Dr. Tonya Lewis: 12 Verses for Living Stress-Free

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11).

Those plans do not include stress and worry about the issues in our lives. God really wants us to trust His love for us, as well as His commitment to be our Heavenly Father. Who knows better than He what it means to “Be” our Heavenly Father? He has pledged to care for us and even signed on the dotted line with the blood of His beloved and precious Son, Jesus Christ.

God’s original plan for us was to dwell in the stress-free environment of the Garden of Eden, while enjoying a loving relationship with Him. Genesis 2:16-17 says,

But the LORD God warned him, “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden – except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.” Adam’s decision to disobey God did not position him and the rest of us to just automatically enjoy a stress-free life. Now, we must put forth the effort to live stress-free.

Jesus asked in Matthew 6:27, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his lifespan? How often does Jesus have to substitute Martha’s name with our names and say to us what He said to her in Luke 10:41– “Martha, Martha,” the Lord replied, “you are worried and upset about many things?”

12 Verses for Stress-free Living

It is DEFINITELY possible to free our minds of anything which troubles us if we just follow God’s directives found in His Holy Word. Such verses to aid us in living stress-free” are: 

  1. Matthew 6:34– “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

  2. Philippians 4:6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done.

  3. 1 Peter 5:7– Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you. 

Yes, “all” is such a tiny word to encompass such a giant-sized invitation, yet God means ALL…each and every single concern (even concerns you have that are not reasonable to others—yes, even those concerns)!

God knows that we cannot focus on obeying His will and Word if we are consumed with our own worries. Other verses to aid us are:

  1. Psalm 37:5Commit everything you do to the LORD. Trust Him, and He will help you.

  2. Psalm 55:22Give your burdens to the LORD, and He will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.

  3. Psalm 23:1-The LORD is my shepherd; I have all that I need.

  4. Psalm 34:9O fear the LORD, you His saints; For to those who fear Him there is no want.

  5.  Psalm 34:10-…But they who seek the LORD shall not be in want of any good thing.

  6.  Psalm 84:11-the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.

  7. Matthew 7:11So if you who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!

  8. Romans 8:32Since He did not spare even His own Son but gave Him up for us all, won’t He also give us everything else?

  9. Psalm 34:15 The eyes of the LORD watch over those who do right; His ears are open to their cries for help.

We must also note that Jesus said in Luke 10:42,There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” Minister Matthew Henry explains, “For one thing is needful, this one thing that she has done, to give up herself to the guidance of Christ. The things of this life will be taken away from us, at the furthest, when we shall be taken away from them; but nothing shall separate from the love of Christ, and a part in that love.”* 

So stop stressing and worrying, and live stress-free!” God Bless!

 

[*] – Matthew Henry Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible. Accessed 9/27.

Photo, © Aaron Burden, c/o Creation Swap.

Elder Thornton: What Am I Called of God To Do?

You’ve been attending church, enjoying the mighty choir and the moving sermon each Sunday. But you want to be more than one who just comes to Church and leaves until the next scheduled worship time. You’ve given your life to Christ, but now you may wonder, “What does He want me to do for Him? How do I find my place in the church?”

The Apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:1 (NKJV),
“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called.”

Your vocation is your total life’s calling. It includes every aspect of your life, such as your occupation (your job), your avocation (your hobby), your family and your ministry.

What You Can Give God for His Service

Take inventory of yourself. Stand before a full-length mirror, and allow the Lord to show you six important items:

1. YOUR HEAD – “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” Romans 7:25 (NKJV)

2. YOUR MOUTH – “And for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel.” Ephesians 6:19 (NKJV)

3. YOUR WATCH – “Take advantage of every opportunity because these are evil times.” Ephesians 5:16 (CEB)

4. YOUR HANDS – “We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it.” 1 Corinthians 4:12 (NIV)

5. YOUR FEET – “I thought about my ways, and turned my feet to Your testimonies.” Psalm 119:59 (NKJV)

6. YOUR INCOME – “Sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.” Acts 4:37 (NIV)

Your body, like the church, is one unit made up of many members. And, like the church, God has created each member for His service.

You are fully equipped to answer His call. Therefore, God’s plan is for you to recognize your spiritual gifts, and to spend the rest of your life utilizing them in the ministry of reaching and teaching your generation for God.

“May God richly bless you” is my prayer for you.

Westa.org honors Elder Ronald Thornton, West Angeles’ long-time instructor of “What Am I Called of God To Do?” Elder Thornton uses the spiritual gift of teaching to prepare others for the life God has called them to. He received his B.A. from the University of Alaska and was ordained in 1975. Rev. Thornton served as Dean for the CH Mason System of Bible Colleges, and as Principal of the West Angeles Christian Academy. He was promoted to Facilities Manager for West Angeles Church of God In Christ, where he also teaches the popular class, “What Am I Called Of God To Do?” He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Louise.

Westa.org congratulates Elder Ronald Thornton upon his retirement this week! 


Watch Alicia Keys perform Bob Dylan’s “Pressing On” below. Copyright © 1980 by Special Rider Music.

WANT TO KNOW YOUR CALLING? Curious about your purpose on earth? West Angeles Church of God In Christ has classes to help you discover all of this and more.

For information regarding Sunday School, Bible College, classes 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

FILM REVIEW: Disney’s “Queen of Katwe”

An ambitious young man on the other side of the world is torn between his dream job as an engineer and his mission to help impovershed youth succeed – To Sir With Love, 1967

David Oyelowo as Robert Katende and Madina Nalwanga as Phiona Mutesi in "The Queen of Katwe."

David Oyelowo as Robert Katende and Madina Nalwanga as Phiona Mutesi in “The Queen of Katwe.”

 

One of my favorite films is 1967’s To Sir, With Love, based on the semi-autobiographical novel of the same name by E.R. Braithwaite (…what can I say: I love old films). In it, Sidney Poitier plays an out of work engineer who takes a position teaching  street youths that no one else can manage.

Fast-forward to 2016. Disney’s new film, Queen of Katwe is based a book by Tim Crothers. In the film – also based on a true story – Robert Katende, an out of work engineer, takes a position teaching street youths that no one else seems to care about… but that’s where the uncanny similarity ends. Robert has something that “Sir” didn’t have: a brilliant chess prodigy named Phiona.

Queen of Katwe is based on the incredible, heart-warming, true story of 10-year-old Phiona Mutesi, a girl from the streets of rural Uganda whose world rapidly changes when she is introduced to the game of chess. With Katende’s training, and the support from her family and community, Phiona is instilled with the confidence and determination to pursue her dream of becoming an international chess champion.

(At least) 3 verses of scripture came to mind while watching the film:queen-quote2

  • Matthew 25:40 – And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me;
  • Psalm 23:5 – You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; and
  • Proverbs 18:16 – A man’s gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men (all NKJV).

For Phiona Mutesi (played by beautiful newcomer Madina Nalwanga), life in the impoverished slum of Katwe in Kampala, Uganda, is a constant struggle, Her mother, Harriet (played by Lupita Nyong’o), is fiercely determined to take care of her family and works tirelessly selling vegetables in the market to make sure her children are fed and have a roof over their heads. When Phiona meets Robert Katende , a soccer-player-turned-Christian-missionary who teaches chess to local children (played by David Oyelowo), she is captivated (plot, courtesy of Disney.com).

Queen of Katwe picks up the mantle of the wildly successful To Sir, With Love; showing how far the love and vision of a good teacher can take a child, and how that love can ignite genius: even a child with no hope or vision of their own.

SUBTLE GENIUS

Forced to drop out of school after the death of her father and sister, Phiona did not read or write; yet she has the remarkable skill, analytical acumen, and quiet genius to master the game of chess. “Anybody can be taught moves and how to react to those moves, but to reason like she does at her age is a gift that gives her the potential for greatness,” said Dina Kagramanov[1], a Canadian national champion who Phiona plays against and is represented in the film. Phiona finds her “greatness” in mastering the strategies of chess, in spite of the fact that she lacks education, and is surrounded by unspeakable poverty and hopelessness.

The real Phiona Mutesi in a game of chess.

The real Phiona Mutesi in a game of chess.

The remarkable story first came to the attention of Walt Disney executive Tendo Nagenda after reading about Phiona in the ESPN article. Nagenda, who is of Ugandan descent, knew that it would make a great movie, and became its champion within the ranks of Disney. The film is groundbreaking in that it provides an inside look at life in an African country; specifically of those who live in poverty: a first for a Disney film. Yet, its triumph-over-adversity theme is quintessentially Disney, and it brings to mind popular films like Slumdog Millionaire, which took place in the slums of Mumbai. An amazing fact about Queen of Katwe is that none of the children in the film – including its star, Madina Nalwanga – have ever acted before.

See Disney’s Queen of Katwe,  a wonderful, inspiring film for the entire family. Directed by Mira Nair, the film stars Golden Globe® nominee David Oyelowo, Oscar® winner and Tony Award® nominee Lupita Nyong’o and Madina Nalwanga.

Like To Sir, With Love and Phiona Mutesi herself,  Queen of Katwe has all  that it takes to become a triumphant success.  This timeless classic is a testament to the resilience and power of the spirit.

Queen of Katwe opens in U.S. theaters on SEPTEMBER 23, 2016.

SEE THE OFFICIAL TRAILER HERE:

[1] – “The Game of Her Life”, ESPN The Magazine,  Jan. 10, 2011.  http://www.espn.com/espn/news/story?page=Mag15gameofherlife .  Accessed 9-21-2016. 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Tonya Lewis: You Are Passionately​ ​​Loved

Recently, I said to my grandson, “I have a surprise for you.” He then asked, “If I’m good?” My response to him was that I expected him to behave, and to do what he was supposed to do.  The surprise I had for him, however, had nothing to do with rewarding his good behavior, or anything else that he could do. It was birthed out of my heart and desire to lavish him with love, and an experience I know that he would enjoy. I wanted to shower him with this gift because I love to see him happy and experiencing memorable moments, remembering his “Granny’s” great love for him.

My love for my grandson is also demonstrated by how closely I watch over him – even though he feels that he can take care of himself. He is, after all, 5 years old; I know that he is totally unable to care for himself. No, he is not always happy when I set boundaries for him, or give him instructions and warnings because he feels he can protect himself. From my experience and maturity, however, I am able to recognize potential predators, dangerous encounters, unwise decisions, and destructive traps. Because I love my grandson dearly and want to protect him as best as I can, I watch him closely. Out of my desire to protect him is my commitment and dedication to provide the best experience I can for his life.

GOD, OUR PROTECTOR

This example of my relationship with my grandson reminds me of our ongoing experience with our loving Heavenly Father. He loves us so very much and oversees our lives very closely. The unlimited blessing He lavishes on us is not necessarily because we did this or that, but just because of His passionate love for us.

God created us to have fellowship with Him. Even though this fellowship was interrupted by sin, God still loves us beyond measure and gave His only begotten Son, JesusChrist, to die and to be resurrected; to bridge the gap between God and man. He watches over us to protect us from the evil one.

God is consumed with our care and happiness. Translations of Job 7:17 express His love for us:

  • What is mankind that you make so much of them, that you give them so much attention (NIV)?
  • What are people, that you should make so much of us, that You should think of us so often? (NLT)
  • What is man, that you make so much of him, and that you set your heart on him (ESV)
  • What is man that You magnify him, And that You are concerned about him (NASB)

-and Deuteronomy 7:9 (NLT) answers:

Understand, therefore, that the LORD your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps His covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes His unfailing love on those who love him and obey his commands.

GOD LOVES US

We are so passionately loved by God. This should motivate us, as my grandson said, to “be good,” and to act as we should. Furthermore, we must remember that there will be many times that God will lavish His love on us just because He passionately loves us.

Therefore, rest in God’s love for you! Trust in His love! Dive deeper into His love by learning of Him through His Word! This will teach us how to enjoy our relationship with the Lord as our loving Heavenly Father, and as the one who truly delights in “passionately loving” His sons and daughters.

 

See JASON NELSON perform his moving song, “I Am” below:

 

COGIC, First Tennessee partner to provide financial counseling

The Church of God in Christ’s world headquarters at the historic Mason Temple in Memphis will soon be home to free financial literacy counseling for consumers, small business leaders and entrepreneurs, courtesy of First Tennessee Bank.

First Tennessee will provide a full-time, on-site Operation HOPE financial counselor who will offer seminars and one-on-one counseling on credit and money management for consumers and entrepreneurial training for start-up small businesses.

The counselor will be available to Church of God in Christ congregation members and the public at the Lelia Mason Museum on the grounds of the Mason Temple.  Hours will be established in partnership with the Church of God in Christ, and the workshops and counseling sessions will begin early in 2017.

First Tennessee has made a four-year commitment to provide the financial counseling in partnership with the Church of God in Christ.

Church of God in Christ Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr., says, “The Church of God in Christ is delighted to partner with First Tennessee Bank and Operation HOPE to open a financial literacy center in the newly built Lelia Mason Museum on the campus of the historic Mason Temple. This financial literacy center will provide training and assist individuals in raising their credit scores and provide classes for small business development.” He added, “This center is only the second of its kind in the country and could not have been accomplished without COGIC Urban Initiatives, First Tennessee Bank and Operation HOPE coming together to help the Memphis community.”

Presiding Bishop Blake Voted to Executive Council, Pentecostal World Fellowship

Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Srwas voted to the prestigious Executive Council of the Pentecostal World Fellowship during the 24thBISHOPblake-2011 Pentecostal World Conference in São Paulo, Brazil.

The Pentecostal World Fellowship is a multi-cultural cooperative body of Pentecostal churches and groups from around the world. This year, tens of thousands of Pentecostal churches made the pilgrimage to São Paulo, which marks the first time the triennial conference took place in Brazil. The theme for the conference, which took place from September 7-10, 2016, was “60 Years of Celebration of the Pentecostal Family.”  

Said Bishop Blake, who is also Co-Chairperson to the leadership council of the Pentecostal/Charismatic Churches of North America and was also a keynote speaker at the conference, “I count it an honor and a blessing to serve on the Executive Committee of Pentecostal World Fellowship. God has grown the organization over the past 60 years, and I look forward to assisting in the upcoming initiatives of the Pentecostal World Fellowship.”

Bishop Blake is the Presiding Bishop of the Church of God In Christ which boasts of over 7 million members and is considered the leading and largest African-American denomination in the world.

 

ABOUT THE PENTECOSTAL WORLD FELLOWSHIP

The Pentecostal World Fellowship is a cooperative body of Pentecostal churches and groups from around the world, formed in mutual agreement for the furtherance of the Gospel worldwide.  It is not a legislative body of a national entity, but is a compromise coalition for the advancement of the Gospel to the ends of the Earth. It functions to interact and fellowship with Pentecostal leaders from around the world and to connect the body of Christ with what the Holy Spirit is doing worldwide.

In May 1947, Pastors Leonard Steiner, David J. du Plessis, J Roswell Flower and Donald Gee organized a conference for Pentecostal leaders. Three thousand attended this first conference. Triennial conferences followed and in 1961, this celebrative gathering was officially named the Pentecostal World Conference (PWC).

For more information, please visit http://24pwc.org/.

 

Bishop Blake: Confident Living

Are your worries and fears closing in on you? Do you feel that the world goes against all you believe in? In this sermon from 2012, Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. gives us the Kingdom tools for living confidently within the power of the Word of God.

Romans 8:37 – Yet in all these things, we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

“Our text for today provides for us a foundation for living with confidence, and living without fear.”

“There are many Christians who do not live confidently. Our father has given us the Kingdom, but we sometimes think and act like paupers.”

“Omnipotence awaits our very beck and call, but we are filled with fear and intimidated by it all.”

“Those who would manipulate you, those who would control you, those who would imprison you emotionally, will do so by capitalizing on your hunger and on your fear.”

“Don’t tell folk your business; don’t tell folks your insecurities and fears – unless you know they love you.”

“If you look to people as a source…and if you strongly desire what people can give you, they may use you and your hunger to accomplish their goals and aspirations, rather than your good.”

“By holding up what you desire, they will lead you in directions that you should not go.”

“Be careful of who you reveal your insecurities to.”

“Fear will cause you to turn away from a very righteous agenda.  When people know you are afraid, they will use your fear to make you step aside and be silent, when you ought to be speaking out.” – Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr.

“You’re never better off when you’re content.”

“Don’t be hungry for things…live in, drive in, and wear what you can pay for.”

“Don’t live on credit, because if you live on credit you’re going to live hungry and afraid.”

“If there’s unavoidable hunger and there’s unavoidable fear, reveal it to God.”

“The devil and the wicked will use your hunger, use your fear as handles by which they will guide you and control you and keep you in bondage.”

“If we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, then we are justified.”scripture-graphic3

“It’s good to base your actions on what you know about the Word of God.” – Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr.

“Grace is something wonderful to be under because grace is God’s righteousness at Christs’ expense.”

“Jesus paid it all!”

“Stop downing and condemning yourself: start praising God!”

“Start believing what God’s Word says, and you shall become what God’s Word says you can become.”

“Aren’t you glad to be a child of God?”

“Look over at your neighbor and say, ‘It’s working out!’”

“You’re dealing with something that’s bigger than you can handle; overwhelming you, driving you down into the dirt, but I want you to know, just keep on loving and serving God…it’s working out!

“God is going to bring you over! God is going to bring you out!”

“It’s good to base your actions on what you know about the Word of God.”

“Some of you are worried about the forces that are against you…You’re worried about a situation the environment that is…but you ought to rejoice because the Bible says, ‘If God is for us, who can be against us?’ Hallelujah!”

“The Bible says that God has created all things…How can something that God created and controls be against us?” Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr.

“Don’t worry about what seems to be against you. Just keep on trusting God. You’re going make it. You’re going to come through it.”

“The psalmist says, ‘Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, thou art with me!’”

“When God shows up, I don’t care who else shows up: there’s nothing that God cannot deal with!”

“Break for praise! Clap your hands and give praise to God for all that He is!”

“We can live confidently because if God is for us, the world cannot come against us stop us block us.”

“If you’re looking for love, you’ll find it in God.” – Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr.

“If you looking for someone who cares about you, if you’re looking for someone to trust with your fears, open your heart and say, ‘These are my challenges; these are my fears, my hunger,’ you can do so with God, and He will help you.”

“Stop walking in inferiority…All of us need the mercy of God. Come boldly to the throne of Grace.”

“You don’t have to live in defeat. Position yourself in Christ and you’ll be more than a conqueror.”

“Jesus conquered demons; He made them tremble and He made them obey Him…He destroyed principalities and powers. Through death and resurrection, Jesus was more than a conqueror.”

“The same spirit that raised Him up from the dead is in you to conquer and to overcome.”

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES: Romans 8:31-37, Genesis 25:19-34, 50:20; 1 Timothy 6:6, 2 Timothy 1:7, Philippians 4:11, Hebrews 13:5, Psalm 23:4-5, Psalm 27, Roman 3:28, John 3:16, Hebrews 4:15, Proverb 16:32.


CONFIDENT LIVING: Be blessed by this inspiring sermon from 2012 titled, “Confident Living”.  See this sermon it in its entirety HERE, on West Angeles Gospel On Demand. 

How to be a Positive Example to Others

Dr. Tonya Lewis discusses three ways we can be a positive example to others: with our speech, with our actions, and with our lives.

WATCH WHAT YOU SAY

Talk, talk, talk! It is much easier to say things – whatever they may be – than to actually do them. It doesn’t take long before others become weary of the talk we’re proud to use to influence them. We forget that “talk is cheap.” Instead of talking about it, we must “be about it.”

How many times have we missed the blessings and the good we could have been experienced, if only we had done what we talked about? When it is all said and done, deeds impress us, rather than words. In 1 Timothy 4:12, Paul penned,

…Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.

To be means that effort will have to be applied to produce the results of being. We must demonstrate Godly qualities in every area of our lives; for who we are will be exhibited in every area of our lives. For instance, if we lie to our employers, then we will lie to others. We must therefore practice being trustworthy in what we say, and in the way we live. Our outstanding and credible character should precede our names. Our words and lives should be so respectable, that those around us would hastily run to our defense when others accuse us.

 

ARE YOU LOVING?scripture-graphic1

Love is an action word; therefore, our lives must be full of loving actions. Some questions to ask ourselves:

  1. How do we react to the pain of others?
  2. How do we express our compassion, encouragement and support of others?
  3. Are others enriched because they have interacted with us, or are they, instead in a reduced state after interacting with us? 4. Do we encourage trust and patience in the love of God, or do we project worry, doubt, and fear: both to others and to ourselves?

If our Father is the Great God of the Universe whose very essence is love, then we must reflect His loving essence in our own lives. Our confession of faith in God must be genuine; it must be demonstrated beyond Sunday morning services, and impact what we say to others and to ourselves.

 

ARE YOU HOLY?

We don’t want to just proclaim holiness; we don’t want to live questionable Christian lives. We want to be holy and God-like in all that we say, do, and believe. How we live and show love should clearly associate us with the Lord in the eyes of others.

God requires us to be examples of His glory – both to believers and to unbelievers –  for our actions do positively or negatively influence others. 1 John 3:7-10 (NLT) says,

“When people do what is right, it shows that they are righteous, even as Christ is righteous. 8 But when people keep on sinning, it shows that they belong to the devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil. 9 Those who have been born into God’s family do not make a practice of sinning, because God’s life is in them. So they can’t keep on sinning, because they are children of God 10 So now we can tell who are children of God and who are children of the devil. Anyone who does not live righteously and does not love other believers does not belong to God.

 

YOU ARE A LIVING TESTIMONY

We should desire for our lives the evaluation of Joshua 22:2-3,5-6:

He told them, “You have done as Moses, the servant of the LORD, commanded you, and you have obeyed every order I have given you. 3You have been careful to obey the commands of the LORD your God right up to the present day. 5- But be very careful to obey all the commands and the instructions that Moses gave to you. Love the LORD your God, walk in all His ways, obey His commands, hold firmly to Him, and serve Him with all your heart and all your soul.” 6 So Joshua blessed them and sent them away, and they went home.

For this to be the evaluation of our actions, we must obey God. By being a positive example to others, we benefit them as well as ourselves. As Kingdom Citizen Representatives, let’s utilize every opportunity to be a positive example for the glory of God.

Photo, courtesy David Pugh.

Elder Richard Brooks Imparts Practical Christian Wisdom

In this edition of “The Elders’ Corner,” Elder Richard Brooks shares pearls of wisdom on purpose, understanding enemies, and allowing God to use our lives to Bless others.

Every strong faith, culture or society makes room for the impartation of wisdom from its Elders, and the Church of God in Christ is no exception. The Bible provides us with such wisdom, and the Elders of the church are among those who teach and pass on that wisdom to others.

Elder Richard L. Brooks was raised in the church, and has been infused with Biblical wisdom and COGIC tradition through his grandmother, through YPWW (COGIC’s Youth Training Union), and through Prayer & Bible Band, the oldest organized auxiliary in the Church of God in Christ. A quiet, humble man, Elder Brooks has always had a fascination with education and Christianity, and is always seeking words of wisdom in the Bible.

He now passes on generations of tradition and wisdom through his Sunday School classes, during New Members’ Orientation, and as Program Coordinator of West Angeles’ School of Practical Christian Living.

In this edition of The Elders’ Corner, we’re blessed to have Elder Richard L. Brooks share some pearls of wisdom with us.

ON PURPOSE

“A lot of people talk about having an experience with God, but they don’t have any experience because they don’t listen. They know what they want to do and they go after that…That’s the biggest mistake we make. We are taught to make that mistake.”

“You’d be surprised at how many people have no idea what they are called to do. And it’s simply because they have not sought the Lord.”

“We ask our children from the time they’re little, what do you want to be? What are you going to be when you get grown? We tell our children to decide what they want to be. We don’t teach our children to seek the Lord. We don’t do that…we do not do that.”

“Children…they don’t know what they’re capable of…only God knows.”

“There’s a difference between a good idea and a GOD idea. A good idea, anybody can do it. But a God idea…only the person God gives it to can do it, because He only gives you a part of it at a time.”

“God will say, ‘Do this,’ and you do it, then it comes to a standstill. You can’t go further because you don’t know what to do. Then sometimes you say, ‘Oh, maybe I’ll try to do this over here’ – but it don’t work. God does not give you the whole program.”

ON OBEYING GOD

“The Lord is ‘hinkty!’ If He tells you something, and you don’t appreciate it enough to get up and write it down, He’ll let you forget it, and all you’ll have is the knowledge that ‘The Lord told me something…and I can’t remember what it was!’ You know that it’s something that you need, because every now and then, way down the line, you’ll hear it again.”

“God is telling you, ‘When I give you something, write it down!’ When He said (in Habakkuk 2:2), ‘Write the vision; make it plain, so that those who read it may run…,’ the Lord’s not in the business of telling us things just so we can forget it. God has something He is trying to tell us.”

“There’s a difference between a good idea and a GOD idea.” – Elder Richard L. Brooks

“You have to stay in harmony with what God’s doing, because if you get out of harmony with what He’s doing, He’ll quit, and you’ve got nothing, because it all came from Him.”

“It’s important that we remember what the Lord tells us because God knows that the devil is waiting…just waiting…”

ON ENEMIES

“You’ll run into people who look at your success, and they’ll think it’s you, and they don’t realize it’s God. They want to tap into it. ‘Oh, I want to do that.’ But you can’t give them what you’ve got because it was given to you.”

“You’d be surprised at the enemies you’ll make while you’re busy working, trying to do what the Lord says. But somebody over there is plotting, setting you up to stab you in the back. It puts you in a position where you’re totally dependent on God.”

“When you get involved with the work of the Lord…you’re not going to be happy a lot of times. Folk will make you unhappy. They’re gonna see to it that you’re unhappy, because they’re unhappy. You’ve got to be able to throw that off and keep on going.”

ON HEAVEN

“People think when they get to Heaven, they’re gonna see the Holy Ghost. No, you ain’t gonna see the Holy Ghost…It’s a Spirit.”

“When Jesus said ‘I’m going to prepare a place for you’ – He said ‘a place,’ but it’s a body…’In my Father’s House there are many a mansions’… John said, ‘I saw a new heaven and a new earth coming down out of heaven.’ God don’t need Earth. He’s Spirit. Earth is natural. Christ is telling us…the people who need earth will have a body.”

“Paul talks about, ‘The mortal must put on the immortal’ bodies. You won’t be floatin’ around, eatin’ milk and honey!”

“Peter said, ‘Nevertheless, we, according to His promise, look for a new heaven and new earth wherein righteousness dwelleth.’ There’s something coming, but God doesn’t tell us. Paul said, ‘I saw it, but I can’t tell you. He won’t let me tell you.”

“Nothing that we can imagine approaches what God has prepared for them that love Him. It’s beyond our human imagination. If people are already jumping off bridges and taking poison trying to get there, imagine if we had an idea of what it would be like!”

“There are people who just want to end it all. But they don’t realize, you don’t end nothing. You’re gonna live forever. It’s where you’re gonna live that’s the thing.”

ON LIVING A CHRISTIAN LIFE

“Most of us don’t read the Bible because we don’t understand it. We read Psalms, but the Psalms don’t tell us a lot of things.”

“We’ve got to learn that just because we’re saved, we’re speaking in tongues, we love the Lord and so forth, it does not mean that we know what we need to do. We don’t know.”

“Don’t tell God what you want to do. Listen to God to find out what HE wants you to do.” – Elder Richard L. Brooks

“Our will is not God’s Will. What we want to do 99.9% of the time is different than from what God wants us to do. Now, God will show us and tell us, and our reaction? ‘Ooooo, that’s going to hurt. I don’t know if I can do that!’”

“When you get in His Will, that’s when your life takes off. This is why Jesus said, ‘I do always those things to please My Father.’ It’s not our will, it’s God’s Will.”

“If you want the Lord to lead you, find out from Him what He wants you to do and you’ll be way up the line.”

“We must ask, ‘What does God want me to be? What does it take for me to be what the Lord wants me to be? How am I supposed to live and be a Christian?’ Don’t tell God what you want to do. Listen to God to find out what HE wants you to do. That’s Practical Christian Living.”

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES – 1 Chronicles 16:10-12, Isaiah 55:6-7, Habakkuk 2:2, John 8:29, 2 Peter 3, Revelation 21:1-2; John 14:1-4, 1 Corinthians 2:9, 15:53; John 5:30.

Elder Richard Brooks is Program Coordinator for West Angeles’ Christian Education Department and its School of Practical Christian Living. A product of the Church of God in Christ, Elder Brooks acknowledged his call to ministry in 1953, preaching his first sermon that same year at Lockett Temple COGIC in Detroit, MI. He was ordained in 1967, and has served in various capacities within the Church of God in Christ, including District President of the Young People’s Willing Workers Department (YPWW), Pastor, and Sunday School Teacher, which he continues to do to this day. Elder Brooks encourages believers to practice Biblical concepts through daily application of its principles. He continues to direct, guide and serve the people of God through preaching, teaching, and living the Word.


REGISTRATION IS OPEN NOW for THE SCHOOL OF PRACTICAL CHRISTIAN LIVING –  Do you want a more enriched life for you and your family? Are you new to Christ, and you want to know more about how to live from a Christian perspective? The School Of Practical Christian Living (PCL) offers classes such as Integration of Faith, Community and Service, What Am I Called Of God To Do and more. Learn to be the best Christian you can be by applying biblical principles and practices to your everyday life.

REGISTER NOW through Sunday, September 11th.  For more information or to register, please visit table 9A on the Cathedral concourse following each morning worship service.  You can also register in the lobby of the North Campus Sanctuary on Wednesday Nights from 6:00- 8:00PM.  Call (323) 733-8300, Extension 2366. Join us for the next session!

11 Scriptures for Living Intentionally

Great accomplishments start with actions done intentionally. For example, being successful in any profession involves adhering to the requirements of dedicated labor. Experiencing a loving, fulfilled, and God-glorifying relationship requires each person to do his or her part in being attentive, loyal, and dedicated. Actually, accomplishing any degree of success in any area of our lives requires intentional action!

This same mentality applies to us as Kingdom citizens in the family of God. We must live intentionally-submitted lives; determined to obey our heavenly Father’s Word: the Bible. Even if we may have been a follower of Christ for a long time, we cannot become lax in intentionally obeying the Lord!

11 SCRIPTURES FOR INTENTIONAL LIVING

The Bible illustrates God’s desire for us as Kingdom citizens.  Here are 11 scriptures to help guide us toward living intentionally:

  1. Romans 12:2- Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. (NLT)
  2. 1 Timothy 4:8- … On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. (NASB)
  3. Romans 13:14-Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires. (NLT)
  4. Ephesians 4:21-32 – Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from Him,22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24 Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.25 So stop telling lies. 26 And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 for anger gives a foothold to the devil. 28 If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. 29 Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.30 And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. (NLT)
  5. Philippians 3:13-14 – Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the Heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.(NLT)
  6. Colossians 3:12– Since God chose you to be the holy people He loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.
  7. Hebrews 12:1 – …let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…(NIV)
  8. Psalm 141:3 –  Take control of what I say, O LORD, and guard my lips. (NLT)
  9. 1 Corinthians. 9:27-…I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. (NIV)
  10. Titus 1:8-but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. (ESV)
  11.  Revelation 3:11-I am coming soon! Hold on to what you have so that no one takes your victor’s crown.(ISV).

So, Kingdom Family: let’s continue to live intentionally and obey our Heavenly Father’s commands; for living an intentionally godly life is beneficial for us, both here on earth and for all eternity.

God bless.

Dr. Tonya Lewis has been a member of West Angeles Church of God In Christ for over 40 years. She serves on-staff as the Executive Director of Bereavement Ministries. She holds both Honorary Doctorate and Earned Doctorate degrees. Dr. Lewis has been teaching the Overcomer’s Bible Fellowship for over 34 years at West Angeles, along with other teaching venues.


OVERCOMER’S BIBLE FELLOWSHIP – You are invited to join the Overcomer’s Bible Fellowship, facilitated by Dr. Tonya Lewis.  This fellowship can teach you how to overcome any and everything that’s contrary to God’s Word, thus developing you into strong, spiritual, Kingdom citizens. Join us each Sunday morning, 8-10 a.m., or Sunday evening 5:30-6:40 p.m. in the North Campus Sanctuary.

LEARN SPANISH! – Did you know West Angeles has Spanish classes? Learn Spanish from teachers whose first language is Spanish. The classes are open to all.  Join us  each Sunday, 7-8 a.m. and 4:30-5:30 p.m. in the West Angeles Multipurpose Bldg. Room 1. 3045 Crenshaw Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016.

For more information on the Overcomers Bible Fellowship or the Spanish Class, please contact:
Dr. Tonya Lewis at  [email protected], or please call 323-733-8300 ext. 2242.