A One-Question Survey – Please Answer & Share

As someone who writes books, I am always seeking to solve a problem that Christians have or address a need that they are seeking to have met in their lives.

Of course, I can only write what I know, so there are subjects and topics that I’m not qualified or gifted to write about.  I don’t touch those but leave them for others to tackle.

That said, I would really appreciate if you answered this question.

Imagine that there was a new non-fiction book that just came out. It wasn’t written by me . . . but by an unknown author who had a remarkable writing talent. That book would give you solutions to your greatest spiritual needs. The book would entertain, inspire, challenge, and/or educate. But after reading it, your most important spiritual needs would be met. With that in mind . . .

What subjects or issues would this book address? You can list more than one.

Thanks for answering!

I’d appreciate if you shared this post so we could get others to answer the question.

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About Frank Viola

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  • Robbie J

    I haven’t read all of your literature, so I’m not sure if you’ve dealt with the matter already. I know you’ve written somewhat extensively on the rejection Christ and the disciples/apostles faced. But I struggle with a lot of bitterness. Bitterness against my fellow Christians. It’s very difficult to connect with fellow believers, especially when they to varying degrees try to ‘recruit,’ you to their church or doctrine. I know they are my brothers and sisters in Christ. I know Christ has commanded me to love and respect them. The majority of them view me as the same, even if I’m considered something of a wayward child.

    Naturally, the solution is to be completely focused on Christ, and when I have those moments everything falls away. So I suppose the specific topic would be ‘Bitterness’ and how to approach the matter with Christ’s love and mentality. I’ve found it separates me from Christ, and keeps me from having whatever fellowship I am able to with whoever I’m with and wherever. Turning the other cheek is very hard.

    I Really appreciate what I’ve read of yours so far, Frank. Thank you, you’ve been an incredible blessing.

  • Kelly

    More of seeing Jesus in the OT

  • http://about.me/michaelbeil Michael

    This book would talk about how our identity in Christ, honor, the gifts of the spirits, and walking in the spirit are all intertwined.

  • Deb

    Sorry!! Didn’t mean to label your writing to fit just one sphere of believer – it’s one of the things I love about the content of your work is that it is for every believer everywhere because the focus is Jesus! Very refreshing.

  • Jeremy Hetzel

    Digging into what it really means to abide in Christ. How do we abide?

  • Francesco De Lucia

    A comprehensive, NT theology.

  • marilet

    I like a story from the Bible expanded with historical basis. can’t get over the Diary of the Desperate Samaritan Woman. :)

    thank you for your hard work. God bless you and the works of your hands.

  • http://idaretobelieve.com Ian

    The Life of Christ in Every Believer

  • http://www.kellyjyoungblood.com Kelly J Youngblood

    I have been thinking and thinking about this since I saw it last night. I’ve read a lot of books lately,and I’m getting burned out on reading. While some of them have been very good, I find myself wanting to read more scripture, explanation of scripture, and then application. It seems as if so many books jump right to application and there’s not a lot about the scripture behind it. Regardless of whether or not they are on the right track, most of the readers could use more scriptural education, I think. As for specific topics, I just honestly do not know what I want to read. It almost seems as if there are too many books out there as it is and that while no two are the same, many of the topics overlap and are similar. I also would like books to be more “flexible” in that they don’t offer prescriptions for what they are teaching, but let the reader be able to explore instead of just “do this this and this and you’ll be on the right track”. I have no idea if this was helpful at all, but it’s what kept coming to mind as I thought about the question.

  • Joyce

    i can’t get past the sense of a need for someone to write about how a lack of understanding of healthy boundaries, and the same lack of understanding of the damaging nature of “walls” rather than healthy boundaries, affects us spiritually. Has this issue ever been addressed in relation to discipleship, in relation to organic church fellow/sistership? I have read Pagan Christianity, many blogs, some podcasts and am in the middle of Jesus Manifesto. My heart sings with thanksgiving at the validation of who we are in Christ, presented without fail, by all that I have read and heard from you Frank. Thank you.

  • Wim

    I think to select a topic from the “Word” directly in my view has the most impact. It’s usually in a surprising way spot on and in time. I suggest the following:

    Romans 12:1-2 The Message (MSG) – Place Your Life Before God
    12 1-2 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

    I think a book, unpacking Rom 12:1-2 will be an excellent guide for young an old to start your walk in Christ, how to endure, how to commit, good mix of what you need to do and what you need to leave in the hands of God and His Holy Spirit.
    God Bless

  • http://www.mariuslombaard.net Marius Lombaard

    epic conundrum. me too. +1.

  • Frank Viola

    Thank you. Just to clarify, the “Living by the Indwelling Life of Christ” Course is for all Christians and all churches of all types – traditional, organic, missional, institutional, denominational, etc. Just want to make that clear. Most of the readers of this blog are part of traditional kinds of churches and I’m happy about that.

  • David

    The problem is that when Christians don’t understand the Christian life and you have a void between becoming a Christian and becoming someone who is actually interested in following Jesus in their daily lives. I feel that most Christians don’t take the Christian life seriously enough. That being said the problem I have is lack of fellowship with others who are really interested in the things of God. I know that just about in any church I go to I have to become friends with the ministers and church staff because that is where I find other people who what to follow Christ.

  • Deb

    Organic Church Discipleship Tools. You touched on it a little while ago when reviewing ‘Multiply’ by Platt/Chan and the need for discipleship teaching that cover the 5 principles that you outlined. I love it that so much discipleship happens within a group of believers fellowshipping and sharing with one another on a weekly basis around a meal but I also feel like there is a need to be a bit more intentional. A need to teach people about what the Bible says, who Jesus is, what God has done, is doing and wants to do in and through us etc – a lot of what is covered in your books but in a practical way that can be studied in groups of 2 or 3 people. I meet many Christians who don’t know how to read the Bible for themselves, have never had anyone explain simple doctrine to them from the Bible and don’t know how to share their own faith because they wouldn’t know what they really believe! Part of it is because people aren’t putting in the effort themselves to read the Bible. I would love to have some Organic Church Discipleship tools (like the Indwelling Christ CD’s and studies that are coming out – can’t wait!)!

  • Gina C

    How much faith is enough? Faith is a gift given through God’s gracious hand, yes? So why are so many hurting people under my care/in my circle being told that they don’t have enough faith to be healed of their various ailments? Why are innocent people being victimized by so-called “elders”.? Doesn’t it take a mustard seed? A mustard seed is minuscule. Tell me, what’s really going on here? I have theories but know answers.

  • Gina C

    Problem #3: The your sin isn’t as bad as my sin game when all sins are equal in the eyes of God and we all need him to the same extent. Yes lily white Pastor Shmo, you and that homeless drug addict in the ditch are equally covered by Christ’s blood.

  • Gina C

    Suggestion 2:
    Mental health issues: Why are mental health issues automatically labelled as demonic or shelved/ignored by churches? Beats me pizane.

  • Gina C

    When Christ summated the Law and Prophets down to love God and your neighbour, why is there so much rampant legalism in the Church? You could call the book, “Judge Not”

  • Elizabeth S

    I suggest a book that could help us to deal with with “mental illness”, such as “bipolar syndrome” within a family. We could learn about causes and “cures/treatments” for such disorders.

  • http://revolfaith.com April K

    I’d like a book on how to handle crises of faith–how to remain strong in the face of atheism when it seems like God is far away and I’m wandering a spiritual desert–apart from “just read the Bible and believe.” How to get out of said spiritual desert for longer than five minutes. How to find my footing when it seems following God means abandoning almost everything I was taught about faith as a child in a fundamentalist church.

  • Daniel Farrow

    Frank. For me, I would say that we need a book that teaches us how to hear the voice of God. I’ve found that the biggest lack many young people in the body have is either an immature understanding of the gifts of Holy Spirit or no understanding of the gifts of Holy Spirit. If we had a book that teaches that in the context of the organic church, then I think that would be of greatest benefit for me in my calling as a spiritual father and shepherd to the young people I mentor. Thank you for having the humility to ask us this question. Shalom!

  • Julio

    How about a book that shows us how to help Jesus get an answer to His prayer (St. John 17:20-24) for a change. The answer to His prayer is the solution to the myriad of problems within His body, resulting in the Father receiving long overdue (1,800 years) glory; and renewed hope to a lost dying world that has all but given up on Christianity. Frank. If you don’t write this book, I will. :)

  • http://www.thesharing.org J Rock

    How to view Christ with the fresh eyes of a child after you have “matured” in the faith the past 20+ years.

  • http://www.religious-diplomacy.org/evangelichapter John W. Morehead

    How do Christians move from confrontational forms of faith identity in relation to those in other religions and embrace loving engagement, and do so by coming away with the feeling that it is based in a sound biblical theology?

  • Lee

    Finished Pagan Christianity, Reimagining Church and Revolution by Barna. Starting from Eternity to Here now. You are being used to help me tremendously so I am answering your question honestly. If you do not know I have no idea. Will read Finding Organic Church after From Eternity to Here. Only an idea but detoxifying my kids from institutional Christianity without being judgmental. We are starting to meet as a family in our home.

  • http://www.lionsword.ca Larry

    Thanks for this. I’d like to have greater understanding of how I can walk out the Inheritance that has been made available in Christ.
    Bless you & yours

  • http://www.theupsidedownworld.com Rebecca Trotter

    I see and frequently hear from people who are looking for a real, Godly perspective on suffering in the Christian life. Not theology, per se, but real life, feet on the ground stuff. Not how to solve the problem of suffering, but how to endure it, use it, keep faith through it and even find nourishment from it. How to move through times of suffering in spiritually and emotionally healthy ways, I guess.

  • Jonathan Harris

    I work amongst many denominations in my employment. The book I would buy is… ‘The point of Salvation. Is there one?” Being surrounded by huge number of voices, but the most prominent being ‘praying Jesus in to your heart’ and ‘the sinner’s prayer’, I hear the voices of repentance and then baptism being the point of the Spirit entering your life. I also hear the voice of prevenient grace… where it is Jesus chasing us, and us believing or simply accepting … you may have answered this question in some of your books already? I have read ‘Pagan Christianity’ which has helped debunk many …. but a positive text on the confidence of salvation……?

    Thanks brother.

  • Steve K.

    My 2 cents would sort of piggy back on a few comments above. Living the powerful Life of Christ while in a sea of pseudo Christians who seem numb to the true power of the Gospel – whether by weak and/or diluted teaching, not fully seeking Truth for themselves, or both is a big issue now. Being a true disciple, making true disciples (not assuming it’s some pastor’s job). IMHO, there are a lot of books out there pointing to Jesus but not so many that illuminate with a giant spotlight what Paul was proclaiming over and over and over again to churches in communities not unlike ours. Lots of proof texting to fit a particular agenda or dogma but not so much the story of humanity and the Life that God has provided to all in Jesus Christ. Your previous books as well as those you co-authored with Leonard Sweet have bucked the trend and continue to be one of the great sources of modern Gospel teaching, so keep going! I’m not doing a good job of giving a concise answer but I see a vacuum of real meat for believers to strengthen us to run the good race, to be bold, KNOW who we ARE. We will gather others when we live by this power – it will just flow out of us. When you are isolated like Mr. Walsh, above, either geographically or spiritually, affirmations of Faith and the gathering of “one another” is so, so critical and we crave it. I have experienced this isolation while in a community of thousands of believers and have had a hard time finding others who know there is so much more and are seeking and want to experience it together. SO many have been washed with the “Get saved so you won’t go to Hell and wait to die and it will get better” message (including myself) that we are numb and apathetic. You have done a fantastic job of addressing much of this in previous books. And you have been blessed with an awesome gift of proclaiming Truth to the Church today. I know that God will continue to speak through you to His followers the things they need most at this time. Thank you for your humble servant heart!!

  • Neil Kirby

    Frank, I appreciate your acknowledgement of being limited in gifting and understanding. I have read too many books by “theologians” trying to cover every doctrine of Christianity . Many times these people are trying to “teach” but do not know by experience what they are talking about. I really appreciate your insights on “living by the indwelling Christ”, “body life” and community and/or fellowship. I am looking forward to the course on living by the indwelling Spirit. The first episode was a break through message. For many years I have been on a plateau. Seeking again, the excitement, understanding and growth like when I started understanding grace and the total forgiveness provided at the cross. I am privileged to serve in a jail and prison ministry and so love the fellowship I experience through this opportunity. I have young kids and a great wife. We belong to a local church (about a year at this one. 6 years at one previously). There is little authentic Holy Spirit – Body life and true fellowship. We are part of a home group, but OT teaching dominates that, we like the people. My wife is a school teacher. I work a less than desirable job to barely pay the bills . What I would like to see is a book that focuses on how to live by the indwelling Spirit in a busy world. I long for “Body life”. It seems that my zeal and love for Christ and His Body has been thwarted by…everything else. I need an applicational understanding of how to let God live through me, while working a secular job, while raising my kids, while budgeting with my wife, while dealing with idiot “Christians”, When women walk by, when I’m in traffic, late for work, in times when things seem to be against me, and all other times.

  • Mike Abbott

    Sounds like it was already written – the Scriptures. :-). Anything that would assist in studying the Scriptures – both the first & second testaments. Thanks for your service for The Lord and His Bride.

  • Nathanael Snow

    How does nationalism and thinking from a nation-state perspective affect the conclusions we arrive at concerning the sharing of the Gospel, and our role in participating with God in His ongoing creative work?

  • http://thebarnabaspage.com/barnabas/ Dafydd

    Self control – in the sense of being disciplined in my time, actions and life, but doing so not in a legalistic way but dependent upon grace

  • Andy Montgomery

    Real, “take up your cross daily” Christianity (outside of Osteen’s prosperity theology and Platt/Chan’s poverty theology).

  • http://www.relevantdiscord.com Relevant Discord

    How to pursue truth as a lifestyle instead of traditions. Why questioning the tenants and doctrines of one’s faith is a good thing. Christians want to have a formulaic answer for everything yet few are comfortable saying that “I don’t have it all sorted out, or I’m still learning in that area.” Instead we bitterly cling to our handed down opinions and verbally cut down those who don’t fall in line. For these very reasons, you see Christianity becoming more and more ineffective and put aside in Western cultures. Christians as a whole aren’t known for their love or for being meek or peacemakers. They’re the ones screaming and yelling judgement at the very world they claim they want to save. They’re good at it because they practice on each other first over minor doctrinal disagreements. Yet, is this really the lifestyle model that Christ demonstrated as an example? Was that whole unity through a diverse body stuff only meant for those in the first century? If Christians were willing to not hold to their own untested views so tightly, could they learn that it’s ok to disagree without being disagreeable? And if they could start doing that and living in harmony with each other, could they model a lifestyle that actually makes the world jealous for that type of community?

  • Evelyn

    Kaypochee, you should write a book! Blessings!

  • kaypohchee

    Hi Frank:

    I live in Malaysia and many Asian religions flourish here. Nearly all of them are polytheistic but more importantly, they offer re-incarnation as the solution for not getting it right “this life” and an excuse that what is going wrong this life is because of getting things wrong “in previous lives.” In other words man’s spiritual quest is to get it right, but only eventually. The burning need of nearly everyone is how one can get it right, period. So I talk about a spiritual ledger. You were born with a Balance, based on your merits or demerits in previous lives. Each time you do something good, you get a credit which adds an amount to your spiritual ledger’s balance. Except no one tells you what this amount is. There is no merits list. Similarly if you look lustfully at a woman you get demerits (though some do not consider this act contra-meritorious) your balance gets decreased, again by a certain number of points not known to you. Again there is no demerits list. At the end of your life you look at your balance and you start a new life in a certain position, as not even necessarily a human, and you work on your spiritual ledger again.

    There is an implicit belief that there is a supercomputer of sorts that keeps these balances for everyone absolutely correctly and without fail. This calls for immense faith. And there is no list of what you would come back as based on your balance. Is being a horse superior to being a house cat? So there is also this immense faith that you reincarnate “correctly”. Which is why no one ever questions why he is in such a state of being such a creature. (Actually there is also no grievance procedure, so there). We trudge along not knowing. We happen to be where we are without any right to discuss or question. And I guess if one reincarnates as an animal he would not know how to question why so, and similarly he may not know how to earn merits.

    With such a background, from being anti- (really anti-) Christian, I felt I needed an absolute God to put my faith in. In fact with incense sticks used for praying to deities I prayed “God, all my life I thought I knew you, but now I am sure I had not been worshipping the One God who created all things in the universe. I still say there is such a almighty God, except I have to admit I do not know you. Yet as I pray this way and seek you I am sure you would let me find you.” What caused this change is too long to tell. But six months later I went down on my knees to confess my need for a saviour, whom I had recognised in Jesus Christ.

    Your planned book should help countless people with such a need. A need for a “Blessed Assurance,” not trial and error. Not creeping into rejection by god to make his way back again. Not waiting for an annual festival to be washed clean. Not waiting for deathbed to be baptized (as you said of Coonstantine in Pagan Christianity — and Evelyn Waugh in one of his books also tell of the futile attempt to die just before one has no more ability to sin).

    Such a book should tell of a relationship God, who, far from leaving us alone never to know whether we are even known to Him, “knew us before we were formed in our mother’s womb.” And having known us, each abortion is the killing of His friend. He would have communed with everyone He knew, and indeed even taught us before we were born. Except of the Fall and we lost our contact. Yet we all know that we have known such a God; just that we do not know how to relate anymore. Yet he did not leave us alone. He has sent his Holy Spirit “To bring to remembrance everything he ever taught us.” Yes, He taught us, and when we have the indwelling Holy Spirit, the Spirit will bring all these lessons to remembrance. To those who do not have the indwelling Spirit we still know this God but would seek many possible gods, so we can rekindle the fellowship. The sad truth is, if there is no reincarnation, ie, if death is final, then such rekindling would never, never, never come about. Forever. Which is why every human must diligently seek out this God and rekindle this relationship, with an assurance that this relationship can and will be rekindled. No Spiritual Ledger to put in your smart phone to tell you how many merit points you need. No Calendar to anxiously wait the day when our sins would be atoned by some ceremony, hoping one would not die before that, and worse, hoping in abject futility that immediately after that and until the next ceremony he would not do wrong by his god.
    This is the crying need of 90% of the world. Not a “bash you until you admit you are a sinner” book, but revealing a God who knows you, has been teaching you even though you cannot remember, who is a Saviour because everyone needs a Saviour, who, once He saves you, you are assured of eternal security (much must be done not to trivialize sin in Christ or condemn as unsaved again, to be put into the same cycle of despair).

    With your touch, having met really seeking Christians who as you and Barna say in Pagan Christianity, and setting them straight, I am sure you are up to being able to set these people straight for the standpoint of meeting their utmost need rather than enticing them with platitudinous advantages of being a Christian. Yet, as you can see, such a book is completely scriptural and not an attempt to “lower the barriers of entry” as Gladstone, in the New Yorker said of Rick Warren when he typified him as a New Age Guru. The barriers remain unchanged but their concept of this God is changed.

    I think this need, in 90% of the world population cannot be met by selling monotheism, condemnation for sin unless one is a Christian. It must highlight and introduce them to who Jesus really is and how one misses Him even before knowing Him, and how He wants a timeless relationship to be re-established rather than to be just newly established.

    OK. Having said that, Barna in p. xxix said “It is in our best interest to scour the words of God to determine the core principles and ethos of the early church and restore those elements to our live.” And you in p. 222 decry “Why is it that we Christians can follow the same rituals every Sunday without ever noticing that they are at odds with the New Testament?’ Yet in your chapter on Baptism and in your recent post on Baptism (which I commented and the system said it was being moderated, right until now so I don’t know if it was run) you fail to notice that John said Jesus’ baptism is different from his, Jesus’ being “with fire and water.” And in Acts 19:1-6 the disciples Paul met had been baptised by John. But not saved. v4 On hearing this they were baptised in the name of Jesus Christ. This is not an anabaptist-kind or re-baptism in water but a different baptism which is spontaneously performed not by man but by God. It behoves us to seek out this baptism of Mark 16:16 which saves, and this baptism eventually saved the twelve in Ephesus. Yet you mention only water baptism. Hopefully you can discuss this. And these 90% also have heard about Catholic water baptism which they think or a made to believe, saves.

    Have a good day.

  • http://www.prolifetogether.org Emery Smith

    As we journey through life, we create a broader circle of influence. As Christians, we have a calling to sow into others’ lives to help shape Kingdom thinking and action. I would love to read your thoughts coming from your other writings and summarize a ‘finish well’ manifesto that Christ-followers of all backgrounds could unite behind preparing the way for Christ just as John the Baptist did to enter the culture and individual lives.

  • Joe Walsh

    Brother Frank. I spoke with my wife over this question. The biggest spiritual need we have is a lack of connectivness with other believers. We have found a lack in the church buildings spread across Oklahoma. We have attempted to connect with others, but we are always told we should come to their church. They cannot open their eyes to any thought of organic worship. This has in the process damaged our worship as well not having anyone to connect with.

    We would love to see a book on how to handle being spiritually isolated in a world with “churchans”. We want to worship with others as a family in an organic way. How is this possible to maintain spiritual strength when you feel so isolated. How are we to maintain connection with others when I work 6 days a week in the military? We would love a book for organic isolation and go to keep faith in “churchans.”

  • RussK.

    How to really live by the indwelling life of Christ.

  • B.S.H.

    For various reasons, I have not actively been a part of a group of believers in 3 years. Where do I go from here? Contemporary Christianity is too soft, showy, and shallow. Should I just humble myself, submit to our culture and drink the Kool-aid? Within recent months, I feel more comfortable joining a group of believers without jaded or judgmental thoughts, yet I do not know how to be a part of the body of Christ within all the show and ceremony…