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Gospel singer shares message with New Hope attendees

Rev. Marvin Sapp, a gospel singer and pastor from Grand Rapids, Mich., sings while preaching during a church service at New Hope the Vision Center Wednesday. Sapp, a 10-time Grammy nominee, preached and sang for a Natchez audience for free. The congregation decided to take a second offering at the end of the service anyway.  (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Rev. Marvin Sapp, a gospel singer and pastor from Grand Rapids, Mich., sings while preaching during a church service at New Hope the Vision Center Wednesday. Sapp, a 10-time Grammy nominee, preached and sang for a Natchez audience for free. The congregation decided to take a second offering at the end of the service anyway. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ The Rev. Marvin Sapp sang and preached his way into the hearts of Natchez residents Wednesday night at New Hope the Vision Center.

Sapp, a renowned gospel singer and preacher, is a 10-time Grammy-nominated artist who said God sent him from his home in Michigan to Natchez to assure Natchezians that God has a plan.

“The fact is we are living in a strategic time,” Sapp said standing before a crowded congregation. “The fact of the matter is the reason why this time is so strategic is simply because we must recognize and realize our enemy is coming at us rougher now than ever before.”

Above, members of New Hope The Vision Center’s congregation, from right, Mary Ferguson, Gloria Gray, and Slovicka Thomas sway and sing while others clap to the tune of  Sapp’s singing and listen to his message. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Above, members of New Hope The Vision Center’s congregation, from right, Mary Ferguson, Gloria Gray, and Slovicka Thomas sway and sing while others clap to the tune of Sapp’s singing and listen to his message. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Sapp said the enemy, Satan, has set a goal to get individuals to think or believe there is no way an individual could rebound from their current circumstances.

“The reason why I know that’s his goal is because the enemy knows that Bible better than we do,” Sapp said.

In order to combat the enemy, Sapp said, one must know the word of God clearly.

“When the enemy wants to bring devastation in your life, the first place that the enemy hits you in is your mind,” Sapp said. “The reason why he does this is because he understands the word better than we do. He recognizes that what a man thinks in his heart, so is he.”

Sapp read from 1 Peter 4:12-16, which coincided with his message.

The scripture tells  readers to not be surprised at ordeals that will come to test a believer, but to rejoice.

“He sent me here to tell you to not sweat the situation you are in right now,” Sapp said. “He wants you to understand that none of this stuff happening is by happenstance.”

God has ordered the situations individuals face on a daily basis, Sapp said.

“It makes no difference of what you are going through right now,” Sapp said. “God would not allow a situation to come in your life if He thought it was going to make you give up — it’s to make you better.”

Sapp knows how it feels to overcome a great deal of pain, especially after losing his wife MaLinda Sapp in 2010.

MaLinda died from complications of colon cancer.

They have three children together, Marvin II, Mikaila and Madisson Sapp.

“What you are dealing with is in your life to cause you to soar,” Sapp said.

The Rev. Stanley Searcy, bishop at New Hope the Vision Center, said he expected Sapp’s message would encourage those who attended the program.

“I want them to be empowered and to fulfill their visions,” Searcy said. “If you listen to (Sapp’s) songs, they are very encouraging.”

Searcy said Sapp once visited Natchez before but didn’t get a chance to speak at New Hope, which Sapp chose to do for free Wednesday night.

Sapp is a Michigan resident and began singing at age 4. He first achieved crossover fame with the release of his hit song “Never Would Have Made It” in 2007.

A love offering was taken up for Sapp following the program, but Sapp did not let the audience go before singing songs of praises.

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