LISTEN: Nondenominational megachurches seeing major growth; Body of Sherin Mathews believed found (UCNN, 10/22/17)

This is Daniel Whyte IV with Urban Christian News Network. Here is a round up of the top stories happening this week.

247WALLST: Millions of Americans attend megachurches, Protestant Christian congregations with regular attendance of more than 2,000 people at all worship locations. A new list of America’s 25 largest churches, based on average weekly attendees has been released. Most of these mega churches are located in southern Sunbelt states such as Texas and Florida, and many are found in fast-growing suburbs of cities such as Dallas and Houston. While denominations such as the Southern Baptist Convention and Independent Christian Churches make several appearances, the nation’s largest churches are disproportionately independent, non-denominational. Reflecting a recent trend, 40% of the more than 1,500 mega churches in North America and a majority of the hundred largest churches are unaffiliated denominations. The top 5 churches on the list are Lakewood Church in Houston, TX; North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, GA; Life.Church in Edmond, OK; Gateway Church in Southlake, TX; and Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, IL.

AP/FOX: Authorities in Richardson, Texas, said Sunday they believe they have found the body of Sherin Mathews, the adopted 3-year-old girl who disappeared in the early hours of Oct. 7. The Richardson Police Department said investigators discovered a body around 11 a.m. Sunday in a culvert beneath a road and believe it to be Mathews; however, police won’t identify the body until there is a positive identification by proper officials. The location where the body was found is close to the Mathews’ home.

REUTERS: In a rare show of unity, U.S. President Donald Trump praised all five of his living predecessors on Saturday, thanking them in a video for their work helping to raise funds to aid victims of recent hurricanes. His video statement, which commends Americans for coming together in the wake of four hurricanes and the deadly California wildfires, was shown at Saturday’s fund-raising concert for hurricane victims organized by the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library Foundation and former presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama. All five attended the event, which features artists Alabama, Lady Gaga, the Gatlin Brothers, Robert Earl Keene and others.

AP/FOX: A 31-year-old police officer in Ohio was fatally shot while responding to a domestic dispute during the weekend. Girard officer Justin Leo was shot on Saturday night and later died at the hospital. Police were sent to a home around 10 p.m. regarding “a domestic situation involving a firearm.” While speaking to the suspect, he pulled out a gun and shot the officer. An accompanying officer returned fire, killing the suspect.

NYT: Natural disasters like Hurricanes Maria and Irma and the recent wildfires in California have led to a spate of warnings from countries that want to caution their citizens about the risk of traveling to the United States, but the advisories are also noting potential for violence in the wake of the Las Vegas shooting and the potential for terrorist attacks as well. While warnings for travel to the United States aren’t new, they have picked up significantly in the last few weeks, following these events, said Ed Daly, who oversees the content for the Global Intelligence Division of iJET International, a travel intelligence firm based in Annapolis, Md. He said, “After a lull, there was a rash of incidents which happened one after the other and led to these advisories.”

AFP: Israeli police detained 15 suspected Jewish extremists following an undercover investigation into a group accused of tracking down and threatening Arab men dating Jewish women. Among those arrested was Benzi Gopstein, a prominent leader of the Israeli extreme-right group Lehava. Arrests and searches for evidence were carried out simultaneously at addresses in Jerusalem, northern and southern Israel and in Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, police said.

USA TODAY: The sentencing hearing begins Monday at Fort Bragg, N.C., for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who has pleaded guilty to desertion and says the Taliban who captured him treated him better than the U.S. Army. Bergdahl told British journalist Sean Langan, “At least the Taliban were honest enough to say, ‘I’m the guy who’s gonna cut your throat.’ Here, it could be the guy I pass in the corridor who’s going to sign the paper that sends me away for life.” Bergdahl pleaded guilty last week to one count of “desertion with intent to shirk important or hazardous duty” and one count of “misbehavior before the enemy by endangering the safety of a command, unit or place.” He could face life in prison for his crimes.

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God loves you. He always has and He always will. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” If you don’t know Jesus as your Saviour, today is a good day to get to know Him. Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose from the dead for you. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Thanks so much for listening and may God bless your day!