Rediscovering the Ancient Truths of Scripture
Ancient Wells Living Water
By Rod Parsley
209 pages, hardcover, $19.99
Reviewed by Adrienne S. Gaines
Wells have long connected humanity to a life-giving substance that flows beneath the surface. With this imagery in mind, megachurch pastor Rod Parsley encourages Christians to remember the ancient wells that serve as the foundation of the Christian faith. In his latest release, Ancient Wells Living Water, Parsley explores 10 ancient wells of scriptural doctrine dug by our forefathers that he believes desperately need to be redug.
These include the one Martin Luther dug when he denounced the doctrine of salvation by works and reminded the world that salvation was through grace alone. Parsley writes also of John Wesley's well of holiness, E.M. Bounds' well of prayer, Charles Finney's well of revival, John G. Lake's well of healing and Lester Sumrall's well of deliverance.
"We owe an immense debt of gratitude to pioneers like these, who showed us the way to redig the mighty wells of doctrine so that we may drink freely of their cool waters in our desert of modern humanism, pessimism, New-Ageism and worldwide anti-Christian movements," Parsley writes.
Wells have caused whole civilizations to thrive when they flourish, or collapse when they dry up, become polluted or are overtaken by an enemy. For the believer, Parsley writes, "God has...provided...a wellspring of hope, joy, health and love--a veritable fountain of spiritual rejuvenation." Parsley says millions of people are thirsty for truth, purity and security. He says God has an abundant supply "if we return to the wells of our fathers, dig them free of the dirt of doubt and the rocks of religion and reclaim our spiritual inheritance."
When reclaimed, these truths of the Word can cause a spiritual rejuvenation to sweep the land, Parsley says, "so that the well of God in our hearts will fill to overflowing with His power, provision and presence, so we can rediscover God's plan of redemption for mankind."
Paul on Trial: The Book of Acts As a Defense of Christianity
By John W. Mauck
236 pages, paperback, $14.99
Reviewed by Tom Gill
With the skill of an experienced jurist, John Mauck presents evidence and argues the case that the book of Acts was written by Luke as a legal brief in defense of both Paul and Christianity. With clear insight into the legal proceedings of the Roman government, Mauck interprets the book of Acts from the perspective of one familiar with the courts. This interpretation sheds light on why certain details are included and others are not. Though scholarly in scope, Paul on Trial is delightful to read and engages the imagination of the reader.
Mauck recognizes the theological importance of Acts, though he asserts that it was not written to a Christian readership. More specifically, Mauck states that Theophilus was probably the Roman official charged with collecting information about Paul in preparation for his trial before Nero in Rome. Therefore, the stories, sermons, miracles and travels discussed in Acts are carefully selected to clearly state Paul's innocence of any charges brought by the Jewish Sanhedrin.
Paul on Trial can help readers gain a different perspective of both Acts and Paul. Furthermore, because the Gospel of Luke is the precursor of Acts, reading both together through the eyes of a lawyer can bring even greater insight into the design of God in having Paul testify before Nero in Rome.
Creating Effective Ministry Web Sites
By David Davoust
215 pages, paperback, $24.95
Reviewed by Tom Gill
Written in user-friendly language, Creating Effective Ministry Web Sites covers all the bases to design and build an effective Internet presence for a church or ministry.
Author David Davoust writes: "The initial goal of this book was to help churches and ministry organizations...However, we were quickly challenged by Christian authors, musicians, missionaries and others who wanted help with their Web sites ...both small and large organizations will find everything they need to plan effectively and create an excellent site."
Davoust is active in Web development for ministries, companies and the government. Because of his experience in Web development and Internet marketing, his suggestions deserve careful consideration. His step-by-step approach will help in all aspects of creating a Web presence, including: planning, selecting content, navigating the Internet, designing the sites, using resources efficiently, avoiding common mistakes, utilizing volunteers and evaluating the site's effectiveness.
Worksheets are included to assist site development at every step of the way. No matter what one's level of expertise, this book has something for everyone.
By Graham Kendrick
Reviewed by Margaret Feinberg
It's been said that hardly a day goes by without a group of Christians somewhere on the planet singing a Graham Kendrick song. The writer of contemporary praise and worship songs including "Shine Jesus Shine," "Heaven Is in My Heart," "Knowing You" and "Amazing Love" is releasing his first new worship album in seven years (since Is Anyone Thirsty).
Written with a heart for the church more than the stage, each of these congregation-friendly cuts reflects on the truth of who God is from a Bible-based, Jesus-focused perspective. Highlights include the tender, intimate "I Kneel Down (On the Bloodstained Ground)" and the celebratory, full-bodied "To the King Eternal." Matt Redman joins Kendrick on "To You O Lord," and Martin Smith of Delirious joins in "Lord You've Been Good to Me."
Throughout the album, the worship songs reflect on God's faithfulness and goodness. Kendrick is a master songwriter, and his skill shines in each of the carefully crafted lyrics.
By The Exodus
Reviewed by Margaret Feinberg
It's refreshing to find a worship album where all the songs are new. The Exodus, featuring the band of the same name, has a modern worship sound running in the vein of Delirious, Matt Redman and Rita Springer. The relevant lyrics, mainly written by Exodus members, express a humble heart and passionate cry for intimacy with God.
The opening "Freedom Cry" is a plea for the liberty found in God's presence while "Holy Sacrifice" sings of the sacrifice of worship to the King. The tender "Into Your Arms" expresses a heartfelt desire for being close to the Lord and is an absolute standout.
The recording lacks the big bucks of studio-polished refinement, leaving somewhat of a recorded-in-a-shoebox muff, but even that is refreshing in a genre loaded with crack-'em-out and sounds-just-like albums. This is a great addition to any worship collection.
By Various Artists
Reviewed by Adrienne S. Gaines
For churches or home groups without a consistent worship team, Integrity Music has released iWorship, a multimedia assortment of worship accessories, complete with interactive DVDs, songbooks and split-track CDs.
The set follows a double-CD that offers a nonstop worship flow. Songs include contemporary favorites such as "I Can Only Imagine," "Come, Now Is the Time to Worship" and "We Speak to Nations," as well as such classics as "All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name" and "How Great Thou Art."
The DVDs offer songs in traditional worship styles against backdrops of rolling clouds, picturesque mountains or people in celebration. Though engaging, the scenery is not distracting, but aids in the worship experience.
Split tracks are offered for 39 popular tunes--including "Breathe," "Days of Elijah" and "Open the Eyes of My Heart"in five versions and three keys. Formats include an original demonstration, original track with and without background vocals, and low-key and high-key tracks. The songbook offers all 33 tracks on the double CD, as well as a companion CD-ROM with printable chord charts and text files of the lyrics.
These resources can help create a worship atmosphere in virtually any setting and could be an invaluable resource.