What Does the Bible Say? 8 Verses About Thankfulness

With the Thanksgiving holiday upon us, most of us have spent the month of November sharing our appreciation for others, as well as planning our big Thanksgiving Day feasts.

But we must not forget to thank God, above all else, for blessing us with the holiday season, beginning with Thanksgiving and highlighted by Christmas.

So, what does the Bible say about being thankful? Here are 8 verses to remember during the Thanksgiving holiday:

 

Colossians 3: 15-17 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do,whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Thessalonians 5:18  16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances;for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Psalm 95:2 Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.

Colossians 2: 6-7 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

Ephesians 1: 16-17 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit[a] of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.

Romans 1: 21 21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.

Psalm 106: 1 Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.

Philippians 4: 6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

 

We wish you all a blessed Thanksgiving!

Stressed? 8 Last-minute Tax Tips!

It’s tax time again! If you’re feeling lost in a sea of papers and receipts, no worries…we’re here to help!

To start, if you’re like many Americans who have not yet filed your taxes, there’s good news: you have more time! April 18 is the income tax filing deadline for 2016 taxes because of the observance of the Emancipation Day Holiday, and because April 15th, the traditional tax filing deadline, falls on a Saturday this year.

Next, we’ve compiled some tools, tips, and links to help ease the stress of tax time, and to help to empower us to take control of our finances. Since God wants us all to be good stewards of our finances (Matthew 25:20-21), these tips can help remove some of the drudgery and mystery out of tax preparation, and encourage us to establish good financial practices for the future:

  1. Organize. Use a box or separate envelopes to toss receipts into, and to store tax forms received from employers or clients. Use an accordion file to store receipts and bills; use one section per month. Designate a place in your home where these items can be kept on a permanent basis.

  2. Chart your spending. Record your expenditures by category. This will help your tax preparer make the right deductions for you, which could result in a bigger return. It will also help you to better budget your spending. Download our free MONTHLY EXPENSE FORM; use it at the end of each month to organize and record your receipts and expenditures.

  3. Gather all necessary paperwork. TurboTax® has compiled a handy list with additional information that can affect your tax filing status. Click HERE to download.

  4. File an extension. Feeling stressed by the last-minute rush? The IRS grants special penalty relief to many taxpayers who request a time extension to file their federal income tax returns. You’ll find FORM 4868 HERE.

  5. File online. If you feel confident that you can fill out the forms yourself, then avoid those long lines at the post office by filing online for free. The IRS now offers many services on their website at IRS.gov, including the Online Payment Agreement application, and FREE FILE, a step-by-step tax return filing system. Filing through Free File, you avoid the late-filing penalty on money you may owe. Even if you make a mistake, there’s a solution. Use  FORM 1040X to correct any errors, even on previously filed returns.

  6. Do you owe money? Don’t panic! Some struggling taxpayers may qualify for an offer-in-compromise, an agreement between the taxpayer and the IRS that settles the taxpayer’s tax liabilities for less than the full amount owed. Eligibility is determined by the taxpayer’s income and assets.

  7. Filing after the deadline? It’s not the end of the world. Contact the IRS’ Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS). They’re your voice at the IRS, and they can answer questions about tax credits, penalties, and tax return preparation. Their job is to make sure that all taxpayers are treated fairly.

  8. Help is FREE. There are several resources for free help with tax return preparation and questions:

The West Angeles Community Development Corporation offers free tax return preparation for individuals and small business owners with low to moderate incomes. Click HERE for more information, or call 1-323-751-3440.

AARP Foundation Tax-Aide offers free, individualized tax preparation for low-to-moderate income taxpayers, with a special interest to those 60 and older. There are more than 5,000 locations nationwide; click HERE to find a site near you, or call 1-888-227-7669.

 The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free tax help nationwide to people who generally make $52,000 or less, persons with disabilities, the elderly, and limited English-speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals. Click HERE to find a VITA site near you or call 1-800-906-9887.

The Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program offers free tax help for all taxpayers, particularly those who are 60 years of age and older, specializing in questions about pensions and retirement-related issues unique to seniors. The IRS-certified volunteers who provide tax counseling are often retired individuals associated with non-profit organizations that receive grants from the IRS. Click HERE to find a TCE site near you or call 800-906-9887.

The IRS’ Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS)   offers free help to guide you through the often-confusing process of resolving  tax problems that you haven’t been able to solve on your own. Their role is to help you understand your rights. Click HERE or call 1-877-777-4778.

Finally, remember, as 1 Peter 4:10 (ESV) tells us,

“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.”

On behalf of West Angeles Church of God In Christ, have a blessed and stress-free tax season!


By linking to the external sites mentioned in this article, West Angeles Church of God in Christ is not endorsing their products, services, or privacy or security policies. We recommend you review the business or organization’s information collection policy or terms and conditions to fully understand what information is collected by these entities. Our thanks to the IRS, Intuit / TurboTax®, and to the West Angeles CDC.

Member Profile: Dr. Judith McAllister

West Angeles Church of God In Christ welcomes back Dr. Judith Christie McAllister as she leads West Angeles’ Music and Worship Arts Ministry into its glorious future. Read the latest interview with Dr. McAllister as she discusses her history, her vision, and her musical goals for the year ahead in a recent feature from the Los Angeles Sentinel.

Dr. McAllister, please tell us about your ministry, and your role in the church.

My name is Judith McAllister and the ministry I am honored to serve in is that of “Worship” in every sense of the word. As a Worship Leader, who makes others aware of the presence of God in those special times dedicated to “Praise and Worship” within the church, I have the responsibility to set, maintain and protect the atmosphere, to ensure that it is conducive for the glory of God to reside.

Through the lens of worship, I have the honor of governing in the servant leadership position of the International Minister of Music/President for the

Dr. Judith McAllister.

Dr. Judith McAllister.

Church of God in Christ, Inc., which boasts over 6 million members worldwide. In this role, I coordinate the musical presentations for all of our major conferences and services. I also have the responsibility to travel to various churches within the brotherhood to teach, train, instruct and impart to the constituents tools necessary for excellence in their presentation of worship and music. Also, I have once again been given the wonderful opportunity to serve as the minister of music, worship and liturgy at West Angeles Church of God in Christ, where Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr., serves as senior pastor.
In addition, I am the CEO of three entities that enable me to mentor, train and empower the next generation in music and worship arts. Judah Music Group LLC, which served as the springboard for the following recordings – “Send Judah First” (2000), “Raise the Praise” (2002), “In His Presence” (2006) and “Sound The Trumpet” (2008); Never Ending Worship (N.E.W.) Enterprises LLC, which houses all ministry products, and Never Ending Worship Ministries, (NEW MIN.) which serves as the foundation for all workshops and ministry engagements.

How long have you been in ministry, and how did you get started in it?

I have been ministering for over 35 years and this ministry began in my home church in New York City, (The Manhattan Holy Tabernacle) where I developed a love for the hymns of the church. Matriculating through my foundational years of school, I was named a prodigy; a classically-trained pianist studying at the famed School of the Performing Arts in New York, (graduating at 16 years of age) which afforded the initial tools necessary to execute my craft with precision and excellence, which in turn opened many doors, allowing me to participate in piano recitals at some of the city’s most prestigious halls such as CAMI, Carnegie and Lincoln Center.

What role has God or your faith played in your ministry?

God is all to me. It is within Him that I live and move and have my being. I do all that I do, because of my love and sincere gratitude for His love, favor and grace upon my life. In being recognized as a trailblazer in the area of praise and worship in the African American Church, my faith allows me to provide new paradigms for kingdom excellence in ministry; and in addition to mentoring music ministers all around the globe, I trust and have faith that my instruction continues to impact the body of Christ by elevating the understanding of radical, reverent and revelational worship.
What is one of the most memorable moments or experiences during your ministry?

Following a very powerful worship service, a young single mother approached me to say that her child was moved to tears while I was singing and ministering in song. I looked at the young 7-year-old boy, who was still under the influence of the Holy Spirit, and spoke into his life that the hand of God was on him and that he too, one day, would be a servant of the Lord in ministry. It blessed me so to see his face light up with joy and the essence of the Holy Spirit overshadowing him. In that moment, I understood and was blessed by the knowledge that the Lord used me as a vessel to awaken something within him, something neither he nor his mother had ever witnessed before!

What are you doing or working on now, and what are some of your future goals?

I am currently working on the “Promises of God” Project, which is inclusive of a CD single, a daily devotional and other worship aids of the same name, scheduled for release June 2017.
One of my many aspirations is to build a School of Worship and Arts for those who desire to be excellent in their presentation, spiritually, musically and professionally. I also desire to utilize my record label to give young, anointed and integral worship leaders the platform to be exposed to the world; to open doors for them that I did not have the privilege of walking through when I was young and on fire for the Lord.

Finally, my life is aptly summarized by this personal mission statement: “To fulfill the purpose of God for my existence to its fullest capacity, to die empty: having maximized every gift, passed on every ounce of wisdom having been blessed to obtain, completed every assignment and accomplished all that God has ordained for my life.”

Adapted from “L.A. Women of the Gospel – Judith McAllister.”  Published March 15, 2017. Reprinted courtesy of the LA Sentinel.


Hear the West Angeles Mass Choir lead by Dr. Judith McAllister in a performance of “Great”; West Angeles Church of God In Christ.

Inspiration: You Can Make A Difference

If  you were told that you could end a war, would you believe it?  If you were told that you could save the world from hatred, hurt and pain, or that you are the cure to the cancer that’s spreading throughout our society, would you doubt it? It’s overwhelming for us to believe that we, alone, can make a difference in solving the issues that seem so massive today. However, it only takes one person with the compassion and vision to heal a particular pain in our world to stand up and do so…

The rest will follow.


WHAT ONE PERSON CAN DO

I am reminded of Esther, who saved her people, the Jews, from slaughter; and the young shepherd boy, David, who slayed a giant all on his own. The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. saw the need for economic equality; to free the poor and disenfranchised from discrimination, and from oppression and repression by the wealthy. Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake saw the need to create a ministry which helped children orphaned by AIDS in Africa. Save Africa’s Children created much needed support for more than 100,000 children in over 23 African nations; now, Bishop Blake has set his sights on building an economic and educational legacy here at home to empower the generations to come.

Every revolution begins with a single person deciding to make a stand. 

Proverbs 29:18 (KJV) says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish”, but he who keeps the law is happy. The pattern in the word is that each battle and triumph begins with one person: and you can be that person. This does not mean you have to join every battle, but rather, pursue that calling which touches your heart most. That is the ministry that God has placed on your heart to help others, and to take each step one day at a time towards change.  You may begin alone, but I guarantee that God will not let you fight the entire battle by yourself. He will put like-minded people in your path, and together, as a mighty team in the name of Jesus, we can empower God’s people, build His Kingdom on earth, and make the world a better place.

“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men,  knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ” – Colossians 3:23-24 (NKJV)

Hear William McDowell perform the beautiful hymn, “I Give Myself Away” below:

Get Fresh: West Angeles C.R.E.W. Sunday School

 

YOUTH WESTA CREW

Get Fresh! West Angeles C.R.E.W Sunday School

The West Angeles C.R.E.W cordially invites you to join our FRESH Sunday School, every Sunday morning at 9 a.m. in Room 9 at the West Angeles North Campus. Our mission in FRESH (“Faith Restoring Enriched Spiritual Health”) is to give young adults with practical tools that promote spiritual growth and a want to study God’s word.  By receiving exact knowledge and applying the word, our young adults  and are ready to serve as effective leaders in ministry.


See an excerpt from Elder Uleses Henderson‘s presentation, “The Making of a Champion” below:

Elder Uleses Henderson – Get Fresh! West Angeles C.R.E.W  at West Angeles COGIC.

The West Angeles North Campus is located at 3045 Crenshaw Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016.  Phone (323) 733-8300 for details.

Holy Convocation 2016: Fight for Salvation in a Violent and Immoral World

. Bishops and Evangelists were consecrated, empowered to go forth in the work of the Lord, and the General Board convened; which ushered in the highlight of the Convocation: the Quadrennial Election where Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake was re-elected for a third term as COGIC’s Presiding Bishop.

The mighty women of the Church of God In Christ were front and center at the Convocation. Among them, First Lady Mae L. Blake – Bishop’s “Secret Weapon” – presented an impassioned speech in support of the mighty man of God at her annual Morning Gems session on Saturday, November 12. Dr. Judith Christie McAllister, International Minister of Music, oversaw praise and worship for Convocation, featuring the COGIC Mass choir, Lady Audrey DuBois Harris and the Clark Sisters, who were among the psalmists for the week. Evangelist Frances Kelley officiated the All Night Prayer Service from Monday evening, November 7 into Tuesday morning, November 8. Evangelist Joyce Rodgers delivered the word during the World Youth Day service, reassuring the young congregation with the acronym, “NFL,” which meant that, although we are in the fight of our lives, our affliction is “not for long.”

Highlights of other powerful sermons at the Convocation include “New Hope for the Church in America” by Bishop Jack Vaughn, who called for the renewing spirit of revival as he presented a prophetic word for the future of the church. In his sermon, presented during the Service of Episcopal Consecration & Installation, Bishop Vaughn prophesied of the enormous call of God on Millennial Generation, reminding us that both David and Timothy would also be considered Millennials today based upon the age at which they were called to follow the Lord. Bishop Jerry W. Macklin, who serves as Second Assistant Presiding Bishop, delivered Part I of his sermon on The Rapture, requesting of 100 pastors in attendance that they complete Part II of the sermon before their own congregations.

For The Lord’s Day Worship Celebration, Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake used the 2016 COGIC theme, “Fighting for Salvation and Righteousness in a Violent and Immoral World,” as the central focus of his commanding “Official Day” sermon. In it, Bishop taught that winning the souls of mankind for Jesus Christ is the most important service that we can perform as Christians.  “Jesus paid His life for man’s salvation,” said Bishop Blake. “There will never be anything more valuable than the life of the Son of God. How long has it been since you’ve led someone to Jesus?”

Excerpts from Bishop’s sermon, as well as photos from the Convocation, follow below:

Fighting for Salvation and Righteousness in a Violent and Immoral World

by Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr.

1 TIMOTHY 6:12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

The theme which the Lord has given us for the year 2016 leads us to focus on 3 areas:

  1. The nature of the world in which we live.
  2. The 2 primary treasures we must seek.
  3. The level of intensity with which we must proceed.

God intended that the world He created be a majestic, harmonious symphony of love, fellowship, beauty, and peace. The Bible teaches that man was created in innocence; that he was to be in union and in harmony with God, his Maker, his fellow man, and with all creation. But men rejected the will and the command of God; they rebelled against God’s will and against God’s plan, and became a blasphemous satire of what God intended the world to be:

  • War seems to be our favorite pastime; millions have been killed in the wars since Vietnam.
  • Around the world, 100,000 Christians are killed annually.
  • Millions of white Americans are arming themselves for what they feel is the inevitable race war about take place in our nation.
  • In the United States, over 1 million babies are snatched from their mothers’ wombs by abortion each year.
  • 500 blacks are killed by policemen every year, while 5000 blacks are killed by black on black crime.

Someone needs to ask the question, what have we in the west done? Why do they hate us so? And what can we do now to promquote-evangote peace?

Let us start by confessing and proclaiming that this world is violent and immoral. But God is calling upon us to fight for salvation and righteousness in this present world. Salvation is the most valuable commodity available unto men; winning men to Jesus Christ is the most important service that we can perform.

We love and respect those who differ from us. We recognize that God grants to everyone the freedom to choose even that which will lead to death or destruction. But God has also communicated in His Word what is the right and best path to follow, and in His Word He communicates the behavior which He condemns and punishes:

  • Genesis 6:11-12 – The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 So God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth.
  • Isaiah 55:6-7 – Seek the LORD while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near. 7 Let the wicked forsake his way And the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the LORD, and He will have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon
  • Romans 1:18 – For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness
  • Isaiah 1:5-6 – 5 Where will you be stricken again, as you continue in your rebellion? The whole head is sick and the whole heart is faint. 6 From the sole of the foot even to the head there is nothing sound in it, only bruises, welts and raw wounds
  • Lamentations 2:21 – My virgins and my young men have fallen by the sword; You have slain them in the day of Your anger, You have slaughtered and not pitied.
  • Jeremiah 9:23-24 – Thus says the LORD, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; 24 but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises loving kindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the LORD.
  • Proverbs 14:34 – Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people.quotevalue

God wants His people to be righteous; our world would be better off if men would follow the righteous Word of God. Matthew 1:21 says, “And she shall bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins.”

You learn the value of a thing by observing how much a wise individual is willing to pay for it. Jesus paid His life for man’s salvation. There will never be anything more valuable than the life of the Son of God. How long has it been since you’ve saved a soul from death? How long has it be since you led someone to Jesus?

Evangelism is not an option: evangelism is a mandate. It is a survival strategy. We’ve got to win the world or we’ll be destroyed by the world and with the world. When you win a soul, you rob the devil of one more victim. You give that individual a new lease on life; breaking yoke of sin and oppression. The very soul you win may be the one who will save or spare your life.

Mark 16:15 says, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel.” Let men know what God can do in their lives; tell somebody how much you love Him and how He’s changed your life.

Start a party up in heaven: fight for salvation and righteousness in an immoral world. It’s time to fight!

Abridged from “Fighting for Salvation and Righteousness in a Violent and Immoral World”, by Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. 109th Holy Convocation, St. Louis, MO.


THE 109th CONVOCATION IS NOW AVAILABLE ON DVD.  The Church of God  In Christ Publishing House has DVD’s of the 109th Holy Convocation. Hear Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake’s entire message, as well as COGIC curriculums, e books, and more. Call toll free at 1-877-746-8578, or please click HERE to visit COGICPublishingHouse.net.

SERMON: Greater Blessings for Greater Afflictions

Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr. cites the story of Joseph, one of the Bible’s inspiring examples of triumph over affliction, to uplift us in trying times.

“The more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew.” – Exodus1:12

In this poignant and prophetic sermon from 2015, titled “Greater Blessings for Greater Afflictions,” Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake shares words of encouragement and hope in the story of the children Israel in Egypt and the life of Joseph.

Joseph’s wisdom and blessings saved his family and his entire people, and brought wealth to the nation of his captivity, and for that he was greatly rewarded.

“God’s providential involvement with His people Israel did not stop when Joseph died, or even when Joseph’s generation passed from the face of the earth,” said Bishop Blake. “As a matter of fact, they grew even in the absence of any leader that we know about. They were increased from 70 souls… to 600,000 men by foot by the time of the exodus;” a number which may be closer to 2.6-8 million people, if you count all of those that followed them, according to Exodus 12:37.

Bishop Blake encouraged, “Adversity and affliction do not mean failure or defeat…The more you’re afflicted, the more you’re going to multiply and be fruitful. I see you going higher than you’ve ever gone before.”

This sermon from 7/12/2015 titled, “Greater Blessings for Greater Afflictions” is available HERE, at West Angeles Gospel on Demand. Highlights from the sermon follow:

“Some statistics I read many years ago indicated that only eight out of 100 people live to be 70 years old. Two out of 100 live to be 80…and only one out of 100 lives to be 90.”

“Since my childhood, I’ve seen three generations of leaders pass off the scene. So we would do well to think more generationally, and understand that there will come a time when each and every generation will pass from the face of the earth.”

“Today’s generation of leaders must prepare and make room for the next generation of leaders.”

“And as we grow older, we must think less of ourselves and more about those who will come after us and follow in our footsteps.”

“Every generation comes to a point where everyone in that generation will pass away…Don’t get sad. I didn’t say you were going to pass away today!”

“Every generation should spend a lot of energy planning and working for the good and for the advancement of the next generation. Following generations should be careful to build on the work of succeeding generations.”

It is very tragic when a generation ignores the work of the preceding generation; is incapable of continuing that work, or squanders that work in such a way that it is lost.” – Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr.

“Valuable years of Joseph’s life had been spent in one adversity after another adversity: years in slavery, years in prison, years being forgotten and neglected. All of that was lost because of the adversity that characterized Joseph’s life.”

“Several years after the death of Joseph, a new King of Egypt took control of the throne. This man knew nothing about Joseph…[but] if he had cared enough to look into the books of history, he would have seen the positive impact that Joseph had had on Egypt, making them rich beyond all imagination.”

“He would have remembered how Joseph had prophesied…and Joseph had provided the strategy that not only saved Egypt, from starvation during the famine but also provided for almost the entire known world and made the royal family of Egypt rich beyond all imagination.”

“That king would have remembered that Joseph ascended to the vice presidency of Egypt after a series of afflictions that his enemies – and ‘frienemies’ – had imposed upon him.

“Look at your neighbor and say, ‘You’ve got both enemies and ‘frienemies.’”

“I’m not angry I’m not bitter. God used your evil for my good, so I’m going to take care of you. Isn’t it amazing to take care of folk who hated you and tried to destroy you?”

“Joseph named his son Ephraim, meaning, ‘God has called me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.’”

“Doesn’t that remind you of what God has done for black folk in these United States? Came here as slaves, as captives; worked for hundreds of years without getting paid for that labor; people hated us and tried to lynch us and excluded us, and we can still lift our heads and say, ‘God has caused me to be fruitful in the land of my afflictions.’”

“Though we came here as slaves, no black people on the face of the earth are as blessed as we are because of the goodness of almighty God. Come on clap your hands.”

“Joseph named his son Ephraim, meaning, ‘God has called me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.'” – Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr.

“God had long promised Abraham that he would make of Abraham a great nation. And after 400 years, he would deliver Abraham’s seed out of slavery from the land of Egypt.”

“Joseph and Israel had had a good effect on Egypt…A positive and productive relationship had developed, and pharaoh should have known about that, and he should have attempted by kindness to build on the relationship that the former pharaoh and Joseph had with one another.”

“The new pharaoh demonized Israel…and contrived a plot to destroy them, to break their spirits, and to stop them from reproducing. He wanted to cause them to do despair so that they would die emotionally and ultimately, that they would die physically.”

“Every successful positive person is not a threat to you.”

“Somehow, we project on others what’s in our own mind, then we act on that projection.”

“There’s enough success for everybody; there’s enough resources for everybody…I’m glad that you succeed, because God will bless me with success also! Does anybody know what I’m talking about?”

“This king decided he was going to do everything he could to destroy the Israelites. He said to the midwives, ‘When their children are born…don’t let them live…I’m going to work those folk to death; I’m going to make them build cities; build pyramids and make their lives bitter with bondage.’ The strategy was to break their spirits.”

“One of the great maladies and tragedies of this whole philosophy of same sex marriage: where are the children going to come from?  How is the human race going to be perpetuated?  If everybody married same-sex, after a while, there would be no one left on the face of the earth.”

“Adversity and affliction do not mean failure or defeat. It just means God is going to get a greater glory.” – Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr.

“Notice how long this persecution lasted; notice how long this oppression lasted. It started before the time of Moses’ birth, and continued until Moses was over 80 years of age.”

“The reason they needed to hide Moses in the first place is because the king plotted to kill Moses.”

“They afflicted them. They oppressed them. They humiliated them for 80 long years.”

“Look at your neighbor and say, ‘The more you are afflicted, the more my God is going to bless you!’”

“God is getting ready to work a special miracle in your life.”

“God said, ‘The problem is not the problem. But you’ll earn a blessing from the way I deal with it. You’ll learn humility, obedience, patience; you’ll become stronger and a better person. I want to deal with that problem in such a way that you and those around you will have to lift up your hands and say, ‘Praise God!’”

“God wants to get glory out of your situation…Hallelujah!”

“If Abraham had a child at 30, God would not have gotten any glory from that; that’s normal. But Abraham had a child at 100 years old! Nobody but God could get the glory; nobody but God could get the praise! Come on clap your hands and praise God!”

“God is going to give you miracles for your afflictions.” –  Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr.

“Whatever the Lord pleases, He does…in the heavens, in the earth, in the seas, and in all places.’”

“Neighbor, wait and let God do it His way.”

“Child of God, The lower you go, the higher you go. God knows what’s in your heart and he knows what’s in your mind, but let God do His work in your life because God is pulling you out on the other side.”

“Tell your neighbor, ‘When God gets through, you’re going to be shining just like gold!”

“You are going through trials. You’re going through adversity. Adversity and affliction do not mean failure or defeat. It just means God is going to get a greater glory.”

“God is going to give you miracles for your afflictions. God said, ‘I’m going to give you victory in the midst of your trial. Don’t worry about the affliction and don’t worry about the trial. Just trust Me and I’ll bring you out!’”

“Just keep looking up to God. Just keep trusting God. The more you’re afflicted, the more you’re going to multiply and be fruitful. I see you going higher than you’ve ever gone before.”

“Jesus, the Son of God, is our example. The Bible says:

‘5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:5-11 (KJV)

“Because Jesus humbled Himself, God took him higher than he’d even gone before.”

“I’ve just come by here to give you a message of encouragement and hope and to let you know that God is not only going to deal with your issues,  but you’re going to be better in every way when God gets through Blessing you!”

“That’s what happened in Joseph’s life…When those brothers stood before him he could say to them, ‘Thank you for hating me; thank you for selling me into slavery. Thank you for forgetting about me, because when you forgot me, the Lord picked me up.’”

“The Lord works in mysterious ways!”

“When the devil strikes you, keep on praising Him.”

“When the way is rough, keep on praising Him.”

“When the burden is heavy, keep on praising Him.”

“The time will come when you look back on this day and say, ‘Thank You for every trial; thank You for every challenge, thank You for every tough time You brought me through.’”

“Life might crush you down, but I see you coming up!”

“The greater the trial, the greater the victory! The greater the test, the greater the prize…because of the goodness of almighty God! Hallelujah!”

 

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES – Exodus 1:5-12, 12:37; Acts 13:36, Genesis 15:20-21,37-50; Psalm 135:6, Deuteronomy 8:14-20, Philippians 2:5-11,  Psalm 25:15, 30:5, 34:19, Isaiah 40:31, Job 23:10.


THE BISHOP C.E. BLAKE LEGACY CONFERENCE – The Bishop C.E. Blake Legacy Conference imparts decades of wisdom to the leaders of tomorrow.  Secure your place in the legacy of this amazing ministry. To purchase the DVDs of the entire conference, please click HERE. 

For highlights of day 1 of the Bishop C.E. Blake Legacy Conference, please click HERE.

Bishop Blake on Vision

In his sermon, “Vision,” Bishop Blake challenges us to find a vision for every aspect of our lives. Envisioning ourselves living a Godly life places our dreams in direct alignment with the Word of God. In this world full of pain and heartache, people need hope.

Where there is no vision, the people perish – Proverbs 29:18

 

Having a vision provides hope to a dying world. When we link that vision to the power of the Holy Ghost, He breathes the breath of life and prosperity into every aspect of our dreams; coercing our hearts and souls to dream on.

With God, nothing is impossible. Continue dreaming and watch the hand of God move in your life.

 

Hear Bishop Blake’s entire sermon titled, “Vision” at West Angeles Video On Demand.  CLICK HERE to subscribe now!

 

Member Profile: Elder Oscar Owens

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

DID YOU KNOW?

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

Keeping the Christian family strong

There couldn’t be a better time for renewed focus on strengthening and celebrating the Christian family.

A whopping 78 percent of Americans identify as Christian[1], and after decades of unparalleled trials, triumphs and tests, we now know that regaining our stride as a community and a nation requires a reaffirmation of our faith and our beliefs.

For African American Christians in particular, this couldn’t be closer to the truth. Marriage, family, and generational ties were the foundations of our cultures in Africa. Even after being denied to marry during generations of slavery, our ancestors got married and stayed married decades later, making historic strides during the Civil Rights Era. Fast forward to the new millennium, however, and we’re now a generation that’s questioned our beliefs and traditions in favor of society’s trends and movements when it comes to marriage, relationships and child-rearing.

Adopting the permissiveness of the ‘sexual revolution’,  the materialism spawned by the 1980s, and the self-absorption characteristic of the millennial – or “ME” – generation, has thrown some of us off track, landing us in worse financial and emotional shape than our parents or even grandparents. Where previous generations got married and stayed married, many of us have chosen single life or divorce, allowing ourselves an “out” as soon as something goes wrong.  We dissolve the marriage before fully understanding the benefits of enduring and transcending trials.

But there’s no triumph without a trial (James 1:12), and if you’re ready to throw statistics out the window and breathe renewed life into your family and your future, it’s time to get back on track by:

1. Putting Christ at the center of your family life. The common denominator among strong civilizations is a common spiritual belief. Yet, while those of other faiths stand firm in their beliefs, we Christians have seen – and allowed – more challenges to our beliefs than any other religion. Ephesians 6:13 tells us to “put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and therefore after you have done everything, to stand.” As past generations have proven, the only way for us to thrive in an unstable society is to stand by the principles of our faith.

2. Putting the marriage first. When we travel by plane, one of the first things the flight attendants tell us is if the plane goes down, put on our own life support vest before helping others. The same goes for a marriage. The husband and wife – not career, money, possessions or even the children – are the core of the family.  Show love and affection toward each other and attend to each others’ needs. Continue to grow as individuals and as a couple, and always keep your relationship new, exciting and alive.  Joined by God, a husband and wife create a supernatural bond that knows no bounds. And the good news is, we’re not alone: marriage is on the rise [2]!

3. Guarding your heart, mind, and ears. Staying focused on the Word, using discernment when deciphering society’s trends, limiting media intake, and surrounding yourselves and your family with like-minded people are important ways to maintain strength and focus as a Christian family. For example, studies show that you’re 75 percent more likely to become divorced if you spend most of your time with friends and family who are divorced [3].

4. Preparing your children to serve. Cultivate their walk in their God-given purpose – not their wants or desires as promoted by society. Teach them the importance of giving back, and of becoming global citizens (read more on raising strong children here).

5. Doing things together as a family. Whether through meals, vacations, charitable and leisure activities, a family enterprise, or worship, spending quality time together as a family is key. As the saying goes, “The family that prays together, stays together [4].”

6. Having faith in faith. For centuries we’ve overcome trials by summoning faith in Christ. But in modern times, many have turned their backs on faith, thinking that we’ve somehow “evolved” beyond a need for Jesus’ strength. True strength is found in “walking the walk,” having the courage to live by your beliefs, and by being the first example of how your children should live. Being a Christian isn’t ‘weird,’ but very special (1 Peter 2:9).

7. Creating a ‘Vision Statement’ for your family. Call a family meeting to create a mission statement together, and write down your process and your results. Having a mission statement keeps everyone focused on ultimate goals and the big picture, not the quick fix or the gamble. Another great idea is to adopt a family scripture, as the Bradley family discusses here.

8. Creating your “Village.” As the (Yoruba) African proverb says, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Multi-generational families are making a comeback. We honor the wisdom of the elders to keep us firmly rooted in our faith, our traditions, and our past triumphs, as well as to project a vision for our future. Your village may include trusted friends and your church family, as well as blood relatives. Put the well-being of the family first while setting limits. Discipline is a biblical principle (Proverbs 13:24); allow the wisdom of God to protect your family.

The truth is, marriage and family are central themes in the Christian faith, and they’re also symbolic of the church. To each other, we are “brethren,” “fathers,” “brothers,” “sisters,” and as a unit, we are the “household of faith” (Galatians 6:10).

By far, more people claim Christianity as their faith than any other religion[1], yet no other faith on earth has experienced the level of challenges – or triumphs – that belief in the power of Jesus has. Work hard to maintain your focus on faith, and believe that the strength of your marriage and your family is one of God’s secret weapons of prosperity.

[1] http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/04/04/u-s-doesnt-rank-high-in-religious-diversity/
[2] http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/02/06/new-census-data-show-more-americans-are-tying-the-knot-but-mostly-its-the-college-educated/
[3] http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2013/10/21/is-divorce-contagious/
[4] – Father Patrick Peyton.

 

Did you know?
• Christians are the largest religious group in the world, and make up 33 percent of the world’s population.

• The common belief that “50 percent of all marriages end in divorce” is a myth. Origins: In 1979, during a time when new ideas and movements like Women’s Liberation and the Sexual Revolution began to hit their peak, the number of divorces peaked at 47 percent of the number of marriages performed that year. However, the number did not reflect the millions of marriages which had endured through previous generations.

• Grandparents’ Day is celebrated in September.

 

CELEBRATE FAMILY with West Angeles at the 2015 FAMILY LIFE CONFERENCE with Bishop Blake and the West Angeles Counseling Center.  Details coming soon to Westa.org.