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Micael Grenholm - a Swedish charismactivist residing with the Jesus Army in the UK.

Micael Grenholm - a Swedish charismactivist residing with the Jesus Army in the UK.

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Worhip on the Streets

Originally published on the Jesus Youth website.

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During the last six months, a group of young people from around the UK have been gathering together to worship God on the streets and tell people about Jesus.

It all started after the Jesus Army’s main youth event, RAW, in August, 2016. Jack Brown from Northampton thought that it was amazing to see young people set ablaze for God, but that it shouldn’t just have to happen once a year. He approached some people from Coventry and talked about reaching out to others and equipping the church.

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The format has been that young people from different locations and regions gather together, head out to the street and evangelise for a couple of hours. After that, the youth go to a local Jesus Army community house for some food and fellowship. (more…)

Worship as a Revolutionary Act of Resistance

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Article written for Pentecostals & Charismatics for Peace & Justice. Visit our updated website!

The charismatic revival has not just been about signs and wonders, but about worship and music as well. Similar to previous revivals like Methodism and Salvationism, early Pentecostalism had a lot of zeal and passion in their hymns, with a renewed focus on the Holy Spirit and miracles. The African American influences and inspiration from the mission field also impacted the tone of the music so that it became more inspirational.

Things changed even more during the Western charismatic renewal of the 1960’s and 1970’s, as the Jesus movement incorporated popular, hippie tunes into their worship. This in turn impacted the Vineyard which combined the contemporary style with a focus on singing to God rather than just about him. Today, charismatic churches like Hillsong in Australia and Bethel in California are without doubt the main influences when it comes to contemporary worship music and are really popular especially among the youth.

This style of worship is not without criticism. Songs are commercialized, the concert-like performances are expensive and the worship leaders may receive too much focus. Popular worship lyrics that emphasize God’s majesty and power are criticized for portraying him as too distant and dominant, while songs about human struggles and doubts are rare. (more…)

Song: Jesus Revolution

One of my favourite Jesus Army songs, performed here with my friends Sangitha and Mark!

  1. If you’re looking for a purpose,
    Fighting without cause.
    If you’re burning with a passion,
    But you haven’t got a war:
    Wanna start a revolution? (×2)
  2. You wanna make a difference,
    But you know you gotta change.
    If you’re fighting for real freedom,
    But you’re shackled by the shame:
    Wanna start a revolution? (×2)

  3. If you wanna be a beacon
    But afraid to be seen,
    Living in this nightmare
    But haunted by a dream:
    Wanna join a revolution? (×2)

Jesus army; a people of light!
Jesus army; we will fight!
Join the revolution. (×2)

Jesus army, pour out our lives,
Love, power, sacrifice;
Jesus revolution. (×2) (more…)

Why Churches Should Abandon Stage Lights and Fog Machines

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Are there any reasons to believe that colourful stage lights and fog machines are anything else than the toys of Christian stage technicians and a compensation for lack of Biblical revival? No. The global trend of churches investing billions of dollars in superfluous show equipment has increased dramatically over just the last few decades, but not many have asked themselves why we do it and what happens to church when we do it.

Of course, if someone dares to question this unbiblical practice that person is easily dismissed as someone who doesn’t understand young people or who isn’t into culturally relevant evangelism. So hi, I’m a young evangelist, and I hate stage lights. And fog machines, those horrible, stupid fog machines! How painfully obvious isn’t it that modern, Western churches lack God when they literally try to fabricate something which the Scriptures describes as a manifestation of the Lord’s presence?

As I’ve explained in my God vs Wealth series, Jesus doesn’t want us to be rich but live as simply as possible so that we can give as much to the poor as possible. This applies not just to individual disciples but to churches as well. There are hundreds of millions of Christians around the world living in poverty. If we truly think that they are our brothers and sisters, we can’t ignore their suffering by spending loads of money on superfluities.

As John puts it: “If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?” (1 Jn 3:17) (more…)

Why Do You Want Richness?

Guest post by Taruna Rettinger

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Blessed are the poor and blessed are the poor in spirit

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Blessed are the poor

Why do you want richness?

Blessed are the poor

Why do you keep slaves for your comfort?

Blessed are the poor

Why do you seek wealth on earth?

Blessed are the poor in spirit

But you want to feel rich

Blessed are the poor in spirit

But you want to be served by others

Blessed are the poor in spirit

But you want wealth here and now

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

So feel your poverty in spirit and cry for Heaven

“Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God”

So strive for poverty and long to live with God

Worship Song: King of Light

Written and performed by me. No copyright, spread it on, to God be the glory.

Sand and scorching heat
Bloodstain on the street
Tortured and betrayed
Vision starts to fade

All our guilt and sin
Carries He within

King of light
God of life
Crucified
Chokes and dies

Land and heavens shake
For the Kingdom’s sake
Demons flee away
Now that we are saved

All our guilt and sin
Carried He within

King of light
Love divine
Breaks the night
As evil dies

King of light
God of life
Crucified
As evil dies

Worship Song: President of Love

Written by yours truly, performed with Sarah Stenmark and Johannes Widlund.

Verse 1
Every soldier’s uniform
and every garment rolled in blood
will be fuel for fire.

Every tank will be an ambulance
Every gun will be a spoon
Nations won’t fight no more

Chorus
‘Cause Your Kingdom has come to this broken earth
It all started when You came through the virgin birth
Now this church You see is Your embassy
We pledge allegiance to the Prince of Peace (more…)

Song: Strengthen My Inner Being

Tomorrow starts a conference I’m co-arranging on Christian community life, with a focus on sharing economic sharing. During worship we will actually sing some songs I’ve written, including this piece based on Ephesians 3:16-21:

Strengthen my inner being with Your Spirit’s power
dwell in my heart and give me faith

Help me grasp how wide and long and high and deep Your love is to me God, root me in love

Fill me completely with all of Your fullness

All the glory be to the One who can
do abundantly more than I even can imagine
through the power that is now in work within me
Glory to Your Name forever

Idolatry isn’t About Distracting Hobbies – It’s Far Worse

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Idols – worship highly discouraged

“Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.” – 1 Jn 5:21

Reading the prophetic books of the Old Testament for the first time, I was almost a bit annoyed by the constant warnings against idolatry. Isaiah, Ezekiel, Hosea and others constantly bring up how bad idolatry is and how silly idol-worshippers are, bowing down for statues they themselves have made.

I was like, yeah yeah, I get it. Idols are bad, move on please. I thought that not worshipping other gods than God was lesson one of Christianity, the most fundamental ethic of them all, and so constantly repeating it throughout Scripture felt unnecessary. In my view it was as if the driving instructor would constantly remind you to sit behind the wheel when driving an electric car.

Others must have felt the same way, because when the topic of idolatry came up in my church, people started to forcingly convince themselves that they were idolaters somehow. We’ve all stolen, been jealous or murdered sometime, at least if you define the latter as being angry which Jesus seems to do in Mt 5, and so to make sure that idolatry wasn’t something we could just say that we happily avoid, our youth pastor told us that an idol is “everything that you put higher than God”. It could be money, sex, power or Pokèmon. And you didn’t have to worship it, just immerse yourself into it. (more…)

Why Does the Bible say “The Lord Sends Poverty and Wealth”?

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Hannah praying

When the Lord miraculously helped an Israelite woman named Hannah to bear a child, she praised Him in a prayer that is recorded in 1 Samuel 2. It says, among other things: “The Lord sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts.” (v. 7) Like basically every Bible verse ever, it has often been taken out of context to be used as a proof text for people’s personal views. In this case, it has been argued that 1 Sam 2 divinely sanctions the poverty of the poor and the wealth of the rich, as well as promoting fatalism. I’ve heard several times “It’s not wrong to be rich, it says that the Lord sends wealth”, and sometimes also “It’s useless to fight poverty, it says that the Lord sends it.”

Here’s a radical idea: Let’s look at the context! Hannah says in verses 4 and 5: “The bows of the warriors are broken, but those who stumbled are armed with strength. Those who were full hire themselves out for food, but those who were hungry hunger no more. She who was barren has borne seven children, but she who has had many sons pines away.”

Thus, Hannah argues that there is a transition of fairness at work, where the first will be last and the last will be first. And who’s responsible for this?

(more…)

Fire in the Desert

From Jesus Army’s excellent Radical Christian History blog:
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In the 4th Century, an astonishing movement of revolutionary Christianity was started – in the desert.

IN OCTOBER 312, the Roman Emperor, Constantine, claimed that the Christians’ God had helped him crush his enemies and secure power at the Battle of Milvian Bridge. This marked the end of persecution and the apparent promotion of the Church to a privileged position in society. “Christendom” was born – the Church was wedded to the political power of the day.

In reality, Christendom was a dreadful deception. The Church for the most part abandoned its call to be a countercultural embodiment of the Kingdom of Jesus – which He had described as “not of this world”. Empire and Church were mingled. The proclamation of the gospel was largely drowned out in the clamour of the marching feet of imperial armies. “Love your enemies” morphed into “slay the barbarian”.

Some, however, resisted this development. Men such as Antony, Pachomius and Macarius and other Desert Fathers forsook wealth and influence and moved to the desert. Here they formed radical communities, a quiet but powerful alternative to the political Christianity of the empire.

Antony

StAnthonyAntony was a true pioneer, whose influence is still felt today. Born in Egypt about AD 251, his parents died when he was young, leaving him a small fortune. One day he heard a Christian quote Jesus’ words: If you would be perfect, go sell all you have, give to the poor, and come follow Me (Matt.19:21). They cut him like a knife. He sold his estate and became the disciple of a godly pastor.Yet his heart grew restless. He didn’t belong to the world he saw around him. He felt a strong pull to the desert beyond the Nile. Here hot and cold, flood and drought engaged men in a daily, physical battle for life itself. To Antony, this mirrored the human soul in its battle between flesh and spirit, love for God and love of self. Here too was a pioneering adventure, where only the real would make it. (more…)

Song: I Love Jesus

Back in August, I wrote a song simply called I Love Jesus. Here’s a recording where I sing it with some friends:

Jesus Army Worship

Jesus Army Worship

I Love Jesus, I love Him so
He’s the only one who knows my heart and saves my sinful soul
Of course I love my family, my friends and even foes
But Jesus is my number one forevermore

I love Jesus, I love the Son of God
‘Cause He hangs around with idiots, the losers and the odd
He criticizes people who are self-righteous and proud
And when He sees injustice He gets angry and loud!

I love Jesus, I love what He said
He’s like I’m the way, the truth, the life, the gate, the light, the bread
He debated with the Pharisees and turned them on their heads
And to His disciples He said go and raise the dead! (more…)

Poem: I Love Jesus

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These are the lyrics to a song I wrote just a couple of weeks ago. I haven’t recorded it yet so it’s hard for me to give you the melody, but for now you can at least read the lyrics as a poem: 

I Love Jesus, I love Him so
He’s the only one who knows my heart and saves my sinful soul
Of course I love my family, my friends and even foes
But Jesus is my number one forevermore

I love Jesus, I love the Son of God
‘Cause He hangs around with idiots, the losers and the odd
He criticizes people who are self-righteous and proud
And when He sees injustice He gets angry and loud!

I love Jesus, I love what He said
He’s like I’m the way, the truth, the life, the gate, the light, the bread
He debated with the Pharisees and turned them on their heads
And to His disciples He said go and raise the dead!
(more…)