Fitting In…Or Not
Memoir of a Misfit
By Marcia Ford, Jossey-Bass (Wiley),
208 pages, hardcover, $18.95.
Marcia Ford, a former Charisma news and features editor, has proclaimed herself a “misfit.” It seems she has felt this way as long as she can remember–not surprising in light of the start she had in life. Consider the time she had to come home early from camp because of measles only to find that her home now was occupied by strangers. (Her family, whom she was able to track down, somehow had failed to inform her they were vacating the premises.)
It’s understandable then that for most of her life Ford thought God had abandoned her; in the end, she realized He was with her all along, especially–and literally–when she was at her lowest. After years of not feeling comfortable in any number of churches, she found herself at home, much to her surprise, in a liturgical church. Much of this memoir is dedicated to her journey to find her place in the family of God.
Ford, who now has a loving husband and family, survived a divorce, clinical depression, alcohol and drugs, poor health, the death of her soul mate, and a controlling church. She certainly has the stories to tell, and tell them she does, in an engaging, frank manner. Mercifully, the author does not set out to lay blame at anyone’s feet for making her a misfit, but has maintained her sense of humor through it all.
An accompanying product, Meditations for Misfits, is designed to help those who feel they are misfits experience reconciliation with God, others and themselves. Ford’s insightful autobiography and meditations will help many who feel off-kilter with the rest of the world.
Christine D. Johnson
By Raymond Ho, Destiny Image,
127 pages, hardcover, $11.99.
Raymond Ho follows up his recent Destiny Image release, Hearing God: The Ultimate Blessing, with Trusting God: The Ultimate Peace. Stories of Ho’s personal and family life help draw the reader in and capture attention. A former CEO of two public-television networks, Ho has lived through many experiences in which he needed to cultivate trust in God. He was estranged from his daughter and went through a divorce, lost millions of dollars and ended up filing for bankruptcy, and was accused falsely by his colleagues yet lost his top-of-the-ladder career in public television.
One weakness that will stand out to some readers is Ho’s occasional choice of words that sound almost New Age, as in the book’s introduction, “Awakening the Divinity Within You.” Some readers may find it a challenge to dig a little deeper and see what Ho is really talking about–in this case, tapping into the power of Christ who resides within the believer. He also sometimes uses a cadence in his language that will appeal to readers accustomed to a rhythmic pace from the pulpit.
Ho’s simple, straightforward style will be especially helpful to new believers, but all Christians will benefit from the seven “secrets” that inspire greater trust in the exercise of God’s sovereignty in the believer’s life.
Christine D. Johnson
Delirious’ Unique ‘Touch’
By Delirious; Furious? Records.
The multimillion-album selling, United Kingdom import band Delirious is flying back across the pond with their latest album, Touch. This fifth studio album from the group who spread modern worship titles–including “Do You Hear the Mountains Tremble” and “I Could Sing of Your Love Forever”–around the globe combines songs true to their big-sounding, pop-rock worship roots and more experimental musical fare. Most of the songs are taken and refreshed from the U.K.-only release of Audio Lessonover?
The ambitious title song “Touch” contains trademark edgy guitars and compelling lyrics. On a more experimental note, “Alien” includes creative instrumentation, while the progressive “Stealing Time” takes on almost a dreary, more emotion-provoking flavor. The catchy “Show Me Heaven” and “Waiting for the Summer” are two solid standouts.
The album is released on Furious? Records, a label launched by the band, and includes a bonus disc with six live performances, as well as three music videos. The album is a must-have for Delirious and modern worship fans, and the bonus CD adds to the value and enjoyment.
The Gospel According to Jazz, Chapter 2
By Kirk Whalum, Warner Bros.
Kirk Whalum, sax soloist on Whitney Houston’s multimillion-selling hit single “I Will Always Love You,” loves the Lord and loves jazz. His 1998 release, The Gospel According to Jazz, Chapter 1, received both Dove and Stellar Award nominations. Now he’s back with a follow-up.
Fans of smooth jazz will not be disappointed because the majority of songs on Chapter 2 are exactly what you expect to hear when you think of the mostly instrumental genre. “The Moment I Prayed,” however, stands out with the gorgeous scatting of gospel singer Kim Burrell. As the one studio-track on an otherwise all-live recording, “The Moment I Prayed” sounds like it was recorded live at an elegant nightclub.
Because jazz incorporates all sorts of musical influences, Whalum’s effort brings together several different types of music. Whalum and his numerous guests (including George Duke, Tata Vega and Paul Jackson Jr.) stick to the smooth jazz sound on most of Chapter 2, but every now and then surprise you with something you didn’t expect to hear. You might find yourself singing along to the R&B ballad “Falling in Love With Jesus,” written and sung by Whalum’s Warner label-mate Jonathan Butler. “Jesus” features a stellar sax solo by Whalum.
Or you might be a little puzzled when you hear Whalum’s brother Kevin singing “Ta Ta You Jesus” on a gospel makeover of Johnny “Guitar” Watson’s bluesy “Ta Ta You Baby.” In this context, “I wanna ta ta you Jesus” is used as another way of saying, “Thank you, Jesus.”
The Gospel According to Jazz, Chapter 2 brings together two worlds that are often separated. Because Whalum is well-known and respected in the secular marketplace, chances are Chapter 2 will take the gospel to people who have never heard it before.
Charisma Unveils Top-Sellers List
Beginning with this issue, Charisma readers will enjoy the benefit of a new charismatic top-sellers list. Until now there has not been a list of best-selling charismatic books exclusively.
Data supplied by Christian-product distributors Appalachian, Riverside and Spring Arbor (as well as Anchor, which will be joining in the future), will be compiled and verified by Osburn, Henning and Co., certified public accountants located in Orlando, Florida.
Currently, CBA (formerly known as the Christian Booksellers Association) compiles a monthly list based on a wide sampling of Christian retail-store sales. The CBA list tracks various categories of books, including charismatic titles, but some charismatic publishers do not believe the list accurately reflects sales of their books.
“This is a major step forward to legitimize a list of best sellers in the Christian book-selling industry,” said Don Nori, publisher and CEO of Destiny Image Publishers. “That’s the whole point, is to get rid of the politics, the theological preferences and to…provide an unbiased list of…the true best sellers in the industry.”
Jane Campbell, editorial director at Chosen Books, an imprint of Baker Book House, also sees the value of a charismatic list. “I can see the need for level ground, especially as certain retailers continue to exclude books that are construed as charismatic, maybe only because they’re published by a house or line that sometimes publishes books that acknowledges the gifts of the Spirit. So if some of these books get better visibility, that’s all to the good,” she said.
Bill Greig III, president of Gospel Light, which publishes Regal and Renew Books, believes the CBA lists are legitimate, but still supports the new charismatic list. “I guess the way I reconcile the charismatic audience to that list is I believe
charismatic Christians buy a lot of books by Stormie Omartian and Max Lucado, Chuck Swindoll and Charles Stanley.”
Charisma editor J. Lee Grady sees the new list as a service to Charisma advertisers and readers. “It’s serving our readers by letting them know what are the hot topics out there that they might want to be reading about. It serves the advertisers and the industry by letting them know where our readers are in terms of their preferences,” Grady said.
The process of determining the criteria for a charismatic best-sellers list has been a bumpy one, and the question of what constitutes a charismatic book has been raised. “Many books by charismatic authors, ones who believe in the gifts of the Holy Spirit for today, are not necessarily categorized by the publishers or sold in the stores as charismatic books, so my question is, ‘What kind of criteria are you going to use?'” Campbell said.
Although Charisma recognizes this dilemma, there doesn’t appear to be an easy way to solve it, so the new list will include only titles publishers designate as “charismatic interest” according to the categories accepted by the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association.
Because Strang Communications, which owns Charisma, also publishes books through its Charisma House, Creation House Press and Siloam Press imprints, the list will be compiled by an independent accounting firm in such a manner that no one from the staff of Charisma or, more broadly, Strang Communications can manipulate the numbers. Stephen Strang, Charisma publisher, and other necessary employees have volunteered to sign affidavits verifying the independence of the top-seller data.
“How would this list help us?” Grady asked. “It shows us and the industry that charismatics are a vital part of the industry, that they are avid book buyers, and it shows what their preferences are for industry leaders who want to serve that market.”
Christine D. Johnson
Christian Artists Receive Awards
Christian artists Avalon, Kirk Franklin and Jah Word were honored for their their popularity, musicianship and ministries during three music-awards ceremonies held in January.
Avalon garnered the American Music Awards (AMA) Contemporary Inspirational Artist award January 13 in Los Angeles–the second consecutive year Christian artists were recognized in the newly formed category.
The previous weekend in Atlanta, Franklin topped the list of winners at the annual Stellar Awards, taking home awards in four categories, including Artist of the Year and Song of the Year for “Hosanna.” Donald Lawrence and newcomer Smokie Norful each took home three awards.
The Stellar Awards was marked by an unusual time of weeping and repentance, during which Franklin challenged attendees to assess their motives for being in the industry. Melanie Clark, CEO of GospelFlava.com, says the event may signal a turning point in gospel music, as many insiders left with a keener focus on ministry.
Also in Atlanta, the Fellowship of Holy Hip Hop recognized the work of 12 hip-hop ministers January 18. Paul Franklin (aka “Jah Word”) received an Ambassador Award for his efforts to positively influence youth and young adults through hip-hop ministry.
Adrienne S. Gaines
For 20 years of marriage I was all about getting my needs met,” says Jack Frost of Shiloh Place Ministries. Always looking for a payback, he says, “I only ventured to meet my wife’s needs with an attitude of, ‘I’ll scratch your back if you’ll scratch mine.'” Then Frost “was immersed in liquid love” at a minister’s conference seven years ago, and those 45 minutes changed him.
“My father never held me,” he said. “I wept because I felt safe for the first time in my life.” His wife gained a new husband. But, as Frost tells in his book Experiencing the Father’s Embrace (Charisma House), it took a long time to win back his children.
Despite his years of ministry, his children felt like they didn’t rate with their dad unless they did everything right. The change began as Frost’s measure of success went from how many people he won to the Lord to how much love and grace he gave to his family when no one else was around. “Now when I get up…I pray: ‘How can I experience Your love, Father? And how can I give it to my wife? My children?'”
Today the Frosts are building a retreat center on 45 acres for ministers to come and “receive healing for hidden, core pain.” The couple say they find that “nothing heals a heart quicker than a person receiving a revelation of love.” They speak at conferences and offer music, and audiotapes and videotapes, available at www.shilohplace.org.
The Bible Cure booklets
By Dr. Don Colbert, Siloam Press,
96 pages, paperback, $5.99 each.
In the latest installment from the best-selling Bible Cure booklet series, Dr. Don Colbert explains how to fight hepatitis and hepatitis C, as well as back pain and skin disorders. Encouraging readers to seek God for wisdom in dealing with physical and emotional illness, Colbert explains an array of natural remedies to help prevent and bring recovery from disease. Previous topics in The Bible Cure series include weight loss, irritable bowel syndrome and heart disease.
By Mark Rutland, Charisma House,
96 pages, hardcover, $9.99.
Author Mark Rutland calls believers to begin dreaming again in the second installment of his Words of Life series. In Dream, Rutland uses the lives of the Josephs in the Old and New Testaments to teach different types of dreams, when and how to use dreams, and how to discern different types of dreams. God never fails to make His dreams come true, Rutland writes, and wants His children to dream big.
Diseases of the Soul
By Deborah D. Delbridge,
Creation House Press, 192 pages,
Most books don’t come with a disclaimer, but author Deborah D. Delbridge warns readers that her latest book, Diseases of the Soul, is for mature audiences only. A minister and owner of a successful real estate company, Delbridge challenges readers to confront hidden sin in their lives–unforgiveness, religious self-righteousness, prejudice, fear and insecurity–in order to become the spotless bride Christ is seeking. Helping to renew minds through biblical teaching, Delbridge writes that God wants to heal wounds and past hurts and to purge hidden areas of sin.
Aging Without Growing Old
By Judy Lindberg McFarland,
Siloam Press, 554 pages,
Many people today are dying of preventable illnesses. That’s why nutritionist Judy Lindberg McFarland of Lindberg Nutrition in California has written Aging Without Growing Old. She explains how to become healthy through natural and nutritional means, enjoy better health, and slow the aging process.
By Derek Grier, Creation House Press,
96 pages, paperback, $9.99.
In an effort to answer tough questions about racism and his own cultural identity, author Derek Grier, Ph.D., parallels his personal journey with that of the prophet Daniel in Still Standing. He reveals a concurrent path the two took to find truth and deeper intimacy with God. Once a follower of the Nation of Islam, Grier had a dramatic encounter that changed his heart and view of Christianity. Readers can discover how this pastor stayed true to God’s call despite opposition.
To order these books call (800) 599-5750 or go to www.charismahouse.com.
CHARISMATIC TOP SELLERS
1. Matters of the Heart
Juanita Bynum (Charisma House)
2. The Holy Spirit and You
Dennis and Rita Bennett
3. A Divine Revelation of Hell
Mary K. Baxter (Whitaker House)
4. God’s Creative Power for Healing
Charles Capps (Harrison House)
5. The Battle Belongs to the Lord
Joyce Meyer (Warner Faith)
6. The Three Battlegrounds
Francis Frangipane (Arrow Publications)
7. No More Sheets
Juanita Bynum (Pneuma Life Publishing)
8. A Divine Revelation of Heaven
Mary K. Baxter (Whitaker House)
9. Pigs in the Parlor
Frank and Ida Mae Hammond
(Impact Christian Books)
10. Total Forgiveness
R.T. Kendall (Charisma House)