CONNECTIONS News – 02/05/2012

Connecting man to man to God
For week of February 5, 2012
Issue 394

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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But this is precisely what is written: God has prepared things for those who love him that no eye has seen, or ear has heard, or that haven’t crossed the mind of any human being.”
1 Corinthians 2:9 (CEB)

CONSIDER
Christ has no body on earth now but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours. Yours are the eyes through which to look out Christ’s compassion to the world. Yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good, and yours are the hands with which he is to bless us now.”
Teresa of Avila

THE ROLE OF FAITH IN BUSH WHITE HOUSE EXAMINED
When former White House aide Timothy Goeglein realized he had been caught in a plagiarism scandal, he collapsed as a broken man, gripping the cross of Christ and genuinely hating himself.

After nearly eight years as deputy director of the White House Office of Public Liaison, serving as the key point of contact between President George W. Bush and faith-based leaders, Goeglein had been exposed. He had “knowingly and repeatedly” plagiarized columns in his hometown newspaper.

“I was deceptive, and it was all rooted in vanity and pride,” Goeglein writes in his memoir, “The Man in the Middle” from B&H Publishing Group.

Goeglein promptly resigned his post in disgrace and prepared for a “much-deserved woodshed moment” with Bush. Instead, he experienced what he describes as the greatest professional moment of his life…. Read this in full at
http://www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=37072

SUNDAY RELIGION, MONDAY REALITY
Do faith and work mix? And if so, as America’s workforce increasingly wants meaning beyond a paycheck, do pastors help? From a recent national study commissioned by Dallas-based LeTourneau University’s Center for Faith & Work (http://centerforfaithandwork.com/), answers are, “Yes,” and “Not enough.”

“Ninety-three percent of pastors say they want to help members of their congregations integrate faith and work but fully two-thirds of them admit their efforts fall short,” Bill Peel, Center for Faith & Work executive director, said. “People work more, and better, when their labor carries a sense of calling. But most employers can’t give it, and most pastors don’t.” …. Read this in full at
http://www.christiannewswire.com/news/9826418805.html

DON’T FORGET
Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14

COMMON ENGLISH BIBLE BEING USED FOR NATIONAL GROUP READING
The new bestselling Bible translation Common English Bible (http://CommonEnglishBible.com) is being adopted by churches to help people become more scripturally literate.

One such church is the 6200-member Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago, reading the entire Bible in a year (http://www.fourthchurch.org/bibleyear.html) and making its program available to anyone internationally online. It conducts two weekly Bible studies, as well as offers daily devotions on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/fourthchurch) and Twitter (http://twitter.com/FourthChicago)….

Also, a new embeddable 60-second video is now available online (http://vimeo.com/CommonEnglishBible), showing how the Common English Bible is an uncommon translation that clearly communicates in today’s terms God’s message of love to everyone, no matter what age, gender, station in life, or other personal outlook…. Read this in full at
http://www.religionnews.com/press-releases/common-english-bible-being-used-for-national-group-reading

SUB-KINGDOM QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
by Clare De Graaf
Q. Clare, please help me better understand the people in my sub-kingdom?
A. It may help to think of your sub-kingdom as four concentric circles of people over whom you have authority or influence and I’ve listed them in what I believe are the priorities given in scripture:
1. My family
2. Fellow Christians
3. The poor, aliens, the hopeless, and helpless
4. My non-Christian friends and acquaintances.

All of these people who I personally know or will know in the future have been put in my life for a reason and with each circle, I have diminishing authority and influence. Nevertheless Jesus has entrusted them to my care (and he’s undoubtedly entrusted other believers with overlapping influence with the same people.) …. Read this in full at
http://www.claredegraaf.com/2012/01/30/sub-kingdom-questions-and-answers/

ON FAITH AND WORKS
It is an unhappy division that has been made between faith and works. Though in my intellect I may divide them, just as in a candle I know there is both light and heat; but yet, put out the candle and they are both gone; one remains not without the other.” So it is betwixt faith and works.”
John Selden

PATRIOTS’ SLATER A SPIRITUAL LEADER FOR TEAMMATES
As the son of an NFL Hall of Famer, Matthew Slater of the New England Patriots had some advantages when it came to learning the game of football.

His father, Jackie Slater, was a longtime offensive tackle for the Los Angeles Rams, and he certainly passed along his knowledge of the game to Matthew. When Matthew stepped onto the field in Indianapolis for Super Bowl XLVI, he shared a special experience with his dad, who in 1980 played in Super Bowl XIV.

“He can relate to me in a lot of ways that some fathers wouldn’t be able to,” Matthew said of his dad. “The experiences he’s been able to share, the advice that he’s passed along — both spiritually and from a football point of view — has been unbelievable. It’s a very special bond that he and I have.”

Especially the faith in Jesus Christ that Jackie modeled and taught…. Read this in full at
http://www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=37088

HOW OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST SCOTT HAMILTON FOUND JESUS
Many would know Scott Hamilton as an Olympic gold medalist and a figure skating commentator who had cancer, but few had an idea on how he accepted Christ until his video was featured on the “I Am Second” website.

In his video testimony, the former skater recounts a tough journey that began when he was little. He suffered from what was a mysterious disease at that time that stopped him from growing.

“I was in and out of hospitals for years and I was never really home,” he shares. When he returned home after countless hospital visits, he ended up going to “the skating club thing just by accident.”

“And I found skating which kind of took on a life of its own.”

From that point on, however, he would face many more tragedies, including the death of his mother who was battling cancer. That devastation awakened something in him. “I knew I needed something more,” he recalls…. Read this in full at
http://www.christianpost.com/news/how-olympic-gold-medalist-scott-hamilton-found-jesus-68160/

LINEBACKER’S FAITH PULLS HIM THROUGH TOUGH SPOT
by Ericka Sanders, Indianapolis Recorder
Gary Brackett’s life reads like a movie. He was a walk on at Rutgers University; yet by his senior year he was named defensive captain and won the team’s defensive MVP honors.

The linebacker went undrafted in 2003, but was signed by the Indianapolis Colts as a free agent. What should have been the beginning of the happiest times in his life was the beginning of the most tragic.

During a 17-month span, Brackett lost his mother, father and brother. In October 2003, his father, Granville died of a heart attack. Three months later, his mother Sandra went into the hospital for a routine hysterectomy and suffered a stroke in the recovery room. Brackett made the decision to take her off life support. Not long after, his brother Greg was diagnosed with T-cell leukemia. Despite a bone marrow transplant from Brackett, Greg died a few months later.
What got him through? His faith in God…. Read this in full at
http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/02/01/colts-linebackers-belief-pulls-him-through-tough-spot/

JOHN PIPER: GOD GAVE CHRISTIANITY A ‘MASCULINE FEEL’
God’s intention for Christianity is for it to have a “masculine feel,” evangelist John Piper declared Jan. 31.
“God revealed Himself in the Bible pervasively as king not queen; father not mother,” Piper said at this year’s annual pastors conference hosted by the Desiring God ministry. “Second person of the Trinity is revealed as the eternal Son not daughter; the Father and the Son create man and woman in His image and give them the name man, the name of the male.”

He continued, “God appoints all the priests in the Old Testament to be men; the Son of God came into the world to be a man; He chose 12 men to be His apostles; the apostles appointed that the overseers of the Church be men; and when it came to marriage they taught that the husband should be the head.”

“Now, from all of that I conclude that God has given Christianity a masculine feel. And being God, a God of love, He has done that for our maximum flourishing both male and female.” …. Read this in full at
http://www.christianpost.com/news/john-piper-god-gave-christianity-a-masculine-feel-68385/

CELEBRATING 103 YEARS OF SWEET SOUNDS
Turning 103 on Feb. 1, George Beverly Shea’s heart is as joyful as that of a child. “Karlene and I rejoice in the Lord’s overwhelming grace to give me 103 years of life!” he exclaimed.

And while he didn’t party like a teenager, the youthful centenarian celebrated the day in the company of his family and in quiet reflection, reading greetings from around the world now pouring in to him.

He says he is especially thankful for the dear people with whom he has ministered and traveled the world since the day he met Billy Graham in 1943. “For all these years, the fellowship of the BGEA team has been precious as I have sought to serve the Lord,” says Shea…. Read this in full at
http://www.billygraham.org/articlepage.asp?articleid=8455

See George Beverly Shea sing How Great Thou Art
http://youtu.be/BL1vUY_qu-E

LOOKING FOR JESUS IN ALL THE WRONG PLACES
by Mark Galli
I recently found myself in worship singing,
Open the eyes of my heart, Lord
Open the eyes of my heart
I want to see You
I want to see You.

And then I ducked. I ducked because I suddenly remembered that God had warned Moses that if Moses actually saw God, he would instantly die. Instead, God offered to cover Moses’ eyes while he passed by, and then, once he passed by Moses, to let Moses see his “backside.”

Since I didn’t want to die that instant — I had a playoff game to watch after church — I stopped singing. But I didn’t want others to think I didn’t love God, so I started singing again, but quietly, with a revised text:
Cover the eyes of my heart, Lord
Cover the eyes of my heart
I want to see your backside
I want to see your backside.

This version failed to inspire me for some reason, so I stopped singing the chorus again, even though it risked my Christian reputation. Still, I joined in heartily at these lines:
To see you high and lifted up
Shining in the light of your glory
Lord, pour out your power and love
as we sing Holy, Holy, Holy.

And then I remembered that, according to Paul, “high and lifted up” is precisely where God is not to be found. I was singing like those who expect to see God in wondrous signs and others who think they’ll find him in glorious wisdom. But Paul said that Jesus is not to be found “high and lifted up” but “down and lowly”: “For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified” (1 Cor. 1:22–23, ESV)…. Read this in full at
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2012/januaryweb-only/lookingforjesus.html

PROMISEDLAND MINISTRIES BRINGS HELP AND HOPE TO NIGERIA
A Winnipeg couple is working to transform their home country of Nigeria for the better with an organization they have founded called Promisedland Ministries.

But instead of just raising money to send back to the West Africa nation, ‘Segun and Titi Olude want to encourage fellow Nigerian-Canadians to travel back to their homeland and get involved with rebuilding the country.

“We’re trying to help people think differently about what a mission is, and what a mission in life actually is,” ‘Segun says. “We are starting to see people responding.”

The Oludes immigrated to Canada in 1989 so that ‘Segun could further his education as a graphic designer…. Read this in full at
http://www.christianweek.org/stories.php?id=1877

THE LAND CRIES OUT
by Todd Svanoe
An inspiring prophet-activist resists the devastation caused by drug lords, greedy corporations, and corrupt governments in the most dangerous state in Mexico…. Read this in full at
https://evangelicalsforsocialaction.org/document.doc?id=156&erid=287951

HOW TO FIGHT THE MAN
By David Brooks
A few weeks ago, a 22-year-old man named Jefferson Bethke produced a video called “Why I Hate Religion, but Love Jesus.” The video shows Bethke standing in a courtyard rhyming about the purity of the teachings of Jesus and the hypocrisy of the church. Jesus preaches healing, surrender and love, he argues, but religion is rigid, phony and stale. “Jesus came to abolish religion,” Bethke insists. “Religion puts you in bondage, but Jesus sets you free.”

The video went viral. It speaks for many young believers who feel close to God but not to the church. It represents the passionate voice of those who think their institutions lack integrity — not just the religious ones, but the political and corporate ones, too.

Right away, many older theologians began critiquing Bethke’s statements. A blogger named Kevin DeYoung pointed out, for example, that it is biblically inaccurate to say that Jesus hated religion. In fact, Jesus preached a religious doctrine, prescribed rituals and worshiped in a temple…. Read this in full at
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/03/opinion/brooks-how-to-fight-the-man.html

THE NEW BLACK THEOLOGY
by Jonathan Tran
A couple years ago, when the Century asked some leading theologians to name five “essential theology books of the past 25 years,” J. Kameron Carter’s Race: A Theological Account (Oxford University Press, 2008) was one of the few books mentioned more than once and the only one that was published in the past five years. Last year, the American Academy of Religion gave its Award for Excellence in the Study of Religion to Willie J. Jennings’s The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race (Yale University Press, 2010). These two influential works, together with Redeeming Mulatto: A Theology of Race and Christian Hybridity (Baylor University Press, 2010), by Brian Bantum (who studied at Duke with both Carter and Jennings), represent a major theological shift that will—if taken as seriously as it deserves—change the face not only of black theology but theology as a whole.

What is revolutionary about these three black theologians is that they rely heavily on dogmatic texts from the patristic period to the Reformation. Why is this novel? Because nonwhite male theologians have historically been hesitant to trust these sources—and for good reason. In the worst of times, classic theological texts have been used to oppress persons of color and women. In the best of times, the overwhelming attention given these particular voices obscured other voices, giving the impression that the only Christians speaking and writing about God for the last 2,000 years were European men. Those who did not fit that description simply did not know how to relate to a tradition that claimed to speak for but did not reflect them…. Read this in full at
http://christiancentury.org/article/2012-01/new-black-theology

WHY YOUNG MEN AREN’T MANNING UP
by Jonathan Sprowl
Where have the good men gone? This question is the catalyst for Kay Hymowitz’s book Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men into Boys, an indepth analysis of the state of the average middle-class American male in his twenties.

By her analysis, he has simply decided to remain a “pre-adult,” stuck between adolescence and adulthood. After reading her book it’s easy to understand why. In a nutshell, women, who graduate college in greater percentages (earning more degrees by a ratio of nearly 3:2) and with higher GPAs than men on average, are quickly making up ground in our current “knowledge economy,” which places a premium on educational credentials. While young women have been energized by historic, unprecedented opportunities for a self-supporting career in the workplace, young men have been gradually shrinking from adult responsibilities such as marriage, job, and family in favor of entertainment and diversion.

It’s an argument in the vein of Hannah Rosin’s seminal article for The Atlantic, “The End of Men,” and was recently picked up by William J. Bennett, author of The Book of Man. Their solution is invariably that men should simply man up, take responsibility, get married, adapt to the changing cultural environment…. Read this in full at
http://blog.kyria.com/culture/2012/01/why_young_men_arent_manning_up.html

‘FATHER’ AND ‘SON’ OUSTED FROM TRINITY IN NEW ARABIC BIBLE TRANSLATIONS
A decision by three major Christian organizations to remove the words “Father” and “Son” from new Arabic Bible versions because the terms are “offensive to Muslims” is stirring a controversy among critics, according to Yahoo! Contributor Network.

Wycliffe Bible Translators, Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL), and Frontiers are coming under fire for various translations in which “Father” and “Son” are replaced with the Arabic equivalents of “Lord” and “Messiah,” or in which “Father” is replaced with “Allah.”

The organizations argue that in certain cultures, the literal translation could “communicate an incorrect meaning,” but many church leaders in Arab countries, as well as experts in Christian-Muslim relations, say such a change is unnecessary. “This translation is an ‘all-American idea’ with absolutely no respect for the sacredness of Scripture, or even of the growing Turkish church,” said Turkish church leader Rev. Fikret Böcek. “We do not have the right as human beings to do that kind of manipulation to the text,” said Dr. Paul M. Elliott of Teaching The Word Ministries.

Nationwide, Christian leaders, missionaries, Bible translators, and pastors have started a public petition (http://www.change.org/petitions/lost-in-translation-keep-father-son-in-the-bible) to implore that the organizations stop producing such translations…. Read this in full at
http://news.yahoo.com/father-son-ousted-trinity-bible-translations-003300519.html

WHY IT MATTERS THAT GOD BECAME THE HUMAN PROTOTYPE
by Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen
A few years ago, Wired magazine reported on what it called “a star-studded panel of scientists” at the World Science Festival in New York City. The scientists had gathered to discuss what it means, from a scientific perspective, to be human.

Marvin Minsky, artificial intelligence pioneer, said the one thing we can do that other species can’t is remember; we have cultures, ways of transmitting information. Cognitive scientist Daniel Dennett said we are the first species that can reason with one another. Physicist Jim Gates said we are blessed with the ability to know our mother; that is, we are conscious of more than ourselves, and that just as a child sees a mother, the species sees mother universe. Neuroscientist Antonio Damasio said that the critical factor was language. And on it went. Some were excited that science might be the key to unlock what it means to be human, while others doubted science’s ability to do that.

The forum was typical of our age but unusual in the history of humankind. For most of history, philosophers and theologians, not scientists, have asked this question. But this question—What does it mean to be human?—does not puzzle only scientists and philosophers. It’s one we all ask ourselves in one form or another…. Read this in full at
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2012/january/humanprototype.html

HOW CAN SKEPTICS MAKE CONVINCING RELIGIOUS ART?
by Terry Teachout
Rarely have I seen a spectacle so disheartening as the cheerless, trash-strewn one-room flat that serves as the set for the Roundabout Theatre Company’s off-Broadway revival of John Osborne’s “Look Back in Anger.” In this production, reviewed elsewhere in today’s Journal, the only hint of beauty comes from the radio on which the play’s unhappy characters listen to Ralph Vaughan Williams’s radiant Fifth Symphony. Small wonder that it should offer them a glimpse of comfort and joy in the midst of their emotional turmoil. Like so much of Vaughan Williams’s music, the Fifth Symphony, which was composed during World War II, is deeply spiritual in tone, and it’s no surprise to learn that it was based on themes from his operatic version of “The Pilgrim’s Progress.”

Here’s the surprise: Vaughan Williams was a lifelong agnostic.

Now that the boutique atheism of such aggressive secularists as Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens has become chic, you might well ask yourself why any unbelieving artist would bother to turn his hand to the making of religious art. Indeed, most of the modern novelists who have placed matters of faith at the center of their work have been, like Graham Greene, C.S. Lewis, François Mauriac, and Flannery O’Connor, believers of one sort or another. But in every other branch of art, great works of devotional art have been created by skeptics, not a few of whom were fire-breathingly militant about their doubt…. Read this in full at
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204740904577195001661779194.html?mod=djemITP_h

REPAIR MARRIAGE AND ECONOMIC WOES WITH NATIONAL MARRIAGE WEEK USA (FEB. 7-14)
National Marriage Week USA (http://www.nationalmarriageweekusa.org) is growing fast in just its third year, posting thousands of marriage classes across the nation and building collaborative efforts for one week a year — February 7-14 — to strengthen marriages, reduce divorce, and increase the marriage rate, which curtails poverty, benefits children, and builds financial stability for our nation and for individuals.

“Our campaign to strengthen marriage is quite timely,” said Sheila Weber, executive director of National Marriage Week USA, the week leading up to Valentine’s Day each year. “A recent Pew Research Center analysis of US Census data said that in 1960, 72% of all adults ages 18 and older were married; today just 51% are – a record low.” …. Read this in full at
http://www.christiannewswire.com/news/2083618812.html

VERSE TO PONDER
Israel, listen! Our God is the LORD! Only the LORD! Love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your being, and all your strength.”
Deuteronomy 6:4-5 (CEB)

CONSIDER
We need to learn to set our course by the stars, not by the lights of every passing ship.”
Omar N. Bradley

OUR BODIES DO MATTER
by Elizabeth Evans Hagan
First Corinthians 6:11-20 can be the preacher’s worst nightmare — a passage full of directives about sex, food and all things bodily. Yet, I chose it as part of a six-part series about God’s calling on our lives. I just couldn’t ignore the body.

As I began writing this particular sermon, I realized that I’d never preached or heard a sermon on the topic of care for self, and I’ve been in church my whole life. Unless you are a pastor learning about self-care in a seminary class, it is rare in Christian culture that this topic ever comes up.

While many pastors might be able to say that we’ve cared for the sick and dying or that our giving and baptism numbers are up, when it comes to taking care of our own health we usually do a lousy job. We don’t really think our bodies matter that much, nor do we encourage our congregations to think much about theirs…. Read this in full at
http://www.abpnews.com/content/view/7105/9/

MAINLINE CHURCHES SEE SLOWEST GROWTH, RESEARCH SHOWS
Compared to other religious groups in the US, mainline denominations had the slowest growth rate with only 19% of their congregations reporting growth between 2005 and 2010, according to a researcher from The Episcopal Church.

By contrast, conservative Protestant churches had the highest growth rate at 43%, followed by non-Christian congregations with 33%.

C. Kirk Hardaway, Congregational Research Officer for the Episcopal Church and chairman of the research task force for the Cooperative Congregational Studies Partnership, presented the findings Jan. 31.

The study is based on surveys conducted by around 11,000 American congregations representing various Christian and non-Christian congregations. The growth rate of said congregations was measured from 2005 until 2010. Those filling out the survey were the leaders of the congregations, including clergy and laymen…. Read this in full at
http://www.christianpost.com/news/mainline-churches-see-slowest-growth-research-shows-68374/

15TH ANNIVERSARY OF WONDER BOOK BY CHILD EVANGELISM FELLOWSHIP
This year marks the fifteenth anniversary of the Wonder Book, a publication of Child Evangelism Fellowship (http://www.cefpress.com), the largest Christian ministry to children in the world. This small 64-page book, initially written for a modest outreach to explain the Christian faith to Arab children, has since been translated into over 100 languages with millions of copies distributed the world over.

The impetus for this book came through a request from Campus Crusade for Christ to CEF for a book to give eight to 12-year-old Arab children waiting at Mediterranean ports in Europe to return to North Africa. To meet the urgent request, Dr. Martha Wright, then vice president of education at CEF, and Ms. Lynda Pongracz, then leadership training instructor, sequestered themselves at Dr. Wright’s home and wrote this engaging and well-illustrated book in three days. It begins with the creation story and methodically makes the case for the necessity of Jesus Christ’s work on the cross. The book takes its title from its format which explains the Christian faith through a serious of thoughtful questions, such as, “Have You Ever Wondered Who the One True God Really Is? Have You Ever Wondered How the World Began? Have You Ever Wondered Why There Is So Much Trouble in the World?” …. Read this in full at
http://www.christiannewswire.com/news/3995518844.html

CELEBRATING THE BIRTHDAY OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN
by Bill Ellis
The large wall calendar that hangs in my office lists “Presidents’ Day” in large bright red numerals — as a day on which we could honor any president of the United States. Right in there with “Groundhog Day”, “Valentine’s Day”, Super Bowl number 46 and it is “Leap Year” with 29 days this month. How long has it been since we’ve had five Wednesdays in February?

Abraham Lincoln was born February 12, 1809. Wherever I have traveled in the world, people who might not know the name of any current president do know about President Lincoln who became our 16th President on March 4, 1861 and was inaugurated for his second term on March 4, 1865. John Wilkes Booth assassinated him, on April 14, 1865 in Ford’s Theater in Washington, DC…. Read this in full at
http://www.assistnews.net/Stories/2012/s12020010.htm

POLITICS AND PRAYERS
President Barack Obama called on lawmakers to allow their faith and values to guide them as they seek to solve the country’s “most urgent problems” including the sluggish economy and continuing involvements overseas, such as the war in Afghanistan.

Speaking at the 60th annual National Prayer Breakfast in Washington Feb. 2, the president said, “We know that part of living in a pluralistic society means that our personal religious beliefs alone can’t dictate our response to every challenge we face. But in my moments of prayer, I’m reminded that faith and values play an enormous role in motivating us to solve some of our most urgent problems, in keeping us going when we suffer setbacks, and opening our minds and our hearts to the needs of others.” …. Read this in full at
http://whitehouse.blogs.cnn.com/2012/02/02/politics-and-prayers/

Also see “At prayer breakfast and with birth-control decision, Obama riles religious conservatives”
http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/at-prayer-breakfast-and-with-birth-control-decision-obama-riles-religious-conservatives/2012/02/02/gIQAgy1blQ_story.html

WATCH THE NATIONAL PRAYER BREAKFAST
C-SPAN covered the event. Eric Metaxas, author of the New York Times bestselling ‘Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy’ (Thomas Nelson, 2010), offered a rousing keynote speech at today’s National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC, urging the assembled audience of over 3,500 leaders from the United States and around the world — including President Barack Obama and first lady, Michelle — to follow the example of the martyred German pastor in boldly living their faith and loving both their enemies and the ‘least of these’ — including political opponents, minorities and the unborn. He finished by leading the assembled in a rendition of ‘Amazing Grace’. See Metaxas introduced at 34:00 into the video
http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/NationalPrayerBreak

REMARKS BY PRESIDENT OBAMA AT THE NATIONAL PRAYER BREAKFAST FEB. 2
At a time when it’s easy to lose ourselves in the rush and clamor of our own lives, or get caught up in the noise and rancor that too often passes as politics today, these moments of prayer slow us down. They humble us. They remind us that no matter how much responsibility we have, how fancy our titles, how much power we think we hold, we are imperfect vessels. We can all benefit from turning to our Creator, listening to Him. Avoiding phony religiosity, listening to Him.” …. Read this in full at
http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/02/02/remarks-president-national-prayer-breakfast

WHY WE NEED THE NATIONAL PRAYER BREAKFAST
by Cal Thomas
It’s easy to be cynical about Washington. I was born in this city and even I occasionally throw up my hands in frustration when observing Republicans and Democrats at war with each other over the silliest and sometimes most important things in order to gain political advantage. Too often they appear more interested in themselves than the rest of the country.

The purpose of the National Prayer Breakfast is to attempt to bridge political and even religious differences through what is called “the spirit of Jesus of Nazareth” in order that leaders consider a Higher Authority to Whom they are ultimately accountable and answerable…. Read this in full at
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/guest-voices/post/why-we-need-the-national-prayer-breakfast/2012/02/01/gIQAbY1xhQ_blog.html

THE BIG BUSINESS OF SWINDLING PEOPLE WHO TRUST YOU
The term “affinity fraud” refers to scams in which the perpetrator uses personal contacts to swindle a specific group, such as a church congregation, a rotary club, a professional circle, or an ethnic community. Once the scammer gains their trust, his scam spreads like smallpox. Most affinity frauds are Ponzi schemes, in which money from new investors is used to repay old ones, or is siphoned off by the promoters.

The Bernie Madoff fraud fed on multiple affinity circles: wealthy Jews in Florida and Israel, country-club types and European old money, lured with help from marketers running “feeder” funds. The next-largest alleged investment fraud of recent years, the $7 billion collapse of Allen Stanford’s empire, also concerned specific groups, including the Latin American and Libyan diasporas and Southern Baptists. Mr Stanford’s trial began on January 23rd. He denies wrongdoing.

Beneath the mega-scams swirls a mass of smaller cons, spanning the world. Any close-knit community can be a target. Last August a South Korean pastor was indicted for misappropriating 2.4 billion Korean won ($2.3m) that the faithful had handed over to set up a Christian bank. In Britain, Kevin Foster’s KF Concept targeted the former coal-mining towns of South Wales, bilking more than 8,000 victims with the help of glitzy roadshows.

The problem is a global one but best-documented in America. Besides the Madoff saga, Marquet International, a consultancy, has identified more than 300 sizeable Ponzi schemes from the past ten years, with combined losses for investors of $23 billion. It estimates that up to half of those were affinity-based. No one has a reliable number for smaller frauds over the same period, but guesses range from $5 billion to $20 billion. In all, affinity-fraud losses in America could be as much as $50 billion…. Read this in full at
http://www.economist.com/node/21543526

TOP ARCHAEOLOGISTS CONDEMN ISRAELI PLAN TO REBUILD ANCIENT TOMB
An unusual plan to rebuild the tomb of Herod the Great at the Herodium site, southeast of Jerusalem, has spurred opposition on the part of top archaeologists.

The plan, which is being promoted by the Israel Nature and Parks Authority and the Gush Etzion Regional Council, includes building a lavish mausoleum in its original size out of light plastic material, and turning it into a visitor’s center. The plan is the first of its kind in the realm of Israeli archaeological digs, as most sites consist of either miniaturized or renovated historical sites that use the original materials found at the site…. Read this in full at
http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/top-archaeologists-condemn-israeli-plan-to-rebuild-ancient-tomb-1.409779

CHINAAID RELEASES ANNUAL REPORT OF CHINESE GOVERNMENT PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS & CHURCHES IN MAINLAND CHINA IN 2011
Chinese authorities stepped up their longstanding opposition to Christianity in China in 2011, China Aid Association said in its annual report (http://www.chinaaid.org/2012/02/chinaaid-releases-annual-report-of.html) released Feb. 1, citing figures that showed a dramatic worsening of government persecution of Christians and churches.

Those statistics included a 131.8% increase in the number of Christians detained for their religious beliefs. “This trend of worsening persecution has persisted for the past six years,” the group said, adding that Christians were not the only target…. Read this in full at
http://www.christiannewswire.com/news/1224218857.html

A SERVING OF GRATITUDE MAY SAVE THE DAY
Thanksgiving as a holiday may produces plenty of war stories for psychiatrists dealing with drunken family meltdowns. But it has recently become the favorite feast of psychologists studying the consequences of giving thanks. Cultivating an “attitude of gratitude” has been linked to better health, sounder sleep, less anxiety and depression, higher long-term satisfaction with life and kinder behavior toward others, including romantic partners. A new study shows that feeling grateful makes people less likely to turn aggressive when provoked, which helps explain why so many brothers-in-law survive Thanksgiving without serious injury…. Read this in full at
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/22/science/a-serving-of-gratitude-brings-healthy-dividends.html

CONSIDER
Life is a glorious opportunity, if it is used to condition us for eternity. If we fail in this, though we succeed in everything else, our life will have been a failure. There is no escape for the man who squanders his opportunity to prepare to meet God.”
Billy Graham

VERSE TO PONDER
My Lord, you are good and forgiving, full of faithful love for all those who cry out to you.”
Psalm 86:5 (CEB)

THIS WEEK’S HYMN: AS OFT, WITH WORN AND WEARY FEET
Words: James Edmeston, 1833
Music: Georg Neumark, 1641

As oft, with worn and weary feet,
We tread earth’s rugged valley o’er,
The thought, how comforting and sweet:
Christ trod this very path before!
Our wants and weaknesses He knows,
From life’s first dawning to its close.

Does sickness, feebleness or pain
Or sorrow in our path appear?
The recollection will remain,
More deeply did He suffer here:
His life, how truly sad and brief,
Filled up with suffering and with grief.

If Satan tempt our hearts to stray
And whisper evil things within,
So did he, in the desert way,
Assail our Lord with thoughts of sin,
When worn and in a feeble hour
The tempter came with all his power.

Just such as I, this earth He trod,
With every human ill but sin;
And though indeed the very God,
As I am now so He has been.
My God, my Savior, look on me,
With pity, love and sympathy.

>from NetHymnal at
http://nethymnal.org/htm/a/s/o/asowsawf.htm

     ON PRAYER
Our prayer will be most like the prayer of Christ if we do not ask God to show us what is going to be, or to make any particular thing happen, but only pray that we may be faithful in whatever happens.”
Father Andrew

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

DAILY BLESSING PACT
Use the following list as your daily prayer guide. Think of a brother or situation that applies and lift them up in prayer.

I am agreeing in prayer with you for God’s blessings to overtake you!

PERSONAL
Marital harmony
Family unity
Children saved
Faithful pastor
Spirit-filled church
Real friendships
Relatives redeemed
Educational benefits
Recreational time
Fulfilling career
Favor with God and man
Be in God’s will

FINANCIAL
Better Jobs
Raises or bonuses
Benefits
Sales & commissions
Business Growth
Settlements
Estates & inheritances
Investment increase
Rebates & returns
Checks in the mail
Gifts & surprises
Money to be found
Bills decrease while blessings increase

“And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God” (Deut. 28:2).

[As you travel on business or vacation, let me know if you’d like us to add you to our prayer chain to pray for your safety and spiritual effectiveness. I’ll add your name to the list for the time you’ll be away.]

CLASSIFIEDS
Are you looking for something or do you have something to sell? Let me know and I’ll put it in this newsletter.

The Complete Gift Solution
http://www.FranksWorldOfGifts.com

Books, Music & More!
http://www.ChristianConnectionBooks.com

Get your domain name here!
http://www.GoGlobalDomains.com

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

Time lapse video of Yosemite National Park
http://vimeo.com/35396305

Driving America (Henry Ford Museum)
http://www.thehenryford.org/exhibits/drivingamerica/DrivingAmerica.aspx

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.) 

But for venetian blinds, it would be curtains for us all.
Min. 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 to men in our spiritual growth. Thanks for welcoming CONNECTIONS into your in-box! 

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

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