God Took You Seriously

By Francis Frangipane

People give their lives to Jesus Christ for many reasons. Some need physical or emotional healing; others are in search of peace and forgiveness. Whatever our condition, God meets us in the valley of our need. Indeed, the Lord reveals Himself to man as heaven's answer for our needs. He is a "father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows." He even makes "a home for the lonely" and leads "out the prisoners into prosperity" (Ps. 68:5-6).

God uses our need to draw us to Christ. Yet, the consciousness of our need narrows our revelation of God, limiting His activity in our lives to the boundaries of our struggles. Thus, many Christians never awakened spiritually to the deeper call of God, which is to attain the likeness of Christ. We are forgiven, healed and blessed, but we experience a ceiling on our spiritual growth.

When the Lord Guards the City

By Francis Frangipane

"Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain" (Ps. 127:1).

Before we speak on this verse, it is important to explain a particular characteristic often found in the Hebrew Scriptures. Often, the Old Testament writers communicated truth by repeating two views of the same thought. We see this especially in the wisdom and prophetic books. An example would be: "With the fruit of a man's mouth his stomach will be satisfied; He will be satisfied with the product of his lips" (Prov. 18:20). The same concept is presented in two affirming ways. Another example is, "I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old" (Ps. 78:2). Truth is conveyed utilizing a poetic rhythm that is not only beautiful, but a way to unite two corresponding thoughts into one idiom.

The House of Glory

By Francis Frangipane

When Glory Filled the Temple
The dedication of Solomon's temple offers us a picture of what God is seeking in the church. The temple was built, and in great pageantry and celebration, it was consecrated to the Lord. Solomon offered a sacrifice of 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep. Then, immediately after the king prayed, for the first time in over 400 years, the glory of God was manifested in full view of the people. We read, "Fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the house" (2 Chron. 7:1).

If the Lord would honor the dedication of the physical temple with a visible manifestation of His glory, how much more does He seek to reveal His glorious presence in His living temple, the church?

But there were prerequisites that occurred prior to this appearance of the Lord. First, it was not until Solomon's temple was actually built, with all its separate aspects connected together and covered in gold, that the glory of the Lord appeared.

The Credibility Factor

By Francis Frangipane

I appreciate and defend the origins of our many denominations. Most were born as godly men fought against the sin and spiritual apostasy of their times. Their heroic stand preserved (or in some cases, restored) the truth of God in an otherwise dark world. From my heart, I thank God for our denominational heritage.

Today, however, the need to remain divided from other evangelical congregations is unjustified. We can remain unique churches with unique callings and a unique spiritual heritage, yet we can be united spiritually, and even functionally, with other congregations in our communities.

Knowing Christ has called for unity in His church, many leaders today are re-examining the legitimacy of division in the church. Today's heroes are not isolating themselves from other churches; rather, they are working with others to repair the breaches, seeking to build the citywide church on the foundation of Christ alone.