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Chorus of the Saints

Chorus of the Saints

By Revive, Reunion Records.

Revive have been together for more than four years and released three albums in their native Australia. In 2007 Third Day heard them perform and the music veterans became mentors to this young band. Last year Dave Hanbury (lead vocals), Tyler Hall (guitar), Mike Tenkate (drums) and Rich Thompson (bass) brought their music and ministry stateside. Musically, Revive fit in the pop-rock genre, but their lyrics also put them in the worship category. The title song and opener remind listeners of God's faithfulness. "The Truth Is" turns down the volume a bit but not the energy, as the group declares that "there is none like You." "You Know" is a standout with Third Day's Mac Powell joining in. Worship ballad "Power" sings of the awe we'll feel in heaven as we can only cry, "Power, glory, honor to you our King." At times it seems as if they are trying too hard (pushing vocals), but their talent and passion mixed with experience will have them ministering in music for years to come. Click here to purchase this CD. read more

Norman Hutchins: Seeing God in Difficult Times

Norman Hutchins: Seeing God in Difficult Times

When recording artist Norman Hutchins sensed God calling him to pray every day at 5 a.m. in early 2006, he didn't know why. But when complications from a delicate eye surgery left him completely blind that same year, he soon discovered the answer.

"The Lord said, ‘Norman, no matter how gifted and talented and anointed you may be, you are no good to Me if you don't take care of you.'"

Hutchins, 46, is referring to his battle with diabetes, a disease he was diagnosed with years ago. The singer said for six months he depended on his wife, Karen, and others to escort him to his pulpit where he preached every Sunday during the ordeal. He says loosing his sight forced him to repent for not taking care of the body God gave him. read more

The Robe Special Edition

The Robe Special Edition

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Starring Richard Burton, Jean Simmons, Victor Mature, Jay Robinson and Richard Boone

Now a new generation can enjoy this classic coming-to-faith story. Academy Award-winning actor Richard Burton stars as Marcellus Gallio, a Roman centurion who was sent to Jerusalem to oversee Christ's crucifixion. Gambling with other soldiers, Gallio wins the robe Jesus wore. But he starts having hallucinations and believes he is cursed because of the robe, which his escaped slaved has. So he sets out to find the robe to destroy it and break the curse over his life. But on his journey he finds faith and converts to Christianity. This film was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Burton) and Best Cinematography and won for Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design. Bonus features include an introduction by Martin Scorsese, commentary, several featurettes, vintage celebrity intros and much more. This newly restored film, which took almost two years to complete, releases on March 17. This story of faith is the perfect way for young and old to celebrate the Easter season. Click here to preorder The Robe. read more

Lord, Help Me Break This Habit

Lord, Help Me Break This Habit

 

By Quin Sherrer and Ruthanne Garlock, Chosen, softcover, 192 pages, $13.99.

It's a relief when someone speaks plainly about a touchy subject. Quin Sherrer and Ruthanne Garlock do just that. Worry, fear, criticism, anger, pride--they're so common we hardly recognize how these "household sins" are crippling us. They're tough, too. Bad habits don't just drop away the minute you become a Christian; and repenting doesn't always break the pattern. As Sherrer writes, "First, we make our habits. Then our habits make or break us." These authors take it all on: manipulation, sexual temptations, prejudices, even religious activities are exposed as coping mechanisms that remove people from their true feelings of sadness, rejection, inadequacy or pain. Sherrer and Garlock advocate the safeguard of discernment. They challenge you to be blatantly honest, even when it seems as if it's a habit that's deeply ingrained. You can have a richer life, they explain, by tapping into God's power and bringing your daily activities into a better balance. They share memorable stories of how people broke bad habits, such as the disgruntled relocated family who had to put a dollar in their "Complaining Cup," or the congregation that switched a wristband to the other wrist each time they gossiped or made a sarcastic comment. This book will leave you feeling encouraged to use strategy and persistence to get free from bad habits. Click here to purchase Lord, Help Me Break This Habit.

 

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Newboys Appoint New Lead Singer

Newboys Appoint New Lead Singer

Michael Tait, formerly with dcTalk and Tait, will replace longtime Newsboys' lead singer and founder Peter Furler as touring lead singer, although Furler will make special appearances throughout the year. The band's newest project, In the Hands of God, releases May 5 and features lead vocals from Furler, who will continue to work on the band's studio recordings.

"While the decision to replace Peter on the road was a painstaking one, when the idea of dcTalk vocalist Michael Tait was presented it was a no-brainer to all of us," said Newsboys manager Wes Campbell. "No one can replace Peter, but we know Michael will bring a new attitude, energy and vocal style that will thrill our audience. To be able to continue a world-class show and still have Peter behind the scenes guiding the career and making of Newsboys music is a huge opportunity for all of us."

Tait said he was "speechless" upon receiving the offer to join the Newsboys: "This is a definite highlight of my career and for my 20-plus years of walking with Jesus, and I am humbled, proud and privileged to call myself a Newsboy."

In a statement, Furler said he is looking forward to focusing on the studio work and spending more time at home and added that he will go into more detail about the announcement on the band's Web site in the coming days. Recently, the band also welcomed guitarist Jody Davis back into the tribe after the departure of Paul Colman. read more

DVD Resources

DVD Resources

Isaiah 61, a new media company and division of the American Association of Christian Counselors, aims to equip, educate and encourage people biblically and help them grow spiritually. In order to do this, the company offers an array of DVD studies from leading authorities on topics such as marriage, spirituality, finances and prayer. Gain insights from Beth Moore, John Ortberg, Angela Thomas, Tommy Nelson, Beverly LaHaye, Dr. Catherine Hart Weber and many others. Last month the company launched with the first teaching in its Your Spiritual Life Series and the eight-disc Extraordinary Women's Series, which includes the teachings A Woman's Prayer Life by Beth Moore, A Marriage Without Regret by Kay Arthur and A Woman's Finances by Mary Hart. More recently Isaiah 61 released the first in the Hot Topics! Series, Sexuality: A Biblical Perspective, in which pastor Tommy Nelson teaches God's perspective on sex and romance. Recently released are Forgiveness: Understanding and Getting Beyond Our Pain & Past with insights from Dr. David Stoop, and the Financial Rescue teaching from Scott and Bethany Palmer. These products can be purchased at www.isa61.com or in Christian bookstores. Also available are free study guides for each DVD . These teachings are appropriate for individual or group study. read more

The Wealthiest Christians in History

Excerpts from The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns

It is important to put the American Church in perspective. Simply stated, it is the wealthiest community of Christians in the history of Christendom. How wealthy? The total income of American churchgoers is $5.2 trillion. (That's more than five thousand billion dollars.) It would take just a little over 1 percent of the income of American Christians to lift the poorest one billion people in the world out of extreme poverty. Said another way, American Christians, who make up about 5 percent of the Church worldwide, control about half of global Christian wealth; a lack of money is not our problem.


A few years back I had the opportunity to spend some time with former president Jimmy Carter. World Vision was collaborating with Habitat for Humanity on one of their massive "blitz build" projects in the Philippines, and I was assigned to work on the same house as President Carter. As we worked, he shared that he had just been asked to prepare a speech that would answer the question, what is the greatest challenge facing humankind in the twenty-first century? It was 1999, and the world was focused on the beginning of the new millennium. I was quite surprised at the former president's conclusion. He believed that the greatest problem of our time was the growing gap between the richest and poorest people on earth.Let me start with the good news. You're rich, we're rich, and the Church in America is rich. And now I am sure you are thinking that I am wrong, that you're not rich, and neither is your church. But bear with me, because wealth is always measured in relative terms. Brace yourselves for this good news! If your income is $25,000 per year, you are wealthier than approximately 90 percent of the world's population! If you make $50,000 per year, you are wealthier than 99 percent of the world! Does this shock you? Remember, of the 6.7 billion people on earth, almost half of them live on less than two dollars a day.


If you earn $50,000 per year in America and you don't feel rich, it's because you are comparing yourself to people who have more than you do-those living above even the 99th percentile of global wealth. It's also because we tend to gauge whether or not we are wealthy based on the things we don't have. If we think we need a bigger house or apartment, a nicer car, more clothes, or the ability to go out for dinner more often, we don't feel "rich." Again, it's all relative to our expectations. When you realize that 93 percent of the world's people don't own a car, your old clunker starts to look pretty good. Our difficulty is that we see our American lifestyles as normative, when in fact they are grossly distorted compared to the rest of the world. We don't believe we are wealthy, so we don't see it as our responsibility to help the poor. We are deceived.


There is much at stake. The world we live in is under siege-3 billion are desperately poor, 1 billion hungry, millions are trafficked in human slavery, 10 million children die needlessly each year, wars and conflicts are wreaking havoc, pandemic diseases are spreading, ethnic hatred is flaming, and terrorism is growing. Most of our brothers and sisters in Christ in the developing world live in grinding poverty. And in the midst of this stands the Church of Jesus Christ in America, with resources, knowledge, and tools unequaled in the history of Christendom. I believe that we stand on the brink of a defining moment. We have a choice to make.

When historians look back in one hundred years, what will they write about this nation of 340,000 churches? What will they say of the Church's response to the great challenges of our time-AIDS, poverty, hunger, terrorism, war? Will they say that these authentic Christians rose up courageously and responded to the tide of human suffering, that they rushed to the front lines to comfort the afflicted and to douse the flames of hatred? Will they write of an unprecedented outpouring of generosity to meet the urgent needs of the world's poor? Will they speak of the moral leadership and compelling vision of our leaders? Will they write that this, the beginning of the twenty-first century, was the Church's finest hour?

Or will they look back and see a Church too comfortable, insulated from the pain of the rest of the world, empty of compassion, and devoid of deeds? Will they write about a people who stood by and watched while a hundred million died of AIDS and fifty million children were orphaned, of Christians who lived in luxury and self-indulgence while millions died for lack of food and water? Will schoolchildren read in disgust about a Church that had the wealth to build great sanctuaries but lacked the will to build schools, hospitals, and clinics? In short, will we be remembered as the Church with a gaping hole in its gospel? read more

I Believe There Is More

I Believe There Is More

By Don Moen, Integrity Music.

As enjoyable as high-energy, fast-paced praise and worship music is, there is something refreshing about the simple, easy-listening music Don Moen offers on his latest release. His collection of 14 songs, including nine tracks he wrote or co-wrote, are more mellow than most of the worship music offered today. But that certainly doesn't diminish the power his music will have to help listeners enter into the presence of the Lord. Moen goes a little country on "Thank God I'm Free," an energetic song of praise. Title track "I Believe There Is More" is a song of faith declaring that even though God has done great things so far, He is going to do still more. "O God of Abraham," with a Celtic touch, declares that God can do anything. "I'll Say Yes" is a song of complete surrender "casting aside any fear and price" to obey. Although this album isn't the rousing music that some might be used to, there is a sense of peace that comes through in Moen's straightforward yet more mellow approach. Listeners will be encouraged and renewed as they allow the music and lyrics to wash over them. Click here to purchase this CD. read more

Free Yourself to Love

Free Yourself to Love

By Jackie Kendall, FaithWords, softcover, 256 pages, $13.99.

It's not a matter of if you're going to be greatly wronged; it's a matter of when. And when it happens forgiveness can be one our greatest challenges. Jackie Kendall, president of Power to Grow Ministries, tackles the nitty-gritty of handling damage done to us and exposes the subtle but common ways people exercise pseudo-forgiveness. Some minimize the offense, others rush to forgive without feeling the pain and trauma, and the seemingly big-hearted explain away the behavior, while others cover up or keep emotions in check by being highly driven. It may all be "natural" behavior, but Kendall points out that no matter how you dress it up, you'll still be enlisted in the Victim Entitlement Society. The person most affected is you. Kendall says, "Unforgiveness is a form of self-abuse." In fact, for a Christian, she says, "it's an oxymoron." "Love is one of the key characteristics a follower of Jesus should display, and forgiveness is a synonym for love." Kendall's dramatic personal history and the many other stories she shares underline "forgiveness tools" and biblical principles that will help you to be a person who authentically forgives. Click here to purchase this book. read more

Richard Stearns: Living the Whole Gospel

Richard Stearns: Living the Whole Gospel

In 1998 Richard Stearns left his position as CEO of Lenox to become the president of World Vision, a Christian relief organization. This decision changed his life, and he shares his journey in his new book, The Hole in Our Gospel. He has traveled more than 1 million miles and shares stories of how the gospel has revolutionized lives, but it's the whole gospel in action. He says, "Christianity is a faith that was meant to be spread. ... Our charge is to both proclaim and embody the gospel so that others can see, hear, and feel God's love in tangible ways. ... The gospel means much more than personal salvation of individuals. It means a social revolution." Stearns discovered a hole in his own Christian faith and now challenges American Christians and the church to examine their gospel and determine to live the whole gospel, one that gives us a vision for transforming the world today. Here Stearns shares thoughts about his book. read more

Bluetree: Worship From Ireland

Bluetree: Worship From Ireland

Although Bluetree has been together for about five years, their song "God of This City" is likely to be more familiar than the band itself. But with their new CD release on March 3, people have the chance to hear more from this worship band. Aaron Boyd (lead vocals/guitar), Andy McCann (bass), Pete Kernoghan (deejay) and Johnny Hobson (drums), all hailing from Belfast, Ireland, feel that they are called to lead worship, "to be creating songs and music that help people," Boyd says.

But what kind of a name is Bluetree? Boyd explains that when the group was deciding on a name, they were thinking about how Christians are to be salt and light, they are called to be different. "The simple concept of having a blue tree in a forest would stand out. A blue tree would be different; a blue tree would not be the run of the mill green tree, brown bark. ... And if you've seen a blue tree, you'd look at it, it would be a bit different than the rest and you would take a bit more notice of that tree." read more

The Now and Not Yet

The Now and Not Yet

By Jeremy Riddle, Varietal Records.

Jeremy Riddle's latest CD opens with "Christ Is Risen," a song celebrating the resurrection and challenging believers to go tell the world. "Bless His Name," an album standout, is a clarion call to believers: "Come, let us sing for joy / And let us shout aloud to our King / Come, let us worship God / Lifting holy hands / Bless His name" The heartfelt ballad "As Above, So Below" examines what we struggle with on earth then pleads directly to the Father in Heaven to come and to let His kingdom come. "Among the Poor" was inspired by the revelation that worship is more about ministering to others. "To Be Like You" carries a lighthearted melody but with a cry to be changed to "reflect the God I know." "Prayer for the Church" is a timely and much-needed song for the church today: "We're praying no more compromises / No more moral crisis / Tonight may she move and act as You / No more small divisions / No more lack of wisdom / Tonight may she move and act as You." Believers individually and collectively with their churches should sing this prayer. Riddle's melodies and thoughtful lyrics will ushers listeners into the presence of God, but they will also gain fresh understanding and insight as they worship. Click here to preorder this CD. read more

Small Sacrifice

Small Sacrifice

By Twila Paris, Koch Records.

Music veteran Twila Paris is back with an album that until recently was only available at LifeWay Christian Stores. Paris, whose career has spanned three decades and produced dozens of hit singles, offers a solid collection of gentle pop that's in keeping with her past work. Though far from edgy or innovative, this clean-sounding album is quite good at points, particularly with "You Lead Me," which has a jazz piano motif that reminds one of Ginny Owens, and "Alleluia," a pretty ballad that channels Amy Grant. It's probably the best song here, though "We Know Love" and "You Are a Great God" are good and occasionally offer just the right touch. The biggest criticism here is that this album can at times seem cloying, or at least too mild-mannered. But much of this quiet music is tailor-made for a Christian women's conference-especially the snappy, "Live to Praise You"-and that's undoubtedly the target audience for this pleasant collection of biblically based songs. Click here to purchase this CD. read more

The Coming Israel Awakening

The Coming Israel Awakening

By James W. Goll, Chosen, softcover, 272 pages, $14.99.

This book starts with a bang, detailing a 2006 vision of an angel appearing before James Goll, clothed in a glowing robe and gold sash emblazoned with the words: "Israel Awakening." And, it never lets up, delivering a combination of history lesson, prophetic revelation and a stirring call to action. Many are likely to feel embarrassed reading the author's recap of the Church's shameful history, which ultimately helped fuel Adolph Hitler's murderous elimination of six million Jews. Echoing the cries of "never again!" heard in Israel, Goll urges Christians to let this be their watchword in standing against the anti-Semitism that is rising again across the world. The Coming Israel Awakening is also excellent resource material, including an overview of Israel's history, a recap of revivals and Holy Spirit movements, and a list of referral ministries. It will also inspire readers with such details as Christianity being the world's leading faith (twice the growth rate of Islam), the mushrooming of Christianity in Africa and the explosion of conversions since Israel's rebirth in 1948. Click here to purchase this book. read more

Hollywood on Fire

Hollywood on Fire

Pisces Productions

When I was a teenager, I wanted to be an actress. But I decided that I couldn't be one because I didn't want to have to take roles that compromised my Christian values. But after watching the new documentary Hollywood on Fire, I realized that I could have gone to Hollywood without compromising my faith. There are many Christians who have done just that, and this film features interviews with a variety of people who have worked in front of and behind the cameras while maintaining their faith and integrity.

It can be said that as movies go, there goes society. I saw how this could be true when I learned the history of Hollywood. It originally began as a Christian community, and churches were the first theaters. But eventually the church lost, or gave up, its involvement and influence. Ted Baher, who shares an impressive amount of history throughout the film, says when the church was involved the films didn't include immoral and violent content, and the crime rate was lower; but when the church retreated, the films were filled with violent and sexual content, and the crime rate increased. I understood more than ever how important it is for Christians to be involved in every aspect of storytelling, whether on the big screen or on television. read more

3-2-1 Penguins!: Blast in Space!

What's the Big Idea

Zidgel, Midgel, Fidgel and Kevin are back in 3-2-1 Penguins!: Blast in Space! Big Idea's loveable space cadets return for three new episodes. The quartet and brother and sister Jason and Michelle have to face giant ants, dancing tikis and a volcano on the verge of eruption. There is always a lot of fun with this group around. But the stories also teach kids lessons from the book of Proverbs about patience, diligence and compassion. This 66-minute DVD, available in stores Feb. 28, also offers commentary, preview, how-to-draw segments and so much more. Click here to preorder Blast in Space! And earlier this month, Big Idea also released the latest VeggieTales DVD Abe and the Amazing Promise. Bob the Tomato is trying to direct the story about Abraham and Sarah and how they waited on God to fulfill His promise. But Bob has to contend with the wacky French peas film crew and spitting camels, and everyone's patience is running out. This Bible story with the VeggieTales touch will teach kids that even though it isn't easy to be patient, it is always worth the wait. Also included on this DVD is "Blunders in the Boo-Boo-Ville" (guess who stars in this segment? Yep, Larry the Cucumber). Click here to purchase this DVD. read more

sarah's choice

It's a Wrap ... Well Almost

Christian recording artist, author, conference speaker and now actress Rebecca St. James has only a few more scenes to film to wrap Sarah's Choice. In her film debut St. James plays the lead character, Sarah--who doesn't exactly have the same life values St. James has. Sarah is a career-minded, single woman who gets pregnant and is faced with a life-changing choice. St. James, a long-time advocate of abstinence, said this movie appealed to her because it allowed her to share the pro-life message. "We live in a very real world where scores of young women every day are being impacted by the heart-wrenching issues and life-changing choices that my character is suddenly forced to come face to face with. I feel it's an important film with a godly message that I am praying will profoundly touch lives" she said. This film is scheduled to release this fall. For more information on Rebecca St. James, visit www.rsjames.com. read more

Brian Zahnd: Encourage Yourself in God

Brian Zahnd: Encourage Yourself in God

To help and encourage his congregation, Brian Zahnd, founder and senior pastor of Word of Life Church in St. Joseph, Missouri, developed a sermon series based on the story of David at Ziklag in 1 Samuel 30. When David and his men returned to Ziklag, they found that the Amalekites had invaded the city, burned their homes, ransacked their possessions, and kidnapped their wives, sons and daughters. This was surely the worst day of their lives. But David did 10 things when faced with this horrible reality. In his new book, What to Do on the Worst Day of Your Life, Zahnd discusses David's 10 responses and how we can follow his example. Here is an excerpt from the book, Step No. 3: "Encourage Yourself in God."

David could sink into the black hole of depression and give up and quit. Or he could ?ght back. But before David could ?ght, he would have to get his strength and courage back. As David looked around him, he saw nothing but discouraged and down­cast men. David had no one to encourage him, so he had only one recourse: He "encouraged himself in the Lord his God" (1 Sam. 30:6, KJV). read more

Follow You

Follow You

By Hillsong Kids, Integrity Music.

Follow You is a rousing collection of songs wrapped in melodies that will immediately captures kids' attention and spirits. From the get-go children will sing and praise-and bounce and head-bob. Even the most reserved child (or parent) will get into the groove hearing the young audience sing along. The title track is a fun, energetic, rocking song about prayer and declares that "nothing will ever stop me from living for You." "Spinning Around" reminds us that God is everywhere and His love is deep and wide. The slower ballad "Trust and Obey" is a song of commitment to doing what God says. A highlight is "I'm So Glad/You Are Here (The Same Power)." Hearing the younger lead vocalists leading the crowd in declaring their need for Jesus is particularly moving. The music on this CD is certainly geared to a young audience, but there is nothing childish about the lyrics and truths presented. Children will be continually encouraged to devote themselves to the all-powerful, all-loving, ever present God. The fun energy on this live recording will remind kids that God is not boring-a reminder "big church" needs from time to time. Kids can also join in the action with the DVD, which features music, memory verses, teachings, funny moments and more. Click here to order the CD.

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The Prophetic Church

The Prophetic Church

By R. Loren Sandford, Chosen, softcover, 224 pages, $14.99.

In a world of increasing spiritual darkness, Christians are crying out for a great revival to sweep the land. But according to R. Loren Sandford, senior pastor of New Song Fellowship in Denver, real culture-changing revival must come through the emergence of prophetic lighthouse churches. These communities are characterized by focusing on God's presence, allowing the freedom for God to move, cultivating a culture of honor and providing a healing atmosphere. Sandford provides many biblical and personal examples of the functioning of a prophetic lighthouse church, and shows the impact it can have on the culture when passion for God and the unity of the believers replaces formality and indifference. His message is not one of condemnation, but of encouragement and hope that lighthouse churches will rise up and be beacons of God's love and grace in a dark land. read more

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