Posts

Don’t Let These 6 Things Steal Your Potential

Are there “thieves” in your life? Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake exposes the elements of our lives which rob us of our full potential in Christ Jesus.

 

Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. 33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion – Luke 10:30-33(NKJV)

 

In this day and age, so many are moving fast, but in reality they are really going nowhere.

Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. teaches a lesson on the thieves which rob us of our potential.

The man in our story had a goal; he was on a journey, he had a destination. Yes, goals are essential to progress, but good goals must not keep us from the best goals. To prosper; to reach high levels of renown and popularity: “good” can be the enemy of “the best.”

You’ve heard many times the story of the good Samaritan. The story was prompted by a question asked of Jesus, probably of a lawyer, who asked, who is my neighbor?” Today I want to focus on the man who was wounded and on the thieves who wounded him.

 

In this scripture, thieves came upon a man who was on a journey. The thieves beat him and wounded him; they left him naked and half dead. A wounded person cannot function normally until they have recuperated. Nakedness is a sign of disgrace; it’s a sign of poverty.  And to be half dead means that you are only half alive: he was destined to die without help.

  • The man who was devastated and wounded represents us – he represents every person in this room.
  • The priest would represent the rites and the sacraments of organized religion – which, in themselves, cannot save us.
  • The Levite would represent man’s moral and ethical efforts – which, by themselves, cannot save us.
  • The thieves represent those things that potentially strip us and wound us and leave us half dead.

Men who were once exploding with potential are lying beside the road naked and dying. What happened to them? Thieves happened.

 

6 THIEVES WHICH CAN STEAL YOUR LIFE

 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death – James 1:14-15 (NKJV)

The bible teaches us that sin is a thief. It’s a thief that destroys life and happiness on this earth, and also in the world to come.  The evil forces that would destroy you use various enticements, but the goal is to wound you, to strip you, and to leave you half dead.

God despises sin because of what it does to His children.  Romans 6 says that “the wages of sin is death”; that which is opposed to the will of God will kill you. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 tells us that:

Don’t Let These 6 Things Steal Your Potential: Sin keeps us from the fullness of Christ.

  1. Fornication and adultery: those are thieves…they spread diseases which cause sickness and death. They rob boys and girls of their childhood; making them parents while they are still children. They are the greatest factors in the abortion epidemic. They break up marriages and destroy families.
  2. Idolatry is a thief, causing men to serve the wrong God. Anything that separates you from God is an idol and is a sin.
  3. Homosexuality is a thief because it contradicts God’s image of what a family should be. It deprives society of needed mothers and fathers, and they sometimes recruit and draw children into that lifestyle.
  4. Covetousness is a thief. Excessive desire for material things places higher value on money and things than it does on people.
  5. Extortion is nothing but a high-class thief.
  6. Drunkenness is a thief – and it doesn’t matter how you got drunk. Whether by alcohol or by drugs, jails and mental institutions are filled with victims of substance abuse.

But verse 11 of 1 Corinthians 6 says, “and such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.”

That means, the better we become, the better our lives become.

 

JESUS IS THE WAY 

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly – John 10:10

It’s time for me to reveal who the good Samaritan is: the good Samaritan represents Jesus. If we really want to live, it’s time for us to fall down before God and repent for our sins.  In 2 Chronicles 7:14, God says, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin.”

The man in our story was on a mission: he had a goal. But even a good objective can become a bad objective when it precludes God and shuts God out.  He was on a journey, but he made a mistake: he should not have traveled alone.  Have you been stripped? Have you been disgraced? Are you going through a time of trouble and distress? I’ve just come to tell you that you don’t have to travel by yourself. Raise your hand and say:

“Lord, Thank you Lord for turning my life around. Thank you for giving me your power. Thank you for sending us your Son, Jesus Christ; thank you for stepping in just when I need you most. I need the power of the Holy Ghost!”

Child of God, if you’ve got Jesus Christ with you on the road of life, God will be with you! You’ve got the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost!
Stand up and say, “Power!”

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES: Luke 10:30-37, Psalms 95:6, 101,147:4; Isaiah 43:7, Philippians 3:7, Acts 17:28, John 3:16, 6:68, 10:7-10; Matthew 6:33, James 1:14-15, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Romans 6.

Adapted from the sermon, “Thieves”, by Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr., at West Angeles Church of God In Christ. Watch the entire service below:


Illustration by Kyle Reed, c/o Creation Swap.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you know what an idol is? Read our post titled, “WHAT’S AN IDOL?” HERE.

GET INVOLVED: The COGIC Urban Initiatives

Dear West Angeles Family,

We are blessed with infinitely greater opportunities than Black people anywhere on the face of the earth. But we are blessed that we might reach out to those less fortunate, and to lift them and help them. We cannot be satisfied to be in a community that’s blessed and prosperous until we reach out and Bless everyone in that community.

I pray that, in this season, every one of us will stand upon our watch, and that we’ll go to God and pray:

‘God, I just don’t want to stand by. I want to have a positive impact on life on earth; I want to have appositive impact on my children, on my family, on my community. God, show me what you would have me to do show me what direction you would have me to go.’

As Presiding Bishop of the Church of God in Christ, I’ve asked every one of our 12,000 churches across the world to incorporate into their operations 5 areas of emphasis. We call this the Church Of God In Christ Urban Initiatives.

Get Involved: The COGIC Urban Initiatives include progressive programs for youth and young adults.

The 5 areas are:
1. Education – Includes mentoring, tutoring, and Christian education.
2. Economic Development – We offer job training, employment counseling and assistance, and entrepreneurship programs.
3. Crime Prevention – We’ve developed alternative programs to proactively keep young people out of crime,

and to create collaborative relationships with law enforcement.
4. Family – We’ve created programs to strengthen the family with a special emphasis on the role of fathers.
5. Financial Literacy – Includes programs for both young people and adults.

Some of the best leaders in our denomination have been assigned to lead the success of these programs across the nation. If every church has these five areas at work, there will be 60,000 programs in inner city America impacting our nation, impacting our communities, impacting the cities of our nation. West Angeles Church Of God In Christ has all 5 of these areas well covered, and we must expand even more.

We are Blessed to be a Blessing.  We need your gifts, your skills, and your involvement, and we look forward to working with you.

Sincerely,

Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr.
Presiding Bishop
Church of God in Christ, Inc.

 

GET INVOLVED WITH WEST ANGELES

  • For financial literacy, economic development, and community assistance programs, PLEASE CONTACT: The West Angeles Community Development Corporation at (323) 751-3440. Please click HERE for more information. http://www.westangelescdc.org/
  • For more on our family and personal development programs, PLEASE CONTACT: The West Angeles Counseling Center at (323) 737-7463 or (323) 733-8300×2360, counseling@westa.org http://westa.org/counseling-2/
  • For our “Manhood 2 Fatherhood” sessions, please contact The West Angeles Counseling Center at (323) 737-7463. Please click HERE for more information. http://westa.org/portfolio/manhood-to-fatherhood/
  • For The Brotherhood Organization, please contact (323) 733-8300 http://westa.org/the-brotherhood/
  • For more information on our adult and youth Christian Education Classes including The School of Practical Christian Living, Sunday School, and the West Angeles Bible College, please call (323) 733-8300.
  • For college prep and Education Enrichment contact Deacon John Wilson at (323) 733-8300 x2628, 2629 jwilson@westa.org lburks@westa.org http://westa.org/education-enrichment/
  • For Mentoring information, please contact Minister Sam Ransom, email Sransom@westa.org or call 323-733-8300 x2629.
  • For West Angeles COGIC Ministries and Auxiliaries – For more information on all of West Angeles’ ministries and auxiliaries, including our Skid Row Ministry, the Prison Ministry and many others, please call 323 733-8300, or CLICK HERE for a complete list. http://westa.org/ministries-departments/

THE COGIC URBAN INITIATIVES: “Building healthy individuals, families, and communities for a successful future.”

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


COGIC URBAN INITIATIVES IN ACTION – Please CLICK HERE to watch an inspiring conversation between our Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. and Operation Hope CEO and Founder John Hope Bryant, where they discuss a new COGIC partnership, the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement, and the power of financial literacy for the underserved.

Marriage Series: How Bishop & Lady Mae Met

As our Marriage Series continues, Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr. and First Lady Mae Lawrence Blake tell the story of how they met:

ARE YOU GETTING MARRIED? The West Angeles Counseling Center offers a wonderful 8-week Pre-Marital Counseling Course to give couples a strong foundation for marriage. Contact the West Angeles Counseling Center today. Phone: (323) 737-7463 Address: 3017 Crenshaw Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016

Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. – How to Overcome Obstacles and Negative Circumstances in Your Life

Inspired by Psalm 18, the highlights of this sermon, titled “Overcome Negative Circumstances And Negative Emotions” by our Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr., reference the words spoken by King David to the Lord on the day that the Lord delivered him from the hands of all of his enemies.

“One of the most important abilities a person can have is the ability to endure and rise above negative circumstances and emotions.”

“It was Samuel Lover who said, ‘Circumstances are the rulers of the weak, but they are the instruments of the strong.’”

“Napoleon said, ‘Circumstances? I make circumstances!’”

“The same circumstances that will destroy and devastate one person will make and develop another person.”

“Arnold Toynbee said, ‘Great civilizations are not born in circumstances where everything is nice or where everything is beautiful; but rather, in environments that are unusually difficult.’”

“It’s not your circumstances, it’s how you respond to your circumstances that is the important thing.”

“Some people don’t need a reason to hate you. They just find out that somebody else hates you, and they’re going to hate you, too! Does anybody know anything about haters?”

“Don’t be surprised when people hate you. Just be glad when you find some folk that love you.”

“If you live, you’re going to have enemies.”

“When you’re in the midst of wickedness all around you, it begins to drain your spirit – if you’re not careful” – Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr.

“People are afraid today. They’re afraid about their marriage. They’re afraid about holding onto their job…They’re afraid for their children…and then there are some folk that are afraid, and they don’t know what they’re afraid about!”

“If I can get you depressed, I can defeat you.”

“When you’re in the midst of wickedness all around you, it begins to drain your spirit and drain your enthusiasm for righteousness – if you’re not careful.”

“Austin O’Malley said, ‘Sorrow, like rain, makes roses and mud.’ That same sorrow, if you allow God to use it, can create a rose garden in the middle of your mud.”

“One thing about Brother David is that even though he faced these negative emotions, he was under-girded with some firm convictions about God!”

“If you know God, you ought to be able to overcome negative emotions better than some folk who don’t know God.”

“Whenever you see those words ‘OH LORD’… that’s a Tetragrammaton to replace the word ‘Yahweh’ or ‘Jehovah’…that let’s you know the name of our God.”

“Nothing else defines God but God Himself!”

“God spoke out of a bush that was burning, but not consumed.”

“God doesn’t need any fuel to burn!”

“God can send fire, and He needs no fuel for the fire to burn…If our world could do that, then nations could stay at home, and not be out somewhere trying to take somebody else’s oil!”

“God speaks to the things that be not as though they were…and if God wants to create something out of nothing, God can do it. And if God wants to bring life out of death, then God can do it. And Jesus proved that when He died on the cross; nails in His hands, nails in His feet, but on the third day morning He got up!”

“With God, nothing is impossible! Does anybody know God? Does anybody trust God? I’m gonna rely on GOD! Clap your hands! Give praise!”

“When you have a God like that, you’ll stop telling your God about your problems, and start telling your problems about your God!”

“God loves you with an everlasting Love.”

“God wants you to love Him; and if you love Him, He’ll work it out for you.”

“With God, nothing is impossible” – Philippians 4:13

“The psalmist says, ‘I’m going to overcome my negative circumstances; I’m going overcome my negative emotions by loving the Lord.’”

“My love for God will cause me to hold onto God, no matter what else happens in my life.”

“If you don’t trust God, you’ll be overwhelmed by worry. If you don’t trust God, you’ll be overcome by fear.”

“Neighbor, put it down…Cast all your burden on Him, because He loves you. He’ll take care of you.”

“God is courteous…He will not come in until you call Him. If you call Him, He’ll hear your prayer.”

“Does anybody know He’s an on-time God?”

“Are there any overcomers in the house? Let all the overcomers give God a cheer!”

“I’m not going to let fear destroy me; I’m not gonna let negative circumstances drag me down… I’m not going to let the world take my salvation; steal my joy… I shall be saved!”

“Child of God, don’t throw in the towel; Child of God, don’t give up. Your best days are still ahead…Tell your neighbor, ‘Keep going! Hold on! Hallelujah!’ ”

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES: Psalm 18:1-4 ,“Proverbs 18:14, Psalm 46:1-2; Jeremiah 31:3; Romans 8:28, Matthew 17:20, 22:37; John 3:16, Philippians 4:13, Proverbs 3:5-6, 1Peter 5:7, Isaiah 41:10, Isaiah 40:31, Job 1:13-22, 2:8-9, 23:10.

OVERCOMERS BIBLE FELLOWSHIP – You are invited to join the Overcomers Bible Fellowship, facilitated by Dr. Tonya Lewis. This fellowship can teach you how to overcome any and everything that’s contrary to God’s Word, thus developing you into strong, spiritual, Kingdom citizens. Join us each Sunday morning, 8-10 a.m., or Sunday evening 5:30-6:40 p.m. in the North Campus Sanctuary. Please contact:
Dr. Tonya Lewis at tlewis@westa.org, or please call 323-733-8300 ext. 2242.

It’s Father’s Day: 11 Qualities of a Strong Father

West Angeles Church of God In Christ is committed to developing and nurturing strong, resilient families, and today, we focus on fathers. Below, the West Angeles Counseling Center, under the leadership of Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr., has compiled a list of 11 qualities which can help a man to develop into a strong, noble father.

We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God.” – Colossians 1:9-10

The definition of a father, according to the dictionary, is:

One who has begotten a child; a male parent. A male who has impregnated a female, thus a child is born.

There are other significant definitions of fatherhood, but first and foremost, a father is a provider: spiritually, emotionally and physically. He is, in essence, a watchman over his children. He sets the spiritual tone in the family, and whether that tone is good or bad, he is the one who determines what will transpire in the home. If you had a negative experience with your father, dare to be different and do not allow that negativity to take place in your home.

Here’s a list of 11 things which help to define a strong father:

  1. Be a role model. A father should not only make available provisions to supply the needs of his children – food, clothes, and a roof over their heads – but he should also provide a stable and loving atmosphere for his children to enjoy. There should be warmth and peace in the home. There should be constant encouragement and a will inside of that man, that father, to be the best person he can be. A father should be a role model to his children. No other person should be able to compare to their dad. Be positive and optimistic. You can do this.
  2. Find employment. A man who is a father should be gainfully employed. There are times when a father is met with misfortune and a job is not available to him for a time. However this father must pick up the pieces and find or create employment wherever he can to maintain a living for his family.
  3. Show love. A father, if married, should show love in the household for his wife and the children should see the
    A young father walks with his son.

    A young father walks with his son.

    affection between the parents. The children should not be exposed to arguing and fighting, whether verbal or physical. A real man will not abuse his wife…period! The home must be a safe haven and a sanctuary for the family.

  4. Be strong. A father should show quality strength and courage even in the midst of trouble and his family will see that and line up with that. A father should show good character and help and equip his children to live a successful life. A father must teach his children good morals and ethics so they can be fine upstanding citizens in society. A father should instruct his children to obey the law and show them if one goes against the laws of the land what will transpire if they disobey authority.
  5. Value education. A father should make sure that his children are schooled. He must also be a part of the school system in that he has a caring attitude for what his child does in class. Enjoy your children through games, sports and activities. Spend quality time with your children at home. Take them on outings and stay within your budget. Everything does not have to be big and excessive. Small things count.
  6. Love the Lord. Take your family to church and instruct them on the ways of God. You, father, show them the scriptures. Take time to pray with your children. Show them that a real man depends on God for direction and then live it at home. You, father, take time at breakfast and at dinner to talk about the day. Find out what happened at school and discuss with them where they are as they share with you. You might feel, “I don’t have time” or “There’s not enough time in the day,” but if you don’t find time to give spiritual guidance to your family, someone else will. You can do this.
  7. Set boundaries. Teach them to be obedient at home, to you and to their mom. Teach them to respect their siblings. Teach your boys to respect females in your family. Teach your daughters to respect the males in your family. This will help them to have a mutual respect for all people. Let them know as they get older that there will be a curfew. Give them rules and create guidelines for the home. Let them know that there will be chores to do. You can do this.
  8. Discipline your children. Discuss with your wife or the mother of your children how this can be done. If a father does not live with the family, then find a way to achieve a special bond with your child. Pay your child support, and honor and respect the mother of the child that you helped to produce. Be in the child’s life.
  9. Teach them about life. Provide whatever life lessons you can for your children. Do not let them grow up without knowing that you are their father. Teach your daughter what kind of man she should be attracted too. She will look for a man like you who is of good moral quality and who has an attitude of righteousness; a man of substance and of prayer, a man who is gainfully employed (he may or may not have a degree, but he should be a hard working man). Help your son take the steps from childhood to adulthood. Show him how to be a real man as he grows. Show him the pit falls of making bad decisions in life and how to choose good friends. Train him up right. Let him know the mistakes you made and direct his path as God leads you. You can do this.
  10. Teach financial literacy. Save money for them for college and let them know that they can be a success in life (but of course it is better to show them with your own life). You can do this because God will help you if you ask Him.  Make sure that you have life insurance for your family in case of an emergency. Make sure that you have car insurance and medical coverage for the family. There is no excuse for excuses.
  11. Redeem the time you have with your family if you made a mistake. Humble yourself and find out if it is possible to correct your error. Even if it is your fault, it can be rectified. Fathers never give up and never give in. You can do this!

God has blessed and enabled you to plant a seed. Make sure that you water that seed and nurture that seed so that seed will someday blossom into a beautiful flower and strong deeply rooted plant and these will be your children. Be proud of them, and thank God that He allowed you to be their father.

This is our message to fathers…be blessed!

THE WEST ANGELES COUNSELING CENTER – West Angeles Church of God In Christ invites you to live a fuller life today and every day, but remember: “life happens” to all of us. We provide support and services to the greater Los Angeles area. You do not have to be a West Angeles member. If you need support, and to find out more about our programs and services, please call the West Angeles Counseling Center at 323-737-7463.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Bishop Blake: A Prayer Agenda for Fathers

“We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God.” – Colossians 1:9-10

 

“There’s a great hunger, a great need for expert advice on today…Abject failures are clamoring to tell you how to succeed.”

“Bad advice is everywhere but good expert advice is hard to find.”

“Sometimes, advice is very expensive, but there can be no more important dimension than that which relates to God and to eternal life.”

“The best advice comes from the Word of God.”

“It is so important to read the Bible for yourself.”

“Isn’t it great to be caught doing good?”

“Doesn’t it seem a little strange that Paul would pray for a group that seems to be doing pretty good?”

“All of us know a good start, but few of us are able to persevere.”

“When you decide you want to do something excellent for God, that’s when the devil attacks.”

“If you’ve never had a run-in with the devil, it may be because you’re going in his direction.” – Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake

“You ought to be further ahead and more accountable to God than you were last year.”

“Success imposes responsibility. Blessings impose responsibility.”

“When you are succeeding, it takes a strong, secure person to help you and not get jealous of you.”

“Many consider the apostle Paul to be the greatest preacher that ever lived, except for Jesus Christ.”

“When something is filled, it has no room for anything else. And when we are filled with the truth, there’s no room for error.”

“Paul did not just pray for knowledge, but for divine knowledge.”

“You don’t know a person because you’ve shaken hands with a person…you’ve got to stay around the person.”

“The most important associate you can ever have is God almighty.”

“Stay around the Lord.”

“The priorities of so many men are confused…They want the knowledge of God so that they can accomplish their will. It’s not our will, but God’s will.”

“Wisdom is practical knowledge.”

“A dumb question is better than a stupid mistake.”

“It’s not our will, but God’s will.” – Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake

“How many of you know that God will guide you and direct you?”

“When you’re prayerful… the Spirit of the Holy Ghost will guide you and direct you.”

“My brother…if you would open your heart to the Lord, He was a way of directing you in His way.”

“Your outward life ought to bring credit to your master’s name…If you’re a servant of the Lord, your life ought to reflect that.”

“The Lord wants us to be fruitful.”

“We need the help of God.”

“’Wait’ means trust in God. ‘Wait’ means rely on God. ‘Wait’ means believe that God is going to strengthen you. And if you put your trust in Jesus, He has a way of showing up.”

“Lord, I need your power. I need your presence. If you call Him, he’ll show up!”

“Lord, fill me with your power!”

“Jesus is alive!”

“God will bring you though!” – Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake

“Your enemies may come against you to bring you down, but God will pick you up.”

“God will bring you out! God will bring you over! God will bring you though!”

“Patience is endurance; it’s the ability to hold out and not be blocked by any attack of the enemy.”

“Thanksgiving is a command of God.”

“God wants you to stand!”

“Joy is in the Word of God!”

“The Lord is good!”

Adapted from the sermon, “Paul’s Prayer Agenda for Fathers.”  Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr., at West Angeles Church of God In Christ.  See our entire Father’s Day service featuring Shelby 5, on The Legacy Broadcast.

 

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES: Colossians 1:3-14, 1 Corinthians 13:13, Matthew 22:29, 1 Thessalonians 4:3, Proverbs 14:12, James 1:5, Ephesians 5:17, John 14:26, Proverbs 3:6,2 Timothy 2:19, John 15:5, Galatians 6:9, Isaiah 40:31, 2 Timothy 1:7, Acts 1:8, Luke 24:49, Jeremiah 33:3, Luke 10:19, Romans 8:31, Hebrews 12:2, Jude 1:24, Revelation 22:13.


Shelby 5 was our musical guest on Father’s Day 2017 at West Angeles Church of God In Christ! Hear their awesome acapella version of “CHAMPION” below:

DID YOU KNOW? The West Angeles Counseling Center has classes on parenting and marriage. We provide support and services to help strengthen every member of the family, and you do not have to be a West Angeles member. If you need support, and to find out more about our programs and services, please call the West Angeles Counseling Center at 323-737-7463.

Prayer Event: Congratulations, Mother McCoo Lewis!

Please join us for a very special time of prayer for Mother McCoo Lewis on her new appointment as COGIC’s General Supervisor of the International Department of Women

(see flyer below for details):

Watch Mother Barbara McCoo Lewis’ powerful, inspirational message at the 2012 COGIC Women’s Convention in Altlanta, GA (below):

Bishop Darrell Hines: 4 Reasons Your Pastor Is a Gift

In anticipation of next week’s powerful  Revival with Bishop L. Darrell Hines, we’re sharing a word by Bishop Hines on the glory in God’s gift of the pastor to His people.

There are gifts throughout the body of Christ for the benefit of the church. Romans 12 speaks about the gifts which come as a result of faith, then in 1 Corinthians 12 you have the gifts which are exercised and come about as a result of the Spirit. All these gifts are for the benefit of the church…but gifts without government is chaos.

People don’t like to be governed anymore. We live in a self-absorbed society; people are only interested in doing what they want to do, without any oversight or direction. Some parents today even sit back and watch what sex a child decides to be! There was a time when America was paralleled, in its application in society, with the scriptures. There was a time when the pastor’s word was the word; but now you google the word. Now we have “cast off restraint,” and we reject the order of God.

THE GIFT OF GOD

We understand that God is a Holy God and He gave us Jesus Christ, His only Son. But that’s not the only gift God gave to man. According to Jeremiah 3:15-16, we have a very familiar passage of Scripture which says,

And I will give you shepherds according to My heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding. 16 “Then it shall come to pass, when you are multiplied and increased in the land in those days,” says the Lord, “that they will say no more, ‘The ark of the covenant of the Lord.’ It shall not come to mind, nor shall they remember it, nor shall they visit it, nor shall it be made anymore.

God was speaking to Jeremiah, telling him that after God’s people left captivity, they would be given pastors. Shepherds – pastors – are a gift from God to His people. And just as Paul had to bring order to the gifted in the church in 1 Corinthians, God gives us the pastor to impart instruction and insight; to tell us “That’s not the way that should be done,” and “Wait…you’re not ready for that.”

Many people don’t understand this – especially in the times we live in – but we need to recognize that pastors are gifts to us from God, God’s gift to man.

 

WHY THE PASTOR?
God has chosen the pastor because:

  1. He imparts instruction and insight. God is a God of government. In the beginning, God created heaven and earth. This gives us great insight into God’s ability. But what would it say about God that He could put the stars in the sky, but could not keep them there, or keep the earth on its axis? It’s important to know that one of the greatest abilities of God – even greater than His ability to create – is his ability to govern His creation. We are His body; His body also needs government. As the Scripture declares in Ephesians 4:9-12-

He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things. And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ

The pastor is different in this 5-fold ministry because he is stationary and must remain with his sheep. He has compassion; it is the pastor that God uses to bring government to the flock. On God’s governmental hand – the apostle, the prophet, the evangelist, the pastor, the teacher – only one has the same title Jesus has, which is pastor.

  1. He ushers the presence of God into midst of His people. In the Book of Exodus, God tells Moses to take his shoes off, for he is standing on Holy ground. Then at Jericho – a different geographical location – God spoke through an angel to Joshua telling him to take his shoes off, because he is standing on Holy ground. God spoke the same thing in 2 different areas, so we know that it wasn’t the geographics! It was that God spoke at that place, which made it Holy. What makes West Angeles a great place is not that we have great praise and worship: great singing does not necessarily usher in the presence of the Lord. What ushers in the presence of God is His Word.  And when a true man of God declares the Word of God with power and authority, where God speaks His word, then the ground becomes Holy ground. This is the responsibility of the pastor.
  2. He replaces the Ark of the Covenant. Verse 16 of Jeremiah 3 (above) brings us an understanding of God’s purpose for the pastor:

“…they will no longer say, ‘The ark of the covenant of the LORD.’ And it will not come to mind, nor will they remember it, nor will they miss it, nor will it be made again.

To understand the significance of this passage, one must first understand the importance of the Ark to Israel. The children of Israel, their enemies, even the gods of their enemies, understood that the Ark represented the presence of God in the midst of His people. In 1 Samuel 4, Phineas and his brother went to battle against the Philistines, and took the Ark of the Covenant with them. The Philistines captured the Ark, and both Phineas and his brother were killed: but their father died when he found out that the Ark was missing – not that his sons were killed!  Phineaus’ wife was with child. When she found out that the Ark was gone, she went into labor; calling her son “Icabod” (meaning “God has left us”)! God has given us a gift, but that gift is not the Ark. We now live in a time when Pastors become the replacement of the Ark of knowledge.

  1. He can change your life. There is an anointing on the life of a pastor. God saw work for him to do and He anointed him to do it. Anointing is the ability on any man to accomplish the work, and there are benefits to God’s people as a result of that anointing.  When you have a real presence of God in your midst, blessings find you. The preacher is the only one with the ability through the word of God to change lives.  When they get through, you have been increased in knowledge. There are plagues which should have gotten to you or your children, but the man of God stood between you and that plague: the plague of divorce; the plague of mental illness, the plague of cancer. Pastors sacrifice and give their lives to their flocks, and have in their mouths the power and authority of deliverance for your children, salvation for your marriage, and healing for your body.

Romans 10:14-15 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!

There is some revelation that God is not going to give you except through the preacher; some measure of faith will not be established until the preacher preaches. You have got to realize that it’s the anointing of God on a man’s life that makes the difference.

LAST THINGS

Your pastor is a gift. The kingdom of God is at hand and we are God’s people. But we cannot allow ourselves to be swayed by ungodly things which speak against what God is doing.

The church, unfortunately in these last days has been tricked into bestowing less honor upon the men of God.  You may not know what God has given you but the devil knows what you have. The devil wants to kill the influence of the men and women of God. The devil is not God’s opposite because he is not God’s equal. He’s not omnipotent, and because he can’t be everywhere at the same time, he uses the influence of media – television, newspapers, the internet – because he wants to destroy the influence of Holy men.

It is the preaching of the gospel that will always make the difference in any society; it is the preaching of the gospel that brings salvation to a people. If you follow Jesus, you see that He opened blinded eyes, healed the sick, rose the dead, walked on water, fed 5000 with the lunch of one child.

After He had been in the wilderness for 40 days, Jesus spoke in the synagogue,

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound – Isaiah 61:1

I’m so glad He declared himself a preacher before anything else.

I’m glad I am a preacher of the gospel. I identify with Jesus; He has anointed me to preach the gospel. And I don’t know about you, but I am glad I have a preacher in my life! The word of God saved me out of sin, gave me faith to be healed, and gives me hope to my eternal destination. I thank God that He sent Jesus for the government of the world: but He also sent back pastors to bring government to the church. I thank God for doctors, lawyers, and engineers, but if every one of them left, leave me the preacher! The word in his mouth can heal the body, save a soul, change a family.

I came to encourage you to speak a word of life into your soul. We have a gift in Bishop Charles Edward Blake: a man of vision, a man of purpose, a man of prayer and pursuit of excellence in ministry. Thank God for my gift. Thank God for my man of God.

God’s gift is my pastor.

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES: Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, Jeremiah 3:15-16, Ephesians 4:9-12, Exodus 3:5, Joshua 5:15, 1 Samuel 4, Romans 10:14-15, Isaiah 61:1.

Adapted from the sermon, “God’s Gift to Man” by Bishop Darrell Hines; Men’s Day 2016 at West Angeles Church of God In Christ. To see the entire sermon and 2016 Men’s Day Celebration, please click HERE for the Legacy Broadcast.
___________________________________________________________________________

PLEASE JOIN US FOR REVIVAL AT WEST ANGELES! Please join Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake and Bishop Darrell Hines for Revival, May 24-26 2017 at 7 p.m. at the West Angeles North Campus, 3045 Crenshaw Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016.

Bishop Darrell Hines Revival at West Angeles COGIC.

Bishop Darrell L. Hines is a man of vision, purpose, prayer and a pursuant of excellence in ministry. His primary mission is to fulfill the call of God on his life by proclaiming God’s uncompromising Word. He is committed to bringing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to people of every ethnicity, nation, and culture. His purpose: “To tell a dying world about a living Christ.” Bishop Hines, a Stellar Award-nominated singer/psalmist, has appeared on Christian programming such as CBN, The Word Network, TBN and This Is Your Day with Benny Hinn, courtesy of Christian Faith Fellowship Church where he is Pastor.  Bishop Darrell Hines has been married to Pastor Pamela Hines for 37 years.  They are the parents of 2 children and the grandparents of 3.

For more by Bishop Darrell L. Hines, please CLICK HERE.

Bishop Blake: The Importance of Marriage

We’re starting a new series on marriage! In the first of our series, Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake shares God’s vision of marriage, and the importance of marriage in building a strong community and a strong nation.

In the early days of the church, many false and heretical teachers arose. They taught false doctrines, among them the assertion that marriage was adverse to the life of the spirit, the work of the church, and the will of God. These heretics said that if you want to do the will and the work of God, and to have the power of the Spirit at work in your life, then don’t get married. Even today, there are many who would depreciate the importance and value of marriage.

The traditional wedding ceremony says that marriage is an honorable estate instituted of God. It was at the wedding at Cana where Jesus performed the first of His miracles. Marriage is not to be entered into lightly, but reverently; discreetly, advisedly, soberly and in the fear of God.

IN THE BEGINNING

23 And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh – Genesis 2:23-24

Out of the ground, God formed Adam, and every beast of the field, but nothing in creation was sufficient for Adam, except for Eve.

God could have brought woman into existence out of nothing, or He could have formed her from any substance that already existed on the face of the earth. But in taking woman out of man, God implied that woman is a part of man. Woman was made out of man that man could esteem her and seek her welfare. Woman was given as man’s helper, to assist him in the challenges he would face:

Men have sight; women have insight.

Men have an understanding of the head; women have an understanding of the heart.

Where men fear, women enter freely.

Men supply structure; women provide adornment.

Men supply force; women supply the conscience.

Men provide nourishment; women make it good to the taste.

Men think in great generalities; women deal with minute details.

When men struggle to progress and to excel; women provide the encouragement they need.

GOD’S VISION FOR MARRIAGE

God devised and ordained marriage as a loving, lifelong, committed relationship between a man and a woman. Anatomically, men and women are made for each other. Their bodies are not the same, but comparable. One fulfills and completes the other. Male and female bodies join together to constitute the reproductive unit, and that unit continues to be needed even after the birth of the children, for their protection, nurture and training. The parental unit models life for them.

Marriage not only involves two individuals, but also their families. When families are brought together, meaning two individuals backed by two sets of parents and four sets of grandparents, marry for life and bear children only within those marriages, all kinds of strengths begin to develop. They provide a heritage and legacy of wisdom for their children, wealth begins to accumulate, and the likelihood of economic well-being and generational wealth skyrockets.

It is undeniable and indisputable that human progress would have been radically hindered and retarded if God had not instituted marriage. The Biblical pattern of loving husbands and wives reverencing God, living faithfully together, loving, guiding, and protecting their children together, can constitute a basic building block for a renewed and transformed society. The integrity of the family is essential for economic well-being. Multiple families and divorce are among the factors which can devastate any wealth that a couple has accumulated. There’s no way a man can do as much for two or three families as he can for one family. Our society will never get it together until we get the family together, and we’ll never get the family together until we get our behavior together and make a renewed commitment to the institution of marriage.

LOVE, AS CHRIST LOVES US

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself – Ephesians 5:25-28  

Marriage signifies unto us the mystical union between Christ and His church. And a husband and wife ought to love one another the same way Christ loved the church. They must commit to one another for better and for worse, in sickness and in health, for richer and for poorer, until death do they part. Marriage requires both the husband and the wife to submit to one another and pledge their faithfulness unto one another, so that they may live successfully, gracefully, and peacefully. Mutual love, faith in God, and commitment to Jesus Christ, is the key area of compatibility in your marriage.

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES – John 2, Genesis 2:7-24, Hebrews 13:4 Proverbs 3:5-6, Ephesians 5:25-28, 1 Peter 5:5.

Adapted from the sermons, “Invite Jesus to Your Wedding and Into Your Marriage,” “The Importance of Marriage,” and “A Believer’s Agenda,” by Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake, at West Angeles Church of God In Christ. Hear the sermons in their entirety HERE, on The Legacy Broadcast.

The Importance of Marriage: Bishop Blake says, “Invite Jesus to your Wedding” – at West Angeles Church of God In Christ.

WANT MORE ON MARRIAGE?  CLICK HERE to read PART II of our series: LADY MAE AND THE POWER OF PRAYER: