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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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Why Heidi Baker and Bill Johnson Love Azusa

My newest video on the HSA Youtube channel is about the Azusa Now event in Los Angeles last month and how the Lord put the Azusa Street revival on my heart six years ago. What the Lord did there is absolutely amazing. Just take a look at this testimony from the first issue of the Azusa magazine Apostolic Faith, published in September 1906:

A Mohammedan, a Soudanese by birth, a man who is an interpreter and speaks sixteen languages, came into the meetings at Azusa Street and the Lord gave him messages which non but himself could understand. he identified, interpreted and wrote in a number of the languages.

Not only were the miracles at Azusa astonishing but its still ongoing global impact is breathtaking. In the video I refer to my PCPJ interview with Jennifer Miskov who has written a book called Ignite Azusa together with Baker, Johnson and Lou Engle. She argues that a new revival greater than that of Azusa will birth a new Jesus Movement that combines miracles with community living and total reconciliation between people.

Amen to that!

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Swedish Miraculous Jesus Hippies

Jesus March in Stockholm, 1974. Photo: Jan-Gunnar Jansson

Jesus March in Stockholm, 1974. Photo: Jan-Gunnar Jansson

The Jesus movement in the 1970’s impacted Sweden quite a lot. Lonnie Frisbee and other American Jesus hippies visited the country, multiple communities called “Jesus houses” sprung up, and Jesus people were evangelizing in the streets and parks. People like Ylva Eggehorn, Stefan Swärd and Ulla Österjö-Jansson arranged Jesus conferences and Jesus marches – no wonder they were called Jesus freaks.

In my hometown of Uppsala, a theology student called Hans Sundberg were impacted by the Jesus movement and started to evangelize. Once, he was sharing the Gospel in the street together with some Christian friends, when an Iranian man who believed in Baha’i started to argue with them. Hans argued back, and their discussion went into sort of a stalemate until Hans’ friend Maria started to speak loudly in tongues. Hans was initially a bit embarrassed (after all, the Bible says that nonbelievers will think that we are lunatics if they hear us speak in tongues (which it is right about)), but he then realized that the Iranian man understood everything Maria said. She was speaking farsi, about how Jesus is the only way to God and salvation. Hans saw prophetically how an arrow came out from Maria’s mouth and gently hit the heart of the Iranian man with peace and eternal life.

Meanwhile, a small Swedish town called Surahammar (which means grumpy hammer) was struck with a youth revival as the Jesus movement came to town. Youths from the local Pentecostal church gathered daily in a bakery to pray, study the Word and then hit the streets to evangelize and heal the sick. One of the kids involved in the revival was Simon Ådahl, who after refusing military service due to theological reasons became a musician and, eventually, a prophetic evangelist. You can read more about him here. (more…)

Language Miracles

The Bible describes how the early Christians were able to speak new existing languages when the Holy Spirit baptized them. There are reports of this happening in modern times as well.

J.W. Hutchins was baptised by the Holy Spirit at the Asuza Street revival in Los Angeles in 1906, and when she spoke in tongues a man who had been a missionary to Uganda exclaimed that she spoke the Luganda language. She also heard the external, audible voice of God telling her to go to Africa, so she became a missionary.

My pastor Hans Sundberg experienced something similar when he was evangelizing on the streets of Uppsala, Sweden, in the 70’s. He was debating with a man from Iran who believed in Bahá’í, when his friend Maria came and prayed for him silently. She prayed louder and louder, and Hans realized that she was praying in tongues. The Iranian man dropped his jaw and stared at Maria, understanding every word. She was speaking in Farsi about Jesus, although she didn’t know farsi.

In 2011, Hans was visiting Nepal to teach at a Bible school run by Touching Asia. During a prayer session before class, a man at the front spoke loudly in tongues. Afterwards, another student came to him and asked him some questions, and everyone became really excited. hans asked them what was going on, and they explained that there are over 20 languages in Nepal, and when the man had spoken in tongues he had been unknowingly prophesying to the other man in his own language, that wasn’t spoken by so many, about a coming revival to his village. (more…)

Baptized with Fire

To be baptized with water is awesome, but to be baptized with fire is even awesomer. John the Baptist, who really knew baptism, said: “I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” (Lk 3:16)

Who could this be? Spoiler alert: It’s Jesus. Before He levitated up to Heaven, He told His disciples:

Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit… you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses (Acts 1:4-5, 8)

And this happened ten days later:

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. (Acts 2:1-4)

baptism of Holy Spirit

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Malala + Holy Spirit Revival = Pandita Ramabai

Ramabai on an Indian post stamp

Ramabai on an Indian post stamp

One of my favourite Pentecostal saints of all times is Pandita Ramabai (1858-1922), Indian activist, evangelist and holy roller. Over a hundred years before Malala she campaigned for women’s right to education, and she was extremely active in helping the poor and discriminated. Born in a Brahmite family in what is now the state of Karnataka, she started to study in an early age and learned Sanskrit along with sacred Hinduist texts, astronomy, physiology and more. This was controversial since she lacked a penis, but her father encouraged her as she learned more and more about society, religion and activism.

In 1883 she went to England and taught Sanskrit at an Anglican monastery in Wantage. There she was saved. “I realized,” she later wrote, “after reading the fourth chapter of St. John’s Gospel, that Christ was truly the Divine Saviour he claimed to be, and no one but He could transform and uplift the downtrodden women of India.”

As she returned to her home country, she bought a piece of land outside Pune and started a Christian social community for young widows called Mukti, Sanskrit for Liberation. She also helped people who were orphaned, disabled or homeless, and when a famine hit India in 1896, Ramabai rescued over a thousand people and brought many if them to the Mukti mission.

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Irenaeus of Lyons (120-202) on the Miraculous Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Irenaeus

Irenaeus

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)

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“Is He a Medium?” “No, He’s a Christian”

Simon Adahl

Simon Adahl

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.

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The International, Pentecostal Miracle of Tongues

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.

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A Modern Language Miracle in Jerusalem

S.t Mark's Church in Jerusalem

S.t Mark’s Church in Jerusalem

My dear friend Andreas have just returned from a trip to Israel and came back with some amazing stories. He shared how he and his friends were walking in the Old City of Jerusalem, and suddenly Andreas recognized the Church of S:t Mark, a Syriac Orthodox church that claims to be built on the house of Mary, the mother of Mark (Acts 12:12-17). Not only that, they claim that this also contains the upper room, the place of the Last Supper, several appearances of the resurrected Jesus and where the Holy Spirit ascended on Pentecost; although this is also claimed by the Cenacle.  Anyways, they went inside to have a look.

It’s a pretty cool church. The liturgical language, Syrian, is similar to Arameic, the language of Jesus. The liturgy itself is extremely old, and even if it is doubtful that the practices of the church goes all the way back to biblical times, it’s a good indicator of how ancient Christianity looked like.

Andreas and his friends met a nun who was so excited to share what God is doing in their little church. She told them about a man who had came to the church, and how she guided him around. A few weeks later he returned, and the nun welcomed him back, but for some reason he looked confused and said something in Hebrew. The nun didn’t know Hebrew so she asked him to talk English like last time they met. The man was even more confused and talked a lot of Hebrew with her.
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Three Views on Speaking in Tongues

This is a guest blog by my dear Australian friend Andrew Meakins, whom I share Facebook page with.

Pentecostés. Óleo sobre lienzo, 275 × 127 cm. ...

Pentecostés. Óleo sobre lienzo, 275 × 127 cm. Madrid, Museo del Prado. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1) The Pentecostal view of tongues: Speaking in tongues is the initial evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit. The baptism in the Holy Spirit is a once only experience. Tongues is for every believer.

2) The Charismatic view of tongues: Speaking in tongues is a gift of the Spirit which usually accompanies the baptism in the Holy Spirit but not always. The baptism in the Holy Spirit is not a once only experience but a continual infilling that can manifest itself in different ways. Tongues are for every believer who desires the gift.

3) The Third Wave view of tongues: Speaking in tongues is a gift of the Spirit which sometimes accompanies the baptism in the Holy Spirit. The baptism in the Holy Spirit is not a once only experience but a continual infilling that can manifest itself in different ways. Tongues may not be for every believer but every believer is free to ask for it.

I’m inclined to go with the third wave view, because it’s more inclusive of all believers. There are some Christians who seemed to obviously be empowered by the Holy Spirit but never spoke in tongues (as far as we know). John Wesley is an example. The other benefit of the Third Wave view is it doesn’t put tongues as a measure of spirituality or maturity but simply as another gift that can edify us. On the other hand, I’m very grateful I was taught in the Pentecostal church initially because I was encouraged to earnestly desire to speak in tongues. Without that extra encouragement, I don’t think I would have pursued the gift. From my personal experience, the gift of tongues revolutionized my prayer life but having this gift doesn’t make me better than any other Christian.

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A Mennonite Who Speaks in Tongues

Amazing blog post with some very good teaching about speaking in tongues.

Zweibach and Peace - Thoughts on Pacifism and Contemporary Anabaptism

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Over the past few months, the concept of writing a blog article related to the Charismatic Gifts and Movement has been on my mind.  While I am not from a Charismatic background over the past 3-4 years I have become increasingly more charismatic in my beliefs and Christian practices and when I was a student at Tyndale was affectionately called a “Pennonite” (a mixture of Pentecostal and Mennonite).  There are still a variety of charismatic gifts that I simply do not know enough about at this time to offer any real insight via blog.  Therefore, at this present time topics of prophesy and being slain in the Spirit are a bit out of my reach, though I recently read a very interesting book by Dr. James Beverly (a professor at Tyndale) “Holy Laughter and the Toronto Blessing” that deals with a few of the more “wild” types of charismatic movements. …

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Charismatic Servants

The Servanthood of Jesus

The Servanthood of Jesus

Tragically, preachers and evangelists in the Pentecostal and charismatic movements are often seen as people hungry for power, who control the masses through promises of supernatural encounters only to gain money and status for themselves. Even though the accusation sometime is exaggerated, there are indeed many genuine cases of manipulation and control among us, which is extremely sad and stupid. This is defenitely not something that the Holy Spirit produces; and thus, it contradicts true charismatic living.

The basis of Christianity is love. God is love (1 John 4:8) and He loves us more than we can understand (Eph. 3:19, Rom 8:38-39). Although people have turned away from Him and sin, He loves us so much that He sent Jesus to give us eternal life through He died our death (John 3:16, Rom 5:8). God forgives our sins; by his grace we are saved and receive eternal life, not by earning it with good deeds, but by God’s grace (Eph. 2:8-9).

This grace is the basis not only for our salvation but also for the supernatural gifts that Jesus used to spread the Kingdom of God and instructed his disciples to use, they are gifts given by grace (greek charismata, grace gifts (1 Corinthians 12:4)) that we can not earn or deserve, but we recieve them freely by God’s grace (Ephesians 4:7). (more…)