Right in the middle of the Arbor Hill area of Albany NY, God is shining His marvelous light through New Jerusalem Home of the Saved Church. Our team was warmly greeted outside by a gentleman who was smiling, singing and swaying along with the congregation inside. As he opened the door we were immediately washed with waves of worship as the entire congregation gathered at the altar with hymnals, singing and praising as if Jesus was standing right there in our midst! This urban church exuded so much passion and excitement it was contagious. They had a keyboard with that good old gospel sound with plenty of tambourines and hand clapping. And the voices, Oh the voices! It sounded like a heavenly choir with every saint in the room singing like nobody was watching. These folks came to have CHURCH. I couldn’t but help join in with these “on fire” saints of God.
I was in a church I had only heard about, surrounded by a culture far different from what I was used to, and I sensed UNITY. UNITY is not necessarily how you feel emotionally, because feelings (the heart) “is deceitful above all things … who can know it” Jer.17:9. No, UNITY is perceived and discerned and here it was, clearly seen on every face in the room. I admired the diversity I was witnessing. As they poured their hearts out in praise I noticed that there was no power point and no set plan and on how many times you repeat the song. I mean, how could you worry about such things with Jesus in the room? Then one of the men got up and prayed the “Our Father” as we all joined hands. I always love seeing the commonalities that cross denominational and cultural lines.
I had heard several reports prior to my visit about how Pastor Timothy Harper was an anointed preacher. These reports were quickly confirmed as he began to speak. The words just seemed to pour out of him, with one revelation after another coming forth like living water. God was speaking through this man in such a powerful way that I had to stop taking notes. I didn’t want to miss one word. It was both delicious and nutritious. I was being fed. His meat filled sermon was based on the song “Glorious Day” by Casting Crowns, breaking down each line of the chorus and doing a mini sermon on each one.
“Living, He loved me” – Jesus showed His love while He was on the Earth. He healed the man at the pool who was sick for 38 years. He healed those who were forgotten. He went where the church leaders wouldn’t go. He loved being with sinners and was a blessing throughout his human life, and we should be too. “Dying, He saved me” – A testament is only a force after death. It works the same way as a will. Jesus felt every strike and every nail. He laid down His life for us, allowing them to crucify him so that we may be saved. “Buried, He carried my sins far away” – We are crucified with Christ and that leads to life. When He died, we were made alive! “Rising, He justified” – The devil makes accusations against us, but God sees the blood of Christ. We fall down, but we get back up. God still has a purpose and a plan for our lives. “Freely forever” – Live unto God, not onto people. Just do God’s work and don’t be bound by social pressure. Christ has freed us to do His will. “One day He’s coming! Oh glorious day” – Be steadfast. Your labor is not in vain.
In closing, Pastor Harper invited people to come to the altar for prayer. Many went up and were anointed with oil while we all sang, “He’s Able”. Afterwards, we sang the Christian version of “Happy Birthday” to those celebrating, and then we closed with a few choruses of the old gospel hymn, “Amen”. What a joyous way to conclude the service. I didn’t want it to ever end.
In addition to their Sunday morning service (11:30 am), New Jerusalem offers a Tuesday evening prayer service (6 pm), a Wednesday morning sunrise prayer service (6 am) and a Thursday evening Bible study (7 pm). You can also tune into the New Jerusalem Live Radio Broadcast that airs every Sunday morning at 9 am (96.7 FM or streamed online at www.newlight967.com). New Jerusalem reaches out to the community in many ways including an annual community block party the 2nd Saturday in September (free food clothing, free school supplies, professional medical resources), free community picnics held the 4th Thursday throughout the summer months, as well as 4-5 outdoor tent services. They also partner and work with the Sheridan Neighborhood Association.
I have always loved this song by Casting Crowns, but it has now taken on a deeper meaning. Thank you Pastor Harper! My visit to New Jerusalem was truly a GLORIOUS DAY!
“Glorious Day” by Casting Crowns – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXp6xcY5IqU
Church Website – www.newjerusalemlive.com
By Donna Hansen Munafo
(Contributing writer Michael Frati)