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52nd National Convention C O V E R A G E JOURNAL Spring 2016 s25 believe in prioritizing,” he said. His “three wonder-ful children” include a daughter and son in col-lege – Howard Univer-sity and Alabama A&M University – and a teen daughter at home. “I’m just really trying to make sure that they’re healthy and whole. And that’s my first responsi-bility. After being a father, then I am a pastor and then after being a pas-tor, I am a recording art-ist, and then after being a recording artist, I do all my other entrepreneurial things.” Pastor Marvin Sapp delivers a powerful message during the Praise and Worship Service July 24, 2015. PHOTO BY DONNAMARIA JONES Those endeavors in-clude his role as president and found-er, with his late wife, of the Grand Rapids Ellington Academy of Arts & Technology, a public charter school which he said has more than 500 stu-dents. He is also opening “Sampson and Delilah” – a full-service salon. “I keep my hands in a lot of differ-ent things. It’s pretty neat. I believe that when God gives you gifts and talents, your responsibility is to take them and multiply them and give them back to Him. So, that’s what I’ve done and also – busy keeps you out of trouble, so I try to stay as busy as possible,” Sapp said. “I am a vision-ary. … It’s your responsibility to take your platform and go make an impact in your community. That’s always been my passion and that’s what I’m doing.” Sapp describes healing from his wife’s death as “a daily process” that he continues to work through. “If you were to ask me if I’m com-pletely healed, I would tell you no. I don’t know if that is something that you ever get completely healed from. But, I think that every day above ground is a good day and as long as I keep a positive focus and a positive mindset, I just simply believe that the rest of my days will be the best of my days,” he said. “I also believe that God never allows things to hap-pen in your life that He cannot trust you to handle. For some strange rea-son, I think He trusts me with trou-ble. He just knows I’m going to stand firm in the midst of it.” At 48, Sapp said he is beginning “a new season” and pushed that theme through his praise and preaching. He began the hour that he pre-sided over the Delta Praise and Wor-ship with lyrical runs to open a cele-bration and declared the presence of the Lord. The room exploded, Sapp tore off his jacket and almost everyone rose to their feet during an instru-mental introduction of “Praise Him in Advance,” which flowed into “The Best in Me” and ended with the calming hymn “I Need Thee.” In his sermon, based on 1 Peter 4 and entitled “A Season to Rejoice,” he ex-plained how God works all things – positive and nega-tive – together for good. “What God does is to take the good things of your life and He will take the bad things of your life and he’ll put it together and make it work for your good,” he shouted. “It may not feel good, it may not look good, it may not fit good, but it’s all good. So, stop trippin’ because it don’t look like it’s going to work out for your benefit. Just know that when it’s all said and done – God is up to something.” Sapp closed with what is likely his most popular song: “Never Would Have Made It.” In her benediction, National Chaplain Vashti Murphy McKenzie explained that the praise and wor-ship service was birthed in August 1985 when sorors were among those killed and injured in a plane crash en route to the national convention in Dallas. Since then, the sisterhood gathers for a standing praise, wor-ship and prayer service before every convention’s formal opening. s Cindy George is the public relations and publicity co-chair of the Houston Alumnae Chapter, a Houston Chron-icle reporter and a past executive board member of the National Associ-ation of Black Journalists.


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