How Bishop Blake Became Our Pastor

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As a message of hope and resilience during times of adversity, Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. shares the inspiring story of his journey to the pulpit as Pastor of West Angeles Church of God In Christ.

I preached my first sermon in 1957. Between school terms, I traveled across the BISHOPblake-2011nation preaching revivals and attending COGIC conventions. When I finished college, I enrolled in graduate school at ITC, the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, GA (the same school that Elder Charles Blake, II graduated from).

During my education, I worked as a public school janitor and also as a recreation leader for the city of Atlanta to help support myself financially. My salary was $45 a week. and I decided I better get married. I married Lady Mae. She was a school teacher (that brought a little money in…you single men, get married!). When I received my Master’s degree, my father, Bishop J.A. Blake, hired me at his church in San Diego, CA. With a wife and a child, I worked for my father for three years at a salary of $75 a week…$3900 a year.

After working for my father for three years, Bishop S.M. Crouch, the COGIC Bishop of Southern CA, informed me that he intended to assign me to a church in Los Angeles called West Angeles Church of God In Christ. The church had approximately 50 members, but it had been without an active pastor for over two years.

Although bishops appoint pastors in the Church of God In Christ, the existing leadership of this church had made up their minds not to acknowledge Bishop Crouch, or to receive any pastor that Bishop Crouch brought to their church. The night before I arrived, they’d voted 40 to 11 not to hear anything Bishop Crouch had to say.

Bishop Crouch and I arrived the next morning at the church, which was on 5th Avenue and West Adams Boulevard. Bishop Crouch went to the pulpit and preached, then announced that God had directed him “to appoint this young man, Charles Blake, as pastor of this church.” Seven men stood immediately to announce that they did not accept his appointment. Bishop Crouch told the seven men to sit down; they refused. So he said to the congregation, “Everybody, stand up.” The congregation stood. Bishop Crouch prayed the benediction, tapped me on the shoulder and said, “It’s yours, my boy” – and walked out the side door.

“A problem is not a problem with God.” – Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr.

I stepped to the podium and spoke to the congregation and said, “Listen, if it doesn’t work out, I’ll be the first one out of here. But give me a chance, and if it works out, the church will be blessed. The majority of them voted at that time to give me an opportunity.

There were some in the crowd, however, who were determined that they were going to fight to the finish:

  • A back-slidden preacher walked from jail to the center seat of the pulpit to try to take over the church.
  • There were there years of continual litigation, where individuals filed lawsuits and personal claims.
  • Folks invited me outside to fight, during which time I had to have an armed bodyguard for my personal protection.
  • People would turn out the lights and disrupt our meetings with screams and with shouts.

I called the deacons and said, “You better get down here quick before I hurt somebody!” But in the midst of it all, the church congregation doubled in size the first year, doubled in size the second year, and doubled in size the third year, until it became the largest church in our denomination, and one of the largest churches in these United States. And that was history.

God let me know who the center of my life is to teach me that if He could bring me through that, then He can bring me through anything. If God can bless me in the midst of that, then God can bless me no matter what.

This message today about my experiences is to share with you that adversity and affliction do not mean failure or defeat. It just means that the more we are afflicted, the more we grow; the more we multiply, and God is going to get a greater glory.

A delay, a problem, may not be a real problem with God. Just show God that He’s in charge of your life. Hallelujah!

Adapted from the sermon “Greater Blessings for Greater Afflictions” at West Angeles Church of God In Christ, Los Angeles, CA. 7/12/15.


 

To hear this entire sermon, “Greater Blessings for Greater Afflictions,” please CLICK HERE, to visit West Angeles Gospel On Demand.

This sermon is available for purchase on CD or DVD at the West Angeles Christian Emporium,  3021 Crenshaw Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016. Phone: (323) 731-3012.

Day 1: The Bishop C.E. Blake Legacy Conference

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There was a wonderful, uplifted spirit of excitement and anticipation in the air at the West Angeles Cathedral on Thursday morning, as hundreds of pastors from across America converged on Los Angeles for the Bishop C.E. Blake Legacy Conference. After registration, the registrants enjoyed guided tours of the magnificent West Angeles Cathedral building, and lively conversation over a continental breakfast provided by the West Angeles Food Services department.

At 10 a.m., attendees boarded beautiful coach buses for the journey to the West Angeles North Campus morning session of the Conference. Lively praise and worship led by David Daughtery and the Cathedral Chorale greeted attendees as they entered the sanctuary. Pastor Michael Golden, Legacy Conference Chair, gave the welcome greetings and opening remarks; Mother Francis Harris presented a heart-felt introduction and biography of First Lady Mae Lawrence Blake. First Lady Mae presented a wonderful, fascinating history of her life and journey alongside Bishop Blake, from childhood to marriage and children; and through the growth of their ministry as they experienced both trials and triumphs.

After the Morning Session and a delicious lunch served in the beautiful West Angeles Crystal Room, 1st Assistant Presiding Bishop Phillip A. Brooks introduced Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake, who, during the Afternoon Session of the Conference, provided attendees with an impartation of wisdom mined from his decades in ministry.

Highlights and quotes from Day 1 of the Bishop CE Blake Legacy Conference follow:

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Lady Mae Speaks: The Journey

“Women, we must develop a vital prayer life.”

“To all the pastors’ wives out there: no matter how outrageous an idea may seem, if the Lord gave it to your husband, it will succeed.”

“The Blake household has an artillery of prayer, and every room is armed for battle.”

“The more widespread your ministry, the more you will be talked about.”

“God’s hand was on Bishop Blake…He has represented COGIC well. Job 1:6.”

“Bishop, you are a Superstar of a man.”

Elder Charles Blake II: The Legacy 

“As African Americans, it is we who will have to redefine our identity.”

“In ministry, my father told me, ‘Always bring it back to Jesus. That’s who we are. That’s what we do.”

“My father has taught me that if you give your all to God, God will give His all to you.”

“We need to redefine what it means to be a man if we are going to take back our community.”

“A man who stands for God is a man who stands for justice.”

“We, as a church, are going to have to find new ways to minster to those who are hurting.”

Elder Lawrence Blake: The Legacy 

“Sons and fathers sometimes clash. It’s not the fault of the father, but of the son who thinks he has all the wisdom.”

“After my shooting, I went to a very dark place…but God saved my life.”

“I had too much pride to go home, but my father had enough love to come to where I was and bring me back.”

“I have never heard him say a disrespectful thing…I know God because my father lives a Godly life.”

“I thank God for such a Godly example in my father.”

“Thanks to Bishop Charles Edward Blake, I can see a future…We just want to thank you and Lady Mae for who you have been in our lives. We love you.”

The Presiding Bishop Speaks 

“A group of young ministers came to me to ask that I impart wisdom from my decades in ministry. This conference was not my idea.”

“Your church can be bigger than you’ve ever dreamed it could be.”

“Acts 18:8 – Many Corinthians heard and believed…You have many people in your city: you just have to speak the Word, and believe.”

“Your community ought to know that your church is there.”

“If the President can run the whole country, you can run, and minister to, a big church…Isaiah 54:2.”

“I believe that the church should be a big ‘supermarket’ of services.”

“Don’t give up on the people who are against you…They can turn out to be supporters for life.”

“Pastors, release your wife! She’s your most valuable asset. No one loves you more than she does.”

“Tell 5 people: ‘There’s no limit to the size and magnitude of your ministry.’”

“It’s God, it’s God, it’s God!”

The Afternoon Session concluded with a lively and informative panel discussion which showcased the wisdom of West Angeles’ COO, Gladys Ross; Executive Director of the West Angeles Community Development Corporation, Grant Power; West Angeles’ Director of Technology, Evan Farmer; and Coordinator of the West Angeles Technology Sector, Alex Stewart. The panel provided valuable information; panelists answered questions from the attendees on topics such as best hiring practices, finance, and social media platforms.

Bishop Jerry Macklin delivered the benediction, concluding Day 1 of the Bishop C.E. Blake Legacy Conference.


There’s still time!  Attend the Bishop C.E. Blake Legacy Conference!  Onsite registration for Day 2 is available at the North Campus Sanctuary starting at 7:30 AM on Thursday, March 17th.

DVDs of the Bishop CE Blake Legacy Conference is now available for pre-order! Details to come on Westa.org.

Presiding Bishop Blake Shares The Bread of Life

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In this lesson on Biblical history, Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr. explains the  metaphors which represent the life-giving power of Jesus in our lives.

32 Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 35 And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst – John 6:32-35

In this passage from John 6, Jesus presents to us metaphors to describe His person and to describe His mission. He said, “I am the Light of the world; I am the Good Shepherd, I am the Vine.”

If you really want to have a good, spiritual, Holy Ghost good time, study some of the metaphors that describe Jesus Christ; see how they apply to Him, and then understand what they mean to you. Such is the case when we observe Jesus as the “Bread of Life.”

Bread was the foundation of the diet of men in Biblical days. Sometimes, an entire meal would be comprised of just bread. The bulk of their diet was farinaceous, or made from flour or from [grains]. They very seldom ate flesh or meat. the word which we interpret to be meat meant “food” in general, rather than flesh in particular; the word which we interpret as corn really means, in most cases, “wheat” or “barley.”

The use of bread was so prevalent that “bread” was synonymous with “food,” and “food” was synonymous with “bread”. So when we say “bread,” we’re not talking about the anemic, mushy stuff that we eat today. We’re talking about a hearty, vitamin-rich natural staple that ancient men called “the staff of life.”

Jesus says, “I am to your soul what bread is to your body; I stand in the same relationship in your spirit and in your soul that bread and food stands in relationship to your physical life on earth.” In all that Jesus is, and all that He does, He is the bread of Life, but as with natural bread, you are never blessed by it until you consume it and receive it into your body. You are what you eat, and the more you partake of Jesus the more like Jesus you become.

“You can never get enough of Jesus” – Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr.

Not only is He the life-giving bread, but He’s totally wholesome! There are some foods that we eat that are not good for us, even if it’s vitamin-enriched. There are some things you can eat and get too much of and get indigestion from, but you can never get too much of Jesus. The Bible says that He is Good Bread (John 6:35-40). Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! How many of you know that God is good? God is good, and you can never get enough of Jesus!

If you’re hungry and your spirit is famished, Jesus is available. Oh Bless the Name of God! If you come unto Him believe in Him Praise the Lord. He must be received by faith. There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus; all you have to do is lift up your hands and say,

“Lord I’m hungry! Lord I’m thirsty! My soul needs a blessing from on high. Every day I want more; every day I want to be closer; every day I want to feel the manifestation of his power, come on the inside of my life. Every day I want to know more about Jesus because you can never get enough of Jesus!”

Jesus is the Bread of Life. Lift up your hands and say, “Lord fill me again!” Hallelujah!

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES – John 6:32-40, John 8:12, John 10:11, John 15:5, Psalm 34:8, Romans 8:1.

Adapted from the sermon, “The Bread Of Life”; Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. October 5, 2014 at West Angeles Church of God In Christ.

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JANUARY IS CONSECRATION MONTH AT WEST ANGELES! Join us as we purify ourselves for the Lord, and pray for our world to be Blessed. Please CLICK HERE for your copy of the January Consecration and Prayer Calendar, where you’ll find daily prayers, eating instructions, and fasting guidelines.

SERMON: Bishop Blake Preaches on Pride and Humility

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“These six things the Lord hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: 17 A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, 18 A heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, 19 A false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren” – Proverbs 6:16-19 (NKJV)

Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake taught the congregation about Pride and Humility in his Sunday, September 6 sermon. Inspired by Proverbs 6:16-19, Bishop prayed that God would “eradicate pride from our hearts,” and also preached that humility, in contrast to pride, is like love.

“If Jesus could humble Himself, if Jesus could shed his Blood, if Jesus could die on the cross, how much more should we humble ourselves before God?”

He continued, “I know the way is rough, I know there may be people who look down on you and think they’re better than you, but put your hand in God’s hand. Walk on by faith.”

The entire sermon is available HERE, on West Angeles Gospel On Demand.

“Because we love God and because we need His favor we should seek to please Him in every way.”

“People are prone to identify you with the experiences you bring to them.”

“God loves us all, but it is possible to think and behave in such a way as to lose God’s favor.”

“Someone wrote that pride is the chief and source of all sin and that humility is the box in which all the other Christian graces are contained.”

“What is pride? Pride is a high opinion of oneself. Pride is arrogance. Pride is conceit; smugness. Pride is self-importance. Pride is insolence, egotism, vanity, immodesty. Pride is a sense of superiority. Pride is the opposite of humility.”

“Pride causes a person to have an erroneous sense of entitlement.”

“Pride is associated with injustice and with wickedness” – Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake

“It was pride that caused Lucifer…to initiate a rebellion among the angels, resulting in satan and one-third of the angelic hosts to be cast out of Heaven forever.”

“It was pride in the hearts of Adam and Eve that caused them to want to be more than God had made them to be.”

“If God has shown favor to you, you ought to pay God by praise, and by thanks, and by obedience. Come on, clap your hands and say ‘Praise God!’”

“Don’t you mess with my God! My God is bad!”

“Whatever you’ve done, God enabled you to do it…whatever you know, God taught it to you. Whatever you shall do in the future, it will be by the power of Almighty God.”

“Love is like humility” – Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake

“You better give praise to God…How many of you know He’s worthy?”

“Just as God condemns pride, the Lord commends humility.”

“True humility is the product of the Holy Ghost working in the life of the believer.”

“God blesses us when we humble ourselves and give Him the glory.”

‘Pride can even come strutting up in the church!”

“God saved us. God made us what we are. God taught us what we know.”

“Don’t worry about your enemies. Just please almighty God.”

“A humble person is a loving person.”

“Love is like humility.”

“God lifted me up…I’ve got to praise Him! I’ve got to glorify Him! Yes!”

“It was God!”

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES: Proverbs 6:16, 16:5, Isaiah 13:11, Proverbs 16:18, Isaiah 2:12, Genesis 3:4, Exodus 9, 12:29; Proverbs 29:1, 2 Chronicles 7:12-14, 26, 32:25-31; Acts 12:21; 1 Corinthians 8, James 4:6, 9-10; John 8:32, Proverbs 16:7, John 13:34; Psalm 46:1, Philippians 2:3, 5-7.

Bishop Blake, on Understanding the Power of Service

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Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake tells a story from the War of Independence which teaches us about the power of service to others.

There was a corporal during the War of Independence who was leading a group of soldiers, and they came, as they went down the road, to a tree that had fallen across the road. The corporal called to his soldiers and said, “Get this tree out of the way! Come on, hurry up and move that tree!”

Just then, a general rode up and asked what was going on. “We’re getting this tree out of the road,” said the corporal. The general said to him, “Don’t you think you ought to help them out?” But the corporal responded, “What, Me? I’m a corporal! I don’t do things like move trees!”

The general got down from his horse and helped the men move the tree out of the way. He then said to the corporal, “Listen: if you ever need a tree moved, then call on a general like me; I’ll be glad to help you. My name is George Washington.”

Some folks are too holy to be any earthly good. There are many who will only do their specialty; they’ll do only certain kinds of good works. But the Lord Jesus would gladly do a thousand things that his servants are too great to touch.

Jesus is doing some things that we may think we’re too big to be involved in; too big to consider. But Jesus says, “If I’m involved in it, you ought to be involved in it also.” God needs servants who will do whatever needs to be done; general servants who’ll do anything and everything for Him.

Lift your hands and say, “Lord, I’ll do anything and everything for You!”

Adapted from the sermon, “A Believer’s Agenda”: Sunday, August 16th, 2015, by Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. at West Angeles Church Of God In Christ.

See this entire sermon and more HERE, on West Angeles Video On Demand.

Pastor Rick Warren on the Leadership of Bishop Blake

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Pastor Rick Warren joined West Angeles in celebrating the 75th birthday of Bishop Blake on Friday, July 31. Here are his thoughts on Bishop Blake and the powerful effects he has had on West Angeles and around the world.

On Friday, at the great West Angeles Church of God in Christ Cathedral in Los Angeles, I had the privilege of honoring the 75th birthday of one America’s great pastors, a wonderful co-worker in ministry, a powerful force for good in the city of Los Angeles, and dear friend of mine. Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake has pastored West Angeles Church in the heart of L.A. for FORTY-SIX YEARS. That’s what you call “putting down roots” in a congregation and a city! There aren’t many pastors who’ve cared for one congregation for that long.

There are too many advantages and benefits of staying in one place for ministry than I have space to mention in this post, but here’s one benefit I’ve witnessed over and over: when you lead with love and integrity, your ministry gets better every year. If you don’t lead with love and integrity, it gets worse and more difficult every year. You can pretend to love people for a few years, but you can’t fake love for decades! The people figure out if you are legit, because there is never a moment when they aren’t watching you and testing your credibility.

If you are a leader, people are constantly doing a “credit check” on you before they invest themselves. People want to know:

1) Does my pastor love me?
2) Does he practice what he preaches? And –
3) Does he lead by example, making the first sacrifice?

“The good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep” (John 10:11), and if a pastor does that humbly and consistently – year after year after year – the people will follow you anywhere, even if it means charging into hell with squirt guns!

“When you lead with love and integrity, your ministry gets better every year.” – Pastor Rick Warren

Bishop Charles Blake is that kind of leader. For 46 years he has been able to impact Los Angeles in ways like no other pastor I know, because he stayed put! In 1 Timothy1:12, Paul said “I thank God for putting me into the ministry.” Ministry is received, not achieved. It is a gift of God’s grace. And if God puts you into ministry, then you must stay put until he announces other plans for you!

I was deeply touched when my friend Charles Blake called and asked me to preach at his 75th birthday celebration. During the past eight years, he has also served as leader of the Church Of God In Christ, America’s oldest and largest African-American Pentecostal denomination with 6.5 million members worldwide. Charles has spoken twice at Saddleback Church and helped me and my wife, Kay, launch our summit on caring for people with AIDS. Years ago, he asked me to come to the COGIC Annual Bishops and Elders gathering to teach The Purpose Driven Church seminar to their leadership.

The world – and the Church – needs far more partnerships between black, white, brown, and every other color of pastors and churches. It was encouraging to see Caucasian and Asian and Hispanic pastors working in solidarity with our sister Black churches after the tragedies of Ferguson and [Charleston]. The only way to overcome evil is with good, and the only way to overcome hatred is with love.

Pastor Rick Warren and his wife Kay are the founders of Saddleback Church in Lake Forrest, CA, where he  continues to serve as the senior pastor over its 14 campuses. He is the author of The Purpose Driven Church, as well as the New York Times best-selling book, The Purpose Driven Life, which has sold over 30 million copies. “Pastor Rick,” as he’s affectionately known, earned a Bachelor of Arts from California Baptist University, a Master of Divinity from Southwestern Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary.

Adapted from “The Value of Staying In One Place To Minister,” by Pastor Rick Warren. Posted July 31, 2015 at 1:34pm via Facebook Mentions.

DID YOU KNOW?

  • In 1980, at 25 years of age, Pastor Rick Warren founded Saddleback church with his wife Kay, and has been at its helm for 35 years.
  • He is the author of “The Purpose Driven Life,” which is the best-selling hardback book in American history with over 60 million readers.
  • Today, Saddleback members speak 67 languages, and there are Saddleback churches in every (United Nations) country in the world. “We want our church to look like Heaven’s gonna look,” said Pastor Rick.

In Memory of Elder Marion Green

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“Blessed are they which die in The Lord from henceforth: That they may rest from their labour and their works do follow them” Rev. 14:13

Elder Marion Green
June 6, 1916 – February 23, 2015

It is with heavy hearts that Bishop Charles E. Blake and West Angeles Church announce the passing of Assistant Pastor Emeritus Elder Marion Green.

This great soldier transitioned this morning to join his beloved wife Lady Celestine Green and the Church Triumphant.

For over 40 years, Elder Green stood by the side of Bishop Blake in unwavering support, leadership, strength, grace and humility. He found his purpose in God and completed his assignment with integrity and dedication.

As a decorated veteran of World War II, Elder Green brought the same discipline and loyalty to his callings as Minister of The Gospel, husband, father, friend and staff member.

We lift up the entire Green family as they both mourn and celebrate their beloved Patriarch.

We honor this Mighty Man of Valor for his service to and for the Body of Christ!

Final arrangements are as follows:

Tuesday, March 3, 2015 at 11:00AM in the West Angeles Church North Campus  Sanctuary,

3045 Crenshaw Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016.

Lovingly,

Bishop Charles E. and Lady Mae L. Blake
West Angeles Church of God in Christ

Slightly Healed

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Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” John 5:5-6 (NKJV)

“Seems strange that Jesus would ask a man who was sick if he wanted to be made well,” says Bishop Charles E. Blake, “there seems to be people who choose to be sick than healthy. They don’t want to be held accountable as a productive person. It is a choice.” Listen to this snippet of “Slightly Healed” as Bishop unlocks some truths about humanity.