When I sent out the first edition of A Piece of My Mind, some, who have not heard from me in a while, asked for an update. Here it is.
After I left the Pastorate of the Church of the Open Door in 1992, I decided to teach a seminar in churches on personal money management. That led to getting a securities license, working in and even managing a financial planning office, and obtaining the CFS certification. My specialty is mutual funds. (I have written a manual on personal money management, entitled How to Accumulated Wealth on any Income.)
In 1995, Patricia and I were married. I met her at the Church of the Open Door in 1980. She began and headed up a deaf ministry at the church. We are soul mates at a level I didn’t know existed. She too has a securities license and has been a financial officer in a bank.
Many years ago, I became convinced from studying the New Testament that God puts a premium on helping poor people. So, Patricia and I began to teach our seminar on money management in South Central Los Angeles. I also started, and along with a fellow Dallas grad, Dave Drummond, taught in a lay Bible institute in a black church.
For a year, I taught in a small seminary. I particularly enjoyed putting together a course entitled, “A Theological Evaluation of Psychological Systems.”
In the meantime, the Lord began dealing with me about preaching. A deeply significant moment came when I was asked to speak in chapel for a secular organization holding its conference in LA. God descended on the scene like few times when I’ve preached in my life. I then did some pulpit supply.
During this time, a graduate of Talbot Seminary, whom I had “discipled” when I was at Church of the Open Door, bugged me to get back into the pastorate. We talked about starting a church, but I was hesitant. Finally, to get him off my back, we decided that he and his wife, Pam, Patricia and I would ask the Lord to open a door between Sherman Oaks and Woodland Hills, an area between where I lived and Paul lived. Within thirty days the regional director of the American Baptist in LA, a man I had met only once or twice, asked me to consider trying to do something with The Lindley Ave. Baptist Church in Tarzana, half way between Sherman Oaks and Woodland Hills! I agreed to speak there and before I did, I decided not to become the pastor. The Lord changed my mind.
The Lindley Church was started after World War II. For years it and its elementary school flourished. In the 90’s, it declined to a hand full. There were 16 there the first time I preached. On November 1, 1996, I became the pastor/acting principal. The church and school have grown. We have seen peoples’ lives changed like I have never seen as a pastor. For one thing, we have a ministry to the homeless. A number of them have come to the Lord and have gotten off the bottle and off the street. Some of those are now serving in our church.
There is more, much more. I am the Chairman of the Board and administrator of another American Baptist Church that is without a pastor and whose finances were in a mess. I am on the advisory Board of the Los Angeles Baptist High School. Patricia and I still teach our financial seminar in churches. I am working on revising material I have put together over the last twenty years for a lay Bible institute so that it can be put on a website.
By the way, I failed to mention that in the late 80’s and early 90’s I wrote and edited material for The Nelson Complete Study Bible (later named The NKJV Study Bible) and the Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Commentary. I also have a tape ministry (I have over 750 messages on audio tape).
Well, that’s basically it. Patricia and I live in Santa Monica and work together at the church and in our small financial services business. The Lord is indeed gracious.
© G. Michael Cocoris, 7/29/00