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Religion Today Summaries, May 5, 2004

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries, May 5, 2004

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

  • Baptist Leader Says SBC Must Re-Emphasize Lifestyle, Soul Winning
  • This Week’s National Day of Prayer to ‘Let Freedom Ring’
  • Ten Commandments Monument Lawsuit to Be Settled in Minnesota City Council
  • American Couple’s Ministry Helps Homeless Men in Israel

Baptist Leader Says SBC Must Re-Emphasize Lifestyle, Soul Winning
Allie Martin, Agape Press

An official with the nation's largest evangelical denomination says believers need to remember their citizenship in God's kingdom and practice lifestyle Christianity in their daily lives. Dr. Jimmy Draper is president of Lifeway Christian Resources, a ministry of the Southern Baptist Convention. He says for years many churches in the denomination have experienced a waning sense of urgency about reaching people for Christ. However, he believes soul winning is a significant part of Baptist identity that needs to be re-emphasized. Draper says some people look at Southern Baptists and say, "All we know about you Baptists is what you're against." And he willingly admits that "there are some things we have to be against because we're a biblical people.” But Lifeway's leader says it is what Southern Baptists are for that really counts. "Really, what we're for is fulfilling the great commission and helping people come to know Christ. To know him is eternal life -- that is a quality of life now as well as the duration of life," he says. The SBC is made up of more than 43,000 churches representing more than 16 million members. Draper says the denomination will be focusing on the great commission during it 2004 annual meeting, which is set for June in Indianapolis, Indiana. The theme for this year's meeting is "Kingdom Forever."

This Week’s National Day of Prayer to ‘Let Freedom Ring’
Charisma News Service

This week's National Day of Prayer (NDP) will have a patriotic emphasis as American troops continue fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. On Thursday, millions of Christians are again expected to gather at courthouses, state capitols, city halls, parks and around school flagpoles nationwide for the 53rd annual observance. The theme for this year's event is "Let Freedom Ring," based on Leviticus 25:10, which says, "Proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants." In his NDP proclamation last Friday, President Bush said: "On this National Day of Prayer, we pray especially for the brave men and women of the United States Armed Forces who are serving around the world to defend the cause of liberty. We are grateful for their courage and sacrifice and ask God to comfort their families while they are away from home." Last year, roughly 50,000 NDP services were held nationwide. Retired Marine Col. Oliver North is this year's honorary chairman and will provide the keynote address at the national event in Washington, D.C.

Ten Commandments Monument Lawsuit to Be Settled in Minnesota City Council
Sherrie Black, Agape Press

The city council of Duluth, Minnesota, has voted five to four to settle a lawsuit over a Ten Commandments monument outside City Hall. The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota sued the city in March on behalf of ten local residents, claiming the Decalogue display violated the alleged constitutional separation of church and state. If the monument is removed as a result of the lawsuit, it remains unclear what will happen to it. A downtown church has offered to take the monolith off the city's hands, but city officials say the monolith, according to state law, would probably have to be sold at auction. However, leaders of the group Save Our Monument are collecting the 6,000 voter signatures needed to bring the issue up for a citywide referendum. The Christian group has also raised $20,000 to offset any legal cost to taxpayers.

American Couple’s Ministry Helps Homeless Men in Israel
Charisma News Service

Homeless men in Israel are finding hope and shelter in the home of an American couple who felt called by God to relocate to the Holy Land. Gerald and Tracy Liebmann moved their family to Jerusalem in 1999 and opened their home as a hospital to men who had been living on the streets. "All I can offer them is what saved me," Gerald Liebmann said. "This is our home. We're the doctors; they're the patients. The medicine is love and accountability." The Liebmanns and their two children, Gina, 17, and Michael, 14, have welcomed more than 100 homeless men, who receive food and a place to sleep, and quickly become part of the family. "It's a 24/7 atmosphere," Tracy Liebmann said. "It's a home, not a shelter. Our kids have never been harmed." Gerald spent years of his life living on the streets. He met Tracy in Hawaii in 1984 when she bought drugs from him. The two married in 1986 after they entered rehab. “I met the Lord one week later," he said. "As I was praying, God said: 'I want you to go to My people.' It was like a light bulb. From then on, Israel was deep inside me."