Bishop Blake: 5 Compelling Reasons Why God Wants to Use Us

Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr. shares the benefits of allowing God to use our lives for His purpose.

Isaiah 1:19 (NKJV) If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land.

Why does God want to use us? Why has God chosen us for this day? Haven’t we messed up too much already to receive His Blessings? No. God knows we’re frail; God knows we’re weak. But God has also blessed us with certain blessings, and He has still called each of us to do His Will.

Why?

  1. God wants us to have the joy of creating. He wants us to have the joy of bringing something new and wonderful into existence.
  2. God wants us to have the joy of impacting our world for Jesus Christ.
  3. God wants us to have the joy of doing something that will bring glory to the name of God.
  4. God wants to use us because there are certain things that His justice will permit Him to give only in response to our faithfulness.
  5. God has already given us His best.

God blesses us all every day of our lives. Still, there are some blessings which are conditional upon our obedience, things that are conditional upon our sacrifice. In Revelation 2:10, the Lord says, Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.” Only if we are obedient, only if we make the sacrifice will God bring the fullness of His Blessings into our lives.

Adapted from the sermon, “Of Your Own, We Have Given You,” July 26th, 2015, by Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. at West Angeles Church Of God In Christ.

LOOKING TO RELIVE THE JOY OF PAST SERMONS AND WEST ANGELES EVENTS? Purchase this full sermon and others, as well as the entire “Bishop Blake’s 75th Birthday Celebration” on DVD at the West Angeles Emporium! 3021 Crenshaw Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016; Phone:(323) 731-3012.

DO YOU WANT TO “GET GOD NOW”? Please click HERE, for West Angeles Gospel On Demand and have past West Angeles sermons streamed directly to your computer or device!

SERMON: Superintendent Timmons says “God’s Got This One”

“The time is now for you to be blessed” – Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr.

The West Angeles Church of God in Christ congregation was brought to its feet in thunderous praise by the dynamic September 20, 2015 sermon delivered by Superintendent Melton R. Timmons of Tyler, TX.

Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr., in his introduction of guest speaker Superintendent Timmons, said that West Angeles was “blessed” to have the Word of God delivered by “a dear friend and brother, and officer of the Church of God in Christ; a faithful member, a minister of the gospel of our savior, Jesus Christ”.

The sermon titled, “God’s Got This One” heralded a new season of release for God’s faithful.

“This season is all about Jesus,” preached Pastor Timmons. “Is there anybody in here gonna help me testify?”

Superintendent Melton Timmons serves as the proud Pastor of the Jones Valley Community Church of God in Christ, in Tyler, Texas and as Superintendent of the David R. Houston District. He is also the Regional Director for the Church of God in Christ General Secretary’s Office, and a member of the Executive Board of the General Council of Pastors and Elders. On April 9, 2013, he was elected Secretary of the COGIC National Board of Trustees.

Superintendent Timmons, brother of Evangelist Joyce Rodgers, is married to LaQueta Freeman Timmons. Together, they have five children and 12 grandchildren.

This sermon titled “God’s Got This One” is available on CD and DVD at the West Angeles Emporium, and HERE, on West Angeles Gospel On Demand.

“We are in a battle: but this is not a battle that you are going to need to fight in, because God has already given you the upper hand, or has given you an advantage.”

“God is about to release some things that you’ve had in your spiritual lay-away.”

“I’m from the country y’all, and as Big Mamma would say, ‘This right here is your season!’”

“This is your time, where God is going to allow those of your who have been praying, believing, fasting, and living a life of Holiness and integrity…God is about to allow you to just think some things into existence.”

“This season is all about Jesus.”

“Don’t you argue, don’t you fuss, don’t you talk…take your hand off your hip, that motion out of your neck! God said, ‘I got this!’”

“I want the devil to know, ‘It’s on now.’ Because the devil knows we’re about to do some supernatural things!” – Supertintendent Melton R. Timmons

“We are in a spiritual warfare…That warfare is a conflict being raised in the spirit realm, but it’s manifested in the physical realm.”

“My enemy is not you. My enemy is the devil.”

“My confidence is in the Word of God.”

“You’re getting ready to depart from some stuff. You’re about to step out of some things…to step away from some stuff; from some people.”

“God said, ‘Today is your day of departure.”

“When people are intimidated by your gifts and intimidated by your growth, intimidated by your anointing, intimidated by your power, people start doing things in the name of God that God didn’t have anything to do with.”

“The enemy wants to oppress you. The enemy wants to keep you down. But the Word of the Lord says, ‘The more they oppressed (them), the greater they became. The more they tried to hold them down, they higher they went up!’”

“Every now and then, God changes our direction.”

“The devil said that you were not going to make it, but God changed your direction.”

“My confidence is in the Word of God” – Supertintendent Melton R. Timmons

“The enemy will think that you are confused. The enemy will think that you are trapped. Sometimes, God takes us through some unexplainable things, and people think that you’re crazy because you still praise Him.”

“Don’t lose your mind over what the enemy took away, because you’re going to need your mind for what God’s got coming your way!”

“Be still. Hold your peace. The Lord shall fight for you.”

“When God fights for you, no demon can take you out. Is there anybody here that wants the Lord to fight for you?”

“Jesus said, ‘I was arrested for your transgressions… I died in your place…Can’t no doctor out-heal me. Can’t no bank out-fund me. Can’t no history out-live me. I got this!’”

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES – Exodus 14:13; 2 Kings 20:5; Ephesians 6:12; 2 Corinthians 10:4; Philippians 1:6 Philippians 4:13; Exodus 16:2.

SERMON: Bishop Blake says, “God Has Your Back”

Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr. offers words of encouragement, hope, and fortitude in difficult times in his September 13, 2015 sermon titled, “God Has Your Back.”

“One of the greatest joys of my life was early in the administration of Barack Obama,” Bishop Blake explained. “I was able to have a private meeting with the President in the oval office and sit and talk to him, and to be in his presence and to let him know how much I appreciated the opportunity. What had been set aside for a 15-minuute conference turned out to be a 1-hour conference, and as long as I live I’ll never forget sitting in the Oval Office, talking to Barack Obama.

“But I’ve got a greater honor for you today. We have the privilege of coming into God’s house, sitting before Him, lifting our hands to our Almighty God, letting him know how much we love Him and appreciate Him.

“What a privilege it is to worship God. God of miracles is here. God of power is here. God that is able to go inside your psyche, inside mind, your spirit, and set things right…Clap your hands and give praise to God!”

Bishop Blake’s full sermon titled “God Has Your Back” and the entire September 13, 2015 service is available HERE, on West Angeles Video On Demand. Highlights from this mighty and inspirational sermon follow:

“What do you do when your expectations crash on the rocks of despair…What do you do when it seems that God has changed His mind about you?”

“Sometimes God can so Bless us that we think we’re in some kind of special category of Blessing…Then on the other hand, sometimes it seems that God begins to snatch back Blessings formerly given to us.”

“Sometimes it seems that God does not behave like we expected God to behave.”

“I’m hearing from a lot of people who feel that God was just not there when they needed Him. They experienced repossession…foreclosure…death of a loved one or loss…Under circumstances like these, some people begin to wonder, ‘Where is God when I need Him?’”

“What God has provided for you is just what you need.”

“Learn to allow God to lead. Learn to allow God to choose what He chooses for you. The best prayer you can pray is ‘Thy Will be done.’”

“When you can see a miracle, it’s easy to believe God for another miracle.”

“There’s always an ‘after a while.’”

“Some people may begin to wonder, ‘Where is God when I need Him?’” – Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr.

“Isn’t it amazing how the things that we escape from try to recapture us and entangle us again?”

“Have you ever been in that place where you needed to feel the presence and the anointing of God in a special way? Jesus went through that kind of time.”

“When God moves, some people interpret ‘move’ to be ‘leave.’”

“You know, most people don’t do ‘different’ very well.”

“I’ve got a word of encouragement for you today. I’ve got a word of Hope…God has not moved to punish you. Sometimes God just moves because He’s God.”

“Sometimes God moves to develop unexposed powers and abilities …within us. He wants us to trust Him, to expand into a new area, give us a new testimony. Sometimes God wants to bring glory to Himself in a special way. Sometimes he moves just because he wants to test our faith.”

“The greater the level to which an individual is to rise, the greater the trial God takes that person through” – Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr.

“God does not change in his essential nature. God never changes in His purpose. But he changes in the methods and in the processes by which He perfects His children.”

“God’s trying to make something out of you.”

“God, I can’t see it. I can’t feel it. But I’m going to praise you anyhow!”

“Sometimes we need somebody to watch our back…God has your back.”

“Sometimes you can see God best by looking back.”

“Sometimes God goes behind you because there are things in your past trying to recapture you.”

“The devil always wants to remind you of your past.”

“You are not what was done to you…Stop holding on to that pain…Stop focusing on those kinds of memories that poison your present and poison your future.”

“Sometimes you can see God best by looking back”  – Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr.

“God’s gonna help you get over it.”

“Child of God, you can go out onto the back porch of your life and see where God has brought you from.”

“If you knew what God has in store for you, you’d be jumping and shouting and praising the Lord!”

“God will never leave you.”

“Lord, I thank you…you’ve been so good to me! Hallelujah!”

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES: Exodus 14:19-31; Isaiah 52:12; Exodus 12:37-38; 13:20-22, Matthew 27:46; Isaiah 43:19; Isaiah 54:17; Deuteronomy 28:2-3; Psalm 23:6; Deuteronomy 31:6-8; Psalm 34:7.

Elders Corner: Elder Hammonds’ 4 Dynamic Relationships for Deeper Discipleship

Welcome to the latest addition to our Elders Corner series. In this edition, Elder Dr. Kenneth Hammonds examines what it means to be a disciple of God…and explains exactly how to determine how D.E.E.P. our love for God actually goes.

“Making converts is essential, but the job isn’t finished until those converts are discipled.” — Ed Stetzer

The Church of God in Christ’s denominational theme for 2015 from our Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake is a powerful call to a full commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ. Indeed, it is a clarion call to full Christian discipleship:

“Christ’s Extreme Sacrifice Calls for Our Extreme Commitment”

But who in our modern-day, Post-Christian Era, cares about or talks much about discipleship? Wasn’t that something those twelve apostles did when Jesus was on earth? And what does that have to do with me in this 21st century?

These questions represent views shared by many Christians today, but they don’t even touch the surface of the true, biblical concept of discipleship and its core word, disciple.

SO, WHAT EXACTLY IS A DISCIPLE?

At first glance, the New Testament word for disciple, mathētēs (pronounced mah-thay-TACE), is quite simple with no depth. It means learner; apprentice. However, during the classical Greek period (c. 400 BC) a mathētēs moves deeper in meaning from a mere student or apprentice to a full-fledged follower; an enthusiastic adherent spreading the philosopher/teacher’s teachings. This word reaches its full purpose however, when a mathētēs also becomes a loyal teacher.

So, let’s clear the air of the simple for the deep, and immerse ourselves into the reality and power of the idea of being a disciple of Jesus Christ.

DIVING INTO DISCIPLESHIP

I have developed an acrostic that I trust will be useful for our discussion of this central word of the Gospels and Acts. The Disciple Acrostic is:

D.E.E.P.

There are four dynamic, action-based relationships of the disciple of Jesus Christ to his or her Teacher and Lord. The disciples’ thinking, acting, and serving are ‘deep’-rooted and grounded within Him:

D – Devoted: A Disciple is a devoted believer in Jesus Christ.

The believer in the NT means, “one who is committed (fully devoted) to a person, belief or thing.” The disciple of Jesus has declared and must develop a full devotion to Him and serve Him. Jesus does not share Lordship’s first place. The preachers have said it and it is true, “Either He is Lord of all or He is not Lord at all.”

Personal Q: Is Christ Lord over every area of your life? (Colossians 3:24; Galatians 6:1-2; Proverbs 16:18)

E – Embraces: A Disciple embraces the teachings and lifestyle of Jesus Christ our Teacher and Lord.

Do you simply tolerate or even just blatantly ignore some of the demands and tough spiritual and personal challenges from the Word of God?

Personal Q: Have you fully embraced (eagerly, readily with opened arms) all that God has told you to do and be?

E – Enthusiastic: A Disciple is an enthusiastic and active adherent of Jesus Christ. The adherent of Jesus is “All into Him” and sticks to the Master even when the times are rough. He or she is no “fair-weather saint.”

Personal Q: Are you really enthusiastic about the Lord and having Him in your life? Enthusiastic worship, service, and living are the beginning of personal evangelism.

P – Promotes: A Christian Disciple assists in promoting and spreading the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Word of God.

The enthusiastic disciple is so excited about the Message and Man, Jesus Christ, that he or she spreads his Word and teachings and promotes his causes whenever and wherever possible. Ephesians 5:16 enjoins us to “make the most of every opportunity” for Christian service and our commitment to Him.

Personal Q: Do you like spreading the Word about Jesus to all groups of people? Or do you think it is the designated task of a few “chosen and gifted” ones?

If you don’t like “preaching,” just share with others the wonderful things your Savior has done for you and your life. Anyone who has a deep, devoted, enthusiastic love for Him can do this.

SUMMARY

So, there it is. As believers in Jesus the Christ (God’s Uniquely Anointed One), we are D.E.E.P. into Discipleship.

This short discussion in no way covers all the myriad of ways to look at discipleship. But, hopefully these few words will serve as a beginning for a new growing relationship with the Lord, and perhaps also serve as a useful tool as you train, teach, empower, and disciple others.

About Dr. Kenneth Hammonds
Kenneth Hammonds (M.Div., Ed.D.) has been in Christian Ministry for over 45 years and is Director of Discipleship at West Angeles Church and Sector Leader of the Adult Ministries Division (Seven Department Ministries). He is an experienced New Testament Greek Trainer and author of “An Introduction to New Testament Greek Grammar for Word Studies,” and is also author of a biblically-based wealth-building commentary for Christian entrepreneurs entitled, “God Wants You To Be Wealthy.”

Source material for mathētēs (disciple):
1. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Abridged in One Volume, Kittel and Friedrich, Editors. Geoffrey Bromiley, Translator.
2. A Greek English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, Walter Bauer./Translation by, Arndt and Gingrich.

 

SERMON: God’s Recipe For Worship

As we approach the Annual Holy Convocation of the Church of God In Christ, we take a look back to the June 2015 Pentecostal Revival at West Angeles, and the powerful opening sermon delivered by an anointed man of God, visiting Bishop Jack C. Vaughn.

Bishop Jack C. Vaughn is the Senior Pastor of the Evangelistic Center International Ministries, Kansas City, Kansas. He began a life of ministry at age 11, accepting the call to ministry at age 17. After working in corporate America and serving as Co-Pastor at the Evangelistic Center, Bishop Vaughn was appointed as Senior Pastor, succeeding his father, the late Superintendent Willie C. Vaughn, Jr.

Bishop Vaughn was recently appointed as an Auxiliary Bishop in the Church of God In Christ under the leadership of Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr.

CONTACT the West Angeles Emporium for your copy of the 2015 3-night Revival DVD set. Call (323) 731-3012.

Highlights from the sermon are below:

“And the Lord said to Moses: “Take sweet spices, stacte and onycha and galbanum, and pure frankincense with these sweet spices; there shall be equal amounts of each. 35 You shall make of these an incense, a compound according to the art of the perfumer, salted, pure, and holy. 36 And you shall beat some of it very fine, and put some of it before the Testimony in the tabernacle of meeting where I will meet with you. It shall be most holy to you.”- Exodus 30:34-36

“There is a central core of pivotal possibilities in every man. This center of being in each of us is interchangeably called our heart, or our spirit.” [1]

“Like our emotional heart, this core determines our primary focus interest and affections in life. This core is also called our spirit. Our key to worshiping the almighty God is the key to activating and revitalizing this core.”

“It’s like an elevator built into the hub of a high rise. It’s like a ski lift that takes us from the plane of the mundane to the peak of adventure. It is our worship that connects us to our God.”

“As our Bishop always reminds us: ‘If God can get it through you, He can get it to you.’”

“I contend that God instituted worship for people not solely for His own enjoyment; and I submit to you that worship is not intended by God for people to prove their own expertise in religious exercise…but rather He gave us worship as a means of satisfying our hunger and our thirst for Him.”

“He gives us His Biblical call to worship to keep us in the mainstream of spiritual refreshment via worship, via teaching, and fellowship.”

“[Worship] is a direct challenge to each believer…to open himself up to real passion, and to learn more fully what it means to truly and completely be alive in Christ.”

“Worship is the way to invite God to rule in your house. I want to ask you, is your welcome mat out today?”

“If we are attempting to minister in our own strength alone, it is tantamount to saying we don’t need God. And that’s humanism.”

“We’re doing things our way rather than God’s way…that’s rebellion. And the Bible says that is a sin of witchcraft.”

“Worship has a fragrance: and our flesh has an odor” – Bishop Jack C. Vaughn

“The Holy Spirit said to me, ‘Remember when your mother told you, be careful not to get any of the yoke in the egg whites, or else it will not fluff.’ It’s the same when you worship. If there is just a little flesh in your act of worship, it is unacceptable to God.’”

“As believers, our dependence must be upon God and not on the flesh.”

“When God anoints something, He sets it apart. It is holy, separated for His use.”

“The anointing is not a force like electricity, it’s not just an emotion…it’s really nothing more than the presence of God in favor.”

“In the OT in the tabernacle, the utensils and all of the furniture used for worship…Had to be anointed before they could be used. They didn’t anoint with just any old oil. They had a special oil made from a recipe that God gave them.”

“There’s no anointing without death.”

“If you want God’s anointing you must die to yourself. Die to the old person you once were. Die to your own agenda. Die to…desires of dreams not born of God.”

“If we’re going to depend on God, we have to die to our own abilities and resources. It’s called, “The death of the flesh.”

“We are not called to be Ming vases. We’re called to be clay pots.”

“If there is just a little flesh in your act of worship: it is unacceptable to God” – Bishop Jack C. Vaughn

“If you want God to take you up, and you want God to anoint you, there must be a sweetness about your life.”

“You can’t be bitter and sweet, too.”

“It’s so easy to allow life’s circumstances to make you bitter. It’s so easy to allow your enemies to make you bitter. But don’t get bitter – stay sweet.”

“The sweetness is Jesus.”

“God is more interested in anointing your character than He is your ability.”

“Oil represents the Holy Spirit.”

“God will take the good, the bad, the ugly, the difficult things of your life, with the oil of His Holy Spirit. and form a sweet anointing in you.”

“He will use you in a way, when you desire to be a worshiper, and usher you into the most incredible season of your lifetime. That’s why you don’t look like what you’ve been through.”

“God instructed Moses physical representation of a spiritual reality – the Ark of the Covenant.”

“God will use you when you desire to be a worshiper, and usher you into the most incredible season of your lifetime” – Bishop Jack C. Vaughn

“The true nature of your heart, whether it is sweet or it is bitter, will only be revealed when God takes you through fire.”

“There’s powder in my praise!”

“Throughout church history, biblical scholars have made the association of pure frankincense with the person of Christ.”

“These three elements of who we are – body, soul and spirit – cannot come into the presence of God unless they have been mixed or mingled in the person of Jesus Christ.”

“There must be a grinding to powder in order to produce true worship…God uses the grinding circumstances of life…He grinds our pride. He grinds our control of the flesh. He grinds out our selfishness to produce a pure heart that will worship Him.”

“Tell your neighbor, ‘I’ve been through the grind!’”

“When you are an oozing worshiper, there will be a constant flow of the Spirit of God.”

“The Spirit of God does not need sleep, and it does not slumber!”

“The purpose for my pain is because God was creating an outlet for my worship.”

“Today there’s an oozing in this house…and today I pray that as your anointing permeates this place, that miracles are activated.”

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES – Exodus 30:6-7, 23-36; Hebrews 10:25, 1Corinthians 1:29, John 7:37-39, John 4, Romans 12:1.

______________________________

[1] Pastor Jack Hayford: A Man’s Worship and Witness. Thomas Nelson. Inc., Publishers, 1992. Chapter 1, pg. 6.

To receive the full sermon delivered by Bishop Jack Vaughn titled, “God’s Recipe For Worship”, click HERE for West Angeles Gospel On Demand.

The West Angeles Emporium’s E-commerce site is launching soon! Check Westa.org for further details.

DID YOU KNOW?

Frankincense is the gum or resin of the African Boswellia tree. The resin has many medicinal purposes, and is also used for making an incense which is traditionally used in Christianity. Frankincense is historically associated with Jesus Christ.

 

SERMON: Bishop Blake Preaches on Pride and Humility

“These six things the Lord hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: 17 A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, 18 A heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, 19 A false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren” – Proverbs 6:16-19 (NKJV)

Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake taught the congregation about Pride and Humility in his Sunday, September 6 sermon. Inspired by Proverbs 6:16-19, Bishop prayed that God would “eradicate pride from our hearts,” and also preached that humility, in contrast to pride, is like love.

“If Jesus could humble Himself, if Jesus could shed his Blood, if Jesus could die on the cross, how much more should we humble ourselves before God?”

He continued, “I know the way is rough, I know there may be people who look down on you and think they’re better than you, but put your hand in God’s hand. Walk on by faith.”

The entire sermon is available HERE, on West Angeles Gospel On Demand.

“Because we love God and because we need His favor we should seek to please Him in every way.”

“People are prone to identify you with the experiences you bring to them.”

“God loves us all, but it is possible to think and behave in such a way as to lose God’s favor.”

“Someone wrote that pride is the chief and source of all sin and that humility is the box in which all the other Christian graces are contained.”

“What is pride? Pride is a high opinion of oneself. Pride is arrogance. Pride is conceit; smugness. Pride is self-importance. Pride is insolence, egotism, vanity, immodesty. Pride is a sense of superiority. Pride is the opposite of humility.”

“Pride causes a person to have an erroneous sense of entitlement.”

“Pride is associated with injustice and with wickedness” – Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake

“It was pride that caused Lucifer…to initiate a rebellion among the angels, resulting in satan and one-third of the angelic hosts to be cast out of Heaven forever.”

“It was pride in the hearts of Adam and Eve that caused them to want to be more than God had made them to be.”

“If God has shown favor to you, you ought to pay God by praise, and by thanks, and by obedience. Come on, clap your hands and say ‘Praise God!’”

“Don’t you mess with my God! My God is bad!”

“Whatever you’ve done, God enabled you to do it…whatever you know, God taught it to you. Whatever you shall do in the future, it will be by the power of Almighty God.”

“Love is like humility” – Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake

“You better give praise to God…How many of you know He’s worthy?”

“Just as God condemns pride, the Lord commends humility.”

“True humility is the product of the Holy Ghost working in the life of the believer.”

“God blesses us when we humble ourselves and give Him the glory.”

‘Pride can even come strutting up in the church!”

“God saved us. God made us what we are. God taught us what we know.”

“Don’t worry about your enemies. Just please almighty God.”

“A humble person is a loving person.”

“Love is like humility.”

“God lifted me up…I’ve got to praise Him! I’ve got to glorify Him! Yes!”

“It was God!”

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES: Proverbs 6:16, 16:5, Isaiah 13:11, Proverbs 16:18, Isaiah 2:12, Genesis 3:4, Exodus 9, 12:29; Proverbs 29:1, 2 Chronicles 7:12-14, 26, 32:25-31; Acts 12:21; 1 Corinthians 8, James 4:6, 9-10; John 8:32, Proverbs 16:7, John 13:34; Psalm 46:1, Philippians 2:3, 5-7.

We Remember 9/11

It’s a hard measure to grasp–that our great nation was shaken, almost 14 years ago. I remember exactly where I was on September 11, 2001.  I sat on the edge of my seat as the rest of my fellow students clustered around a television in the middle of my 9th grade English class.  Horror gripped my body as I saw ominous smoke bellow from buildings and police officers frantic over the airways. I remember asking my teacher, “Is this a movie or is this real?” With tears in her eyes, my teacher—Mrs. Bridges said, “Antoinette…this is very real.”

September 11 will always be remembered as surreal day of pain and disbelief for the American people.

How could a series of four coordinated suicide attacks fall upon a country that seemed so impenetrable? On that dark morning, 19 terrorists from the Islamist militant group al-Qaeda hijacked four passenger jets and intentionally crashed two into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, a third into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, and a fourth jet—Flight 93—crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania before it could reach its intended target in Washington, DC.

It would be wise for us to pause and reflect on the courageous men and women on that day.  Let us reflect on El Shaddai’s grace and mercy on how He opened the gates of heaven and welcomed loved ones.  Let us reflect on Jehovah Shammah—a God who is there, comforting wife’s who had lost their husbands and children who had lost their mothers .  Jehovah Rapha—healing God who is yet and still bringing back the minds of city officials in FDNY AND NYPD suffering from post-traumatic stress. Jehovah Jireh—a provider to families who have still been unable to identify remains of a family member.

As the years have passed on, the pain may have passed some, but many brothers and sisters are mourning on this day and searching for a need to smile. Tomorrow is truly not promised and as we are considering the feelings of our fellow man, it would be wise for us to also consider ourselves. If we should perish today would we be satisfied with the lives we have lead, would our family be pleased at the example we have left for future generations to emulate? And most importantly…would we hear our merciful father whisper onto us, “Well done.”

May our nation be one undivided.  May we continue to have love and understanding in our heart. Treat every verb that comes from your mouth onto someone’s ears as golden.  

Change starts within. Shalom.

Bishop Blake, on Understanding the Power of Service

Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake tells a story from the War of Independence which teaches us about the power of service to others.

There was a corporal during the War of Independence who was leading a group of soldiers, and they came, as they went down the road, to a tree that had fallen across the road. The corporal called to his soldiers and said, “Get this tree out of the way! Come on, hurry up and move that tree!”

Just then, a general rode up and asked what was going on. “We’re getting this tree out of the road,” said the corporal. The general said to him, “Don’t you think you ought to help them out?” But the corporal responded, “What, Me? I’m a corporal! I don’t do things like move trees!”

The general got down from his horse and helped the men move the tree out of the way. He then said to the corporal, “Listen: if you ever need a tree moved, then call on a general like me; I’ll be glad to help you. My name is George Washington.”

Some folks are too holy to be any earthly good. There are many who will only do their specialty; they’ll do only certain kinds of good works. But the Lord Jesus would gladly do a thousand things that his servants are too great to touch.

Jesus is doing some things that we may think we’re too big to be involved in; too big to consider. But Jesus says, “If I’m involved in it, you ought to be involved in it also.” God needs servants who will do whatever needs to be done; general servants who’ll do anything and everything for Him.

Lift your hands and say, “Lord, I’ll do anything and everything for You!”

Adapted from the sermon, “A Believer’s Agenda”: Sunday, August 16th, 2015, by Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. at West Angeles Church Of God In Christ.

See this entire sermon and more HERE, on West Angeles Video On Demand.

Elders Corner: Elder Graves on Christian Stewardship

As a part of our Elders Corner series, Elder Wilfred Graves Jr. explains what it means to be a Christian servant and how through stewardship, God allows us to be a partner in moving forward His mission on earth.

West Angeles Church has moved into a season in which God is challenging each of us to move to a greater level of commitment. The theme for 2015 is:

“Christ’s extreme sacrifice calls for our extreme commitment” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15).

The Lord desires for us to commit every area of our lives to Him. This commitment includes our time, talents, finances, and other resources. All of these are gifts from God, and He wants us to use what He has given us for His glory and purposes.

The faithful and responsible use of God’s gifts is called Christian stewardship. In the Bible, a steward is one who is entrusted with the possessions of another. In the Gospels, a steward is a servant who is to manage the affairs of the master. The steward does not own the possessions; he/she is responsible for handling them in a wise manner. Christians are stewards over what God has given us. God owns everything (Psalm 24:1) and He entrusts us to handle His possessions with the utmost care (Genesis 1:26).

Partnering with God
The fact that God has entrusted us to manage His resources means that He has allowed us to become partners with Him. A financial offering, for example, is not only a gift to God’s work, but it also is participation with God in the establishment of His divine rule on earth. God can use our financial offerings as seeds that will yield a rich harvest of blessings and changed lives.

The Love of Money
It is easy to make an idol out of money. In fact, the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil (1 Timothy 6:9-10). God does not mind His people having money. However, He wants us to surrender all aspects of our lives, including our finances, to His control. The surrender of our finances to Jesus Christ is one aspect of our surrender to His Lordship over our lives.

Tithes and Offerings
The tithe is ten percent of the increase of material blessings – monetary or other – that God has enabled a person to receive. The tithing principle is a useful minimum standard of “proportionate giving.” Several Old Testament examples of tithing include: Genesis 28:22; Leviticus 27:30; Deuteronomy 14:22; and Malachi 3:8-10.

The New Testament continues the tithing principle. Jesus mentions tithing in Matthew 23:23 and tithing supports the ministries of local fellowships in 1 Corinthians 9:11-12 and Galatians 6:6-7. The New Testament also elaborates on the tithing principle by offering a number of insights on giving.

Giving is a voluntary action that is “unto the Lord.” Besides giving a tithe, a person can give a regular offering or a special offering. We should always find ways to give as much as we can to the Lord’s work. The basic motivation for giving is our relationship with God. We belong to God and we should seek to please Him in all that we do. God loves us and has given so much to us. Therefore, we give out of our love for and gratitude toward God. Giving is an act of worship. It is a positive response to God’s liberality and generosity, and it supports the work of ministry.

New Testament Principles of Giving
Jesus Christ taught important principles of giving, including the fact that God rewards unselfish giving (Luke 6:38), giving should be sacrificial and motivated by a sense of commitment (Mark 12:41-44), and “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).

Chapters 8 and 9 of 2 Corinthians also contain many wonderful principles of giving. According to these chapters, Christian giving:

1. Is an expression of God’s grace (8:1-6)
2. Can be a spiritual gift (8:7)
3. Is inspired by the sacrifice of Christ (8:8-9)
4. Should be proportionate to our wealth (8:10-12)
5. Should be done with accountability (8:16-24)
6. Can be stimulated by friendly competition (9:1-5)
7. Promotes thanksgiving to God (9:11b-15)

Conclusion
Giving is an important aspect of our worship, stewardship, and commitment to God. God does not expect us to give what we do not have. He expects us to give what we do have with willingness, joy, and enthusiasm. As we continue to give, God will keep supplying resources to meet our personal needs and those of the local church. Is God challenging you to increase the amount of your contributions to His work? If so, then He will certainly reward your faithful obedience to Him.

Blessings,
Wilfred Graves Jr., Ph.D.

Dr. Wilfred Graves Jr. serves West Angeles Church as Special Assistant to the Senior Pastor and Chairman of the Board of Elders. He is the author of ‘In Pursuit of Wholeness: Experiencing God’s Salvation.’ The book is available at Amazon.com or http://www.pursuitofwholeness.com.

FOR FURTHER READING:
On Stewardship – 1 Chronicles 28:1; Matthew 24:45; 1 Corinthians 4:1-2; and Luke 16:1-13.
On Giving – 2 Corinthians 8 and 9.

PLEASE JOIN WEST ANGELES as we unite in Prayer each month throughout 2015! Please CLICK HERE for our Monthly Prayer Calendar.