About Frank

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

Frank Viola has helped thousands of people around the world to deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ and enter into a more vibrant and authentic experience of church. [Read more…]

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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…]

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JESUS NOW

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.)

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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.”

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Jesus and Life

One of the main themes of John’s gospel is Christ as Life. For John, Jesus is the God of life who has come to turn a death-infested world upside down.

You can see this throughout Jesus’ entire ministry. Wherever He went, He destroyed death in all of its forms.

The rulers of this world know death to be their greatest instrument. This is why they plotted to kill both Jesus and Lazarus (a living witness to Jesus’ miraculous power). Thus the reign of God is about the Author of life breaking into and overcoming this death-filled world.

In Lazarus’ resurrection, Jesus demonstrated that death no longer has the last word. Resurrection brings the gospel to its highest pitch. The beauty of the Christian message is that we have been given the risen life of Jesus to live by here and now.

Like Lazarus, the human race is sick and dying. On its own, it is helpless and hopeless. It’s lying inside a tomb, lifeless and decaying.

But God desires to raise humanity from the iron grip of death, raising it from the tomb to new life and new creation. His will is to bring us out of the condemnation of death into resurrection peace and the power of an endless life.

This is what the gospel affords all who believe.

Jesus’ words to Martha in this story are loaded. He was essentially saying, “Hope is nearer than you think. The last day has already arrived. I am the Resurrection and the Life.”

That is the glorious edge of the gospel. In Jesus Christ, the life of tomorrow is available today.

And the challenge of Jesus to Martha is what He says to all of us today: “Do you believe this?”

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Tell Us Plainly

According to John 10:24, the Jews gathered around Jesus and asked Him,

How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.

The Lord’s monumental demonstration of divine power and glory, which raised Lazarus from the dead, was His answer to their query.

The raising of Lazarus from the dead was the precursor to His ultimate bout with death on a hill outside of Jerusalem. It was the opening act before the final act, which was the resurrection of Christ Himself.

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Freedom from Bondage

It was a heart-stopping moment. The One who created the universe wept at the grave of His friend. And He, the Resurrection and the Life, raised him to life again. The words of Jesus in John 11:44 throb with majestic grandeur:

“Loose him, and let him go.”

“Free him, and let him go.”

“Unbind him, and let him go.”

What is this? It’s freedom from bondage.

I want to blow this story up so you can see it. Let’s go back to the stirring drama and watch the scene unfold.

Look at the lifeless body of Lazarus. He’s not just dead; he is rotting.

Jesus is looking straight at a sealed tomb. Perhaps the Father said to Him, “My Son, You too will be placed in a sealed tomb just like this one. And I will raise You up with the sound of My voice.”

Surrounded by death, sorrow, wailing, mourning, and grief, Jesus doesn’t get flustered. He is the unshakeable Rock, immovable and confident in His God. He faces His greatest enemy without fear.

The Lord stands before the great maw of death. He approaches Lazarus’s tomb prepared for battle, squaring off with death, the child of sin.

Jesus shouts. By His word, He dispenses His resurrection life and disarms the grip of death that held His friend for four long days.

Wielding only three words—“Lazarus, come forth”—Jesus turns the evening of mourning into the sunshine of joy. Lazarus is made alive—a new creature—free from the bondage of graveclothes.

The facets of death are many: spiritual blindness, spiritual deafness, darkness, inactivity, limitation, condemnation, etc. And death always brings bondage.

Lazarus is tied hand and foot with burial clothes, and his face is wrapped in a cloth. He cannot see, hear, speak, or walk. He is in bondage.

But the Christ of God meets and overcomes death in all of its forms with life. He is death’s Destroyer. And after bringing His friend back to the living, He thunders to the crowd, “Unbind him, and let him go!”

I see two things here.

First, Bethany is the place where God’s people are set free from bondage. Bondage to dead religion, bondage to legalism, bondage to sin, bondage to the world, bondage to guilt and shame, bondage to the flesh, bondage to the curse of the Law, and every other kind of bondage.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.

The creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

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The Tears of Jesus

When Mary spoke with Jesus outside the village, He was deeply troubled and disturbed. The Greek word translated “troubled” or “agitated” in John 11:33 indicates indignation.

But what was Jesus angry about?

Some have suggested that He was angry at the unbelief of Mary, Martha, and the Jews who mourned Lazarus’ death.

Maybe. But I find this difficult to believe.

Rather, I tend to think that Jesus was angry at death and what it does to His beloved. How it robs them of those whom they cherish. How it inflicts them with the unspeakable agonies of grief. How it thwarts love by taking those who are beloved.

The tears of Jesus show us a God who is sensitive to our sorrows. Even though He knew He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead, He experienced the moment. Knowing that His soon-coming miracle would dry every eye, He wept nonetheless. He was deeply touched by the sorrow that afflicted Mary, Martha, and the whole village.

For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

Jesus, as it were, mingled His holy tears with theirs. Indeed, the Lord is able to “wipe away every tear” from our eyes because He Himself knows how to weep.

We read about the tears of Jesus three times in the New Testament:

His tears of sorrow over Jerusalem.

His tears of suffering in the garden.

His tears of sympathy in Bethany.

Behold the tears of Christ. They teach us that our Lord is touched with the feeling of our infirmities. They teach us that He is not unmoved by our sorrow and suffering.

The Son of God wept aloud over the holy city, but He sobbed silently before the tomb of His friend.

These were the perfect tears of a perfect Man.

Know this: Jesus didn’t relinquish His perfect humanity when He ascended far above the heavens. He still weeps with us today, for He is “the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

Consequently, He feels it when every heart burns, bleeds, or bends. He is a friend who “loves at all times.” Christ saves as the Son of God, but He feels as the Son of man. So in your hour of grief, remember: your Lord is with you and feels for you.

As Thomas Moore once put it, “Earth has no sorrow that Heaven cannot heal.”

Jesus is heaven personified.

Adapted from God’s Favorite Place on Earth

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