My good friend, fellow musician and co-laborer in Christ, Mark Bolos, has invited me many times to his church, the First Assembly of God, over the past few years. I finally smiled and made the trip. Marcy is a 90 minute drive from Albany, located near Utica, NY. As soon as I entered I saw a familiar face. Phyllis greeted me and my friends with big hugs and a huge smile. Senior Pastor Ethan Geary stopped to greet us as he was hurrying to pre-service prayer. Already, I could see a focus on their esteem for the importance of prayer.
I had heard the Mark Bolos Band many times at special events, so it was of no surprise that worship was anointed, powerful and executed with excellence. I see Mark as a “chief musician” leading the church in battle “against the world forces of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12). The worship was about 40 minutes, but I would have loved to stay there for more, worshiping all day. People who needed prayer were invited to the altar during worship, and I saw the love of Christ as they prayed with one another in UNITY and in tears.
Guest speaker Pastor Larry Frank spoke to this rather large congregation about how God is dynamically present in their lives, even when we do not feel Him there. Some of the scriptures presented included:
“I AM WHO I AM!” (Exodus 3:14)
“I am the first and I am the last.” (Isaiah 44:6)
“I am the Alpha and the Omega . . . who is, and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” (Revelation 1:8)
The message was simple, passionate, unelaborated, to the point and very anointed. God exists. He is the Almighty. Despite our failures, He is there and will NEVER forsake us. He will NEVER change. God will go with us when He sends us. He is not passive, He is active and dynamically present in our lives. Do not question God’s existence; “and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20). Following the message, Pastor Larry gave an opportunity for people to accept Christ. He opened the altar up for prayer. As he prayed, he reiterated the main point of his message that God is Dynamically Active in our lives and He hears our heart’s desires.
With prayer before, during and at the close of service, it was apparent that praying is highly valued and of great importance here at First Assembly. I also noticed a prominently displayed box for people to submit prayer requests which are typed up during the service and distributed afterwards. What a wonderful idea. Fresh requests to God for people to take to their homes. I gladly took one and fervently prayed for all 28 requests. I also liked seeing the praise reports at the bottom, even though there were only a few. I believe God hears our requests because “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man (saints) availeth much”(James 5:16). These sheets will soon be filled with so many good reports of answered petitions and supplications the page will need to be enlarged to contain them! For we know Paul’s memorable words, “that my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19).
This church offers many things to the community and beyond. Their food pantry, which operates every Wednesday, serves Marcy and many surrounding areas. They also have a strong focus on missions, with a Peru Missions trip scheduled this month. They asked for supply donations for the New Hope Children’s Home in Peru. In addition, they also support missionaries serving here in the United States.
The mission of the First Assembly of God Church in Marcy, NY is to “Reach Up (to worship God), Reach In (to grow disciples of Jesus Christ), and Reach Out (to those who do not know Jesus). This church places a strong emphasis on worship, prayer, feeding the community, as well as local and foreign missions. The voice of God speaks clearly through their actions saying, “I AM WHO I AM”. God is dynamically active in First Assembly of God in Marcy, New York. Come and meet your Savior, Jesus. He is alive and active in this Church! He wants to meet with you.
Church Website – www.marcychurch.com
By Donna Hansen Munafo
(Contributing writer Michael Frati)