God's Now Time for Your Life
By Chuck D. Pierce and Rebecca Wagner Sytsema,
Regal Books, softcover, 128 pages, $10.99
Because of the misuse of prophecy as a type of fortune-telling or a money-making scheme or a judgmental pronouncement that sends people into emotional tailspins, this spiritual gift has gotten a bad name over the years. Chuck Pierce and Rebecca Sytsema set out to correct that imbalance with a scripturally sound review of the nature and character of prophecy and how to pursue God's destiny for your life.
Particularly refreshing is their reminder that pursuing the prophetic includes exploring links with family, church and community. They also point out that taking steps to ensure mental and physical health is a necessary part of seeking God's call, an indirect rebuke to those who think God heals only through divine means.
The book includes numerous lists of principles and guidelines, making it best suited for small-group study and reflection. Don't miss the stirring prophetic message that concludes the book.
Full Gospel, Fractured Minds?
By Rick M. Nañez, Zondervan, hardcover, 272 pages, $18.99.
In Full Gospel, Fractured Minds? Rick Nañez explains that anti-intellectualism is "a prejudice against the careful and deliberate use of one's intellect. … Like worldliness, anti-intellectualism, more than anything else, is an attitude." The author surveys the Scriptures to show that the terms "heart," "soul," "mind" and "spirit" are used interchangeably. He concludes that "there is no fundamental war between our minds and souls—between our heads and hearts." The author is aware of the texts that his critics will attempt to rebut him with—he addresses them thoroughly and with sensitivity. Nañez is an impassioned full-gospel believer. He is impassioned not only about worship and charismata, but also about the study of the Scriptures and the life of the mind. Rather than just identifying a crisis, Nañez concludes by both showing what the mind should be engaged in (e.g. theology, apologetics, philosophy and science) and practically suggesting how churches might cultivate the mind.
The Warrior Within
By Pat Williams and Jim Denney,
Regal Books, hardcover, 176 pages, $15.99.
We can actually choose the character we will have, according to author Pat Williams. In The Warrior Within, the fine points of how this is accomplished are outlined concisely—for the man of God in particular. Lesson one: A man of God is just that, a man. Beginning with an examination of the overlooked verse 1 Chronicles 7:40, Williams leads fathers and husbands to the promised land of manhood. In the pages of Warrior, men will find their place as "head of the family," "a choice man," "a brave man" and an "outstanding leader." All four areas require assessing the relationships birthed from each role held. For example, character develops "right-vision," and from that comes boldness and, finally, a warrior for God.
J. James Estrada
Ambassador of a Higher Power
By Elias Malki, Charisma House,
Softcover, 207 pages, $13.99.
Elias Malki's grandfather, an Assyrian, became the first missionary to a Turkish coastal village, where he was slaughtered by a Kurdish Muslim intent on jihad. Taking up his grandfather's mantle, Malki, who was born in Beirut, Lebanon, became a missionary to the Middle East, planting a church in the war-torn city of his birth, and hosting and producing the first-ever Christian TV show broadcast in Arabic throughout the region and into Europe and North Africa. In Ambassador of a Higher Power: Bringing Good News to the Middle East, Malki tells his grace-filled story of perseverance in life and ministry through every kind of roadblock—from his near death from childhood pneumonia and his youthful rebellion to financial hardship and opposition to his full-gospel teaching. With clarity and humility, Malki's memoir recounts how he was used by God despite many hardships, and how he called viewers of his Good News Program to claim healing for their illnesses, opening many a door to a fruitful proclamation of the gospel. The book features an eight-page photo insert, including pictures of Malki's meetings with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
Christine D. Johnson
By Craig Borlase, Relevant Books,
Softcover, 208 pages, $13.99.
Employing a physics metaphor, British author Craig Borlase urges believers to allow themselves to be taken in by God's gravity, drawing them away from forces that would isolate them in a self-contained universe where they feel no responsibility for others. In God's Gravity: The Upside-Down Life of Selfless Faith, Borlase hones in on the "all about me" lifestyle, decrying self-centered individualism. Although not belittling the Toronto Blessing, for example, he observes that many Christians were hopping on planes to receive spiritual blessings without following up later and putting their faith into action where it counts. In the final chapters, the author gets practical and encourages readers to evaluate their spending patterns, to buy from Fair Trade companies and to consider who's paying the price for consumption-heavy lifestyles. Grounding his penchant for social justice in the Scriptures, Borlase issues a provocative challenge to believers to bear Christ's name well and be agents of kingdom-change in the world.
Christine D. Johnson
United We Stand
By Hillsong United, Integrity Music.
United We Stand
United We Stand showcases the live music of Australia's Hillsong Church youth ministry. More than 200 of the youth worked on the project as musicians, vocalists, production artists and designers. The modern-rock sound targets youth with fun, fast guitar songs such as "Take It All" and the slower, gentle ballad "Came to the Rescue." Other standout songs on the album include "Fire Fall Down" and "No One Like You." The worship teams collaborate to write songs that spring from teens' prayers and the desire to help new, young believers connect with God. Continuing the legacy of powerful worship, Hillsong emphasizes songs that point to Christ through culturally relevant worship.
Tracee N. Mason
Yesterday, Today and Forever
By Vicky Beeching, Sparrow Records.
Vicky Beeching might be a newcomer to the United States, but she is obviously not a newbie when it comes to music and her faith. Beeching's melodies are compelling and fresh, but it's her biblically based lyrics that will make a difference in people's hearts and lives. Throughout the entire debut album, Yesterday, Today and Forever, listeners' faith and spirits will be bolstered as they hear her praise God for His unchanging character and His ability to do the impossible. Other songs find Beeching pouring out her heart with gratitude and awe to worship God, compelling others to do the same. Beeching's music style might not fall into the typical worship category, but her lyrics prove that she is first and foremost a worshiper. With every spin of the disc, listeners will not only enter His presence, they will also be encouraged by hearing foundational truths.
Anna Flynn Stewart
Life on the Inside
By Jadon Lavik, BEC Recordings
Tooth & Nail.
Singer-songwriter Jadon Lavik's second BEC Recordings release, Life on the Inside, provides a further glimpse into the artist's acoustic-pop style. Life comprises inspirational and worshipful tracks, featuring Lavik's capable vocals. Highlights include the breezy acoustic pop of "Changing Happy," the pop evangelism of "Come to Me" and the rock testimony of "Nothing Compares." The ballad "Father" and the moody rock of "Just Like You" are musical prayers, and the acoustic "What If" examines performance-based faith. The songs featured on Life on the Inside are well-written and well-played, creating an album with no filler material, just one good song after another.
Passion: Everything Glorious
By Passion Band, Sixstepsrecords.
Passion: Everything Glorious offers a snapshot of the worship from Passion '06. The album features worship leaders Chris Tomlin, David Crowder Band, Matt Redman, Charlie Hall and Kristian Stanfill, along with a crowd of more than 18,000. Tomlin leads the audience in the opening rocker "Awesome Is the Lord," a heartfelt reworking of the hymn "How Marvelous (I Stand Amazed)" and also contributes two new songs, "Glorious" and "Party." Other original tracks include Crowder's acoustic-rock title track and Redman's testimonial "You Never Let Go." With 1 million units sold collectively, the Passion brand is certainly one of the largest modern-worship series on the scene. Everything Glorious is an excellent resource for listeners looking for a keepsake of this year's event.
I Found It in You
By Lori Perry, Alliant Music Group.
Soulful vocalist Lori Perry has worked as a background singer for mainstream artists Sting, George Michael, Elton John, Patti LaBelle and others. Her deep alto voice fits perfectly with the inviting, jazzy musical landscape on her debut solo album, I Found It in You. The disc opens with a reworked version of "Love Lifted Me" and includes the bouncy "I'll Follow You," an urban-gospel rendering of "Psalms 23" and the rousing "No Longer Run," which parallels the story of the prodigal son. Perry's captivating vocals combined with strong tracks and polished production makes I Found It in You a musical treat, especially for listeners who enjoy mainstream singers Anita Baker and Oleta Adams.
Leave a Candle Burning
By Lori Wick, Harvest House Publishers,
Softcover, 350 pages, $12.99.
Leave a Candle Burning
The conclusion of the Tucker Mills trilogy takes retired Doc MacKay to warmer climates. Doc's nephew Dannan MacKay is now in charge of the town's health. The townspeople welcome the new doctor, but something is missing. Does Dannan have the courage to love again?
Earth to Betsy
By Beth Pattillo, WaterBrook Press,
Softcover, 304 pages, $9.99.
Earth to Betsy
Betsy Blessing has a lot to handle as a senior pastor. Then a surprise proposal throws her into the whirlwind of a wedding planned by his mother—to be featured in a budget-conscious magazine. Follow along as Betsy does her best to do it all and still have the life she wants.
Like Dandelion Dust
By Karen Kingsbury, Center Street,
Softcover, 368 pages, $12.95.
Like Dandelion Dust
A judge has ruled that Jack and Molly Campbell must return their 4-year-old son, Joey, to his biological parents. In their grief and despair, Jack and Molly contemplate their options: Do they obey the law or follow their hearts—and disappear with their beloved son?