The Christ-Pattern

By Francis Frangipane

We have often taught that the ultimate test of any church is if, over the months and years, the likeness of Christ is being replicated in the people.  Such is the goal of God, and such must be the goal of the church.

Yet, how exactly is a congregation transformed? What stimulates a church to move from merely being outwardly religious to actually becoming inwardly Christlike? In many cases, the exodus from religion to Christlikeness begins as the vision of becoming Christlike grips the heart of a pastor. 

Let me explain. In our competitive world, a pastor must excel in many areas.  He or she must be a good speaker, rightly educated, and also be sensitive to the needs of the lost.  He must be a person of vision, yet realistically practical.  He will often be required to sacrifice time spent with the family for time given to people in the church.  And, he must not complain about working conditions or modest pay.

The Two Wings

By Francis Frangipane

As American elections close, many Christians have felt discouragement with the outcome.  Yet, let me remind you that, even in what seems like loss, God continues to work all things for good.  Yes, we've been praying for our nation, desiring to see the country return to a moral, God-fearing culture.  Yet, I hope we all know that the kingdom of God is not limited to a political party!

What encourages me is that among those Democrats who won Republican seats, most were either moderate or very conservative in their moral outlook; they were not liberals.  In other words, the Democratic party, which for years seemed to resist any advance toward traditional moral values,  picked conservative Democrats to run against Republican conservatives.  Indeed, in a number of contests, pro-life Democrats ran against pro-life Republicans. 

Authority Over the Nations

By Francis Frangipane       

Mediation:
"Joram king of Israel and Ahaziah king of Judah went out, each in his chariot, and they went out to meet Jehu and found him in the property of Naboth the Jezreelite. When Joram saw Jehu, he said, 'Is it peace, Jehu?' And he answered, 'What peace, so long as the harlotries of your mother Jezebel and her witchcrafts are so many?'" (2 Kings 9:21-22).

There is a war going on. It involves the future of our nation.  In this war, even Christian leaders are occasionally isolated, deceived, and then trapped by the enemy in sin.  I know some may be weary of hearing about the spirit of Jezebel; they just want peace.  But what peace can there be in our land so long as the harlotries of Jezebel and her witchcrafts are so many?

For All in Authority

By Francis Frangipane

"First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth" (1 Timothy 2:1-4).

There are many obvious reasons to pray for people in positions of authority. At the core of authority is the ability to influence. Anyone with influence has authority and anyone with authority has influence. Governmental authority can influence entire cultures, and beyond. The Old Testament reveals that when a king turned to the Lord, the entire nation was influenced toward God. This was true with all of the godly kings in Judah, and it was true in Nineveh when its king led in national repentance. In fact, Judah never experienced a national revival without that revival being stimulated by the heart of the king.

He Can Do It Again!

By Francis Frangipane

As I write this, a huge naval exercise by the US military and its allies is bringing a massive concentration of American naval, air and marine might to the Persian Gulf. American officials said the exercise, which will occur in late October, will practice interdicting ships carrying weapons of mass destruction and missiles. Facing these units in the Persian Gulf are the naval, air and marine units of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, together with the Iranian armed forces, all of which are on full war preparedness.

US naval, air and marine forces, as well as other NATO warships and troops, are also massing in the eastern Mediterranean opposite Lebanon and Syria. The stage appears to be set for what could erupt into serious conflict. (Preceding information has been adapted from various news sources, including the Debkafile).

A Symphony to God's Heart

By Francis Frangipane

During seasons of prayer, when congregations unite for intercession or groups meet in homes to appeal to God, it is important we stay united in Spirit, supportive and passionate with the goal of touching the heart of God. Even though we pray differently or come together with different styles or burdens, our unity plays an important dynamic in obtaining spiritual success.

For instance, when my wife and I pray together, I like to pack all the meaning I can into a couple sentences. I might pray a simple prayer, "Lord bless and fill my kids," What I mean, is Lord touch them, forgive them, provide for them, guide them, use them and protect them. My prayer is like a "zip file." It's bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. It appears small, but when God opens it up, there's a lot of meaning in my prayer.

Manifested in Our Mortal Flesh

By Francis Frangipane

What did Jesus have in mind for His followers when His ministry began? What was His holy objective? I am absolutely convinced that Christ came to replicate Himself in us. True Christianity is nothing less than the living manifestation of Christ in and through us (Ephesians 4:11-13). Indeed, our destiny does not find sure footing until the actual life of Christ emerges in redemption through us.

When I speak of Christ, I mean His meekness, His love and redemptive motive. I am speaking of His power and His deep surrender to the Father's will, which produced His expansive authority over all things. And, when I speak of Christ in us, I am not merely referring to the right assemblage of doctrines, as though salvation was purely a cerebral exam. Our doctrines are important to the degree they unfold into the character and power of Christ flowing through us.

To Be Like Our Teacher!

By Francis Frangipane

"There are two types of Christians, the trained and the untrained," remarked a pastor I recently met. I couldn't agree more. The fact is, too many of us view our salvation experience as though it were an arrival - and on one level it certainly is. Yet, our "arrival" is actually the beginning of a journey toward Christlikeness. Being "born again" is a step out of darkness into a destiny that will involve perseverance, faith and spiritual training.

So let us accept the fact that the Lord's goal is not just our rescue, but also our training. To be spiritually trained will cost us. We must make life choices, spend time in spiritual development, and give ourselves in unfolding surrender to learning the glorious ways of God. The result is our transformation. As Jesus put it:

The Latter Rain

By Francis Frangipane

The phrase "latter rain" can mean different things to different people. To its critics, it is a movement that promotes doctrinal heresy. To many others, however, the phrase "latter rain," though slightly antiquated, is a term used by the King James Bible to describe the final, worldwide outpouring of the Holy Spirit before Christ returns.

Although I do not personally use the term "latter rain," I do believe in this last great move of God. In fact, I have held this vision since 1970. Admittedly, my faith was tested during the 1970s, when many church leaders were predicting the end of the world. Frankly, not many actively believed there would be a great harvest during the seventies and eighties. However, in 1990, with the stunning collapse of Soviet communism, an accelerated era of worldwide evangelism truly began. Since then, the Holy Spirit has brought hundreds of millions into the kingdom of God.

Truth is a Person

By Francis Frangipane

Over the years we have received many encouraging emails and letters from people who appreciate our call and passion for Christlikeness. We are both thankful and humbled by those who have taken the time to write. On occasion, however, we hear from Christians who have been troubled by criticisms they've read about us (and others) on "attack websites." These sites often exude an air of legitimacy since they focus upon false religions, new age teachers and openly heretical doctrines. Yet, many of these sites also aggressively misrepresent and attack true Christians as well.

Who are their targets? The fact is, if you open an Internet search engine (such as Yahoo, Ask or Google), type in the name of a well-known Christian leader, and then add the words "false teacher" next to his or her name, as fast as you say, "Oh no!" you will likely find a number of sites that openly, and often viciously, attack that leader. Frankly, having had my life and teaching repeatedly misrepresented by these attack sites, I would not trust their opinion about any ministry.

The Harvest is Plentiful

By Francis Frangipane

It is amazing how Jesus stayed riveted upon His life's goals. We never read of Jesus being distracted by the turbulent conditions of the world around Him. Indeed, reaching and saving the lost was always the vivid center of His focus.

I think some of us imagine life in first century Israel was considerably more serene than conditions in our world. In some respects, the times may have been simpler, yet the world of the Messiah was anything but calm. Israel, you'll remember, was an occupied territory. Nationalistic Jews, known as Zealots, were continually either plotting, stirring or launching insurrections against Rome. Israel was, in fact, a brutal and fearful place and violence always simmered beneath the surface.

Into a Place of Abundance

By Francis Frangipane

I read recently of a fast, totally electric sports car which is being tested right now in California. The same magazine reported that researchers were testing new drugs and therapies that might cure cancers. A few pages later I also noticed a large software company had released a new "beta" version of its popular product ("beta" means it was still being tested, although it is released on a limited scale).

What do all these various enterprises have in common? Before each product was released to the general public, it had to be repeatedly tested for effectiveness and functionality. Did it do what they projected it to do? Before manufacturers spend a fortune in promotion, they need to know if their product will work outside the lab. So they test it under stressed conditions. Once it passes the tests, then it is released.

The Mission Statement of Heaven

By Francis Frangipane

All major companies have a vision or mission statement. A mission statement defines the primary purpose and direction of a corporation, what services or products it provides and who would likely be interested in their organization. Likewise, when Jesus began His ministry, He issued a sort of "mission statement" that explained the nature of His Father's business. He said,

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are downtrodden, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord" (Luke 4:18-19).

Liberating the human heart from oppression and spiritual incarceration is the mission statement of the Son of God. When Jesus declared He "must be about [His] Father's business," that specific business is to provide redemption of the lost and freedom to the imprisoned.

Firewalk

By Francis Frangipane

Jesus' walk was neither painless nor effortless, and yours will not be either. Perhaps our minds cannot envision the Son of God facing any 'real problems,' such as we face. We know He calmed the sea, but we are also told He "learned obedience through the things which He suffered" (Hebrews 5:8). Yes, power surged from Him causing those who came to arrest Him to fall back (John 18:6), but He also had times He was wearied (John 4:6). He indeed promised us peace, but He too had times when He was distressed (Luke 12:49-50), angered (Mark 3:5) and troubled (John 12:27). The same beautiful feet that proclaimed the glad tidings, that walked on water, walked the Via Dolorosa, the way of suffering.

Great Commission or Great Omission?

By Francis Frangipane

Jesus warned that there would be great deception in the end times. Humility, therefore, tells us that we should not presume our personal expression of Christianity is aligned perfectly with God's heart. How can we examine ourselves? We can measure the focus of our lives with the last great command of the Lord, called by Bible scholars the "Great Commission."

What is the Great Commission? These were the "marching orders" Jesus gave His apostles just before He ascended. In other words, this is what He desired His church to be focused on until He returned. He said,

"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you"(Matthew 28:19-20).

Becoming a Revelation of Jesus

By Francis Frangipane

"For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ." (Galatians 1:11-12).

The Bible is not merely a "how-to" book. It is not only a history book, nor a religious crystal ball or a philosophy book. At its core, the Bible is a revelation of Jesus Christ. Indeed, we will learn many things reading the Bible, truths that are historical, practical and academic; yet the core truth emanating throughout the Scriptures is the revelation of Jesus Christ. The Old Testament accounts, whether of kings or priests, were all written in anticipation of Him; the prophets encountered the Spirit of Christ and wrote of things to come as they ultimately pertained to Him (1 Peter 1:10-11).

That Which is Born of the Spirit

By Francis Frangipane

We wake, crawl out of bed and stumble toward the bathroom; bleary eyed, we squint at our reflection in the mirror. Certainly, we are looking at the image of an utterly earthbound creature. Or so it seems. The truth is, in spite of our fleshly appearance, the moment we received the Holy Spirit into our lives a metamorphosis began within us. We are no longer "mere men" (1 Corinthians 3:4). We have been liberated from the flesh to become spirit-centered beings.

The fact is, among creatures, Christians are a type of hybrid with both fleshly and spiritual dimensions. We are capable of negotiating the dynamics of life on earth through our physical, emotional and intellectual faculties, and we can also soar beyond our natural limitations through spiritual protocols, such as worship or prayer, that connect us to God in heaven.

Covenant Power

By Francis Frangipane

It is right to pray for the Lord to bless and protect our lives. However, praying for the blessing and provision of God is not the same as covenanting with Him. A covenant is an altar upon which the Lord and His covenant partner give themselves fully to each other.

If you have given your life to Christ, you entered into the benefits and power that were released during Jesus' covenant with the Father (see Luke 23). In that covenant between the Father and the Son, we are forgiven, cleansed and made new. Yet, we have not covenanted with God, Jesus did. We receive the consequences of Christ's covenant.

Repentance Precedes Revival

By Francis Frangipane

A true revival does not just happen. There are conditions that must reside in the human heart before the Lord visits His people.

We Must Want Deliverance, Not Just Relief
Too often, ministries today seek to deliver people who are unwilling to repent of sins, who have not cried in their heart to God for help. The effect is that those prayed for may receive limited relief, but they soon fall back into sin and oppression. The key to successful deliverance is to discern if an individual is ready and willing to be released before we minister deliverance. Are they repentant? Have they put away their idols? Is their heart truly turning toward God?

God's pattern for us as individuals is also His pattern for the church and the city. Even as the Lord did not deliver us until we cried for help, so the war for our churches and cities will not be won until a significant number of us are crying to God in prayer. Christ's purpose in bringing the citywide church to prayer is to provide the proper heart attitudes to which the Almighty can respond.

I Will Remember Their Sins No More

By Francis Frangipane

Holiness is attained only through an unfolding experience with the grace of God.

Removing the Barriers Caused By Sin
Have you ever had a close friend but talked critically about him to someone else? The next time you were together, did you notice something almost artificial about your relationship? You were not as open nor as honest with him. Because of your sin, there was a small but measurable distance between both of you. Though you may have been ashamed of what you did, if you stayed unrepentant, you actually started to avoid the one you hurt - if not socially, at least with your eyes and heart.

You may have shared a world together beforehand, but now the interpenetration of personalities, the sense of being "at home" in one another's soul, is gone. Unless there is repentance, the distance between you will probably widen until the relationship itself is over. Although neither of you may understand why you drifted apart, the love you possessed died because you sinned and failed to repent.

The Sanctifying Power of Christ

By Francis Frangipane

"For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy" (1 Corinthians 7:14).

In the above verse, we discover an important life principle: the process of sanctification for an unsaved husband or wife actually begins when their partner is born again of the Spirit. The word sanctify means "to consecrate or set apart to God." In this context, however, sanctification does not automatically imply salvation; rather it means that a process leading toward possible salvation has begun in earnest.

Incubating Christians

By Francis Frangipane

I wouldn't call it something as lofty as a vision - it was just a thought with a "video file" attached. In it, I saw Christians sitting in ordered rows, like eggs in incubators, only they were in their churches. They sat and listened, but the pastor's words were barely heard or understood. They had life inside, but they were trapped within religious shells. It wasn't necessarily that their ministers lacked anything in their messages; their sermons were historically and factually true. Yet, for the most part the shell surrounding each Christian seemed impenetrable.

Yet, there were exceptions. Every once in a while, the shell of one of the "eggs" would crack under the pressure of inner hunger; someone would fight through the shell. When one broke free, others nearby followed his example and began to break through their religious shells as well. When a majority had hatched, their church was no longer just an endless incubator, but it became the body of Christ Himself and the people in this group transformed the world around them.

True Revival

By Francis Frangipane

People often ask me, "When true revival comes, what will it look like?" To me, a revival is not legitimized merely by the increasing numbers of signs and wonders. Moses, Elijah and Elisha all had great signs accompanying their lives, but signs do not equate to revival. Israel was often awed by manifestations, yet supernatural wonders never brought the nation to repentance.

What about powerful and exciting church services? Personally, I do not believe church services every night, even if they last until midnight, are themselves a sign of revival. Increased services and manifestations may accompany revival, but they are not, in themselves, evidence of revival.

What, then, should revival look like? On an individual, person-by-person level, a true revival looks like people being empowered to become like Jesus.

With Loud Crying and Tears

By Francis Frangipane

Some of us are too quiet in our prayer times. Face down does not mean quiet. I know there is a time for silent prayer, but it shouldn't be the norm. As Christians we must let ourselves feel the agony of the world around us. While our faith should never be based upon feelings, our capacity to empathize with another's loss or pain should be fully alive in us and compelling.

Satan wants us muted. He desires that our prayers degrade into quiet muttering, as though we are ashamed of saying out loud what is going on inside. Our needs demand, at times, that we have volume and substance in our prayer. Scripture says of Jesus that "In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety" (Heb 5:7).

The Power of His Resurrection

By Francis Frangipane

Let there be no question, Christ's crucifixion and subsequent resurrection are the cornerstone realities of our faith. Upon these two united events the most vital truths of Christianity unfold. Indeed, if Christ did not die upon the cross, there would be no atonement. If He did not rise from death as He foretold, then all He taught would become suspect. He would have been yet another philosopher/prophet who lived and died a tragic death.

Yet, Jesus demonstrated that He was the "Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead" (Romans 1:4). Christ's resurrection broadcast throughout time and eternity that One more than a prophet died for mankind's sins. It was God on earth who prayed to God in heaven, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."

Jealous With God's Jealousy

By Francis Frangipane

"You Tolerate"
I had an hour before boarding my plane at Reagan International. Since I was looking to replace my aging laptop computer, I decided to buy a computer magazine to help educate myself before making a decision. As I entered the newsstand, I asked the clerk, a scarfed Muslim woman, for help and she quietly led me to the computer magazine section. However, en route to our destination we had to walk past a prominently displayed rack of "men's" magazines, all with flagrantly indecent covers.

I felt genuinely embarrassed for two reasons. First, I am a man of God. I seek to live in the fullness of the Holy Spirit, yet my best response was merely to turn away from the offending rack. Second, I was aggravated that, for all the authority Christ has given the church, a public newsstand still can boldly feature this degrading blight. In full view of our children, of teens, as well as adult men and women, the spirit of Jezebel stands at our crossroads unchecked as she seeks to captivate the naive.