Change Your World
By Darlene Zschech, INO Records.
Even with her solo projects, first Kiss of Heaven and now Change Your World, Darlene Zschech is able to create contemporary songs that ring with a feeling of worship. Listeners' faith likely will be revved up with “Miracle.” Zschech's remake of the Michael W. Smith hit “Agnus Dei” will stir hearts to join and declare God's holiness. A trip to Rwanda deeply influenced Zschech, and she was inspired to write the title song, “Change Your World,” issuing a challenge to herself and the body of Christ to remember and to help those who are hurting, broken and suffering. Through her worship albums with Hillsong Church and her solo albums, this artist continues to do what she says she is called to do-worship in spirit and in truth and lead others to do the same.
Anna Flynn Stewart
By Faithful Central, Integrity Gospel.
Zion Rejoice is an energetic, 18-track CD that captures the praise and worship at Faithful Central Bible Church in Inglewood, California, pastored by Bishop Kenneth Ulmer. The strength of this album is in its praise tracks, such as “I'm Standing”; Paul Baloche's “Open the Eyes of My Heart”; “Great Is Thy Faithfulness”; “Holy Holy is the Lord”; and the title track, which features vocals by Erica Campbell of the award-winning sister duo Mary Mary. Balancing the infectious praise experience are exhortations from Ulmer; a call to worship in the form of the song “Welcome”; and the track “In This Place” by acclaimed songwriter Joe Pace, which features lead vocals by artist and pastor Daryl Coley. Zion Rejoice features 10 original songs and is an excellent praise and worship experience that would be a wonderful addition to any CD collection.
By The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir,
With its latest release, I'm Amazed: Live, The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir again establishes its hallmark of excellence in gospel music. Rock-solid vocals and arrangements make it easy to see why BTC has remained ahead of the pack for years in providing church choir repertoire. Recorded in the acoustically perfected Brooklyn Tabernacle church auditorium in New York City, Live showcases the impeccable precision and guidance of director Carol Cymbala. Highlights include the Latin-infused “Gloria,” the power-ballad title cut and the up-tempo “High and Lifted Up.” I'm Amazed: Live is sure to be a standout among the BTC discography of church choir standards.
By Triumphant Quartet,
Daywind Records (New Day).
The Triumphant Quartet, which features former members of Singing Americans, the Nelons, Perfect Heart and other groups, stick close to the traditional side of Southern Gospel with this self-titled debut on Daywind Records. The 10 inspirational tracks feature country-tinged quartet harmonies and melodies on the narrative “Hey Jonah”; the divinely focused “Now He Knows What Heaven's All About”; the bouncy “One Holy Morning”; and the debut single, “Don't Let the Sandals Fool Ya.” Listeners longing for a return to the more traditional sounds of Southern Gospel will definitely want to take a listen to the Triumphant Quartet.
Alive in South Africa
By Israel & New Breed, Integrity Gospel.
The latest release by Israel Houghton with his band New Breed, Alive in South Africa, pulls out all the stops to deliver an incredible double CD recorded live in Capetown, South Africa. The album captures the spirit of a pure, live worship experience without a lot of overdubs and post-production. Highlights of Disc 1 include the praise of “Alive,” “Favor of the Lord” and “Turn It Around” as well as the stirring “Not Forgotten” and “No Limits.” The worship continues with standouts “To Worship You I Live” and “Alpha and Omega” on Disc 2, which includes several encore tracks. Renowned jazz artist and South African native Jonathan Butler contributed the liberating “Come and Let Us Sing.” Israel & New Breed raise the bar of live-worship recordings with this CD, a follow-up to their Dove Award-winning Live From Another Level.
Journey Into the Mind of an Islamic Terrorist
By Mark A. Gabriel, Ph.D.; FrontLine; softcover; 224 pages; $14.99.
A former Muslim and a scholar educated in Islamic history and culture, Mark A. Gabriel summarizes the philosophies of four generations of Muslim extremists. Seeking to answer why they are willing to commit murder and even sacrifice their lives for their cause, the author hones in on key forces that motivate their activity. Gabriel warns those who would confront Muslim extremists that their use of deception is considered a sacred strategy for recruiting members, buying weapons and defeating “infidels.” Gabriel also includes substantive ideas useful for more fully engaging the Islamic world to work toward a more peaceful global environment.
CHRISTINE D. JOHNSON
The Prayer that Heals
By Francis MacNutt, Ave Maria Press, softcover, 128 pages, $9.95
Francis MacNutt, known internationally for his healing ministry, explores the theme that God wishes for all Christians to become instruments of His healing power. In this revised edition of his 1981 original, he encourages “ordinary people to pray for healing [specifically] in their families”-among spouses, children and siblings. He includes anecdotes from his almost 40 years of ministry to dispel notions that healing rarely occurs or is accomplished by only the “very holy.” He reveals his personal growth from being afraid to pray for people to being confident that God wanted to use him to help others get well. He also acknowledges reasons why people are not always healed with prayer. MacNutt and his wife, Judith, direct Christian Healing Ministries, based in Jacksonville, Fla.
In the Meantime
By Rob Brendle, WaterBrook Press,
softcover, 224 pages, $13.99.
Rob Brendle, on staff at Ted Haggard's New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado, encourages believers waiting on God to patiently endure the season between His declaration in their lives and the implementation of what He has promised. The author confesses his own mistakes at this, including his attempt to rush his bride to the altar. Brendle explains how Christians often manhandle what they perceive to be God's plan for their lives or super-spiritualize their plans to get faster results. Not all readers will be able to relate to hearing from God with the clarity Brendle has had in making major decisions, but the principles of In the Meantime apply to believers young and old who could use a bit of reassurance and guidance while waiting for God's plan to unfold.
By Matthew Paul Turner, Revell, softcover, 192 pages, $12.99.
Provocative Faith by Matthew Paul Turner is a boldly honest book that will appeal to Turner's postmodernist, 20-something peers. Anecdotes of his and others' lives are abundant and raw. He admits to his struggle with pornography, his frustrations with God not answering his prayers and the embarrassment of getting fired from his high-profile job as editor of CCM magazine. Turner also interviews others who have had their faith tested and unashamedly lambastes Christians who preach a prosperity gospel or tell unbelievers their problems will be solved when they come to Christ. He points readers to a real faith and discusses in depth the fruits of faith, such as joy, humility and love.
By Tim Downs, WestBow, hardcover, 368 pages, $19.99.
The July 4 fireworks show in New York City ends with an exploding rain of plague-carrying fleas for spreading disease rampantly throughout the city. In this fast-paced international thriller, FBI agent Nathan Baldwin, terrorism-expert Macy Armitstead and Chinese Christian Li Ming team up to find the terrorists responsible.
By Karen Kingsbury, Zondervan, softcover, 352 pages, $14.99.
Shane and Lauren fell in love as kids and plan to marry after high school. But when Lauren gets pregnant, the two go their separate ways. They leave their baby girl with Lauren's parents. Now years later all three are searching for answers. Can they find the truth, forgiveness and love they desperately need?
The Justice Riders
By Chuck Norris, Ken Abraham, Aaron Norris and
Tim Grayem, Broadman & Holman, hardcover, 304 pages, $24.99.
In this western-style novel set during the Civil War, Gen. William T. Sherman commissions Ezra Justice to form a secret band of men to help end the war between the North and South. Facing shootouts with Confederates and other challenges, these men become a cohesive group of heroes as they fight to preserve justice.