How many of you have grasped the fact that following the Lord and being in fellowship with Him and his people is an adventure? It forces us to look away from ourselves and our insufficiencies and unto the All Sufficient One! Along the journey down His narrow path there are always those unexpected blessings that occur that make you keenly aware of His nearness and His lovingkindness! Such was the case with me on my trip to Philadelphia, PA for Epiphany Fellowship’s outreach, From the Concert – To the Classroom – To the Corner (CCC).
Too much could be said about the 4 days I was there, so I’ll provide snapshots.
Friday, September 12th
I traveled with a brother in the faith, Maurice, as this was his first time to Philadelphia. We left Austin at 6:45 AM with a brief layover in Chicago and arrived in Philadelphia at 1:45 PM. We were picked up by a brother in the faith, Craig N-I-C-E (not of the Nice-N-Smooth fame), and we headed to Epiph in North Philadelphia. We got a chance to chop it up on the way which included Craig’s testimony! Already getting rocked off the Lord’s grace within the first half hour. Turns out he had been saved for little over year. Traffic was surprisingly thick at 2:30 pm and it was raining. We arrived at Epiph and ran into Duce, Lecrae, Pastor Eric Mason and a few other familiar faces.
We dipped to get some food as we were told First Friday Fundamentals (FFF) was being held that night, which was the 2nd Friday. Bangin! Another blessing! Craig took us to this pizza joint near Temple University where we got laced with some barbecue chicken pizza slices. Then we headed next door to Philly Flavors, affectionately called Philly Flaves by the Epiph fam, for some water ice. Strawberry/Vanilla is all I’m saying! After that, we headed back to Epiph for FFF.
Before FFF got underway, Pastor E and Duce dispatched a few of us to comb the block for evangelism and informing the residents about the outreach. Maurice and I made our way out and providentially were able to engage a few people with the gospel, etc.
FFF is a ministry headed by shai linne that focuses on engaging the attendees with thoughtful questions and reflections on modern secular culture and how to assess it through our faith. The topic was “Worldview” and featured relevant performances by Lecrae, Tedashii and Trip Lee. Concluding the night, Trip Lee performed a few of his songs.
After that, (mind you it’s 11:00 pm and we are running on about 2 hours of sleep) a small group of us head over to Applebee’s. We left at 2 am headed back to shai’s place to crash.
Saturday, September 13th
Maurice and I attended an Urban Pastor’s Breakfast with shai which turned out to be another unlooked for blessing. It was good to hear Pastor E and Pastor Duce explain their philosophy of ministry in an urban context from Scripture. With urbanization/urbanism taking place in major cities, it is important that we take a closer look at the shifting paradigm of our societies and pray for God’s wisdom to impact this shift!
CCC got started at about 1 pm. CCC is Epiphany Fellowship’s annual outreach to their neighborhood consisting of free fish sandwiches, water ice, and games for the children all set to the tune of Christ centered hip-hop! Imagine a hip-hop block party blaring out Christ-centered lyrics for 7 hours! Artists that were in attendance or performed were: Stephen the Levite, Everyday Process, Ambassador, God’s Servant. Phanatik, Lecrae, Trip Lee, Tedashii, J.R., Believin Stephen, Jaron Johnson, The Apologist and Evangel from Christcentric, DJ Essence, DJ Official, B.Morr, Average Joe, Teddy P, The Tonic, T.R.U. LIFE, Da T.R.U.T.H, R-Swift and more!
It was truly a blessing as the Lord provided great weather (it was scheduled to rain that day), plenty of food, water ice and His peace. The highlight of the event was the gospel presentation given by Pastor Duce in which some people heard the gospel for the first time. I was surprised at the attention that was given while the gospel was being presented. Overall, there were no disturbances and many on-lookers were in utter amazement at this hip hop rally for Jesus. Not to mention all of the other gifted laborers behind the scenes and mixed in with the crowd serving the Lord for His glory.
In addition to that, I got a chance to see again and meet some brothers and sisters in the faith that I had only been communicating with via e-mail or telephone for over a year! Big ups to the DC Sistas: Eve, Chakia and Chaka (love y’all, man!) and the rest of the CCBOL crew! Big ups to Jenn Tinsley, Aisha Woods, Believin’ Stephen, Teddy P, Myles, and the Westcoast connection – Jared and “Montana” Mike!
After CCC came to a close a contingent of us “got it in” (fellowshipped) at DJ Essence’s crib. Ah, that was so refreshing. Not only is DJ Essence a beast on the boards and on the 1’s and 2’s, but his hospitality is such a blessing! Praise God for you Esso! We recapped the night, talked about the faith, laughed, joked and towards then end of the night we prayed and sang 3 worship songs to our Risen King! Priceless! I was so blessed to be a part of a night of fellowship with brothers and sisters from different churches in different states rallying around the truth and reality of Christ and offering up sweet sacrifices of praise!
“I See The Lord” by Sho Baraka
Grace & Peace,