This is the Urban Christian News podcast. Here are the top stories you need to know about today.
According to the Associated Press, A white former Fort Worth police officer charged with murder after shooting a black woman through a window of her home has been released on bond, and the department told a grieving community that investigators would ensure “no stone is left unturned” in the search for answers. Jail records show Aaron Dean, 34, was out of custody after posting bond Monday night, less than four hours after his arrest in a shooting that began with a call about an open front door. He had been held on $200,000 bond. Earlier in the day he resigned from the force, and the police chief said he would have been fired if he hadn’t. Sgt. Chris Daniels read a statement Monday night after Dean’s arrest in which he pledged that the department’s major case and internal affairs units were working “around the clock” for justice in the case. “To the citizens and residents of our city: We feel and understand your anger and disappointment and we stand by you as we work together to make Fort Worth a better place for all of us,” Daniels said.
According to Christian Post, Partly inspired by the recent suicide of pastor Jarrid Wilson, a mental health advocate, Wheaton College’s Billy Graham Center is set to host a one-day evangelical summit to address issues of leadership, burnout, and mental health. The college, located in Wheaton, Illinois, will include a discussion billed as “Facing Hard Truths & Challenges in Pastoral Ministry,” under the banner of its GC2 (Great Commission/Great Commandment) Summit on Dec. 6, in partnership with the Wheaton College School of Psychology, Counseling, and Family Therapy. Wilson, 30, was a pastor at Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California, and founder of Anthem of Hope, a faith-centered organization dedicated to amplifying hope for those battling brokenness, depression, anxiety, self-harm, addiction and suicide, when he took his life on the eve of World Suicide Prevention Day last month. Rick Warren, senior pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, whose son, Matthew, died by suicide at the age of 27, after a long and private struggle with mental illness, is also expected to speak at the summit.
According to Christian Post, Hevrin Khalaf, a female politician who worked to unite Christians, Arabs and Kurds in Syria was among nine individuals executed by a Turkish-backed group in the northeast region of the country, according to a human rights monitor. Khalaf, the 35-year-old Future Syria Party’s secretary-general, was “taken out of her car during a Turkish-backed attack and executed by Turkish-backed mercenary factions,” along with her driver, said the political arm of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, local media reported. “This is a clear evidence that the Turkish state is continuing its criminal policy towards unarmed civilians,” it added. On Twitter, Brett McGurk, the former special presidential envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, spoke of Khalaf’s efforts to foster tolerance in Syria and condemned her death as a “war crime.” “Turkish state-backed media hails a ‘successful operation’ to ‘neutralize’ an unarmed 35-year old woman working to unite Arabs, Christians, and Kurds in NE Syria. Ms. Hevrin Khalef was reportedly dragged from a vehicle and shot to death. That’s a war crime,” he tweeted.
According to ABC7 NY, The NYPD confirms that an off-duty NYPD sergeant died by suicide Tuesday night. The 33-year-old sergeant reportedly died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound and was pronounced dead at Jamaica Hospital in Queens at 10 p.m. Authorities say the 7-year veteran shot himself in the head at his home. He is the 10th NYPD officer to die from suicide in 2019. Law enforcement leaders across the country are sounding the alarm over a suicide crisis affecting officers from departments nationwide. New York City council members introduced legislation last month requiring the police department to contract a specific number of licensed clinicians to provide mental health support and awareness to all New York City police officers. The bill also includes annual first responder wellness sessions available to all members. If you are a member of the NYPD in crisis or know someone who is, you can text “Blue” to 741741 for help.
According to The Hill, The Supreme Court on Wednesday heard oral arguments in a case involving the sentence of Lee Boyd Malvo, one of the two so-called D.C. snipers. Justices appeared split over whether to grant Malvo, who was convicted and sentenced to life without parole as a teenager, a new sentencing hearing, according to reports. Malvo was 17 years old when he and 41-year-old John Allen Muhammad murdered 10 people and wounded three others in a random string of killings that terrorized the Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., region in 2002. Muhammad was executed in 2009, while Malvo was handed four life sentences without parole in Virginia and six life sentences without parole in Maryland. He is serving his sentence in a Virginia prison. But the Supreme Court delivered rulings in 2012 and 2016 that made mandatory life without parole sentences unconstitutional for most juvenile offenders. Malvo challenged his sentence in light of the rulings, and the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals sided with him. But the prison’s warden appealed the decision, with the state arguing the appeals court incorrectly expanded the ban. The Supreme Court said in March that it would review the case. The high court’s ruling will also impact the sentences of other convicted juveniles.
According to Haaretz, A 14-year-old boy who was struck by lightning on the Zikim Beach south of Ashkelon died Wednesday. The funeral for Asher Hazut was held Wednesday night in his hometown of Be’er Sheva. Four other members of the Hazut family were also struck by lightning on Tuesday. One was injured seriously, one moderately, and two others slightly injured. All were taken to Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon. One of the slightly injured members of the family said on Wednesday: “We went to the beach, we played soccer and we swam. At first it was cloudy and then powerful lightning and thunder started. I was afraid.” It was at that point, the man said, that the family decided to leave, at which point the lightning struck them. Paramedic Maxim Prolakov said that his team found two of the injured unconscious and one barely conscious, while two others were without a pulse and weren’t breathing when the ambulance team arrived.
According to Christian Headlines, Orlando Magic forward Jonathan Isaac didn’t enjoy missing most of his rookie season two years ago with an ankle injury, but in hindsight – he says – it was for the best. Isaac worked out during that time and put on much-needed muscle on his 6-foot-10 frame to improve his defense. He became a better all-around player. But he also grew spiritually. “I take that injury as God sitting me down, and getting my attention to set me up for the life and the career that He has for me,” Isaac, who is 22, told the Sports Spectrum Podcast this month. Isaac was the sixth pick in the NBA draft in 2017 but played only 27 games his rookie season while averaging 5.4 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. Last season, his second year, he played 75 games and increased his averages to 9.6 points and 5.5 rebounds while helping lead the Magic to the NBA playoffs. Off the court, he is known as one of the league’s most outspoken Christians. He talked about his faith to the crowd during the Magic’s Faith and Family Night. He frequently writes about his faith on Twitter and Instagram, too. He is expected to play a big role this year, his third season.
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In closing, remember, 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!