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Religion Today Summaries - March 28, 2005

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries - March 28, 2005

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

  • EvangeCube Helps Carry Reconciling Gospel Message to Rwanda 

  • Hostage's Story 'An Instant Classic of Sin, Redemption And Grace'

  • S - E - R - V - E !  Cheering for Jesus on a National Scale 

  • Vietnam

EvangeCube Helps Carry Reconciling Gospel Message to Rwanda
Allie Martin and Jenni Parker, Agape Press

A simple evangelistic tool is helping to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ in war torn Rwanda. Nathan Sheets of Global Missions Fellowship (GMF) has just returned from an "EvangeCube" or "e³" training in Rwanda, and he reports that this specialized evangelistic training is accomplishing work there that is instrumental to bringing about reconciliation in a nation riddled with ethnic strife. In the "e³" training sessions, Christians are taught to make use of a unique handheld tool, the "EvangeCube," which is designed to present the gospel through illustrations. Missionaries can use the device to help overcome barriers of language, literacy, or culture as they communicate the basic truths of their faith. The evangelistic training has shown great evidence of effectiveness already. "Of the churches that went out and did evangelism after we left, one church saw 97 people come to Christ the next day, another one 60, another one 67," the Global Missions Fellowship spokesman notes. The churches in Rwanda caught the vision quickly, Sheets adds. The goals of GMF and EvangeCube for East Africa this year include planting 50 new churches, equipping 40,800 East Africans with EvangeCubes, and facilitating four million gospel presentations.

Hostage's Story 'An Instant Classic of Sin, Redemption And Grace'
Charisma News Service

Christian leaders are praising the woman hostage who helped nab an Atlanta fugitive by reading biblical passages and parts of "The Purpose-Driven Life" (TPDL) to him. H.B. London, vice president for ministry outreach/pastoral ministry at Focus on the Family, expects that "every Christian organization in the country will want to tell" Ashley Smith's story as an example of "how God can sustain a person in a time when most people would have crumbled," The Christian Science Monitor reported. On March 13, Smith, 26, called 911 after she was released by Brian Nichols, 33, who allegedly shot and killed four people. Rick Warren, author of TPDL and pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., applauded Smith for her actions and said: "I understand Ms. Smith shared a portion from the chapter on 'Servanthood' with Mr. Nichols, which seemed to have a positive impact on his life. Jesus sometimes calls us in some of the most difficult situations for him and the message he represented while on this Earth." The Monitor noted that Smith's "trust in divine providence has already hit American pulpits and tapped the nation's growing evangelical streak." The New York Times observed: "With the fugitive having surrendered at Smith's urging, her story has become an instant classic of sin, redemption and grace.” Smith's use of TPDL drove up sales of the book that has sold 21 million copies since its release in 2002, The Kansas City Star reported.(www.charismanews.com)

S - E - R - V - E !  Cheering for Jesus on a National Scale
Allie Martin, Agape Press

A Georgia-based organization is bringing together cheerleaders who have a passion for Christ and a desire to be servant-leaders. It was nearly 20 years ago when the Fellowship of Christian Cheerleaders (FCC) was formed.  John Blake, national event coordinator for FCC, says there are many cheerleaders who want to honor God with their talents and gifts. "We want to use cheerleading as a way that we can reach out," Blake explains.  "We want to equip them to be servant-leaders, to be leaders who lead by example -- not in a negative light, but in one that's positive and uplifting like a cheerleader should be." FCC has chapters and members throughout America, and reaches out to cheerleading clubs as well as to private and public schools. "We see the public schools and the all-star squads as our outreach opportunities, our ministry.  We don't want to be secluded, we don't want to be in a bubble; we want to reach out and let them know that a Christian organization has excellence as well," Blake says. According to the FCC spokesman, his group occasionally runs up against a common misperception. FCC is sponsoring two mission trips this year -- one to the Czech Republic and another to Russia.  The group is also hosting a national competition in early April in Orlando, Florida.

Charisma News Service

A Mennonite evangelist was recently released from prison, but three other Christians arrested with him remained jailed. According to the Mennonite World Conference, Nguyen Van Phuong appeared to be in "fair health" when he was set free on March 3 from the Bo La Prison, located north of Ho Chi Minh City, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) said. His release came one day after the year anniversary of an incident that sparked the arrest of six members of the Mennonite Church. This incident involved the discovery of police spies in the home and church of their leader, Nguyen Hong Quang. The general secretary of the Vietnam Mennonite Church, Quang was found guilty of "inciting others to resist persons doing their official duty" and was given a three-year sentence. Evangelist Pham Ngoc Thach was sentenced to two years in prison, while another four church members received sentences of up to a year for their part in the incident, including Phuong. Two church members, Nguyen Thanh Nhan and Nguyen Hieu Nghia, who are brothers, were released in December. Meanwhile, family and church friends continue their concern over the poor health of church member Le Thi Hong Lien, who was sentenced to one year in prison. (www.charismanews.com)