CONNECTIONS NEWS – 08/27/2017

Connecting man to man to God
For week of 8/27/2017
Issue 543
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

Whenever I feel my foot slipping, your faithful love steadies me, LORD. When my anxieties multiply, your comforting calms me down.
– Psalm 94:18-19
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+94%3A18-19&version=CEB;AMP;KJ21;BRG

CONSIDER
“The things which are not measurable are more important than those which are measurable.”
– Alexis Carrel

THE PROBLEM OF GOD: AN INTERVIEW WITH MARK CLARK
What conclusions about the Bible and God would you draw if you were raised in an atheistic home, struggled through your parents’ divorce, encountered health problems, and was by nature thoroughly skeptical?

Bible Gateway interviewed Mark Clark about his disarmingly winsome book, The Problem of God: Answering a Skeptic’s Challenges to Christianity (Zondervan, 2017).

Q: What’s the meaning of the title?

Mark Clark: The title is taken from an A.W. Tozer quote (which opens the book), that the problem of God (that he exists, and how we should respond to him) is the deepest and most profound question we must face and deal with as human beings.

The word “problem,” of course, has a double meaning: the first layer being like a math problem — an equation or challenge that needs a solution; the second being that, from a skeptic’s perspective, there are a litany of actual issues and problems that a person must deal with and defend if they’re going to believe in God. And those issues are what the book is about (defending belief of God scientifically, philosophically, historically, psychologically, and practically)…. Read this in full at
https://www.biblegateway.com/blog/2017/08/the-problem-of-god-an-interview-with-mark-clark/

FOOTBALL: AMERICA’S LEADING FALSE GOD
by Josh Buice
Fall is quickly approaching, but prior to the changing of the leaves on the trees will come Friday night lights. If the Christian life is the pursuit of God — countless families are on a relentless pursuit of football. Obsession is an understatement. Fanaticism is normal. The sport of American football is perhaps America’s leading false god. Some 36.2 million children in America play organized sports. Out of that number, approximately 1.2 million boys play organized football in America. The game is played by young children in recreational leagues, middle and high school, college, and if you’re good enough — you can suit up and play on the Lord’s Day.

In case you’re wondering, I have no axe to grind when it comes to the game of football. I enjoy the game itself and I’m coaching my son’s flag football team this season. I was recently asked about this very issue in a pastoral questions and answers session, so I thought an article would enable a more full response. I am concerned with how passionate people can become over a game — far more so than they are about the gospel and their service for the Lord. When 7 of the 10 Commandments are frequently broken on an average NFL game — we should take note. Consider the way football changes the lives of so many people throughout America — even those within the church who profess to be children of God…. Read this in full at
http://www.deliveredbygrace.com/football-leading-false-god/

ONE MORE TIME ON GAME OF THRONES
by Kevin DeYoung
I don’t understand Christians watching Game of Thrones. That’s what I said two weeks ago. And a bazillion blog and Facebook comments later, I still don’t understand.

This seems like an important enough issue-not the show itself, but the larger principle at stake-that I thought a follow up post might be helpful. Let me zip through a number of common criticisms and then finish with one salient point.

1. You haven’t even seen the show! True, but no one has tried to refute that Game of Thrones is full of graphic sex scenes. The facts of the matter aren’t in dispute.

2. Don’t like it? Then don’t watch it! That would be a fine point if the argument only concerned taste and preference. But what would you say if your son tried that line in defense of his pornography? …. Read this in full at
https://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/kevindeyoung/2017/08/22/one-more-time-on-game-of-thrones/

WHEN YOUR SPIRITUAL LIFE GOES FLAT
by Clare De Graaf
I’ve been asked often if I ever have times when my spiritual life feels flat and I don’t feel God’s presence.

Of course I do. I’ve never met a serious Christian who didn’t!

I’ve described periods in my relationship with Jesus, like an old married couple we’ve all seen, sitting across from each other at a restaurant, saying nothing to each other for minutes at a time. It’s painful to watch.

When I see that, I ask myself, “What happened to their relationship? Did those silences start with 10-20 seconds of not communicating and then slowly grew from there into these long silences?” The scary part is that they’ve been doing this for so long they’re probably not even embarrassed about it. It’s their new normal.

In the same way, the most frightening thing for me about being spiritually flat is that I might get used to it. So, what do I do to bring me back to my first love? …. Read this in full at
http://www.claredegraaf.com/2017/08/21/when-your-spiritual-life-goes-flat/

GOOD IN BED
by Gary Thomas
We can be so quick to judge and evaluate our spouse, and it can become so natural to our way of thinking, almost a “default mode,” to be honest, that it’s helpful sometimes to look into a mirror and ask ourselves some provocative questions. Here’s one that cuts right to the quick. It might sound a little uncomfortable, but it has relevance far beyond the bedroom: “Am I good in bed?” …. Read this in full at
http://www.garythomas.com/good-in-bed/

AN ELITE CHESS PLAYER WHO’S OPEN ABOUT HIS FAITH
by Wesley So
On the small planet where elite chess players dwell, very few people worship Jesus Christ. If anyone discovers that you’re one of those “superstitious,” “narrow-minded idiots,” you’re likely to see nasty comments accumulate on your Facebook fan page. On a regular basis, I receive emails from strangers lecturing me about the dangers of following Jesus. Out of pity or disgust, they wonder how I, the world’s second-ranked chess player, can be so “weak-minded.”

I have been assured that identifying openly as a Christian will interfere with sponsorship, support, and invitations to events. I have been told that spending time reading my Bible, praying, and going to church will inevitably weaken my performance. People plead with me to at least keep quiet. They say thanking God publicly makes me look ridiculous.

So why did I make such a risky move? …. Read this in full at
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2017/september/im-rare-breed-elite-chess-player-whos-open-about-his-faith.html

CULTIVATING THE PRACTICE OF READING SCRIPTURE
by Joel B. Green
While teaching at a conference some years ago, I was startled when a participant announced that he could not imagine how any Republican could claim to take the Bible seriously. Not long afterward, I witnessed a repeat performance in another setting, except in this case we were told that Republicans alone read Scripture correctly. This reminds me of what I imagine to be a first-century “battle for the Bible”: Pharisees, Christ-followers, and Sadducees, all reading the same Scriptures but reading them quite differently, and reaching diverse conclusions about the nature of faithfulness to God. How can this be?

Clearly, a lot has to do with our formation as readers of Scripture and not only with the words written on the page. This underscores the importance of reading Scripture as a “practice,” since the idea of “practice” assumes circularity: Formed by our reading of Scripture, we become better readers of Scripture. This is not because we become better skilled at applying biblical principles. The practice of reading Scripture is not about learning how to mold the biblical message to contemporary lives and modern needs. Rather, the Scriptures yearn to reshape how we comprehend our lives and identify our greatest needs. We find in Scripture who we are and what we might become, so that we come to share its assessment of our situation, encounter its promise of restoration, and hear its challenge to serve God’s good news…. Read this in full at
http://fullerstudio.fuller.edu/cultivating-practice-reading-scripture/

CHRISTIAN, DO YOU LOVE GOD’S LAW?
by Sinclair Ferguson
At a PGA Tour tournament in October 2015, Ben Crane disqualified himself after completing his second round. He did so at considerable financial cost. No matter – Crane believed the personal cost of not doing it would be greater (encouraged by a devotional article he had read that morning by Davis Love III, the distinguished former Ryder Cup captain).

Crane realized he had broken one of the more recondite rules of golf. If I followed the story rightly, while in a hazard looking for his ball, he leaned his club on a stone. He abandoned the ball, took the requisite penalty for doing so, played on, and finished his round. He would have made the Friday night cut comfortably; a very successful weekend financially beckoned. Then Ben Crane thought: “Should I have included a penalty for grounding my club in a hazard?” Sure enough (Rule 13.4a). So he disqualified himself.

Crane has been widely praised for his action. No avalanche of spiteful or demeaning attacks on cyberspace or hate mail for being narrow-minded. All honor to him. Intriguingly, no one seems to have said or written, “Ben Crane is such a legalist.”

No, we are not starting a new sports column this month. But how odd it is to see so much praise for his detailed attention to the rules of golf, and yet the opposite when it comes to the rules of life, the (much more straightforward) law of God, even in the church.

There is a problem somewhere…. Read this in full at
http://www.ligonier.org/blog/christian-do-you-love-gods-law/

4 KEY INGREDIENTS IN A DEVOTIONAL READING OF SCRIPTURE
by Bruce Ashford
When the resurrected Lord rebuked the church of Ephesus for leaving its first love, he was also serving notice to Christians of all times that they must work hard not to lose the passionate commitment and joy that attends our conversion. This should remind us that the Christian life has many temptations, none of which are more insidious than leaving our “first love” (Rev. 2:4).

The temptation lurks around the corner for every Christian, but perhaps more so for “professional Christians” such as pastors, professors, and seminary students. Perhaps it is such a temptation for us because we study and teach the Bible for a living. Gradually, and without notice, we slip into the habit of viewing it more as an object to be dissected than a living Word to be received…. Read this in full at
http://bruceashford.net/2016/4-key-ingredients-in-a-devotional-reading-of-scripture/

HOW TO HAVE FAITH WHEN YOU’RE AFRAID
by Paul Tripp
Do you ever feel as if your Christian faith is like a roller coaster ride? Sometimes my spiritual life feels that way.

There are seasons when my faith feels sky high and rock solid. I’m confident in the Lord’s plans for my life, my identity is secure in Christ alone, and my excitement for the gospel can barely be contained.

And then there are the low points, when the opposite feels true. I know you can relate.

Why do we experience such highs and lows? Of course, there are multiple reasons, but as I’ve studied the bible, counseled others, and examined my own heart, I keep bumping into a common conclusion: For Christians, it’s very tempting for us to hook our everyday faith to our everyday circumstances…. Read this in full at
https://www.paultripp.com/wednesdays-word/posts/how-to-have-faith-when-youre-afraid

GOD OR THE DIVINE IS REFERENCED IN EVERY STATE CONSTITUTION
The US Constitution never explicitly mentions God or the divine, but the same cannot be said of the nation’s state constitutions. In fact, God or the divine is mentioned at least once in each of the 50 state constitutions and nearly 200 times overall, according to a Pew Research Center analysis.

All but four state constitutions – those in Colorado, Iowa, Hawaii, and Washington – use the word “God” at least once. The constitutions in Colorado, Iowa and Washington refer to a “Supreme Being” or “Supreme Ruler of the Universe,” while Hawaii’s constitution makes reference to the divine only in its preamble, which states that the people of Hawaii are “grateful for Divine Guidance.” …. Read this in full at
http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/08/17/god-or-the-divine-is-referenced-in-every-state-constitution/

MEN OF THE BIBLE: JEREMIAH
His name may mean: “Yahweh Has Exalted” or “Yahweh Has Established”
His work: Though Jeremiah’s prophecies were primarily directed toward Judah, the Lord also gave him prophetic messages for other nations of the world. His ministry took place during the last forty years of Judah’s existence, from 627-586 BC.

His character: Jeremiah has often been called “the weeping prophet.” He struggled with feelings of insecurity, doubt, and alienation. Because of the constant opposition he faced, he became so depressed that he cursed the day of his birth. Despite the cost to himself, he spoke the word of the Lord with uncompromising honesty…. Read this in full at
http://contentz.mkt4731.com/mson/2017/08/23/f77RvSi2hbVs/index.html

VERSE TO PONDER
The one who has the Son has life. The one who doesn’t have God’s Son does not have life.
– 1 John 5:12
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+John+5%3A12&version=CEB;CSB;CJB;CEV

CONSIDER
“A man who gives into temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later.”
– C. S. Lewis

WHERE DOES REAL BIBLE READING BEGIN?
by John Piper
Real, God-glorifying, life-giving Bible reading doesn’t even begin in us until God causes us to be born again, until the Spirit works in us to see the word of God and the person of God in the word, as irresistibly beautiful, true, good, and desirable (1 Peter 1:23).

And then, once the Spirit causes us to be born again to read the Bible rightly, we do not “graduate” to reading the Bible in our own power. From the point of the new birth, all of our Bible reading must rest on the new appetite, the new taste that God has given to us. We never move on from God’s help in Bible reading, which means that as long as we depend on God’s help, we can be sure that his purposes for our reading will succeed…. Read this in full at
http://www.desiringgod.org/where-does-real-bible-reading-begin

THE SEISMIC SHIFT IN CHRIST’S TEACHING
by John MacArthur
One very busy day near the end of Jesus’ second year of public ministry, the whole character of His teaching changed. The continual rejection of His teaching by hostile Pharisees triggered a massive and sudden shift. He stopped preaching straightforward sermons peppered with key prophetic texts from the Old Testament. From that point on, whenever He taught publicly, He spoke in parables.

While parables can help illustrate and explain truth to anyone who listens with an hear of faith, their primary biblical function is to conceal truth from unwilling and unbelieving auditors-by neatly wrapping the mysteries of Christ’s kingdom in familiar symbols and simple stories. This is not an incidental point. It was Jesus’ own declared purpose to “utter things hidden.” Everything He taught from that day forward would be concealed from everyone except those with ears to hear…. Read this in full at
https://www.gty.org/library/blog/B170807

A TRIUMPH OF FAITH
by Lee Strobel
The year was 1949. Thirty-year-old Billy Graham was unaware that he was on the brink of being catapulted into worldwide fame and influence. Ironically, as he readied himself for his breakthrough crusade in Los Angeles, he found himself grappling with uncertainty — not over the existence of God or the divinity of Jesus but over the fundamental issue of whether he could totally trust what his Bible was telling him.

In his autobiography, Graham said he felt as if he were being stretched on a rack. Pulling him toward God was Henrietta Mears, the bright and compassionate Christian educator who had a thorough understanding of modern scholarship and an abounding confidence in the reliability of the Scriptures. Yanking him the other way was Graham’s close companion and preaching colleague, thirty-three-year-old Charles Templeton…. Read this in full at
http://contentz.mkt4731.com/mson/2017/08/25/hucGK0oawkCM/index.html

COMMUNICATE LIKE CHRIST: 5 WAYS TO BE MORE PERSUASIVE
by Steve Adams
Jesus had a tough ask when you think about it. Join an intangible kingdom led by a man predicting his own death and claiming to be God. Yet he still persuaded people to follow him. And it wasn’t just the twelve disciples (or even the 72 who were sent out in Luke 10). Thousands gathered to hear Jesus speak and the Gospels record how “large crowds” followed him everywhere.

Jesus managed to be persuasive and communicate God’s message with power using the same Holy Spirit he gave to us. Yet it somehow seems harder today. What are we missing? Is there something in our communication in church, society and culture, which we should have clocked by now – something about how Jesus structured his communication to trigger his listeners’ brains? …. Read this in full at
https://www.premierchristianity.com/Past-Issues/2017/August-2017/Communicate-like-Christ-5-ways-to-be-more-persuasive

WWII SHIP’S DISCOVERY PROMPTS SURVIVOR TO ‘PRAISE THE LORD’
by David Roach
When Edgar Harrell learned about the recovery of the U.S. Navy destroyer whose sinking he survived 72 years ago, his first reaction was “praise the Lord!”

“I’m so excited,” Harrell, 92, told Baptist Press. “It kind of brings closure.”

The USS Indianapolis’ discovery was announced Aug. 19 by Paul Allen, an entrepreneur whose research ship located the wreckage 3.5 miles below the surface of the Philippines Sea. The Indianapolis was sunk by Japanese torpedoes July 30, 1945, after delivering the contents of the famous “Little Boy” atomic bomb to the western Pacific island of Tinian during the closing days of World War II…. Read this in full at
http://www.bpnews.net/49416/wwii-ships-discovery-prompts-survivor-to-praise-the-lord

SATAN HAS A FORKED TONGUE
by Emma Scrivener
Satan whispers, “Don’t worry about that sin, that pattern, that temptation. It’s no big deal.’

Then when you fall for it, he shouts, “You’ve blown it! What a wretch you are! God won’t want to hear from you now, not for another fortnight at least. Not till you’ve made it all better.”

But you can’t make it better. And the whispers start again…. Read this in full at
http://emmascrivener.net/2017/02/forked-tongue/

LAY ASIDE THE WEIGHT OF INSINCERITY
by Jon Bloom
Just like everyone seems to value patience, kindness, and forgiveness, so we all value sincerity in theory. No one says, “Hypocrisy is a great character quality,” or, “I aim to be as disingenuous as possible,” or, “Please, just be two-faced with me.” But like patience, kindness, and forgiveness, sincerity is far easier to affirm than to practice.

Each new day confronts us with numerous temptations to be insincere. In fact, it’s likely that we’re more insincere than we realize, since insincerity is a pervasive cultural practice. It’s woven into our rituals of social courtesy. Greeting: “Hey! How’s it going?” Expected response: “Great!” Christian subcultures also have insincere courtesies: “I’m so sorry to hear that. I’ll be praying for you.”

But it goes far deeper and serious than superficial courtesies. Society places high value on success, wealth, power, and fame (or “popularity” at lower levels). Remarkable achievement, or the appearance of it, in one or more of these value categories earns social admiration, which our sinful pride craves. This powerful craving begins to shape our thoughts and behaviors early in life, and we develop habits of insincerity that manipulate others’ perceptions of our achievements in these value categories in order to gain social admiration. These habits can become so ingrained that we are only dimly aware of or sometimes even blind to them…. Read this in full at
http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/lay-aside-the-weight-of-insincerity

MEET THE MAN WHO BEFRIENDS WHITE SUPREMACISTS, CAUSING HUNDREDS TO LEAVE THE KKK
Daryl Davis’ first encounter with racism came at the age of ten while marching in a Cub Scout parade. A white crowd threw bottles, rocks, and pop cans at Davis, the only black person in the parade. formulating a powerful question in his mind.

That day a question entered his mind that has never left: “How can you hate me when you don’t even know me?”

His interest in white supremacy only grew after his first encounter with one in 1974. In a high school class on 20th Century issues, the head of the American Nazi party pointed at Davis and another black student and said, “I’m going to send you back to Africa.” That shocking interaction drove Davis to research supremacist groups…. Read this in full at
http://www.kevinhalloran.net/meet-the-man-who-befriends-white-supremacists-causing-hundreds-to-leave-the-kkk/

THE KING JAMES STUDY BIBLE, FULL COLOR EDITION FEATURES SCHOLARSHIP OF CONSERVATIVE SCHOLARS
Thomas Nelson announces the release of The King James Study Bible, Full Color Edition (Thomas Nelson, 2017), the only Bible featuring extensive commentary, doctrinal notes, archaeological insights, and time-tested study aids developed exclusively for the King James Version…. Read this in full at
https://www.biblegateway.com/blog/2017/08/the-king-james-study-bible-full-color-edition-features-scholarship-of-conservative-scholars/

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT WHITE NATIONALISM
What is white nationalism?
White nationalism is a type of ethno-nationalism that combines elements of nationalism with the white identity movement.

White nationalism is the belief that national identity should be built around white ethnicity, and that white people should therefore maintain both a demographic majority and dominance of the nation’s culture and public life…. Read this in full at
http://erlc.cmail20.com/t/ViewEmail/r/3C4F7D07BFB9DB8A2540EF23F30FEDED/A8455302FF9D3110D8E2A916412CAE5B

CONSIDER
“If your hopes are being disappointed just now, it means that they are being purified.”
– Oswald Chambers

VERSE TO PONDER
I rejoice in the content of your laws as if I were rejoicing over great wealth.
– Psalm 119:14
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+119%3A14&version=CEB;DARBY;ERV;ESV

THIS WEEK’S HYMN: LORD, IN THY PRESENCE DREAD AND SWEET
Words: Anonymous, circa 1850
Music: by Henry W. Beecher, 1855

Lord, in Thy presence dread and sweet,
Thine own dear Spirit we entreat
His sevenfold gifts to shed
On us, who fall before Thee now,
Bearing the cross upon our brow
On which our Master bled.

Spirit of wisdom! turn our eyes
From earth and earthly vanities,
To heavenly truth and love.
Spirit of understanding true!
Our souls with holy light endue
To seek the things above.

Spirit of counsel! be our guide;
Teach us by earthly struggles tried
Our heavenly crown to win.
Spirit of fortitude! Thy power
Be with us in temptation’s hour,
To keep us pure from sin.

Spirit of knowledge! lead our feet
In Thine own paths secure and sweet,
By angel footsteps trod;
Where Thou our Guardian true shalt be,
Spirit of gentle piety!
To keep us close to God.

But most of all, be ever near,
Spirit of God’s most holy fear,
In our heart’s inmost shrine:
Our souls with loving reverence fill,
To worship His most holy will,
All righteous and divine.

So, dearest Lord, through peace or strife,
Led us to everlasting life,
Where only rest may be.
What matter where our lot is cast,
If only it may end at last
In paradise with Thee!

>from NetHymnal at
http://nethymnal.org/htm/l/i/t/litpdras.htm

ON PRAYER
“Meanwhile, little people like you and me, if our prayers are sometimes granted, beyond all hope and probability, had better not draw hasty conclusions to our own advantage. If we were stronger, we might be less tenderly treated. If we were braver, we might be sent, with far less help, to defend far more desperate posts in the great battle.”
– C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), The Efficacy of Prayer [1958], Cincinnati: Forward Movement, 2003, back cover

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

Dog Vs Medicine
https://youtu.be/7SRjeyE9P54

Video: Lego Beach Roller Coaster
https://youtu.be/C-8hgoFZW8k

Video: Condor visits man who saved his life
https://youtu.be/P_ObxCVnhvs

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What goes up and down without moving?
Stairs
Frank Coleman
Editor
rev.frank@gmail.com

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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.
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