I haven’t been able to locate a website for River of Life Full Gospel Outreach Church. They do have a Facebook Page. The church is located at 826 Haywood Road in West Asheville. Sunday service begins at 11:00am.
Elder Tillman Jackson is my neighbor here on Choctaw St. Naturally, Tillman had invited me to church before so I’ve always wanted and intended to visit River of Life. This morning I was committed to getting there.
I grew up in a full gospel Pentecostal Holiness Church and I’m familiar with the full gospel culture of embodying Spirit in a joyful way with praise and dancing and running the aisles. I didn’t know if Elder Jackson’s congregation was of the full-on aisle-running persuasion, but expected a lively service and I was not disappointed.
I was greeted with no less than three welcoming hugs as I made my way in to the sanctuary. I was running a little bit late so the music had already started when I seated myself on the back row. The songs were high-energy, uplifting reminders that God Loves Us, God is Always with Us and we can feel His presence here in this place.
Praise included dance worship and flag worship as well. Four ladies dressed in pale pink cassocks belted at the waste waved shining colored flags choreographed to the music and three ladies in white cassocks with pink sashes danced. I couldn’t tell if the dancers were choreographed or if they danced free-style. Next time I go I will sit closer so that I can better experience the music, choir and dancers all together. The purposes of the dancers, like the purpose of the music and choir, are to help fill the congregation with the feeling of God’s presence. These women were clearly offering their dance as a gift of the Spirit to God and their community.
I was surprised when I realized how much I have missed and enjoy gospel preaching. Pastor Jackson is a fine preacher with a funny, self-effacing style that nevertheless hits powerful notes of spiritual and practical truth.
His sermon this morning was one in a series he’s offering on the topic of that crucial spiritual topic — Money. The Principals of Prosperity, he reminded the congregation, are laid out in the Scripture. Furthermore, the divinely revealed Principals of Prosperity work whether one believes the scripture or not. When we practice the Principals and seek God’s wisdom in all things, we can count on having what we need no matter what the conditions, or circumstances around us and, more importantly, we have more time, energy and peace of mind to worship God.
There was no running of the aisles this morning but a double portion of practical spiritual wisdom for how to live our lives after the emotion of worship has subsided.