Don’t Believe Everything You Read or Hear

Several years ago, Michael Hyatt (former CEO of Thomas Nelson) responded to a rumor on his blog. In the post, Michael wrote,

“According to the most recent rumor—which I’ve now heard twice—we [Thomas Nelson] are planning a layoff for June 19th … We are scheduled to close the transaction on June 12th, so, supposedly, this will happen the week following. I want to assure you that this is indeed a baseless rumor. There is absolutely no truth to it … If you hear this rumor, I would be grateful if you would help me short-circuit it. You can tell ’em it’s not true, and you heard it directly from me.”

I recall when this rumor was circulating and was saddened (and surprised) at how many Christians believed it without going straight to Michael to see if it was true or false.

Another example that’s much more national. [Read more…]

facebooktwitterlinkedinmail

JESUS NOW

banner

During His ministry on earth, Jesus of Nazareth spent most of His time healing the sick, casting out demons, training disciples, teaching the people, and preaching the kingdom of God. But what is Jesus Christ doing today? What is His present-day ministry?

In Jesus Now, bestselling author Frank Viola gives us the first comprehensive treatment of what Jesus has been doing since His ascension until His second coming. In an easy-to-read format, Viola explores the seven aspects of Christ’s ministry today and shows how each one benefits the saved and the unsaved.

Open these pages and discover what the Lord Jesus Christ is doing now and how it will impact your life.

Go to the JesusNow.tv for details and discounts.

3d

facebooktwitterlinkedinmail

Speaking

FrankViolaImageFrank Viola Author doesn’t operate this site. It’s a portal for his work online and in print.

Frank Viola Author has spent many years speaking in living rooms, ministering the Lord to missional churches in the United States and overseas.

In this season of ministry, however, Frank is not taking invitations from groups that gather in homes. Instead, he is speaking in conferences and churches that exceed 200 in attendance.

He is also speaking in Bible schools, seminaries, and para-church organizations of any size.

Knowing this criteria, if you would like to invite Frank to speak at your event – be it a conference, church, Bible school, seminary, parachurch organization or chapel – or you wish to know where he is speaking next, click here to access his official speaking page.

facebooktwitterlinkedinmail

The Deeper Christian Life

The deeper Christian life? What is it?

Truth: Christianity today is an inch deep and 10 miles long.

Truth: Shallowness and superficiality are in vogue today and mark most of what goes on under the banner of “Christian.”

Truth: To paraphrase the late A.W. Tozer, the majority of Christians are spiritually retarded, most churches are spiritual nurseries, and God’s people remain on a steady diet of milk and junk food.

But there are those who crave a deeper expression of Christianity.

They long for what A. Murray dubbed “the deeper Christian life.”

Is that you?

Are you seeking the unsearchable riches of Christ?

Are you desiring to know the depths of God’s Eternal Purpose?

Are you interested in living by the indwelling life of Christ?

Do you know want to know God in a deeper way?

Do you feel alone in your spiritual walk?

Are you seeking others who are also on the deeper journey?

Then The Deeper Christian Life Network is for you.

Take a look at this video.

facebooktwitterlinkedinmail

Frank Viola on Spiritual Warfare & Deliverance

In his ebook Rethinking the Church, which is part of Frank Viola’s 2015 Rethinking Series, Frank wrote extensively on the issue of spiritual warfare, recounting an experience he had with a demon-possessed man and the miraculous deliverance that followed.

T. Austin-Sparks is perhaps Frank’s greatest mentor, and here’s what Sparks wrote on the subject of spiritual warfare and deliverance:

Although we know that the Bible teaching reminds us that we are soldiers of Christ, we forget that we are in a battle. We put down our troubles to other causes. There ARE times when we get into conflicts because of our own faults or strained relationships – then it is no use blaming the Devil for what is really our responsibility. On the other hand we must not become obsessed with secondary causes, people and circumstances, when the real issue is that extra element of spiritual evil which is the real enemy. There is a warfare in heaven and from this, circumstances can be created and people affected.

When, in New Testament language, we speak of heaven, do not let us think of that which is remote and far away, somewhere in or beyond the clouds. No, heavenly warfare is in the atmosphere all around us. The Devil is called “the prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2). Now the air is not all above the clouds, but it is where we are as we breathe it now. The heavenlies are wrapping us round all the time and the spiritual conflict is in this very atmosphere. There is an illustration of this in the Old Testament story, when Elisha prayed: “Lord, I pray thee open his eyes that he may see” (2 Kings 6:17), and the young man had his eyes opened to see how near as well as how real were the unseen armies of God. Because we have a spirit, which is the medium of connection with that which is spiritual, this evil atmosphere is not always outside of us but sometimes seems to make the conflict inward. In one way or another, the spiritual conflict is very real and for it we need the Spirit’s sword.

The Church’s Battlefield

The occasion of this conflict is the destiny of the Church. All departments and realms of really spiritual work seem to provoke the opposition of spiritual forces, but the nearer we get to the great, eternal conception of God’s destiny for the Church of Christ, the Church which is His Body, the more pronounced the enemy’s antagonism becomes.

We meet spiritual antagonism in seeking to win souls for Christ, because it is only in this way that the Church is born. When, however, the full thought of God is brought into view, then the greatest challenge of the forces of evil is registered. This is because it is in the Church and in relation to the Church’s destiny that the whole kingdom of Satan is to be met and overthrown. Hence, of course, the tremendous significance of corporate life. Even by small and seemingly insignificant means, moodiness or trifling disagreements, Satan breaks up the flow of fellowship among the saints. It seems strange that the vital power of the Church should be weakened by the moods and temperaments of God’s people but so it can be. If the Devil cannot succeed by such simple methods he has many other ploys and complex strategies, all aimed at the destruction of the relatedness of God’s people. So spiritual fellowship becomes a real battleground.

Some think that fellowship is a kind of picnic, a religious festival. We praise God for all the joys of fellowship, but the matter is more serious than that, and is so important that it can become a matter of real battle. The exercise and preserving of true heart fellowship with all other Christians – not just with those whom we like but with all – is a field of constant conflict. Fellowship is not just something that happens. We must fight for it. It is a great factor in the spiritual battle.

Conflict in Corporate Prayer

One of the main functions of such fellowship is the great corporate activity of united prayer. We need to be reminded from time to time that our seasons of coming together for prayer are more than occasions for bringing to the Lord a list of items. We have, of course, to be definite with the Lord and we have to ask Him for things. The real goal of our praying, however, must be not merely personal blessings but the triumph of the will of God. Daniel gives us an excellent example of such prayer. He was stretched out for three whole weeks, fasting and praying, as he gave himself to prayer for the fulfilment of the great purposes of God. His prayer was based on what he “understood by the books” (Daniel 9:2). He knew what other servants of God had written about the divine purposes and he had those purposes in his heart. Because those purposes were in apparent suspension, because there was a contradiction of them since the Lord’s enemies had been given an advantage through the unfaithfulness of the people of God – this was why Daniel was so drawn out in his praying. We are told that the result was great warfare in heaven. During the twenty-one days of this particular season of prayer, a terrific conflict had been taking place without his being aware of it. The very principalities and powers had been so stirred and roused by this kind of praying that they had withstood the messengers of God. A fight had been going on, and one great angel needed to come to the support of another, as if one angelic being was not enough and needed help to get through. The value of prayer is not decided by asking for things but the nature of the things asked for.

What God needs is a people who have seen His intentions and purpose, seen the destiny of His Son and of the Church which is His Body, and devote themselves to the fulfilment of His will. Such prayer draws us into a spiritual conflict, for which the Lord told us to be sure and have a sword. It is so easy to be discouraged, so easy to be put off or silenced. With our sword in our hand we must stick at it and press the battle through to victory.

The Ground of Triumph

For this prayer warfare we are advised to “take up the whole armour of God” (Ephesians 6:11). It is not that we enter a prayer session by some mental process of thinking of the armour. It is no use when you sense that the battle is on that you should try to concentrate your thoughts on the various items of the armour. To do that would be to find yourself too late. You can only begin to stand if you are already girded beforehand. This is not an emergency outfit for special occasions but a manner of life for the Christian warrior.

1. The importance of truth. We begin with the matter of being girded with truth. This means that things must be real in our lives. If there is anything false about our position, anything artificial or unreal about our profession, then we will be ineffective in the spiritual battle. We must be free from errors in doctrine – that is very important. More than that, though, we must be living in the good of what we believe, not just holding some mental ideas without real heart knowledge of the truth. The spiritual warrior needs to be girded with the truth if he is to triumph.

2. Practical righteousness. “Having put on the breastplate of righteousness”. What matters is what is satisfying to God, for that is His righteousness. The whole question of righteousness is that of God’s rights, what He has a right to; and what God has a right to must accord with His own nature. God is always right, He is just and true. He therefore must have that which satisfies Him and He has found this in His Son whose righteousness is imputed to us. The wiles of the Devil are always directed against that, trying to get us off the ground where we stand in the absolute satisfaction of God by faith. The enemy keeps saying, “God is dissatisfied with you, He has this and that against you” so to counter his accusations we must hold fast to the fact that full righteousness is supplied to us through faith in Jesus Christ. It is His righteousness which alone can protect that most vital part. No doubt this also makes a reference to the need for that righteousness to work out in our lives in a practical way, for anything unrighteous in our dealings or behaviour will mean that we cannot stand against Satan.

3. The Good News of peace. “Having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace”. We need not become too involved with the reference to our feet, but rather stress the point that God’s message is good news of peace. Anybody with that message is a menace to the kingdom of darkness, for the enemy is always endeavouring to oppress us with bad news. We must go to the world with the good news that God offers perfect peace to the troubled heart and mind. Satan never minds us going to people with bad news, or with a face that suggests gloom, but he hates to have Christians spreading the glad news of peace. Paul and Silas went to Philippi with good news, the gospel of peace, and the enemy did his best to take that off their faces and out of their voices (Acts 16:11-34). He did not succeed. They triumphed over him because the very spirit of the good news was in their hearts. It is a tremendous strength against the Devil to be standing in the good of the glad tidings of peace. Christ “made peace through the blood of his cross” (Colossians 1:20). There is now no need for estrangement or depression. God is for you. He has shown that in Christ. Stand and walk in the power of His peace.

4. The shield of faith. We must take up and make good use of this big – or overall – shield of faith. Faith is all-embracing and relates to every possible aspect of the conflict. There can be no triumph in the spiritual life without the full exercise of vital faith.

5. The assurance of salvation. Clear assurance about salvation needs to cover the head as a helmet. How many arguments, debates, fears and uncertainties are ready to impinge upon our minds and paralyse our value to the Lord. The salvation of the Lord is mighty, and we must use it to protect our minds from succumbing to satanic assaults. His strong salvation is the only cover which can do this.

6. The Word of God. Finally there is “the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God”. We know how the Lord Jesus met the enemy in the wilderness with apt quotations from God’s Word. He had so soaked Himself in the Old Testament that the right emphasis came to Him at the right moment. We, too, are told to let the word of Christ dwell in us richly (Colossians 3:16). Do not let any of us think that we are going to triumph in the spiritual warfare if we neglect our Bibles, any more than we can do so if we neglect prayer. Try to do without prayer and the Word and you will be worsted in the fight. You will be a soldier without a sword!

Frank has also written about the subject in his book From Eternity to Here.

For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6.12.

Many people know only the battle between the spirit and the flesh; they do not perceive the conflict that rages between us believers and the evil spirits as described in the sixth chapter of Ephesians. The real spiritual battle is fought between us and Satan with his evil spirits. This battle is joined by all matured believers, for the children of God on earth are frequently attacked by evil spirits. Such attacks sometimes occur in the believers’ environment, sometimes in their physical bodies, sometimes in their thoughts, sometimes in their emotions, and sometimes in their spirits.

Too often believers are not aware of being attacked by evil spirits. They do not understand why everything seems to be against them, creating terrible confusion and trouble. They too often take these things as natural, not realizing that frequently they are being supernaturally oppressed by the evil spirits.

Nee spoke extensively about this subject in his book The Spiritual Man.

To learn more, check out Frank’s podcast at frankviola.info/podcast which contains many conference messages on the deeper Christian life.

facebooktwitterlinkedinmail

Mentoring

Frank Viola author is creating a new mentoring program.

If you’re interested, write a note to TheDeeperChristianLife@gmail.com and include your age and the city, state, and country where you live.

Viola’s program is slated to release in the Fall of 2015.

You can learn more about it on his blog, frankviola.org

facebooktwitterlinkedinmail

WHY THIS WASTE? by Frank Viola Author

What you give to Christ equals the measure of His worth in your eyes.

The worth of Jesus is immeasurable. It cannot be calculated. And nothing is too valuable for Him. Mary understood this.

Aware of the criticism that was leveled against her, Jesus said, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me.”

The Lord was simply saying, “I am worth far more than the value of this perfume. The poor will always be present, and you can help them whenever you desire. But you will not always have Me with you in the flesh.”

There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.

What is waste? It is giving more than necessary. Waste is when you give a diamond to a dog. It is when you give something valuable to that which is inferior in worth. When something of value could be better spent elsewhere, we call it waste.

What Judas and the others were really saying was,

“The Lord isn’t worth it.”

Mark it down. Whenever you give that which is most valuable in your life to the Lord Jesus Christ, some of your fellow Christians will consider it to be waste.

“Why aren’t you going to college to prepare for a career? Instead you foolishly chose to give your full attention and time with that group of Christians. Why are you wasting your youth?”

“Why did you break up with that person? They had a great job, and you could have had a wonderful future with them. You forfeited that relationship just because they weren’t as ‘religious’ as you are. Why are you wasting your future?”

“Why did you sell your house and move to a smaller house simply to get involved with that ministry? Why are you wasting your money?”

“Why did you quit your job and relocate to be involved with that church? You now have a lower-paying job. Why are you wasting your life?”

“Why did you use your stock dividends for that work of God? Why are you wasting your savings?”

Whenever you hear the complaint, “Why this waste?” examine it carefully and consider whether you’re hearing the gospel of Judas or not.

If you are, then the Lord’s response where you are concerned is:

“Let him alone …”

“Let her alone …”

“He is doing a beautiful thing to Me.”

“She is doing a beautiful thing to Me.”

What some regard to be waste is beautiful in the Lord’s eyes.

The truth is: the only way to keep yourself from wasting your life is to waste it on Jesus Christ!

Thus the answer to the question, “Why this waste?” is simply … “because Christ is worthy.”

Watchman Nee once said that the Lord will never be satisfied without our “wasting” ourselves upon Him, and “real usefulness in the hand of God is measured in terms of waste.… [O]ur work for him springs out of our ministering to him.”16

Jesus was given costly gifts when He entered into this world. And He was given a costly gift when He was about to exit it.18 Today, He is still worthy of our best. And it is still costly to anoint the head of Christ.

I believe the Lord has His crosshairs sighted on something in all of our lives—whatever which we hold dearest.

Your mind may immediately go to a person who has become a rival for your affections for Jesus. Or it may go to some vice that you know you need to abandon. But the more subtle competitors are actually spiritual things.

We’ve already mentioned that some make “Christian service” a god that competes with Jesus Christ. On that score, Henri Nouwen said that the main obstacle to love for God is service for God.

But another competitor is theology. It’s possible to make theology our god instead of God Himself. We can love theology more than we love God.

The same is true for worship, believe it or not. It’s possible to love the act of singing worship and praise songs to the Lord more than we love the Lord Himself.

It’s possible to love arguing on behalf of God (apologetics), evangelizing for God, preaching about God, writing about God, and studying God (analyzing the Bible) more than loving God Himself.

All of these things are good, of course. But if they don’t lead us to the real person of Christ, they can become idols.

If our hearts are awakened to discover the true worth of Jesus, we will be able to lay all things down at His feet. Herein lies the antidote to being a lukewarm Christian. Our eyes must be opened to behold His peerless glory. Once that happens, we will realize that nothing is too good for Him, and we will break loose from our spiritual lethargy.

This, in fact, was Paul’s great prayer in Ephesians. That God would grant to us “the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him.”

Many a preacher has tried to guilt God’s people out of their lukewarm state, using shame, duty, and condemnation as instruments. But such tools are short-lived.

To see Christ with eyes not physical is the cure for spiritual apathy. So expose yourself to ministries that know how to preach Christ in such glory that you’re awed by His greatness and you’re drawn to worship Him. Our alabaster boxes willingly yield at the sight of His peerless worth.

As a friend of mine once said, “The moment He set me free is the moment He captured me.”

This article was adapted from God’s Favorite Place on Earth by Frank Viola author.

facebooktwitterlinkedinmail

Frank Viola & Leonard Sweet

Some have dubbed them the Lennon & McCartney of Christian publishing.

Authors Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola have produced two landmark books on Christology.

Jesus Manifesto in 2010 (Thomas Nelson)

Review by Donald Stevenson: A 2010 release, Viola teams up with Leonard Sweet for the first time. The book contains crushing power and clever riffs focusing on the captivating glories of Jesus. Chapter 2, “A Bottle in the Ocean,” is a composition that gradually builds its crescendo before culminating into a breathless climax. Chapter 3, “If God Wrote Your Biography,” is a uniquely creative piece that creates an other-worldly effect. The book’s tempo speeds up as its electrifying message unfolds. Viola and Sweet make for a poetic and prophetic pair, kicking the supremacy of Christ into the stratosphere. Presents Jesus beyond the realms of anything you could possibly imagine. The legacy of the Viola/Sweet brand stands unparalleled.

Jesus: A Theography in 2012 (Thomas Nelson)

Review by Donald Stevenson: Released in 2012, Viola teams up with Leonard Sweet again to create a majestic, magisterial, astonishing tome that unfolds the Jesus story throughout the entire Bible. The book contains plenty of the old magic that is found in Jesus Manifesto, but it’s heavier, more crushing, a pulsating and robust work. Viola’s rousing chapter on what Christ was doing before creation charts entirely new directions. Sweet’s chapter on the micro-view of the Genesis creation is a beautifully written lyric. The two literary titans have given the Christian audience another unique look at Jesus.

From their Facebook walls today, it appears that the two “literary titans” will be writing a third book in the series.

(Their Facebook update says the shot below was taken in September 2014 during their “book mapping” meeting, and their meeting was inspired by the song-writing collaboration of McCartney and Lennon shown on the left photo.)

SV_LM

facebooktwitterlinkedinmail

A Very Special Banquet

In John 12, a banquet was given in honor of Jesus, and there was feasting, fellowship, and rejoicing. The banquet was set in the home of Simon the leper (which was also the home of Martha). Even though Simon no longer had leprosy, he still carried a stigma.

Yet Jesus received him.

God’s house is made up of cleansed lepers. That’s what we all are. We were inflicted with the dastardly disease of spiritual leprosy, an apt metaphor for sin. And Jesus Christ cleansed us.

But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Lazarus was also present—a resurrected man. God’s house is made up of resurrected humans as well.

Even when we were dead in our trespasses, [He] made us alive together with Christ …

Martha acted according to character. She was serving, but she was not worried or troubled as she had been before. Why? Because Martha was serving in resurrection.

Something had changed in her. You cannot be around Jesus Christ for very long without changing. His presence transforms.

In the past, Martha had served in her flesh. But on this night she served in the Spirit. She was not worried, troubled, or distracted. She served her Lord without complaint, without the need to be noticed or exonerated. She wasn’t anxious about what others were doing or not doing. Her service was in proportion to her fellowship, and she was free.

Diligence is a wonderful trait. But it must go through death and resurrection for it to be properly adjusted and used by the Lord. This is what happened to Martha.

Mary also acted according to character. For the third time, she was at the Lord’s feet.

She was at His feet in gladness, drinking in His words. She was at His feet in sorrow, pouring out her grief. And she was at His feet in worship, lavishing her love upon Him.

Mary knew those feet well.

Put all of this together and step back. What do you see?

Cleansed lepers, resurrected humans, transformed servants, extravagant worshippers, brothers, sisters, fathers, and disciples all sitting around a table where Christ is the Head—feasting, fellowshipping, and rejoicing with Him.

That is Bethany!

Adapted from “God’s Favorite Place on Earth.”

facebooktwitterlinkedinmail