By Jack Hayford, Regal Books,
softcover, 152 pages, $9.99.
No-nonsense straight talk is what pastor and author Jack Hayford delivers in his newest book, Fatal Attractions: Why Sex Sins Are Worse Than Others. A great communicator, Hayford reiterates that God forgives and cleanses individuals from sex sins as easily as other sins. But he warns readers that the consequences of these sins may remain for a lifetime. Sex sins do more damage to individuals, marriages, families and even societies as a whole than other sins. They affect people in body, soul and spirit.
Hayford delicately balances proclaiming hope of recovery for those who have already messed up and yet holding out the promise and possibility of living pure for those who have not. He also makes it clear that he is speaking to Christians who want to live under the lordship of Jesus Christ; he doesn’t expect the unconverted to understand these principles or have the power to live them.
And for the non-Christians who open this book, Hayford doesn’t leave them without hope. An appendix includes prayers for salvation, being filled with the Holy Spirit and deliverance. The prevalence of deception surrounding promiscuous sex makes this book a valuable tool for today’s church.
Deborah L. Delk
From Zero to Eternity in 60 Seconds Flat
By Wendell Smith, Charisma
House, softcover, 180 pages, $10.99.
Wendell Smith, senior pastor of the City Church in Seattle, provides believers with a quick and simple guide on how to evangelize in a matter of minutes in From Zero to Eternity in 60 Seconds Flat. Smith, who takes an assertive approach to being a witness, exhorts readers to open their eyes to see the many opportunities Christians are given each day to evangelize.
Getting to the point quickly, Smith offers multiple lists, ranging from Scripture verses on evangelism to places Christians normally would not think of to evangelize. He also provides “door openers” such as, “Are you ready for heaven?” and “God knows where you are, God knows where you need to be and only God knows how to get you there.”
With wisdom and sensitivity, Smith addresses being led by the Spirit, the gifts of the Spirit and prayer–all essential for effective evangelism–making this book suitable for readers who appreciate the value of making the most of every encounter with the lost.
By Francine Rivers, Tyndale House
Publishers, hardcover, 232 pages, $14.99.
Award-winning author Francine Rivers’ newest series, Sons of Encouragement, begins with its first novella, The Priest, a story about Moses’ brother and encourager, Aaron. Similar in style to her Lineage of Grace series, which highlighted the lives of women in the Bible whom God included in the lineage of Christ, this series highlights men in the Bible who played a key role in bringing the story of redemption.
Rivers stays true to the biblical narrative’s outline, adding insightful details that give a richer understanding of what may have been happening between the lines in the lives of these characters. Readers will see their own human nature in the life of Aaron as he battles fear, envy and doubt in order to overcome failure and to fulfill his calling from God.
Scriptural portions and questions are included in the book for personal devotion or group study. The Priest will certainly prove to be an encouragement to those who read it.
Deborah L. Delk
A Delirious Summer
By Ray Blackston, Revell,
softcover, 336 pages, $12.99.
A Delirious Summer, literary sequel to Ray Blackston’s Flabbergasted, takes you into the psyche of a single man, Neil, a language teacher and missionary living in Ecuador. Based on a whimsical suggestion from one of his students, Jay–who found love in the first novel–Neil searches for Miss Right in South Carolina, during his summer furlough.
As he encounters many of the same quirky characters from the first novel, Neil experiences life-altering events and exhilarating adventures. A thrill-seeking blonde, a zany Italian and a rule-abiding redhead lead Ladies of the Quest, girls ever ready to church-hop in search of Mr. Right. Neil quickly discovers that the jungles of Ecuador are no match for what he encounters in the jungles of dating, and even there, he finds there are people in need everywhere and that a missionary is never truly on furlough.
A humorous yet thought-provoking novel about dating, church-hopping, friendship and missions, A Delirious Summer is an enjoyable romantic escape that single as well as married individuals won’t want to put down.
Debra L. Edgar
By Jerry B. Jenkins, Tyndale House
Publishers, hardcover, 348 pages, $24.99.
As the dramatic saga of special agent Paul Stepola continues in the second book of the unnamed trilogy that began with Soon, the born-again agent is hot on the heels of the bomber who took down the Eiffel Tower and Big Ben with simultaneous explosions.
Keeping secret his newfound faith while on assignment for the government to root out believers in Christ, Stepola is on the verge of being discovered because his father-in-law, a former war hero, thinks Stepola has become sympathetic to Christians. If discovered, he could lose his wife and kids and, possibly, his life.
The bomber, meanwhile, takes credit for an ultimatum to the new world government when it is announced all believers must register or be executed. But when the bomber is killed in an attempt to capture him, many scoff at the ultimatum, and any doubts that Stepola had crossed over to the other side are erased.
However, the ultimatum is fulfilled by God with a plague on unbelieving families that surely will heighten Stepola’s anxiety about being discovered in the final book.
Larry J. Leech II
A Call to Worship: Live in D.C.
By Stephen Hurd, Integrity Music.
Stephen Hurd, a new Integrity Gospel artist, just released his debut project titled A Call to Worship. Hurd, a native of Washington, D.C., has been a worship leader at some of the largest and most influential churches.
He gained fans with two independent projects but now introduces himself to the world on the first cut, “Let It Rise,” remade with a smooth, sweet orchestral arrangement. He also includes “Cry Out O Zion,” a Caribbean-flavored tune, and the jazzy “Rejoice.”
Flowing into worship, Hurd leads listeners into God’s presence on “Lead Me to the Rock.” He also wrote “Philippians 4:13,” which is inspiring and moving with the beautiful background vocals of Hurd’s group, Corporate Worship.
“Undignified Praise (I Will Dance, I Will Sing),” written by worship artist Matt Redman, is a hand-clapping, foot-stomping tune beckoning listeners to take an active part in the praise experience. The Spirit keeps flowing with “The Oil of Your Anointing,” featuring melodious saxophone solos from James Cheeks.
This is a wonderful project from one of praise and worship’s most noted leaders.
By Brian Doerkson, Integrity Music.
For Brian Doerkson, his newest worship project must have felt like coming home. Recorded live in his hometown of Abbotsford, British Columbia, it’s quite the hometown effort, with a 75-voice chorus, children’s choir and the Mennonite Jazz Committee all pitching in to help.
Doerkson, who is known as the writer of “Come, Now Is the Time to Worship,” leads the experience with capable yet low-key vocals. Several songs deserve extra attention, including the opening celebration of the title song, which also benefits from vocals by Doerkson’s father and daughter in the closing reprise.
A men’s chorus heartily sings “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God,” setting the stage for the guitar pop of “Fortress 144.” The Jazz Committee blends perfectly on the reworking of the classic “Great Is Thy Faithfulness,” a duet with Brenda Janz.
By alternating tempos and moods, Doerkson has created a fine release with songs that could be easily incorporated into church worship.
Sumo of the Opera
By VeggieTales, Big Idea Inc.
VeggieTales friends are back with a lesson from Hebrews 10:36. Sumo of the Opera teaches the importance of perseverance.
This Rocky-style flick features Larry the Italian Scallion as a wrestler who does not follow through. But when Larry has his eye on a prize, he is willing to enter the ring to face Apollo Gourd. But will the Italian Scallion persevere even though he’s outweighed?
VeggieTales movies wouldn’t be complete without silly songs. This time it’s “Schoolhouse Polka.” A clever, silent vignette featuring Three Veggie Stooges, of course based on the classic trio, reiterates the lesson. It’s available on VHS as well as DVD–which includes extra features such as a maze game, Veggie karaoke, coloring pages and more.
Classic VeggieTales. Classic fun!
Houghton Celebrates Diversity
We don’t play black artists,” Christian radio stations told Integrity Music when it was promoting Live From Another Level, the new CD by Israel Houghton and New Breed.
Houghton, a worship leader at Lakewood Church in Houston, is not deterred. “It creates a vacuum of challenge for me to be an advocate. I’m half-black, half-white, raised in a Hispanic church. I love the meshing of these cultures.”
Houghton’s songwriting for the last 14 years reflects that blend, and at Lakewood Church he is at home among the culturally diverse congregation of 30,000. In most churches, though, Houghton finds that Sunday morning worship services are segregated.
Houghton says: “It’s sad there’s still a skin-tone issue. … In heaven are there sections? A black section? A white section?”
Houghton is motivated even more because he was born of a white teenager shunned for getting pregnant by her black boyfriend. Pressured to abort, Houghton’s mother ran away, was led to the Lord and named him after reading about Israel in the Bible.
He now feels like the captain of an all-star team. All 14 members of New Breed also lead music in their own churches. The group spreads a message that crosses cultural, generational and denominational boundaries. Houghton says New Breed creates interactive worship for “an audience of one; everything is lyrically geared toward ministering to God.”
CHARISMATIC TOP SELLERS
1. Pigs in the Parlor
Frank and Ida Mae Hammond
(Impact Christian Books)
2. Total Forgiveness
R.T. Kendall (Charisma House)
3. A Divine Revelation of Hell
Mary K. Baxter (Whitaker House)
4. The Three Battlegrounds
5. Matters of the Heart
Juanita Bynum (Charisma House)
6. Prison to Praise
Merlin R. Carothers (Merlin R. Carothers)
7. Heaven Is So Real
Choo Thomas (Creation House Press)
8. A Divine Revelation of Heaven
Mary K. Baxter (Whitaker House)
9. The Tongue
Charles Capps (Harrison House)
10. Blessing or Curse: You Can Choose
Derek Prince (Chosen)