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Crossbearer E-zine May/June 2008


Seeking Advertisers! (see pg.4)

FOCUS ON FATHERHOOD Interview with Twenty-something father of two, Larry Johnson

OH, BABY! Make plans before you begin having babies on the brain

LET’S TALK ABOUT INTIMACY Within the realm of Christian living and marital status!

SUMMER GETAWAY: Vacation for two or include the whole family!

Williams & Gray Attorneys & Counselors Business Formation




Social Security Law

Non Profit and Church Law Are your affairs in order for when you pass on? Do you have a plan for your family in place? If not, please do not wait to late, contact Williams and Gray to take the pressure off of your grieving family and to assure yourself that things are left the way you want them. Single Simple Will - $250 Single Will Kit - $400

Couple Simple Wills - $450 Couple Will Kit - $700

Will kit includes will, self proving affidavit, and medical and financial power of attorney. •

Prices subject to increase based on the complexity of the will(s), as well as for estates greater than $1,000,000.

Williams & Gray, LLP 5601 Bridge Street Suite 300 Fort Worth, Texas 76112 (817) 584.0039 Ronnika Williams (817) 691.2689 Adrian Gray Fax: (817) 394. 1803






Volume 2, Issue 1

May/June 2008


Crossbearer Contents Features •


Introducing Raeshawn James Crossbearer Q&A with one of TUTC’s newest staffers


Focus on Fatherhood Larry Johnson on being a father of two under the age of 3


Living Single Advice for Christian Singles from Pastor Zion McGregor


To Have and To Hold On! Not-so Newlywed’s take on Marriage and Intimacy

In Every Issue 4 From the Editor

9 Contemporary Cool: Shop Talk

Spring Focus: Spiritual Rebirth

Shopping trends we love (and so will you!)

4 Question of the Month

10 Contemporary Cool: Entertainment

Share your thoughts on this issue’s topic!

Hot Spots, Books & Movies to check out

5 CEO’s Message

11 Sound Off

What has TUTC been up to? Find out here!

Top Ten Gospel Songs in the D/FW Metroplex & the Crossbearer Staffs’ Music Picks

5 Your Comments/Contest Winners

17 Health and Wellness Newsletter

Letters to the Editor and your answers to the Question of the Month

“Ask the Specialist”, great nutrition tips and a yummy Summer salad rec ipe!

6 The Royal Paynes

18 Where To? Travel Segment

Thrilling Christian fictional mini-series!!

Review of Things to Do in Las Vegas, Nevada

Crossbearers’ Purpose:

It is our mission to provide you, the Christian audience, with both a fresh and thought provoking take on issues of importance in the world we live in.

May/June 2008



From the Editor

E-zine Shantelle Gray

the Crossbearer: A Magazine with a Vision!

Editorial Coordinator Creative Director

What do you see when you look at the Crossbearer? Columnists As the Crossbearer continues to experience growth in concept, content and readership, I wanted to take a moment to focus on a portion of scripture that I found myself pondering with the release of this May/June issue: “Where there is no vision, the people perish…” Proverbs 29:18 In our case, the vision is a literary work of God which we strive to instill in the hearts of men and women. We attempt to reach this goal (vision) through each submission offered to you bimonthly in the Crossbearer. At times, you may note that certain articles or features are not present in the current issue. For instance, this issue, the Real Talk: Man to Man segment is not featured. This is because the columnist has asked for the support of the readership in his “open talk” or “fourm” format for the article. In this situation, if there is no dialogue, there can be no article. I implore you, our readership: do not let the columns and features you wish to see in the Crossbearer on a steady and constant basis perish. Without your input, the writers may not be able to see that their efforts are positively affecting you and the vision may be lost. If you are enjoying something you read, speak up! If you disagree, we’d love to hear from you as well. When you share your thoughts and ideas with us, the Crossbearer is able to improve itself in turn. As you read the current issue, ask yourself, what is your vision for the future of the Crossbearer?

Question of the Month:

Cornesha Johnson Adrian Gray Christy Crochett-Wafer Joe Johnson Pastor Zion McGregor Shantelle Gray Guest Columnist(s)

Ghost Writer- “The Royal Paynes” For information on how submitting advertisements for your business, promote upcoming local events and/or Christian multimedia products including (but not limited to) books, music CDs, dramas/plays on DVD etc. in the Crossbearer, please contact Joe Johnson, TUTC Director of Funds Generation at (469) 877-8978. FOR SUBSCRIPTIONS, ADDRESS CHANGES, AND BACK ISSUES: Email or write to 2128 Pacino Dr.ive Fort Worth, Texas 76134 or call 972-352-6538. TO ORDER BACK ISSUES: Please send U.S. check or money order (U.S. $3.50 per issue). Special editions (U.S. $9.50 per issue). EDITORIAL INQUIRIES: Please write to Letters Department, Crossbearer Magazine, 2128 Pacino Drive Fort Worth, Texas 76134 or send emails to For more information visit our website at ©2007 Take Up Thy Cross, Inc., All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without permission is prohibited. The Take Up Thy Cross, Inc., logo is protected through trademark registration in the United States and in the foreign countries where Crossbearer Magazine circulates. A one-year subscription to Crossbearer Magazine is currently 6 issues for no charge per year. SUBCSCRIBERS: If the postal Service alerts us that your magazine is undeliverable, we have no further obligation unless we receive a corrected address within two years. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to the Crossbearer Magazine, 2128 Pacino Drive Fort Worth, Texas 76134 MAILING LISTS: We do not make our mailing lists available to outside entities. i di h

Which 2008 presidential candidate do you feel most closely aligns with your Christian beliefs? Why do you feel this way? Be the 5th person to respond and receive a gift certificate to the restaurant of your choice! Please remember to answer with scriptural backing. Send your response to

About the Organization: Mission Statement: It is our mission, at Take Up Thy Cross, to address and meet the physical, social, and spiritual needs of the community. To work closely with churches and other non-profit organizations, pool resources, experience, and ideas in order to better satisfy the needs of the people are our goals. We strive to create and sustain an organization of doers, selflessly achieving the goals of the corporation. Brief History: Originally formed for the purpose of organizing the 2003 My Brother's Keeper Conference of Fort Worth, the organization now known as Take Up Thy Cross, was incorporated in November 2003. Its incorporators and founders are Frank J. Johnson, Jeremy A. Johnson, and Adrian J. Gray. Currently in its third year of service, this small organization has expanded its efforts to satisfy various community needs.


May/June 2008

Your Comments WINNERS! Congratulations to both winners of our Jan/Feb. TUTC Reader’s Panel Survey, Mr. Jamal Williams and Mr. Calvin Smith! They will each receive a $10 gift card to the restaurant of their choice!! Thank you for participating in the online survey and we ask that you continue reading the Crossbearer each month for your chance to become our next contest winner!)


Kudos for the Crossbearer and TUTC! I just wanted to congratulate you and your organization for achieving such a high accomplishment, I know it couldn't have been easy but reaching the plateau of year of service is an excellent achievement! Continue to strive for excellence because I know God will bless your organization with everything it desires. You all are doing a great service for the community and it is going to take stalwarts like yourselves to transition this world into a better place. Mr. R.A. Williams Fort Worth, Texas _______________________________________

The Crossbearer Readers’ Panel Survey The Crossbearer E-zine is now over 1 year old! We want to hear from you, our readers as we head into the new year. We have grown in content, staff and subscribers as the time has gone by, but we’re dedicated to giving you more. We urge you to complete our Readers’ Panel Survey (which should have appeared as a pop-up window when you opened the Crossbearer and can also be accessed via the link on the distribution e-mail by which you received this month’s E-zine. Your suggestions and comments are so greatly appreciated.

Message from the CEO – March/April Recap Greetings Crossbearer readers and thank you for partaking in another issue of the Crossbearer. Our editor, Shantelle Gray, and staff have done an excellent job to produce an insightful, entertaining and spiritually accurate issue. I urge you to send your comments via email to to inform our Team of your likes, dislikes, encouragements and suggestions. Take Up Thy Cross, Inc. has had a busy first quarter of the year but is looking to do far more in the second quarter. As we embark on the month of May, the Physical Needs Branch of TUTC led by Darrion Butler is preparing to put "Compassion in Action" by an event that will combine feeding the homeless with a clothing giveaway. Stay tuned in to the homepage of for more information. On June 14th, Jeremy Johnson will lead the TUTC Music Ministry in orchestrating the second Night of Worship. This event promises to provide believers with an opportunity to join together and focus in on pure worship. Thank you again for reading the Crossbearer and we pray that God continues to bless you real good.

Your Brother in Christ, Adrian J. Gray Chief Executive Officer

Royal Paynes Episode VII

Payne Family Eric Payne – main character Erica Payne – Eric’s twin sister Demetrius Payne – oldest brother Malcolm Payne – youngest brother Gloria Payne – Eric’s mother Eddie Payne – Eric father Pete Payne – Eddie’s brother Sharon Payne – Pete’s wife Dakeisha Payne – Pete’s daughter Elliot Payne – Pete’s son King Family Carolyn Payne King – Eddie’s sister Earl King – Carolyn’s husband Shanice King – Carolyn’s daughter Keyshawn King – Carolyn’s son Prince Family Dean Prince – Gloria’s brother Brooklyn Prince – Dean’s wife Dean Prince Jr. – Dean’s son Extras Brian McCloud – Eric’s friend Keith Reynolds – Eric’s friend Holly Parker – Sis. Parker’s daughter Sis. Stephanie Parker – sister at the church David Jackson – Eric’s friend Pastor George Washington – Pastor of the church Principle Lee Grant – Eric’s high school principle The Prince Sisters – Gloria’s three sisters _______________________________________

As Eddie Payne stepped onto the welcome mat at the house he considered his one and only home, he thought of the first time he carried his wife over that same welcome mat. Things were so much easier back then for old Eddie P. He had just married his high school sweetheart, they had no children to worry about, and he was taking control of his father’s contracting business. Money, a beautiful wife, and few responsibilities, life was wonderful. What could have ruined their good thing? “Why is my family living alone without me in my house,” was the question he asked himself. Then he saw his younger brother Pete hugging his estranged wife Gloria. When he saw her look at him as Pete released her he saw


May/June 2008

two things. He saw the loveliest woman he had ever known, and he saw disappointment in her eyes. Then he was awakened from his daze by a voice from behind him. “Daddy, where have you been all summer? You know I come home to see you for the summer and I have been here for a couple weeks without seeing you already,” Erica said in her best spoiled brat impression. Then she reaches around and squeezes her father at tight as she can. He could feel the love in her embrace. She would always be Daddy’s little girl. “Oh, baby girl I’ve been out of town on a little business trip,” said Eddie as he looked at Pete and frowned. Pete returned his frown with a smile. He wishes he could explain how he has to consistently put of the fires his little brother starts in order to keep his father’s name respectable. “But I am home now baby, and hopefully to stay,” he briefly glanced at Gloria who was looking at the wall of family photos. Eddie thought back to the first time he completed a major project under his father’s watch after marrying Gloria. He came home with a pair of diamond earrings for her and she cried while telling him she didn’t deserve him. He thought then that he could never deserve her, and he still thought the same today. But he would fight for her until the day he died. Eddie knew he couldn’t afford those earrings on that day, but he was confident that he would earn the money back soon. He knows he was not worthy of Gloria’s love when she left him, but he was certain that he would earn it back one day. “So how have you been Mrs. Payne?” Eddie asked Gloria. “I have been just fine, and yourself?” she replied. “I would be doing great if you would accept my invitations on my business trips with me. California is beautiful, especially San Diego. You would love the weather, Gloria. We could drink wine on the patio at…” “Ok, Ok, that is enough sir. For the last time, no thank you. My sister will accompany me if I decide to take in the weather of San Diego,” Gloria said with a smile. That smile was all Eddie needed to continue his pursuit of the only woman he ever wanted to call his wife. Eddie was losing his wife not for reasons one would call normal circumstances of separation. There was no “other woman”, finances were not a problem, and they never had domestic issues. Eddie was losing his wife because he had lost his faith. And this he could not understand.

Gloria and Eddie joined Mt. Calvary just before they got married. They attended many church programs, Sunday school, revivals, and Bible studies together for years. They made sure their kids were rooted deeply in the church from Demetrius to Malcolm, and especially the twins. However, once the family business went national and Eddie started traveling more often to repair and remodel houses, his attendance at church diminished, and things in the family were drastically changed. Pete began to be known as Big Payne around the city. Eddie made Gloria stop working at the post office and stay at home to raise the children. The Payne family had more money than ever before and the Lord seemed to take the backseat in this family RV which was being driven by money and power. How did things become so right, yet go so wrong for the Payne family? As Eddie reminisced on the things that were, he looked to his son Eric of whom he expected the most. Eric was smart, talented, good looking, and respected. But lately he was very disappointed in Eric because he was not living up to those expectations. Eric seemed to be doing some reminiscing of his own as he was tapped on the shoulder by his father.

“So what do you think of the paint on that wall?” asked Eddie. “Huh, wh-what do you mean,” Eric stuttered. “Boy, you have been looking at that wall watching the paint dry since we got back from the church house. Who is the young lady and what is the problem?” Eddie knows his boys like the back of his hand. “Pop, there is this girl, Holly, and she has me…she is a nice, nice young lady,” Eric whispered to his dad. He then walked into the den with Eddie and began to tell him what transpired at the church after he formally met Ms. Holly Parker. Next time on the Royal Paynes… We are all introduced to Ms. Holly Parker and we find out what she really thinks of Eric Payne. We also meet Deacon King and the King family. And finally the truth comes out about Shanice.








Introducing Raeshawn James by Adrian J. Gray Staff Writer- Crossbearer

After serving as a registered volunteer in multiple roles, Raeshawn James made the decision to join the Team TUTC staff towards the end of last year. Now, after having served with the organizaiton as an official employee for a few months, Crossbearer staff writer Adrian Gray questioned Raeshawn on her transition. Here's what she had to say...

What is your passion in ministry and how do you express it with TUTC? Music is my passion! I love to praise God through musical expression. Be it in singing, writing songs or pecking out melodies on my keyboard. TUTC music ministry division has given me the opportunity to re-ignite the passion for praising an awesome God through events such as Weekend Of Worship and Nights Of Worship.

What has been your biggest accomplishment with the organization to date? Assisting in the planning and implementation of our first N.O.W. (Night of Worship) Service.

What drew you to work with TUTC? The excitement of working with an motivated, intelligent group of young people on fire for doing the work of the Lord. How has the transition been from volunteer to employee with the organization? It has definitely been a challenge, yet rewarding. It makes you accountable for being in your place at the appointed time. It has created a greater sense of responsibility for Kingdom building. You are very involved with your church, Johnson St. BC, plus you have a professional career and marriage. How do you balance it all out? A well known Proverb says, "...In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path." It starts with seeking the Lord daily for the things that He would have me to accomplish during the day. I have also realized that there is only so much that you can get done in a day. Prioritize what has to be done and give it your best effort. Also, don't feel guilty when you don't accomplish everything that you desired to. When tomorrow comes, it's another opportunity to try again.

In March the TUTC Music Ministry held its first N.O.W. (Night of Worship). What did you learn from this experience that will help the next N.O.W.? There really is a desire in the people of God to have a more intimate relationship with Him. As we went forth in praise and worship , the presence of the Lord proved the fact that He inhabits the praise of His people. For the next NOW, I hope to get many more people out to experience this awesome event. You've built up quite an acting resume. Do you have any plans for the near future? I'm waiting on Tyler Perry to give me a call back now (Just kidding). As soon as Church Folk (a gospel stage play presented by the ACTS ministry of TUTC) comes back around, Deborah Marshall is ready! She's still holding on to her salvation and praying for her mother's! Where do you see TUTC going and growing to in the next few years? The bible tells us that the harvest is ripe, however, the labourers are few. It also admonishes us to pray for the labourers. I see us reaching the ripe harvest and through the love that God has given us to share through our actions, winning souls for the building up on God's kingdom. I must say, I am excited to see what God has for TUTC.

May/June 2008


Fashion Forward: Modern Maternity Wear Greetings my fabulous fashion lovers! I don’t know about you all, but it’s getting pretty warm in my neck of the woods and I am in dire need of some clothing relief. Especially with a sudden belly protruding from my abdomen! Yes, we mothers-to-be need to be comforted in every special way and, in my opinion, it starts with how wonderful you feel about the clothing on your lovely, growing body. As many blessed mothers (or soon-to-be mothers) out there are aware of, it can be extremely difficult trying to get adjusted to a new body shape as you still desire to feel attractive. Comfort is the key to making a positive transition. I myself still enjoy standing out in a crowd right along with my belly and believe it starts with a fun, comfy tank or tee! I know Old Navy and GAP are common places to go to look for cute maternity tops, but I have found them to be boring and bland this season. I am all about colorful flavors and having a hint of sparkle isn’t a bad concept either, so I hopped on the internet to find a place more suited for my taste and discovered… BABIES N BELLIES! Girls, this place is delightful, fun and offers all kinds of tees or tanks to show off your growing bump in the most delightful way possible. The Rossette One Shoulder Top ($32.50) would be totally exquisite for a baby shower look and several colorful fashion graffiti Tees (starting at $24.99) are sure to turn heads and encourage smiles as you pass by while carrying your endless glow. Now, if these prices sound a little too steep, don’t fret. You know I am all about sales and they have a clearance section that has an abundance of selective print tanks that range from $12.99 to $19.99! All are fashion savvy and appear to provide great comfort to a developing shape. Honestly, from price comparison I would have to say this place is pretty competitive to Old Navy and Gap so you really are getting great bargains on these spicy tops. Pregnancy is such a wonderful experience and women should cherish every week, month and day of it. My theory: look good along the way and compliment your baby bump by bringing tasteful yet comfortable style to the world! Men, my tip for you this issue is to pamper the sensational women who are sacrificing their diva figures to become mothers by financing a shopping spree for maternity tanks and tees allowing them to set off the Spring in a fabulous way! Until next time mothers-to-be, keep your baby bump sophisticated and classy!

Cyber Fave Rave:

Cheap Chic

One of the biggest hindrances to children today is their premature exposure to adult music, movies, and other media. I use the term "adult" as a catchall phrase to describe material that a reasonable Christian person would deem inappropriate for their child view or listen to. To be sure, much of the viewing and listening material in mainstream today should in fact not be viewed by adults as well.

From Workplace to Wow: Keep a clutch in your desk at work for last-minute dinner dates. You can leave your big tote behind and lend edge (plus a splash of color) to your work outfit.

Recently a coworker shared with me a website known as The purpose of the website is to provide parents with in depth knowledge of the content of movies prior to their children or themselves viewing. The website provides ratings on a scale of 1-10, with 1 meaning low in content and 10 meaning high in content, for three different viewing categories: (1) Sex & Nudity, (2) Violence & Gore, and (3) Profanity. The analysis is detailed and gives a full explanation of what you will be allowing your child to view, and what you will be viewing yourself. I consider it to be an excellent resource and one that my wife and I will be sure to utilize in future years. For those moms and dads who would rather not have to rush to cover their child’s ears or eyes in the middle of a movie, please check out


May/June 2008

Chic: Lodis Large Slim Clutch, $135.00; Large cherry colored leather clutch with a snap and zipper closure. Size: 13.5” x 5” x 1.5" To buy, go to

Cheap: Magnetic Patent Clutch, $15.80; Large orange hued oversized faux synthetic patent leather clutch with a fully lined interior pocket and a metal trimmed magnetic closure. Size: 16" x 13". To buy, go to www.

Page in Time: Literary Review

May/June Hot Spot Reviewed by: Shantelle Gray

“The Mocha Manual to a Fabulous Pregnancy” by Kimberly Seals-Allers

Ovation Restaurant

Reviewer: Shantelle Gray

Our Rating: 3.5 of 4 stars

Pregnancy is a time filled with uncertainty for a lot of expectant moms. Women have to protect their health and that of their babies, ready their home and family for a newborn, appease husbands, children and bosses, and somewhere in between find enough time to relax and plan for a beautiful delivery. With a plate full of responsibilities, expecting moms of color can now turn to a muchneeded book, The Mocha Manual to a Fabulous Pregnancy written by Kimberly Seals-Allers, to show them the right way to a stress-free, healthy pregnancy.

Seals-Allers, a mom of two and writer at Fortune, embarked upon writing a book about black pregnancy while pregnant herself. She lamented that she couldn’t find anything on the market geared toward expecting, professional black women. “I felt that being pregnant was such an amazing time, and as I looked around there really wasn’t anything that spoke to me,” says Seals-Allers. The Mocha Manual, written largely in a conversational tone, lays out all of the ins and outs of pregnancy with true stories and comforting advice from moms next door as well as from celebrity moms such a Lela Rochan, Soledad O’Brien, and Kimora Lee Simmons, who have all already been there, done that. Twelve packed chapters of sage advice from a chorus of moms as well as well-researched health information, The Mocha Manual hits on every pregnancy issue from handling morning sickness to handling one’s money before the baby arrives. A pregnancy "how-to", The Mocha Manual, even offers a chapter on pregnancy myths (old wive’s tales) from a black perspective and an entire section on depression and postpartum. In an effort to help reverse the tide of poor birth outcomes for black women, Seals-Allers dedicates two chapters to pregnancy issues only experienced by black mothers-to-be and stress. Despite the economic and social strides black women have made, they still face a greater instance of having a difficult pregnancy and delivery. ”I came across a study that looked at poor birth outcomes and low-birth-weight babies,” says SealsAllers. “The study showed that black women who were not poor were still having the same outcomes as poor mothers. With that study as my armor, I was committed to helping black women.” Written like a black “Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy” meets “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”, I found the book to be informative on health concerns affecting African American women, but lacking in the traditional medical information I was searching for. I believe this book is a wonderful companion to “Your Pregnancy Week by Week, which covers more medical aspects of pregnancy.

World class cuisine and world class entertainment are under one roof at Ovation. Experience the tastes, sights and sounds of the most unique venue in Fort Worth. From incredible steaks to their signature “Chicken and Waffles” your taste buds will be dancing right along with your feet as you experience the best music in the area in a cozy, diverse setting. There is simply no experience quite like it! What’s Hot: A Variety of jazz and gospel (Sundays only) groups perform live on stage daily at the restaurant.. Gospel Brunch is on Sundays from noon until 4:00 p.m. Gospel performances are at 1:30 and 3:00pm. Hours: Sunday Noon - 10p.m.Wed. – Thurs. 6 p.m.11p.m., Friday – Saturday 6 p.m.- Midnight Location:

6115 Camp Bowie Blvd, Suite 112 Fort Worth, Texas 76116 (817)732-8900

Front Row Seat: Film Review “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian” The latest installment in the Narnia series finds the Pevensie siblings pulled back into the land of Narnia. A year after their first adventure in Narnia, Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy are pulled back in by Susan's magic horn. The children are once again enlisted to join the colorful creatures of Narnia in combating an evil villain who prevents the rightful Prince from ruling the land. During their absence, the Golden Age of Narnia has become extinct. The land has been conquered by the Telmarines and is now under the control of the evil King Miraz, who rules without mercy. The four will soon meet a new character: Narnia's rightful heir to the throne, the young Prince Caspian, who has been forced into hiding, as his uncle Miraz plots to kill him in order to place his own newborn son on the throne. With the help of a kindly dwarf, a courageous talking mouse named Reepicheep, a badger named Trufflehunter and Black Dwarf, Nikabrik, the Narnian --led by the mighty knights Peter and Caspian-- embark on a remarkable journey to find Aslan, rescue Narnia from Miraz's tyrannical hold, and restore magic and glory to the land.

May/June 2008


KGGR is the #1 Gospel Ministry Station in the D/FW Metroplex. They began airing in 1990 and have established themselves as a radio station that is friendly, caring, family-oriented, and professional; Playing gospel music during your morning and evening drives daily; Their ministries start at 9:00 AM weekdays, 8:00 AM on Saturdays and 7:30 AM on Sundays; * Tune In Monday through Friday, 4pm – 6pm for the afternoon Praise Drive!





Never Would Have Made It

Marvin Sapp


Take It Back

Dorinda Clark-Cole


Tell It

Georgia Mass Choir


Blessed and Highly Favored

The Clark Sisters


Let Go

Dewayne Woods


The Light

Ricky Dillard and New G.


Not About Us

Bishop Noel Jones/City of Refuge


He’s Done Enough

Beverly Crawford



Kirk Franklin


Love Him Like I Do

STAFF SOUND-OFF Our staff members share what they’re listening to and what they’re listening with!

On my PC: Tye Tribbett & G.A., “Stand Out” -Monique Johnson

On my iPod: Fred Hammond, “Somethin' 'Bout Love” -Adrian Gray

On my PDA: Youthful Praise “Live! The Praise... The Worship” -Jeremy Johnson

Ruben Studdard, Deitrick Haddon, and Mary Mary

On my iPod: Stevie Wonder, “Songs in the Key of Life” -Niecy Johnson

Focus on Fatherhood by Adrian J. Gray Staff Writer- Crossbearer

Larry Johnson and his wife Mellainee are a young Christian couple living in Dallas County. With both of them juggling professional careers and parenting two young children under the age of 2 (Landen and London), the Crossbearer wanted to ask the man of the house a few questions on fatherhood.

What does being a "Father" mean to you? A father is more than a title and every man who has biological children is not necessarily a father. Being a father is a call to leadership for men who are willing to put themselves aside. In addition, a father will ultimately honor the needs of his children before his own. A Christian father will lead his children into adulthood by standing firm on the foundation of God’s Word in his teachings and exemplify Proverbs 22:6. What affect has knowing Jesus Christ had on you as a father? Before I was Saved, my idea of fatherhood was to be cool and have a friend that my children could look up to. I was born and raised in the church, but I did not accept Jesus Christ until my early twenties. Shortly afterwards, God brought my beautiful wife into my life and the rest is history. After my Revelation of Christ and having children of my own, my original idea of fatherhood was immediately trumped by the Word of God. My kids are relatively young with my oldest at 2 years of age and my youngest at 3 months. While children are easier to manage at this age, a love of Christ has taught me to be patient with them and give them the quality time that they need.

Are there any biblical fathers that you have gained wisdom from? If so whom, and what specifically have you garnered from them? I had to think about this one because there are a lot of great prophets and men of God that I highly admire in the bible. But, if I were to provide some insight into my biblical role model as a father it would have to be the father of the prodigal son. To be able to apply that kind of grace in my life towards my children will require a lot of wisdom, patience, and most importantly guidance from the Holy Spirit. You do not have to like or love the lifestyle that your children will choose when they become adults. But, you have to love them unconditionally and allow them to seek their own way in life. As the father of a young family what is your biggest concern? My biggest concern is that I want to ensure that I am in line with God’s Word at all times through my calling as the head of my family. I want to be prepared for what life throws at me. Sometimes I try to apply the poise of a highly successful athlete to the responsibilities of fatherhood. There is no time to be afraid or scared of your responsibilities while you are in the game. You just have to do the best job that you can with what you have. What is the biggest challenge you have overcome thus far in fatherhood and what role did your relationship in Christ play in it? I would have to refer back to the first question. One of the words that I personally dreaded during premarital counseling was compromise. When it comes to putting yourself aside for the greater good of your family I like to define this as a sacrifice. You do not have to give up who you are when you become a father, but rather put yourself aside until the needs of your children are met. Joshua declared an "As for me and my house" mentality, referencing serving the Lord. How do you approach establishing the philosophy in your household? This applies two-fold for the hurdles that my family will and has encountered. One hurdle is the world itself. I will do my best job to embrace a Christian culture in my family and lean on God’s Word for our daily lives. Secondly, it applies to the church. My moniker is that, “I will let me no man disrupt my household unless His name is Jesus Christ!”

(continued on p.14)

The ultimate decisions for my family will not rely on what another man of God says, what a church of God says, or the institution of the church itself says. If their message is not in line with what I feel God has told me to do, I will stand fast on His Word and Will for my family’s lives. Being a business professional, how do you balance career vs. family time? First, I thank God for my career as a successful software engineer. I have had the opportunity to work on multi million dollar efforts and do very challenging work. However, I have never let my work ultimately interfere with time for my family. While I have had to work days straight to finish projects my family has never been neglected. One of my previous mentors taught me that work-life balance is like juggling. Some of the balls are glass and some of the balls are rubber. If you happen to miss a pass and drop one of these balls try to ensure that it is a rubber one. In other words, these aspects of your life will bounce back. For me, my career is a rubber ball. I have had to miss out on some great opportunities, but there have always been other great opportunities down the road. Some of my glass balls are my relationship with God, family, and health. I have been doing my best to keep these balls in limbo by not letting them hit the ground.

What excites you most about being a father? The aspect that excites me the most about fatherhood is spending quality time with my sons. Supporting my boys in their sporting events, going to PTA meetings, and being a part of their growth and development is very exciting for me.

If you could imprint just one of Christ's teachings in your children's hearts, what would it be and why? That is easy, Proverbs 22:6. My children need to understand their upbringing. They will have been blessed and highly favored by being in a home where both parents exist, truly love each other, and are Christians. However, my children may fall away from their foundation, but as children of God they have an opportunity to return. I do not want them to be perfect and try to be Christ. I want them to strive for righteousness by trying to be “like” Christ. What affect has your upbringing had on your parenting techniques? My parents had a significant impact on my parenting techniques. I was actually raised by my grandparents and I literally call them mom and dad. They did not have to, but they took me in, while I was only 3 days old. They have shown me unconditional love in spite of the many mistakes that I made before I left home for college and thereafter. They kept me active in various youth ministries of the church and did not allow to me hang out like the other kids did. They kept me active in sports and culture and made sure that I maintained good grades. I am going to use their value system and add my own flavor of cultural exposure and educational excellence which includes at-home encouragement of reading, writing, and speaking skills. As a matter of fact, my two year old already knows a dozen or more sign languages with the associated words!

Coming Soon…. Take Up Thy Cross, Inc. Online Store Apparel (T-shirts, Sweatshirts, Caps & Baby Apparel) Housewares (Mugs & Mousepads) Bumper Stickers, Buttons & Magnets Posters, Calendars, Prints and More! Stay tuned for the official TUTC Online Store’s “Grand Opening” date!!

Profits from all sales will go towards TUTC programs and efforts!


Across the country, crucial moral battles are being fought in our culture and in our churches. One of the areas where this is most vivid is in the present sexual attitudes and behaviors of Americans and specifically its impact on the Christian community. Christians have always been pressured to conform to the cavalier ideals of a fallen society. Today however, Christian singles are experiencing more pressure in the formation of their sexual preferences, standards, and behavior, not from without, but from within the Christian community. This is a direct result of the impact of a secular western culture on the Christian church, and it is evidence of a waning biblical morality among single believers, which testifies to the waning teaching and authority of the Holy Bible itself. Sex is here to stay, and it remains a very basic force in the human experience. It is all around us, in media, books, art, and entertainment. The church cannot ignore its presence anymore than we can ignore other ordinary human drives. The problem however, is that the church, as a direct result of its silence, has left believers subject to the worlds view, a view where ones virginity or abstinence is seen as something awkward, freakish, and even repressive. Each of us needs to rethink the implications of adopting the world’s sexual alternatives and its impact on our witness, the kingdom, and ultimately God’s glory. We as single believers should choose the Christian sexual ethic as presented within the Holy Bible, where to be chaste is not seen as deprivation but as enrichment. For the church, it is important that we teach and celebrate the God given gift of sex as beautiful within its proper experience, God’s institution of Holy matrimony.

There are good reasons to make a commitment to not limit, but abstain, from our sexual experience until a time when the sex act can be experienced with the blessing of God Himself. When we return to this perspective, virginity, or a chaste life, is not viewed as something threatening, but as a gift to treasure and save for a special and unique person and time. To choose otherwise is to cheapen one of the great God given experiences of life. Perhaps you are reading this and you have already had a consensual sexual experience outside of marriage. The case that I make is not intended to condemn or produce guilt, but to create, consider, confront, and correct. (1) Create a new opportunity to dialogue about the place of sex in your Christian experience. (2) Consider those things that entice us to engage in sex, and discover new ways to express ones love beyond the physical. (3) Confront the circumstances that may cause you to yield to the temptation of sex and avoid them. And (4) Correct your attitude by correcting your thinking, and your behavior will fall in line and follow, with the word of God. (2 Timothy 3:16 and Romans 12:1-2). Finally, the good news is that Jesus Christ came for the expressed purpose of forgiving our sins, sexual and otherwise. Jesus, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever, will forgive us. The real question now is, what shall we do with the future? Christ can cleanse the past, but He expects us to respond to the light He gives us. Hopefully this discussion will help you strengthen your convictions with regard to sexual decisions and behavior in the days ahead. As the adage says, today is the first day of the rest of your life. And remember, don’t keep it real, keep it right. Zion McGregor is the senior pastor of the Rock International Church, Fort Worth, Texas. He is also a highly sought after panelist and lecturer at Christian singles seminars and conferences.

May/June 2008


To Have and To Hold On! A Not-so Newlywed’s Views on Marriage and Intimacy by Shantelle E. Gray Staff Writer- Crossbearer

And baby makes three... With Mother’s Day and Father’s Day both falling in the time frame of this issue of the Crossbearer, I though it would be fitting to delve into the realm of family planning. At some point, most couples will start thinking about when (and how many) tikes you want to add to your union. I believe in being prepared for life changing events, so I’ve compiled some advice to help you plan for baby. I’m not a professional in this arena by any means, so you’ll find tips from loads of different sources in this article as well! How do you know when you're ready for kids? This is a good question to start with when thinking of adding kids to the equation in your home... and it's not an easy one to answer. Take advantage of your time alone as newlyweds, and use it to research when you want to get pregnant. Then, based on the following factors, create a loose timetable. (Always open to revisions, of course.) To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1

Talk openly and honestly about the future. You might have loads of friends who are pregnant or already have adorable ankle-biters, but that doesn't mean it's the right timing for you to begin your family. Make sure you're both reasonably settled, financially stable, getting along well (a baby won't help a faltering relationship), and 100 percent certain you’re both ready this major change in your lives. Go over the basics and come to an agreement on topics such as how many children you both want to have, their religion, upbringing and any other major factors that are of concern for either of you. Is your career on the fast track? Yes, your twenties are prime baby-making years, but they're also a time for major career development. Good news: These days, having both baby and career isn't impossible. According to census data, over half of all women return to work within a year of having a baby. Of women with a college degree, it's over three quarters. And, more and more women are putting off parenthood (presumably spending the earlier years focused on work) -- birth rates for the over-40 crowd are increasing every year.


May/June 2008

Review your goals. Are either of you still in school, or planning to go back at some point? How will that affect your finances, spare time and relationship? What effect will a baby have on obtaining that education (the length of time it will take you to finish your degree may change.) Will that put an additional strain on the household? A penny saved… See a Financial Planner or give yourself a financial checkup. According to a 2002 report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it costs about $250,000 to raise a child to age 18. And that doesn't include the money your teens will likely beg for all throughout high school. On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made. 1 Corinthians 16:2

Make a baby budget Think of the furniture, new clothes, doctor visits, vitamins, and childbirth classes. If you plan for these costs in advance, you'll save yourself a lot of stress and feel less strapped after the baby is actually born. Examine the big picture: Save and cut back as needed instead of just buying things as you go along. Remember, the cash you spend on all of those Saturday night dinners (splurges) could probably end up paying for diapers and formula. This place isn’t big enough for the three of us. Think about your home, particularly if you live in a metropolitan area. Your snug apartment might do for now, but probably won't work once baby hits two years old. Are you ready to spend more money on a larger place or move to a less expensive area? Remember, By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; Proverbs 24:3 Relationships will change (again). Being married isn't easy, and parenthood is even more challenging. Take time to work on yourselves as a couple, then make room for baby. A baby never solves problems in a marriage. Never use pregnancy or your children as a bargaining chip with your spouse. Conception can take time. Are both you willing to try, try and try again? Chances are, you'll have little

or no idea about your ability to conceive until you start to try. And there is a chance that it could take months or even years. But, don't start trying unless you're honestly ready to be a parent in nine months -plenty of people do get pregnant on their first try. You also need to be prepared to support one another through the tough times if it takes a while longer for you to get pregnant or if you must utilize other methods. God has a special plan and purpose of each of our lives; Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations. Jeremiah 1:5 God is in control and when He is ready to bless you with a family, it will come to pass. Friends come and (sadly,) sometimes go. Have you already lost most of your pals who are still single (by becoming one of the first to get married)? Are you the pioneer for parenthood among the girls (or guys)? Having a baby will obviously affect your Saturday nights (and Sunday, and Monday, and...) Try to make time for your friends once the baby arrives and things have settled back down. You could plan a monthly spa day or guy’s night and leave your honey to tackle the parenting solo for that evening. Get prepared physically. If you haven't had an annual exam in years, schedule one. Then book a pelvic exam. Let your doctors know your pregnancy plans are on the horizon. All of the extra blood flow and estrogen in the body can lead to more plaque production and bleeding gums. Get a cleaning before you get pregnant and make sure your smile is in its optimal condition. Talk about any medications you take for chronic conditions (like diabetes or hypothyroid disease), update your immunizations, and find out what medications are safe to use while pregnant. Then ask what types of vitamins and supplements (folic acid) you should be taking, and what dietary changes you should make before you're “eating for two”. The sooner you start these positive habits, the easier your pregnancy will be. Uncover your genes. Certain diseases are genetically predisposed to specific races, so depending on your background, your doctor may refer you to a genetic counselor who will run a battery of tests to see if you carry untreatable and devastating genetic disorders like Tay-Sachs, cystic fibrosis, or sickle cell anemia. Review your disability and life insurance. While we’d prefer not to think about these things, you

must be responsible when preparing to bring a new life into the world. Disability must be purchased before you become pregnant if you want it to cover your birth and postpartum time. Because most policies require several months before you're actually eligible, you'd need to buy it in advance. Meet with a few agencies to find a good rate on life insurance (your car and health insurance companies might give you the best deal). And have a will drawn up -- just remember to update it when the baby is born. Find out about family leave and maternity policies. What is your company’s maternity leave policy? Do you get any paid leave? Will you be forced to take less pay and use short term disability instead? Have you been at your current job long enough to be covered by the Federal Family Leave Act? Every employer has its own policies on top of the law regarding how much maternity leave is paid (or partially subsidized). Get the dad-to-be in on the act and find out about paternity leave too. Go to Jamaica! Fly to France! Sail into the sunset! Really enjoy being a married couple -- a family of two. You don’t have to start “being fruitful and multiplying” the day after you say “I do”! Spend some quality time and make a few memories with your other half before bringing the extra math into the equation. Travel becomes tricky (if not limiting) with a newborn, so get to as many sites now as you can (within your budget, of course). You can always plan a "babymoon," but you might not be so happy to frolic in a two-piece or walk through the Louvre with a big belly to lug around. Even if it's just a getaway, the point is to get some QT -- just the two of you -until your addition comes along and crashes the party. Remember to relax! Expanding your family shouldn't feel like work. Have fun! And don't get freaked out if you don't make a baby on the first shot. If you're in your mid-30s and don't conceive after six months, check in with your ob-gyn (three months if it makes you feel better). There are many variables that decide your fertility. God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it… Genesis 1:28 Sources: Mary Jane Minkin, MD, an ob-gyn in private practice in New Haven, Connecticut, and coauthor of A Woman's Guide to Sexual Health; Audrey Couto McClelland, coauthor of Preconception Plain & Simple; and Brette Sember, author of Your Practical Pregnancy Planner: Everything You Need to Know About the Financial and Legal Aspects of Preparing for Your New Baby

MIND, BODY, AND SPIRIT WELLNESS May/June 2008- Focus on Nutrition What’s Cookin’… Mediterranean Shrimp Salad Body Benefit: Shrimp is an Ingredients excellent source of 8 cups mixed salad greens low-fat, low-calorie protein 1 cup diced plum tomato 1/4 cup basil leaves 1/2 cup chopped pitted green olives 3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil 1 pound small shrimp, cooked and peeled 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1 (8-ounce) loaf French bread, sliced

Directions Place first 5 ingredients in a blender or food processor, and pulse several times or until well-blended. Place 1/2 cup olive mixture in a large bowl; add shrimp, and toss to coat. Add remaining olive mixture to salad greens; toss to coat. Divide greens evenly among 4 plates. Top with shrimp mixture and tomato. Sprinkle with parsley and pepper. Serve with bread. Yield: 4 servings NUTRITION PER SERVING: CALORIES 363 (24% from fat); FAT 9.6g (sat 1.6g, mono 5.6g, poly 1.6g); PROTEIN 31.5g; FIBER 5.2g; CALCIUM 160mg; CHOLESTEROL 221mg; SODIUM 767mg;

Asthma, Allergies and Physcial Activity: You Can Breathe Easy! Did you know that allergy-induced asthma is the most common type of asthma in the United States? It affects up to 60% of asthma sufferers! Attacks from allergy-induced asthma can be set off by pollen, mold, dust mites, and animal dander which trigger inflammation and swelling of the airways. Another common form of asthma is exercise-induced asthma (EIA). These asthma attacks are not caused by any specific allergen, rather, exercise itself may set off an attack. During aerobic exercise, you inhale through your mouth, causing air to be dryer and cooler than when you breathe through your nasal passages. The decrease in warmth and humidity cause the brochospasm. Treatment of your allergies can help you alleviate the symptoms of allergy-induced asthma. Allergen immunotherapy has been shown to significantly improve one’s asthma. Medications (i.e. brochodilators) can help to ease symptoms for both types of asthma. Modifying your exercise routine can help you achieve your fitness goals, while keeping your asthma under control! Activities that include shorter bursts of movement are usually better tolerated. These activities include walking, volleyball, and gymnastics. Swimming is also a good choice because it allows you to exercise in a warm, humid environment. Avoid activities such as distance running, soccer, and ice hockey, as they may exacerbate asthma symptoms. Exercising outdoors when it is cold or when the pollen count is high should also be avoided. Using a short-acting brochodilator 15 minutes before exercise can also help you exercise more comfortably. Original Articles: &

March/April 2008


“ WEEKEND GETAWAY: VIVA, LAS VEGAS” by Shantelle Gray, Staff Writer- Crossbearer


You don’t have to be a gambler to visit the city of neon lights. You want fine dining, upscale spas, shopping, historic sightseeing, unique concerts, shows and musicals? No problem! Bringing the kids for a family vacation? Las Vegas also has tons of activities for families and outdoor enthusiasts. Read on for a few suggestions on how to spend your days and nights in this enigmatic, always neon city.

DAY 1 – FRIDAY Your ticket to fun awaits. First, you should purchase a VISITicket: Las Vegas Power Pass, which will give you the best value for all the attractions in town. Tops on the only-in-Vegas list include the Liberace Museum, Neon Museum and Fremont Street Experience. And Madame Tussaud's wax museum is always fun too! Hit the Strip. Depending on where you are staying, you can just walk or take the Las Vegas Monorail. A few of the hotels and casinos to check out include the romantic Venetian for a touch of Venice (take a romantic trip down the canals on a gondola ride at the hotel), the elegant and Tuscan-inspired Bellagio (whose art museum contains works by the Masters), Luxor (an ode to Egypt with its 30-story pyramid) and the newest upscale sophisticate Wynn Las Vegas (the hotel is said to be breathtaking). If you’re thrill-seeking, view the Strip from the highest observation tower in the country: the Stratosphere. At an impressive 1,149 feet, you can see the entire Strip. If you're feeling daring, try the ride aptly named Insanity, which holds and spins you off the tower's edge via a mechanical arm. A must see: As the sun sets, head over to the Bellagio fountains, which spring to life every 15 minutes and are set to music.

Have kids in tow? Don't miss Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden & Dolphin Habitat, where you can get up close to exotic and endangered animals in a lush setting. New York-New York's Manhattan Express Rollercoaster is sure to be a thrill for kids of all ages. And a show at Circus Circus Midway will keep the family mesmerized with its jawdropping acrobats, animals and magicians.

Embrace a work of historic innovation. Take in the beauty of Lake Mead, the largest manmade lake in the country, and explore the art-deco, New Deal project and its fascinating history on the Hoover Dam Deluxe Tour. Just miles away from the glitter of the Strip, this is a sight you have to behold! For those seeking a bit more gritty outdoor adventure, the Valley of Fire ATV Tour is the ticket. After a bus tour exploring the gorgeous natural playland that is Valley of Fire State Park, you get to kick up some sand and take control of your own ATV. Navigate through a series of trails, over sand dunes and sand stones, washes and gullies. Enjoy the beauty of nature. Relax while you explore the Mandalay Bay Resort, starting with the Shark Reef Aquarium. A water display of sea predators, it's a closeup view of sharks, piranhas and crocodiles, among others, in the third largest tank on the continent. With water on the brain, take a break on Mandalay's stunning 11-acre beach with multiple swimming pools and real sand. There's even the Moorea Beach Club with dipping pools and spa treatments for extra rejuvenation. See a Vegas show. Now it's time to hit the town and take in an over-the-top spectacular Vegas show. Choices are many, but we would suggest The Phantom of the Opera at the Venetian, Cirque du Soleil's KÀ spectacle at the MGM Grand, and the always entertaining Blue Man Group at the Venetian Resort Casino.

DAY 3 – SUNDAY Shop ‘til you drop. For the big spenders in your group, start at the 500,000-square-foot mall at the Venetian, then visit over 160 boutiques at the Forum Shops in Caesars Palace. For those whom shopping is an obsession, the real must-visit is the Las Vegas Outlet Center stuffed with big savings at more than 130 brandname retailers. Looking to challenge Lady Luck? Jump aboard the “Strike It Rich Mega Bucks” tour where you’ll be whirled to five casinos on the Strip. You'll get to try your luck at the casinos and enjoy a fun and informative sightseeing tour, as well. As you can see, Las Vegas has more to offer than just a bunch of casinos on The Strip. Visitors can enjoy a plethora of activities, including museums, nature exhibits, spa treatments, and, of course, entertaining shows. Visit Vegas today to explore this jewel in the desert.

TUTC Benefactor Program The Take Up Thy Cross, Inc. Benefactor Program serves as a way for you the citizen, to partner with TUTC the corporation, in our effort to meet the needs of our communities. So far this year TUTC has received donations from 9 new Benefactors. TUTC would like to send out a very special thank you to all of our valued Benefactors. May God continue to bless you abundantly. Pictured is our very first Benefactor, Mr. Kendric Gray. Silver Benefactors:

Owana Cook, Gerald Pierce, Jasina Morris, Natashia Stephens, Mr. & Mrs. Nick Kutob, Jamal Williams, Adrian Gray, Shantelle Gray, Joe Johnson

Gold Benefactors:

Kendric Gray, Travis Smith, Mr. & Mrs. Calvin Smith, Jeanette Butler, Ann Gray

Corporate Benefactors:

Demetrius Cook, D Tech IT

It would be our pleasure to add your name to our growing list of community supporting Benefactors. These names are the names of the leaders in service and in action throughout our churches and our cities. Please do not be the one left out as we strive to meet the needs of our community this year. Prove that we are not all talk, but that we are constantly active in this partnership. Below are the Benefactor levels, please contact Joe Johnson at (469)877-8978 or at Or you may simply mail your donations to 2128 Pacino Dr., Fort Worth, TX, 76134.

Silver Benefactor




Gold Benefactor




Platinum Benefactor




Diamond Benefactor




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