By Mark Ellis —
Alternately preaching, rapping, and singing in the Spirit, hip-hop artist Kanye West led a church service at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church on Sunday, September 15th, in front of a giant, overflowing crowd, with a 600-voice choir pressing forward at the foot of the stage.
The entrepreneurial singer, songwriter and producer has sold 140 million records worldwide and generated media attention through his marriage to Kim Kardashian.
Among the thousands attending the service were rappers T.I., Chris Tucker and 2 Chainz.
The 42-year-old artist thanked God for the opportunity to be in Atlanta, where he was born and his parents met each other.
Moved by the Spirit, the audience responded with worship and praise as the rapper sang “use me, Lord” with the choir, and exhorted the attendees toward radical obedience to Christ.
West sang: The power belongs to God, there is nothing too hard for God
You (God) are the only power, You are the only power
Then West began to preach: “He is the only power; let’s be specific: Jesus Let’s be specific so we don’t get it confused with, ‘I’m just a good person.’ The road to hell can be paved with, ‘I’m just a good person.’”
He sang: Can it be You made it all so simple?
You’ve done everything; You created us
You are the one sole Creator; You are God
Use me how You made, use me everyday…
Evidencing a powerful renewal in his heart, the rapper implored his listeners to be completely sold out to Jesus. “You sent your only Son to die for us and all you ask is radical obedience to You.
“How can we do the least when He did the most?” he asked.
West recounted the spiritual battle for supremacy in his heart. “I’ve seen Him work miracles in my life,” he said. “You know the devil presents so many flashy, shiny objects.
“I’ve seen everything that the devil could have showed you via TV, videos, car dealerships, jewelry, houses and I tell you nothing beats God,” he testified.
“Let’s not be concerned with the opinions of men at all, only the opinion of God.
“Let’s not be concerned with the validation of men at all. We say all this is the culture and that’s the culture…To be radically in service to Christ is the only culture I want to know about.”
In a quiet, gentle way, he overflowed with gratitude to God. “Thank you for saving me, for replenishing me, for delivering me,” he said.
God’s presence brought changes to his life. “When I found out about You I got closer to my children, I got closer to my family, because the devil had me chasing a gold statue, had me chasing cars, had me chasing numbers.
“The power of God cannot be calculated by how much we sell or a bank account, how many cars you drive or how big your house is or how many acres you got. It’s God inside of us; it’s God inside of family; it’s God inside of friendships so we hold each other accountable.”
West described the value of one life rubbing up against another. “If you see somebody slipping you tell them. They be coming at me, like “why you so judgmental?’
“It ain’t for me to judge, but I’m going to say what I see,” he remarked.
The devil whispered in West’s ear, ‘Why are you speaking up so much?’
“I’m just pointing to the Word,” he replied, echoing the response of Jesus under temptation in the wilderness.
He described a relational issue with someone who hasn’t completely surrendered to God. “I have a family member who God has given a new chance at life. He went through something extremely tragic and God gave him a new chance at life and God has given him a beautiful girlfriend… But every excuse he got. I know the real reason. You still in them DMs, bro. That’s the real reason why you won’t get the ring and get right with God. (Note: ‘DMs’ are direct or private messages communicated through social media.)
West took on the problem of absentee fathers. “If there’s a household next to you without a father, you (are) that father now. You speak up on that block. You set that example. There is nothing too hard for God. In Christ Jesus name we pray, amen.”
The singer has been making appearances at Sunday church gatherings since January, including a stop in Dayton, Ohio at a benefit event supporting the community affected by the mass shooting.
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