Sunday, August 16, 2015

Pentecostal Spotlight: Bishop Alphonzo D. Brooks

Hey everyone!!! This edition of Pentecostal Spotlight is being written with much enthusiasm and excitement. The reason being is because I am presenting my interview with the new Presiding Bishop for the organization, Way of the Cross Church of Christ, Bishop Alphonzo D. Brooks. Not only is this my first interview with a presiding bishop, but this is also one of Bishop Brooks first interviews as presiding bishop. These two reasons, along with the acknowledgement that Bishop is a modern day father in Pentecostalism create so much excitement. As the son of the organization’s founder Bishop Henry Brooks, this moment seems predestined because of the fact that he is both a spiritual and natural son of Way of the Cross. As a leader who exemplifies both humility and progression Bishop Brooks is definitely going to propel Way of the Cross forward. As a man with both a vision and plan, Way of the Cross definitely is in great hands. Having successfully owned multiple businesses, Bishop Brooks will not only be a fantastic spiritual leader he will also lead the organization from a business point of view. With much excitement and without further ado, I present my interview with Bishop Alphonzo D. Brooks.

As you transition into the office of Presiding Bishop, what is your vision for the Way of the Cross Church of Christ Int'l?

My vision for the Way of the Cross Church of Christ is to be unified as a body both within our organization and among the Apostolic body of believers as a whole.

Where do you hope to see WOTCC in the next five years? 

I really want the Way of the Cross to reach young people within the church because it seems as if the church as a whole is losing young people at a very rapid rate.  In a world where they are being instructed that they must receive an education in order to be successful, I want them to realize that even in success they need God.  Not only will we focus on the younger generation within our church but also conducting a mass outreach to that same generation outside of the church.  It's all about winning more souls to the kingdom.

What do you want your legacy as Presiding Bishop to be? 

I want my legacy as Presiding Bishop to be that of a leader who embraced unity in the body of Christ and worked to the best of my ability to move Way of the Cross to the next level.  I also want to be known as a leader who was a devoted servant of Christ.

In a world where it appears as if the church is being pressured more and more to compromise, how do you plan to lead the churches that are a part of the organization to not compromise?

I believe that the church needs to become more of a unified front.  I believe once this happens, the world will look to us to set the tone for decisions being made.  Collectively we can pull down the strong holds facing the world today.  I want people to recognize that Apostolics are not just some new religion/denomination and that we have been here for many years and doing great work for the kingdom and in our community.

At Apostle William Bonner's funeral, you spoke about the necessity for unity within the Pentecostal Apostolic body, how do you as a leader plan to ensure that necessity becomes a reality? 

I believe that within our local assemblies we must embrace unity with our Apostolic brothers and sisters and from there we can embrace it from a much larger perspective.

Having such a rich heritage in the Pentecostal world, how do you plan to embrace the past while still moving forward in the future? 

I plan to build on the tremendous foundation that has been laid for us and progress forward into the future building for the kingdom.

As the youngest son of WOTCC founder, Bishop Henry Brooks, how does it feel to be taking the position of leader within the organization he started? 

It is somewhat of a bittersweet moment, with me being older in age part of me wishes I would have stepped into this role when I was younger.  Knowing that my father wanted me to progress in ministry when I was younger, I regret that I did not heed to his prompting.  Even though I know he may have been disappointed in me, I am glad that I stepped up to my calling now because I know the Lord is pleased.

In the whole spectrum of Pentecostalism, where do you believe Way of the Cross stands?

Having such a deep root in Pentecostalism we are an organization still standing on the foundation that was created by our founder, Bishop Henry Brooks. Celebrating 71 years as an organization, I want to show the world that we have been actively and effectively operating for decades, with many more to come. 

Who have been your biggest inspirations and mentors and what are the key things you have learned from them?

I would have to say Mother Isabel Ford the founder of the National Youth For Christ was my biggest inspiration.  She stressed discipline as it pertains to doing the work of the Lord.  I am so honored that not only was she my mentor, but my sister.

What do you believe is the key for being an effective leader in the church during this modern age?

I would have to say devotion is the key to being an effective leader.  In today's society I believe a lot of people are being drawn to the ministry because of the prosperous lives they see as a result of many years of faithfulness and work ethics.  While nothing is wrong with being prosperous in ministry, that cannot be your main drive and focus as it relates to ministry and leadership in ministry.  To be effective there must be an unwavering devotion to ministry and a love for God that drives you.

What scripture would you say is the motto for your life? 

The motto scripture for my life would have to be John 17:22 "And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:" The reason I chose that scripture is because I want to show everyone that when it comes to me as a leader I embrace unity just as Christ and the father are one, the church should be one. 

As we all can see Bishop Brooks is an exemplary man who definitely will drive Way of the Cross into a successful future. Many leaders both young and old can learn from the impactful life he has displayed and continues to display to this day.  Please go like the Pentecostal Perspective Facebook page, follow the Pentecostal Perspective’s Instagram and Twitter pages, and share this edition of Pentecostal Spotlight. God Bless!!!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Pentecostal Opinion: How much emphasis should be placed on a dress code as it relates to Holiness?

Hey everyone!!! When the word "holiness" is said, many times the first thought that comes to mind is a standard of dress. Even though the way a person dresses is a factor in presenting oneself in a holy manner, it is not the only factor, nor is it the key factor. True holiness is about a lifestyle, not a dress code. The Bible tells us in Romans 12:1 "…present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." Based on this scripture alone, it can be understood that holiness is a whole body experience. Not only should holiness be reflected outwardly, but it should be reflected inwardly as well because this scripture is not only referencing how we dress our bodies, but the activities we do with them also.

In my experience with church, I have seen various examples of people who portrayed holiness outwardly but did not display actions that support their outward display of holiness. For so long I believe the church stressed the importance of the outward appearance that it in some ways neglected the greater importance of having holy actions. The world is watching us to ensure that we live the life we verbally proclaim.  We must be certain we are not placing so much emphasis on a standard of dress that we neglect a standard of living.  We are living in a time where people are consistently losing faith in the church, so we cannot add more of a reason for this loss of faith. The Bible says in Matthew 5:16 "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven". This scripture lets us as saints know that we must let our light shine (which is an internal thing) to draw people to Christ and notice the difference inside of us.

The church must also realize that we cannot allow the enforcing of a dress standard to be a barrier for reaching souls. There have been occasions where the church has prevented the reaching of souls because of the outward appearance and/or dressing of a person. I am going to say flat-out, the church can and should not be doing this! The job of the church is to reach the lost and we cannot allow something as trivial as the way someone is dressed to prevent us from doing our job. The world is seeking for something more and we have to point them to Christ regardless of what they look like or what they may be wearing. Jesus commanded us to go into all the world, therefore, we should not limit ourselves by neglecting those who do not look "the part".

I have also noticed throughout the church world a the lack of unity due to differences in dress standard. I believe in this spiritual hour, God is calling for unity and I reiterate, we as the church cannot allow something so trivial as a dress standard to be the reason why we do not answer and proceed with God's call. The church needs to realize that the greater cause is the winning of souls and we should not be divided by separate church standards. If a church is preaching the message of salvation through Jesus Christ, we must embrace them as our family and show the world that we can be unified.

So as we look upon the initial question, there needs to be some emphasis placed on the way a person dresses, but it must not be the key to holiness. I believe God is really preparing the church for a great move and dress code should not be the deterrent of that move.  As we move forward, let us be aware that true holiness is not defined by our clothing, but it is an inward reflection.  We must ensure that our lifestyles reflect holiness so we can draw those in the works and tear down the barriers we have created between us so we can draw all men unto Christ. 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, August 2, 2015

Pentecostal Event: Way of the Cross Church of Christ's 71st Holy Convocation


Hey everyone!!! As convention season begins to dwindle down, Way of The Cross Church of Christ is gathering together for their 71st Convocation. This year's Convocation is taking place in the city of Herndon, Virginia from August 2-7. This year appears to be a Convocations that has a great sense of anticipation and excitement. The keynote evening speakers are Bishop Early Dillard, Bishop Larry Whitfield, Sr., Bishop Alphonzo Brooks, Bishop James Nelson, Sr., and Bishop Leroy Cannady, Sr. I really admire the way Way of the Cross's has majority of their speakers from within their organization. The theme for this year's Convocation is "Cease not to fight your goal is just ahead," taken from Phillipians 3:14. With a topic like that I believe that those who attend will leave both inspired and encouraged.

During this year's Convocation the leadership position of the organization will be passed down from Bishop Leroy Cannady, Sr. to Bishop Alphonzo Brooks. This is such a monumental moment that appears as if it will be remembered for years to come. As a son of the founder, Bishop  Henry Chauncey Brooks, this is a monumental moment for Bishop Alphonzo Brooks. Not only a son of the organization but also of the founder, it only seems fitting for Bishop Brooks to step into this role. To commemorate this monumental occasion their will be a legacy banquet in honor of the many years of faithfulness Bishop Cannady served as Presiding Bishop, where Dr. Jerome Stokes will be speaking. The official instillation service for Bishop Brooks will be on held on the evening of August 7th. 

This Convocation definitely appears to be one that will go down in the record books for Way of the Cross Church of Christ. Please go like the Pentecostal Perspective Facebook page, follow the Pentecostal Perspective’s  Instagram and Twitter pages, and share this edition of Pentecostal Event. God Bless!!!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Pentecostal Event: Pentecostal Assemblies of the World 100th Summer Convention

Hey everyone!!! The Pentecostal Assemblies of the World is gathering together for their 100th Summer Convention. With such a monumental moment in the organization's history, I am sure this convention will be both amazing and historic. This year's convention is taking place from July 26th to August 1st in Detroit, Michigan with the theme "Celebrating our Past...Embracing our Future." With Indianapolis being the home and headquarters for the organization, I find it very interesting and a bit strange that they are not returning to what some would deem as their Jerusalem.

This year the organization has compiled a great list of speakers for their evening services. The speaker's scheduled are Bishop Marion Wright, Sr., Suffragan Bishop Jonathan Ellis, Evangelist E. Lorraine Langham, Bishop Thomas Weeks Sr., Bishop Wayne Brantley, Bishop Larry Jones, Bishop Charles Ellis III, Bishop Richard Young, Bishop Marvin Sapp, and Bishop J. Drew Sheard. I am really impressed with the balancing PAW did with using the people within and without their organization along side. I am extremely impressed of them for breaking the Apostolic barrier and unifying Pentecostals all over by inviting Bishop Sheard from Church of God in Christ to speak.

It also has been confirmed that twenty or more leaders from other Apostolic Pentecostal organizations will be in attendance to commemorate this 100th Convention. With unity being something I greatly promote personally and through this blog, I am ecstatic about this long overdue coming together. I believe it is going to be an amazing sight to see so many Apostolic Pentecostal leaders gathered together.

This Convention is proving to be an awesome event and with a slew of events for those in attendance to partake in this will definitely be a Convention for the record books. Please go like the Pentecostal Perspective Facebook page, follow the Pentecostal Perspective’s  Instagram and Twitter pages, and share this edition of Pentecostal Event. God Bless!!!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Pentecostal New - Passing and Homegoing Arrangements for Bishop Hansel Henry

It is with great sadness this edition of Pentecostal News is being written. Executive Vice Bishop for Mount Calvary Holy Church of America, Bishop Hansel Henry has passed. As the second in command for the organization this is a heavy lost for Mount Calvary. A pioneer within the organization, Bishop Henry is definitely going to be missed and his lost will be felt throughout the organization and the Pentecostal world as a whole.  Having pastored New Calvary Life Temple in Baltimore, Maryland, for many years, Bishop Henry has left a legacy for excellence in ministry for many years to come. He is survived by his wife, Elder Deloris C. Henry, two adult children, Erica Henry Washington and Hansel H. Henry, III, a  son-in-law, and three grandchildren.

The funeral arrangements are as follows, Bishop Hansel Henry's body will Lie in State July 23rd between the times of 10:00 am – 7:00 pm, at his home church of New Calvary Life Temple in Baltimore, Maryland and the Homegoing Celebration Service will be July 24th at 11:00 am, at the Mount Calvary Holy Church of America's headquarter church, Greater Mount Calvary Holy Church in Washington D.C. Seeing how this is the week of their Convocation I am very sure that the homegoing service will be extremely well attended and an excellent way to remember this remarkable man of God.

Please keep Bishop Henry's family, New Calvary Life Temple church family, and Mount Calvary Holy Church of America organization family in prayer. God Bless!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Pentecostal Review - Anthony Brown and Group therAPY "Everyday Jesus"

Hey everone!!! On January 31st in the city of Baltimore, Maryland, Anthony Brown and Group therAPY recorded their first live album and second mainstream album. As one of the thousands of people in attendance at that recording, I can say that it was excellent presentation of music! Fast forward to this past Friday, that recording resulted in the release of their new album "Everyday Jesus." The album from start to finish is awe inspiring, engaging and captivating. This album showcases their ability to be versatile and how great of singers they truly are. As an alumni of the prestigious Morgan State University music program Anthony shows the world how being classically trained really helps with the creation of excellent music. With features that not only compliment the album but the artists themselves, this album shows Anthony's ability to create fitting songs for both Group therAPY and other artists. This is one of the best albums so far of 2015. So without further ado, I present my review of Anthony Brown and Group therAPY's new album "Everyday Jesus."

The album begins with Anthony Brown announcing the title of the album followed by the sound of a person searching through radio stations. That sound then transitions to a countdown which leads into the sound of a crowd cheering. A heavy guitar sound then begins to play in the speakers to start the song "Bless The Lord". Anthony Brown then begins to pump the crowd and starts singing in a call and response format. The vocals of Group therAPY are simply superb and show that they are very much a force to be reckoned with in gospel music today. The up-tempo beat that the music transitions to during the chorus is both infectious and invigorating. The call and response chorus really creates a fist pumping ambiance.  The simplicity of the chorus allows you to find yourself singing along during the initial listen of the song. The transition between the chorus and the verses are smooth but there is a sense of misfit between the two. To the ear the two sounds don't go directly together. The musical pre-cursor to the vamp is entertaining and engaging, it creates a sense of anticipation for where the direction of the song is headed. My only drawback of the musical introduction to the vamp is it is a tad bit longer than needed. The crescendo and decrescendo affect for the vamp really creates a pleasantry in sound. The addition of Doretha Sampson in the end of the vamp has a church sound that also creates a great ending to the song. The transition back to the chorus sounds good but the song could have ended at the vamp. This was definitely a phenomenal way to introduce the album and create eagerness for what is to come on the album. 

A very futuristic sounding song begins with "I Am (Miracle)", which creates a sense of intrigue as to what direction the song is going. The sound that comes from Anthony Brown and Group therAPY is simplistic which in turn begins to create a pleasant reaction alongside the music. The piano then creates a mood of anticipation as it slowly but surely intensifies the song. The chorus, the climatic high point of the song, was somewhat disappointing because of its dated dance sound. Even with the dated sound it still manages to create an interactive sound. The bridge of the song brings a sound of suspense and captivation. The dramatic sound created towards the end draws attention to the strength and power of the God we serve.

The next song on the album is the full version of the radio hit "Worth (Full Version)." When this song was sung during the live recording, the impact was not only monumental but it was lasting. Very rarely does a song stick with you after an initial listening, which keeps your mind and heart engaged and thankful. The music accompanying Anthony Brown is the perfect mood setter for the intimate sound he conveys with the lyrics. As Group therAPY begins to sing you can't help but feel the emotions of the lyrics and reflect on the love God has for us. The rise in intensity and volume that Group therAPY sings with heightens the mood and feeling of the song. The vamp of the song has a contemporary Christian music feel to it that encourages you to sing along. The return to the softer sound for the ending was genius! It draws you in and sets the atmosphere for a personal moment of worship. The repeating of the words "You thought I was to die for" really does something internal and causes you to reflect on how truly amazing the sacrifice of Jesus Christ was. After the singing ended, the musicians did a magnificent job creating a sound that welcomed worship into the atmosphere.

"Worth Reprise (Love Lifted Me)" picked right up where Worth left off. It was so fitting for Anthony to begin to sing the hymn "Love Lifted Me". As it is one of my personal favorite hymns, I truly enjoyed how the hymn had its own unique point of view but also captured the sound of that moment. The playing of only the piano was the perfect accompaniment for this extremely intimate worship moment. The acapella singing of Group therAPY really showed how talented these group of singers truly are. The addition made to the hymn complemented that moment of worship. The control displayed by Group therAPY is simply superb. The return to "Worth" takes you to a high spiritual and emotional state. You can't help but feel something as he goes back into the chorus of the song.  I can attest to the fact that a moment of worship erupted inside the building after the song was completed. 

After such an intense song, it is hard to move forward with the album. The piano solo in the beginning of "Everyday Jesus" sets the tone for what is to be a mid-tempo song. The inclusion of the horns creates an old school-R&B sound. The lyrics are great but extensive, making it difficult to catch in your initial listen. The groove of the song creates a natural body reaction of movement. The call and response format of the vamp is cool and calming in sound. The song holistically is nice, but as the title track of the album, I expected something a little more. 

Once the music began for "And You Never Will,the calling of Maurette Brown-Clark for the song was very fitting for her voice and style of singing. It is so great to have a certain niche and sound that other artists know that certain songs are perfect for you. The call and response format between Maurette and Group therAPY complements each other's voices. The lyrics of the song encourage a sense of assurance in God. The infusion of rock/pop into the song creates a sound that encourages you to join in. The modulation of the song adds a sense of complexity to a relative simplistic song. 

The opening of "What He's Done (I'm The One)" has a "churchy" setting. The song is ear catching and causes you to truly feel and react to the lyrics. Anthony Brown does a great job with leading and adlibbing. It is actually a little surprising, seeing how this isn't his typical style of gospel music to sing along with. Sung by the right church, this song could really mess up a service because of the lyrics and music attached it. The vocal and musical break down during the bridge sounds so amazing together and draws you into a state of wonderment about what is going to happen next during the song. The classic old school church call and response format implemented during the vamp was extremely fitting and was the perfect way to complete the song. The breakdown at the end of the vamp creates an updated old church feel that is internally enthusiastic. The oohs added by Group therAPY enhance the song and draws you as the listener further into the song. 

The music and introduction done by Anthony Brown sets the stage for an emotionally gripping song. The country influenced sound set to the lyrics of "The Same" were extremely original and enchanting to the ears. The soft sound of Group therAPY that accompanies Anthony Brown's voice on the chorus draws your heart to the lyrics. The repeating of the chorus towards the end reinforces the feeling of love you have for the faithfulness God shows. The only complaint for this song is its short length. A longer version of the song would have been welcomed. 

One of the most memorable moments from the recording was song "Deserved" led by Gaye Arbuckle. The addition of the acoustic guitar in the beginning sets the stage for an intimate setting. Upon the hitting of Gaye's first note you hear and sense the uniqueness and anointing of her voice. Words cannot adequately describe how her voice made the song so pleasurable to the ears. The lyrics of the song cause you to reflect on the mercies of God and to realize how amazing God is. The modulation of the song only pushes it into another place of greatness. The way Group therAPY sang during this song was heart wrenching and allowed you as the listener to feel every emotion intended to be felt through the lyrics. The singing of Gaye with only the organ at the end pushed forward a momentum that was already established the song and sets the stage for a personal worship experience. This is definitely not a song you want to listen to when you are preoccupied, because it will cause you to reflect and thank God for how merciful he is and there is no telling how you will react. This song will definitely lead to your heavenly language flowing from your lips. 

Another memorable moment from the recording was the singing of the hymn "Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing" on the song "Without You." The classical way the hymn is sung is beautiful and breathtaking when listened to. The transition done from the hymn to the song was very skillfully done and went very hand in hand with the two. The two soloists Shirley Dailey and Gabriel Hansborough did a marvelous job leading the song. The classical sound displayed by Group therAPY shows their ability to be versatile. The vamp of the song switches it from a classical sound to a more contemporary sound. Because of the many pieces of the song it does appear to be a bit longer than what it truly is. 

"The Benediction" begins with Anthony Brown opening the song with pronouncing blessings over your life. Group therAPY then begins to sing the famous benediction scripture, Jude 1:24, behind slow soft sounding music. The addition of other lyrics really adds to the song and makes it come alive. As I listened to the song, I heard a Donald Lawrence influence in the message, lyrics and total sound. The simplicity of the vamp allowed for that portion of the song to be learned instantly. 

A mid-tempo drum beat begins "J-E-S-U-S" which causes the mind to think that this song will probably be energetic. The keyboard then comes in which changes the tone of the song to an 80's R&B style of song. Michelle Thompson sounds so amazing vocally on this song. Her tone and run placement are pleasant to listen to. The word singing done by Group therAPY prepares the hip hop beat that comes in during the chorus. I love how they incorporated every letter of the name Jesus separately into the chorus. It is not only catchy but original. Because of the Hip Hop sound of this song it was only fitting that Da T.R.U.T.H. be added to the song. 

The horns that begin "Free" have a 1970's Clark Sisters and Walter Hawkins sound to it that immediately causes your mind to travel back in time. As an incredible female vocalist, Crystal Ruckers sounds so superb on this song. This song is so fitting for her voice.  It was a perfect choice for her to be a part of.  Once Crystal goes into her high octave, it sounds as if heaven is on earth. Group therAPY falls right into the 70's sound which only enhances the song. The transition makes a more "churchy" sound while still keeping the 70's flare during the vamp is so genius. 

In the introduction to "Grateful People" Darrel Wall is called. The up-tempo sound of the song exudes energy that is transferred to you as the listener. Darrel Wall definitely displays what he alongside his siblings are famous for delivering when singing. The song really keeps your attention as well as the vocal and music arrangement of the song. This song does an excellent job displaying the uniqueness and talent of Darrel and was very fitting for his voice. That song was a very fitting way to unofficially end the album. 

"Worth (Radio Edit)" is the same as the earlier reviewed version just condensed. 

This album is as stated simply stellar from start to finish. Without this album your music collection is incomplete. Please go out and support kingdom music by purchasing this album. 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!!!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Pentecostal Fashion - Jogger Sweatpants

Courtesy: Guess

Hey everyone!!! This edition of Pentecostal Fashion is featuring the extremely popular joggers pants known for short as joggers. These pants have can be seen any and everywhere as of late. These pants are a marriage of comfortability and tailoring to add a more polished look to the ordinary sweat pants. Available in just about every modern clothing stores these have taken over the racks and closet of young men everywhere. One of the bonuses of joggers are there ability to untraditionally showcase whatever shoe the wearer has on that day. The ultimate casual yet trendy pair of pants, joggers are best pair with a casual t-shirt or polo shirt and some trendy sneakers. The key to this look to not try and over dress these pants, because at their core they are sweat pants, trendy sweat pants but still sweat pants. With summer all about being comfortable these pants are a must have to being comfortable and trendy at the same time. Please go like the Pentecostal Perspective Facebook page, follow the Pentecostal Perspective’s Instagram and Twitter pages, and share this edition of Pentecostal Fashion. God Bless!!!
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