On July 31st 2015, West Angeles received God’s special anointing as the congregation, dignitaries, and celebrities converged to celebrate the life, ministry, and 75th birthday of Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake.

Bishop Blake’s 75th Birthday

Earvin “Magic” Johnson and his wife Cookie served as chairpersons for the 75th Birthday Celebration for Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr. First Assistant Presiding Bishop Phillip A. Brooks II presented an outstanding biography of Bishop Blake, citing Bishop’s many accomplishments and achievements. Describing him as “a new prophetic voice,” and also quoting the Reverend Al Sharpton who described Bishop as “the prelate of Black America,” Bishop Brooks said that COGIC’s beloved Presiding Bishop is leading the church to “a new direction and a new dimension.”

Said Bishop Brooks, “He is expanding our understanding of holiness to include the biblical concept of justice…It is a potent manifestation of this tripartite ministry of holiness, justice, and supernatural gifts that Bishop Blake is called to lead us.”

Also among those who shared inspiring words and an extensive presentation of monetary gifts for the elimination of the West Angeles Cathedral’s mortgage, were Mother Willie Mae Rivers, International General Supervisor, Bishop Joe L. Ealy, Prelate of the Southern California First Jurisdiction, and Dr. Barbara McCoo Lewis, Supervisor of Women of the First Jurisdiction.

The sermon for the evening was delivered by Pastor Rick Warren, a longtime friend of Bishop Blake, and Senior Pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forrest, CA. In his sermon, Pastor Rick cited Bishop Blake and his work at West Angeles as a shining example of long-lasting, integrity-filled ministry.

“If you want the power of God on your life, if you want the blessing of God in your life, if you want the anointing of God through your life,” said Pastor Rick, as he’s affectionately known, “whether you’re a pastor, a homemaker, a businessman, whatever you do, you must build your life on integrity, humility, and generosity. These three words define Charles Blake.”

Stevie Wonder, Samuel L. and LaTonya Jackson, Smokie Norful, the West Angeles Mass Choir, the Rejoice Praise Dancers, and the Chosen Vessels children’s dance ministry were among the wonderful, spirit-filled performances and presentations which completed the extraordinary evening.

Highlights from Pastor Rick Warren’s sermon are below:

“When I think about my friend Charles Blake…There’s three words that define Charles Blake to me…integrity, humility, and generosity.”

“When you lead with love and you lead with integrity, it gets better every year.”

“[Integrity, humility, and generosity] are the antidotes to the three great traps of leadership…lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.”

“There’s only one good thing we can say about satan, and it’s this: he’s entirely predictable. He hasn’t had any new temptations in thousands of years. He’s using the same three basic temptations over and over.”

“The lust of the flesh is passion. The lust of the eyes is possession. And the pride of life is position.”

“Years ago, I took a giant milk can from a dairy. I painted it blue and stuck it in front of my door. I called it my ‘worry can.’ Every night when I’d come home, before I open that door, I’d pause and say, ‘Jesus, all the problems I’m carrying right now…I’m going just leave them here in this can; I’m not taking them in the house. I’m not going to load them on my wife and kids.’”

“God considers rest and recreation so important that He put it in the Big 10 right along with murder and adultery. Every six days, you’re to take a day off!”

“Lust of the flesh is the temptation to feel. It could be too much television, too much food, alcohol, drugs, or anything else. Anything that’s done to soothe your pain, rather than give your pain to God.”

“It’s not a sin to be tempted. Temptation is a choice. It’s not just an opportunity to do bad. It’s also an opportunity to do good.”

“Every time you choose to do the right thing, you build character” – Pastor Rick Warren

“The bible says that God’s No. 1 purpose for your life is to make you like Christ.”

“God’s No. 1 purpose for your life is not to make you happy. God’s No. 1 purpose for your life is to make you Holy.”

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

“[Where] does God produce joy in your life? In the middle of grief.”

“Joy is internal. Joy is eternal. Happiness is external.”

“Trials are situations designed by God to draw us closer to Him. Temptations are situations designed by the devil to draw us away from Him.”

“If it’s from me, I need to repent. If it’s from satan, I need to resist. And if it’s from God, I need to relax.”

“Jesus was tempted to use the gift He’d been given to Bless others, for His own benefit” – Pastor Rick Warren

“A shortcut is never the Will of God.”

“The four-word march (forward march): “It’s not about you.”

“If you want your ministry to last; if you want your life to be blessed, then you have to build your life on integrity, humility, and generosity, because these are the three antidotes to the three great sins and temptations of leadership.”

“Your greatest ministry will come out of your deepest hurt” – Pastor Rick Warren

“God loves to turn crucifixions into resurrections.”

“A sin may be private, but it’s never personal. It always affects other people.”

“False humility is really a form of pride.”

“Humility is not denying [your] strengths. Humility is being honest about [your] weaknesses.”

“We grow best through models, and there’s only one perfect model: Jesus.”

“If you want the power of God on your life…you must build your life on integrity, humility, and generosity.  These three things describe Bishop Blake” – Pastor Rick Warren

“In your life, if you’re going to last 46 years in one church (like Bishop Blake), you need four different kinds of relationships: mentors, models, partners, and friends.”

“Your time is much more important than your money. When you give a person your attention, you’re giving them your time, and your time is your life.”

“Wasting time is a form of suicide.”

“There’s only one antidote to materialism: generosity.”

“You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving.”

“You cannot out-give God.”

“Mae and Charles – they have integrity, generosity, and humility. That’s why God has been blessing them.”

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES: 1 John 2:16-18; John 3:16; Hebrews 11:24-26; Romans 8:28-29; Galatians 5:22-23; Matthew 4:1-11; James 1; Exodus 20:5, 8-11.

Pastor Rick Warren and his wife Kay are the founders of Saddleback Church in Lake Forrest, CA, where he  continues to serve as Senior Pastor of its 14 campuses worldwide.  He is the author of “The Purpose Driven Life”, the best-selling hardback book in American history.