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Becoming a spiritual pioneer, Tips for successful fund raising, In-depth Bible commentary, An exuberant worship experience

An Adventure Of a Lifetime

Reckless Abandon
By Larry Tomczak
Charisma House
228 pages, paperback, $13.99
Reviewed by Adrienne S. Gaines

God is looking for Christians who are willing to be spiritual pioneers, not settlers. At least that's what author Larry Tomczak asserts in his latest book, Reckless Abandon. The key, he says, is in discerning what God wants to do in this generation, and releasing all programs, formulas and agendas to follow His lead. The message may sound familiar, but Tomczak delivers it with a passion that lends it currency, and he uses examples from his own faith walk that will encourage readers to set out on a sometimes unpredictable journey.

Pastor of Christ the King Church of Greater Atlanta, Tomczak tells readers the signs of a fresh move of God, which include a consecration to holiness, a fresh commitment to worship and fervent prayer, and a passion for God's presence. He writes that God is getting ready to turn the world upside-down, and He's looking for some Christians willing to partner with Him in an imminent spiritual revolution. He says the revolution is not just for the young, but for those young in spirit, like modern-day Joshuas and Calebs, who possessed "another spirit" that caused them to see a promise their generation missed.

Key in this revolution is authentic New Testament Christianity, and in an appendix, Tomczak gives the characteristics of a New Testament church, which include freedom in worship, genuine love among the people, pastoral care for the whole person--mind, body and spirit, the five-fold ministry gifts in operation, and an evangelistic, outward thrust.

In another appendix, he compares traditional and biblical models of a local church, challenging pastors to allow Christ to be the head, and to make the church an organism, not an organization, with disciples, not members, who participate, not spectate.

Laity and leaders alike will benefit from Tomczak's challenge. History has shown that one person can turn the world upside-down. Tomczak hopes the next history-maker will be you.

Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds
Commentary, Volume 4
Edited by Clinton E. Arnold
416 pages, hardcover, $39.99
Reviewed by Adrienne S. Gaines

The fourth and final volume of Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary offers readers a glimpse into the cultural and historical backdrop around which the books of Hebrews through Revelation were written. Like the previous three books in the set, which retails for $159.99, volume four uses relevant papyri inscriptions, archeological discoveries and studies of Judaism, Hellenism and Roman culture to reveal details about each book's authorship, themes and purpose.

Each chapter of each book is broken up into clusters of verses, with notes that put the passages in context, as well as relevant sidebars. Edited by Clinton E. Arnold, a professor of New Testament language and literature at Talbot School of Theology in La Mirada, Calif., volume four is filled with several full-color photos, illustrations, line drawings, maps, charts and time lines. Each book also includes "reflections" on the book's timeless relevance.

Pastors with or without formal seminary or Bible college training will find this resource helpful in sermon preparation.

Successful Church Fund-Raising
By John R. Bisagno
Broadman & Holman
130 pages, paperback, $24.99
Reviewed by Adrienne S. Gaines

When pastors are faced with big fund-raising ventures such as a building project or debt-elimination drive, the resources are already there, says author John Bisagno. They're just trapped in members' pockets. That's why he wrote Successful Church Fund-Raising--to teach pastors how to help their members become cheerful givers. "The problem is not that we have to protect them from giving more than they should, more than they can, or more than the Lord wants them to: the problem is to protect them against giving less than they should, less than they can, and less than our Father would have them give," he writes.

Filled with several short chapters, the book explains everything from determining whether it is time to build to discerning how much to expect in pledges to motivating members and organizing a successful campaign. Bisagno also includes a chapter on what not to do, and ends the book with a checklist and several sample stewardship and motivational sermons.

Bisagno says pastors beginning a fund-raising effort must remember three things: "attitude, attitude, attitude. Be positive, be joyous, and don't apologize. The resources are there...go to the Lord and go to your people, and watch what God will do."


Praise Him in Dance

Say the Name
By Martha Munizzi
Martha Munizzi Music
Reviewed by Margaret Feinberg

Laden with a big, choir-backed sound, Martha Munizzi records 10 worshipful songs on her debut album, recorded live at FaithWorld Center in Orlando, Fla., where she once served as worship leader. Say the Name begins with several upbeat, danceable cuts including "Shout" and "It's Time to Dance," with slower, more intimate songs such as "Because of Who You Are" found toward the end.

Munizzi's powerful voice backed by a strong choir make this an exciting recording. Fans of church-supported recordings will want to give this a listen.

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