The preview showing of the locally produced "Law of Life" project last week at the AMC Mall of Louisiana theaters in Baton Rouge had all the star quality of an Academy Awards ceremony.
The women wore elaborate dresses. The men were dressed in fine suits, including one tuxedo-clad man who interviewed special guests on the red carpet as photos were snapped and video rolled.
The crowd wasn't there to see a movie but a five-minute rap music video.
But "Law of Life" is not just another rap video. It is the work of artist Mardia Scott, and it's meant to shine the light on the gospel of Jesus Christ.
"I've never seen somebody release a music video at a theater," said Scott, apostle and founder of Law of Life Ministries International. "We're going to bring it to theaters across the world."
The video's title is in reference to Romans 8:2, which includes "Through Christ Jesus, the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death."
The video is a testament to the power of God, said the 42-year-old Scott, also an entrepreneur, who was raised in North Baton Rouge.
"Words can't express what God has done here today," Scott said. "He's been present in my life, so now I'm seeing the manifestation of God's hands. This work is not about me. It's not about my wife. It's not about my family. It's not about our gifts and talents. It's about (God) getting the glory. So, today is a special day. God was able to use big-screen technology to share the gospel of Jesus, and that brings joy to my heart."
Scott's wife, Keshla, was co-director of the project.
"I'm excited to see what (God) has put in him to actually come to fruition, to be able to see it on the big screen," she said. "At the end of the day, all we want is for people to know that the answer is Christ."
Mardia Scott said the project focuses on Christ and the kind of music he wants young people to listen to.
"Christ teaches us to say yes to him," he said. "Instead of fighting them about rap music — whether they should or should not listen to it — I realize that they do. I'm simply coming in and invading the vehicle of rap music and invading it with the gospel and hope that they will say yes to Jesus. Rather than using all energy trying to say no to other things, just say yes to Jesus. … It's not my job to be the Holy Ghost. I just need to put it out there. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word. So when they hear it, I think God will deal with their hearts and they will accept it."
The devil is trying to use music and other methods to take over young people, Keshla Scott said.
"We want to be able to reach the youth and be able to change what the devil has taken. He thinks that he has the millennials. He thinks that he has the youth, but we're coming to take them back," she said. "We know that rap music is what they listen to — the video games and the rap music. We're going to release the videos, we're going to do the rap music to get their attention, and then try to get this rap music in the videos, so when they're playing the videos, they still have Christ in their ears."
The "Law of Life" music video is preceded by a 13-minute documentary where Mardia Scott gives a glimpse of his life growing up.
"I came from a neighborhood that suggested that brothers my age, from my culture, my creed and my race could not make it. I'm a living testimony that Jesus is real," he said. "I sold drugs. I ran the streets. I was addicted to gambling for years of my life. I lost my first family because of that, and God turned my life around."
That turnaround came after he spent most of 14 days in a closet reading the word of God.
"I lost my family, I lost my mother, and I said to God, 'God, if you're real, I need you right now,'" he said. "I was reading because I needed light. Right there, at that stage, God showed himself in my life. … I accepted him into my life."
In 2002, Mardia Scott answered his call to the ministry, preaching his first sermon on Feb. 3, 2003.
Keshla Scott, 45, said the couple share their testimony to help young people know how God changes lives. She said she was raised in a single-parent home after her alcoholic father's drinking tore the family apart.
"Yeah, we have a back story, but we're strong enough and we're grounded in Christ. We want the kids to know that we have a history, too," she said. "But this is what God can do for you."
Guests at the "Law of Life" preview included singer Francene Smith and several well-known local pastors, including Lloyd Benson, Willie Brooks, Bertha Brown and Frank Manguno.
More showings of the "Law of Life" video is planned for 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. April 14, April 21 and April 28 at the AMC Mall of Louisiana theaters. Sponsors are beings sought to help more underprivileged youth experience the video, Mardia Scott said. Tickets are $10. For sponsor a youth or for more information, go to mardiascott.com.
Student training day
The Lord gave Derrick Gibson a vision two years ago for a workshop to help students in every stage of their educational pursuits and challenges.
Gibson is bringing that vision to reality with the free LOSFA (Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance) College Day Training set for 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 13, at Mount Bethel Missionary Baptist Church, 13540 Scenic Highway, in Alsen.
"This meeting is to educate the community with our youth and the parents to understand how to prepare them for their college future," said Gibson, the youth and young adult minister at Mount Bethel, under his mother, the Rev. Lorraine Gibson, who is interim pastor. "There are many programs out there for the children, but if they don't know how to handle the programs or know what programs are available for them, then the system itself is not being used to its full capacity."
The event will help students with financial aid assistance for college and educate them and their parents in other areas such as LEAP testing, dyslexia and social behavior, Gibson said.
Among the special presentations will be Allysia Cleveland, training on LEAP preparation; "Understanding Dyslexia"' by Nedra Woods-Singleton, a speech and language pathologist; and "FAFSA 101" by LOSFA representatives.
"Many of us don't know how to attack the educational system for our children, and we're afraid," Gibson said. "So, we're trying to take that stigma out of it and learn how to adapt and appreciate what the children has to offer and give them the strength and encouragement to keep going instead of taking them and giving them discouragement."
For more information, call Gibson at (773)-8722 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another day. Another blessing.
My pastor always says, "Much faith, much power. Little faith, little power. No faith, no power."
Romans 12:3 says, "For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith." The first good news is God gives us grace and it is through grace by faith that we are saved.
I believe God gives each of us a varying degree of faith and sometimes our faith tank runs lower than other times. There are times and circumstances in life that test our faith. We may not get to the point of questioning God's existence but we may question his purpose, his will, his thoughts, his timing. Our faith meter can be stronger or trend up through the power of God's word.
The Apostle Paul says earlier in Romans 10:17, "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." Our faith will be face trials, but the more we pray, hear and get into God's word, the stronger our faith will be to get up through the storms of life. Keep the faith.