This is the Urban Christian News podcast. Here are the top stories you need to know about today.
According to the Christian Post, Two years after his controversial firing from the multi-campus Crossroads Christian Church in Indiana, Patrick Garcia has resigned as the lead pastor of The Hills Church, created by former Crossroads leaders and members, after confessing to a monthslong affair with another woman. “I wanted to inform you that I am resigning from my position as the Lead Pastor at The Hills Church. Ashamedly, for the past 11 months I’ve engaged in an inappropriate relationship, both physically and emotionally. The Bible makes it clear that one can’t lead a church while abdicating his first responsibility of leading the home. My family—especially my wife Savannah—deserves better than the husband she’s had over the past few years. The Hills Church deserves a leader of integrity who lives above reproach,” Garcia, 33, said in a statement released by the church on Facebook Sunday. Garcia said he will undergo “a season of restoration so that the root of my brokenness and dysfunction can be addressed.” “Let me be clear: No one is to blame for this repeated wicked behavior but me. My inappropriate relationship with this woman has been sinful, while undermining the sacredness of marriage and my ability to lead in a pastoral role. The only appropriate response here is repentance,” he added. In 2018, elders at Crossroads Christian Church told congregants that they were forced to fire him because he is power-hungry, lacks wisdom and humility, and is resistant to correction.
According to USA Today, Melania Trump said Wednesday that after an initial negative test, 14-year-old Barron Trump tested positive for COVID-19. “It was two weeks ago when I received the diagnosis that so many Americans across our country and the world had already received—I tested positive for COVID-19,” the first lady said in a statement. “To make matters worse, my husband, and our nation’s Commander-in-Chief, received the same news.” She continued: “Naturally my mind went immediately to our son. To our great relief he tested negative, but again, as so many parents have thought over the past several months, I couldn’t help but think ‘what about tomorrow or the next day?’ My fear came true when he was tested again and it came up positive. Luckily he is a strong teenager and exhibited no symptoms. In one way I was glad the three of us went through this at the same time so we could take care of one another and spend time together. He has since tested negative.” Stephanie Grisham, the first lady’s chief of staff and spokeswoman, said on Oct. 2 that Barron “has tested negative, and all precautions are being taken to ensure he’s kept safe and healthy.”
According to the Christian Post, The remains of a Ghanaian Christian beheaded by the Islamic State terrorist group on a Libyan beach in an execution video in 2015 has finally been laid to rest in Egypt. Cairo-based journalist Farid Y. Farid reported on Sept. 29 that the body of Matthew Ayariga was finally laid to rest alongside the 20 Coptic Christians who were beheaded beside him on a beach in Sirte, Libya, in a video released by the jihadi death cult in February 2015. “His remains finally arrived today to #Egypt to be laid to rest, w/his Coptic brothers, after 5+yrs of his body not being claimed,” Farid tweeted. Farid provided a link to an article by Watani Newspaper, an Egyptian weekly newspaper widely read by Coptic Christians. The article reports that the families of the Coptic Christians celebrated the remains of the martyr. “We collapsed with great joy because the martyr Matthew is dear to us, and he is one of our children because he was martyred with our children and adhered to his Christ,” a mother of two of the martyred Coptic Christians told Watani News. “We thank our master because He succeeded in returning the remains of the martyr so that he would be next to his [brothers] in the church.” The 21 men were abducted while they were living in Sirte as migrants working there to support their families back home. Before the execution, the men were filmed kneeling in front of 21 knife-wielding black-masked jihadis on the shore of a beach in Sirte, Libya. Several of the men were seen praying silently.
According to the Christian Post, While encouraging Christians to “vote your conscience” in the upcoming general election on Nov. 3, prominent California megachurch pastor Fred Price Jr. said that a conscientious decision can include abstention because voting “for the lesser of two evils is still evil.” “Some of you have decided I’m going to vote for the lesser of two evils. Hey, if that helps you sleep at night, I get it. Do you know that you’re still voting for evil? The lesser of two evils is still evil. It’s just less evil than the other evil,” said Price, who leads Crenshaw Christian Center, adding that he still plans on voting this election. He was responding to the question “How should Christians vote?” on Facebook Tuesday. “So saints, this is why we are a people called out of the world and our system is the Kingdom of God. Regardless of who is in the White House, yes I believe that a particular candidate may be more of a benefit to the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ but I do not see in any way, any candidate that’s ultimately in favor of the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. So once again, like I said before, you need to vote your conscience,” Price said. Incumbent President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden are currently the choices presented by the two major political parties and a recent poll from the Pew Research Center suggests deep disparities in how Christians and other religious groups interpret the “lesser of two evils.”
According to the Christian Post, Well-known contemporary Christian music singer and songwriter Chris Rice is now facing “credible” allegations of sexually assaulting a former male student, Tates Creek Presbyterian Church in Lexington, Kentucky, announced Thursday. Robert H. Cunningham, the church’s senior pastor, said the allegations against Rice, who is known for hits such as “Smile,” comes in the wake of a 2019 investigation of one of their former pastors, Brad Waller, that proved he had abused “multiple students in our youth ministry.” Although Rice was not an employee of the church, he was close friends with Waller and had been hired on multiple occasions between 1995 and 2003 “to lead worship at our youth and college retreats,” Cunningham said. Through this arrangement, Rice was able to develop close relationships with “multiple students” and one of those students recently came forward with abuse allegations. “Last week, one of those male students called to inform me of allegations that Mr. Rice had sexually assaulted him on multiple occasions. While these remain allegations at this point, we are treating them as credible because of the source of the allegations and corroborating evidence we have discovered,” Cunningham said in a statement on the church’s website. He explained that so far, only one person has come forward with allegations of abuse against Rice but urged other possible victims to contact him at [email protected]
According to ESPN, The NFL has canceled the Pro Bowl as it focuses on completing its full regular season and postseason amid the coronavirus pandemic, the league announced Wednesday. Las Vegas, which had been scheduled to host the game, will instead host the Pro Bowl after the 2021 season. This will be the first time since the 1949 season that the NFL hasn’t held some form of a postseason all-star game. Regardless, the NFL said it will still name Pro Bowl teams at the end of the season in the usual format, through votes by fans, players and coaches. Fan voting begins Nov. 17. Selected players will participate in what the league called “a variety of engaging activities to replace the Pro Bowl game this season.” Those activities will be held virtually.
According to Billboard, Kanye West did not make it to Wednesday night’s 2020 Billboard Music Awards, but he took some time out on Thursday to post a rolling thank you to his fans. Seated in a moving SUV and wearing a neon green/blue sweatshirt, West celebrated his nine nominations and four wins, which included Top Gospel Artist, Top Christian Album and Top Gospel Album (Jesus Is King) and Top Gospel Song (“Follow God”). “I wanted to just thank God for my nine Billboard nominations, … the four wins,” he said in the clip. “Thank the Billboard Awards, thank all of my fans, thank all of my Christians that’s been praying for me, praying for the day when I would serve the Kingdom. You know, God just keeps showing up. The incredible increase and the favor.” West’s wife, Kim Kardashian West, also gave him props for his trophies, posting four mic emojis and the congratulatory tweet from the BBMAs.
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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!