Macedonia COGIC ring in the New Year
By Sister Morshe Araujo | January 11, 2015
Macedonia congregants bade a fond farewell to 2014 and welcomed in 2015 with praise and worship, and awesome testimonies of how the Lord had blessed and kept the saints during the church’s annual Watch Night Service, December 31, 2014.
"We are blessed. We are so blessed,” said Missionary Vera Pruitt who gave her testimony after a moving worship song. “We may not have just what we wanted, but God has blessed us. He's kept us in perfect peace. "
Prior to the deliverance of God’s Word by four dynamic speakers, Sister Gabriella Hollingsworth sang a poignant rendition of 'We Exalt Thee'.
All the speakers came from Matthew 14:32-33, “And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God’.”
First up to speak was Sister Sara Jones, who set the tone of true worship for the evening. She wondered at the disciples delay to worship Jesus...what were they waiting for, she pondered. Sister Jones expounded on the necessity of worship and what true worship consists of. “Worship is a heart issue,” she stated. “It comes out of, “God if you never do anything else for me, you're still God.”
Sister Jones further explained that the disciples had a relationship with Jesus, but they didn't recognize the key that they actually had. She said that saints suffer from the same issue where we don’t recognize the privilege that we have in Christ Jesus.
True worship, she said, comes from our hearts and not our intellect. “Real worship renews and restores,” she revealed. “[Real worship] takes us from the natural to the supernatural. Real worship will take us where the pain, depression can't follow. There is a place in worship where the pain, the sickness and the depression won't matter. He's given us the key. So what are we waiting for?”
Following Sister Jones was Sister LaWanda Hill, Jurisdictional Minister of Music, with the topic, The Power of Christ’s Presence. In order to encounter true worship, Sister Hill stressed the importance of having a relationship with Christ. By cultivating a relationship with the Lord, we thereby invoke his presence.
“The Lord’s presence is the answer to our storms of life,” Sister Hill professed. “We can never go where Jesus is not. The power of his presence is there to deliver us. No matter how much the angry seas rage, it can't go any further than the boundaries the Lord has set.”
Additionally, Sister Hill remarked that true worship produces a change in the heart of the worshipper. “It’s hard to worship God when you know you have done wrong to somebody, or you've spoken out of turn or you're not speaking to anyone at all,” she pointed out. “Unless we come out of it with a greater commitment to obedience, it isn't worship.”
Sister Hill challenged the congregation to practice joyfulness and mentioned that there are some things we, as saints, can take care of and correct before we go to the Lord. She implored the saints to not let anything delay worship.
The theme of worship continued as the saints went before the Lord and prayed in the New Year before Deacon Mark McKinney stood to speak. He provided some background on the verses leading up to the main scriptures of the night where the disciples saw Jesus walking on the water and bold Peter asked to come out of the boat and walk to Jesus. Deacon McKinney stated that once Peter took his eyes off of Jesus, he began to sink.
“Somewhere along [Peter’s] walk with Jesus, the amount of faith he had wasn't enough to get him out of his storm once he took his eyes off of Jesus.”
However, the beauty of Peter was that he worshipped Jesus while he was suffering in his storm. Deacon McKinney stated that it took Peter’s faith for the disciples to see who Jesus truly was. “We must be that magnifying glass to help those [around us] see Jesus."
During a brief intermission, Sister Lillia McKinney, performed a stirring liturgical dance, a symbolic gesture of true worship as she danced before the Lord.
Lastly, Deacon Curtis Golatt rounded out the night’s text on worship. He stated that worship wasn’t a once a week thing. “[Worship] is an everyday thing,” he exclaimed. “True worship is your life.”
He provided ways for the saints to obtain true worship. The most important thing to note is that, according to Deacon Golatt, true worship requires sacrifice.
“Worship has nothing to do with being comfortable,” he said. “The purpose of worship is to honor, glorify and ultimately exalt God. Worship is so powerful, it transforms your life to imitate the very thing that you're worshipping.”
He continued by saying that, “True worship is not an easy task. There's a protocol that must be followed; things that must take place before we can truly enter the realm where we worship God. Our worship must be adoration and loyalty to God. We can't please God without Faith. And we can't have faith without hearing the word of God. A prostration of our souls in humble contrite positions. God is seeking such to worship. We must worship him in spirit and in truth. With reverence and attentiveness.”
By the end of the service, worship was on the hearts and minds of the saints. A charge had been elicited; seek a relationship with the Lord, be obedient and worship Him in truth.
"When we begin to worship God,” said Pastor Michael Wheeler, who closed out the Watch Night Service. “A lot of our issues will go away because we get lost in the presence of God.”