CONNECTIONS NEWS – 09/03/2017

Connecting man to man to God
For week of 9/03/2017
Issue 544
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: http://www.pathoflifeministries.net/page33.html

Come, let’s worship and bow down! Let’s kneel before the LORD, our maker! He is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, the sheep in his hands. If only you would listen to his voice right now! Psalm 95:6-7
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+95%3A6-7&version=CEB;NIV;ESV;NLT

CONSIDER
“Kindness is a warm breeze in a frigid climate; a radiant heart that melts the icebergs of fear, distrust and unhappiness.”
– William Arthur Ward

500 YEARS AFTER REFORMATION, MANY PROTESTANTS CLOSER TO CATHOLICS THAN MARTIN LUTHER
In 1517, Martin Luther staked his soul on two revolutionary ideas: sola fide, that salvation is dependent on faith alone; and sola scriptura, that Scripture is the only ultimate authority for Christian belief and practice and that it does not need oversight from church leadership or tradition to be read and understood.

The 95 theses Luther nailed to the door at Wittenberg served as the catalyst for one of the world’s largest religious splits, as thousands broke off from the Roman Catholic Church. His legacy, 500 years later, is 560 million Protestants across the globe, making up more than a third of the world’s Christians.

But many of them don’t actually agree with him. Today, half of American Protestants say that both good deeds and faith in God are needed to get into heaven (52%); the same number believe that in addition to the Bible, Christians need guidance from church teachings and traditions, according to two studies released by the Pew Research Center…. Read this in full at
http://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2017/august/500-reformation-protestants-catholics-luther-sola-fide-pew.html

HOW TO LEAD WHEN YOU’RE NOT IN CHARGE: AN INTERVIEW WITH CLAY SCROGGINS
Paul admonishes Christians to defer to those in authority, but what if they’re incompetent or half-hearted? How can you lead if you’re not in charge?

In this Q&A, Clay Scroggins talks about his book, How to Lead When You’re Not in Charge: Leveraging Influence When You Lack Authority (Zondervan, 2017).

Q: What lie about leadership did you believe early in your work life?
Dr. Clay Scroggins: When I was growing up, I felt most alive in positions of leadership. Unfortunately, it was just so natural to believe that I had to have a title to feel like a leader. Whether it was running for student government or being named captain of a sports team, I felt like the title gave me the opportunity to lead. The more I’ve learned about leadership, the more I realize it’s actually the other way around. The title comes after leadership has been proven…. Read this in full at
https://www.biblegateway.com/blog/2017/08/how-to-lead-when-youre-not-in-charge-an-interview-with-clay-scroggins/

SOME CHRISTIANS HATE JOEL OSTEEN MORE THAN THEY LOVE THE TRUTH. AND THAT’S WRONG.
by Ed Stetzer
The floodgates of media unleashed against Joel Osteen, based on an unclear church statement and fanned by agenda-driven social media, tells me that we have a cultural problem. The fact that many Christians have joined in shows me it is a Christian problem. It’s wrong in both cases, but disturbing to see some Christians joining in.

It seems some Christians hate Joel Osteen more than they love the truth. I’d expect that from the world, but I hoped for better in the church…. Read this in full at
http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2017/august/some-people-hate-joel-osteen-more-than-they-love-truth-hous.html

NOBODY TAKES EVERY WORD OF THE BIBLE LITERALLY
by Clare De Graaf
A fellow elder, a man I respected deeply, once said at an elder meeting, “I take every word of the Bible literally.” After the meeting, I approached him and made this observation, “John, I don’t think anyone takes every word of the Bible literally.”

John was taken back by my statement and probably wondered if I had gone “liberal” on him. But here’s what I said to clarify my statement.

“John, when Jesus calls us his ‘sheep,’ that’s obviously a metaphor. When Paul says that we are to ‘cloth yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility…’ (Col. 3:12) That phrase also isn’t to be taken literally.” The Bible is full of metaphors.

I knew what John meant when he said, “I take the Bible literally.” He meant to declare that by faith, he accepts the Bible as inspired and historical. That Adam, Eve, Noah, Job, Jonah and all the other characters and stories where people are named, actually existed. They are not fictional characters like those in Aesop’s Fables where the stories are clearly fictional but they teach a “truism” about life.

Here’s the challenge: many of the doctrinal differences that Christians have fought over for centuries, have come about when someone reads a statement as absolutely, literally true and the next Christian believes them to be a metaphor. Here’s a great example…. Read this in full at
http://www.claredegraaf.com/2017/08/28/nobody-takes-every-word-of-the-bible-literally/

FORMER MUSLIM ASSASSIN TURNED FOLLOWER OF CHRIST
Through a miraculous series of events, Alim, formerly an assassin for Saddam Hussein is now a follower of Christ.

Perry LaHaie with Frontiers USA collects stories of how God is moving in the Muslim world. LaHaie says he heard Alim’s story “from my good friend Charles Morris, who is the host of Haven Today. Charles met Alim on one of his trips to the Middle East to gather stories for his book ‘Fleeing ISIS, Finding Jesus.’” …. Read this in full at
https://www.mnnonline.org/news/former-muslim-assassin-turned-follower-christ/

I DON’T BELIEVE THE BIBLE IS TRUE
by John Sorensen
As God’s witnesses, here is a very legitimate and reasonable statement that we shouldn’t be surprised to hear: “I don’t believe that the Bible is true.”

Since all of the information we share about God, Jesus and eternal life comes to us from the Bible we should be prepared to respond. There are several ways to address it. One way is to respectfully ask them this question: “What do you believe the Bible’s main message is?” Most people will answer with obeying the Ten Commandments or keeping the Golden Rule. Sadly, those answers would be wrong. They’re rejecting the Bible without fully understanding its main message of grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ ALONE. Ask your friend if they would allow you to share the Bible’s real main message. To watch a video that will help you tackle this objection, visit ShareLife.today.
http://evangelismexplosion.org/dont-believe-bible-true-3/

WHY HOSPITALITY ISN’T WHAT YOU THINK IT IS
by Jody Jean Dryer, 30-year Disney executive
I always pair service and hospitality as one term. I don’t believe service and hospitality are interchangeable, or that you should have one without the other. Happy, satisfied guests require both. Not convinced? Have you ever been assisted by someone as nice as could be but without the know-how to get the job done? On the other hand, you may have been served by someone more than competent, but the experience left you feeling like road kill, as though you’d been run over (and back again), and you have the tire marks to prove it.

Service implies providing a benefit before, during, and after interactions. And good service suggests leaving guests fully satisfied with their experience. But service is a transactional experience, a fair exchange between parties. Transformational guest experiences require something more. They require hospitality. If service is getting it done, then hospitality is loving on people in the process…. Read this in full at
https://www.biblegateway.com/blog/2017/08/why-hospitality-isnt-what-you-think-it-is/

JOIN THIS SCRIPTURE CELEBRATION
Wycliffe’s fall Scripture Celebration is right around the corner, and you’re invited! Join it on September 29 at 2 p.m. ET via livestream to celebrate with communities who now have God’s Word in their own language…. Read this in full at
https://www.wycliffe.org/celebrate

8 SAYINGS CHRISTIANS USE TO LET OURSELVES OFF THE HOOK
by Natalie Patton
The American church is slowly waking up from a decades-long slumber. Many of us have been sleeping snugly under a thick blanket of individualism for far too long, embracing a guarded theology as a pillow for our sleepy little heads. The mission of Jesus to care for “the least of these” has largely suffered under American Christianity.

Our toxic apathy is rooted in a lot of places, but sadly we don’t have to look any further than the church itself to find several excuses to not care for the poor, vulnerable, marginalized, and downtrodden in our community and in our world.

We’ve mastered Christian-ese catch phrases to get us off the hook from ever really having to love our neighbor as ourselves…. Read this in full at
https://sojo.net/articles/8-sayings-christians-use-let-ourselves-hook

HA!
A distraught senior citizen phoned his doctor’s office. “Is it true,” he wanted to know, “that the medication you prescribed has to be taken for the rest of my life?”

“Yes, I’m afraid so,” the doctor told him.

There was a moment of silence before the senior replied, “I’m wondering, then, just how serious is my condition, because this prescription is marked ‘NO REFILLS.'”
https://www.mikeysFunnies.com

VERSE TO PONDER
Jesus replied, “This is what God requires, that you believe in him whom God sent.”
– John 6:29
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+6%3A29&version=CEB;ERV;ICB;NIRV

CONSIDER
“We do not want suffering; we want success. We identify not with those who are low and hurt but with those who are high and healthy. We don’t like lepers or losers very well; we prefer climbers and comers. For Christians, the temptation to be conformed to this world is desperately sweet and strong. Yet, says the apostle Paul, we are children of God if we suffer with Christ.”
– Cornelius Plantinga, Jr.

CROSSING CULTURES IN SCRIPTURE: AN INTERVIEW WITH MARVIN J. NEWELL
From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible is replete with narratives of God’s people crossing cultures in pursuit of God’s mission. What are the lessons for today to be learned from these stories?

Bible Gateway interviewed Marvin J. Newell about his book, Crossing Cultures in Scripture: Biblical Principles for Mission Practice (InterVarsity Press, 2017).

Q: Briefly explain what human culture is.

Marvin J. Newell: Since Crossing Cultures in Scripture is focused on the topic of culture and humans crossing cultures, I deal with the essence of human culture right at the start. In the first chapter I define culture as “the distinctive beliefs, values, and customs of a particular group of people that determine how they think, feel, and behave.” Three components are coupled together: beliefs/think, values/feel, and customs/behave. These are the basic elements of every culture found anywhere in the world.
https://www.biblegateway.com/blog/2017/08/crossing-cultures-in-scripture-an-interview-with-marvin-j-newell/

HOW CHRISTIANESE HIDES THE GOSPEL
by Greg Morse
I’m afraid many of professing Christians have started our own League of Shadows.

We have mastered the art of theatricality and deception, not in physical combat but in our communication. When we evangelize the unchurched, the uninitiated, the dead, we bruise them with abstract language and distract them with theological jargon. Whereas the early church declared their faith clearly, receiving scoffs, persecution, and souls, we often receive politically correct smiles, dizzied stares, and slow head-nods with a kind, but apathetic “Ah-huh.”

Telling the world about Christ in foggy terms is the bane of our evangelism…. Read this in full at
http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/lost-in-translation

THE RISE AND FALL OF THE CHRISTIAN BOOKSTORE
by Jonathan Merritt
Back in the 1990s, it often seemed that every city and town in America had a strip mall with a Christian bookstore where you could purchase WWJD bracelets and enough devotional books to fill up the Ark of the Covenant. But today, these Christian bookstores are a dying breed. Indeed, it seems we are fast approaching an America where this particular brand of religious retailer will be no more than a memory.

Over the last decade, Christian bookstores across the nation have been shuttering. In some cases, consumers are just less interested in the stores’ God-blessed inventory. But plenty of others are just opting to purchase religious items from online retailers, with Christian bookstores humbled before the same digital market forces that felled secular mom-and-pop bookstores.

The flailing Christian bookstore industry reached code red status earlier this year when Family Christian Stores, touted as “the world’s largest retailer of Christian-themed merchandise,” declared it would shutter all of its 240 stores across America and lay off 3,000 employees. The 85-year-old chain said that “changing consumer behavior and declining sales” left it no choice…. Read this in full at
http://theweek.com/articles/720413/rise-fall-christian-bookstore

TEACH ME
Teach me, O God, so to use all the circumstances of my life to-day that they may bring forth in me the fruits of holiness rather than the fruits of sin:
Let me use disappointment as material for patience.
Let me use success as material for thankfulness.
Let me use suspense as material for perseverance.
Let me use danger as material for courage.
Let me use reproach as material for long-suffering.
Let me use praise as material for humility.
Let me use pleasures as material for temperance.
Let me use pains as material for endurance.
– John Baillie

INTERVARSITY CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP FOCUSES STUDENTS ON BIBLE STUDY
InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA is an interdenominational ministry to students and faculty on US college and university campuses, working with more than 41,000 core students and faculty on campuses nationwide.

Bible study is one of InterVarsity’s key activities…. Read this in full at
https://www.biblegateway.com/blog/2017/08/intervarsity-christian-fellowship-focuses-on-bible-study/

WHEN YOUR SPOUSE PUSHES YOUR BUTTONS
by Greg Smalley
My wife, Erin, our 17-year-old daughter, Murphy, and I were in Japan to present a marriage seminar. We arrived a few days early so we could see some of Tokyo. One of the can’t-miss attractions was a beautiful park called Meiji Shrine – a sprawling complex filled with ponds, old bridges and seemingly miles of paths. We put that on our itinerary and, in preparation for our daytrip, I researched how to walk there from our hotel, the best paths to take in the park and other details. I planned it perfectly, if I say so myself.

Or so I thought. We got lost a few times on the way to the park (my fault), and once we arrived, we were pretty exhausted. We walked through the entrance gate and almost immediately came to a fork in the road.

I wasn’t surprised. I’d studied the map and planned on taking the “long way,” which led to a beautiful bridge overlooking a gorgeous pond – perfect selfie location! …. Read this in full at
http://www.focusonthefamily.com/marriage/communication-and-conflict/to-resolve-conflict-open-your-heart

3 KEYS TO ENJOYING A SABBATH REST
by Chris Goswami
How should Christians think about and enjoy the Sabbath? Chris Goswami shares some tips

Are you tired? I mean right now?

I am. And I am guessing I’m not the only one. Tiredness seems to be a disease of our time.

I used to think it was strange that in the defining list of commandments God gives his people …”don’t murder, don’t commit adultery, don’t steal” … we find the slightly out of place instruction “and make sure you get some rest”. Not just rest, Sabbath Rest…. Read this in full at
https://www.premierchristianity.com/Blog/3-keys-to-enjoying-a-Sabbath-rest

IN THE OLD TESTAMENT, WAS GOD GUILTY OF “GENOCIDE”?
by Richard Ostling
There’s been important debate on this issue recently, and a new book proposes sweeping reinterpretation of the Old Testament depiction of Israel’s “Conquest” of the Holy Land under Joshua.

Richard Dawkins, a fervent foe of religion, indicts the biblical God for inciting “genocide” in the Bible’s conquest passages and verses like Deuteronomy 20:16-18 that direct believers to wipe out neighboring populations. Many U.S. Jews and Christians frankly admit this material is troubling.

Let’s begin with three standard Jewish commentaries on those Deuteronomy verses…. Read this in full at
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/religionqanda/2017/08/old-testament-god-guilty-genocide/#Qa3Tmk5VLeE85VT1.99

MEN OF THE BIBLE: HOSEA
His name means: “Yahweh Has Delivered”

His work: Hosea was a prophet in Israel. Like other prophets, his charge was to call the people to repentance. However, he was also called to show them by his own life what it felt like to be a forgotten and yet merciful God.

His character: In obedience Hosea was willing to abandon his own dreams and marry a harlot. His love foreshadowed Christ’s love for the church.

His sorrow: His unrepentant and unfaithful wife left him with their three children and a deep, aching hurt.

His triumph: Because of his selflessness and his willingness to forgive, his wife Gomer was restored…. Read this in full at
https://www.biblegateway.com/devotionals/men-of-the-bible/2017/09/01

BENTON SCHOOLS TO BECOME FIRST IN ARKANSAS TO DISPLAY ‘IN GOD WE TRUST’
Schools in the Benton School District will soon become the first in the state to display the country’s motto on their walls after a donation from a Sardis church.

Pleasant Hill Baptist Church has pledged to donate “In God We Trust” signs to every school, which the youth pastor said will cost the congregation about $300.

“Our church discussed it very briefly of, ‘Absolutely, that’s something we want to be a part of,'” said Chris Reed. “Though we may differ on what ‘In God We Trust’ means specifically, I think we can all agree that there’s a greater calling in our life that’s greater than us.” …. Read this in full at
http://www.arkansasmatters.com/news/local-news/benton-schools-to-become-first-in-ar-to-display-in-god-we-trust/801609201

HOW RELIGION MOTIVATES PEOPLE TO GIVE AND SERVE
by David King
Saturday, August 19 is World Humanitarian Day – a time to remember the tremendous humanitarian need around the world.

The stark reality is that the world is facing the greatest humanitarian crisis since 1945: Mass starvations are threatening millions of people in South Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen, while an unmatched refugee crisis continues in Syria.

World Humanitarian Day is also a time to remember the sacrifice of those who risk their lives to serve. What often gets ignored, however, is the role that faith plays in people’s desire to give and serve. This is where I focus my research…. Read this in full at
https://theconversation.com/how-religion-motivates-people-to-give-and-serve-81662

STATE DEPARTMENT: ISIS POSES A GRAVE THREAT TO RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
In a recent report on international religious freedom, the US State Department highlighted how the Middle Eastern terrorist group ISIS remains one of the world’s most significant threats to religious freedom.

“America’s promotion of international religious freedom demands standing up for the rights of the world’s most vulnerable populations,” says Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in the preface to the report. “ISIS’ brutal treatment of religious and ethnic minorities in the Middle East has drawn a great degree of attention over the last few years.” …. Read this in full at
http://createsend.com/t/r-F457D053AA9288972540EF23F30FEDED

CONSIDER
“There can be no doubt that possessive clinging to things is one of the most harmful habits in the Christian life. Because it is so natural, it is rarely recognized for the evil that it is. But its outworkings are tragic.”
– A. W. Tozer

VERSE TO PONDER
Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, yes, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.
– Isaiah 41:10
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+41%3A10&version=MEV;NIV;GNT;TLB

THIS WEEK’S HYMN: LORD, LET THY SPIRIT
Words: Valdimar Briem (1848-1930)
Music: Andreas P. Berggreen (1801-1880)

Lord, let Thy Spirit, from earthly passion weaning,
Lead me along Thy will’s all-holy way,
To find by faith, on Jesus’ bosom leaning,
’Mid trial, doubt and need, in Him my stay.

Lord, let Thy Spirit, new love and life bestowing,
Create a holy heart my breast within;
That I, into my Savior’s likeness growing,
May bear His image through a world of sin.

Lord, let Thy Spirit, Thy Word’s deep wealth unsealing,
Lighten mine eyes with truth’s celestial fire;
In life, in death, the narrow path revealing,
Unto the Promised Land of our desire.

>from NetHymnal at
http://nethymnal.org/htm/l/l/lltspirt.htm

ON PRAYER
“Prayer is not a way of making use of God; prayer is a way of offering ourselves to God in order that He should be able to make use of us. It may be that one of our great faults in prayer is that we talk too much and listen too little. When prayer is at its highest we wait in silence for God’s voice to us; we linger in His presence for His peace and His power to flow over us and around us; we lean back in His everlasting arms and feel the serenity of perfect security in Him.”
– William Barclay (1907-1978), The Plain Man’s Book of Prayers, London: Collins, 1959, p. 21

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

[As you travel on business or vacation, let me know if you’d like
the 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.

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

Selective Attention Test
https://youtu.be/vJG698U2Mvo

Mid-air Paintball Collisions in Slow Mo – The Slow Mo Guys
https://youtu.be/0fP_k6y9ows

A puppy encounters a lemon
https://youtu.be/JFIpCSmLVhs

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

(BTW: whenever the URLs in this newsletter are too long to turn into links on your email 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.)

What cheese is made backwards? Edam
Frank Coleman
Editor
rev.frank@gmail.com

Thanks for welcoming CONNECTIONS into your in-box!

CONNECTIONS is a periodic newsletter of announcements, news, recommendations, articles, and other information helpful 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 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.
Visit our website at: http://www.pathoflifeministries.net/

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