By Hyung Seok LEE
CV Weekly intern
Inspired by the cause of unity, local congregants of various faiths and ethnicities gathered at First Baptist Church on Nov. 22 to worship together. All La Crescenta churches were invited to attend the praise night event, “No Love Like This,” led by Crescenta Valley High School’s Falcon Christian Fellowship with the help of Reverend Bill Flanders of First Baptist Church.
The event was historic in nature as there has never been a similar gathering in La Crescenta where so many ethnic groups gathered together for a night of worship. After months of preparation done by FCF, the one night of worship unified local churches.
The idea for this unifying night originated in, of all places, the local Burger King. As the leaders of FCF gathered for dinner at the fast food restaurant, Pastor Flanders happened to be present there as well. Attributing his desire to speak with the teenagers as “being pushed by God,” Pastor Flanders talked to the leaders and an idea was born of hosting a unifying event. The idea eventually developed into the praise night.
The students spent months in preparation for the night, visiting the local churches, publicizing at the school, obtaining the facilities and practicing for worship, but most of all praying. The student staff consisted of 30 people and every one of them devoted hours and hours in praying for this event. The night a lock-in was held at First Baptist when the entire staff prayed for the event throughout the night.
“The students did a wonderful job organizing this event from beginning to end. They all have a heart for sharing the gospel,” Pastor Flanders said.
The day of the event, students from Holy Gate Evangelical, Antioch Presbyterian, Christ Armenian, All Nations, First Baptist Church and many more gathered in anticipation. The night opened with music including “Not to Us” by Chris Tomlin and “Heart of Worship” by Matt Redman led by praise leader Jay Kim.
Following worship, Pastor Flanders preached on the parable of the Prodigal Son. His message aimed to capture the deeper meaning and symbolism behind each article mentioned in Luke 15: 20-24.
“I think that the message was perfectly delivered. It captured the Father’s heart and His love for us in the clearest possible way,” Youth Pastor Joseph Kim of Holy Gate Church said.
After Pastor Flanders’s message, FCF President Kevin Kang and Intercessory Leader Inae Oh led a time of prayer. The prayer centralized on the idea that all must repent before approaching the Heavenly Father and that people have original sin; therefore confessing that sin will initiate their journey with God. The message struck home with many in attendance. Dozens of students throughout the crowd were on their knees confessing and repenting. Some were in tears, praying for forgiveness and professing Jesus Christ as their savior. As the prayer time came to a close, shouts of thanks rang throughout the church as individuals shouted thanks for specific things in their lives.
“It was great how the Holy Spirit worked in this place tonight,” staff member Joe Oh said.
The night concluded with a few songs in which students were jumping, dancing, singing, and laughing in worship.