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Bishop Blake: Win the Benefits of God’s Vision for Your Life

Where there is no vision, the people perish – Proverbs 29:18

In his sermon titled, “Vision,” Presiding Bishop Charles Edward  Blake, Sr. challenges us to receive God’s vision for every aspect of our lives. Envisioning ourselves living the life God wants for us places our dreams in direct alignment with the Word of God.

In a world full of tribulation, pain and heartache, people need hope.  Having a vision provides hope to a dying world. When we link that vision to the power of the Holy Ghost, God breathes the breath of life and prosperity into every aspect of our dreams. Vision coerces our hearts and souls to dream on.

With God, nothing is impossible. Continue dreaming and watch the hand of God move in your life.

“Vision” from West Angeles COGIC on Vimeo.

 

Message of the Manna

Sermon: The Message of the Manna

Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr., at West Angeles Church of God In Christ.

Providing respite from the storms and pestilence which plague our world, Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr. preached an inspiring  sermon titled, “The Message of the Manna” at West Angeles Church of God In Christ. The sermon is based on Exodus 16, where God sent manna to sustain the children of Israel for 40 years.

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not. And it shall be on the sixth day that they shall prepare what they bring in, and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily.” 6Then Moses and Aaron said to all the children of Israel, “At evening you shall know that the Lord has brought you out of the land of Egypt. And in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord; for He hears your complaints against the Lord – Exodus 16:4-7.

“Someone here today is confronted by trouble,” said Bishop Blake, “but sometimes things go  wrong because we have not had the Word of God, according to the Will of God. As a source, God is limitless; capable, dependable, reliable, wonderful. Tell your neighbor, ‘Learn how to hold on to God.'”

Highlights from the sermon follow:

“We’re more self-sufficient in this day. We’re prone to look to people; we’re prone to look to governments, we’re prone to look to employers as our source: rather than looking to God.”

“We turn to God only as a last resort, after everything else has failed.”

“Whatever you get from God, you get it on credit.”

“If God doesn’t do anything else for me, God has already done enough.”

“2080 times, God miraculously preserved the manna for two days. 12530 times, God miraculously sent the manna.”

 “The manna had to be a miracle because no other group of people had ever experienced manna before. It had to be a miracle because it has never fallen again.”

“The manna had to be a miracle, and it indicates that God was their source: and we’ve got to remember today that God is our source.”

 

“We’re prone to look to the government as our source, rather than looking to God.” – Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr.

 

“The terrible tragedy in Houston lets us know that we’re not all that powerful. We’re not all that mighty. We’re at the mercy of almighty God.”

“God is not only in control, God is in possession of everything.”

“As a source, God is limitless; capable, dependable, reliable, wonderful.”

“Though God provided the manna, the people had to actively work to receive and to prepare the manna.”

 

“The terrible tragedy in Houston lets us know that we’re at the mercy of almighty God.” – Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr.

“Some folk don’t want to do anything…but how many of you know that you’re going to have to do something if God blesses you?”

“In most of the miracles I can think of in the Word of God, God usually asks us to do something before He does what He promised to do. Moses had to stretch out the rod, Joshua had to walk around the wall, the widow had to make a cake first, the woman blood had to touch the hem of Jesus.”

“The Bible does not excuse laziness.”

“God’s blessings must be used or they will be lost.”

“God is not obligated to help anybody.”

“Every step you made, God enabled you to make it. You better point toward heaven and say, God, “By the grace of God, I’ve done what I’ve done.”

“How many of you know God did it? Tell your neighbor, ‘It was God, it was God, it was God!’”

“When we step outside of God’s plan, even our blessings can go wrong.”

“Tell your neighbor, “Don’t hold on too tight!”

 

“God is not obligated to help anybody.” – Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr.

 

“God’s blessings are always accompanied by God’s instructions.”

“When we fail to obey the instructions, then things go wrong in our lives.”

“Learn how to hold on to God.”

“God has given to us everything we have, and God wants us to obey Him.”

“When we fail to give back to God with our tithes and offerings, when we fail to give back to God, then God begins to step back and let us be responsible for our own welfare.”

“A world that is doing its own thing discovers that what it has gathered is sometimes filled with worms.”

“When we look to be blessed outside of God’s will, no blessing shall come.”

“Someone here today is confronted by trouble. But sometimes things go wrong because we have not had the word of God according to the will of God.”

When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, 14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 15 Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place – 2 Chronicles 7:13-15

“When you refuse to do the will of God, then God’s obligation to bless you is cancelled.”

“When you do the will of God, God can preserve your resources when you serve Him.”

“Tell your neighbor, ‘God will preserve your manna.’”

“God can make your ‘little’ go further than another man’s ‘much’.”

“You might not be able to see it, but if you could see it, you wouldn’t need faith.”

“Give your neighbor a ‘high-five’ and tell him, ‘It’s going to be alright!’”

“Tell your neighbor, ‘I’m loaded!’”

“Praise Him for today! Praise Him for yesterday! Help me praise Him!”

“God, we’re still relying on you; we’re still depending on you for tomorrow. We can’t make it without you. We can’t deal without you. We can’t go forward,  survive, breathe, or see without you. We can do nothing without you! Praise the Lord!”

 

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES: Exodus 16:4-31 , Joshua 5:12, Acts 17:28, James 1:17, Psalm 50:10, Haggai 2:8, Psalm 24:1, 2 Chronicles 7:13,  Philippians 4:19, 14:16, Joshua 6:3, 1 Kings 17:13, Matthew 9:20, Matthew 6:33, Psalm 34:15, Psalm 37:25, Isaiah 43:16-19, 2 Corinthians 5:7, Isaiah 40:31,  Psalm 103:2, 127:1; Proverbs 3:5, 11:24; Psalm 88:9.



Featured image:  Karen Lascaris with Nathan Vanhorn ℅ CreationSwap

Christian education

Live With Purpose: West Angeles Christian Education

Do you have the desire to grow in your Christian walk?  Did you know that West Angeles is an educational ministry? Read more about the West Angeles Christian Education Ministry, and sign up for our next session.

christian education
West Angeles’ Christian Education (WACE) classes are for anyone interested in using the principles of the Christian faith more effectively. Directed by Elder Oscar Owens under the leadership of Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr., the WACE courses offered provide all levels of biblical study and are designed not only to serve those who are called to careers in ministry, but also to empower any Christian who wants to:

  • Live with purpose through the Word
  • Understand the Bible more thoroughly and how it relates to the times we live in
  • Improve their lives, their families’ lives, and the lives of others.

Classes offered through WACE are designed to help students create a deeper relationship with God, the church, and the Christian faith.

WEST ANGELES CHRISTIAN EDUCATION CLASSES

Taught in both the traditional classroom setting and online, courses offered through WACE are designed to help students to serve the church and the world through responsible imparting of biblical knowledge.

Sunday School – West Angeles’ Sunday School has introductory-level courses for children, youth and adults which are designed to provide a deeper knowledge of the Christian faith. Geared to help students overcome life’s obstacles and daily issues, we offer a variety of classes for children ages 5-12 years of age, youth Classes for ages 12-16 years of age, and adults 17 and older.

School of Practical Christian Living –Directed by Elder Richard Brooks, the School of Practical Christian Living has classes for those who desire to become more effective as a parent, spouse, or worker for Christ. The School of Practical Christian Living is a mid-level study program  which introduces systematic Bible study and foundational biblical knowledge.

West Angeles Bible College provides college-level study in biblical, historical, and theological foundations of the Christian faith. This comprehensive training provides an academic understanding of the Bible to equip individuals to competently serve and apply the teachings of the gospel to the spiritual needs of those around them.

All adult Christian Education classes are at 3045 Crenshaw Boulevard (unless otherwise specified); children and youth classes are held at 3010 Crenshaw Boulevard at the West Angeles Youth Center.

For information regarding schedules for the next session, Bible College fees, certificates offered and more, please call West Angeles Church of God in Christ at 323/733-8300, extension 2345.

 

CHRISTIAN EDUCATION

West Angeles Sunday School teachers and pupils.

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 Blake: Your Power, Your Authority

Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. reminds us to use the badge of power, authority, and strength found only through Jesus Christ.

 “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do…If you ask anything in my name, I will do it” –  John 14:13-14

There are some who try to impersonate officers of the law. They will paint their cars as close to that of a police officer as they can, putting on some kind of phony uniform, trying to act like they are an officer of the law. But listen…trying to act like an officer does not make you a policeman  A true deputy is a person appointed as substitute. He is someone who has the power to act.

It is an impressive thing when you read the scriptures that imply that we are deputies of God and of his son Jesus Christ. All these privileges, powers and rights are conferred upon believer,  and you cannot confer authority upon others unless you have established authority within yourself.

“Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” – Luke 10:19 (KJV)

Who gives us our power? What gives us our authority? Our authority comes from:

  1. God. Jesus Christ gives us our badges. Our badges imply that we are empowered and authorized to act on His behalf. Don’t try to walk the earth on your own authority. People and devils will not respond to us. But when we go forth in the name and the power of Jesus Christ, we can change our situation.
  2. The Word. The power of your authority is in the Word of God; the Word is power! If you stand on the word, the devil has got to back up and step aside in the name of Jesus!
  3.  Prayer. Prayer is the key to the kingdom, and faith unlocks the door. Sometimes our answer is detained; sometimes the miracle we want does not happen right away. He may not come when you want Him, but He’ll be right on time. Hold on to your faith. Hold on to your badge.

    Your Power, Your Authority: Bishop Blake praises the Lord.

Is there anybody who needs to change their situation? Is there anybody who knows that God can change things? If you’re a saved person, you’ve got authority. You are an agent of the Kingdom. You are somebody. Don’t live beneath your privilege. Don’t let problems discourage you. Use your badge!

Holy Ghost power is what we need in this day and time; the Holy Ghost is our back-up! Raise your hands and say,

“Father, I stretch my hand to thee; no other help I know. Lord, I need your power! I need your might! I need your anointing!” 

You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. If you use your badge, God will show up in your life. You are an agent of the Kingdom!

Hallelujah!

Adapted from the sermon titled, “Use Your Badge,” at West Angeles Church of God In Christ.This entire sermon and more is available HERE, at West Angeles Gospel On Demand

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SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES – John 14:12-14, 16:15; Luke 9:1, Mark 16:15-17, Matthew 10:1-7; Luke 10:19, Matthew 16:19, 18:20, 10:40; Ephesians 6:16, Exodus 12:23, 1 Corinthians 1:18, Revelations 1:5, Matthew 6:31, Acts 19:13, Luke 9:23, John 13:34, Judges 16, Daniel 10, Hebrews 14:12, Matthew 22:29, Ephesians 3:20, Acts 1:8, Romans 8:31, Acts 4:13-31, Jeremiah 33:3, Daniel 3:19-26, Isaiah 41:10, Psalm 34:7, Isaiah 40:31.

 

Hear the West Angeles Youth and Young Adult Choir sing,” We need your power”, featuring Darius Maxey. At WEST ANGELES CHURCH OF GOD IN CHRIST.

Bishop Blake: Motivation in Tough Times

Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me. 39He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will” – Matthew 26:38

At the time of His arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus’ agony and sorrow became more and more intense in His heart. He had just finished the Passover Supper with the disciples, and He was aware that this was the last meal that they would share together before His crucifixion. In the scripture above, in essence, Jesus prayed, “Father if you can find any other way to redeem men, then do not make me go through this. I don’t want to do this: but if you want me to…I’ll die on a cross for the world.

“It’s not what I want: it’s what You want.”

There are many times in the life of the believer where what he has to do as a believer is not what he wants to do as a person. However, when you have to do what you don’t want to do:

  1. Be honest with God. When we’re honest with God, God has a way of showing up and giving us the help that we need.
  2. Enhance your spiritual desires. The best way to overcome one desire is with a stronger desire.
  3. Pray. Prayer is spiritual therapy. Pray until you feel the power and the presence of Almighty God; pray until the Holy Ghost shows up and takes over the prayer. When God shows up, He gives you power and strength, and every problem is resolved. “Praying through” will help you to go through!
  4. Find the joy in what you have to do. God’s presence can bring you joy. When you know you’re pleasing God; when you know that God will bring you through: even though it might be painful or unpleasant, joy begins to come into your heart, and you’re able to say, “Hallelujah, anyhow!”
  5. You’ll be better than when you started. Job looked at his situation and said, “God knows the way that I take, and when He’s tried me, I shall come forth shining like gold.” Your blessing is in doing what you don’t want to do. God will bless you if you obey Him.

JESUS: OUR EXAMPLE, OUR MESSIAH

If you’re going through something tough, God may be getting you ready for something that’s more than you ever imagined you would do. Every trial takes us higher; every challenge takes us higher.

Jesus had to do what He did not want to do. He did not want to have nails driven into His hands and feet. He did not want to be pierced in His side. But because of God’s love for the world, Jesus died so that we might have life. This is the mortar that holds all the other factors together and thank God Jesus loved us!

After Jesus was buried, God raised Him up again, and exalted Him above all men. If God could raise Jesus up, there’s nothing He cannot do.

When you have to do what you don’t want to do, remember Jesus.

Adapted from the sermon, “When You Have To Do What You Don’t Want To Do,” by Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake, at West Angeles Church of God In Christ, 4/9/2017. To hear this entire sermon and more, please CLICK HERE for the West Angeles Legacy Broadcast.

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES – Hebrews 9:22, Ezekiel 18:4, Romans 6:23, 33, 8:28; Matthew 16:24, Jude 20, Proverbs 21:15, 16:9, Psalm 16:11, Job 23:1, Philippians 2:5.

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NEED MORE INSPIRATION? Come home to West Angeles! Join us each Sunday at 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. at the Cathedral, 3600 Crenshaw Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90016.

(Featured photo, courtesy, Wiki Commons).

20 Scriptures and Quotes on Love

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

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

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

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

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

– The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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

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

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

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

– Presiding Bishop Charles Edward  Blake, Sr.

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

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

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

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

Pastor Rick Warren

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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.

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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.

[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.

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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The West Angeles Counseling Center: Find Peace & Experience Joy

“Ministry, when ministered in love, brings Jesus into the now of people’s lives. If we trust Him there’s no limit to what we can do.” – Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake

The West Angeles Counseling Center offers Bible-based services, programs and classes to help provide spiritual support to you and your family both in times of abundance and in times of trial. Through the gospel of Jesus Christ, our Christian counseling combines modern methods of counseling with scriptural principles, using biblical truths as the reference point for integration.

Established in 1988, the West Angeles Counseling Center works to address and support the emotional well-being of individuals, couples, and families, and helps provide you with the tools to improve your mental health and the mental health of those around you.

Our programs and initiatives can help you to:

      • Keep your marriage strong – Receive the tools needed to strengthen your relationship, before and after the wedding.
      • Nurture the family – Our programs edify the whole family, and can help you strengthen the mental health of the children and youth in your life.
      • Deal with life’s trials – Our programs include Christ-centered counseling and support for dealing with issues such as substance abuse, mental illness and more; for individuals, families and groups.
      • Get Connected – Good interpersonal relationships promote good mental health. Develop the tools to build healthy friendships, good working relationships, and a healthy work-life balance.
      • Equip your ministry – The West Angeles Counseling Center is a Certified Academic Institution for the National Christian Counselors Association. We offer ministerial testing and evaluation programs for those who are called to ministry, and we can also help your church gather the resources to better serve your community.

West Angeles Church of God In Christ invites you to live a fuller life today and every day, but remember: “life happens” to all of us. We provide support and services to the greater Los Angeles area. You do not have to be a West Angeles member.

If you need support, and to find out more about our programs and services, please call the West Angeles Counseling Center at 323-737-7463.

The Lord wants to use us to do His will.

The Lord wants to use us to do His will.

 

SERMON: God’s Motive and God’s Objective

For his Sunday April 10 sermon, Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr. continued a series he began on Sunday April 3 which is taken from his book “Encountering God: Pathway to His Presence.” Bishop Blake’s often humorous delivery of his sermon, titled “God’s Motive and God’s Objective,” was met with laughter as he compared God’s relationship with us to the relationships we have with others.

“God loves you, He’ll do anything for you,’ said Bishop, “but He’s got to have His R-E-S-P-E-C-T!”

Last Sunday Bishop Blake was led to speak about the Arc of the Covenant and its symbolic significance in the NT and for our life in God even today.

“Years ago when I began to study about the Arc and the other furnishings of the tabernacle; the holy days, the high priests and the various sacrifices, all of these things came to my attention…The Tabernacle was a symbol; an image of Jesus Christ.”

This entire service and more is available HERE, at West Angeles Gospel On Demand. Highlights from the sermon follow: 

“The study of the Arc of the Covenant and the Tabernacle present to us Old Testament examples and shadows of New Testament realities.”

“If you study the history of a person or a relationship, you will better understand that person…and the nature of that relationship.”

“The understanding of a person’s history will help you deal with that person.”

“Jesus frequently said that He came to fulfill the law, and the Bible frequently affirms that the Old Testament, the Tabernacle, the priesthood and the sacrifices served as shadows and examples of heavenly things.”

“What was it that God wanted? What motivated Him to reach out to man? What was God’s objective?”

“In order to live effectively with a person, you need to know your objectives for dealing with that person, and you need to know that person’s objectives for dealing with you.”

“It’s very wise to ascertain the expectations the other party has of you, prior to committing to a relationship.” –  Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr.

“Everybody that smiles at you…who treats you nicely, does not want a relationship with you.”

“Everybody who treats you rudely or harshly is not responding to something you are or even something you have done. Some people are just rude; some people are just harsh…and they are that way to everybody they meet.”

“Most people are just trying to get from one day to the next day.”

“Maybe to your great disappointment, you need to know that everybody does not spend a great deal of time thinking about you.”

“Some will want to be your friend, but others will desire a favor from you; a loan, or some benefit from you.”

“There has been a tremendous amount of pain and confusion in the world because people who want relationship have been dealing with people who only wanted relations.”

“If you want a Godly, honorable relationship, you’ll have a terrible time dealing with somebody who only…wants to use you and throw you away.”

“If you are to deal effectively with a person, you need to understand that person…You need to know their goals; their objectives.”

“God will do anything for you, but He’s got to have His R-E-S-P-E-C-T!” Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr.

“It’s tough to be with a person who mistreats you, who doesn’t care how you feel or what you think.”

“Some folks wear you out just being around them.”

“You need a good understanding of yourself. Ask your neighbor, ‘Do you understand yourself?’”

“Don’t be tricky. Don’t be deceptive.”

“If you’re struggling with homosexuality brother, don’t mess up some poor lady’s life. And lady, don’t marry somebody, thinking that you’ll be able to change him from gay to straight.”

“There’s got to be mutual admiration and respect. This is absolutely necessary and essential for a lasting, satisfactory relationship.”

“Relationships that are deficient in communication are doomed to much unhappiness and failure.”

“People need to talk – and people need to listen.”

“Some people – even friends – have a big ol’ orangutan of a problem sitting right in the middle of their relationship and they won’t recognize that it’s there.”

“You can’t just look at people and know people…Can I get a witness?”

“Tell your neighbor, ‘Try again…and again, and again.’”

“Don’t let your emotions and your animal drives cause you to make a fool of yourself.”

“Remember that personality and character do not frequently change.”

“The best way to tell what a person will do is to look at what a person has done, and that will tell you what you can expect.”

“In discussing God’s purpose regarding His relationship with us…the principles are the same whether with God or with men and women.”

Deuteronomy 28:1 (NKJV) Blessings on Obedience –  “Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the Lord your God will set you high above all nations of the earth.”

“Down through history, God’s purposes regarding his relationship with mankind has been the same…but because of our sin…God has chosen to deal with mankind in different ways during different periods.”

“After 400 years of slavery (in Egypt), God delivered Israel from Egypt. This was, in essence, their introduction to the Lord. Four hundred years of domination by Egypt had almost erased the every memory and image of God from their minds.”

“Even Moses himself knew so little about God, he had to ask God, ‘What is your name?’ And he had to teach the people how to do the same.”

“God’s motive for dealing with us is love.”

“I don’t care who you are…I don’t care what you have done, God is in love with you.”

“Most parents don’t want anything from their children. They just want to see their children to do well; to succeed. They want them to be prosperous. And their great despair is after they’ve invested so much into their children, they often see them waste and ruin their lives.”

“That’s all God wants for you. He wants you to be productive. He wants your life to be fruitful. That’s why God came into your life in the first place, ‘that you might have life, and have it more abundantly.’”

“God loves us, but if we’re going to have a relationship with Him, we have to know who He is.”

“God’s motive for dealing with us is love” – Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr.

“It’s alright for you to come to God, but when you come, don’t bring mess and sin into the presence of the Lord.”

“Whatever you do for God, it ought to be greater. It ought to be more. It ought to be higher!”

“God said, ‘I am a jealous God…Don’t worship me today and Allah tomorrow!’”

“God’s objective is to love us, and to be loved by us.”

“Tell your neighbor, ‘Neighbor, I’m blessed going in and coming out. I’m blessed by the power of God!”

“There’s nobody like God!”

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES: Deuteronomy 7:6-11, 6:4; Amos 3:3, Exodus 3:5, 13-15; Jeremiah 31:3, John 3:16, Psalm 35:27, 149:4; John 10:10, Isaiah 6:3, Revelation 4:11, Psalm 150:6, 1 Peter 1:16, Psalm 136:1, Deuteronomy 28:1-14, Jeremiah 29:11,  Psalm 100:4.


 

  • Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr.’s book, “Encountering God: Pathway to His Presence” is available at the West Angeles Christian Emporium. Address: 3021 Crenshaw Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016. Phone:(323) 731-3012
  • To read highlights from last week’s sermon titled, “Components of a Testimony,” please click HERE.
  • Is Ethiopia the site of the Arc of the Covenant? Watch as COGIC’s International World Missions President Vincent Matthews shares historic facts about Ethiopia’s Christian heritage:

https://www.facebook.com/BishopVincentMathews/videos/1787441411477427/

  • Please join us for the 21st WORLD MISSIONS CONFERENCE! Please click HERE for more information.