Arriving right at the stroke of 10:00, I was escorted to the front of the sanctuary. The friendly usher smiled and told me that is where they seat those who come late (LOL!). The worship was going strong as the song leader exclaimed, “Don’t let anything stop your praise!”. There was dancing, clapping, shouts of praise and an overwhelming sense of freedom as we sang, “No more shackles, no more chains, no more bondage, I am free!”. This song went right along with my visit last week to Mt. Zion. I love seeing the common threads that knit the Body of Christ together.
New Birth Christian Fellowship Center was birthed in 2006, originally located at 45 Colvin Avenue in Albany. They moved into their new location at 35 Commerce Street in January of 2018. I had been in this facility before, and I noticed several attractive improvements. Pastor Paul Parsons and his wife also run a daycare in this impressive facility. There are multiple classrooms, a gym, kitchen and lots of children who are learning about Jesus. When I visited during daycare hours, Pastor Paul was outside playing with the children while Marva was getting the lunch ready. This church is a center for Albany and they are gearing up to hold many events and coffeehouses here to bring the Body of Christ together. My kind of place!
Pastor Paul was originally from Long Beach, CA where he was brought up in a neighborhood with a lot of drug and gang related activity. His parents were believers and spent a lot of time praying for their son. Pastor Paul thanked God for his parents and spoke about the tough love of his father. “I was so close to death … if the cops didn’t show up when they did … if they weren’t on that block … guns were drawn.” God pulled him out of there just in time. As he was sharing about how God saved him, I realized that I don’t truly understand. I didn’t have a tough childhood and I never was profiled by police. I grew up in a nice neighborhood in a low crime area. I may not fully understand the challenges that face my brothers and sisters, but I can still love them. That is because, regardless of our past, regardless of where we grow up, regardless of the way we worship and regardless of our physical differences, NOTHING can separate us from the love of Christ that binds us together into ONE family.
Pastor Paul was on fire. He urged everyone to stop being passive and lethargic. We need to be in fighter mode – not in the flesh, but in the Spirit. God does so much for us, and sometimes we take it for granted. God watches over us and watches over our children. He stated, “I didn’t get here all by myself. God did it and He used others to help me”. If we stay focused on God, He will guard you and your household. Today’s preachers will be in trouble for bringing a word to fill their church up instead of bringing a message to keep people from hell. There is protection in obedience. Sometimes we want more doors to open, but what we really need is wisdom to manage what we already have. Selfishness always wants more. Things may seem to be lingering, but that’s because God is still handling. He can bring us close to death and do nothing until the last minute. He could leave us in the grave like He did with Lazarus. God’s time is ALWAYS right on time. We need to stop complaining and allow God to work. God uses life to train us and to teach us.
Pastor Paul spoke with boldness and authority. A true man of God and strong leader for the church. God saved him from wars on the street and placed him in the front lines of a different war … a Spiritual war. He is now fighting for Christ, using his passions and energy to save souls. He knows the dangers of the world and has lived through them, and now he is sending a strong message to Christians to be on guard.
Sunday services are at 10 am and Bible study is held on Wednesdays at 7pm. They have 6 am prayer the 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month. They also have a prayer line on Tuesdays & Thursdays at 6 am (712-451-0531 / Access Code 946002#). Their Facebook page is updated regularly with sermons, Bible studies and upcoming events, so be sure to LIKE them.
The Lord disciplines those He loves (Hebrews 12:6). Pastor Paul preaches the truth in love … for those who have been forgiven much love much (Luke 7:47). New Birth Fellowship Center has a leader who will love you enough to speak truth into your life. It’s time to stop being passive about God. Come for a visit … and don’t be late!
Church Website – www.facebook.com/newbirthalbany
By Donna Hansen Munafo