The Deeper Journey

We’ve just uploaded the three keynote messages I delivered at a Deeper Christian Life conference in Texas (the 220 Conference).

The messages are entitled The Deeper Journey: Parts I, II, and III.

You’ll want to listen to them in that order as each talk builds upon the other.

Based on the reception, you don’t want to miss these messages and you can hear them for free.

You can listen to the messages on iTunes, RSS feed, or straight on your computer. Just click the preferred way at the bottom of this post.

I really love modern technology because it allows a series of messages that were delivered to a live audience of about 300 to reach hundreds of thousands all over the world. This is the genius of podcasting.

A friend of mine recently gave me the tagline –  The Deeper Journey – as a way to describe my ministry. I can’t improve upon it as it defines all of my work in a few words. As you’ll discover when you hear these 3 messages, the title is fitting for them as well.

Enjoy.[Continue Reading...]

Rethinking the Gifts of the Spirit: Part VI

God’s highest purpose for His people is that they be built together into Christ’s image. In an effort to reach this all-inclusive goal, God employs two means: Spiritual life and spiritual gifts.

In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul makes a useful distinction between life and gift. The main difference between the two lies here: Gifts are used to minister. Life is that which is ministered. Stated simply, gifts are the tools; life is the content. Gifts are the utensils; life is the substance. Gifts are the instruments; life is the essence.

NT ministry is merely the release of Christ’s life from one person to another. Each believer has been given a ministry, and each ministry contributes something of Christ to His church and the world. It is for this reason that Paul likens ministry to a function of the physical body—some are eyes, others are hands, others are feet, etc. These different functions in the Body of Christ do not represent gifts. They instead represent ministries.[Continue Reading...]

How I Became a Professional Blogger

This post is just the tip of the iceberg. If you are interested in earning income by blogging, you’ll want to attend the new BUZZ SEMINAR where Frank and his partner will be giving away their secret sauce on how to create a high-ranking blog that earns income.Click here to be notified about the seminar.

Most of you are aware that I don’t profit from my book sales. As I’ve explained elsewhere, the money earned from my books is given to the poor and used for ministry expenses. Part of my personal income comes from this blog. And today I can say that I’m a “professional” blogger in that most of my personal income is derived from the blog.

Since this blog is free to read and subscribing is free as well, how do I generate income from the blog?

The answer: from advertising and affiliates.

Specifically, if you look on the right hand side of the blog, you’ll see a number of advertisements. Those are all paid ads.

In addition, when someone buys a book that I feature on a book review or on my Top 100 Best Christian Books Ever Written, Amazon gives me a commission. I also receive commissions from other products and services I personally recommend and promote.

Click here to read the steps I took to become a professional blogger.

If you find this post helpful, you are free to ADD A LINK to it on your blog or website. But don’t copy and paste the post as this violates Google’s guidelines.

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Rethinking the Gifts of the Spirit: Part V

In this post, I want to briefly address the problem of counterfeit spirituality. Martin Luther rightly said, “When God builds His house, the devil builds a chapel.”

When God is operating powerfully in a person or group, counterfeit spiritual manifestations will sometimes surface in the group or through people attacking the person or group whom God is using. This has been true historically.

For example, the Welsh Revival of the early 20th century is one of a number of authentic moves of God that was destroyed because people started to accept counterfeit spiritual manifestations.

Consequently, how do you know when the Holy Spirit is operating through someone or what they say is inspired by the Lord? Here are a few guidelines.[Continue Reading...]

Rethinking the Gifts of the Spirit: Part IV

How does a believer rightly exercise spiritual gifts in a local assembly? The answer to this question depends on whether or not you belong to a church that allows every believer to function and minister in the gatherings (see Reimagining Church for details). If you do not belong to such a church, there will be limited opportunities for you to exercise such gifts. But assuming that you belong to such a church, or will belong to one, the following can be said.

The Bible says that “the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every person for the common good” (1 Cor. 12:7). That means that the gifts are available to the entire Body of Christ. Paul’s exhortation to Corinth was to “eagerly desire the greater gifts” and to “eagerly desire spiritual gifts” so as to edify the church (1 Cor. 12:31; 14:1, 39). To eagerly desire the best gifts means to desire those gifts that best edify the church, such as prophecy.

The exercise of spiritual gifts begins with a desire to build up the church. It begins with observing what is most needed in your present fellowship. If some are sick among you, then healing is needed. If the church lacks perceiving God’s present mind or it needs a deeper revelation of Christ, prophecy is needed. If there is a lack of purpose, wisdom is needed. The church is a living organism. It will produce spiritual manifestations by sheer instinct if it is allowed to and if the Spirit’s manifestations are not suppressed or discouraged. This is why Paul exhorts, “Quench not the Spirit” in 1 Thessalonians 5:19.[Continue Reading...]

Jon Zens

Recently, I wrote a blog post featuring my close friend and co-worker Milt Rodriguez. Today, I want to feature my other co-worker and long-time friend Jon Zens.

I’ve known Jon since the 90s, and we’ve become extremely close over the years. Jon Zens is a brother whom I look up to and enormously respect. He’s a trailblazer and pioneer for Christians who gather outside the institutional church.  In addition, Zens has broken new ground in the area of New Covenant theology.

Here are some of the many resources that Jon Zens has contributed to the Body of Christ. You would be wise to take advantage of them.

Searching Together Magazine – one of the best periodicals in print. I bought all the back issues, which go back to the 1970s. This Christian magazine is without peer. I highly recommend it.
[Continue Reading...]

Rethinking the Gifts of the Spirit: Part III

This will be the longest post in our present series. But I felt it would be better to keep this particular topic all together instead of breaking it up in pieces.

I want to briefly examine how I understand the spiritual manifestations of 1 Corinthians 12 in light of their usefulness. It seems to me that these manifestations can be divided into three categories: The revelatory gifts, the inspirational gifts, and the power gifts.

Note that these manifestations are different from other “gifts lists” in the NT (e.g., Romans 12) in that they are all supernatural in nature. To my mind, any supernatural act exhibited through humans in the NT can be ascribed to one of these nine manifestations. (By the way, I’ve addressed the so-called “Five-Fold Ministry Gifts” in a previous post.)[Continue Reading...]

Interview with Brad Russell: Faith Village

Today I’m posting an interview I did with Brad Russell. Brad runs FaithVillage.

Frank Viola: What is and why did you build the site? In other words, what is your vision for it?

Brad Russell: At its core, we think of FaithVillage as a social network for faith experiences. Our vision is to gather an online community of thought-shapers, artists, church leaders and cause advocates who want to share their gifts for the inspiration of others. We think there hasn’t been a really compelling place for Christians to gather online without all the distractions, security issues and commercialization of so many other channels. We’re all about creating a compelling space where faith can be freely sparked, challenged, focused and shared.
[Continue Reading...]

Rethinking the Gifts of the Spirit: Part II

A cardinal mistake that many believers make is to confuse spiritual gifts with spiritual life. God’s highest aim for His children is that they grow and develop in spiritual life (1 Pet. 2:1-2). As we grow in the life of Christ, we move closer to realizing the Divine Purpose of being conformed to the image of Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:28-29; 2 Cor. 3:18). We also begin to function in ministry. And effective functioning requires the exercise of spiritual gifts.

Stated simply, spiritual gifts are the tools by which we express spiritual life and spiritual power. Put another way, gifts are the utensils by which we supply spiritual food to others.

Now I ask you, which is more important—gift or life? Obviously, life is more important than gift, for food is more important than the utensil. Would it really matter if you were served a piece of steak with a spoon rather than a fork? Although it is easier to serve steak with a fork, the substance of what one is served is of greater significance than the utensil by which it is served.[Continue Reading...]

Raised with Christ: An Interview with Adrian Warnock

As we consider Easter this year, I want to draw attention to my friend Adrian Warnock’s recent book Raised with Christ. The book is an excellent treatment on the resurrection of Jesus . . . why it’s important and how it applies to our lives today.

Raised with Christ: How the Resurrection Changes Everything  -<br /><br /><br />
        By: Adrian Warnock</p><br /><br />

Adrian Warnock blogs at Patheos, and serves on the leadership team of Jubilee Church, London. He is passionate about refocusing the church on the resurrection. He is also keen to introduce a new generation to the life and works of Charles Spurgeon and is part of a planned documentary about Spurgeon’s life that is currently seeking crowd-sourced funding.

I caught up with Adrian recently and interviewed him on the book. Enjoy![Continue Reading...]