LISTEN: Urban Christian News Podcast (06/23/19) with Daniel D.P. Whyte IV

Here are the top stories you need to know about today.

According to Assist News, reports out of Northern Nigeria say God intervened miraculously to save 72 converts and their children from Boko Haram militants. BarnabasAid is reporting that, after being kidnapped by Boko Haram, over 70 believers were sentenced to die. The militants had already publicly executed four of their leaders. The widows of the dead men were given time to think about renouncing Jesus and turning to Islam. But, as they agonized, their excited children told their mothers that Jesus had appeared to them and told them all would be well. Jesus then reportedly appeared to the whole group of 72, and told them not to fear for He would protect them. The next day, as the militants prepared to execute the children, they began began screaming and clawing at their own heads, shouting about “snakes.” Some of the militants fled the scene, and some of them dropped dead. A child testified that “men in white” were fighting for them against Boko Haram.

CHAR Pastor Andy Stanley recently defended his claim that parts of the Old Testament were rendered “obsolete and outdated” by Jesus’ New Covenant. Stanley’s new book Irresistible debuted to some controversy last fall, but the megachurch pastor sought to clarify his position during an uncut interview with 100 Huntley Street’s Maggie John.

According to Reuters, Missouri health officials on Friday refused to renew the license of the state’s only abortion clinic, but the facility will remain open for now as a judge left in place an injunction blocking its closure. At a brief state circuit court hearing on Friday, Judge Michael Stelzer said it might be days before the court would come to a decision on whether the state could shut its only abortion clinic, which is operated by women’s healthcare and abortion provider Planned Parenthood. If the clinic were to close, Missouri would become the only U.S. state without a legal abortion clinic.

According to the AP, The opposition candidate for mayor of Istanbul celebrated a landmark win on Sunday in a closely watched repeat election that ended weeks of political tension and broke the long hold President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s party had on leading Turkey’s largest city. Ekrem Imamoglu spoke to tens of thousands of people who gathered to mark his victory after unofficial results showed he won a clear majority of the vote. The governing party’s candidate, former Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, conceded moments after returns showed him trailing well behind Imamoglu, 54% to 45%. Imamoglu increased his lead from a March mayoral election by hundreds of thousands of votes.

According to the AP, A long-planned Blessing of the Bikes ceremony for motorcycle enthusiasts became a scene of mourning and reflection Sunday as about 400 people paid tribute to seven bikers killed in a devastating collision with a pickup truck. The victims of the wreck Friday evening were members or supporters of the Marine JarHeads — a New England motorcycle club that includes Marines and their spouses — and ranged in age from 42 to 62. A pickup truck towing a flatbed trailer collided with a group of 10 motorcycles on a two-lane highway in the small town of Randolph, leaving victims strewn on the grass amid their shattered bikes. The cause of the crash was under investigation, and no immediate charges were filed.

According to the AP, President Donald Trump says he hesitated to back a possible 2024 presidential run by Vice President Mike Pence because he was caught off-guard by the question. Given a chance at a do-over, however, Trump still did not endorse his loyal lieutenant. Speaking to Fox & Friends on June 14th, Trump said, “You can’t put me in that position,” when asked about endorsing Pence should the vice president seek to succeed in 2024. Pence hasn’t explicitly said he’ll run in 2024, but is widely expected to. Offered a chance to explain, Trump told NBC News he hesitated “because it was a surprise question.”

According to the AP, One person was killed and seven others were wounded in an attack by Iranian-allied Yemeni rebels on an airport in Saudi Arabia Sunday evening, as the U.S. secretary of state was on his way to the country for talks on Iran. Regional tensions have flared in recent days. The U.S. abruptly called off military strikes against Iran in response to the shooting down of an unmanned American surveillance drone on Thursday. The Sunday attack by the Yemeni rebels, known as Houthis, targeted the Saudi airport in Abha. Saudi Arabia has been at war with the Houthis in Yemen for more than four years.

According to Reuters, India on Sunday rejected a U.S. State Department’s annual report on religious freedom that raised questions about the government’s inability to curb violent attacks on the country’s minority Muslims. Preparing for a visit by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday, India’s foreign ministry issued a stiff rejoinder to the U.S. criticism. Raveesh Kumar, the ministry’s spokesman, said, “India is proud of its secular credentials, its status as the largest democracy and a pluralistic society with a longstanding commitment to tolerance and inclusion.” The U.S. State Department report said some senior officials from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Hindu nationalist party last year had made “inflammatory speeches” against religious minorities.

According to the AP, A year after they became trapped in a flooded cave at the start of a two-week ordeal, some of the 12 young Thai soccer players and their coach marked the anniversary of the drama on Sunday that propelled them to celebrity. Around 4,000 people took part in the marathon and biking event Sunday morning, organized by local authorities to raise funds to improve conditions at the now famous Tham Luang cave complex in northern Thailand. The youngsters went in to explore before rain-fed floodwaters pushed them deep inside the dark complex. Their rescue was hailed as nothing short of a miracle. Nine of the boys and their coach ran the marathon, donning the event’s orange T-shirts and looking notably taller and older.

According to the WSJ, One of America’s greatest achievements over much of the past century has been a huge decline in death rates from heart disease and strokes. However, now, progress has stalled. That’s helping drive down life expectancy in the U.S. after decades in which each generation of Americans could expect to live longer than the one that came before. The death rate for cardiovascular disease—which includes heart disease and strokes—has fallen just 4% since 2011 after dropping more than 70% over six decades. Particularly alarming is that the death rate is actually rising for middle-aged Americans. While the recent decline in U.S. life expectancy has been driven mostly by deaths from drug overdoses and suicides, improvements in cardiovascular health are no longer providing a counterbalance.

According to Reuters, Amazon.com is exploring using drones not just to deliver packages but also to provide surveillance as a service to its customers. A patent granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office indicates that the delivery drones can be used to record video of consented user’s property to gather data that can be analyzed to look out, say for example, a broken window, or a fire or if a garage door was left open during the day. The application for the patent was filed by the e-commerce giant in 2015 and granted on June 4. Earlier this month, Amazon said it will start drones delivering packages to customers in 30 minutes or less in the coming months.

You can read these stories and more at BCNN1.com

In closing, remember, God loves you. He always has and He always will. John 3:16 says, “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 for listening and may God bless your day!