LISTEN: Urban Christian Weekend Report #108

1. According to Reuters, Denmark was on high alert on Sunday after three people were killed and five wounded in gun attacks on a Copenhagen cafe hosting a freedom of speech debate and a synagogue, raising fears the Nordic country had fallen victim to militant violence. The first attack, in broad daylight on Saturday, targeted a cafe attended by Swedish artist Lars Vilks, who has been threatened with death for his cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad. Up to 40 shots rang out outside the venue, as an attacker tried to shoot inside. Police said they considered Vilks, the main speaker, to have been the target. A 55-year-old man died as a result of that shooting. Hours later, during the night, shots were fired at a synagogue in another part of the city, about a half hour walk away from the cafe. A man was shot in the head, and was later confirmed to have died. Two police officers were also wounded.

2. According to ­Reuters, Shelling suddenly stopped at midnight in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk after President Petro Poroshenko gave the order to government forces to halt firing in line with a ceasefire agreement reached last Thursday. Poroshenko, wearing the uniform of the armed forces supreme commander, said in a televised address in the capital Kiev that there was still “alarm” over the situation around Debaltseve, a key transport hub, where government forces are hard pressed by encircling Russian-backed separatists. And he warned that Ukraine, if it was slapped once, would not offer the other cheek.

3. According to ­the New York Times, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India expressed concern on Friday about a series of episodes at Catholic churches in New Delhi that have raised fears among Christians here about a deliberate campaign of violence. Mr. Modi’s remarks, part of a conversation with the police commissioner of the Delhi region and relayed through the commissioner, came after President Obama called for religious tolerance during a visit to India last month. The latest suspicious incident, what appeared to be a robbery at a Catholic girls’ school in the capital, was reported on Friday morning. At least five Catholic churches in and around Delhi have reported various attacks, including suspected arson, burglary, vandalism and stone throwing.

4. According to Reuters, Crowds destroyed an Ebola facility and attacked health workers in central Guinea on rumors that the Red Cross was planning to disinfect a school. The Red Cross said its teams in Guinea have been attacked on average about 10 times a month over the past year, warning that the violence was hampering efforts to contain the disease. During the incident on Friday in the town of Faranah, angry residents attacked an Ebola transit center and set ablaze a vehicle belonging to medical charity Doctors Without Borders. A Red Cross burial team was also targeted and forced to flee

5. According to Reuters, Germany’s Foreign Minister warned Kiev, Moscow and separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine on Saturday of the “high price” of violating a ceasefire agreement as fighting intensified hours before its start. Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said he did not expect such an intense surge in violence following Thursday’s accord and urged all parties to obey its terms, which went into effect at midnight. Steinmeier said breaking the ceasefire pact would threaten European security as well as “the possibility of cooperation in international institutions including the Security Council.”

6. According to the Associated Press, U.N. Security Council members are considering the first resolution on Yemen since a rebel takeover spun the Arab world’s poorest country into the danger of collapse. A draft resolution obtained by The Associated Press demands that Shiite Houthi rebels “immediately and unconditionally” withdraw forces from government institutions, release U.S.-backed President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi and his Cabinet from house arrest, and engage “in good faith” in U.N.-led peace talks. But the draft falls short of what the Arab countries of the Gulf Coordination Council would like. Alarmed and worried that Shiite powerhouse Iran is backing the rebels, the largely Sunni Muslim states of the council have demanded a resolution that condemns the Houthis and acts under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, meaning it can be militarily enforced.

7. According to the Washington Post, Two years ago, former first lady Barbara Bush said there had been “enough Bushes” in the White House. On Friday night though, the family matriarch declared — lest there be any doubt — that she had changed her mind. At a gala dinner in Bonita Springs, FL, Jeb Bush welcomed guests to the 15th annual Celebration of Reading, a literacy charity event sponsored by the Barbara Bush Foundation. Barbara Bush said the nation’s problems were so big that “it doesn’t matter what your last name is.”

8. According to The New York Times, Iraqi soldiers and militants of the Islamic State group clashed again over the weekend in a western Iraqi town that has changed hands several times in skirmishes near a military base where American troops are training Iraqi soldiers. Hundreds of Islamic State fighters captured most of the town, Baghdadi, on Thursday, but by Friday evening Iraqi soldiers had retaken several government buildings. Then early Saturday, in what has become a familiar routine, the soldiers suddenly withdrew, all but handing the town back to the militants, according to local security officials.

9. According to Press Trust International, at least 16 people were killed and 30 were injured when a freight train slammed into a packed passenger bus in northeastern Mexico on Friday, and authorities warned that the death toll could rise. The collision happened when the bus was attempting to cross rail tracks in the city of Anahuac, Nuevo Leon. The accident occurred just after 5:00 pm at Camarones station, near the border with the United States. Two children were among the 16 dead.

10. According to Fox News, the U.S. attorney’s offices from several cities will meet at a White House summit this week to discuss ways to counter violent extremism and how to cut off terrorist recruiting pipelines. Prosecutors and civic leaders from Minneapolis, Los Angeles and Boston will discuss the progress of programs in those cities to stem the causes of radicalization in hopes to break the recruiting cycle that has sent Western fighters to warring areas in the Middle East and Africa.

As you go throughout this day, keep this word in mind. 1 John 4:10 says, “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

As always, we want you to know that God loves you. 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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