Standing With Israel
By David Brog, FrontLine,
Hardcover, 288 pages, $19.99.
If you've ever wondered what's going on in Israel and how it relates to Christians and the Bible, Jewish author David Brog's Standing With Israel: Why Christians Support the Jewish State will help provide you with an answer. He delves into the Christian Zionists, those devoted to Israel and Jewish people, as well as the roots of some Christian contributions to anti-Semitism. Brog, who is not a Messianic Jew, documents anti-Semitic violence stemming from "replacement theology," the belief that the Christian church has replaced the Jews as God's chosen people. He also discusses the alliance of Jewish and Christian supporters of Israel. Brog includes political analysis of the Christian Right's advocacy of Israel and explains reasons for some Jewish people's unease with the outpouring of Christian support.
Tracee N. Mason
By Donna Rosenthal, Free Press,
Softcover, 480 pages, $15.
Who are the Israelis today? Eons removed from the people Moses called the "children" of Israel, they have grown into a deeply diversified nation marked by common and conflicting ideals, says Donna Rosenthal, a writer and former reporter for The Jerusalem Post. They remain, first of all, Jews, but they are also Arabs, Palestinians, Russians, Ethiopians, Muslims, Druze and Christians. They order Big Macs in the language of the Ten Commandments and buy J-Lo CDs and gas masks in the same malls. They are the inventors of some of the world's best computer chips, and their young people are the world's most fervent MTV fans. Some embrace more than one sexual orientation; others maintain strict religious views of modesty. They are mostly secular yet their synagogues are 98 percent Orthodox or ultra-Orthodox. The Israelis is a rewarding guided tour into Israel—a way to see it and feel it through its greatest treasure, its people.
God's Promise and the Future of Israel
By Don Finto, Regal,
Softcover, 208 pages, $12.99.
In God's Promises and the Future of Israel, former pastor Don Finto educates readers on how God's biblical promises and prophecies merge with current events in Israel. Finto, who established the Caleb Company to support Jewish believers and help the church become aware of its Jewish roots, answers common questions about Israel and the Jewish people. He uses the historical significance of the retaking of Jerusalem during the Six-Day War of 1967 and the re-establishing of Israel in 1948 to compellingly show the nation's importance to God and believers worldwide. Finto calls for churches to become sensitive to Jewish believers, to become aware of Jewish customs and the biblical calendar, to cultivate God's desire to bless the descendents of Abraham, and to make Jewish people a priority in outreach ministry.
Tracee N. Mason
Where Jesus Walked
Photographs by Ken Duncan, Integrity
Publishers, hardcover, 166 pages, $24.99.
Veteran landscape photographer Ken Duncan has published more than 30 books of his work, but this collection of scenes in Israel is by far the most striking. Lacing it with Scripture passages and quotes from famous Christians, Duncan uses the book as a doorway to a colorful and sometimes mysterious world. He takes the reader to the hillsides of Galilee, the pinnacle of the temple in Jerusalem, Jacob's Well in Samaria, the site of Jesus' baptism in the Jordan River, the Pool of Siloam and many other biblical locations. Perfect as an Easter gift, this book will enrich anyone's study of the Bible. But the images also connect the reader to the stark, rugged beauty of the Holy Land and its people. You don't just read this book. You linger over it with a cup of coffee and allow the images to transport you to another time and place. If you have been to the Holy Land, this book will serve as a nostalgic reminder of your pilgrimage. If you have not traveled there, Duncan's photography will beckon you to go.
The Adventure of Worship
By Gerrit Gustafson, Chosen Books,
softcover, 272 pages, $13.99.
Though this book is comprehensive enough to be dubbed a worship manual, no manual has ever had such style and drama. Reading Gerrit Gustafson's new The Adventure of Worship: Discovering Your Highest Calling is an adventure in itself. After an introduction about the concept of worship, Gustafson launches into a history of it that begins with Creation and culminates with Christ's return. He sets the stage in the form of a theatrical production, conveying through drama what teaching alone could not. The latter section describes 12 convictions of a worshiper, covering motives, styles, cautions and encouragements. For more than 20 years, Gustafson has been involved in music ministry, song writing, training seminars and various tools developed to enhance worship. This book has much to offer pastors, worship leaders and any person devoted to Christ.
Deborah L. Delk
A Greater Song
By Paul Baloche, Integrity Music.
A Greater Song
For his latest album, A Greater Song, Paul Baloche, whose "Open the Eyes of My Heart" has become a worship classic, teamed with several well-known songwriters and singers, including Matt Redman, Sara Groves, Kathryn Scott and others. Baloche joins Groves on "You Have Been So Good." He teams with Redman on "A Greater Song" and "Rising." "What Can I Do" with Graham Kendrick is a gentle ballad of thanks and praise. The album lyrics are simple and straightforward, offering pure, sincere worship to God for who He is, His goodness and His kindness. This simplicity only enhances the collection, making it ideal for personal or corporate worship.
Anna Flynn Stewart
Song to the King
By Pocket Full of Rocks, Myrrh Records.
Recently relaunched Myrrh Records has its focus on praise and worship, and its first signing, Pocket Full of Rocks, delivers just that with its debut, Song to the King. The disc features acoustic pop-rock tunes with a tight sound, earnest vocals and heart-rending lyrics. The six-member, Texas-based group accomplishes the somewhat daunting task of creating infectious melodies that succeed on the disc and should still translate well to corporate worship settings. Like breakout worship group Casting Crowns, Pocket Full of Rocks shines brightly on rock-influenced praise tracks such as "This Is the Life" and the soaring proclamation of the title track. Song to the King is an impressive first step for the capable modern worship band.
Songs for Communion
By Hillsong, Integrity Music.
Hillsong Music series releases a collection of songs centrally focused on the death and resurrection of Christ. Songs for Communion, performed by Darlene Zschech and members of the Hillsong worship team, slows down the series' normal energy for a calmer approach. Songs include a slow, orchestral version of the hymn "Nothing But the Blood of Jesus," the piano ballad "Oh, the Blood," the worship anthem "With Christ" and a slightly peppier version of Hillsong's popular worship song "Worthy Is the Lamb." Although the release works perfectly as background music for communion services, it will also fit nicely in devotions and prayer times.
The King of All of Me
By various artists, Maranatha! Music
Vineyard Records U.K.
To capture and highlight the newest worship songs, Maranatha! Music and Vineyard Records U.K. produced six tracts each of songs from evangelical and charismatic churches for an entire disc of fresh worship songs from both sides of the Atlantic. The result is The King of All of Me, a surprisingly cohesive effort that places the spotlight on new songs for corporate worship. Kevin MacDougall's title track is a simple and solemn acoustic-pop number, while Suzanne Manning's "All Hail Jesus" features earthy rock that builds into a passionate punch. MacDougall, along with Lyndsey Wallace and Scott Reed, deliver the mellow pop-rock of "Thirst," and Kate Miner performs the acoustic-pop of "My Offering."
New on DVD
Love's Long Journey
Love's Long Journey
The third novel in Janette Oke's Love Comes Softly series comes to life on DVD. The story continues as now married Missie and Willie LaHaye venture to the West on their own. The two face many challenges, good times and bad, fears and loneliness as they build a new life together.
A Piece of My Mind
INO Records $14.98
Funny lady Chonda Pierce is back after experiencing depression resulting from total exhaustion and menopause. Pierce addresses her struggle on her new comedy DVD, A Piece of My Mind. As usual the "Queen of Clean" includes music with her humor routine, and this time she is backed by a 60-voice choir.
The Chronicles of Narnia
The blockbuster The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is now available on DVD. Follow four siblings as they encounter good and evil in the fantasy world of Narnia. The single disc DVD includes bloopers, fun facts and commentaries. The two-disc set offers additional material such as behind-the-scenes diaries, a 3-D map, profiles and more.