By Joyce Meyer, Warner Faith,
236 pages, hardcover, $22.99.
Bible teacher Joyce Meyer knows a lot about approval addiction. Her childhood was filled with mistreatment, violence and fear. The abuse she suffered left her self-image battered. She believed nobody liked her, so she tried to act like she didn’t need anyone. Secretly she needed the approval of others to feel good about herself. But she found freedom through God’s help.
In her latest book, Approval Addiction: Overcoming Your Need to Please Everyone, Meyer provides principles to help believers live life to please God, not people. Meyer, selected by Time magazine as one of the top 25 evangelical leaders in America, writes that to become free from approval addiction you must face fear and find freedom; know who you are in Christ; think, act and talk in accordance with God’s Word; change your self-image; love yourself; and give yourself permission to have faults.
This book can help anyone who is tired of trying to please people more than God. With the straightforwardness that marks her ministry, Meyer offers empowerment to those who feel that they need to break an addiction to approval.
Tracee N. Mason
I Told the Mountain to Move
By Patricia Raybon, Tyndale House
Publishers, hardcover, 288 pages, $19.99.
Award-winning author Patricia Raybon adds a fresh, transparent and sometimes comical look at the theme of prayer in her book I Told the Mountain to Move. She describes how her own quest for intimacy in prayer led to her learning lessons the hard way, during what she describes as “boot camp.”
Raybon’s journey began when her husband suffered an illness that easily could have taken his life–a trial she recounts in the first part of her book. The second section, “The School of Prayer,” is divided into 24 well-taught, easy-to-read lessons about prayer.
A unique quality of I Told the Mountain to Move is the transparency with which Raybon exposes her journey to understanding the passion of communicating with God.
Readers who are deliberately seeking the same will be drawn by her writing, wishing perhaps they could read her book in one sitting but being wise to savor it.
Eva Marie Everson
Praying for Israel’s Destiny
By James W. Goll, Chosen, softcover,
176 pages, $12.99.
Whether you are a casual or careful observer of the historical, biblical or contemporary issues that concern Israel, it’s unlikely you will find much in the first five chapters of Praying for Israel’s Destiny that will seem insightful or thought-provoking. Most of the conclusions reached by author James W. Goll, for example, are common knowledge for students of the Bible. However, Chapter 6, “The Descendants of Keturah,” more than makes up for the book’s slow start.
And the pleasant surprise of Goll’s book is that praying for Israel from a scriptural basis likely will have the kind of far-reaching consequences many dream of but few believe could ever happen concerning the affairs of the Middle East.
Become a Woman of Power
By Shirley Sustar, Chosen, softcover,
192 pages, $12.99.
Shirley Sustar, author and founder of Women of Royalty Ministries, urges Christian women to cultivate a mother’s heart in her latest book, Become a Woman of Power: Releasing Mighty Women of God Through Mentoring. Writing in a style that conveys the nurturing warmth of a mother, Sustar delves into the mandate of Titus 2:3-5 for older women to instruct younger ones.
Sustar’s own desire for a spiritual mother led her to open her heart to become one for other women. She encourages women to become spiritual mothers in God’s kingdom and to be willing to be perfected in the process.
Female role models in the Bible and powerful, personal experiences aid the author in teaching women how to find power through prayer, develop husband-wife teamwork and nurture a heart for service. Sustar, whose husband is the senior pastor of Heartland Christian Center in Wooster, Ohio, addresses the role of women in the church and, more specifically, of women whose husbands are pastors.
This book is a rich treasure that displays Sustar’s wisdom and will help women gain confidence about their place in the body of Christ.
Tracee N. Mason
For the Audience of One
By Mike Pilavachi, Regal, hardcover,
144 pages, $12.99.
Mike Pilavachi, pastor of Soul Survivor Watford, a London-based congregation, helped birth the worship ministries of Matt Redman, Tim Hughes and Kevin Prosch. Now he lays out his theology of worship in his new book, For the Audience of One: Worshiping the One and Only in Everything You Do.
Though he writes in a nonthreatening and conversational style, Pilavachi also challenges, asking questions such as: “How many times have you said something like ‘The worship didn’t do anything for me today’? Hello! Whoever said it was for us in the first place?”
If you have ever questioned the traditions-turned-doctrine that seem to have a stranglehold on modern worship mentalities and methods, For the Audience of One will be a welcome and insightful addition to your library.
Look to You
By Hillsong United, Integrity Music.
The latest CD from United–Hillsong Church’s modern-worship youth band–is a live recording of 12 new songs that will engage listeners in an exciting worship experience.
Look to You opens with melodic rock guitars on “Salvation Is Here” and continues through the evangelistic “Tell the World.” The simple worship of “All I Need Is You” is a touching moment of personal dedication to God. “All for Love” starts slowly, builds into rock and then leads into the stirring “Shout Unto God.”
This album also includes United’s cover of Rich Mullins’ hit “Awesome God.” An accompanying free DVD features six more live recordings and two documentaries. Look to You is a blend of modern rock sounds and memorable lyrics created to lead young worshipers into God’s presence.
By Kurt Carr Project, Gospocentric Records.
Kurt Carr, writer of such hits as “For Every Mountain,” “In the Sanctuary” and “The Presence of the Lord,” has become one of gospel music’s most sought-after songwriters and producers. After being mentored by gospel greats Richard Smallwood and the Rev. James Cleveland, Carr gained notoriety with his gold-selling Awesome Wonder and his Stellar Award-winning production of Byron Cage’s debut.
One Church finds him stretching his musical wings by combining contemporary Christian music and gospel music. He includes the tango-inspired “Psalm 68 (Let God Arise!),” the African-driven “If I Tell God” and the tasteful rendition of the Walter Hawkins’ gospel classic “Be Grateful.”
Carr’s exceptional songwriting is hard to ignore on such cuts as the powerful “God Blocked It,” the energetic “My Time for God’s Favor (The Presence of the Lord Remix),” orchestra-savvy “Reign” and the moving “Why Not Trust God Again.” Carr breaks new ground with One Church.
Psalms, Hymns & Spiritual Songs
By Donnie McClurkin,Verity Records.
Pastor and gospel singer Donnie McClurkin has provided uplifting songs for years. Known for hits such as “We Fall Down,” “The Prayer” (with Yolanda Adams) and “Stand,” the platinum-selling McClurkin returns with Psalms, Hymns & Spiritual Songs, his follow-up to the award-winning Again.
Recorded live at The Rock Church in Virginia Beach, Virginia, this two-disc project is aptly titled. Songs such as the already popular “I Call You Faithful,” the catchy “I Will Sing,” the Calypso-flavored “Awesome God” and guest artist’s Richard Smallwood’s “Total Praise” could easily be taken from the book of Psalms. This vertically focused collection is marked by worship-driven tracks such as “Agnus Dei,” “Only You Are Holy” and “Draw Me Close.” Contemporary gospel artists Kirk Franklin, Dottie Peoples and Joann Rosario make cameo appearances.
Psalms, Hymns & Spiritual Songs will satisfy the most devoted of McClurkin fans and certainly bring in new ones.
Universal Pictures, Miramax Films,
Imagine Entertainment, PG-13.
Cinderella Man is based on the life of light-heavyweight boxer James J. Braddock, who, as a down-on-his-luck fighter, keeps boxing for family and for another chance to get back into the ring.
The film is set during the Great Depression when income is scarce. So, even the meager winnings Braddock receives from boxing help with rent, heat and food.
However, this income doesn’t last and poverty threatens to break the Braddocks apart. But Braddock will do whatever it takes to keep his family together.
Russell Crowe seems natural as the determined and devoted Braddock. And Renée Zellweger beautifully portrays his strong, faithful wife, Mae. The two flawlessly depict this couple’s devotion to each other and their children.
The film, which opened in theaters June 3, is rated PG-13 for boxing violence and cursing. The supporting cast does blatantly use the Lord’s name in vain, but the film still offers valuable lessons. Braddock has issues with God that are not resolved on-screen, but he stays true to his convictions of integrity and honor.
Moviegoers will also learn about how difficult life was during the Great Depression. Watching Braddock make sacrifices for those he loves inspires a sense of awe.
Cinderella Man celebrates Braddock, who approached his life with a strength of character that seems to be missing in society today. It is an inspiring story about an incredible man.
Stasi Eldredge: Helping Women Find Value
Stasi and John Eldredge confront issues that weigh on the hearts of women–guilt, shame, failure and unworthiness–in their book Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul (Nelson Books).
Stasi is not immune to these feelings. “Either I feel I am not enough or I am too much,” she says. “Not pretty enough, not thin enough, not kind enough or too emotional, too needy, too strong and too opinionated.
“The result is shame, the universal companion of women. Our remedy? We keep trying harder until we are exhausted.”
Stasi wants women to embrace the truth that they are deeply loved by Christ. “An intimate relationship with Jesus is for every woman,” she says.
The couple write that from childhood women are haunted by the question, “Am I lovely?” Often the answer is crushing, resulting in a wound to the soul that affects a woman’s entire life. How can women escape the trap?
“Healing must come from God,” John Eldredge, author of the best-selling Wild at Heart (Nelson Books), writes. Stasi has found healing through the Holy Spirit, Christian counselors and ministries of spiritual warfare.
“As a result of balanced restoration I finally see myself as lovely, from the inside out. I am captivating and bring delight to my Father God,” she states.
“Each woman has her own unique calling and beauty and can uncover it and shine.”