The Divine Visitor
By Jack Hayford, Integrity Publishers,
hardcover, 224 pages, $18.99.
Do you need to take a deeper look at who Jesus is–His deity, His humanity, His suffering and His death–and what this meant to humanity? With piercing clarity, Jack Hayford uses vibrant imagery of a soldier’s surprise visit home to illustrate God’s visit to Earth to rescue mankind in his latest book, The Divine Visitor: What Really Happened When God Came Down.
Hayford, the founding pastor of The Church On the Way and chancellor of The King’s Seminary, takes the reader through God’s visit to Earth at the appointed time in history; the limits of God stepping into time and space; the frailty of humanity; the nature and character of Jesus the Visitor; and His suffering, wounds and blood for the redemption of mankind.
Hayford helps the reader grasp how Christ “lowered” Himself to become a man and how He shouldered the weight of His knowledge that the visit would ultimately lead to intense suffering and a brutal death.
In a way that is similar to the portrayal of the crucifixion in Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ, Hayford paints a portrait of Jesus’ visit to Earth and the work it accomplished.
Tracee N. Mason
The Nearly Perfect Crime
By Francis MacNutt, Chosen,
hardcover, 256 pages, $18.99.
Although both conservative and liberal religious establishments are likely to squeal with indignation at MacNutt’s thesis, this is a significant work that will help more Christians appreciate the vital nature of healing ministry.
A combination history book, commentary and call to restore healing to a place of prominence, The Nearly Perfect Crime: How the Church Almost Killed the Ministry of Healing will stir a passionate response within open-minded readers.
One emotion will be anger over the church at largely downplaying the reality of Spirit baptism, a common occurrence in the first three centuries after Christ’s birth. Another will be dismay at Protestant reformers who invented the theory that spiritual gifts died in the first century, thereby thwarting Christ’s mission of healing and deliverance.
Pentecostals and charismatics will be cheered by the former Catholic priest’s detailing of how the awakening of Pentecostalism in 1901 revived belief in healing. Yet MacNutt includes a word of correction, noting the racism white Pentecostals harbored for their black brethren a century ago, a sin we are still struggling to overcome.
Though a staunch believer in the gift of tongues, MacNutt points out that Azusa Street pioneer William Seymour came to believe that it was not glossolalia that was the best evidence of Spirit baptism, but exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit.
A Biblical Guide to Counseling the Sexual Addict
By Steve Gallagher, Pure Life Ministries,
softcover, 203 pages, $13.99.
Sexual misconduct by Christians hits the news. Or it remains a silent, ignored problem people are too afraid or offended to discuss. Steve Gallagher, author of best-seller At the Altar of Sexual Idolatry, seeks to see change. In his new book, A Biblical Guide to Counseling the Sexual Addict, Gallagher addresses the troublesome issues people face and offers practical strategies for success.
Statistics related to the $10 billion annual industry of pornography, to 25 million Americans visiting cyber-sex Web sites between one and 10 hours each week, to unhealthy attitudes about sexuality, to bizarre sexual conduct and to carnal desires guiding decisions should alarm Christians– especially as Gallagher reveals that believers’ statistics match those of the unchurched.
Gallagher guides readers through the process of identifying and defeating the devil’s schemes. Those wanting change and willing to be honest can follow Gallagher’s advice to see victory over sin.
God’s Cleansing Stream
By Chris Hayward, Regal, softcover,
176 pages , $11.99.
In his book God’s Cleansing Stream: Developing a Life-Changing Deliverance Ministry in Your Church, Chris Hayward offers a guide toward true hope for those who know Christ. Problems, addictions and defeats do not need to remain the rulers of today’s believers.
Modern self-help philosophy isn’t enough either. And Hayward, president of Cleansing Stream Ministries, defines God’s technique of true deliverance.
Though the title might frighten an audience because of unscriptural extremes in the deliverance movement, Hayward’s desire is to use a balanced, biblical guide toward freedom from bondage. Sins, he argues, no longer need to control God’s people. He believes that modern congregations can, through the Holy Spirit, engage in practical strategies to heal wounds of rejection and cleanse the stains of sexual sin that often become the footholds of demonic attack.
By Frank Peretti, WestBow Press,
hardcover, 464 pages, $24.99.
After waiting such a long time between his novels–six years to be exact–Frank Peretti fans will not be disappointed by this lengthy volume. Instead of demons, which he is known to write about, this time the author turns to something more tangible–a real live monster.
Monster is a fast-paced story that draws the eye down the page. Avoiding unnecessary detail, Peretti chooses not to delve deeply into each character’s background. Instead, he simply lets the plot unfold, and readers watching the hunt for this unknown creature that is wreaking havoc high in the mountains of Idaho.
Nothing like the “Darkness” novels that first made him a household name, Monster will attract an ever-widening fan base for Peretti, and as do all his works, this one will make readers think.
Christine D. Johnson
By Bill Bright and Jack Cavanaugh,
Howard Pub., softcover, 352 pages, $12.99.
Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, had a passion for the gospel and spiritual awakening and revival. Before he died, Bright teamed with award-winning writer Jack Cavanaugh to create a series of historical novels set against the backdrop of revivals in America.
On September 23, 1857, Jeremiah C. Lanphier and six other believers gathered in New York City to pray for revival. Proof is based on the times and circumstances of the resulting spiritual awakening.
J.K. Jarves is a highly respected attorney and businessman. This atheist is also conniving, controlling and bitter. After his daughter becomes a Christian, Jarves sues the church that led her to Christ.
The church’s only hope rests on an inexperienced lawyer, Harrison Shaw. The trial ultimately becomes a showdown to prove that the Holy Spirit is real.
This tale is full of suspense, corruption and intrigue. But the overriding message is the power of prayer, the power of the Holy Spirit and the proof once again that if God is for you, no one can be against you.
Now Is the Time
Sony Urban/Columbia Records.
Anointed is back. The duo known for such songs as “Under the Influence,” “Revive Us Again,” “The Call” and “It’s in God’s Hands Now” has returned with its sixth project, Now Is the Time.
Taking much more creative control than on previous albums, brother and sister Steve Crawford and Da’dra Crawford Greathouse wrote many of the songs. “Mighty Long Way” reminds us of God’s faithfulness. “Gonna Lift Your Name” is a festive, praise-filled track.
Steve takes the mic alone on “Now That I’m Free.” His vocal prowess and lyrical interpretation are inspiring. He also takes the lead on a tasteful remake of a song from Andraé Crouch. Anointed’s rendition of “Jesus Is Lord,” featuring Crouch with Da’dra, keeps the integrity of the original recording and gives it an updated sound.
The title tune will encourage, inspire and motivate anyone who has been waiting for the “right” time. “You Are,” a pretty ballad with sparse instrumentation, is a song of worship.
It’s nice to see the return of one of Christian music’s greatest groups.
I Am Free
By Ross Parsley, Hosanna! Music.
Ross Parsley is the primary worship leader at New Life Church pastored by Ted Haggard in Colorado Springs, Colorado. On a new CD, recorded live, he offers fresh songs for those who enjoy the music of Phillips, Craig and Dean and Paul Baloche. Parsley’s voice is smooth, unassuming and confident, and the many well-recorded string arrangements add to the full and polished sound of the album.
All the original songs possess good melodic hooks. Beyond them, the congregational standard “How Great Thou Art,” sung with a choir and piano, adds musical diversity. Also featured are catchy modern arrangements of “I Stand in Awe” and “Fairest Lord Jesus.”
Original standout tracks include the title track, the heartfelt and lyrically powerful worship song “Hear Us From Heaven” and “Beautiful,” which talks about God’s indescribable beauty.
Though the musical style of the songs on I Am Free isn’t entirely unique, Parsley’s use of a familiar sound is powerfully effective.
Terry Meeuwsen Finds God’s Adventure
In her new book The God Adventure, Terry Meeuwsen, co-host of CBN’s The 700 Club, challenges people to choose the extraordinary life God has for each of us.
Meeuwsen says we are created not only to be in relationship with God but also to walk through life with Him and to be used by Him. “He absolutely … wants us to come to Him with our concerns. But I think He also wants us to learn to just want to be with Him, not asking Him for anything, just letting Him pour His heart into our hearts.”
She says the adventure is trusting God enough to know that nothing is going to happen without His approval first. Once we embrace that truth “then it becomes this adventure of wanting to see His hand all around you and work in things going on around you. And the fear of what is that going to require of you or what’s the cost of that going to be fades away because the anticipation of what He is doing is just replacing it.”
In the book, Meeuwsen shares her testimony of coming to Christ and then her step of total surrender to the adventure God had for her. When she married her husband, Andy, they both determined to be risk-takers. God has led them to do many things, including adopting three sisters from Ukraine, giving them seven children.
Life is no cakewalk, Meeuwsen says, but “as far as Andy and I are concerned, there’s only one thing worse than a difficult life–and that’s an irrelevant life. A life lived in the safe, tepid shallows. A life that doesn’t make any difference at all.”