God's Favorite Place On Earth by Frank Viola
Books, Fellow Bloggers, Writers

Others Writing About Gods Favorite Place

Here are some of the other people writing about Frank Viola‘s new book God’s Favorite Place On Earth, which I wrote about in my last post. This post serves as a collection of links to other people’s say about the book. As you probably already know, you can get 25 gifts for ordering between May 1st and May 7th. Find out how at the book’s website.

I hope this helps. 🙂

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Fellow Bloggers, Writers

God’s Favorite Place On Earth

Frank Viola has just released his new book God’s Favorite Place on Earth and if you order the book between May 1st to May 7th, you will also receive 25 GIFTS from over 15 different authors.

Go to GodsFavoritePlace.com for information on how to order and easy instructions on how to get your 25 gifts.

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Recommendations

“In Frank Viola’s hands, the story of Lazarus—like Lazarus himself—once again comes to life. In a world where hope is battered and life can so easily beat down the human spirit, we are reminded once more of the possibility of becoming a host of Life.”
John Ortberg, pastor and author of Who Is This Man?

God’s Favorite Place on Earth realigned my heart toward Jesus and His mysterious, confounding, surprising, beautiful ways. It’s not often I learn something new when reading a book, but Frank Viola’s sharp storytelling and insightful interpretation made me hunger for more of the real Jesus.”
Mary DeMuth, author of Everything: What You Give

“God’s Favorite Place on Earth is the kind of book I’ve discovered I need to periodically find and read. Frank Viola’s pen and voice are consistently both penetrating and trustworthy. Beyond his invitingly beautiful writing skill—which makes reading a joy and a sight-seeing tour that brings God’s Word into 3-D when he relates narrative passages, I’m grateful for the depth of his themes.”
Pastor Jack Hayford, Chancellor of The King’s University, Los Angeles

“This is a masterfully engaging book that distills the vision of the Christian life into one focused quest: To be God’s favorite place on earth today. I recommend this little volume to all Christians and Christian leaders.”
Mark Batterson, New York Times bestselling author of The Circle Maker

“Combining masterful storytelling, historical knowledge, biblical insight and practical wisdom, Frank artfully uses the Gospels’ depiction of Lazarus and the small town of Bethany to lay out a beautiful and compelling vision of a God who longs to make every human heart and every church ‘His favorite place.’ This is a beautifully written, timely, prophetic work all would benefit from reading!”
Greg Boyd, pastor and author of Benefit of the Doubt

“A lot of people write books, Frank writes stories and in this one we once again see why he’s such a master. Honored to call him a friend, excited to call him an author I love to read.”
Jon Acuff, bestselling author of Start, Quitter, and Stuff Christians Like 

“Frank Viola surpasses himself in his best book yet—a work of serene, soaring magnificence. Part novel, part biography, part theology, part Bible study, Frank’s imaginative touch and command of prose haiku leaves the reader resolved more than ever to be a Bethany—God’s favorite place on earth.”
Leonard Sweet, Drew University, George Fox University, sermons.com

“Reading God’s Favorite Place on Earth by Frank Viola, my soul began to burn from Chapter One. To delve into Lazarus’ heart and thoughts … I received a beautiful glimpse into the life of Christ on earth. Lazarus’ stories make a perfect foundation for God’s truth, God’s intimacy. I can’t wait to share this book!”
Tricia Goyer, USA Today best-selling author of 35 books

“In spite of my Ph.D. in Theology, I had never considered the importance of Bethany in the life of Jesus.”
Phil Cooke, media consultant and author of Unique

“The best thing I can say about Frank Viola is this: When I read his books—and I read them all—I don’t think much about Frank Viola. I think about Jesus. And I learn to love Him more. This book is no different. Read it, and you’ll find yourself thinking, if you’re like me, ‘I knew Jesus was great, but… Wow!’ And that, at least from me, is as good as it gets.”
Brant Hansen, Radio personality and blogger 

See all 47 Recommendations at GodsFavoritePlace.com 

Sample Chapter

Check out the book sampler and share it with others: http://frankviola.org/GodsFavoritePlace.pdf

Video Trailer

Check out the short video trailer and share with friends: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RG_9TeE-BO8

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Blog News & Updates, Christ the Head, Ekklesia, Fellow Bloggers, God's Eternal Purpose, Quotes, Reblogged, The Body of Christ, Writers

Much has happened since I last wrote on this little blog. Perhaps I will share more about those things soon. But until then I want to make a recommendation.

I believe the issues in our faith and in our churches and in life in general stems from our lack of vision of Christ. That we only see parts of Him, and maybe in the wrong light. I also believe that the solution to our problems really is beholding the entire Christ. Brother Milt Rodriguez writes about seeing Jesus Christ in all his fullness in this blog post, which I enjoyed very much. I recommend that you read it as well, and seek to lay hold of a three-dimensional view of Him.

The Blog of Milt Rodriguez

Part 1 – The Heavenly Vision

This article is inspired by the upcoming ebook with the same title… look for it soon!

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints…”  (Eph 1:18) 

“So, King Agrippa, I did not prove disobedient to the heavenly vision,”  (Act 26:19) 

Have you noticed lately how popular movies in 3-D have become?  You would have to be living in a cave to have missed it.  It seems that almost every action movie now comes in two formats: 2-D and 3-D.  The 3-D movies are more expensive to watch and you have to wear those funky 3-D glasses.  I don’t like those glasses because they usually hurt my eyes and give me a headache! …

View original post 1,349 more words

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Abiding, Christ as the Vine

Abiding

“Abiding in Him is not a work that we do…but a consenting to let Him do all for us, and in us, and through us.”
~ Andrew Murray

If what Murray said is true then all the work is the Lord’s. All is done by the might of the Spirit (and we get to be vessels for Him and His power). Even remaining in Christ, remaining in Love. I hope to return to this quote tomorrow to meditate on it, as well as what John talks about in his gospel, the 15th chapter, verse 1-17 (ESV):

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants,t for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another.”

Blessings in Christ from a sleepy brother. Good night!

Flowered Almond, photo by Francesc Toldrà http://www.hidb.es

Flowered Almond, photo by Francesc Toldrà http://www.hidb.es

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Quotes

Sharing Some Quotes – Part 2

Wanted to share some quotes again that I have stumbled upon recently.

Hope you will enjoy them!

Frank Viola, from his book “From Eternity to Here”:

“The burning intent of your God is that all of His living stones be built together with other living stones to form His house. Not for themselves, but for their Lord. To be the house of God, by God and for God.”

Milt Rodriguez:

“Christians are so fascinated with Christ’s second coming when they haven’t even fully comprehended His first coming!”

Joshua Tongol:

“If you don’t INTERPRET scripture through the LENS OF JESUS, you’re going to be very CONFUSED about who God is. You’ll read many stories that may seem to CONTRADICT Jesus’ life and teachings. Why? Because all of the characters in the Bible didn’t FULLY understand God. But when Jesus came on the scene He said, “Let me show you what God is REALLY like.” Why? Because He was God in the FLESH.”

James 1:19-20, ESV:

“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”

T. Austin-Sparks from The On-High Calling Volume 1 – chapter 9:

“Looking to Jesus… (Hebrews 12:2 ESV)

There is a real touch of Paul in this Letter to the Hebrews – “Looking off unto Jesus.” Whoever actually wrote this Letter, the shadow of Paul is over it. His influence is everywhere. And certainly he was called upon to look off unto Jesus. Now that is a very vital lesson for us to learn. We have to do that again and again in our Christian life. If we get our eyes upon anything but the Lord Jesus we just go to pieces. Have all respect for God’s saints. I am not saying that you have to eye every servant of God with suspicion and be saying all the time: “Well, of course, he is not perfect, you know.” Give honor to whom honor is due, but never build your faith upon any man, however good he may be.

And as for ourselves – well, I think perhaps we are more tempted to look at ourselves than anything else! This is one of our real Christian exercises. We have continually to remove our eyes from ourselves and everything to do with ourselves. There is nothing more discouraging than this self of ours, and nothing more misleading. Our own judgments are all wrong, and so are our thoughts and ideas. They are not God’s thoughts. We must take our eyes off ourselves, but not look out into space and be vacant. “Look off unto Jesus,” and you know how that sentence is finished – “Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.” Did you start this thing? Are you a Christian because you decided to be a Christian? Well, the Lord help you if that is so! No, He started this thing. Are you not glad that you can say: “It was the Lord who found me. It was the Lord who put His hand on me.” What He said is very true: “Ye did not choose Me, but I chose you” (John 15:16). He was the author of our faith, and it says that He is the finisher – He will finish it.”

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Quotes

Sharing Some Quotes – Part 1

This post was originally posted in Swedish now translated to English and slightly modified:

I found some golden quotes that I’d like to share like this, just passing by.

The first one is from our brother who is no longer with us, Theodore Austin-Sparks:

“‘The time is coming, yes, and has already come, when true worshippers will worship in spirit and in reality. Indeed, the Father looks for men who will worship Him like that.’ (John 4:23, Phillips)

Jesus said to the woman, “the hour cometh, and now is.” Then He dismissed the whole system that had existed up to that time. It was the whole system of Judaism according to the Old Testament. In one sentence, He dismissed the whole dispensation. And He introduced an altogether new order of things.

What did He mean? Because when He said the hour cometh, and now is, He did not mean literally just an hour and so many minutes. He meant that it was the first hour of the new day. With this hour an altogether new day has come. What is the new day? If you would have asked Jesus to put it into a short sentence, He would have said, “Well, I am here.” The hour is not just a matter of time but a matter of PERSON. The new dispensation is the dispensation of Jesus Christ. Christ is the new dispensation. “I am here,” He said. You go through that Gospel of John. He is centering everything in Himself. “I am the Way; I am the Truth; I am the Life; I am the Shepherd; I am the Vine; I am the Resurrection.” It is a Person. It is that which lies behind everything. Christianity is Christ. Christ is Christianity. That is where it all begins and it never departs from HIM. The development of the Christian life is only the development of Jesus Christ in the life.”
~ Theodore Austin-Sparks ~
“That They May All Be One, Even As We Are One” – Meeting 7

The second quote is about the popular subject of “discipleship” and how we as the church are a tool in together conforming to Christ’s image. Brother Milt Rodriguez puts it this way:

“True discipleship…[is] not a matter of being placed into a program of individual training of bible study, individual prayer, individual evangelism, and individual character development. Rather, it is the life transformation process of being practically conformed into His image. This is the out flowing of His community life. It is the fleshing out of the fellowship of the Godhead.”
Milt Rodriguez ~

Jon Zens has also made a statement about “discipleship” that goes like this:

“Our life is not about “making disciples,” “multiplying churches,” or “completing the Great Commission in our generation. Our life is Christ. Of course, Paul traveled around and endured many hardships for the Gospel’s sake. But his passion in life was not to be a “soul-winner,” to see a church planted in every city, or to envision millions of house churches covering the earth. He summed up his life’s passion with clarity: “for me to live is Christ . . . the love of Christ compels me . . . that I might know him and the fellowship of his sufferings.”
~ Jon Zens

Because the last two quotes were about discipleship I came to think about a few blog posts by Frank Viola that I also would like to quote.

The first one is called “Discipleship, Mission, and Church: A Plea to Learn Our History” and brings to attention different viewpoints on missions and discipleship that exist today. Here is an excerpt from the blog post:

“The other camp rightly understands that you cannot separate disciple-making from the ekklesia. You cannot separate the forming of people into full-pledged followers of Jesus and a living, breathing, vibrant community that gathers under His headship.

To put it another way, you can’t separate discipleship from the ekklesia anymore than you can separate child-rearing from the family. And you can’t separate the ekklesia from Jesus Himself, for it’s His very body.

I want you to imagine a saltwater fish. The fish can only survive in his natural habitat, which is the ocean. Why? Because the ocean surrounds the fish with everything it needs to live, breathe, and have its being.

The fish is also a dependent creature. Fish swim in schools.

Now consider a different image. Imagine that this fish is removed from the ocean and from its school and is thrown in someone’s backyard. People take turns spraying the fish with a water hose every 15 minutes. They also sprinkle salt on its body.

That’s an apt picture of modern discipleship.

Discipleship has been separated from the Christian’s native habitat (ekklesia) and it’s become a highly individualistic event. An individual discipler “disciples” an individual disciplee to become a better individual disciple.”

To end with something different than a quote I simply want to share a link to the other blog post, so here it is: “Reframing Discipleship”

Not so much my own words in this post, but hopefully, you who read this will be blessed in some way anyway.

Have you read any quotes that you want to share? Maybe thoughts to share as well? Or something else you want to say? Feel free to leave a comment. It is deeply appreciated.

Love in Christ,
// Daniel

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Sort-of Poems, Thoughts

To Breathe and to See

Light seeping in

Photo by Vinicio Capossela | http://www.sxc.hu/photo/976656

Open…
Breathe…

Open…
Breathe…

Open…
Breathe…

Those were the words I had heard months ago. And when I let my lips softly form them I felt waves of a tingling presence in my body. I have been reminded of those words several times since then. I still don’t know what to make out of them or even if they are from God. If He does want to say something to me through them. Yes, I choose to believe that. And if it isn’t so He most certainly can turn that slip, that false conviction to achieve what He intended.

I believe that. Yes, I believe that it means that I have shut in so much inside of me. Things from my childhood that have left smelly piles of debris on my inside that have created unhealthy patterns and skewed views. A view of myself and others that is not the Truth. Yeah, who knows what truth really is? Does not everyone view things from a subjective perspective and refer to what we experience to be “truth”, our experience of reality?

But I know. I know in a way that cannot be described with words. Words do not seem to give justice to the reality that I am so fully convinced of having seen.

“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.”
(1 Cor. 13:12, ESV)

But there are so many veils that attempt to cover up the breath-taking and extremly beautiful vision of Him – the King, servant of all. What a paradox of greatness in simple shoes.

Veiled eyes. Dim light. Blurry contours. Broken whole. To see reality through smudged glasses with skewed, distored lenses makes me not to see at all. But maybe you can see me more with your eyes closed…?

“Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, are sin.”
(Proverbs 21:4, ESV)

So, if we are proud at heart our light is sin? Since sin means separation from “the Light of the world” it must implicate that when I see through proud eyes at myself, at others and at the reality (visible and  invisible) it is not Truth I see. What I see is only what is illuminated by the lantern of sin and does not in a long-shot give justice to reality itself – Jesus Christ.

Editing this in at a later time:
Earlier tonight when I was talking to my wife, I got a picture of how we humans, in our sin (which in essence is separation from God) create our own box, a confined world, where we are king and ruler. Where everything is basically exist to satisfy our goals and objectives. We want to build our own kingdom. Our own Tower of Babel. Whether it is by worldly or religious accomplishments.

I am slowly beginning to see. Truth flowers are budding in my heart’s soil. The vermin is on the brink of extinction and the weeds are uprooted one by one. He tends to me so gently. Each shovelful and every gentle breath in me gives life not of this world.

I see Him. At least to some extent. The light seeps into darkened corners and He opens up, I let Him open. I open up to Him.

He breathes life into me. He is the Life in me. In us. We are one.

“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”
(2 Cor. 3:18, ESV)

There is only one way to wake up and see reality itself. The way is open to anyone who wants to humble himself, put off his ruling crown and receive Him as King.

“But when his heart was lifted up and his spirit was hardened so that he dealt proudly, he was brought down from his kingly throne, and his glory was taken from him.”
(Daniel 5:20, ESV)

“Man is humbled, and each one is brought low, and the eyes of the haughty are brought low.”
(Isiah 5:15, ESV)

Maria sings to God’s glory:
“He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.”
(Luke 1:51-53, ESV)

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Blog News & Updates

New Blog Design

For you who have been here before and are wondering what happened to the blog: yes, the blog has gotten itself a new design. Became a bit tired of the old design for the simple reason that you could not have a column to the right or left of the main column. Really liked the colors and typograhy of the old (Chunk was the one I used before), but realized that I could not come to terms with losing columns.

I hope you like it!

Please feel free to tell me what you think?

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Fellow Bloggers

Words on New Year Resolutions

Word

Photo by Jay Neill | http://www.sxc.hu/photo/196934

A brother in the U.S., Jamal Jivanjee, recently wrote an interesting and striking blog post on how we treat the “Word” today. As I read the scripture referenced I stopped at the words:

“… and the Word was God” (John 1:1)

It finally dawned on me that brothers and sisters around the world might mistakenly misread this and take it literally. I almost started laughing to myself, but at the same time I felt a sort of grief. So many things and “its” try to steal us away from our precious Lord. I believe satan schemes to divert our full attention from Christ, who truly deserves to be our all and to have His place of supremacy. Not that we can accomplish a prioritized list with God as our number one. I believe the only way He can become the all in all is when He can have us for long enough time to fully captivate us. I long and at the same time fear to step into that. Because I know that true fellowship with God comes from spending quality time with Him and also with brothers and sisters in community.

Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some, letters of commendation to you or from you? You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

Such confidence we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God,  who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. (2 Cor. 3:1-6)

I also want to divert your attention to Jamal’s new year’s resolution post from last year, which also is available to anyone who can read Swedish at the e-zine called “Hans hus av levande stenar” (His House of Living Stones, in English). It talks about how our use of words concerning Church reveals much on how we view her. I hope you can find time to read any of these and that the Lord will use it to open your eyes to more of Him.

May the Lord Jesus Christ, because of His grace, continue to open our eyes and ears to the reality of Him.

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