Operation Desert Light
By Brother Andrew and Al Janssen,
Revell, softcover, 297 pages, $14.99.
You'll feel as if you're in an action movie when you read along with Brother Andrew and Al Janssen on their daring missions to the Middle East. Since 1955, Brother Andrew, author of God's Smuggler, and his Open Doors ministry have supplied millions of Bibles and training to churches around the world that are experiencing persecution and discrimination. For the last 15 years Brother Andrew has made expeditions twice a year to seek out Christians in the Middle East, learn about their conditions and needs, and do whatever he could to strengthen them. This book tells the stories of those expeditions. With him, readers will meet the families living among terrorist bombings and snipers and corruption. You'll see Brother Andrew's grit when his outreach includes Arabs and Palestinians, even Yasser Arafat. Though written to inspire teen and young adult audiences, Operation Desert Light puts faces and feelings to the Middle East conflict and makes missions an exciting venture to support.
By Rebecca St. James, Warner Faith,
softcover, 320 pages, $16.99.
Compiled by Rebecca St. James, with several contributing authors, Sister Freaks is a 12-week devotional containing stories about women who have chosen to live uprooted and victorious lives for God. From the story of abbess Claire of Assisi to that of Marolda, who, after two abortions and facing a third unwanted pregnancy, received God's forgiveness and call to ministry, the stories here are relevant and inspiring. Sister Freaks: Stories of Women Who Gave Up Everything for God brings an inventive approach to what is often a cliché area of Christian publishing. Although written more as a teen devotional, the book's strong gospel message and engaging stories make it a valuable college outreach tool as well.
Sarah J. Cobb
Sex and the Single Soul
By Jack W. Hayford, Regal,
softcover, 160 pages, $9.99.
Father figure and pastor Jack W. Hayford offers warm, straightforward encouragement and challenge in his new book, Sex and the Single Soul: Guarding Your Heart and Mind in a World of Empty Promises. Hayford points out that every “single soul” is individually accountable to God for walking in integrity and purity-married or not. He also offers a fresh viewpoint on single life: “Singleness isn't second-class-it is the true freedom to pursue what God has for your life now. And now stretches to tomorrow and the day after that until the day someone comes within that embrace, not to separate you from God but to change the nature of your singleness.” This much-needed paradigm shift will comfort singles who encounter the stigma of singleness within the church and within themselves.
Anna Flynn Stewart
By Bob Sorge, Oasis House,
softcover, 192 pages, $12.
Bob Sorge has been part of the ministry team at the International House of Prayer of Kansas City since it began its 24/7 nonstop prayer ministry. He lays out the dynamics of what happens when you don't give up praying in difficult circumstances. Not only will you please God, but if you survive being distracted, tempted and discouraged, you'll also be changed yourself. Sorge writes: “While we're still waiting for justice, the intimacy cultivated through unrelenting prayer makes us fruitful even during the wait.” Another payoff is seeing how God will avenge you, with as much as a sevenfold return. He uses the examples of Job; Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist; and Naomi, mother-in-law of Ruth. Some readers may contend with Sorge's advice on depression and seeking medical help. Still, because he's a victim of a faulty operation that damaged his voice, Sorge relates to feeling imprisoned by an infirmity. He encourages others to do as he does, and pray relentlessly.
Behind the Screen
Edited by Spencer Lewerenz and
Barbara Nicolosi, Baker Books,
softcover, 224 pages, $14.99.
In 1999, a group of Christian producers and writers got together and started a nonprofit program called Act One to provide training to Christians who want to make a difference in Hollywood. This valuable organization has provided classes for dozens of people who are now signed to major talent agencies, writing scripts and helping shape modern entertainment. Behind the Screen: Hollywood Insiders on Faith, Film and Culture is a direct result of their work. Written by the faculty of Act One and developed from the program's curriculum, the book contains a variety of essays from Hollywood insiders and thinkers. Chapters examine the history of Hollywood, filmmakers who are changing the way we view our world and what it takes to survive in the entertainment industry. Contributors include Ralph Winter (X-Men) and Janet Scott Batchler (Batman Forever). This is a valuable resource for anyone who feels called to shape our culture through prayer or personal involvement.
God Is My Success
By Larry Julian, Warner Faith,
hardcover, 256 pages, $19.99.
Don't be put off by the simplistic title. You might miss a book worth reading, whether you're up for some life coaching or just curious about Larry Julian's Dr. Phil-like advice on living a Christian life. Julian claims people take charge of what they should surrender to God and yet don't take responsibility for the things for which they're accountable. We run from pain, for example, but if we embrace it, Julian says, “it clarifies reality and becomes a catalyst for change.” The illustrating stories are dramatic. An advertising agency owner, who lost everything nearly overnight, traded in a controlling spirit for a giving one. Rhonda Anderson went from being a shy stay-at-home mom to co-founder of Creative Memories, with the confidence that she was helping people see God in their lives via unique photo albums. Julian is an executive coach and author of God Is My CEO. He offers a plan that will allow anyone to find his destiny, financial freedom, confidence, peace, and true success if he knows what to surrender and how to take charge.
Purifying the Prophetic
By R. Loren Sandford, Chosen,
softcover, 208 pages, $12.99.
In view of the proliferation of prophetic ministries, Loren Sandford warns that the Western church is caught up in self-absorption and calls for the cleansing of such ministries through discernment and humility. Sanford discusses his own personal struggles to keep his gifting pure. “The true prophetic word breaks down and builds up. It plucks up the old and plants the new. It gets us ready for the move of God and releases the power to accomplish it.” He is senior pastor of New Song Fellowship in Denver and son of John and Paula Sandford, prominent founders of inner-healing ministry. Alongside his parents he saw multitudes resort to blame instead of hearing the message of repentance and sacrifice. He sees the same tendency today and tackles the “word of faith” and “prosperity” doctrines as distortions and not true Christianity. “Too often they have served the culture of self, rather than the purposes of the kingdom of God.”
By Bill Bright and Jack Cavanaugh, Howard Publishing, 368 pages,
It's the late 1800s and the Great Awakening is beginning to wane in America. A young Yale College student comes under attack for his faith. He discovers that a secret society is trying to hinder the revival on campus. This political thriller will remind readers of the power of the Holy Spirit to change both individual lives and an entire nation.
By Davis Bunn, WestBow Press,
hardcover, 300 pages, $19.99.
The son of a politician, FBI agent Matt Kelly sets out to discover his mother's murderer. Officer Connie Morales, demoted to police deskwork, decides to help Kelly. The clues lead Kelly to his father's soldier days in Vietnam, which could threaten the elder Kelly's quest for Senate. Matt and Connie reveal secrets of their own as they search for truth.
YOUTH Landon Snow and the Shadows of Malus Quidam
By R.K. Mortenson, Barbour Publishing, hardback,
204 pages, $9.97.
Landon Snow and the Shadows of Malus Quidam
In this sequel to the first Landon Snow book, Landon returns to the fantasy world of Wonderland. A war is going on, and he must fight the wicked Malus Quidam to save his sister from Malus' evil power. This series uses adventure and fantasy to teach spiritual truths.
MUSIC I Stand for You
By Tree63, Inpop Records.
I Stand for You
All the way from South Africa, Tree63 is back with its latest addition to a rich roster of worship albums, I Stand for You. The album is paced with 13 rock 'n' roll worship cuts and edgy vocals that make you want to dance. The recording opens with the sugary, upbeat “No Other,” which is filled with contagious guitar riffs and punchy rockish appeal. A handful of songs, including “Treasure,” “King” and “Amazing Grace” are all live concert recordings. The crowd's energy and applause will put listeners into concert mode. I Stand for You is packed with energy and an unmistakable sense of optimism and hope. It's a CD you can listen to a dozen times and not grow tired of it.
The Mission Bell
By Delirious, Sparrow Records.
Delirious, the band from across the pond, is back with its new rock-infused worship album, The Mission Bell. After making a splash in modern worship for more than a decade, the band's style continues to evolve into something edgier and more passionate than ever before. The album opens with the hopeful, melodic “Stronger” and closes with the softer ballad, “I'll See You.” Throughout, the recording rings with a loud and clear call to action. “Our God Reigns” raises issues of social justice while “Now Is the Time” serves as a call to be the city on a hill generation. Artist tobyMac joins the cast on a remake of the hymn “On Christ the Solid Rock,” shortened to “Solid Rock.” Overall, the album delivers alternative rock worship that's worth listening to over and over again.
By Da' T.R.U.T.H.,
Cross Movement Records.
When gospel artist Kirk Franklin describes a Christian rap CD as “hip-hop at its finest,” it's worth taking note. As Christian hip-hop has fought to mature, artists have either offered great music with shallow lyrics, or a strong message backed by outdated beats. Some lacked both musicianship and lyrical skill. But with his sophomore release, The Faith, Philadelphia native Da' T.R.U.T.H. (aka Emmanuel Lambert Jr.) couples grinding hip-hop beats with lyrics that, like other artists affiliated with Cross Movement Ministries, borders on Christian apologetics. Part evangelist and part teacher, Lambert, who holds degrees from Philadelphia Biblical University and the Institute of Jewish Studies, raps as much about the Christian lifestyle as the reality of God and authority of Scripture. A standout cut is “The Portrait (Da Vinci Code Snapshots),” in which T.R.U.T.H. exposes the deception laced within the popular novel that is soon to become a major film. T.R.U.T.H.'s music will keep heads bobbing (especially fans of mainstream rapper Jay Z), but it will also get listeners thinking about the one who is Lord of all-including hip-hop culture.
Adrienne S. Gaines
An Invitation to Worship
By Byron Cage, Gospo Centric.
Artists such as Byron Cage have helped fuel praise and worship's popularity in the African-American church. Dubbed The Prince of Praise, Cage has released his sophomore Gospo Centric offering, An Invitation to Worship. Cage, the senior minister of church worship and music administration at Ebenezer AME Church in Fort Washington, Md., recorded the project at his old stomping ground, New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Atlanta. Living up to its name, the CD invites the listener to partake in worship, especially on breathtaking ballads such as the title tune, “Invitation,” and “Broken but I'm Healed,” written by noted songwriter V. Michael McKay. The lead single, “I Will Bless the Lord,” and the J. Moss duet, “We Love You,” are upbeat church songs. Favorites include the worshipful “Majesty,” the Thomas Whitfield-penned gem “In Case You've Forgotten” and a soulful rendition of Michael W. Smith's “Breathe.” Cage delivers a stunning project with An Invitation to Worship.
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