A blessing from a special singer


Le'Andria Johnson, a Grammy-Award winning American gospel musician, sings a song of worship during the first Sunday service of 2013 at Faith Baptist Church.

BRAD McCLENNY/Special to the Guardian
Published: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 1:55 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 1:55 p.m.

Le'Andria Johnson, a Grammy Award-winning gospel recording artist, blessed parishioners at Faith Baptist Church in southeast Gainesville with her presence and anointed voice during morning worship service last Sunday at the church for the first Sunday in 2013.

Facts

FAITH BAPTIST CHURCH

Pastor: Pastor Kevin W. Thorpe.
Location: 2905 SE 21st Ave.
Service: Early morning worship is 8 a.m., Sunday School is 9:30 a.m., prayer is 10:45 a.m. and morning worship is 11 a.m. Wonderful Wednesday service is 7 p.m. Wednesday.
Phone: 352-375-4850.

Johnson rose to fame in 2010 after being crowned the winner of the third season of BET's "Sunday Best" gospel competition. Since then, she has received other prestigious honors. In 2011, Johnson received a Grammy for Best Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music performance for her debut single, "Jesus," which she sang at the end of her more than 30-minute performance at Faith.

"I feel better when I call on the name of Jesus," said Johnson, as she walked down the aisles of the sanctuary. "Do you know he can turn it around for you?"

The church was packed with parishioners who stood throughout Johnson's performance, with some dancing and praising God in a mighty way. Johnson danced and continually praised God with them, constantly asking parishioners to "Sit down because you all don't want to dance," while encouraging them to continue to dance.

"Sit down! Sit down!" she shouted numerous times.

"If somebody knew what you went through in 2012 and God still got you here in 2013, they would be dancing with you," Johnson told the many parishioners who were dancing and praising God.

Pastor Kevin W. Thorpe, pastor of the church, introduced Johnson and delivered his sermon after her performance. Church member Susan Lawson presided over the service and praise and worship was led by Nu Generation, under the leadership of church member Gregory Byrd.

Thorpe, who has been pastor of the church since 1998, preached from Mark 14:66-72 and Mark 16:1-7 on the subject of "He's the God of Another Chance."

After reading the scripture, Thorpe told a story about a middle school basketball team in Fort Worth, Texas, that one of his friends played on years ago. He said the team had average players, except one who was very tall for his age. He said the tall player had a bad first half in one game and the coach ridiculed all of the players except the tall one during halftime. Thorpe said the tall player came out and played a spectacular second half, even though the team ended up losing the game.

Thorpe said the player had a simple response when his teammates asked him how come he played so much better in the second half than he did in the first half.

"Coach gave me a second chance," Thorpe said the player told his teammates.

Thorpe told parishioners that although some of them "blew it in 2012," God is giving them another chance in 2013.

"The life of Peter (the biblical character who betrayed Jesus before he was crucified) proves to us that God will give us another chance," Thorpe said.

Later in his sermon, Thorpe told parishioners to never put a period where God only has intentions for a comma.

Throughout his sermon, Thorpe talked about how God gave Peter a second chance even though Peter betrayed Jesus. He said there were five significant things about Peter's life. He said Peter had a calling, had conditions in his life that sometimes prevented him from realizing his calling, had been cautioned by God, collapsed before God and made a comeback.

Thorpe said people need to focus on the calling and comeback in their lives.

"The mere fact that I've been called by him means that if I fall flat on my face, I can still make a comeback," Thorpe said.

He ended his sermon by lifting up a glass of clear water that he poured into a glass of dirty water, which made the latter clear and clean.

"The blood of Jesus washes all the sins away," said Thorpe, before lifting up the glasses.

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