Sight and Sound


After God's Own Heart
By Mike Bickle, Charisma House,
hardcover, 256 pages, $19.99.

Mike Bickle, a leader in the 24-7 prayer and worship movement, believes that God has set worldwide prayer in motion to prepare the church for a great harvest of souls. Bickle's perspective comes out of a sense of the prophetic, of what he believes God is doing in this time.

In After God's Own Heart, Bickle examines the life of the Old Testament figure David and finds that he wanted to see a full release of God's power in his generation. Bickle has that same desire and uses David as a model of what God wants for His people today, starting with true intimacy. He proposes that David was named a "man after God's own heart" for one reason--his unrelenting passion to search out and understand the emotions of God.

Peppered with humor--"God is not a boring fuddy-duddy who wears slippers and putters around heaven feeling constantly perturbed"--After God's Own Heart is written by an author who practices what he preaches in his own life and ministry. However, recognizing that many believers do not yet fully appreciate what it means to find pleasure in being "married to God," he gently leads readers into a scriptural understanding of God's loving character.
Christine D. Johnson

Out of the Crescent Shadows:
Leading Muslim Women Into the Light of Christ

By Ergun and Emir Caner,
New Hope, softcover, 160 pages, $9.99.

Authors of the best-selling Unveiling Islam, brothers Ergun and Emir Caner bring a knowledge of and compassion for Muslim women that is born of their own experience. Themselves converts from Islam to Christianity, the Caners subsequently led their mother and grandmother to Christ. Now the authors challenge the Christian church--in particular, American Christian women--to lead Muslim women out of a veiled existence into the light of Christ.

Although directed to a general audience, this release will find its primary readers among Christian missionaries, especially those in areas heavily populated with Muslims. Missionaries will value the wisdom of understanding the Islamic religion and the texts it holds sacred before attempting to proselytize. Only then can the missionary reassure the would-be Islamic convert with appropriate biblical authority of the divinity and lordship of Jesus, who is generally considered important to the Muslim only as a prophet to announce Muhammad as the final prophet of Allah.

The Caners provide the necessary knowledge of Islam. In 10 chapters, they reveal what's inside the heart as well as the mind of a Muslim woman. She will love the Lord with all her heart, soul, mind and strength, for her conversion will cost her the love and fellowship of her own family and friends. She will know only too well what it means to trust fully in the Lord.

Yet, while providing such knowledge of Islam, the Caners emphasize the best way to win souls--unconditional love, which "breaks down barriers and builds bridges more effectively than a thousand training sessions in evangelism methodologies and programs. Love--unconditional love that mirrors the love the Father has for you--is the means by which grace is communicated." In the end, they imply, it is our hearts, not our minds, that deliver the truth.
Pamela Robinson

Transforming Children Into Spiritual Champions
By George Barna, Regal, hardcover,
140 pages, $15.99.

After writing several books on teens and devoting two decades to adult ministry, George Barna has concluded that in order to win the battle for the hearts and minds of America's children, the church must make children's spiritual health its top priority. Transforming Children Into Spiritual Champions is the result of two years of nationwide research to determine the beliefs of today's youth, their religious involvement and how they are being ministered to by churches.

In interviews with 907 teenagers, Barna found that by the time teens reach the age of 13, their spiritual beliefs are set and usually carry through to adulthood. This makes it imperative that children are reached while still in their formative years, asserts Barna, who makes a credible case for his theory using statistics and Scriptures.

Barna challenges churches and parents to partner in ministering to children through effective programs that make use of team leadership and teach spiritual truths in an age-appropriate manner. Many pastors, youth workers and parents will find this book a helpful tool in refocusing their energies and setting priorities for children's ministry.
Jane Casselberry

Making It Right When You Feel Wronged
By Jeff Wickwire, Chosen Books,
softcover, 192 pages, $12.99.

While his church was being renovated, Jeff Wickwire was betrayed by a trusted builder and as a result, lost $10,000 of church funds. Wickwire had a choice to obey God and let Him handle the consequences or to become bitter with unresolved hurt and anger.

Thankfully, but not without difficulty, he chose the former; but in his 25-plus years as a pastor, he has seen the devastating consequences when believers choose to take matters into their own hands.

In Making It Right When You Feel Wronged, Wickwire uses the experiences of biblical characters such as Absalom and Peter to illustrate the consequences of good or bad choices when offense comes. He looks at what Jesus taught about handling offenses and guides readers toward the freedom that comes only in forgiveness.

Although the principles espoused in Making It Right are useful to every Christian who has been wronged, pastors and church leaders will especially appreciate Wickwire's practical insights in dealing with dissension in the church.
Christine D. Johnson


Second Touch
By Bodie and Brock Thoene,
Tyndale House, hardcover, 360 pages, $22.99.

Award-winning authors Bodie and Brock Thoene are releasing their second book, Second Touch, from their latest series The A.D. Chronicles. Famous for their historical fiction, they have built poignant stories around the people whom Jesus touched in the gospels. Political intrigue, suspense, romance and gentle humor fill the pages.

Picking up the threads from the preceding novel, First Light, the authors show Peniel, the boy born blind who was healed by Yeshua, facing new challenges in his attempt to follow his healer as the enemies of Yeshua hunt him. Two new characters introduced are Lily, a young woman stricken with leprosy who is searching for the Messiah, and Simon, a proud Pharisee whose life is almost destroyed by his self-righteousness.

Besides weaving a wonderful tapestry of love, healing, repentance and redemption, the authors fill these stories with deep spiritual insights. As always, this husband-and-wife writing team have done their homework investigating rich meanings in the Scriptures as well as researching the culture of the first century.

Old and new Thoene fans will not be disappointed. This book will make readers see the Savior in a new light and cause them to fall in love all over again.
Deborah L. Delk

Dark Blue
By Melody Carlson, NavPress,
softcover, 208 pages, $12.99.

Melody Carlson has written another winner with Dark Blue, a story that will reach the deepest part of a teen's heart while accurately portraying a teen's world. Dark Blue is the tale of Kara Hendricks and her journey from being the codependent, lifelong best friend of Jordan Ferguson to being the independent sophomore whose best friend is Jesus.

When Jordan announces she will be trying out for the cheerleading squad, Kara decides to help her. Kara is sure all the "cool kids" who are members of the squad will reject Jordan, but Jordan is chosen for the team. In no time, Kara is feeling rejected and lonely and begins to associate with a new group of kids at school.

As her friendship with art-groupie Edgar Peebles grows deeper, Kara discovers the secret behind his kindness; Edgar's best friend is Jesus. Soon, Kara asks Jesus into her lonely heart and awakens the next morning no longer lonely.

The end of Dark Blue holds a nice surprise as readers discover new strength in Kara. Jordan decides to become friends with her again, but only if she "loses the losers," and Kara finds the confidence to say goodbye to her old best friend and keep the new one.
Eva Marie Everson

The Chase
Susan Wales and Robin Shope, Revell,
hardcover, 368 pages, $12.99.

Jill Lewis, star investigative reporter for a major Washington, D.C., newspaper, is at the top of her game. She is ready to bathe in the career-making limelight of uncovering a blockbuster scandal about a presidential candidate's involvement in a babies-for-sale adoption ring. Instead she finds herself fired and her life endangered.

As Jill continues the investigation on her own from the supposed security of her hometown, she discovers her own family played a role in the scandal, and people she'd known all her life are now suspect. Enter the one person who can help, and though Jill is attracted to him, she finds that he, too, has a hidden agenda.

Through intricate and unexpected plot twists, authors Susan Wales and Robin Shope allow the reader to watch Jill evolve emotionally and spiritually. It's not until Jill ultimately surrenders herself to God's plan that she becomes strong enough to face the truth about what she's uncovered about herself and the Washington scandal.
Sandra Carroll


Enter the Worship Circle: Third Circle
By various artists, Blue Renaissance Music.

Touted as one of the best-selling independent CDs and introducing songs such as "You Are So Good to Me" and "I Will Not Forget You," the first Enter the Worship Circle debuted in 1999 and was later followed by Second Circle, both of which garnered much critical acclaim. Third Circle continues the organic worship experience with a new collection of original songs.

Recording without studio rehearsals, artists Ben and Robin Pasley, Barry and Michelle Patterson, and Kate Hurley create a stripped-down, spontaneous worship event evident especially on the upbeat "Together." Highlights include the stirring energy of "To You," the simple praise of "God Is Good," engaging percussion on "For My Ashes" and the tender testimony of "I Don't Know."

With a proven track record for moving and original worship music, the artists on this newest entry should garner attention from listeners seeking to incorporate new tunes into corporate worship.
DeWayne Hamby

His Passion
By various artists, Integrity.

His Passion is an Integrity compilation and companion product to the media group's devotional by the same name about Christ's last days on Earth. Paired with the book, it is probably a powerful fit.

Alone, the collection of inspirational praise and worship by the singers Integrity uses most (worship leaders such as Lenny LeBlanc and Eoghan Heaslip, plus the Integrity Worship Singers) is middle-of-the-road musical fare centered around the impending crucifixion.

Slater Armstrong opens with the quiet "O the Passion." Other classic hymns such as "When I Survey (The Wondrous Cross)" and "Hallelujah What a Savior" are given a soothing updating here and are mixed in with the modern "Here I Am to Worship" and "Above All." Standouts include Paul Baloche's tender "Offering" and the choir's crescendo on the appropriate "Worthy Is the Lamb."
Natalie Nichols Gillespie


Life-Changing Fiction

Carol Umberger is the award-winning author of The Scottish Crown Series from Integrity Publishers. Her novel Circle of Honor won the 2000 Golden Heart Award from Romance Writers of America for Best Short Historical novel, the HOLT Medallion for Best First Book and the Inspirational Reader's Choice Award for Best Long Historical.

Umberger didn't start out writing Christian fiction. Once a member of the U.S. Air Force, she started her publishing career writing general-market romance. But she says: "It became increasingly clear to me that to incorporate faith like I wanted to, I would have to look elsewhere to sell my books. My faith is inseparable from my writing. I just didn't realize it early on. It was a growth process."

Her stories are making a difference in people's lives. "I sit in awe of what God is doing with my little stories. I had a young woman who told me I inspired her to return to her faith, and as a writer, she would now set her aim higher. Others tell me that they enjoy the stories and enjoy learning the history," she says.

About her writing Umberger says: "Faith isn't about what church we worship in or what rules we go by. It's about relationship--our relationship to God and to one another, and I am so blessed to explore those relationships with my characters. I want to write powerful fiction that reaches people. Hopefully, my stories will encourage and strengthen the faith of readers."
Cindy Crosby


1. Total Forgiveness
R.T. Kendall (Charisma House)

2. Matters of the Heart
Juanita Bynum (Charisma House)

3. Pigs in the Parlor
Frank and Ida Mae Hammond
(Impact Christian Books)

4. A Divine Revelation of Hell
Mary K. Baxter (Whitaker House)

5. The Three Battlegrounds
Francis Frangipane (Arrow Publications)

6. A Divine Revelation of Heaven
Mary K. Baxter with T.L. Lowery (Whitaker House)

7. (tie) The Final Quest
Rick Joyner (Whitaker House)

8. (tie) The Tongue: A Creative Force
Charles Capps (Harrison House)

9. Within the Gates
Rebecca R. Springer
(Christ for the Nations)

10. The Battle Belongs to the Lord
Joyce Meyer (Warner Faith)

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