Isaiah 16:5 ~ "In love a throne will be established; in faithfulness a man will sit on it— one from the house of David— one who in judging seeks justice and speeds the cause of righteousness."
I have had this certain book on my "to-review" list for ages. Since before we moved home from Arkansas, actually. I'm ashamed to admit it, but at least I do have a smidgen of an excuse - since we've had one thing after the other happening in our lives that has prevented me from being the "big reader" that I long to be. That's what my Winter Reading Challenge list was about... and now March 17th has come and gone... and I only have read 1.5 books. So I started this book to add to the homeschool book I'm still working on. The new book? "God's Ultimate Passion". It's by Frank Viola. It came recommended.
The cover page is kind of plain, but once I began reading it, I have been completely enthralled. The last time I picked it up was before our 'out of state' move and my life turning upside down. I was a bit distracted. I only made it a few pages last time. So far, this time, .... now that I'm not so distracted, I've been able to note that all the scriptural references have been valid. With each page I turn, I'm getting more deeply involved. That's a good sign in a biblical-based book. It is great when you can take scripture and make it come alive with images that help you retain the message forever. There's nothing like a good Bible study. While this book isn't sold as a Bible Study, it has had me wanting to get the Bible out and study along on more than one occasion.
Frank Viola's claim that "God has a driving passion" sounds strange at first, but as you reason with Frank about what that passion is... you just might get as hooked on this book as I am so far! I certainly agree with him that we need to be set free from a "me-centered" gospel. There is much to be desired from today's feel-good mega-church sermons as far as I'm concerned. Frank Viola's books on radical church restoration sound interesting enough, but I'm glad to have read this one first - the book which he claims is his "flagship" book. I am beginning to see why. It isn't every day that you hear from someone that God is passionately in love with you. It isn't every Christian writer who can turn such an intimate and physical emotion in to an adjective that describes our creator.
Take these brief quotes for example (I warn you... you might end up wanting to read this book, too!):
"...the story of a God who is an ageless romantic driven by one consuming pursuit."
"Each tale flows out of the ultimate passion that lies within the throbbing heart of God. They are, as it were, His central intention behind creating the universe."
Good stuff, no?
I saw this book sitting on my desk tonight and considered skipping this blog post so that I could curl up and read more. Maybe I will later. But before that, I want to leave you with this invitation from the forward of the book... it sounds too good to resist:
"Part I of this book is dedicated to presenting the Bride. Part II is dedicated to presenting the House. Part III is dedicated to presenting the Body and the Family. Interestingly, all of these images are different aspects of one reality.
This progression is also rooted in Scripture. And it is the core essence of the Biblical story... the metanarrative (overarching story) of Holy Writ. The Father obtains a Bride for His Son. He then builds a House in which He, the Son, and the Bride dwell together. The Father, the Son, the Bride live in that House as an extended household and they have offspring. The offspring constitutes a Family... the new humanity called "the Body of Christ".
If you have been a Christian for any length of time, terms like "Bride of Christ", "Body of Christ", "House of God", and "Family of God" are all too familiar to you. They may even be worn out and tiresome. It's not an overstatement to say that our wearied familiarity with these words has blunted their edge and diluted their impact. We Christians have been given a steady diet of Biblical terminology. We speak it fluently because it's the tribal language. But the reality and the power behind our terminology has largely been lost.
My hope, therefore, is that after you have finished this book, a fresh coat of paint will have been applied to these familiar terms. I pray that the Holy Spirit would fill them with their original beuaty and awe to this end: That you would be given a dramatically new - if not a staggering - look at the ultimate passion and purpose that drives your God. For that purpose and passion is the very reason why you exist."
Wow. I want to know. HIT ME WITH IT, BABY. I'm ready!
So I guess I have to finish this book now - without another long pause of six months in between pages. I feel like I've been passed a steamy love note from Jesus.
I'll let you know how the rest of the book turns out. So far, it has gotten progressively better with each chapter... but I'm only in chapter 4.
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