Some Said It Thundered — Frank Viola | Beyond Evangelical

Frank Viola
3 min readMay 4, 2024

Welcome to another Thursday UNFILTERED blog post, the only blog that believes taxes are just a yearly subscription to the country you live in, and childhood is the free trial.

The following article has been in my blog queue for awhile. I’m only now releasing it.


Have you ever had this experience? You attend a Christian conference and a celebrity preacher delivers a sermon. You’re bored to tears. There’s no life, no power, no insight, no revelation.

Yet the friend who attended with you is mesmerized. After it’s over, he feverishly exclaims, “Now wasn’t that amazing!”

You’re dumbfounded.

Not knowing what to say, you mutter, “Ah … yea … it was okay, I guess” … yet you’re thinking to yourself, “Nothing to see here, folks. Back to your homes. Heard it all before. No life. No power. No insight. A first-class yawnfest.”

The next day at the conference someone who isn’t as well known mounts the podium and preaches down heaven.

The speaker unveils the glories of Christ and shares insights about Him that your mortal ears have never heard.

You listen jaw slacked. The Scriptures are opened in a fresh and powerful way. You begin to tear up. Your spirit is touched; your heart is moved; your mind is enlightened.

For 45-minutes, you’re so riveted that you never reach for your smart phone.

Your internal response is, “This has to be one of the greatest messages I’ve ever heard in my life, if not the best. I saw and heard my Lord. Wow!”

The same friend who was wowed by the celebrity preacher hears the second speaker too. (Your friend is sitting right next to you.)

But during the entire message, he mindlessly scrolled through his iPhone.

Nothing registered. Nothing landed. It was like you and he were in two completely difference conferences, if not different universes.

This scenario reminds of a passage in John 12 where Jesus speaks to His Father and the voice of God breaks through the heavens and speaks.

John records the response of the crowd with these curious words:

The crowd standing there heard the voice, and some of them said it thundered, while others said, “An angel spoke to him!”

Some heard a voice. Others heard thunder.

I’ve witnessed this same phenomenon more times than I can count.

The Lord is moving in a powerful way either through music or spoken ministry.

Some encounter Christ. Others see and hear nothing. For them, it’s white noise or common thunder.

As I stated in my book Revise Us Again, the Lord Jesus often comes to us in ways that make it easy to dismiss Him. He does this to expose our hearts.

Countless people who are on the deeper journey can attest to the above examples.

(Check out What is the Deeper Journey? for details.)

A related subject is that of developing “spiritual taste buds,” which I plan to address in a future article.

See also The Two Anointings and Dull of Hearing for more on this subject.

Until next Thursday,



Frank doesn’t profit personally from his ministry. He generously sends out a fresh new article every Thursday (there are over 1,000 on the blog). Also, a new podcast episode drops every other Tuesday on his two podcasts (combined there are over 300 episodes). While all of these resources are without cost to you, they require time and money to produce. Therefore, if you would like to donate to help defray the costs and/or express appreciation, there are three ways to donate, all of them simple. Go to the Donations Page for information.

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Frank Viola

Helping serious followers of Jesus know their Lord more deeply so they can experience real transformation and make a lasting impact. Connect at