Religion Today Summaries - September 30, 2005

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - September 30, 2005

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

  • Boldness Necessary -- and Available -- for Effective Witnessing
  • Lifeway Resources Help Build Discipleship In Latin America 
  • Growing Number of American Christians Support Israel – Believing God Gave "Promised Land" to Jews Forever
  • Web Site Spotlights God-Focused Reality Stories

Boldness Necessary -- and Available -- for Effective Witnessing
Allie Martin, Agape Press

The co-host of a popular television show which teaches biblical methods of evangelism says believers can overcome fear when it comes to sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. Kirk Cameron is co-host of "The Way of the Master" with evangelist Ray Comfort. The weekly half-hour program features evangelism training and video clips of actual street witnessing. Cameron says believers must witness in word and in deed. He acknowledges that most people do not want to appear pushy or offensive when it comes to sharing the gospel; and as a result, he says, many remain silent, choosing instead to just "live the life." "But the truth is," says the well-known Christian actor, "it's the power of the gospel that leads to salvation -- and we need to learn to open up our mouth. Not just walk the walk, but we need to talk the walk and explain the gospel so that people can hear the Word and understand it and put their faith in Christ." Instead of relying on marketing methods to attract people, Cameron says the true gospel needs to be emphasized. And people respond to a proper use of God's law when witnessing, he says. "Every single person has a conscience, and when that conscience is awakened by the law of God the way that Jesus did it, the way that Paul did it in the scriptures, a person begins to hunger and thirst for righteousness," Cameron shares. "Like Jesus said, we ought to be thirsting and hungering. When that is awakened and a person understands his need for mercy and forgiveness, then the cross becomes wonderful and amazing and priceless." The first two seasons of "The Way of the Master" are now available as an evangelism training tool at the Way of the Master website. Cameron also stars in the upcoming movie, Left Behind: The World at War.

Lifeway Resources Help Build Discipleship In Latin America
David Roach, Baptist Press

Juan Carvajal, a church leader in Mexico City, gained a new perspective on ministry thanks to Spanish-language resources from LifeWay International, a department of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. After attending two conferences in which LifeWay consultants presented discipleship materials translated into Spanish, Carvajal resolved to make discipleship a priority in his ministry. Carvajal is not alone in his assessment of Spanish-language LifeWay discipleship materials. LifeWay has made materials available through 123 distributors throughout Latin America and Spain. In response to these materials, hundreds of pastors and church leaders have thanked LifeWay for helping them focus on discipleship. "In Latin America, we are helping churches be intentional about developing a discipleship program because we believe disciple-making was at the heart of our Lord's strategy. We feel it was the Master's key strategy for ministry, global impact and eternal significance," said Luis Lopez, LifeWay's manager of international consulting and training. LifeWay's commitment to discipleship stems from its belief that Christian ministry is not successful unless it trains successive generations of believers to take the message of Christ to a lost and dying world, Lopez said.

Growing Number of American Christians Support Israel - Believing God Gave "Promised Land" to Jews Forever
Agape Press

A Southern Baptist leader says a growing number of American Christians support Israel because they believe God gave "the promised land" to the Jews forever. The Reverend Richard Land told the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews that in the Bible, God also promises to bless those who bless the Jews and curse those who curse them. The rabbi who heads the group thanked Land for his message. Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein said many Jews fear that Christians only want to convert them and bring on the end times. Eckstein also announced that the Christian-Jewish fellowship is paying to move more than five-thousand east Indian tribesmen to Israel. Israeli religious officials recently declared that the tribe is a long-lost remnant of the ancient Jewish tribe of Manasseh.

Web Site Spotlights God-Focused Reality Stories
Religion News Service

Auspicious happenstances. Out-of-the-blue breakthroughs. Miraculous reversals of fortune. They’re the stuff of stories we love to hear. They tingle our spines and tickle our brains, making us wonder: Coincidence? Or something else? The answer is clear to those reading and sharing the firsthand, God-focused reality stories on the “Touched by the Hand of God” web site. The majority of Americans would likely agree with them. Consider that 79 percent say they believe in God. And that 36 percent of U.S. adults say they’ve experienced or witnessed a miracle, according to a CBS news poll. “Such statistics are one more reason to put the spotlight on these incredible stories that give God the glory,” says Barrett Batson, the site’s Chief Messenger. “And does that, front and center.” Each story offers a firsthand look at the remarkable, even mind-boggling events that bear witness to divine intervention, divine timing and divine guidance. The suspense and drama that unfold in these reports often match, if not surpass, that of so-called reality fare on TV, Batson says. “Better yet, the events really happened – and come from the heart.” While plenty have a Hollywood ending, other stories resolve more quietly but just as profoundly. And all are powerful, real-world examples of God’s grace in action.