His Time

We live in a day when what sells best in the Christian world are books, sermons, and television programs that are aimed directly at you — This Is Your Day, You Are the Reason for the Season, Become a Better You, It’s Your Time, The Me I Want to Be, The Life You’ve Always Wanted, and similar titles orbiting around the Youniverse.

It’s time to take all the arrows that point to you and bend them back to our Lord.

Behold the ill-starred Nazarene who went about “doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil.”

Behold the artisan from Galilee, the one who called Himself the “Son of Man” (which means “son of Adam” — “the human being”).

Watch Him as He is taken before Rome’s delegates in the city of Jerusalem. See Him standing before Pilate — rejected, dejected, bludgeoned, beaten, spat upon.

Behold Him who created the heavens, the Lord of the universe, suffering the most horrific, gruesome form of torture that was ever invented by the human imagination.

Observe Him hanging on a wooden stake, dying a slow, hideous death, covered with blood — naked, mocked, and shamed. The Messiah has become a public spectacle that elicits the spinechilling, gleeful laughter of satan himself.

Watch death, the child of sin, emerge from the pit. With open arms, it darkens the wood of the cross and takes the Prince of heaven into its silent, hopeless domain.

The powers of Rome may have defeated the suffering artisan two thousand years ago, but in the end, He shall triumph. Christ shall subdue all things and put them under His feet, for upon that bloody hill, Jesus of Nazareth — the spotless, sinless man — defeated the powers of darkness and won for Himself the keys of death, hell, and the grave.[Continue Reading…]

A Letter That Dropped Out of Heaven

I believe the entire Bible is fully inspired, fully authoritative, and fully reliable. But there are two letters that seem to have dropped straight out of heaven.

They are Ephesians and Colossians. The high water marks in the written Word of God.

It is for this reason that I’ve often ministered out of these two letters.

A 6-part series that I delivered several years ago has been uploaded to the podcast. It takes a narrative approach to Paul’s amazing letter to the Colossians. The parts are as follows:

Encountering Christ in Colossians: Part I – the historical background of the letter.

Encountering Christ in Colossians: Part II – the main points of the letter with some practicals sprinkled in.

Encountering Christ in Colossians: Part III – the big picture of Colossians 1 and 2.

Encountering Christ in Colossians: Part IV – Colossians 1:24-29 expounded.

Encountering Christ in Colossians: Part V – Colossians 3 to the beginning of 4 expounded.

Epic Jesus: The Christ You Never Knew – Colossians 1:15-22 unveiled; a right-brain approach to the chapter.

Note of Interest: I delivered most of these messages while I was writing Jesus Manifesto. And I sampled one of the more unique chapters from that book to the audience beforehand. You’ll hear it in one of the audios.
[Continue Reading…]

Guest Post: The ILLUSIONARY Nature of Online Friendships via Facebook & Other Social Media

The following article was written by my friend Stephanie Bennett. Dr. Bennett is the Associate Professor of Communication and Media Studies at Palm Beach Atlantic University, West Palm Beach, Florida. She’s also the author of Communicating Love and the new novel Within the Walls. 

“Please give me your partial attention.”  Can you imagine saying that to your spouse or a friend?  Tongue in cheek, perhaps, but the truth is, do any of us expect anything less than the full attention of those with whom we are in relationship?

One of the most fundamental elements of a healthy relationship is that it requires adequate time, energy and focus to stay strong and be the force for good in our lives.

Today’s mobile media foster a multi-tasking lifestyle that easily leads to a mentality comfortable with fitting people into packed schedules that rarely leave enough room for meaning conversation or quality time together.  In fact, we can become so busy multi-tasking that a simple date for coffee may have to be scheduled weeks in advance.

We may become adept at managing our hyper-organized lives, but none of it helps to nourish healthy, long-lasting relationships.  This may be particularly so when it comes to finding fellowship on Facebook and other computer networks that allow for social exchange.  [Continue Reading…]

Not Being Frank for a Moment

Frank Viola is the browser heading for this blog post.

Don’t take out your heart medicine. This post isn’t about me.

I’ve always sought to be frank on this blog. But today, I’m not going to be Frank.

Instead, I’m going to set the record straight once and for all.

I’m not Frank Viola.

Well . . . I am, but I’m not the other Frank V.

You know, Frank Viola, a.k.a, “Sweet Music,” the former major league baseball player.

(Scroll down to see his photo below. These two are pics of me.)

frank viola author

Frank Viola

We are related . . . somehow.[Continue Reading…]

He Has Anointed Us – New Song & Amazing Recording!

I’ve previously shared that a strong part of our Christian heritage is the practice of writing new lyrics to well-known tunes. This practice goes back to at least the Reformers. But I suspect it precedes that.

Back in February, I delivered a message to a Christian community entitled Living in the Divine Parenthesis. The night before I brought the message, I wrote a song as a companion to the talk called “He Has Anointed Us.”

I wrote it to the tune of Wavin’ Flag by K’naan — a specific version of it performed by the Young Artists for Haiti. I regard their version to be one of the most inspiring melodies of our time.

Recently, a group of Christians I know took the lyrics I wrote and recorded the new song in a studio. And . . . well . . . it blew me away.

The lyrics follow below so you can read them while you listen to the recording. The talk I delivered (above) gives the context and meaning of each line.

Click here to listen to the recording

These saints did an amazing job.

I hope you’re inspired by the song.[Continue Reading…]