On New Year’s Day at West Angeles Church of God In Christ, the Holy Spirit was in the place as Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. delivered a prophetic sermon for 2017, “This is the Time of Restoration.”
The West Angeles Cathedral was filled to the rafters and pulsated with shouts of high praise as the saints entered the New Year with at First Sunday service on January 1, 2017 at 11 a.m. The congregation was once again blessed by the anointed ministry of the legendary Tramaine Hawkins, the voice of gospel royalty since late 1960s, whose magnifying performance still resonated from the previous night’s Watch Night Celebration.
Hawkins, a Grammy-winning gospel recording artist, became part of the gospel music revolution when she recorded the soulful, ground-breaking hymn “Oh Happy Day” with the Edwin Hawkins Singers in 1968. It was the first million-selling gospel single to top the pop record charts as well as the first gospel cross-over hit worldwide. Accomplished soloist of 10 solo albums, “Lady Tramaine,” as she is known, has also sung with Andrae Crouch and the Disciples, Walter Hawkins and The Love Center Choir, The Hawkins Family, and Sly and the Family Stone. The multi Grammy award-winning artist has also received many other honors including two Dove Awards, the BMI Trailblazer award, and induction into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. She also had the honor of singing at the homegoing services of both Civil Rights activist Rosa Parks, and Sammy Davis, Jr., who requested her personally.
After Lady Tramaine’s electrifying performances of the gospel classics “I Recommend Jesus” and “The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power,” Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake opened West Angeles’ First Sunday sermon of 2017 with Joel 2:25.
“And I will restore to you the years,” Bishop began, as the congregation again erupted in applause and praise. Said Bishop, “Come on and tell your neighbor, ‘That’s all I needed!’”
THIS IS THE TIME OF RESTORATION
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“The beginning of the year is a good time to look back. It’s a good time look ahead, and at the present. A good time to take inventory, to make an assessment; an evaluation of our lives.”
“It’s not practical or productive to look at only one dimension of time alone. We need to consult with the past to designate where we were and when we’ll be there.”
“A backward look will reveal the distance you’ve traveled. A backward look will reveal the direction you’ve traveled.”
“If you draw a straight line from where you are (or where you were), and you continue that line into the future, it’s possible to generally estimate where you’re going to be in the future – economically, spiritually, emotionally.”
“Some people will never be able to conquer the future because they are forever wrestling with the past; past mistakes, past failures, past problems.”
“Few things are more disheartening than to spend your life redoing things that did not turn out right in the first place.”
“One of the things I hate to do is lose something…If I had not lost it in the first place, I could have made real progress.”
“I hope somebody will decide to do something about themselves in the year 2017.” – Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr.
“It’s nowhere near as frustrating as to find out that you have wasted a substantial portion of your life…walking in the wrong direction and pursuing the wrong goals…It’s a terrible realization that you have lost years of your life.”
“One of the saddest utterances of the Word of God was spoken by Saul…in the Old Testament; one of the most glorious utterances was spoken by the Apostle Paul…in the New Testament.”
“It’s so easy to blame people. It’s so easy to blame circumstances. There’s little that we can do about people though. There’s little that we can do about circumstances. But there’s a whole lot that we can do about ourselves.”
“I hope somebody will decide to do something about themselves in the year 2017.”
“Most of the destruction in our lives comes from the inside: emotions, desires, fears ideas, sins.”
“If the problem’s on the inside, don’t complain about people and don’t complain about circumstances.”
“Most of the destruction in our lives comes from the inside.” – Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr.
“The locust symbolizes destruction that comes from the outside.”
“Is there anybody here who feels like they’ve lost part of 2016?”
“God speaks a promise through Brother Joel…Aren’t you glad that our God is a promise-making God?”
“Tell your neighbor, ‘When I leave here, I’m going to have to promise of God on my life!’”
“God will give you years of comfort, to take care of the years of deprivation.”
“God will repair the damage!”
“A scar means the worst is over, and the best is yet to come.”
“How many of you know that scar tissue is the toughest tissue anywhere on your body?”
“If something hits your skin, it may break it or damage it. But if it it’s scar tissue, if just bounces off and keep on going, by the power of Almighty God.”
“God will repair the damage!” – Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr.
“I feel that God sent this Word today. How many of you need this Word?”
“Somebody in here is broken and in despair…but I want to tell you, ‘Hold on. Keep on going by the power of God.”
“This is the time of restoration…God is a God of restoration.”
“That’s just what He does…He restores stuff. He repairs stuff.”
“He shall be the restorer of your life.”
“Your iniquity is pardoned. Your warfare has ended. You’ll receive double for all your sins. Tell your neighbor, ‘It’s turn-around time! It’s blessing time!’”
“God is all wise, all-powerful…There’s nothing that’s too hard for God.”
“I don’t care how many times you’ve failed, God is a restorer.”
“Tell your neighbor, ‘It’s turn-around time! It’s Blessing time!’” – Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr.
“We have been repurchased by the blood of Jesus Christ… If we have been bought back by somebody who stole us away, then that means we’re going to be alright.”
“Tell your neighbor, ‘It’s going to be alright!’”
“Jesus paid it all.”
“If you believe, your relationship with God is restored. But not only is your relationship restored, you are restored!”
“God’s going to have you reap in joy! Weeping may endure for a night, but joy is coming in the morning!”
“God will give me my joy back! God will give me my peace back!”
“God is a God of the second chance, of the third chance, of the fourth chance.”
“You might have messed up, but come on back home…God is waiting on you!”
SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES – Joel 2:25, 1 Samuel 26:21, 2 Timothy 4:6, Joel 1:4, Ruth 4:14, Isaiah 40:2, Psalm 126:1, Psalm 30:5, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Luke 15:11-32.
Hear Lady Tramaine Hawkins sing, “I Never Lost My Praise” below: