LISTEN: Urban Christian News Network Weekend Report #126

1. According to the Jerusalem Post, The Islamic State terrorist group released a video on Sunday purporting to show its operatives shooting and beheading what it claims are 28 Ethiopian Christians in Libya. Addressed to the “nation of the cross,” the 29-minute long video, details the schisms that occurred in the Christian faith which led to the formation of the Ethiopian Orthodox church. Footage is then shown of two groups of dark-skinned captives led by armed militants. One group, numbering 12, is held by militants on Libya’s northern coast and the other, numbering 16, held by fighters in Libya’s southern desert interior. The footage then shows the graphic decapitation of the first group on the beach, as well as the shooting deaths of the 16 men in the south. It is not immediately clear who the captives were, but a caption claims they are members of “the hostile Ethiopian Church.”

2. According to the AP, A boat believed to be crowded with 700 migrants capsized in the waters north of Libya overnight, leaving at least 24 confirmed dead and sparking fears for what could become the Mediterranean’s deadliest known migrant sea disaster. The Coast Guard said in a statement that the migrants’ vessel may have overturned because migrants rushed to one side of the craft when they saw a Portuguese merchant vessel approach it late Saturday night. The cargo ship had been dispatched to come to the migrants’ aid.The Coast Guard said at least 28 survivors had been rescued by Sunday morning.

3. According to the Jerusalem Post, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Israel against supplying weapons to the Ukrainian government, which is battling a Russian-backed insurgency in its eastern province. In an interview, Putin said, “This is a choice of the Israeli leadership; they have the right to do what they consider appropriate. I think it is counterproductive, if it concerns lethal weapons, because it will only lead to yet another swirl of confrontation, to more human casualties, but the result will be the same.”

4. According to the BBC, More than 300 people have been arrested in South Africa in connection with a wave of violence against immigrants from other parts of Africa. The country’s minister of home affairs issued a warning to those responsible, saying that they would be subject to “the full might of the law.” At least six people have been killed in the past two weeks.

5. According to the Wall Street Journal, President Obama suggested on Friday that Iran could receive significant economic relief immediately after concluding a deal to curb its nuclear program, a gesture towards one of Tehran’s key demands. Obama said such a move would depend on the final accord allowing international sanctions to be quickly re-imposed if Tehran violated the agreement it is now negotiating with global powers. The administration has previously said the U.S. prefers sanctions to be lifted in phases as Iran meets certain requirements.

6. According to the AP, Several hundred people have gathered at the former site of the Oklahoma City federal building to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the terrorist bombing there that killed 168 people and injured many others. Survivors of the April 19, 1995, attack and relatives of some of the dead are among those attending Sunday’s memorial service. The service is set to begin at 9:02 a.m., which was when the bomb detonated, with a 168-second moment of silence followed by a reading of the names of those killed. Former President Bill Clinton and Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin are expected to speak at the gathering.

7. According to the Detroit Free Press, national bookstore chain Family Christian faces an uncertain future after its plan to exit Chapter 11 bankruptcy collapsed amid questions regarding the interplay between the not-for-profit company and its evangelizing corporate parent. Family Christian filed for bankruptcy protection on Feb. 11, facing competitive pressure in an increasingly digital economy. Since 2008, Family Christian’s sales have fallen 29% to about $216 million. An initial plan hatched by Family Christian’s parent company to extract the chain from bankruptcy flamed out quickly after an arm of the U.S. Justice Department and major creditors accused the store of orchestrating an improper sale to an insider. On Tuesday, a federal bankruptcy judge in west Michigan approved procedures for an eventual sale process, even though the company has not lined up a purchaser that could yet rescue the stores from a potential liquidation.

8. According to the AP, a mail carrier has returned to his home in Florida, where he’ll wait for his next hearing after flying his gyrocopter onto the U.S. Capitol lawn. Doug Hughes was charged with operating an unregistered aircraft and violating national airspace after landing his gyrocopter in Washington on Wednesday. The 61-year-old said that Americans shouldn’t be so worried about security in Washington, but rather that the country’s campaign finance laws are too weak.

9. According to the Pew Research Center, In the coming decades, Europe is expected to have fewer Christians and more Muslims and other religious minorities. But while these changes will be significant, they will not radically alter the continent’s religious composition. Largely due to low fertility rates across the continent, Europe is the only region of the world where the overall population is projected to decline in total number (by almost 50 million) between 2010 and 2050. The number of Christians in Europe is forecast to drop by about 100 million, from about 553 million to 454 million, and an increasingly small share of the world’s Christians will live in Europe. In 2050, almost two-thirds of all Europeans (65%) are expected to identify as Christian, but this does not imply that most will be regular churchgoers.

10. According to CBN News, Islamic extremists have launched a new wave of attacks against Christians in Pakistan and the weakest of the society — children — are the latest victims. 15-year old Nauman Masih died last Wednesday from severe burns received over 55% of his body. One week ago, two Muslim extremists doused Nauman with kerosene and set him on fire simply because he was a Christian. Nauman’s death was followed by an attack on a Catholic school in Lahore. The attackers used automatic weapons to open fire on St. Francis School; No one was killed in the attack, but several people were injured and taken to a local hospital. Pakistani Christians say both of these attacks are tied to the recent Taliban bombings of two churches where at least 14 Christians were killed and perhaps as many as 100 were wounded.

As you go throughout this day, keep this word in mind: 1 Corinthians 15:20-22 says, “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive..”

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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