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March 2013 Special Oakwood University Alumni Edition


Committed Inspiring people through music and creativity spreading the message of “with God all things are possible.�


* iPress ft. DaMarrus Miller & Kristal Rawls * Now is the Time to Shine * Spring Trend Report: 6 Staples for your Spring/ Summer Wardrobe, by MelanieJoyce Pullman * Seven by Seven: 7 Scriptures to Live By, by Kimberly Pearson | 1

MARCH 2013 Special Oawood University Alumni Edition

BACK2BASICSMAG.COM Twitter @back2basicsmag

volume 1 | number 9

on the cover 14 Committed 8 iPress ft. DaMarrus Miller & Kristal Rawls 6 Now is the Time to Shine 12 Spring Trend Report 18 7 Scriptures to Live By

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Publisher/Editor: Brittany N. Winkfield Contributing Writers: DaMarrus Miller, Kimberly Pearson, MelanieJoyce Pullman, Kristal Rawls Contributing Photographers/Designers: Hannah Banks,, Cover photo: Jonathan Jacobs Webmaster: Marcus Winkfield Promotions Director: Aaron Roston Visit for updates. Information is correct at press time. Signed articles do not necessarily reflect the official company policy. Copyright © 2013. All rights reserved. Reproduction in part or whole without permission is prohibited. Back2Basics is registered in the United States Trademark Office. | 4

Back2Basics Tip: With God all things are possible. Welcome to Spring! It’s a new season and a great time to acknowledge that there are areas in your life that are in need of change. Small, daily improvements will change your life. Focus on getting a little better each day. Call it Spring cleaning! God will honor your courage and His divine power will produce the change in your life that you need right now. With God all things are possible. In this special Oakwood University alumni issue, we catch up with Committed on the road and hear their story of being committed to God and how their faith was the key to success. Truly inspiring! In this world we must remember that God has plans for our success and we must get up and pursue it everyday!

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 (NIV) Brittany N. Winkfield, Founder & Publisher

Visit or call (203) 828-0777

Whether you're single, dating, or married, lets you enjoy personalized, Bible-based, relationship guidance from certified Adventist relationship experts. | 5

Now Is the Time to Shine Reflecting God’s many resources Spirit of Prophecy by Ellen G. White


hen the Holy Spirit moves the hearts of believers, when the truth is appreciated, the servants of God will not labor in vain. Christ is an abiding presence in the heart, and we have a sense of the great mercy and lovingkindness of God. While we review, not the dark chapters in our experience, to complain, but the manifestations of His great mercy and unfailing love and power revealed in our deliverance, we will praise far more than complain. We will talk of the loving faithfulness of God, as the true, tender, compassionate Shepherd of His flock, which He has declared none shall pluck out of His hand. The language of the heart will not be selfish murmuring and repining, but praise, like clear flowing streams, will come from God’s truly believing ones. “Goodness and mercy have followed me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” “Thou shall guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.” “Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.”

Loss of First Love

Why not awaken the voice of our spiritual songs in the travels of our pilgrimage? Why not come back to our simplicity and life of fervor? The reason is that we have lost our first love. Let us, then, be zealous and repent, lest the candlestick will be moved out of its place. . . . The temple of God is opened in heaven, and the threshold is flushed with the glory that is for every church that will love God and keep His commandments. We need to study, to meditate, and to pray. Then we shall have spiritual eyesight to discern the inner courts of the celestial temple. We shall catch the themes of song and thanksgiving of the heavenly choir round about the throne.

Praise and Thanksgiving

When Zion shall arise and shine, her light will be most penetrating, and precious songs of praise and thanksgiving will be heard in the assembly of the saints. Murmurings, complainings, and lamentations over little disappointments and difficulties will be lost sight of. As we apply the golden eyesalve, we shall see the glories beyond. Faith will cut through the hellish shadow of Satan, and we shall see our Advocate offering up the incense of His own merits in our behalf. When we see this as it is, and as the Lord would have us, we will be filled with a sense of the immensity and diversity of the love of God. The appreciation of God’s love and character will quicken insensible hearts, and light will shine into the soul. Our short vision will pass away, and we shall discern wonderful things out of the Word. | 6

Just as long as those who profess the truth are serving Satan, his hellish shadow will cut off their views of God and heaven. They will be as those who have lost their first love. They cannot view eternal realities. That which God has prepared for us is represented in Zechariah, chapters 3 and 4, and 4:12-14: “And I answered again, and said unto him, What be these two olive branches which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves? And he answered me and said, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. Then said he, These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.”

Arise and Shine

The Lord is full of resources. He has no lack of facilities. It is because of our lack of faith, our earthliness, our cheap talk, our unbelief, manifested in our conversation, that dark shadows gather about us. Christ is not revealed in word or character as the one altogether lovely, and the chiefest among ten thousand. When the soul is content to lift itself up unto vanity, the Spirit of the Lord can do little for it. Our shortsighted vision beholds the shadow, but cannot see the glory beyond. Angels are holding the four winds, represented as an angry horse seeking to break loose and rush over the face of the whole earth, bearing destruction and death in its path. Shall we sleep on the very verge of the eternal world? Shall we be dull and cold and dead? Oh, that we might have in our churches the Spirit and breath of God breathed into His people, that they might stand upon their feet and live. We need to see that the way is narrow, and the gate strait. But as we pass through the strait gate, its wideness is without limit. We need now to arise and shine, for our light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon us. We have no time to talk of self, no time to become like the sensitive plant, that cannot be touched without shrinking. In Jesus Christ is our sufficiency. Will we talk faith? Will we talk of the glorious hope, of the full and abundant righteousness of Jesus Christ, provided for every soul? I tell you in the name of the Lord God of Israel that all injurious, discouraging influences are held in control by unseen angel hands, until every one that works in the fear and love of God is sealed in his forehead.

God Is Our Helper

The whole heavenly universe is interested, and the law of God is exercised in behalf of His faithful, commandment-keeping people. It is God in whom we must trust. It is only a narrow minded government that legislates for the suppression of God’s law. God has the world in His hand. We have God on our side. All heaven is waiting and longing for our cooperation. The Lord is supreme. Why should we fear? The Lord is almighty; why should we tremble? In the past God has delivered His people, and He will be our helper if we will arise in His strength and go forward. The Bible, and the Bible only, is to be our refuge. God is in His Word. “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied.” That is enough for us. “By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.” If the great and loving heart of God is satisfied with the result of His mission in the souls saved, let us rejoice. Let us work as we have never done before. Let us put self aside, and lay hold of Jesus Christ by faith. Let us reveal him to the world as the one altogether lovely and the chiefest among ten thousand. “And after this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.” Let us take up the praise of God here below. Let us unite with the heavenly company above. Then we shall represent the truth as it is, a power to all who believe. This article is a selection taken from a letter Ellen G. White wrote to her son W. C. White on June 10, 1897 (letter 138). The letter was published in its entirety in Manuscript Releases, volume 20, pages 215-217. Seventh-day Adventists believe that Ellen G. White (1827-1915) exercised the biblical gift of prophecy during more than 70 years of public ministry. | 7

i P r e s s Q & A “Heights of great men reached and kept were not attain through sudden flight; but they while their companions slept toiled upward through the night.” ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

DaMarrus Miller What’s your top priority? Following and serving Jesus and loving my wife.

If you knew the world was ending in 2013, what would you do? I would right all my wrongs, I would apologize to anyone I have hurt, and spread the gospel that Jesus Christ is coming.

If you could learn to do anything what would it be?

Have you ever had something happen to you that you thought was bad, but it turned out to be the best? In 2009, I was evicted from my apartment. When I thought I had no place to go, God provided a “ram in the thicket” in the form of a rent-free place to live for 9 months.

What was the hardest thing you have ever done? Leaving Corporate America to come back to Oakwood University.

I would learn to sing so I could be a singing preacher!

What was the last experience that made you When you have 30 minutes of free time how a stronger person? do you pass the time? Catch a power nap because of my hectic schedule working at Oakwood University Church. | 8

Living day by day as a husband. Learning how to be the priest of my home, to be patient, and to sacrifice as Christ sacrificed for the church.

How do you get back to the basics in your walk with Christ? By being real with God. It can be easy to go through the motions in your walk with God, so I have to often remind myself that it’s okay to be angry, tired, or frustrated during my walk with God.

I first started off as the Young Adult Pastor at Ephesus SDA Church in Birmingham, AL under the leadership of Pastor Alex Horton. There I facilitated programs, services, and activities for age groups 18-40. I conducted a Young Adult Worship Service once a month, an end time events series, vesper services, potluck, and several activities. I also held an outdoor evangelistic worship service where we passed out 10,000 Message magazines during the Magic City Classic. I currently serve as the Pastoral Assistant at Oakwood University Church in Huntsville, AL under the leadership of Dr. Carlton P. Byrd. There I help facilitate worship services, the Breathe of Life reunion, Hope Channel’s Anchors of Truth, The Seven Last Words during the Oakwood Alumni Weekend, and Dr. Byrd’s quarterly evangelistic series. | 9

i P r e s s Q & A “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. I am prayerfully selective of the people I accompany.” ~ Matthew 24:36

“If he will not be faithful to God, then he will not be faithful to me. “ ~Kristal Rawls

Kristal Rawls What’s your top priority? My top priority is being a willing and obedient vessel for God to use.

If you knew the world was ending in 2013, what would you do?

I usually get on the Internet and check my Facebook account.

Have you ever had something happen to you that you thought was bad, but it turned out to be the best? Yes, I burned out my hair, which led me to the decision to go natural to have strong hair.

Matthew 24:36 says, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” I am prayerfully selective of the people I What was the last experience that made you a stronger person? accompany.

If you could learn to do anything what would it be?

Informing an old friend of my becoming a Seventh-day Adventist.

If I could learn to do anything it would be to become a Pastor.

How do you get back to the basics in your walk with Christ?

When you have 30 minutes of free time how I read and study my King James Version of the Holy Bible and I attend worship service. do you pass the time? | 10

I have a Facebook page entitled “Kristal Rawls� where I share what God has done for me. | 11 | 12 | 13

Committed to God. Committed to faith. Committed to inspire. by Brittany Winkfield

“Your biggest dreams will require more faith and harder work.” It has been Committed’s strong faith, hard work, and creativity that has gotten them to the point of being called one of the nation’s top ten a cappella groups. Comprised of six young men educated at Oakwood University, who love creativity, music, and God, Committed truly believes that “with God all things are possible.” The group had the amazing opportunity to be featured on the second season of NBC’s hit singing competition, “The Sing Off”, and emerged as the season two champions. | 14

10 years after the group formed at Forest Lake Academy, Committed has grown to be a much sought after a cappella group for many events around the United States, and also overseas. Four out of six of the members are instrumentalists and all of them are able to sing various styles of music from gospel, inspirational, pop, R&B, contemporary worship, and jazz. “There are many promising young people in the next generation, and they are using the same shoulders we used to climb on to reach higher heights and bigger platforms,” Committed says, “they are even using our shoulders now!” Even though the world is getting worse, Committed believes the next generation can still make a positive impact. Their goal as a group is to inspire all they encounter through their music by talking about real life. “We do mess up and we do fall and we make mistakes. We’re real and people can attach themselves to that because we all go through the same things. We want to bring out the best in people.” A test of true faith came when they were chosen to participate on “The Sing Off.” A camera crew came to Huntsville to shoot our home story. They came on a Saturday, filmed the group singing a song at church and after church they were asked to sing “This Love,” a secular song which they were not trying to sing on the Sabbath. “We explained that we would not sing that song on the Sabbath because it was against what we believe.” The producers were informed and called the group and threatened to remove them from the show if they did not sing the song. Tommy Gervais received that call and said if that was the case, then they just cannot do the show. Producers went on to explain that the group would also have to do shows and recordings Fridays and Saturdays as well. Staying true to their faith, Committed said they would not participate understanding that they may not be able to go on the show. In a matter of hours, the group went from being excited and pumped about this new and exciting venture, to saying never mind because of spiritual beliefs. The producers recommended everyone to sleep on it over the weekend and hopefully they would change their minds. Little did they know, nothing would change their faith. A woman called the group on a Monday and the first thing she said was “you guys must have a God.” She explained that she talked to her boss and he agreed to change the show to work around their schedule. Come to find out, he was Jewish. “We put everything on the line and we were ready to walk away from it all and God blessed us by softening their hearts and changing their minds and in turn, we won!” The group quickly realized that going on “The Sing Off” had a much bigger purpose than simply being on television, being seen my millions of people, and winning some money. When Committed went on the show, contestants, producers, choreographers, etc. saw their character and saw their strong beliefs. “They came up to us and asked how to pray, asked about our beliefs, and some said they were encouraged to go back to church.” Worship was a part of Committed’s daily routine on the show. They rested and honored the Sabbath by unplugging from everything and because of this, they continue to see God move in their lives. | 15

Your actions will say more about your faith than your words ever can. To get back to the basics, “you must start your day with God, end your day with God, and put God all between! Work on your personal relationship with God, spend time with, and SHARE you experiences with other people! Share God with other people, that experience is very fulfilling.”

New music is coming! Committed is in the studio. Look out for their album set to release in summer 2013! Exciting things for fans to look forward to include a re-vamped website with new content, new pictures, tools to engage their fans. It’s about fan interaction! Keep up with Committed on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, their Blog, and Instagram. Committed’s story is far from over. They prove that nothing great comes easy, but they remind us that anything can be done with God! Strive to let your love of Christ be apparent in everything you do. Stay Committed. | 16 | 17

Seven by Seven:

1. Zephaniah 3:17: For the L

God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs. ord your

I love this promise. It reminds me that God is not just up in heaven looking down at our situations, but that he is living, and actively involved in our lives.

2. Joshua 1:9 This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

Fear is such a big thing in our world today. There is so much to worry about and be afraid of. However, in this verse God commands Joshua, the new leader, to move forward in God’s plan and not to be afraid. God gets it! If you are facing a challenging or new situation, know that God is with you and you have nothing to be afraid of.

3. Ephesians 3:20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or

imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. | 18

Our imaginations are huge. God’s is bigger. The things we want for ourselves are small in comparison to what he wants to do for and through us. He is able to do immeasurably more in our lives than we can measure. Feeling stuck or stalled in your life? Want more spiritually? Wondering what God has in store for you? Grab this promise and dream BIG.

4. Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

This verse because it reminds us of God’s sovereignty. Sometimes, we read this verse incorrectly, thinking that it says all GOOD things work together. But it says, “ALL THINGS work together,” this includes the good, the bad, the really bad, and everything in between. From good hair days and good grades, to losing a loved one or ending a relationship, God uses all the things in your life to make you a better person and prepare you for the purpose he has for your life.

5. Exodus 14:14 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. Sitting still is a very hard command to apply to our lives. I usually want to fix things on my own, especially when someone has hurt or wronged me. I want justice and I want it now. However, this verse tells us that, as Christians, we can sit still, sit back and watch God fight for us without us getting involved. This verse assures us that we can let go of the battle knowing the Lord will handle the problem, the boss, the professor, the friend, the issue and we can kick our feet up in victory.

6. Galatians 6:9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Sometimes it seems like everyone is winning, but you. It may seem as though the people doing the wrong things are always getting the good things in life. You can get tired of doing the right thing, or standing out in the crowd, but don’t give up. There are blessings in store specifically for those who don’t give up doing what’s right. I love this verse because it adds fuel to my fire for Christ. When I get tired, I’m reminded that my season of reaping is on the way.

7. Proverbs 17:1 Better a dry crust eaten in peace than a house filled with feasting — and conflict. This verse says exactly what it means. You may not have the latest, newest, or best things in life. However, it’s better to have the little you have and be at peace knowing that you didn’t have to compromise or be involved in drama to get it. There is a blessing of peace when you avoid the drama!


Profile for Back2Basics Magazine

Back2Basics Magazine - Mar/Apr 2013  

Welcome to Spring! It’s a new season and a great time to acknowledge that there are areas in your life that are in need of change. Small, da...

Back2Basics Magazine - Mar/Apr 2013  

Welcome to Spring! It’s a new season and a great time to acknowledge that there are areas in your life that are in need of change. Small, da...


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