LISTEN: Urban Christian News Network Podcast, 07/07/16

This is the Urban Christian News Network podcast. Thank you for joining us on this Thursday, July 5, 2016. Here are the top 10 news stories for today.

1. According to Reuters, four police officers were fatally shot and seven wounded by snipers in Dallas, authorities said, during one of many demonstrations held in cities across the United States against the second fatal police shooting of a black man in two days. Dallas Police Chief David Brown said in a statement two snipers in elevated positions shot 11 officers, killing three. Police said on Twitter later a fourth officer had died. At least one more was in surgery. Brown also said later one suspect was cornered in a garage in downtown Dallas, although there was no word on the second reported sniper. Television footage showed a heavy police presence, with officers taking cover behind vehicles on the street. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Dallas law enforcement community and the Dallas Area Rapid Transit officers killed and injured this evening,” Governor Greg Abbott said in a statement.

2. According to BGEA, Franklin Graham announced special Facebook Live prayer events just before the start of the Republican and Democratic National Conventions coming up later this month. During each online event, he will speak to viewers, then hold a time of prayer for America’s presidential candidates, the convention, the upcoming elections and our nation. “Our politicians, on both sides, and our political process need prayer,” he said on Facebook Friday. He added that this is a “pivotal time in our nation’s history.”

3. According to CBN News, a Christian father and his young daughter were burned alive after Boko Haram raided their church. “On the fateful day, while we were in the church praying, they stormed and ordered us to renounce our Christian faith or be killed,” said John Mbah, recounting the day his father and sister were murdered at the hands of the Islamic terror group. When Mbah and the other Christians living in Dadawa, Nigeria went to church that day in April, they had no idea they would become the targets of radical Islamic terrorists. Mbah watched his father, Pastor Kenneth Mbah, sister, Adaugo Mbah, and countless other parishioners be burned alive when they refused to renounce their faith in Christ and convert to Islam.

4. According to the Christian Post, in an epic and poignant reaction to the gruesome killing of Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old black man who was shot dead on Tuesday by Baton Rouge police officers, Savanna Hartman, a pastor, mother and spoken word poet challenged white Christians to stand with her against deadly force and racism. “As white people you could say this is not a color thing. You could say it’s a sin thing. You could say it’s not one versus the other. But the fact of the matter is that we as white people have got to accept our actions, we have to accept our role in this. We have to accept where we have let them down. We have to apologize and we have to do better. We have to do better,” Hartman said in a 10-minute video posted on her Facebook page titled “my very honest thoughts on ?#?AltonSterling? and what’s happening to the black community right now.” “Black lives do matter. And it does not make me a bad person to just say black lives matter. They all do. They all do. They all do. Don’t change it to all lives matter. Say their lives matter. Their lives matter,” Hartman said.

5. According to the Daily Signal, an Iowa pastor, saying the government needs to stop “meddling in religious affairs,” is at odds with the state over a law focused on sexual orientation and gender identity that he says hinders his First Amendment right to teach on matters of sexuality. “The state of Iowa is not the self-appointed pope of all churches,” Cary Gordon, pastor of Cornerstone World Outreach, a nondenominational church with around 900 members in Sioux City, Iowa, told The Daily Signal.

6. According to the Associated Press, the State Department is reopening an internal investigation of possible mishandling of classified information by Hillary Clinton and top aides. Spokesman John Kirby says the emails probe is restarting now that the Justice Department isn’t pursuing a criminal prosecution. The State Department suspended its review in April to avoid interfering with the FBI’s inquiry. Kirby set no deadline for the investigation’s completion.

7. According to Tribune Washington, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., will not be attending the GOP convention this month. Rubio had been planning to attend the confab in Cleveland but now joins a long list of Republicans who seem to be calculating it’s better politics to stay away. It’s another way presumptive nominee Donald Trump is breaking the rules of politics — instead of providing coattails for down-ballot lawmakers hoping to share his stage, he seems to have little to offer them. A Rubio spokeswoman said the senator decided to spend his time closer to home now that he is running for re-election.

8. According to McClatchy DC, the most common age for white people is decades older than the most common age among minorities, according to Census Bureau data. In 2015, more white Americans were 55 years old than any other age, according to a Pew analysis of the census data released Thursday. For comparison, among all racial groups, 24-year-olds outnumbered every other age, Pew reported. The most common age for every minority group was younger than that of whites by several years: Blacks’ most common age was 24, Asians’ most common age was 33 and Hispanics’ most common age was 8. The numbers reinforce the growing diversity of the American population. According to 2015 Census data, minority babies now also outnumber white babies by a fraction of a percent.

9. According to the New York Times, President Obama left for Poland on Thursday morning to attend a NATO summit meeting that is occurring against a tumultuous backdrop of Russian aggression in Eastern Europe, a migrant crisis and terrorism fears on the Continent’s southern rim, and internal disarray in the wake of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union. Mr. Obama will confront all those forces in two hectic days in his final appearance at a summit meeting of the Atlantic alliance. In addition to his usual schedule, administration officials said they expected him to meet with Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain to discuss what comes next after the British vote.

10. According to Reuters, at least 20 people were killed and 50 others wounded on Thursday evening in an attack on a Shi’ite mausoleum north of Baghdad, security sources said. The site, the Mausoleum of Sayid Mohammed bin Ali al-Hadi, is located in Balad, about 93 kilometers (58 miles) north of Baghdad. A suicide car bomb blew up at the external gate of the mausoleum, allowing several gunmen to storm the site and start shooting at pilgrims on a visit on the occasion of the Eid al-Fitr festival.

That’s all for today. You can read these stories and more online at

In closing, remember, 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 for listening. May God bless your day.