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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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What a Formerly Dead Man Can Teach Us About Evangelism

In this sermon I share what Francis Shongwe, a man who was killed and raised back to life in 2003, told me about Heaven when I met him three years ago. I go on talking about the importance of sharing the Gospel with those who have not received Christ as their Saviour yet so that they can go to Heaven too. Here’s an excerpt from the interview I made with Francis:

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Dead Raising Tutorial

Raising dead people to life is awesome, but how do you do it practically? Join me in this radical Bible study for some tips and tricks from Elijah, Jesus and Paul that will help you in your revival ministry. Contact me when you’ve raised some.

Surprise Sithole: Food Multiplication

I’ve written several times about Surprise Sithole, the South African apostle who has raised several people from the dead in the power of the Holy Spirit and that has heard the external, audible voice of God. He’s a passionate activist and aid worker, and in this video he shares how he has seen multiple multiplications of food in Malawi and Mozambique. It’s certainly some food for thought!

Check out Surprise’s website and the homepage for his ministry Iris Global. You can also watch the full interview I made with him here. Or read his book, Voice in the Night – it’s amazing!

Food Multiplication

Francis Shongwe – Raised from the Dead

In September 2003, pastor Francis Shongwe was beaten to death by a violent gang in Backdoor, South Africa. He was an usher at a youth conference, and as the gang beat and kicked him he suddenly saw his body below him, and he went to Heaven. There, he saw countless people and angels worshipping the Lord, and he was so happy. Francis comes from a very poor neighbourhood with a lot of social problems, but he realized that there would be no more hunger or need in Paradise.

Suddenly, he heard a voice, calling his name. He then woke up in the mortuary in a hospital in Nelspruit, and discovered that pastor Surprise Sithole had raised him from the dead in the power of the Holy Spirit. As readers of this blog should know, this wasn’t the first time Surprise has raised a dead person.

Now, Francis actually cried and was very sad at first when he woke up, since he now was among all the troubles and poverty of the world again. However, he now realizes that because of his experience of Heaven, he preaches the Gospel about eternal life through Jesus Christ more powerfully than before.

When I visited South Africa last year, I interviewed Francis about his resurrection as you can see in the video above. I also talked to Surprise as well as several witnesses to how Francis was killed and then come back. Francis has been featured in the documentary Finger of God, and his testimony has been shared by Heidi Baker and others. I’m very grateful that I got the chance to meet him. Praise God for His resurrection!

Miracles According to a Charismatic, Lutheran and Catholic Church Leader

three church leaders

Let me present to you my independent essay in systematic theology: Are Miracles Real. Click the link to download it as a PDF. If you don’t like PDF, you can download it as a Word-document

In the essay I study how three church leaders view miracles: Surprise Sithole, charismatic apostolic leader in southern Africa, K.G. Hammar, archbishop emeritus of the Lutheran Church of Sweden, and pope Francis. I’ve already presented to you the miracles of Surprise Sithole and pope Francis’ view on miracles on this blog. The viewpoint of K.G. Hammar, however, is radically different – he doesn’t believe that miracles in the traditional, supernatural sense exists. I have tried to identify what arguments each church leader uses to defend their viewpoint, and then I analyze whether these arguments are reasonable and sound.

Surprise Sithole is a strong believer in miracles, basing this on his miraculous experiences and a literal reading of the Bible. K.G. Hammar does not believe that miracles happen, based on science, his metaphorical Bible reading and non-supernaturalist experiences. Pope Francis believes, like Sithole, in miracles both as Biblical and contemporary events, and like Hammar, he believes that science confirms his view. He interprets the Bible both literally and metaphorically, and his experience and church tradition confirm his supernaturalist belief.

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The Miracles of Surprise Sithole

Surprise Sithole, to the left, and Francis Shongwe, who claims that Sithole raised him from the dead in the power of the Holy Spirit

Surprise Sithole, to the left, and Francis Shongwe, who claims that Sithole raised him from the dead in the power of the Holy Spirit

As you probably know by now, I’m writing a thesis in systematic theology about miracles. A week ago I presented to you my research on how pope Francis views miracles, and now I like to share what Surprise Sithole, pastoral director for Iris Global in southern Africa, thinks about the miraculous. Enjoy!

Surprise Sithole was born in the late 1960’s into an animist family in the small village of Cachote in Mozambique. In his biography Voice in the Night, he writes:

“From the time I was born, my parents hoped I would follow the family tradition and become a witch doctor. […] My childhood was full of strange spiritual experiences and spiritual oppression. This was the only life I knew. […] Did my parents have heal power, or were they charlatans? The answer is both. Much of what they did was trickery, pure and simple. But I also know that they sincerely believed in the spirits, and I saw many strange events for which I have no other explanation than the supernatural. More than once, I found myself floating above the floor as I tried to sleep at night.”

Sithole claims to have heard the voice of God at the age of 15. This voice told him to leave his village, and after wandering in the jungle for two weeks he met a Christian man, Mr. Lukas, who took care of him and taught him how to be a Christian. Lukas said that God had given him a dream where he foresaw Sithole’s arrival. Soon, they received the news of that Sithole’s family had been poisoned back in Cochete. Surprise was the only survivor.

Sithole writes that he then became a missionary, travelling mostly by foot in Mozambique in Malawi to preach the Gospel. He says that on the island of Chikusi, he started to preach in a language he had never studied – Chichewa. People on the island were converting to Christianity when they saw this, Sithole writes, since they knew that he didn’t know the language naturally. He also claims that he still speaks Chichewa, and that his first bible was written in that language.

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TESTIMONIES – live performance at the Uttini Festival

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.

testimonies no eyesNow 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

TESTIMONIES!
The dynamic living witness of the power of the Holy Spirit
TESTIMONIES!
Gotta love em keep em spread them on

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Living Liberation Through Worship

image

This is a contribution for reflection for the Wild Goose Festival

A lot of Christian activists detach themselves from the Bible, evangelicalism and a devoted life to God. I know of so many Christians that used to be passionate about Jesus, then after they started working for peace and justice, they started to question their faith and it grew colder. I even know of some becoming atheists. I fear that Christian activism is one of the main secularizing movements in the church today.

Of course, it is with pain I’m writing this. As you can tell from my blog title, I’m a Christian activist myself. For over five years I’ve been telling fellow Christians to love their enemies, share all they have with the poor, end oppression and care for the creation. I am very critical to the lack of activism within evangelicalism, but I’m convinced that it isn’t because they read the Bible too much or take Jesus too seriously – on the contrary, they ignore large parts of God’s Word even though they claim to believe in it. Much like the pharisees in the time of the gospels.

If we do take Jesus and the Bible seriously, we’ll sell everything we have and give the money to the poor (Mk 10:21). We’ll never fight back but turn the other cheek(Mt 5:40-48). We’ll give to everyone that asks us (Lk 6:30). And not only that, we’ll heal the sick and raise the dead (Mt 10:8), prophesy and speak in tongues (Acts 2:6-21) and preach the Gospel to the whole world (Mt 28:18-20). If you follow Jesus, you can’t separate peace and justice from miracles, evangelism, Bible study or prayer. It’s all connected.
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TESTIMONIES – with Lyrics

Many of you seemed to like my song God is a Criminal so I’ve written some more – I actually got eight songs now about miracles, activism and radical Christianity. One of them is called TESTIMONIES, a pretty funny country/hip hop song about some miracles that either friends of mine have experienced or that I’ve simply read about. Here it comes:

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 raise the dead in His holy Name

TESTIMONIES!
The dynamic living witness of the power of the Holy Spirit
TESTIMONIES!
Gotta love em keep em spread them on 

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Are there Apostles Today?

Paul the Apostle

Paul the Apostle

The issue of modern apostles is a controversial one; since the apostles had such authority in the early church, modern-day apostles obviously would have a great degree of spiritual authority, and people usually doesn’t like that. The historical churches argue that their bishops are sort-of modern day apostles, and several Pentecostal and charismatic churches use the a-word when describing some of its leaders, especially in the majority (so-called “third”) world. Some evangelicals protest against this, arguing that there are no apostles today. I think they’re wrong.

To solve this question we obviously have to define what an apostle is. The word apostolos means “being sent out”, and when we look at what the apostles did in the New Testament, they were translocal church planting leaders who did miracles (Paul says that miracles are the sign of an apostle in 2 Cor 12:12). Now, these people do hang around today. Surprise Sithole, Heidi Baker and Hans Sundberg are just some people that have those kinds of ministries. Still, some are not ready to call these people apostles.

The main reason for this is that they point to Acts 1 where Matthias is elected to be an apostle since he has witnessed Jesus life from His baptism until his ascending to Heaven. Thus, since nobody has seen that today there are no apostles today, the argument goes. But if one thinks that the Acts 1 description is the definition of apostle, then Paul isn’t an apostle.

The key is of course that “the twelve” and apostles are not the same thing – there are many apostles, Paul lists additional ones in his letters (e.g. Rom 16:7). I would say that the Biblical understanding of an apostle is what we today call missionary – somebody travelling around planting churches, spreading revival and equipping the body of Christ. We’ve got rid of the title, not the ministry.
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God vs Poverty, part 5: Praying

This is the fifth and final part of my God vs Poverty series.

Once we start praying and working for a better world, there is a risk of struggling in our own strength and power. And since everyone are sinners (Romans 3:10-18), the human way lined with failures, accidents, discouragement and fatigue. The Bible says that through the power of God, we are able to more than in our own force (Philippians 4:13). And that can sometimes be a little bit more dramatic than getting some extra energy as by an invisible vitamin kick. Sometimes, it means walking on water or raising the dead.

The ministry of Jesus and the apostles not only included human deeds but also acts of God, things that only God can do. While they gave money to the poor (John 13:29) and they also used the miraculous gifts of the Spirit to help them. As they combined action with prayer, there was suddenly no limit to what their aid work was able to do.

For example: Jesus raised a widow’s son from the dead, which besides being extremely joyful in itself saved her from economic misery (Luke 7:11-17). Jesus also did food miracles out of His compassion for the hungry (Matt. 14:13-21; 15:29-39). His healing miracles had an activist dimension as well; in Mark 10:46-52 He heals a blind beggar, who thus is rescued not only from a life in darkness but also from a life in poverty.

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Surprise Sithole on poverty, aid and how it feels to raise the dead

Mr Sithole and me

Mr Sithole and me

One of my best experiences from my visit to Iris Ministries South Africa this summer was to meet and do a interview with their leader Surprise Sithole. Surprise has, as I’ve written before, had an amazing life with many miracles as he has been preaching the Gospel and helped the poor in southern Africa. In the interview I asked him how he likes the idea of combining miracles with peace and justice, what his conception of poverty is and how it feels to see God raise someone from the dead. This is what he answered:

An Economic Explanation to Speaking in Tongues

jag pratarI’m taking two courses right now, one in exegesis (Bible interpretation) and one in environmental economics. I see numerous parallells between them. In the exegesis course, I’m doing interpretations of Deut 15:7-11 and Luke 21:1-4 – about how the rich are sinning if they don’t give to the poor and how it’s not about how much you give but how much you have left that matters. And in the economics course, we were assigned to make a video where we try to answer a random question using economic theories. I chose the question “Why do Pentecostals speak in tongues?” Enjoy!

Video: Signs, Wonders, Peace and Justice

YouTube wanted me to do a trailer for my channel, so I made this one, which I from now on also will have on the about section of this blog. It’s a video where Surprise Sithole, Heidi Baker, Simon Adahl, Andreas Cucca, Michael Liliequist and me share why we believe that it is important to combine miracles with activism. Heidi shares when she saw food multiply, Simon when the Lord gave him a prophetic word of knowledge about aid relief and Andreas when he saw a lame beggar in Guinea being healed. And I do some quick Bible studies about when charismatic activism appears in the Scriptures. Enjoy!

Videos from my Trip

Heart for filming

Heart for filming

The first prophetic word I recieved in SA was that I would use my video camera to spread God’s glory. So here are some of the glorious stuff i filmed down there:

Mama Tesia Nicole, South Africa’s version of Heidi Baker, asked me to do a video for them about Village of Hope, their community center in Backdoor which works to improve people’s lives and spread the Gospel of hope. In Backdoor, the unemployment rate is around 80 %, the HIV rate is extremely high and only one third of the youth finish high school. To tackle these problems, Village of Hope includes a pre-school, a feeding programme, a youth center and more.

In this video, Pastor Surprise Sithole shares two testimonies in Iris Revival Church, Nelspruit South Africa: Firstly, a church member has been healed from cancer; secondly, Surprise’s wife Tryphina and their son Enoch saw a castle in the sky. The castle was levitating in the air. Both of them saw it clearly. Suddenly the castle was covered by clouds, and when they disappeared the castle was gone. “What do you think it means?” some one asks Surprise. “Well, a castle belongs to a King.”

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