cover image Fresh Faith: What Happens When Real Faith Ignites God's People

Fresh Faith: What Happens When Real Faith Ignites God's People

Jim Cymbala. Zondervan Publishing Company, $18.99 (219pp) ISBN 978-0-310-23007-6

This sequel to Cymbala's 1997 success, Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire (still holding its own on the hardcover religion bestseller list), manages to offer what few sequels can muster: a ""fresh"" and invigorating perspective. Cymbala has a real knack for bringing Bible stories to life (King David, with all of his flaws, figures prominently here). The book's short homilies comprise readable chapters on issues such as trusting God, overcoming discouragement and acting on God's promises. Cymbala shares stories from his congregation--including of his daughter's miraculous healing and the unforgettable conversion of Amalia, a drug-addicted incest victim--to demonstrate God's power in transforming lives. Cymbala has some hard words for those who rely upon good works in hopes of earning God's approval, which in his estimation demonstrates a grievous lack of faith in grace. He chastises those who profess belief in the truth of the Bible but never read it for themselves; they suffer from ""stale"" faith because they refuse to be refreshed. On the other end of the spectrum, his message is also for ""those Christians who pound the Bible the hardest [but] are the most unbelieving and cynical about God ever doing a new thing in his church."" Some of Cymbala's politics may offend readers (one chapter profiles an ex-gay husband and father who renounced his former lifestyle and established a ministry to AIDS victims), but he generally manages to rise above divisive polemics to preach a gospel of truth-telling and ineffable love. (Sept.)