Francis Drake, Privateer

A privateer was a private warship authorized by his country to attack foreign shipping

God’s Tumbleweed Church.

Decades ago, the Lord gave me a vision or dream, I cannot remember which. However the pictures he gave are still vivid in my mind.

I saw two pictures of church.

In one picture, I was watching a group of children rolling a monster snowball across a school playing field. In fact the picture was lifted out of a children’s comic strip. The snowball got bigger and bigger as it rolled.

This notion had fond memories for me because I remember at my junior school in the 50s when we rolled one of these monster snowballs across the field and left it parked in the goalmouth. It stayed, blocking play, well into the spring, long after the snow melted on the field.

The problem in my vision and in the cartoon, was that those rolling it could no longer see over the top of the ball, and if anyone perhaps decided to help push in a new direction, they just got rolled up into the snowball. The picture on the cartoon strip was of a snowball with hands, legs and the odd head sticking out of it. Frozen and helpless, everyone just got consumed by the juggernaut.

This is what the church of today has become, filled with inoperative, ineffective, helpless, believers, frozen in their spiritual growth, whilst the church gets bigger, heavier, and more unwieldy. Woe betide anyone who feels a slight change of direction would be in order! Goodbye!


The next picture the Lord gave me was of tumbleweed, just as we might see in a typical western cowboy film. The tumbleweed has no worthwhile substance to it, other than its loads of seeds. When it is seed time, the wind snaps it off at the roots and it then tears across the ground throwing seed everywhere. What is left may possibly make good kindling, I have no idea.  However as a spreader of seed, it is second to none. It is so light, that every change of wind direction, the tumbleweed follows easily. Left, right, up, down, it has instant lightweight reaction to follow the wind. Tumble weed, is born on the wind, just like Jesus said we should be. Tumble weed carries no weight, no excess baggage. It exists to spread seed.

The true church of Jesus Christ would be a tumbleweed church, born on the wind.

Unfortunately the church that man has created is a juggernaut snowball which freezes the life out of the saints.

We can all make the choice of what type of believer we want to be.

We don’t need to let church dictate where the wind blows us. That choice is our responsibility and ours alone.


February 5, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. Amen! I agree with you about today’s church. My wife and I have really come up against a spirit of self-righteousness within the religious masses. I really enjoyed your blog…I will be visiting often!

    Blessings to you and yours,

    Three-Fold Cord, A Married Couples Meditations on God

    Comment by Mark | February 26, 2011

  2. Thanks Mark.
    Encouragement is always gratefully received.
    I have found many many people outside the I.C. who have a far more realistic experience of God than those I have met inside the institution.
    Indeed many of them have a far greater sensitivity to God’s voice than those who have become so perfectly attuned to their pastor’s voice or favourite TV evangelist’s voice!

    Comment by Frank | February 27, 2011

  3. I agree that the American/Western church has veered far from a biblical base of truth and light(advancing the Kingdom), into a corporate daycare model of bigger is better, more bodies equals more money, with feel-good non-offensiveness, gospel of political correctness.
    We need to remember that we are the church, we are His body, His bride. The church is not a building or Sunday meeting, like most Americans think. So, let’s be careful how we toss the word ‘church’ around, and make clear that the critiques of the church are usually, church as an establishment and/or the gospel of the Western Church. Part of advancing the Kingdom is the act of overturning tables in the market place, and I (a son of God) take part in overturning tables, advancing the Kingdom for His Church, against Americas Church. Pray for His church! Love His bride! Peace, and God Bless!

    Comment by floridawayne | April 6, 2011

  4. Hi Frank.

    I stopped by your blog from mine (after noticing that you are subscriber to mine and wondering who you were). Read a bunch of your posts. Just wanted to say you share some good stuff bro! It was an encouragement for me to read what you had to say.


    Comment by Carlos | July 22, 2011

  5. Just me again. I wanted to make sure to get notified of new posts and comments (hadn’t noticed those check marks at the bottom).

    Carry on.


    Comment by Carlos | July 22, 2011

  6. Hi Carlos
    Thanks for calling by.
    As you can see, I am not very consistent at posting, but your comments will always be welcome, and having read your blogging I know we are batting on the same side, even if out approach is different.

    Comment by francisdrakeprivateer | July 27, 2011

  7. Hi Frank,

    Hey if I may ask you…what is your approach and how does it differ from mine? If you don’t mind sharing more I would like to hear your take on this Frank.


    Comment by Carlos | July 27, 2011

  8. Hi Carlos
    LOL You have trapped me in my words.
    To answer your question, I guess the difference in our approach can be seen in a quick overview of our respective blogs. I tend to demonstrate my theology by life example, backed up by the word. You illustrate your theology direct from the Word. Both are vital.

    Comment by francisdrakeprivateer | July 28, 2011

  9. Morning Frank!


    Demonstration of theology by life example is a noble and fine thing Frank. An exemplary thing even.

    To be commended and imitated. That’s swell of you.

    I am not sure however that I feel very comfortable, spiritually speaking, with the way you added “backed up by the word” almost as an addendum to the foregoing. That uncomfortableness is not a personal discomfort of the kind that a personal preference might be but rather an uncomfortableness that recognizes a danger in an approach that adds “backed up by the word” after seemingly arriving at one’s theology beforehand, based in part on experience, and applying that theology in life before first determining what the correct theology should be by God through what is plainly written first.

    Our practice follows our theology.

    Our theology should not follow our practice or be influenced by it unless our experience gives insight to what the Word says that we would not otherwise have (in which case our theology would still be based on the Word first and foremost only enriched by our experience).

    It’s a subtle difference Frank but one that has tremendously important implications for what theology we ultimately end up with.

    I hope I am not reading far more into what you say than is warranted by…well…what you actually said :). Please correct me if I am.

    I hope that I don’t so much illustrate my theology direct from the Word as much as live out the theology that is in the Word. Illustrating theology direct from the Word without life application is nothing less than to be like the Pharasees who were big on a godliness that did not ultimately involved obedience to God but rather an intellectual assent to certain truths that did not affect their lives and make them truly godly.


    Comment by Carlos | July 28, 2011

  10. Don’t worry Carlos.
    I understand what you mean. And yes, you are reading far too much into the words of my previous comment, perhaps I didn’t make it clear.
    If you want a little more of my philosophy go to this.
    The link is a comment I put on The owner asked if she could repeat it as a post. In it I make clear that I believe that the Word of God should be taken out of the church context and proven in life. That is what this blog is about. I will probably post it here shortly.

    Comment by francisdrakeprivateer | July 28, 2011

  11. Sorry if I read too much in what you said Frank.

    I read the blog post in question that you linked to and while your testimony in it is wonderful (and something I would like to hear more of if you happen to have links to other pieces you have written along those lines) it does not really address my remaining confusion over what you previously wrote.

    Namely that there is a difference between your perspective in which you “demonstrate my theology by life example, backed up by the word.” and what you perceive of as mine which you think to be to “illustrate your theology direct from the Word”.

    I hope I am still not reading too much into things Frank. I mean I like to think that both our perspectives are the same. Namely that we ought to read the Word, take it at face value as God’s words to us, and apply it to our lives (whether in or out of the confines of our church walls).

    I guess I am not sure why you think we have different perspectives when it comes to the Word and applying what it says.

    All I was previously saying is that we ought not to let our theology follow our practice but rather that we should base our practice on our theology. It seems to me that many charismatic Christians have a tendency to alter their theology to accommodate their practice when it comes to issues like tongues and when it is appropriate to practice them when the Word so clearly says otherwise. Not saying you are that way necessarily Frank. Just saying.

    Incidentally I too have had some wonderful experiences of God. I have blogged about some of those (one such recent post is where I talk about God giving me a bath and how he touched my heart through such…if you are interested in reading it).

    I once sought such experiences above everything else. These days I focus on doing what the Word says whether or not I experience anything at all though of course, when I experience God and not just know more about Him, such is a wonderful thing indeed.

    Perhaps we are saying the same thing Frank. Only looking at things from two similar but slightly different angles. I don’t know.

    I just want us as Christians to do what the Word says so as to be able to better glorify Him within the Body. Don’t get me wrong. I want to experience God every bit as much as you may but I don’t seek the experiences. I seek to obey. The experiences come as we obey what we know I think.


    PS. Incidentally Frank did you ever get my question asking if you wouldn’t mind looking at what I have written so far about head coverings? I would appreciate your critique of what I wrote if you find a minute to briefly review it before I make it more generally known. It can be seen at

    Comment by Carlos | July 28, 2011

  12. “tumbleweed church”….I love this!

    Comment by New View From Here | April 26, 2012

  13. Love your blog! You need to go to the edit options in your gravatar and add your link to your blog here…it’s not there…so I had to guess to find you! Hugs to you brother and God bless you!

    Comment by Lyn Leahz | September 3, 2012

  14. Hi Frank! I never put together the tumbleweed and the spreading of seed – i am an ignorant NJ yankee, so i have never been educated on the efficacy of the tumbleweed.

    Just FYI We trace our family tree to Sir Francis Drake!

    Re Church – I spend a good 20 years throwing stones at the Church (the institution) but in the end it seemed like it was the church (the people) who were getting hit by the stones i was throwing. So I have thrown myself into the local body and do what i can from the inside.

    I was once called a Pastor Basher by a former Pastor of mine, and now that breaks my heart. I would much rather be a Pastor builder, and link arms to break folks out of the snow balls, sprinkle them generously with the seed of the word and set them down in the path of the wind of the Spirit.

    I love your analogy, just want to suggest we don’t try to destroy what Jesus is building – just the junk that we have built up around it.

    Thanks for the word bro.


    Comment by Ben Nelson | October 13, 2012

  15. Ben, Thanks for your thoughts.
    You call yourself an ignorant NJ Yankee, never educated in the efficacy of the tumbleweed, LOL.
    Well, being a Brit, I know even less about tumbleweed, other seeing it in typical John Wayne westerns, but that’s the wonder of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. I never created the vision, I just saw in the Spirit something that God revealed to me, and immediately understood it.

    I understand your concern ref throwing stones at the church. However the journey that God has taken me has been painful and deep, and I cannot avoid speaking the truth about what God shows me for the church.

    For years, I worked within the church, strengthening and supporting the saints. Unfortunately, those in power so often love that power far more than they love God or his people. Seeing someone else walking under an anointing that the leadership cannot control causes something unpleasant to rise up within them, and it is not long before you find that you have become the enemy, like David was for Saul. Spears get thrown, and arrows get fired, and they can be very painful.

    God made it plain several years ago that he was calling myself and my wife outside of the church system so that we could hear more clearly what he was saying to us, and that is where we are now. Joining a local church is not an option to us any more. Being outside the system is something you constantly read in the bible so it is nothing new.

    So, coming to your last sentence, about not destroying what Jesus is building. I totally agree, my heart and my life is given over to what God is truly building, the Body of Christ, the Church of the Living God. However I would like to suggest that most of what we see as church is not what Jesus is building. It is merely what man is building.

    Paul makes it clear in 1Cor3v10…….but let every man take heed how he builds upon it. ……………..v12 Now if any man builds upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, and stubble.

    The Gold, silver, and precious stones represent the true church, the actual body of Christ.
    The systematic, hierarchical, institutional, church system is what we see in the wood hay and stubble. It might seem good, but it will go up in flames at the day of reckoning. Those that build it get their glory here on earth, but will have little to present before the Lord on that day.

    So I agree with your sentiments and welcome your comments, but maybe I interpret it in a different manner.

    Comment by francisdrakeprivateer | October 14, 2012

  16. What a great vision from the Lord! I never thought of it that way! Great post!

    Comment by Reality Of Christ | October 17, 2012

  17. excellent

    Comment by Guardian | February 24, 2015

  18. Thanks Guardian. Welcome to the blog, hope you enjoy it and also look at my other postings here. I really ought to get it up to date though.
    I enjoy the discussions with you on the Christian Faith and Fellowship Forum.

    Comment by bobh2003 | March 1, 2015

  19. thanks

    Comment by Guardian | April 2, 2015

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