Ministry Today | Serving and empowering church leaders

Aging with grace, Timeless truths and basics, Worship music from Byron Cage, Time for Vacation Bible School

Resource for Relating to Aging Congregants

Aging Without Growing Old
By Judy Lindberg McFarland with Laura McFarland Luczak
Siloam Press
516 pages, paperback, $16.99
Reviewed by Pamela Robinson

As ministers work with an increasingly aging population, they will appreciate God-honoring, well-researched resources for counseling those wanting to improve their health. Along with her daughter, Laura McFarland Luczak, author Judy Lindberg McFarland draws on the pioneering work of her mother, Gladys Melcher Lindberg, in the field of nutrition in her best seller, Aging Without Growing Old. The book provides an encyclopedic discussion of maintaining physical, emotional and spiritual health with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and herbs--"God's first pharmacy."

The first four chapters explain the value of vitamins, minerals, herbs and antioxidants as preventive medicine. Each of the next 12 chapters discusses a particular area of health concern and the nutrients to treat specific conditions. The author provides preventive measures for eye conditions, brain and heart disorders, high blood pressure, thyroid malfunction, arthritis and aging. McFarland also covers men's special challenges with testosterone and prostate; young women's special needs to overcome PMS, fibrocystic breast and bladder infection; and maturing women's approaches to menopause and osteoporosis. The final chapter explains the complete Lindberg Nutrition Program. A useful appendix follows with an overview of all the vitamins and minerals and their importance.

McFarland always advises those interested in improved nutrition to consult their physicians regarding the treatment of their medical problems. Her method is meant to work for, not against, physicians as a proven nutritional program.

In Christian circles, the Lindberg Nutrition Program has received wide recognition. Pat Robertson's 700 Club did a feature story on the author's mother and the Lindberg Nutrition Service. The author has often appeared on Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) programs, such as Praise the Lord and The Doctor's Night and now gives a two-hour nutrition lecture on TBN each month.

Ministers will want to offer this book in their church libraries. As McFarland states, it documents "essential information for people of all ages who seek a lifetime of good health." And the information comes from an author who "believe[s] in the power of prayer"--and did so long before doctors reported the healing power of prayer for their patients.

Jesus Driven Ministry
By Ajith Fernando
Crossway Books
255 pages, hardcover, $19.99
Reviewed by Margaret Feinberg

Burnout, moral failure and discouragement have become all too common plights among those in ministry. Ajith Fernando believes that much of the problem is rooted in a failure to adhere to the basic tenets of the faith. In this extremely well-written, practical book, Fernando takes his gloves off and gets into the messy issues of ministry while maintaining a Christ-centered perspective.

A Sri Lankan minister and director of Youth for Christ serving in the heartland of an embittered nation, Fernando has paid a price for the truths he shares, and the result is a powerful, much-needed reminder for pastors, especially in the United States.

Chapters challenge readers to fundamental practices, including identifying with people, being empowered by the Spirit, walking in God's affirmation, saturating oneself in the Word and home visitation. Though Fernando goes over the basics, this book is anything but simple ABCs. It contains timeless truths that veterans need to heed and newcomers will find helpful. The examinations of Scripture and the life of Christ in light of ministry as well as Fernando's personal stories make this book a standout.


Energy and Passion
Byron Cage

By Byron Cage
GospoCentric Records
Reviewed by Adrienne S. Gaines

It's been a little more than six years since Byron Cage taught congregations around the world to sing "Shabach" and "Yet Praise Him," which have become praise and worship staples in some circles. Now back on the scene, Cage is again showing the body of Christ how praise and worship is done with his self-titled solo release.

Worship leader at Ebenezer African Methodist Episcopal Church in Fort Washington, Maryland, Cage combines a fluid blend of energetic praise with passionate worship. "Majesty" will get listeners' blood pumping, as Cage declares: "He is so worthy of all of the praise. Oh come magnify Him. Jesus is His name."

Recorded live at New Birth Cathedral in Atlanta, where Cage was once worship leader, the release continues with the upbeat "The Presence of the Lord Is Here," written by Kurt Carr, who also produced the disc. The release also includes a medley of Cage's best-known songs, including "Shabach" and "Yet Praise Him."

The worship cuts are no less intense, particularly on "It Is to You," written by Donnie McClurkin, and "Glory to Your Name." "Thou Art a Shield" is a standout, as much for its musical excellence as for its passionate worship.

Byron Cage captures the heart of praise and worship, and wraps it in bold, soulful packaging. These songs could easily be used for congregational worship, private time with God or just to whirl in the CD player.


It's Summertime!

SonHarvest County Fair
Gospel Light
Starter kit: $49.99; Super Starter Pack: $169.99;
additional materials vary in price
Reviewed by Karen Schmidt

Gospel Light's 2003 Vacation Bible School (VBS), SonHarvest County Fair, offers a catchy, colorful theme that's also wholesome and educational. A bushel of helps and programming materials is built around instructing preschoolers through preteens about the fruit of the Spirit via assorted New Testament stories. Expect the typical VBS activities: skits, memory verses, crafts, snacks. Leaders and children will be enchanted with the inventive Farmhand Fun Exhibits that teach fun farm facts while kids try their hands at skills such as milking a cow (using a rubber glove udder), kneading bread dough and planting seeds for a giveaway.

Also enticing is the reproducible music CD that includes radio announcements. Children can gain a musical souvenir. Churches with a missions interest will also like the Blue Ribbon Harvest Missions Project, a fund-raising project to supply Hindi Sunday school curriculum to India's children.

Web-savvy churches will appreciate, a CD-ROM (included in the Super Starter Pack) offering a customizable Web site so churches can organize and promote their VBSs. can be purchased separately, along with a wagonload of other extras: banners, stickers, pennants, balloons and awards.

Kids Club 20:20
$149.99 all inclusive
Reviewed by Karen Schmidt

Versatility and strong outreach potential are hallmarks of Kids Club 20:20, CharismaLife's VBS offering. Created with veteran child evangelist Billy Burns, the program is designed for use as a traditional VBS as well as by church members through backyard Bible clubs. The name refers to teaching God's Word from house to house from Acts 20:20. The kit contains a leader's manual, color illustrations, a CD-ROM, a music CD and a sample adult-size Kids Club T-shirt. The leader's manual is generous with inspiration, training information and tips, plus five complete lessons. A suggested schedule assists in apportioning time to lesson elements: welcome, the secret handshake, games, praise and worship, skit, lesson, craft, snack and even an Internet connection. The program is comprehensive, possibly a bit overwhelming to volunteers trying to host a program in their yards.

CharismaLife has succeeded in creating a product many church members can use simultaneously while keeping costs manageable. The CD-ROM holds illustrations, fliers, name tags, memory-verse pages, song lyrics, take-home pages and "club cash" to use as rewards.

Kids Club 20:20 is strong in its wealth of lesson application using various means--skits, object lessons and serial fiction tales. A rap reinforces the main point at the day's conclusion. This product shows that an affordable, flexible, evangelistic program can be successful in today's competitive and complex environment.

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