Religion Today Summaries, March 18, 2004

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries, March 18, 2004

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

  • White House Expresses Sorrow over Attacks on Missionaries 
  • Churches, Ministries Persevere in Native American Reservations
  • Ministry Helps Others Manage, Maximize Time 
  • Churches and Mosques Destroyed Amidst Inter-Ethnic Violence

White House Expresses Sorrow over Attacks on Missionaries
Jenni Parker, Agape Press

The White House is expressing sorrow over the deaths of four American civilians who were attacked in a drive-by shooting late Monday while working on humanitarian mission projects in Iraq. There were five Southern Baptist missionaries -- a California woman and two married couples from Texas and North Carolina -- in the car when it came under fire from automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades. Three of the missionaries were found dead, a fourth died the following day, and the fifth remains hospitalized in critical condition. Press Secretary Scott McClellan addressed a news conference on behalf of the White House, saying the Bush Administration mourns the Southern Baptist Missionaries who were slain and calling the deadly attack "a terrible tragedy." A spokesperson said that the Southern Baptist International Mission Board has no immediate plans to pull its remaining personnel out of Iraq, despite this tragic loss. However, Mission Board officials say escalating violence against American civilians has raised some concerns about their volunteers' safety. In the past 14 months four other Southern Baptists have died violently while in the overseas mission field -- three slain at a Yemen hospital in January 2003, and one in a bomb blast in the Philippines in March 2003.

Churches, Ministries Persevere in Native American Reservations
Charisma News Service

Ministry isn't easy on Native American reservations, but churches and ministries are laboring to make a difference with the gospel. Although the environment resembles that of a Third World country, they say the reservations are ripe for a move of God. Denominations have generally failed on reservations. Statisticians estimate only 5 percent of Native Americans are born again because they tend to be intellectual and philosophical in their approach to God. Evangelist LeRoy Hayes began tent evangelism seven years ago after experiencing a vision in which the Holy Spirit spoke to him. Hayes conducts reservation revivals all across the Pacific Northwest and Great Plains. He's learned the obstacles to Native ministry and has ideas about how to solve them. "The first obstacle is previous religion," he says. "The Natives have seen different denominations teach them to do it their way…many are going back to their traditional religions because the 'white man's religion' is all mixed up. The next obstacle is a lack of discipline." He believes the solution involves two tents -- one just for children -- and ministry teams from outside the reservation that are trained in inner healing and deliverance and who can stay for at least three weeks.

Ministry Helps Others Manage, Maximize Time
Randall Murphree, Agape Press

A North Carolina man has created a ministry devoted to helping people develop and wisely invest one of their most valuable natural resources -- their time. Time is one of our most precious commodities says Rick Grubbs, founder and president of Life Changing Seminars (LCS) in Salisbury, North Carolina. LCS seminars are biblically based and have been hosted by such organizations as the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and the Family Research Council. Grubbs had already been teaching on the subject of time management for several years before founding the ministry in 1987. "God had been speaking to me about the amount of time people waste," he says. "One of the motivations for my coming to Christ had been an increasing realization of the brevity of life." The biggest component of LCS is Grubbs’ personal speaking ministry to conferences, conventions, pastors’ retreats and churches. His own testimony includes a series of varied Christian influences including a tract, a Gideon New Testament, friends’ prayers, the witness of college dorm friends, Christian radio and Intervarsity Christian Fellowship. Grubbs cites many reasons – and gives Biblical foundations – why Christians should treat time management as a stewardship issue. Among other things, he says time is limited (Psalm 90); time is our most valuable earthly possession (Matthew 25:14-30); and we will have to give account for the way we have used our time (Matthew 12:36). He believes many people realize they need to better manage their time, but don’t have the discipline or the insight to do so.

Churches and Mosques Destroyed Amidst Inter-Ethnic Violence
Voice of the Martyrs News

Large scale violence in Kosovo and Serbia before the 5th anniversary of Nato's bombing raids has seen many Serbian Orthodox Churches and mosques attacked, amid disputed suggestions, including by an un-named UNMIK official, that the violence in Kosovo was planned as a "pogrom against Serbs: churches are on fire and people are being attacked for no other reason than their ethnic background." In the Serbian capital of Belgrade and in the southern city of Nis, mobs set two mosques on fire despite the pleas of the Serbian Orthodox Church. In Belgrade, Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro and the Littoral personally pleaded with the mob and urged police and firefighters to react and preserve "what could be preserved." After initial hesitation for fear of the mob, firefighters and police did intervene, so the Belgrade mosque, which is "under state protection," was saved from complete destruction. In Kosovo since 1999, many attacks have been made on Orthodox shrines, without UNMIK, KFOR, or the mainly ethnically Albanian Kosovo Protection Service making any arrests of attackers.