CONNECTIONS News – 07/13/2014

Connecting man to man to God
For week of July 13, 2014
Issue 519

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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The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful.
– Proverbs 12:22

“Make a plan now to keep a daily appointment with God. The enemy is going to tell you to set it aside, but you must carve out the time. If you’re too busy to meet with the Lord, friend, then you are simply too busy.”
– Charles Swindoll

According to a Harris Interactive poll, a majority of Americans believe humans have a soul and that it could survive after death. Speaker, author, and pastor John Ortberg goes further to say the health of a person’s soul is the hinge on which the rest of life hangs; the difference between deep, satisfied spirituality and a restless, dispassionate faith.

Bible Gateway interviewed pastor Ortberg about his book, Soul Keeping: Caring for the Most Important Part of You (Zondervan, 2014).

Q: What is the soul? Is there a difference between soul and spirit? How do our “souls” differ from our “selves?”

Pastor Ortberg: The soul is what integrates separate functions into a single, organic, whole creature. That’s why the search for harmony and integration and connectedness is a ‘soul’ function. So the soul is the deepest dimension of our existence. It captures the reality that we live before God in a way that the word “self” does not. Think of the difference between the word ‘soul-ish’ and the word ‘selfish’…. Read this in full at

by John Ortberg
God planted eternity in our hearts so that we would not stop seeking life beyond ourselves. Jesus tried to speak of this to His disciples not long before He died: “In a little while you will see Me no more, and then after a little while you will see Me.”

Their confusion is so great they pester Him with questions, and He tries again: “A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. In that day you will no longer ask me anything.”

A woman giving birth to a child has pain; but when her baby is born she forgets the pain… Really?

When our first child was born, we went through a class called Lamaze. In those days they would not use the word pain, because pain sounds like kind of a downer. They said the mother-to-be might experience some discomfort. Husbands were to be “coaches”; I was to coach Nancy so that she didn’t have pain. Coaching mostly consisted of telling Nancy to breathe. The goal was to use no drugs or pain medication, just cleansing breaths. It wasn’t clear to me how my telling Nancy to breathe – which she had been doing pretty much her whole life – would prevent pain when an object the size of a bowling ball was coming out of her body…. Read this in full at

“The will of God is not something you add to your life.  It’s a course you choose. You either line yourself up with the Son of God…or you capitulate to the principle which governs the rest of the world.”
– Elisabeth Elliot

by Rhesa Storms
Last month, I met a friend for lunch. She had made some pretty radical changes in her life, including quitting a job at a highly regarded national company. It looked like the dream job – the stepping stone to career success. But to hear her tell her story, she was struggling. Her days began early and ended late. Work consumed her waking hours. Her stress level was making it difficult to sleep and it was hard to invest in relationships outside of work.

One weekend she got out of town for a mini retreat – just a couple of days out of the city to get some space and quiet. She got a lot of quiet that weekend. A freak spring snowstorm hit and knocked out the power. The roads were piled high with snow. She wasn’t in danger, but she wouldn’t be going anywhere for a while. To top it off, her phone was dead.

In our modern, crazy-busy, take-it-to-the-limit society, rest is an act of trust in a sovereign God…. Read this in full at

“The key step between the Bible and life is apply. That’s where the truths of scripture begin to move beyond statements of fact or principles…Biblical application means allowing the truth of scripture to penetrate our lives, to make a difference in how we live.”
– Dave Veerman

by Tony Kriz
Every family has its weirdos. For some it is Aunt Trudy (the cat-lady), Cousin Sarah (who still can’t hold down a job), or maybe Uncle Chet, who always, always speaks his mind—whether his thoughts have anything to do with the occasion at hand … or not. We try not to exclude these characters from family gatherings, but sometimes we are (shamefully) relieved when they’re unable to attend.

It is no different with the family of the Christian church. We have more than our share of odd-balls, characters we begrudgingly include in our history texts. Many of these fringe-dwellers have been relegated to a club, affectionately (“bless their hearts”) referred to as the “Mystics.”

Thanks to a recent “Spirituality of the Mystics” class at George Fox Evangelical Seminary, I have been drawn back to those often outcast writers of old. Those strange sages of spirituality (Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, Gregory the Great, Bernard of Clairvaux, Jan van Ruusbroec, etc.) have quirkily burrowed themselves once again inside my soul, inspired my imagination, and have even renewed my hope for the church and our sacred mission…. Read this in full at

“Men and women can bear hardship, poverty, physical hunger and pain, but there is one thing which they cannot bear very long, and that is meaninglessness. If they are not provided with meaning in one connection, they will seek it in another.”
– Elton Trueblood (1900-1994), The Future of the Christian, Harper & Row, 1971, p. 13-14

by Chris Lawrence

As Tim Howard strolls through the cobblestone streets of Manchester, England, onlookers point and whisper.

Some are eager just to get a whiff of Tim’s cologne. Soon the paparazzi show up and snap pictures.

Tim had recently signed a contract to play football (the sport Americans call soccer) for the esteemed Manchester United Red Devils. Arguably the world’s most popular sports franchise, the team has more than 50 million fans, more than England’s entire population.

Which is why Tim created such a stir. As a burgeoning football star, the American instantly became a celebrity.

In England, where less than 16% of the population attends church, people worship elsewhere — like at football matches…. Read this in full at

by Clifton Stringer
In the course of the years, the human family has seen no shortage of plots and plans about how to prolong human life indefinitely. Ray Kurzweil’s is one of these. In the words of Woody Allen: “I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work; I want to achieve immortality through not dying. I don’t want to live on in the hearts of my countrymen; I want to live on in my apartment.” Ray Kurzweil wants to live on, not in his apartment (or Woody Allen’s), but through further implementing his own bio-technologically powered, transhumanist vision. He works for Google. You can read all about his projects, opinions, and true and false predictions anytime from now to the hour of your death.

Nearer to most of our lives and deaths, though, is the consideration that Kurzweil’s immortalist vision is just our society’s anti-aging obsession given ideological consistency and writ large. One might even think there are enticing connections to be noticed between our technological and medical immortalist aspirations and our lust for the (outwardly) cold power yet (inwardly) persisting human warmth of vampires…. Read this in full at

by Clare De Graaf
At age 65, I’m beginning to spend more time standing in line at funerals or pre-funeral visitations.  Over the years, I’ve heard people say things that have made me cringe.  And, I’ve probably said some of those same trite phrases myself years ago. Now, because we’ve heard other people say those things they’ve become part of our own “funeral language.”

It’s surprising to think that we’d take time out of our busy lives to pay our respects at a funeral, but give so little thought to what we will say to comfort those who are mourning, when we get there.  We should be asking ourselves, “What would we like to hear if it was our loved one who was lying there?”

So, about a dozen years back, I took a little time to think about it and made some pre-decisions about what I ought to say, or ought not to say at funerals.  I’ll share some of these ideas here, but I’d also like to hear your own ideas…. Read this in full at

“Today I’m going two examinations. One in trigonometry and the other in honesty. I hope you will pass them both. If you must fail one, fail trigonometry. There are many good people in the world who can’t pass trig, but there are no good people in the world who cannot pass a test of honesty.”
– What Dr. Madison Sarratt used to tell his class at Vanderbilt University each year.

by Bonnie Gray
I didn’t want to be known for my anxiety, or my stress, and I certainly didn’t want to be known for my brokenness. But, at the cusp of a lifelong dream coming true — writing my first book — I was launched into a debilitating season of panic attacks, insomnia and anxiety.

Writing triggered memories to come alive. I began reliving them. Unexpected, painful memories.

I’ve done much harder things in my life, free of panic attacks. I grew up the oldest in a single-parent family, put myself through college and launched ministries and communities of faith, while working on technology in the high-tech world. I’ve even traveled halfway around the world as an overseas missionary. But, overwhelmed by anxiety and stress, I was no longer able to cope the ways I always had: by problem-solving, taking care of others, and planning and doing.

God was allowing my exhausted, weary self to surface, so I could make God known in three unexpected ways…. Read this in full at

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, three of the most dangerous occupations in the United States are those of a logger, an airline pilot and a fisherman.

Of course, a logger deals with the tremendous weight and unpredictable nature of falling trees. A pilot faces the danger of working tens of thousands of feet above the ground. And a commercial fisherman constantly runs the risk of drowning.

In the ancient world the job of messenger might have topped this list. Like most people, ancient rulers hated getting bad news. However, unlike most other people, they had the power to do something about it, and they did — by executing the person who delivered the news! When the Roman emperor Tiberius received an astrological prediction he didn’t like, he hurled the messenger off a cliff…. Read this in full at

Perry Noble, the popular pastor of NewSpring Church in South Carolina, has spoken out about his struggle with pornography and how he overcame it. In a blog posted to, Noble publicly delved into his sin, explaining that there was a time he thought he would lose everything: his church, his marriage, and his salvation.

Noble writes that his addiction began in high school and continued for 10 more years after he accepted Christ in 1990.

“Porn was my ‘secret sin’ no one knew about,” Noble wrote. “The struggle was real and emotionally and spiritually intense. I doubted my salvation. I almost walked away from the ministry, I thought God hated me…I just could not get control of the addiction.” …. Read this in full at

A sensitive answer turns back wrath, but an offensive word stirs up anger.
– Proverbs 15:1

“How rare it is to find a soul quiet enough to hear God speak!”
– Francios Fenelon

by David Rupert
It was a dark Wyoming highway, well past midnight, and I was making the 450-mile monthly trek back home from my Air National Guard weekend duty.

I was alone. No other cars were crazy enough to be out that late on a two-lane road. I had to stay awake. Occasionally I would see the orange glow of eyes along the road, tucked in the bushes, reminders that deer, antelope, and elk were nearby.

I fiddled with the radio, settling in on a talk show from a distant place that bounced across the night sky. I opened the windows and adjusted the heat. Anything to stay awake.

My mind wandered.

I was thinking about my home, nestled against the Tetons. I was thinking about what my work week held. I replayed conversations with coworkers and family members. The highlight reel of the day’s events began to play…. Read this in full at

by Al Serrato
Christians believe that God is an “infinite” being who has always existed and always will exist. But is this position simply an article of faith, or is there some evidence to support this claim?

Most skeptics today feel pretty comfortable concluding that there really isn’t “evidence.” After all, when we think of “evidence,” we usually think of things like witness statements or documents or fingerprints left at the scene of a crime. Since no one has “evidence” relating to things outside our universe, or to a being who preceded the Big Bang, it’s a safe bet that the Christian won’t come up with any “evidence.” Or is it?

Seeing the unspoken premise in the question highlights what is at play: the challenger assumes that such “evidence” is the only way we can know things. But this is simply not true. While evidence and inferences from evidence are valid ways of determining what is true, they are not the exclusive way. For example, when I know that no circle is also a square, where is the evidence for that? Or that A = C, when told that A = B and B = C? Or that rape is always wrong. These types of knowledge – based on logic and reason and a basic moral sense – are part of the normal functioning of every human mind…. Read this in full at

by Philip Jenkins
On rare occasions, buildings not only capture the spirit of a time, they also foreshadow great events yet to come.

In 1913, near the city of Leipzig, Germany dedicated its vast monument to the Battle of Nations a century before, in which the German states had taken the lead in crushing Napoleon’s empire. Beyond the obvious military symbols, the monument also depicts heroic German virtues of faith, fertility, and sacrifice, integrating ancient paganism into a kind of medieval Crusading Christianity.

Dominating the whole spectacle is a forty-foot high figure of the Archangel Michael, depicted as a supreme warrior, almost as Germany’s very own god of war. In retrospect, the whole building looks like a foretaste of aggressive German nationalism in the Great War that began the following year, and more disturbingly, of the dominant themes of later Nazism. Hitler spoke there regularly…. Read this in full at

“He who has the Holy Spirit in his heart and the Scripture in his hands has all he needs.”
– Alexander MacLaren

by Ron Boyd-MacMillan
It was early 1980s in a village in Czechoslovakia, and I had just given the pastor of a rural church a Bible in his own tongue. It was leather bound, with a gold zipper, and was the first complete Bible he had held. I remember him sniffing it, marveling at the leather smell, playing with the zip and being almost afraid to touch the thin precious pages. Then he began to talk to the members of the church. Pointing at me he said, “This gentleman is your heroic spiritual ancestor. Every time the Bible comes into a culture, it is a threat, and is opposed. So it takes men and women to risk all to bring it to us. This man has taken such a risk.”

I was embarrassed, but he went on to say to me, “The Bible also came into your culture. It was also a threat. Tell me, who are your heroic spiritual ancestors?” I am ashamed to say I did not have a clear idea of who these men were in my country of the United Kingdom…. Read this in full at

by J. Carl Laney
Teaching through the Bible yearly as a Biblical Literature prof at Western Seminary has given me the opportunity to interact with many challenging interpretive questions. One that still puzzles me is the account of Samuel’s posthumous appearance before Saul and the witch of En-dor (1 Samuel 28:8-14).

Saul was facing a critical battle with the Philistines and sought out a medium to help him determine the outcome. In the Hebrew, the phrase translated “medium” literally reads, “a woman who is a mistress of necromancy,” that is, one who consults the dead to determine the future. Under the cover of darkness, Saul traveled to En-dor and asked the medium to bring up the prophet Samuel from the dead (28:11) …. Read this in full at

“If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved; and to be steady on all the battlefield besides, is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.”
– Martin Luther (1483-1546), quoted in The God Who is There [1968], Francis A. Schaeffer, in The Francis A. Schaeffer Trilogy, Francis A. Schaeffer, Good News Publishers, 1990, p. 11

by Noah Wiener
For centuries, Bible scholars examined two ancient texts to elucidate the original language of the Bible: the Masoretic Text and the Septuagint. The Masoretic Text is a traditional Hebrew text finalized by Jewish scholars around 1000 CE. The Septuagint is a Greek translation of the Torah created by the Jews of Alexandria in the third century BCE. (The other books of the Hebrew Bible were translated over the course of the following century.) According to Septuagint tradition, at least 70 isolated ancient scholars came up with identical Greek translations of the Torah.

Which is the “original” Bible? How do we decide which of these two ancient texts is more authoritative? In “Searching for the ‘Original’ Bible” in the July/August 2014 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, Hebrew University of Jerusalem scholar and long-time editor-in-chief of the Dead Sea Scrolls publication team Emanuel Tov suggests we turn to the Dead Sea Scrolls to help us compare the Masoretic Text and the Septuagint…. Read this in full at

by Tony Cartledge
Bible literacy may be at an all time low: surveys consistently show that many people can’t identify important Bible characters or themes, or think that people like Joan of Arc or sayings like “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy and wealthy and wise” are in the Bible.

The Internet is populated with a number of Bible study sites, but many of them come with an agenda, such as promoting a fundamentalist or predispensational millennialist interpretation of Scripture. One I’ve found useful is, publisher of the NETBible. It takes a more neutral approach and provides lots of content, but it’s uneven and often leans toward more conservative interpretations than I would choose…. Read this in full at

by Brandan Robertson
Every once in a while I will get asked by a publisher to endorse a book. A few months ago, Cascadia Publishers reached out to me about endorsing a new book by Duane Beachey, a Mennonite Pastor from Kentucky titled Reading the Bible as if Jesus Mattered. When I received the manuscript of the book for review, I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect. As I began reading through the chapters of this book, I was struck by how truly accessible Beacheys writing was and how his approach to re-reading the Bible through the hermeneutical lens of Jesus so deeply resonated with my own evolving relationship with the Bible. Though Duane Beachey is a couple of decades older than me, his message resonates deeply with me as a millennial and his book directly addresses so many of the issues that young Evangelicals are wrestling through in relation to the Bible. After reading through the manuscript, I was happy to whole-heartedly endorse this work. Here’s what I said: …. Read this in full at

A 14-year-old girl who awed a British camp meeting by reciting three chapters of the Bible from memory said the secret to memorization is to write out verses by hand and truly understand what you are reading.

The girl, Monica Rao Abbadasari, recited Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount from Matthew 5 to 7 at the South England Conference camp meeting on June 26 in Prestatyn, a seaside resort in Wales.

Monica, a soft-spoken girl with a gentle laugh, said she uses a straight-forward process to remember long biblical passages…. Read this in full at

“If you’re a believer – if you’re “in Christ” – then kick up your heels! Celebrate the Lord! Celebrate yourself! Discover a life of pleasure you never dreamed possible.”
– Anne Ortlund

The LORD’s faithful love is from forever ago to forever from now for those who honor him. And God’s righteousness reaches to the grandchildren of those who keep his covenant and remember to keep his commands.
– Psalm 103:17-18 (CEB)

Words: Jean Mauburn, 1494. Translated from Latin to English by George R. Woodward, 1904
Music: Johann G. Ebeling, 1666

Ah! Lord God, the world’s Creator,
King of all, great or small,
Earth’s Regenerator;
Art Thou cradled, art Thou crying,
Swathed and bound, on the ground,
In the stable lying?

“Love of man hath brought Me hither,
Cords of love, from above,
To exalt him thither;
Dead in trespass, child, I sought thee;
Gone astray, from My way,
Life and pardon brought thee.”

“Empty be My scrip and coffer,
Yet ’tis wealth, plenty, health,
I am come to offer;
Haste I to enrich and dress thee;
Born to die, low I lie,
And would gladly bless thee.”

Therefore thousand thousand praises
Are Thy due, Babe Jesu,
These my heart upraises;
Angels, mortals, furthest, nighest,
Sing in mirth, “Peace on earth,
Glory in the highest.”

>from NetHymnal at

“Prayer is like a shot of WD-40 into my brain. It unsticks things. It loosens things up. I run more smoothly after I pray.”
– Elizabeth Esther?

Aired 7/11/2014 @ 10:00PM central
“The only purpose of the gospel is to reconcile people to God and to each other. A gospel that doesn’t reconcile is not a Christian gospel at all. But in America, it seems as if we don’t believe that. We don’t really believe that the proof of our discipleship is that we love one another. No, we think the proof is in numbers … Even if our “converts” continue to hate each other, even if they will not worship with their brothers and sisters in Christ, we point to their “conversion” as evidence of the gospel’s success. We have substituted a gospel of church growth for a gospel of reconciliation.”
~John Perkins
Let’s discuss what reconciliation is really all about.

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 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.]

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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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 backward poet writes inverse. 
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 at 6459 S. Campbell Ave. Chicago, IL 60629.
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