The Azusa Street Revival
By Eddie Hyatt and Joel Kilpatrick,
Charisma House, hardcover, 192 pages, $34.99.
History comes alive in this beautifully crafted volume filled with rare photographs, original sermons and engaging commentary on the events surrounding the birth of the modern Pentecostal movement. Never before has so much Pentecostal history been assembled in one book. Hundreds of archival images of Azusa Street meetings, outdoor baptisms and tent revivals transport the reader to the early 1900s, when America was shaken by an otherworldly visitation of the Holy Spirit. Hyatt and Kilpatrick left no stone unturned in their research, including information on how the Azusa Revival gave birth to the Assemblies of God, the Church of God in Christ, Oneness denominations and other movements. And the latter half of the book captures the energy of modern charismatic revivals and revivalists, from Kathryn Kuhlman to Benny Hinn to Joel Osteen. Definitely a collector’s item, this book is much like a scrapbook—for a very big spiritual family.
Reviving the American Spirit
By Keith Butler, Frontline,
hardcover, 224 pages, $19.99.
In Reviving the American Spirit, Keith Butler describes his journey to a new understanding of politics and race. As a result, he not only switched his political party but also came to the conclusion that the best way he could serve his home state of Michigan, community and nation would be to run for office and replace liberal Democrat Debbie Stabenow in the U.S. Senate. Butler speaks of his concerns for community economic standards, education issues, family and community assistance programs, energy independence, immigration concerns, and the need for security from global threats. He majors on the importance of upholding and affirming traditional family and community values. This, he says, is where faith and politics ought to meet.
Jim Nelson Black
I Saw the Lord
By Anne Graham Lotz,
Zondervan, hardcover, 208 pages, $16.99.
When Isaiah experienced the Lord’s glory for the first time, his response was to cry out, “Woe is me … because I am a man of unclean lips.” It was only after he received cleansing from the Lord’s searing coal being placed upon his lips that Isaiah developed into perhaps the greatest prophet of all time. Throughout her book I Saw the Lord, Anne Graham Lotz uses the story of Isaiah to depict the great need for us all to experience personal revival. She calls on readers not just to serve the Lord but also to know Him with their hearts. The one drawback of this book is that even though it presents clear direction for obtaining personal revival, only its last section truly provides tangible instructions on how to maintain that change.
SARAH J. COBB
Rules of Engagement
By Derek Prince, Chosen, softcover,
224 pages, $12.99.
Writing with the intellectual rigor of the finest academicians, former Eton-educated and Cambridge-trained British theologian Derek Prince presents lessons on how to be prepared for the spiritual battle that all Christians face. Rules of Engagement is based on a collection of teaching letters written for his friends and ministry partners and published after his death in 2003 at age 88. It is a training manual on how to live as a soldier of Christ, remaining obedient at any cost and developing interdependence on Christ and other Christians. Prince devotes attention to the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit, developing supernatural fruit, and being watchful for the anti-Christ spirit and humanism. Prince’s customary emphasis on charismatic gifts and sound doctrine is a legacy that continues to influence generations.
TRACEE N. MASON
By Dean Merrill, Baker Books,
softcover, 176 pages, $12.99.
Whether Christians want to admit it or not, the church has not always represented itself well to the world. Dean Merrill, author of Sinners in the Hands of an Angry Church, hopes to improve this representation with his newest book, Damage Control: How to Stop Making Jesus Look Bad. Correcting with gentleness, Merrill gives valuable guidelines for being a positive ambassador for Christ. He reminds readers that anyone calling himself a Christian is an ambassador. Though he acknowledges that there are elements of the faith that might alienate nonbelievers, Christians should avoid giving them extra reasons for stumbling because of any un-Christlike behavior. He also helps readers think about how Christian jargon might be misunderstood and how our actions speak louder than words. Merrill concludes by saying that Christians need more than a neatly packaged message. They need the Holy Spirit to confirm it by demonstrating His power through them.
DEBORAH L. DELK
The Papa Prayer
By Larry Crabb, Integrity Publishers,
hardcover, 224 pages, $21.99.
A Christian most of his life, author and counselor Larry Crabb confesses that he has had a dull prayer life. In The PAPA Prayer: The Prayer You’ve Never Prayed, he admits to feeling as if he’s in the first grade, but in doing so encourages other Christians to join him in learning to pray the biblical way. Rather than applying yet another how-to-talk-to-God formula, Crabb upholds the value of relational prayer, noting that the Lord’s prayer begins with “Our Father.” Using the acronym “PAPA,” signifying the Father-child relationship into which God invites every person, Crabb shows how the Christian “Presents” himself without pretense, “Attends” to how he is thinking of God, “Purges” himself of anything blocking the relationship, and “Approaches” God as his most valuable treasure. Praying this way helps believers rest in relationship with God, then they can petition Him confidently instead of pounding Him with requests for things that are often more valued than the relationship. Crabb’s practical teaching and humble example will assist readers who want to seek God Himself more than His blessings.
CHRISTINE D. JOHNSON
By Bil Carpenter, Backbeat Books,
softcover, 515 pages, $24.95.
Music journalist Bil Carpenter became a fan of gospel music in the 1980s, shortly after he committed his life to Christ at age 17. But instead of gravitating toward the contemporary sounds of groups such as Commissioned, Carpenter preferred “old-time” gospel music performed by artists who were near his grandparents’ age. That appreciation for gospel’s past, coupled with his bachelor’s degree in history and background as a music publicist, led him to create the first gospel music encyclopedia. Uncloudy Days is a 500-page volume covering the highs and lows of legendary and lesser-known gospel artists from Mahalia Jackson and James Cleveland to CeCe Winans and Mary Mary. Its companion CD takes listeners on a musical journey through classic songs such as “Changed” by the Hawkins Family and “I’ll Be Thinking of You” by Andraé Crouch to original cuts such as “This Could Be the Day” by Ann McCrary and “Still, My Father” by Bryan Wilson. The book gives a rare glimpse into the lives of gospel music’s hit makers, and the CD offers a bit of nostalgia. Both underscore gospel music’s underlying theme—that hope and redemption can be found in Christ.
Adrienne S. Gaines
By Martha Munizzi, Integrity Music.
Stepping away from her frequent collaborator Israel Houghton, Martha Munizzi taps Noel Hall, notable musician and former musical director for Fred Hammond, for her first album with Integrity Music, No Limits. This album mixes high-energy praise—some with an urban vibe—and intimate worship, with Munizzi sprinkling in bits of testimony and biblical truths. Most of the 22 tracks were written or co-written by Munizzi. “Always Welcome” was written by Martha’s twin sister, Mary Alessi, and songwriter Cindy Cruse Ratcliff. No Limits was recorded live at Bethany World Prayer Center in Baton Rouge, La., just a few weeks before Hurricane Katrina made its life-changing impact on the Gulf Coast. “While You Worship” had an unknowingly prophetic message with the lyrics: “You can make it through the storm / You can make it through the rain.”
In the Company of Angels II
By Caedmon’s Call, Essential Records.
Following its ambitious world music project Share the Well, Caedmon’s Call returns to its own style of worship with In the Company of Angels II: The World Will Sing, the band’s second collection of praise songs. Employing its signature acoustic pop-rock, the group creates a joyful and passionate worship experience. The rollicking “Sing His Love” is infectious, drawing listeners into a memorable sing-a-long praise tune. The tender “Rest Upon Us” is a personal prayer for direction. “Great and Mighty,” the modern pop opener, is one of the disc’s highlights, a tune destined for frequent rotation on radio and in church worship services. Listeners can always count on Caedmon’s Call to deliver songs that inspire, engage and entertain. The World Will Sing is no exception.
A Grateful People
By Watermark, Rocketown Records.
Nathan and Christy Nockels’ final album, A Grateful People, takes listeners on a musical journey that both hits the high points of their music career and creates some new ones worth hearing. Watermark is ending so the husband-wife duo can devote more time to their children and other music-related interests. Instead of releasing a greatest-hits album, Watermark recorded a live concert at their home church in Franklin, Tenn., that comprises a collection of favorite original songs with guest appearances by their friends Point of Grace, Ed Cash, Chris Tomlin, Charlie Hall and Shane & Shane. The result is a fresh listening experience of 12 tracks. Standouts include “Who Am I” featuring Point of Grace, the worship ballad “Knees to the Earth” which shows off Christy’s signature voice backed by piano, and the new, driving “Light of the World,” which is destined for radio airplay and would do well in church worship services. A Grateful People is a strong last chapter to Watermark and reminds us just how uplifting the Nockels’ music is.
History the Charismatic Century
By Jack Hayford and David Moore,
Warner Faith, hardcover, 256 pages, $19.99.
While commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Azusa Street Revival, Jack Hayford’s newest book explores the 1906 revival’s significance and gives readers reason to celebrate the phenomenal growth of Pentecostal faith. William J. Seymour is honored as the humble leader who would have never taken credit for the sovereign work of God in that place or imagined the significance of his ministry. Yet, Hayford also wants Christians to have a firm understanding of the past failures as they launch into the future. In reviewing history and the key players of the movement, the author does not hide skeletons in the closet. In doing so, Hayford includes both cautions and encouragements for those who come after.
Deborah L. Delk
Fire on the Earth
By Eddie Hyatt, Creation House,
softcover, 192 pages, $9.99.
Filled with eyewitness reports, this book takes readers back 100 years and gives them a front-row seat at the Azusa Street Revival. Hyatt uses excerpts from Apostolic Faith, a newspaper published by the Azusa Mission. Distributed to more than 40,000 people in the early 1900s, the paper was the primary vehicle used to spread the Pentecostal fervor that erupted on Azusa Street. Hyatt, a seasoned historian, adds helpful insights about revival in his introductory comments.