Religion Today Summaries, July 13, 2004

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries, July 13, 2004

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.  In today's edition:

  • Weekly Prayer Teleconference Founder Raises Frequency
  • 9/11 Survivor's Testimony Becomes Worldwide Evangelistic Ministry
  • Program Aims to Teach Children the Importance of Giving
  • Influential Christian Parliamentarian Stepping Down From Politics

Weekly Prayer Teleconference Founder Raises Frequency
Allie Martin, Agape Press

California Christian activist is stepping up a nationwide prayer effort aimed at reclaiming America for Christ. Earlier this year Pastor Wiley Drake of First Southern Baptist Church in Buena Park, California, began holding a weekly prayer meeting via conference call. But with the U.S. Senate poised to vote on a marriage amendment and with a presidential election upcoming in the fall, Drake says he felt led to expand the prayer meeting to four days a week. The Baptist pastor believes prayer is a crucial part of the effort to restore America's heritage of faith and family values. Drake feels the nationwide telephonic prayer meetings will compliment efforts by other churches and Christian activists. He says participants were seeking a more powerful way to engage in a concentrated prayer effort, praying "four hours, at least, a week for our national issues -- especially in reference to the political issues and the ... people that are running on a pro-life, pro-biblical world view." he phone-in prayer meetings now take place Monday through Thursday at 1:00 p.m., Eastern time. The phone number to call is 603-488-0702, and the access code to join the prayer conference is 619110.

9/11 Survivor's Testimony Becomes Worldwide Evangelistic Ministry
Charisma News Service

A survivor's testimony from the Sept. 11, 2001, World Trade Center disaster has catapulted him into an evangelistic ministry that he claims has resulted in more than 30,000 decisions for Christ. A native of Calcutta, India, Sujo John, now 29, thought he would die when a plane hit the north tower two floors above where he worked. The second tower collapsed as he and others reached a ground floor exit. In a move that he says was prompted by the Holy Spirit, John shouted "Jesus!" and exhorted the others to call upon Christ and claim Him as Savior. He managed to escape the falling debris. The next day he e-mailed friends and family that he and his wife, Mary, were safe and warned them about the fragility of life. They forwarded the message to their friends, who did the same, and eventually it reached thousands. "People were calling from all time zones," John said. "There were so many stories of people over the phone giving their hearts to the Lord." The media bombarded him for interviews. His appearance on "The 700 Club" generated a firestorm of interest, with 426 viewers calling in to accept Christ. Speaking requests poured in from all over the nation. In April 2002, he resigned his executive position to become a full-time evangelist. "God started speaking to us, and when God says go, you go," he said.

Program Aims to Teach Children the Importance of Giving
Jenni Parker, Agape Press

The Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (CRWRC) has developed a new educational tool designed to help churches teach children about charitable giving, even as they assist needy families in acquiring seeds, tools, and farming skills. Through the "Great Growers Children's Giving Project" youth groups can learn about agricultural outreach while they raise money to help people in less developed countries grow enough food to eat. The CRWRC is making leader's packets available at no cost to Christian schools, Vacation Bible schools, and Sunday school groups, as well as to other children's groups that have an interest in community development work. Each leader's packet contains a poster with stickers for tracking charitable giving, a photocopy-ready word game, coloring and activity page, and youth-oriented stories about the relief organization's agricultural programs. Group leaders can also order a brief video on the Great Growers Giving Project and free "Great Growers" buttons for each child participating.. Through fun activities and group effort, the children are encouraged to understand the importance of giving in an area where even a mere 50 cents can provide a family in need with food and hope for the future.

Influential Christian Parliamentarian Stepping Down From Politics
Charisma News Service

After 25 years of public service, an influential Christian Parliamentarian is stepping down from politics. A native of Northern Ireland, Sir Brian Mawhinney served as the Conservative Member of Parliament for Cambridgeshire North West from 1979 to 1997. Once a professor at medical schools in London and Michigan, Mawhinney also served as head of the Conservative Party, Transport Secretary and Minister of State for the health department and in the Northern Ireland office. While in Northern Ireland, Mawhinney helped begin the peace process when tension between Protestants and Catholics began to escalate. "We tried to find areas of common ground and build on it," he said. "It was difficult because they made attempts to kill us," he added. Looking back on his career, Mawhinney said he marvels at how far God has brought him. He said he remembers sitting in an 800-year-old cathedral in Peterborough, later named Cambridgeshire North West, telling God he didn't know why He had brought him there. It was 1979, and he was one of more than 90 people to apply to be the Parliamentarian candidate for the region. He said while sitting on the pew, he heard a voice tell him, "This is where I want you to be." He plans to stay active in his retirement. Married with three adult children, Mawhinney, 63, is president of England's football league and serves on the board of World Relief, a Christian humanitarian organization.