Posted on June 1, 2010 by Jeff
Frank Viola and Len Sweet have combined their writing prowess to form one of the most powerful pieces of Christian literature of our generation. Jesus Manifesto is a no-holds-barred examination of the Bible’s infatuation with Jesus Christ. Viola and Sweet articulate the awe-inspiring truth that the Old Testament is taken up with Jesus Christ; the New Testament is taken up with Jesus Christ; Paul was taken up with Jesus Christ; the Apostle’s “doctrine” was taken up with Jesus Christ; the Father was taken up with Jesus Christ; the Holy Spirit was taken up with Jesus Christ; the early church was taken up with Jesus Christ; and throughout the last 2000+ years, whenever a serious refocus of God’s people occurred, they were taken up with a fresh revelation of the supremacy of Jesus Christ. From the Creation narrative, to the summation of all things in the last two chapters of Revelation, Jesus Christ is the One through whom all things were made and the One in whom all things will be consummated. He is the Alpha and Omega.
Viola and Sweet illustrate Jesus to be the aperture through which the light of the Godhead is focused, harnessed, and glaringly intensified. They take time to develop the truth that Truth is not a statement, religion, system, buildings, or any other man-made initiative; but rather Truth is a person, the person of Jesus. They laboriously insist the gospel is not merely social activism, moral objectivity, or a system through which to make the world a better place. Instead the gospel is nothing short of a monumental unveiling of Jesus Christ in all His mercy, love, compassion, grace, wisdom, and grandeur. The gospel is both death and life. It marks the beginning of a new race, a new humanity that never existed before Jesus Christ’s atoning work on the Cross. Jesus is the gospel! Furthermore, according to Viola and Sweet, the Bible never advocates just the following of Jesus’ sayings or teachings. Rather, Jesus said, “Follow me.” This distinction separates Christianity from all other religious systems whose leaders are dead and cannot be followed.
If you’ve never glimpsed the “sight of peerless worth,” you’re in for a jaw-dropping, breath-taking, whirlwind of emotions and spiritual advancement as you journey through this masterfully written work of art. Jesus exudes its pages. No other agenda outside of exalting the Exalted Christ is at hand. Though this book may be an affront to modern religionist ideologies of social justice, doctrinal creeds, health-and-wealth purveyors, and many other religious institutions of thought, Viola and Sweet make one thing clear: Christianity is NOT about us, but is totally about Him who is all and fills all, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Quotes of Note:
- It is all too possible to emphasize a spiritual truth, value, virtue or gift, yet miss Christ, who is Himself the embodiment and incarnation of all of these things.
- The world likes Jesus; they just don’t like the church. But increasingly, the church likes the church, yet they don’t like Jesus.
- When we dethrone Jesus Christ from His rightful place, we tarnish the face of Christianity and redefine it out of existence.
- Both the center and circumference of the Christian life is none other than the person of Christ.
- Knowing Christ profoundly and in reality is the chief pursuit of the Christian life.
- If the heart is occupied with Christ, Jesus will pour forth from the lips and the pen.
- [T]hose who do not present Christ when they minister not only miss a note, but they play the wrong tune.
- It is a profound mistake to treat Jesus as simply the founder of a set of moral, ethical, or social teachings.
- [Jesus] is not at home in any church that doesn’t give Him the place of absolute supremacy and sovereignty.
- The gospel that’s so often preached today lacks a revelation of Jesus Christ. The contemporary gospel boils down to a fire-insurance policy, a Santa Claus God, or a performance-based religion. As long as we stay on that plane, we’ll never see or comprehend the staggering enormity of our Lord.
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Posted on November 8, 2009 by Jeff
See you on the flip side.
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Posted on October 30, 2009 by Jeff
Posted on October 26, 2009 by Jeff
We helped Austin and Alesha load up their Penske Truck this evening for their move to Benton, AR. Sweet, because we know this will be good for them and our business. Bitter, because it seems as though much is ending.
Through the last five years, we have endured many struggles and hard lessons together. We have wept together, played together, eaten hundreds of meals together, prayed many hours together, searched the riches of Christ together, and sat many moments in silence together. We have rejoiced in many victories and dramatic breakthroughs in radical new understandings of our awesome God. We have cringed as lies, gossip, slander, and out-right Satanic attacks have affected our families. We’ve seen highs and lows. We have made many new friends together and seen other friends destroyed by bad choices.
It’s crazy that we are moving in a new direction apart from one another, yet we will always remain great friends and coworkers in business and the Kingdom.
The ministry that started as CrossLife over three years ago, now will spread into a new community. God only knows what will come next for us all.
Prayers, my good friends.
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Posted on September 27, 2009 by Jeff
Though today the places we visit and the conditions we meet may be vastly different from those of the Scripture record, yet in principle the experience of the first apostles may well serve as a our example… Christianity has lost its original purity, and everything connected with it is in a false and confused state. Despite that fact, our work today is still the same as in the days of the early apostles – to found and build up local churches, the local expressions of the Body of Christ.
– Watchman Nee, “The Normal Christian Church Life” 1980.
Today if a man ventures to suggest that there may be something in the methods by which St. Paul attained such wonderful results worthy of our careful attention, and perhaps of our imitation, he is in danger of being accused of revolutionary tendencies… All I can say is, “This is the way of Christ and His apostles.” If any man answers, “That is out of date,” or “Times have changed” … I can only repeat, “This is the way of Christ and His apostles,” and leave him to face that issue.
– Roland Allen, Missionary Methods: “St. Paul’s or Ours?” 1962.
The above quotes came from the first chapter of Frank Viola’s latest book, “Finding Organic Church“. In this first chapter Frank writes,
To my mind, it’s a profound mistake to ignore what we find in the book of Acts concerning the manner in which Christian communities were birthed in the first century.
From there, He walks through the four models of planting churches found in the book of Acts. Any serious missional student, church planter, missionary, Pastor, seminary student, Christian, should read this book for the first chapter alone.
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Posted on September 21, 2009 by Jeff
“As the Preacher of Ecclesiastes saw, “There is a time to break down, and a time to build up…a time to keep silence and a time to speak.” And the second Reformation, if it comes, will be distinguished from the first by the fact that it is a time of reticence, of stripping down, of traveling light. The church will go through its baggage and discover how much it can better do without, alike in doctrine and in organization.”
– John A.T. Robinson, as quoted by Frank Viola in “Finding Organic Church”.
Filed under: Challenge, Frank Viola, Organic Church, Quotes, Reformation, Simple Church, Stuff I Like | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 14, 2009 by Jeff
True Christianity has no earthly boss, bosses, or layers of bureaucratic leadership. Rather, it has one, heavenly Head Who is made manifest corporately through the Word and the Spirit as each part functions as a body. This corporate identity of the Head, which is none other than the very person of Christ, is made manifest not with ceremonies, traditions, forms, models, services, buildings, programs, structures, rules, regulations, rites, creeds, star performers, or well-crafted speeches, but, rather, through self-sacrificing, obedient love. This is the essence of God, of His Christ, and of His Bride.
Filed under: Authenticity, Church, Organic Church, Stuff I Like, The Way I See It... | Leave a comment »