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Amazing Facts About the Greatness of God, Part II: the rare Aloe polyphylla, commonly known as the spiral aloe.

Bishop Blake: Amazing Facts About the Greatness of God, Part II

Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake continues the exploration of God’s creation in Part II of our series, Amazing Facts About the Greatness of God.

God always has been, and He ever shall be. He stood on nothing, because there was nothing for God to stand on. He created a universe with fantastic characteristics, capacities, and cosmic proportions.  He formed all the stars. He formed all the planets. He gave special favor to the planet earth.  The precision of the heavens declare the wisdom of our God; creation is an expression of God Himself.

The universe is a testimony of the wisdom, the greatness, and the power of our God. In order to create a universe like this, God has to be a God of infinite power and wisdom. But after God created the universe, God kept on working. He caused the earth to bring forth 320,000 types of vegetation – trees, plants, flowers – on the earth. Then, 62,000 species of animal life God caused to bring forth from the earth. For His glory, He gave every species amazing capacities by which to function and survive, and every species utilizes what God has given it to its limit:

Amazing Facts about the greatness of God, Part II: The Pinwheel Galaxy, also known as M101. is in the constellation of Ursa Major (also known as the Big Dipper). It is about 70 percent larger than our own Milky Way Galaxy.

Amazing Facts about the greatness of God, Part II: The Pinwheel Galaxy, also known as M101. is in the constellation of Ursa Major (also known as the Big Dipper). It is about 70 percent larger than our own Milky Way Galaxy.

  • The peregrine falcon can dive at a speed of over 240mph.
  • The cheetah* can run at speeds of 70-75mph.
  • The sailfish is capable of swimming at a speed of 68mph.
  • The black bear can smell a food source 18 miles away, and can walk directly to it.
  • An eagle can fly carrying a weight 4 times as much as its own body weight.

Each species maximizes the abilities deposited within it. Their design and capacities are an indication of the greatness and the wisdom of our God in creating all species of life.

Then God Made Man

In Genesis 1:18, God looked at the animals He had made, and “saw that it was good.” But again, God kept on working. And when God made man, He went to an all-together different level. Genesis 1:25 tells us that God created man in His own image, over every living thing on earth.  As was the earth and the animals, man was created to live on the outer limits of his capacity and his ability.

God is expecting you to operate on the outer limits of your capacity also. You’ve got the power. You’ve got the anointing! The same power that raised up Jesus is available to you. I hope someone will decide today to do the greatest thing: to help the most people, to reach the greatest potential that God can bless you to obtain.

God wants you to be great, and to do great things! Hallelujah!

 

FOR FURTHER READING: Genesis 1:27-31, Psalm 81, Proverbs 3:19, Exodus 19:5, Psalm 24:1, Ephesians 1:18-20.

Adapted from the sermon, “God’s Work and Our Work,” by Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake at West Angeles Church of God In Christ. See the entire sermon HERE, on West Angeles’ Legacy Broadcast.


*WATCH NOW: “This Is Why You Can’t Outrun A Cheetah” below; excerpt from “Speed Kills,” on the Smithsonian Channel:

Read PART I of Bishop Blake’s series “Amazing Facts About the Greatness of God” HERE


DID YOU KNOW?

  • A life form, or lifeform, is an entity or being that is living. [Scientific] estimates on the number of Earth’s current species range from 10 million to 14 million, of which about 1.2 million have been documented and over 86 percent have not yet been described.
  • In May 2016, scientists reported that 1 trillion species are estimated to be on Earth currently with only one-thousandth of one percent described.
  • More than 99% of all species, amounting to over five billion species, that ever lived on Earth are estimated to be extinct.
  • The Aloe polyphylla of South Africa (pictured above) is commonly known as the spiral aloe in English, lekhala kharatsa in Sesotho, or kroonaalwyn in Afrikaans. The species is highly sought after as an ornamental plant, but is difficult to cultivate and usually soon dies if removed from its natural habitat. In South Africa, buying or collecting the plant is a criminal offence.
Member Profile: Dr. Judith McAllister; pictured leading the West Angeles Mass Choir, 2017.

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.

A Message from the Stars: Seyfert galaxy NGC 6814. Photo: ESA/Hubble & NASA; credit, Judy Schmidt

Bishop Blake: Amazing Facts About the Greatness of God, Part I

Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake ponders the greatness of God’s universe in Part I of our series on God and His creation.

“The heavens declare the Glory of God, and the firmament shows His handiwork.” – Psalm 19:1

Whenever you look out into the sky, even on the clearest night, you see only a small part of God’s universe. The nearest heavenly body to us is the moon, and the moon is approximately 245,000 miles away. The sun, which is a star, is 93 million miles away from us, a gigantic celestial body with a circumference of three million miles around. And there are stars in the universe that are 1,000 times as large as our sun.

Distances in the universe are so great, a basic unit of measurement is a light year – the distance that light can travel in one year – and that distance would be six trillion miles.

Our galaxy, called, “The Milky Way,” is more than 100,000 light years in diameter. Two million light years beyond that, you will arrive at another galaxy system.

Limits of the universe have never been discovered. But as large as it is, the God that we serve is bigger. The heavens declare the glory of God because the vastness of the heavens declares the vastness of our God. God is everywhere present and as mighty as all of those combined wonders are, our God has more power than what He has created…our God is a mighty God!

When you come against something that is too much for you, too powerful for you, too overwhelming for you, when you think you’re not going to be able to deal with it, even with God’s help, I just want you to remember: God has made an infinite number of stars and suns that are bigger than our sun. They’re still burning, still shining…and if God can do that, then God can do whatever you need Him to do.

Adapted from the sermon titled, “A Message from the Stars,” at West Angeles Church of God In Christ. Come back to Westa.org for Part II of Bishop Blake’s Amazing Facts About the Greatness of God.


As our gift to you, experience the entire sermon below, on West Angeles Church of God In Christ’s Legacy Broadcast:

A Message From The Stars, by Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake at West Angeles Church of God In Christ from West Angeles COGIC on Vimeo.

IMAGES – Featured photo: Seyfert galaxy NGC 6814. ESA/Hubble; acknowledgement: Judy Schmidt.  Sun video /Gyrating active region: both courtesy NASA.gov.

7 PROMISES of GOD

7 Promises of God That Will Motivate You Today

Behold: I am the Lord is there anything too hard for me? Jeremiah 32:27 

The prophet Jeremiah ministered during one of the darkest periods in the history of the Jewish nation. God was displeased, and the Kingdom of Judah was preoccupied with great distress. Babylon, the greatest military force of that day, had launched a deadly attack against the nation of Judah.

God had revealed to Jeremiah that, although He had delivered Judah many times in the past, Judah was then to be defeated. Its land and its assets were going to be confiscated. Its people were going to be made slaves. Many had already been killed by the Babylonians. Others were facing starvation and great desperation.

But Zedekiah not only rejected Jeremiah’s counsel, he also put Jeremiah in jail (and Jeremiah, of course, was proven to be correct; Babylon did overwhelm Judah, Zedekiah’s kingdom).

However, let’s take note of God’s grace and God’s mercy, even in the midst of crisis and amid catastrophe. God, in the midst of their distress, gave Judah a promise. In Jeremiah 32, God let them know that He still had a future for them:

  1. I will gather them from all the countries where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to this place…I will cause them to dwell in safety (Jeremiah 32:37).
  2. They shall be my people, and I will be their God (Jeremiah 32:38).
  3. I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever, for the good of them, and of their children after them (Jeremiah 32:39).
  4. I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good (Jeremiah 32:40).
  5. I will put my fear in their hearts (Jeremiah 32:40).
  6. I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with my whole heart and with my whole soul (Jeremiah 32:41).
  7. I will bring upon them all the good that I have promised them (Jeremiah 32:42).

Time and again, God says, ‘I will.’” Even in the midst of a terrible predicament, Judah received promises from the Lord.

NOTHING IS TOO HARD FOR GOD

Some of you are in a terrible predicament today. You’ve got bills, you’ve got creditors, and they’re pressing in on your from every side. The demons of hell are bombarding you with temptations designed to make you a slave, and to exile you from everything that’s valuable and important to you. The evil forces of the earth assault you with relentless fury so that your very survival is at stake. In the midst of it all, God seems distant or silent, and it seems you can go no further.

But I pray today that whatever state you’re in, that you will listen and hear God say, “I WILL.” We have a God who will keep His promises. God has made promises to us that can sustain us in the middle of our distress. If you believe God will keep His promises, give praise to the Lord.

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES – Jeremiah 32:24-42, 24-57, 33:3; 2 Corinthians 1:20.

From the sermon, “Take Title When You Can’t Take Possession,” by Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. 3-5-2017, at West Angeles Church of God In Christ.

WATCH NOW: Experience the entire inspiring sermon, “Take Title When You Can’t Take Possession,” HERE, on West Angeles’ LEGACY BROADCAST.


Hear “Nothing is Impossible” by Sinach Joseph, below:

Nothing Is Impossible performed by SINACH JOSEPH, Nigeria

Be inspired by 8 dynamic qualities of women in the Bible: like you.

The Power of Women: 8 Dynamic Traits of Women in the Bible

On Westa.org, we’re celebrating Women’s Day and Women’s History Month with a list of 8 dynamic traits of women in the Bible which are sure to keep you inspired.

As modern-day women, we seem to have as many mountains to climb today as at any other time in history. We may find ourselves questioning whether or not we have the strength to balance the weight of all the  responsibilities heaped upon our shoulders. We start our days on the run, stressed-out and worried that we’re unable to manage in our multiple roles as wife, daughter, mother, and career woman.

We end our days seeking a moment of solace by immersing ourselves in our favorite TV shows or social media outlets. Instead of finding peace, however, we’re bombarded with soul-shaking news stories and demoralizing images which seem to  challenge our  progress as a people and a nation, or worse – to undermine our faith.

We also know that we should make sure we’re healthy mentally and physically, in order to be at our best for others. However, with so much to do and so little time, we go to bed exhausted and awaken the same way, unsure of how we’ll summon the strength to rise again and start another day.

As women before us have known for centuries though, we must not lose heart when our help is as close as the Bible on the nightstand beside us.

 

8 dynamic traits of women in the Bible.

Prayer Warrior: 8 dynamic traits of women in the Bible.

OUR BIBLE, OUR POWER

The bible tells us the story of our history, and it has the key to our empowerment. Women throughout history have overcome obstacles by seeking and and relying upon the Word of God; gaining strength from its unlimited source of power.  

Here’s a list of 8 dynamic qualities of women in  the Bible to inspire and fortify you:

Prayer warrior. Women in the bible exemplify the power of prayer. Hannah’s prayers produce a warrior for God (1 Samuel 1:9-11); Anna’s prayers are rewarded with the promise of God’s New Kingdom (Luke 2:36–38).

Support system. Together, Naomi and Ruth use Godly wisdom to secure their family’s future – and change the course of history (Book of Ruth).

Purpose-driven. To cure her condition, one woman endures the possibility of disdain, scorn, and banishment in order to connect with Jesus. She allows nothing to deter her from the healing Power of God, and gives us a shining example of unwavering faith (Matthew 9:20-22).

Entrepreneur. The woman described in Proverbs 31 is a hard-working, enterprising, industrious entrepreneur who not only weaves her own fabrics (Proverbs 31:19), but from that fabric she also “makes linen garments and sells them,” and supplies products for other merchants (Proverbs 31:10-31).

Prophet. Deborah knows what would save her nation from oppression. She aligns herself with a leader named Barak who can get the job done (Judges 4).

Life-saver. Esther uses the power of grace, fasting, and marriage to save her people from extermination (Book of Esther).

Ruler of nations. The Queen of Sheba uses wisdom and discernment before giving King Solomon her blessing (1 Kings 10:1-13): but Jesus warns a disobedient generation that they will not have the same results! (Matthew 12:42)

Mother of mankind. Eve is the first woman – mother of us all (Genesis 3:20). And to Mary, a Savior is born, whose existence gives us the only living example of our fullest potential (Matthew 1:18-21).

The next time you need a boost of faith, come back to this list of Biblical heroines to remind you of those who came before you, who faced seemingly insurmountable challenges and, through the power of almighty God, triumphed. Stay strong, encouraged, and focused on the Promise of The Word. As women, we can do all things through Him who gives us strength.


8 Dynamic Traits of Women in the Bible: West Angeles Choir Singing King Jesus Is A Listening from West Angeles COGIC on Vimeo.

LADIES: WE’RE PRAYING FOR OUR MEN!  Please join us for the next “When Women Pray” prayer event.  Please CLICK HERE for more information.

PLEASE JOIN US FOR SUNDAY SERVICES AT WEST ANGELES! Click HERE to go to Westa.org for details.

REVIVAL 3-2017

March Revival: Order in the Court

Bishop Roderick L. Hennings returns to West Angeles Church of God In Christ for Revival this week, from March 1-3.  

Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. presented to us the opportunity for renewal and refreshment at West Angeles Church of God In Christ with a powerful revival titled “Order in the Court.” The guest pastor for the revival was Bishop Roderick L. Hennings of Zion Dominion Global Ministries in Rochester, NY, who began day one of the revival with an insightful look at Psalm 30:5 (KJV)–

For His anger endureth but a moment; in His favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

“The western mind looks at time as being linear – having a beginning and an ending,” began Bishop Hennings. “In fact, we’re the only people in the world who believe that time is linear.”

He went on to teach the congregation about the true meaning of the text, and that time is endless in God’s context.

“What time is it? No matter what time it is, joy cometh; Joy is always on the way…so even in the middle of your greatest pain, joy is on the way!”

Bishop Hennings also reminded the congregation of the power in giving God heart-felt, exuberant praise.

“You can be a quiet worshiper but you can’t be a quiet praiser…Joy is looking for you! Joy is coming! Give Him praise in your time!”

Highlights from Day 1 of the powerful, 3-day revival “Order in the Court”  follow:

REVIVAL Hemmings 2017

“Order In The Court” – Bishop Roderick Hennings conducts March Revival at West Angeles COGIC.

“He’s knocking with His Word” – Bishop Roderick L. Hennings

“The enemy can’t find you when God places you…When you’re in the right place – where God placed you – the enemy cannot find residence.”

“He pulled (Eve) out of her place. I don’t want to talk to anyone who can’t talk to me in my place!”

“Roles change when you get out of position.”

“When a man is not in place, things get out of order.”

“You learn how to love by being touched: not by being told.”

“A woman responds to touch.”

“Only one person can fit the place God has designed for you, and that’s you. Tell your neighbor, ‘I’m necessary.’”

“When you don’t know your assignment, you waste your time.” – Bishop Roderick L. Hennings

“When God has an assignment on your life…Thank God for every day you’re alone. That’s the time He’s developing you in the dark so he can present you in the light.”

“The danger of doing things God hasn’t called you to do will cause you to fight in battles, and then want God to back you up.”

“Know the difference between purpose and a proposal. When you have purpose, it’s the reason for your being; the reason that you’re here. But a proposal is something that you present, and you hope someone accepts it.”

“Purpose won’t let you die. Purpose won’t let you go through life precariously; hoping something will happen.”

“Lift your hands and say, ‘Lord, work on me!’”

“People make decisions based not on choice, but on what they value.”

“When you don’t know your assignment, you waste your time.”

“That ‘no’ can keep you on point. That ‘no’ can keep you on your assignment.”

“He’s not into exposing your processing plant. He’ll work on you privately, so He can promote you publicly.”

“Are you fitted for glory?” – Bishop Roderick L. Hennings

“Sometimes reminding yourself gives you balance.”

“God qualifies you by choosing you.”

“Even though you’re anointed to do what you do…there’s some stuff you still have to pray off of you.”

“If your prayer is promised-based, God moves quickly because you’re saying what He wants to hear.”

“You have to pray His Word! When you start praying His Word, you know you’re being fitted for glory. When you pray His Word, demons back up!”

“When you start praying the Word, the enemy has no room in your conversation.”

“Serving is not about recognition. He said, ‘Don’t get tired while doing the right thing.’”

“We’re in the last days…and all eyes are on the Christian church. Are you fitted for glory?”

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES – 1 Kings 6:7,13-19, Genesis 2, Revelation 3,  Hebrews 13,  Ecclesiastes 10, Hebrews 5:1-2.

Preacher, teacher, author, apologist, Bishop Roderick L. Hennings is Senior Pastor of Zion Dominion Global Ministries which he founded 1993. The church grew from 20 to 4000 members, moving to 14-acre campus in Buffalo, NY. Bishop Hennings is also the COGIC International Director of Church Growth and Development, and Administrative Assistant District Superintendent to Bishop Glenwood Young of the NY Western Jurisdiction #2. The author of “Survey of Biblical Theology,” Bishop Hennings is married to First Lady Pamela D. Hennings, and father of 2 daughters, Ariane and Chloe.


 

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The sky's the limit when it comes to love!

20 Scriptures and Quotes on Love

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

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

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

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

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

– The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

__________

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

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

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

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

– Presiding Bishop Charles Edward  Blake, Sr.

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

__________

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

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

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

Pastor Rick Warren

__________

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

__________

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

__________

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

watchnight-2016

Watch Night: A Historic Time of Reflection and Renewal

Millions around the world are making preparations to celebrate the coming of the New Year. It is often seen as a joyful time, traditionally brought in by many by attending formal parties, church services, and choruses of ‘Auld Lang Syne.’

Unfortunately, the significance and historic symbolism of New Year’s Eve has been overshadowed in recent years by revelry and broken resolutions. Some in society have even discouraged the tradition of making resolutions, citing studies which tell us that only 8 percent of us keep them, and that resolutions may even be harmful to us![1]

But did you know that the Christian New Year’s Eve church service – also known as Watch Night Service – was created to bring Christians closer to God, and also has very special significance in the African American community?


WATCH NIGHT IN HISTORY
The Watch Night Service tradition can be traced back to the Moravians, a Christian denomination from the Czech Republic during the mid-1700’s.[2]
John Wesley, the British founder of the Methodist Church, adopted the Czech practice of celebrating Watch Night, along with other English Puritan principles, when he instituted the Methodist Covenant Renewal Services[3]. These services were started in August of 1755 as a means of creating for Christians a more formalized and personal connection and covenant with God. British Methodism soon developed the custom of holding these Covenant services near the beginning of the New Year. The service was preceded by a period of preparation through prayer, fasting, reflection and self- examination, which has been credited as the modern source of today’s New Year’s Resolution[4]. The singing, prayers of allegiance and gratitude, testimonials, and scripture readings provided Methodist Christians with a Godly alternative to other secular ways of celebrating the day.

In America, however, another tradition was unfolding. In 1770, the first Watch Services were held in America at the St. George’s Methodist Church. Two slaves, Richard Allen and Absalom Jones, were a part of thi

"Waiting for the hour": Watchnight, 1862. Courtesy, Library of Congress.

“Waiting for the hour”: Watch Night, 1862. Courtesy, Library of Congress.

s congregation and they later left the church after being denied the right to pray alongside white worshipers. In 1794, they became the renowned founders of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (A.M.E.)[5].

The founders of the A.M.E. Church inspired the celebration of a new Watch Night tradition when, on December 31, 1862 – also known as “Freedom’s Eve” – the first Watch Night Services were celebrated in African American communities.
Gatherings  of African American slaves, as well as free blacks, came together in churches and private homes all across the nation awaiting news that the Emancipation Proclamation actually had become law. At the stroke of midnight on that day, all slaves in the Confederate States were declared legally free. When the news was received, there were prayers, shouts and songs of joy, as many people fell to their knees and thanked God[6].

WATCH NIGHT SERVICE TODAY

Watch Night Services usually begin between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m., and often end just past midnight. Today, the services may combine praise and worship, testimonies, and prophecy for the year to come, but many African American churches still honor Watch Night’s connection to the abolition of slavery.

Over 150 years has passed since the first “Freedom’s Eve,” and tradition now brings Christians of all colors together for worship and celebration each year. African American Christians have gathered in churches annually on New Year’s Eve ever since 1862, praising God for safe deliverance through another year: but, most importantly, honoring the ancestors’ prayers for a future of freedom and liberty.

Karen Lascaris is a regular contributor to Westa.org. She is the author of “In Our Own Image: Treasured African American Traditions, Journeys, and Icons”, published in 2001 by Running Press of Philadelphia.

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References:

[1] Forbes.com, “Just 8% of People Achieve Their New Years Resolutions.  Here’s How They Do It.” http://www.forbes.com/sites/dandiamond/2013/01/01/just-8-of-people-achieve-their-new-years-resolutions-heres-how-they-did-it/.  Accessed 12/26/2015.

[2] “Watch Night”; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watchnight_service, accessed accessed 12-28-2015.

[3] “The Covenant Service”. http://www.methodist.org.uk/who-we-are/what-is-distinctive-about-methodism/a-covenant-with-god/the-covenant-service.  Accessed 12/27/2015.

[4] “Why We Make New Year’s Resolutions”.  LiveScience.com.  http://m.livescience.com/42255-history-of-new-years-resolutions.html, accessed 12-28-15.

[5] “MetropolitanAMEC.org”. http://www.metropolitanamec.org/150th-anniversary-of-freedoms-eve.asp, accessed 12-28-2015.

[6] “First Watch Night Service Occurs”; The African American Desk Reference,
Schomburg Center for research in Black Culture. http://www.aaregistry.org/historic_events/view/first-watch-night-service-occurs, accessed 12-28-2015.

DID YOU KNOW?

  • Not all Slaves were freed by the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. Only 3.1 million of the 4 million slaves were freed at that time. Freedom’s Eve was a call to action for all Black Americans; a moral imperative to fight for the full realization of freedom for their brothers and sisters who were still enslaved.
  • All enslaved Africans were  freed from chattel slavery with the defeat of the Confederacy during the Civil War and the ratification of the 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery on December 18, 1865.
  • In the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches, the tradition of the late night service is called Midnight Mass or Eucharist.  Like the Watch Night service of the Church of Scotland, it is attended on the night of Christmas Eve.

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Praise the New Year in with West Angeles! Please join Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, the West Angeles Mass Choir, and other special guests for Watch Night Service at the West Angeles at the Cathedral, December 31, 2016 at 10 p.m. 3600 Crenshaw Boulevard, LA 90016.

Please join us for the Afterglow Breakfast! We’re having breakfast in the Crystal Room immediately following Watch Night Service, 12:30-2:30 a.m. on January 1, 2017. Cost: $10 per person in advance, $12 at the door. West Angeles North Campus, 3045 Crenshaw Boulevard, LA 90016. See you then!

January is Consecration Month. Please join West Angeles Church of God In Christ in fasting in prayer for the month of January, 2016.  Complete guidelines and prayer calendar available in the lobby, and on Westa.org.

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#GIVING TUESDAY – Support West Angeles Family Life Center Campaign!

An architectural rendering of the future West Angeles Family Life Center.

Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. has a God-centered vision for you and your family to live the best life God intended!

The West Angeles Family Life Center will provide the Crenshaw community and the city of Los Angeles with a center devoted to the education, edification, enrichment and equipment of God’s people, based on the principles and spirit of Jesus Christ.

West Angeles equips the whole family through its over 80 ministries, programs and departments, including:

  • The Brotherhood Organization
  • The Young Women’s Christian Council
  • Youth & Young Adult Ministry
  • College Prep (Education Enrichment)
  • Drug & Alcohol Ministry (Free N One)
  • The Prison Ministry
  • The West Angeles Christian Counseling Center
  • The Skid Row Ministry
  • Christian Education

Please click the photos below for a slideshow of some of the West Angeles Ministries:

 

President Barack Obama and Former President Bill Clinton have praised Bishop Blake and the West Angeles ministry model as a shining example of Christian ministry and community-building at its best.

Be a part of the first edifice of its kind in Los Angeles, CA.  PLEASE CLICK BELOW to give to the Family Life Center Campaign today.

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Remember to add #GIVING TUESDAY!

Bishop celebrates the chaplains for our Airforce and 
Police departments.

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

It was a glorious 109th Holy Convocation of the Church of God In Christ, which took place from November 7-13, 2016, in St. Louis, MO. The galvanizing message of the 5-day convening of the saints was the 2016 COGIC Theme:

“Fighting for Salvation and Righteousness in a Violent and Immoral World”

(1 Timothy 6:12)

which addresses the need for the church to rise up to its mandate from God to fight for righteousness and holiness. 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.