Ministry Today | Serving and empowering church leaders

Software for worship leaders, Jack Hayford gives leadership lessons, Book gives insight into Islam, New release offers 'amazing' worship

Lesson on Leadership

The Leading Edge
By Jack Hayford
Charisma House
203 pages, hardcover, $17.99
Reviewed by Tom Gill

"Leadership means being willing to take risks and pushing past the outer edge to get to the 'leading edge.'" Respected as a pastor, seminary founder and Christian leader, Jack Hayford has also been a regular contributor to Ministries Today magazine as senior editorial adviser. Mining the wealth of these contributions, The Leading Edge contains jewels of truth for leaders at every stage of leadership.

Hayford writes, "'The leader's edge'...has to do with the heart more than head, with serving more than succeeding and with loving God as the starting point for leading people." This accurately reflects the tenor of each article chosen for publication in this work. Hayford's wisdom and common-sense approach to leadership cuts through the hype of modern leadership principles and brings the reader to the solid foundation of biblical truth. Hayford exhibits an uncompromising devotion to truth and fearlessness in tackling tough issues with no worry about being politically correct. Though straightforward and direct, Hayford regularly points to his own foibles as the classroom in which his own life lessons were learned.

This book should be a part of every leader's library. Each chapter is an article written during the 12-year span from 1989 to 2001. Reading this book is like taking brief looks at history and applying the lessons learned to issues in today's world. Through the lens of experience, one can see the consistency of biblical truth and the value of proper application.

Inside Islam:
Exposing and Reaching the World of Islam

By Reza F. Safa
Charisma House
201 pages, paperback, $11.99
Reviewed by John M. De Marco

Reza F. Safa, raised a devout Muslim and now the leader of Harvesters World Outreach, offers a timely and blunt critique of Islam and presents strategies for sharing the love of Christ with followers of what Safa sees as a false religion in his book, Inside Islam.

The author provides a helpful foundation of Islam in the first section of the book, explaining its history, spirit and lifestyle, and exposing the inconsistencies of the Quran--as well as drawing a clear line of demarcation between the Allah of the Quran and the God of the Bible. While Christians should strive to find common ground with Muslims in order to gain the credibility for sharing the message of the cross, Safa reminds readers that Islam "denies the deity, death and resurrection of Jesus; therefore it is an antichrist religion." He also encourages Christians to understand that while Islam in practice varies from nation to nation, its followers are united by their belief in Allah and his prophet Muhammad.

In the book's next section, Safa offers tips for witnessing to Muslims, encouraging Christians to realize that the agape love of God is more powerful than the lies that have bound countless individuals from birth. Muslims are not taught unconditional love, he notes, and can be liberated from the fear that plagues them when they discover the radically different message offered through the gospel. But rather than criticizing Islam directly, Christians should patiently share the good news with their Muslim acquaintances, Safa says.

Finally, Safa encourages the church to be more resilient and effective in reaching the world for Christ, casting out fear in favor of faith. "If the doors to the Muslim world are closed, it's simply because we the church have not knocked. We have feared Islam and its fundamentalists."

Inside Islam is a helpful handbook to keep nearby if and when a Christian interacts with Muslims. It is helpful for believers to have a thorough explanation of Islam at a time in our country when plenty of innuendoes, assumptions and presuppositions are prevailing upon the public debate.

Breaking the Grip of Dangerous Emotions
By Janet Maccaro, Ph.D., C.N.C.
Charisma House
203 pages, hardcover, $19.99
Reviewed by Adrienne S. Gaines

In a culture where stress loads are growing heavier with no relief in sight, Breaking the Grip of Dangerous Emotions is an oasis. Author Janet Maccaro, who holds a doctorate in nutrition and a degree in natural medicine, marries her education with the wisdom of Scripture and explores the link between an individual's emotional health and his or her physical well-being.

Focusing heavily on the negative physical and psychological impact of stress, Maccaro offers practical help that includes dietary modifications coupled with a variety of herbal and vitamin supplements. She then expounds on the spiritual or emotional roots of the anxiety--fear, anger, bitterness--and counsels readers to release those emotions and allow God to heal them.

Drawing richly from her own experiences with chronic illness and unresolved bitterness toward her estranged father, Maccaro writes as an authoritative guide on the road to emotional, spiritual and physical health. Her self-help book is a marriage of psychology, natural medicine and biblical wisdom. Throughout the work she uses the language of secular psychologists and therapists, who often encourage people to get in touch with their inner child or do breathing techniques.

She encourages similar strategies, yet filters the techniques through Scripture. Instead of Yoga, she offers her own breathing exercises and encourages participants to think about Bible verses that address fear, anxiety or anger.

Yet readers may be troubled by her use of New Age health specialist Deepak Chopra, whom she quotes in a passage encouraging readers not to blame others for their emotional scars. Though the advice is sound within the context of her writing, the source is likely not one she would encourage readers to seek for further spiritual advice.

Maccaro's Spirit-led wisdom is like a healing balm. Those who have been suffering with physical problems doctors can't seem to diagnose may find the help they've been looking for in this book. Others who simply want to become healthier or ward off the dangerous side effects of negative stress before it gets out of control will find this book a useful resource.


'Amazing' Worship

By Parachute Band, Worship Extreme
Reviewed by Margaret Feinberg

Landing stateside once again, the Parachute Band is back with another great release. Favorites in their home country of New Zealand, the group has garnered a number of hits with their two previous albums: Love and Adore.

The songs on their latest release are both fresh and passionate. Much of the album was either written or co-written by band members Wayne and Libby Huirua and Chris de Jong. In addition, popular songs were collected from churches all over the kiwi isle.

From the fun, pop-rock title song, "Amazing" to the groove funk "Sovereign," this band can't be pigeonholed into a particular genre or style. The album has something for everyone. Standouts include the soft and tender "Complete," which is likely to earn radio play, and the delicate "You're My Lord."

There are two ingredients that hold this album together: the fact that it's all worship music and it's all really good. And that makes it definitely worth picking up a copy.


A Worship Leader's 'Complete' Companion

Worship Software 3
By Integrity Music, $199.95
Reviewed by Elisabeth Farrell

Integrity Music calls this CD-ROM the "complete worship resource," and a musician would be hard-pressed to find something that's not in here. This is a powerful tool that can help church worship leaders plan and organize Sunday morning services, special worship events and more--from finding songs and selecting musicians to filing copyright usage and even printing bulletins and overhead sheets.

The CD contains 6,000 songs cross-referenced by key, theme, time signature, Scripture reference, tempo, usage history, author, publisher, date last used in a service, and more. There are full lyrics and music (soprano, alto, tenor, bass and chords) for most songs in Hosanna! Music songbooks 1-13 and in the Hillsongs Collection. The resource also includes information on songs found in 16 other hymnals and songbooks from Vineyard to the United Methodist Hymnal (copyright restrictions prevent listing lyrics and music for non-Integrity songs).

After a short learning curve, the software is easy to use for even the technically challenged, but the best benefit will come to those who can operate both a computer keyboard and a piano keyboard (or other instrument). They'll be able to transpose and print sheet music, structure key modulations for songs, cross-reference medleys with key modulations, display guitar fret diagrams, and find and use MIDI files.

The software is expandable with add-on modules that store and play digital sound clips and video slide projection. Macintosh musicians will be disappointed because the software operates only on personal computers (with at least 32 megabytes of RAM and 100 megabytes of hard-disk space).

Nevertheless, this is a great resource for worship leaders, who likely will be singing its praises.

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