CONNECTIONS News – 09/14/2014

Connecting man to man to God
For week of September 14, 2014
Issue 528

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.

Today’s issue is going out to over 2,169 weekly subscribers. Thank you in advance for forwarding this issue to friends, family and associates! To have a friend start their own Free subscription to CONNECTIONS, please have them visit:

My dear friends, since we have these promises, let’s cleanse ourselves from anything that contaminates our body or spirit so that we make our holiness complete in the fear of God.
– 2 Corinthians 7:1 CEB

Walk towards the sunshine, and the shadows will fall behind you.”
– Mary Engelbreit

by Graeme Hamilton
Weight machines fill the space where once there were pews, and visitors sip nutritional green smoothies, not communion wine. But despite its dramatic transformation into a private gym and spa, the onetime Dominican St. Jude’s Shrine on Montreal’s St. Denis Street remains a temple of sorts.

It becomes almost a religion for some people,” Sonya Audrey Bonin, general manager of the Saint-Jude Espace Tonus gym, said. “I see it with yoga, with taking care of yourself, being careful about what you eat, having a healthy lifestyle.” And in a secular age when people are more likely to hit the gym than attend mass on a Sunday morning, the upscale facility is being hailed as a model for preserving the religious buildings that constitute an important part of Quebec’s architectural heritage…. Read this in full at

by J. Warner Wallace
As Christians, we have a lot of questions that we don’t always know how to investigate on our own, and we’re grateful when somebody will come in and give us the quick answer. But if you’ve raised kids, you know that when your kids have a question and ask you to sort something out for them, they come away with one kind of knowledge. When you allow your kids to work through, and find, and research the answer for themselves, they come away with a completely different kind of understanding. I can remember when I first came to Christianity out of atheism, I really needed to examine the issues for myself. And let’s face it, there are lots of times when it’s not so much an understanding of the truth; it’s not so much that the truth is out there and I just can’t grasp it; it’s that I hold some type of prerequisite, presupposition, that prevents me from seeing the truth clearly.

That’s why for me, as a new Christian, apologetics websites were just as important as the skeptic sites I had been visiting. I wanted to get some balance and some clear thinking on the issues we know are inherent to the Christian worldview. I found myself applying the same skepticism I had as a detective, and an atheist, to my own examination of Scripture. Here is my approach to answering some of my own questions about Christian doctrine, and Christian evidence. These are principles and tools that may help you sort out the truth for yourself. To help you remember, each of them start with the letter “D”. First, some qualities I think are important as a student of the Bible: …. Read this in full at

by Patrick Morley
A man attended worship services for several years, and then he stopped going. After several weeks, the pastor went by to visit the man on a chilly night and knocked on the door. The man opened the door and, realizing why the pastor was there, he welcomed him and invited him in. 

They sat down in two chairs before a roaring fire. The pastor didn’t say a thing. He just watched the flames dancing on top of the hot logs. After a few minutes, he took the fire tongs, grabbed one of the logs out of the fire, and laid it on the hearth. 

Still not saying anything, he sat back down, staring at the single log smoldering on the hearth. Soon all the glow and warmth left the log, and it began to turn cold. After a few more minutes, the pastor got up again, took the tongs, grabbed the log and put it back in the fire. Instantly it burst back into flames.

The pastor walked to the door, turned, and said, “Goodnight.”

The man said, “Thank you for coming, Pastor. I’ll be in church on Sunday.”

by Clare De Graaf
There’s a little book someone put me on to entitled, True Friendship, by Vaughan Roberts. There’s a question he asks in it that reminded me of a question I used to ask myself but haven’t recently;

If you were the devil, where would you attack yourself?

It’s been a long time since I’ve asked myself that question. So, my first question to myself was, “Is one of Satan’s plans for attacking me, to get me to stop asking that question?” I think the answer was “yes.”

Here’s the thing; Satan and his demons have had 2000 years to think about tripping up Christians and longer than that for true followers of God. He’s had 65 years to study me and he knows exactly where and how I’m most vulnerable. My guess is they’re asking the same question of you that they are of me:…. Read this in full at

by Adlen Robinson
In this fourth installment of the Forsyth County News series on resident Charles Payette’s Bible collection, two amazing Bibles are featured – The 1561-62 Geneva Bible First Folio Edition and the 1565 Greek First Major Edition New Testament by Theodore Beza.

First, some historical background for this particular time period.

Readers will recall that during the reign of Queen Mary I of England (1553-58), many Protestants fled from England to Geneva, Switzerland, which was then a republic.

Queen Mary was determined to “convert” England back to being a Catholic country, and in that spirit was burning at the stake those who refused.

The Church of Geneva was sympathetic to the reformer refugees and welcomed them with open arms. In addition, the church wanted to produce an English Bible…. Read this in full at

by Jonathan
I think hymnals are important symbols for worshiping congregations. Here are some of the reasons why.

1. Hymnals actually teach music. We’re making less music than ever before. Oh, to be sure, there’s lots of music going on around us, but very few people are actually making it. We’re just consuming it, or at the very most, singing along with music someone else made first. But even an untrained musician can look at the words and music in the hymnal and learn to follow melodic direction and rhythmic value.

2. Hymnals set a performance standard. Contemporary worship music is based on recording instead of notation. This is endlessly confusing, and it opens each song up to individual interpretation. Without notation, it is exceedingly hard to sing well as a congregation. Hymnals fix that. Everybody has the same notation, so we all know how the song is supposed to go.

3. Hymnals integrate the music and text. Words on a screen give no musical information. Hymnals fix that. Singers aren’t dependent upon learning the song by rote…. Read this in full at

by Thom Schultz
Looking around the church last Sunday I noticed that the majority weren’t singing. And most of those who were singing barely moved their lips. The only voices I actually heard were those on stage with microphones.

That’s been the case for years now — in churches large and small. What used to be congregational singing has become congregational staring.

Even when the chipper “worship leader” in contemporary churches bounds on stage and predictably beckons everyone to “stand and worship,” the people compliantly obey the stand command, but then they turn into mute mannequins.

What’s behind this phenomenon? What happened to the bygone sounds of sanctuaries overflowing with fervent, harmonizing voices from the pews, singing out with a passion that could be heard down the street? I suspect it’s a number of unfortunate factors…. Read this in full at

by Skye Jethani
Our family went back for the 80th annual Okoboji Bible Conference in Iowa. It was our seventh year at the gathering, and it was wonderful to see old friends and participate in the incredible tradition of the conference once again.

Along with speaking at Pastor’s Day and a plenary evening session on Friday night, I also had the opportunity to teach an Adult Bible Community this year. Our topic for five days was “10 ‘Commandments’ for Interpreting Scripture.”

I realize the content was very challenging for some who previously held a one-dimensional, simple love of the Bible. The goal of the class was not only to equip you to engage Scripture more accurately, but to evoke a more nuanced and mature love for the Bible as a vehicle that facilitates our communion with God.

Many asked for my slides/notes from the class. They’re attached here for you to download and utilize in your personal Bible study, or to use in your own teaching ministry…. Read this in full at

by John Meunier
On the question of divine violence as in so many others, the canon calls faithful readers out of black-and-white thinking and into the gray; out of an impulse that seeks to simplify, dichotomize, and resolve in order to determine who is right- and into a communal conversation as fluid and contentious as the clamor of voices that vie with one another in the biblical canon…. Read this in full at

by Donny Friederichsen
Everyone has dealt with restlessness and sleepless nights at some point. We’ve all schlepped through a groggy morning after a night of no sleep. Sleep is crucial to life. The restoration and revitalization that comes through a good night’s sleep is vital. We all want the sleep of Proverbs 3:20, “If you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.” But often we experience the tossing and turning of Job 7:4, “When I lie down I say, ‘When shall I arise?’ But the night is long, and I am full of tossing till the dawn.” What does the Bible say about our sleep?

by Erik Rees
I had planned the Celebration of Life service very carefully.

I knew who I wanted to speak, who I wanted to perform, and which artist I wanted to paint pictures while the service went on. Tom Clark was an artist I knew through Saddleback. I didn’t tell him what to paint. I trusted him enough to know that whatever he did would be perfect.

In the notice about the service, we asked people to dress in bright colors. Jessie would not have wanted people in all black. I wore my NEGU T-shirt with Jessie’s signature — though I did wear a suit jacket over it — and many others wore their TeamNEGU shirts. I had asked the people who were speaking to type up their comments so that, in the event they were too emotional to speak, a “backup person” could read for them. I, too, had a backup person.

The stage was lined with JoyJars containing flowers. As the service started, I noticed that everyone was looking solemn, and the room fell quiet. Even with more than five thousand people in attendance, there was total silence…. Read this in full at

You are the light of the world. A city on top of a hill can’t be hidden. In the same way, let your light shine before people, so they can see the good things you do and praise your Father who is in heaven.
– Matthew 5:14 & 16 CEB

Ask yourself, “Am I following Jesus more closely today than I was yesterday?”

See an easy-to-understand video review of Bible origins by Dr. Timothy Paul Jones at

by Alex McFarland
“The Blasphemy Challenge” is an Internet-related activity that encourages people to post a clip of themselves cursing God or renouncing the Holy Spirit’s work in their life. The more brazen clips include assertions that the person willingly accepts the consequences this action (including hell) incurs should it turn out that God does exist.

Blasphemy-challenge promoters make no secret of their desire to promote atheism among teens. One website offered to send a free DVD documentary against Christianity to teens who post a video rejection of God online. One of the project’s organizers told Fox News, “It (the blasphemy challenge) exposes the crock that is Christian doctrine.” …. Read this in full at\

by Michael Brown
For years we have heard about the widespread use of pornography in the American church, especially among men, but the results of a recent poll are absolutely devastating: Only 3% of Christian men say they never view porn and only 25% say they view it less than “a few times a year.”

Is it any wonder that the church of America is so compromised, complacent and carnal?

Not only did the poll state that self-identified Christian men viewed porn more frequently than non-Christians (perhaps the Christians were more honest?), but the poll stated that 7% viewed porn several times a day, 12% at least once daily, 18% several times a week, 15% several times a month, and 12% at least once a month.

But I do not write these words to condemn. Instead, I write to awaken us to reality and to urge every single follower of Jesus, male and female alike, to recognize the intensity of the onslaught and to make a fresh determination to resist and overcome, with the help of God’s grace and wisdom and power…. Read this in full at

International experts on the controversial Shroud of Turin will gather in St. Louis in October to present and discuss the latest discoveries on the burial cloth purported to be the burial shroud of Jesus Christ. The International Conference, called Shroud of Turin: The Controversial Intersection of Faith and Science, will be held October 9-12 at the Drury Plaza Hotel in Chesterfield. This will be the first Shroud Conference held in the United States since 2008.

More than 30 Shroud experts from around the world will be presenting information on the latest discoveries about the Shroud. The experts, or sindonologists, represent such diverse fields as archeology, physics, iconography and theology. Conference chair and sindonologist Joe Marino says, “I’m particularly excited that we have many new presenters since the last USA Conference in 2008.” …. Read this in full at

The Assemblies of God celebrated its first 100 years in ceremonies that were broadcast throughout the world.

Dr. George Wood, general superintendent of the denomination, recalls that it began with more than 300 leaders meeting in Hot Springs, Arkansas in 1914.

He told OneNewsNow: “And now, 100 years later in over 200 countries and territories, the Assemblies of God enjoys a growth of over 366,000 churches and 67.5 million believers.” …. Read this in full at

by J. Lee Grady
People who struggle with gay feelings are usually told they should simply accept their homosexual identity. Many psychologists believe it’s wrong to suggest that homosexuality could be or should be treated as a problem. You’re gay. Big deal. We accept you. Have whatever kind of sex you want.

But what about people who struggle with same-sex attraction and yet genuinely want freedom from homosexuality because they believe it violates Christian morals? These people face a triple dilemma because (1) some Christians are prejudiced against gay people and don’t really care; (2) many churches just aren’t equipped to offer counseling; and (3) our mainstream culture believes that once you’re gay, you’re always gay.

But this didn’t stop my friend William Dobson from abandoning the gay lifestyle. His story needs to be considered…. Read this in full at

by Daniel Darling
Brian Hedges is a pastor, author, and blogger. His latest book is Active Spirituality: Grace and Effort in the Christian Life. Today, we talk with Brady about sanctification, the threat of legalism, and theological discourse.

Q: There is a lot of debate today when it comes to the finer points of sanctification. Do we work with the Spirit in the process of sanctification or do we simply rest? It seems you are saying “Yes.” Is that right?

A: Yes, we work and we rest. The either/or is a false dichotomy. Scripture draws on a rich fund of pictorial imagery in describing the Christian life. Some of these are on the active side of the spectrum (walk, fight, run); some are on the passive side (abide, rest, trust); and we need all of them.

It’s easy to start proof-texting when defending our turf in the sanctification debates. On one hand, there are many passages that emphasize grace, resting in Christ, the life of faith, and the ministry of the Spirit. These remind us that holiness is on an altogether different plane than mere morality. The Christian life is what J. I. Packer once called “life supernaturalized at the motivational level.” But on the other hand are the texts that call us to put off and put on, to run the race with endurance, to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, and so on. Those texts remind us that whatever the Spirit-filled life is, it doesn’t involve some kind of mental or volitional switch-off, where we cease to make intentional choices and expend genuine effort. Our minds, hearts, and wills remain engaged throughout the process…. Read this in full at

by Cindy Brandt
Faith: the dealing with the meaning of life, the matter of eternal salvation, the bedrock upon which we build our families and society. This is serious stuff. Irreverence, by definition, is a lack of respect for that which is serious. It would seem that finding faith in the irreverent is impossible, like searching for the sun in the dark of the night.

Irreverence permeates pop culture. From HBO shows filled with crude nudity and violence, to musicals such as The Book of Mormon where explicit ratings are applied to almost every song, to late-night comedies featuring popular show hosts like Jon Stewart and Colbert, who play-acts a persona speaking exclusively in snark.

The Church, by and large, keeps irreverence at arm’s length. Sure, some pastors like to open sermons with a couple of clean jokes, but that’s about the extent humor interacts with the Faithful. While I agree there’s a social maturity required in expressing irreverence through appropriate channels, the Church is missing out on a deep authenticity of the human experience if we continue to fear irreverence, instead of finding beauty in it…. Read this in full at

About seven years ago, congregation members at Austin Ridge Bible Church were looking to-repurpose its expansive back lot behind the church.

The problem was the terrain – including a nearly 200-foot change in elevation – didn’t lend itself to traditional developments.

We thought it would be awesome to use the back lot of our property,” Josh Thornton, the church’s director of facilities said. “An original thought was some hike and bike trails, then when looking further at it was perfect for a disc golf course.”

With the guidance of John Houck, arguably the father of Central Texas’ disc golf scene, the Austin Ridge Bible Church Disc Golf Course was born. An 18-hole course with two bonus holes, the narrow fairways and elevation changes provided a difficult challenge that attracts many of Central Texas’ top disc golfers…. Read this in full at

Kiya Gezahegne joined an unruly, jostling throng surrounding a priest who wielded a 12th-century gold and bronze cross, one of the most sacred artefacts in Ethiopia. A young man shut his eyes and trembled from head to toe as he was blessed. Finally, Gezahegne stepped forward and stooped so the priest could tap the cross all over her body. “I felt close to God,” she said.

Steeped in ancient ritual, this was the scene revealed by dawn’s first light in the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela. The cool morning air was filled with the smell of incense and the drumbeat and chanting of hundreds of pilgrims swathed in white robes, some kissing the walls. A sprinkling of foreign visitors groped through narrow crevices and labyrinthine tunnels. Earlier this year they included George W Bush and family and Evgeny Lebedev, the newspaper proprietor…. Read this in full at

by Charles Camosy
Here I want to leave the theoretical arguments often used to justify euthanasia aside, and focus instead on the problems inherent in implementing it as public policy.

Any ethic that attempts to develop virtues as a bulwark against the flawed, sinful nature of human beings – as the Christian ethic does – cannot help but be concerned about the unintended consequences of euthanasia’s legalization. Human beings are prone to push boundaries and hijack accepted practices for self-serving and even destructive purposes. There is no reason to think that euthanasia would be an exception to this rule – especially given the dominance of consumerism and hyper-autonomy in our current social climate…. Read this in full at

I haven’t failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
– Thomas Edison

Jesus replied, “This is what God requires, that you believe in him whom God sent.”
– John 6:29 CEB

Words: John G. Whittier, 1856
Music: Charles Hutcheson, 1832

All as God wills, who wisely heeds
To give or to withhold,
And knoweth more of all my needs,
Than all my prayers have told.

Enough that blessings undeserved
Have marked my erring track;
That, wheresoe’er my feet have swerved,
His chastening turned me back.

That more and more a providence
Of love is understood,
Making the springs of time and sense
Sweet with eternal good.

That death seems but a covered way
Which opens into light,
Wherein no blinded child can stray
Beyond the Father’s sight.

And so the shadows fall apart.
And so the west winds play;
And all the windows of my heart
I open to the day.

>from NetHymnal at

If we truly love people, we will desire for them far more than it is within our power to give them, and this leads us to prayer.”
– Richard Foster


Aired 09/12/2014 @10:00pm central
Let’s continue our discussion about the people Jesus spoke against more than satan.
Is it wrong to expose error?
Can we find the same error that Jesus spoke out against in operation today?
Let’s find out.

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.

The Complete Gift Solution

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Video: What Does It Mean to Be Gospel-Centered?

What’s Your Story?

5 Ways to Lower Your PSA Count

All links to websites are provided as a service, and do not imply endorsement by this ministry.

(BTW: whenever the URLs in this newsletter are too long to turn into links on your e-mail program, just copy the entire URL (two lines or more) and paste it into a temporary email message. Then delete the return in the middle of it and copy it again. Then paste it into your web browser and hit enter.)

A new government study finds that women who carry a little extra weight live longer than men who mention it.
Frank Coleman, Editor

Thanks for welcoming CONNECTIONS into your in-box!

CONNECTIONS is a periodic newsletter of announcements, news, recommendations, articles, and other information helpful to men in our spiritual growth. Thanks for welcoming CONNECTIONS into your in-box!

The CONNECTIONS Team offers a variety of activities for men to interact with other men on our journey of faith in Christ together. Large group, small group, and one-to-one events encourage relationship building and spiritual strengthening that result in maximizing the potential we all have in Christ.
Contact Min. Frank Coleman, 773-410-1483, if you’d like to participate in a men’s discipleship program.
Path Of Life Ministries is located at 6459 S. Campbell Ave. Chicago, IL 60629.
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