Latest Issue


What 400 Years Has Done to Our Faith


11 Managing Your Debt
by Ruthven Phillip /
Part four in our series of six to stabilize shaky finances.

12 Exchanging The Truth For A Lie In These Perilous Times
by Ifeoma Kwesi /
Will Womanism and ancestral rites restore the visibility and power of black women?

14 Getting to Know The Hebrew Israelites
by Keith A. Burton /
How the “problem of the color line” spawned today’s black nationalist religious practices.

18 What Good Is A White Privilege Conference?
by Gary Collins /
The truth discovered may surprise you.

20 Round Trip: Going Back to Find Your Destiny
by Anthonye Perkins /
This coming of age program seeks to reconnect urban youth with their destiny.

22 Your Personal PR Toolkit
by Douglas Morgan /
What to do when there’s mud on your name. Prepare for your comeback.

28 The Gold Standard
by Donald L. McPhaull /
Inconsistent application of the law of love finds no place in scripture.


by Phillip McGuire Wesley /
Media That Takes You Higher

by Carmela Monk Crawford /
legacy, privilege and the wealth gap

by Jackson Doggette /
Politics of Prayer • Reparations; • Religious Bias

by Donna Green Goodman /
But, I’m Allergic!

by Willie and Elaine Oliver /
Keeping up with them

by Carlton P. Byrd /
Carrying someone else’s curseion

by Ellen G. White /
Jesus Respected and Responded to People Not in His “Circle”

by Rashad Burden /
Wrong Place. Wrong Time. Wrong People.

by Danielle Barnard /
Hagar: The Woman Who “named” God

Legacy, Privilege, and the Wealth Gap

Jesus told a story of a rich man who wore beautiful clothes, one who lived and ate well (Luke 16:19-31). We have no insight as to the character of this man, not until he dies and ends up in hell! (Not a doctrinal statement, but a story mechanism Jesus is using to make a point.) We find clues regarding the rich man’s character as it is in relationship to the poor man, the beggar Lazarus.

“Poor man” in the original language was an onomatopoeia—that of a spitting sound—and a clever device Jesus used to highlight how marginalized and scorned of society this man truly was. But, in this story of the great reversal of fortune, when the poor man died, he found himself in paradise. When the rich man died, however, he went straight to his torment.

An interesting feature in this story, is that while in hell, the rich man could see Lazarus enjoying himself with Abraham. And, the rich man could see and communicate with Abraham.* When he gets his chance, the rich man asks a question across the dimensions of life and death, heaven and earth and hell. Surely, this moment reveals transformative introspection, right?

“Father Abraham,” the rich man said, “have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame,” (verse 24). But, gentle great-grandad Abraham simply told him, “Oh, son, when you were alive, you had good things. Lazarus had evil, so now he gets good things. Besides, not possible. Do you see this great gulf fixed between us?”

With this story, Jesus sticks a pin right in the sensitive spot of human want and desire. This is a story about meaning and legacy: whether what you did in your lifetime mattered, or whether you will one day wake up to find out your choices, your priorities, your beliefs and practices were all wrong. It would be too late to find that you were tied to the good things of this world, the things that satisfied in the here and now (1 John 2:16); that your biggest concern was how you could create more wealth, more security, more happiness for yourself (Luke 12:20); that you couldn’t see your way past the pressing details of life to capture that which is truly meaningful; that, as you played your role, you played the script, the one written for you by people, not by God (Luke 10:40-42).

They believed their claim to Father Abraham made them the chosen ones.

Then, this is a story about distance. Now is a good time to look into that chasm between these two characters, the “great gulf fixed.” The rich man created that black hole through his benign and daily neglect of the man lying at his gate. That man, his needs, and his helplessness might as well have been lightyears away because the few feet to get to him were just too far. The demand on his time and the social capital lost in bridging this gap was too much. Now, the gap between where he was and where he wanted proved insurmountable. Talk about a wealth gap.

Finally, this story is about privilege. We see the rich man appealing to his privileged lineage—Father Abraham, not Father God. Jesus threw that into the story because to His Jewish hearers, privilege came through Abraham. They believed their claim to Father Abraham made them the chosen ones.

“Send Lazarus who was made to be used, appropriated and controlled by me. Send him from his place in paradise, to me, so he can serve me.” Privilege sure does die hard, does it not?

“The sin of Dives [what tradition has named the rich man] was that he felt that the gulf which existed between him and Lazarus was a proper condition of life,” Martin Luther King, Jr. posited during a 1955 sermon in Montgomery. “Dives felt that this was the way things were to be. He took the “isness” of circumstantial accidents and transformed them into the “oughtness” of a universal structure. He adjusted himself to the patent inequalities of circumstance.”

King’s exposition applied the rich man’s dilemma to the segregationists, the capitalists, and the classists of his time. But, does it stretch the parabolic purpose for us to question the priorities of the religious and privileged today? Who set our priorities for care and concern, international policy, and justice? Through what—or whose—lens do we define these “hills to die on?” How can we claim the need for prayer in schools for children, all while withholding soap and toothpaste from children detained on our borders? How will decades of strategizing to protect the unborn factor on the balance sheet against the lives lost to police shootings, or drive bys, or wrongful convictions and incarcerations? Will we really garner the favor of God by seeking to support one prophetic pro-Israel interpretation, while neglecting the obvious humanitarian needs of, say, Rohingya Muslims in forced migration?

Can we question our priorities now? Can we check our practices now? I just don’t want to wake up wrong.

*(Again, an artistic device Jesus used to make His point. Compare: Ecclesiastes 9:5; Psalms 6:5; 88:10; 115;17 and 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17.)

This article is part of our 2019 July / August Issue
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2019 May/June Issue

By The Word of Their Testimony

How everyday people can protect and promote the mental wellness we need.


12  Bounce Back
by Kim Nowlin Logan /
Staying The Course: Mastering the art of bouncing back.

13  Can you trust yourself?
by Ruthven Phillip /
Five Ways to Keep Your Credit in Check.

14  Won’t He Do It?
Electrifying Evidences That God Is Still on The Throne!

• Overcomers by The Blood of Jesus –
William Cox
• The Closer -Sim Fryson
• God of The Magnet – Lori Diaz
• Last Woman Standing – Denise Frazer
• There Is No God, Said The Fool – Luis
• God’s Deliverance – Billy Mirander
• God’s Protection – Jyremy Reid
• God’s Mercy – Gianna Snell
• God’s Comfort – Sharon Jamison
• God’s Plan – Tyler Brown
• Home Away From Hell – Shay Price
• Surrendered Heart – Milton Coronado
• God’s Leading – Patti Conwell

28  Sin is Sin
by Donald L. McPhaull /
No such thing as a misdemeanor or a felony in God’s book.


by Carmela Monk Crawford /
Experiential Evidence

6 Eye on the times
by Edward Woods, III /
The Fall of Civility

8 Optimal health
by Donna Green Goodman /
The Doctor Is In! Special Guest, Milton Mills, M.D.

by Willie and Elaine Oliver /
Kids of Divorce

24 Futurecast
by Carlton P. Byrd /
Celestial Struggle

26 The Experience
by Ellen G. White / What Does It Take for You to Believe?

27 The Experience Bible study
by Rashad Burden /
Better Than God?

Want to See God Move in Your Life?

As a child, I would bring my dime to church for tithe (10 percent on my whopping occasional increase of a whole dollar). The words that followed from the front each week were so predictable that the enormous power of the promise has faded.

“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it” Malachi 3:10.

This promise of God—way better than any contract in good faith among mere mortals—raises our expectations. It purposely gets our hopes up. It intentionally invites us to go out on a limb and believe for what He has said. “Prove,” meaning “test,” “try,” or “investigate,” also implies God’s hope. He hopes that in the proving process, when we glimpse who He is, and trace a small part of what He wants for us, we would discern between the choices in front of us and choose Him.

Proving Position

While the promise in Malachi is so ubiquitous in service, the architecture of it is worth noting for those of us who want to see God move in our lives. It requires us to first get in position. Position? Yes, proving position means we align ourselves with what we know to be true, the things we know He has asked of us, things already clearly revealed in His Word, the Bible.

In Malachi, the prophet indicated that the proving position was returning the tithes. For Joshua and the children of Israel—wearied, jaded, and weak in faith after wandering 40 years in the wilderness—the proving position was dipping the toes into the river Jordan. It was then that God parted the water for them to cross to the other side (Joshua 3:9-17). In the prophet Elijah’s day, during a widespread famine, the proving position for a poor starving widow and her son who had so little, was to share of her last little homemade cake. It was then that her supply, and her Supply, never ran out (1 Kings 17:10-16). For a man whose hopeless, helpless case meant he lay at a poolside impotent and paralyzed for 38 years, proving position meant immediately acting on the call of Jesus (John 5:2-10).

Testimony to Come

Want to see what happens? Position yourself to get a glimpse of God, and His plan for your life:

Trust and Believe, even in the face of skeptics, doubters and haters.  You’ve got evidence—just that calm inkling that things will work out is evidence itself (Hebrews 11:1).

Trust and Obey, even when we don’t understand (and we may often fail to understand) (1 John 3:22).

Trust and Listen—through His Spirit and through His Word—to gain an understanding (John 16:13, 14).

Trust and Pray while you wait, letting the Spirit do the talking (Romans 8:26).

Trust and Speak and “act in harmony with your prayers,” wrote Ellen G. White in the book Christ’s Object Lessons. We are, after all, working on the same team, as “co-workers” with God, (1 Corinthians 3:9).

Tell what you know, what you’ve seen, and what you’ve heard of Him in your life to others.  “We have not followed cunningly devised fables when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eye-witnesses of His majesty” (2 Peter 1:16).

This article is part of our 2019 May / June Issue
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We are so excited to introduce our new Message tracts! Make sure you take advantage of our

“Juneteenth BOGO Special.”

Tracts are in bundles of 100 at $4 per pack + a FREE pack of 100 for every pack purchased by June 19, 2019 (Regular price after that will be $480 per MESSAGE Tract Attack Kit)


Here is a list of Titles & Descriptions

500 Years of Protest – From Martin Luther to Martin Luther King, Jr. and beyond. In a fallen world, there will always be corruption, greed, and injustice – thus there will be continual calls for protest. Will you be part of the solution or part of the problem? What is your standard of what’s right and wrong, just and unjust?

50 Ways to Keep Your Lover—Some of these quick and practical tips might be new insights for you, while others serve as piercing reminders. Either way, these little sparks will help rekindle our relationships in the midst of the busy-ness of life. Applying these principles will promote communication, joy, empathy, and resilience in our relationships.

Comforters, Incorporated—Because there are so many sources of stress, grief, and discouragement, God has provided a variety of comforters to restore hope, joy, and strength. Experience this comfort for yourself and share it with others.

Faith, Family, and Finances—Systemic flaws in American society have robbed countless black citizens of their unalienable rights—among them life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, over the decades. Today, the problems still exist. Yet, we can accomplish much if we get back to the basics and remember how God has led us in the past. Tackling the issues of “Faith, Family and Finances” is a good place to start.

Fearless Focus—Are political unrest, natural disasters, war, disease, and forecasts of doom and gloom generating anxiety in your life, or making you numb to the news? Here’s some guidance to focus on current events in a way that activates your faith instead of amplifying your fears.

All For One: One Dish Meals That Pack a Punch—Donna Green-Goodman shares a glimpse of her story as a cancer survivor and how transforming her diet helped her overcome the second deadliest killer in America. Her tasty, healthy recipes can help you beat the odds and live the abundant life.

Loving Them to Death: Advice for the Families of Addicts—Patrice Conwell, and Clifford and Freddie Harris of Drug Alternative Program (DAP) counsel us about five deadly ideas that will get your loved one killed and six life-giving strategies that just might help your loved one overcome addiction.

Reframe Your Pain: 6 Lessons on Loss—Job is one of the best known figures in the Bible, because of how he dealt with the sudden devastation of his property and riches, the death of all his children, and a painful, disfiguring disease that made his breath stink. How do you hold onto faith, and life itself, when even your spouse thinks you might be better off dead? Learn these lessons of healing from Job and share it with others.

Righteous Rage— People are outraged everywhere you look. There are protests against gun violence, pipelines, police brutality, racism, classism, fascism, sexism–and for every protest there’s a counter-protest. Is it wrong to be outraged? Can our outrage be counterproductive to the problems we hope to solve? Is there such a thing as righteous rage?

Social Justice Holiday— What if there was a weekly Social Justice Holiday for us to work together with Jesus toward bringing healing, wholeness, liberty, and justice to those in need? What would that look like? Why not start by sharing this tract with everyone in your circle? Then expand your circles!

My Sweet Addiction— If you’ve ever bitten into a ripe, juicy mango or crisp apple, you know that the Creator intended for us to enjoy “sweet”. Yes, sweet is a very good thing, until too much of it is eaten in the form of refined sugar. Donna Green-Goodman helps us keep this potentially lethal, yet perfectly legal and socially acceptable, addiction in check!

What It Takes to Heal: 7 Transformational Tips for Abuse Survivors—The numbers of victims of sexual abuse are staggering, even though they’re underreported. This tract, written by a survivor, helps provide healing and restoration: There is a way out. Your life matters. Your healing matters. You matter.

*To learn about the Juneteenth holiday, go to:

Meet Me Here

Notre Dame’s shock soothed by rescued relics. What commemorates your faith?

What could assuage the shock of seeing the Notre Dame Cathedral Paris amid roaring, uncontrollable flames?

Raging devastation paralyzed the faithful few who worshipped there. Even the secular touring public, for whom Notre Dame’s flying buttresses, Gothic-era gargoyles, and gorgeous rose windows are a Parisian must-see, stood transfixed as the catastrophe unfolded.

Before the inferno claimed the roof of the 800 year-old international landmark, a priest, part of a human chain, rescued the sacraments, and the relics, including to the relief of so many—one Crown of Thorns.

Chain, Chain, Chain

Embed from Getty Images

Yes, that Crown of Thorns. By way of quick background, here is what legal evidentiary practice calls the “chain of custody”:

• The “Crown” appears in the Bible’s, account of the trial and crucifixion of Jesus. It was placed upon the brow of Jesus as He is mocked for claiming to be the son of God. He was derided for being “The King of the Jews.”  Matthew 27:29, Mark 15:17, John 19:2. John 19:5 indicates: “Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man!”
• The loss and subsequent absence of important evidence for 400 years would surely render the evidence problematic in a court of law, yet in this case some people believe the crown of thorns  resurfaced by 409 A.D.
• From there, according to the Catholic newspaper The Compass, the Crown’s whereabout are traceable, and “can be unbrokenly traced back only to Constantinople, where many of the church’s treasures originally in Jerusalem were transferred to the Byzantine Empire between the fourth and the tenth centuries.”
• In a humiliating episode, the relic was pawned, in a sense, by the Latin Emperor Baldwin II to raise funds in 1238.
• Shortly thereafter that King Louis IX of France paid the Venetian bank holding the relic, and claimed it for France. Because the monarch claimed it and other relics, then in humble celebration, is said to have walked barefoot and in a simple tunic behind the crown into the then Sainte-Chapelle, the Catholic church canonized him. Incidentally, Louis’ tunic is one of the relics saved in Monday’s fire.
• The Crown of Thorns survived the French Revolution, hidden away in the National Library for safekeeping. Even though the bloody conflict ended with the fall of the pope in 1798, by 1801, Napoleon Bonaparte I executed a treaty with the Catholic Church, returning the “Passion relics” to its custody at Notre Dame.
• The Crown of Thorns has been at Notre Dame since, offered for worshippers on the first Friday of every month, and each Friday during Lent, until it was saved from the fire on Monday by Jean-Marc Fournier, a priest.

Money Where Your Mouth Is

Social elites, wealthy business owners, and concerned parishioners around the world chipped in to rebuild the Cathedral—growing its pre-fire $6 Million renovation budget to $1 Billion after the fire. And, this feat of reconstruction will be completed in five years, according to the optimistic French President, Emmanuel Macron. But, now just two days away from the day that Christians around the world commemorate the Resurrection of Jesus, this event highlights the power of a relic over real religion, especially as some see money diverted from human suffering to religious architecture.

Human intervention is what turns an ordinary inanimate object into an artifact, said Alfred Williams, Jr., Ph.D., a Paine College professor of Religion and Philosophy, an expert in biblical archeology. Throughout the centuries, religious relics emerge as a result of the subjective religious meaning and value attached to them. And, it is unlikely, that the objects revered were at all considered to be worthy of such at the time of their creation or use. Hence, Roman soldiers and Pilate certainly would not have viewed a crown of thorns as holy, or valuable. Their intentions were just the opposite.

Centuries past the Age of Enlightenment, and well into our post-modern world, tangible evidence and visible revelation is critical to the faith of many believers.

“Faith has become a lot more challenging to have” said Williams. “We seem to desperately need something. Faith should be enough, [but] humans seem to want to have something to hang onto. What is more important, rather than the relic itself, is your belief and your faith. At the end of the day, a relic doesn’t mean very much, but your faith is everything.”

Formal Fascination

In France, at least, a fascination with form rather than actual function of faith seems consistent with the findings of Pew research released in December 2018. Pew examined religious practices across Europe, ranking European countries according to the self-reported experiences of adherents. In a list of 34 countries, France ranked 26, with only 12% of its population identifying themselves as “highly religious.” To be “highly religious” was defined as “attending religious services at least monthly, praying at least daily, believing in God with absolute certainty and saying that religion is very important to them.”

Maybe they need to feel close to an artifact. And, they are not the only ones, Williams concedes. It is very human to be struck with inspiration at an object that ties us to our faith. So, what about us? The question is, what assuages our faith as we watch the world on fire, the rolling catastrophes of each news cycle, and our sense of powerlessness in the reflection of it all?

The Bible points us to three events for commemoration, (see this article from our Vault by the late evangelist Earl E. Cleveland) all of which, upon reflection, have the power to usher us directly into the revelation of God’s glory and grace: 1. Communion. 2. The Resurrection, and 3. The Sabbath.

Why not meet Jesus there, at the scene of His prayers for you in Gethsemane? Meet Him who endured the crown of thorns, not in veneration, but in humiliation. Meet Him who rose again with all power, and came looking for you and me. Meet Him, whose passion for your will last for eternity.

2019 March / April Issue


How everyday people can protect and promote the mental wellness we need.


by Kim Nowlin Logan /
Trust and security issues arise for couples who co-habit.

by Ruthven Phillip /
Protect your family against whims and winds of financial stress.

Tending The Healthy Mind

Special health section

H. Jean Wright /
Could you step in when a loved one suffers breakdown?

-Better engage people living with mental illness
-Mental Renewal and Repair
-Remember: You Can

by Wilma Kirk Lee /
For the caregiver, it is important to take care of yourself.

by Omar Miranda /
She almost lost her children, but Bible wisdom and counseling lifted her from despair.

by Carl McRoy /
The five comforters committed to getting you through this.

by Donald L. McPhaull /
Ten baseless “Bible” concepts that it’s time to trash.


by Phillip McGuire Wesley /
Media That Takes You Higher

by Carmela Monk Crawford /
Hands-on Mental Health

by Jackson Doggette /
Social Justice and Spiritual Impact of Wellness

by Donna Green Goodman /
Bible Nutrition and Diet?

by Willie and Elaine Oliver /
My wife has bi-polar disorder

by Carlton P. Byrd /
Tyrants, Terrorism and the End of Time

by Ellen G. White /
Six Times Jesus Challenged His Hearers “Our Part in The Healing”

by Rashad Burden /
The Extra Mile

by Brenda Simon / 
Search the Scriptures

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Hands-on Mental Health

You may have seen the story on your social media feed: “Schoolboys grabbed suicidal man and refused to let him jump” blared the UK Daily Mail. That headline accompanied a picture of a serious Shawn Young, Davonte Cafferkey, and Sammy Farah, ages 12, 13, and 14 respectively, at the time.

The boys had been “loitering” on the way home from school, recalled Young’s mother, and as they were about to cross an overpass in Hertfordshire—about 30 miles North of London—a passing adult told them to go another way because a disturbed man was on the bridge.

Their sense of mischief and curiosity aroused, they proceeded across anyway. There they found a distraught 21-year old man with a rope. His face was red and he was crying quietly, but sweating and breathing heavily. He tied the rope around part of the bridge, tossed his keys and phone to the boys and told them not to answer if anyone called. He put the rope around his neck and climbed over the railing.

This pressed the boys into smart and aggressive “textbook” action,” said Carol Young. Cafferkey and Farah clutched the man for dear life while Shawn ran for help. The young man became dead weight there on top of that bridge, over the busy highway. He slipped in and out of consciousness while the boys yelled at him: “Don’t do this! Think of your family! You’re too young to die!”

Grateful Family

Ultimately, two other passerby assisted the boys in bringing the man to safety and averting the loss of life.

“A few weeks after,” Shawn told Message recently, “he came to Devontae’s house to meet us. He brought us flowers and cards. He said he was grateful; he wasn’t really thinking properly.”

The kernel of truth buried in this story with a happy ending is what support for people living with mental illness is all about. That’s because when you rewind, you realize that it was an adult who told the boys to avoid crossing the bridge where a “crazy man” was up there doing some strange things. Instead, like the Bible’s “Good Samaritan” who risked his life to come to the aid of a person in need—all while other, qualified and seemingly spiritual people passed by—the boys stepped in anyway.

“Shawn was brought up as a child to attend church. His belief is there. He’s had training,” said his mother who took her children to work in the community “religiously,” and taught them to look after people who need looking after.

Wholistic Health

As a Seventh-day Adventist, for whom belief in the wholistic health message of the Bible is critical, I was taught early to “Trust in Divine Power,” a helpful, hopeful approach to well-being that most certainly includes mental wellness.

“Trust in divine power boosts positive emotions and helps neutralize negative emotions, serving both to enhance life and increase coping skills as negative life events are put into proper context,” writes Lillian Kent, in an article “The Adventist “Health Message” Unpacked, “Individuals with these beliefs have greater well-being, happiness, hope, optimism, and gratefulness and are less likely to experience depression, suicide, anxiety, psychosis, substance abuse, delinquency, crime, and marital instability.”

Yet, traditionally communities of faith and the faithful struggle with incorporating psychological and psychiatric support with religious or spiritual belief and practice. Longstanding suspicions widened the gulf between science and faith. That left many to struggle alone in stigma, or in anonymity, or in abuse.

“Most services of worship are silent about the mental and emotional problems among those present,” according to an article by Clark Aist, Ph.D, a former director of Chaplain Services and Rehabilitation Services Supervisor of Clinical Pastoral Education, for Saint Elizabeth’s Hospital, Washington, D.C. “They are not lifted in prayer or sermons, nor mentioned in social hour conversations. This conspiracy of silence serves to perpetuate the stigma associated with mental health conditions.”

With mental illness affecting “tens of millions” of people in the United States, and only an estimated half of the people affected getting treatment, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, there is room for more discussion, education, and intervention. In our houses of worship, cited Aist, it is estimated that one in four families has someone living with a mental illness. At that rate, we can no longer afford to stigmatize mental illness, or simply pray it away, but actually use a hands-on effort to look after people who need looking after.

This article is part of our 2019 March / April Issue
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