When I finished reading Hearts for the Kingdom last week, I contacted the author, Cho Larson. We talked about the book and he graciously agreed to be my guest today. Together we hope to inspire you in your journey of faith to pursue God with a heart that is alive and beating for the Kingdom of God.
Mary: Cho, when I finished your book, I felt loved and very close to my Savior.
Cho: I’m overwhelmed at the encouraging response to it.
Mary: How long did it take to write this book?
Cho: God works in mysterious ways. As I’ve observed God’s hand at work, it’s easy for me to picture Him as the Great Conductor, orchestrating everything in perfect harmony. Hearts for the Kingdom wasn’t my original plan, but after I sent another manuscript I was working on to my editor, while waiting for him to edit, the need became clear for a foundational book. This book required about six months to complete.
Mary: as an author, what is the message you hope your readers will take away?
Cho: God has given me a passion for His church. Not the buildings or church organizations, but His people. My passion is for people to know and experience firsthand the living, active presence or our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Mary: I read my copy of this book with my journal opened for examining my own heart. How would your book benefit a small group setting?
Cho: You’ve touched my heart of hearts with this question. The inspiration for the three books of the Kingdom Series began in a home Bible study group. I asked them what they would like to study next, and one gal suggested we do a study on the Holy Spirit. As I began to prepare something woke up in me and took me back to my faith roots. This all began as a Bible study and the material is designed for study groups, to help them dig into God’s Word.
Mary: You repeat throughout the book “On our own, impossible; depending on the Lord, possible”. Explain.
Cho: God has given each of us a special work to do. (Ephesians 2:10). But too often we attempt to do this work in our own strength and by means of our natural talents and abilities. On our own, this work is impossible to accomplish. The prophet Ezekiel makes this point clear. “[T]hey do not distinguish between the holy and the common” (Ezekiel 22:26). We are called to accomplish an impossible mission — the Great Commission, and the Spirit of Jesus gifts us and empowers us to accomplish the work we are called to complete.
Mary: You engage the reader with humor. I found the chapter on Fasting amusing describing indulgent Americans. Your thoughts?
Cho: Now your questions are getting personal! Fasting is a Christian discipline that is challenging for me. When my stomach growls, I start to growl. But fasting is about more than growling stomachs. Above all else, fasting is a picture of our walk with Jesus. Fasting is not so much about going without, but about feasting on the bounty of our Lord Jesus.
Mary: I noticed your passion explode in the chapter about repentance. As a teacher in the Kingdom, explain your strong feelings about a repentant heart.
Cho: Repentance is an elementary truth and a foundational truth. Repentance prepares the way for God to renew, restore and refresh His people. Apart from repentance, we get stuck in a hopeless quagmire of our own making. My hope and earnest prayer is that God will bring our hearts to repentance, not only for our own sins, but also for the sins of the church, so that He may begin a good work in our hearts — giving us Kingdom Hearts.
Mary: What was your favorite chapter to write in this book? Why?
Cho: The first chapter is my greatest passion. So many people are searching, but don’t know what they are searching for. They have an empty feeling inside; but by hearing God’s Word — truly hearing and giving ascent to the words of Scripture — the seed of faith is planted in their hearts and the void is filled. Their lives will be changed for all eternity. Without this change of heart, none of the other chapters in this book will be of any value.
Mary: of the Christian disciplines you write about, which challenges your own heart?
Cho: Expressing thankfulness when life throws its challenges at me is one of my greatest tests requiring me to refocus on the good things God is doing. As I wrote the three books of the Kingdom series, life threw some major curve balls at me. My faith was tested, and my weaknesses came to the surface. Many times, I prayed, “I can’t do this.” But finally, in Christ, it became possible. I’m incredibly thankful for all God has done in me and through me, as He accomplished His good work in me.
Mary: Are you available to teach or speak to groups?
Cho: Where there are two ears to hear, I’m willing to speak what the Good Lord gives me to speak. I have a yearning to teach the topic of my books to small gatherings, Bible study groups, Sunday school classes, Sunday morning messages, and seminar groups; from one to a thousand, call me and I’ll be there to teach.
Thank you, Cho, for stopping by my place and sharing your vision for the Kingdom. I highly recommend your book. Christian principles are crystal clear!
Cho Larson lives in the Verde Valley of Arizona with his wife, Susie. He is a father and grandfather. Cho’s powerful gift of teaching and down-to-earth writing style inspires and educates the reader with humor and warmth. Cho can be reached at his website: www.cholarson.com as well as Facebook.