By Mark Rutland, Charisma House,
160 pages, hardcover, $15.99.
Courage is the first and great element of character,” author, evangelist, and international conference speaker Mark Rutland proclaims, and it inspires all 10 chapters of Character Matters.
Rutland is sure to bring fire to your cheeks–initially in defense of your character, then in shame for your defenseless behavior. For example, who hasn’t failed the test of loyalty to employers or employees by talking them down? Or who hasn’t displayed disloyalty to a spouse by disputing over the correct date of an event in a tactless effort to keep things straight?
Peppered throughout with such contemporary examples in addition to biblical examples, Character Matters gives Christians a tall order to follow. It will most certainly lead to repentance in one or more of the nine areas of character discussed: courage, loyalty, diligence, modesty, frugality, honesty, meekness, reverence and gratitude.
Rutland calls for Christians to act with the utmost virtue as role models in a nation headed down a slippery slope to character disintegration. Following the call will require not only deep repentance, but also great faith. For in a post-Christian society, our initial reaction may be to label Rutland’s model for integrity as unrealistic and extreme. Indeed, it is. Rutland’s model for character matters is supernatural, the divine Word of God.
By Jim Cymbala, Zondervan,
240 pages, hardcover, $19.99.
Subtitled “The Secret of Receiving What You Need From God,” Breakthrough Prayer focuses on the blessings received through prayer. As pastor of the Brooklyn Tabernacle, Jim Cymbala has experienced the urgency that prompts prayer in times of hardship and the desperation that comes before God blesses. He draws upon Scriptures, his own prayer life and that of others in showing how all believers can be blessed by God as a result of intercession.
Cymbala points to the fact that believers rarely pray the “lost prayers” of the Bible, not taking full advantage of God’s promises. Bearing in mind James’ explanation that believers do not have because they do not ask, Cymbala points to the unusual prayers that ought not to be overlooked such as a request for joy or to understand God’s timing in a particular situation. The author also humbly testifies of his own learning experiences in communion with God.
Likely, some Christians will not appreciate Cymbala’s approach to prayer, as it may appear to be more blessing-centered than God-centered, but that does not discount the usefulness of this book that demonstrates the value of intercession and God’s willingness to answer the petitions of His people.
Christine D. Johnson
By Don Colbert, M.D.; Nelson Books;
256 pages; hardcover; $22.99.
Enlightening and accurate is the book Deadly Emotions by Dr. Don Colbert, practicing physician and best-selling author of What Would Jesus Eat (Nelson) and the Bible Cure series (Siloam). In it, Colbert takes a startling look at the adverse effects of negative emotions on the physical, spiritual and emotional aspects of life, and how to overcome them.
Offering scientific evidence, Colbert shows how negative emotions, such as depression, anger, guilt, condemnation, resentment and denial, have lifelong implications for a person’s health. He clearly defines these emotions, examines their origin as well as how they manifest themselves, and offers hope in dealing with toxic emotions through God’s power to help forgive and receive true joy.
Practical, insightful and chock full of good advice, this book can help turn the poison of negative emotions into a balm of Gilead that soothes wounds and brings healing to those who hurt.
Focus on the Family Marriage Series
Gospel Light, Group Starter Kit, $79.99.
The all-in-one concept for VBS and children’s programs has graduated to adult curricula with Focus on the Family’s Marriage Series. Based on Al Janssen’s book, The Marriage Masterpiece, this array of resources provides all the ingredients to teach couples about biblical marriage.
The seven books for group or individual couple study are compact, containing four studies each. Couples could easily opt to study one or more on their own, or create a home Bible study. Topics cover unity, commitment, intimacy, communication, service, adventure and devotion.
The contemporary and airy design invites couples to discover biblical guidelines and then apply them realistically and purposefully. A man’s pragmatic perspective and a woman’s relational, emotional sides are both accommodated in the discussion questions and application suggestions. These study guides can also be bought separately.
Couples on their own or churches who want to strengthen their congregants’ marriages or create a marriage ministry will get plenty of well-rounded help with this kit. It’s a masterpiece: complete, well produced and user friendly.
By Jason Breland, Hosanna! Music.
Recorded live at First Baptist North Mobile in Mobile, Alabama, Believe features Jason Breland and the North Mobile Worship Choir. Breland, a former lead singer and music director for TRUTH, now serves as a worship minister at the church.
Breland’s musical talents are well displayed on this album, featuring a seven-member praise team. The recording opens with the big-church sounding “Make It Glorious” and flows into the upbeat “Let There Be a Blessing.” The track slows down midway through with the soulful “To You” and ends with the piano-laden “When I Think About the Lord.”
Overall, Believe is a solid easy-listening worship album with variety and a strong song selection.
I Just Want You
By Vicki Yohe, Wellspring Gospel.
Worship leader Vicki Yohe has resurfaced as the first artist on CeCe Winans’ Wellspring Gospel. I Just Want You is a smooth, inspirational collection of worship that should be familiar to Yohe’s fans who are used to seeing her guest star on Trinity Broadcasting Network.
Yohe’s album is a collection of choir-backed worship that will fit right into the contemporary church. The music is simply background for Yohe’s clear vocals and the powerful choir that accompanies her. Throughout, Yohe worships with straightforward lyrics such as, “I worship You because of who You are” (“Because of Who You Are”), an updated version of fan favorite “Mercy Seat.” The only time Yohe tries to pick up the pace is with the jazzy “Almighty” and the pop tune “Help” that closes this project.
Natalie Nichols Gillespie
By 4HIM, Word.
In 1990, 4HIM released their self-titled debut album. Thirteen years later, the band is still encouraging believers with pop worship songs and church anthems. The group has garnered 22 No. 1 singles and recorded 10 studio albums including their newest offering, Visible.
This album fuses easy-listening Christian music with worshipful lyrics and moments. As usual, the four guys–Andy Chrisman, Kirk Sullivan, Mark Harris and Marty Magehee–add heartfelt harmonies to their timeless musical sound.
Though a bit predictable, the lyrics are filled with encouragement and inspiration. Album standouts include “Fill the Earth” with its reflection on God as Creator and the worshipful “It’s All About Jesus.” “The Final Word” is an infectious ballad about the true meaning of love.
Visible is a great album for 4Him fans as well as listeners of adult contemporary Christian music.
Kiss of Heaven
By Darlene Zschech, INO.
Australian worship leader Darlene Zschech releases her first solo effort, Kiss of Heaven, and it is breathtakingly beautiful. The worship pastor and songwriter wrote or co-wrote everything on this 14-song collection, except the old hymn “Beautiful Savior” and a fine cover of U2’s “Walk On,” with Delirious’ Martin Smith.
Zschech remains grounded in personal worship throughout, and veers only slightly to incorporate earthly romance on “Everything About You,” the singer’s unashamed declaration of love for her husband (and an album highlight).
Zschech has a supernatural ability to draw listeners close to the throne to worship. This is evident throughout Kiss of Heaven. It draws listeners into a spiritual encounter through the sheer beauty of urgency of worship songs such as the title track, “Faithful,” “Irresistible” and “Wonderful You.” It builds to a climax with the powerful rendition of “Shout to the Lord” and follows that with the gentle “Dream.”
Praise and worship fans can seal their collection with this Kiss.
Natalie Nichols Gillespie
The Secret of True Success
It took broadcast journalist Andria Hall nearly 20 years to learn the secret of true success. She had achieved professionally, working at one of the top stations in the top news market before becoming a weekend anchor for CNN. But it was only when she learned to surrender to God’s will that she found “soul satisfaction” on her job.
Fusing faith and profession has become the foundation of her latest book, The Walk at Work. The book guides readers through a seven-month process of spiritual growth to help navigate workplace sabotage, resolve ethical dilemmas and balance work and family life.
Now host of America at Worship, on the Hallmark Channel, Hall writes from experience. “It’s not about the money; it’s not about the recognition or the fame,” she told Charisma. “It’s not about the image that someone else would think, Oh, now you’ve arrived. If you try to pursue those things it counts for nothing in heaven.”
As the workplace is increasingly viewed as a mission field, Hall tells readers the average workplace can be a higher calling, a place “where true success can be achieved.”
“When you work in a tunnel and someone at the very other end has a match lit, you follow the light,” Hall said. “That’s how I felt [at CNN]. People were following the light in me. I would finish anchoring the news and someone would [ask for prayer]. What I realized was that they hadn’t heard me; they had seen me.”
Adrienne S. Gaines
CHARISMATIC TOP SELLERS
1. Matters of the Heart
Juanita Bynum (Charisma House)
2. Pigs in the Parlor
Frank and Ida Mae Hammond
(Impact Christian Books)
3. Total Forgiveness
R.T. Kendall (Charisma House)
4. A Divine Revelation of Hell
Mary K. Baxter (Whitaker House)
5. The Three Battlegrounds
Francis Frangipane (Arrow Publications)
6. The Tongue: A Creative Force
Charles Capps (Harrison House)
7. A Divine Revelation of Heaven
Mary K. Baxter (Whitaker House)
8. Holiness, Truth and the
Presence of God
Francis Frangipane (Arrow Publications)
9. No More Sheets
Juanita Bynum (Pneuma Life Publishing)
10. Prison to Praise
Merlin R. Carothers (Merlin R. Carothers)
Good for You!
By Mary Ann Mayo, Siloam, 256 pages, softcover, $14.99.
Mary Ann Mayo believes women need to take responsibility for their own health, learn how to make good decisions and build a healthy lifestyle. Topics covered include hormone replacement therapy, if and when a physician should be fired, and what determines good health. Women must learn to ask questions, set boundaries and take charge of their health.
Reversing Degenerative Disease
By Joseph Elrod, Ed.D.; Siloam; 256 pages; softcover; $13.99.
Joseph Elrod explores natural steps to overcoming degenerative diseases such as fibromyalgia, alzheimer’s, arthritis, immune disorders and more. Elrod discusses the importance of de-stressing, detoxifying and cleansing the body, taking the best nutritional supplements and restoring restful deep sleep. In an easy-to-read format, success cases, resources, programs and testimonies will encourage readers to make lifestyle changes to experience better health.
Take Up the Sword of the Spirit
By Lori Strong, Creation House Press, 80 pages, softcover, $8.99.
Lori Strong has seen firsthand the bondage that can result from generational curses. Strong explores 20 different strongholds, including fear of man, pride, anger, addiction and abortion, all of which can hold people captive if not broken. Strong uses Scriptures and optional prayers, to help readers walk through the process of recognizing and breaking generational curses so that they can experience the truly abundant life Jesus wants all of us to embrace.
Man, Listen to Your Woman
By A.J. Beech, Creation House Press, 80 pages, softcover, $7.99.
Communication is key to having a successful marriage. But A.J. Beech believes many men have been taught that they do not need their wives’ input on key issues. Beech explores the diverse needs of men and women, the importance of respect and the need to tear down man-made gender walls in the church. Men who discover the boldness to listen to their wives will experience a new level of intimacy.
Serie La cura bíblica
(The Bible Cure series)
By Don Colbert, M.D.; Casa Creación; softcover; $4.99 each.
Don Colbert, a practicing physician, offers a series covering health topics containing bits of biblical wisdom alongside professional advice and natural remedies. The 12 Bible Cure booklets from Casa Creación address cures for diseases, including cancer, headaches, heart disease, depression and anxiety, allergies and more.