Friday, November 13, 2009

Beauty of Darkness--Antoinette R. Banks

What Paul writes to the Church of Corinthin 2 Corinthians 5:7 “For we walk by faith and not by sight,” is an example of a poetic paradox. For the unbeliever, Faith seems to be an absurd “idea,” but to the Believers Faith is essential; it is, in fact, poetic. As Believers we clutch onto our faith walking into the dark; as seeds to soil.

In order for a seed to grow it must be plunged into the earth, covered in darkness. It is there, in the opaque since of isolation, where the seed begins to expand and roots form. Because Faith in its self is somewhat of a dark mystery, we must not be afraid of the dark, but meditate on the growth potential.
Within our quiet times at home when our best friend is unreachable, when you can’t turn on your computer to get on Facebook, when our neighbors won’t answer the door and after the dust has settled, it’s just you…in the dark, contemplating your situations--know that your Faith is what pulls you through.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). At the extremes we find truth and unlock the secrets of paradox. At the extremes we find our faith.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

God in Me---Antoinette R. Banks, member of the Web Team

Many of us have heard the Gospel duo Mary Mary’s single, “It’s the God in Me.” For some particular reason that song stayed wedged in my thoughts not because of the impressive beat, but because of the lyrics:

But what they don't know is when you go home
And get behind closed doors man you hit the floor
And what they can't see is on your knees
So the next time you get it just tell em—it’s the God in me.

I began to remember what I was thankful for. I began to remember what I battled against. I began to remember I served a living God that dwells on the inside of me.

Elijah stood up against 400 prophets—but it wasn’t him, it was the God in him. Mary, a teenager chosen to birth a savior, but it wasn’t her, it was the God in her. Nehemiah rebuilt the walls of Israel—but it wasn’t him it was the God in him. Esther, called to be a wife and save her people from annihilation—but it wasn’t her, it was the God in her. Peter threw down his fisherman’s license to follow a savior—but it wasn’t him it was the God in him. Jesus, the begotten son, birthed so that we might have life—but it wasn’t him, it was the God in him.

Most people do not know what you are going through. They do not know that just last week you went to war against depression. They didn’t know that you almost lost your job and didn’t know where your next meal was coming from. They didn’t know that you a have loved in the hospital. That your spirit was grieved because you didn’t know if your child’s insurance covered her medical expenses.

But the next time someone knows your situation and they ask you, “why are you smiling, how can you laugh, how did you make it through the day?!?!?” Let your spirit man rise up on the inside of you and say, IT’S THE GOD IN ME.

Be encouraged, stay blessed…rest assured that joy ALWAYS comes in the morning!

Praise!! Antoinette R. Banks, member of the Web Team

200-300 young adults religiously flock to West Angeles’ Theater every Tuesday night for bible study. In the theater, an intimate atmosphere is created specifically to worship and learn from Leaders Elder Manuel Thomas and Pastor Benjamin Stephens. Last night, Elder Manuel Thomas, affectionately called Elder Manny Fresh, ministered on the magnetic topic of praise.

The foundational scripture of the evening was: Psalm 22:3 “But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.

Praising God allows us as Christians to magnify God from the inside. We, children created in His own image and likeness, were specifically made to honor Him; therefore, we must know that the inner instruments of our beings were specifically wired to praise God.

Hebrews 13:15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. A sacrifice means to give an offering. In the Old Testament when they gave their burnt offerings, the offering had to die. Its death was seen as a satisfactory gift and was acceptable to God. As Christians, in order for us to bring a sacrifice of praise our flesh has to die so that it may be suitable unto God. We must worship Him in Spirit and in truth. (John 4:24).

Versus the design of Lucifer who did not just sing a song—he was a song. From Lucifer’s very being he created music that praised God. Isaiah 14:12 how art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

Psalm 34:3 O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together. Magnify means to enlarge or to make bigger. Know that praise is a part of who you are! When you magnify God you are literally saying to God what he says about Himself. He becomes bigger than you! He becomes bigger than your circumstance!

It did not matter to David what the perception of him was in 2 Samuel 6:22 And I will yet be more vile than thus, and will be base in mine own sight: and of the maidservants which thou hast spoken of, of them shall I be had in honor. He praised God out of a special relationship, out of a special assignment.

The idea is this: praise is built in from the very side of us. When we praise God, we minister unto him. We must offer a true, and hope filled praise that comes from a place of honesty within us.

Praise is to the spirit what oxygen is to the body. When you praise Him, He reminds you of His promise. He reminds you of what you have cried for. He reminds you of what you were delivered from. He reminds you of what he will provide and restore for you!

Lean not to thine own understanding, but in all ways acknowledge Him!!!!! (Proverbs 3:5)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Transformers: More than Meets the Eye---Antoinette R. Banks, member of the Web Team

In school, math always fascinated me. Not because I wasn’t particularly good at it, but because there was always different solutions to any problem. In Geometry there is a fundamental term called congruency where there is a sequence of transformations involving rotations and reflections. As Christians should not try approach our given situations as a mathematical equation? How can we transform from within? How can we reflect on that process?

Roman 12:2 says Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Once we accept God into our lives, an inward supernatural somewhat mathematical transformation takes place, therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Be confident to keep pressing through. Know that some decisions we make subtract from the Godly outcome that was intended for us. However movements and choices that are a direct reflection of God’s will for us add to the sum of our result.

Do not douse the flame within, do not deny the gentle voice leading you…instead transform the thought process behind the action. Reflect on the fundamentals of your process…become congruent.

There is more to us than meets the eye.

Friday, November 6, 2009

The "Gateway Arch City" Welcomes 2010 Cogic Convocation

For years the Holy Convocation has been held in Memphis, Tennessee. Seems only right since COGIC history is rooted in Memphis, headquarters resides there, and convocation in Memphis has simply grown to be an expected tradition. The Convocation has also brought the city of Memphis a whopping $35 Million to the town on an annual basis. You would think that they would cut us some slack on the hotel fees!

The initial decision to move the Convocation for 2010 from Memphis, Tennessee to St. Louis, Missouri was initiated by our very own, Presiding Bishop, Charles E. Blake, Sr. Pastor, because of hotel fees and other accumulated associated costs.

Although the overall goal of the COGIC Convocation, according to Superintendent Dickerson Wells is to, “continue to be spiritual renewal, education and training of its delegates,” many of our delegates gave a sigh of relief when it came to the advantage of hosting the Convocation at the renowned America Center. At the America Center all of COGIC’s activities will be held in one centralized location instead of having to use Memphis’ the Temple of Deliverance COGIC, FedEx Forum, Pentecostal Temple, and the Cook Convention Center. St. Louis has also offered hotels at $120 per night, discounted parking at the hotels, as well as discounted meals in the hotels and the America Center.

Even though there has been a wide array of rumors and speculations on whether or not headquarters would make a pioneering leap to Los Angeles, headquarters will still remain in Memphis.

For coverage of the event visit

Shout it from the Rooftops--Antoinette R. Banks, member of Web Team

Why are we so afraid to speak about our own gifts? Not to the point of being arrogant, but to the point of understanding and knowing what we possess within our own well of greatness.

Matthew 10:27 Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops.

It is the parallel idea of humble vs. confidence. Christians, do not be alarmed, being confident in your talents is OK! If you have a God given ability, you do not have to hide it out of fear that you are not being humble. This, however, does not give you a voucher to be arrogant or boastful, but to acknowledge and take comfort in the ability that what you have is special and awe inspiring.

However God revealed your gift to you, whether it was in the dark, or a whisper, we encourage you SHOUT IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS!