This is the Urban Christian News podcast. Here are the top stories you need to know about today.
According to The Christian Post, In honor of his birthday, Tim Tebow issued a plea urging Christians around the world to join him and his charitable foundation in saying “no more” to human trafficking. The baseball player and former NFL quarterback wrote an op-ed published by Fox News last Friday — on his 33rd birthday — explaining the horrors of human trafficking. The former Heisman Trophy winner began by recalling a phone call he once received from his father, who informed him that he had “just purchased four young girls” overseas. Tebow, then in his mid-20s, was not even aware that such a transaction was possible. Tebow wrote, “People buy groceries. Shoes. Annual passes to Disney World. They don’t buy other people. But I had heard him correctly. My dad had opened up his wallet and bought as many girls as he could with the cash he had on hand.” Tebow built a safe home for the girls along with his father, Bob. “At that point in time, there was no safe home to take the girls to. So we built one,” Tebow wrote. “There’s a saying that evil triumphs when good men do nothing. That single moment in time — a moment where one man took a stand for what was right — was the beginning of a ripple effect still in motion today. Years later, countless more human trafficking victims have been rescued around the world, even right here in the states, because of the mission that began that day.” The “ripple effect” refers to the establishment of the Tim Tebow Foundation, which “has been actively fighting against human trafficking since 2013.” Tebow continued, “As often as every two minutes — the same two minutes it probably took you to read this — a human being is bought or sold somewhere around the world, one life exchanged at the hands of another. It’s unacceptable. And it can go on no longer. Please join us in the fight today. Life itself is at stake.”
According to the Charlotte Observer, UNC-Chapel Hill will move all classes online after reporting 130 more students had tested positive for coronavirus last week. The university’s updated numbers follow weekend alerts about four clusters of COVID-19 cases in dorms, apartments and a fraternity house. UNC reported a total of 324 total positive cases since February, according to its online dashboard, including 279 students and 45 staff and faculty members. Those numbers may not reflect all the cases related to campus. Health officials have said students who provide an out-of-town home address or don’t self-report a positive test at a non-UNC-affiliated testing site are not immediately counted in Orange County.
According to The Christian Post, a study has found teens and young adult Christians do not like to use certain words, including “converts” and “winning souls,” while talking about the reasons behind sharing their faith with others. Millennials and Gen Z teens are more cautious than older Christians about the words they use when they discuss missions, according to the evangelical Christian polling firm Barna Group, which looked at data from its The Future of Missions report which highlights the way different age groups talk about missions and why teens and young adults lean away from certain terminology. For example, 35% of young adults and 38% of teens said the word “convert” tops the list of objectionable mission-related words for them. And 31% of young adults and 30% of teens also rejected the term “winning souls.” It’s not due to embarrassment or shame, the study clarifies. “In some places in the world, calling oneself a missionary isn’t merely socially awkward; it’s a closed door. According to a seminary professor who trains aspiring missionaries, ‘There are places where you cannot get an entry visa to be a missionary. If you put ‘missionary’ on your visa request, it’s denied. End of story.’”
According to CBS News, The president of the Young Democrats of Maryland was found dead in Washington, D.C., more than a week after he went missing in Maryland. Prince George’s County police announced the death of Joseph Kitchen on Sunday night, a day after the department asked for the public’s help in locating him. Kitchen, 34, had been missing since Aug. 8, when he was last seen at Sandy Point State Park in Annapolis, Maryland, about 37 miles east of Washington. The Young Democrats of America said in a Twitter post, “We are saddened to learn of the tragic and untimely passing of Joseph Kitchen. Joseph always pushed YDA to live up to its values and was someone who was not satisfied with accepting the status quo. His passion will be deeply missed.”
According to The Christian Post, An Ohio mother is fighting to keep her 9-year-old daughter alive after she tested positive for COVID-19 and doctors say she is now in the “process of dying.” Doranny Escolastico-Paula told The Journal-News of her church-loving daughter, Dorielis Reyes, “She always said, ‘I’m going to be with Jesus‘. I want to go be with Jesus. I want to go first.” Paula explained in a GoFundMe campaign launched Aug. 7 that before showing signs of sickness on May 10, Reyes had been “an extroverted, happy, and friendly girl.” “She always had a curious spirit, was never afraid to make new friends, and loved to go to church. On the 10th of May of this year, she began walking a little strange, and later began to drag one of her feet because she couldn’t walk on it. I took her to the hospital because it was obviously not normal for her. She later lost movement in parts of her body and there at the hospital, she was tested for Covid-19 where the results came out positive.” She explained in the GoFundMe campaign that doctors have run a battery of tests on her daughter and checked with experts around the world to find out what was causing inflammation in her brain. But, they have not been able to successfully treat her yet. Paula stated that doctors at one point, sent Reyes home so she could be treated there in hopes that she would respond more positively. However, things just got worse. Paula wrote, “After a week of being home, she lost the ability to walk, was beginning to lose the ability to speak, and was beginning to have severe headaches when on July 19th she had an epileptic seizure and was then admitted once again to the hospital, now in intensive care. The doctors then did another MRI and found the headaches were due to bleeding in the brain caused by the inflammation being compressed with her head.” In the interview with The Journal-News, Paula explained that she is now “waiting for a miracle.” Reyes is being cared for at Cincinatti Children’s Hospital.
According to The Christian Post, Police in Overland Park, Kansas, released details in the case of missing 36-year-old Marilane Carter, the wife of Pastor Adam Carter of Leawood Baptist Church. She was last seen on Aug. 3 while en route to Alabama in her car to visit her sister and seek treatment for mental health issues. At a press conference, lead detective Blake Larsen called it a “unique and strange case.” He ruled out “any criminal activity,” especially in the Overland Park area or the Kansas City metro. The police have been doing “everything possible” to find Carter. Along with other law enforcement agencies, many “good Samaritans” have stepped in to help with the search, Larsen noted. Carter left her home in Overland Park on Aug. 1, to drive to Birmingham, Alabama, to visit her sister, who is soon due to have a baby, and seek mental health treatment. Pastor Carter bought a Southwest Airlines ticket for his wife to fly to Birmingham, but after a nap, she decided to drive all the way, Larsen said, according to AL.com. The mother of three was last seen in Memphis. Her phone went dead somewhere in the area of the I-55 bridge coming into Memphis. The search operations have focused on the Mississippi River because it’s close to where her phone was last used. However, there’s no evidence to suggest she went into the water, Larsen said.
According to Billboard, Zach Williams and the brother duo For King & Country lead all artists with five nominations each for the 51st annual GMA Dove Music Awards, the Gospel Music Association announced on August 13. Hillsong Worship, Kirk Franklin and Jonathan McReynolds were a beat behind with four nominations each. Kanye West is nominated for three awards, including rap/hip-hop album of the year for Jesus Is King, which entered the Billboard 200 at No. 1 in November. Other notable first-time nominees include former disco queen Gloria Gaynor, who won a Grammy for best roots gospel album in January (two nods), We the Kingdom (three) and Unspoken (two). We the Kingdom are nominated for new artist of the year, making them the apparent front-runners in that category. Tasha Cobbs Leonard is the only artist nominated for both artist of the year and gospel artist of the year.
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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!