LISTEN: Black Christian News Network One Podcast (07/07/19)

Here are the top stories you need to know about today.

According to the Christian Post, When the annual gathering of the Global United Fellowship kicks off at the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas on Tuesday, a big discussion on what makes a healthy church is expected to ensue. And for the fellowship’s leader, Presiding Bishop Neil C. Ellis, there will be some focus on how declining church attendance has been causing mental turmoil for members worldwide. Ellis told The Christian Post in an interview last week, “We have to protect the emotions of our church leaders. There has been a global decline in church attendance in the last five to seven years. And so a lot of pastors now are becoming depressed because their numbers are smaller.” Launched in October 2013 under Ellis’ leadership, the GUF has grown from a group of 41 to more than 1,400 churches in 42 countries today. The GUF’s five-pronged mandate to unite churches; equip leaders; enhance marriages; resurrect the dying discipline of prayer and build covenant relationships among church leaders was strategically developed to respond to the evolving needs of pastors in a culture that is rapidly introducing new challenges.

According to the AP, Democratic candidates appear to be increasingly open to talking about their faith in the 2020 campaign. While Republicans have been more inclined to weave faith into their rhetoric, particularly since the rise of the religious right in the 1980s, several current Democratic White House hopefuls are explicitly linking their views on policy to religious values. The shift signals a belief that their party’s eventual nominee has a chance to win over some religious voters who may be turned off by President Donald Trump’s abrasive rhetoric and questions about his character. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a practicing Methodist and former Sunday school teacher, recently declared that all of her expansive policy proposals “start with a premise that is about faith” as she cited a favorite biblical verse about Jesus urging care for “the least of these.” New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker has called Jesus “the center of my life” and excoriates Trump for what he calls “moral vandalism.” John Carr, founder of Georgetown University’s Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life, urged Democrats to focus more on their personal faith and avoid wielding religion as a political weapon. He said, “When you use faith as a way to go after your adversaries, it sounds more like a tactic and less an expression of who you are.”

According to the AP, Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris is proposing $100 billion in federal grants to pay for down payment and closing costs to help close what she says is a racial wealth gap and address historical discrimination in homeownership against black families. Harris announced her plan Saturday at the Essence Festival in New Orleans, where the California senator was among several of the 2020 White House candidates attending the largest annual gathering of black women in the country. Harris told the audience, “By taking these challenges on, we can close that gap. That not only lifts up black America, that lifts up all of America.”

According to the AP, a Starbucks location in Tempe, AZ, apologized after an employee reportedly asked six police officers to leave or change their location because another customer reported feeling unsafe. Starbucks said it has “deep respect for the Tempe Police Department” and was apologizing “for any misunderstanding or inappropriate behavior that may have taken place” during the July 4 encounter. The Tempe Officers Association said the officers had just bought their drinks and were standing together before their shift started when a barista made the request for a customer. Association President Rob Ferraro called it perplexing that someone would feel unsafe when officers are around.

According to the AP, Columbus digital artist Davian Chester didn’t think a piece he created a few weeks ago would receive the attention that it did. It was two black arms in shackles. The chain connecting them was broken, and the broken chain formed the word “Google.” Now, he’s talking with the tech giant about a possible job, and there’s even a Columbus billboard featuring the work he made to honor Juneteenth, a holiday celebrated yearly on June 19 that commemorates the emancipation of slaves in Texas, and more broadly, the end of slavery in the United States. Google often changes its logo to a doodle meant to celebrate holidays, anniversaries and lives of famous artists, scientists and other change-makers. When he noticed that Google hadn’t posted a doodle for Juneteenth, he quickly created the piece on his tablet and published it on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram where it went viral within a few hours.

According to the AP, Stevie Wonder surprised concertgoers in London on Saturday night by announcing that he will take a break from performing so that he can receive a kidney transplant this fall. The 69-year-old music legend made the announcement after performing “Superstition” at the end of a packed British Summer Time concert in London’s sprawling Hyde Park. He said he was speaking out to quell rumors and sought to reassure fans that he would be okay.

According to Reuters, The United States beat the Netherlands 2-0 to win the women’s World Cup for a record-extending fourth time on Sunday. Team Captain Megan Rapinoe converted a VAR-awarded penalty in the 61st minute and Rose Lavelle wrapped up the victory eight minutes later as the U.S. added to their 1991, 1999 and 2015 titles.

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In closing, remember, God loves you. He always has and He always will. John 3:16 says, “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 for listening and may God bless your day!