By William Wilberforce,
revised by Bob Beltz,
Regal, softcover, 224 pages, $14.99.
Published six weeks before Amazing Grace, the upcoming Feb. 23 film on William Wilberforce's life, "the book that helped end slavery in England" is equally worthy of Christians' attention, as a primer in basic doctrine for new converts or a refresher course for mature believers. Anyone who reads Real Christianity with 21st-century eyes will squirm over how the author's comments are as relevant today as they were 210 years ago. The strength of Real Christianity is its exploration of the differences between bland cultural religion and authentic faith. Wilberforce's no-holds-barred exposition makes it clear that slavery existed because of a weak church that offered no counterbalancing influence to the world. Likewise, one could draw parallels to bondages that thrive today, such as drugs, the craving for prestige or the crass materialism that holds millions of Americans in captivity. The question is whether the church will heed Wilberforce's words and experience the revival needed to transform it into a shining light to the world.
Give It Back!
By Kimberly Daniels,
Charisma House, softcover,
224 pages, $14.99.
Kimberly Daniels, a minister of deliverance known as the "demon buster," exhorts believers to grow in their exercise of spiritual warfare in Give It Back! God's Weapons for Turning Evil to Good. Acknowledging that this teaching is "not common or comfortable," Daniels instructs and provokes her fellow Christians to take their place of spiritual authority in what she deems are the last days. A U.S. Army veteran, Daniels finds many similarities between physical and spiritual warfare, and urges believers to get combat-ready. Viewing this book as a training manual for all Christians, the author includes substantial prayers and Scriptures in the text as well as explanations of specific demonic powers. Radical and bold, Daniels urges Christians not to be bound by the status quo, to stop offering "everyday prayers" and not to back down from their spiritual enemy. Illustrations of real-life encounters with the demonic show readers how evil can manifest itself even in the 21st century.
Christine D. Johnson
Get Out of That Pit
By Beth Moore, Integrity Publishers,
hardcover, 272 pages, $21.99.
Bible teacher and best-selling author Beth Moore urges her fellow believers to climb out of the pits of life in Get Out of That Pit: Straight Talk About God's Deliverance. Defining a pit as "an early grave that Satan digs for you in hopes he can bury you alive," Moore urges readers not to just try to "feel better" in the pit, but to look to God for complete deliverance. Multiple examples are given of how a person can fall into a pit—with Moore's husband, Keith, sharing in the foreword how he struggled after witnessing his young brother's tragic death as a child. But Moore offers hope through the Scriptures, providing three steps to help the "pit-dweller" emerge—crying out to God, confessing and consenting. Moore's many followers and new readers alike will be encouraged by her Scripture-based teaching as well as her sense of humor and creative bent. Scripture prayers and a study guide also are provided.
Christine D. Johnson
Can Homosexuality Be Healed?
By Francis MacNutt, Chosen, softcover,
112 pages, $10.99.
This revised version of Francis MacNutt's 2001 book is too brief for an in-depth look at this issue. Still, it contains valuable background information that dispels some politically correct myths about homosexuality and includes a resource list for further study. The author also sounds a compassionate note for homosexuals, a much-needed counterbalance to the judgment, condemnation and scorn often heaped on those involved in same-sex relationships. Ironically, the former priest sees homosexual impulses as a positive—calling them a sign of a deep longing for healthy relationships that can be addressed by the Holy Spirit. MacNutt contends that spiritual healing of homosexuality is possible, citing work by his wife (a psychotherapist) and his own work in intercessory healing prayer. He sounds a call for churches to provide safe places for people who want to change but need patience and understanding as they address deep-seated wounds in their past.
The Ultimate Comeback
By Tommy Tenney, FaithWords,
hardcover, 208 pages, $19.99.
In The Ultimate Comeback Tommy Tenney contends that after an especially difficult night, morning appears just in time; and, in the secret places of our lives, God is working to bring about promises from problems. Tenney's look at one biblical figure's seven-year long "night" is a life-changing description of God's steadfast love in the face of human failing. Gehazi was Elisha's trusted servant when suddenly things changed. A series of error-filled decisions turned this man's life upside down and led to a devastatingly painful fall from favor. Tenney shows that even when plan A for our lives is fumbled away, plan B can surpass everything that came before if we learn from our mistakes.
J. James Estrada
Facing Your Giants
By Max Lucado, W Publishing Group,
hardcover, 256 pages, $22.99.
The Old Testament story of David and Goliath has become one of the most beloved tales of Scripture, perhaps because it's natural to cheer for the underdog. Now, as he so skillfully does, pastor and prolific author Max Lucado breathes contemporary life into the story in 1 Samuel 17. As those familiar with the story will recall, the famed battle between a God-fearing shepherd boy and a mighty Philistine soldier sees David triumphant over the 9-foot Goliath with merely a stone and a sling. Equating the giant with the problems that confront believers, the author acknowledges that everyone faces his or her own Goliaths, such as disease, debt or divorce, and must choose to be problem- or God-focused. Lucado uses David's five stones to represent the five decisions every person must make regarding the past, prayer, priorities, passion and persistence. The fast-paced Facing Your Giants will undoubtedly inspire readers to trust God during life's inevitable difficulties.
C. Brian Smith
By Stephen Hurd, Integrity Gospel.
Stephen Hurd has composed a jubilant compilation of songs that brings to mind an extravagant procession for the most high King. With a full band and exceptional choral vocals, My Destiny: I Know What I'm Here For is an extraordinary CD full of high praise and melodious fanfare. The soulful roots of gospel and the contemporary sound of praise and worship combine for a new way to celebrate and extol the King of kings. Harmonious, upbeat lyrics such as "Give God a great praise / Praise the Lord today!" and song titles such as "The Glory Chant, and "Zamar Celebration" spare no flair in lifting praise into the heavens. Listeners will be filled with joy and wonderment as they take in the musical scene at the entrance to the presence of their King.
My Savior Lives
By New Life Worship, Integrity Music.
Rod Parsley and the New Life Church worship team have taken ownership of the praise they offer their God. The title track, "My Savior Lives," sets the tone at the start by declaring that this great God, ruler of all, can be as personal as a close friend. Loyalty and unadulterated worship are offered in this new CD project. Listeners will be encouraged to sing along and exalt an infinite God with songs such as "Live to Worship" and "We Will Sing." From beginning to end, My Savior Lives is a proclamation, a declaration of the mighty works and wonders of the everlasting God.
This Is Who I Am
By Kelly Price, Gospo Centric.
Kelly Price has long been a favorite of mainstream R&B fans. With This Is Who I Am, she steps out into her first solo all-gospel foray. Not a stranger to the genre, she was backup singer for megastar and pastor Donnie McClurkin. Cuts such as "God Is Faithful," a duet with McClurkin, and the radio hit "Healing" span the gamut musically from old-time church to urban inspirational. Richard Smallwood pens "What a Friend" for Price, and Vanessa Bell Armstrong shares the mic on the church classic "Nobody But Jesus." She takes the vintage track "Love & Happiness" and converts it to the sanctified tune "Heaven's Best." This live recording seems to capture the essence of Price and makes for a fabulous entrance for one of music's greatest vocalists.
Andrea R. Williams
By Switchfoot, Sparrow Records.
On Switchfoot's follow-up to the 2005 Nothing Is Sound, the band delivers a funky soul track, "Amateur Lovers," striking musical similarities to the early years of the Rolling Stones, while singer Jon Foreman laments the human struggle to love effectively. From that musical detour, listeners can assume Oh! Gravity is a progressive project for the band—a relentless creative musical and lyrical exploration. That's also evident during other moments, including the quirky modern rock of "4:12" or the silky smooth Euro-pop of "Yesterday." Even with those experiments, however, that's not to say the entire project is a departure. The group still offers its signature rock sound on songs such as the grand anthem "Awakening" and explosive retro guitar groove of "American Dream." The San Diego rockers enlisted the help of U.K. producer Tim Palmer (Tin Machine, Pearl Jam, The Cure, U2) to widen their sound and scope with this CD. That collaboration seems to have crafted a landmark release for them.
It Happens Every Spring
By Gary Chapman and Catherine Palmer,
Tyndale House, softcover,
304 pages, $12.99.
Welcome to the idyllic town of Deepwater Cove, where neighbors know and talk to one another and doors don't have to be locked. But even in this picturesque place, marriages suffer. Steve and Brenda are struggling to adjust to the empty-nest stage of life. They both have to discover how to reconnect.
Flies on the Butter
By Denise Hildreth, WestBow Press,
softcover, 320 pages, $14.99.
A road trip is the perfect cure for what ails you. Rose Fletcher, a powerful lobbyist, is on a journey to South Carolina. On her drive south, Fletcher is left to ponder her life, her lies and her adultery. This Southern tale reminds readers that the lost can be found.
By Elizabeth White, Zondervan,
softcover, 368 pages, $12.99.
Widow Jana Cutrere returns to her hometown with her two children. Grant Gonzales, a former beau, comes back to escape corporate life. Their paths cross because they both want the same land but for different reasons: Jana for a wildlife reserve; Grant for a hunting reserve. The decision rests with Jana's grandfather. Can they trust God for the outcome?
New on DVD
We Shall Not Be Moved
GT Media $14.99
This Hallmark Channel original movie is now available on DVD. The late award-winning actor and civil rights activist Ossie Davis narrates this 90-minute documentary about how courageous African-American churches influenced the civil rights movement in America. This film includes historic pictures, film clips and personal stories from those on the front lines.
Facing the Giants
Sony Pictures $24.98
Everything is going wrong for Grant Taylor. His high school football team is not winning, parents are trying to replace him as head coach, he's always having car trouble, and he and his wife are having difficulty starting a family. As he determines to trust God, he learns that nothing is impossible. This film is rated PG for sports violence and discussions about pregnancy.
Milo, the Mantis Who Wouldn't Pray
Tommy Nelson $14.99
When a storm destroys his Snack Shack, Milo doesn't know what to do. This praying mantis doesn't understand that he can just talk to God. He thinks he has to do things to get God's attention so He'll hear him. Milo learns that God is always paying attention and ready to hear and answer our prayers.