As I mentioned last week I’m reading Jeff Doles’ Miracles and Manifestations of the Holy Spirit in the History of the Church, and it’s amazing to see what God has been doing continously in His church throughout world history. The book is basically only made up by quotes from older works, and it gives clear proof that cessationism – the idea that miraculous spiritual gifts ceased with the apostles – hardly existed before Luther and Calvin. For example, take a look at what Irenaeus of Lyon, the second century bishop who was a disciple to Polycarp – who in turn was a disciple of John the evangelist – says concering miraculous gifts when he refuted the Gnostics in his famous work Against Heresies:
“Those who are in truth His disciples, receiving grace from Him, do in His name perform [miracles], so as to promote the welfare of other men, according to the gift which each one has received from Him. For some do certainly and truly drive out devils, so that those who have thus been cleansed from evil spirits frequently both believe [in Christ], and join themselves to the Church. Others have foreknowledge of things to come: they see visions, and utter prophetic expressions. Others still, heal the sick by laying their hands upon them, and they are made whole.
Yea, moreover, as I have said, the dead even have been raised up, and remained among us for many years. And what shall I more say? It is not possible to name the number of the gifts which the Church, [scattered] throughout the whole world, has received from God, in the name of Jesus Christ, who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and which she exerts day by day for the benefit of the Gentiles, neither practising deception upon any, nor taking any reward from them* [on account of such miraculous interpositions]. For as she has received freely from God, freely also does she minister [to others]**. (Against Heresies, book 2, chapter 32, section 4)
Being one of the most popular books during the Jesus Movement in the 70’s, and according to Christianity Today, it’s the seventh most influential book that have shaped evangelicals. Sider goes against the commonly held view that it’s absolutely fine for Christians to be rich while thousands of people are starving to death, using Bible study, statistics on economic inequality and examples of radical Christian groups that have taken the economic teachings of Jesus seriously. Sider’s ideas are very similar to those I express in my series God vs Wealth, but to this point I have actually never read him – I got my ideas directly from the Bible.
“I was really floored by this book. The author first presents some startling and informative statistics on world hunger and poverty, where we have been and what is projected. Then he talks about God’s intense love for the poor, and that if we want to “be imitators of God” we must as Christians learn to share in that love. I left this book really wanting to do more to make a difference… even with specific ideas how! The best thing about this book was also the worst thing – sooo much information. Never before have a seen a pastor… talk so intelligently about ALL facets of poverty. Politics, economics, environment, sociology, religion – these topics were all included in great detail and from a Christian perspective. I have not seen anything more complete out there. That said, it was also very overwhelming (as it probably should be).”
Cristopher Alam is a Pakistani-Swedish-American evangelist who is travelling around in Africa and Asia to preach the Gospel, heal the sick and cast out demons. He prioritizes to minister to the poor, and just the other day he wrote on his Facebook page about simple lifestyle:
“Wise Words from the Apostle Paul:
Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. 1 Tim 6:5-12″
Just recently, Alam has been on a healing and Gospel campaign in Maramba, Zambia, and experienced countless miracles and salvations. Here is an excerpt of all the images and texts he published on Facebook:
Maramba, Livingstone, ZAMBIA. Our Gospel Crusade here began tonight. A large crowd came out to hear the Gospel preached. Thousands responded to the altar call to receive Jesus and then many were healed….. A girl who was deaf since she was a baby received perfect hearing. Another girl who had badly blurred vision was received perfect sight. Others were healed in their legs ad different parts of their bodies. Demon possessed people were set free.
All Glory to our Lord Jesus! This was our first night. Let us join together in faith for great things from God during the rest of this week! Continue reading →
There are three things that basically all Christian youths I know of here in Sweden are aware of: Hillsong music, Shane Claiborne’s books, and Darren Wilson’s F-movie trilogy: Finger of God, Furious Love and Father of Lights. These charismatic documentaries are extremely popular among the kids I hang around with, I have seen them all and love them. Finger of God focused on amazing miracles like manna appearing from thin air and dead people being raised, Furious Love focused on exorcism and bringing the love of God to the darkest places, and Father of Lights focused on the heart and nature of the heavenly Father and how His supernatural actions bring people to faith in Him. Two days ago, Darren Wilson released a new documentary in the same style and format: Holy Ghost.
The concept is simple: no script, no plans, just going wherever the Spirit leads. Wilson and his team travels to the Mormons in Salt Lake City, the Hindus in Varenasi and the wealthy in Monte Carlo to see what the Holy Spirit will do. Without spoiling too much, I can reveal that you will witness some really crazy stuff – countless salvations, healings and prophetic foretellings. One of my favourite moments was when two street healing evangelists recieved tons of words of knowledge about a guy in Salt Lake City – sharp, specific bits of information concerning his problems – and he got healed from a ten-year-old injury as well!
The film discusses the nature, character and role of the Holy Spirit, cessationism and the Western split between the Word and the Spirit (which from a Swedish perspective is quite unusual, here the split is rather between Christians who believe in both the Word and the Spirit and Christians who believe in neither), and how Christian culture and art must be less cowardly and dare to be real and wild. One of the most memorable parts of the film is when the documentary crew follows Head and Fieldy from the metal band Korn together with street healing evangelist Todd White, as they pray for people who are entering the Korn concert.
A few months ago me and my friends Andreas and Sandra were invited to a local music festival to sing a few songs about the Jesus Revolution. TESTIMONIES was the first song we sang, and it’s the first one in our – God-willing – coming album. You can listen to and download it on Soundcloud.
Now here’s some testimonies that will fill you all with awe
‘Cause nothing is impossible for the almighty God
The testimonies are a sign of His amazing grace
Let’s turn to Mr Hip-hopper and listen to what he says.
There’s no wonder-worker like Jesus Christ
He gave sight to the blind and turned water to wine
Five breads were sufficient for five thousand guys
When He was crucified, He just went alive
He taught His disciples to do the same
To cast out demons and heal the lame
To prophesy, speak in tongues and life proclaim
They could even raise the dead in His holy Name
The dynamic living witness of the power of the Holy Spirit
Gotta love em keep em spread them on
I couldn’t help but notice that when I had written about my friend Simon Adahl and all the miracles he is experiencing, and the post was share within the MennoNerds network that I am a part of, a brother who has studied theology and is a part of a Mennonite church asked why MennoNerds was sharing stuff like that (“reading it is a waste of time”). I understand that people who have not met Simon or others who experience the power of the Holy Spirit can have a hard time trusting them, but to me it’s very strange for a Christian to think it’s waste of time to read testimonies about miracles. After all, that’s basically what the four gospels are all about.
I won’t speculate in how this individual was thinking, but generally a lot of Christians are impacted by the naturalist worldview that has been quite dominating in Western society for the last two hundred years. Even though it is clearly non-Christian in its reasoning, it has impacted especially academic theology but also “liberal” churches that do not have much charismatic, Spirit-filled life. The consequences is a type of Christianity that is extremely different from the original, biblical Christianity.
In May this year, I had to privilege of holding a lecture at a Christian student organization in my home town of Uppsala, Sweden. I spoke about the supernatural worldview that has been dominating most cultures throughout world history and that most people still believe in today, but that has been challanged in recent years, especially in the Western world, by naturalism. Naturalism is, according to Oxford English Dictionary, “the idea or belief that only laws of nature (physical law) (as opposed to supernatural or spiritual) and forces operate in the world; the idea or belief that nothing exists beyond the natural world.”
A few days ago I attended a meeting with Simon Adahl, a musician and evangelist that has experienced many miracles. I have already written about how he was saved after his atheist wife saw the apostle Matthew, and how he and his friend Orjan prophesied in a Californian bar and told people stuff about them that they heard from God, which resulted in that four people received Jesus. Let me share with you some other cool things that they have experienced.
Simon loves missions, and when he attends the big Pentecostal conferences here in Sweden he is usually not on the platforms bragging about all the cool miracles he experiences, instead he is sitting in a booth marketing IBRA, a Swedish media missions organization, or Dagen, the biggest Christian newspaper. But of course, the Holy Spirit is active even when you’re not on a platform (thank God). This summer, a lady came to Simon and said that she had been healed from asthma.
“That’s great!” Simon said. “When did that happen?” “Two years ago, in the chair over there”, the lady responded and pointed inside Simon’s booth. This lady had been suffering from severe asthma since she was a little child, and had been using inhalers every night. She said that since the moment she was prayed for in the booth, all asthma disappeared and she hadn’t had a need for inhalers for two years.
Orjan was also at the meeting and he told us about how he and his wife went with Simon and his wife together with some friends from church on a holiday on a ferry to Finland. They were dancing at a club and when they sat down to have something to eat, they sat right by a man they hadn’t met before, who introduced himself as Peter. Orjan felt the Spirit of the Lord coming upon him and he told Peter “Right now, God is renewing your life!” And he commanded him to prophesy over them.
Two friends of mine here in Sweden have studied a year at SOS Mission Bible School, and a few days ago my Facebook feed was filled with testimonies about miracles thay had seen in Mbeya, southwest Tanzania, where they had done a missions trip. Mission SOS have put several videos from this event on their Vimeo, and I would like to share these amazing testimonies with you:
Then comes the report from the first night of the campaign, where many were healed and saved. A young girl shares how she prayed for another girl who was totally deaf, and she starts to weep of joy when she explains how she was healed! Continue reading →
My post about creative miracleshas been very popular, mainly because it’s one of the top pages on Google when you search for “creative miracles”. A creative miracle is simply a miracle when God creates something, for example a missing bodypart. In the post, I shared Marc Dupont’s testimony about a creative miracle he saw in the 80’s:
A woman brought her young son, who had a clubfoot, to me for prayer at the end of a meeting. In fact, it was the last of four nightly meetings held while I was visiting a church in the mid-west of the United States. After four nights of extensive ministry I was very tired. So when she showed me his foot with the obvious deformity, my tiredness took over and I felt no faith whatsoever to pray for this five- or six-year-old boy.
As she explained that he could walk OK, but had never been able to run successfully in his life, my heart went out to him, but I still felt my tiredness upon me. To step into a faith mode and believe for the impossible seemed even more impossible at that point in time.
However, as I knelt down and began to pray for his foot, almost immediately right in front of my eyes it began to change shape. What had, more or less, appeared as a block of wood covered by skin began to change into a normal foot with toes, an arch etc, all in normal size and shape. It had taken place so quickly that I was a bit dizzy. I wasn’t sure whether I was actually seeing a miracle happen, or was imagining it. It took all about five seconds for the transition to take place.
Iris Global is the best missionary organization I know of – they combine evangelism, poverty reduction and the power of the Holy Spirit, all soaked in worship and passion for Jesus. Last weekend they did an outreach in the “bush bush” (i.e. very rural place) of Mozambique to share the love of God – and it was truly a success. I follow Heidi Baker, the leader of Iris, closely on Facebook and found that she posted these amazing pictures:
“Pointing out scripture to a village chief and his mother. They both came to Jesus that day…..”
“Baptizing people in the ocean this afternoon near a remote village that never had a gospel witness before today…”
I love to read reports about evangelistic campaigns in Africa, Asia and Latin America, and just two weeks ago my Facebook feed was filled with testimonies from my Facebook friend Tommy Lilja who organized a campaign in Kitwe, Zambia. Many were saved, healed and baptized with the Holy Spirit. Here is what he reported (translated from Swedish):
Resting after having eaten some french fries. A good first night. A little bit chilly. Many healings. A man around 25 years old had been blind since he was 10, he was healed, another young man shared how his ear “popped” when it opened and he received his hearing again.
Thousands came to receive Jesus. So many were baptized in the Holy Ghost, a real breakthrough. It was a life-changing meeting. Many came broken, sick and without hope. But they went home with Jesus and hope for a bright future. Jesus, the Prince of Peace, was there and the Pentecostal revival is spreading across the world.
“At the cross the work was finished
You were buried in the ground
But the grave could not contain You
For You wear the Victor’s crown”Continue reading →
I was perplexed when I read the Gospel of Matthew for the first time and saw that Peter walked on water. I could not have imagined that in my wildest dreams. In all the children’s bibles and pop culture references I’ve read and heard, Jesus was portraid as the superhero who could even walk on water. But in reality, Peter also did this miracle, without being very super:
Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” – Matthew 14:25-33, NIV
Now, Peter shows some amazing faith and courage here! I mean, I would have been fully satisfied with Jesus’ answer “It is I. Don’t be afraid” and said “Awesome, welcome into our boat.” Instead, Peter loves Jesus so much that he wants to join him on the stormy ways, as long as he knows that it truly is Him. Continue reading →
Yesterday, on Pentecost day, I had the honour to preach in my dear house church Mosaik. We’re always outside in the park during the summer, and this Sunday we had som English speaking visitors – so for the first time in a year I preached in English. And since a friend of mine recorded it all, it’s now available for you guys!
I started with talking about the Pentecostal language miracle, when one is able to speak existing languages that one hasn’t studies, and gave some testimonies about when this has happened in modern times. This was also what my last blog post was about. Then, I talked about how Peter, in his Pentecostal sermon in Acts chapter 2, really emphasises miracles when he talks about Jesus. He presents the Messiah by saying “Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know” (Acts 2:22). Then he goes on with “God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. (vv. 32-33). Thus, Peter proves that Jesus is the Messiah by pointing at His miraculous ministry, His resurrection and the miracles His Spirit does.
The people “were cut to the heart” (v. 37) when they heard this and asked Peter what they should do, and he answered “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (v. 38). 3000 people did so, and suddenly the apostolic league of disciples had become a mega church – but not in the modern sense, since they lacked a church building. They were a charismatic, evangelistic house church movement that spread rapidly, as Luke famously portrays:
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. (Acts 2:42-47)
Happy Pentecost! This weekend, millions of Christians all across the globe are celebrating the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the apostolic church. Pentecost has always been very important for me, I started this blog on Pentecost day 2012, writing about the meaning of Pentecost. This is because the apostolic Pentecost as it is described in Acts 2 combines everything I like: charismatic fire, economic communism, universal evangelism and overall simplicity, fellowship and joy.
It all started when the wonderful Holy Spirit descended with fire and the international gift of tongues:
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? (Acts 2:1-8, NIV)
In my experience, this is quite a common miracle. When the early Pentecostals met at the Azusa Street revival in Los Angeles to enjoy the restoration of spiritual baptism, many claimed that people actually started to speak real languages. In the October issue 1906 of The Apostolic Faith, the official publication of the Azusa Street church, the following article is included:
Sister Hutchins has been preaching the Gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit. She has received the baptism with the Holy Ghost and the gift of the Uganda language, the language of the people to whom she is sent. A brother who has been in that country understands and has interpreted the language she speaks. Her husband is with her and her niece, who also has been given the African language.
I have a facebook friend called Niklas Frihaven who’s really on fire for Jesus. He has a facebook page called Gang of God where he regularly posts testimonies about healing and salvation from wherever God calls him to be. This is genuine, homemade excitement about the Holy Ghost, and I’d love to share some of what he has posted:
Niklas with the healed girl
Wonders and Miracles in India
Much happened during our two weeks in India, want to share some testimonies .
An old woman had such pain that her back, she looked like a fishhook , during prayer , she became straighter and straighter , not completely straight but still free from pain and about 10 cm longer , Thank you Jesus!
Another woman had a large painful outgrowth like a tumor on the left hip , after the first pray the pain was gone, after the second prayer while we were talking to her the outgrowth disappeared right before my eyes, Halleluja!!!
I am so thankful to God that I get to experience all this , totally me and Dina got to be there when some 550 people were completely free of pain , disease , disability and psychological distress .
The girl in the picture was a bit special miracle , her mother brought her to the church, she was mute and deaf since birth , we prayed for her , and immediately she began to hear and then she started to say her first words ever , was so beautiful to see her happiness when she said her first word, JESUS!