The Image of a Father
By Bryan Davis, AMG Publishers,
hardcover, 224 pages, $19.99.
Readers are desperate for guidance on how to raise children, but they want more than the same food for each meal. Bryan Davis’ The Image of a Father offers fresh flavor.
With refreshing honesty, Davis opens the door to his home and heart, inviting readers inside. He tells tales of football games with his sons, shares kind notes from his daughter and talks of racing to the store for just what his pregnant wife needs. Through risky confessions of his failures as a father, Davis offers biblical guidelines for parental success and Christian character in everyday life.
In serving a balanced meal for parents, the author defines each ingredient of a father’s role, including life-giver, provider, truth-teller, judge, guide and warrior. He admits that children might suffer because their parents are not perfect, but encourages reliance on God in decision-making: “As we trust our Supreme Judge to correct our surrogate errors, we move on to the next case. Our fallibility is no excuse for avoiding our responsibility.”
Overall, The Image of a Father dishes up crucial instruction on how to truly rely on the Life-Giver, Guide and Supreme Judge.
Healing the Masculine Soul
By Gordon Dalbey, W Publishing Group,
softcover, 272 pages, $13.99.
Gordon Dalbey’s updated classic, Healing the Masculine Soul: How God Restores Men to Real Manhood, includes newer topical references and a study guide. Yet, 15 years after its original release–and amid escalating divorce rates, increasing fatherlessness and gay “marriage” debates–it’s more timely than ever.
Reading this book is an emotionally wrenching experience, one designed for both genders. It is not only millions of men who suffer from a lack of paternal affirmation. As Dalbey points out, many women also struggle with that and with unbalanced views of godly masculinity.
The book includes revealing glimpses of Dalbey helping counselees overcome such shortcomings. These are akin to observing inner-healing sessions. However, that strength is also the book’s weakness. Afterward, the question becomes: Where do we go from here? How do we address emotional diseases afflicting interpersonal
As daunting as the task may be, if you are part of a Bible-study class or small group, one place to start is by thrashing out the issues Dalbey raises.
How to Talk So Your Kids Will Listen
By H. Norman Wright, Regal Books,
softcover, 104 pages, $9.99.
In this small but useful volume, H. Norman Wright sets out to show parents how to “really get through” to their children, recognizing that each child is different. Taking into consideration the uniqueness of each child, the parent can discover the most appropriate way to communicate with him or her.
Wright encourages parents to nurture their children, who are moldable like clay, with verbal and nonverbal expressions, affirming them for their right choices and correcting them for their wrong choices. He deals with communication situations, such as bargaining or the silent treatment, and how to cope with explosive topics, including clothes, contraception and curfews.
Practical exercises will help parents recognize problems in their communication styles and find solutions. Some parents will need to adopt the author’s pointed advice to “talk less” or “stop yelling,” for example. Many parents simply will need to hear Wright’s ultimate encouragement, that with the right communication style, “Your child will listen!”
Christine D. Johnson
By Tommy Tenney, Bethany House
Hardcover, 351 pages, $19.99.
A fascinating new spin on a beloved old story is what author Tommy Tenney produces in Hadassah: One Night With the King. Well-known for his inspirational nonfiction teaching books, such as The God Chasers, Tenney now successfully tries his hand at historical fiction with the help of Mark Andrew Olsen.
The flavor of this story is not unlike the works of authors Brock and Bodie Thoene or Francine Rivers, yet anyone who has heard or read Tenney’s inspirational works will pick up threads of those teachings even in this fictional story. There is plenty of action, intrigue and suspense despite the fact that Tenney never strays from his biblical base as the foundation.
Particularly satisfying is how the Jewish Hadassah determines to live out her faith in the pagan Persian palace and how she obtains favor among the leaders. She was not just part of an elaborate beauty contest, but also encountered great pressure to compromise the standards of her faith. This rendition of the Esther story also develops the anti-Semitism in Haman, a descendant of Agag, and the spiritual battle that has raged even centuries before and continues into our modern age.
Deborah L. Delk
Thank You Lord
By Don Moen, Integrity.
Don Moen’s new album is appropriately titled Thank You Lord, since thankfulness is primarily what praise and worship music is all about. For the most part, this album is built on acoustic musical backings and colored by plenty of piano and mandolin. Though most songs are originals, Moen has also included a short snippet of the hymn “I Need Thee Every Hour” and a few bars of the chorus “I Surrender All.”
In a few places, the music takes on a distinctly Celtic feel. Namely, on “Worthy of Praises”–but it also influences the closing of “When It’s All Been Said and Done,” with its lyrics that take stock of the Christian life and remind us that only what believers do for Christ truly counts in the end. “Mi Corazón” includes a few lines sung in Spanish during its chorus, and even sports a Spanish-styled guitar solo. Overall, Thank You Lord is a consistently satisfying effort.
Open Up the Gates
By Planetshakers, Word.
As the Hillsong series continues to influence worship circles, another Australian import explodes onto the musical scene. Planetshakers’ debut recording, Open Up the Gates, features high-energy, modern-rock-oriented praise from the youth movement of the same name that has drawn thousands worldwide.
The CD is the introduction of the Planetshakers invasion that will also feature concerts and conferences in the United States. Under the direction of worship pastors Henry Seeley and Sam Evans, the songs are fresh and original yet accessible and catchy.
Highlights include the rousing rock of the title track, the solemn praise of “How I Love You,” the passionate “It’s All About Jesus” and the anthem “All I Want Is You.” Similar to Passion and Hillsong, Planetshakers should be welcomed by many seeking fresh and inventive new worship songs.
Praise Jams Volume 1
By Club J, Integrity.
Adults might not get Praise Jams, but they are not supposed to. This project is especially geared to tweens–praise and worship for the 8- to 14-year-old category.
Part Jump5, part club music, Praise Jams opens with the high-energy dance number “Love to Be With You,” followed by a fast-paced, crunchy guitar version of the Jesus tribute “My Best Friend” in the tradition of Relient K or The Elms.
Some of the familiar songs are downright cool, such as “You Are Good” and “Open the Eyes of My Heart.” Though some might sound a bit cheesy, such as the juvenile-sounding “Every Move I Make,” overall, Praise Jams is a great alternative to today’s tween radio offerings.
Natalie Nichols Gillespie
Home Beyond the Sun
By Garden City Pictures.
God works in mysterious ways in Home Beyond the Sun: The Found Forsaken. Based on a true story, this film examines China’s dilemma of unwanted daughters in an overpopulated land of more than 1 billion people.
Jenna Wilton (Melyssa Ade) is a 22-year-old Bible-college graduate from America who goes to China to teach English a boy’s academy. She believes this is an opportunity to take Jesus to a land controlled by communism.
After discovering a Christian orphanage near the school, she meets 8-year-old Chu Lee (Molly Sayer). Chu’s mother was forced to leave her as an infant on the doorstep of the orphanage just before she was gunned down by the secret police.
Wilton, who was also an orphan, becomes a “big sister” to Chu, who longs to be adopted but is passed over for the younger orphans. Wilton offers Chu hope as she tells her about life in the United States.
Thanks to Wilton, an American couple agrees to adopt Chu, but Col. Khan (Von Flores), the secret police captain, seems bent on blocking the girl’s road to freedom. Wilton and Chu, though, eventually get help from an unexpected source. Featuring a surprise revelation at the end, the film shows that “with God all things are possible.”
Home Beyond the Sun is suitable for the entire family. This movie will tug at the hearts of couples desiring to adopt Chinese orphans and Christians concerned about the persecution of believers in China.
Paula White Says Pain Can Empower
Paula White loves to shop for antiques and read the classics. She is Mom to four children, ages 18-26, a blended family she enjoys with her husband of 15 years, Randy. She is also “Pastor Paula” to the 15,000 who attend their Tampa, Florida, multiracial Without Walls International Church.
White’s life message is “use pain as a conduit for power,” a conviction shaped by her past. Her father committed suicide. And she endured years of physical and sexual abuse.
Having learned from personal experiences and then ministry, White exposes the characteristics of violators and encourages cutting off unhealthy relationships. “Go to those who celebrate you,” she says. You need their perspective: “Most of my close friends have known me since I lived in a trailer and ate government cheese.”
Her book Deal With It! You Cannot Conquer What You Will Not Confront (Thomas Nelson) highlights relatable women of the Bible. Leah, Jacob’s surprise wife, was manipulated and unloved. Rahab, once a fertility-cult prostitute, ended up as the great-great-grandmother of King David–proof that God does not let the condition of your past determine your future.
Her first Charisma House book, He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not, has been revised with a journal quality and a new cover. White explains that only God can fulfill our most desperate need for love. As we embrace a relationship with God, His unconditional love transforms the way we view ourselves and others.
Though busy speaking at conferences and making TV appearances, White’s priority is inner-city ministry. She has helped establish a medical center, vocational and technical center, an adoption agency, and more. Without Walls offers training three times a year to those who want to minister to others in similar ways.
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3. The Three Battlegrounds
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4. Pigs in the Parlor
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6. A Divine Revelation of Hell
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