LISTEN: Urban Christian News Network with Daniella Whyte

1. According to the Washington Post, President Obama plans to make an aggressive push to tout his economic policies ahead of his State of the Union address on Jan. 20, starting with a swing through three states. Obama will highlight the rebirth of the auto industry in Detroit on Wednesday, discuss the recovery of the housing market during a stop in Phoenix on Thursday and talk about additional efforts to boost education and jobs in a visit with Vice President Biden in Tennessee on Friday, according to a White House spokesman. In addition to citing progress the administration has made, Obama also will announce new actions that he intends to enact without waiting on Congress and highlight during his State of the Union address, the official said.

2. According to NBC News, A huge and complicated winter weather system covered large parts of the Southwest on Friday, threatening to coat roads with ice almost as deep as that on a hockey rink. It is expected to drop more than a foot of snow all the way from Kansas City to Maine. Ice storm warnings were issued for a band stretching from west Texas to central Oklahoma, with the National Weather Service saying more than a half-inch of solid ice could accumulate on roads and power lines. Winter storm warnings were in effect over a much larger area spanning most of New Mexico and the western half of Texas north to the Oklahoma panhandle. The National Weather Service warned that heavy snow could sock much of the region, making roads all but impassable.

3. According to USA Today, President Obama signed an executive order Friday imposing new sanctions against North Korea in retaliation for that nation’s suspected role in cyber attacks and threats against the movie industry. In signing the new sanctions order from his vacation home in Hawaii, Obama cited “the provocative, destabilizing, and repressive actions and policies of the Government of North Korea, including its destructive, coercive cyber-related actions during November and December 2014.” The new measures come on top of previous sanctions designed to punish North Korea over its nuclear weapons program.

4. According to Gannett Wisconsin Media and the Associated Press, About 30 youths headed to a religious conference in Green Bay got a scare but are safe after the church bus they were on caught fire. No injuries were reported during the Friday incident on the city’s west side. The bus was from the Immanuel Baptist Church in Wausau, and its passengers were members of the church’s youth group. The bus is a total loss, and many passengers lost their luggage in the fire, but no one lost their life.

5. According to GodReports, While Indonesia is primarily Muslim, most of those aboard ill-fated Air Asia Flight 8501 were Christians of Chinese ethnicity. Tragically, one Surabaya church — Mawar Sharon Church — lost 41 members in the crash, according to CBS News. On Wednesday, about 100 of their relatives gathered for a prayer service in a large room at the Surabaya airport where Pastor Philip Mantofa urged the group to trust in God and hold tightly to their faith, despite the senselessness of the accident and the agony they are enduring. Pastor Mantofa said, “Some things do not make sense to us, but God is bigger than all this. Our God is not evil … help us God to move forward even though we are surrounded by darkness.” Under Pastor Mantofa’s leadership, the church has grown to 30,000. He is also the assistant head of his denomination, which has a network of 70 local churches.

6. According to Vice News, As the new year arrived, Boko Haram militants wrought turmoil both to Nigeria and to Cameroon, kidnapping 40 young men and boys in northern Nigeria and killing at least 15 people in a bus in northern Cameroon. On New Year’s Eve the Islamic militant group attacked a remote village in northeast Nigeria, villagers told the BBC Friday night. The fighters arrived in pick-up trucks and ordered that the boys come listen to a sermon — but then rounded them up and took them away. The victims were between 10 and 23 years old. News of the attack was delayed until Friday because of previous destruction of cell phone towers in the area by the Islamic militants.

7. According to The Hill, Former Sen. Edward Brooke, who ended an 85-year absence of African-American senators, died on Saturday at age 95, according to Kirsten Hughes, chairwoman of the Massachusetts Republican Party. A former aide, Ralph Neas, says Brooke died of natural causes at his Coral Gables, Fla., home. Brooke served in the Senate from 1967 to 1979 and, before that, he served as the Massachusetts attorney general. He was born and raised in a segregated Washington D.C. and went on to become the first African-American to be elected to the Senate by popular vote.

8. According to Al Arabiya, Turkey’s Islamic-rooted government has authorized the building of the first church in the country since the end of the Ottoman empire in 1923, AFP has learned. The church is for the country’s tiny Syriac community and will be built in the Istanbul suburb of Yesilkoy on the shores of the Sea of Marmara, which already has Greek Orthodox, Armenian and Catholic churches. Turkey, which once had large Christian minorities, is now 99 percent Muslim, and critics of the ruling party AKP have accused it of trying to Islamicize its officially secular society.

9. According to Baptist News Global, Carolyn Weatherford Crumpler, who promoted Southern Baptist missions for 31 years as head of Woman’s Missionary Union before helping to form the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship in 1991, died Jan. 2 in Cincinnati. Crumpler, 84, was executive director of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Woman’s Missionary Union from 1974 until 1989. She retired at age 59 to become a pastor’s wife, marrying Cincinnati pastor Joe Crumpler, who survives.

10. According to Reuters, Somalian Al-Shabab militants attacked a military base in the outskirts of the town of Baidoa Friday morning, killing at least seven soldiers. The attack came two days after the United States said it had killed the chief of Al-Shabab’s intelligence and security wing in a drone strike. Al-Shabab seeks to topple the Western-backed Mogadishu government and impose its own strict version of Islamic law. Somali soldiers killed three Al-Shabab insurgents during the attack.

As you go throughout this day, keep this word in mind: Titus 2:11-12 says, “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age…”

God loves you. He always has and He always will. He loves you so much that the Bible says in 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 the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, why don’t you get to know Him today. Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose by the power of God for you. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, 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. May God bless your day.

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