LISTEN: Urban Christian News Network #565 with Daniella Whyte

1. According to Religion News Service, Religious and secular advocacy groups jointly called Thursday for greater clarity by the Internal Revenue Service regarding nonprofits and political activity. In a rare combined front, leaders of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, Alliance Defending Freedom, Public Citizen and the Center for American Progress met at the National Press Club to discuss ways the tax agency could better help nonprofits know what they can and cannot do under the law. Dan Busby, president of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability said, “Something needs to change. We agree that clear and brighter lines must be adopted.” The IRS did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

2. According to Fox News, Mr. and Mrs. Politically Correct have laid down the law at City University of New York, where gender-specific salutations are now a no-no. School officials sent out a memo barring professors and other staffers within the graduate program from addressing students with titles like “Mr.” and “Mrs.,” according to the Wall Street Journal. The memo to employees read, “Effective Spring 2015, the (graduate center’s) policy is to eliminate the use of gendered salutations and references in correspondence to students, prospective students, and third parties. Accordingly, Mr. and Ms. should be omitted from salutations.” The new policy has sparked a debate in academia.

3. According to Reuters, Israeli airforce jets struck Syrian army artillery positions near the Israel-occupied Golan Heights on Wednesday. The military said it was in retaliation for rockets launched in the area the previous day. Tensions have escalated in the border region in the 10 days since an Israeli air strike on territory under the control of Syrian President Bashar Assad killed an Iranian general and several Lebanese Hezbollah fighters. On Tuesday, at least two rockets from Syria hit the Golan Heights and Israel responded with artillery fire. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the rocket fire and no casualties were reported.

4. According to The Washington Post, On Wednesday, residents of Israel and Lebanon feared that their countries were edging toward war after Israeli troops and the Lebanese Hezbollah militia exchanged deadly barrages across a fractious border earlier in the day. The clashes, which began with a Hezbollah attack that killed two Israeli soldiers, marked one of the most serious flare-ups of violence in the area and raised tensions in a volatile tri-border zone close to positions held by Syrian insurgents, including Islamist factions. A U.N. peacekeeper was also killed, although it was unclear how he died.

5. According to FOX 6 WBRC, In September of 2012, the Channel 4 I-Team found Tennessee Pastor Mike Whitsey was raising money from his congregation without telling them the church was in bankruptcy. One Sunday morning, the congregation at Abundant Life Christian Church in Murfreesboro arrived to find the doors locked. Some have no idea what happened to their money. Whitsey was indicted on money laundering charges, accused of buying land to hide the proceeds from drug sales. His passport was seized and he was ordered not to travel outside of middle Tennessee. Whitsey’s trial was slated to begin on Feb. 17. A month before that trial, Whitsey wanted to take a trip out of the country. His federal probation office and the U.S. Attorney said it was OK for him to go. This decision is leaving some church members angry and begging for answers.

6. According to CBN News, The Israeli government honored Myles Munroe on Thursday evening in Jerusalem for his “ongoing contribution to the Jewish state.” Munroe, who headed Bahamas Faith Ministries International and Myles Munroe International, and his wife Ruth, were killed in a plane crash in November. Tourism Minister Uzi Landau presented the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus and World Jewish Congress award to his son, Myles Munroe Jr., and daughter Charisa during its ninth annual event called a “Night to Honor Our Christian Allies.”

7. According to the Associated Press, Iran said on Tuesday it has sent a warning to Israel through the United States over the recent killing of an Iranian general in an alleged Israeli airstrike. The report quoted Iran’s deputy foreign minister as saying, “We told the Americans that the leaders of the Zionist regime should await the consequences of their act.” He added, “The Zionist regime has crossed our red lines.”

8. According to Reuters, A rally at the Texas Capitol on Thursday by Muslims seeking religious tolerance was repeatedly disrupted by a small group of protesters who said the state belonged to followers of Jesus Christ and that Muslims should go back to the Middle East. A group of people who described themselves as Christian activists heckled the group of about 600 who showed up for the rally. The protesters shouted as the Muslim group sang the national anthem and then tried to interrupt speakers calling for religious tolerance.

9. According to VOA News, Three U.S. defense contractors helping train Afghan air force personnel were gunned down at the Kabul airport Thursday in what military sources say was an “insider attack.” Details on the killings are scarce. A rise in so-called “insider attacks” in Afghanistan has eroded trust between Afghan and international troops in the final years of the combat mission that ended in 2014, prompting foreign forces to scale back interaction with their allies. Despite the introduction of new measures, including a requirement that coalition forces be armed at all times and stricter vetting procedures for Afghan security members, incidents continue to occur sporadically.

10. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, a magnitude 5.7 earthquake struck off the North Coast of California on Wednesday. The quake was reported at 1:08 p.m. and was centered 25 miles southwest of Ferndale. People reported feeling the shaker as far north as the Oregon border. No tsunami warning was issued, but officials warned that the likelihood of a magnitude 5 or greater aftershock in the next seven days was roughly 40 percent.

As you go throughout this day, keep this word in mind: Ephesians 4:2 says, “Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.”

Kevin Kruse said, “Life isn’t about getting and having, it’s about giving and being.”

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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