Connecting man to man to God
For week of April 8, 2012
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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“Isn’t the cup of blessing that we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? Isn’t the loaf of bread that we break a sharing in the body of Christ? Since there is one loaf of bread, we who are many are one body, because we all share the one loaf of bread.”
1 Corinthians 10:16-17 (Common English Bible)
“Never tolerate the idea of martyrdom about the cross of Jesus Christ. The cross was a superb triumph in which the foundations of hell were shaken. There is nothing more certain in time or eternity than what Jesus Christ did on the cross: He switched the whole of the human race back into a right relationship with God.”
CHUCK COLSON IN CRITICAL CONDITION AFTER SURGERY, RECOVERING SLOWLY
Charles Colson is recovering in critical condition after falling ill at a conference and undergoing surgery March 31. The founder of Prison Fellowship had surgery to remove a clot of blood on the surface of his brain after he had an intracerebral hemorrhage. On April 5, his doctor said that Colson shows some encouraging signs.
“It’s still very an hour-by-hour, day-by-day process as we’re hoping his condition will improve,” said Timothy George, dean of Beeson Divinity School at Samford University. “It may be a longer process of recovery, but we’re grateful that he is somewhat cognizant.”
Colson had a pacemaker installed recently and had a recent fall, George said.
Colson was giving the opening address at his conference over the weekend when he buckled at the knees, said Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, who spoke at the conference. Colson sat down to continue his introduction before he was put in a wheelchair and taken to a hospital across from Lansdowne Resort in Virginia…. Read and see this in full at
“HE’S CALLING FOR ELIJAH!” WHY WE STILL MISHEAR JESUS
by Al Hsu
When the Jesus film is screened in cultures that have never heard of Jesus, the viewers often love the movie and get completely wrapped up in the story. But the crucifixion comes as an utter shock. Many audiences jump up and cry out in protest. This can’t be. This is not how the story should end.
The crucifixion of Jesus has always been profoundly disturbing.
For me, what’s most troubling is not the unjust trial, how the crowd turns against Jesus, or how his disciples abandon him. The most troubling part is one line. Mark 15, verse 34: “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”)
This line horrifies me. It calls into question the very nature of God. Is God the kind of God that turns his back on his Son? Does God abandon those who cry out to him? How could God forsake the perfect God-man, the only one who has ever served him perfectly? Because if Jesus was truly forsaken by God, what’s preventing God from forsaking any of us? How could we ever trust him to be good? …. Read and see this in full at
WHERE WAS JESUS BURIED?
by Kim Lawton
During Holy Week, Christians remembered the familiar story of Jesus’ death and resurrection. But exactly where does that story take place? The Bible offers only a few clues.
“The Gospels weren’t really written to record a history,” the Rev. Mark Morozowich, acting dean of the School of Theology and Religious Studies at the Catholic University of America, told the PBS program “Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly.” “They were written to provide a testimony of faith.”
According to the New Testament, Jesus was crucified at a spot outside Jerusalem called Golgotha, which in Aramaic means “place of the skull.” The Latin word for skull is “calvaria,” and in English, many Christians refer to the site of the crucifixion as Calvary…. Read and see this in full at
SCHOLARS AIM TO BUST ARCHAEOLOGICAL FANTASIES
by Gordon Govier
During Easter and Christmas each year, dramatic new discoveries and new theories are touted in books, magazines, and cable television shows.
This Easter season, Bible scholars are raising caution flags in a new organized effort. Their main target has been the highly promoted subject of a Discovery Channel documentary.
On February 28, archaeologist James Tabor and documentary filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici held a news conference in New York to announce the discovery of a first century tomb in the East Talpiot neighborhood of Jerusalem — and the publication of a book suggesting a connection between the tomb and the family of Jesus. Reaction was swift.
Andrew Vaughn, the executive director of the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR), named Eric Meyers, an archaeologist at Duke University, and Christopher Rollston, an epigrapher at Emmanuel Christian Seminary, as guest editors of the ASOR blog (http://asorblog.org/?p=1608) for the month of March, to provide a platform for scholars to react to the Talpiot tomb story.
Both posted immediate responses panning Tabor and Jacobovici’s conclusions, charging that the Jesus connection was based on conjecture, not evidence. “Nothing in the book ‘revolutionizes our understanding of Jesus or early Christianity’ as the authors and publisher claim, and we may regard this book as yet another in a long list of presentations that misuse not only the Bible but also archaeology,” wrote Meyers…. Read this in full at
Music plays a crucial role in setting the mood of the worship and in helping to convey the Easter message. Read and see this report in full at
BARABBAS VS. JESUS. WHO DO YOU CHOOSE?
“The choice between Barabbas and Jesus [see Mark 15:6-15], a choice that I am suggesting is a central choice in the whole gospel story, is not a choice between a man who took a political route and a man who took a spiritual route. It is not a choice between a man who wanted outer change and a man who called people to inner change. It is a choice between a man who changed too little and a man who changed everything.
“Barabbas changed too little. Yes, he had weapons. Yes, he had plans — to unsettle the cozy alliance between the Romans and the Jerusalem authorities. Yes, he had supporters. Yes, in his wake people lay dead, tensions grew, national resurgence seemed a possibility. But fundamentally Barabbas … still believed that what mattered was who the government was. They still believed that armies steered the tiller of history. They were still in thrall to what they took to be the forces that shape reality.
“And those forces were exactly what Jesus changed. Jesus did not come to underwrite the forces that everyone understood to shape reality. He came to change them. Yet even today people assume that Barabbas was right: that government is the veil civilized societies put over the fist of naked power, that hidden forces such as markets and economics use their unseen hand to determine the course of history, and that Jesus was a bobbing buoy for truth and virtue who was swept out to sea by the surge of these irresistible waves. But to believe in Jesus is to perceive how profound was the change that Jesus brought. After Jesus, history swung on a new axis. The center of the universe became cross and resurrection.
“The cross was for Jesus something it could never be for Barabbas… For Jesus, the cross was the place where God took into and upon himself the whole ghastly horror of human sin and folly. In the resurrection of Jesus, God turned this horror into glory. Just as Jesus took the woman’s twelve years of bleeding into himself and emitted healing and salvation, so through cross and resurrection God took sin and death into himself and emitted joy. Jesus wasn’t changing just the government; he was changing the very heart of reality.
“This is the transformation of reality. This is a change Barabbas could not even imagine, let alone bring about. Barabbas represented an endless sequence of violence. He was a man of some desire to set Israel free and some desire to make something for himself, a man whose story offered yet another element in an endless catalogue of injustice, resentment, recklessness, and punishment. Jesus represented a fundamental transformation of the forces that seemed to make lives like Barabbas’ inevitable, an inbreaking of the kingdom of heaven, a shower of grace. The crowd chose Barabbas. And, most of the time, they still do.”
Samuel Wells in Power and Passion: Six Characters in Search of Resurrection
TOUR THE WORLD’S ART MUSEUMS WITH A NEW INTERACTIVE EBOOK: THE LIFE OF JESUS
Point Literary, an independent ebook publisher, has released of The Life of Jesus: Through the Eyes of the Masters, an interactive ebook recounting major events in the life of Christ. “This innovative e-book is designed for readers of all ages around the world to learn about our shared artistic heritage and the story of Christianity’s beloved central figure,” says publisher Laurie Manfra.
Twenty artistic masterpieces dating from the 3rd to the 20th centuries, by great masters of western art — da Vinci, Michelangelo, Rembrandt, and others — give life to biblical stories. Beginning with the Annunciation of Mary and the birth of her son in Bethlehem, The Life of Jesus depicts his childhood exile in Egypt, his baptism, ministry, and the miracles attributed to him, followed by his triumphant Palm Sunday return to Jerusalem, the Crucifixion, and Resurrection.
The book invites readers to explore the artworks in detail by following links to the Google Art Project, YouTube, and other virtual spaces, including new online exhibitions offered by the world’s museums — like the Uffizi and the Vatican in Italy, and the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, among others — allowing readers to interact with and experience these masterpieces….Read this in full at
ELDERS OF THE CITY – PART II
by Clare De Graaf
Recently I introduced the idea of elders of the city – perhaps you are one or, know one! Over the years I’ve had lots of questions about this concept, so below are some of those questions and my answers.
Q. What spiritual and natural gifts or experiences are needed to serve as an elder of the city?
A. Wisdom is supreme. You will know if you have this gift when people begin coming to you for advice on spiritual, personal and faith practice issues, especially if you are not a seminary trained, ordained pastor or a paid counselor. Generally, wise people will have these spiritual gifts:
* The utterance of wisdom (I Cor. 12:8) – This gift enables a person to discern the motives and actions of others and to apply God’s truth to their lives in a practical way (Acts 6:3; Eph. 5:15-16).
* Teaching (Rom. 12:7; I Cor. 12:28) – This gift enables a person to explain God’s truth clearly and effectively. The spiritual gift of teaching should be distinguished from the natural ability of teaching. The spiritual gift of teaching enables one to grasp and to convey to others the meaning of God’s Word, which is different from human ability.
* Exhortation (Rom 12:8) – This gift enables a person to use the Scriptures to motivate people to respond to God’s will and to build them up in the faith. It’s encouraging and teaching believers how they might live to the glory of God.
* Service (Rom. 12:7) – This gift enables believers to minister to the needs of others inside the church and out. With this gift also comes discernment – knowing how best to serve. A person with this gift almost always would prefer serving others than being served by them.
Most elders of the city I’ve known also had the spiritual gift of encouragement….Read this in full at
JEREMY LIN TALKS JESUS, FAITH AND PRAYER IN Q&A SESSION AFTER SURGERY
Jeremy Lin underwent a successful knee surgery April 2, and followed the operation by conducting an impromptu question-and-answer session on Facebook with his fans, in which he opened up about his faith and the criticism he receives.
Lin, 23-year-old New York Knicks starting guard who will be out for six weeks to recover from a knee injury, was asked how he stayed so humble during increased media coverage over the past few months. Lin admitted that he had struggles with pride and credited Jesus Christ for humbling him.
“I struggle with pride every day, but the one thing that I try to remind myself everyday is that I’m still a sinner no matter how many points/assists/win I get on the court.” Lin wrote to his fan. “God’s grace and the death/resurrection of his son Jesus Christ has given me salvation even though I’m not worthy of it.”
Another fan asked Lin, who has been vocal about his faith during his rise to fame, about his favorite Bible verse…. Read this in full at
PASTOR ANDY STANLEY: DON’T SETTLE FOR ‘CHRISTIAN’
What does it mean to be “Christian?” Given that the term is not even clearly defined in the Bible and draws a myriad of definitions from Christians themselves, influential pastor Andy Stanley is challenging believers to embrace a different, and more convicting, identity: disciple.
“Are we disciples? Or are we just ‘Christians?’ Stanley asked thousands at North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Ga. “Don’t settle for ‘Christian.'”
Stanley just concluded his four-week “Christian” series, exhorting attendees to fulfill the role that Jesus so clearly laid out for his followers: to love like he did. While Jesus’ instructions were clear, many believers are found hiding behind “Christianity,” he noted…. Read this in full at
“GOD, I CALL FOUL!”
“If anyone had the right to call foul over his situation, it was God’s own Son. No one else was sinless like him. No one else had a closer relationship with the Father. And yet no one else suffered more. Jesus makes it perfectly clear that there is no necessary connection between suffering and goodness. A person can even be perfect and suffer.
“It was not easy for our Lord to endure what he did. He even asked that, if possible, God would exempt him from it (Luke 22:42). But he was willing to suffer because he trusted that this was the best way to get to the wonderful end the Father had in view – our salvation.
“When we submit to the lordship of Jesus Christ, we offer ourselves to him as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1). It should not surprise us, therefore, if God occasionally calls on us to make good on our offer by suffering, for his purposes – even if we, like Job, don’t fully understand why. It could be for our own growth in faith, for the growth or encouragement of those who see us bear up under the load by the power of God’s grace, or for a host of other reasons beyond our ability to grasp. What we can be sure of is that God is about his redemptive work, as he always is, and has chosen us to participate in that work by sharing, at least for a while, in some of the same kind of suffering his own Son experienced [see 1 Peter 4:12-13].
“Job’s horrible circumstances led him to question God’s justice. Our circumstances, too, can occasionally lead us to doubt God’s justice or goodness. Perhaps without our realizing it, we might be relapsing into the way of thinking that characterized our lives before we were Christians. That is, we might be placing ourselves at the center of our world.”
“Yes, suffering is ultimately the result of the sin that human beings introduced into God’s good creation. But, thank God, he has not abandoned us to sin’s full effects. Even in the midst of those negative effects he is relentlessly pursuing our redemption and the redemption of the whole creation. Are we willing to be used by God to accomplish his redemptive work, even when that work includes suffering that we don’t understand?
“God’s redemptive plan involves nothing less than the liberation of creation and his people from sin and death. There can be no greater good than that! He has given us, his children, a taste of that redemption even now, along with an abiding relationship with him that no circumstance, however horrible it may be, can ever sever.”
Michael Williams in How to Read the Bible Through the Jesus Lens: A Guide to Christ-Focused Reading of Scripture
“High up in the North, in the land called Svithjod, there stands a rock. It is 100 miles high and 100 miles wide. Once every 1000 years a little bird comes to this rock to sharpen its beak. When the rock has thus been worn away, then a single day of eternity will have gone by.” Hendrick Willem Van Loon
WORLD’S MOST MANICURED MISSION FIELD IS HIS CALL
When Scott Lehman stands on the first tee of a golf course, he’s gazing out across one of the most manicured mission fields on earth – his mission field.
And rarely is one’s mission in life embroidered on every shirt, hat, wind vest, and jacket one wears, with his logo for In His Grip Golf serving as a constant reminder of his purpose in launching the golfing ministry six years ago: to reach men with the gospel through the game of golf.
Lehman lives the vision because he has lived both sides of it: an empty life constructed around golf, which nearly cost him everything, and an introduction to the saving power of Jesus Christ through golf…. Read this in full at
GOOGLE BRINGS CHURCHES BACK INTO NONPROFIT PROGRAM
Nearly a year after Google introduced its nonprofit program that excluded churches, the company quietly modified its eligibility guidelines to allow them back in.
Google for Nonprofits offered free and discounted packages of some of the company’s premium tools for charitable organizations. But guidelines excluded numerous groups, including schools, political think tanks, churches, proselytizing groups, and any group that considers religion or sexual orientation in hiring decisions.
In February, Google modified its guidelines again to include several groups previously excluded from the program, including places or institutions of worship and programs that require membership or provide benefit only to members…. Read this in full at
DAYTONA BIKE WEEK DRAWS 500-PLUS TO CHRIST
Would you trade three minutes of your time for a chance to win a black 2012 Harley Davidson Road Glide motorcycle? That was the question posed to bike lovers ambling along Beach Street during the 2012 Bike Week in Daytona Beach, Fla.
Tattooed and leather-adorned bikers strolled down the sidewalks to ogle the latest bike accessories in equipment and clothes as vendors hawked their wares and services.
Stopped by “catchers” wearing Faith Riders T-shirts, the onlookers considered the request: three minutes of their time. Some left, but most were enticed by the potential prize — unaware that those three minutes could make a difference in where they spend eternity…. Read this in full at
VERSE TO PONDER
“The love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: one died for the sake of all; therefore, all died. He died for the sake of all so that those who are alive should live not for themselves but for the one who died for them and was raised.”
2 Corinthians 5:14-15 (Common English Bible)
“The Easter message tells us that our enemies, sin, the curse, and death, are beaten. Ultimately they can no longer start mischief. They still behave as though the game were not decided, the battle not fought; we must still reckon with them, but fundamentally we must cease to fear them any more.”
BALANCING MEDICINE, FAITH
As a medical student, Dr. Julie Oyler was told to remove the cross she wore on the lapel of her white coat. As a resident, Dr. Aasim Padela was told he wouldn’t have time to recite Islam’s five daily prayers. But ignoring God was not an option for Oyler, an evangelical Christian, or Padela, a Muslim. Nor should it be, according to researchers at the University of Chicago, where both doctors now freely practice their medical specialties and religious traditions.
After discovering that silence on matters of spirituality left some patients unsatisfied with the care they received at the University of Chicago, two doctors there and four faculty scholars chose to examine how some medical schools either encourage or discourage physicians to integrate their faiths in conversations with patients and their own professional lives. Doctors who set their faith aside, they say, can become disillusioned and less effective…. Read this in full at
HOW TO DEAL WITH TOXIC WORDS
“Words can devastate. Your body may remain unharmed, but your heart suffers the deadly shrapnel of painful phrases. David, who knew a thing or two about having enemies in high places, wrote that evildoers “sharpen their tongues like swords and aim cruel words like deadly arrows” (Ps. 64:3). Whether you’re eighteen or eighty, you can probably recall the pain of someone’s harsh words scalding your soul. Maybe you still hear the message from years ago, playing an endless loop in your mind, echoing inside you every day:
‘You’ll never amount to anything.’
‘I wish I never had you.’
‘You’re nothing like your brother.’
‘I’m sick of you.’
‘I never loved you.’
‘You’ll never change.’
“As devastating as these words can be, they can be offset by words of truth, hope, and love.
“We obviously can’t control what others say about us, but we can control what we believe. Since toxic words can destroy our souls, we’ve got to passionately guard our hearts against them. Do whatever it takes to keep the poison out of your heart. Solomon told his son, ‘Listen closely to my words … Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life’ [Prov. 4:20, 23]. With his life-giving words, a protective father warned his son to guard his heart as his life source. We must keep others from dumping their toxic waste into our water supply.
“When someone says something to or about you, train yourself to categorize the words the same way we train our kids with a game our friends taught us, Truth or Trash. Analyze the message and source before swallowing and digesting what someone else wants to feed you. Are their words true? Based in Scripture? Supported by data over time? If so, embrace them. Allow those life-giving words to minister to your soul and conform you to the image of Christ. If their words are untrue, mean-spirited, and critical without being constructive, then call them what they are — toxic waste. Reject those words. Don’t let them into your soul. Take out the trash and leave it by the curb. Delete toxic words and insert the truth.”
Craig Groeschel in Soul Detox: Clean Living in a Contaminated World
WHEN GOD TALKS TO EVANGELICALS
by Barton Swaim,
T.M. Luhrmann, an anthropologist at Stanford University, begins her book “When God Talks Back” by acknowledging this reality: In 21st-century America, there are hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of apparently well-adjusted people who believe not just that they can speak to God but that he hears and answers them. Though not herself a religious person, and certainly not an evangelical Christian, she aims neither to support nor to undermine the claims that evangelical Christians make about God and the Bible.
Her intent, rather, is to suggest to an educated, nonbelieving audience that the religious conventions of evangelical Christians — particularly the practice of speaking to God in highly familiar ways and believing that they can discern his answers in their own thoughts — do not spring from mere ignorance or some aboriginal desire to imagine purpose where a rational person sees only chance. The God of evangelicals is more than just “a reaction to modernity,” she says; he is “an expression of what it means to be modern.” …. Read this in full at
PUSH FOR THE RIGHT TO DIE GROWS IN THE NETHERLANDS
It was 1989, and Dr. Petra de Jong, a Dutch pulmonologist, was asked for help by a terminally ill patient, a man in great pain with a large cancerous tumor in his trachea. He wanted to end his life.
She gave the man pentobarbital, a powerful barbiturate — but not enough. It took him nine hours to die.
“I realize now that I did things wrong,” Dr. de Jong, 58, said in an interview in her office here. “Today you can Google it, but we didn’t know.”
Her warm and sincere manner belies, or perhaps attests to, her calling. The man was the first of 16 patients whom Dr. de Jong, now the head of the euthanasia advocacy group Right to Die-NL, has helped to achieve what she calls “a dignified death.” …. Read this in full at
MUSIC IS GETTING MORE PROFANE
by Paul Lamere
It seems that every year the amount of profanity in music has increased. Today it seems that every other pop song drops the f-bomb. I wondered if this apparent trend was real so I took a look at when certain obscene words started to show up in song titles to see if there are any obvious trends. Here’s the data [CAUTION: this article has
profanity in it]…. Read this in full at
FILM INSPIRED BY ‘ABORTION SURVIVOR’ IS QUIET HIT
As mass entertainment goes, the abortion debate does not typically count as good Saturday-night date movie fare; the subject rarely makes it to the mainstream multiplex. But at a time when the issue is once again causing agitation in political circles, a small film, “October Baby,” about a woman who learns she is, as the movie puts it, a “survivor of a failed abortion,” is making a dent at theaters across the country…. Read this in full at
“That the Potter should die for His clay is a stupendous miracle.”
VERSE TO PONDER
“We have been ransomed through his Son’s blood, and we have forgiveness for our failures based on his overflowing grace.”
Ephesians 1:7 (Common English Bible)
THIS WEEK’S HYMN: THE DAY OF RESURRECTION
Words: John of Damascus (675-749); translated from Greek to English by John M. Neale, 1862
Music: Henry T. Smart, 1835
The day of resurrection! Earth, tell it out abroad;
The Passover of gladness, the Passover of God.
From death to life eternal, from earth unto the sky,
Our Christ hath brought us over, with hymns of victory.
Our hearts be pure from evil, that we may see aright
The Lord in rays eternal of resurrection light;
And listening to His accents, may hear, so calm and plain,
His own “All hail!” and, hearing, may raise the victor strain.
Now let the heavens be joyful! Let earth the song begin!
Let the round world keep triumph, and all that is therein!
Let all things seen and unseen their notes in gladness blend,
For Christ the Lord hath risen, our joy that hath no end.
>from CyberHymnal at
“If, then, we would pray aright, the first thing that we should do is to see to it that we really get an audience with God, that we really get into His very presence. Before a word of petition is offered, we should have the definite and vivid consciousness that we are talking to God, and should believe that He is listening to our petition and is going to grant the thing that we ask of Him. This is only possible by the Holy Spirit’s power, so we should look to the Holy Spirit to really lead us into the presence of God, and should not be hasty in words until He has actually brought us there.”
R. A. Torrey (1856-1928), How to Pray, Fleming H. Revell, 1900, p. 33-34
PRAY FOR PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS TODAY
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!
Favor with God and man
Be in God’s will
Raises or bonuses
Sales & commissions
Estates & inheritances
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).
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Min. Frank Coleman, Editor
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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.
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