Revival empowers audience, community


Published: Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 1:54 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 1:54 p.m.

The organizers of the 3rd annual Alachua County Empowerment Revival set the atmosphere for the last night of the revival by huddling for prayer in a back corner of the sanctuary at Mount Moriah Baptist Church before the service started.

The prayer group Friday night included organizers Rev. Dr. Marie Herring, pastor of Dayspring Baptist Church; Leanetta McNealy; Minister Sebreneh Phillips and Angela Terrell, all of Gainesville, and several other women.

The women prayed in a mighty way, as they asked God to "bless this service," "move in this place," "deliver in this place" and "touch somebody's heart."

The service included sermons delivered by Pastor Wendy Smith-Martin of Greater Victory Christian Center in Atlanta and Pastor Karl Smith of Greater Bethel AME Church in Gainesville.

The service also included a special presentation to the Reichert House Youth Academy, an after-school program in southeast Gainesville for male boys and teens.

During the presentation, Herring said the revival was formed to be more than just another revival, but to make a difference in the community. She said organizers have been watching John Alexander, executive director of the Reichert House, for a while.

"We have seen the difference he has made in the lives of at-risk boys," said Herring, before Alexander was presented with a "token of love of $1,000" for the Reichert House.

"I don't know what to say," said Alexander, after the crowd of nearly 400 gave him a lengthy ovation. "I just thank God," he said.

Alexander said the greatest reward for him and the staff at the Reichert House is watching students in the after-school program graduate from high school and go on to become productive citizens.

He said the Reichert House has served thousands of students in the community since it was founded more than 20 years ago. Currently, there are has 133 students in the program.

"Being at-risk doesn't mean you're bad, it just means that's the hand that God dealt you," Alexander said.

The service was very inspiring and uplifting, with Smith and Smith-Martin delivering two powerful messages.

Smith preached from the third chapter of Daniel on the subject, "How Big is Your God." He told parishioners that just like God saved Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego from the cruel intentions of King Nebuchadnezzar, God will surely save them from their "haters" and the trials and tribulations of life.

Smith-Martin preached from the 11th chapter of Hebrews on the subject, "I Still Believe." She rhetorically asked parishioners what they are believing to do in their lives?

"If you keep believing in God, he will manifest everything in your life that you are asking him for," said Smith-Martin.

She said people need to have "crazy faith" in their faith walk. She also said people must have confidence that they can accomplish whatever they want to with God and have a "but-God reality."

She ended her sermon by talking about things people go through in life and then shouting, "But God."

"A but-God reality says that God understands everything that I'm going through and I know that I can always look to him and I can always trust him in my walk of faith," Smith-Martin said.

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