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The road less traveled: 8 things you need to know about finding your purpose.

8 Things You Need to Know About Finding Your Purpose

“Before I formed you in your mother’s womb, I knew you”

-Jeremiah 1:5

Whether we know it or not, every thing, and everyone, has a purpose. But life can seem pretty hopeless at times if we don’t know what our purpose is. We all want to be happy, but what if we were to find out that our true purpose in life isn’t contingent upon our own happiness at all?

The dictionary defines purpose as “the reason for which something is done or created, or for which something exists.”

But God’s word defines purpose in higher way. Ecclesiastes 3 (KJV) says,  

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”

That means, in a nutshell, that our purpose isn’t our choice, it’s God’s. It’s got nothing to do with our parents’ purposes, or our connections, or a particular industry we may think our skills fit into. Our purpose is strictly between us and God, and that makes it pretty important.

DIVINE DESIGN

Now that we know that God has created us for a divine purpose, 8 Things You Need to Know About Finding Your Purpose also know that the world will be a much better place when we all know what that purpose is, then focused on making it happen. But before we can understand how God’s plan for our lives is revealed, we must also know that our society is going to provide us with its own ready-made ideas for us to claim a “passion” in life – ideas which can distract us and take us down the wrong path if we’re not careful.

That part of the journey can lead us to proclaim:

  • “I want to work in the ______ industry.”
  • “People like me on television  are doing_____, and I want to do it too.”
  • “_______looks like fun!”
  • “My parent was a ______, so I’m going to be one too.”
  • “_______makes me happy.”

These reasons, though, probably have nothing to do with why God created us in the first place.

THE SECRET TO YOUR PURPOSE

To find the answer, we’ve got to turn our own ideas inside out in order to embrace a whole new way of thinking. So if we’re serious about taking this journey, we’ve got to let go of our own egos and desires, then:

    1. Ditch the world’s idea of who you should be (Romans 12:2). This is one of the most important mind-clearing steps to finding our purpose. This may be hard to do: but take a “media fast”, in order to spend time with God. Social media, television, music: all can be distracting and soul-numbing, and can fill the soul with a million voices – none of which are God’s. Even if you could find your purpose by watching endless hours of talent shows, cat fights, musical performances, sports, news, and reality tv, God doesn’t need any of them to make His purpose for your life known to you.
    2. Listen to God (Isaiah 55:11). He speaks in a myriad of ways. Asking God, hearing and listening to Him, and following Him takes commitment. Fasting, praying, meditating on His Word…You have to do the work, but in the end, it’s worth it.
    3. Keep a journal (Jeremiah 30:2). Record your dreams and visions. Let Scripture define each task you do.
    4. Go back to childhood (Jeremiah 1:5). Who you were and what you did best in the early days of your childhood can reveal the skills you’ll need to manifest your purpose. 
    5. Know that you are not your parents (Exodus 20:5-6). God doesn’t want you to take your parents’ issues into your future. You were created for a specific, unique reason.
    6. Understand it’s not about your happiness (Luke 22:42) – it’s actually about someone else’s. Finding your purpose can actually bring difficult times because sometimes your faith will be tested.
    7. Get off the career ladder (Colossians 1:16). That’s society’s vision for you. You were born with gifts and skills to be used for a higher purpose.
    8. Listen to your elders (1 Timothy 4:14). Respected elders can see the vision for your life, and can confirm the path God wants you to follow.

Jesus said in Luke 9:23,

“If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.”  

and in John 15:13,

“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

If you look at Jesus’ life, everything He did, all of the miracles He performed, He did for others; for those who needed Him. That’s the secret to unlocking the miracles in your purpose: using your gifts for the benefit of uplifting others.

What voice is unique only to you? What aspects of society drive you forward and turn on a light within you? Using your God-given gifts and talents to let the world know who God is, changes the world as only you can. Following God’s call puts you on the road to manifesting miracles found only in living for His purpose for your life.


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.

Be Cool: Jesus is the Rock which gives us fortitude.

Christian Life: 10 Essential Scriptures for Maintaining Your Cool

Have you found yourself in situations which threaten to challenge your patience, disrupt your peace, and encourage behavior which is counter to what God expects of you? Now, more than ever, saints are uplifting each other with the simple reminder that, no matter what is happening in the world, “God is in Control.” In our latest post on living your best Christian life, Dr. Tonya Lewis shares a list of 10 essential Scriptures for maintaining your cool in challenging times.

When we are confident with who we are and Whose we are, we learn we don’t have to fight each battle which comes our way. Insecurity, immaturity,  and not learning the value of living a peaceable life provokes us to think, say, and do whatever comes to mind, even though it is definitely not wise to do so. Most of the time, many of us feel that we must have the last word or action; we conclude that we can’t allow anyone to think that we are weak or afraid. We then want to blame others for our negative actions; even using the excuse “The devil made me do it!” (which legendary comedian Flip Wilson famous!)

Yes, while Satan and others may influence us, we make the final decision of how we think, speak, or act.  

As we mature in both age and spirit, we actually learn that we express more power by not engaging in each temptation of battle. We are told in Proverbs. 14:29, “People with understanding control their anger; a hot temper shows great foolishness; and in Proverbs 15:18, “A hot-tempered person starts fights; a cool-tempered person stops them (NLT). Rather than lose self-control, we must take personal responsibility for our thoughts, our choices, and our actions.

We must commit to keeping our hearts holy and righteous so that BIBLE we reflect the Spirit of the Kingdom of God, both internally and externally. When we yield our lives to Christ Jesus, He empowers us to control what we think, speak or do.  

Below are 10 Scriptures which encourage us to maintain our cool and control under the reign of Christ Jesus, Our Lord and Savior:

  1. James 1:19-20 (NIV)My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.
  2. Proverbs 10:19Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut.
  3. James 3:2 (NLT) – Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.
  4. Proverbs 13:3 – The one who guards his mouth preserves his life; The one who opens wide his lips comes to ruin (NLT).
  5. Prov. 21:23 (NLT) – He who guards his mouth and his tongue, Guards his soul from troubles.
  6. James 1:26 (NLT) If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not bridle his tongue, he deceives his heart and his religion is worthless.  
  7. Proverbs 28:25 (NASB) – An arrogant man stirs up strife, But he who trusts in the LORD will prosper
  8. Proverbs 15:1 (NIV) – A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
  9. James 3:13 – If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom.
  10. Matthew 12:34 – (NLT) For whatever is in your heart determines what you say.

As Kingdom citizens who live under the reign of Christ Jesus, Our Lord and Savior, we can have the assurance of 1 Thessalonians 5:23, which states,

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely, and may your entire spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (NLT).

Such is not true for persons who are still trying to live life apart from the Lordship of Christ. In order for our spirit, soul and body to be blameless, we must stay in control! When we live according to the Word of God, we can rest assured that we will be kept blameless in what we think, say or do.

God bless you!

Dr. Tonya Lewis has been a member of West Angeles Church of God In Christ for over 40 years, serving on-staff as the Executive Director of Bereavement Ministries. She holds both Honorary Doctorate and Earned Doctorate degrees. Dr. Lewis has been teaching the Overcomer’s Bible Fellowship for over 34 years at West Angeles, and at other teaching venues.


Hear Jonathan McReynolds sing “MAINTAIN”, featuring Chantae Cann below:

We Shall OVERCOME feat

Dr. Judith McAllister: We Shall Overcome

We have come, over a way that with tears has been watered.

We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered,

Out from the gloomy past, till now we stand at last

Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast.

-From “Lift Every Voice and Sing”, the Negro National Anthem, by  James Weldon Johnson.

 

(Please click the images below to enlarge the slideshow).

OUR HISTORY is resplendent with examples of ancestral strength, unimaginable faith, and a powerful vision of a day – similar to the one in which we now live – where we, as a people, would be able to freely worship in beautiful Cathedrals such as this.  

Our forefathers and mothers; the unbearable pain they shouldered, the profound injustice they endured. They sacrificed their lives, their energy and great strength to overcome: and yet we are overcoming.

Now, we, as a people, must stand in unity, with the holy resolve to keep fighting, keep marching, and keep succeeding until we have indeed overcome.  

We literally come from kings and queens: Mansa Musa, Nzingha, Shaka Zulu, the Queen of Sheba – royal stock who, when bowed and broken, possessed a resiliency and an impenetrable determination to move beyond the hardship, to reach beyond the injustice, and to push past the dark veil of hopelessness to the promise of better day.   

We have overcome, yet we are overcoming – and that same thread runs within each of us. We must dig deeper and be resilient. We may bend, but we will not break!

 We have overcome, yet we are overcoming – for we must know that our true greatness lies not only in our ability to withstand oppression and survive, but also in our ability to hope, to trust, and to put our future in the hands of our Eternal God. He is strong to save. He who knows every detail of our victorious future. And it is within Him that true greatness lies!

 

A father leads his 2 sons through the streets of Harlem after Sunday service. Photo, Martine Barrat/In Our Own Image.

A grandfather leads his 2 grandsons through the streets of Harlem after Sunday service. Photo, Martine Barrat/In Our Own Image.

 

We have overcome, but yet we are overcoming – for we overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the words of our testimony. Through the storm, through the strain, through hardship, through pain, we have overcome, and we yet, are overcoming.

So let your words today be filled with life, with hope, and with strength. Share with someone the testimony of what you have been through, so that they will know that if you made it through, they can too!

For together-

We shall overcome

We shall overcome

We shall overcome some day.

Oh, deep in my heart

I do believe

We shall overcome someday.

 

Hear Dr. Judith  McAllister and the West Angeles Mass Choir perform “We Shall Overcome” below: 

 

“We Shall Overcome” – Lyrics derived from “I’ll Overcome Some Day”, Charles A. Tindley, 1900.

Lift Every Voice and Sing,” the Negro National Anthem, by  James Weldon Johnson, 1899; music by his brother John Rosamond Johnson.


Dr. Judith McAllister, COGIC's International Minister of Music.

Often referred to as “The First Lady of Praise and Worship,” Dr. Judith Christie McAllister is probably best known for her impact as one of the forerunners of the Praise and Worship movement in the African American Church. Having served as Worship Leader at the West Angeles Church of God in Christ under Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr., as the church’s Executive Director of the Music and Worship Arts Department, and also as Minister of Music/President of COGIC’s International Music Department, she developed a style and approach to Praise & Worship earning her accolades from coast to coast. A wife, mother, author, prolific Bible teacher, prophetic psalmist and a Grammy Award nominee, Dr. McAlister is also CEO of three entities which enable her to mentor, train and empower the next generation in the ministry of music. Judah Music Group LLC,  Inheritance of Judah Ministries and Never Ending Worship (N.E.W.) Enterprises LLC, provide the foundation for all of her workshops, seminars, ministry services and products.

Bishop Blake comforts children in Africa.  One person can make a difference.

Inspiration: You Can Make A Difference

If  you were told that you could end a war, would you believe it?  If you were told that you could save the world from hatred, hurt and pain, or that you are the cure to the cancer that’s spreading throughout our society, would you doubt it? It’s overwhelming for us to believe that we, alone, can make a difference in solving the issues that seem so massive today. However, it only takes one person with the compassion and vision to heal a particular pain in our world to stand up and do so…

The rest will follow.


WHAT ONE PERSON CAN DO

I am reminded of Esther, who saved her people, the Jews, from slaughter; and the young shepherd boy, David, who slayed a giant all on his own. The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. saw the need for economic equality; to free the poor and disenfranchised from discrimination, and from oppression and repression by the wealthy. Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake saw the need to create a ministry which helped children orphaned by AIDS in Africa. Save Africa’s Children created much needed support for more than 100,000 children in over 23 African nations; now, Bishop Blake has set his sights on building an economic and educational legacy here at home to empower the generations to come.

Every revolution begins with a single person deciding to make a stand. 

Proverbs 29:18 (KJV) says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish”, but he who keeps the law is happy. The pattern in the word is that each battle and triumph begins with one person: and you can be that person. This does not mean you have to join every battle, but rather, pursue that calling which touches your heart most. That is the ministry that God has placed on your heart to help others, and to take each step one day at a time towards change.  You may begin alone, but I guarantee that God will not let you fight the entire battle by yourself. He will put like-minded people in your path, and together, as a mighty team in the name of Jesus, we can empower God’s people, build His Kingdom on earth, and make the world a better place.

“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men,  knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ” – Colossians 3:23-24 (NKJV)

Hear William McDowell perform the beautiful hymn, “I Give Myself Away” below:

Get Fresh: West Angeles C.R.E.W Sunday School

Get Fresh: West Angeles C.R.E.W. Sunday School

 

YOUTH WESTA CREW

Get Fresh! West Angeles C.R.E.W Sunday School

The West Angeles C.R.E.W cordially invites you to join our FRESH Sunday School, every Sunday morning at 9 a.m. in Room 9 at the West Angeles North Campus. Our mission in FRESH (“Faith Restoring Enriched Spiritual Health”) is to provide young adults with practical tools that promote spiritual growth and a desire to study God’s word.  By receiving accurate knowledge and applying the word, our young adults will be equipped and prepared to serve as effective leaders in ministry.

So come out, get fresh, and we know you will be blessed!


See an excerpt from Elder Uleses Henderson‘s presentation, “The Making of a Champion” below:

Elder Uleses Henderson – Get Fresh! West Angeles C.R.E.W  at West Angeles COGIC.

The West Angeles North Campus is located at 3045 Crenshaw Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016.  Phone (323) 733-8300 for details.
EDUCATION & ENRICHMENT: What Will We Pay for College for Fall 2017?

Education and Enrichment: What Will We Pay for College for 2017?

In the latest installment from our Education and Enrichment Ministry, Deacon John Wilson takes a realistic look at Fall 2017 college costs for your and your family.

Rising Education Costs: What Will We Pay for College?

Rising Education Costs: What Will We Pay for College in 2017?

Now that you have filed your youth’s FAFSA for Fall 2017-Spring 2018, you’re now anxiously waiting to hear what financial aid offers your youth will receive. There are some very accurate generalities you can make, however, about what you will pay for College for Fall 2017. This is based on taking a closer look at certain colleges’ known financial aid policies, and 10 years of our financial aid experience.

NOTE: These costs are estimated, but the amounts will be close enough to give you a general understanding of the “out-of-pocket” cost of college before you get the financial aid awards from colleges in late March thru April 2017:

  1. California State University (CSU) – Generally, parents who make more than $60,000 will pay $12,000 to $17,500 per year for their youth to be ON CAMPUS at CSU. As you will see, this is WAY BELOW the cost of nearly all private colleges. The $5,500 cost variation for CSU is due to the wide variations in on-campus costs among CSUs and the family’s number of dependents (2-4). In contrast, it’s only about $1,200 to $1,500 per year to commute to a “local” CSU if your youth takes the Direct Student Loan of $5,500 for the first year.
  2. University of California (UC) – Generally, parents who make between $60,000 and $90,000 and have up to 4 dependents on their 2015 tax return will pay $6,000 to $14,000 per year for UC, unless a merit reward is received.  As we move above the $100,000 family income level, UC gets closer and closer to the $18,000 to $24,000 net direct (out of pocket) cost per year (NOTE: When the family income is below $45,000 and up to $54,00, families will pay $0 to $6,000 for CSU or UC out of pocket).  
  3. Private Colleges – The cost here really depends on which private college your youth attends. Those which are the most well-known and popular with parents and youth (including Private Black Colleges – also called “HBCUs”), will cost $23,000 to $55,000 per year for families making more than $70,000 per year.  Even families making under $40,000 could expect to pay $12,0000 to $20,000 per year. This could be lowered by Merit Awards about $10,000 per year if your youth meets the university’s merit levels for GPA and SAT.

In conclusion, if:

  • your youth has a 3.0 unweighted GPA, and his or her SAT Scores are 1020 and above,
  • you and your youth are willing to look at other schools that are less expensive than the schools mentioned above and
  • you are great at helping to prepare youth for a great future and career –

then call us today at the West Angeles Education and Enrichment Program for more information: 323-733-8300 ext. 2629.

Deacon John Wilson is Director of West Angeles Church of God In Christ’s Education and Enrichment Ministry (EEM). EEM is provided in accordance with the Urban Initiatives of the Church Of God In Christ (COGIC) International, through the leadership of Presiding Bishop, Charles E. Blake, Sr. To find out more about the various programs and services provided, please click HERE.


Hear what parents have to say about the West Angeles Education & Enrichment Ministry in the testimonial video below –

christmas-cross-wallpaper__yvt2

Elder Owens: The Top 5 Christmas Myths Debunked

Do you know the true origins of Christmas? The Christmas tree? Or Santa Claus? In this edition of the Elders’ Corner, Elder Oscar Owens reveals the origins of the Christmas celebration, as well some of its myths and traditions.

Santa Claus and Christmas trees, holly wreaths and poinsettias, colored lights and joyous carols, endless shopping and gift giving…these are the many sights and sounds of the beloved holiday called Christmas.

For most Americans, the Christmas season is a heart-warming time filled with delicious foods, wonderful fragrances, colorful fantasies and family fun. Yet, Christmas has also become a time of crass commercialism, consumer debt, crowded malls and crushing depression.

Yearly, faithful Christians wonder if the true message of Christmas is forever obliterated and tainted by the cultural expressions associated with the religious celebration. Is Christmas a pagan holiday? Or is it a Christian Holy Day meant to be honored and respected?

Here’s a list of the top 5 myths about Christmas, as revealed in the history of the celebration:

MYTH#1: Christmas was once a pagan holiday. The idea of celebrating Christmas began in Rome in 354 A.D., when Bishop Liberius declared December 25 as the day for Christians in the western part of the Roman Empire to acknowledge Christ’s incarnation. This day of the winter solstice was a Roman holiday called The Feast of Sol Invictus. Christians were still a persecuted minority in the pagan, non-Christian Roman society of the day; therefore Bishop Liberius brilliantly seized upon this time of Roman celebration as a cover for the Christians to rejoice in the birth of Jesus Christ. The besieged Christian community could now be protected and allowed to worship their Savior in safety. Interestingly enough, the strategy worked: the world does not remember the celebration of Sol Invictus, but each year is reminded that Jesus Christ, the Son of God was born as a little baby in Bethlehem!

MYTH #2: Christmas trees are mentioned in the Bible and prohibited. Is Jeremiah 10:3-4 a biblical injunction against the Christmas tree tradition? No. Further examination of Jeremiah 10 reveals that God is actually condemning the creation of wooden idols carved from trees.[2]  In fact, the Christmas tree originated centuries after Jeremiah 10 was written. In the 8th century AD, St. Boniface, an English missionary to Germany, cut down “the sacred oak tree in the city of Gelsmar.” According to The Christian Book of Why by John C. McCollister, St. Boniface, in an attempt to rid Germany of idolatry, instead gave the people an evergreen fir tree to demonstrate their break with paganism and subsequent turn to Christianity[3]. The evergreen symbolizes the eternal life we receive by faith in Jesus Christ. The book also states that on a beautiful Christmas eve night, the great German preacher and Protestant reformer, Martin Luther, saw a fir tree silhouetted against a starlit sky. The beauty of the sight so overwhelmed him that he could not find the words to adequately describe it to his wife and children. Impulsively, he cut down the tree, decorated it, and is perhaps the first person to bring an evergreen tree, representing Christ’s eternal life, into the home for Christmas.

MYTH #3: “Xmas” was adopted to take Christ out of Christmas. The XMAS abbreviation is really not a slight on Jesus Christ at all.  The “X” is actually the Greek letter “chi” which is the first letter in the Greek spelling of Christ. The “X” represents Jesus’ title, “Christ” or Messiah. This “x” or “chi” has been used by Christians for thousands of years as an abbreviation for “Christ” seen in the church symbol “Xp” or “Chr” in English.

MYTH #4: Santa Claus is based on a mythical figure. The tradition of Santa Claus stems back to the celebration of the feast day of St. Nicholas, the patron saint of Russia. Nicholas was an important Bishop in the 4th century, known for his generosity to the poor, especially children. His feast day, celebrated December 6, was a time to give presents to children. St. Nicholas, or “Santa Niklaus”  in the Dutch language, eventually became Santa Claus in American English. The current image of the chubby man in a red suit was popularized by Rev. Clement Moore, a professor of theology at New York Theological Seminary, who published the poem, “The Visit of St. Nicholas” on December 23, 1923. The poem later became known as “The Night Before Christmas.” We can tell our children that the real Santa Claus, Saint Bishop Nicholas, was a Bible-believing, Jesus-loving Christian who did so much good helping poor children that he is remembered to this day in the mythical jolly man we call Santa Claus. We all can follow his example of helping to make life better for children and adults who are poor and oppressed.

MYTH #5: Many symbols of Christmas have no real Christian meaning for the Holiday. The Christmas tree is just one of the many popular symbols used by earlier Christians to communicate the message of the gospel:

  • The word “Christmas” is actually a contraction of Middle English words for the phrase “Christ’s mass,” a worship celebration and Holy Communion service honoring Jesus Christ’s nativity or birth.
  • The “merry’ in Merry Christmas is an old English term meaning “blessed” or “happy.”
  • The star on top of the Christmas tree symbolizes the star of Bethlehem which led the wise men’s journey to the Christ child.
  • The candle lights, according to Martin Luther who first placed them on the boughs of his own Christmas tree, are symbolic of Jesus as the Light of the world.
  • Holly wreaths are symbolic of the crown of thorns Jesus Christ wore at his crucifixion. Christians hung wreaths on their doors to let their neighbors know a Christian believer lived there.
  • Poinsettias came into the Christmas celebration through an American minister, Dr. Joel R. Poinsett, who brought the flower-like plants from Mexico to the northern United States. The deep red flower which peaks in December as striking in contrast to the drab foliage of the wintery north and was emblematic of the birth of Jesus – beauty in the midst of bleakness. Additionally, the brilliant red petals portray the blood of Jesus shed for all humanity during His sacrificial death on the cross.

Although commercialism has taken over the symbols of Christmas, at the heart of most Christmas traditions is a Christian message. For Christians, Christmas is indeed a Holy Day of celebrating the historic fact of the incarnation of Jesus Christ. Share with your friends and loved ones the Good News of Jesus, God’s Love in  human form, given for everyone who will receive Him this Gift.

In I Corinthians 9:22, the apostle Paul wrote, “I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” Christmas is a sacred time for us to spread joy and God’s free gift of salvation to a world eager to enjoy the warm feelings of the holiday season, and to all people who consent to believe.

___________________________________________

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.

[1] Jeremiah 10:3-4 (NIV) 3 For the practices of the peoples are worthless; they cut a tree out of the forest, and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel. 4They adorn it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails so it will not totter.

[2] Hank Hanegraaff, “Is Christmas Christian?”,  Christian Research Institute.

[3] “The Christian Book of Why” by John C. McCollister.

judge-mablean-ephriam

Please Join Us For: “It’s A Wonderful Christ!”

The Young Women’s Christian Council / Virtuous Women invite you to a wonderful morning of fellowship, good food, and an inspiring word from Judge Mablean Ephriam. Please join us in the West Angeles Crystal Room on Saturday, December 10, 2016; see flyer below for details:

It's A Wonderful Christ, with Judge Mablean

It’s A Wonderful Christ, with Judge Mablean

Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. addresses the saints at the annual Holy Convocation.

A Letter from Our Presiding Bishop: Our Bridge to the Future

From the 109th Holy Convocation in St. Louis, MO, our beloved Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake addresses the saints of the Church of God In Christ; asking us to trust in God’s divine providence as we enter into our glorious future in holiness, power, and faith.

 

To the Beloved Saints, My Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

I give God the glory for all the wonderful things He has done. With the spirit of gratitude, I thank each of you for your fervent prayers, support, and kind words during my eight years as the Presiding Bishop of the Church of God in Christ. We have accomplished so much toward the growth and maturation of the Church, always giving honor and praise to our almighty God. With great humility, I count it a privilege and a blessing to bridge the holy vision of  the past with the achievements of the past and the future holy objectives of the Church of God in Christ.

Aerial view of the Holy Convocation. America's Center, St. Louis, MO.

Aerial view of the Holy Convocation. America’s Center, St. Louis, MO.

How proud our founders would be to know that the Church of God in Christ is preaching and teaching holiness in 12,000 churches in 82 countries around the world. From a remnant of holy, Pentecostal believers established under Bishop Charles Mason, we continue to grow as a sanctified, Holy Ghost-filled, consecrated Church with over 6 million members: the largest African-American denomination in the world.

“Who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time  began.” (2 Timothy 1:9)

Our world is filled with stress and strife because there has been a shift away from earnest teaching, preaching, and worshiping. Our society is becoming devoid of holy living, awareness, and accountability. Consequently, our cultural reality is filled with unnecessary, unexplainable violence and death, disrespect for authority, celebration of hedonistic lifestyles, financial upheavals on every level, and the minimization of Church rights.

Nevertheless, I am encouraged that the Church of God in Christ has been called, and is spiritually equipped, to lead by example; trusting in God’s divine providence. We must continue to:

  • assist cities which have been devastated by natural disasters
  • lend our voices and support to demand justice when our lives seem not to matter
  • exercise patience and respect authority
  • provide resources to assist the poor, disabled and disenfranchised

Most importantly, we must offer up prayers for world peace, poverty elimination, racial discourse, and a worldwide holiness renewal.

 

CHALLENGES TO THE CHURCH

Appearing to be a part of the body of the Church are workers of iniquity, wolves dressed in sheep’s clothing, and demonic spirits testing the will of God. There have been defamatory attacks, hate-filled propaganda and even death threats.

“Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them.” (Romans 16:17)

In spite of it all, I declare the decree: “No weapon formed against me, the Church of God in Christ’s leadership, and this holy denomination, will prosper.”

 

OUR BRIDGE TO THE FUTURE

I am thankful to my lovely wife, Lady Mae; for she is a virtuous woman and a wife of noble character. I am appreciative of the love and encouragement from my children and their families, as well as from the West Angeles Church of God in Christ membership.

We have a tremendous opportunity to continue the anointed work God has called us to do that will positively impact our families, churches, communities, and the world. We must continue our commitment to holy living with fasting, praying without ceasing, demonstrating compassion toward our fellow man, toiling in the vineyard, and worshiping with power. We are the salt of the earth, the light of the world; the Church that is set on a hill which will not be hidden.

Let’s continue to walk in our holy purpose. I see the Church of God in Christ in the future, and we look much better than we do right now.

I humbly ask that you give me the opportunity to continue serving as your Presiding Bishop.

 

In His service,

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Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr.

Presiding Bishop and Chief Apostle

Seventh in Succession

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MERGE SUMMIT brings together faith and entertainment.

Courtney B. Vance Honored by Merge Summit

Integrating faith & entertainment, THE MERGE SUMMIT is a series of exclusive events that provides education, inspiration, empowerment and opportunity. The event takes place August 25-27, 2016 at The Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, CA.

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Courtney B. Vance

Founded by West Angeles’ own Robi Reed, the Merge Summit brings together leaders in the arts and entertainment industry to teach, prepare and inspire the next generation of leaders in music, film, television, business and ministry. Their efforts revolve around providing value to their participants by providing the opportunity to meet and learn from industry powerhouses.

This year at the MERGE AWARDS OPENING GALA honors West Angeles COGIC member and Emmy Award nominated actor Courtney B. Vance; Senior Vice President of Prudential Financial, Dorinda Walker; ESSENCE Magazine Editor-At-Large Mikki Taylor; and founder and senior pastor of Living Word Christian Center, Dr. Bill Winston. The evening will be hosted by celebrated comedian, Cedric The Entertainer.

THE MERGE SUMMIT features over 20 Interactive Panel Discussions; Powerful Master Classes and Engaging Breakout Sessions, all taught by more than 60 of the industry’s top entertainers and executives.  The Summit also features The Merge Awards™ Luncheon, The Merge Showcase, & FREEDOM, The Merge Concert Experience.

Within the past year, THE MERGE has traveled nationwide with events in Baltimore, Atlanta, and Chicago.