Vibes

Worship from Casting Crowns, Paul Baloche
Plus New fiction releases

Loving God When You Don't Love the Church
By Chris Jackson, Chosen, softcover, 208 pages, $13.99.

Although the title may lead one to think the author endorses leaving tradition behind for cell groups, house churches or other alternatives, Chris Jackson delivers a stirring exhortation for the body of Christ to mature. Executive pastor at Dutch Sheets' Freedom Church in Colorado Springs, Colo., Jackson doesn't gloss over the fact that some churches deal in spirit-killing legalism or function more like spiritual fraternities than loving fellowships. Yet this book forces readers to look deep within and acknowledge that their flaws and shortcomings have hurt others instead of carting around grudges for the offenses others inflict on them. Particularly insightful is the chapter titled "Ten Times Better," in which he questions whether Christians' marriages, job performance and integrity are 10 times better than those around them—as were the wisdom and understanding of Daniel and his friends in Babylon (see Dan. 1:19-20). Jackson emphasizes that one reason so many people are leaving the church is that there is seldom a discernible difference between Christians and the world.
Ken Walker

BOOKS

Praying Through the Deeper Issues of Marriage
By Stormie Omartian, Harvest House Publishers, hardcover, 250 pages, $21.99.

Stormie Omartian tackles 14 of the most difficult problems that confront couples today in Praying Through the Deeper Issues of Marriage: Protecting Your Relationship So It Will Last a Lifetime. Knowing firsthand the joys and sorrows of marriage, she shares wisdom gained from personal experience. Deftly balancing practical advice with prayer, Omartian reminds readers that the dangers to the marriage union are primarily spiritual. In lighter moments, she tells stories of her chihuahua, Wrigley, to help illustrate the importance of good communication. At other times, Omartian offers sober advice on how to cope with a spouse's addictions and infidelities. Each chapter concludes with a prayer and selected Scripture passages for personal reflection. Omartian's latest title will appeal to both husbands and wives and also to couples considering marriage. After years of writing her best-selling The Power of a Praying series, Omartian undoubtedly has something to say about integrating the practice of prayer into the oft-challenging marriage relationship.
David Rogers

Prophecy & Responsibility
By Graham Cooke, Brilliant Book House, softcover, 245 pages, $17.99.

Author Graham Cooke declares, "The world today desperately needs a prophetic church." In the pages of Prophecy & Responsibility, Cooke sets forth a lesson guide in prophecy that will bring about required, and much desired, functionality and efficiency to an essential spiritual gift. To those who apply its teachings, Prophecy & Responsibility will help a prophet learn how to be "accountable," "humble," "safe" and "strong." Although many churches crave the freshness of a spiritual "word" in their midst, many don't know what prophetic ministry looks like. Still others have denied the potential for fear of error and misuse. Cooke embraces Scripture in order to define and map out a practical route to prophetic service.
James Estrada

I Dare You
By Joyce Meyer, FaithWords, hardcover, 256 pages, $22.99.

"If purpose is our journey and destination, then passion is the fuel that's going to get us there." This is just one of the many nuggets you will gain from reading Joyce Meyer's newest book, I Dare You. This book is the missing link to many messages on purpose. Meyer positions herself as a "purpose coach," taking readers from dream to reality with each passing chapter. With the "I Dare You" action points, readers are challenged step-by-step to move further out of their comfort zones and into their life purposes. Sections such as "Check Your Motives" and the teaching on the eight ways people extinguish their own passions will not only get readers where they want to go but will also help keep them there.
Jevon Bolden

Pray Big
By Will Davis Jr., Revell, softcover, 208 pages, $12.99.

Pastor and intercessor Will Davis Jr. believes that one of the best ways to access God's power is through a deliberate prayer life. He offers simple tips on praying for brokenness, praying during periods of "spiritual blackout" and even praying for your prayer life. His perspective is bolstered with scriptural principles and peppered with vibrant and compelling personal encounters. In order to pray big, Davis says, one must abandon the meaningless, Christianized terms during prayer and instead pray specific, aggressive "pinpoint prayers" in understandable language. In other words, prayer should contain "no fluff, no fat, no extra words or theologically heavy terms." Actually, Davis seems to interject this advice into his own writing style. By communicating practical truths without leaning upon elevated diction, Davis crafts a prayer manual for the everyday believer. By offering daring, concise prayers Davis helps make speaking to God "as natural as breathing."
Jonathan Merritt

Applying the Kingdom
By Myles Munroe, Destiny Image Publishers, hardcover, 256 pages, $24.99.

Author and teacher Myles Munroe uses his third book in his Kingdom series to teach readers the importance of establishing and following through with priorities—and the top priority should be establishing the kingdom. He says that priority was never a problem with the first family in the Garden of Eden. They had all their needs met, and ruling was their top priority, not pursuing resources. All that changed after the fall. Today man's consuming priority is in meeting personal needs. Munroe works to offer a solution to the materialism trap that is evident all around us. He provides practical principles designed to free readers from the self-destructive spirit of materialism so they can experience stress-free living above the world's standards of success. He wraps up each chapter with a handful of principles that quickly and simply summarize the lessons taught.
Rhonda Sholar

MUSIC

Every Reason Why
By Mark Roach, Myrrh Records.

Worship leader Mark Roach delivers his debut album, Every Reason Why. His voice will soon be unmistakable to everyone, but it's his lyrics that will stir listeners' hearts to sing along and worship the Lord (toe-tapping or even dancing is likely to occur). Serving as worship pastor at Morning Star Church in Missouri, Roach writes music for the church. His smooth voice fits well on rousing songs such as opener "A Thousand Hallelujahs," yet seamlessly flows straight into ballads such as "You Are," which declares who God is. "As Long As I Have You" offers an upbeat tempo as well as faith-filled words of courage, declaring that as long as we have Him we can face anything. These songs are perfect for worship—at home or at church.
Leigh Devore

Pages
By Shane & Shane, Inpop Records.

After more than three years Shane & Shane are back with a new release. The songs came directly from the pages of Shane Barnard's journal—hence the title, Pages. "Beg" does just that—it's a cry for God to break through and cause us to love Him more. "Burn Us Up" speaks of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego's trust in God and willingness to surrender. "We Love You Jesus" is a rousing song about love but also about death and how Jesus takes away the sting. "Holiday" is a pleasant, upbeat song that declares that Jesus is "my favorite part of me." This duo continues to offer the acoustic-based melodies and reflective lyrics fans have come to expect and relish.
Leigh Devore

Our God Saves
By Paul Baloche, Integrity Music.

Singer-songwriter Paul Baloche demonstrates again why he is one of the most prominent names in praise and worship music with his latest album, Our God Saves. In keeping with the genre, Baloche writes emotive, lyrically repetitive songs that build to a crescendo. But unlike many of his colleagues, he never gets too comfortable with any one style, as this latest album demonstrates. Incorporating moments of rock, pop and even country, Baloche gives listeners more than a dozen songs, which collectively clock in at just over an hour in length. The disc is a comprehensive worship experience, from "Beyond Us (Only True God)," a soaring duet with Kathryn Scott, to the rock song "Your Love Came Down," a surprisingly powerful number with arresting lyrics ("Your blood ran down from Your head to Your face, from Your hands to Your feet"). Nice moments on the album also include Baloche's beautiful arrangement of "Rock of Ages," as well as his duet with worship leader Matt Redman ("I Cling to the Cross"). "The Kingdom of God" and "Our God Saves," the title track, are both fairly standard. Baloche is best when he's doing something a little out of the ordinary. Yet, even when he's not, his songs are catchy—and likely coming to a church near you.
Cameron Conant

The Altar and the Door
By Casting Crowns, Reunion Records.

Casting Crowns return with their third album, The Altar and the Door. This collection is packed with faith-filled, heart-stirring lyrics that will challenge and encourage listeners and bring glory and honor to God. Opener "What the World Needs" offers hard-hitting truth that Christians have to care more about the inside than appearances, and we have to stop being so like the world that the world can't see a difference in us. The title track is based on how easy it is to know right from wrong when spending time with Him. But somewhere between "the altar and the door" we can lose sight of the lines. "I Know You're There" is an album highlight with Megan Garrett taking lead vocals. She declares: "I know You're there / I know You see me / You're the air I breathe / You are the ground beneath me / I know You're there / I know you hear me / I can find You anywhere." This group continues to create music that helps usher listeners into God's presence.
Leigh Devore

Fiction

SUPERNATURAL

Angel
By Alton Gansky, Realms, softcover, 304 pages, $12.99.

California has a new visitor. Aster speaks with wisdom and makes promises—and miracles happen all around him. People are drawn to him: Politicians look to him for advice, and religious leaders befriend him. It seems only one person is leery of this stranger. Priscilla Simms, an investigative journalist, is determined to find out if Aster is too good to be true. She could lose everything, even her life, in uncovering the truth.

ROMANCE

A Family in Full
By Vanessa Del Fabbro, Steeple Hill, softcover, 331 pages, $13.95.

Monica Brunett's life seems idyllic in Lady Helen, South Africa. She has two adopted sons, a meaningful career, great friends and a beau. But things aren't perfect. A young girl holds a grudge against Monica, a friend is filled with grief and criminals are wreaking havoc on the village. But Monica has the faith to know that love is worth any risk.

CONTEMPORARY

A Promise to Remember
By Kathryn Cushman, Bethany House Publishers, softcover, 320 pages, $13.95.

Two women's lives collide when their teenage sons are killed in a car accident. Melanie Johnston, a single mom, feels the rich boy is getting more attention from the press. Andie Phelps, the wealthy son's mother, and her husband feel partly responsible for the boys' deaths. Melanie is determined to keep her son's legacy alive and sues the Phelps, dividing the church, friends and the community.

New On DVD

3:16 Stories of Hope
Lionsgate $19.98

This companion DVD to Max Lucado's new book, 3:16 the Numbers of Hope, features Lucado's teaching on the message of John 3:16. He also wrote the story for the short film included, which has themes of rebellion and consequences, forgiveness, and unconditional love. This DVD has a running time of 75 minutes.

Buzby and the Grumble Bees
Thomas Nelson $14.99

Hermie and Friends are back. Buzby's niece and nephew come for a visit and everyone gets a rude awakening when the two youngsters misbehave. Buzby's friends devise a plan to teach them the importance of cleaning up after themselves, using good table manners and getting enough sleep. Victoria Jackson (Saturday Night Live) joins the cast as Beebee.

Travel the Road Season 2
Challenge for Christ Ministries $49.99

Follow along as missionaries Tim Scott and Will Decker travel from Borneo to the Himalayan Mountains to Tibet. The pair shares the gospel wherever they go. Season two is now available on DVD, and the 14 episodes add up to more than 500 minutes of footage. Also included are commentary, deleted scenes, maps, photo galleries, country profiles and much more.

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