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.

What did it mean to break through the shell? It meant an individual understood that God's plan for their lives was not incubation, but transformation. The church was a place where God empowered people to become Christlike.

Today, heaven is again calling each of us to break free of the shell of "religion" and embrace the liberty and power of a Christlike life. Indeed, we have been created to become like Jesus. There is no lasting spiritual fulfillment apart from walking "from glory to glory" toward this one great purpose!

If you too share the hope of attaining Christlikeness, let me invite you to register for our online school, In Christ's Image Training. We have appropriate plans, whether you join as an individual, as married couples or as a small group. In fact, church leadership teams have taken the training and then brought their whole congregation into the course.

As you study In Christ's Image Training, you'll understand God's purpose for you is Christlikeness; you'll perceive why Jesus said the humble are the greatest in God's kingdom. The Holy Spirit will teach you the power of prayer and impart to you the burden of love. And, by God's grace, you'll possess Christ's unoffendable heart as you unite with other Christians.

The training comes directly to you via weekly emails and audio messages. So, whether you serve God as a housewife, businessman or church leader, your breakthroughs into the liberty of Christ can begin right in your own home.

For more information: www.icitc.org

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.

I do not mean that they have merely become emotional or happy or animated about Jesus - as important as these things are. I am saying they actually received power to become like Him. Deep in their spirit an awakening occurs and they see Christ not only as the payment for their sins, but as the pattern for their lives.

This is what happened at Pentecost. Fearful, prideful disciples were transformed into humble, powerful replicas of Jesus. They spoke the Word of God with boldness - just like Jesus. They healed people, just like Jesus; and they were willing to suffer for Christ, just as He willingly suffered for them.

Today, we do not have the fire of the Holy Ghost, we have Casper, the friendly ghost. With Casper, everyone goes to heaven. Casper cuddles, but never convicts. He never calls people into conformity with Christ.

You see, true revival is a hot lava-flow of courage being poured into the backbone of a once defeated people. It is radiant faces, purified souls and holy lips. It is people becoming 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).

Some say this verse refers to Jesus' prayer in Gethsemane, a onetime experience. I disagree. The thought is introduced with the phrase, "In the days of His flesh." The word days is plural. It indicates that there were times when, as the situation warranted, Jesus prayed with "loud crying and tears." My point is, Jesus felt deeply what He was praying about. His whole being was in His prayer, even expressing His burden with both loud crying and tears.

Our Master also felt the sorrow of His friends. He wept at the tomb of His friend Lazarus. Yes, He knew He was about to raise Lazarus, but He felt the heartache (not the unbelief) of Lazarus' friends and their sorrow seized His heart.

Even as Christ can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, we must allow ourselves this same empathy toward human suffering and injustice. Thousands are dying because of wars, terrorism, disasters and disease; multitudes are homeless, starving and living in abject poverty. Infants are pulled apart in the womb before their lungs have taken a single breath. Jesus says we are blessed if we are capable of mourning over these things.

Granted, we cannot be ruled by our feelings, but they can help compel us toward heaven. As we pray, let the pain of those who cannot cry fill our hearts. Let us lift our voices in prayer, even with loud crying and tears as we approach Him who is able to save from death.

Lord Jesus, moved with compassion You healed the multitudes. From heaven You felt the pain of earth and extended Yourself into our world, where you were acquainted with grief and human suffering. Your whole life was consecrated to the Father as an act of intercession. Master, give us a vision of Your love. Our world is wrought with pain and beyond our ability to ease it. Expand our hearts as we cry to You. Father, enlarge our souls, so that we pray with the very intercessions of Your Son, Jesus. Let our voices be full of empathy as we pray. In Jesus' name.