2016 January/February Issue


Civil Rights Icon and Congressman John R. Lewis Discusses Resistance Technique

Black Lives Matter meets Civil rights icon and Georgia Congressman John R. Lewis, who still gets into “good trouble.”

by William Lee / Want to help a brother out with family, finances and friendship? Try this.

by Carmela Monk Crawford / Black Lives Matter meets Civil rights icon and Georgia Congressman John R. Lewis, who still gets into “good trouble.”

by Claude and Jocelyn Thomas / “Professional lovers” put 50 years of tips in the palm of your hands.

18 ISIs and the fulfillment of prophecy
by Keith A. Burton / Ideological strivings and terror can only be defeated by something greater.

by David Person / First American musicians invited to perform in Cuba.

by Cleveland Wilson / He directed the choir for 40 years, but couldn’t hear the voice of God.

by Rich Aguilera / Scientific advances on the shoulders of believers.


by Phillip McGuire Wesley / MEDIA THAT TAKES YOU HIGHER

by Carmela Monk Crawford / THE HIGH ROAD

8 optimal health
by Donna Green Goodman / GREAT BEGINNINGS!
by Shelem Flemons / New Year’s Revolution

by Willie and Elaine Oliver / bridezilla on a budget

24 futurecast
by Carlton P. Byrd / The Great Requirement

26 The experience
by Ellen G. White / Fragrant Anointing
The experience study
by Rashad Burden / Divinely Disruptive

30 Myth busters
by Donald McPhaull / Peter and the Pope



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Elevation 2016 January/February

I love this quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
Love should be the driving force that causes us to be more positive as we think and act in the world—even in the midst of chaos.


TheAdventistHome The Adventist Home tops my list of practical books on building a Christian home. This very special vintage resource remains amazingly relevant today.
SoAmazing So Amazing. . . Her Story: Secrets to Finding and Keeping a Great Man, chronicles the journey of a woman who has had two amazing marriages. According to the author, “The So Amazing saga incorporates the voice of a totally fulfilled husband—timely, tantalizing, and transparent. So Amazing. . . Her Story will inspire those who hope to find and keep the man or woman of their dreams, and encourage couples who long for a
So Amazing life. Visit www.soamazinglife.com for more information.”
BalanceOfPassion Balance of Passion provides thorough answers to questions about what it really takes to make a great marriage. Balance of Passion’s ultimate purpose is to help spouses discover how to create and maintain the “safe-haven marriages” they desire. You can find this book at Barnes and Nobles and at Amazon.com.


Music-BecauseHeLivesMusic-OhHappyDay Music-AndraeCrouch What’s old is new again, and what’s new is new again too! Here are several gospel classics written by families of gospel greats, and some new artists whose music we’ll remember in years to come:
• The Gaithers wonderful hymn, Because He Lives.
• Walter Hawkins and his brother Edwin wrote many classic gospel tunes, including the timeless classic,
Oh Happy Day.
• Andraé Edward Crouch and his twin sister Sandra
Crouch penned and recorded the classics, Take Me Back, The Blood, and My Tribute.
• The Clark Sisters
• The Winans
• The Pace Sisters
• David and Tamela Mann
• Virtue
• The Walls Group
• Forever Jones
• Mary Mary


 Life360 icon Life360 provides location services for you, your family, and your friends. Get notifications when the people you care about arrive at their destination.
 Glympse icon  Glympse is also an app that allows you to share your location with family and friends when traveling.
SquareHub icon  SquareHub is your family organizer. Share to do lists, calendars, and updates. Staying connected with family has gotten easier.
Using technology we can find many ways improve familial relationships. May God bless and enhance your family today.

Fragrant Anointing

Our Bible study this year recalls the details of the days leading up to the trial, death and resurrection of Jesus. In meditating upon His sacrifice for us in this “thoughtful hour”, we pray that you will sense your connection with all of heaven. Feel free to post your thoughts and reactions to things you have read and experienced in the study, #messagemag. Above all, it is our prayer that you get to know Jesus and experience His life-changing power for yourself.

Excerpted from the classic The Desire of Ages, p. 558-563 “The Feast At Simon’s House.”*
At the table the Saviour sat with Simon, whom He had cured of a loathsome disease, on one side, and Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead, on the other. Martha served at the table, but Mary was earnestly listening to every word from the lips of Jesus. In His mercy, Jesus had pardoned her sins, He had called forth her beloved brother from the grave, and Mary’s heart was filled with gratitude. She had heard Jesus speak of His approaching death, and in her deep love and sorrow she had longed to show Him honor. At great personal sacrifice she had purchased an alabaster box of “ointment of spikenard, very costly,” with which to anoint His body. But now many were declaring that He was about to be crowned king. Her grief was turned to joy, and she was eager to be first in honoring her Lord. Breaking her box of ointment, she poured its contents upon the head and feet of Jesus; then, as she knelt weeping, moistening them with her tears, she wiped His feet with her long, flowing hair.

Woman with long Hair
She had sought to avoid observation, and her movements might have passed unnoticed, but the ointment filled the room with its fragrance, and published her act to all present. Judas looked upon this act with great displeasure. Instead of waiting to hear what Christ would say of the matter, he began to whisper his complaints to those near him, throwing reproach upon Christ for suffering such waste. Craftily he made suggestions that would be likely to cause disaffection.

Mary heard the words of criticism. Her heart trembled within her. She feared that her sister would reproach her for extravagance. The Master, too, might think her improvident. Without apology or excuse she was about to shrink away, when the voice of her Lord was heard, “Let her alone; why trouble ye her?” He saw that she was embarrassed and distressed. He knew that in this act of service she had expressed her gratitude for the forgiveness of her sins, and He brought relief to her mind. Lifting His voice above the murmur of criticism, He said, “She hath wrought a good work on Me. For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but Me ye have not always. She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint My body to the burying.”

The fragrant gift which Mary had thought to lavish upon the dead body of the Saviour, she poured upon His living form. At the burial its sweetness could only have pervaded the tomb; now it gladdened His heart with the assurance of her faith and love. Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus offered not their gift of love to Jesus in His life. With bitter tears they brought their costly spices for His cold, unconscious form. The women who bore spices to the tomb found their errand in vain, for He had risen. But Mary, pouring out her love upon the Saviour while He was conscious of her devotion, was anointing Him for the burial. And as He went down into the darkness of His great trial, He carried with Him the memory of that deed, an earnest of the love that would be His from His redeemed ones forever.

Many there are who bring their precious gifts for the dead. As they stand about the cold, silent form, words of love are freely spoken. Tenderness, appreciation, devotion, all are lavished upon one who sees not nor hears.

Had these words been spoken when the weary spirit needed them so much, when the ear could hear and the heart could feel, how precious would have been their fragrance!

Mary knew not the full significance of her deed of love. She could not answer her accusers. She could not explain why she had chosen that occasion for anointing Jesus. The Holy Spirit had planned for her, and she had obeyed His promptings. Inspiration stoops to give no reason. An unseen presence, it speaks to mind and soul, and moves the heart to action. It is its own justification.

Christ told Mary the meaning of her act, and in this He gave her more than He had received. “In that she hath poured this ointment on My body,” He said, “she did it for My burial.” As the alabaster box was broken, and filled the whole house with its fragrance, so Christ was to die, His body was to be broken; but He was to rise from the tomb, and the fragrance of His life was to fill the earth. Christ “hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor” Ephesians 5:2.

“Verily I say unto you,” Christ declared, “Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.” Looking into the future, the Saviour spoke with certainty concerning His gospel. It was to be preached throughout the world. And as far as the gospel extended, Mary’s gift would shed its fragrance, and hearts would be blessed through her unstudied act. Kingdoms would rise and fall; the names of monarchs and conquerors would be forgotten; but this woman’s deed would be immortalized upon the pages of sacred history. Until time should be no more, that broken alabaster box would tell the story of the abundant love
of God for a fallen race.
ELLEN G. WHITE (1827-1915), one of the most published authors in the world, named one of the “100 Most Significant Americans of All Time” by the Smithsonian Institution in 2014, was a co-founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

*You can read The Desire of Ages in its entirety online at www.whiteestate.org/onlinebooks.



No one likes being in a place where they are not wanted. Few things are more uncomfortable than knowing the people around you do not want you there. Is it possible that God is looking for people who are comfortable being uncomfortable? I want to invite to explore what it means to be divinely disruptive.


Day 1 - Read Luke 7:36, 37
Where is this woman’s invitation? Where did she get the idea that it was okay for her to crash the party? Can you recall a time where you were in a place that no one invited you to, but you knew you had to be there? We would love to hear about it. Share with us on social media using the #messagemag hashtag.

Day 2 - Read Luke 7:38

Isn’t she just asking to be judged? Isn’t she flirting with criticism? Sometimes in our most passionate times with God we are also in our most public revelation. Can you remember a time where your passion for Jesus overpowered your concern for your reputation? Just use #messagemag to respond.

Day 3 - Read Luke 7:39

Notice that the attention actually shifts to Jesus, and the woman is only the evidence used to show his lack of authenticity. People will always try to disprove God by the actions of others, but praise God that He doesn’t shy away from these situations. Jesus doesn’t mind standing in the gap—taking a hit—because of someone’s past mistakes. He doesn’t allow anything to come between you and Him.

Take a moment to meditate on the words of this old Hymn.

Nothing between my soul and my Savior,
Naught of this world’s delusive dream;
I have renounced all sinful pleasure;
Jesus is mine, there’s nothing between.

Nothing between my soul and my Savior,
So that His blessed face may be seen;
Nothing preventing the least of His favor;
Keep the way clear! Let nothing between.

Verse 2
Nothing between, like worldly pleasure;
Habits of life, though harmless they seem,
Must not my heart from Him ever sever;
He is my all, there’s nothing between.

Verse 3
Nothing between, like pride or station;
Self or friends shall not intervene;
Though it may cost me much tribulation,
I am resolved, there’s nothing between.

Verse 4
Nothing between, e’en many hard trials,
Though the whole world against me convene;
Watching with prayer and much self-denial,
I’ll triumph at last, there’s nothing between.

Day 4 - Read Luke 7:40-46

There is another side to the coin. Some people see it as disruptive when other people go after God in the way they feel inspired to. This is how Simon responded. Because the woman went to Jesus in a way in which he and others did not approve, he spoke condescendingly about her. Be honest now: Can you think of a time when you were being a Pharisee, looking down on someone for something you did not like? Share it with us using the #messagemag.

Day 5 - Read Luke 7:47

Max Lucado in his book, A Love Worth Giving, points out that it is hard to give what you do not have. Jesus brings attention to the great love this woman has poured out on Him, and specifies that it is because she has received great love in the form of great forgiveness. This should cause you to wonder if you are really open or aware of the love God shows you. In your personal time with God, ask Him what loving action He is doing for you that you may not be receiving?

Day 6 - Read Luke 7:48-50

I believe that God is looking for people who are not afraid to be disruptive, people willing to sacrifice their comfort zones for the sake of having an encounter with the Christ. Talk to God about the comfortable places in your life that He wants to disturb. Talk to Jesus about your life and those that you are around whom He wants you to disturb. Maybe one day you will look back and realize that God used you to be divinely disruptive.


Rashad Burden is the pastor of the Shiloh Seventh-day
Adventist Church in Ozark, Alabama. He also pastors the Mt. Olive Seventh-day Adventist Church in Dothan, Alabama.



March 13, 2013, Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected spiritual leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics. As he assumed the new name, Pope Francis, the Vatican reported him to be the 266th direct line successor to the first pope, the Apostle Peter.

Pervasive biblical misinterpretation established this religious myth of Peter and the Pope.

Now, after nearly three years at the helm of the Catholic Church, nine out of 10 Catholics responding to a survey from the Pew Research Center say they are very positive toward Pope Francis. Meanwhile, 65% of all Americans see Pope Francis in a favorable light. Perhaps that explains the nearly non-stop television coverage received by the pope during his visit to the United States in September of 2015. While the pope was in America, the U.S. Press Corps reported enthusiastically about the pope’s visit, his address before a joint session of Congress, and the over-all meaning of his sojourn to America. Interestingly, although there was plenty of analysis on the pope’s congressional speech, much speculation on the nature of talks between the pope and the president, and a lot of reporting on the pope’s common touches, there was not a single question raised regarding claims made by the Vatican on behalf of the papal office, or the present office holder.

For example, there was no discussion as to whether the Apostle Peter was the first pope. And, where was the analysis of the question, “Did Jesus build the Christian Church upon Peter?” Nor, was there any debate as to the legitimacy of the assertion there is an unbroken line of succession from Peter to Pope Francis. Does the Bible support these teachings?
One of the greatest religious myths may well be that Jesus appointed Peter head and foundation of the church. The idea springs from a misunderstanding of Matthew 16:18,19: “ you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

Jesus said He would build His church upon “this rock.” Was that Peter? Never.
The word Jesus used was translated petra, which in the Greek language of the New Testament means a rock. Meanwhile, He called Simon, Petros, which is the Greek word for stone. Without other texts, we might be confused into believing the church had been built on the rock, Peter. However, Romans 9:33, 1Corinthians 10:4, and 1Peter 2:8 clearly establish that Christ is the Rock, not Peter.

Was Peter the first pope and was he in charge of the Church? Nothing in Scripture says so. In fact, the first use of the term was not until the 12th century A.D. Taken from the Latin word, papa, the literal meaning of pope is papa.2 Even if he wasn’t pope, wasn’t Peter in charge of the church? In Galatians chapter two, Paul states that in Antioch he had to rebuke Peter because of his apparent bigotry directed at Gentile believers. If Peter had been the head of the Church, it would have been very unlikely that Paul would have confronted him in such a public manner.

Ok, but didn’t Jesus give Peter the keys of the kingdom and declare whatever Peter would bind on earth would be bound in heaven? Yes, but what were the keys of the kingdom? Luke 11:52 tells us that God’s Word, the Bible, contains the keys to the kingdom. So, acquisition of knowledge regarding God’s love for mankind, and salvation through Jesus are the keys of the kingdom. Were the keys given exclusively to Peter? Not according to Jesus. In John 17:14, praying to His Father, Jesus said, “I have given them your word. . .” It was not to one, alone, that the keys were given. All who seek them have access to the keys of knowledge contained in God’s Word.

But, the authority to bind and loose belongs to Peter, right? The Bible says, no. In Matthew 18:18 Jesus tells all of His followers that whatever we bind or loose on earth will be bound or loosed in Heaven.

William Cogan, writing in A Catechism for Adults3 raises an interesting point:
Question: Does Jesus require us to follow the Pope in matters of religion?

Answer: Yes, because obedience and loyalty to the Pope are among the chief requirements of the Lord’s plan for unity in His church.

It is true that God requires unity in His Church. Equally true is the fact that the Vicar of Christ is the unifying factor in church unity. However, the Vicar of Christ is not based in Rome. John chapters 14 and 16 inform us of that the One who helps, guides, and convicts us of sin is the Holy Spirit.
No matter where the media places its attention, as believers in God we must always be focused on God’s Word.

1BBC World News, March 14, 2013
3A Catechism for Adults, by William Cogan, 1975 ed., pp. 55,56)..

The Great Requirement

Reactions to the deaths of unarmed Black men by non-Black law enforcement officers prompted the “Black Lives Matter” movement. Concerns about wealth distribution in the United States fostered the “Occupy” movement. Many voices, including politicians, pastors, educators, counselors, psychologists, and businesspersons have responded in various ways. Yet, amid the cacophony of voices in the public square, one question rings in my ears: What does Jesus have to say on the issue of social justice? What does Jesus say concerning our treatment and care for one another? Unsurprisingly, Jesus had much to say.
In Matthew 25:35 and 36, Jesus said:

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.

Then Jesus concluded,

Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me (verse 40).

We often quote the great commandment of Matthew 22:37-39 about loving God and loving our neighbor. We practice the Great Commission of Matthew 28 to teach and preach the everlasting gospel. Yet, do we adhere to the Great Requirement found in Micah 6:8, “He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” (NKJV).

These three requirements—do justly, love mercy,and walk humbly with God—are behaviors that embody social justice, along with the fair, equitable treatment of all persons. Let us briefly examine these requirements. First, to “do justly” is to act with fairness, honesty, and integrity. There is an old saying that “honesty is the best policy.” But for a follower of Christ, honesty is the only policy. When we are “just” with others, we act with honesty and integrity. Hence, doing justice is “doing things right” and “doing the right things.”

Second, the Scripture calls us to “love mercy,” which is not to be mistaken with having mercy. There is a difference between loving mercy and having mercy. Put simply, we are not to perform acts of kindness merely from a sense of compliance, conformity, or compulsion, but rather our expression of mercy should be motivated by love.
Finally, we are required to walk humbly with God. Ironically, when the text speaks of what God requires, the first two requirements primarily deal with how we relate and act towards one another. Yet, this third requirement outlines God’s expectation for us to have a right relationship with Him, and this relationship should always begin with humility. Additionally, whenever you walk with someone, three things must be true:

  1. you must go in the same direction,
  2. walk at the same pace, not getting ahead or falling behind, and
  3. you must be going to the same destination. These characteristics should epitomize our walk with God.

What does the Lord require of us? How do we answer the social justice question? What should be our treatment of others? We must do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God. This is the “Great Requirement” that, when practiced, will steer us to our heavenly destination.

The High Road

The cruel irony of living “the life” and “walking the walk” amid injustice and unfairness, cruelty and violence is that one is tempted all too often to just flip, break down, pull out. Yet, the wisdom of God’s word reveals there are ways to escape the escalation of evil.

A scriptural case study indicates that one of the Bible’s all-time heroes, David, found himself in just such a situation. Israel’s King Saul’s personal and spiritual failures led him to be overcome by evil thoughts of violence and destruction, all hatefully directed at the young David. David, the amiable shepherd, poet and musician-turned-mighty war hero, felt compelled to avoid the inevitable violent confrontation with the Lord’s “anointed” and had to hide out for years. One day Saul walked right into the cave in which David was hiding! Ever so ninja-like, David sliced off a corner of the king’s royal robe while he and his mighty men slept. After Saul woke up and left, David called after the group, waving his royal remnant.

“You’re better than me,” Saul said,

“for thou has rewarded me good, whereas I have rewarded thee evil.”  1 Samuel 24:17


That wasn’t David’s only such trial. One day, he happened upon the land and vineyards of Nabal. Ugly and unusually inhospitable for that time and region, Nabal refused to help the refugee, even though that refugee protected both Nabal’s men and his property when they were out in the fields. David immediately snapped, ordered 400 men to saddle and suit up. He had had enough, but in came Nabal’s wife Abigail who reminded David that he was God’s man, “bound in the bundle of life.” David simply could not allow Nabal’s foolishness to mar his destiny.

“Do not become so angry and upset that you, too, want to do evil,” the Word challenges. (Psalm 37:8)
As evil abounds today, our trigger fingers are also itchy. Our doors and borders must close. Our money needs to stay at home. Our patience has worn thin. We have to show our might. We have to be ready to take each other out. Yet, amid this temptation, we who are bundled in the life of the Spirit find creative and effectual escape.
Last year Dunni Oduyemi, a Columbia University student helped staged an “intervention” with the prestigious institution’s president and ultimately persuaded the Board of Trustees to divest in private prison corporations because of racially disproportionate incarceration rates. Last year, in the state that saw the shooting death of yet another unarmed black man, 20 year-old Jewell Jones, like the young shepherd David, stepped up to win a city council seat in Inkster, Michigan. Bree Newsome, a 30 year-old activist outfitted in climbing gear climbed a flag pole in front of the South Carolina Capitol to remove the Confederate “stars and bars,” 150 years after those who rallied under it lost the civil war. Finally, it was the humble but well-timed, hunger strike of a well-off college student by the name of Jonathan Butler that brought the University of Missouri to its knees. His faith in God propelled His protest against campus racism.

As we move forward “bundled” with the Spirit, may we find His power to fight effectually and creatively.