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W a l k i n g

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w i t h

t h e

F a i t h f u l ;

L i v i n g

Authenticity: “Lett” It Rise

O u t

t h e

F a i t h

Merging the Gospel with Hollywood

Kevin & Naima Lett Your Gift Matters Use Your God-Given Talents to Help Others

Positioning Your 2012 Relationships

From a Biblical Perspective

They Just Don’t Make Crosses Like They Used To Consider the True Meaning of the Cross this Easter



Cover, ©, Geno Loro Jr., Photographer


Cover Story:

E d i t o r s Wo r d . . . . . 3

Kevin & Naima Lett....10

Sound Mind: Properly Positioning Your 2012 Relationships By Dr. Daniel Lee......6 Temple Watch: Faith and Fitness By Karynthia A. G. Phillips......................7 In the News...............8 Devotion By Sharon Elliott......9 After The Service......14 The Power of Submission By David Martin.........20 What Adult Children Really Need By Karen O’Connor..21 Gospel Roads’ Book & Movie reviews By Stacy Hawkins.....22

F E AT U R E S A Daughter of the King is a Modern Day Princess..........4 Your Gift Matters By Karen O’Connor.............16 They Just Don’t Make Crosses Like They Used To By James N. Watkins...........18 Stay Alert By Rhonda Rhea..................24

Stress Less About Business and Work By Ivy Bennett...........26 It’s a God Thing By Aisha Shepard......27

Naima Lett

©; Photographer Dustin Hamano


George S. Harrison II Publisher Sharon Norris Elliott Editor-in-chief Chaz McCoy Web administrator Nathan O’neal Photographer


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Editor’s Word

Alert to Life By Sharon Norris Elliott Editor-in-chief


ne of the most memorable lessons I learned from Florence Littauer, one of my spiritual mentors, was to always be alert to life. Florence encouraged me to pay attention to the world around me, always being ready to

see God move. Some years later, my pastor, Welton Pleasant, II, added to that same theme by saying, “When you open your Bible, God opens His mouth.” Those nine words spoke into my spirit as well, giving an entirely new importance to my approach to the study of the Scriptures. Now I was not only alert to God’s hand moving in life all around me, I combined that with the truth and power of the Word of God and every day became an exciting new adventure.

We follow signs every day. Illuminated “exit” signs direct us up and down steps and along dark passageways of

movie theaters. Road signs tell us to stop, yield, and make a right or left turn only. Signs posted on doors eliminate the embarrassment we would face if we barged into the wrong restaurant restroom. Billboards announce upcoming events we wouldn’t want to miss. Electronic placards on buses and in airports lead us to the right stop or gate so we can board the vehicle going in our direction. When coupled with the Word of God, the signs and directions God gives all around us become clear and apparent. We may not always know what to do, but we serve our amazing God who always has the answers and stands ever ready to guide us. All we have to do is stay alert to His word and pay attention to His leading.

Proverbs 2:1-5 advises, “My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your

ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God” (NIV).

This, our second issue of Gospel Roads, will encourage you to stay alert to God in many areas of life. Our cover

story, “‘Lett’ It Rise” about the testimony and ministry of Kevin and Naima Lett, will focus you toward paying attention to just how authentic a life you are living. Our Sound Mind and Temple Watch health pieces will help you position your relationships and concentrate on your physical well-being. Learn from Karen O’Connor that “Your Gift Matters,” and find out “What Adult Children Need from Their Parents.” Our business piece assures us we can face the office with “Less Stress,” and our One Flesh marriage column alerts us to “The Power of Submission.” Since it’s almost Easter (Resurrection Sunday), we will even be motivated by James Watkins to reflect on how “They Just Don’t Make Crosses Like They Used To.” Even our book and movie reviews are all about being mindful, alert, and aware.

So enjoy this issue, be alert to life, and attentive to God’s Word. MAR/APR 2012 GOSPELROADS.COM 3

A Daughter of the King is a Modern Day Princess By Doreen Hanna


ne conversation can spark a thought that will ultimately lead to something wonderful. That’s what happened to me as I spoke on the phone with Cathy, a women’s ministry leader, who had called to invite me to speak for a Mother/Daughter event. Their theme was “Celebrate! You’re a Daughter of the King.” She asked if I had any form of reference to speak on this topic. I froze. Then suddenly I remembered what had been stated at a speaker’s conference: “If you think you don’t know, just say yes and immediately shoot up a prayer!” Pray I did, and truly, immediately, I recalled a moment when I was a young girl. One particular morning, my grandmother walked out of her bedroom beautifully dressed. I asked her where she was going and she boldly proclaimed, “I’m going to church to meet with the King of Kings because I am a Daughter of the King!” I had not remembered that moment for more than 40 years. Cathy’s voice pulled me back to the present. “Doreen, are you still there?” I quickly replied, “Oh! Yes, I do have a reference in which I can speak on that topic!” Then she told me that she’d like me to put the emphasis on calling the older women of the church to mentor the teen girls. As I hung up the phone I thought: I don’t know what a Daughter of the King really looks like in today’s Christian community. That concept sounded a bit old-fashioned to me. However, as I continued to ponder, another phrase popped into my mind. “Jewish American Princess,” of JAP for short, was a group of Jewish moms I had observed in high school. They carried themselves confidently, their marriages had longevity, they were faithful to their religion, and they always appeared to have a healthy relationship with their children, setting lofty yet attainable goals for their futures. Then I wondered, “How did these women become such regal ladies to carry that title?” I answered my own question. “They must have been trained to become like this.” I headed to the library and discovered a book for Jewish parents who were preparing their daughters for womanhood. I found that they had established a rite-of-passage called a Bat’mizvah when the girls turn 13 years of age. The parents chose a woman from their synagogue who would become her mentor for one year, solidifying all that she had been taught in the first 12 years of her life. This woman mentor (excitedly I read on because they had used a key word in my topic) would prepare her for her “crowning” day.



Further research led me to read up on Princess Diana. To my surprise, she had 5 women that mentored her for life. Lastly, I felt prompted to take a look at the life of Rahab, the prostitute that became a princess in the lineage of Jesus. She had been embraced (mentored) by the Israelite women after she had saved their nation when she protected the Israelite spies. With all that I had discovered, I confidently presented my talk on the day of the Mother/Daughter event. Of course, I included the powerful memory of my grandmother as well. I challenged the women in the audience to pursue their high calling as mentors, and encouraged the girls of the benefits they could gain by having a mentor to guide them into their celebrated position in Christ, a Daughter of the King. When I left the event that day I too was challenged! The question, “What does our American Christian community have for our teenage girls?” kept coming to mind. Sadly, the only answer I could come up with was, “Nothing.” A spark had been lit in my heart. I was certain the Lord was prompting me to take action. Soon I was researching other cultures’ rites-of-passage for their teen girls and saw that they were either too primitive or too elaborate for our average American family. Therefore, I took the lead from the Jewish community and created what is known today as the Becoming a Modern Day Princess rite-of-passage program. The challenges I would face seemed daunting. After all, I would be breaking new ground in our American Christian culture at the turn of the century (2000). Aside from the debutante cotillions that introduced mainly well-to-do young women to society, almost none of us adult American women had experienced some sort of defining moment wherein our parents or a mentor had celebrated our step into adulthood. However, as I started talking about and presenting the Becoming a Modern Day Princess program, I discovered American moms of teen girls were excitedly embracing it and seeing me as a mentor to their daughters. Most often stated was the sentiment, “I wish I could have had something like this when I was growing up!” Soon, the self-published curriculum was be-

ing facilitated by mentors, youth leaders, and teachers, in numerous demonational churches and Christian schools across the country. By 2008, a true cheerleader and mentor in my own life, Pam Farrel, willingly became my co-author and Focus on the Family/Tydale published Raising a Modern Day Princess in 2010. That one conversation with Cathy was the spark that turned my thoughts to the need to mentor young girls. Now the program that has grown from that spark is a fire whose flames are fanned by moms, mentors, youth leaders, and pastors across the country. Excitement about the program continues to grow as they see the value of equipping girls for womanhood and affirming them through the power of a blessing when they are crowned Daughters of the King; true Modern Day Princesses! To find out how to bring a Becoming a Modern Day Princess rite-of-passage program to your church or youth group, contact Doreen Hanna at dotk.


Healthy Living Sound Mind Properly Positioning Your 2012 Relationships By Dr. Daniel Lee

Matthew 22:37b and 39b; Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all they heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind...Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.


s a Life Coach, I don’t subscribe to New Year’s Resolutions but challenge clients to develop New Year’s Results. By that I mean create a lifestyle change that is completely under your control and one with a realistic outcome. As we begin the New Year, people tend to focus on developing goals, resolutions, and results for themselves in various life areas; career, money, spirituality; and family or relationships to name a few. I want to focus this article on helping people think through creative solutions for managing relationships in the New Year. I was in Washington, DC for a pre-New Year’s getaway with my brother and part of the trip was a spa visit. As I conversed with my manicurist, she discovered that I was a psychologist and asked me several questions about relationships. One question she posed struck me as a universal concern. “How do you deal with people who don’t

care about you?” I left pondering her question until I heard a news story about dating sites trends in the new year. Apparently, site registration peaks during this time as people make a concerted effort to find that special someone who cares about them. I want to challenge you to explore relationships from a Biblical perspective and follow the first and second great commandments; love God more than anything, and love your neighbor like yourself. Before searching, praying, and believing God for a significant other, place your spiritual, emotional, and social house in order. This means love and trust God for your future; love yourself enough to discover, live, and communicate your purpose; and manage your relationships with healthy boundaries and expectations.

Here are some relational quick tips: 1.Develop balanced relationships based on value. Make sure you and your partner are motivated to love, nurture and protect each other. 2.Manage your relationships by clearly defining their place in your life, this allows you to renegotiate imbalanced relationships – those people who don’t care about you anymore. Use the following framework as a guide to position your relationships correctly: 1.Basic relationships: Hi and goodbye folks 2.Meaningful relationships: Casual conversation folks 3.Intimate Relationships: These folks have permission to change your mind and influence you. 4.Peculiar Relationships: These folks have permission to change your character. Slot your social contacts in the appropriate place and always be open to changing their position. Remember, just as our scripture implies, you can only love someone as much as you love God and yourself. Develop a healthy love relationship with God and yourself in order to bear the fruit of the Spirit in all your relationships. Happy New Year! Daniel Lee, Psy.D., CSP, is a Philadelphia-based author, psychologist, and certified life coach. He co-authored Do What You’re Built For. For more information check out or 6


Temple Watch Faith and Fitness By Karynthia A.G. Phillips


n today’s hectic society, our to-do list can go on and on. we treat our bodies, with a big emphasis on the fuel (food) In addition to our necessary daily routines such as time we put in ourselves. with our families and work, we crowd the rest of our The key to faith and fitness revolves around hours with church, sports, and participation in various civ- becoming totally obedient to the Scriptures so we can be ic organizations. Who has time to cook wholesome meals whole in spirit, soul, and body. The act of obedience births every day? And there’s just no time to exercise. Typically, the discipline we need that will move us to take total and people in the Church focus on the status of their Christian complete care of our temples. The Bible tells us, “Do you walk and service to mankind to the exclusion of paying not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, attention to health management and potential diseases. We who is in you, whom you have received from God? You so concentrate on faith that we forget all about fitness. It are not your own” First Corinthians 6:19 (NIV). Since the isn’t until we nearly pass out or are hospitalized before we Holy Spirit is living in our bodies, the responsibility for its realize our “temple” (our body) is in ruins. utmost care is obvious. Identifying our health status -- whether poor, fair, There is a correlation between your soul prosperor good -- depends on making the choice to care for our ing and your health; however, we often see individuals do“temple.” Exercise, rest, and plenty of water are essential ing mighty things for the Kingdom of God as their bodies to a healthier self. The idea of caring for our health should are deteriorating due to poor eating habits, no exercise, not be looked at as a fad or be reserved for weight manage- little rest, and deficient water consumption. ment. The status of our health is a direct reflection of how We desire to be our best for God. Before your next office visit with your Primary Care Provider (PCP), consider the following: 1.Write down a list of issues and questions to take with you. 2.Bring yourself and your doctor up to date on your family health history. 3.Find out if you are due for any general screenings or vaccinations. 4.If you are experiencing depression, anxiety, trauma, distress, or sleeping problems, let your doctor know. 5.Ask about any news, special concerns, and medical updates for people your age. 6.Find out what you can do to be healthier until your next visit. Determine to walk in wholeness as you empower your family and friends to pursue healthy lifestyles. How can we serve God and our community when we are ill, run down, stressed out? Remember, “Good health is not by chance; it is a CHOICE!” Make that choice today and begin to prosper and be in health as your soul prospers. Karynthia Phillips, MSM, PA-C practices as a Primary Care Provider (PCP). She has greater than a decade of practicing medicine, with a concern for continuity of care to prevent and restore health for the spirit, mind, and body. She is committed to empower you to live healthier. MAR/APR 2012 GOSPELROADS.COM 7

In The News By CHRIS HAWLEY Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) _ Christian ministers and Muslim leaders say they’re joining to oppose police surveillance of ethnic groups in New York City. Baptist minister John Scott says he worries that the NYPD surveillance operation has fed an environment of suspicion that encourages such attacks as the Queens firebombings. The faith and Freedom Alliance includes Protestant pastors from mostly black congregations in New York. Organizers say they want to get other religious groups on board as well. The group met Thursday in Harlem. Scott is a veteran of the 1960s civil rights movement. He says the NYPD program reminds him of the FBI’s infiltration of black groups during that era. No one was hurt in the four New Year’s Day arson attacks. The targets included an Islamic cultural center.

Southern Baptists say mission giving is down Received by Newsfinder from AP NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ Tough economic times are apparently manifesting themselves in the offering plate. The Southern Baptist Convention says giving to its Cooperative Program is down 7.1 percent in the first quarter of the denomination’s fiscal year. That fund supports mission programs and seminaries. Officials of the 16.1 million-member Christian group hopes donations will rebound, according to The Tennessean (http:// ). ``We had a big dip in October and then made up some ground in November,’’ said Sing Oldham, vice president for convention relations. ``We made up more ground in December.’’ Still, giving is down in 33 of 42 state Baptist conventions. A report posted on the denomination’s website showed the Tennessee Baptist Convention was down 8 percent from last year, while the Baptist General Convention of Texas had 27 percent less in offerings for the Cooperative Program. The decline does not mean Baptists aren’t supporting church mission work, but rather could signal a shift in the way they give, said Steve Vernon, acting director of the Baptist General Convention of Texas. Vernon said gifts to the Cooperative Program within his state church group are down by more than a million dollars, but designated giving directly to missions is up nearly $300,000. ``Churches are more intentional in the way they are giving,’’ Vernon said. ``They would rather give to causes than to cooperative programs.’’ The Rev. Randy Davis, executive director-treasurer of the Tennessee Baptist Convention in Brentwood, said churches also are affected by hard economic times. ``The economy is still very tight,’’ Davis said. ``Normally, the giving at churches will lag behind.’’ Davis also said Tennessee Baptist giving will be closer to 2 percent less, not 8 percent, when the last week’s gifts are included. In Nashville, SBC officials remain optimistic giving to the cooperative will eventually recover, noting that monthly donations fluctuate. ``It is a great blessing to witness the faithfulness of God’s people to give to God’s work even in difficult times,’’ Executive Committee President Frank Page said in a statement. 8


Devotion: Who is the Star? By Sharon Norris Elliott


t seems to have been born in me to perform before

think of how many other times I had sought to allow my

an audience. My mother loved to tell the story of one

performance to overshadow the message I was assigned to

Easter when I was about three years old. I, like all the other

deliver. Those verses say, “If you turn away your foot from

Sunday School kids, had my Easter speech to say. Dressed

the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on My holy day,

in my frilly Easter dress – outfit complete with hat, gloves,

and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy day of the LORD

lace socks, and white patent Mary Janes – I was ready for

honorable, and shall honor Him, not doing your own ways,

my big moment. As the pastor’s daughter, I somehow knew

nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own

all eyes would be especially on me to see if I could get it

words, then you shall delight yourself in the LORD; and


I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth, and

One kid before me stumbled over his words; another could hardly be heard even with the microphone held close to his mouth. Yet another little girl just dissolved into tears

feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father. The mouth of the LORD has spoken.” (NKJ) This truth is applicable to all of us, whether we’re up in

and never did get her speech said. Then it was my turn.

front of an audience, living before an unsaved husband,

I recited my two-liner like a pro, without a mistake. The

training up children, or working in an office. Someone is

congregation applauded. “Hey,” my little brain must have

always watching. How much of His message is overshad-

thought, “I like that.” So I began to ad lib. I struck into a

owed by our performance of what we think others will

full chorus, choreography and all, of the Hokey Pokey. My

want to see? When people walk away from an encounter

mother was mortified but I was quite pleased with myself.

with us, do they remember us, or do they remember Him?

I had stolen the show and my performance was the talk of

As the passage above states, we honor God by not doing

that Easter Sunday.

our own ways, finding our own pleasure, nor speaking our

But I wasn’t supposed to be the star of Easter Sunday. As I read Isaiah 58:13-14 one morning, I shuddered to

own words. Let Him be the star today.

Author Bio: Sharon Norris Elliott, Gospel Roads’ editor-in-chief, is passionate about loving people into the kingdom of God. Follow Sharon’s devotional blog every weekday at, and find out more about her books and speaking ministry at


Cover Story:

Authenticity: “Lett” It Rise

Merging the Gospel with Hollywood

Kevin & Naima Lett By Sharon Norris Elliott


ow can “actor” and “authenticity” dwell in the same sentence? Isn’t acting, by definition, all about faking it? Look up the word “act” and you see synonyms such as “pretend” and “pretense.” In our Hollywood-inspired, celebrity-obsessed society, we’re used to people on every size screen we use who are portraying themselves as everything other than who they really are. That’s why at first glance it’s such a conundrum to hear someone say, and then watch someone live out the maxim: “The actor must be authentic.”

Indeed, however, an authentic actor – and by extension an authentic marriage – is exactly who and what we find when we meet Kevin and Naima Lett. Naima, the minister, writer, and award-winning actor; and Kevin, the business executive and creative musical genius, are partners not only in marriage, but also in making decisions together. As founders of Lett’s Rise! Productions, their company, they are (in their own words) “doing what we need to do to make sure it happens.” And quite a lot is involved in that “it.” For the Letts, “it” refers to the authenticity their life together has become thanks to the story God has scripted for them. Kevin, a native of Houston, TX, and Naima, who hails from Augusta, GA, met while they were both freshmen at Howard Univer10


sity in Washington, D.C. She describes him as “cool and smooth,” but instead of a love connection, something much better happened for them; they hit off a deep friendship. They were such good friends; in fact, that he enlisted her help in screening his girlfriends. Graduation saw the friends go their separate ways for a time. Kevin earned his Bachelors in Business Administration with an emphasis in Computer Based Management Information Systems. He traveled with GTE, which later became Verizon, and worked as a supervisor and systems analyst. Naima’s Bachelors in Fine Arts had prepared her for the next step in her life. She began acting and working in the production office MAR/APR 2012 GOSPELROADS.COM 11



©; Photographer Geno Loro Jr.

of the Tony Award winning Crossroads Theatre, making $200 and the Lord.” So Kevin and Naima married. Then within that a week. Soon, she auditioned for the British American Drama first year, Kevin started getting sick. Night sweats, back pain, Academy at Oxford in England, and was accepted; but needed weight loss were symptoms misdiagnosed over and over again $8,000 to study abroad. Family and friends sent support, and she because Kevin was only in his 20’s. He was treated for many difhad 30 days to write, produce, and perform “Shattered Silhouferent things but nothing helped. ettes”, the one-woman They moved from the play about women of the East Coast to Dallas, Texas, Bible she created to raise with Kevin’s job relocafunds. Naima collaborated tion and where Naima had with good friend, director enrolled in graduate school Yetunde Hart, to mount the at Dallas Theological Semiproduction, reached her nary (DTS). They moved on goal and went from the East Saturday and she was lookcoast to England. She grew ing for a doctor on Monday. as an artist, but after several Kevin was diagnosed with professional conflicts in the Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, business, decided to walk Stage Four cancer. All away from the theater. the former misdiagnoses Naima then started had taught the Letts to be working with Fellowship persistent about their own Kevin Lett, Producer for the Performing Arts, Max health care. They finally had Mclean’s ministry. Max performed one-man plays on the books the truth. Kevin was dying. of the Bible and is currently performing The Screwtape Letters At 6’2”, Kevin had dropped 45 lbs. They had to lean on God off Broadway. FPA was looking for someone to work wearing and strengthen their faith. Kevin accepted the idea that his life or many hats, so Naima entered the position under production death was in the Lord’s hands. He focused on living one day at a management and learned every aspect of non-profit ministry. time. It was tough living with the pain, mood swings, shingles, She was content, but one’s gifts cannot be hidden for long, and and depression. There was so much more to face than just the a recording of her one-woman play got Max’s attention. He enchemotherapy. Kevin says, “Cells were being killed, good and couraged her saying, “We need to get you from behind this desk.” bad. I felt like a completely different person.” Still, Kevin continNaima then became an artist for Fellowship for the Performing ued to work. Arts, performing her one-woman shows about the Bible. After six months of chemotherapy and a scare looking at a Single, happy, and traveling all over the country, Naima was bone marrow transplant, thanksgiving and praise to God was doing what she was born to do when she and Kevin reconnected. in order when Kevin was declared cancer-free. Now came the She shared, “Marriage scared me. I hadn’t met anybody who was healing of their marriage. Naima relates, “We were grateful we completely okay with my life and call to ministry as it was. I was survived, but we needed a year of marriage counseling and healserving whole-heartedly. I was single-minded with a laser focus. ing to put our marriage and our lives back together again.” Guys I met were looking for arm-candy and I speak truth. MarThe Letts realized two things: life is not promised, and they had riage and the Biblical model I saw made it seem like the woman been given another chance to do what they were born to do. would have to give up her desires and dreams, so I was cool Together, they returned to an original vision they had before serving the Lord, doing the plays, doing ministry. Kevin was the they married. Lett’s Rise! Productions was born. The company first man who accepted me just as I was, calling and all, and did started by producing Naima’s one woman plays, and then exnot ask me to give up my vision. He could see it vividly because panded to music, film, etc. it was identical to his own. That made it easier for me to ask the Naima graduated from DTS receiving the first Masters in question, ‘Am I ready to make the adjustments and sacrifices in Media and Communications. During her last semester, one of my life to make a marriage work?’” her professors asked her, “What about the rest of the world? Kevin added, “After our initial reconnection, talking about What about the artists who won’t step into a church?” Kevin had how God had turned our lives upside down and given us greater mentioned to her before to go back in to TV and film (the induspurpose, the relationship clicked where God had each of us in try), so Naima, “Sent out headshots and resumes and said if I get our lives. For me, it was about finding someone who was a best representation, I’ll go back into the industry.” friend who I could be with for the rest of my life. We had that Well, it happened. The Letts moved to Los Angeles in a whirlfriendship foundation, and we were committed to one another wind. Naima’s acting credits include The Curious Case Benjamin

Button (Brad Pitt), Lifetime’s Living Proof (Harry Connick, Jr. and Regina King), Inspector Mom (Danica McKeller), Wire in the Blood (Robson Green), and Prison Break. Additionally, her pastor recommended she get her doctorate in ministry, so along with her acting career, Naima became the first female in the preaching cohort at Talbot School of Theology at BIOLA. (At this writing, she has one more year to go to finish her D.Min in preaching.) The Letts recently started Hollywood Christian Ministries. The number one question they hear is: How do you function as a Christian in Hollywood? Their answer is, “We help artists and professionals find their purpose and follow their dreams without losing their faith. Hollywood Christian is our global outreach to artists all over the world,” Naima shares. “I receive messages via Facebook, Twitter, my website, calls. An artist from Singapore recently contacted me to ask how she could live as a Christian and still stay true to herself as an artist. We Skyped for an hour.” The local ministry they founded is the Bible fellowship called Hope in the Hills which meets in Beverly Hills every Sunday morning and reaches out to Hollywood Hills, Cheviot Hills, Holmby Hills, Bel Air, Los Angeles, etc. Naima says, “We dream of a fellowship that looks like heaven, sounds like heaven, loves like God loves, and lives like Christ lives. It’s wonderful. We look like ‘We are the World’; yet we get each other. I preach the Word. Kevin organizes the music ministry. All are welcome.” As if that were not enough, Naima is also an in-demand speaker and author. “Friends kept saying my stories about breaking into the industry could not be made up. The stories are my life and sharing them is to encourage people to live in truth.” Throughout Confessions of a Hollywood Chris-

tian, Naima confesses and shares life lessons. “Each person should live authentically – live in truth. The Bible says, ‘The truth sets us free.’ This book encourages others to do the same thing.” This brings us full circle to that authenticity question. Exactly how does Naima reconcile being such a truth merchant and being an actor? “The actor must be authentic with the material. Those moments have to represent true moments. If I’m in a scene and thinking about something else, the camera does not lie, and that’s when you hear, ‘Cut!’ When we love a movie, it is transforming to our lives. When we go through stories, we experience what’s happening on the screen.” Naima and Kevin carry this authenticity into real life. If Naima could write an open letter to the church, she’d say, “Get behind your artists. We have gifts, which are God-given, not sinful. Some of the Church at large has discarded [performers] saying they can’t be successful actors because they are Christians; they can’t be dancers because they are Christians. I implore the Church to accept, embrace, and train the artists to be the light of the world. Allow those artists to use their gifts to glorify God and bring truth to the world.” Kevin and Naima still date each other. They love movies, hosting friends at their home for dinners, connecting, and giving of themselves. They have a lot of fun together and are still best friends. One of Naima’s takeaways from the cancer experience is the realization that life is a precious gift. She will spend the rest of her life fulfilling her purpose. She says to us, “Find a way to do what you’re born to do. When it’s all said and done, be able to say, ‘I did everything God gave me to do. Every gift He gave me, I gave it away.’” Scheduling and DVD:

Confessions of a Hollywood Christian: Take I by Naima Lett Through candid, entertaining stories about her journey as a minister breaking into Hollywood, award-winning actor and Doctorate in Ministry candidate Naima Lett goes against the norm in Confessions of a Hollywood Christian: Take I . She reveals both hilarious and heartbreaking personal stories about her daily experiences navigating the industry and ministry with one thought in mind: The truth sets us free. From amazing triumphs on camera and onstage to deep personal tragedies away from the lights, Naima is refreshingly honest and reveals the tension and thrill of combining Hollywood and Christianity in a life that is making a difference in both worlds. She bares all and encourages readers to experience the freedom of living in truth and following their dreams without losing their faith. Confessions of a Hollywood Christian: Take I is the first in a series of books and theatrical projects produced by her company, Lett’s Rise! Productions, to propel us forward in accepting who God created us to be as light in the world.


After The Service New Life Worship Center C.O.G.I.C

Quail Lakes Baptist Church

La Wanna McCoy

White Rose C.O.G.I.C.

Senior Pastor Marc and Sylvia Maffucci

Maranatha Church of God in Christ

Cozetta Easter

Lakeview Assembly

Timothy G. Saffold Sr. & Pastor Terrance L. Saffold Sr.

Worship Pastor Danny & Stephanie Goodin 14


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Lakeview Assembly

Senior Pastors Joey & Jennifer Steelman

God’s Throne M. Baptist Church

White Rose C.O.G.I.C.

Emeritus Pastor W. M. Peterson

Little Flock Baptist Church

Michael Roberts and Clarice Thomas

White Rose C.O.G.I.C. Sok Willingham & Justus Rooters

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Kenny Turner & Aaron Turner MAR/APR 2012 GOSPELROADS.COM 15

Feature Yo u r G i f t Ma t t e r s Us i n g Yo u r G o d - G i v e n Ta l e n t s t o B l e s s O t h e r s By Karen O’Connor

“I don’t think I have any talents,” my mother once said, mulling over the many gifts she saw in her children. She paused for a moment and then added, “Well, maybe I’m a good listener. Is that a gift?” “Yeah, Mom, it is! And I know it because you have always listened to me and it was a gift every time.” My mother is now in heaven but this scene comes to mind as I write this article on how our gifts matter and how important it is to pay attention to them and use them to bring God glory, to enrich our own lives, and to bless others. My mother, for example, had many talents that she took for granted or overlooked because they came to her with such ease: hospitality, generosity, and a helping hand. Our home was a ‘happening place’ for many friends and family members over the years while I was growing up. Picnics in the yard, birthday dinners around the dining room table, ping pong and home movies with popcorn in the basement. I grew up surrounded by family and friends using their gifts, and my life was the better for it. If, like my mother, you are wondering what gifts you have, here are some questions to ask yourself to help you discover them and then use them in a positive way. What Do I Love to Do? When I ask myself that question, the answer pops up without thought. I love to write, teach, and speak. To others, such activities might sound scary or boring. I remember one of my kids saying years ago, “Mom, what’s it like to spend your life writing term papers every week?” It was funny at the time but today two of my three adult children write for a living and two of them teach, as well. I don’t tease them about writing term papers. I’m just proud of them! Look at the activities and interests you love and explore them further. Do you like to garden? If so, how about sharing your talent with your community by joining a group with the same interest and beautifying the public areas with flowers, as my friend 16


Lynn does? Do you grow vegetables in your yard? Share your harvest with your neighbors, as my neighbor Bob does, and donate some of your bounty to a homeless shelter or a food bank. Do you have an interest in the political process? Knock on doors and let people know what’s going on in their community. Hold a tea or coffee in your home to help educate residents on essential issues. Do what you love and people will benefit. And you will live a happier and more satisfying life because you’ll see the results all around you. What Am I Good At? Maybe some of the things you’re good at you’ve overlooked. My neighbor Mike is a great backyard chef. Instead of limiting his skill to his immediate family, he shared it this year with whose who live close by. People around him put together a potluck supper for the Fourth of July and Mike bought, marinated, and barbecued the best ribs I’ve ever eaten. I can still taste his homemade sauce. He’s agreed to be the community chef for our neighborhood celebrations from now on. Mike’s good at what he does and he’s happy doing it. My husband Charles is good at praying for people and comforting them when they’re down. He has an uncanny sense of what individuals need and he’s ready with a prayer when he spots it. He’s also a great storyteller so he joined Toastmasters International to hone his speaking skill. That was nearly fifteen years ago. Today at age 80 he’s still speaking and entertaining and inspiring people with his stories and his charm. And he’s good at it. What Comes Naturally to Me? There’s a question to give some thought to. What do you do almost without thinking? What comes so easily you might miss it? My friend Terri is a natural-born leader. She loves the wilderness and has been leading hikes and backpacks and car camps for more than thirty years. My husband and I are among the hundreds of people who have discovered the peace and rugged beauty of the Sierra Mountains because of Terri. She takes charge of planning, organizing, reserving camp space, notifying hikers and campers, and leading hikes for a variety of trips each summer. What looks like a ton of work to me is a joy to her. She knows just what to do and she does it. Everyone who joins her has a rich experience that includes hiking, eating great food outdoors, and sitting around the campfire each night singing songs and playing games. I can’t imagine a year without at least one of Terri’s trips. Consider what you do naturally. Do you play a musical instrument? Join the worship team at your church or a community orchestra or band. You could perform at parties and wedding receptions, reunions and family events––and maybe even earn a little money on the side. Do you have counseling or teaching skills that are second nature? You could lead a bible study, a class in children’s church, a study group for teens or single mothers or seniors. Or how about teaching a dance or exercise class, knitting or sewing, art or music lessons, or a series on how to use a computer for those who are still in the dark about cyberspace? Or what about a basic auto maintenance course or sharing your love of botany or animal science by leading nature walks? Everyone responds to good, sound teaching and everyone can use someone to help them sort out their affairs. A professional counselor is not always the answer. You may be just the one to comfort and converse with a person who is hurting or is shut in for a time because of illness or some other obstacle. A visit from someone like you could go a long way to help a man or woman recuperate. What Do Others Say They See in Me? It took someone outside my mother to show her that indeed she had gifts––and more than simply listening. She was a good cook, a savvy hostess, a generous friend in the community and across the miles. She corresponded with a cousin in Ireland for over fifty years. She also wrote humorous poetry to give to family members and friends on their birthdays. People noticed and commented and so Mom carried on and pretty soon she began to believe it herself. Maybe she really did have a gift or two to share with others. The same is true of you. It might be a simple matter of paying attention to what others say about you and to you. When you’re asked to host an event, participate in a cause, write up a short article for a newsletter, take photographs for a friend’s party, sit with a sick child, arrange a bouquet of flowers, or set up a web site for an organization you believe in, think about what this says about you. People recognize your skill and talent and they want you to share what you know and what you can do. You might not be able to answer every call or say yes to every invitation, but at least you will know that your gift matters and that it’s wanted and needed in the world around you. We don’t have to sit or stand in high places to make a difference in people’s lives and in our own. We just need to spread the love of God in whatever way we can through the gifts and talents the Lord entrusted to us. When in doubt consider the words of the Psalmist: “He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers (Psalm 1:3 NIV). Karen O’Connor, free-lance writer, lives with her husband Charles Flowers in Watsonville, California. You can visit Karen on the web at MAR/APR 2012 GOSPELROADS.COM 17

Bible Study

They Just Don’t Make Crosses Like They Used To By James N. Watkins


wo thousand years ago, the Romans hand-crafted them out of real wood—rugged, solid, durable— stained with natural colors. Awe and respect were felt for the manufacturers of these creations. But like many products, most crosses today are machine-made and massproduced by managers who look only at the bottom line of numbers and dollars. Solid, rough wood has been replaced by polished veneer in walnut, oak or cherry—coordinated of course, to match the padded pews. For a more contemporary look, there are polished aluminum, Plexiglass, and fiberglass designs in decorator colors. Who can forget the plastic glowin-the-dark crosses awarded for Sunday school promotions? Even mail-order jewelry catalogs feature “dignified yet richly designed in 24k gold-filled or sterling silver, with matching Venetian box link chains. Perfect for baptisms, communion, or wedding gift.” One offers “the tranquility of this beautiful platinum-plated cross.” Another promises “a gold electroplated cross with a micro-dot of the entire Bible in the center so you can have the peace of God’s Word near you throughout the day.” They just don’t make crosses like they used to. When Christ told his disciples to take up their crosses and follow him, he wasn’t talking about 24-karat jewelry. He had in mind a rough beam, splintered and stained with sweat, blood, and drugged wine. No wonder the idea caused Peter to “rebuke” the Lord for such a statement. That’s why Paul called the cross a “stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles” (1 Corinthians 1:23). And so the organized church began to sand off the rough, irritating edges. The old stains were stripped away. The cross



needed “improved marketing” and better “packaging.” Two thousand years later, the cross has been so well “repositioned” that it’s now available in the most elegant jewelry stores and worn by the most respectable and fashionable of socialites. But in doing so, has the cross of Christ been emptied of its power? Has this instrument of death been re-fashioned into a beautiful wall hanging or piece of costume jewelry? And have it followers also become only thin veneer? Have souls become lacquered with coats of high gloss varnish so the blood, living water, and new wine rarely penetrate the exterior? They just don’t make crosses like they used to. Christ is not asking us to take up a glow-in-the-dark sense of peace and security. He is not asking us to deny ourselves fifty dollars to purchase “the tranquility of this beautiful platinum-plated cross.” Christ’s cross is heavy, rough, with the smell of blood and death. But with its weight, burdens are lifted. With its bloody stains, souls are purified. With its splinters, consciences are pricked so we might to smoothed and shaped into his likeness. This deadly device brings new life! They do make crosses like they used in Spearfish, South Dakota. A visitor to the famous passion play there asked to see the cross after a performance. He was shocked at the weight. “I thought it would be hollow.” The actor portraying the Lord replied, “I must feel the weight of the cross to act like Christ.” Maybe they do make crosses like they used to.

Copyright ©2012 James N. Watkins Reprinted with permission from Author Bio: James N. Watkins (Jim to his friends – and that’s everyone) is an award-winning author of sixteen books and over two thousand articles. Most of all he loves God, his family, writing/speaking and pizza – in that order.

What’s the Big Deal about the Cross? By Sharon Norris Elliott


e see it everywhere: on the steeples and fronts of churches, lit up on hill tops, on vehicle back windows, and on chains around people’s necks. It has been designed out of wood, leather, stone, wax, ivory, porcelain, silver, and gold; and has been carved, filigreed, and bejeweled. It is and has been at the center of more than enough controversies, yet it continues to find its way into our line of vision. What’s the big deal about the Cross in our techno-savvy, information age? To answer that question, let’s start by remembering what the Cross is and what it represents. The cross was a place of the most brutal execution – crucifixion – the Roman Empire could envision. Death by crucifixion was a sign that no one – especially leaders of dissenting organizations – was stronger than Rome. However, although Jesus was murdered on a Roman cross, His resurrection three days later proved that not even the power of Rome could defeat Him. The empty cross adorning churches; Christian homes, schools, and businesses; and yes, even our necks, symbolizes the reality of our risen Savior. His atoning (substitutionary) death and glorious resurrection has opened the way for us to get to God the Father. That’s a pretty big deal! Heb 11:39-12:2 These [the Old Testament heroes of the faith] were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect. Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (NIV) MAR/APR 2012 GOSPELROADS.COM 19

One Flesh Marriage

The Power of Submission By David Martin


mid all the excitement of the wedding ceremony, a couple can overlook the fact that the man is immediately given the title of ‘Husband’ which comes with enormous leadership responsibility. Unfortunately today, many women are getting married without taking enough time to discover if their fiancé’s character can sustain those responsibilities. A lack of positive role models is leaving a generation of men untrained and inexperienced in the role of husband and father. It’s no surprise many men are opting out of their responsibilities or not bothering to commit at all. The Institute for American Values and the National Center on African American Marriages and Parenting has been monitoring this nation’s leading marriage indicators since 1970. Their 2008 data testifies to some hard truths. Only 57% of this nation’s adults between the ages of 20 and 54 are choosing to get married. Four out of ten births in the United States are to single parents. In the African American community, that number increased dramatically to seven out of ten births. This means that a shocking 72% of black children are born out of wedlock. The alarming rise in single parent, female heads-of-household means that boys are deprived of male role models of leadership inside the home. Though they learn leadership in many different industries, they have not learned to apply these skills to their families. The result is that women have had to fill roles that men occupied both biblically and traditionally, while still maintaining their own role as mother. While many do an exceptional job, research indicators show that children who grow up outside an intact marriage are exposed to more social and economic risks than children from married couples. From Hebrews 6:20, we learn that Jesus is our high priest. From Hebrews 1:1 and 7:1 we also learn that Jesus is our prophet and king. Ephesians 5:25 tells husbands to love their wives as 20


Christ loves the Church. What an awesome responsibility! No wonder so many men cut and run. Without the assistance of the Holy Spirit, there is no way to accomplish this; yet this is a husband’s calling and election. A husband corrupts God’s perfect plan when he uses his authority to control, dominate, create insecurity, and stifle his wife’s participation in decision-making. But God, in his infinite wisdom, works on a husband in the harness of responsibility. Positional authority (inherent in the roles of prophet, priest, and king) mentioned earlier is either inherited, delegated by a higher authority, or taken by force. Personal authority, on the other hand, is granted to the leader by the people who are called to follow him. Personal authority is earned by the husband through his demonstrating relevance, competence, good character, and integrity over time. Wives participate in transforming their husbands into the leaders they are called to be by giving them personal authority over their lives. Unfortunately, many wives no longer want to submit to granting this personal authority because the world’s message is that the husband is increasingly irrelevant in the home. Television shows and movies perpetuate this, depicting the husband as oafish, incompetent, and unreliable, while the wife is more rational, capable, and in control. Does life imitate art? The department of labor reported in 2008 that more African American women were hired to executive level positions than their male counterparts. In our post-modern, so-called enlightened age that stresses gender equality over family values, submission is viewed as a weakness and not a virtue. However, Jesus shows us a different model in His relationship to the Father and to us. In Philippians 2:5-8, we learn that Jesus abdicated his positional authority as God and instead exercised the personal authority granted by each person through putting their faith in Him. A wife must have faith that granting her husband personal authority will activate all the blessings that come to her through her man’s title of ‘husband.’ A spirit submitted to God also submits to His delegated authority and paves the way for the marriage to be blessed. For a wife to deny to submit to her husband is to deny God total authority over her life. ©2011 Power of Submission

Honorable Parenting

What Adult Children Really Need By Karen O’Connor


s our children become adults and move into their independent lives, we may feel we can slip comfortably into the role of ‘friend’; however, know that events will arise and remind us that we will never be as much a friend to our children as a parent. Whether our adult children live around the corner or miles away, they will always be our ‘kids’ and the urge to parent them will be there. To make it the best relationship possible, I found it helpful to consider what my son and daughters really need. Perhaps my observations will inspire you to look at what your adult children want and need from you. SENSITIVITY Pay attention to what’s going on. Check out the surroundings and the emotional climate when you’re with your son or daughter. Some parents barge into their children’s home and take over. One mother I heard about arrived unannounced one evening and then was hurt when she wasn’t welcomed with open arms. Her timing was off. The family was getting ready to entertain houseguests from out of town. They weren’t prepared for an unexpected visitor–even if it was Mom/Grandma. SOLACE My daughter Erin called one day to share the news that her best friend had just suffered through birthing a stillborn son. It would have been easy for me to try to divert Erin’s grief with a story of my own that I might have thought would bring comfort. However, all she really needed from me was a listening ear, a comforting prayer, and a willingness to simply ‘get’ her deep feelings. I knew I had struck the right note when she said at the end of our conversation, “Thanks for listening.” SUPPORT Braces. Singing lessons. Summer camp. The needs of our grandchildren can overwhelm their parents. This is perhaps one of the most important seasons in their lives as a family, and in our lives as the parents of the adult children. Our sons and daughters crave our support, even if they don’t readily admit it. They may be trying to prove their independence as well as their ability to make wise choices. Let them, but be available to help pick them up when they fall, to help with financial gifs when it is the right thing to do. Instead of paying household bills, perhaps consider contributing to ‘extras’ such as music lessons or a school field trip. When it comes to support, it is crucial for us to respect our adult children, and to ask permission before we step in and pay for things that may not sit well with them. To me the most important form of support is prayer. Our children can trust us to stand in the gap for them, holding them up to the Lord each day, for his protection, guidance, and wisdom. SERENITY Serenity is a state of calm, of peace, a deep inner knowing that all is well. This is the plane of life most of us want to live on. Thankfully serenity is not tied to any one practice. It is, rather, a spiritual discipline that brings about a state of total well being as we come to rest in God. To be serene is to be accepting, to hold life, self, and other people with an open hand instead of a clenched fist. Parents who practice serenity go to God and lean on His power and understanding, not on their own. In so doing they release the results to Him, trusting His just outworking in their lives and in those of their children. What a gift this can be to our adult children. As we take up this spiritual journey, we can turn to these practices with our sons and daughters, like streams in a desert, to refresh our spirits when we feel dry and to guide us when we feel lost. And for those times when we feel strong and sure-footed, these steps enable us to explore new terrain with the confidence that God is with us every step of the way, as loving parents of our adult children. Karen O’Connor is a free-lance writer from Watsonville, California. Please visit Karen’s web site: MAR/APR 2012 GOSPELROADS.COM 21

Gospel Roads’ Book Review Coming in March 2012

Coming Home

by Stacy Hawkins Adams


f forgiving your ex-husband was easy, everybody would do it. Brent had cheated on Dayna and coldly said goodbye to her seven long years ago—dashing her hopes of having children or growing old with the love of her life. Working hard to make herself successful as a hospital executive, Dayna has moved on, finding comfort in a new relationship with a faith-filled doctor, Warren. But when Brent resurfaces on her doorstep at just the wrong time, Dayna’s heart threatens to come unglued. Why is Brent asking for forgiveness now? And why are he and his new wife, Tamara, interested in reconciliation with Dayna? The unbelievable answers begin to surface as Brent boldly asks Dayna to support him at the most crucial time of his life. While Tamara’s heart brims with guilt, both women will discover what it means to reach beyond pain and baggage to love unconditionally, while leaving the consequences to God.

Coming Home – excerpt Dancing alone hadn’t been an issue for Dayna Wilson in recent years, and tonight was no exception. The habit marked her choice to live again, and on evenings like this, a sense of delicious freedom and rightness with the world returned. She two-stepped around her bedroom in her purple silk robe to the up-tempo melody pouring from her surroundsound speakers, singing along to the chorus of a Tina Turner classic: “What’s Love Got to Do with It.” Dayna sashayed to her sitting area and sank into the caramelcolored leather loveseat. She closed her eyes and mentally rehearsed her speech for tonight’s benefit gala. Dayna visualized herself introducing her boss, then opened her eyes and stretched. Time to get up and get to work. That meant sliding into her Spanx without breaking a sweat, and stepping into her dress before Warren arrived. He would be ready to go the minute he showed up, but she was certain he’d pause when he saw her in the apple-red, floor-length gown. Shoot—looking at the formal and accepting that she, the always-wear-black, stay-on-the-safe-side executive, had ignored her comfort zone and bought the dress, made her pause. She had come a long way, thank God. Dayna chuckled. Between being more daring with her wardrobe and dating a man like Warren, she was on the verge of becoming unpredictable, and it was fun. What wouldn’t be out 22


of the norm were the questions she and Warren would receive from colleagues tonight about the status of their relationship… speculation over when they would tie the knot raced through the hospital with virus-like speed. So far everyone had lost the bet. Dayna wondered when he’d ask her too, but she could be patient. The red dress was waiting for her on an outside door hanger. After wrestling into the girdle that made her thighs thinner and her mid-section pouch disappear, she tugged the gown free and stepped into it with the ease of a model. She straightened to her full height and felt the dress hug every curve. Minutes later her earrings, necklace, and matching bracelet were in place. She slid into her silver heels and bathed in a spritz of the perfume Warren had given her for Christmas. A light dusting of loose powder removed the shine from her forehead and cheeks, and she looked picture perfect. The doorbell rang just as she applied her final stroke of lipstick, and she glanced at the grandfather clock in the corner. Was Warren really here at 5:45? He’d be bragging about this all night. She strode to the door as quickly as her flowing dress and stilettos allowed and swung it open, preparing to tease Warren before thanking him with a kiss for being on time. “Hey, babe—” The bouquet of red roses that greeted her, and the man holding them, snatched away the rest of her words. He was much thinner than she remembered, but it had to be him. “Brent?”

Movie Review Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close By Matthew Jones “If things were easy to find, they wouldn’t be worth finding.” -Thomas Schell played by Tom Hanks

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is one of those rare movies that take a tragic event and turn it into something beautiful. In this film Thomas Schell, played by Tom Hanks, gets trapped in the twin towers on 9/11 and never comes home to his family. He leaves behind a wife, Linda played by Sandra Bullock and a brilliant son Oskar played by Thomas Horn. One would think that a story about 9/11 would be seeped with memories of this tragic event. This film does not do that. Someone has finally made a film about 9/11 that is about the people. It explores the human side of the event. We see how the people of New York banded together in love and support. We experience how one family dealt with burying a loved one in an empty casket attempting to live a life with closure. I am all about story and character development in films; Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close lived up to my expectation. No wonder it drew a dream cast including Viola Davis and Jeffery Wright. Thomas Horn (Winner of The Critics Choice Award for Best Young Actor or Actress) will draw your heart from the very beginning. Rarely do I see films where Tom Hanks & Sandra Bullock I feel every emotion that the actor attempts to portray, especially in a character so peculiar. Oskar is not an ordinary child. He doesn’t get out much and the times he does go out is with his father Thomas, until he passed. Thomas was Oskar’s world and his passing forced Oskar to do what his father was encouraging to do; grow up, be independent, and share his knowledge and love to the world unashamed. If you are looking to see a film that tugs at your heart strings while ending with a sense of hope and joy I encourage you to see Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.

Red Tails Review

One quality of Anthony Hemingway’s Red Tails likely to receive a bit of criticism from snarkier-than-thou mainstream movie media is actually one of its strongest virtues: the sincere, unironic, unapologetically throwback sensibility, playing much like a product from or directly after the WWII era. That its stalwart hero pilots – engaging in aerial dogfight derring-do to a shamelessly swelling musical score – happen to be African-American rather pointedly highlights just how unfair it is that it’s taken this long for the legendary Tuskegee Airmen to get their proper, larger-than-life big screen treatment. It’s long about time to correct a long-standing cinematic inequity, to finally give these oft-overlooked patriots a retro rah-rah-worthy vehicle of their own. But there is also more going on here than old school genre homage: it’s also a solidly executed example of such an inspirational entertainer, equal parts excitement and heart. In the former category, Hemingway has fun using all the decidedly un-retro 2012 Industrial Light and Magic digital effects toys at his disposal for the many aerial warfare sequences. Given that this is a Lucasfilm Ltd. production, similarities to Star Wars (most specifically, the original) will inevitably be called out, but that’s not exactly an insult for action filmmaking. None of characters here are based on any specific real-life figures, and as such they fall for the most part into conventional character types; that said, they are all lent human dimension by the actors. There is unforced and genuine camaraderie between the guys, helped by some amusing banter from Ridley and McGruder’s pen. That chemistry is especially evident between the lead buddy pair of Nate Parker and, the certain breakout of the ensemble, David Oyelowo. They forge a believably brotherly tough love rapport and have the effortless gravitas to sell and serve as a compelling emotional anchor for all the action. But, of course, what makes this film that is (per the opening titles) “inspired by real Terrance Howard events” certain to inspire future real events is the enduring legacy of the Airmen. If Red Tails isn’t quite the information-heavy lecture of a historical drama some may be expecting, the Tuskegee Airmen’s genuine spirit of courage, dedication, and brotherhood is rather fittingly honored and embodied by what is a rousing adventure picture. /

By Michael Dequina



Stay Alert!

By Rhonda Rhea I accidentally made a new discovery a couple of years ago. I forgot about the coffee pot and left it on all day. I didn’t have a coffee maker with an auto shut-off back then, so when I finally noticed it, the stuff was past even that sludge stage. The entire pot of coffee had been reduced to a layer of tar. Fascinating. It was black and sort of chewy-looking. I sniffed it, just out of curiosity, and I think it gave me a little bit of a caffeine buzz. That’s when it hit me that I might actually have something. What if I peeled it off the bottom of the pot and cut it into plastic-looking strips? Voila! Coffee Jerky! Just think what this could mean to all those heavy-eyed weekday commuters. Instead of sloshing scalding coffee in their laps and all over their nice leather seats, they could just pop out a hunk of coffee jerky. I’m thinking it would be a great way to make a pot of coffee last all day, too. It would take several hours just to get it all out of your molars. Residual caffeine! This discovery might help to keep our entire society more alert! Alertness is a good thing. First Peter 5:8 instructs us to “Be self-controlled and alert,” and then tells us why: “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (NIV). Creepy, isn’t it? It would terrify us if we didn’t have the rest of scripture to tell us that our Heavenly Father is infinitely more powerful than the Enemy. We even have the next verse in the passage to charge us to, “Resist him, standing firm in the faith.” 24


There’s also powerful instruction in the verse right before: “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (verse 7). Casting all your anxiety on Christ doesn’t mean you have to slip into a vegetative state. In java jargon, we can stay perky. “Self-controlled and alert.” It’s when we surrender our troubles to Him that we are truly freed to be alert to Christ-centered things, those things that really count. It’s better than anything caffeinated yet it won’t keep you up at night. As a matter of fact, giving your anxieties over to Jesus and focusing on Him is exactly what you need for a peaceful night’s sleep. Learning to “live alert” can revolutionize our walk with Christ. We can find ourselves waking up to new ways to love, serve and honor Him. And that’s when we find our lives more grounded than ever before. Fresh-ground alertness. Cup by cup, it’s the holy espresso He can use to change our lives. I love how the Amplified Version expresses 1 Corinthians 16:13: “Be alert and on your guard; stand firm in your faith, your conviction respecting man’s relationship to God…grow in strength!” So even if you don’t enjoy a strong cup of java, enjoy a strong faith. Be alert to all things Jesus. Let’s wake up and smell the jerky. ___________________ Rhonda Rhea is a radio personality, conference speaker, humor columnist and author of eight books, including her newest, How Many Lightbulbs Does It Take to Change a Person? She lives in the St. Louis area and is a pastor’s wife and a mother of five. Find out more at

Courtesy of: Life’s a Feast

Yum! Yum! Treat Yourself


Courtesy of: Life’s a Feast

28 oz (800 g) veal for stew * 1 cup (125 g) flour seasoned with salt, pepper & smoky paprika for dredging veal 2 Tbs (30 g) butter or margarine + 2 Tbs olive oil 1 large yellow onion, trimmed, peeled and slice into 8 - 10 wedges (depending on size of onion) 1 or 2 carrots, trimmed, peeled and sliced into ¼-inch (½ cm) thick coins 2 - 3 cloves garlic, peeled, cloves crushed 2 Tbs or 1 small can tomato paste (concentrate) 1 cup (250 ml) dry white wine 1 cup (250 ml) water Bouquet garni or 1 large bay leaf, 1 branch rosemary & a few branches fresh or dried thyme ½ - 1 tsp smoky paprika, to taste Salt and freshly ground black pepper 2 Tbs (30 g) butter or margarine 10 oz (300 g) fresh mushrooms of choice * I used both ossobuco and veal shoulder. I found the ossobuco came out much more tender and I’ll use only this cut for future stews. You can also make this with chunks of lamb shoulder. Heat the butter or margarine with the olive oil in a large

heavy pot over medium-high heat. Rinse and pat dry the pieces of veal then dredge each piece in the seasoned flour, making sure all sides are floured and shaking off the excess. Brown both sides of the veal. When the veal is browned on all sides, add the onion wedges, the carrot coins and the crushed garlic. Tossing often, cook the vegetables with the meat until the vegetables are beginning to color and are slightly tender. Add the tomato paste, wine, water, herbs or bouquet garni, the salt, pepper and paprika. Stir to combine and then bring just up to the boil. Turn the heat to low, cover almost completely (I always leave the lid slightly ajar to allow steam to escape so the sauce thickens) and allow to simmer for 1 hour. About 15 minutes before the end of cooking, clean and trim the mushrooms and cut into large chunks. Sauté the mushroom chunks in butter or margarine until softened and beginning to brown around the edges. Salt and pepper. Feel free to add a squeeze of lemon if you like. Add the cooked mushrooms to the stew for the last 10 to 15 minutes of cooking. Check the meat and allow to cook a bit more if not yet ideally tender. Top up the sauce with a bit more water if it evaporates or thickens too quickly. Taste and adjust seasonings towards the end of cooking. Serve over rice or pasta. MAR/APR 2012 GOSPELROADS.COM 25

Not Slothful in Business

Stress L ess ab out Business and Work By Ivy Bennett


o any of these phrases about the current business environment sound familiar to you? Work harder and smarter. Increase revenues. Cut expenses. Make it happen ASAP. Both business owners and employees are facing enormous pressure. The stakes are high and workplace challenges are not the only issues at hand. Real estate woes, financial shortfalls, family dynamics or health problems may also require attention. It is easy to feel overwhelmed and overworked. Daily demands can drain our energy and distort our priorities. But as Christians we can take comfort in knowing that God cares deeply and wants to help. Like many of us, Daniel faced significant workplace challenges (Daniel, Chapter 2). In fact, King Nebuchadnezzar threatened to kill Daniel and all of the “wise men” in his kingdom because no one could tell him spe-

cific details about a troubling dream. When the king’s guards arrived to apprehend Daniel, he respectfully asked for a time extension and then immediately sought the Lord in prayer. By focusing on receiving wisdom from God (instead of operating in fear), Daniel was able to accurately interpret the king’s dream. Daniel’s actions solved a pressing problem, averted a death sentence for all of his colleagues, and resulted in his promotion. He established a reputation for being wise and proved that he was able to effectively handle difficult situations. On a personal level, determine whether you react to stress by seeking the Lord (like Daniel) or crumbling helplessly under pressure. Daniel’s experience reminds us that the Lord will always provide answers. When we seek God’s wisdom (James 1:5), success will surely follow. There are also practical steps we can take to avoid being overwhelmed. 1. Start each day by focusing on important matters that are urgent rather than urgent matters that are trivial. It’s surprising how much time

can be wasted by focusing on tiny tasks. 2. Second, be sure to block specific time on your daily calendar to work on major projects that impact sales, revenue or productivity. Getting started on critical projects creates momentum; staying committed on a daily basis insures completion. 3. Finally, know your biorhythm. If you’re a “morning person,” schedule your calendar to take full advantage of your natural rhythm for

peak performance. Stress can be managed by using simple techniques. And according to God’s Word, even complex problems have solutions and sticky situations can be successfully resolved: Commit your works to the LORD And your plans will be established. Proverbs 16:3 (NASB)

Ms. Ivy Bennett is employed as a senior executive in the private sector and has over 30 years of business experience. She also completed formal ministerial training and serves in the prayer ministry at her church. 26


It’s a God Thing Broken to Rise Again: Battling Depression with God

By Aisha Shepard Clinical depression is described as a feeling of being sad or distraught for two weeks or longer. I was diagnosed with clinical depression that elevated to bipolar disorder in 2010. The depression did not start in 2010, but rather many years before. I am not sure what exactly triggered the start of the continuous cycle of ups and downs; all I know was that my once vibrant personality became a silent battle I fought within myself just to stay alive. Instead of spending time with family and friends, I went into solitude on several occasions, pushing the people I loved away and leaving them at a loss for words. The feeling of joy and thinking I could conquer the world was replaced by feelings of sadness and defeat. I knew of Christ and His healing power, but for some reason could not feel His presence in my own life. That discouraged me even more. I allowed Satan to enter my mind and feed me lies like, God doesn’t love you, and “You are worthless with no purpose,” amongst other negative thoughts. I knew in the beginning these thoughts were wrong, but did not have the strength to fight them off. For a long while, I did not go to the prayer warriors who I knew but rather kept a journal, silently chronicling all my feelings. The few people I did tell about my battle had very few words of encouragement that would strengthen my

soul. Not going to the body of Christ as I should have made it easier for Satan to strengthen his grip on my mind. Not only was I dealing with feelings of sadness, I was dealing with feelings of guilt and shame because I did not believe in Christ to heal me. Fast forward to 2010 where I unsuccessfully tried a suicide attempt. The years of battling with depression had finally broken me. As I lay in the hospital bed trying to explain to my loved ones what I was feeling, all they could say was, “It is not your time; God has a purpose for you.” Still I battled with thoughts of suicide for several months believing God still didn’t love me, even though I was receiving counseling from someone who believed in the power of God. After speaking with several doctors and being diagnosed with bipolar I disorder, my mother took me by the hand one day and told me we were going to pray. She said, “It is time for you to start believing in your own healing the way others have been believing in your healing for you.” Then we prayed. That prayer with my mother, along with many others like it, set the tone for seeds to be planted and my life to start changing. Little did I know God was beginning a major reconstruction in my life. I began to walk with my head held high, doing the activities I once enjoyed, and growing

closer to those who had remained in my life. Most importantly, I remembered God’s love for me. The journey has not been easy; there have been many counseling sessions, many nights with no sleep, medication changes, and prayers. But at the end of the day, all glory must go to God. He is the true healer in this situation, not the medication or the counseling alone. He placed me in the right paths for people to help me get better, and without Him none of this would be possible. As I continue to seek and trust Him, I receive the peace that surpasses all understanding and the power to fight the enemy’s attacks on my mind. I am destined for greatness because I am a child of the most high God and nothing, not even a minor setback like depression, or a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, can change the love and purpose that He has for my life. To God be the glory. Aisha Shepard is a African American writer who lives in Houston, TX. She enjoys studying God’s word and encouraging others to live out their purpose MAR/APR 2012 GOSPELROADS.COM 27

Come Worship with us! CALIFORNIA Long Beach Baptist

Mt Olive Church of God In Christ 1385 E 21st St, Los Angeles, CA 90011

Christ Second Baptist Church 1471 Martin Luther King Jr Ave, Long Beach, CA 90813 Living Word Missionary Baptist Church 1303 E Esther St, Long Beach, CA 90813 Mount Ephraim Spiritual Baptist Church 2232 Atlantic Ave, Long Beach, CA 90806 New Hope Baptist Church 1160 E New York St, Long Beach, CA 90813 St Paul’s Baptist Church 1392 W 25th St, Long Beach, CA 90810

Compton - Long Beach C O G I C - Pentecostal Bread of Life Church of God In Christ 12812 S Atlantic Ave, Compton, CA 90221 Faithful Church of God In Christ 450 W Rosecrans Ave, Compton, CA 90222 White Rose CHURCH of God in Christ 1001 E Anaheim St Long Beach, CA 90813 Gospel Memorial Church of God In Christ 1480 Atlantic Ave Long Beach CA 90813 Great Deliverance CHURCH of God & Christ 740 E Hill St Long Beach, CA 90806

Los Angeles Baptist Mt. Moriah Baptist Church Of Los Angeles 4269 S Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90037 Saint Mark Baptist Church 5017 Compton Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90011 Southern Missionary Baptist Church 4678 W Adams Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016 Tabernacle of Faith Baptist Church 11328 S Central Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90059 True Gospel Missionary Baptist Church 7723 S Hoover St, Los Angeles, CA 90044


Greater Good News Church of God In Christ 5840 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90003

West Angeles Church Of God In Christ 3045 Crenshaw Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016

Oakland-San Francisco Baptist

Prayer Tower 2135 47th Avenue, Oakland, CA 94601 True Hope Church of God In Christ 950 Gilman Ave, San Francisco, CA 94124 Zion’s Tabernacle 2147 East 15th Street, Oakland, CA 94606 Commonwealth Church of God In Christ 3136 13th Ave, Oakland, CA 94610

Evergreen Baptist Church 408 W Macarthur Blvd, Oakland, CA 94609 First Baptist Church of San Francisco 22 Waller St, San Francisco, CA 9410 Grace Baptist Church 705 98th Ave, Oakland, CA 94603 Greater St Paul Missionary Chr 1827 Martin Luther King Jr Way Oakland, CA 94612 Hamilton Square Baptist Church 1212 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94109 Moriah Christian Fellowship 3354 San Pablo Ave, Oakland, CA 94608 MT. Trinity Baptist Church 68 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94102 Peoples Missionary Bapt Church 8825 Macarthur Blvd, Oakland, CA 94605 Second Union Missionary Baptist Church 749 Page St, San Francisco, CA 9411 Union Springs Baptist Church 101 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94117

C O G I C - Pentecostal Ephesian Church of God 1709 Alcatraz Ave, Berkeley, CA 94703 Greater Gethsemane Church of God in Christ 240 Page Street, San Francisco, CA 94102 Jerusalem C.O.G.I.C 1660 McAllister Street, San Francisco, CA 94115 Little Manger 846 Divisadero Ste #848 San Francisco, CA 94117

C O G I C - Pentecostal

Missionary Church Of God In Christ 1125 Allston Way, Berkeley, CA 94702

Emmanuel Church of God In Christ 1399 E 33rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90011

New Faith Chapel 2111 Seminary Avenue, Oakland, CA 94621

Full Gospel Church of God In Christ 1601 E 41st St, Los Angeles, CA 90011

Oasis Church of God In Christ 2530 90th Avenue, Oakland, CA 9460


Pentecostal Temple Church of God & Christ 1915 McAllister St, San Francisco, CA 9411

Sacramento Baptist Downtown Baptist Church 2115 8th St, Sacramento, CA 95818 First Baptist Church 2324 L St, Sacramento, CA 95816 Immanuel Baptist Church 1424 24th St, Sacramento, CA 95816 Mt Pilgrim Baptist Church 4800 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Sacramento, CA 95820 St Paul Baptist Church 3996 14th Ave, Sacramento, CA 95820

C O G I C - Pentecostal Back to The Bible Church of God In Christ 3251 Norwood Ave, Sacramento, CA 95838 Northgate Church of God In Christ 440 Haggin Ave, Sacramento, CA 95833 Miracle Church of God In Christ 348 Morey Ave, Sacramento, CA 95838 Mt Zion Church of God In Christ 10384 Rockingham Dr, Sacramento, CA 95827 Philadelphia Church of God In Christ 4020 Y St, Sacramento, CA 95817



Emmanuel Baptist Church 715 S. Windsor Av 95205 God’s Throne Baptist Church 405 E. Lindsay 95202 Greater Faith Missionary Church 345 W Worth St, 95206 Progressive Missionary Baptist 209 South C Stockton, CA 95205 Quail Lakes Baptist Church 1904 Quail Lakes Dr, Stockton, CA 95207

C O G I C - Pentecostal Eastside Church 3206 Marsh Stockton, CA 95205 Greater New Hope Deliverance 1467 Michael Av Stockton, CA 95206 New Life Worship Center 490S. Wilson Way, Stockton, CA 95205 Progressive Community Church 2820 South B Street, Stockton, CA 95206 White Rose The Church of God In Christ 2340 S Pilgrim St, Stockton, CA 95206

Oklahoma Oklahoma City

Memphis Baptist


First Baptist Church Broad Av 2849 Broad Ave, Memphis, TN 38112

Little Flock Baptist Church 1125 Cherry St, Baytown, TX 77520

Greater Love Baptist Church 4439 Hacks Cross Rd, Memphis, TN 38125

North Oaks Baptist Church 18411 Stuebner Airline Rd, Spring, TX 77379

Mt Vernon Baptist Church Westwood 620 Parkrose Rd, Memphis, TN 38109

Pilgrim Rest Missionary Baptist Church 3410 Jeanetta St, Houston, TX 77063

New Salem Missionary Baptist Church 2225 S Parkway E, Memphis, TN 38114

C O G I C - Pentecostal Jesus Is The Way Church of God In Christ 1884 Farrington St, Memphis, TN 38109 Leake’s Temple Cogic 974 Florida St, Memphis, TN 38106

Baptist Emmaus Baptist Church 16001 S Western Ave, Oklahoma City, OK 73170 Meadowood Baptist Church 2816 N Woodcrest Dr, Oklahoma City, OK 73110

Moore Memorial COGIC 860 Speed St, Memphis, TN 38107 Old Land Mark Church 1490 N.Hollywood St., Memphis, TN 38108


C O G I C - Pentecostal

Dallas/Ft. Worth

New Life Church of God In Christ 1245 SW 25th St, Oklahoma City, OK 73109


Power House Church of God In Christ 403 N Lindsay Ave, Oklahoma City, OK 73104

Celebration Baptist Church 1140 Morrison Dr, Fort Worth, TX 76120


Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church 8015 Blossom Ln, Dallas, TX 75227

Baptist Glenwood Baptist Church 5400 Charles Page Blvd, Tulsa, OK 74127 Oakridge Baptist Church 6103 S 44th West Ave, Tulsa, OK 74132 Ridge Crest Baptist Church 304 S 161st East Ave, Tulsa, OK 74108 Tulsa Baptist Temple 1203 S Columbia Ave, Tulsa, OK 74104

C O G I C - Pentecostal Gospel Tabernacle Church of God In Christ 1832 N Lewis Ave, Tulsa, OK 74110

Fellowship Baptist Church of Oak Cliff 3607 S Westmoreland Rd, Dallas, TX 75233 Friendship West Baptist Church 2020 W Wheatland Rd, Dallas, TX 75232 Greater Cornerstone Baptist Church 8350 Forest Ln, Dallas, TX 75243 Mount Sinai Missionary Baptist Church 1300 E Allen Ave, Fort Worth, TX 76104

C O G I C - Pentecostal Church of God In Christ 3331 Chihuahua Ave, Dallas, TX 75212 Emanuel Church-God In Christ 1419 Dennison St, Dallas, TX 75212

Greater Lansing Church of God In Christ 4909 N Cincinnati Ave, Tulsa, OK 74126

Fair Park Church Of God In Christ 1036 S Carroll Ave, Dallas, TX 75223

Meredith Temple Church of God In Christ 1158 Mount Vernon Ave, Columbus, OH 43203

Gospel Kingdom Church of God In Christ 4401 S Riverside Dr, Fort Worth, TX 76119

Pentecostal Temple Church of God In Christ 2438 E 29th St N, Tulsa, OK 74110



Haynes Chapel Church of God In Christ 3605 Ruskin St, Dallas, TX 75215

South Main Baptist Church of Houston 4100 Main St, Houston, TX 77002 Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church 3826 Wheeler St, Houston, TX 77004

C O G I C - Pentecostal Island of Hope Church of God and Christ 3303 Orange St, Houston, TX 77020 Jensen Drive Church of God In Christ 2111 Jensen Dr, Houston, TX 77026 Lorraine St Church of God In Christ 2312 Lorraine St, Houston, TX 77026 Williams Temple Church of God in Christ 2524 Delano St, Houston, TX 77004 Zion Temple Church of God In Christ 6102 Milart St, Houston, TX 77021

Georgia Atlanta Kingdom Tabernacle Christian Assembly 892 Berne St. SE Atlanta, GA 30316

Baptist Beulah Baptist Church 170 Griffin St NW, Atlanta, GA 30314 Mt Pleasant Baptist Church 17 Meldon Ave SE, Atlanta, GA 30315 New Jerusalem Baptist Church 383 Paines Ave NW, Atlanta, GA 30314 Beulah Baptist Church 2340 Clifton Springs Rd, Decatur, GA 30034

C O G I C - Pentecostal Abundant Life COGIC 1280 Benteen Way SE, Atlanta, GA 30315 Paradise Church-God In Christ 4234 Hendrix Dr, Forest Park, GA 30297 Victory Cathedral COGIC 3704 Campbellton Rd SW, Atlanta, GA 30331 Abundant Life Church of God In Christ 79 McDonough Blvd SE, Atlanta, GA 30315

St Chapel Church of God In Christ 701 E Baltimore Ave, Fort Worth, TX 76104


Gospel Roads Magazine  

VOL 1 NO 7

Gospel Roads Magazine  

VOL 1 NO 7