WEEKLY NEWS SUMMARY - October 30, 2019
In this week's Intersect, read about:
President Trump Says ISIS Leader al-Baghdadi is Dead After US Military Raid in Syria
President Donald Trump announced the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State. "A brutal killer, one who has caused so much hardship and death, has violently been eliminated," Trump said in an address to the nation from the White House. "He will never again harm another innocent man, woman or child. He died like a dog. He died like a coward. The world is now a much safer place." Trump said he was able to watch most of the operation in the White House Situation Room as it happened. "This raid was impeccable and could only have taken place with the acknowledgment and help of certain other nations and people. I want to thank the nations of Russia, Turkey, Syria, and Iraq and I also want to thank the Syrian Kurds for certain support they were able to give us," Trump said. Defense Secretary Mark Esper appeared on ABC’s “This Week” following the president's remarks and described more details of the military operation, saying the stars aligned a few weeks ago. He said troops rehearsed the mission and then on Thursday and Friday chose the option they would proceed with on Saturday. read more
U.S. forces took out the leader of ISIS. During al-Baghdadi's tenure, he raped women, kidnapped children, tortured prisoners, and brutally murdered innocent men and women. As many as 40,000 foreign fighters from at least 120 countries flocked to him because of the promise of a caliphate. He was one of the first to merge insurgent warfare with modern technology, which resulted in countless deaths. The U.S. military operation that killed al-Baghdadi was dedicated and named after a young Christian woman, Kayla Mueller, who was kidnapped, raped, and murdered by Baghdadi in 2013 after leaving a Doctor’s Without Borders hospital in Syria. Baghdadi may be gone, but the ideology remains. And if the past is any indication, ISIS leaders are dispensable and can be replaced quickly. In the Scriptures, we read that God doesn’t desire any to perish, but he does delight in justice (2 Peter 3:9, Jeremiah 9:24). Al-Baghdadi may have been diabolical, but so was Absalom (2 Samuel 19). Despite Absalom’s attempt to steal the kingdom away from his father, David still mourned the loss of his son. In David, much like in this news, we find the tension of delighting in justice but not rejoicing in evil (1 Corinthians 13:6).
Continue to pray for President Trump, our generals, and the military as they work to protect people here as well as abroad. Pray for those in the regions of Turkey and Syria where the tension continues. And pray for God to protect our military personnel stationed all over the world.
Take a few minutes to check out the organization called Boots for Warriors. They provide custom cowboy boots to thank those who have been wounded from sacrificially serving our nation.
New Poll Shows Millennial Support for Constitutional Free Speech Declining
A new poll shows a majority of Americans believe the First Amendment should be rewritten to "reflect the cultural norms of today," the poll by the Campaign for Free Speech reveals. Nearly 60 percent of Millennials – those 21 to 38 years old – believe the Constitution "goes too far in allowing hate speech in America." 48 percent of Generation X and 47 percent of Baby Boomers agreed. A majority of Millennials also said hate speech should be a crime, with more than half of those saying it should carry jail time. About 60 percent of respondents also want to curb freedom of the press, saying the government should be able to take action against media outlets that publish biased, inflammatory, or false content. Those who would change the First Amendment say free speech is a value, rather than a right, and so it can change as society's values about it change. But that's a shocking idea to many Americans. read more
President Ronald Reagan's words have never been truer - "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction." We have to continue to fight for the freedoms we do have. Unfortunately, Millennials’ lack of support for the First Amendment is not the only frightening poll. Another recent study found seven in ten Millennials would vote for a socialist. Fifty percent of Millennials and 51 percent of Generation Z have an unfavorable view of capitalism, which is an increase of eight and six percentage points from just last year. If we hope to see essential American freedom, such as free markets and Constitutional rights preserved for future generations, we must spend time teaching the next generation the proven principles that have brought peace and prosperity to America.
Take time today to pray for the next generations. Pray for God to give you opportunities to spend time investing in those younger than you and sharing with them the truth of God’s Word and His principles that bring life and hope to communities and nations (Proverbs 22:6).
PragerU is a great resource to share with the next generation to help spark meaningful dialogue and conversation about important issues. Check out this video on socialism, and share it with someone in the younger generation.
Kanye West: ‘It’s My Job to Let People Know What Jesus Has Done for Me’
In a wide-ranging interview with Zane Lowe, Kanye West opened up about his faith journey, and the radical life-changing transformation he has experienced over the last year. For the interview with Apple Music’s Beats 1, Lowe visited Kanye at his family’s home in Wyoming. Lowe began the interview by asking Kanye, where he sees his ranch in 20 years, to which Kanye immediately started talking about his faith in God’s sovereignty. “I have some visions, but the more that I’m in service to God, I just clear my head and wake up more empty every day and let God do the driving and just use me as he may. You make plans, and God laughs,” Kanye responds. “Now that I’m in service to Christ, my job is to spread the gospel, to let people know what Jesus has done for me,” Kanye explained, later adding that everything that he does now is “for the church.” “Everything I do, even designing a shoe, is for the Church… It’s my only mission and calling, is to spread the gospel.” Kanye shared that he finally feels at peace in his life, crediting God for that indescribable feeling. “Yes, I’m at peace,” Kanye shared. “I give it all up to God.” read more
Kanye West, the world-famous rapper and billionaire, has a new album titled, “Jesus is King” and in it, he makes bold declarations of his faith. One song in West’s new album is titled, “Closed on Sundays,” speaking of Chick-fil-A’s famous policy of being closed on the Sabbath. The lyrics in West’s song, “Closed on Sunday, you’re my Chick-fil-A, hold the selfies, put the ’gram away, get your family, y’all hold hands and pray.” The song continues, “follow Jesus, listen and obey, no more livin’ for the culture, we nobody’s slave.” Regardless if you are a rap fan, Kanye fan, or neither, Christians can appreciate the truth in these words. However, Kanye’s public announcement of his faith in Jesus has been met with widespread responses ranging from support to criticism by Christians and non-believers alike. Many Christians question if Kanye’s faith is genuine. A recent article in Faithwire addresses this very concern by interviewing Adam Tyson, senior pastor of Placerita Bible Church in Santa Clarita, California, who has spent extensive time with West of the months. Tyson pastors a church of about 400 congregants that Kanye visited back in May. Pastor Tyson explained, “[T]he first time I talked to him...he told me, ‘I got radically saved five weeks ago.’ He said, ‘I was just under the weight of my sin and I was being convicted that I was running from God, and I knew I needed to make things right, so I came to Christ. I came out of darkness into the light.’” Tyson began meeting with West on a weekly basis to disciple him. “I spent about three hours just going through the Gospel, making sure he understood clearly about the atonement of Jesus Christ, that God is holy, that we are sinners, that Christ came to die in the place of sinners, that by repenting and believing in him, we can have eternal life,” the pastor remembered. “And [West] was like, ‘Hey, man. I told you I’ve been radically saved; I believe that message and I wanna get that message out to the world.’” It is remarkable to watch such an unlikely, high-profile individual be transformed by Christ in a very public way but the effect it could have on many in our secular culture today would be profound.
Pray for the truth contained in the words of Kanye’s new album to draw others to the Lord and the Gospel. Pray for Kanye to continue to stand boldly for Christ and be deeply rooted in truth amid cultural pressure. And pray that his life would continue to bear the fruit of his salvation found in Jesus Christ and that he would use his large platform to bring glory to God alone.
One thing is certain, God is at work in this story. It appears that God is at work in Kanye’s life, and He is at work drawing others to Himself. Kanye boldly shares what Christ has done in his life - something Christians should do more. This week, ask the Lord who you need to share your faith with boldly. Perhaps it’s a neighbor, a co-worker, or a friend. Tell them of how God brought you from death to life and how they can find hope, peace, and eternal life in Him (1 Peter 3:15-16, Psalm 96:2-4, 2 Timothy 7-8).
Ben Carson’s Prayer Upsets Secularists
Just what did HUD Secretary Ben Carson do so wrong, in the eyes of today's secular critics, when he prayed at the beginning of the Cabinet meeting the other day? Here’s what Carson’s prayed: "Our kind Father in Heaven, we're so thankful for the many blessings that you have bestowed upon us in this country, and we're thankful for the people of courage who have been here before us, who have fought hard for the rights of our country. And we thank you for President Donald Trump, who also exhibits great courage in the face of constant criticism. And we ask that you would give him strength to endure and the wisdom lead, and to recognize you as the sovereigns of the universe with the solution to everything. And the people around the president – the vice president, the cabinet, the advisors – give us all an understanding heart and a compassionate heart. Those are the things that will keep America great. And help us all to recognize as a nation that separation of church and state means that the church does not dominate the state, and it means the state does not dominate the church. It doesn't mean that they cannot work together to promote godly principles of loving your fellow man, of caring about your neighbor, of developing your God-given talents to the utmost so that you become valuable to the people around you and having values and principles that govern your life. And if we do those things, then we will always be successful. And we thank you for hearing our prayer, in your Holy name. Amen." read more
Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the Freedom From Religion Foundation both came out in strong opposition against Dr. Carson’s prayer, in particular, his comment that both the church and government can work together to care for others. For decades now, Americans believed that “separation of church and state” is a Constitutional principle, even though the phrase never appears in the Constitution. Instead, it can be found in a letter Thomas Jefferson wrote to the Danbury Baptist Association. Jefferson’s intention was not to keep the church separate from the government; instead, it was to keep the government out of the church. In fact, just days after Jefferson wrote the now famous phrase, “wall of separation,” he actually attended a Christian church service inside the United States Capitol. It was a service held throughout his entire presidency.
Pray for Christians to exhibit more boldness like Dr. Carson’s prayer, to take our faith into the public square. Pray that we would seize every opportunity to “do good” as Galatians 6:10 calls us to - and love, serve and care for our neighbor. One way we can pray right now is for the elections that are taking place in 35 states this November. Download this election prayer to use in your prayer time.
Take a few minutes to read about the true origin of the phrase “Separation of Church and State” so that next time this phrase is brought up in conversation you can share the history and encourage Christians to roll-up their sleeves and confidently bring their faith into the public arena.
My Faith Votes—is a nonpartisan movement that motivates, equips and activates Christians in America to vote in every election, transforming our communities and influencing our nation with biblical truth. By partnering with national faith leaders, My Faith Votes provides resources to help Christians Pray, Think, and Act to create an America where God is honored in the public square.