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5 Things I wish I'd known before I went to College

5 Things I Wish I’d Known Before I Went To College

 

It’s “Back-to-School Season”; that time of year when youth and young adults around the world say “good-bye” to Summer fun and freedom, and go back to the structure and routine of school.

Senior year symbolically marks the end childhood and the beginning of adulthood: and for many, life on your own in college.

I still remember my first realization that I’d be leaving the small-town comforts and familiarity of home and family to embark upon the journey to adulthood in the big city. Up until that point, I’d spent most of my time focused on finishing my last year of high school; planning and preparing for entrance exams, college applications and portfolios; and gathering the necessities for dormitory life. Then it hit me: I’m going to be living a totally new life – and I had no idea what that was going to be.

Looking back now, I see an amazing adventure, and I wouldn’t have traded in a day of those experiences. But years later, much has changed in the world of today. The times are very different: and there might be a few things I’d want to know if I were doing it all over again.

Here are 5 things I wish I’d known before going away to college:

  1. Your faith will be tested. Your first encounters may be with people, activities, or ideas which are the exact opposite of everything you’ve learned to be true up until now.But although it’s great to learn new things, that doesn’t mean that your faith is wrong: even if everyone in society says otherwise.Your homework assignment for today: Read about Daniel and his friends in The Book of Daniel, chapters 1-6. Best advice here? Practice discipline. Know that saying “No” is a strength: not a weakness.
  2. It’s not necessarily a Christ-centered education you’re getting. Unless you’re attending a Christian college or seminary, your education is going to be secular; meaning, it may uphold more worldly ideas than Godly ones. I always thought that college was a more in-depth, specialized version of what we get in high school, and like the news, education was supposed to be neutral and objective, based on a central (bible-based) truth. Well, that’s no longer true for the news, and it’s not always true for your college education either. Holding onto your faith will prove to be an important asset (Proverbs 2:1-2).
  3. It’s a crash course in tolerance. My coed college dorm was a converted apartment building with large apartments as dorm rooms. Within my first two years of college, I’d had seven roommates; among them: a lovable white “hippie” drug dealer; a physically-challenged adopted Asian; a free-spirited African-American; a prim, Southern white supremacist; a shy Latino. That close proximity to actually living with diversity has continued to prepare me for life experiences to this day (Ephesians 4:2-5).
  4. You won’t always have someone on your side. Nope, not even professors. As a matter of fact, many professors feel it’s their duty to break you of whatever old ideas they think you’re harboring in order to make you “a new creation”. But remember your faith: and according to 2 Corinthians 5:17-18, that’s Jesus’ job. Joseph’s story in Genesis 34 is a great one to remember regarding the trials – and rewards – of staying faithful to the dream God has for you.
  5. It’s a very important step in a much bigger journey. Be proactive about your education; develop as many of your skills as possible. Where a syllabus may fall short culturally or spiritually, research other titles which can supplement your knowledge base. It’s important to seek and learn all you can to prepare yourself for the life God created you for (Matthew 25:14-30). Staying true to your Christian faith when you’re young will yield many rewards later in life, and this is just the beginning.

I guess the diversity of experiences was a gift, and I chose to accept it head-on (unlike our troubled, white supremacist roommate who, upon asking to be moved to another apartment during our first semester, was never seen or heard from by any of us again). My college years eventually led me to a fuller understanding of Jesus, of God, of my own values, and of the world. It may sound trite, but life really is a wonderful journey if you remember to keep the faith, stay the course, and hold on to the lessons it brings.

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES -Daniel 1-6, Proverbs 2:1-2,Ephesians 4:2-5, 2 Corinthians 5:17-18,Genesis 34, Matthew 25:14-30.

Are you ready for college?

Watch the trailer for the film, “God Is Not Dead”-

When atheist philosophy professor (Kevin Sorbo) plans to forego “dusty arguments” in his class, he insists the new students declare that “God Is Dead.” Unable to do this, Josh (Shane Harper) is challenged to defend his faith and prove to the class that God is NOT Dead. 

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

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

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.
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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.