Friday, June 29, 2007

From Blues to Evangelism: Dr. Mable John - Her story

One Last Call-and-Response Song With Ray Charles
Led to Lead Backup Singer Heeding God’s Call

By Shekini Jennings, MMS News

Beating the tambourine was nothing new to Dr. Mable John. She had done it for years growing up in the Pentecostal church. But something extraordinarily supernatural happened the last day she did it as the lead backup singer for Ray Charles in 1976.

Following Charles’ famous closing call-and-response song, “What I Say” he ended with the line she’d become accustomed to answering for nearly 10 years: “Baby, let’s go home.” She and the other Raelettes would always answer him with a rousing and melodious repeat, “Baby, let’s go home.”

But this night while exiting the stage she heard an audible voice that was louder than the instruments, singing, and cheering crowd. God boomed: “Let’s go home. I have work for you to do.”

“I told the group and they thought I’d lost my mind,” said the 77-year-old Louisiana-native who now lives in California. “They said, ‘We’re all going home, Mable.”

The three months following this pre-Christmas calling from God in the late 1970’s would prove to be among the most difficult of her life. She had been a devoted Christian since childhood, and had sung Gospel and secular music professionally for more than two decades with the support of her equally devoted family.

She’d sung with some of Gospel music’s most famous people, made her mark as Motown’s first female recording artist, and had written more than 52 songs with Ray Charles. But now she had to make a choice to stop everything in order to understand clearly what God wanted her to do with the next phase of her life. Unbeknownst to her at the time it would include pastoring and novel writing. (She is the author of Sanctified Blues and Stay Out of the Kitchen published under Random House)

So, in March she had a tearful meeting with Ray Charles to tell him she could no longer be his lead backup singer and director of the Raelettes. It was difficult to leave the group of women for whom she’d served as a protective second mother. But it was even tougher for her to feel like she was abandoning a man who’d already endured a life of tragedy.

“I didn’t know how (Ray) was going to take it,” John said. “Everyone else he was close to … either died or just left. I didn’t want him to take it as abandonment. But, he took it just as I prayed he would. He supported my ministry until he died.”

While she was relieved to have Charles’ support, the sibling of famous Blues Singer Little Willie John wasn’t sure how she’d be received by others. She wasn’t even sure that she wanted to totally yield to God’s plans.

“I didn’t want to (be a preacher),” said John who owns Fourth House Music and Otis Music Publishing Group and administers 20 other music publishing companies. “I didn’t like preachers because I’d seen too much dirt from preachers who say one thing and do another. And, I was worried that people wouldn’t accept me because I sang the blues. The older people said Blues was the Devil’s music and if you sang it you were going to Hell. But God told me to tell people about Him, not about me.”

So, that’s exactly what she’s been doing since the late 1980s as an ordained minister for Joy in Jesus Church in California with a doctorate in counseling, and through her leadership of Joy Community Outreach to End Homelessness.

She’s also spreading God’s word through another source she never expected: novels. She is co-author of Sanctified Blues and her newest co-publication, Stay Out of the Kitchen, which is loosely based on her life told through the character Albertina Merci.

“I never intended to write a novel,” John said. “I only wanted to do one book to tell my family story. But David Ritz said the way I explained the Bible and handled people he had a vision that I was the spiritual Angela Lansbury of Murder, She Wrote because I solve the mysteries of the heart. So, he wrote the first book and heard from the publisher within six hours when we originally thought it would take six months.”

Three months prior John had baptized Ritz, a Jewish man, in the presence of 70 other Jewish visitors and pop star, singer Janet Jackson.

So, looking back, she doesn’t regret the tough decision she made more than 30 years ago to obey God’s audible voice on stage with Ray Charles. She has also kept the promise she made to her mother during her years singing secular music.

“My mother knew the singing gift (whether Gospel or secular) came from the Lord,” John said. “She just said she prayed I didn’t go into the world or go crazy and to just hold on to the teaching and training she had given me. She knew I knew the Lord. She just didn’t want me to stray from Him. I never did drugs, smoked cigarettes, or drank alcohol even though I was in the midst of everything that was going on. God kept me that way.”

For more info on Dr. Mable John go to

For more info about the book (Stay Out of the Kitchen) or to get the press kit online: go to (press kits)

Sunday, June 24, 2007


Life is too short to be too little. Dream big in 2007. Expect more in 2007. The one thing that separates those who make things happen and those who don’t – is action.

Step out of the boat. Leap – and the net will appear! Believe and trust God. God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we ask or think.

Dreams can come true. Nothing is impossible with God. You’ve seen it happen for others. You’ve read their stories. Saw their movies. Heard about those who have gone from “rags to riches.” Think about Fantasia (American Idol winner), Chris Gardener (author of Pursuit of HappYness), and Ken Brown (author of From Welfare to Faring Well). All these folks worked hard and believed God.

What else did they have in common that made their dreams come true? Consistent persistence! Great things happen for people who let their dreams be the springboard for great actions.

It’s a spiritual principle: Faith without works is dead. It’s not enough to have a dream – you have to have a plan and work your plan!

This year dare to chart your course. Reignite your vision and be consistent in your persistence in your pursuit. In 2007, incorporate these 7 steps to get your dreams fulfilled:

1. Commit. Make a decision to follow your dreams that the Lord put in your heart no matter what others say. Know with absolute certainty that you will see the vision come to pass because you’re determined and God showed you. Psalm 37:5

2. Be Prudent. Don’t make decisions before knowing all the facts. Work smart and you won’t have to work hard. Prov. 27:12
Be Prepared. Don’t wait until there is an emergency or a deadline before you get moving on project. Successful people plan ahead. Haste makes waste. Prov. 21:31

3. Be focused. Get clear on what you want and don’t get distracted. If something doesn’t put you closer to your goal, drop it. Clarity is power. Prov. 29:18

4. Be diligent. Finish what you start. Remember the end of thing is better than the beginning. If it worth starting –finish it! Prov. 13:4

5. Be Teachable. Don’t refuse good advice and accept instruction. Get all the help you can. All successful people had mentors and role models. Prov. 13:18

6. Be persistent. Be relentless. Tackle every task that God puts before you and expect a blessing. Quitters never win and winners never quit. Press toward the mark. Prov. 24:10

The number one reason most people don’t achieve their dreams is that they don’t have clarity. There is power in focus and visualizing what you want, confessing what you want and doing what you know to do!

As Teresa Hairston of Gospel Today magazine says, “Make your vision vivid.” Write your vision, make it plain and keep the momentum no matter how hard it gets – with God, all things
are possible.

Pam Perry,

Friday, June 15, 2007

Official "Born Grown" Site

In Born Grown, ordained minister Mary Edwards tells her personal story of struggle and victory with honesty, compassion, and courage. She speaks of how she missed her childhood due to abuse and teen pregnancy. She chronicles a failed first marriage that paved the way for her successful 21 year marriage to Rev. Eddie Edwards, Founder of Joy of Jesus Ministries and the powerful ministry partnership that helped revitalize communities and bring spiritual deliverance. She goes on to sensitively describe his passing and the inspiration that led her to continue and expand her ministry to families, women, writers, and now specifically to widows.

Most importantly, Mary explains, using the example of her own family, the devastating effect of generational curses-and encourages all who labor under them with hope that they can stop the damaging cycle and begin a tradition of generational blessing.

Availailable at God's World - Detroit, MI
Dickson's Bible & Bookstore - Highland Park, MI
Globe Bible Bookstore - Detroit, MI

This dynamic life story is over 200 exciting pages! You may also purchase online at

For more information, call (313) 341-4487
Click for more information & purchase details
Now Playing..."You Are An Heir" by The Tri-City SingersCompliments of: ATLGospel
Meet Minister Mary at one of the following events...
Saturday, June 16, 2007
11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and
6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Booksigning at The Upper Room
23821 Grand River
Detroit, Michigan
(313) 531-5100

Monday, June 18, 2007
6:00 PM

Booksigning at Greater Grace Temple
Conference Room E/F
23500 West Seven Mile Road
Detroit, Michigan

About the Author
Minister Mary Edwards is probably best known for her community revitalization work alongside of her late husband Rev. Eddie K. Edwards. Together they founded the Joy of Jesus Ministries, which is located on the eastside of Detroit near City Airport. This work earned them the 107th Point of Light Award from former President George W. Bush, Sr.
Minister Edwards was the founding director of Camden House, the family life center of the ministry. As a result of this successful outreach, she was chosen to serve as a consultant to the advisory team in our nation's capital commissioned to study the "Root Cause of Substance Abuse." In 1996, Minister Edwards retired from Joy of Jesus and began new initiatives. These include:
· His Lovely Wife Ministries, a support group for women in spiritual leadership.
· The Called and Ready Writers, a Christian writers guild presently consisting of over 55 active writers.
· Widows With Wisdom, her latest ministry, established to help widows make the adjustment to living alone following the loss of their spouses. WWW is an outreach of His Lovely Wife Ministries.
She is the radio show host of "Widows With Wisdom" heard every Saturday morning at 9:00 a.m. over Radio Station WLQV (1500 AM). In addition to these ministries, Minister Edwards is the author of seven books, including her autobiography, Born Grown. A significant testimony from her autobiography appears in the very first "Chicken Soup for the African American Soul book released on September 16, 2004. She is an international author and speaker.
Minister Edwards is the mother of two sons, four grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. You will often hear her quote the scripture from Prov. 13:22, "A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children's children; and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just." Minister Edwards believes in leaving a legacy behind.

Minister Mary EdwardsP O Box 211018Detroit, MI 48221Email: