The Sacred Echo
By Margaret Feinberg, Zondervan, hardcover, 224 pages, $16.99.
Though Christians often discuss the topic of prayer, Margaret Feinberg offers a new twist. In The Sacred Echo she teaches that there is something powerful in the repetition of our prayers and God’s responses. “The real beauty of prayer is not just in the request but in the repetition. … It’s almost as if something sacred happens in the echo of our prayers,” she writes. God doesn’t speak to us only in church, and Feinberg has learned to recognize God’s voice in relationships, daily life, study and prayer. “God is not only creative,” she writes. “But he is persistent in getting our attention and communicating with us.” The secret, Feinberg says, is in learning to recognize the echo—“the moments when God speaks the same message again and again.” Drawing from personal stories and scriptural narratives from Elijah to the apostle Peter, she illustrates how to become more aware of the Spirit’s voice in every area of life and then urges readers to take the echo back to God in prayer. If your desire is to speak to and hear the Spirit more clearly in your own life, this book is a must-read. Feinberg’s spiritual insights are rich and her ability to connect with common-life experiences resonates so deeply that readers can’t afford to step away for even a moment. “Some people pray as if their life depends on it; others live as if their prayers depend on it,” Feinberg says. Readers of The Sacred Echo will undoubtedly learn to master both as they accept God’s invitation to spiritual awakening.
The Rules of Engagement
By Cindy Trimm, Charisma House, softcover, 256 pages, $14.99.
If you’re looking for a handy manual to use when praying and engaging in spiritual warfare, Cindy Trimm has organized one that may have covered all the bases. In The Rules of Engagement: The Art of Strategic Prayer and Spiritual Warfare, Trimm encourages the reader to enter the fray with a list of declarations to pray based on Scripture. She clearly defines all the characteristics of Satan and the many weapons he uses against children of God. She then lists ways to counterattack via prayer. She includes detailed lists of evil spirits to bind and what specifically to release instead. Trimm says this manual was born of her frustration with seeing her prayers sabotaged. “He [God] showed me I was praying fervently but not effectively. … I was praying from an incorrect perspective and position. He told me that I needed to fight my battles and wage warfare where it really belongs: in the heavenlies.”
Building Your Personal House of Prayer
By Larry Kreider, Destiny Image, softcover, 254 pages, $15.99.
Larry Kreider’s new book, Building Your Personal House of Prayer, will help guide and inspire readers in the practice of daily prayer. Using a model of a house with 12 rooms, Kreider outlines the basic prayer that Jesus gave and invites readers to visit these “rooms.” Whether used in personal devotions or small discipleship groups, this book is a tool to flesh out the outline of the Lord’s Prayer and take it from a rote ritual to a deeper relationship with God. The author also warns of making this tool legalistic instead of a flexible guide. He maintains that the emphasis each day will be directed by the needs of that day. On some days forgiveness may be the main emphasis, on other days the need for provision and on still others spiritual warfare. It is up to the person praying to be led by the Spirit while using this outline. This is a very helpful resource for readers growing in the disciplines of the Christian life.
—Deborah L. Delk
Living @ the Next Level
By B. Courtney McBath, Howard Books, hardcover, 224 pages, $19.99.
“Waiting on life to happen, you go on missing on life,” B. Courtney McBath says in Living on the Next Level. He’s suggesting you add a specific mission to your life. In the midst of dreams unfulfilled, waiting on the right mate or a better job, you can live a fulfilled life right now if you cultivate a friendship with God. “As you keep walking in friendship with him, embracing the journey as it unfolds, you will come into his plans for you in the right way and time,” he writes. It’s an encouraging read. He tracks Peter’s life and cites other lives to show how a friendship with God will sustain you regardless of life’s highs and lows. It definitely takes the pop psychology of “live in the moment” to the next level.
The Secret to True Happiness
By Joyce Meyer, FaithWords, hardcover, 288 pages, $23.99.
If you’re wondering why you’re always pursuing happiness instead of attaining it, Joyce Meyer helps guide you to your destination in her latest book, The Secret to True Happiness. Meyer teaches readers how to trade complicated lifestyles, stressful schedules and unfulfilled dreams into the joy-infused, satisfying and abundant life promised to us by Jesus in John 10:10. Organized and intentional in the layout of its 28 chapters, the book begins with the premise that “the only life you can enjoy is your own” and concludes with an exhortation to embrace tomorrow because “you are called for a holy purpose, a purpose that has been in God’s heart since long before you were born.” In between, relevant chapters with such titles as “Put Possessions in Perspective,” “Get Some Rest” and “Stay Positive” fill the pages with meat-and-potatoes insights that strongly affect our overall sense of happiness. Meyer’s gift for simplifying the Christian life is in full swing throughout the book and readers will feel empowered to change in order to reap the benefits that come from living happy. A must-read for most of today’s believers.
By Tamara Leigh, Multnomah Books, softcover
400 pages, $12.99.
Maizy Grace Stewart thinks she can fake her faith for a second job at a Christian company. She is put to the test when her newspaper boss wants her to do an investigative piece that could expose her facade. Will she pursue the career-building story, or lean on her new faith and hope her Christian co-workers extend grace?
Where the Heart Leads
By Kim Vogel Sawyer, Bethany House, softcover
352 pages, $13.99.
Thomas Ollenburger has more questions than answers: Which career should he choose? Should he marry? Where should he live? Thomas is torn between his Mennonite upbringing and his love for the city. He has always sought God’s will, but now God seems quiet. Thomas is concerned his heart has led him away from God.
The Bell Messenger
By Robert Cornuke with Alton Ganksy, Howard Books, softcover
304 pages, $12.99.
Tate, a Union solider, shoots a Confederate preacher called the Bell Messenger. The dying man gives his Bible to Tate. This story parallels the life of John Brandon, who graduated from college in 2000 and received the same Bible as a gift. John traces the book’s history and uncovers a cache of gold hidden during Old Testament times. Now John is in danger as people chase him for the gold and clues he has unearthed.
Change the World
By Martha Munizzi, Martha Munizzi Music.
Change the World CD and bonus DVD is Martha Munizzi’s fourth live recording. The 16 tracks focus on God’s character and love as well as the freedom and victory we have in Jesus. Beginning with “Invincible God,” Munizzi declares: “You are God / Nobody like you / You are God / Nobody like you / You are God / No one beside You / You reign forever Creator of heaven and earth.” Listeners will be encouraged as they turn their thoughts toward the “invincible,” “incomparable” God. “Dance” professes that we’ll receive our healing, our joy, our freedom and our breakthrough as we dance before the Lord. Munizzi reads from the Bible about the abundant favor and blessing that will come so we can bless others. The ballad “I Receive Your Love” cries out that He is the “healer of my broken heart / lifter of my head / I receive your love for me, Jesus.” This song of faith will minister especially to those struggling as they reflect on Christ’s love. The title track is energetic and has a strong message that believers can change the world with God’s love. Christians will feel poised to go out and show the love of Jesus to those around them. With her unmistakable voice and energy, Munizzi stirs believers’ spirits not with hype but with biblical truths. Listeners in all walks of life will not only enjoy this album but also be encouraged and grow in faith.
Worth Dying For
By Worth Dying For, Integrity Music.
Worth Dying For is a five-piece group from Modesto, Calif., that honed their musical chops leading a weekly youth outreach of their Calvary Chapel church. Worth Dying For, their self-titled debut, furthers their Modesto mission to infiltrate youth culture and stir a revolution for Christ. The CD’s 15 pop-rock anthems and emotive ballads are anchored by guitars set on overdrive and pushed by plenty of distorted six-string crunch and punch. But the full song mix includes tunes shaded with pop and techno, such as “Holy,” “At Your Cross,” “Take Me” and “Let It Out.” Coloring these vibrantly is the voice of frontwoman Christy Johnson, who shares lead vocals on the CD with Sean Loche. Opening track “Revolution” is a driving modern-rock statement of purpose and mission: “We are the sound / Of a revolution! / We won’t back down / To a revolution!” Mirroring it is the CD’s final cut, “Infiltrate”—an anthemic cry to Jesus borne by the repetitive refrain: “We will die for You!” Together the two songs are not just bookends stating WDF’s convictions. They are also two distinct reasons Worth Dying For is worth listening to.
This Is Our God
By various artists, Integrity Music.
For the last 16 years, the Hillsong megachurch in Sydney, Australia, has released a live recording from its annual worship conference. Beginning with The Power of Love in 1992—offered on cassette in those days—Hillsong has kept the tradition alive. This Is Our God is the 17th consecutive recording in its Hillsong Live! series. The 16-song CD, recorded this year, is filled with the congregational, modern-worship style that Hillsong is known for worldwide. Simple choruses are magnified with rapturous vocals that provide a rich overlay for instrumentation delivered in a pop-rock tradition. Well-known Hillsong worship artists Darlene Zschech and Reuben Morgan take part, as well as a roster of new songwriters and worship leaders. One is Mike Guglielmucci, who performs his song “Healer,” an expression of his faith that he wrote after being diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2006. Guglielmucci, aided by oxygen therapy, can be seen performing his song on the companion DVD that will be available at retail stores along with other This Is Our God ancillary products.
ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: For concert information, song samples and more on the artists featured in this month’s Vibes, click here.