Sight & Sound


BOOKS

Creating a Lifestyle Of Worship

Worship--A Way of Life
By Patrick Kavanaugh, Chosen Books,
224 pages, paperback, $12.99.

Patrick Kavanaugh urges Christians to reach their hands to God in daily private worship so they can be lifted to the mountaintop, especially when they encounter the inevitable valleys in their earthly walks. Kavanaugh, a veteran worship leader and executive director of the Christian Performing Artists' Fellowship, appreciates corporate worship and even quotes Scripture to underscore that believers should remember the Sabbath. But he wants them to realize that corporate worship is ultimately about each individual's private relationship with God.

Indeed, Kavanaugh distinguishes between worship, referring to meetings and church services, and Worship, the private relationship between each individual and God, which in its highest and purest form is synonymous with praise. He clarifies his definition of Worship as "times of private worship, just between you and God, in which you are not praying or interceding or employing any externals, such as reading from a Bible, but simply worshiping God, period."

For this reason, Kavanaugh hopes ministers will encourage Christians to spend more quiet time with God. He asks readers to reclaim time lost to "vegetating," really thinking or doing nothing, such as when stuck in traffic, waiting in line or performing rote tasks.

In the final two chapters, Kavanaugh gives samples for quiet time and making worship a way of life. This new life, he trusts, will move mountains during corporate worship and cause believers' spirits to soar.
Pamela Robinson

Classic Christianity

The Classic Devotional Series
By Andrew Murray, Bethany House,
140 to 280 pages, paperback, $7.99 to $11.99

For more than 20 years, Bethany House Publishers has been doing modern readers a favor by republishing the devotional classics of pastor and missionary Andrew Murray (1828-1917). Murray was an ordained minister in the Dutch Reformed Church of South Africa and the author of numerous books that have impacted believers since their first printing.

Appropriately dubbed the Classic Devotional series, this line of spiritual heavies offers such titles as The Blood of Christ and The Spirit of Christ. More recent printings include The Path to Holiness, Humility, Raising Your Child to Love God and Divine Healing. Teach Me to Pray, originally published under the name With Christ in the School of Prayer, is due out in June.

All titles in the series have been edited and updated by Nancy Renich to make the language more accessible to today's readers. Murray fans will agree that's a blessing. His work was never meant to be a quick read; now it's an easier one.

In The Path to Holiness, Murray traces the word "holiness" through Scripture to show what God's holiness is and "how we can attain that holiness in Christ." Divided into 31 brief chapters, the book would be ideal for a monthlong Bible study.

Humility is a great follow-up, for in it Murray declares: "In the individual, humility is the one thing needed to allow God's holiness to dwell in and shine through him or her...Humility is the bloom and the beauty of holiness." But he goes beyond defining this virtue to show what it looks like in everyday life.

Raising Your Child to Love God encourages readers to train their children by not only instructing them but also living a strong Christian life before them. And in Divine Healing, Murray discusses the provision Christ has made for our wholeness and shows the key roles that forgiveness, obedience and faith play in appropriating it.

Murray's books are called "classics" for good reason. Their messages are timeless and foundational to every believer's life. No matter which books you choose, you will be inspired--and challenged--by his words.
Maureen D. Eha

Heroes of the Faith

Christian Heroes: Then & Now
By Janet & Geoff Benge, YWAM
Publications, paperback,
roughly 200 pages each, $8.99 each.

Husband and wife team Geoff and Janet Benge have developed a series of biographies of famous Christian missionaries and statesmen. Especially written for homeschooling students, this series effectively portrays the lives of people such as Corrie ten Boom, William Carey, Eric Liddell, Gladys Aylward and George Washington Carver.

The books highlight the most exciting and critical moments in each of the individuals' lives, yet they present the subjects as such normal people, young readers are sure to be able to relate to them. Combining the normal and adventurous inspires readers to believe they, too, can achieve great things for God.

Written in mostly a narrative style, each book is about 200 pages--long enough to make the biography complete, but brief enough for young readers' sometimes short attention spans. The vocabulary, too, is rich enough to give a vivid portrayal without going over readers' heads and weighing down the books.

These biographies, however, would be of interest to any reader--child or adult--who wants to discover what made these dedicated Christians "heroes." Another benefit of these biographies is that the reader will learn about the history and cultures surrounding the missionary or statesmen, which will give them a broader worldview. Unit study guides and activity books also are available.

This series would be great enrichment for the homeschooled student's curriculum, as well as for Christian schools, church libraries and any Christian home.
Deborah L. Delk

A Model Prayer

Praying the 23rd Psalm
By Elmer L. Towns, Regal Books,
200 pages, paperback, $11.99

If you're looking for a devotional that will help you re-examine a familiar shepherd's prayer, Praying the 23rd Psalm may be for you. Author Elmer Towns, dean of Liberty University's School of Religion, divides the book into two parts: what the Shepherd does and what His sheep receive.

In "What the Shepherd Does," Towns explores the believer's relationship with God, the Shepherd's provisions for His sheep, and the Lord's guidance, restoration and nature. In part two, "What the Sheep Receive," Towns delves into how believers should handle difficulties, God's faithfulness amid our unfaithfulness, depending on the Shepherd's club for protection and His staff for guidance, and God's ability to demonstrate to your enemies His provision. It also looks at how God helps believers when we are wounded and gives us satisfaction through a personal relationship with Him.

Towns provides readers with nuggets of insight, such as the fact that the psalm opens with "The Lord is my shepherd," implying that the Lord is a personal shepherd who gives personal attention. Sometimes familiar passages in the Bible become mundane if we do not revisit them from a fresh perspective. Through his book, Towns provides many with the opportunity to meditate on and ponder Psalm 23.
Tracee N. Mason

MUSIC

Loosed to Worship

Woman Thou Art Loosed Worship 2002
By Bishop T.D. Jakes,
Dexterity Sounds/EMI Gospel.

Bishop T.D. Jakes' Woman Thou Art Loosed! conferences have served as an annual gathering for thousands of women to experience spiritual restoration and renewal. Jakes captures the essence of that experience on his latest release, Woman Thou Art Loosed Worship 2002.

Recorded at the 2001 Woman Thou Art Loosed conference, the album opens with an energetic call to worship, "Praise the Lord With Me (Bless the Lord With Me)," led by Darwin Hobbs. Produced by Kevin Bond, the release also features R&B-turned-gospel artist Shirley Murdock and newcomer Lejuene Thompson.

Jakes uses his great oratory ability on three inspiring sermonettes focusing on real worship and spiritual warfare. He also leads the album's finale "Amazing Grace," which is backed by thousands of women joining in the worship. Woman Thou Art Loosed Worship 2002 is a superb marriage of music and ministry that is sure to bless listeners.
Twanna Powell

Riding the Storm

Storm
By Fernando Ortega, Word

On his 10th studio album, Fernando Ortega again seamlessly weaves together his poetic yearnings with soothing, inspirational ballads and simple folk numbers that are the perfect backdrop for quiet time or personal devotions. Produced by John Andrew Schreiner, Storm quietly reflects on the difficulties in life that bring us to our knees--and closer to our Maker. Storm includes nine original songs and three traditional hymns, including Ortega's stunning duet with Amy Grant on "Come Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy."

Standout originals include the poignant title track and "Light of Heaven," the likely follow-up to recent No. 1 single "This Good Day." A stellar cast of seasoned musicians, including renowned cellist Cameron Stone, again joins Ortega to create a contemplative, yet hopeful, project that captures the heart and soul of Ortega's thoughtful lyrics and leaves the listener feeling refreshed.
Natalie Nichols Gillespie

Passion for God

Worship God
By Rebecca St. James, Forefront Records.

Fusing a modern pop sound with worship music isn't exactly a new concept, and there are plenty of releases to prove it. Yet with her latest recording, Worship God, Rebecca St. James manages to leave an original mark on a bulging niche.

Upbeat but mellow, Worship God features mostly previously recorded favorites, such as "Let My Words Be Few," "Breathe" and "God of Wonders." St. James captures the heart of worship, though her music is filled with the energy that marked previous hits such as "God." Original cuts such as "Song of Love" and "Lamb of God" are refreshingly personal. "You," another original, perhaps best sum up the heart of the release: "To be like You / Is what I want Lord / ...To love like You / Is what I'm longing for/ Cause at the end of the day / This is what will remain."

Worship God is for those who enjoy modern pop music and, like St. James, long to keep God center stage.
Adrienne S. Gaines

MUSIC SPOTLIGHT

Plugging Into the Power of God

The charismatic renewal has been going on since the 1960s, the Pentecostal movement since the early 1900s. But Doug Beacham says the next generation won't understand the Holy Spirit by osmosis. That's why he wrote Plugged Into God's Power, the fourth release in Charisma House's Journey of Faith Series.

Executive director of church education ministries for the International Pentecostal Holiness Church, Beacham believes the Holy Spirit wants to lead believers on an incredible journey through life. "The Holy Spirit comes...reveals a hint about our destiny and invites us to come along for the adventure," he writes.

Though he writes from a classical Pentecostal perspective, teaching that tongues is initial evidence of the Holy Spirit's presence (though the book explains other views), Beacham says the real proof of the Spirit's work in a believer's life is the fruit of the Spirit. "When [Christians] begin to realize that Christ lives in them through the Holy Spirit...it becomes a weapon of strength, of grace, of the power of God to overcome issues in your life," he says.

Beacham says if Christians got a firm grasp of the Holy Spirit's power in their lives, "the love of Jesus would become such a reality." It's that love that makes redemptive grace possible, he says, and causes people to be sensitive to social injustice. "The Holy Spirit's not there mainly for us to produce little miracles," Beacham says. "But more than that, it's to demonstrate the power of the love of God."
Adrienne S. Gaines

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