Friday, August 22, 2014

Pentecostal Spotlight - Elder Darren Mathis

Hey Everyone!!! I am so excited to present this latest edition of Pentecostal Spotlight. This edition is featuring Elder Darren Mathis. Elder Mathis is an extremely busy young man with his hands working for God. Growing up in the organization Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, Elder Mathis has deep root in Pentecostalism.  Aside from being the International Youth President for the New Destiny Fellowship International, he is also the visionary for the Joshua Project a training ground for youth leaders. As someone who is a visionary and an amazing young man, Elder Mathis is an excellent example of humility and drive. So without further ado, I present my interview with Elder Darren Mathis.

How did the idea for the Joshua Project and Summit come about? 

Well, the Joshua Project idea came to me while sitting on a flight from Buffalo, New York to Baltimore, Maryland, having a conversation with Pastor Matthew Brown, a pastor from Atlanta, Georgia. We were talking about the need for young ministers and leaders to come together and be taught for the next level of ministry. The Joshua Summit sprung from a dream I had back in January about young leaders coming together in one place from around the world being trained to impact this generation. 

What has been the easiest and most difficult task in organizing the Summit? 

For me the easiest part of this whole journey has been that God has favored me with great people who want to see the Summit be a success just as much as I do. It’s amazing when others can take a step back from their busy lives and visions to help someone else in what God has called them to do. The most difficult task has been the ability to juggle all that I have going on in this current season of my life. 

What can those who are planning to attend the Joshua Summit look forward to? 

Informative training sessions, great networking, fellowship, and most importantly an incredible move of God. This is going to be historic! 

For those in attendance, what most do you want them to walk away with? 

Well for one as a native New Yorker, I want most to walk away with a true New York Experience. I personally believe New York City is the greatest city on the face of the earth. Most importantly though, I want each attendee to leave the summit empowered, encouraged and enlightened to do Next Level Ministry. 

In the building of tomorrows and inadvertently today's leaders, what do you feel the church is doing correctly and incorrectly? 

Something I've noticed recently and I'm very grateful for is, that I feel the church is starting to finally give young people the freedom to do ministry in a 21st century way. The issue though is that sometimes we can give someone the freedom to do something as long as we still have control. I believe the church as a whole has somewhat of a control issue when it comes to moving on and passing the mantle. I also say if you learn the lesson, you will pass the test, so fathers if you teach us right we'll be ok. 

As youth president for the NDFI, how has your vision for both the Youth department and the Joshua Project coincided? 

WOW, that’s a good question. New Destiny Fellowship International's Youth Department has given me a platform to speak with other young leaders from around the world. As I have been talking with them, they have shared various issues and concerns they have surrounding the current stage of youth ministry and that has helped me shape the face of what those connected to The Joshua Project needs are in the area of youth ministry.

How has growing up in a Pentecostal Apostolic organization help shape you into the leader you are today? 

It's given me a great foundation. Most young people, if you’ll be honest, are not able to trace their spiritual linage, but God has blessed me to where I can trace all the way back to Azusa Street Mission and Bishop G.T. Haywood through my former leaders. 

Who are your mentors and biggest influences, and what most have you learned from their examples? 

As far as mentors, I would have to say my pastor, Apostle Thomas W. Weeks, Sr., has become one of the greatest sources of inspiration for me. Not only does he have global influence, but is a kind man with a heart for God's people. My uncle and former pastor District Elder Germaine Hurst is also a mentor for me, but I would have to say and admit Bishop T.D. Jakes and Bishop Hezekiah Walker are two of my biggest influences in ministry. Most of what I've done has been modeled after something they've already done.

What has been your greatest accomplishment and why that one thing? 

 My greatest accomplishment so far has been the success and growth of The Joshua Project. Never in my life would I think God would do all that he has done in such a short time span. To God be ALL of the Glory!  

What do you believe is the greatest ministry related piece of advice? 

It's simple just stay focused. I believe that we are in the greatest hour of ministry and that the enemy wants us to lose our focus. 

What advice would you give anyone feeling the call of the Lord on their life, especially concerning youth ministry? 

Go For It! A lot of times as young people we feel that we are not old or worthy enough for God to do great things through us, but David, Jeremiah and even Jesus are biblical examples of what young people can do for God, and I myself stand as a modern day example that God CAN and; DOES use young people to impact the world. 

What do you want your legacy to be for years to come? 

That I've ministered to my generation well, started something different, and God got all the glory.

What activities do you enjoy partaking in during moments of leisure?

Traveling. Most of my close friends live hundreds, if not thousands miles away from me, so I love each opportunity I get to travel around the country to see them. 

After the Summit, what do you have planned for the future‎?

I'll be releasing my book soon, planning regional summits and of course, work on my NDFI Youth responsibilities along with the planning of The Joshua Summit 2015 next September.

As we all can see, Elder Mathis is a great young man who is doing an amazing work! Please be on the lookout for all he is doing for the future and support all of his endeavors. Please go out and support this awesome album and artist. Please go like the Pentecostal Perspective Facebook page, follow Pentecostal Perspective’s Instagram and Twitter pages, and share this edition of Pentecostal Spotlight. God Bless!!!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Pentecostal Opinion - Shacking Up or Premarital Cohabitation

Hey everyone!!! Some weeks ago on the Preacher's of LA Special, the topic of shacking up or premarital cohabitation came up and created a great sense of controversy. After much thought and consideration I decided to write on this very complex issue. Let me first begin, with writing I do not endorse or agree with Christian couples living together before marriage. Now that I have gotten that out of the way I must write that even though I did not agree with Deitrick Haddon's delivery and part of his message I do agree with his words that the real sin is not in the cohabitation, but in the activity that takes place in a lot of cohabitation situations and that is premarital sex or fornication. The Bible says in 1 Corinthian 6: 18-20 "Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." This scripture vividly explains to believers that fornication is a sin and something saints and followers should not indulge in.

So, now that we have the stance on fornication settled, the real question is, why is cohabitating wrong. In the society we live in abstaining from sex is virtually unheard of and extinct everywhere except the church. Through conversations with coworkers and others I have realized that many people believe it is unrealistic to actually wait until marriage to have sex. Seeing how we live in this society, we must realize that the things we do have to be opposite of what the world in order to be influential and a light in darkness. In the world's eyes anyone cohabitating is without a doubt having sex. I know we live in a time where many people say we cannot worry about the perception of others, but the Bible says in many instances that in order to be effective Christians we must take in consideration the perceptions our actions have. For example the Bible says in Romans 14:16 " Let not then your good be evil spoken of:"

Another reason I do not agree with cohabitation is because it leaves the door open to sin. When you love someone deeply your expression of love is always wanting to be manifested and shown. Without mental and physical barriers the avoidance of premarital sex is extremely difficult. When it is three o'clock in the morning and your hormones are raging the physical barrier of living in two separate locations is going to be a help in the abstaining of sex. If the person who you love is right down the hall the chances of you not falling into the temptation of sex is much slimmer. I know everyone will not succumb to temptation but reality and history has shown us that most will and do. The Bible says in Ephesians 4:27 " Neither give place to the devil." This scripture tells us to not put ourselves in compromising positions that will allow us to fall prey to the temptations of the enemy and cohabitating is definitely a compromising position. In ensuring that you stay on the right path it is unwise to remove preset boundaries, such as two separate living arrangements. In a fairy tale world where feelings, emotions and hormones were not involved shacking up wouldn't be a problem or issue but seeing how we live in a world where these are all valid issues,  shacking up is a no go.  I would love to know your thoughts on the issue, please leave a comment below.

Please go like the Pentecostal Perspective Facebook page, follow Pentecostal Perspective’s Instagram and Twitter pages, and share this edition of Pentecostal Opinion. God Bless!!!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Pentecostal Review - Tasha Page-Lockhart "Here Right Now"

Hey everyone!!! About a year ago a young lady by the name of Tasha Page-Lockhart captivated the hearts and minds of America on the show Sunday Best. As the daughter of gospel star Lisa Page-Brooks you definitely realize that the apple does not fall far from the tree. Her debut album "Here Right Now" was released to much anticipation and  excitement. This album is definitely one that has an eclectic sound to it that will keep you thoroughly entertained.  Through this album Tasha displays the reason why she was the chosen winner and really proves that she was the right choice. So without further ado I present my review Tasha Pag-Lockhart's new album Here Right Now. 

The album begins with mid-tempo high energy song "Here Right Now." The song is very personal and honest in the lyrical content. During the verse you hear a tone quality reminiscent of her mother Lisa Page Brooks. The song is very inspiring, empowering and easy to catch on to. As you listen to the song you cannot help but sing along to the lyrics. This was a great start to the album that really set a nice tone for the album.

"Fragile" the next song on the album is a slower tempoed song that begins with many questions we as believers tend to ask God. As you listen to the chorus it really causes you to examine the power of God and how powerless we really are. Through the song you can hear and feel the passion Tasha is displaying in the song. Even though Tasha did not sing like a vocal acrobat, the technique and subtle maneuvering  she displayed with her voice were top notch and very well done.  The addition of a soft sounding band was a great accompaniment and just added to the greatness of the song.  This song is definitely a favorite of mine off the album because of the amazing message.

"Yours" begins with a 70's soul/funk inspired sound and feel. Tasha sounds amazing once she begins the verse. The combination of her voice and the music together is magical. This is such a marvelous song about being totally surrendered to God. This song really displays the vocal technique and strength Tasha displayed all season long on Sunday Best. The addition of PJ Morton was a dream turned into reality for any fan of his and his vocal abilities. Anyone familiar with PJ knows, this song is perfect for his vocal styling, so he is a very welcomed addition to the song.

The next song off the album "Welcome" is a slow tempoed song with the accompaniment of bird chirps that is a great background setup for the song. The song talks about the consistency of change in the life of everyone. The song is very simple and has a great essence to it but in it's simplicity the song becomes a little monotonous.

The next song from the album is Tasha's hit playing all over "Different." I love the vibe of the song with the inclusion of horns. I love the openness of the song and how transparent she is in the message. I think this song will help many young people not make the mistake of falling prey to the allure of the world. I can see why this song was chosen as the single because of the mass appeal sound and the great feeling it leaves you with. The bridge does a phenomenal job of transitioning the song to the vamp. During the vamp you cannot help but sing the word “different” along with the background vocalists.

"I'm Living" begins with a traditional gospel sound. The addition of the Tasha's mother Lisa Page Brooks was an amazing treat to the ears. The speeding up of the beat mid-song really created a sense of anticipation because of the teamwork expected between Tasha and her mother. As someone who is not a fan of southern style gospel music this song was a welcomed addition. This song showed that Tasha's voice was definitely handed down genetically from her vocally talented mother. The exchange between Tasha and Lisa was a gospel music fan's dream; I just wished that the vamp was extended and show more of the two singing together.

The ballad style "Faith Come Alive" starts off really simplistic and crisp. This is such an amazing song that pushes you to hold on to your faith in God, especially when you feel like your back is against the wall. Tasha does some major ministering during the vamp and really speaks to the heart. This is a very amazing song that really causes you to feel full of trust and belief in God after listening.

The next song "Life" begins with an alternative/rock sound to it. The song is a very powerful and expresses the  wanting to give up on life and how God always steps in to reassure you can go on and the change that occurs when you give God your life. Even though it is a different sound for Tasha she really showed  that her voice can be one of a chameleon. The bridge created a great build up to the climatic repeat of the verse towards the end of the song.

A 90's inspired hip hopesque beat starts off "Just A Little Bit." The addition of gospel star Kirk Franklin really created a fun feelvibe to the song. The song speaks on the importance of having faith and trusting in God. The verse and chorus has a bopping or bouncy format that really causes you to want to sing along even during the initial listen. I really like the slowing down of the vamp that allows you to feel the words and listen to the lyrics.

"Fragile (Reprise)" begins with only the piano just based on that you can feel emotional grip intended for the song. When the singers and Tasha are added to the song the grip only gets tighter. With it being so short I was a little confused at the purpose of it being on the album.

The up-tempo "Best Work" starts with a very inspirational sound with the first words being, “we are coming together.” The 90's r and b sound really causes some sort of head nod or bodily reaction. The sound of the song really comes alive in the vibe, you definitely can see the r and b influence in the music. This is definitely a song you could see with a music video where people are roller skating and have a fun time. This was a great way to end the album because it left people inspired and energized.

This debut album Tasha Page-Lockhart was amazing and really created a great sense of identity with her and her music. The album really sounded stellar and set the stage for Tasha to be a force to reckon with in gospel music. The music seems very true to self in it's delivery and sound. I really found it honorable and commendable that Tasha allowed herself to be so vulnerable and open with a lot of the lyrical content. You can tell that the lyrics aren't just lyrics written for her but are her personal testimony. Please go out and support this awesome album and artist. Please go like the Pentecostal Perspective Facebook page, follow Pentecostal Perspective’s Instagram and Twitter pages, and share this edition of Pentecostal Review. God Bless!!!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Pentecostal Inspiration

Hey everyone!!! While in my personal moment of devotion I was directed to John 3. After reading the first two verses I stopped because I found Nicodemus's statement very interesting and compelling which inspired me to use John 3:2 for this edition of Pentecostal Inspiration. As we look at this familiar scripture we see that Nicodemus tells Jesus that because of his reputation and the work he is doing throughout the land he recognizes him as a rabbi or teacher. I found it very interesting that in Jesus's moment of outreach he didn't have to introduce himself or clarify who he was. I think as children of God this scripture is a lesson and notation to us to realize that who we are is defined by our actions. In a world where with a click of a button any and everything we do can be shared to the whole world, we must examine the choices we make and realize they can have either positive or negative consequences. Just like in this case with Jesus, our actions and words proceed our moments of ministry. When people finally do meet us we really need to examine what do they know and perceive about us because the choices we have made. Just like with Jesus we are known more so for our works than our words, so we must realize before we even open our mouths our witness has already begun. We as children of God must be people of action and of integrity. Action and integrity were the staples and pillars of Christ's ministry and we must follow suit. Never did you find Jesus performing any acts that questioned His integrity and we consistently saw Him ministering to the people he came in contact with. As we continue on this Christian journey let us ensure that we are displaying Christ-like actions so that our ministry to win the lost is not negatively affected and compromised. Please go like the Pentecostal Perspective Facebook page, follow the Pentecostal Perspective’s Instagram and Twitter pages, and share this edition of Pentecostal Inspiration. God Bless!!!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Pentecostal Review - Kierra Sheard "Graceland"

Hey Everyone!!! A few weeks ago I posted a review for the newest single by Kierra Sheard released for her forthcoming album. After what seemed like a long wait, the album Graceland was finally released this week. Her last album "Free" was in my opinion one of the best albums of 2011, and one of her best. In that album, Kierra created a youthful, urban praise and worship sound,  that was not being tapped into. Based on how amazing that album's reception was, I naturally assumed that she would be going in a similar direction with this album. I was pleasantly surprised because this was not the direction of the album and it had a more urban-current sound. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this album and the direction she went in with it. So without further ado, I present my review of Kierra Sheard's new album, "Graceland."

The album begins with the "Intro: Spoken Word," which begins with the sound of Kierra's father Bishop Sheard's voice speaking in what sounds like an excerpt from a message he has preached about his only wife and only two children. The words then fade into the sound of Kierra's singing. From the beginning of her voice being introduced, you hear great  growth and maturity in her voice and sound. Midway through the song it becomes a bit confusing because it transitions back into her father's voice, but this time in a singing manner.  After a few moments of that, a hip-hopesque beat that has a very current and present day feel and sound, comes through the speakers. I am not 100 percent sure if this is a J. Drew track, but it definitely has the sound and feel of his style of music.  The first track definitely is an attention grabber and leaves you wondering  which direction the album is going to go.

The next song on the album is the single released by Kierra "2nd Win." Seeing how I have posted a review on the song in a previous edition of Pentecostal Review, I am not going to reiterate my opinion of the song.

I thought it was such a wonderful moment for my listening experience to hear Kierra sample the Clark Sister's classic "Balm in Gilead" on "Balm - Interlude." I think it was such a great modern translation of the classic song. You definitely can feel this album is on the road of more urban music. This song is a unexpected sound for Kierra that she does well.

"Moving Forward" is a mid-tempo song that displays the vocal stylings and sound we have learned to love and expect from Kierra. When the beat drops, you are surprised with a very futuristic sound that is a bit of a surprise based upon the foundation laid for the song in it's beginning. I adore the piano-only sound that is displayed in the pre chorus portion of the song. The chorus is very simplistic in format with an easy sing-a-long experience. I found it very innovative to include a message from her father in the middle of the song.  It was neat to further hear a portion of a message being preached by her mother. The repeating of the chorus at the end of the song, left more to be imagined and caused the song to feel a bit incomplete.

The piano only start of "Flaws" sets the tone of the song to be very intimate and vulnerable. The honesty that Kierra displays in this song is truly heroic. This song shows that as children of God everyday isn't going to be a day of complete contentment, but there are days when you are going to have internal battles and struggles. This song shows the awe-inspiring love that God continually shows us.  The most emotionally compelling song of the album that truly sings the sentiments of any and everyone.

"Kill the Dragon" also begins with a piano only introduction that draws you emotionally in. The song is lyrically ambiguous because you are not  exactly sure what the dragon is. Very thought provoking song that makes you really examine what the dragon in your life is and how it can affect your future spouse. The vamp of the song is really simple with a chant sounding aspect in the background. Definitely a creative song that allows you to use your imagination while listening.

Once "Repin My God" begins, you have to remind yourself that you are listening to a gospel song. For some that may come off as a bad thing but I think it is great. I love that the song mentions and displays that even though the sound changes, the message is consistent with being Christ-centered. The song has a very Drake-esque sound to it which is a compliment because he is one of the largest and most successful rappers in this era of hip-hop that has created a sub genre of music.  I thought the addition of Canton Jones really wasn't a positive addition.  I felt it created an unfit sound for the song. I definitely can see this song blasting in the speakers of young people all over with the bass pumping.

"You Don't Like What You See Interlude" includes a sample of an old clark sisters song that is made more current. I love how she keeps including elements of her family in this album.

The electronic sound that begins "In You" really creates a mental journey of discovery for your ears. The chorus really expresses the feeling that anyone in a relationship with Christ has, and that is great dependency on Christ. This song truly isn't that memorable and a song I could have lived without on the album.

The acoustic guitar that begins "No Graceland" sets the stage for a vulnerable sound. Anyone that has ever made choices that were not pleasing to the Lord definitely can relate to this song and it's message. This a very catchy song that will have you singing along during the initial listening experience. The bridge really begins to build to the climax of the vamp. This such a great song that inspires and reminds you to live fully and totally for God.

The last song "Go" begins with a bang with the urban sounding direction that has been displayed in the album from the beginning. I love the rap sound Kierra displays on this song. The transition from the verse to the chorus is musically strange and not that appealing to your ears. The song is really current but comes off a bit repetitive in sound so it really is a bit unforgettable. I wish they would have chosen a different song to end the album with.

This album is superb to say the least. This album bridges the gap of urban music and gospel music. To some they may not like it but in reality, our young people are listening to this style of music filled with ungodly lyrics, so I really appreciate the fact that Kierra is giving young people a God-centered alternative. Listening to the album I realized that  it picks right up from  where Bold Right Life left off. Please go out and support this album and compel your young people to listen to it because I believe it has the power to change lives while speaking in the language of today's generation. Please go like the Pentecostal Perspective Facebook page, follow Pentecostal Perspective’s Instagram and Twitter pages, and share this edition of Pentecostal Review. God Bless!!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Pentecostal Event: Mount Calvary Holy Church of America's 85th Holy Convocation

Hey Everyone!!! Starting July 23rd - July 27th, the organization Mount Calvary Holy Church of America is sponsoring their 85th Holy Convocation in the city of Washington DC. This is the  first Convocation of Mount Calvary since the death of long time leader, Bishop Harold Williams. I think this will be a very bittersweet Convocation because as Bishop Williams was such a prominent leader within the organization, I am sure he will be missed and noted absent. On Wednesday, which is Women's Day for hr organization, the Convocation is commencing with Morning Glory featuring Pastor Suzie Owens as the speaker. Following Morning Glory, there will be various activities. The night service will feature Psalmist Anita Wilson and Pastor Jasmin Sculark as the speaker. On Thursday, Men's Day, the day is beginning with morning prayer. Following morning prayer is Morning Glory with Bishop Michael Rogers as the speaker and the Men's Day activities. For the night's service, the guest psalmist is Lowell Powell and the speaker is Bishop Neil Ellis. I think it is so great that the first two days are catered to and sponsored by the Women's and Men's department.  Friday morning, will also begin with morning prayer and morning glory with Bishop L. Spenser Smith as the speaker, which will be followed by a special luncheon for all the Minister's wives. I find it so commendable that the organization is sponsoring a luncheon for the wives of the leaders within the organization. The special guest psalmist for the night's service is Kierra Sheard and the speaker is Pastor Jamal Bryant. On Friday night, after the evening service, the organization is hosting a midnight musical featuring the Greater Mount Calvary Recording Choir, Damien Sneed, Marcia Chisolm, J.J. Hairston and more. This concert looks as if it will be one that people of all ages will be able to enjoy. On Saturday evening, the organization is sponsoring an 85th Celebration Stellar Banquet featuring Bishop J. Delano Ellis as the speaker. The closing day also known as the "Official Day" will begin with early Morning service featuring Bishop Hansel Henry, the Executive Vice Bishop and Morning Service featuring Mount Calvary's Presiding Prelate, Bishop Alfred Owens as the speaker. I commend Mount Calvary for not taxing the people and their time with extremely long activities throughout the day. I think it truly shows the intent of the leaders, in their not making the days full of activities. This year appears as if it will be an excellent Convocation and monumental for the organization. So Mount Calvary Holy Church of America have an amazing time in God, and I pray you will experience his presence and power like never before. Please go like the Pentecostal Perspective Facebook page, follow Pentecostal Perspective’s Instagram and Twitter pages, and share this edition of Pentecostal Event. God Bless!!!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Pentecostal Event: Church of our Lord Jesus Christ's 95th Holy Convocation

Hey Everyone!!! The organization Church of our Lord Jesus Christ is convening for their annual Convocation. Marking their 95th year, this appears as if it will be a major milestone in the organization's existence. This year's Convocation is being held July 23rd - July 27th in the city of Orlando, Florida. The theme for this year's Convocation is "There Remaineth Yet Very Much Land to be Possessed" coming from the scripture Joshua 13:1. The theme can be developed and explained on so many levels, so I am very convinced that the messages will be excellent. This is the first year for the new leadership within COOLJC and Bishop Robert Sanders is beginning his tenure with a bang. I think the biggest bang that sent waves across the Pentecostal world is the speaker line up for this year. The speakers announced for the Convocation are Bishop TD Jakes, Pastor Marvin Sapp, Pastor Donnie McClurkin, and Pastor Todd Hall. I find it very respectable that COOLJC is breaking down organizational and denominational boundaries to include these tremendous and well respected speakers. During the afternoon, there will be a host of workshops being offered to those in attendance ranging from topic such as A Look Into The Life of Our Founder, Making Healthy Choices, Understanding the Presider's Vision for 2014-2016 and others being presented by the leaders within the organization. Within the week, the organization has various events aside from workshops going on, from a delegates appreciation concert, to a family talent showcase. One thing I think delegates are very excited about is the midnight musical being held on the 25th that is featuring musical artists Lawrence Flower and Intercession, Javis Mays and Restoration and others. The name given to the musical is TGIF "Thank God I'm Free" which I feel is a clever play of words especially with the concert being on late night Friday. I truly believe this year's Convocation is going to monumental in the history of COOLJC, so COOLJC have a Holy Ghost filled experience in Orlando.