Where is God’s Favorite Place on Earth? An Interview with @FrankViola

Margaret —  May 4, 2013 — 42 Comments

Giveaway: God's Favorite Place on Earth @FrankViola @David_C_Cook

This week, I'm giving away THREE COPIES of my friend, Frank Viola's new book, God's Favorite Place on Earth. I recently had the opportunity to ask Frank a few questions about his new book:

Margaret: For readers who aren’t familiar with your book, what do you want to resonate in their hearts and minds after reading?

Frank: I tried coming up with ways to answer this, and I kept deleting them. I’d feel better if I let a few others answer based on what they came away with after reading the book. It reflects what I’d want for all readers.

God’s Favorite Place on Earth is the kind of book I’ve discovered I need to periodically find and read; thereby keeping ‘the fallow ground’ of my own soul plowed, re-sown and watered, in order to continue fruitfulness and to deepen the root system of my spiritual walk and growth in Christ.” --Jack Hayford

God’s Favorite Place on Earth realigned my heart toward Jesus and His mysterious, confounding, surprising, beautiful ways. It’s not often I learn something new when reading a book, but Frank Viola’s sharp storytelling and insightful interpretation made me hunger for more of the real Jesus.” --Mary DeMuth

“Frank Viola’s new book God’s Favorite Place on Earth couldn’t have reached me at a better time. I’ve been grappling with the pain of being rejected, misunderstood, and judged by other Christians for a few years now. I had no idea how dangerously bitter I’d become. Frank’s book spoke directly into my heart, giving me much-needed perspective on the way God reconciles these difficult experiences, both in Jesus’ life in the flesh and in ours. I realized how I had slipped into the modern church’s focus on the self and success, and how that set me up to be bitter instead of forgiving, cynical instead of surrendered. I had forgotten that God’s greatest work comes in and through my weakness and brokenness. This book is a timely and poignant reminder, through the story of Jesus’ life and His one safe place, of the way God can redeem the pain of rejection by fellow believers and do amazing things through our own weakness when we embrace our brokenness and surrender to God.” --Joy Bennett

M: Where did you get the main idea for God’s Favorite Place on Earth?

F: I got it from the Gospel narratives of Jesus in Bethany. Three people lived there that the Bible repeatedly say Jesus loved in a special way: Mary of Bethany (who is my hero), her sister Martha and their brother Lazarus.

In the book, I put the whole story together in chronological order, and I tell the narrative through the eyes of Lazarus. So the book is part fiction and part nonfiction. Your readers can read one of the most emotionally moving chapters, here.

M: Who should read God’s Favorite Place on Earth and why?

F: Anyone who wants to be jarred out of their Christian rut and be given new eyes to see EVERYTHING differently. Anyone who is bored with hearing the same Bible stories, the same teachings, the same narratives, and wants to be given a fresh look at Jesus and the Gospels that touches both heart and head. Anyone who wants to escape into a good story, and at the same time, learn how to defeat doubt, discouragement, fear, guilt, bitterness, spiritual burnout, and/or spiritual apathy.

M: How does God’s Favorite Place on Earth fit in with the other books you’ve written? Is there a main theme you seem to stick to in your writing?

F: My ministry is called “The Deeper Journey.” The common thread in all my books is the deeper, higher, and richer aspects of the Lord Jesus Christ and His body. This comes through in all my books.

God’s Favorite Place is no exception. But it’s different in that it’s very short, very easy to read, and it blends fiction with non-fiction. Lazarus tells the story, and then I draw principles out of the story. I could be completely wrong, but I predict that this will become my best known book. I regard it to be my “life’s work.” So if I had to give someone one book that’s come from my hand, it would be God’s Favorite Place on Earth, hands down, walkin’ out.

Finally, if people order the book between May 1st and May 7th, they will receive 25 free books & audios by 15 different authors, including Leonard Sweet, Jeff Goins, and many others. They just have to go to GodsFavoritePlace.com for instructions.

Check out the book trailer for God's Favorite Place on Earth. (RSS Subscribers, click here to view.)

To win one of THREE copies of Gods' Favorite Place on Earth, comment on this blog post. Winners will be announced Friday.

Congratulations to the winners: Duane Scott, Aaron Lindsey, and Kathy

What is your favorite story in the Gospels? If you could witness the life of Jesus through anyone's perspective, whom would you choose?

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42 responses to Where is God’s Favorite Place on Earth? An Interview with @FrankViola

  1. Margaret Polino Nicholas May 4, 2013 at 4:16 am

    I am definitely interested. The trailer got me. So hope luck comes this
    is way, and we win a book. I think I would like to see a depiction of this in any story. Thank you.

  2. Just read the chapter, and tears stream down my face! I can’t put my feelings, my heart into words right now… but this I know. If I don’t receive one of these books in the drawing, I will certainly be purchasing one. I’ve not read any of Frank Viola’s work before, but I truly look forward to doing so. I must admit that, when I read the title of the book, I said to myself, “How I pray His favorite place on earth is my heart and the hearts of all believers!” Blessings!

  3. At a time and place where my deflated spirit yearns for refreshment, I am intrigued and look forward to reading this. Thank you for highlighting it. Definitely on my ‘to- read ‘ list!

  4. Sounds fascinating. I was just telling the story about Lazarus to my eight year old the other day.

  5. Sounds like a wonderful book.

  6. I would want to witness Jesus’ life through his earthly dad’s perspective…what really happened in those unknown years 🙂

    the book looks fantastic! Another great biblical historical fiction is The Lost Letter’s of Pergamum. I love this genre because they really bring early christianity to life and help you grasp the emotion of how people were experiencing the presence of God come down and shaking the world! Can’t wait to dig into Frank’s work!

  7. I’d love to read this book!

  8. A year ago last February, I stood outside Lazarus’ tomb and wept. Many tourists don’t even go to the city of Bethany because it’s in Palestinian territory. I loved Frank’s work when he teamed with Leonard Sweet to write “Jesus: A Theography.” Really looking forward to reading this one!

  9. Nicole Bryan May 4, 2013 at 9:35 am

    If we could all learn to sacrifice such extravagant love as Mary did for Him, how much better would this world be? I love a book that forces you to use all of your senses and you feel as if you have stepped into the pages with them. It would be such a pleasure and an honor to continue reading this story. It has already captured my heart.

  10. I would want to through the woman with the issue of blood…what was her story before that moment when she reached out and just touched Him and received her healing? What was her life like after that? Also I would say I’d want to know even more about Saul’s. I’m continually amazed by Paul’s story…his conversion, what life must’ve been like, etc. that we don’t know (or wasn’t written more about).

    • Me too. Her life must have been so bleak before she encountered Jesus. No man could touch her or even sit in a chair where she had sat. And then everything changed with her encounter.

  11. I would love to.win this book. Good luck to everyone

  12. always looking for my fallow ground to be tilled up….and me…Mary Magdalene..

  13. My favorite gospel story is from John 2, when Jesus changed the water into wine. Mary did not tell Jesus what to do, she merely said, “They have no more wine”. This reminds me that Jesus already knows what I need, and I don’t have to tell him what to do. I can just pray, “Help me, Father”, or “I need You”, or “Please bless my friend”, or “My friend is in trouble”, and He knows what to do. I think we waste much of our time and God’s time detailing what we want or need. He knows what we need much more than we do!

  14. Love reading about the Gospels!

  15. I’d love a chance to read this book.

  16. I want to be jarred out of my Christian rut and begin to see EVERYTHING differently. Mr. Viola’s answer describes me to a T.

  17. I’m on that path of being jarred. Having this resource would be a wonderful thing!

  18. Birdie Cutair May 4, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    I would love to have a copy of this book. Little scary to be jarred out of my Christian rut, but I wouls like to pursue just that.

  19. I would love to live the life beside Luke. -as he shared the journey of Jesus I am keenly aware of Jesus presence in every situation and His love prevails. Would love a copy of Gods favorite place as I learn more every day He yearnsto abide and live within us all His children His creation. for His love and favorite place to dwell is in Us all. Thank you Margaret and frank for reminding us all of who it is we are to be a dwelling place for the eternal lover of our souls.

  20. It sounds like a book that I really want to get my hands on. It has been added to my list of books I want to purchase.

  21. I would want to witness the life of Jesus through Lazarus’ perspective!

  22. Sounds interesting. I’d love to win a free book!

  23. Mr Viola says that his book is for anyone who ‘wants to be given a fresh look at Jesus and the Gospels that touches both heart and head. Anyone who wants to escape into a good story, and at the same time, learn how to defeat doubt, discouragement, fear, guilt, bitterness, spiritual burnout, and/or spiritual apathy.’ That describes me perfectly. Even though I have been a Christian for 44 years, I struggle daily with doubt, discouragement, fear, guilt, and feeling stuck. If Mr. Viola’s book is as he has said, then it is the book for me.

  24. As Joy Bennett mentioned, I to have fallen into the trap of focusing on success. The Lord has shown me that really all I’m responsible for is staying in the Word and asking Him to help me trust Him. I can’t even do that on my own.

  25. Sounds like a beautiful, transformative read. 🙂

  26. Wow Margaret .. I was at Pensacola eWomen this year and enjoyed your talk. I would so much enjoy reading this book you recommend showing Jesus from Lazarus’ view. Thanks! Fay Doud

  27. I’d love to read this book. This story is one of my favorites…and the inspired insight of being that close to Jesus while he was physically on Earth…fabulous!

  28. Kristy Ufheil May 4, 2013 at 10:33 pm

    I am challenged by the depth and intensity of Mary Magdalene’s love for our Lord. I would have loved to have have been an eyewitness to His life, through her eyes.

  29. I am definitely adding this book to my must read list! Would love to win it

  30. Margaret, SO tickled to have met you at Thrive. Happy to have been employed as your sign holder-upper as well 😉 I attended Rich Van Pelt’s breakout this morning on mobilizing teens to impact world poverty and he mentioned he’s taking you and Leif into Kenya next soon. I can’t wait to hear about it. I hope someday to be in a position to do something similar. If not there, SOMEwhere that one of my Compassion kids lives. May God bless you richly on your journey. Thank you for sharing your time (and chocolate) with us this weekend! xox!

  31. I love the story of Jesus and the woman at the well. It’s such a perfect story of grace and truth, and represents the way I think about Jesus. Always walking that line. More grace. More truth. Love it. And I’d love to read this book!

  32. Lorie Hooper May 5, 2013 at 7:48 am

    Just read the chapter, a moving and inspiring read! Would love to read the entire book!!

  33. Good Morning,

    The story I chose is the woman with the issue of blood, I can relate to her because for 14 years I have also dealt with that. I have been uable to work for 10 years, I have missed so much being home. This book is definately one I would like to read!!!
    Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy!!

  34. Would love a copy of this book!

  35. The book sounds amazing! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  36. Looking forward to reading Frank’s new book…

  37. Sounds like a great read for the summer as my Bible studies wind down!

  38. Aaron Lindsey May 6, 2013 at 10:22 am

    I’m going to read this if I win it or not! Can’t wait!!!

  39. A friends father just recommended this author to me! Would love to read his book!

  40. I would love to win this book.

  41. Of course! I’ve been eyeing this book since my friend Mary endorsed it!

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