Cover Story Good Advice Feature Video Hot Topics

Most Response Blogs

LindsayLo in Heaven (19)
7/26/2007 2:32:05 PM

Dancing Like Nobody's Watching (15)
9/26/2005 3:54:48 PM

little things . . . big pain (9)
10/26/2005 4:20:21 PM

Echoliers Swarm Insight Offices! (8)
3/20/2008 8:52:28 AM

Lost (7)
8/19/2005 4:02:59 PM

Why are you a part of this faith? (7)
7/20/2005 1:19:09 PM

Think You Have Problems? (6)
4/2/2008 2:45:34 PM

Intruder at 10 p.m.! (6)
2/13/2008 6:49:42 AM

The Way Back (5)
9/27/2005 8:43:10 AM

10 Things I Hate About...The Flu (5)
1/8/2006 11:40:33 PM

Blogs by














Team Blog

Response to Blog

Give your Respose

How I Learned to Just Claim It!

April 28, 2014

by Harmonee Asher-Fowler

The time had finally come. After two years of waiting, Just Claim It! (JCI) finally arrived in Miami, Florida, in 2014. I was elated when I got the request to write about this event. As one of hundreds of people from around the world coming together as one to celebrate and worship our Lord in service and in extraordinary talents, I was merely grateful to be selected to witness the experience. Unfortunately, like many others, skipping an entire week of school wasn't exactly an option for a girl in college. I attended the only day I could, on Saturday.

Walking into the hotel, I was greeted by the friendly faces of students from various schools. On the left side of the lobby was a huge wall with the words "Prayer Wall" in bold letters. People had written their deepest afflictions in colorful marker along one side from top to bottom. It was located across from the dozens of stands on display from colleges and magazines, eagerly drawing in anyone who passed by.

Around the corner you could hear the sound of instruments and voices booming from the stereo on the stage. I walked through the open doors feeling the rush of cold air as hundreds of people stood praising God in their finest Sabbath attire. I quickly tried to find a seat close to the front but to no avail; it was so packed it almost seemed impossible. Finding a place to stand, I eagerly joined my brothers and sisters in worship. The praise team stood before us, microphones in hand, arms raised, and eyes on the Savior as they worshipped with us. They jumped and danced, song after song, and it appeared none grew weary.

Choirs sang in beautiful harmony; the orchestra played, neither of them missing a note. A group of young women did skits on the women of the Bible in a modern-day interpretation, demonstrating how God's love outshines all of their mistakes and that they are worthy of His grace in His sight. A young man played the Father, visually proving that God fixed their lives so that they could smile without the threat of fear and shame shadowing God's adoration for them.

A dance group came on next, moving to the song "Break Every Chain." With heavy chains strapped across their chest, they danced in praise to God as the power in Jesus' name broke every sinful chain. The mere gesture of those chains falling to the ground proved that God is more powerful than we realize and that He has given us much power to overcome the hardships that we face. In the end, they held up the chains in confirmation of what the Lord had helped them defeat.

After being introduced, Pastor José Cortes, Jr., spoke boldly concerning God's love, how it never ceased to baffle him how God could love us as much as He already did and always will. He said that every time he reads or hears the verse John 3:16, his heart overflows with emotion that God could love him so much to send His Son to pay for the cost of our failures. That was the message that hit me, how we often take God's love for granted and how we should constantly try to pursue and understand the love of our Father, even though His glory is too much to fathom completely.

About an hour later, as I waited in line for lunch, I couldn't help noticing a man among the talking crowd walking back and forth with other leaders of the convention. He didn't look like everyone else. His red velvet jacket was rolled up to his elbows, where his tattoos-which I mistook for his shirt design-showed. I was fascinated by the artistry and colors and decided to compliment him on them. I was not sure of his reaction at first, but he greeted me warmly by shaking my hand and asking me my name and not failing to say how much God has blessed him. I had a feeling he would be doing something of great importance later on that day.

After the Sabbath lunch, everyone packed themselves into buses and headed out to Tamiami Park, where there would be an anointing of the bikers. As a dozen bikers drove up to us and revved the engines of their motorcycles, they were greeted pleasantly with much admiration from the youth. They gave rides without hesitation to anybody who asked, and the look on the passengers' faces afterwards was of pure animation. The pastors blessed the bikers, as it was their mission to go out to other bikers across the country and profess the love and redemption of Jesus Christ. Through them, God has brought hundreds of bikers to Him.

Moments later that same man with the tattooed arms stood up onstage to speak. He spoke of his spiritual deliverance in poetry. For years he was held captive by his own choices to abuse himself with alcohol and drugs of every kind. He explained how difficult it was to break free and that if it wasn't for the love of Jesus, he wouldn't have been standing before us that day to deliver his testimony. His message still sticks in my memory weeks later.

That night Pastor Leah Jordache spoke on the fact that no matter how far away we feel from God, it is always possible to find our way back to Him. That we are like a dead phone battery that only needs to be charged and brought back to God again to fulfill our true purpose. That our bond to Him was like a lightning bolt connecting to the energy we released from our bodies. Later on that night there was a talent show that was the highlight of the entire day. Individuals and groups came up to sing, displaying their talents for God.

A group of three boys with their faces painted white came up to dance to Donnie McClurkin's song "Stand." In a visual representation they showed that no matter what you face in life and when you've done all that you can, you just need to stand and let God see you through it.

Even though I was only there for one day out of that entire week, I received a blessing far greater than if I had not gone at all. I was proud to see that there were so many younger people like myself actively living for God and striving to bring others toward Him with their talents and testimonies. It made me see things from a deeper perspective; I grasped a fuller understanding of the songs and sermons that I heard.

It was also mentioned that more youth are leaving the church than are coming in and that there needs to be a change in how things are being run. I learned from Pastor Cortes, as he hit this very same topic, that there needs to be less criticism in the church, less judging. This is the main reason so many, young and old, are leaving the house of God to find acceptance in other places.

The youth who are committing sins of all kinds shouldn't be shunned; they should be guided, not pushed aside as failures with no hope. They should be honorably reprimanded and embraced as Christ accepted His disciples when He first told them to follow Him.

This entire one-day experience taught me more than I had anticipated. I learned that God's love could be expressed in different forms, from singing and clapping, to hand raising and dancing as David did. That action says more than words and that love for God is the core of everything.

For those of you who will be attending JCI 2016 in California, go with an open heart and an open mind to fully grasp the greatness of God and all that He is capable of doing in your life and in the lives of others. I know that you will gain an incredible blessing and be empowered to keep living for Jesus.

Harmonee Asher-Fowler lives in Miami, Florida. She attends Miami Dade College and in her free time enjoys reading, designing, and researching anything involving space and nature.

No responses

Add your thoughts:




Write the characters in the image above.

Top | Home