy Lynn Grossman
“I know what you did last Sunday,” claims the title of a new survey. You skipped church. And then nearly one in seven of you fibbed about attending.

That’s according to a new survey by the Public Religion Research Institute released May 17. The study, to be presented at the national meeting of the American Association for Public Opinion Research, was designed to measure the “social desirability bias in self-reported religious behavior.”

The survey finds that many Christians — and unbelievers, too — will exaggerate about attending worship in live phone interviews. However, when asked in an anonymous online questionnaire, people will answer more realistically.

On the phone, 36% of Americans report attending religious services weekly or more, while 30 percent say they seldom or never go. But online, a smaller share (31%) of people surveyed said they attended church at least weekly, while a larger portion (43%) admitted they seldom or never go…. Read this in full at
http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/religion/poll-americans-stretch-the-truth-on-attending-church/2014/05/17/c8830bba-dd7b-11e3-a837-8835df6c12c4_story.html

SO YOU WANNA BE INFLUENTIAL
by Eric Metaxas
In a recent issue, Time magazine profiled what it called “the 100 most influential people in the world.” Some of the people profiled, such as President Obama and Vladimir Putin, were obvious choices. Others, such as performance artist Marina Abramovic, were not. Still others, such as Miley Cyrus, seemed a bit, well silly.

But what’s more interesting is the criteria by which Time and nearly all of our culture defines “influential” and how far this is from how Christianity defines it, or at least should.

Time’s categories tell us a lot about the kind of individuals it regards as influential: “titans,” “pioneers,” “artists,” “leaders,” and “icons.” And by “icons” they don’t mean the religious kind.

Think about it: If Time magazine had been around in AD 50, its list probably would not have included Paul of Tarsus nor made any reference to Jesus of Nazareth. And that would have been just fine by Paul. Because as he wrote to the church in the Roman colony of Philippi, he counted “everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” Having “suffered the loss of all things,” he counted them as “rubbish.” …. Read this in full at
http://www.breakpoint.org/bpcommentaries/entry/13/25206

TELL GOD YOU’RE SORRY, THEN LIVE LIKE YOU ARE
by Clare De Graaf
One of the most difficult things to talk about with our children, friends, or those we mentor is personal sin – our own struggle with it and what we’ve done well and what we’ve done poorly to deal with it.

I’ve always had a great relationship with our children. So when one of our daughters was uncharacteristically distant, I asked her if something was wrong. “It’s nothing.” (It’s always nothing!)

Days later she came to me and shared something she’d done for which she was ashamed. Ironically, I knew or strongly suspected what the problem was. In any case, the important thing was that she understood what she had done, was sorry for it and had made some good decisions to lessen the likelihood this would ever happen again. Seeing how terribly sad she was I just held her, told her I loved her and how honored I was that she had come to me.

“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
1 John 1:8-9…. Read this in full at
http://www.claredegraaf.com/2014/05/12/tell-god-youre-sorry-then-live-like-you-are/

I DESIRE GOD
“My Lord, God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following Your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please You does in fact please you. And I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing. And I know that if I do this, You will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death, I will not fear, for You are ever with me and You will never leave me to face my perils alone.” Thomas Merton

REPORT FINDS CONFLICTING TRENDS AT CHRISTIAN BOOKSTORES
Sales at Christian bookstores increased by almost 3 percent last year, though the Black Friday bump that saved 2012 failed to materialize again in 2013.

While the 2012 sales surge masked mixed results for Christian booksellers, this year’s CBA State of the Industry Report says stores are competing less on price and focusing more on personal engagement with customers.

However, 49 stores still closed across the country, according to the Association for Christian Retail. This was an increase from the previous year’s 39 stores, but lower than the all-time high of 63 store closures in 2011. Additionally, 18 new Christian bookstores opened in 2013, an increase from 15 in 2012…. Read this in full at
http://www.christianitytoday.com/gleanings/2014/may/report-finds-conflicting-trends-at-christian-bookstores-cba.html

PASTOR: CHURCHES NOT DOING ENOUGH TO FIGHT PORNOGRAPHY
A Floridian pastor who gave remarks at an anti-pornography conference believes that the American church must do more to combat pornography and its harmful effects upon the faithful.

Jay Dennis, senior pastor at First Baptist Church at the Mall in Lakeland, FL, and creator of the “One Million Men Porn Free” program, told The Christian Post that he believes many churches are “afraid” to deal with the issue of pornography.

“I think a lot of pastors and churches are afraid that they are going to rock the boat and they’re going to be criticized,” said Dennis.

“Unfortunately this may be driven by some by ‘if I make that group mad or if I make that person mad what’s it going to do to the finances?’ What God put on my heart is you share the truth and He will bring the right people in. We’ve seen that happen.”

Dennis also told CP that various factors contributed to churches hesitating to tackle the problem of pornography, including his belief that “a lot of pastors are struggling with this issue, so they’re reluctant.”

“I think that a lot of churches just don’t realize the problem it is. And that’s where I feel like pastors have to be awakened,” said Dennis
http://m.christianpost.com/news/one-million-men-porn-free-pastor-churches-not-doing-enough-to-fight-pornography-119931/

DEEPENING PRAYER
by Molly T. Marshall
Christians know that we are supposed to pray. From earliest childhood, that is our instruction, often getting more practice in Sunday school than at home. Families who pray together are an endangered species these days; spiritual practices are intimate, and loss of intimacy characterizes many households. I fear that both clergy and congregations are suffering from lack of prayer.

Sarah Coakley, professor at Cambridge University, puts it this way: “Without the daily public witness of a clergy engaged, manifestly and accountably, alongside their people, in the disciplined long-haul life of prayer, of ongoing person and often painful transformation, the church at large runs the danger of losing its fundamental direction and meaning.” …. Read this in full at
http://www.abpnews.com/opinion/item/28692-deepening-prayer

SAINTS ON THE LONELY WALK OF FAITH
by Michael G. Maudlin
While I was being educated at Miami University (the Ohio one), Jesus let me know that he knew I existed and that he loved me and that he would like me to join his movement to heal and save the world. Not fully aware of all I was getting myself into, I enthusiastically accepted the invitation. I have been walking with Jesus ever since.

But not everyone thinks so.

The longer I walked this path with Jesus, he kept teaching me, revealing more and asking me questions. The result is that some of the things I first believed became more firmly entrenched (such as believing the Bible is inspired) and some things I loosened my grip on or let go altogether (such as the need to defend the idea that the Bible is without error) and sometimes he really rocked my world (such as showing me he cared more about what I do than what I believed—despite my reminding him that I had a theology degree, not one in ministry, but to no avail). Throughout my many years of walking with Jesus, he has led me faithfully onward and forward, being gracious with my shortcomings and patient with my slowness and never giving up on me. I am very, very thankful for his fellowship and guidance…. Read this in full at
http://www.newsandpews.com/saints-on-the-lonely-walk-of-faith/

THE WORD FOR WORD BIBLE COMIC: AN INTERVIEW WITH SIMON AMADEUS PILLARIO
Not all comics are funny. The comic genre known as graphic novels emphasizes drama, adventure, character development, and striking visuals. Such is the case with Simon Amadeus Pillario’s (pen name) dream of creating a complete, word-for-word Bible comic.

Bible Gateway interviewed Pillario (@WforWBibleComic) about his ambitious venture.

What is the Word for WORD Bible Comic?
Pillario: The Word for WORD Bible Comic is a hard hitting, unabridged graphic novel of the Bible that’s historically accurate with a high view of Scripture. I’m currently working on the Book of Judges…. Read this in full at
http://www.biblegateway.com/blog/2014/05/the-word-for-word-bible-comic-an-interview-with-simon-amadeus-pillario/

VERSE TO PONDER
Be kind, compassionate, and forgiving to each other, in the same way God forgave you in Christ.
– Ephesians 4:32

CONSIDER
“Insomuch as love grows in you, so in you beauty grows. For love is the beauty of the soul.”
– Augustine

WHY IS BIBLE GATEWAY LAUNCHING A NEW SITE?
Bible Gateway has unveiled the public beta design of its next website. Here’s an interview with Rachel Barach, Bible Gateway’s general manager, about the direction behind the new site.

Why is Bible Gateway launching a new design now?
Rachel Barach: It’s important to us that Bible Gateway be a favorite and frequently-visited tool for people who want to read or study the Bible. To achieve that, we know the site needs to be easy to use and aesthetically pleasing…. Read this in full at
http://www.biblegateway.com/blog/2014/05/interview-rachel-barach-on-the-new-bible-gateway/

Also see “Getting the Most Out of Reading the Bible at the New Bible Gateway”
http://www.biblegateway.com/blog/2014/05/getting-the-most-out-of-reading-the-bible-at-the-new-bible-gateway/

PASTOR: CHRISTIANS SHOULD DROP ‘US VS. THEM’ MENTALITY
by Jonathan Merritt
When it comes to navigating the interface between faith and culture, there aren’t a lot of pastors I look to. Most I encounter tend to be having conversations that lag somewhere between five and 10 years behind secular society and the academy. This isn’t a criticism as much as an observation.

But James Emery White is an exception to this generalization and is often on the leading edge of pressing cultural conversations. White is founding pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church – a congregation that claims 70% of its growth is from unchurched individuals – and a former president of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He has written a new book, “Rise of the Nones: Understanding and Reaching the Religiously Unaffiliated”, in which he explores why so many Americans are allergic to organized religion and what he thinks Christians can do to capture them…. Read this in full at
http://jonathanmerritt.religionnews.com/2014/05/12/james-emery-white-captivate-unchurched/

5 SIGNS YOU MAY HAVE A WRONG VIEW OF GOD
by Jason Clark
If the truth sets us free, then it’s safe to say that a lie holds us back. What we believe about the nature of God is of infinite importance. We are either growing in freedom or we are becoming disenfranchised.

There is one foundational truth about God’s nature by which every other aspect of His nature should be measured: God is love (1 John 4:8).

Jesus is the perfect expression of what love looks and sounds like, of what love does. He is perfect theology.

A true view of God will free and empower sons and daughters to live like Jesus. We have been designed and created to know God as love and to be transformed in this truth. But slipping into a false view of God as angry, vengeful, waiting for you to live up to His standards or whatever else can tamper your witness and your personal spiritual life…. Read this in full at
http://www.relevantmagazine.com/god/practical-faith/5-signs-you-may-have-wrong-view-god

SHOULD CHRISTIAN COLLEGES LET FEMALE FACULTY TEACH MEN THE BIBLE?
Cedarville University’s new president is solidifying the CCCU school’s stance on gender roles. One example: Classes taught by the only female Bible professor are now open only to women. Complementarians disagree over whether this is necessary…. Read this in full at
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2014/may/should-christian-colleges-let-female-faculty-teach-men-bibl.html

‘LUNAR BIBLE’ SELLS AT DALLAS AUCTION FOR $75,000
A microfilm Bible regarded as one of the rarest “books” on earth, after flying around the moon once with Apollo 13 and later landing on the moon’s surface with Apollo 14, sold at an auction of space memorabilia in Dallas on Wednesday for $75,000.

The 1.5 inch by 1.5 inch (3.8 cms by 3.8 cms) “Lunar Bible,” which can be read with a microscope, is one of 12 complete Bibles that remain from a collection of 100 Bibles which made it to the moon’s surface with astronaut Edgar Mitchell in 1971…. Read this in full at
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/sns-rt-us-usa-space-bible-20140514,0,172454.story

STUDIES SHOW THE PHYSICAL EFFECTS OF PRAYER
For centuries, science has been trying to prove or disprove the power of prayer.

Now a new study of MRI brain scans shows that there is power in prayer, or meditation. Not just spiritual power, but actual physical healing power.

The study says prayer is essentially a workout for the brain, whether you are a believer or not…. Read this in full at
http://www.wltx.com/story/news/health/2014/05/15/studies-show-the-physical-effects-of-prayer/9151157/

SURVEY: ONE-QUARTER OF THE WORLD HARBORS ANTI-SEMITIC SENTIMENT
The first-ever global study of anti-Semitic attitudes shows that more than a quarter of the world’s population harbors intense anti-Jewish sentiment, with region, more than religion, shaping people’s view of Jews and Judaism.

The poll, released May 13 by the New York-based Anti-Defamation League, also finds that a large proportion of the world has never heard of the Holocaust or denies historical accounts of it.

Of those polled, 46% have either not heard of the Holocaust that killed 6 million Jews or think it is a myth or exaggerated…. Read this in full at
http://www.religionnews.com/2014/05/13/survey-one-four-globally-infected-anti-semitism/

AMERICAN CHRISTIANS SHOULD PREPARE TO BE DESPISED, OFFICIAL TELLS NATIONAL PRAYER BREAKFAST
“It’s no longer easy to be a faithful Christian” in America, says the chairman of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom.

Our culture increasingly condemns Christian beliefs as bigoted and hateful, says Dr. Robert P. George. “They despise us if we refuse to call good evil and evil good.”

The Princeton University professor and author told Washington, D.C.’s 10th annual National Catholic Prayer Breakfast that American culture no longer favors faithful Christians. For example, he asked attendees to consider “the derision that comes from being pro-life and pro-traditional marriage,” reported Napp Nazworth in the Christian Post. “Because of that, Christians must be willing to bear the consequences of standing up for the teachings of Jesus and his bride, the Church.” …. Read this in full at
http://www.christianheadlines.com/blog/american-christians-should-prepare-to-be-despised-official-tells-national-prayer-breakfast.html

RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION: OUR SILENCE IS DEAFENING
by Ken Connor
For several years my wife and I attended a little church in Virginia called St. Peter’s. Every Sunday during the “Prayers of the People” we would pray for persecuted Christians throughout the world, and each week, two different countries would be named. Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Egypt, Syria, Nigeria . . .far off places that seem so foreign and remote from everyday life in America.

I sometimes wonder how seriously we took those prayers. I don’t doubt that our intentions were sincere; I simply recognize that for most Americans the kind of persecution suffered by Christians around the world is utterly inconceivable. As citizens of the freest society mankind has ever known, it is almost impossible for us to truly empathize with the plight of those who live in daily fear of harassment, imprisonment, and even torture or execution for their religious beliefs…. Read this in full at
http://m.christianpost.com/news/religious-persecution-our-silence-is-deafening-119707/

THE 8 WORST PLACES IN THE WORLD TO BE RELIGIOUS
by Daniel Burke
Since 1999, the US State Department has tracked the world’s worst abusers of religious rights.

As the most recent report notes, it has never lacked for material. Persecutions of people of faith are rising across the globe.

Among the most worrying trends, according to the State Department, are “authoritarian governments that restrict their citizens’ ability to practice their religion.”

In typically bland bureaucratic language, the State Department calls these “countries of particular concern.” But the designation can come with some teeth.

Sudan, for example, where a Christian woman was sentenced to death for leaving Islam, is ineligible for some types of foreign aid…. Read this in full at
http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2014/05/15/the-worst-countries-to-be-religious/

CONSIDER
“Whence comes this idea that if what we are doing is fun, it can’t be God’s will? The God who made giraffes, a baby’s fingernails, a puppy’s tail, a crooknecked squash, the bobwhite’s call, and a young girl’s giggle, has a sense of humor. Make no mistake about that.”
– Catherine Marshall (1914-1983), “Joy,” in Christian Herald, v. 82, 1959, p. 33

VERSE TO PONDER
It’s impossible to please God without faith because the one who draws near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards people who try to find him.
– Hebrews 11:6

THIS WEEK’S HYMN: CHRIST IS RISEN! CHRIST IS RISEN!
Words: Archer T. Gurney, 1862
Music: Arthur S. Sullivan, 1874

Christ is risen! Christ is risen!
He hath burst His bonds in twain;
Christ is risen! Christ is risen!
Alleluia! swell the strain!
For our gain He suffered loss
By divine decree;
He hath died upon the cross,
But our God is He.

Refrain
Christ is risen! Christ is risen!
He hath burst His bonds in twain;
Christ is risen! Christ is risen!
Alleluia! swell the strain!

See the chains of death are broken;
Earth below and Heav’n above
Joy in each amazing token
Of His rising, Lord of love;
He forevermore shall reign
By the Father’s side,
Till He comes to earth again,
Comes to claim His Bride.
Refrain

Glorious angels downward thronging
Hail the Lord of all the skies;
Heav’n, with joy and holy longing
For the Word Incarnate cries,
“Christ is risen! Earth, rejoice!
Gleam, ye starry train!
All creation, find a voice;
He o’er all shall reign.”
Refrain

>from NetHymnal at
http://nethymnal.org/htm/c/i/ciriciri.htm

ON PRAYER
“Prayer is not appointed for the furnishing of God with the knowledge of what we need, but it is designed as a confession to Him of our sense of the need. In this, as in everything, God’s thoughts are not as ours. God requires that His gifts should be sought for. He designs to be honoured by our asking, just as He is to be thanked by us after He has bestowed His blessing.”
– A. W. Pink (1886-1952), The Sovereignty of God [1918], CCEL, 1972, p. 180

PRAY FOR PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS TODAY
http://christiansincrisis.net/

FRIDAY NIGHT RECAP
WHY ARE YOU HERE?
Aired: 5/16/2014 @ 10:00PM central:
The “church” today is not developing disciples. We have audience based gatherings that go from week to week with no true spiritual growth. The people in the audiences wouldn’t know a spiritual gift, if it ran up and slapped them in the face. And what they are being fed as gifts, are watered down versions that they believe are only available to a few “special” people. As a result, that few “special” people are lifted up to do the work that any and all believers were meant to do.
What answer would you give if your “pastor” asked you: “WHY ARE YOU HERE?”
Archive available here:
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thepath/2014/05/17/why-are-you-here

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 the church guys 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 here!
http://www.GoGlobalDomains.com

SHARE YOUR FAVORITE WEBSITES
Tell us what sites you find enjoyable and why.

Infographic: Historical Rome – A City of Firsts
http://www.history.com/interactives/ancient-rome/

Photos: God’s colorful animals
http://knowledgeparadiseee.blogspot.com/2014/02/charisma-of-nature-most-amazing-animals.html

Most Beautiful Villages Around The World
http://onebigphoto.com/most-beautiful-villages-around-the-world/

Bible Gateway Store
http://BibleGatewayStore.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.)

The professor discovered that his theory of earthquakes was on shaky ground. 
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 at 6459 S. Campbell Ave. Chicago, IL 60629.
Visit our website at: http://www.pathoflifeministries.net/

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