By James W. and Michal Ann Goll,
Charisma House, softcover, 224 pages, $14.99.
For James and Michal Ann Goll, who are active in prophetic ministry and intercession, angels are as alive and real as human beings. In Angelic Encounters: Engaging Help From Heaven, they discuss the nature of angels, their role as God's messengers and their types—archangels and cherubim among them—revealing angels' rankings in God's kingdom. Though the book is based on the Scriptures and offers perspectives from church leaders throughout history, the authors also report on angel sightings from around the world and share their own encounters. Michal Ann recounts intense visits she had from angels during one nine-week period. Urging readers to be wary of evil spirits, the authors provide nine scriptural tests to determine if an angel is sent by God. One chapter discussing the work of angels in the nation of Israel will be of interest to pro-Israel Christians. Seeing the human-angel connection as a partnership, the authors provide biblically based teaching on angelic encounters but with a personal touch. Readers curious about the supernatural will find much to ponder in Angelic Encounters.
Christine D. Johnson
After the Fall
By Donald Hilliard,
Destiny Image Publishers,
softcover, 396 pages, $15.99.
With grace and compassion, Donald Hilliard issues a wake-up call to the modern church in After the Fall: Resurrecting Your Life From Shame, Disgrace, and Guilt. By offering candid, biblical advice, the longtime pastor reaches out to those seeking freedom from the crippling power of shame and guilt. Examining the biblical account of historical figures such as King David and the apostle Peter, Hilliard shows how disobedience to God's law leads to moral failures so shameful that the temptation is to look for someone else to blame. But he advises readers to take personal responsibility and stop making excuses for their sins or they could doom themselves to life as "professional victims." Hilliard assures readers that God's forgiveness is sufficient for all, if they come to Him in sincere repentance. Senior pastor of Cathedral International in Plainfield, N.J., and a visiting lecturer at Wheaton College, Hilliard draws on 30 years of pastoral ministry to proclaim this timely message of repentance and forgiveness.
By Faith J.H. McDonnell and Grace Akallo,
Chosen, softcover, 240 pages, $13.99.
The war in Uganda has raged for two decades and for nearly that long Joseph Kony's rebel force has attacked Acholi villages, filling his army with children abducted in the raids. The children—now as many as 50,000—undergo a systematic program of mind control and starvation as they are turned into killers and abductors themselves, perpetuating a hideous cycle. Grace Akallo, who joined with Faith J.H. McDonnell to tell her story, was one of the young girls kidnapped. Despite having to endure unimaginable torture, being left for dead and buried, she survived and remained strong in her faith. In Girl Soldier: A Story of Hope for Northern Uganda's Children, Akallo shows how God provides hope in the midst of despair. The fight of Akallo, now a college student in the U.S., is to involve the world in helping return peace to the people of northern Uganda. Interspersed with the history and current events of the African country, the book's well-written, first-person narrative tells a story that is hard to ignore. Readers will find most helpful the information provided for those who desire to aid the Ugandan people.
Right People, Right Place, Right Plan
By Jentezen Franklin, Whitaker House,
hardcover, 208 pages, $19.99.
In Right People, Right Place, Right Plan: Discerning the Voice of God, megachurch pastor Jentezen Franklin discusses how believers can learn to hear God's voice, even in the middle of day-to-day busyness. Franklin challenges readers to fulfill their unique God-given destiny by tapping into God's heart and mind through the internal compass of the Holy Spirit. Injecting fresh perspectives on scriptural illustrations about hearing from God, Franklin believes that "when you ask God for a miracle, He will always give you a set of instructions—a plan." He focuses on wisely choosing relationships that will bring out the best in an individual and equally emphasizes learning to pursue God- opportunities, not just good options. A few chapters of Right People, Right Place, Right Plan project a primarily charismatic perspective, though the practical tips the author shares will aid any Christian trying to develop spiritual discernment. Readers at major life crossroads, including those in job transitions, engaged couples and struggling parents, will find Franklin's insights particularly helpful.
Before the Daylight's Shot
By Ashley Cleveland, 204 Records.
Before the Daylight's Shot, Ashley Cleveland's seventh release, is once again a powerful project from an awesome artist. Her voice is soulful, driven, raw and beautiful, naturally complementing her graceful, compelling writing style. Deeply personal, sometimes poignant lyrics craft songs of faith, love, longing and introspection. Cleveland is a clever wordsmith with an explosive yet tender singing style. Before the Daylight's Shot is a collection of great rock 'n' roll and soulful ballads that share the artist's ups and downs, her desires and her mature faith. Stellar examples are: "Satisfied With Drowning," a plea for loved ones to lay down those things that hinder them from a better life, "Deeper Walk," a personal testimony of Cleveland's deep faith in God and "Twilight Hour," an upbeat love song. Also included are covers of Leon Russell's "Roll Away the Stone" and Stevie Wonder's "Higher Ground." This album is a powerful expression of a life lived with passion, frailty and a sincere relationship with Jesus. Cleveland is one of the few great singer-songwriters who writes thought-provoking lyrics and then vocally masters the emotion of the song. Before the Daylight's Shot is the work of a great artist in her prime.
For Zion's Sake, I Will Not Be Silent
By various artists, Galilee of the Nations.
This moving album and companion DVD single tell a story, as one track builds on another with prayers of repentance, remembrance, and a commitment not to be silent for the sake of Israel and the Jewish people. The centerpiece song is "The Forgotten People," which is featured on the companion DVD. The title refers to the 6 million Jews murdered during the Holocaust and those who "forgot" them. The song opens with chilling audio clips of Adolf Hitler, and includes prayers of repentance (in German and English). The stirring DVD includes footage from Dachau. "Never Again!" is a moving call to the church not to be silent. The album manages not to be condemning or overbearing—only challenging. At a time when anti-Semitism is at its highest since World War II, lyrics such as, "Everyday people who ignored the news / Indifferent people sitting in the pews," challenge the church not to be silent again.
I Cry Holy
By Dennis Jernigan, Shepherd's Heart Music.
Singer-songwriter Dennis Jernigan, writer of chart-topping songs such as "You Are My All in All" and "We Will Worship the Lamb of Glory," delivers his latest collection of praise songs on his new project, I Cry Holy. The CD features a mix of tempos and sounds, including the world-music flavor of "Beautiful," the Caribbean-flavored "I Will Sing," the jazz-influenced "Our God Is Mighty" and the pop rock of the proclamation "I Want to Be Free." Jernigan shines brightest on piano-worship ballads such as "See the Lamb" and "You Are My King," as well as the love song "I've Waited a Lifetime," particularly because the simplicity lends itself more to a timeless quality, while synthesized instrumentation oftentimes sounds dated. Jernigan sings with fervency on I Cry Holy, and as his personal testimony verifies, he sings from experience about the life-changing power of the cross. Musically, this album will inspire his longtime listeners but probably won't broaden his listener base much.
By Pocket Full of Rocks, Myrrh Records.
Following the band's self-titled Myrrh Records debut, Pocket Full of Rocks returns with a new modern worship experience, blending pop-rock sensibilities with passionate lyrics and vocals, and as a result making praise music creative and accessible outside church environments. Melodic-rock anthem "Who Is This King?" delivers spiritual intensity while showcasing a polished musical landscape. Similarly, the low-key "Water (There Is None Like You)," a straight-ahead praise track, is destined for radio success. Also of interest are the jazzy piano praise of "Take Me There," the simple challenge of "Worst of Us" and the heart-rending "Heal," which prays for God's healing intervention. "My Everything" serves up its own manifesto, declaring "You're my everything, Lord," dismissing all the things that compete for God's sovereignty. Manifesto showcases Pocket Full of Rocks' talent for bringing solid songs to the table and creating individualistic musical moments, staying accessible and creative at the same time.
By Richard Smallwood, Verity/Zomba Gospel.
It has been six years since gospel legend and Grammy Award-winner Richard Smallwood has released an album. His newest release, Journey: Live in New York, proves it was worth the wait. Journey is a stellar two-disc set featuring classics as well as new songs from Smallwood. It also features some of today's best gospel artists, including Kim Burrell on the title track, the Hawkins Family on "We've Come Too Far," and the original Richard Smallwood Singers on the soulful renditions of "Holy Holy" and "He Won't Leave You." Two of R&B's best are also showcased on this album: Kelly Price on the encouraging "Morning Breaking" and the amazing Chaka Khan on "Precious Is Your Name." Undoubtedly, the standout track is "I'll Trust You," featuring the melodic voices of Vision, Smallwood's choir. Journey: Live in New York has already gained major radio airplay and can be considered one of Smallwood's best musical efforts to date.
Clear Blue Sky
By F.P. Lione, Revell, softcover, 352 pages, $17.99.
It's September 2001 and New York is buzzing with festivals and crowds. Police officer Tony Cavalucci wonders if the overtime is worth the hassle. His family is giving him a hard time about his faith and his fiancee. As Tony helps in the rescue effort after the Sept. 11 attack on the city, he learns to appreciate family, life and faith anew.
My Soul to Keep
By Davis Bunn, Bethany House, softcover, 400 pages, $13.99.
Brent Stark is a rising star until an accident leads to prison time. But he becomes a Christian in prison, and after his release a Christian businessman approaches him about a filmmaking venture. They and their crew are in for the challenge of their lives as some in Hollywood are determined to see this production fail.
My Hands Came Away Red
By Lisa McKay, Moody Publishers, softcover, 320 pages, $12.99.
Cori, 18, is searching for direction. She decides that a church-building trip to Indonesia will help her escape her complicated love life. But trouble is brewing on a nearby island, and soon the hostility comes to her. The church is burned, and the pastor and villagers are killed. Now six teenagers are running for their lives in the mountains with only the pastor's son guiding them.
New On DVD
THE ULTIMATE GIFT
Fox Home Entertainment,
When Red Stevens (James Garner) dies, grandson Jason Stevens expects a huge inheritance. Instead, Red has left him a video message explaining that Jason must complete 12 tasks in order to have a chance to receive any money. During the process Jason learns what is most important in life. This film is rated PG.
DA' T.R.U.T.H. & FRIENDS LIVE
Cross Movement Records,
Enjoy a close-up look at Impact2006, a hip-hop worship experience with performances by Da'T.R.U.T.H., Tye Tribbett, Trip Lee and others. Also included is a documentary featuring a chat with BET host Gerard Henry and Da'T.R.U.T.H., as well as commentary from Kirk Franklin, Donnie McClurkin and others.
Charles Farmer wanted to be an astronaut. Circumstances changed his plans but not his dream of going to space. He and his son have built a spaceship in their barn. Farmer is determined to launch it even though the government tries to stop him. This story is about family, hope and the courage to dream. Rated PG.