THE TIME IS NOW: Bishop Blake Preaches God’s Call To Action

Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake had the West Angeles congregation on their feet in thunderous praise and worship on Sunday with his sermon titled “Long Enough.”

In it, he shared with us the story of the Israelites in the book of Deuteronomy, who had been in the wilderness for 40 years. But when God communicated to the people through Moses that they had “skirted or compassed this mountain long enough,” and to “begin moving forward into the Promised Land” (2:2-3), they instead disobeyed out of fear. Except for Caleb and Joshua, most of the Israelites died without ever entering the Promised Land, or receiving the Blessing God had for them.

But Bishop Blake told us that it’s “time to fight” our fears and sins, and called on us to heed God’s Word in His timing.

“It’s your time to be blessed…to be an overcomer… to walk in the power of God,” Bishop said. “When God says long enough, He means long enough: and you can walk into your miracle.”

Some of our favorite quotes from Sunday’s sermon are:

“I believe somebody today is going to move from where you are, to where you want to be; from where you are to where God would have you to be.”

“Your ability has nothing to do with it. The blessing that God has for you, God is going to give it to you – by His own Power.”

“Sometimes we’re better off not knowing the true nature of the challenges that stand before us. Sometimes if we had known about the cost and the problem and the difficulty, we would not have started off in the first place.”

“If God says something is going to happen, you need to know: it’s going to happen!”

“Sometimes our pride will cause God to lose patience with us. We’re so wrapped up, caught up in ourselves that we don’t want to focus on the things of God.”

“Sometimes our unbelief will cause us to miss out. Sometimes it’s our sin: sin in our lives prevents us from walking into the blessings that the Lord has in store for us. Sometimes it’s our fear: but God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

“If ‘long enough’ is allowed to pass by us, then ‘too long’ will be the next description of our plight.”

“Now is the time. When God says move, it’s time to move. God wants to get somebody back on His schedule today.”

“Sometimes God has to get you into a tough spot to really prepare you and teach you, and get you ready for what is on the way.”

“If God can bring me through that, there’s nothing that He can’t bring me through. If God stood with me in the middle of that, then I know it’s going to be alright!”

“It’s time to go higher: higher in the Power of God. We’ve been where we are long enough.” – Bishop Charles E. Blake

 

“Use your waiting period to allow God to help you to become everything you ought to be.”

“Certain things take a long time. Do you know how long it takes to make a rock? It takes time. It takes heat. It takes moisture. It takes pressure to make a rock.”

“Life always brings some kind of hardship. You’ll never become the person God wants you to be without going through something.”

“It’s on the way: the promise of God will be fulfilled.”

“You can make it. You can endure. You can overcome. God did not come into your life to bring you to failure and to defeat. God has something good in store for you.”

“My objective for you today is for you to decide in your heart, ‘I’m ready’. The Promised Land is ready. When the Lord speaks…it’s time for you to step out on faith.”

“When you step out into God’s miracle-working power, walls will fall down. When the Israelites went into the Promised Land, Jericho was the first city that stood before them; (a city with wide, strong walls. But) they didn’t have to pull the walls down. All they had to do was walk: and the walls fell.”

“Walls are coming down: walls of trouble; walls of resistance; walls of sorrow. Pull them down in the name of Jesus.”

“Now is the time. Now is the day. Now is the hour. God called on us to walk into our future free and whole in Jesus.”

Member Profile: Elder Oscar Owens

The history of people of African descent in America is inextricably linked to the Christian church.

The Civil Rights Movement owes its strength to the African American church, the leadership of which was paramount in forging a legacy of justice and equality for African Americans in the United States. Education has always played a key role in that objective.

Elder Oscar Owens has been a member of West Angeles Church of God In Christ for 25 years, and is currently serving as both West Angeles Bible College President and Christian Education Minister. His list of mentors reads like a who’s-who of historic African American Christian leadership; among them: former pastor of  Second Baptist Church in Los Angeles, Dr. Thomas Kilgore; former pastor of  Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York, Rev. Dr. Samuel DeWitt Proctor; former Senior Pastor of Canaan Baptist Church in New York and Chief of Staff for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rev. Wyatt T. Walker; and Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake,  under whom Owens serves at West Angeles Church of God In Christ in Los Angeles.

Married for 30 years to the powerful singer and Tony-nominated playwright Lita Gaithers Owens, Elder Owens has been on the West Angeles staff for 22 years, and has a passion for helping others deepen their connection to the Bible. Along with overseeing West Angeles’ Christian Education department, he also teaches Systematic Theology, one of the many classes offered by the West Angeles Bible College.  He is currently studying for his Doctorate of Ministry in Christian Spiritual Formation at Azuza Pacific University’s Seminary in Los Angeles.

Elder Owens recently joined several ministers and community leaders called to pray for our city and our nation at Biola University’s Prayer for Los Angeles event, and is also a panelist for an upcoming discussion between Asian American and African American Christians in Los Angeles. The November 3 symposium, A Christian Vision of Belonging: Race and Gender, is hosted by The Institute for the Study of Asian American Christianity (I.S.A.A.C.).

I was recently honored to interview Elder Owens, who has shared  his own history; his message to Christian women about finding purpose in ministry, and West Angeles’ vision for Christian education.

Q: Elder Owens, thank you for taking the time to speak with me. Can you share a little bit about your personal journey, and how you were led to Christ?

I’m originally from Chicago, and moved to Los Angeles with my family when I was in elementary school. My family attended the historic Second Baptist Church in Los Angeles under the leadership of Dr. Thomas Kilgore, Jr.  He was the first Black President of the American Baptist Churches USA, and also lead the Progressive National Baptist conventions.  He was  mentored by Dr. Martin Luther King, Sr. and was an important force in the Civil Rights Movement.  He was also very close to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who referred to Second Baptist as his West Coast church home and gave many speeches there.

Although I was raised a Christian, I came to Christ in college during my first year at UCLA while studying English literature, psychology and especially science – which actually drew me closer to God. From there, I enrolled in Union Theological Seminary. Dr. Kilgore was an alum of Union Seminary and inspired me to attend. Among my professors there were Dr. James Cone, Dr. James Forbes, and Dr. Cornell West. Because of its intellectual approach to the Bible, it is probably one of the most theologically liberal seminaries in the world; but because I was  rooted in the strong faith and social justice practice of the Black Christian Church, I actually came out of seminary a stronger Christian.

Theologically, I’ve always been very impressed by the teachings of Paul – this Pharisee, skeptic, persecutor and enemy of Christians – who became one of the most ardent champions for Jesus. The change in him is proof of the existence of the resurrected Jesus Christ.

Q.  Please tell us about your connection to education, and the integral role it’s played in your journey.

I’ve known books all my life. Both of  my parents were educators, and of course, that had a great influence in shaping the person I’ve become. As Youth Pastor of Abyssinian Baptist church in Harlem, NY, I was honored to be under the tutelage of such a great minister and educator as Dr. Samuel DeWitt Proctor. Being in Harlem at that time was an amazing experience, and I’m proud to be a part of that church’s historic legacy.

After I received my Master of Divinity degree, I returned to Los Angeles where I taught elementary school for the LA Unified School District, while serving as Youth Pastor at Second Baptist during Dr. Kilgore’s last years there.  Dr. Kenneth Hammonds, who was Director of Education and Training for West Angeles, and whose assistant I later became, invited me to teach a class at the Bible College. I realized then that it was time to answer the call to go into full-time ministry.

Q: What first impressed you about Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake and West Angeles COGIC?

Bishop Blake is definitely one of my spiritual fathers. I see him as a man who really knows and loves the Lord, who has a sincere and true relationship with Jesus. Intensely passionate and exquisite in his integrity and his pursuit of excellence, he brings every part of the West Angeles organization into that same excellence to serve the Kingdom of the Lord. He’s a man of humor; a kind man, who’s one of the greatest preachers and fantastic teachers of God’s word today.

The Lord began to draw me toward West Angeles because of Bishop Blake’s clear preaching and communication of the gospel. He honors  (COGIC founder) Bishop Charles H. Mason’s  legacy of embracing traditions revealed through our slave fore parents’ manner of worship as both African and Christian.  That part of our heritage and the history of the church continues the  traditions of dance, clapping, and improvisation, which are found in the bible. West Angeles has also made an amazing contribution to redefining musical praise and worship; taking it to a whole other level under Judith McAllister, who is now the COGIC International Minister of Music. It is an honor to serve under such a great leader and visionary as Bishop Charles Edward Blake.

Q: In closing, what message would you like to impart regarding the role of Christian education in the life of the believer, and the benefits of studying at West Angeles?

The place where you can grow as a Christian is in one of our classes. There, you’re allowed to ask questions, and learn at a pace that’s easy for you to digest, surrounded by others with whom you can fellowship, and who will encourage you.  In addition to the Bible College curriculum,  we also create partnerships with other schools of higher education  for advanced theological study.

I also want to encourage women to pursue their calling and role in ministry. God is doing something great among women today. More than half of our Bible College professors are women who have earned advanced degrees in theology and ministry, including  Zenobia Bereal, Cheryleigh Bullock, Eugenia Greene, Jini Kilgore-Cockroft, Candace Shield, and  Precious Williams.  But it’s important for the men to increase their involvement as well: we want to continue to grow and to exceed the enrollment of previous semesters.

We also have great classes offered through the School for Practical Christian Living (PCL) and the West Angeles Sunday School; and Carl Anderson leads the Tuesday night Prayer and Bible Band,  the oldest COGIC auxiliary which dates back to the days of Bishop C.H. Mason.

We want to help our students to develop discipline in studying the Bible, to understand scripture, and to learn to meditate on God’s word. God used real, ordinary people, like all of us, to speak through in the Bible. It’s important to engage the scriptures and to allow the Holy Spirit to become a part of you; empowering you more and more, and enriching your life as a Christian.

 

CONTACT WEST ANGELES CHRISTIAN EDUCATION at 323/733-8300:

Elder Oscar Owens, Bible College President and Christian Education Minister; Ayanna Bereal, Administrative Assistant to Elder Oscar Owens – X2345

Elder Richard Brooks: Christian Education Program Coordinator, New Members Orientation, School of Practical Christian Living, and Prayer and Bible Band -X2366

PLEASE JOIN US FOR THE  “MY SOUL SAYS YES, LORD!” WORKSHOP, facilitated by Elder Oscar and Mrs. Lita Owens.  The sessions are on 3rd Sundays: October 19, November 16, and December 21, 2014 at 2:00 PM in the Multi-purpose Building.  For more information, call 323/733-8300, X2345.

DID YOU KNOW?

Second Baptist Church in Los Angeles was built by noted African American architect Paul Williams Jr., and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Bishop Darrell Hines Delivers Message of Faith For Men’s Day

West Angeles was blessed once again to have Bishop Darrell Hines deliver the Word, this time for the annual Mens’ Day celebration on Sunday, October 19.

Bishop Hines is pastor of Christian Faith Fellowship in Milwaukee, WI, and heads the Brotherhood Organization of the Church of God In Christ worldwide. Bishop Charles E. Blake made the introduction of the day by telling of Bishop Hines’ miraculous personal testimony of surviving a lightning strike in 1981 while working at his former job with Republic Airlines. After being pronounced dead – then miraculously revived by prayer over 45 minutes later – he beat diagnoses of brain damage, amnesia, and physical incapacitation to go on to accept God’s call to ministry.

A Stellar Award-nominated gospel singer and psalmist, Bishop Hines opened with a hymn, “You Brought Me From A Mighty Long Way,” backed by the West Angeles men’s choir, “Sons of Thunder.” His rousing, poignant, and sometimes humorous sermon was entitled “When A Man’s Faith Meets his Fate.” In it, he ministered from passages in Hebrews 11 (v. 36-40) which he said pastors rarely use because of their seemingly dismal outlook for Christians. But the message served to remind men (and all listeners) of the power of enduring faith.

Here are some of our favorite quotes from his sermon:

“Without faith, it is impossible for us to please God.”

“We have the word of God, we believe what it says, and we look forward to the results of what we believe God for.”

“Not everyone embraces scripture the same as someone else.”

“I don’t think that faith is given in smaller or greater measures; I think that when we get the Word of God, we have the measure of faith. Everything that we are, everything that God has required of us, and everything that He has promised is right here.”

“They that come to God must believe that He is God; that He is a rewarder of them that diligently or persistently seek after Him.”

“It would seem as though, my brothers, that the ones who did great fantastic feats would be mentioned (in the Bible), and then those …who did not accomplish what they believed God for wouldn’t even be considered; but they’re here for a reason – it brings you the other side of faith.”

“What happens to the faithful brother? What happens to the faithful person, when we ask God for something, and we don’t get what we ask for?”

“Y’all sittin’ up here looking all saved and deep and carryin’ on, but I know I’m not the only one in here who thought it would have happened by now, looked for it to come to pass, and it did not!”

“You must understand that faith does not always change reality.”

“Sin could not be redeemed except for sacrifice.”

“Jesus ‘manned-up’ for what He had to do because He couldn’t change what was in His future.”

“Jesus did not avoid the cross, but what He did is, He showed us how to handle a cross. Everybody in here is going to have a cross at some point in your life.”

“Christians need to understand that just because you have faith, it doesn’t mean that everything is going to be the way you want it to be.”

“Faith does not give you a free pass through life.”

“I am a little disturbed by what I see happening in church. We almost play God like a lottery; or like some kind of magic. We think that we can rub two scriptures together, say ‘I have faith’, and Poof! You see everything that you want!”

“Something has happened to the faith community. We want everything to be sunshine; we want God to move like we want Him to move and when He doesn’t, we take our hat and coat and go home…It seems as if we become so fickle and so flaky in our faith until we can’t take anything. But faith says that whatever happens, God is still my God.”

“That’s what faith does for the believer: it can’t tell you all the things life is gonna throw at you; I don’t know all the things that’s coming your way, but if you have faith in God I promise you that faith will contort you and move you and position you so that when you finally land, (you will land on your feet).”

“Faith won’t bring you everything you want in life, but faith will get you through everything that life brings.”

Bishop Hines delivered all three sermons on Sunday, concluding the 2014 Brotherhood Weekend of events for the men of West Angeles.

 

My Soul Says, Yes, Lord!

All are welcome to join the final classes for, “My Soul Says Yes, Lord!” taught by Elder Owens and his wife, Lita Owens, on third Sundays from 2 – 4 p.m.

The classes are free and will be held in rooms 1, 3 & 5 MPB, on October 19, November 16 and December 21.

 

Boy Scouts Now Accepting Wreath Orders!!!

The West Angeles Boy Scouts will be taking orders for fresh Christmas wreaths at the Brotherhood tables on the concourse in October.

Please stop at the Brotherhood tables and place your orders to support your West Angeles Boy Scouts.

Annual Men’s Weekend

The men of West Angeles Church are getting ready for the Annual Men’s Weekend, Oct. 17-19.

This exciting weekend begins with a Brothers Only gathering to hear “A Message To The Men” from our Pastor, Bishop Charles E. Blake, followed by a time of fellowship in the Crystal Room. The weekend will conclude with a spirit filled Men’s Day on the Oct. 19 with The Sons of Thunder Choir and our special guest speaker, Bishop Darrell Hines, sharing at all three services.

We are also asking each male member of West Angeles to join us in giving $50 towards the retiring of the mortgage on that day. Stop by the Brotherhood tables on the concourse to get the choir rehearsal schedule, or to sign up to be an usher or ambassador.

West Angeles Christian Education: Study The Bible With Us!

West Angeles is regarded as one of the greatest churches in the country, but it’s also known for its educational ministry.

Every day, new developments in our society and around the world can inspire us to think more deeply about our beliefs, or even to question the daily decisions we make. Many of the issues which consume us may sometimes seem outside of our sphere of influence to solve. Whether political, economic, or social in nature, however, the answers can be found by growing closer to our faith.

Most of us probably take our understanding of Christian principles for granted. Yet, although we’ve all heard many times that we should renew our minds (Romans 12:2), how many of us have considered doing so through guided biblical study? Maybe it’s time to make a change.

“Be transformed by the renewing of your mind” – Romans 12:2

West Angeles’ Christian Education (WACE) classes are for anyone interested in using the principles of the Christian faith more effectively. The courses offered provide all levels of biblical study and are designed not only to serve those who are called to careers in ministry, but also to empower any Christian who wants to:

  •  live with purpose through the Word;
  •  understand the Bible more thoroughly and how it relates to the times we live in, and
  •  improve their lives, their families’ lives, and the lives of others.

Classes offered through WACE are designed to help students create a deeper relationship with God, the church, and the Christian faith.

“We are facing a world of distressing and disturbing issues,” says Bishop Charles E. Blake, who serves as Chancellor of the West Angeles Bible College. “In our Bible studies, we learn about trusting in the promises of God and how to obey God. It allows us to share our thoughts and ideas on how to better ourselves and how to better others.”

Taught in both the traditional classroom setting and online, courses offered through WACE are designed to help students to serve the church and the world through responsible imparting of biblical knowledge.

Directed by Elder Oscar Owens, West Angeles Christian Education offers three levels of study:

Sunday School – West Angeles’ Sunday School has introductory-level courses for children, youth and adults which are designed to provide a deeper knowledge of the Christian faith. Geared to help students overcome life’s obstacles and daily issues, the roster offers a variety of classes for children ages 5-12 years of age, and youth Classes for ages 12-16 years of age.

Adult Sunday school classes include the New Members’ Class, which gives an overview of the principles of the Christian faith and COGIC history; Power for Living, which familiarizes students with the power and principles of the Holy Spirit and how to live a Christian life; The Total Man, which teaches men how God’s Word fills all of life’s needs; and Virtuous Woman Bible Study,  inter-generational sessions which show women how to grow in Christ while mentoring younger women.

School of Practical Christian Living – A mid-level study program, the School of Practical Christian Living introduces systematic Bible study and foundational biblical knowledge. Designed for those who desire to become more effective as a parent, spouse, or worker for Christ, the classes include: “What Am I Called of God To Do?”,“Financial Success How-to,” and “Foundational Studies for Aspiring Missionaries,” one of several certificate programs offered.

West Angeles Bible College – The Bible College provides college-level study in biblical, historical, and theological foundations of the Christian faith. This comprehensive training provides an academic understanding of the Bible to equip individuals to competently serve and apply the teachings of the gospel to the spiritual needs of those around them.

Classes include: “The Life of Christ”,“Christian Leadership,” “Understanding World Religions,” and “Church History 1 & 2.” WABC offers certifications and diplomas, an online-portal, and read-only access to the West Angeles Reference Library.

All adult Christian Education classes are at 3045 Crenshaw Boulevard (unless otherwise specified); children and youth classes are held at 3010 Crenshaw Boulevard at the West Angeles Youth Center.

For information regarding schedules, Bible College fees, certificates offered and more, call West Angeles Church of God in Christ at 323/733-8300; department extensions can be found below:

  • Christian Education (including Sunday School inquiries) – Elder Oscar Owens, Director; Ayanna Bereal, Administrative Assistant to Elder Oscar Owens, X2345
  • Bible College – Letha Rhymes, Bible College Registrar , X2367
  • School of Practical Christian Living – Elder Richard Brooks, Christian Education Program Coordinator, X2366
  • Young Women’s Christian Council – Mrs. Renee Weathersby, President, X2765

Come study the bible with West Angeles Christian Education.

DID YOU KNOW?
Some classes offered through WABC are held online!

FACT: Online learning plays a significant role in promoting a desire for lifelong education, as a recent report by the U.S. Department of Education has found. According to the study, schools which offer an online learning component (whether taught completely online or blended) “on average produce stronger student learning outcomes than do classes with solely face-to-face instruction.”

1,000 Men

If you’re 12 years or older, Bishop Blake would like to see you Friday, October 17, at 7 p.m. for a Men`s Summit.

Join the men at the North Campus for a special message from Bishop Blake and great fellowship.

Be a part of the 1,000 Men Campaign and support the vision of Bishop Blake.

If you would like your name in the 1,000 Men Campaign Book sign up:

– Brotherhood Tables 2B or 7B
– The men with clip boards at various locations throughout the church.

Deadline is Sunday, October 12.

 

The Blood And A Testimony- Elder Lawrence Blake

The Making of a Champion- Elder Uleses Henderson