PODCAST: Rockettes, Broadway shows, NFL games canceled amid new coronavirus outbreaks (UCN 12.18.21)

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According to NBC News, Just one week before Christmas, the remainder of New York’s iconic Radio City Rockettes season was called off, as the city and state continue to deal with a surge of new Covid-19 cases. New York state on Friday reported 20,627 cases, the highest single-day total since the pandemic began, based on an NBC News count of state and county health department reporting. “The surge is here, it’s going to get worse, we know it’s going to get worse — especially after Christmas Day, people gathering in person,” New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said Friday. After canceling Friday shows of “Christmas Spectacular” due to breakthrough cases, the Rockettes announced later in the day the premature end of the season “due to increasing challenges from the pandemic.” The Rockettes had returned to the stage in November after the 2020 season was canceled because of the pandemic. Covid-19 cases have also prompted the recent cancellations of Broadway performances including “Hamilton,” which said Friday it was calling off shows through Sunday due to breakthrough cases. Also Friday, the NFL rescheduled three weekend games, including Saturday’s Las Vegas Raiders-Cleveland Browns contest, due to outbreaks that left some teams with depleted rosters. The Browns put more than 20 players on the Covid-19 list this week. The league said in a statement the move was because of “a new, highly transmissible form of the virus this week resulting in a substantial increase in cases across the league.”

According to Faithwire, For anyone who might doubt or underestimate the power of annual church Christmas shows to transform hearts and minds, look no further than Champion Forest Baptist Church in Houston, Texas, where 1,114 people recently came to faith. The church, led by Pastor Jarrett Stephens, saw a remarkable outpouring of faith commitments while running its annual Christmas Spectacular show from Dec. 8-12, the Baptist Press reported. Something incredible happened each night during the show — a powerful spectacle with music, lights, and awe-inspiring performances — when Stephens shared the gospel and asked people to hold up the flashlight on their cell phones if they had, indeed, decided to accept Jesus. In the end, more than 1,100 lights shined bright, symbolizing these stunning personal committments to allow God to transform individual hearts and minds. “God is moving and to Him be the glory. It is all about Him,” Stephens told Baptist Press. ‘I’m amazed and our team is blown away by the response.” Champion Forest Baptist Church also posted a statement on YouTube noting how church members are “still picking [their] jaws up off of the floor after seeing God move like never before” inside the church. “ELEVEN HUNDRED lives changed for eternity!” the statement continued. “THIS is what it’s all about. Forever changed because of the power of the GOSPEL.” Each one of the individuals who committed their lives to Christ received a Bible and had follow-up from a member of Champion Forest Baptist Church within 48 hours. Baptist Press reported that there were more than 100 volunteers who took part in these follow-ups, staying late and working overtime to connect with newfound believers. “They let people know they rejoiced in their decision and wanted to answer any questions,” Stephens said. “We’ve had a lot of great conversations out of that.”

According to the Weather Channel, Five deaths are being blamed on high winds from a storm system that rolled across the Plains and Midwest Wednesday night, with gusts over 90 mph and damaging tornadoes that ripped roofs off homes, fueled wildfires, left hundreds of thousands without power and created treacherous driving conditions. The storms brought rain, snow, hail and severe weather across a wide swath of the country. Wednesday’s widespread windstorm, severe weather outbreak and unusual heat from the Rockies and Plains into the upper Midwest were so bizarre for December that even weather historians were in awe. “I can say with some confidence that this event – the heat and tornadoes – is among the most, if not the most, anomalous weather events ever on record for the upper Midwest,” weather historian Christopher Burt said. Prior to this outbreak, there hadn’t been a December tornado documented in Minnesota dating to 1950.

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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!