Inspiration from America’s Most Revered Spiritual Leaders
by Parrish Smith
Life-Changing Inspiration. Unwavering Support. Scrolls have always been considered sacred, filled with prophecy and direction.
Now, America’s most beloved spiritual leaders share their own contemporary wisdom and vision through candid, uplifting, personal stories of struggle, doubt, and ultimately, blessed understanding. Featured in the award-winning documentary series The Scroll, these modern-day prophets reveal more of themselves, their journeys, and their invaluable insights than ever before.
Bishop T.D. Jakes
Bishop Hezekiah Walker
Dr. Calvin Butts
Rev. Bernice King
Rev. Al Sharpton
Rev. Jesse Jackson
Bishop George C. Searight
Dr. Marvin Sapp
Dr. Jamal Bryant
Finding our life’s purpose. Creating lasting relationships. Surviving tragedy. Releasing self-destructive thoughts. These are just some of the trials faced–and joyously overcome–in these heartfelt accounts that are as healing as they are unforgettable. Each tale features illustrative Bible verses, related parables, and transformative spiritual advice. A treasure for all time, The Scroll will hold you up through life’s unexpected challenges–and lead you to life’s greatest rewards.
“If you listen, other people will help you understand your calling in life and acknowledge your destiny. But it is important to listen. God speaks through other people. God uses people to help us identify ourselves.” –Bishop T.D. Jakes
Bishop Noel Jones
Dr. Jeremiah Wright, Jr.
Dr. Bill Winston
Bishop Kenneth Ulmer
Rev. Wess Morgan
Bishop Vashti McKenzie
Rev. Jeffrey Johnson
Dr. R.A. Vernon
Bishop Charles Blake
Pastor John Jenkins
Dr. Alyn Waller
Dr. DeForest Soaries, Jr.
Dr. Frederick Haynes III
Dr. Larry Macon
Dr. Perry Simmons
Rev. Corey Brooks
Rev. Stanley Dumornay
Read an Excerpt from The Scroll
Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.
—MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8–9
Doubt. Uncertainty. Suspicion. These are all feelings that can infiltrate our thoughts, causing us to think the worst about a situation or individual. However, faith is the light that keeps us going through the storm, through the hardship, believing that all will turn out for the best.
We need faith throughout our lives. When a stranger enters our lives, we need faith to trust that person to be who he or she claims to be, to a certain extent anyway. When an illness such as cancer or dementia enters our lives, we need faith to believe we can beat the odds and live long and productive lives.
In this chapter, you will hear different accounts about how faith was imperative to help overcome tragedy, fight injustice, achieve goals, enhance self-awareness, battle addiction, and fight the odds.
Bishop T. D. Jakes
I think the more you learn about life, the more you recognize that you don’t know. Much like the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. l think the beginning of wisdom is recognizing that you don’t know everything.
PREACHING ABOUT THE ableness of God while his house’s lights and water were turned off was a trying season for Bishop Jakes, who was married with two children. His car had also been repossessed, so he was forced to take the bus uptown to the power company, hoping they would restore his power. The representative he spoke with was condescending, almost as if she was trying to hold this great power over him. The lady belittled and berated him, telling Bishop Jakes he was wasting his time on his appeal. Humiliation consumed him until tears streamed down his face. He left the building, and after he had walked several blocks in total frustration, the Lord spoke the sweetest words to Bishop Jakes, saying, “I will not suffer thy foot to be moved.”
God knew that Bishop Jakes was a young father and husband. At that time, he had lost his union job working for a car-manufacturing plant, and he had visions of being homeless and sleeping in a cardboard box. His church had a few people, but his salary was not enough to sustain a family. He recalls that God did not fix his situation right away, but God did not let him fall, either. Thus, Bishop Jakes learned how to live suspended, neither successful nor destroyed. He was suspended on the edge of a cliff, sustained by nothing but a promise, but sometimes a promise was all he needed to hang on. Over time the promise produced, but he learned how to hear God’s voice when he was hurting, and he learned that God is faithful, even when we are fearful.
Mustard Seed Faith
Overcoming obstacles in a time of crisis and staying calm enough to hear God’s words are easier than they sound. However, many of us have faced challenges and seasons of hardships. In an episode of Oprah’s Lifeclass, Oprah Winfrey spoke about facing obstacles and the little bit of faith needed to pull you through.
Oprah’s grandmother raised her in the church. As a young girl, every Sunday like clockwork, she would sit in the second row, taking it all in. Listening to Bible stories, she would hear that through God all things are possible. In particular she remembers hearing the story of Jesus teaching that if you have the faith of a mustard seed, you can move mountains, making anything possible. It wasn’t until years later, as an adult, when actually holding a mustard seed in her hand and seeing its minuscule size, that she truly understood the lesson. Moving forward, Oprah realized that as long as she possessed the faith of a mustard seed, she would be able to live the quality of life she manifested and could overcome obstacles.
Having strong faith should be important in your life. Faith is the one weapon that can get you through just about any situation, no matter how tough it may seem. Faith affects all aspects of our lives, and once it is developed, it will make us better people. Following are four ways to build faith in your life.
BELIEVE. Faith is belief. As a believer in God, you have to acknowledge that God is the source of your faith.
PATIENCE. Change is not always instant, happening overnight. You must have tolerance and patience to weather the storm and stay the course. True faith requires patience.
STUDY. Read the Bible. Attend Bible study, retreats, conferences, and meetings. Study and comprehend the scripture, so you can apply it in your life. Realize that His word is true; it is not a lie.
PRAYER. Speak to God. Develop communication, adopting a personal relationship with God. Reflect on His word, allowing it to transform you.
Lastly, do not be hesitant to seek counsel with friends, relatives, ministers, and those who you feel have a deep faith. Ask them questions about their faith: What makes it grow? Are they ever doubtful? If so, how do they overcome doubt, allowing their faith to take charge of their lives? Many people have walked in your shoes and still face similar bouts with faith and belief. Conversation is healthy.
Sometimes we feel we need pope-like faith to overcome obstacles. However, a tiny bit of faith mixed with work on our end can move mountains.
He said to them, Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,” and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. Matthew 17:20
The Prophetic New
Bishop Kenneth C. Ulmer
God says I want to do something in your life that is new The word “new” means unprecedented. It means “new in kind.” It means “brand-new”; something that’s never been done before. And if God is calling me to do something that has never been done before, how do I recognize it? I think God calls me to have faith beyond a point of reference.
A PROPHECY IS a prediction, a forecast of a situation that has not happened yet; we do not know when it will happen, but it will. Believing in prophecy can be extremely difficult because acquiring that belief is a journey that requires faith to assist with the travel. We can sometimes visualize the prophetic word or phrase, and sometimes we have no clue what the prophetic word means. This is because it is brand-new. It is so new that without God’s revelation we will not see the prophecy.
Bishop Ulmer refers to situations that will happen in our lives for the better; however, at first we will not be able to grasp the prediction because it is new. It is a prediction that we never heard anything about before in our lives. The word “new” is synonymous with “unfamiliar.” Thus, how can we accept and prepare ourselves for a prediction in our lives when it is not familiar to us? That statement sounds almost impossible. Furthermore, Bishop Ulmer speaks about how we naturally cling to ideas or concepts that are familiar to us, for which we have a point of reference. He explains that our natural tendency is to dream, see, and expect only that which is at best a variation of what we’ve already dreamed, already seen, or already expected. God wants to do something in our lives that we’ve never seen before. Therefore, we need the faith of God, the kind of faith only God has. It is not our faith. God gives us that faith to recognize the prophetic new as it surfaces in our lives. It is that prophetic new that we’ve never seen, but God says, “Trust Me to do what I have never done in your life before.”
Be Open to Change
Growth requires change. Without change we are standing still and only aging physically. I am sure many of us have desired to make a change in our lives and have asked God to help impart that change. However, remaining stuck in the same thought, the same path, the same speech, is not accepting the true nature of life. To improve our lives, to mature, to reap the benefits of what God has in store, we need to abandon the wrong way. We are all capable of change, regardless of our age. The saying “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” is not true. If you desire change, you can change. Following are five techniques to help you make the change you seek.
REFLECT. Think about or write down your likes and dislikes. You need to connect with yourself, understanding your positives and negatives.
CONFRONT OBSTACLES. Many times people are reluctant to change because they foresee roadblocks. Figure out the challenge and define what is holding you back. Once the issue is realized, you can make a solid plan to overcome it.
STRATEGIZE. Once you realize where you are and where you want to go, make a plan and develop a strategy for how to execute the plan.
BUILD HABITS. Form positive habits that will allow you to stay on course. For example, if you wake up late in the morning, become an early riser. If you are easily distracted, identify the distractions and eliminate them from your daily activity or from certain days of the week.
KEEP AT IT. Continue to work at the change every day. It will take a while before it becomes a part of you. If you find yourself reverting back to old ways, figure out where you slipped, and return to the basics to get back on track.
Look for the Unfamiliar
Change that we personally seek is easy to accept. But what happens when God has a path for us that is unfamiliar? It is difficult to embrace the kind of change that our minds cannot perceive. Bishop Ulmer spoke about remaining open so that God can implement change that is new and unprecedented in our lives. This kind of change usually catches us off guard, because we expect to head in one direction, only to be redirected in a different direction that we did not know existed.
For example, a few years ago I read a story about a middle-aged woman named Tracy who kept seeking a husband. Tracy would date often, and a few times she came close to marriage, but it never happened. The closest she came was engagement, but soon after, the relationship took a nosedive. Like clockwork, Tracy always asked God for help in finding a good man. Tracy’s process for finding Mr. Right was always the same. She had a list of qualities and physical attributes the man needed for her to be attracted to him and to take him seriously. Tracy’s list was pretty extensive and intensely precise. It was so precise, Tracy was blind to any man that did not match or look similar to anything on her list. After a string of disappointments, Tracy discussed the situation with her girlfriend Robin, and Robin’s advice was to put the list aside for a while and try something new, because Tracy’s way of finding a husband was not working. Tracy asked Robin a common question: “If I do not have my list, how will I recognize the right man for me?” Robin told Tracy to keep her eyes open and trust that she would recognize Mr. Right, even though he probably would not resemble anything on her list—and he shouldn’t, anyway. Ten years later, Tracy was happily married with a family, and the man she married was not similar to her list in many ways. However, Tracy trusted Robin’s advice and kept herself open and accessible to something new. Chances favor the open mind.
To make a change in life, we need to accept new ideas and practice new ways, even if we do not initially recognize the change entering our lives because it is unfamiliar.
I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13
Rev. Dr. Perry Simmons, JR.
Only one out of every three students who enters Mortis Brown as a freshman graduates in fur years. I looked to the person on my left and right and said you might as well go home now, because I am staying and graduating.
GROWING UP, DR. Simmons had a desire to go to college. He was one of eleven children, raised in the South, where his parents never made more than a nickel above minimum wage. Attending college was unthinkable under those circumstances, but Dr. Simmons was driven. During his senior year in high school, he received his first job, making fifty dollars a week working alongside a concrete finisher. After paying five dollars for carfare and five dollars in taxes, he was left with forty dollars. He then deducted ten percent from the forty dollars and donated it to anyone in his area in need. His father did not agree with his giving his money away, because he needed all he could earn for college. However, Dr. Simmons believed that you receive by giving.
Months later, Dr. Simmons arrived at Morris Brown in Atlanta. On registration day he got in line and signed up for all his classes. The last stop was paying tuition. He stood at the window and told the college representative that all he had was fifteen dollars but he wanted to attend the school. The representative gave him a note to see the president. As he entered the president’s office, he saw that hundreds of other students with the same problem stood in the office. Finally he spoke with the president, informing him that he had no money and that he had turned down basketball scholarships from other colleges because he wanted to attend a private Christian college.
The president of Morris Brown signed a sheet of paper allowing Dr. Simmons to finish registration without any money. Dr. Simmons got a job washing dishes in the dining hall and attended classes in between meals. When basketball season arrived, Dr. Simmons tried out for and made the team, but the coach notified Dr. Simmons that his budget for scholarship money was depleted. The coach was, however, able to assist him with buying books. As the first year came to a close, Dr. Simmons received special permission to take final exams because he still owed the college for the entire year’s tuition. The following year, he received a basketball scholarship and ultimately finished school. When he graduated, he had a surplus of money, the opposite of when he’d first enrolled.
( Continues… )
Excerpted from The Scroll by Parrish Smith. Copyright © 2014 Parrish Smith. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
WATCH THE SCROLL VIDEO INTRODUCTION
The Scroll: Inspiration from America’s Most Revered Spiritual Leaders
Inspirational; Self Help; Religious; Christian Life Guidance
About Parrish Smith
Parrish Smith is an award winning filmmaker whose projects have appeared on numerous networks and at film festivals. As a child and the son of a preacher, he always fell asleep in church. Nevertheless, it was the storytelling used by preachers during their sermons that engaged him, making the Word relevant to everyday life. Now, he strives to create projects that make a difference in people’s lives, leaving them inspired.
The Scroll is his first film and book combination that uses the stories of wise and insightful spiritual leaders as a way to assist people as they face life’s struggles.
Parrish Smith graduate of Howard University and raised in Newark, NJ. He is a Director and Cinematographer. He has produced and shot numerous feature films, documentaries, short films, commercials, and music videos that have appeared on numerous networks, film festivals, and DVD.
A few of his broadcast and DVD credits are “Kingdom Comedy” featuring Rickey Smiley, airing on TV ONE, “Four College Kids” and “Destiny” on BET as well as “Unjust Cause” on Showtime and additional credits for UPN and BET networks. In addition, Parrish has completed work for such companies as; Gillette, Kraft, L’Oreal, and Ford just to name a few.
Recently, Parrish just completed production on a faith based feature film entitled “Nocturnal Agony” starring Lawrence Hilton Jacobs, Vernee Watson, and Bishop Hezekiah Walker. Currently, he is in production on The Scroll: The Last Chapter. Parrish continues to strive to be an effective visual communicator and trans-formative artist.