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By Chinta Strausberg

Sunday’s Saint Sabina worship service saw a diverse group of visitors seeking spiritual guidance and prayer from Father Michael L. Pfleger including 18 priests from China, Chicago Bears J. Marcus Webb and the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. who after receiving prayer from Pfleger knelt at the altar for a private moment with God.

Father Pfleger had a myriad of guests Sunday including 18 priests from China, gospel artist Javen who sang his latest CD, “Worshiper in Me,” NFL star J. Marcus Webb, the internationally known singer Walter “Walt” Whitman who was once the choir director at Saint Sabina and who sang “God Is,” and the Rev. Jackson who came to promote his 42nd annual international convention being held through July 10, 2013 at the Chicago Hilton & Towers, 720 S. Michigan Avenue.

But Rev. Jackson also asked for a special prayer for his family as he goes through a storm involving his son, former Rep. Jesse L. Jackson, Jr., who pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges and misusing $750,000 in campaign funds along with his wife, Sandi, who is being sentenced for filing false joint tax returns. They are to be sentenced on August 14, 2013.

Offering a prayer for Rev. Jackson and his family, Pfleger said, “All of that you’re going through, you are not going through alone. We stand with him and we love him,” he said of Jackson.

A grateful Jackson praised Father Pfleger saying, “He has a heart” and is a “peacemaker. The warriors want to stop him, those who make guns want to stop him, those who make bullets who want to stop him, those who make bullets want to stop him, and those who sell drugs want to stop him.” Pfleger, Jackson said, “fights the jealousies…. Father Pfleger’s faith is with works and it is alive….” He said Saint Sabina “is the most effective church” in the world.

Saying slavery is a bad system, Jackson said what is worse is to adjust to it. “We need to revive the war on poverty,” said Jackson. “We are closing hospitals. We are closing bus services…schools. We should not surrender. The South Side should look like the North Side….”

Jackson denounced the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent 5-to-4 ruling that struck down a section of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that now allows mostly southern states to change their election laws without advance federal approval. Jackson accused the Court of “taking back what we won the battle field.” “We ain’t going back, ”he bellowed.

Rev. Jackson also talked about the 2,000 churches that are in foreclosure. “Homes are in foreclosure….  Stop closing hospitals…schools….”

In promoting his convention, Jackson said, “In 1963, the governor of Mississippi said to the white players you cannot play against a black team in Chicago. That night, they slipped out of town…” and came to Chicago. They played against Loyola.

At7 p.m. Tuesday, July 9th,PUSH is holding a 50th anniversary of the “Game of Change” and is honoring the surviving team members of the 1963 game between Loyola University and Mississippi State University and other athletes.

Father Pfleger asked the church to stretch out their hands to Rev. Jackson as he prayed for him. Pfleger spoke of Jackson’s legacy of fighting to “knock on doors… fighting for equal playing fields….” Pfleger said though Rev. Jackson’s heart is heavy over his son’s legal state, he continues to “speak up and speak up, fight and continue to be a light in the darkness and salt in the sea….continue to demand justice….”

Pfleger asked the church to pray for Rev. Jackson and his family and “lift up his name before the throne of God and to thank God for his witness…. Let them feel your presence of God…and peace” for this embattled family. Pfleger prayed, “Do not touch my anointed…. Continue to use him, God because we need his voice. We need his courage. We need his strength…” and through his storm “he’ll still wave the banner of truth….”

Earlier, saying something switched in me,” Father Pfleger changed the topic of his sermon, “Lessons from a younger brother,” and instead talked about seeking healing and blessings now rather than waiting for a sign. Referring to John: 5 about a man who wanted to be healed but everybody got in front of him, Pfleger said Jesus told the man to “pick up your mat and walk.”

After making an altar call, Father Pfleger looked over the hundreds of people who responded telling them, “Let the devil know that you’re not intimidated. Let the devil know we ain’t waiting no more….”

Explaining, Pfleger said, “There was a ritual that the angel would come and trouble the waters and when the angels would trouble the waters, those who first got in would receive the healing, the blessing or the deliverance from God, but that is Old Testament mentality…. Moses waited for the water to be parted and then he stepped in but then Joshua came along and God said stop waiting for the water, step in the water and your faith would trouble the water and give you what you are looking for.

“I’ve been in church long enough to realize that there are too many people waiting on God to bust a move…waiting on God to break open that financial problem…waiting on God to heal that tumor…waiting on God to bring peace in the city….”

As the choir sang, “Break Every Chain,” Pfleger asked for 25 people who have enough faith in themselves to believe they are of the Joshua movement…that “they can bring their miracles…healing down” right now. He told them to shout out, “I ain’t waiting no more…. Jesus asked the question, do you want to be healed”

“I’m tired of folk so paralyzed by religion that you are waiting…for God to bust a move…. Stop looking for man, woman for the mayor, the governor to make our city peaceful. We don’t need the mayor, the governor. We just need the spirit of God,” he bellowed.

“I’m tired of 67 people being shot. I’m tired of some of you having to go through hell waiting on God to bust a move,” said Pfleger.  “Religion has twisted our minds to wait for a bye and bye.” He’s looking for believers who believe in miracles right now.

Turning to Pat and Brandon who are former gang leaders now peacemakers in the Auburn Gresham community, Pfleger said, “Religion has twisted our minds to make us think we got to wait for some sweet bye and bye.” He told Pat and Brandon, “We don’thave to wait for violence to stop on the streets. We can stop the violence in the streets…. We can do this thing.

“You guys came out of gangs and now you’re the leaders who speak to them, address then and call peace,” said Pfleger. “I looked at the shootings all over this city but none happen in this neighborhood…because you guys are out there bringing peace and we’ve declared in this neighborhood we will not tolerate shooting so we have peace here. I know what God can do.”

Pfleger asked those at the altar to turn to the North declaring “Peace be still. Violence cease. In the name of Jesus.” He asked them to turn to the West, to the South commanding, “peace be still in Jesus’ name” and to the East facing the mural of Jesus.  He asked them to speak the word peace turning around in all directions.

Saying the devil will try to steal that declaration from you a soon as you leave church, Pfleger said, ‘The devil can’t defeat you…. I want to seal that word in you, plant it in you in the good seed of worship so that it won’t be taken or stolen…. “

For those who decide they are not waiting anymore for their miracles, Pfleger said it’s time out for the “pity partying, complaining about what you ain’t got. You ain’t got it because you didn’t go after it with your faith and demand it. Put a demand on God. You have not because you ask not….” Pfleger asked them, “Do you want to be healed…your breakthrough…your miracle, now”? Ending the altar call, he asked them to hug three people and to repeat, “It is done.” The choir sang, “There is power in the name of Jesus to break every chain” as those prayed around the altar

Earlier, Sam Williams, Jr., Saint Sabina’s Selah youth choir director, Sunday announced the 20th annual youth concert, “It’s Turning Around,” which will be held onSunday, July 14, 2013, 3:30 p.m. at the Third Baptist Church of Chicago, 1551West 95th Street, Chicago, Il where Dr. Alan V. Ragland is pastor.

 The concern is being held under the direction of Rev. Kelly Tiebout and Mr. Sam Williams, Jr. featuring the Third Baptist Church of Chicago Youth Choir and The Faith Community of Saint Sabina including The Chicago Symphony Orchestra Citizen Musicians Project.

Tickets are $10.00 and proceeds will go to benefit the TBC Education Grand Program & The Faith Community of Saint Sabina. Tickets are available at Saint Sabina’s Office Rectory, 1210 W. 78th Place, Chicago, IL. To reserve your tickets before picking them up, call: 773.483.4300.

Chinta Strausberg is a Journalist of more than 33-years, a former political reporter and a current PCC Network talk show host. You can e-mail Strausberg at: Chintabernie@aol.com.

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