When he came to earth, Jesus Christ was rejected in every quarter in which he stepped. The Creator was rejected by his own creation. “He came to his own and his own received him not,” said John. For this reason, Jesus Christ had “no where to lay his head.” There was one exception, however. A little village just outside of Jerusalem named Bethany. Bethany was the only place on earth where Jesus was completely received.
God’s Favorite Place on Earth is a retelling of Jesus’ many visits to Bethany and a relaying of the message it holds for us today. Frank Viola presents a beautifully crafted narrative from the viewpoint of Lazarus, one of the people who lived in Bethany with his two sisters. This incomparable story not only brings the Gospel narratives to life, but it addresses the struggle against doubt, discouragement, fear, guilt, rejection, and spiritual apathy that challenges countless Christians today. In profoundly moving prose, God’s Favorite Place on Earth will captivate your heart with its beauty, charm, and depth. In this book, you will discover how to live as a “Bethany” in our world today, being set free to love and follow Jesus like never before.
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God’s Favorite Place on Earth is the kind of book I’ve discovered I need to periodically find and read. Frank Viola’s pen and voice are consistently both penetrating and trustworthy. Beyond his invitingly beautiful writing skill . . . I’m grateful for the depth of his themes.
—Jack Hayford, chancellor, The King’s University, LA
Frank Viola surpasses himself in his best book yet—a work of serene, soaring magnificence. Part novel, part biography, part theology, part Bible study, Frank’s imaginative touch and command of prose haiku leaves the reader resolved more than ever to be a Bethany—God’s favorite place on earth.
—Leonard Sweet, E. Stanley Jones Professor of Evangelism, Drew University, Madison, NJ
Combining masterful storytelling, historical knowledge, biblical insight, and practical wisdom, Frank artfully uses the Gospels’ depiction of Lazarus and the small town of Bethany to lay out a beautiful and compelling vision of a God who longs to make every human heart and every church ‘his favorite place.’ This is a beautifully written, timely, prophetic work all would benefit from reading!
—Greg Boyd, senior pastor, Woodland Hills Church, St. Paul, MN
In Frank Viola’s hands, the story of Lazarus—like Lazarus himself—once again comes to life. In a world where hope is battered and life can so easily beat down the human spirit, we are reminded once more of the possibility of becoming a host of Life.
—John Ortberg, senior pastor, Menlo Park Presbyterian Church, Menlo Park, CA