The Seven Secrets
By John Hagee, Charisma House,
256 pages, hardcover, $19.99.
In this autobiographically-flavored, inspirational volume, best-selling author John Hagee shows that such qualities as attitude, persistence, prayer and faith are the keys to success. The Seven Secrets: Unlocking Genuine Greatness is a clarion call to embrace the values that have inspired great leaders, whether legends of history or quiet heroes whose determination and selflessness enabled them to move mountains.
Each chapter on the seven secrets contains seven applications, fashioning a solid, biblically-based message of motivation. But this book is also packed with riveting, real-life anecdotes that illustrate the teachings. Some will have you laughing out loud and others will tug on your heartstrings.
One of the best chapters opens the book. In it Hagee writes that while success is for everyone, it does not encompass such sacred cows as money, power, attaining goals or “having it all.” Instead, what we long for can be found in trusting–and serving–the God who makes all things possible.
Deal With It!
By Paula White, Thomas Nelson
Publishers, 241 pages, hardcover, $19.99.
In her latest release, Paula White provides a character study of 10 women of the Bible. The reader will be intrigued to find seldom recognized women–Dorcas, Gomer, the Shunammite woman and the daughters of Zelophehad–considered alongside often-scrutinized women such as Ruth, Leah, Rahab, Hannah, Mary Magdalene and Esther. The result is a candid, compassionate psychology of women that spans the centuries to offer biblical wisdom concerning the life issues women face today.
For example, focusing on Dorcas, White addresses the needs of the 21st century woman. Dorcas falls into the category of women who do too much, and her lifestyle brought on her death. (Fortunately, Peter raised her from the dead.) White dispels the Superwoman myth by emphasizing the Bible’s teaching on work. She writes that “God is calling us to audit our lives and then put our lives in balance.”
Readers will appreciate White’s personal application of the lessons. She practices what she preaches: “If you are willing to identify, confront and conquer the issues of your life–to truly deal with them–God will heal you, restore you and lead you into the destiny that He has planned for you, a destiny beyond your wildest dreams.” Prepare for victory. Deal with it!
The Cross and the Scalpel
By Gwen Wilkerson, Chosen Books,
208 pages, softcover, $12.99.
Gwen Wilkerson has been a minister’s wife for more than 50 years. Her husband, David, was a country preacher who began ministering to street gangs in New York City in 1959. His dramatic story was told in The Cross and the Switchblade. He went on to found Teen Challenge and World Challenge ministries, as well as Times Square Church.
While David’s ministry was growing, Gwen functioned behind the scenes, supporting her husband, raising their four children and facing her own health crises. Hers is a success story: She survived 16 surgeries and nine occurrences of cancer. In The Cross and the Scalpel, Gwen talks frankly about the challenges of body and spirit through which the Great Physician brought her.
The first 15 chapters of this book include events in her life through 1977–material covered in an earlier book published by the ministry titled In His Strength. Chapters 16-20 discuss her life in the last two decades. In one chapter, Gwen’s daughter Bonnie tells of her own bout with cancer.
Gwen sees herself as “a normal woman who has asked of God and received from God.” She stresses the importance of God’s Word in her life, saying she always kept her Bible close. Her honest, transparent story can minister to every woman.
By Beth Redman, Regal, 120 pages,
Beth Redman, wife of worship leader Matt Redman, has a passion for guiding Christian women through the pleasures and pitfalls of their teenage years. Unlike many authors who use a coming-of-age theme, Redman conveys an authenticity based on personal experience, giving credence to her advice to young women struggling with being “in the world” but remaining true to their Christian values.
Soul Sister lives up to its title, with a focus on the community of women who are believers and who want to live all aspects of their lives to please God. Redman goes beyond discussing the usual topic of sex before marriage and touches on issues such as the meaning of Christian friendship, being salt and light in the world, and the importance of forgiveness.
Redman is not afraid to speak the language of youth, and her writing is both charming and relevant, although her “British-isms” might be perplexing for some American readers. With enthusiasm for her subject matter and a heart for the audience she wants to reach, this author makes a real contribution to young readers.
Carried Me: The Worship Project
By Jeremy Camp, BEC Recordings.
With his deep, modern-rock-suited voice and striking lyrics, Jeremy Camp made a name for himself as an artist in the last year with hits “I Believe” and “Right Here.” What fans may not know is that Camp got his start leading worship at Bible studies and church groups and still considers himself a worship leader. Camp’s
new album, Carried Me: The Worship Project, clearly displays that side of this talented singer-songwriter from the first phrase to the final word on the project–Camp whispering a reverent “Jesus.”
Camp’s original songs are cut-to-the-chase worship, with echoed refrains centering around the theme of wanting to be filled by the Lord. Original worship standouts include “Walk by Faith,” the harmonious “Revive Me” and the intriguing title track. Classics re-recorded Camp-style include his emotion-steeped vocals wrapped around “Enough” and the rocked-out “You’re Worthy of My Praise,” hands-down the most infectious track on the album.
Carried Me clearly shows that Camp is a talent that should be here to stay.
Natalie Nichols Gillespie
In the Name of Love: Artists United For Africa
By various artists, Sparrow Records.
Christian artists have responded en masse to U2 frontman Bono’s call to action for the AIDS-stricken nations of Africa. The latest evidence is In the Name of Love, a tribute to U2 by top artists in the Christian music industry, with 50 cents from each album sold going to World Vision to help fight the AIDS crisis.
The lyrics to the songs covered here clearly reveal Bono’s own Christian faith from standouts “Pride (In the Name of Love),” performed by Delirious and the elegant “Grace” by Nichole Nordeman to former hits such as “Sunday, Bloody Sunday” by Pillar and classic rock song “40,” covered by Starfield.
Some of the other U2 favorites include Jars of Clay on “All I Want Is You,” a nice fit for lead singer Dan Haseltine’s plaintive vocals, Chris Tomlin on “Where the Streets Have No Name,” Todd Agnew rocking the house on the bluesy “When Love Comes to Town” and Tait’s smooth crooning on “One.” The only misstep is the urban interpretation of “With or Without You” by Jadyn Maria and Grits, which seems out of place among this collection of rock songs.
Natalie Nichols Gillespie
Passion: Hymns Ancient and Modern
By various artists, Sparrow Records, Sixsteps Records.
The Passion movement has produced an astounding body of new worship music. But for Passion: Hymns Ancient and Modern, lead worshipers Chris Tomlin, Charlie Hall, David Crowder Band, Matt Redman and Watermark’s Christy Nockels reached into the past and drew inspiration from great church hymns that are from 100 to 1,800 years old.
From the most ancient hymn the “The Phos Hilaron” (“Hail Gladdening Light”) to the more familiar “Doxology,” there is a common thread of humility, and reverence for and honor of each member of the Trinity. Though the songs are from long ago, the interpretations are thoroughly modern. Recorded live at Passion’s Thirsty Conference, the project captures both the intimacy of worship and the exhilaration of a praise gathering.
By Delirious, Sparrow.
British rock group Delirious is back with its sixth album and latest collection of original worship songs. For the last couple of albums, Delirious seemed to struggle to decide if it is a rock band that sings about Jesus or a worship band that happens to rock.
With World Service, Delirious seems to answer the question ably with a collection of 12 tracks purposely designed to fit corporate worship services while packing a praise-filled punch. Still heavily influenced by U2 and using frontman Martin Smith’s emotive vocals to the max, these songs range musically from sweeping orchestral rock (“With You”) to the haunting piano-based lament “Mountains High.”
Opener “Grace Like a River” kicks this album into high rock ‘n’ roll gear with great guitar work reminding fans why Delirious remains an innovator on the worship music front. The first single “Rain Down” leads the charge to worship with serious guitar riffs and a catchy chorus. “Majesty (Here I Am)” adds sweeping strings and an easily adaptable corporate chorus destined to be a new classic.
Natalie Nichols Gillespie
After singer and songwriter Sara Groves found success with debut album Conversations, faith became a challenge. She was constantly touring with her husband and young son, Kirby, and working on sophomore album All Right Here.
Groves had her second son, Toby, and took a break before recording her third project. The Other Side of Something is a testament to Groves’ wrestle with faith.
She explains: “I had always told God ‘Whatever, whenever–mold me, make me, break me.’ Then I had a son, and it was hard to say: ‘Mold him. Break him.'”
Between having her sons, Groves studied the story of Job, and she got angry at the Lord.
“All my gauges were on empty. I was not feeling the joy of the Lord.”
Then a friend’s teenage son was killed in an accidental shooting. The man and his wife turned their sorrow into joy by adopting terminally ill children.
Groves says: “[I] told the Lord how unfair it was, how giving him other children wasn’t enough to replace what was lost.
“The Lord told me, ‘You go back and tell him his second family doesn’t cut it.’ Suddenly, I could see [my friend] doesn’t believe that.
“He has such joy that he will see his son again in heaven and that he has his second family here. I finally had to swallow the sovereignty pill.
“I am now in a season of total joy and gratitude.”
Natalie Nichols Gillespie
CHARISMATIC TOP SELLERS
1. Total Forgiveness
R.T. Kendall (Charisma House)
2. The Torch and The Sword
Rick Joyner (Destiny Image)
3. Pigs in the Parlor
Frank and Ida Mae Hammond
(Impact Christian Books)
4. Matters of the Heart
Juanita Bynum (Charisma House)
5. A Divine Revelation of Hell
Mary K. Baxter (Whitaker House)
6. The Final Quest
Rick Joyner (Whitaker House)
7. The Three Battlegrounds
Francis Frangipane (Arrow Publications)
8. Prison to Praise
Merlin R. Carothers (Merlin R. Carothers)
9. A Divine Revelation of Heaven
Mary K. Baxter with T.L. Lowery (Whitaker House)
10. The Battle Belongs to the Lord
Joyce Meyer (Warner Faith)