LISTEN: Urban Christian News Podcast (06/30/19)

Here are the top stories you need to know about right now.

According to the AP, Authorities in the Dominican Republic announced Friday that they have arrested the man behind the shooting of baseball great David Ortiz in an apparent case of mistaken identity. Police said Víctor Hugo Gómez was detained in the Caribbean country. No further details were immediately released. Authorities had said last week that they believed Gómez was living in the U.S. and described him as a dangerous fugitive, adding that he was an associate of Mexico’s Gulf Cartel. He is accused of ordering the killing of his cousin, Sixto David Fernández, because he believed his cousin turned him into Dominican drug investigators in 2011. Authorities say hit men confused Ortiz with Fernández during the June 9 shooting at a bar in the capital of Santo Domingo. The two men are friends and were sharing a table. Ortiz remains hospitalized in Boston and is expected to recover after doctors in the Dominican Republic removed his gallbladder and part of his intestine. Ortiz was moved out of intensive care nearly a week ago.

According to Church Leaders, amid news of dangerous, unsanitary conditions at migrant detention facilities along the U.S.-Mexico border, Christians are lending a hand while advocating for more humane treatment. For churches along the border, the crisis isn’t new. Carlos Navarro, senior pastor of West Brownsville Baptist Church in Texas, has ministered to migrants for 25 years. When other emergency shelters filled up this spring, Navarro and his congregants converted half of their building into a respite center. Migrant families who’ve been released by federal authorities receive physical and spiritual care at the church. In two months, they’ve served more than 1,600 people. Ronnie Floyd, president and CEO of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, expressed gratitude for the churches and groups providing meals and compassion along the border. Other denominations are also taking an active stance, conducting advocacy work and meeting immigrants’ basic needs. The General Board of Global Ministries for the United Methodist Church has declared Sunday, June 30 as A Sunday of Solidarity for Suffering Children.

According to the AP, With wide grins and a historic handshake, President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un met at the heavily fortified Demilitarized Zone on Sunday and agreed to revive talks on the pariah nation’s nuclear program. Trump, pressing his bid for a legacy-defining deal, became the first sitting American leader to step into North Korea. What was intended to be an impromptu exchange of pleasantries turned into a 50-minute meeting, another historic first in the yearlong rapprochement between the two technically warring nations. It marked a return to face-to-face contact between the leaders after talks broke down during a summit in Vietnam in February. Significant doubts remain, though, about the future of the negotiations and the North’s willingness to give up its stockpile of nuclear weapons.

According to the Christian Post, A campaign launched by the Australian Christian Lobby to help rugby star Israel Folau wage a legal battle against Rugby Australia over his controversial firing has been paused after it raised more than $1.4 million in less than two days. “The outpouring of support for Izzy and for freedom has been staggering in its size and speed. More than (AUS) $2 million has been raised in less than two days, from over 20,000 people,” ACL Managing Director Martyn Iles said in a statement Thursday. “This means we have raised enough money for now and can afford to hit the pause button.” Folau joined forces with ACL after popular fundraising website GoFundMe shut down a fundraising campaign that had raised more than $500,000 in a week for the rugby star’s legal defense, according to the BBC. Until his firing in May, Folau, an outspoken Christian, was Australia’s most popular rugby player who commanded the world’s highest salary for the sport. He lost his four-year contract with Australia and Super Rugby team New South Wales Waratahs after he was charged with a high-level code of conduct breach for sharing a scriptural message on social media that Hell awaits “drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists, [and] idolaters” who do not repent. “I believe the termination of my contract is unlawful, which is why I have started legal proceedings against Rugby Australia and Rugby NSW,” Folau said in his recent appeal for help.

According to the Christian Post, Three million Brazilian evangelical Christians took to the streets of São Paulo last week to pray for an end to government corruption and to proclaim the Gospel. The March for Jesus, which occurred last Thursday, was the event’s 27th occurrence. “We cry out for Brazil, for the families, for the end of corruption, for the afflicted hearts, our country belongs to Jesus Christ. To Him all honor, glory, power and majesty. As it says in Psalms 33: Happy is the nation whose God is the Lord,” Estevam Hernandes, president of the March for Jesus in Brazil, said, according to Evangelical Focus. Over 4,000 caravans, from nearly every one of Brazil’s 26 states, participated in the event. This year, for the first time ever, a president of Brazil joined the march. Jair Bolsonaro, who is a Catholic married to an evangelical woman, and whose children are evangelical, addressed the crowd for around seven minutes. “You were decisive in helping change the destiny of Brazil. It is very good to be among friends. And even better when they are friends with God in their hearts,” Bolsonaro said in his remarks. Brazil “is secular but its current leader is Christian,” he added, noting that he hopes to be a “turning point” to resolve the “ethical and moral” issues plaguing Brazil with the assistance of Christians.

According to the Daily Beast, Luis Alvarez, a former New York City Police detective who was one of the first responders on 9/11, has died after a battle with colon cancer. Alvarez became a symbol of 9/11 first responders’ struggle to secure extended federal funding when he testified before Congress earlier this month alongside comedian Jon Stewart. Alvarez had undergone 69 rounds of chemotherapy before his doctors told him there was nothing more they could do one day after his emotional testimony. He entered hospice care shortly afterwards. Alvarez’s treatment was covered, but he said he wanted to use his last days to advocate for those who were not so lucky and permanently extend the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund Bill, so his fellow first responders can get health coverage. “That’s my ultimate goal, legacy, is to have this bill passed so first responders have the coverage they need,” he said. Before his death, Alvarez said he was “at peace” with everything, because he could still “work from my bedside, I can still put the word out.”

According to Law & Crime, A suspect is in custody in the disappearance and death of 23-year-old MacKenzie Lueck, who was last seen on June 17. 31-year-old Ayoola Ajayi has been charged with aggravated murder, aggravated kidnapping, obstruction of justice and desecration of a body. Salt Lake City police made the announcement on Friday afternoon. Ajayi was the man previously identified only as a person of interest in this case. Ajayi’s LinkedIn identified him as a Utah State University grad, an IT specialist in the U.S. Army from 2014-2016, and a senior technical support analyst at Dell.

According to the Daily Mail, A Georgia Chick-fil-A employee is being hailed a hero after he jumped out of the drive-thru window to save a boy who was choking inside a nearby car. Teenager Logan Simmons, of Hall County, Georgia, was working the Flowery Branch Chick-fil-A’s drive-thru window on Wednesday when a woman pulled up in her car saying that her six-year-old son was choking on his seat belt. Surveillance video, obtained by WSBTV, shows the moment Simmons leaps out of the drive-thru window and runs off to help the struggling child. Additional footage from the drive-thru line, obtained by Fox News, appears to show Simmons inside the woman’s car as she stands outside the open door. After a few moments, Simmons exits the car and heads back towards the restaurant while the woman gets into the driver’s seat. Simmons told WSBTV that jumping out the drive-thru ‘was the quickest option’ and that when he got to the car, he saw that the boy’s seat belt had somehow gotten tangled around his neck. ‘You could see he was turning red and losing pigmentation in his face,’ Simmons said. Simmons used a pocket knife he had on him to cut the boy out of the seat belt, likely saving the child’s life.

According to USA Today, The influential designer of numerous Macs, the iPod, iPhone, Apple Watch and other iconic products is leaving Apple after nearly 30 years. Chief design officer Sir Jony Ive, one of the seminal figures throughout Apple’s success, plans to depart later this year to form his own independent design firm LoveFrom. Apple will become one of the new company’s “primary clients.” “Jony is a singular figure in the design world and his role in Apple’s revival cannot be overstated, from 1998’s groundbreaking iMac to the iPhone and the unprecedented ambition of Apple Park, where recently he has been putting so much of his energy and care,” Apple’s CEO Tim Cook said in a statement. “Apple will continue to benefit from Jony’s talents by working directly with him on exclusive projects, and through the ongoing work of the brilliant and passionate design team he has built. After so many years working closely together, I’m happy that our relationship continues to evolve and I look forward to working with Jony long into the future.” Apple didn’t formally name a successor but indicated that Evans Hankey, who is vice president of industrial design, and Alan Dye, vice president of human interface design, will report to chief operating officer Jeff Williams.

According to USA Today, As long as the money was there, Klay Thompson wasn’t leaving the Golden State Warriors. The money will be there for the Warriors’ All-Star shooting guard. Thompson is expected to reach an agreement on a five-year, $189.6 million contract when free agency officially begins on Sunday, a person with knowledge of the deal told USA TODAY Sports. The person was granted anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly until the free agency period is open. Both sides have been committed to each other, so this is no surprise. Thompson sustained a torn ACL during Game 6 of the NBA Finals against Toronto and will miss a significant portion of the 2019-20 season. But that didn’t sway Golden State from keeping their elite 3-point shooter, who helps form one of the best backcourts in the league alongside All-Star Steph Curry.

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In closing, remember, God loves you. He always has and He always will. 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 Jesus as your Saviour, today is a good day to get to know Him. Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose from the dead for you. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart 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 and may God bless your day!