A New Book That I Highly Recommend

If you’ve spent more than 5 minutes on Modern Reject, then you know of my great admiration and fondness for a certain Frank Viola. Well, my friend Frank has just released a new book called God’s Favorite Place on Earth that could literally change your relationship with God, help you defeat bitterness, free you from a guilty conscience, and help you overcome fear, doubt and discouragement once and for all. Sound too good to be true? Like some Christian version of a late night infomercial…?

[insert hyped-up infomercial guy’s voice] But, wait there’s more…

This is a book that will jar you out of your “Christian rut” and give you new eyes for looking at EVERYTHING. It’s a quick, inspiring, and entertaining read. I promise. In fact, God’s Favorite Place on Earth already spoke into my own life in a very specific and profound way.

All that to say, you should buy this book. Buy it now. And me saying that means something because this is the first book I have ever heavily endorsed on this blog.

Here’s the sweetest part: if you get the book between May 1st to May 7th, you will also get 25 FREE GIFTS from 15 different authors including Leonard Sweet, Jeff Goins, Andrew Farley, Steve McVey, DeVern Fromke, Pete Briscoe, Frank Viola himself, and many others. Ahh-maazing, right?

Over 47 Christian leaders have recommended the book, including me.

Here is my endorsement for  God’s Favorite Place on Earth:

“God’s Favorite Place on Earth” illuminates the town of Bethany, welcoming us to visit and, in doing so, gain a powerful and irreplaceable picture of our Lord. Viola effortlessly weaves together a compelling narrative with practical wisdom, offering a fresh, imaginative, and exciting new vision of Jesus Christ, while also challenging our thinking to make room for this new revelation of an incredibly intimate and altogether real Christ.”

Nicole Cottrell, blogger at modernreject.com

The premise of the book is simple and 100% Biblical: when Jesus was on the earth, He was rejected everywhere He went . . . from Bethlehem, to Nazareth, to Jerusalem. The only exception was the little village of Bethany.

The curtain opens with Lazarus, who is now ready to die, telling the incomparable story of Jesus’ interactions with him, Martha, and Mary. God’s Favorite Place on Earth blends drama, devotion, biblical narrative, and first-century history to create a riveting book that you’ll find difficult to put down. Within each narrative, the common struggles Christians face are addressed and answered.

I am inviting you to visit GodsFavoritePlace.com to get hooked up with your 25 FREE GIFTS, read a Sampler of the book, and watch a compelling video trailer. You’ll be happy you did.

P.S. I wasn’t paid or perked in any way for this endorsement. I just genuinely love the book (and Frank Viola) and wanted to share it with you.

Just for kicks, what’s the best book you’ve read lately?

Stop Quoting the Bible

There used to be a time when I memorized scripture at a furious rate, filling myself up with verse after verse, like a kid with birthday cake.

Now, I glance at my Bible from time to time. Or read, really read, once a week wherein God gives me some perfectly timed, needed encouragement or admonishment. I’ve ditched the church-imposed idea of morning/daily quiet times. 

But, some of us have begun to reduce the Bible to a series of catchphrases or quotes. As if the Bible is analogous to the latest bestselling self-help book:

7 Easy Verses to a Better Life

Read the Bible to Win at Life

Success: It’s only 5 Short Verses Away

Because the Bible is a lot of things, but one thing it is not is the Christian version of self-help non-fiction.

More than that, when crisis strikes, as it always and inevitably does, that is when so many us begin frantically quoting scripture–pulling out all of the usuals: Continue reading Stop Quoting the Bible

When Rejection Comes…

I woke up that morning feeling as though I had been hit by a truck. My body ached, still in desperate need of relief from physical pain, but this was something else, something more.

I couldn’t articulate what I was feeling and the more that my husband asked me to explain myself, the more frustrated we both became.

I felt deeply sad and yet passionately angry.

The pull between those two emotions was so overwhelming that I spent the day doing the only thing I know to do when things fall apart…

Retreat.

I pulled inside and remained there. Furiously trying to reconcile these feelings, begging God to do something…anything. Continue reading When Rejection Comes…

A Letter to Rick Warren

Dear Mr. Rick Warren,

Although you don’t know me and I am just one of thousands of people who have reached out to you following the tragic loss of your son, please know that I count you as a brother in Christ.

You are my family, bound by the blood of Jesus, separated only by time, destined to spend eternity together worshipping the Most High.

And as my family, when you grieve, I grieve. My heart breaks and aches for the loss you experienced and the pain you must now endure. I look at my own children and hold them closer, knowing that they are not truly mine. They belong to the Lord.  And God, in His remarkable love and kindness, entrusts us with these gifts. We are honored to shepherd them, for His namesake.

I desire to encourage you too, in the love, dedication, commitment, and hope you seemed to have displayed towards Matthew. On never giving up on him, on never surrendering, on continuing to stand in the gap, on trusting the Lord with your dear son.

The road of mental illness is often a long, winding, dark, and treacherous one. Even as Christ shines His light, the road remains cloaked in shadows of the unknown.

And nothing, absolutely nothing you did or did not do, allowed this tragedy to take place. Continue reading A Letter to Rick Warren

The End of Bible Studies and What Jesus Really Looks Like

For years, my daughter had attended a Friday night small group at my in-laws house, while Jonathan and I would sneak off to enjoy our coveted date night. Riley would be scooped up onto her grandmother’s lap, raise her hands in worship, open her little kid Bible, and listen quietly as a group of twenty-somethings would exalt Christ.

My daughter began to refer to this meeting as “Bible study” and she looked forward to going each week. From the age of 2 until almost 6, she attended this small group and I can only imagine how much she gleamed in that time.

But as our family was re-directed by the Lord to leave traditional church and set about starting an organic church, both mine and Jonathan’s language had to change…and so did Riley’s. Each Saturday, our home is filled with 25 adults and almost as many children, where we gather corporately to worship Jesus.

Riley would geek out each Saturday morning, as the extrovert in her could hardly stand the few hours that had to pass before her church family arrived. “I can’t wait for Bible study!” she would yell.

Jonathan and I realized that we needed to correct her language, just as the Lord had corrected ours. This is not Bible study, we told her. This is church. We are the church. This is a family and this is our corporate gathering–where we all come together. But you, and your brother, and mom and dad, and any and everyone who loves Jesus is “The Church.” How cool is that….?

Perhaps it seems a small thing too. The very concept has become so trendy now: “We are the church.” But tell this to a six-year old who loves Jesus and watch it become meaningful and powerful once again.

But I won’t lie, I’m still grappling with this—still trying to grow in discernment of what it really means to be the Body. Continue reading The End of Bible Studies and What Jesus Really Looks Like