CONNECTIONS News – 06/29/2014

Connecting man to man to God
For week of June 29, 2014
Issue 517

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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Can people hide themselves in secret places so I might not see them? Don’t I fill heaven and earth?
– Jeremiah 23:24 (CEB)

CONSIDER
“God isn’t a talent scout looking for someone who is ‘good enough’ or ‘strong enough.’ He is looking for someone with a heart set on Him, and He will do the rest.”
– Vance Havner

THE PASTOR WHO HAS BAPTIZED MORE THAN 66 MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL UMPIRES
by Jon Mooallem
Every day is Judgment Day for an umpire. In the early days of organized baseball, team owners actually encouraged fans to harass umps who made questionable, or just unpopular, calls — throw beer bottles at them, or even the occasional brick. The sadism of Orioles fans was especially well-known, according to the 2008 book Death at the Ballpark. “They broke the spirits of some fine men,” one ump later remembered. By the end of the 1920s, at least 10 umpires had been killed or mortally wounded on the field — in one case, an umpire was punched so hard in the face that a fragment of his jaw ripped through his brain like a spear. In 1911, a semipro player in Georgia got so tired of insisting that the umpire had the score wrong that he walked off the bench with a pistol and shot the man…. Read this in full at
http://espn.go.com/espn/feature/story/_/id/11107264/mlb-umpires-flock-pastor-dean-baptized-espn-magazine

THEOLOGY OF SPORT
by Peter J. Leithart
Lincoln Harvey’s A Brief Theology of Sport warns that “sport is corrupted, not just by win-at-all-costs competitive realities of cheating and doping, but also by the cults of prowess, misplaced glory and shimmering celebrity.” He sees a temptation to idolatry lurking in the powerful attractions of sports. He condemns professionalized sports as a corruption: “The professional sportsperson is simply an actor or a prostitute. Either way, they are not a player.”

A central difference is the way the authors connect sports to the Christian doctrine of creation. In games, Ellis says, we imitate God by creating a rule-governed world: “The game is its own world, and boundaries are created or observed (that fence is out of bounds, this corner is the hospital ward) and the freedom of play is exercised within these boundaries.” Sports, with their “bureaucratized” rules, are more genuinely creaturely than mere play, “because sports players do not set their own boundaries even though they push at them constantly.” For Ellis, we play because we are made in the image of a playful Creator…. Read this in full at
http://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2014/06/theology-of-sport

FRANCIS CHAN EXPLAINS WHY HE LOVES PRISON MINISTRY; SAYS PRISONERS ARE FUTURE PASTORS AND LEADERS
by Anugrah Kumar
Author and preacher Francis Chan, who recently encouraged hundreds of men inside the walls of Valley State Prison in California with a message of God’s transformative power, shares in a new video why he loves and encourages others to participate in prison ministry.

“My interest in prison ministry started, I think, when I started to study the Word a little bit more deeply, and understood the types of people God typically chooses,” says Chan, the former teaching pastor of Cornerstone Community Church in Simi Valley, Calif., in a video posted on the website of the Prison Fellowship.

“They are not the people the world would typically choose to do great things,” adds Chan, the founder and Chancellor of Eternity Bible College and author of the best-selling book, Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God…. Read this in full at
http://m.christianpost.com/news/francis-chan-explains-why-he-loves-prison-ministry-says-prisoners-are-future-pastors-and-leaders-121978/

A CHRISTIAN CONVERT, ON THE RUN IN AFGHANISTAN
by Azam Ahmed
In a dank basement on the outskirts of Kabul, Josef read his worn blue Bible by the light of a propane lantern, as he had done for weeks since he fled from his family in Pakistan.

His few worldly possessions sat nearby in the 10-by-10-foot room of stone and crumbling brown earth. He keeps a wooden cross with a passage from the Sermon on the Mount written on it, a carton of Esse cigarettes, and a thin plastic folder containing records of his conversion to Christianity.

The documents are the reason he is hiding for his life. On paper, Afghan law protects freedom of religion, but the reality here and in some other Muslim countries is that renouncing Islam is a capital offense…. Read this in full at
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/22/world/asia/afghanistan-a-christian-convert-on-the-run.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&_r=0

THE CHURCH IS STARVING ITSELF: AN INTERVIEW WITH KENNETH BERDING
Bible illiteracy is rampant even as countless Bibles reside on bookshelves the world over. Why is it a problem and why is it vital that it be solved?

Bible Gateway interviewed Dr. Kenneth Berding about his book, Bible Revival: Recommitting Ourselves to One Book (Weaver Book Company, 2014).

Q: You say the church needs a revival of the Bible. What do you mean?

Dr. Berding: As with other times in history when love for God and his kingdom has waned, spiritually-minded people in our generation are longing for a renewal of the Holy Spirit. But I am convinced that any work of the Spirit not grounded in the Word of God is destined to be short-lived. My newest book Bible Revival: Recommitting Ourselves to One Book starts by comparing two revivals that took place in the country of Wales, the first in 1859 and the second in 1904. Both seem to have been genuine works of the Holy Spirit. But the impact of the first on the church and society was lasting, whereas the second was like a sparkler that spouted brilliant colors for a moment, sputtered, then grew suddenly dark. The difference between the two revivals was the Bible. In the first there was a strong emphasis on teaching the Bible and biblical doctrine; in the second such an emphasis was largely missing. If the Holy Spirit moved in revival in our generation I’m afraid that is might be short-lived in light of our current state of general disengagement with the Bible…. Read this in full at
http://www.biblegateway.com/blog/2014/06/the-church-is-starving-itself-an-interview-with-kenneth-berding/

HOW TO THROW AWAY A BIBLE
by Alan Rudnick
After some saints of my church decided to clear out our Sunday School storage area (who wants to do that job?), an unusual question was posed: “What do we do with damaged Bibles?”

I was not quite sure how to answer the question. I figured we could donate the Bibles to Salvation Army or another religious non-profit.

After the damaged Bibles sat in a box outside of my office for a week, another church member asked about the Bibles. I told her that we were going to donate the Holy books. She picked up one of the Bibles and pages started fall out…. Read this in full at
http://www.abpnews.com/blog/religion/how-to-throw-away-a-bible-2014-06-23/#.U6jcOTog-70

A NEW WAY TO PRAY
by Shane Raynor
Linda McCullough Moore tried something new — rather than have one “quiet time” a day, she decided to pray for at least 15 minutes four times daily. Ministry Matters Radio talks with her about her prayer experiment, hearing God’s voice, fasting, making time to pray, developing good prayer habits and learning self-discipline. Linda is the author of The Book of Not So Common Prayer…. Listen to this this in full at
http://www.ministrymatters.com/all/entry/5172/a-new-way-to-pray

WHO AM I?
by Barrett Owen
“I hurried to the gate, made my way on to the plane, stowed my luggage, and sat down next to Mother Teresa! I smiled and made eye contact. She politely said, ‘So, who are you? And what do you do in this world that matters?’”

The keynote speaker who told this amazing story continued.

“I wanted to answer that I’m somebody who does things that really matter, and I do those things well. But I wasn’t convinced my goals, successes, and education were at the depth of Mother Teresa’s questions.”

On the surface, these questions are easy to me. I’m a pastor who has three degrees in higher theological education. I teach on the seminary level as well as work full time in admissions. I’m the husband of a talented and skilled mental health professional who spends her days being a change agent for the homeless community, and I’m a father to the best baby in the world. But I’m also more than that…. Read this in full at
http://www.abpnews.com/opinion/commentaries/item/28853-who-am-i

DEALING WITH GUILT OVER THE DEATH OF AN UNLOVING PARENT
by Clare De Graaf
A man I mentored years ago, called me a few months back to tell me that his father had died. I knew that his father, although a public Christian, was privately emotionally abusive to his whole family. All his adult children were afraid of him. So, when he finished, I asked him this question, “You’re feeling very guilty right now because you’re really not sad about his death, aren’t you?”

“Oh my gosh, how did you know?,” was his response, said with palpable relief in his voice that the elephant in the room was finally out. He could talk about his guilt. I assured him that many other fine Christians, who’ve had an unkind or abusive parent beside him, have felt the same emotions.

Many aren’t sad because the person who made them so miserable is finally gone, but they do feel guilty. They’re relieved that they will no longer have to dread holidays with that parent, or hear from brothers and sisters who cannot or don’t want to forgive and forget, or think you’re nuts because the abuse didn’t happen to them. Like Holocaust survivors, the unstated motto of some abuse survivors has become “never forget.” …. Read this in full at
http://www.claredegraaf.com/2014/06/23/dealing-with-guilt-over-the-death-of-an-unloving-parent-part-1/

4 THINGS I WISH I KNEW BEFORE I FOUGHT WITH MY WIFE
by Tyler Ward
As a single man, I was cool, calm, and collected. Then I got married.

Before I was married, I had never hit an innocent wall just because I was angry. But you’d be surprised (or, maybe you’re married and you wouldn’t be surprised) at the radical impact close proximity to a person you love can have on you.

My wife is my favorite person on earth. Marrying her is definitely one of the few intelligent decisions I’ve made in life. But after the bliss of our first year of marriage, things (you know, “things”) hit the fan. Neither of us had ever let anyone so close to the good, the bad and the ugly of our lives. And the discomfort of this newfound intimacy certainly had a way of creating challenging and ‘impassioned’ conversations.

As a result, we would often resort to our popular nightcap, which looked like this: …. Read this in full at
http://www.relevantmagazine.com/life/relationships/4-things-i-wish-i-knew-i-fought-my-wife

CALLED TO BE UNCOOL CHRISTIANS
by N. D. Wilson/
Cows like to turn their backs to the wind. At least, all the cows I know do. Slowly, awkwardly, eventually, all that beef will run parallel to the breeze.

People aren’t too different. We align ourselves safely into herds, comforted by the hot breath of others breaking on the backs of our necks and ears. Then we huff and we puff and we blow at the fools turned in the wrong direction.

Is there anything more compelling to us than the heavy synchronized breathing of a mob, especially when combined with cocked eyebrows of disdain and curled lips of disgust? This is the zeitgeist, inside the church and out, and it will judge you until you conform and commune. This is cool-shaming, and it will make you squirm and itch to turn your back to the wind, to stand with all the other cows…. Read this in full at
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2014/june/called-to-be-uncool-christians.html

VERSE TO PONDER
But the Lord is faithful and will give you strength and protect you from the evil one.
– 2 Thessalonians 3:3 (CEB)

CONSIDER
“Hold everything you own with an open hand.”
– Terri Green

CHRISTIANITY BY THE NUMBERS
by Rick Marschall
A lot of Christians think about Heaven in the same way that agnostics sort of hope about the afterlife, and even as assorted Hottentots of the world’s pagan cults think about appeasing the gods. That is, that good deeds might earn the way to eternal life.

Just act nice, nothing more? Jesus didn’t believe it, and told us so. I have gotten to think about numbers – the numbers of times the Bible tells us that our hearts matter more to God than our deeds. The number of times Jesus and the apostles affirmed it. The number of good deeds we’d have to do to persuade God that unbelief doesn’t matter…. Read this in full at
http://www.mondayministry.com/blog/2014/06/22/christianity-by-the-numbers/

CHAPLAINS HAVE EDGE IN POST-CHRISTIAN AGE, CBF OFFICIAL SAYS
by Jeff Brumley
Like many US religious groups, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship faces a constant challenge to find and offer ministries that are relevant in a post-Christian society.

Navy Capt. Gerald F. Hutchinson, Jr. offered what he sees as part of the solution during CBF’s General Assembly: chaplains and pastoral counselors.

Those ministers have long served interdenominational and interfaith populations on military bases, in prisons and in hospitals. The military settings, especially, feature communities with high percentages of young people with little or no spiritual backgrounds or interest, said Hutchinson, chaplaincy and pastoral care services manager…. Read this in full at
http://abpnews.com/ministry/organizations/item/28862-chaplains-have-edge-in-post-christian-age-cbf-official-says

THE ARTS — ALL FORMS — ENHANCE WORSHIP EXPERIENCES
by Vicki Brown
The church has used the arts — all forms — to share the story of God’s love and mercy throughout the ages.

Poets and authors have written volumes. Painters and sculptors have depicted Bible stories and represented the earthly and risen Christ. Musicians have threaded notes to reflect the beauty and the darkness of the gospel.

Believers today still use the transcendence of creative expression in worship. While music often has been at the forefront, styles and forms change — from classical to alternative rock.

The visual arts also have ebbed and flowed in the worship scene — and seem to be garnering increasing attention in some congregations…. Read this in full at
http://www.wordandway.org/content/view/3088/53/

GOD ISN’T YOUR VENDING MACHINE
by Tim Stevens
I don’t disagree with the notion that God is good. There is much in the Bible to back that up. Psalm 106:1 is a classic example: “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, his love endures forever.”

I’m just not sure your clean bill of health or promotion proves God is good-anymore than someone who has a cancer-ravaged body or who just got fired proves God is cruel or vindictive.

If God is good because your kid aces the SAT or comes home with a great report card-then God must be mean and punishing to the parent whose kid struggles in school and will never get in the honors program or AP class.

If God is good because your cancer is gone and you suddenly have a new lease on life-then he must be evil to the person who prayed just as hard and trusted just as much but whose latest doctor visit revealed a death sentence…. Read this in full at
http://www.faithvillage.com/article/82f762bc964b42acb748434cf25c1687/god_isnt_your_vending_machine

TATTOO ARTIST IN BIBLE BELT SAYS CROSS, BIBLE VERSE BODY ART POPULAR; PASTORS ALSO AMONG CLIENTS
The words Christian and tattoo don’t usually go together in most people’s minds, but one tattoo artist in the heart of the Bible Belt is putting those two words together in more ways than one.

Ron Hendon, owner of Midnight Iguana in Athens, Georgia, told The Christian Post that not only are many of his clients seeking Christian tattoos, but that many serious Christ followers, including pastors and church leaders, are requesting to have faith-inspired ink art.

Hendon creates between one to five tattoos for Christian clients each week, although he couldn’t say exactly what percentage of his business is from the Christian market.

“The lifelong commitment of having a tattoo and the commitment to one’s faith are symbiotic,” Hendon told The Christian Post. “Christians are drawn to tattoos for the same reason.”

He says that a large number of his clients are Hispanic Christians who usually get tattoos with cross figures, Bible verses and other faith-based symbolisms.

“We have done tattoos on many pastors locally. In fact, a pastor drove nearly two hours from Kennessaw, Georgia, to get a tattoo of a stained glass Jesus, which was on one of the windows in his church,” said Hendon…. Read this in full at
http://m.christianpost.com/news/tattoo-artist-in-bible-belt-says-cross-bible-verse-body-art-popular-pastors-also-among-clients-122087/

WILD GOOSE FESTIVAL PUTS SPOTLIGHT ON VISUAL ARTS
Words and music are the stock-in-trade at most Christian festivals, but the Wild Goose Festival added another component: the visual arts.

This year’s progressive Christian smorgasbord of culture, justice, and spiritual exchange June 26-29 in Hot Springs, NC, near Asheville, featured plenty of speakers. Keynoters included newsmakers such as the Rev. William Barber, leader of the state’s Moral Mondays campaign; Jim Wallis, poverty activist and founder of Sojourners magazine; and Frank Schaefer, the United Methodist minister who was defrocked in December for performing his son’s same-sex wedding…. Read this in full at
http://www.religionnews.com/2014/06/24/wild-goose-festival-puts-spotlight-visual-arts/

CONSIDER
“Tell me how much you know of the sufferings of your fellow men and I will tell how much you have loved them.”

VERSE TO PONDER
Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength; they will fly up on wings like eagles; they will run and not be tired; they will walk and not be weary.
– Isaiah 40:31

THIS WEEK’S HYMN: ACCORDING TO THY GRACIOUS WORD
Words: James Montgomery, 1825
Music: Hugh Wilson, 1800

According to Thy gracious word,
In meek humility,
This will I do, my dying Lord,
I will remember Thee.

Thy body, broken for my sake,
My bread from Heaven shall be;
The testamental cup I take,
And thus remember Thee.

Gethsemane can I forget?
Or there Thy conflict see,
Thine agony, and bloody sweat,
And not remember Thee?

When to the cross I turn mine eyes,
And rest on Calvary,
O Lamb of God, my sacrifice,
I must remember Thee;

Remember Thee, and all Thy pains
And all Thy love to me;
Yea, while a breath, a pulse remains,
Will I remember Thee.

And when these failing lips grow dumb
And mind and memory flee,
When Thou shalt in Thy kingdom come,
Jesus, remember me.

>from NetHymnal at
http://nethymnal.org/htm/a/c/accordtt.htm

ON PRAYER
“Prayer is the sum of our relationship with God. We are what we pray. The degree of our faith is the degree of our prayer. Our ability to love is our ability to pray.”
– Carlo Carretto
PRAY FOR PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS TODAY
http://christiansincrisis.net/

FRIDAY NIGHT RECAP
“SLAVES TO TRADITION”
Aired 6/27/14@ 10:00pm central
Our traditions are not necessarily bad in and of themselves. When we advance a beloved belief or tradition to the point of rejecting a brother or sister in Christ we have gone too far. Thus the greater harm may be our practices more than our beliefs. But, how sound are the peculiar beliefs of our denomination of choice?
Call in and join the discussion. Prayerfully tonight’s discussion will help somebody (347) 996-5426.
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thepath/2014/06/28/slaves-to-tradition

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.

Bible Gateway’s new website design
https://www.biblegateway.com/

Check how up-to-date your browser is
http://whatbrowser.org/
http://outdatedbrowser.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.)

A dentist and a manicurist fought tooth and nail. The outcome was a nail-biter. 
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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