Friday, October 24, 2014

Pentecostal Review - Pentecostal Assemblies of the World's Mass Choir "Sound of Unity"

Hey Everyone!!! Back in August 2013, the organization Pentecostal Assemblies of the World had a live recording at their 98th Convention. Produced by son to the organization, Jonathan Nelson, the album shows a versatility in music that we rarely see in choir music today. As a proud Apostolic Pentecostal, I fully embrace the organization marking history and showing the talent that has resulted from it. My favorite thing about this album is seeing all the amazing artists who have come out of this organization. So without further ado, I present my review of Pentecostal Assemblies of the World's Mass Choir's "Sound of Unity!"

The album begins with an introduction of the Presiding Bishop of PAW, Bishop Charles Ellis by Jonathan Nelson. Bishop Ellis then begins speaking about unity and the example that is set by those in the upper room on the day of Pentecost. He then expressed how he believes the next major move of God will take place when the saints become unified.

The first song from the album, "Sound of Unity" has a very high energy and electric feel to it. The song definitely captures your attention and draws you in. The production quality from the album is stellar and superb. I really enjoy the chant aspect of the song  and simplicity of the lyrics, making the song very easy to sing along with. You can not help but sing and move your body in response. I enjoyed the vamp and how the song continually modulated. The transition from the chorus and vamp was done very smooth and well. This was a great way to begin the album and gives the listening audience a sense of anticipation for what is to come.

Since watching the live telecast of PAW during their Summer Conventions, I always enjoyed the way they begun the telecasts singing the church classic "Sound of Pentecost." I thought that it was more than fitting that the organization included this on the album. The churchy essence of a song always takes me into a place of joy. I was not expecting the vamp that the it transitioned to. It took me by surprise, after hearing the song multiple times, I never heard that portion on the live telecast. I thought it was extremely creative to add to the song but it took away from the churchy essence that I love.

When "Shift This Place" started began I was pleasantly surprised that it was the song previously recorded by Youthful Praise. As a fan of that whole album, Live! The Praise... The Worship, I was excited to hear PAW sing this song and see what signature they would place on it. The music breakdown before the vamp of the song was extremely impressive and created a very nice groove. I enjoyed the song but nothing was different from the original recording done by Youthful Praise, and because of the already simplistic nature of the song, it wasn't a song that was memorable. ‎

"Hold On" begins with an exhortation about how we are victorious with Christ on our side. Released by the Pentecostal Ambassadors in 1981, it was really cool to hear them reunite to sing this for a PAW album.  You can feel the passion of the lyrics once the soloist begins the song. After the soloist sung the verse twice, the trio of singers sung the familiar lyrics made famous by Fred Hammond in his song, A Song of Strength. The song was a great addition to the album because it was something different and was very entertaining while inspiring all at the same time.

Jonathan Nelson begins, "Pentecostal Medley" with the referencing of testimony service and introducing of Bishop Leonard Scott.  The first song that begins the medley is "I Don't Mind Giving God The Praise." There is nothing like these style of songs because they are simple in message and delivery but hold a sense of power in them. The next song in the medley was "Praise The Lord Everybody" followed by "I Get Joy When I Think About What He's Done For Me." The great thing about songs like these are the ability to easily transition from one to another. As "I Get Joy When I Think About What He's Done For Me" progressed and went through various word changes, ending with the wording of God is a good God.  Bishop Scott and the choir then transitioned to the driving part of the song embracing the call and response format where the choir repeated "Yes He is." When singing songs like this I love this section because it really brings the song home. Bishop Scott then transitioned to "Living He Loved Me." The breakdown done by the band really created a churchy essence.  Bishop then reverted back to singing "I Don't Mind Giving God The Praise" and "Praise The Lord Everybody" before the song faded out.

I was happy to see and hear friend to Pentecostal Perspective, MarQuita Danzy, lead "Bless His Name." I was very surprised to see this was the song from Jonathan Nelson's early years album "Everything You Are." This is such an intimate worship song and  MarQuita did a great job setting the atmosphere for worship. I enjoyed the vamp that was created for this version and how it redeveloped an already great song. The way MarQuita ended the song was aweing.  She, along side the band, set a moment for personal worship. Jonathan's exhortation was natural because of the atmosphere set by the wording and singing of the lyrics.

It was really cool to learn that the lead soloist, Eric Dawkins is a product of the organization based on the introduction given by Jonathan Nelson on "I Won't Complain." Not sure if this would be the same song as the solo classic originally recorded by Reverand Paul Jones, but I was thrilled to hear that it was. To my surprise, the inclusion of the midtempo beat really added to the song. Eric Dawkins definitely did the song much justice. His vocal skills and mastery were on heavy display for this song. I was intrigued at how or if the choir would be added to the song, and the way they vocally arranged it was genius in delivery. The addition of Jason Nelson to the vamp was really a listening treat. The combination of Jason Nelson and Eric Dawkins really created a magical moment that happened to be recorded. The personal testimony given by Eric towards the end of the song was really heart wrenching and so transparent, you cannot help but be moved. This song is definitely a favorite off the album.  Just by the atmosphere set by the song, you definitely know a praise erupted afterwards.

As a humongous fan of Jason Nelson's voice, I was so overjoyed to hear him on the next song. I was more overjoyed when I realized he was singing the church solo classic hymn "High Place." The addition of only the organ was so fitting because it let his voice be placed on straight display while still having the enhancement of musical sound. Every word Jason sings you feel in the depths of your soul. Definitely a song you don't want to be still for because a personal worship atmosphere is sure to take place and unknown tongues are definitely sure to come out.  My only qualm with the song is the length.  I definitely could have stood for more of Jason Nelson's voice.

Son to the organization, Byron Cage, begins church classic "Down Through The Years." I like how the song was updated but yet maintained it's original essence and original blueprint. The interactive sound creative for the vamp was really a great addition to the song. I wish they would have done a mic pass during this part because it was the perfect setting for that.

The orchestra sound created at the beginning of "God's Got My Back" set an emotional pulling and gripping stage for the song. The unison sound created in the beginning of the song really was superbly done. Jason on the vamp was a delightful addition to the song. This song was touching, but a non memorable song because of it's wordiness, difficulty to sing along, and repetitious nature.

Months before I was able to purchase the album, I had an opportunity to hear a preview of the next two songs. Ever since I initially heard these songs, I fell in love. "It Will Be Alright" begins with the sound of a drum machine so you instantaneously know that it is going to be a churchy/shouting song. Once the choir and lead vocalist, Tim Slaughter, come in, you realize this is an updated version of the church classic "Didn't I Tell You." The updating of the lyrics in the verse portion of the song was a great touch while still maintaining it's church essence. I like the way Tim Slaughter and musicians bring in the vamp, the combination of his voice and the band's playing created a nice groove. The exhortation done by Kris Jamison really took the song to the next level and led you to the musical climax of the song that she skillfully led.

The album transitions right into "Got It." I love a praise break that has an anthem or chant aspect to it and this song is one for the record books. Pamela Westbrook murdered the song and created an atmosphere of praise that you could feel erupt in the place. The simplistic but intricate quality of the music was outstanding and showed the true musicianship of the band holistically. As you listen to the song, you can not help but want to give God a praise. If you are feeling defeated before listening to this song, I guarantee after you listen your mindset and mood will change.

The last song on the album is the choir classic, "Majestic," originally recorded by Sandi Patty. I really enjoyed the groove created at the vamp. The musicians really outdid themselves on the song. As a choir staple this song was a very fitting way to end the album.

This is such an amazing album that really captivates your listening ear throughout your listening experience. The soloists chosen throughout the album are stellar and really make the album top notch. Please support Pentecostal Assemblies of the World and purchase the album via their  website. I guarantee you will not be disappointed. 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, October 17, 2014

Pentecostal Opinion

Hey Everyone!!! The other day I watched two interviews that sparked the idea for this edition of Pentecostal Opinion. The interviews featured mega stars Michelle Williams and Jennifer Hudson. As Michelle Williams spoke about her inspiration/gospel album and mega hit single "Say Yes," and Jennifer Hudson spoke briefly about Mali Music's transition from gospel music to secular music, I began to wonder if artists singing both gospel or christian music and secular was ok. As a very big fan of music in general this was a very difficult question to answer.

As someone who believes music is a very powerful gate to the emotions and actions of people I realize the importance of censoring the music you listen to, but  wonder if just because the song doesn't mention or reference God does it instantaneously make it something Christians should not listen to. I am a very big believer that the key to music is the message behind it. For years and even to this day it has been taught and preached that if you are not listening to "traditional gospel" music you are in the wrong. I personally am not of this belief system and believe the key to what you listen to should be the message and motive behind it. I do not see anything wrong with listening to a pure love song.

When we look at the Bible, the book of Songs of Solomon is a book solely about Solomon's love and adoration for a woman. I believe God placed that in the Bible to show everyone that even though we are created to live for Him, that even in our living for Him we can still express the human emotion of love.

I believe the issue comes in when people are singing about God one minute and things contrary to His nature and principles the next. Not only does it create a sense of confusion for those who listen, but a false perception of what is right in God's eyes. With the nature of God being holy and righteous we cannot rightly sing one song about how much we love Him and then on another about performing acts that are against His principles such as fornicating. As role models for this next generation of people and even a light to those who are not saved, artists must realize that what they do matter and sends a greater message than they may think. As people of God your words and actions should not conflict with one another and whether they realize it or not that is the case when they sing conflicting messages. So to answer the question I believe that if the message is not conflicting with Godly principles or standards there is no issue with singing a song that is not in the gospel or christian genre of music.

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!!!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Pentecostal Inspiration

Hey Everyone!!! If anyone knows the story of the early apostles, then you know they faced much hardship and resistance for doing their God given commission to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world. I found this scripture so amazing, that in the midst of their hardship, they found the strength and will to encourage and exhort their fellow brethren in the cities of  Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch. How many of us can honestly say that we believe in Christ and this message enough to encourage others in the midst of our own adversity?  I find that what the apostles did so selfless and example setting for the church of today.  What they did is a model we all should follow. We as saints must do as they did and be a help to our fellow brethren in the midst of our own personal storms.  I believe the reason the apostles expressed the message of enduring tribulation was not only for those in the cities but also to encourage themselves. This showed me that sometimes in your time of ministering to others you will also encourage yourself. So no matter if you feel like doing the work God has created you to do, you will learn that a lot of times the direction God leads will uplift you, along with others.   So, not only must you do the work, but you should do it to receive encouragement. Christ created us to be a family and to minister to the various need of that family. It is our duty to fulfill that which God has created us for. 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, October 3, 2014

Pentecostal Fashion

Courtesy: Guess by Marciano

Hey Everyone!!! This edition of Pentecostal Fashion is featuring an accessory that has been a trend for some time now and doesn't seem to be diminishing. The trend I am writing about is the Gold Plated Belt. This trend has been seen everywhere from runways to red carpets.   Accessories have always been a staple in female clothing, so this trend just adds to that staple. I love the touch of regalness and sophistication these belts add to an outfit. To wear this trend correctly, it should be paired with a night time or dressy look. Because of the powerful statement this belt brings and adds, it should not be paired with a casual outfit because it will appear out of place.  Also, ensure that whatever you wear the belt with has a polished look.  Ladies, be sure to go out and buy a gold plated belt, I am more than sure that you will love the look it adds to your outfit. 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!!!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Pentecostal News

Hey everyone!!! This news may be a little late but I still was inclined to write about it. The channel Oxygen is producing a spin off for the hit controversial show Preachers of LA. For the spin off the show is being moved to the city of Detroit. More than the show itself I am impressed and excited with the lineup of preachers casted. The preachers being featured are Bishop Charles Ellis, Bishop-Elect Clarence Langston, Bishop Corletta Vaughn, Pastor David Bullock, Pastor Don Shelby, Evangelist Dorinda Clark-Cole, and Pastor Tim Alden.

The two preachers I'm most familiar with and excited about are Bishop Ellis and Evangelist Clark-Cole. Many people know Bishop Ellis from his work as a leader within the organization Pentecostal Assemblies of the World and local church Greater Grace Temple. As the pastor of a very successful church and leader of the oldest Apostolic Pentecostal organization it is going to be wonderful to see his behind the scenes work and get to know the man behind the pulpit. I have watched Bishop Ellis's tenure and I really commend the work he has done propelling PAW forward.

Evangelist Clark-Cole is mostly known for her singing career with the legendary Clark Sisters and on her own. Also identified for her involvement and leadership roles within the prominent Pentecostal organization Church of God in Christ, Evangelist Clark-Cole has set a high precedence for women in ministry. I believe her addition to the show is a remarkable thing because it shows the diversity of ministry.

So be on the lookout for Preachers of Detroit I am sure it will be just as much of a topic starter as Preachers of LA is. Please go like the Pentecostal Perspective Facebook page, follow the Pentecostal Perspective’s Instagram and Twitter pages, and share this edition of Pentecostal News. God Bless!!!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Pentecostal Inspiration

Hey Everyone!!! A few weeks ago I heard an awesome message preached by Elder O'niel Fisher coming from John 6, on the very familiar story of Jesus feeding the 5,000. As Elder Fisher read St. John 6:7, my mind began to wonder and created the brainchild for this edition of Pentecostal Inspiration. I'm sure all, if not most, know this very familiar story of how Jesus transformed two fishes and five loaves of bread into a meal that fed more than 5,000 people. As I sat and listened to Phillip's response to Jesus's inquiry about feeding the crowd, I could not help but wonder what would have happened if what little money they had was given to Jesus. When we look and see the miraculous deed Christ did with mere food I can only imagine how great of a miracle Christ would have done with money. I believe we as saints tend to hold back on God and contain Him in a box. I know we live in a time when we are told to save, plan and prepare. I just cannot help but wonder what would happen in the Kingdom if we gave God control over our finances. I know we are taught to give tithes and offerings but I think this scripture gives possibility to receiving greater than just our temporary needs being met if we give God full control. I wonder what great miracle we would have read about had Phillip taken it upon himself to gather the funds amongst the crowd and offer it to Jesus. God is so much larger than our small realms of possibilities and the sooner we realize that and give Him control over every aspect of our lives we will see doors open we never imagined. 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, September 12, 2014

Pentecostal Fashion

Courtesy: Reiss

Hey Everyone!!! This edition of Pentecostal Fashion is for the bold and secure man of today.  The trend I am talking about is the Strapless Portfolio/Document Holder also known as the Man Clutch. I know just the very sight of the word clutch and man together seems like a oxymoron and does not appear to fit, but done correctly, this trend can be masculine and fashionable.  Man clutches are very big in Europe, so it shows that it can be pulled off in the United States. There are three keys to pulling this look off correctly.  The first is to ensure that the bag is masculine looking.  The bag has to be a neutral color with very few embellishments. The reason being is because you do not want to add much focus to the bag, because it's sole purpose is to hold your belongings and not draw extra attention to itself. The second  key is to ensure that the bag is not too small. The bag should resemble the size of a briefcase or traditional portfolio bag. The reason being small bags resemble female clutches and creates a femininity to any look it is paired with.  The third key to this trend is in the way the bag is held. Do not hold the bag underneath your underarms, This appears very feminine and draws attention to it's resemblance of a women's clutch. When holding the bag, the key is to have your arms extended and ensure that you are holding the bag in your hands.  Through this way of holding it, it reminds people of a briefcase and less of a clutch. Always remember the  bag should appear as a natural extension to your outfit and not an attention drawing accessory. As long as you use and remember  these three keys, having this bag should go smoothly and be a fashionable and masculine accessory.  So all my adventurous males go out and buy a strapless portfolio bag, it is definitely on the horizon of being a big trend. Please go like the Pentecostal Perspective Facebook page, follow Pentecostal Perspective’s Instagram and Twitter pages, and share this edition of Pentecostal Fashion. God Bless!!!