Highlights: Black History Month Presentation

For West Angeles’ culminating Black History Month presentation for 2017, Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake and the West Angeles Music and Worship and Arts team and the took the congregation to school with a lesson in African American that transcended the ages. 

On February 26 for the conclusion of Black History Month 2017, West Angeles Church of God In Christ delivered an exciting and inspiring Black History Month Presentation which included dance, hip-hop, oral history, and spoken word. Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake began his Black History Month sermon in Africa, thousands of years before the birth of Christ, with the story of Moses; journeying through the reign of the Queen of Sheba, the Atlantic slave trade, and to the roots of Pentecostalism to reveal the connection between people of African descent and the roots of Christianity. Bishop Blake was also inspired by the story of Joseph in Genesis, siting parallels between Joseph’s journey and the historic journey of African Americans.

Dr. Judith McAllister, Marvin Wright-Bey, and the West Angeles Worship and Arts team staged a glorious multi-media presentation, resplendent with interpretations of the African American journey, in dance, spoken word, and song.  Musical performances by the West Angeles Angelic and Mass Choirs were accompanied by featured artists including SuNWhoa Love, Angie Fisher, and West Angeles’ own David Daughtery.

Highlights from “A Sermon for Black History Month” follow (please click the images to enlarge the slideshow).  See the complete service HERE, on West Angeles’ Legacy Broadcast:

“2000 years before the birth of Jesus Christ, Moses traveled to Midian, in the southern part of the fertile crescent.  There, Moses married a dark-skinned Midianite woman and worked for his dark-skinned father-in-law, by the name of Jethro. Numbers 12:1 show that Jethro and his daughter were Ethiopian.”

“Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the woman he had married…God got upset and smote Miriam with leprosy. Sometimes, Black women are mighty powerful.”

“400 years later, Joseph would marry a dark-skinned Egyptian woman.”

“Almost 1000 years before the birth of Jesus Christ, the Queen of Sheba – also known as “Cush” or Ethiopia – visited King Solomon. She came from Africa with many camels, spices, gold, and precious stones. Her nation and her culture had obviously existed long before that time.”

“The Ethiopian, Piankhi, established the 24th Egyptian Dynasty. And at least four Black Kings ruled over Egypt from 730 BC until 66 BC…Great nations, great civilizations, great cultures existed in Africa centuries before Jesus Christ was born.”

“Centuries before Jesus Christ was born, one of the greatest generals of all time was a man by the name of Hannibal – a black man – from the city of Carthage in Northern Africa. Hannibal defied and defeated Rome between 219 and 203 BC.”

BLACK HISTORY WESTA 2017 2

Black History Month: The Angelic Choir sings! West Angeles Church of God In Christ, 2-26-2017.

“In 1498 AD, Portuguese explorers wrote that they found along the east African coast, tall stone cities of comfort and of wealth. They found people who were highly civilized and skilled in the use of the compass, and in reading charts.”

“God has a purpose for your life: and we know that all things work together for good for those who love the Lord; for them who were called according to His purpose.” – Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr.

“The city of Timbuktu in West Sudan (was) a magnificent city where merchants made greater profit from the sale of books than from the sale of any other commodity that they sold.”

“In the areas of science, art, medicine, government, law, and culture, and so on, certainly many of the nations of Africa were competitive with, and in many cases more advanced than, the other nations of the world in during that period.”

“All of the things that I’ve described so far have been devastated by the slave trade, by slavery, by Colonialism.”

“William Banks in his book, ‘The Black Church in the US’ gives us the following report:

Nearly 20 million Negroes were made captive over the span of some 300 years, from 1517 until 1840. A more conservative estimate is around 14.6 million. They were jammed and crammed into ships like sardines in a can, and brought across the Atlantic from the Gulf of Guinea to the New World, in a trip called “The Middle Passage.’ It’s estimated that perhaps 12 million Blacks landed in Latin America, and about 2 million of them were brought into the US.”

“What happened to the millions? Many died resisting capture. Some died in captivity, while being held in Africa waiting to be shipped out. There were those who committed suicide, eating quantities of clay. Others, beaten and too weak to continue the trek in the convoy to the harbor, were abandoned to die.”

“Shackled in irons, they hung beneath the decks of the ships for 16 hours at a time, in unbearable heat filth and stench, barely surviving on the stale spoiled food and stagnant water. They were only given a few minutes a day on deck for fresh air and exercise. If the weather was bad, they received neither fresh air nor exercise. Many died at sea from dysentery, small pox, and other diseases. Some starved themselves to death, refusing to eat. Others committed suicide, jumping into the ocean. Lastly, those who were warriors taken in battle were often beaten and shot to death. Some died soon after reaching American soil.”

“In Christ, there’s no Black, no White, but one race, one blood in Christ Jesus” – Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr.

“A meaningful study would be, ‘What was the impact of the loss of 20 million of its inhabitants on the culture and the nations of Africa? How many died trying to defend their families in the violence associated with the slave trade?’”

Dancers reenact the Middle Passage, and freedom from slavery.

Black History Month: Dancers reenact the Middle Passage, and freedom from slavery. West Angeles Church of God In Christ, 2-26-2017.

“After the slave trade came the horrible period of Colonialism, in which horrible invaders did to Africa’s resources what those before them did to Africa’s people. What was the value of 20 million people taken out of their homeland?

“After slavery, black people experienced one humiliation after another, but still, we produced Benjamin Banneker, inventor and maker of the first American clock, Sojourner Truth, George Washington Carver, Charles Drew, a pioneer in blood plasma research…Benjamin  O Davis, Thurgood Marshall, Ralph Bunche, Booker T. Washington, Marion Anderson, and a host of others that rose above their oppression toward a level of excellence.”

Let’s examine now the interaction between Christ and his church and Black people. Because of their concern for the babe Jesus, Mary and Joseph followed an angel to find refuge. It was in Egypt, in North Africa that they sought safety.”

“During the dark day of the Crucifixion, the Jews were condemning Jesus to death. Europe, represented by the Roman Centurions, drove nails into the hands of feet of Jesus, and pierced Him in the side. But Africa, represented by Simon of Cyrene, from Northwest Africa, stepped in when everybody else was stepping back…Simon of Cyrene shared history’s most significant moment with the Christ, as a Black man bore the Cross of Christ up Calvary’s Hill.”

“Listen, if Jesus needed help with His cross, I’m sure He understands when you and I need help with our crosses.  He will help you in the midst of your trials, and in the midst of your struggles.” – Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr.

“One would think that if Jesus needed help with His cross, the privilege would be reserved for Simon Peter, or for John, and for another apostle. But God chose Black hands and wooly hair to perform an act and level of service that all the truly wise men of all the ages would be supremely honored to perform.”

“The Ethiopian Secretary of the Treasury was to pass in his chariot…This Ethiopian nobleman heard and received the gospel, and after being baptized, this nobleman went back to Ethiopia to form the Abyssinian (Coptic) Church that exists until this day. He was the first Gentile of record to be saved. A Black Ethiopian was the first Gentile to be saved, after the Jews.”

“Historian Dean Henry Hart Milman has said: ‘It was Africa, not Rome, which gave birth to Latin Christianity. Africa gave three of the greatest leaders and scholars of the church to the church. Augustine, Tertullian, Cyprian.’”

“Historian and author Dr. H. Vinson Synan says that Charles F. Parham, a white man, and William J. Seymour, a Black man, share roughly equal positions as founders of modern Pentecostalism…Seymour was the outstanding personality in bringing about that crucial Pentecostal revival that we call the Azuza Street revival here in the city of Los Angeles.”

“One key man in that contagious spread (of Pentecostalism) was a man by the name of Charles Harrison Mason, a Black man and the father of founder of the Church Of God in Christ…in 1897.

In 1907, Elder Mason traveled  to Los Angeles and participated in the Azuza Revival and received the Baptism of the Holy Ghost.”

“The Church of God In Christ became the first legally incorporated Pentecostal body in the United States.” – Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr.

“Synan also points out that most of the white Pentecostal churches from 1907 to 1914 had no recognizable Ecclesiastical body to represent them, and to ordain their ministers. Therefore they were not authorized to perform marriages or other ministerial duties…Scores of white ministers joined the Church of God In Christ and obtained ministerial credentials from Elder Mason from the Church of God In Christ.”

“One group in Alabama and Texas received permission from COGIC to use the name of the church in 1912, and this continued until 1914, when they organized and called their predominantly white organization the Assemblies of God Church.”

“When Bishop Mason passed in 1961, he left behind him one of the largest Pentecostal bodies in the world.”

“I get the impression that God wanted all of us to be together as one in Him, worshiping Him and praising Him together.”

“Christianity is not a white man’s religion it’s not a black man’s religion: it’s simply man’s religion! It’s the only hope for salvation in this world.”

“In Christ, there’s no Black, no white, but one race, one blood in Christ Jesus. Let’s give praise to the Lord!”

Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake teaches the rich history of Black people in the Bible, for Black History Month at West Angeles COGIC. 2-26-2017.

Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake teaches the rich history of Black people in the Bible, for Black History Month at West Angeles COGIC. 2-26-2017.

“I mentioned a little while ago about Joseph…There are many parallels between Black people and the experience of Joseph, who spoke the words of our text. Joseph had visions…Those visions sustained him in the midst of adversity.”

“I say to you as a people, I say to you as individuals: whatever you’re going through, whatever you’re dealing with, keep on seeing the vision. God said, ‘I know the thoughts I have toward you…future and a hope.’ So God has a future in store for you, and if you see the vision it shall come to pass.”

“In jail, Joseph held on to the dream. Black people held on to the dream in slavery. We believed that God was going to deliver us, and praise God – God did deliver us. We held onto the dream!”

“Our presence here in the United States was not a mistake. It was painful…We were hanged we were lynched, we were abused. But God used what we went through for our good. God raised us up, brought us out and brought us through.”

“God’s purpose was fulfilled in us, but God is not through with us yet. You are a child of destiny. God has a purpose in blessing you.”

“Somebody in here is going through something evil, but I want you to know God meant it for good! God is going to turn it around!”

“You are a child of destiny. God has a purpose in blessing you.” – Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr.

“God has a purpose for your life, and we know that all things work together for good for those who love the Lord, for them who were called according to His purpose.”

“What you’ve been through, I’m going to use to bless you and to bless others.”

“Thank you, Lord, for those who have gone before us. Thank you dear Lord, for those who have paved the way for us.”

“God blessed and elevated Joseph, who was sold into slavery by his brothers, reached back to help those who hated him…and blessed them. And thus, he was able to bless literally all the world.”

“Look at your hands please…the hands that God wants to use to transform the world. If you’ll say ‘Yes,’ if you’ll say ‘Thy will be done,” God will use those hands and use your life to bring glory to His name.”

“You are a child of purpose. God has a purpose for your life.”

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES: Genesis 37-50, Numbers 10:29, Numbers 12:1-9, Isaiah 40:31, Romans 8:28; Romans 8:31-39, Jeremiah 29:11, Matthew 6:33.


BOOK Free To Dream by Bishop Charles E. BlakeDO YOUR DREAMS seem to be marked, “Never to be fulfilled”? Do you feel that it is impossible for your dreams to come true? Are your dreams too big to achieve? Let Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. teach you the biblical principles to follow from the life of Joseph and other dreamers. In Free to Dream:  you’ll learn how faith, integrity and endurance will pull you out of the valley and up to the peak of success.  Bishop Blake will encourage you to pick your dreams back up, dust them off, and persevere to the fulfillment of God’s plan for your life.

PURCHASE Free to Dream: Discovering Your Divine Destiny, by Charles E. Blake, Sr. at the WEST ANGELES CHRISTIAN EMPORIUM, 3021 Crenshaw Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016.  Phone (323) 731-3012 for more info.

 

10 Inspiring Quotes by Great Women in History, Part I

March is Women’s History Month!  On Westa.org, we celebrate the strength and resilience of women throughout history.  Below is a list of 10 inspiring quotes by great women in history who have surpassed obstacles to emerge untarnished on the other side.  These women paved the way for the next generation to reach for their dreams and to make them come true.

May you be inspired and encouraged to live your life to the fullest by the ancestors that have proved your capability and influence as a child of God.

“I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.”

— Rosa Parks, African-American civil rights activist

 

“Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.”

– Marie Curie, chemist and physicist

 

“Great leaders never accept the world as it was and always work for the world as it should be.”

– Condoleezza Rice,  Former United States Secretary of State
WOMENMarieDaly

10 Inspiring Quotes by Great Women in History: Marie M. Daly, The first female African-American to earn a PhD in Chemistry, Columbia University, 1947.

“Courage… it’s a habitus, a habit, a virtue: you get it by courageous acts. It’s like you learn to swim by swimming. You learn courage by couraging”

-Marie M. Daly, The first female African-American to earn a PhD in Chemistry

 

 

“You should never view your challenges as a disadvantage. Instead, it’s important for you to understand that your experience facing and overcoming adversity is actually one of your biggest advantages. “
– Michelle Obama, first African American First Lady of the United States

 

“You have to imagine it possible before you can see something. You can have the evidence right in front of you, but if you can’t imagine something that has never existed before, it’s impossible.”

– Rita Dove, first African-American poet laureate of the U.S.

“The best protection any woman can have…is courage.”

– Elizabeth Cady Stanton, American abolitionist

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”

– Oprah Winfrey, American media proprietor, talk show host, actress, producer, and philanthropist

“The world is wide, and I will not waste my life in friction when it could be turned into momentum.”

– Frances Willard, suffragette whose “momentum” started kindergartens and day care for the children of working women

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”

– Harriet Tubman, abolitionist, humanitarian, and former slave

 Titus 2:3-5 (ISV) Likewise, older women are to show their reverence for God by their behavior. They are not to be gossips or addicted to alcohol, but to be examples of goodness. They should encourage the younger women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible and pure, to manage their households, to be kind, and to submit themselves to their husbands. Otherwise, the word of God may be discredited. Titus 2:3-5 (ISV)


Hear Nia Allen sing the beautiful hymn, “Holy Spirit”, at West Angeles Church of God In Christ below:

 

Oprah Photo: Benny Gool/Harpo.

 

 

8 Things You Need to Know About Finding Your Purpose

“Before I formed you in your mother’s womb, I knew you”

Jeremiah 1:5

Whether we know it or not, everything, and everyone, has a purpose. But life can seem pretty hopeless at times if we don’t know what our purpose is. Sure, everyone seeks happiness, but what if we were to find out that our true purpose in life isn’t contingent upon our own happiness at all?

The dictionary defines purpose as “the reason for which something is done or created, or for which something exists.”

But God’s word defines purpose in a higher way. Ecclesiastes 3 (KJV) says,  

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”

In short, that means our purpose isn’t our choice, it’s God’s. It’s got nothing to do with our parents’ purposes, or our connections, or a particular industry we may think our skills fit into. Our purpose is strictly between us and God, and that makes it pretty important.

DIVINE DESIGN

Now that we know that God has created us for a divine purpose, 8 Things You Need to Know About Finding Your Purposealso know that the world will become a better place when we all know what that purpose is, then focused on making it happen. But before understanding how God will reveal His plan for our lives, we must also know that the world is going to offer all sorts of ready-made ideas for us to claim a “passion” in life – ideas which can distract us and take us down the wrong path if we’re not careful.

That part of the journey can lead us to proclaim:

  • “I want to work in the ______ industry.”
  • “People like me on television  are doing_____, and I want to do it too.”
  • “_______looks like fun!”
  • “My (dad or mom) was a ______, so I’m going to be one too.”
  • “_______makes me happy.”

These reasons, though, probably have nothing to do with why God created us in the first place.

THE SECRET TO YOUR PURPOSE

To find the answer, we’ve got to turn our own ideas inside out to embrace a whole new way of thinking. So if we’re serious about taking this journey, we’ve got to let go of our own egos and desires, then:

    1. Ditch the world’s idea of who you should be (Romans 12:2). This is one of the most important mind-clearing steps to finding our purpose. Sometimes this is hard to do: but take a “media fast”, to spend time with God. Social media, television, music: all  distracting and soul-numbing, and can fill the soul with a million voices – none of which are God’s. Even if you could find your purpose by watching endless hours of talent shows, cat fights, musical performances, sports, news, and reality tv, God doesn’t need any of them to make His purpose for your life known to you.
    2. Listen to God (Isaiah 55:11). He speaks in a myriad of ways. Asking God, hearing and listening to Him, and following Him takes commitment. Fasting, praying, meditating on His Word…You have to do the work, but in the end, it’s worth it.
    3. Keep a journal (Jeremiah 30:2). Record your dreams and visions. Let Scripture define each task you do.
    4. Go back to childhood (Jeremiah 1:5). Who you were and what you did best in the early days of your childhood can show the skills you’ll need to manifest your purpose. 
    5. Know that you are not your parents (Exodus 20:5-6). God doesn’t want you to take your parents’ issues into your future. Everyone is created for a specific, unique reason.
    6. Understand it’s not about your happiness (Luke 22:42) – it’s actually about someone else’s. Finding your purpose can actually bring difficult times because sometimes your faith will be tested.
    7. Get off the career ladder (Colossians 1:16). That’s society’s vision for you. You were born with gifts and skills of which must be used for a higher purpose.
    8. Listen to your elders (1 Timothy 4:14). Respected elders can see the vision for your life, and can confirm the path God wants you to follow.

Jesus said in Luke 9:23,

“If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.”  

and in John 15:13,

“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

If you look at Jesus’ life, everything He did, all the miracles He performed, He did for others; for those who needed Him. That’s the secret to unlocking the miracles in your purpose: it’s all about using your gifts for the benefit of uplifting others.

What voice or idea is unique only to you? What aspects of society drive you forward and turn on a light within you? Using your God-given gifts and talents to let the world know who God is, changes the world as only you can. Following God’s call puts you on the road to manifesting miracles found only in living out His purpose for your life.


BOOK Free To Dream by Bishop Charles E. BlakeDO YOUR DREAMS seem to be marked, “Never to be fulfilled”? Do you feel that it is impossible for your dreams to come true? Do you fear your dreams are too big to achieve?  Let  Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. teach you the biblical principles to follow from the life of Joseph and other dreamers. In Free to Dream: Discovering Your Divine Destiny, you’ll learn how faith, integrity and endurance will pull you out of the valley and up to the peak of success. Bishop Blake will encourages you to pick your dreams back up, dust them off, and persevere to the fulfillment of God’s plan for your life.

PURCHASE Free to Dream: Discovering Your Divine Destiny, by Charles E. Blake, Sr. at the WEST ANGELES CHRISTIAN EMPORIUM, 3021 Crenshaw Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016.  Phone (323) 731-3012 for more info.   One can also visit our website http://www.westa.org

Christian Life: 10 Essential Scriptures for Maintaining Your Cool

Have you found yourself in situations which threaten to challenge your patience, disrupt your peace, and encourage behavior which is counter to what God expects of you? Now, more than ever, saints are uplifting each other with the simple reminder that, no matter what is happening in the world, “God is in Control.” In our latest post on living your best Christian life, Dr. Tonya Lewis shares a list of 10 essential Scriptures for maintaining your cool in challenging times.

When we are confident with who we are and Whose we are, we learn we don’t have to fight each battle which comes our way. Insecurity, immaturity,  and not learning the value of living a peaceable life provokes us to think, say, and do whatever comes to mind, even though it is definitely not wise to do so. Most of the time, many of us feel that we must have the last word or action; we conclude that we can’t allow anyone to think that we are weak or afraid. We then want to blame others for our negative actions; even using the excuse “The devil made me do it!” (which legendary comedian Flip Wilson famous!)

Yes, while Satan and others may influence us, we make the final decision of how we think, speak, or act.  

As we mature in both age and spirit, we actually learn that we express more power by not engaging in each temptation of battle. We are told in Proverbs. 14:29, “People with understanding control their anger; a hot temper shows great foolishness; and in Proverbs 15:18, “A hot-tempered person starts fights; a cool-tempered person stops them (NLT). Rather than lose self-control, we must take personal responsibility for our thoughts, our choices, and our actions.

We must commit to keeping our hearts holy and righteous so that BIBLE we reflect the Spirit of the Kingdom of God, both internally and externally. When we yield our lives to Christ Jesus, He empowers us to control what we think, speak or do.  

Below are 10 Scriptures which encourage us to maintain our cool and control under the reign of Christ Jesus, Our Lord and Savior:

  1. James 1:19-20 (NIV)My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.
  2. Proverbs 10:19Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut.
  3. James 3:2 (NLT) – Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.
  4. Proverbs 13:3 – The one who guards his mouth preserves his life; The one who opens wide his lips comes to ruin (NLT).
  5. Prov. 21:23 (NLT) – He who guards his mouth and his tongue, Guards his soul from troubles.
  6. James 1:26 (NLT) If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not bridle his tongue, he deceives his heart and his religion is worthless.  
  7. Proverbs 28:25 (NASB) – An arrogant man stirs up strife, But he who trusts in the LORD will prosper
  8. Proverbs 15:1 (NIV) – A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
  9. James 3:13 – If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom.
  10. Matthew 12:34 – (NLT) For whatever is in your heart determines what you say.

As Kingdom citizens who live under the reign of Christ Jesus, Our Lord and Savior, we are assured of 1 Thessalonians 5:23, which states,

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely, and may your entire spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (NLT).

Such is not true for persons who are still trying to live life apart from the Lordship of Christ. In order for our spirit, soul and body to be blameless, we must stay in control! When  living according to the Word of God, we will be kept blameless in what we think, say or do. 

God bless you!

Dr. Tonya Lewis has been a member of West Angeles Church of God In Christ for over 40 years, serving 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, and at other teaching venues.


Hear Jonathan McReynolds sing “MAINTAIN”, featuring Chantae Cann below:

Dr. Judith McAllister: We Shall Overcome

We shall Overcome:

-From “Lift Every Voice and Sing”, the Negro National Anthem, by  James Weldon Johnson.

We have come, over a way that with tears has been watered.

We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered,

Out from the gloomy past, till now we stand at last

Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast.

 

 

(Please click the images below to enlarge the slideshow).

OUR HISTORY is resplendent with examples of ancestral strength, unimaginable faith, and a powerful vision of a day.  They are similar to the one in which we now live.  This is where we, as a people, would be able to freely worship in a beautiful Cathedrals such as this.  

Our forefathers and mothers; the unbearable pain they shouldered, the profound injustice they endured. They sacrificed their lives, their energy and great strength to overcome: and yet we are overcoming.

Now, we, as a people, must stand in unity, with the holy resolve to keep fighting, keep marching, and keep succeeding until we have indeed overcome.  

We literally come from kings and queens: Mansa Musa, Nzingha, Shaka Zulu, the Queen of Sheba – royal stock who, when bowed and broken, possessed a resiliency and an impenetrable determination to move beyond the hardship, to reach beyond the injustice, and to push past the dark veil of hopelessness to the promise of better day.   

We have overcome, yet we are overcoming – and that same thread runs within each of us. As a race, we must be resilient and dig deeper. We may bend, but we will not break!

 We have overcome, yet we are overcoming – for we must know that our true greatness lies not only in our ability to withstand oppression and survive, but also in our ability to hope, to trust, and to put our future in the hands of our Eternal God. He is strong to save. He who knows every detail of our victorious future. And it is within Him that true greatness lies!

 

A father leads his 2 sons through the streets of Harlem after Sunday service. Photo, Martine Barrat/In Our Own Image.

A grandfather leads his 2 grandsons through the streets of Harlem after Sunday service. Photo, Martine Barrat/In Our Own Image.

 

We have overcome, but yet we are overcoming – for we overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the words of our testimony. Through the storm, through the strain, through hardship, through pain, we have overcome, and we yet, are overcoming.

In conclusion, let your words today be filled with life, hope, and strength. Share with someone the testimony of what you have been through, so that they will know that if you made it through, they can too!

For together-

We shall overcome

We shall overcome

We shall overcome some day.

Oh, deep in my heart

I do believe

We shall overcome someday.

 

Hear Dr. Judith  McAllister and the West Angeles Mass Choir perform “We Shall Overcome” below: 

 

“We Shall Overcome” – Lyrics derived from “I’ll Overcome Some Day”, Charles A. Tindley, 1900.

Lift Every Voice and Sing,” the Negro National Anthem, by  James Weldon Johnson, 1899; music by his brother John Rosamond Johnson.


Dr. Judith McAllister, COGIC's International Minister of Music.

Often referred to as “The First Lady of Praise and Worship,” Dr. Judith Christie McAllister is probably best known for her impact as one of the forerunners of the Praise and Worship movement in the African American Church. Having served as Worship Leader at the West Angeles Church of God in Christ under Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr., as the church’s Executive Director of the Music and Worship Arts Department, and also as Minister of Music/President of COGIC’s International Music Department, she developed a style and approach to Praise & Worship earning her accolades from coast to coast. A wife, mother, author, prolific Bible teacher, prophetic psalmist and a Grammy Award nominee, Dr. McAlister is the CEO of three entities which enable her to mentor, train and empower the next generation in the ministry of music. Judah Music Group LLC,  Inheritance of Judah Ministries and Never Ending Worship (N.E.W.) Enterprises LLC, provide the foundation for all of her workshops, seminars, ministry services and products.

20 Scriptures and Quotes on Love

As month of February turns our thoughts to love, here are 20 memorable quotes and scriptures to remind us of the true meaning of mankind’s greatest gift.

“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.” – The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality…I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.”

– The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

__________

“There are some who’ve said that it’s the role of the husband to love, and it’s the role of the wife to submit, but I would say that both20 Scriptures and Quotes on Love the husband and the wife must love and submit…The Bible says in 1 Peter 5:5, ‘All of you must submit to one another.’”

“Wisdom and love need to drink from the same cup.”

Before you fall in love, put priority on spiritual and emotional excellence, not just on physical and erotic attractiveness.”

“When two people love the Lord, who committed to the way of God, who believe the Word of God, and who believe in Christian principles, living, and raising their family, they’ve got a marriage that’s going to work and be blessed.”

– Presiding Bishop Charles Edward  Blake, Sr.

“Wisdom and love need to drink from the same cup” – Presiding Bishop Charles Edward  Blake, Sr.

__________

“Love should be your top priority, primary objective, and greatest ambition. Love is not a good part of your life; it’s the most important part. The Bible says, ‘Let love be your greatest aim.’”

“If God’s going teach you real love, He’s going put you around some unloving people.”

“The best use of life is love. The best expression of love is time. The best time to love is now.”

Pastor Rick Warren

__________

“Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public” –  Cornell West

__________

“We, the People, recognize that we have responsibilities as well as rights; that our destinies are bound together; that a freedom which only asks what’s in it for me, a freedom without a commitment to others, a freedom without love or charity or duty or patriotism, is unworthy of our founding ideals, and those who died in their defense” – Former President Barack Obama

__________

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28

“Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” – Matthew 22:37-39

“Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him,  and show him My salvation” – Psalm 91:14-16

As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” – John 13:34 

“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” – 1 John 3:16-18

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” – Romans 8:35

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

“A new command I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” – John 13:34.


Hear Hezekiah Walker & The Love Fellowship Crusade perform “LOVE LIFTED ME” below –

Bishop Blake Discusses Financial Literacy and a New COGIC Partnership

EXCITING NEWS! The Church of God In Christ is partnering with John Hope Bryant and OPERATION HOPE to edify the community with financial literacy, as part of the COGIC Urban Initiatives.

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Since its inception, OPERATION HOPE has served more than 2.5 million individuals, teaching the building blocks of financial literacy and directing more than $1.8 billion in private capital to America’s low-wealth communities. HOPE maintains a growing army of 22,000 HOPE Corps volunteers, and currently serves more than 300 U.S. cities, as well as South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, and the United Arab Emirates. Bryant founded OPERATION HOPE immediately following the 1992 Rodney King riots.

 

The partnership between OPERATION HOPE and the Church of God In Christ will be administered through the COGIC Urban Initiatives, which will in turn empower each church to create programs which build upon the principles of financial literacy and economic development within its constituents, in order to create thriving families and communities.

 

OPERATION HOPE also operates the HOPE Inside Atlanta at Ebenezer Church, located on the campus of the King Center. Both the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his father, the Reverend Martin Luther King, Sr., were focused on making free enterprise a reality for all.
Watch this inspiring conversation between our Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. and Operation Hope CEO and Founder John Hope Bryant in this edition of “CIVIL RIGHTS STRAIGHT TALK” below, where they discuss the power of financial literacy for the underserved, and the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement:

COGIC Urban Initiatives – The vision of COGIC Urban Initiatives is to build healthy individuals, families and communities for a successful future.  Our mission is to empower the local church to implement programs that address Education, Economic Development, Crime, Family, and Financial Literacy. The programs will result in measurable improvement in the quality of life for individuals, families and communities served by the Church of God in Christ.


Compton son John Hope Bryant is a financial literacy entrepreneur and businessman. He is the founder, chairman and CEO of the nonprofit Operation HOPE.  Bryant was appointed to the U.S. Community Development Advisory Board [10] for the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI) at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and as vice-chairman of the President’s Council on Financial Literacy by U.S. President George W. Bush. He continued this work under President Barack Obama as part of the U.S. President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability (PACFC). He was appointed chairman of the new Subcommittee on the Underserved and Community Empowerment for the PACFC Bryant was selected to be a member of the Global Agenda Council for the World Economic Forum in Geneva, Switzerland. He is also a best-selling author of several titles on economics and leadership, including How the Poor Can Save Capitalism: Rebuilding the Path to the Middle Class. 

 

10 Healthy Juicing and Smoothie Recipes for Consecration

We’re down to the last few days of the annual January Consecration, but it’s never too late to begin a healthier lifestyle. We’ve complied some popular fruit and vegetable juice and smoothie combinations to inspire you.  Try these, or create your own!

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits” – Psalm 103(KJV)

JUICE smoothie

Creamy goodness: Banana-blueberry smoothie.

When we think of fasting, we often don’t think of juicing or smoothies as a “green meal”.   But juicing and smoothies can have many benefits.  Juices can be a great way to add nutrients to your diet, and to easily absorb vitamins.  Certain elements like ginger and pineapple can reduce inflammation, and we can also add spices such as cinnamon for added benefits and flavor.

For many, the idea of vegetable juicing may be a bit challenging, especially to beginners  who are starting a consecration for the first time.  But with a simple blender or juicer and a few of our favorite fruits, you’ll find that adding fresh juices and smoothies are a great, easy way to better health.

Below we’ve listed 10 popular juicing and smoothie combinations and recipes that taste fresh and yummy, but will offer you more nutrients and vitamins at consecration time: or any time of the year.

 

JUICING AND SMOOTHIE RECIPES

1. My Pineapple Goodness
1 large handful of fresh baby spinach

1/2 fresh pineapple

10 strawberries

1/2 cucumber

 

2. Strawberry Fields

2 Apples

2 Carrots

8 Strawberries

 

Usea combination of your favorite fruits to create your own customized juices and smoothies.

Usea combination of your favorite fruits to create your own customized juices and smoothies.

3.  Banana Blueberry Smoothie

1 banana

1 handful of blueberries

1/2 cup of orange juice

1/2 cup of pineapple juice

1 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1 handful of ice

Combine in blender and enjoy!

 

4. Wake-up

1 regular orange

2-3 skinny carrots

2 1/2 sweet potatoes

1 chunk of ginger (about an inch)

 

5. Veggie Lover

1 beet

1 very large carrot

1 bell pepper

1 apple (cored)

3 stalks of celery

3″ chunk of Daikon radish

1/2 bunch of cilantro

1/2 bunch of kale

 

 

6.  Date Fig Smoothie

5 dates, pitted and chopped

3 figs, chopped

1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1 handful of ice

Mix on high in blender and enjoy!

 

7. Carrot Ginger Delight

4 carrots

1 inch piece of fresh ginger

1 apple

 

8. Very Berry Apple Berry

2 cups strawberries

2 peeled oranges

1 cup rasberries

2 apples

 

9. Sweet Berry Treat

2 apples

1 pear

1 beet

1 kiwi

handful of blue berries

 

10. Good Morning Greens

Handful of Parsley

3 Leaves of Curly Kale

1 Kiwi – not too soft peeled

1 Granny Smith Apple

 

All of these ingredients can be found at your local grocery store or farmer’s market. Just have your juicer or blender ready, toss in the ingredients, add a touch of ice, and you’re ready to go!


Please consult a doctor before starting any new eating regimen.  This information is not a replacement for professional medical advice.

Elder Charles Blake II: Our Double Political Identity

Republican? Democrat? Conservative? Liberal? In this installment of The Elder’s Corner, Elder Charles Blake II discusses the dichotomy of being a Black Christian in political – and often polarized – America.

By Elder Charles Blake II

Since the November election, I’ve been in a number of places with those both inside and outside the African American community who have had much to say about the results of the 2016 Presidential election. There are some who expect me, by virtue of the fact that I am African American, to be in a state of depression because of President Donald Trump’s victory in the election. If they were a supporter of Mr. Trump, then they quietly choose not to openly celebrate his victory in my presence, for fear that they may raise my ire and cause me to unleash a passionate barrage of anger. If they did not vote for him, then they expected me to join with them in their anger, despair, and uncertainty at the future of our country’s well-being.

After my general disclaimer that “Whoever sits in the White House, it is God that sits on the throne of Heaven,” I had to remind them that, even when the person that they voted for wins the election, there is no guarantee that the world that they wanted to see will come to pass. When Barack Obama ran for President both times, the African American community and communities of other races, faiths and cultures came out overwhelmingly to support him and the dream of hope and change that he represented. However, as time progressed, we African Americans saw President Obama move to support agendas that had nothing to do with the issues that we face as a people. We now realize that it takes more than an African American President to heal our communities, and to help us move out of some of the issues facing us as African Americans.


WHERE DO YOU STAND?

In 2008, then Senator Barack Obama was nominated as the Democratic candidate for the President of the United States at the Democratic

National Convention. Bishop Charles Blake Sr. addressed the convention (see video, right); he also participated in a number of interviews during that time. I distinctly remember Bishop expressing the dichotomy – the double identity – of our political existence as African Americans. I heard him describe how traditionally, because of our values and morals, we are conservative; but with our political perspectives we are more progressive. We were taught by the example of our parents and grandparents the Biblical, traditional structure and values of God and family; and how, with hard work and discipline, an individual could rise to a higher level in life.

On the other hand, in our political perspectives, we are progressive. We have seen how the Federal Government, as far back as Reconstruction, had a large hand in ensuring that we as African Americans attained the rights espoused in our Constitution. We remember when the U.S. Marshals, and at times the National Guard, had to escort young African Americans to high schools and universities in the South, just so they could learn and get an education.

As a strong believer in pro-life values and traditional definitions of marriage, Bishop Blake has applauded the conservative defense of these values. However, he has decried the fact that their love and concern for the unborn stops at birth, and that more effort on their part is put into the construction of prisons than into the institutions which would build productive citizens. We, like Bishop Blake, applaud and agree with the progressive assertion that equal rights and opportunities should be available to every citizen of our nation, and that the Federal Government should protect those rights. But we, as African Americans, cannot agree with either the wholesale annihilation of millions of unborn children through abortion; or the equating of sexual preference with that of racial designation and the human rights that accompany that designation. We also cannot agree with the destruction of the traditional definitions of family and marriage.

ON THE LORD’S SIDE

We, as African American Christians, realize that we must articulate an agenda that speaks to both of our identities within the conservative and progressive agenda. The Progressives say to the African American that if we believe in Civil Rights; in the work of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and others who fought in that struggle, then we should vote Democrat.  The Conservatives say that if we as African Americans believe in God and in Christian values, then we should vote Republican: yet, neither party speaks to the totality of issues and concerns of our community.

It is only when we, as a people, begin to articulate an agenda of our own, which speaks to both our moral and our constitutional values, that we can begin to change our communities, and, in turn, our nation. Until that time however, there will be those who seek to define and articulate our agenda for us, and we will continue to be torn between two worlds and at war with one another. If this continues to be the case Beloved, it will not matter who is in the White House.

 

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Elder Charles Edward Blake II serves as Assistant Pastor and Director of Community Relations of West Angeles Church of God In Christ, under the leadership of Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr. He received his BS in Marketing from Oral Roberts University, and studied for his MD at the Interdenominational Theological Center. Elder Blake also serves as the General Manager of the Los Angeles Ecumenical Congress.  He and his wife DeAndra are the proud parents of two sons. 

 


VIDEO INSET: Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. discusses human value and a pro-life perspective at the Interfaith Gathering of the 2008 DNC. Video, courtesy of C-Span.

Hear Donnie McClurkin sing his anthem to the church, “Stand”, below:

The Extraordinary the Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was one of the greatest leaders in world history. Dr. King led a nonviolent movement in the late 1950s-60s, which began in the African American communities of the segregated south. Its purpose was  to achieve legal equality and economic justice for all, the effects of which were felt not only in the United States, but also worldwide.

“…‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the law and the prophets depend on these two commandments” -Matthew 22:39-40 (NET ) 

Dr. King’s work has transformed the lives of African Americans, women, the poor, and people of other colors and faiths in America, opening the door to greater, unprecedented opportunities for advancement in all areas of life. The purpose of the Civil Rights Movement was to establish the Constitutional and Biblical principles of equality, liberty and freedom for all in America. Dr. King’s work with the movement ignited and inspired people of other cultures and faiths worldwide in their own struggle for freedom.

 

A timeline of key events in the extraordinary life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. follows:

 

1929: Born  on Jan. 15, 1929, in Atlanta, GA, Martin Luther King was the son, grandson, and great-grandson of Baptist ministers. Named Michael King at birth, King was renamed “Martin” when he was about 6 years old. His father, Martin Luther King Sr., pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, and his mother, Alberta (Williams) King, a former schoolteacher, shared the Auburn Avenue home where Dr. King spent his early years with his maternal grandparents, the Rev. Adam Daniel Williams and Jeannie Celeste Williams.

1944-48: King attends Morehouse College, majoring in sociology. Although initially reluctant to follow his calling, Dr. Benjamin Mays, President of Morehouse College, showed him that a religious career could be intellectually satisfying as well as the right foundation with which to pursue the ideals of social change. Dr. King he was ordained during his final semester at Morehouse.

President Eisenhower meets with civil rights leaders on June 23, 1958. From left to right: the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., E. Frederic Morrow, Eisenhower, and A. Philip Randolph, William Rogers, and Roy Wilkins. (The Associated Press)

President Eisenhower meets with civil rights leaders on June 23, 1958. (L-R): the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., E. Frederic Morrow, Eisenhower, A. Philip Randolph, William Rogers, and Roy Wilkins. (AP)during his final semester.

1951: King began doctoral studies in systematic theology at Boston University’s School of Theology. It was during his time in the Boston area where he met met and courted Coretta Scott, an Alabama-born Antioch College graduate who was then a student at the New England Conservatory of Music. They married two years later.

1955: Dr. King received his doctorate from Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, PA. He became pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, AL, making his first mark on the civil-rights movement by mobilizing the black community during a 382-day boycott of the city’s bus lines. The U.S. Supreme Court ultimately declared bus segregation unconstitutional.

1957: Dr. King laid the groundwork for the organization now known as the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). He was elected as its president, and he soon began helping other communities organize their own protests against discrimination.

1963: In Birmingham, AL, during a non-violent protest for fair hiring practices and the desegregation of department-store facilities, police brutality used against the marchers dramatized the plight of blacks to the nation at large. Dr. King was arrested during the protest. He wrote“Letter from a Birmingham Jail” during his imprisonment. He then became a principal speaker at the historic March on Washington, where he delivered one of the most passionate addresses of his career to a multi-racial, multi-cultural crowd, the largest which had ever assembled there on behalf of a common cause in US history. Time magazine designated him as its Person of the Year for 1963.

Alabama State Troopers swing clubs to break up a voter-demonstration march in Selma, Alabama. March 8, 1965. AP wirephoto (Associated Press / )

Troopers swing clubs to break up a voter-demonstration march in Selma, Alabama. March 8, 1965.  (AP)

1964: At 35 years old, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. became the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize  (see Dr. King’s original notes for his renowned Nobel Prize acceptance speech HERE). In Selma, Ala., he led a voter-registration campaign that ended in the Selma-to-Montgomery Freedom March. King next brought his crusade to Chicago, where he launched programs to rehabilitate the slums and provide housing.

Dr. King rallied behind a new cause: the war in Vietnam. Here, King began to also address poverty, which he saw as a fundamental connection to the cause of the war; students, professors, intellectuals, clergymen and reformers rushed into the movement as well. He called for a guaranteed family income, he threatened national boycotts, and he spoke of disrupting entire cities by non-violent “camp-ins.” With this in mind, he began to plan a massive March of the Poor on Washington, D.C., envisioning a demonstration of such intensity and size that Congress would have to recognize and deal with the huge number of desperate and downtrodden Americans.

1968: On April 4, 1968, at the age of 39, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. He was felled by an assassin’s bullet as he stood with Jesse Jackson and Ralph Abernathy on the balcony of the black-owned Lorraine Hotel in Memphis, TN. The hotel is now the site of the National Civil Rights Museum.

1983: Legislation for a Holiday honoring Dr. King was first introduced four days after Dr. King’s assassination. It was signed into law in 1983. He is the only non-president to have a national holiday dedicated in his honor, and is the only non-president memorialized on the Great Mall in Washington, DC, our nation’s capitol.

 

7 QUOTES FROM THE DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.

Today, we honor the legacy and memory of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with 7 of his quotes  on racism, social change, and nonviolence:

  • “Racism is a philosophy based on a contempt for life…It separates not only bodies, but minds and spirits. Inevitably, it descends to inflicting spiritual and physical homicide upon the out-group.”
  • “We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now…”

  • “Ultimately a great nation is a compassionate nation. No individual or nation can be great if it does not have a concern for ‘the least of these.’”
  • “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense [rather] than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”
  • “It is the arrogant assertion that one race is the center of value and object of devotion, before which other races must kneel in submission.” 
  • “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

  • “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”

See video excerpts from the historic March on Washington below, courtesy of The History Channel.


The King Library and Archives in Atlanta is the largest repository of primary source materials on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the American Civil Rights Movement in the world. Significant records which document the social, cultural, economic and political impact of the civil rights movement are housed at the King Library and Archives, and are available online. See more at: http://www.thekingcenter.org/

Images and quotes, courtesy of The King Center.org. and The Seattle Times (accessed January 15, 2016).  http://www.thekingcenter.org/about-dr-king.

A 2017 graphic honoring the national Martin Luther King Holiday reflects its world-wide, cross-cultural reach.