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WestA Homecoming Set for July 16

Excitement is in the air as we draw closer to our West Angeles Homecoming on Sunday, July 16! This will be a day for WestA members, past and present, to have the opportunity to come back home to worship together, to be blessed and to be a blessing.

We are pleased to have two sons of West Angeles, our very own Superintendent Michael Henderson and the President of the International Youth Department for the Church of God in Christ Dr. Benjamin Stephens, preach during the 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. services at the West Angeles Cathedral.

The 11 a.m. service will be followed by a “Picnic on the Plaza,” filled with food, fun and fellowship. Order your picnic box lunch from our food services department. The lunch will include fried chicken, cole slaw, corn on the cob, roll, pound cake, and your choice of lemonade or water, for only $10. Finally, we will come together for an old-fashioned concert at 7:00 PM at the North Campus Sanctuary, featuring each of our West Angeles choirs.

Invite your friends and family! This will be a day you don’t want to miss.
Welcome Home to West Angeles!

 

 

The West Angeles Cathedral, Address: 3600 Crenshaw Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016
The West Angeles North Campus, Address: 3045 Crenshaw Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016
Phone: (323) 733-8300 for more information.

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.

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.

Bishop Blake Shares Black History in the Bible

“We need to reach back to our homeland, reach back to Africa.” – Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake

Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake shares a Black History Month lesson that transcends the ages, beginning in Africa, thousands of years before the birth of Christ. He shares the stories of Moses, the Queen of Sheba, and Joseph; the slave trade, and the roots of Pentecostalism, revealing the connection between people of African descent and the roots of Christianity.

See this entire Black History celebration on West Angeles’ Gospel On Demand hereHighlights from Bishop Blake’s “A Sermon for Black History Month” follow:

“Two thousand years before the birth of Jesus Christ, Moses traveled to Midian, in the southern part of the fertile crescent. There, Moses married a dark-skinned Midianite woman. Moses married an Ethiopian, and Ethiopian people in her family became counselors and advisers to Moses.”

“Almost 1,000 years before the birth of Jesus Christ, the Queen of Sheba – also known as Kush or Ethiopia – visited King Solomon. She came from Africa with many camels, spices, gold, and precious stones. Her nation and her culture had obviously existed long before that time.”

“The Ethiopian Piankhi established the 24th Egyptian Dynasty. And at least four Egyptian Kings ruled over Egypt from 730 BC until 66 BC…great nations, great civilizations, great cultures existed in Africa centuries before Jesus Christ was born.”

“One of the greatest generals of all time was a man by the name of Hannibal from the city of Carthage in Northern Africa. Hannibal frequently defied and defeated Rome between 219 and 203 BC.”

“In 1498 AD, Portuguese explorers wrote that they found along the east African coast tall stone towns of comfort and of wealth. They found people who were highly civilized and skilled in the use of the compass, and in reading charts.”

“Timbuktu was a magnificent city where merchants made greater profit from the sale of books than from the sale of any other commodity.”

“In the areas of science, art, medicine, government, law and culture, many of the nations of Africa were competitive with, and in many cases, more advanced than the other nations of the world in Europe and Asia during that period. All of this was devastated by the slave trade; by slavery, and by Colonialism.”

“William Banks gives us the report in his book, The Black Church in the U.S., that nearly 20 million Negroes were made captive over the span of some 300 years, from 1517 until 1840. They were crammed …into ships like sardines in a can, and brought across the Atlantic from the Gulf of Guinea to the New World. The trip that they made was called ‘The Middle Passage.’ It’s estimated that perhaps 12 million blacks landed in South America and Latin America, and about 2 million of them were brought into the U.S.”

“What happened to the millions that were taken away from Africa? Some died resisting capture. Some died in captivity. While waiting in Africa to be shipped out, some committed suicide, not willing to be captured. Others, beaten and too weak to continue the trek, were abandoned to die.”

“After all we went through, God blessed us to be productive; to rise above our oppression and attain excellence.” – Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake

“Most of the loss of life came during the Middle Passage, that journey across the ocean from Africa to the New World. Perhaps not more than half of the slaves which were shipped out from Africa ever became effective workers in the New World.”

“What was the impact of the loss of 20 million of its inhabitants on the culture and the nations of Africa? How many died trying to defend their families in the violence associated with the slave trade?”

“After the slave trade came the horrible period of Colonialism, in which horrible invaders did to Africa’s resources what those before them did to Africa’s people. What was the value of the people and of the resources that were taken from the continent of Africa?”

“After all we went through, we still produced a Benjamin Banneker, maker of the first American clock; Sojourner Truth; George Washington Carver; Charles Drew… Benjamin O Davis; Ralph Bunche; Booker T. Washington; Marion Anderson; Martin Luther King, Jr.; Malcolm X; Colin Powell; Barack Obama!”

“During the dark day of the Crucifixion, the Jews were condemning [Jesus] and calling for His death. Europe, represented by the Roman Centurions, drove nails into the hands of feet of Jesus. But Africa, represented by Simon of Cyrene, a black man from Northwest Africa, stepped in when everybody else was stepping back…Simon of Cyrene shared history’s most significant moment with the Christ: he bore the Cross of Christ up Calvary’s Hill.”

“Jesus will not allow you to bear your cross by yourself. If anybody out there needs help with your cross, give praise to the Lord, and He will help you to bear your cross!”

“God chose black hands and woolly hair to perform an act that all the truly wise and all the truly great…Godly men of the earth would have been overjoyed to perform: bearing the Cross of Jesus Christ.”

“If Joseph were here, he would say, ‘Don’t ever give up on your dream.'”  – Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake

“The Ethiopian secretary of the treasury was to pass in his chariot…this Ethiopian nobleman heard and believed the gospel, and after being baptized, this nobleman went back to Ethiopia to form the Abyssinian Church that exists until this day. He was the first Gentile of record to be saved…a Black man.”

“Historian Dean (Henry Hart) Milman has said, “It was Africa, not Rome, which gave birth to Latin Christianity. Africa gave three of the greatest scholars of the church to the church. Augustine, Tertullian, Cyprian, were all born in Northern Africa.”

“Anyone who says that Christianity is a white man’s religion and not a black man’s religion really doesn’t know anything about Christianity.”

“Christianity is not a white man’s religion it’s not a black man’s religion…it’s just man’s religion! Halleluiah!”

“Black men have the privilege of being among the first leaders and participants in the Pentecostal and Charismatic revival that swept across the church in the early 1900s.”

“Historian and author Dr. H. Vinson Synan says that) Charles F. Parham, a white man, and William J. Seymour, a black man, share roughly equal positions as founders of modern Pentecostalism.”

“A key man in that contagious spread (of Pentecostalism) was a man by the name of Charles Harrison Mason, a black man and the father of founder of the Church of God In Christ. In 1907, Elder Mason went to Los Angeles and participated in the Azuza Revival and received the Baptism of the Holy Ghost.”

“Scores of white ministers obtained ministerial credentials from Elder Mason from the Church of God In Christ. One group in Alabama and Texas received permission to use the name of the church in 1912, and this continued until 1914, when they organized and called their predominantly white organization the Assemblies of God.”

“When Bishop Mason passed in 1961, he left behind him one of the largest Pentecostal bodies in the world.”

“Christianity is not a white man’s religion. It’s not a black man’s religion…it’s just man’s religion.” – Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake

“There are many parallels between [African Americans] and the experience of Joseph. In jail, Joseph held on to the dream. Black people held on to the dream in slavery. We believed that God was going to deliver us, and praise God; God did deliver us. We held onto the dream!”

“Somebody in here is going through something evil, but I want you to know God meant it for good! God is going to turn it around!”

“We need to reach back to our homeland; reach back to Africa.”

“If you pursue the purpose of God, God is going to work everything out for your good.”

“God worked it out for it us, and God is gonna work it out for you…but you’ve got to hold on to the dream!”

“Does anybody have a dream in here? Anybody have a vision? Do you have something you’re reaching for? Listen: God is going to bring it to pass!”

“If you hold on to God, if you trust God: ‘Seek ye first the Kingdom of god and His righteousness, and all of these things shall be added unto you.”

“Child of God, I just came by to tell you that God has great miracles in store for you!”

“If Joseph were here, and if he could testify, he would say to you, ‘Don’t ever give up on your dream. Don’t ever give up on your vision.”

“God has Blessed us, but I don’t believe God is through with us yet.”

“The story of Joseph can be your story. The story of your people can be your story…Praise God for your future!”

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES: Genesis 37-50, Numbers 10:29, Numbers 12:1-9, Isaiah 40:31, Romans 8:28; Romans 8:31-39, Matthew 6:33.

Bishop Blake: God’s Place In Black History

Reposted from ChristianityToday.com, February 19, 2016.

By Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake

When you are in the throes of doing what is right for righteousness’ sake, little time is taken to appreciate or envision the historical imprint your actions may have on the country. You don’t stop to ponder how your actions will alter the course of your life.

In college, I found myself watching and reading about events that were being characterized as civil resistance and civil disobedience. I often went to God in prayer to ask how I could be an instrument of change in what was happening in Alabama at the time. I didn’t realize then that the civil rights movement would become so richly commemorated and celebrated during Black History Month.

It is crucial to continue to remember not only those days, but all the ideas and events that have shaped the history of African Americans and our nation. And none is more important than this: the place of God in all of it.

In 1976, as part of the United States bicentennial, President Gerald R. Ford officially recognized Black History Month, calling upon America to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”

Long before President Ford’s official recognition of Black History Month in 1976, African American, Harvard-trained historian Carter G. Woodson and prominent, African American minister Jesse E. Moorland founded an organization, known today as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). The ASALH was dedicated to researching and promoting achievements by black Americans. The organization sponsored the first national Negro History Week in 1926, selecting the second week of February to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, February 12 and February 14, respectively.

Woodson said, “If a race has no history, it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated…”

By the late 1960s, thanks in no small part to the civil rights movement and a growing awareness and pride in black heritage, Negro History Week had evolved into Black History Month.

The nonviolent protests and movements of today are inspired by the strategies of the civil rights movement. Despite the separation of decades, I see great similarities in the cries for justice and against police brutality. What is obviously different today is this: the civil rights movement was visibly God-centric in its motivational speeches; there were many calls for prayer and appeals to the biblical justification of the movement.

In his famous “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” written April 16, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote, “Of course, there is nothing new about this kind of civil disobedience. It was evidenced sublimely in the refusal of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to obey the laws of Nebuchadnezzar, on the ground that a higher moral law was at stake. It was practiced superbly by the early Christians, who were willing to face hungry lions and the excruciating pain of chopping blocks rather than submit to certain unjust laws of the Roman Empire.”

As I look at the genesis of the African American and note our heroic journey traveled as a people—through enslavement, oppression, rejection and segregation—the greatest constant, on the path to the freedoms enjoyed today, was the presence of God-loving, God-fearing, and God-worshiping men and women.

Black history reveals that slaves suffered undeserved dehumanizing treatment as they toiled at Southern plantations in the blazing sun. And yet, they worshiped God. They met secretly for Bible classes. The timeless Bible stories of bondage, slavery, and the suffering of Christ evoked a response of faith and hope which were expressed in lyrics like:

My father, how long,
My father, how long,

My father how long,
We’ll walk de miry road Poor sinner suffer here
Where pleasure never dies. And it won’t be long,
We’ll walk de golden streets And it won’t be long,
Of de New Jerusalem. And it won’t be long,
Poor sinner suffer here.
My brudders do sing De praises of de Lord.
We’ll soon be free,
De Lord will call us home.
We’ll fight for Liberty
When de Lord will call us home.

Former slave Harriet Tubman, the 19th-century “Moses,” never lost a person along the Underground Railroad and attributed her success to her staunch faith in God. Just as she began to engineer one of her freedom quests, she would pray, “I’m going to hold steady on You, an’ You’ve got to see me through.”

On the broad shoulders of slaves, African Americans of the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s stood for justice and marched for equality. Every time “We Shall Overcome” was sung, it became a declaration of faith in God’s ability to empower his people. As historian Albert Raboteau stated, “The civil rights movement became a religious crusade.”

Churches played a pivotal role in the movement. Churchgoers relied on God’s guidance as they fought racism, hatred, discrimination, and injustice. Sunday morning pulpits became soapboxes to commingle God’s Word with inspiration and information regarding civil rights initiatives. Similarly, marches took on the characteristics of church services with prayers, sermonettes, and songs.

As student body president of the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia, during some of the most intense days of the struggle for civil rights, I joined my fellow students in an insatiable urge to be part of something that we knew was bigger than ourselves. We knew the words of King—“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”—were absolute. We chartered buses and traveled from our campus in Atlanta to Selma and Montgomery, Alabama, to lend our voices, our minds and our bodies, if necessary, to fight for the civil rights of all African Americans. We were added to the number of thousands upon thousands who played just a small part in bringing about a big change.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. The same Jesus who heard the songs of the slaves and the chants of the civil rights marchers will hear the prayers of those who now cry out for justice throughout our country. It is imperative that religious leaders continue to advise all to pray for peace and protest with purpose.

Black lives have always mattered to God. However, as black history shows, it’s not by power nor by might but by the spirit of God—the wisdom, authority, power, and presence of the Most High God—that freedom, equality, and justice will come.

Every day is history in the making. As African Americans continue to march and rally in response to the senseless deaths of young black men at the hands of the police, the poor communities victimized by government choices, and whenever overt racism rears its ugly head, in all this, God must continue to be sought for counsel, direction, and protection. With God’s help, we shall overcome.

Bishop Charles E. Blake, is the Presiding Bishop of the Church of God in Christ (COGIC), the world’s fifth largest denomination, and pastor of the West Angeles Church of God in Christ, in Los Angeles California, with a membership in excess of 25,000 parishioners.

Bishop Blake: How To Be A Person After God’s Own Heart

Presiding Bishop Blake Charles E. Blake tells us the story of David, and teaches us what it takes to be close to God’s heart.  Click HERE to view this entire sermon on WESTA GOSPEL ON DEMAND.

Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake revealed, in a wonderful sermon, what God looks for when choosing those to be close to His heart. Bishop shared passages from the first book of Samuel which tell the story of David, one of the greatest Kings in the Bible; but with all of his wealth and power, David was not afraid to give God undignified praise.

“Folk are so into class. They want to act as if they are a member of the upper class, even if they are not…but when it comes to praising God, ‘class dismissed!'” Bishop proclaimed.

“David was a man after God’s own heart, but in many ways, he was not the model he should have been,” Bishop said. “I’ve got a better model: Jesus was God. He became a man, became obedient and humbled himself.”

Bishop believes that God is looking for those even today who are not afraid to worship Him.

“Millions of people will yell and jump and shout at the sight of their favorite team”, he said, “but God has been so good, I’ve got to praise Him!”

Quotes from the sermon follow:

“It would seem to me that a man after God’s own heart would be at the pinnacle of his potential. It would seem that this man would be a good model for all men.”

“God is concerned about quality. He’s concerned about character. God does not start with any old thing in developing His servants.”

“If God, with all of His power, does not start with any old thing, then we, with our negligible power, should not start with any old thing.”

“Even we need to look for quality in the people who are around us.”

“Don’t be so hungry for human relationships that you will accept any old thing.”

“You’re on the verge of accepting something less than the best. Hold on a little while longer! Keep your standards high!”

“There are those who should be models for us; and then there are also those for whom we should be models.”

“There are others who we should never allow to enter into the circle of our friends. Their effect can be nothing but detrimental. Let me assure you that if they’re not pulling you up, they’re going to pull you down.”

“If somebody you are dealing with is a negative influence…then the best thing for you to do is love them at a distance.”

“Really strong people can afford to be humble; really strong people can afford to be kind.”

“Whatever we are, whatever we are to become, God made us that.”

“Be little in your own eyes.”

“It’s better to wait on God than to get ahead of God and make a mess!”

“Place obedience to God over your material advantage.”

“Look unto God; let God be the only power that you rely upon.”

“If you bless what God blesses, God will bless you, too.”

“Everybody ought to want to be a person after the heart of God. People who are on God’s heart are prospered.”

“People who are on God’s heart are protected…So if you mess with them, you mess with God” – Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake

“Has God ever moved you to the front of the line?”

“If God says you’re gonna do something, you’re gonna do it!”

“You better go to God and get an assignment! Tell your neighbor, “I’m going to God to get an assignment!”

“Riches and honor come from God.”

“Lift up your hands and say, ‘Lord, whatever I do, I give you glory; I give you praise.'”

“Child of God, when you’re selecting folk, I know you’re impressed by the outer appearance, but you better check out the heart.”

“If the heart is ugly, if the heart is deceitful, you’re bringing misery into your life”.

“Does your heart need some work?”

“There is a God in Israel!”

“Be strong and be courageous: the God we serve is able!”

“Don’t you worry about taking revenge on your enemies, the Lord said, ‘Vengeance is Mine-I will repay’!”

“David knew how to repent.”

“Do have anybody you have not forgiven? You’d better let that go so God can take you higher.”

“Child of God, the wages of sin is death, and the gift of God is eternal life.”

“You ought to say, ‘Lord, forgive me! Lord I’m sorry! Give me a chance to live for you!’”

“Neighbor, don’t let anything stop you from praising the Lord!”

“God is going to take you higher than you’ve ever been!”

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES: 1 Samuel 13:13-14, Acts13:22 ; Proverbs 16:7; 1Samuel18:5; 1 Chronicles 29:10-14; 1Samuel 16:7; Proverbs 16:1; Psalm 51:10, 1Samuel 17:45-46; 2Samuel16:5 ; Luke 23:34; Romans 6:23, Psalm 34:1-4, 2Samuel 6:20-22, Philippians 2:5.

Elder Oscar Owens: How to Connect with God in 7 Simple Steps

As a part of our Elders Corner series, Elder Oscar Owens sheds some light on how we can step away from the computer and the smartphone, and spend our time connecting with the ultimate source of knowledge…God!

By Elder Oscar Owens

Are our lives busy, and getting busier day by day, or what? These days, most of us are:

  • Driving rush hour-packed freeways and highways in nerve-racking traffic to work and home, shuttling our kids, here and there.
  • Trying to keep our home clean and in order while running the household errands
  • Striving to keep ourselves healthy by eating right and exercising.
  • Working long, hard hours of exhausting activity on our jobs.
  • Staying connected to the ever-present digital world of social media, online-publications, shopping, entertainment and even work, through the internet and our “smart devices.”

This whirlwind of activities, noise, information, attractions and distractions of our post-modern lives can leave us feeling exhausted, confused, and disconnected from God. How do we find calm centers in the storm to stop and focus on God?

There’s a simple method of 7 easy biblical steps I have found which will give any Christian the power to connect with God at any time – even in the middle of chaos. We can “log in” to God’s transforming power by learning the simple disciplines of Scripture meditation and prayer.

WHY DO WE NEED TO CONNECT TO GOD?

Our society, through various media channels, provides answers to just about everything. The one media source we’re staying connected to more and more is the Internet.

What is the Internet? The Internet, also known as the “world wide web,” is a system of interconnected computers which enables us to connect to other people and devices. The Internet is always active; its information sources are always available. We can connect to the Internet anywhere, if we have the right tools. We can ask any question, and it seems to have the answer.

The Internet has now consumed a large place in our lives, but has the time we’re now spending connected to social media and the Internet become a distraction?  Is it replacing the precious time meant to be spent communing with God?  Would our lives be different if we were hearing from God, following His Will and His Word for our lives?

Unless we take action, the business of our lives, the concerns of daily life, and the temptations of Satan, will pull our mental attention away from God’s good news in Jesus

Our Bible tells us in Romans 12:2 that we must not “conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed” by the renewing of our minds. Connecting to God’s renewing, transformative Word in the Holy Bible gives us:

  • Power – God has given us the Spirit of “power, and of love, and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).  “Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones (Proverbs 3:7-8).
  • Direction –As Bishop Blake always says, “God protects where God directs; God provides where God guides (Psalm 23).
  • Faith – Learn to trust in God. Romans 10:17 tells us that “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”
  • Prosperity – One of the greatest and most inspiring things about the African American Christian journey is the ability to OVERCOME. We learn how to get into God’s Word; encouraging one another through the Word. Prosper physically, spiritually, mentally – this is God’s prosperity (Joshua 1:8).
  • Courage – There are all sorts of negative things happening in the world, but we must believe in our hearts that we can be strong!  Have courage; be strong in the Lord (Psalm 46:1).

Colossians 3:2 says to “set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” Therefore, we must discipline our physical minds to think on and thereby connect with the amazing spiritual blessings we have in God, through Christ Jesus.

HOW TO “LOG IN” TO GOD

God’s Good News about Jesus is that the power of His Holy Spirit is always available, always ready. We’re always connected to the Lord, even if we feel we are not! There are 7 simple biblical steps to easily connect with God, at any time, in any place:

  1. Find a space – Find a quiet place at work or in your home where you’ll go to pray daily, without distractions.  Matthew 6:6 – “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” This is the best advice, but additionally, because your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), then where you are, Jesus Christ is within you. Therefore, turn your focus to Him in you and you in Him, whether you are in the grocery line, caught in traffic, involved in work or with your family.
  2. Choose a time: or choose “now” – Set aside time to encounter God in the scripture. Before you start your day can be a great time to start (Psalm 63:1; Matthew 6:33); turn off the television, computer, and phone. Again, this is best, but, wherever you are in your life’s activities, stop – and take a few moments to connect with God through a small verse of Scripture, God’s Word. God is the “I AM”; always present in the eternal “now.”
  3. Read the Word – Find the Words of Jesus and His Good News (Gospels and Epistles). Read a small section of Scripture until something grabs your attention. TIP: Read slowly! Read out loud! Read so you can hear it and your eyes can see it. Read that small section over and over. It’s like eating something good: chew on it and savor the flavors. Read it over and over, while listening to God speak it to you, through His Holy Spirit.
  4. Meditate on the Word – Mentally reflecting and imaginatively pondering is the powerful aspect of Scripture meditation. Reflect on what you’ve read, and begin to think about what God is saying. Biblical meditation begins with thinking God’s Word continuously to ourselves. We begin to internalize God’s Word inside our mind and our heart. Now, God starts downloading! Listen to God’s voice…God is now talking to you personally!
  5. Respond: Talk to God in prayer through the words and images in that Scripture. Thank the Lord for what He is revealing to you! Praise and worship the Lord for His goodness! Ask God to touch you, to form and conform you to be more like Jesus! Tell God, “I’m reading because I want You to read me; form me change me, make me like You.”
  6. Receive from God – Jesus said, “Come unto me and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28).” Abide and rest in the Lord; contemplate Him. Now it is the time for the Lord to communicate within you. Listen. Enter into a deeper place with God. A place of intimacy; in His presence. This is a special time between you and the Lord. One-on-one with God. Give Him room; this is the time that God is blessing you. Let the Lord Bless you. Receive from the Lord and receive the Lord Himself, who is the Father, Son and Holy Spirit! God is now working within you, renewing your thoughts in the knowledge of Jesus, activating the mind of Christ in you. You are actively connecting with God and God with you.
  7. Take action – Ask Father God to give you the power of the Holy Spirit to help you do what Jesus, the Living Word, has revealed to you. For example, in relation to God, the Lord may be asking or reminding you to trust, love, believe, obey or stop disobeying Him. In relation to other people, the Lord may be asking you to forgive, love, pray for, accept, help or bless them. Ask our Holy Helper, the Holy Spirit, to give you the help, our Lord Jesus has promised. Now continue in your day, walking by faith and connected to our loving Lord who is with you and in you, God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit!

Keep on meditating on the words of Scripture that the Lord has drawn you to, throughout the rest of your day, wherever you are. Keep meditating, praying, thanking, praising, rejoicing and worshiping the Lord in your spirit, heart, mind and soul: whatever you are doing in your life. Do this until the next time you stop, to center in on the presence of the Lord in His Word!

God is now working on your mind. Your thoughts are renewed in the mind of Christ. You’re now “logged in” to God through Scripture meditation and prayer! Hallelujah!

SUGGESTED SCRIPTURES FOR READING AND MEDITATION

John 3:16, John 1:1, Hebrews 1:1-2, Matthew 4:4, Psalm 1, Psalm, Joshua 1:8, Matthew 11:28-30, Deuteronomy 31:6, Ephesians 2:8-10, Psalm 119, Philippians 4:8, Timothy 4:15-16, Romans 10:17, 2 Peter 1:21, Ephesians 1:15; Ephesians 3.

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Elder Oscar Owens has a passion for helping others deepen their connection to the Bible and to the Lord! He currently serves as West Angeles’ Minister of Christian Education, as well as President of the West Angeles Bible College, where he teaches Systematic Theology. He is currently studying for his Doctorate of Ministry in Christian Spiritual Formation at Azuza Pacific University’s Seminary in Los Angeles, where he also teaches Urban Spirituality. He’s been married to the powerful singer and Tony-nominated playwright Lita Gaithers Owens for 31 years. Read more about Elder Oscar Owens HERE.

 

PRAY WITH COGIC! Presiding Bishop has called us to join with the saints in prayer for our nation, our leaders, and for Christians around the world. Download the 11/11/40 Prayer Guide HERE.

LET’S TALK ABOUT HOLINESS!  Come join Elder Oscar Owens, Dr. Wilfred Graves and Dr. Kenneth Hammonds on Nov. 11, 2015 at 7 p.m. at Wednesday night service at the West Angeles North Campus for “Let’s Talk About It: Holiness!”  This intriguing dialogue and discussion will seek to answer the questions, “What is holy living today, and how do we do it?” We would be so glad for you to join us!

GET BIBLE APPS FOR YOUR SMARTPHONE! Now you can take the Bible wherever you go.  WestA.org has a link to the You Version app. You can download it HERE.

 

DID YOU KNOW?

  • According to a new report from the International Telecommunication Union, the average Internet user logs almost 2 hours per day on social media platforms or other leisure activities, and possibly 11 or more hours per day on all electronic media combined.
  • According to an articles published by The Guardian UK and Business Insider.com, we are less educated, less rested, and less productive due to our increased Internet activity:

http://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/jan/18/modern-world-bad-for-brain-daniel-j-levitin-organized-mind-information-overload

http://www.businessinsider.com/how-much-time-people-spend-online-2013-10

Bishop Blake: 5 Compelling Reasons Why God Wants to Use Us

Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr. shares the benefits of allowing God to use our lives for His purpose.

Isaiah 1:19 (NKJV) If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land.

Why does God want to use us? Why has God chosen us for this day? Haven’t we messed up too much already to receive His Blessings? No. God knows we’re frail; God knows we’re weak. But God has also blessed us with certain blessings, and He has still called each of us to do His Will.

Why?

  1. God wants us to have the joy of creating. He wants us to have the joy of bringing something new and wonderful into existence.
  2. God wants us to have the joy of impacting our world for Jesus Christ.
  3. God wants us to have the joy of doing something that will bring glory to the name of God.
  4. God wants to use us because there are certain things that His justice will permit Him to give only in response to our faithfulness.
  5. God has already given us His best.

God blesses us all every day of our lives. Still, there are some blessings which are conditional upon our obedience, things that are conditional upon our sacrifice. In Revelation 2:10, the Lord says, Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.” Only if we are obedient, only if we make the sacrifice will God bring the fullness of His Blessings into our lives.

Adapted from the sermon, “Of Your Own, We Have Given You,” July 26th, 2015, by Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. at West Angeles Church Of God In Christ.

LOOKING TO RELIVE THE JOY OF PAST SERMONS AND WEST ANGELES EVENTS? Purchase this full sermon and others, as well as the entire “Bishop Blake’s 75th Birthday Celebration” on DVD at the West Angeles Emporium! 3021 Crenshaw Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016; Phone:(323) 731-3012.

DO YOU WANT TO “GET GOD NOW”? Please click HERE, for West Angeles Gospel On Demand and have past West Angeles sermons streamed directly to your computer or device!

SERMON: Superintendent Timmons says “God’s Got This One”

“The time is now for you to be blessed” – Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr.

The West Angeles Church of God in Christ congregation was brought to its feet in thunderous praise by the dynamic September 20, 2015 sermon delivered by Superintendent Melton R. Timmons of Tyler, TX.

Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr., in his introduction of guest speaker Superintendent Timmons, said that West Angeles was “blessed” to have the Word of God delivered by “a dear friend and brother, and officer of the Church of God in Christ; a faithful member, a minister of the gospel of our savior, Jesus Christ”.

The sermon titled, “God’s Got This One” heralded a new season of release for God’s faithful.

“This season is all about Jesus,” preached Pastor Timmons. “Is there anybody in here gonna help me testify?”

Superintendent Melton Timmons serves as the proud Pastor of the Jones Valley Community Church of God in Christ, in Tyler, Texas and as Superintendent of the David R. Houston District. He is also the Regional Director for the Church of God in Christ General Secretary’s Office, and a member of the Executive Board of the General Council of Pastors and Elders. On April 9, 2013, he was elected Secretary of the COGIC National Board of Trustees.

Superintendent Timmons, brother of Evangelist Joyce Rodgers, is married to LaQueta Freeman Timmons. Together, they have five children and 12 grandchildren.

This sermon titled “God’s Got This One” is available on CD and DVD at the West Angeles Emporium, and HERE, on West Angeles Gospel On Demand.

“We are in a battle: but this is not a battle that you are going to need to fight in, because God has already given you the upper hand, or has given you an advantage.”

“God is about to release some things that you’ve had in your spiritual lay-away.”

“I’m from the country y’all, and as Big Mamma would say, ‘This right here is your season!’”

“This is your time, where God is going to allow those of your who have been praying, believing, fasting, and living a life of Holiness and integrity…God is about to allow you to just think some things into existence.”

“This season is all about Jesus.”

“Don’t you argue, don’t you fuss, don’t you talk…take your hand off your hip, that motion out of your neck! God said, ‘I got this!’”

“I want the devil to know, ‘It’s on now.’ Because the devil knows we’re about to do some supernatural things!” – Supertintendent Melton R. Timmons

“We are in a spiritual warfare…That warfare is a conflict being raised in the spirit realm, but it’s manifested in the physical realm.”

“My enemy is not you. My enemy is the devil.”

“My confidence is in the Word of God.”

“You’re getting ready to depart from some stuff. You’re about to step out of some things…to step away from some stuff; from some people.”

“God said, ‘Today is your day of departure.”

“When people are intimidated by your gifts and intimidated by your growth, intimidated by your anointing, intimidated by your power, people start doing things in the name of God that God didn’t have anything to do with.”

“The enemy wants to oppress you. The enemy wants to keep you down. But the Word of the Lord says, ‘The more they oppressed (them), the greater they became. The more they tried to hold them down, they higher they went up!’”

“Every now and then, God changes our direction.”

“The devil said that you were not going to make it, but God changed your direction.”

“My confidence is in the Word of God” – Supertintendent Melton R. Timmons

“The enemy will think that you are confused. The enemy will think that you are trapped. Sometimes, God takes us through some unexplainable things, and people think that you’re crazy because you still praise Him.”

“Don’t lose your mind over what the enemy took away, because you’re going to need your mind for what God’s got coming your way!”

“Be still. Hold your peace. The Lord shall fight for you.”

“When God fights for you, no demon can take you out. Is there anybody here that wants the Lord to fight for you?”

“Jesus said, ‘I was arrested for your transgressions… I died in your place…Can’t no doctor out-heal me. Can’t no bank out-fund me. Can’t no history out-live me. I got this!’”

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES – Exodus 14:13; 2 Kings 20:5; Ephesians 6:12; 2 Corinthians 10:4; Philippians 1:6 Philippians 4:13; Exodus 16:2.