I was recently asked about my early days.
A younger pastor was looking for the secret to my long life of ministry and the peculiar anointings I have enjoyed.
That prompted me to reflect on sixty years of ministry, as a Pentecostal pastor, a Charismatic leader, a sought after speaker, an internationally recognised prophetic voice and more recently a chaplain and teacher at Oral Roberts University.
Yes, it is true that God has used me in wonderful ways. And on top of all that there are dealings of God and spiritual challenges I have had to face that were outside the public view. And in it all God has been faithful and God has given me amazing opportunities beyond my expectation.
So, what is the secret to all of that? How did an insecure, lanky Aussie lad end up on the global stage? How did I, with all my limitations, get to speak powerfully into the lives of some of the world’s best known names in Christian ministry? How is it that doors of ministry and the doors of hard to get into homes and places opened up to me?
Let me tell you, it wasn’t through education. I’m no dummy, but I never sought academic merit. My approach was much simpler than that.
And it wasn’t through mentoring. If there is one pain I carry after all these years and all the wonderful things I have been privileged to do it is that I never had anyone to train me and guide me through those difficult pioneering years. If I have a word for today’s upcoming leaders, take advantage of the abundant input that is readily available to you. Listen to the voices of those willing to speak into your life. You have no idea how precious that is and how much I longed for it through decades of my life.
It wasn’t through perfect theology. As I think back on those early sermons I preached to those small AOG congregations that us early Pentecostal preachers cared for in the first half of last century I know there are things I’d never preach again. In fact, Jesus personally visited me on at least one occasion, just to make sure I didn’t preach what I had been preaching.
And it wasn’t through my denomination. In those early days there was only one Pentecostal denomination, Assemblies of God. It was the light to my nation for all who would open to the Holy Spirit. Yet the day came when God instructed June and me to pull out of the AOG. We cried for days. We had so little to rely on, and Jesus took even that away from us.
So, what was it that made all the difference? How did God get through to a young buck who had so little to get him through?
What I had, and I had it in good measure, was Desperation!
God gripped my heart with a sense of the sheer futility of what I was trying to do, preaching a message people didn’t care for, in a land that was so needy, with so little to give and so little power to change anything. I became desperate.
I became desperate for the church. I love the church and I hurt for those believers who so needed the power of God and so needed the touch of God, but who seemed to come up empty so often.
I longed to see the power of God. I longed to see the church grow. I longed to see a smile on the face of Jesus as His bride was made ready for Him.
But all I had in those early days were the simple messages we had been taught, and a handful of people, standing up for a truth the mainstream churches rejected, and having to go alone in just about everything we did.
Then Jesus heard my cry.
I can’t say that everything changed overnight. It didn’t. Many changes took years to take shape. And many of the changes came at a price.
I mentioned having to give up the AOG. How bitter the pain of that breach! I knew it was God’s leading, but I could not understand it. I had to die to my own understanding and be humble and simple enough to do what He wanted, when it tore me apart.
Yet in just a few short years I ended up pastoring a Congregational church, and was in the perfect position to make a major deposit into the emerging Charismatic revival of the 1960’s. How wise God is! The Charismatics rejected the Pentecostals but they looked to me for input, because of my Congregational label.
Unexpectedly I found myself invited to places I had never dreamed of, including monasteries, speaking powerfully into the lives of Catholic priests, nuns, mothers superior and hungry souls from all manner of churches. What a privilege! What a wonder!
But the desperation did not lift even with all of that. Instead it has remained with me.
A life verse for me is found in Jeremiah 29:12: “Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.”
That verse was my call to prayer. I am recognised by some as a man of prayer, but I don’t try to be. I simply respond to the desperation to know God and to see His hand at work. He has called me to call on Him. He has promised me that when I call out to Him He hears. Hallelujah!
And He has listened! He heard the longing of a long-legged preacher from the backside of Australia and He opened the world to me.
And let me assure you that the dealings of God are far from over in my life. Just in this past week God gave me powerful revelation about significant spiritual things in my life. That’s what He often does before opening up amazing new doors for me.
Before I was invited to be on staff at ORU God did a deep work in my heart. When Richard Roberts called me personally and urged me to be part of what God is doing there I was already prepared by the dealings of God.
God hasn’t finished with me yet and I’m keen to keep flowing with His will, because the church isn’t ready yet. There are needs to be met. There are churches to plant and lives to see transformed.
I am privileged to be part of God’s work in this past century. And I am pleased to be able to say that I am totally unqualified for all that God did in and through me. It is HIM! And I say that with delight, knowing there is a whole army of men and women waiting to serve the Lord who need to know that if God can use me so wonderfully as He has, then God can use them too.
Let me be Frank with you (excuse the pun), but I don’t have a lot of time for today’s church programs. I miss the Bible songs and I don’t like lightweight messages. I urge you not to be a product of your generation, but to be desperate for more. Be desperate for more of God, more revelation, more miracles, more power, more of God’s Kingdom on earth.
I can’t tell you that it will lead to an easy road. It certainly didn’t for June and me. But I wouldn’t exchange the past sixty years for anything. And I am in anticipation about what God is yet to do through me before my use-by date comes up.
Be Desperate for God. He’s watching your heart right now to see if you’ll be desperate for Him.
Dr Frank has permitted me to post this article for him.
For those who do not yet know this wonderful man of God he is based in Perth, Western Australia, where he has spent most of his ministry life.
Frank not only pastored AOG churches and became a significant Charismatic leader in the past century, but in recent years he was based at ORU in the USA, where he was a profound and prophetic voice into the lives of significant Christian ministries. Much of what he was privileged to input is not for public knowledge, but suffice it to say that Dr Frank has had significant impact in those lives.
I hope to present further contributions by Dr Frank if and when they become available.
Dr Frank authored several books which you may care to check out, including Breaking Eve’s Curse and Prophetic Insights into Spiritual Warfare.