By Beth Moore, LifeWay Press,
softcover, 240 pages, $14.95.
For all those gals out there who love Beth Moore's Bible studies, you're in for a treat with The Patriarchs: Encountering the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob study. The video production grows steadily better with the release of each study. This is also true for the cover and layout of the new workbook. A Leader Kit is available for $199.95.
Moore herself is even funnier, well researched and more transparent about her own joys and struggles than ever. She unabashedly admits to loving women's ministry and shares tidbits from letters of those who have been touched by the ministry and feel as if they know her. She reassures them that the feeling is mutual.
As always, Moore never sugarcoats lives of the people in Scripture and demonstrates how students can learn from their victories as well as their mistakes. She can demonstrate the meanings of the ancient Hebrew words and then turn around and bring the truth to bear upon the contemporary lives of women today. Her passion for God is absolutely contagious as she not only teaches but also imparts the fire of the Spirit to those who hunger for God's Word.
Deborah L. Delk
Forgiving the Unforgivable
David Stoop, Regal Books, softcover, 160 pages, $10.99.
"I think it's about forgiveness, forgiveness" whispers a lyric in a popular song chorus—quite astute for a top 40 artist. Clinical psychologist David Stoop agrees, and in his book Forgiving the Unforgivable, he takes the workings of forgiveness and details with precision the benefits for all involved.
By providing a path to the end results of forgiveness (healing from hurts, freedom from captive thoughts and other crippling effects), Stoop provides a good reason to take the first step: the belief that God will bring relief and restoration. The root of bitterness assigns blame for unfortunate circumstances that inevitably come.
Forgiving the Unforgivable shows us how to get to that root and prevent others from gaining ground. As Christians, it is an absolute duty to forgive others and ourselves.
J. James Estrada
The Four Seasons of Marriage
By Gary Chapman, Tyndale House Publishers,
Hardcover, 206 pages, $22.99.
Known for his best-selling book The Five Love Languages, Gary Chapman continues to help couples at various stages of marital relationships in The Four Seasons of Marriage: Which Season of Marriage Are You In? Building on the four decades of his own marriage and more than 30 years as a counselor, Chapman communicates principles to better any husband-wife relationship.
Seeing marriages as "perpetually in a state of transition," Chapman describes the recurring stages of marriage metaphorically in terms of nature's seasons, each of which has its own potential for health and happiness as well as challenges. Illustrating the seasons with examples from couples he has encountered, Chapman gives seven strategies to enhance each season, including dealing with past failures and discovering the joy of helping your spouse succeed, and sensitively answers tough questions in the book's final section.
Although this book does not contain particularly original concepts, Chapman offers hope even when only one spouse is working on the marriage.
Christine D. Johnson
From Darkness to Light
By Jeff Harshbarger with Liz Harshbarger,
Bridge-Logos, softcover, 162 pages, $10.99.
In From Darkness to Light: How to Rescue Someone You Love from the Occult, former Satanist Jeff Harshbarger tells how he gave his life to Christ after two suicide attempts.
Harshbarger's journey into darkness began when he was a child. The son of an alcoholic and distant father, he often felt a "presence" watching him, received messages from a Ouija board and had out-of-body experiences. Soon he began seeking supernatural experiences—reading books about telepathy, listening to pop psychics and hard-rock music in which band members sang about dark themes.
After meeting a local Satanist and starting a coven, Harshbarger's life plummeted into deeper depths of despair. When he heard the Lord speak to him after the second suicide attempt, he became a Christian.
Harshbarger, who with his wife now operates Refuge Ministries—which offers biblical counseling and other support services—presents a quick study of the occult, which he says is "the quest for knowledge, or the claim to possess hidden knowledge."
He gives detailed information on sorcery, fortune-telling, necromancy (contact with the unknown to gain desired knowledge) and dealing with those involved in the occult.
The author's candor and faith provide a safe backdrop to explore how to rescue those trapped in the darkness of the occult.
Tracee N. Mason
Changing My Mind
By Chris Maxwell, LifeSprings,
Softcover, 160 pages, $12.99.
When an illness damaged Chris Maxwell's brain eight years ago, he plunged into a world of forgetting the simplest information. He couldn't remember what ice cream tasted like or how to use a fork. Names, people and events often eluded him. In Changing my Mind: A Journey of Disability and Joy, Maxwell challenges people to confront the pain that comes from change, coming to terms with life and becoming what you never expected to be.
Using his own story of illness and recovery and the continual memory loss he deals with, Maxwell focuses on the problem believers have of wanting to know instead of just wanting to be—to control our situation instead of just living.
Maxwell, the senior pastor of Evangel Assembly in Orlando, Florida, demonstrates the need to live the message of the cross: in losing you gain. His is a heart-wrenching story that will help anyone who has faced unexpected tragedies gain the courage to go forward in the face of obstacles.
Tracee N. Mason
Now More Than Ever ... Worship
By Joann Rosario, Verity Records.
A few years ago, Latin gospel artist Joann Rosario wowed the gospel industry with her debut project, More, More, More, and its hit title tune. Noticeably absent after her initial success because of the temporary loss of her voice, she is now back.
Crediting God with her complete healing, she delivers her sophomore project, Now More Than Ever … Worship. Rosario opens with a live rendition of "Welcome Into This Place" followed by the Latin urban cut "Never the Same." "My Desire" finds her ministering purely from the heart. Giving God thanks throughout the project, Rosario includes the pop-oriented "Thanks be Unto God," the jazzy "Life so Wonderful" and the thoughtful "Sing of Your Goodness."
Other memorable cuts are the inspiring "I Hear You Say," the horn-tinged, funky "Psalm 27 (He Reigns)" and the infectious "Open My Eyes Lord." Another gorgeous ballad is the Babbie Mason-penned "With All My Heart." "God," arguably the best and one of the most genuine in this collection of songs, was written by Donald Lawrence and is backed with a wailing gospel choir.
What I Was Made For
By Big Daddy Weave, Fervent Records.
What I Was Made For is a pop-rock collection that encourages listeners to draw closer to God. In this follow-up to its successful sophomore effort, Fields of Grace, Big Daddy Weave proves again that the band's strength rests in its collective talent—musically, lyrically and vocally.
The 11-song collection mixes acoustic-based ballads with electric guitar-driven tunes. Highlights include a duet with BarlowGirl on "You're Worthy of My Praise," the danceable "Just the Way I Am" and the praise number, "It's All About You."
Listeners who enjoy music from strong songwriters/artists such as Steven Curtis Chapman, Dave Matthews Band or Casting Crowns will appreciate What I Was Made For.
DreamWorks Pictures, PG, opens Oct. 21.
Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story stars Dakota Fanning, Kurt Russell, Kris Kristofferson, Elisabeth Shue and a prize-winning racehorse named Soñador. But it's Dakota who, with her Shirley Temple charm, steals the show. Dreamer yarns a tale about accomplished horseman Ben Crane (Russell) who struggles as a husband, father and son.
Crane makes an extraordinary decision, refusing to put down the injured horse—not a smart move in the rarefied world of Triple-Crown madness. He loses his job, but gets to keep the filly.
Hope, a daring rescue, a restored father-son relationship and a young girl chasing an improbable dream fill carefully crafted scene after deftly directed scene. Destined to become a family favorite, the movie will cause parents to laud the values of respect, sacrifice, honesty, responsibility, restoration and more woven into the story.
Not since Chariots of Fire has a film so ably juxtaposed a major sporting event and a heart-warming story of the simplest but richest of dreams come true. Enough written: Dreamer is highly recommended.
The Greatest Game
Disney Pictures, PG, opens Sept. 30.
As a boy, Francis Ouimet, son of immigrant parents, is intrigued by the gentlemen's game of golf. A chance encounter with golf great Harry Vardon ignites his passion. Ouimet comes as close to the game as possible, serving as a caddy at the country club. When he gets one chance to play as an amateur he falls short.
Keeping a promise, Ouimet gives up the game but never loses his desire to play—nor his talent. Several years later he gets a chance to compete in the 1913 U.S. Open, which becomes a showdown between a working-class amateur and the greatest players in golf.
The Greatest Game Ever Played is about perseverance, sacrifice and fulfillment. Families will enjoy the beautiful scenes that bring to life the true story of a young man discovering he has the courage to pursue his passion.