Monday, September 22, 2008

Hittin' The Block


{Quick side note: Thanks to all who submitted questions for Q & A Fridays. Edit: I posted the questions in the comments section I will try to give answers to as many as I can starting this Friday. I will answer some in the comments section, so make sure you refer to that.}

On Saturday, September 13th 2008, Epiphany Fellowship- the North Philly church I have the pleasure of serving at- held our annual Concert, Classroom, Corner outreach. It was held outside and featured an afternoon of free food (fried fish and water ice, a Philly specialty), games for the neighborhood children and a basketball tournament, all set to the backdrop of Christ-centered Hip-hop. You had to be there to truly appreciate it. Thousands showed up throughout the day. Imagine people sitting up in their window or on their front step as they hear Jesus Christ and His glorious gospel being clearly and continuously celebrated all day. Imagine someone hearing the music from 5 blocks away and riding their bike to check out what's going on, only to see a crowd of people who look just like them outwardly but are radically different in their attitudes and dispositions. Imagine being from a neighborhood where it is rare to see a two-parent home and walk down the block to see young Latino fathers playing with their sons and kissing their daughters and other young African-American husbands grabbing microphones and openly expressing love for their Savior and the wives that the Savior blessed them with.

On September 13, 2008 I saw the power of the gospel in North Philly as the Scriptures were lived out in front of me.
"As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen." (1 Peter 4:10-11)
I saw saints eager to serve. I saw Christians with evangelistic gifts sharing their faith with people in the neighborhood as they had opportunity. I saw ministers with artistic and teaching gifts boldly proclaiming a crucified, risen and returning King for all to hear. I saw Spirit-filled believers with administrative gifts put in months of work leading up to the event. I saw brothers and sisters with gifts of mercy giving of their time and resources for the good of the community and the glory of the Savior. I saw the neighborhood stand in awe as a Hip-hop concert was held for 8 hours, and while there were plenty of smiles and hugs, not one fight broke out, not one blunt was lit up and not one word of profanity came from the mouths of those who rapped. I saw a local church love and serve each other in ways that made those watching curious about the God they kept hearing about from the stage. And the following day as we gathered to worship the King, I saw many of the same people from the neighborhood walking through the doors of a church, some for the first time ever.

grace and peace,
shai


4 comments:

Joe--2 Cor. 2:17 said...

Praise God shai. I'm glad the Lord has you where He does.

Darren said...

Praise God man! The Lord is good!

Eric Vaughn said...

wow, epiphany is really rebuilding the city like Sho said. i know if one genuine salvation was reached epiphany would be satisfied. grace and peace to philly fam

Bible Nerd 9 said...

I'm so amazed by the overwhelming response the event got. All glory to GOD! I was hoping to be there but had obligations at home to take care of.

God is doing such a work thru Epiphany. I was on Temple's campus on Monday encouraging my cousin, who is a student there, to attend church on Sunday. She said she knew about Epiphany and had been thinking about going for a while.

Keep up the great work, continued being used by God.