Discerning the Truth

Before we go to work, let’s cover some basic background facts.

The Internet is actually not the best place to get information, although it is certainly the easiest. Boot up, go online and search for a particular person, place or thing and a variety of web sites with assorted opinions will pop up; sometimes millions of responses will emerge! How do you sort through this glut of information, especially when there are no "truth police" and anyone can post just about anything they want about another person or issue?

First, let us realize what we are working with: The Internet is the technological equivalent of the American west in the 1800s. So, when you think of the Internet, think "Welcome to the "wild west." Although the frontier offered opportunities for wealth, adventure and freedom, yet "wild" or untamed was a true description. These days were filled with much lawlessness and injustice; law and order were in a primitive stage of development. So the Internet offers many opportunities, but it, too, accommodates a lot of deceitful and bias articles. Indeed, as we all know, there are predators who use the Internet to steal your money, defame your reputation, kidnap your identity and worse, in certain circumstances, even take your life.

So, it is important that we follow basic rules of discernment. To keep this simple, let us consider Paul’s words. Although he was speaking of true and false prophecies in the Christian community, his wisdom will help us as we seek to discern truth from error on the web. Paul wrote, "examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good" (1 Thess 5:20-21).

So, rule number one: examine everything carefully. Don’t assume just because a person has a web site, that the individual actually is a true authority on a particular subject, especially concerning spiritual matters. The fact is, while there are people with integrity who serve Christ as discernment ministries and apologists, there are also people who are just venting their bitterness about something that happened in a former church or movement. Their "discernment" is more a reaction to a bad situation than a careful and honest analysis of the truth presented by a particular ministry or church.

In examining everything carefully, here is a checklist with some things to consider:

1. Does the critical website ever mention anything good that comes from the ministry of which they are critical? There are attack sites that have targeted Billy Graham, for instance, that never mention all the people he has led to the Lord. They are silent about the fact that he would only work with churches that worked together in an area. Or that when he traveled, he stayed in hotels with adjoining rooms so that he was always accountable. Were there things someone could find wrong with Billy Graham. Of course. Who on earth does not have something wrong or statements they regret? But to publish only the shortcomings is an "unjust balance," which is an "abomination to the Lord" (Prov.)

2. Is the goal of the critical site to inform you of truth or to destroy the character or ministry of another Christian? John wrote that "grace and truth" are realized in Jesus Christ. So is there grace for the person or only anger? Again, let's be honest: not everything that everyone teaches is without flaw. It's important to look at the preponderance of things a person has written on a subject to get a true view. If someone just takes something out of context, that is unfair. We need to discern the truth through a lens of grace.

3. Have they made any attempt to actually contact the ministry they are accusing? Sometimes what seems like a heresy is really just hearsay. It’s easy to make a proofreading mistake and easier still to say something while preaching that could cause misunderstandings. So has the critic actually contacted the ministry directly and received clarity about something they read or heard?

4. Do they urge prayer for the ministry or have they simply condemned the individual? True discernment is not merely an analysis of doctrinal facts, but it comes from hearing Christ heart in the presentation. When Jesus rebuked the seven churches in Rev. 2-3, He first praised them for the good they were doing; then He spoke to them of what they needed to change (two were blameless though); and then He offered a promise and a reward for those who overcame their unique battle. So, does the critical ministry express hope that the accused ministry might turn from sin or heresy and find a new beginning in Christ?


This is a short introduction to a large issue. Let me say that there are a lot of things that I see wrong with churches, leaders, denominations, and Christians in general. But there are also things wrong with me. I approach life with vision, but also with practicality: I need grace. So, to receive grace for my imperfections, I am committed to people in their imperfections. I try and follow the golden rule, to be committed to people no matter where they are coming from. I am pledged to God to help Christians find Jesus in the midst of a lot of "churchiness." I am not asking people to be blind, but to be committed to the goal of redemption.

There are many things we could add to our opening conversation, but I do not want to take too much of your time. Hopefully, our answers to your questions will help clear any questions you had about my life and ministry.

Love Me Where You're At

This message was first published several years ago. However, we have had a large number of new subscribers since then. Considering the times, we thought its message would be a blessing to our newer readers. It is from Pastor Frangipane's newest book, "And I Will Be Found By You."

Love Me Where You're At
By Francis Frangipane

I have discovered that, as we seek the Lord, our most difficult periods can be transformed into wonderful breakthroughs into God's love. For me, one such season occurred during the years 1979 to1981. The association of churches with which I was aligned had fallen under spiritual deception. Not only were its core doctrines increasingly seeded with New Age influences, but immorality crept in, and key leaders began leaving their wives for other women. I could no longer remain silent. As a result, in 1979 I left my congregation in Detroit, Michigan, where I had served as pastor, and traveled to the organization's regional headquarters in Iowa. I came to plead for repentance. However, after meeting with the senior leaders, I was asked to leave the group.

So here we were – we had left our church, we had no money, and we had four little children; we couldn't even afford basic housing. Desperate for anything, we finally found an old farmhouse in rural Washington, Iowa. The home was over a hundred years old, but it actually looked much older. After negotiating with the landlord, we were given a year of free rent provided I did basic repairs to the house, such as cleaning and painting.

Even so, the house needed more than I could provide. The furnace did not work well, so we installed a wood burner stove in the kitchen. That first winter, it turned out, was one of the coldest in Iowa's history. Frost formed on the inside walls, spreading a foot or two around each window; wind chills dropped to 60 below, and even colder on several occasions.

To keep warm each night, the whole family cuddled tightly on one large mattress on the dining room floor, about 18 feet from the wood burner in the kitchen. A fan behind the stove nudged warm air in our direction. My nightly project, of course, was to build enough heat in the stove to keep us warm until morning.

While I worked the fire, I also would pray and seek God. The wood burner became a kind of altar to me, for each night as I prayed, I offered to God my unfulfilled dreams and the pain of my spiritual isolation. Yes, I knew the Lord was aware of our situation. Though we had virtually nothing, He showed Himself to us in dozens of little ways. I just didn't know what He wanted of me.

As the seasons came and went, another child was born, and then we fostered a young girl from Vietnam, giving us six children. Still, as the family grew, the little area around the wood burner became a hallowed place to me. Even in the summer, I would sit on the chair next to the stove and pray and worship.

I would like to say I found the joy of the Lord during this time, but in truth, though I gradually adjusted to my situation, I felt an abiding misery in my soul. Our deep poverty was an issue (I barely made $6,000 a year), but more than that, I felt like I had missed the Lord. My continual prayer was, "Lord, what do You want of me?"

Three years of seeking God passed, and I still carried an emptiness inside. What was God's will for me? I had started a couple Bible studies and spoken a few times in churches, but I so identified with being a pastor that, until I was engaged again in full-time ministry, I feared I had lost touch with God's call on my life.

In spite of this inner emptiness concerning ministry, I actually was growing spiritually, especially in areas that were previously untilled. I went through the Gospels, hungry to study and obey the words of Christ. Previously, I had unconsciously defined a successful ministry as something born of my performance. During this time, however, the Lord reduced me to simply being a disciple of Jesus Christ.

Indeed, a number of things I thought were biblical I discovered were really just religious traditions. The Lord desired that I take inventory of my heart and examine those few truths for which I would be willing to die. He said the truths for which I would die, for these I should live.

Frankly, things like the timing of the rapture or nuances about worship style or spiritual gifts dropped in their priority, though I still considered them important. Rising to the top of my focus was a passion to be a true follower of Jesus Christ – to obey His teachings and approach life not merely as a critic but more as an encourager. I also found myself increasingly free to enjoy and learn from Christians from other streams and perspectives.

Yet, these changes, though deep and lasting, occurred slowly, almost imperceptibly. They were happening quietly in my heart, and only in hindsight did I see what the Lord had done. Throughout this time, I was preoccupied with feelings of detachment from God's will. My prayer to know the Lord's plan for me continued daily.

The Breakthrough
One day, as I stood in the kitchen pantry, I repeated again my abiding prayer: "Lord, what do You want of me?" In a sudden flash of illumination, the Lord answered. Speaking directly to my heart, He said, "Love Me where you're at."

In this time and season, remember, I was not a pastor or minister. I was a television repairman doing odd jobs on the side to provide for my family. I hated what I was doing. In my previous church I taught against TV and now I was "laying hands" on television sets and raising them from the dead! The Lord's answer cut straight to my heart. I was awed at its simplicity! I asked, "Love You where I am at? Lord, is that all You want of me?" To this He responded, "This is all I will ever require of you."

In that eternal moment peace flooded my soul and I was released from the false expectation of ministry-driven service. God was not looking at what I did for Him, but who I became to Him in love. The issue in His heart was not whether I pastored, but whether I loved Him. To love the Lord in whatever station I found myself – even as a television repairman – this I could do!

A deep and remarkable transformation occurred in me. My identity was no longer in being a pastor but rather in becoming a true lover of God. Having settled my priorities, amazingly, just a couple days later I was invited to pastor a church in Marion, Iowa. In spite of all my previous anxiety about returning to ministry, I did not jump at the opportunity. For I had found what the Lord truly desired of me. Though I eventually accepted this call, my focus was not merely on leading a church but on loving God.

What God Seeks
More than one's ministry, God seeks our love. His great commandment is that we love Him, ultimately, with all our mind, all our heart, and all our soul and strength. If we love Him, we will fulfill all He requires of us (John 14:15). And it is as we love Him that He orchestrates all things to work together for our good (Rom. 8:28).

Beloved, loving God is not hard. We can fulfill any assignment – auto mechanic or housewife, doctor or college student – and still give great pleasure to our heavenly Father. We do not need ministry titles to love the Lord. Indeed, God measures the value of our lives by the depth of our love. This is what He requires of every true God-seeker: to love Him where we are at.

Lord Jesus, the revelation of Your love has swept me off my feet. Lord, You have drawn me and I run after You. Master, even in the mundane things of life, I shall express my love for You. Consume me in Your love.


This message was adapted from a chapter in Pastor Frangipane's newest book, And I Will Be Found By You published by Arrow Publications. Available at www.arrowbookstore.com

You Give Them Something to Eat

"Consequently, King Agrippa, I did not prove disobedient to the heavenly vision." ---Acts 26:19

What I have come to believe concerning the Lord's glory and its manifestation in the church is supported by many Scriptures. Yet, it was through a night vision in 1971 that God granted me insight into His plan. In this spiritual encounter, I saw a great metropolis languishing under the weight of a deep and terrible darkness. Chiseled upon the faces of those in this wretched society was the image of hopelessness. The place was desolate of real life and the time for a recovery seemed long past.

I was with a group outside the city. We were not part of the darkness, but had been "baptized" in a glorious and powerful light. During the vision, I actually experienced the power of this light surging up from my innermost being. It coursed out through our hands like streams of laser light; a visible splendor shone from our bodies, especially our faces.

Suddenly, out from the city the great multitude began to grope their way toward us -- thousands of people. Soon all were calling on the name of the Lord. As we laid our hands upon them and prayed for them, they also received the light.

The vision passed, and though I continued to lie in bed, I did not return to sleep. As dawn broke, I opened to the book of Isaiah. As a new Christian, this was the first time I was reading through the Bible. I turned the page from the previous day's reading and there, for the first time, I read Isaiah 60. The words bolted into my mind like lightning, then shook my insides like thunder.

Arise, shine; for your light has come,
And the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
For behold, darkness will cover the earth,
And deep darkness the peoples;
But the Lord will rise upon you,
And His glory will appear upon you.
And nations will come to your light,
And kings to the brightness of your rising.
---Isaiah 60:1-3

It says, "darkness will cover the earth." This was exactly what I saw in the vision! It proclaimed, "the Lord will rise upon you, and His glory will appear upon you," precisely describing what I had seen in the vision! It was as though I had actually stepped into the future and experienced a fulfillment of this prophecy. The Holy Spirit and the Word, working in divine symmetry, revealed that the glory of the Lord would be manifested in His people at the end of the age, and that "nations," currently languishing in darkness, would come to Christ!

Today many people are excited about the harvest. However, in the early seventies and through the eighties the idea of "multitudes coming to Christ" was not a common expectation. With the threat of nuclear war ever present, most Christians were not thinking, praying, or acting like revival was coming. What most expected was a nuclear war with the USSR and either the rapture of the church or the beginning of the great tribulation.

It was against this backdrop of fear and unbelief that the Lord spoke to me of the harvest. Today several hundred thousand souls each week come to Christ worldwide. Still, even this is small compared to what God is going to do in the days ahead.

As important as the harvest is, however, the primary focus of the vision was not winning the lost; it was on the ascendancy of Christ's presence in the church. The Father's priority is that the Lord Jesus be lifted up: The coming great harvest will be the result of Christ's presence! It will not be our programs or methods that bring this harvest into God's barns; it will be the glory of the Lord.

A Third Witness
The vision released within me lofty expectations for the future, while the text in Isaiah grounded my feet on the firm path of God's eternal Word. Still, the Lord was not done with me, and one more witness was about to come. After I read Isaiah, my next reading in my daily progression took me to Matthew, chapter 14. As I read, I paused after verse 15, which reads, "The disciples came to Him, saying, ‘The place is desolate, and the time is already past; so send the multitudes away.'"

This Scripture recalls the time when Jesus miraculously fed the multitudes. As I read, I noticed similarities between the vision of the multitudes in darkness and this scene from the Gospels. Both depicted a place of desolation and both communicated the sense that the situation was beyond remedy. Yet in spite of the apparent hopelessness of each, multitudes were ministered to in both.

Of course, there was no theological connection between the two texts; not even the most imaginative Christian would ever reference Matthew 14:13-21 with Isaiah 60:1-3. Yet, the Lord was speaking something that would personally affect me for the rest of my life. In response to the disciples urging Jesus to send the multitudes away, He answered,

"They do not need to go away; you give them something to eat!"
And they said to Him, "We have here only five loaves and two fish."
And He said, "Bring them here to Me."

The result was that "He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward Heaven, He blessed the food, and breaking the loaves He gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave to the multitudes" (Matt. 14:16-19).

Jesus had taken bread, blessed it, and then broken it. Again, I paused. This time it was because of a peculiarity concerning my last name: in Italian, Frangipane actually means "to break bread." Was the Lord using the meaning of my name to connect the feeding of the multitudes with the the conversion of the city in the vision?

Later that morning, I related the vision and the Lord's promise from Isaiah to my wife, Denise. I then told her about the feeding of the five thousand. I mentioned how I felt, that during the time of the end, when the world would seem utterly desolate and lost, the Lord would use us like He used the loaves to feed the multitudes. Then, in an effort to truly amaze her, for the first time in our young married life I explained that our last name, Frangipane, actually meant "to break bread." It was at that point my wife told me the meaning of her maiden name, Piscitelli. Incredibly, her name meant "little fishes."

Little Is Much With Jesus
Long before God had called Noah, Abraham, Moses, and many others in the Bible, He had affirmed the foreknowledge of His eternal purpose in the meaning of their names. For us, He did likewise: He revealed the DNA of our destiny in the meaning of our names!

Between the vision, the text in Isaiah, and the meaning of our names, I am convinced that a period of great glory and harvest awaits the church. Through the account of Christ's feeding the multitudes, the Lord also warned us to expect people without a similar vision to try to dampen our spirits. In this regard, you may have read criticism of this ministry on the Internet. Every critic is angry about one primary doctrine: the teaching I present that there is one last great outpouring coming before the church is raptured. I love it that I am persecuted because of a vision from God! Hallelujah! The fact is, while the critics seek to distort and slander, the vision of God and the great harvest is continuing in nations around the world.

Thus, when Christians complain the harvest "is already past," or that society has become too "desolate," it would be an error for any of us, either by our words, doctrines or actions, to ask to "send the multitudes away." The Lord has made it plain: it will not be too late or desolate for Him.

The Lord has proven many times that, as Christians, we do not need to stockpile resources before we attempt the "impossible." As long as we remain "blessed and broken" in the hands of the Master, our few loaves and fish are enough. What we have learned is that Jesus does not need a lot to work His miracles; He just requires we give Him all we have.

Scripture Cannot Be Broken
To my wife and me, the prophetic meanings attached to our last names tell us that the purposes of God are preordained. However, for all that these things mean to us personally, it is upon the Scriptures that faith must rest. Dreams, visions, and supernatural "coincidences" are still subjective experiences which must be confirmed and established by the written Word of God. We rest upon God's Word because Jesus said, "Scripture cannot be broken" (John 10:35).

Thus, the Lord assures us that His Word ". . . shall not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it" (Isa. 55:11). Regardless of the current spiritual condition of Christianity, every promise God has made concerning His glory in the church, His purpose with Israel, and the harvest at the end of the age -- every word will have its day of fulfillment! With the Almighty, it is never a matter of if His word will come to pass but when and with whom.

Yes, the hour is late; true, our cities are desolate. Yet Jesus still speaks powerfully to my spirit. As little qualified as we may be, if we truly give our all to Christ, He will bless us and break us, and then fill us with glory to reach multitudes. Indeed, what He said to His disciples, He says to all: The multitudes do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.

 The preceding message is adapted from a chapter in Francis' book, The Days of His Presence available as a book or eBook.

For ordering information, please visit the Arrow Publications Inc. at www.arrowbookstore.com.