Message magazine logo
Pastor Michael McBride
Design Yourself into a Better You
Christian Nationalism isn;t Christian
Same God
Champion for Change
January/February 2023
Message Logo
QR Code icon
 Get More
Snap this code and check out our video content
Pastor Michael McBride and quote

by Ruthven Phillip/Empower yourself and your community by your choices.

by Dr. Delbert Baker/Bible-backed tools to help you find, and walk in, God’s purpose for your life.

by Carmela Monk Crawford/This preacher with “hood cred” and white kicks utilizes the wonder working power of the gospel.

by Alan Reinach/History proves that you can’t force faith.

by Pete Palmer/Child of Destiny

by Robert Norwood/The Bible was the source of strength for our ancestors and still is for us today.


by Garth Dottin/God’s act of love in pursuing us is consistent throughout the entire Bible.

Cover photo courtesy of Pastor Michael McBride
Enter Your Promised Land
Your Legacy
African American Cuisine



by Carmela Monk Crawford/AN AGGRESSIVE PEACE

by Edward Woods, III/Behind Abortion Rights and Restriction Initiatives Lies the Question of Personal Conscience and Authority

by Carl McRoy/Three “Colorblind” Constitutional Slave Clauses

by Donna Green Goodman/The Amazing Plant Power of African American Cuisine

by John and April Nixon/Nothin’ but the truth


by Debleaire Snell/Don’t be too hard on us

Cover photo courtesy of Pastor Michael McBride
Message Logo
Carmela Monk Crawford
[email protected]

Graphic Design

Seventh-Day Adventist Church logo
Subscriber Services
Pacific Press Publishing Assoc.,
Virginia Ramsey 1-800-456-3991

Samuel Archer
[email protected]

Consulting Editors
Roger Bernard
Marvin Brown
Carlton Byrd
Virgil Childs
Byron Dulan
Garth Gabriel
Alva James-Johnson
Benjamin Jones
Abraham Jules
Kenneth Manders
Michael Owusu
Peter Palmer
Calvin Preston
Marcellus Robinson
Calvin Watkins
William Winston
Call 1-800-456-3991 Monday through Thursday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Mountain Time for subscription information or address changes. MESSAGE (ISSN 0026-0231) is published bimonthly Jan/Feb, Mar/Apr, May/June, July/Aug, Sept/Oct, Nov/Dec.

© 2018 by the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists, 9705 Patuxent Woods Drive, Columbia, Maryland, 21046, U.S.A. Address editorial correspondence to MESSAGE MAGAZINE, 9705 Patuxent Woods Drive, Columbia, MD 21046-1565 U.S.A. All subscriptions are prepaid. If you did not order MESSAGE, it is being sent as a gift from a friend. You will not be billed. To subscribe, mail payment to MESSAGE, 1350 North Kings Road Nampa, ID 83687, U.S.A. or call 1-800-456-3991. Subscription price: one year, $19.95 U.S. currency; single copy, $4.00; overseas, add $10.00 per year for postage. Prices subject to change without notice. Periodicals Postage paid at Nampa, Idaho and additional offices. Vol. 89 No. 1 Jan/Feb 2023. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to MESSAGE, 1350 North Kings Road Nampa, ID 83687, U.S.A. Printed in the U.S.A.

Unless otherwise noted, Bible texts in this issue are from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Statements in this issue attributed by an author to other speakers/writers are included for the value of the individual statements only. No endorsement of those speakers’/writers’ other works or statements is intended or implied.

Recycle Icon

Vintage Vault

Is the World Getting Better?

A girl with two dogs
“There is one great truth to be borne in mind if the individual wishes to evaluate correctly the lessons history teaches concerning world progress: All the intellectual, political, scientific, and literary awakenings of the past have been good, and they have improved man’s lot to a certain point, but because they have not been accompanied by spiritual upsurges of the same magnitude, no lasting good has been accomplished. Outside of Christ, God’s choicest gifts and man’s greatest achievements turn to chaos in his hands, and the things that might have done the most good become the most destructive.”

—“Is the World Getting Better?”
by Walter W. Fordham, Message, July 1953

Phillip McGuire Wesley, jr.

Media That Takes You Higher

This is a new day of listening and reading. I pray that each book, music tune, or app will make an impact in your life as it has in mine. Please let us know by emailing me.


You Owe You book cover

You Owe You
Eric Thomas, Ph.D.

If you feel like success is for others, that only certain people get to have their dreams fulfilled, Eric Thomas’s, You Owe You is your wake-up call. This book proposes to help you discover your “superpower” by walking in your purpose. Number one motivational speaker, Dr. Eric Thomas, brings inspiration for everyone in this book. You Owe You is available online at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.


My message
An Aggressive Peace

smiled at the man wearing a beige baseball cap, with bold black letters declaring,



Because I smiled, he thought (rightfully so, I guess) that he could pull me aside, there at the DMV.

“Do you know what Shalom means?” he asked.

“Peace, right?” I said.

“Oh but it’s so much more, and more beautiful than that.”

Turns out, this rabbi is a Messianic Jew, a believer that Christ has already come, and that He truly is our peace (Ephesians 2:14). I listened nervously, knowing that this was a story I didn’t want to miss, while there for an appointment I also didn’t want to miss.

eye on the times
Person standing in front of large clock in clock tower
Behind Abortion Rights and Restriction Initiatives Lies the Question of Personal Conscience and Authority
2 different sides of an Abortion protest, left side pro choice in red square, right side pro life in blue with question mark down the center
By Edward Woods, III

fter the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision that effectively overturned Roe v. Wade, voters took to the polls in the 2022 midterm elections. They responded to ballot initiatives in Kansas, California, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana, and Vermont as a way to reinstate or restrict abortion access in their states.

Ballotpedia reported that California, Michigan, and Vermont passed measures providing for a state constitutional right to an abortion. Measures to restrict abortion rights, on the other hand failed in Kansas, Kentucky, and Montana.

These high-stakes initiatives attracted close attention and significant investment. In Michigan, voters set a midterm record for election turnout with 4.9 million voters. On one hand, Reproductive Freedom for All which led the abortion rights initiative, led the way with more than $43 million in cash contributions. Some of their top donors included the Sixteen Thirty Fund, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Open Society Policy Center. On the other hand, more than $15 million of the $17 million raised by initiative opponents was funded by Citizens to Support Michigan Women & Children, organizations affiliated with the Catholic Church.

Black from the Past
Three “Colorblind” Constitutional Slave Clauses
How Enslaved Blacks Were Trapped in Neutral Language
By Carl McRoy

ome people recommend a colorblind approach to racism in America by insisting that it will go away if we stop talking about it. One problem is that the U.S. Constitution was encoded with colorblind racism in the beginning.1

Article I, Section 2, Clause 3, of the Constitution contains what’s commonly called “The Three-Fifths Compromise.” The purpose was not to grant 3/5 personhood to enslaved people (elsewhere the legal system referred to them as property without any personal rights). The clause leveraged the presence of the enslaved to give slaveholding states more congressional representation and Electoral College votes than they would otherwise have.

optimal health

The Plant-Based Lifestyle
The Amazing Plant Power of African American Cuisine
Photo by Joshua Resnick / AdobeStock
The Amazing Plant Power of African American Cuisine

By donna green goodman


am really bothered when I hear “experts” talk about how horrible African American/Soul Food is for our health. It’s true that the fatty and sugary traditional foods are not healthy. And the fast food restaurants in our communities definitely aren’t healthy. But they seem to always stop short of promoting the value of a number of foods that are clearly core to our cultural cuisine norms, the ones that are so very healthy!

Here are some facts about the goodness of some of our cultural foods.

John and April Nixon

Nothin’ but The Truth
Photo by Jonnas Duarte from



et’s be honest, everybody lies, but especially those who are in committed relationships. Though most people agree that lying to your spouse is not a healthy practice, it is often the most comfortable option so we sometimes rely on untruths to get us through.

“Lying is quite common in relationships,” says Manhattan-based licensed clinical psychologist Joseph Cilona, PsyD. We even find ourselves using other words to characterize it so that we don’t feel quite so bad about it. Words like: fib, story, tale, and white lie. We tell “little white lies” to our partner to help keep the peace, smooth things over, stop a fight from happening, or to spare their feelings.

Ruthven Phillip
Two Ways to Address Economic Injustice even if Jesus said the poor will always be with us
By Ruthven Phillip

esus said in Matthew 26:11 that the poor will be with us always. And, He is correct! While Jesus lived among us for 33 years, the poor and economic injustices have been with us since even He was born to His impoverished earthly family, and they still exist today. Did Jesus mean we will always have economic injustice?

For a variety of reasons, economic justice is difficult to achieve and is complex. First, where would we even begin to bring equity in this regard? Should the fight for economic justice begin with living wages or house pricing discrimination? Should we begin with inflation and gas prices in minority communities being higher than those in other communities? Or what about resolving the injustice in the United States tax code? Or, should we start with banks and their predatory lending policies, or credit card fees injustice and discrimination?

In addition to where to begin, we are also faced with, what I call the “Whack-A-Mole” problem. If justice is obtained in one area, will it spur economic injustices in other areas? For example, if people are paid increased wages, then those with wealth and company owners will argue that some people at the economic bottom will inevitably be fired or some simply let go.

hands at a desk doing work with a pen, ruler and paper

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko from

Design Yourself into a Better You typography

A Help-Yourself Life Design Tool

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko from

By Dr. Delbert Baker

ow satisfied are you with where you are in life? Do you desire something more? Are you experiencing an urge to move to the next level? Is there a sense you want a vocation or avocation more aligned to your purpose and sense of calling? If so, you may be an ideal candidate for a life design update.

The Bible encourages us to pursue a deeper purpose in life. We are reminded that each of us has a special plan and purpose for our lives (see your: future—Jeremiah 29:11-13, design—Romans 8:28, cooperation—Proverbs 3:5-6). It’s been said: “As sure as surely as we have a place in heaven to come, we have a special place and work to do here on earth.” Finding purpose is the focus of Life Design (LD).

Life Design focuses on intentionally designing your life for a productive fulfilling purpose. It is not a cure-all, but a forward-looking plan to help realize where you are and want to be.

“For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory”
(2 Corinthians 1:20, ESV).

Enter Your typography
Promised Land typography

Trusting God despite our repeated disappointments


hen the children of Israel approached the land promised to them by God, they sent spies to gather intelligence. In the Promised Land, they discovered beauty unimaginable and resources beyond comprehension, and the threat of giants. The fear that filled their hearts grew larger than the giants themselves. Thus, Israel refused to enter the land that was already theirs. Instead, we know they wandered in the wilderness for 40 years because of their unbelief.

We’ve heard the story and mourned this wasteful outcome. But a deeper look into the response of the Israelites at the edge of the Promised Land highlights the human experience of trauma or repeated disappointment.

Pastor Michael McBride: Champion for Change typography
Pastor Michael McBride: Champion for Change typography
BY Carmela Monk Crawford
P dropcap
astor Michael McBride’s organization, Live Free USA, pushes for a multi-pronged approach to peacemaking, including: reducing gun violence, ending mass incarceration, and reimagining public safety. He had boots on the ground after Michael Brown was gunned down by police in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014, protesting the police response and advocating for better policing policies. His organization has grown from a local model, into a national protocol for prophetic advocacy in the halls of justice and government.

A San Francisco Bay area native, McBride allied with other organizations to help address gun violence and homicide rates in Oakland, California. This alliance, while realizing success, also gained two insights the hard way. First, effective strategy requires community policing that reflects input and buy-in from key community members. And, second, effective policy and programming must be narrowly tailored to the segment most likely to be involved in gun violence in the first place.

Christian Nationalism Isn't Christian title
Photo by alexkich from Adobe Stock.
Christian Nationalism Isn't Christian title
Why Christian Nationalism Threatens the Health of Religious Freedom, and the Nation.
BY Alan Reinach
T dropcap
he media has given considerable attention to the rise of what has come to be known as “Christian Nationalism,” or alternatively, “White Christian Nationalism.” The Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty issued a statement– Christians Against Christian Nationalism– that provides a clear definition:
Christian nationalism seeks to merge Christian and American identities, distorting both the Christian faith and America’s constitutional democracy. Christian nationalism demands Christianity be privileged by the State and implies that to be a good American, one must be Christian. It often overlaps with and provides cover for white supremacy and racial subjugation.
Some Bible scholars, including Adventists, have long identified the biblical symbol of “Babylon”—the harlot riding on the beast—with the Constantinian church-state arrangement. This “arrangement” powered the church through the use of the government’s strong arm. This arrangement dominated the west for more than twelve centuries, until it suffered a “fatal wound.”
Built to Last Bibilical Secrets to unlocking your legacy
A Child of Destiny
man throwing his laughing child in the air playfully smiling
Photo by Sasha Kim from
How the story of Samson offers hope for those who have made poor choices
By Pete palmer

amson is such a fascinating character in the book of Judges, not just because of his incredible strength and exploits, but because of the tremendous destiny that is prophesied over his life even before he was conceived.

Truly, the story of Samson illustrates what the Psalmist says, “Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them” (Psalm 139:16, NASB95).

The Word of God Works When We Work It!
Photo by alexkich from Adobe Stock.

hat made the Bible the source of strength for our ancestors then and for people today? Can the Bible still be trusted?

Parallels of hope and encouragement the liberation story of the Israelites. They felt as Jones Cone so eloquently writes that God is a God of the Oppressed. Those who lived through slavery can attest to the fact that they had to lean on God and trust God in perilous times. Our ancestors then and individuals today can find hope and peace in the idea that one day God will send a savior to deliver His children from oppressive situations. God sent Moses to deliver the Israelites from Egyptian captivity. God sent David to deliver Israel from the Philistines. God sent Dr. Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee, and others to speak truth to power. To give voice to those who were voiceless.

Don't Be Too Hard On Us
By Debleaire Snell
ecently I was in a certain city preaching. The host pastor decided to take me to a newly opened black-owned vegan restaurant. As we pulled into the parking lot, I noticed the aesthetic of the building had great character; it was clean and you could tell much of the work had been done by the owners. They greeted us in a courteous way when we entered, but there were some obvious flaws in their system.

Their process for receiving orders lacked structure, so there were a couple of us who received the wrong order. And though the food was good, the wait was longer than one would expect. Overall it was a good experience, and I would patronize the establishment again. However, I overheard a group of young adults in the booth behind us, lamenting the long wait time and the fact that their orders were wrong. They went into a lengthy dialogue about how inferior black businesses can be run. Their conclusion: they would never return there again.

You’re family here.
Message is the oldest, black, Christian magazine in North America whose longevity is owing to its critical function of sharing the message of redemption, relationship, and readiness.
Redemption in slab font
We believe that God, recognizing how irretrievably broken our lives and world would be following the influence of the enemy’s lies, sent His Son Jesus in whom we are created anew. He has promised the total righting of everything that is wrong in this world. Seek Him. Reach for Him, and He will in no way cast you aside. He wants you to know Him, and assures that He will be there when you look for Him. No matter who you are, this opportunity is for you.
Relationship in. slab font
We’re here to operate as a set of His hands and feet, to come alongside all who preach, teach, and work with this good news. We fight against the destructive effects sin has had on us, the personal, systemic and perpetual division that plagues this world. In particular, we target and counter the false narrative of who God is. Together we affirm His image found in the black mind and body that has so often borne the brunt of brutality and untruth. Together we seek to align with God’s Kingdom at work in the here and now.
Readiness in a slab font
Finally, we prepare for that day when all of God’s people reunite with Him in person. That preparation includes a complete opening of our minds and hearts to Him, allowing Him to do the work of getting us ready. We’re reading His Word with an open mind, seeking the special blessing of the Spirit especially on His Sabbath, and we eagerly watch for His return!
Let’s walk together, fam.
To receive personal Bible studies, pray with someone, talk with a chaplain or find a church, reach the Message Resource line: 1-855-God-Cares (1-855-463-2273).
"Same God"
a man watches the sunset while sitting on a boulder on the beach
"Same God"
Photo by Kaysha on
BY Garth Dottin

watched a group of young children play hide and seek at my church recently. Strangely enough, there wasn’t anywhere for them to hide without being found easily, but they persisted. One little girl stood behind a piano and another jumped behind a chair. A poofy, colorful dress stuck out from behind a pillar. A white shirt glowed from under a black chair, and little feet poked out from under a gray table. After he finished counting, the seeker looked around, his eyes easily tracking the hiding spots of each of his friends. But instead of tagging them, he acted like he didn’t see them and ran to the next spot. After a few minutes, the game morphed into a chase rather than hide and seek.

In Genesis, God finds Himself in a game of hide and seek. The problem is it is impossible to hide from God. The Psalmist mused, “If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there” (Psalm 139:8, NKJV). Still, God makes His way among the trees and shrubs as if He can’t see His children, as if He can’t read their hearts and anticipate their next moves.

What's the Message? Podcast
 Message Daily Devotional
and Bible Study, ask your smart speaker to play “Message Daily,” and find us on Anchor, and Spotify.
Social Media Icons
message daily podcast cover
Message Podcast Network logo

 Tune in to the
Message Podcast Network

 Tune in to the
Message Podcast Network

 What’s The Message?

 What’s The Message?

Where we find hope in the headlines. Message Magazine Facebook Live every Thursday at 11 a.m. (Eastern).
 Your Liberation Library,
your reading list for issues of faith, freedom, and heritage. YouTube messagemagazine.
Liberation Library title image

 Follow us on Twitter (message1898), and Instagram (message1898), and sign up for our weekly newsletter at so you can catch the inspiration.

Did you catch this?
“Liberation Library”, Episode 11
Host Carl McRoy And Andy Lampkin

Guest, Dr. Andy Lampkin, professor of Bioethics, discusses Walter Brueggermann’s the “Sabbath As Resistance”

“When we don’t take this larger view of the Sabbath, linking Sabbath with creation, linking Sabbath with God, linking Sabbath with rest, linking Sabbath with idolatry, and we don’t [observe] Sabbath, we make commodities of ourselves.

I think we will get to the point that you just reflected on where other things begin to matter more than humans. Again—the reverse pyramid—where humans ought to matter the most, (in God’s eyes humans matter the most) [but] in many societies, it appears that things matter more than human beings.

In fact, when you think about systems of slavery, and systems of oppression, what’s actually going on is that human beings are made to be things, or at least treated like things. You can’t make human beings things, but you can treat them like things, and that’s something particularly problematic.

[The Book of] Revelation, you’re absolutely right, is calling us out of all of that, and reminding us of God’s original plan, and what that’s going to look like in the end.“

Bless and Be Blessed
Map of all Churches in the U.S.
Find resources near you by going to this link
Atlanta, GA
Berean Outreach Ministry Center
291 Hamilton E. Holmes Drive
Atlanta, GA 30318
 [email protected]
West End Seventh-day Adventist Church
845 Lawton Street, SW
Atlanta GA 30310
Shiloh Seventh-Day Adventist Church
Independence Blvd Community Center
7000 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
Denver, CO
Denver Park Hill SDA Church
3385 Albion St
Denver, CO 80207-1813
Perrine SDA Church
9850 E, 9850 W Datura St,
Palmetto Bay, FL 33157
Montgomery, AL
Maranatha SDA Church
18900 NW 32nd Ave,
Miami Gardens FL 33056
 [email protected]
Message Magazine Logo
Thanks for reading our January/February 2023 issue!