Standing Against All Odds

“Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore . . .” 

~ Ephesians 6:13-14

If your foundations are in Jesus Christ, then you can weather the storm. You can endure the crisis. You can walk through the fire. Because you are standing on Him who is the immovable Rock.

Sometimes God will deliver you from trouble. Other times He will deliver you through it.

But resurrection is always on the other side . . . if you stand and endure.

A spiritual (Spirit-led) man or woman is someone who has faced tragedy, who has faced loss, who has looked unbearable and exquisite pain in the face and the worst that life can throw at a human . . . and they have stood their ground.[Continue Reading...]

3 Things That Break the Back of Envy

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy . . . ”

~ 1 Corinthians 13:4

As promised, this post goes along with yesterdays where I talked about the dark side of social media and measuring influence.

A point I left out of that post: The wisest, most spiritual, and most fruitful Christians that I know (personally) aren’t on Facebook or Twitter.

Interesting given the world we live in today, eh?

That said, the subject before us today is envy.

Coveting what others have going for them is still alive and well. And we’re all susceptible to it. No one is immune.[Continue Reading...]

The Peril of Measuring Yourself Against Others

“But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.”

~ 2 Corinthians 10:12

Today’s social media has sought to put us all back in high school. Many of us are being tempted to measure our self worth and spiritual usefulness by artificial standards.

Twitter followers, Facebook friends, top blog lists, unique visits, and Klout scores are the new metrics that have replaced making the homecoming court, surviving the sports team cut, and being part of the “cool crowd.”

If you’re a Christian who is seeking to influence others with a message, let me share a few things that may encourage you:[Continue Reading...]

My Spanish Bruthas and Sistas

I love Latin culture. Perhaps because 100% Italian blood fills this clay vessel.

My favorite ministry trip of all time was my second visit to South America. What occurred there in one week was heaven on earth.

Over the past five years, I’ve been asked numerous times when my books will be available in Spanish.

Well . . . after waiting . . . I can now declare that the task has begun.

Three of my recent titles are now professionally published in Spanish.

Frank Viola's Books in Spanish

They are . . .[Continue Reading...]

No Compromise

No Compromise

Make my life a prayer to You
I wanna do what You want me to
No empty words and no white lies
No token prayers, no compromise

I wanna shine the light You gave
Thru Your Son You sent to save us
From ourselves and our despair
It comforts me to know You’re really there

Chorus

Well I wanna thank You now
For being patient with me
Oh it’s so hard to see
When my eyes are on me[Continue Reading...]

A One-Question Survey for Christian 20-Somethings

This post is a supplement to yesterday’s Rethinking How We Present the Gospel.

I believe the responses to today’s post will help us all in regard to yesterday’s subject.

As I converse about the things of God with various believers and non believers in different age groups, I notice dramatic differences in the way each group sees the world.

This isn’t my observation alone. George Barna has done a lot of work underscoring the varying features of differing age groups.

Those of you who are in your 20s are the next generation. Thus I think it would benefit all Christians to better get their thumb on the pulse of your age group.

That said, if you’re a Christian in your 20s, please answer this question:[Continue Reading...]

Rethinking How We Present the Gospel

The gospel of Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

In Rethinking the Gospel, I shared briefly on the content of the gospel . . . as envisioned in the New Testament.

However, I believe the way that the gospel is presented should differ depending on the people with whom we share it.

This requires sensitivity to the Spirit and attention to the person’s heart. Jesus Christ didn’t present Himself the same way to everyone.

To some, He warned. To others, He rebuked. To some, He showed compassion and mercy. To some, He asked questions or told parables, etc.

Just examine the way He interacted with various people, and you’ll see monumental differences. In a much overlooked text, Jude describes it like this:[Continue Reading...]

Rethinking Paul’s Thorn in the Flesh

“There was given me a thorn in the flesh . . . ”

~ 2 Corinthians 12:7

For generations, Bible commentators have offered countless theories as to what Paul’s thorn in the flesh was. The most popular range from various and sundry illnesses (malaria, epilepsy, ophthalmia, etc.) to haunting guilt for persecuting the church to a sexual addiction that Paul never got victory over.

I’ve never found any of these common theories to be persuasive or satisfactory.

To my mind, if we take the text just as it is written and compare it with other texts that use similar language . . . and then step back to take a fresh look at the New Testament narrative in its chronological sequence . . . an entirely different picture emerges. One that I personally find compelling.

Let’s look first at the text carefully: [Continue Reading...]

Don’t Waste Your Time Being a Christian

A long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I wasted my time being a high school student.

I skipped classes, did the least amount of work required to skirt by, quit baseball my junior year, earned a Ph.D in passing notes during lectures, and was never able to muster the courage to befriend the girl that I had a two-year crush on.

(Incidentally, I was a pitcher for my high school baseball team. And like many other young dudes, my dream was to play in the Majors. So when I saw this guy on TV for the first time, my first reaction was to pinch myself.)

Anyways, when the day came when many of my classmates were being rewarded with full-ride scholarships, I was crestfallen.

I had wasted my time as a high school student.

Well, dear Christian, you can do the same with your walk with the Lord.

You can waste your time as a Christian.[Continue Reading...]

Let Us Contemplate the Grape Vine

Let us contemplate the grape vine,
From its life now let us learn,
How its growth is fraught with suff’ring,
Midst environment so stern;
How unlike the untamed flowers
Growing in the wilderness
In a maze of wild confusion,
Making patterns numberless.

But the blossoms of the grape vine
Without glory are and small;
Though they do have some expression,
They are hardly seen withal.
But a day since they have flowered
Into fruit the blooms have grown;
Never may they wave corollas
With luxuriant beauty shown.[Continue Reading...]