By Beth Moore, Broadman & Holman,
hardcover, 272 pages, $22.99.
The pages of Beth Moore’s Believing God are packed with 24-karat gold practical nuggets on the day-in, day-out fundamentals of exercising authentic faith. Readers are called upon to experience the faith-building principles that unlock God’s promises of all-surpassing power, productivity, peace and joy despite their life circumstances.
Designed as a nine-week study paralleling the wilderness experience of the children of Israel en route to the promised land, Moore’s book urges readers to take God at His Word. She boldly sounds a shake-up alarm to the church, comparing present Christianity, which she calls “big on systems and small on belief,” to the obvious nakedness of The Emperor’s New Clothes. Faith is the key to “close the gap between our theology and our reality,” the author asserts.
In Believing God, Moore presents a lifestyle that will inspire readers to reconnect with the God of wonders, discovering a “personalized place of divine power.” She offers a dynamic resource to equip believers to become armed and dangerous to the kingdom of darkness.
Breaking the Enemy’s Grip
By Eddie Smith, Bethany House
Publishers, softcover, 160
Many pulpits in America focus on giving as a means of defeating what ails the church. On the other hand, Eddie Smith’s Breaking the Enemy’s Grip casts an eye on forgiving and finds that a life absent of this attribute will fall short of the “abundant life” God intends for His children. The Father has forgiven us of our sins; are we not to do the same when considering offenses we have experienced?
Smith’s cross-examination of this subject is filled with heavenbreaking wisdom and some “uncommon” sense that advances our knowledge in severing the devil’s hold on what rightly belongs to us: peace of mind and independence from generational sin. The author reveals that God has not only a new future for us but a new past as well.
Among the many truths to be gleaned is that every dilemma needs a “discovery” that will grant greater freedom in Him.
J. James Estrada
By Dutch Sheets and William Ford III,
Regal Books, softcover, 200 pages, $12.99.
Dutch Sheets, senior pastor of Springs Harvest Fellowship in Colorado Springs, Colorado, believes that God wants His people to agree in prayer with past generations, creating a “synergy of the ages” that advances God’s kingdom on Earth. In History Makers, Sheets and William Ford III encourage believers to connect with the things God has done in the past and not view historical events as simply a matter of record. Sheets and Ford urge Christians to pray for the renewal of the covenants God made with their forefathers, building on His past work and, in the process, shaping the future.
One key example the authors give reveals how slaves found a way to conceal their passionate prayers for freedom so they wouldn’t be discovered by their masters. Ford, who is African American, believes that those prayers affected his family over time. The authors contend that these and other examples demonstrate that people today may be benefiting from the prayers of those in the past just as the prayers of contemporary believers may shape tomorrow.
Readers who believe in or are open to the role of prophetic prayer in this time will most appreciate History Makers. Those interested in racial reconciliation also will find much food for thought herein.
Christine D. Johnson
By Bishop T.D. Jakes,
Dexterity Sounds/EMI Gospel.
Although world-renowned pastor, author and playwright Bishop T.D. Jakes is known for his powerful messages and conferences, he has recently become a force to reckon with in the gospel music industry. His latest CD, He-Motions, is a musical compilation and companion to his book He-Motions: Even Strong Men Struggle (Putnam Publishing Group).
Backed by a speaking tour, the theme speaks to the needs of men and their specific struggles and demands. The 13-track CD opens with the “He-Motions Intro,” Jakes’ spoken words flanked by a neo-soul musical vibe. The gospel-tinged “Brothers & Friends” includes strong vocals from Michael O’Brien and Micah Stampley.
Jakes brings in some of gospel’s finest, including megachurch pastor Bishop Paul S. Morton on “It Doesn’t Matter,” Donnie McClurkin on the ballad “King Inside of Me” and newcomer Smokie Norful on “It’s All About You.”
The theme of fathers is stressed on Israel Houghton’s moving “Where Are the Fathers” and on Anointed’s Da’dra Crawford-Greathouse’s melodious song “Thanks for Staying.” “Beautiful” by Hallerin Hill gives thanks to women who have been a blessing. He-Motions successfully speaks to the needs and pressing issues of today’s man.
Nobody but Jesus
By Melba Moore,
If you grew up in the ’70s, chances are you remember Melba Moore. One of the most beautiful and talented entertainers of the decade, her accomplishments spanned stage, screen and song. Moore didn’t fare as well during the ’80s; her marriage to Charles Huggins (also her manager) ended in a highly publicized divorce that left her emotionally and financially bankrupt. But she made it through that ordeal, thanks in no small part to her faith.
Now Moore is back with a new CD. The 14 songs on Nobody but Jesus cover a lot of ground musically while remaining true to the gospel format throughout. The newer tracks–such as “Rise My Sister” (a tale of endurance that could almost be her theme song) and “Call Me”–were written mainly by either Herb Middleton or the husband-wife team of Shirley Murdock and Dale DeGrot.
But Moore also tackles older gospel standards such as “Take My Hand, Precious Lord” and “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” and makes them her own. Throughout the disc, her vocals are tremendous. If there is any justice, Nobody but Jesus will be a hit with Moore’s longstanding fans while also introducing her to the younger gospel audience.
When Silence Falls
By Tim Hughes, Worship Together.
Known as the artist behind the modern-worship classic “Here I Am to Worship,” Tim Hughes displays his skills again on his newest release, When Silence Falls. Hughes’ songs tend to gravitate toward the private and introspective, allowing the listener a window into what appears to be his own personal prayer journey. The music features Hughes’ able vocals in a Euro-pop/rock setting.
“When the Tears Fall” stands out as one of the more poignant moments of the record, finding Hughes praising God in the midst of tragedy: “I’ve known sorrow, I have known pain / But there’s one thing, that I’ll cling to / You are faithful, Jesus, You’re true.”
Piano ballad “Nothing in This World” follows a similar style, offering worship and allegiance over worldly possessions. Celebration breaks out on the bouncy “Joy Is in This Place” and the soft rock of “Beautiful One.” Other highlights include the sweet acoustic sounds of “Holy,” the crescendo of “Whole World in His Hands” and the melodic “You.” The album closes with a gentle, unrefined reprise of “Beautiful One.”
With this release, Hughes’ artistry continues to build bridges between modern praise and contemporary pop music. Passion and Delirious fans will enjoy this album.
Popular Fiction, TV Shows on VHS, DVD
Christian fiction readers can now enjoy the movie adaptation of Janette Oke’s novel Love Comes Softly (Fox Home Entertainment) on VHS and DVD.
Set in the 19th century in the American plains, this story brings a widow and widower together in a marriage of necessity. Clark and Marty struggle through the rigors of living in a harsh land and a new relationship.
Michael Landon Jr. wrote and directed this version for the Hallmark Channel. Although avid Oke fans might be disappointed with the changes made to make the plot work as a TV movie, the story still exudes the same charm and depth as the novel.
Also available on DVD from Paramount Home Entertainment are the first seasons of 7th Heaven and Touched by an Angel. The 7th Heaven collection includes 16 hours of episodes chronicling the life of the Camden family. The show tackles real-life situations.
The Touched by an Angel set includes 13 episodes as well as the series finale, commentaries and interviews. With more than 11 hours on four discs, viewers can again enjoy the stories of angels on Earth showing God’s love to people in need.
A Voice of Direction
Barbara J. Yoder grew up in the church. She says, however, her trust was damaged during her young life and that a battle with bitterness and anger turned into a study of existentialist philosophy and an atheistic worldview.
A “Damascus Road experience” and a “leap of faith” set her on the path back to God. Her story is one of overcoming an emotional life turned cold. Yoder has since become a voice of direction for a lukewarm church seeking its way: “It’s critical that righteousness be restored.”
Yoder is the founder and senior pastor of Shekinah Christian Church in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Her roots are in the modern evangelical movement, and through the years she has counted Foursquare pastor Jack Hayford and healing minister Kathryn Kuhlman as her mentors. She travels as a speaker at prophetic conferences and serves on the board of Christian International.
Growing up next door to the widow of renowned evangelist Billy Sunday, Yoder believed God had a plan for her but found the door closed. Her book The Breaker Anointing shows the Jesus she came to know, the “breaker” who bursts through the gates that loom before us. “Christ became real,” she says, “when He opened the door” and the questions of past hurts were answered with an understanding of His love. Yoder, herself now a widow, is surely an inspiration to her children and grandchildren and a church in America that needs to heed her call to reformation and renewal.
J. James Estrada
CHARISMATIC TOP SELLERS
1. Pigs in the Parlor
Frank and Ida Mae Hammond
(Impact Christian Books)
2. A Divine Revelation of Hell
Mary K. Baxter (Whitaker House)
3. Total Forgiveness
R.T. Kendall (Charisma House)
4. The Three Battlegrounds
Francis Frangipane (Arrow Publications)
5. Matters of the Heart
Juanita Bynum (Charisma House)
6. The Tongue
Charles Capps (Harrison House)
7. The Battle Belongs to the Lord
Joyce Meyer (Warner Faith)
8. (tie) Blessing or Curse: You Can Choose
Derek Prince (Chosen)
8. (tie) A Divine Revelation of Heaven
Mary K. Baxter (Whitaker House)
10. Heaven is So Real
Choo Thomas (Creation House Press)