This is the Urban Christian News podcast. Here are the top stories you need to know about today.
According to CNN, Countless websites and apps around the world went down for about an hour Tuesday after Fastly, a major content delivery network, reported a widespread failure. Fastly supports news sites and apps like CNN, the Guardian, the New York Times and many others. It also provides content delivery for Twitch, Pinterest, HBO Max, Hulu, Reddit, Spotify and other services. The outage took down other major internet platforms and sites, including Amazon, Target, and the UK government website — Gov.uk. The problem was caused by an outage at Fastly (FSLY), a cloud service provider. The company said on its service status website (which was working) Tuesday morning it had identified the problem and fixed the issue. Service for sites and apps started to be restored around 7 a.m. ET, although Fastly said some customers may experience longer load times as a residual effect of the problem. The outage affected dozens of countries across the Americas, Europe and Asia, as well as South Africa. Fastly said it had identified a service configuration that triggered disruptions across its servers. The company has disabled that configuration.
According to the Los Angeles Daily News, Mega-church Pastor Rick Warren, who has led Saddleback Church for 42 years, announced Sunday he is retiring and a search is launching this week for a successor to lead the church that serves a global audience of more than 40,000 people. Warren, 67, told his congregation on Sunday, June 6, the search is not the end but the “beginning of the beginning.” He will serve as lead pastor until a successor is settled in place. “That’s always been my goal, to serve God’s Purpose in my generation,” Warren said in a video to his congregation. “God has given me the privilege to serve multiple generations.” Warren said his successor will take the lead role and he will step back into a less “visible position as founding pastor.” He said, “For 42 years, Kay and I have known this day would eventually arrive and we’ve been waiting for God’s perfect timing.” There is no timeline for the search, which will look at candidates from within the church as well as outside of it; Warren declined Monday to talk about his retirement plans, saying he just wanted to give his congregants the head’s up. He said he will “stick around” even after retirement but, “it is time for a new chapter for a younger leader with a new vision.”
According to the New York Times, A police officer has pleaded guilty to the rape and kidnapping of Sarah Everard, the British woman whose killing in March touched off a national reckoning over male violence against women. The officer, Wayne Couzens, made the pleas Tuesday via video link in a London court, according to the court. Mr. Couzens, who largely patrolled diplomatic premises, did not enter a plea in response to being charged with her murder, pending medical reports, although his lawyer, Jim Sturman, said he admitted responsibility for Ms. Everard’s death. His admission, after the police said last week that Ms. Everard had died from compression of the neck, according to a post-mortem examination, prompted renewed anguish about Ms. Everard’s death, as well as conversations about women’s safety. The disappearance of Ms. Everard, a 33-year-old marketing executive, while walking home from a friend’s house in South London in March brought attention to a pervasive longstanding issue of violence against women in public and at home.
According to Christianity Today, Hillsong Church, known for its popular worship music, sounds different in Atlanta. At the new location’s first day of Sunday services, rapper Da’ T.R.U.T.H. kicked off worship in the dimly lit Atlanta Event Center, formerly Club Opera in the heart of downtown. Attendees—few were masked, despite the church advertising mask wearing and social distancing requirements—stood from black folding chairs and gold-seated booths to cheer for Sam Collier, who’s the first African American to serve as lead pastor of a Hillsong church. Collier, who came to Hillsong from Andy Stanley’s North Point Ministries, has deep connections in the city. He previously ministered at Ebenezer Baptist Church, the home church of Martin Luther King Jr., and New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, another well-known Black church in the metro Atlanta area. Hillsong, which formed its own denomination in 2018, has locations in about a dozen US cities and 28 countries, averaging a total global attendance of 150,000 a week, according to its website. The services drew prominent Atlanta figures and celebrities and featured Hillsong Church global senior pastors Brian and Bobbie Houston. “It’s been a difficult year, but you’re the greatest leaders I’ve ever met,” said Collier, as he introduced the Houstons. He likely was referencing numerous revelations that have rocked the global church starting with the admission of adultery by Carl Lentz, former pastor of Hillsong Church’s New York City location, last November. “We pray against demonic forces, and that [the Houstons] will have victory in Jesus’ name.” Bernice A. King, CEO of The King Center, was also in the congregation on Sunday to support Collier, whom she called a friend. Atlanta City Council member Michael Julian Bond presented the church with a proclamation. Most of Hillsong’s existing US locations are in the West or Northeast; the Atlanta church is its first in the South. Last year, Hillsong announced that Collier would copastor the church with his wife, Toni, but she stepped out of the role to write. On Sunday, the Colliers thanked their relatives as well as their “global family” for support before focusing on their vision for Atlanta. In his message, Sam Collier drew from Exodus 3:7 as he called for revival and racial reconciliation in the “birthplace of civil rights.”
According to the Texas Tribune, A federal district judge dismissed on Tuesday a lawsuit to block a voter-approved abortion ban from taking effect in Lubbock, saying Planned Parenthood did not have standing to sue the city. The decision comes just weeks after Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit to stop the Lubbock ordinance, which outlaws abortions and empowers “the unborn child’s mother, father, grandparents, siblings and half-siblings” to sue for damages someone who helps others access an abortion. The “sanctuary city for the unborn” ordinance was passed by voters in May, after being shot down by City Council members who said it conflicted with state law and could be costly to defend. It took effect June 1. Abortion rights advocates typically sue to prevent government officials from enforcing an unconstitutional abortion restriction. But the Lubbock ordinance is enforced solely by private citizens, not state or local actors. That enforcement structure has not been extensively tested in the courts, but the judge said his rulings could not prevent private parties from filing civil lawsuits in state court. Almost 30 cities have sought to ban abortions by declaring themselves so-called sanctuaries for the unborn. Lubbock, a city of some 259,000, is the largest to do so, and the first to have an abortion provider in its city limits. Planned Parenthood opened a clinic to offer birth control and other services in Lubbock last year and began providing abortions this spring.
According to the Associated Press, Jeff Bezos will ride his own rocket into space next month, joining the first crew to fly in a Blue Origin capsule. The Amazon founder announced Monday he will launch July 20 from Texas along with his firefighter brother Mark. Also making the 10-minute up-and-down hop will be the highest bidder in a charity auction. Bezos is stepping down as Amazon’s CEO on July 5 — just 15 days before liftoff — to spend more time on his space company as well as his newspaper, The Washington Post. His stake in Amazon is currently worth $164 billion. Bezos said in an Instagram post, “To see the Earth from space, it changes you. It changes your relationship with this planet, with humanity. It’s one Earth. I want to go on this flight because it’s a thing I’ve wanted to do all my life. It’s an adventure. It’s a big deal for me.” Bezos said he invited his younger brother — his best friend — to share the journey and make it even more “meaningful.”
According to ESPN, Simone Biles claimed her record seventh U.S. title Sunday night, delivering another stunning — and stunningly easy — performance that served little doubt the pressure surrounding her bid to become the first woman to win back-to-back Olympic championships in more than 50 years is only pushing her to even greater heights. Shaking off a somewhat sloppy start Friday, at least by her standards, Biles put on a four-rotation showcase that highlighted why a goat emblem — a nod to her status as the greatest of all time — has become a fixture on her competition leotard. Her two-day total of 119.650 was nearly five points better than runner-up Sunisa Lee and good friend and teammate Jordan Chiles. Biles’ all-around score on Sunday of 60.100 was her highest since 2018 and served notice she is only getting better with the Tokyo Games less than seven weeks away.
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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!