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Photo gallery: Jordan River feeling impact of agricultural, domestic consumption

ALONG THE JORDAN RIVER — For the thousands of Georgians who take pilgrimages to the Holy Land each year, one of the highlights is visiting the Jordan River. They may not realize that water usage is up and the water level is down. The environmental group EcoPeace Middle East is sounding the alarm that decades of water diversions for agriculture and domestic use are taking a toll on the river.
SBC under investigation: What’s this talk of a subpoena and grand jury?
NASHVILLE – The U.S. Department of Justice has begun an investigation of the Southern Baptist Convention in the wake of an internal probe that found the Executive Committee had mishandled sex abuse allegations over a period of years. Executive Committee lawyers told The Associated Press that federal investigators have already issued a subpoena. They didn’t specify whether that subpoena was civil or criminal. Meanwhile, the Department of Justice is neither confirming nor denying that it is investigating, saying “grand jury matters are secret.”
Jimmy Scroggins, Ken Adams in Georgia this weekend for SPARK conference
ALPHARETTA, Ga. – Two pastors who have seen massive growth in their churches in Florida and Georgia will be featured speakers at the SPARK total church conference’s regional training events on Saturday. Jimmy Scroggins, lead pastor at Family Church in South Florida, will be at First Baptist Church in Alpharetta, and Ken Adams, pastor at Crossroads Church in Newnan, will be at Byne Memorial Baptist in Albany.
North Metro First Baptist Church relocating to Barrow County
LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. - Under the leadership of pastor Frank Cox, North Metro First Baptist Church will move to a new location for the second time. Most pastors would not have the grit or grace to even contemplate such a monumental endeavor, but Cox has been the pastor for 42 years and has rightfully won the favor and support of his congregation.
‘Cooperation is not only biblical, it's necessary if we're going to reach Georgia’
Here in Georgia, we are unchanging in our resolve to keep the gospel as our main focus. Resourcing and equipping churches to reach the 8 million lost people in our state is the mission we act upon every single day. That's what's on your heart, and that's what's on our heart, because that's what's on God's heart. This mission is why Georgia Baptists acted quickly to address critical issues over the past few years.
US Department of Justice investigation targets multiple SBC entities, leaders say
The U.S. Department of Justice has initiated a probe of the Southern Baptist Convention that includes multiple national entities, denominational leaders said. “Individually and collectively each SBC entity is resolved to fully and completely cooperate with the investigation,” SBC leaders said in a joint statement released late Friday.
Baptist Life

God’s little helper: American Indian boy helps mission team lead 30-plus to Christ

JONESBORO, Ga. – A 10-year-old American Indian boy who came to faith in Christ last week in Montana has inspired a mission team from Jonesboro’s First Baptist Church with his enthusiasm for reaching others with the gospel. The boy they knew as Billy was one of 33 people who the Jonesboro mission team led to Christ last week at the Fort Belknap reservation. Delaney Gosart dabbed tears during a church gathering Wednesday as she talked about Billy’s contagious enthusiasm for serving “Creator Sets Free,” his tribe’s translation for Jesus.
NASHVILLE (BP) – The capacity for help from Southern Baptist Disaster Relief is high. In fact, one key disaster relief leader says it ranks right up there with the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army in resources available to people in crisis. Still, that’s not what sets it apart among relief organizations. Coy Webb, the crisis response director for Send Relief, says it’s the intentional Gospel focus that makes Southern Baptist Disaster Relief stand out.
NASHVILLE (BP) – This week’s Bible study is adapted from the Explore the Bible curriculum, and will focus on 2 Kings 19:10-19, 32-34.
“Partnership is a beautiful word when churches and associations work together in reaching people for Christ!” said Tony Gray, Associational Missionary for the Habersham Baptist …
“Call upon Me in the day of trouble…” Psalm 50:15 I cried at the Mexican restaurant last Saturday.  Normally a place of chips, salsa, and laughter, I was reflecting on the …
Georgia

Georgia jobless rate hits new all-time low of 2.8% in July

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia’s unemployment rate hit a new record low of 2.8% in July. That's the third month in a row that the state posted a new record low jobless rate. Unemployment was 2.9% in June and 3.9% in July 2021. More than 5.1 million Georgians say they were working in May, while 150,000 were unemployed.

Dollar General faces penalties for Georgia store issues

NEW YORK (AP) — Dollar General faces nearly $1.3 million in penalties after government inspectors visited three of the chain’s stores in Georgia earlier this year and found worker-safety violations. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says inspectors found obstructed exit routes, boxes of merchandise stacked unsafely and electrical panels that were hard to access.

Georgia 400 toll lanes back on drawing board

ATLANTA – A plan to add toll lanes along Georgia 400 in Fulton and Forsyth counties is back on track a year after the State Transportation Board rejected the only qualifying bid on the project.

Sturgeon may spawn in Georgia: 1st time in 50 years

Scientists and students embarking on a census of Georgia lake sturgeon have found three females with mature eggs — an indication that the fish may be reproducing in Georgia for the first time in a half-century. Polluted water and markets for caviar and fish meat had wiped the species out of the Coosa River in the 1970s. University of Georgia associate professor Marty Hamel says the Georgia Department of Natural Resources began reintroducing lake sturgeon 20 years ago, after the Clean Water Act cleaned up the river
Nation

Kentucky Supreme Court keeps near-total abortion ban in place

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky’s Supreme Court is keeping the state’s near-total abortion ban in effect. The high court says the state's ban will remain in place while it reviews arguments by abortion clinics challenging the state law. It was the latest legal setback for the two remaining abortion clinics in Kentucky — both in Louisville.

Judge reinstates North Carolina’s 20-week abortion ban

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A federal judge in North Carolina reinstated a 20-week abortion ban, with exceptions for urgent medical emergencies. U.S. District Judge William Osteen said the June U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade erased the legal foundation for his 2019 ruling that placed an injunction on the 1973 state law.

US traffic deaths, once in decline, continue to rise in 2022

DETROIT (AP) — The trend of rising U.S. traffic deaths that began two years ago is continuing into 2022. Roadway deaths rose 7% during the first three months of the year to an estimated 9,560 people. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that's the highest number for a first quarter in two decades. Traffic deaths have risen ever since pandemic lockdowns eased in 2020 as people returned to work and started taking more road trips.

Miami officer shot pursuing robbery suspect dies days later

MIAMI (AP) — Police in South Florida say a 29-year-old officer has died after being shot in the head during a confrontation with a robbery suspect in Miami. Det. Cesar Echaverry was shot Monday night as Miami-Dade police closed in on a robbery suspect. That man was identified as 32-year-old Jeremy Horton of Acworth, Georgia. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
World

UN investigator: Contemporary slavery extensive around globe

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — A U.N. investigator says contemporary forms of slavery are widely practiced around the world, including forced labor for China’s Uyghur minority. Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur Tomoya Obokata also cites bonded labor for the lowest caste Dalits in South Asia, domestic servitude in Gulf countries, Brazil and Colombia — and traditional enslavement, especially of minorities, in Mauritania, Mali and Niger.

16 dead, 18 missing in flash flood in western China

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese state media say 16 people have died and 18 others remain missing after a flash flood in western China. State broadcaster CCTV says a sudden rainstorm triggered a landslide that diverted a river. The flash flood affected an area with more than 6,000 people and over 1,500 houses. Emergency authorities described it as a “mountain torrent” disaster in Datong county.

Death toll in Afghan capital mosque bombing now 21

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A Taliban police spokesman in Afghanistan’s capital says the toll from a mosque bombing has risen to 21 people killed with 33 others wounded in the attack. Khalid Zadran, the spokesman for Kabul’s police chief, gave the figures Thursday to The Associated Press after the bombing at the Sunni mosque.

US to hold trade talks with Taiwan, island drills military

HUALIEN, Taiwan (AP) — The U.S. government will hold talks with Taiwan on a trade agreement in a sign of support for the self-ruled island democracy China claims as its own territory. The announcement comes after Beijing launched military drills that included firing missiles into the seas around Taiwan in an attempt to intimidate the island after a visit by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Perspectives
As conversations about the overturn of Roe vs. Wade have swirled, Christ followers must ask themselves how they can become active not only in word, but deed. Rather than being known for what we speak against, we must seek the Lord and ask what we can do. In my opinion, churches should have an overarching Pro-Life Ministry as a part of their mission’s focus. This Pro-Life Ministry could include foster care and adoption, pre- and post-natal care, caring for vulnerable families, single moms, and many others.
As we prepare for the 2023 Georgia legislative session, issues like sports gambling are being discussed especially since it’s an election year. And, once again, there is not anything truly good about legalizing gambling! Sports gambling, while it is being done illegally in our state now, will be exponentially worse if made legal, especially in terms of addiction.
Facing stress is a fact of life. How we manage our stress says a lot about our depth of faith and how much we rely on God each day. When we manage stress effectively, we can find peace in a stressful world.
The Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act, commonly referred to as Georgia’s Heartbeat Law, was ruled constitutional and was put into full effect by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals on July 20. This legislation outlaws abortions after it is determined that there is a heartbeat. This kind of legislation, even with its exceptions, will save thousands of innocent human lives.
As soon as word began to spread about the massive and deadly flooding in Kentucky, Georgia Baptists responded. As Dwain Carter, who oversees those efforts for the Georgia Baptist Mission Board, describes their mission, Disaster Relief volunteers bring “help, hope and healing while transforming lives with the Gospel.”
Business

Disqualified for disabilities, railroad workers fight back

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Union Pacific has already lost three lawsuits over the way it removes employees with health conditions because of safety concerns, and the prospect of hundreds more lawsuits looms over the railroad. The lawsuits were originally going to be part of a class-action case before a federal appeals court decided the cases must be pursued individually.

Average long-term mortgage rates retreat slightly this week

WASHINGTON (AP) — Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates came back down slightly this week after the key 30-year loan rate jumped nearly a quarter point last week. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reports that the 30-year rate fell to 5.13% from 5.22% last week. The rate stood at 2.86% a year ago. The average rate on 15-year, fixed-rate mortgages, popular among those looking to refinance their homes, inched down to 4.55% last week.

US home sales fell again in July as housing slowdown deepens

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Sales of previously occupied U.S. homes slowed for the sixth consecutive month in July, deepening the housing market’s slowdown from a high-flying pace at the start of this year. The National Association of Realtors said Thursday that existing home sales fell 5.9% last month from June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.81 million.

Fewer Americans file for jobless benefits last week

WASHINGTON (AP) — Slightly fewer Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week as the labor market continues to be the strongest segment of the U.S. economy. Applications for jobless aid for the week ending August 13 fell by 2,000 to 250,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

Gas-powered muscle cars drive into the sunset, turn electric

PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) — Thundering gas-powered muscle cars will be closing in on their final Saturday-night cruises in the coming years. That's because automakers are replacing the vehicles with super-fast cars that run on batteries. Stellantis’ Dodge brand has long been the performance flag-bearer of the company formerly known as Fiat Chrysler. Now it is officially moving toward electricity.
Sports

Ex-Maryland star Bernhardt tries switch from lacrosse to NFL

ATLANTA (AP) — Jared Bernhardt has traded in his stick for the pigskin. Just two years after being honored as the nation’s top college lacrosse player, Bernhardt is trying to make it as an NFL receiver with the Atlanta Falcons.

Browns QB Deshaun Watson suspended 11 games

BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Deshaun Watson has reached a settlement with the NFL and will serve an 11-game suspension and pay a $5 million fine rather than risk missing his first season as quarterback of the Cleveland Browns following accusations of sexual misconduct. Watson was accused of sexual assault and harassment by two dozen women while he played for the Houston Texans.

Kimi Raikkonen hits pause on retirement to race NASCAR

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kimi Raikkonen will take a break from his retirement to return to racing this weekend in the NASCAR race at Watkins Glen International in upstate New York. The 2007 Formula One world champion will drive for TrackHouse Racing and its Project91, which is a program to give top international drivers exposure to NASCAR.

Baty homers first time up in majors, Mets beat Braves 9-7

ATLANTA (AP) — Brett Baty homered his first time up in the big leagues, Starling Marte went deep twice and the New York Mets held off the Braves 9-7 to snap Atlanta’s eight-game winning streak. After being outscored 18-1 in the first two games of the series, the NL East-leading Mets pushed their lead over the Braves to 4 1/2 games.