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Every weekend, an evangelistic group known as the Pancake Church occupies the central square in the Swedish town of Uppsala to hand out free pancakes and share the Gospel about Jesus. For three years now I have had the privilege of leading this group. We’re not an own, independent church but an evangelistic organization that gathers Christians from different churches who want to share the Gospel in a fun and culturally relevant way to the youths of our town.
I can honestly say that every evening is an amazing evening. We get to speak to so many people, pray for them, discuss God and life with them or sing gospel songs with them. We hang out with the poor and homeless as well as the rich and lonely. And the Holy Spirit is with us. We have seen several healings and conversions during the years, and some who have been saved on the streets join us and helps us to further spread the Kingdom of God!
There are over 20 Pancake Churches in Sweden, connected though the Pancake Church National Organization. We print our own Pancake Bibles (which are normal New Testaments with some testimonies and pictures), t-shirts and organize events and summer tours. A friend from the Jesus Army contacted me and wondered how one organizes a local Pancake Church and what one should think about. So here are my tips: (more…)
Two and a half years ago, I feared street evangelism. It felt strange and silly to talk about Jesus to strangers, and I was terrified to meet someone I actually knew! However, I realized that street evangelism obviously was something that Jesus and the apostles frequently did, and instead of trying to argue that we shouldn’t live like Jesus and the apostles (like many others tragically do), I decided to join some friends who were going out on the streets of Uppsala giving pancakes to people and sharing the Gospel.
It basically changed my life.
Today, I’m one of the local leaders of the Pancake Church of Uppsala, and I love to share the Gospel. My former evangeliphobia effectively melted as I discovered how easy and naturally it is to chat with people over a pancake. We try to create a relaxed atmosphere where people can hang around and have a good time. And many of the youths don’t have any problem with discussing religion – on the contrary, they often have strong opinions about it. Some are provocative, yes, but most aren’t. Actually, it’s quite amazing how many are interested in seeking God in this secularized country. (more…)
Why does God not take us to Heaven immediately after we’re born again? I was pondering this years ago, and the only reasonable answer I could come up with was: to help others being born again.
We can, and will, worship in Heaven. We can hang around, have a good time, and organize Marquee festivals in Heaven. But we can’t invite others to Heaven when we’re well there.
This is why the Great Commission to make new disciples (Mt 28:18-20) is not just a mission, it is the mission and the primary reason why we even have church.
This is why we need to advertise and tell people about our meetings and events. We need to evangelise and share our testimonies to people we encounter. We need to be present in the public sphere and show an alternative to the consumerism, patriotism and false religions that are already being proclaimed out there. (more…)
Right now I’m at a Christian conference called Salvation, Miracles and Activism in my hometown of Uppsala, and I’m one of the organisers. It’s not a conference in a big auditorium; but just like my church we meet in the streets and in my home. We’re about fifteen people; if we had been more we would have met in several homes at once. Yesterday we started things off with a Jesus meeting in the city park, and afterwards we went to my place to watch the epic trailer for my upcoming documentary and plan today’s activities.
The theme of the conference is how to combine evangelism, Spiritual gifts and activism for peace and justice. We’re talking about these things in my living room right now, and in the afternoon we will do a demonstration for the Act Alliance campaign Act for Climate Justice, and in the evening we will evangelise together with the Pancake Church. Tomorrow we will have a “Come in, go out”-service with my church Mosaik.
I love my church! Uppsala Mosaik is a small house church in Uppsala, Sweden (not to be confused with the mega church Mosaic in Los Angeles, California (we’re way smaller than them)) focusing on the Kingdom of God. We’re evangelical, charismatic and activist, and our aim is, like many other churches, to love God and love people.
When I visited Mosaik for the first time in 2010, I was amazed by its structure. We met in a pub back then. We had coffee break in the middle of the service, between worship and Jesus stories. Jesus stories, by the way, are when everyone can share a testimony about what Jesus has done in their life. And when the service was coming to an end, students flooded the pub while Mosaik volontueers started to serve free pancakes.
I sat down with the pastor, Hans Sundberg, and he explained the theology behind what Mosaik looked like. In Sweden, people are leaving churches like crazy, so that statistically, if the drop-off speed would remain at this rate, there would be no Christians here in 2040. Now, God is good and we pray for revival, but Hans was convinced that the church must leave the old Christendom-structures that builds large cathedrals expecting people to fill them, and becoming sad when they don’t.
I’m not a reformer, Im a restorer. While several intentions of the reformation were good, the emphasis on reform in itself doesn’t express what we really want the church to look like, and so I know several Lutherans who defend unbiblical teachings and changes with the claim that the church should be constantly reforming itself, which isn’t a very Biblical idea. Restorationist Christians on the other hand, like Anabaptists or Pentecostals, have emphasized that we should restore the Biblical church and thus has a clearly expressed goal with the reforms. Just by looking at the Holy Scriptures, we see how Jesus did church, how the apostles did church and how they thought that we should do church. And they didn’t call it “church”, since that’s obviously an extremely boring word, they called it the Way (Acts 9:2); the Lifestyle, basically.
The charismatic movement, which I am a part of, have used restorationism to resurrect a hunger for the baptism of the Holy Spirit and miraculous gifts. But there are some things that I think still needs to be restored in most charismatic churches: mandatory evangelism, organic simplicity and community of goods. I will explain more about what these three things mean and how they should be practically restored in mainline churches in three blog entries, this being the first.
So what do I mean with “mandatory evangelism”? Well, the apostolic church which was funded and lead by guys who knew Jesus personally had two sorts of meetings, or “services” if you like: “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” (Acts 2:46). They both met in the homes and in the temple courts. The latter was the place where Jesus had His theological debates – it was a place where all the religiously interested came to worship God and discuss with each other. And the early Christians both join the Jews for prayer in the temple (Acts 3:1), and to heal them (3:6-10) and preach the Gospel to them (5:21).
Sarah and I have spent the weekend in the small village of Åsele in northern Sweden, doing evangelism with the pancake church at a big market fair. We’ve had the opportunity to talk to, pray with and love hundreds of people, mostly youths. One girl received salvation there and then after she was healed in her neck, many others received Bibles and were very interested in getting to know God more.
On Saturday evening I hung a paper plate around my neck that said “Evidence for God in 2 minutes”. Needless to say it caught lot of attention, and I got to have apologetic and evangelistic discussions with at least 25 people. I illustrated my points using my phone, which was very effective and increased the attention rate of my listeners even more.
“This phone is very unique”, I said, “because it has no cause for its existence. It popped into being out if nothing without a cause, and now I use it to call people and take photos. Do you believe me?” Nobody said yes, some looked at me as if I was a madman and others just laughed out loud. Then I explained that of course this is not the case, everything that begins to exist must have a cause. “So what do you think is the cause for the big bang and the origin of the universe?”
I had not in any way planned to be so apologetic this semester, but the Lord has led me to both studying and producing apologetic material as you probably have noticed. Identifying myself as an apologist is new but exciting, and it makes sense since I’ve for a long time been inspired by Stephen in Acts 6-8. He combined miracles with poverty reduction and nonviolence, and he was an apologist as well. Just look at these verses:
Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people. Opposition arose, however, from members of the Synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called)—Jews of Cyrene and Alexandria as well as the provinces of Cilicia and Asia—who began to argue with Stephen. But they could not stand up against the wisdom the Spirit gave him as he spoke. (Acts 6:8-10)
Stephen was a charismapologist! He could heal the sick on Monday and defend the faith on Tuesdays, all the time while serving soup to the widows. For Stephen, there was no conflict between demonstrating the power of God through miracles and arguing for the truth of Christianity intellectually. (more…)
I’m currently at one of Sweden’s biggest Christian conferences called Torp where I am co-responsible for evangelism. We’re teaching biblical principles on how to share the faith in the afternoons, and in the evenings we do outreach in the local town of Örebro with the Pancake Church. It’s tiring but awesome!
The other day a group of Muslims came to us and started to ask us questions like how do we know that the miracle claims of the Gospels are true, and how does one know which religion is true. And of course, one of them raised an issue that Muslims are often concerned with: how can you believe that God is three?
The answer I gave him made him say “Now I understand! Now I understand!” Which is great since a common response to Christians explaining the Trinity rather is “Now I’m just more confused”. But he isn’t the first one to appreciate the analogy I often use to portrait how God can be three in one: the human trinity. (more…)
I’m very happy and very tired. Last Saturday was Walpurgis night which for some reason is a huge thing here in Uppsala, hundreds of thousands of people fill the streets and so it’s a great opportunity for evangelism. We were out with the Pancake church at a central square and ministered to hundreds, and one guy from Morocco came and wanted to get saved. Just like that. He had some extremely bad experiences from Islam and had realized that Jesus is the Way, so we helped him receive Him.
The next day was Sunday, I was organizing the service for our house church and we got a new visitor that I had been in touch with on Facebook. She wanted to be saved as well. We rejoiced, prayed with her and then talked about and answered questions that she had about the Old Testament, God’s character and other religions as we went out to evangelize according to our “Come in, go out” principle.
And then last Tuesday my friend Johannes and myself were invited to a folk school where we got to speak about faith, doubt, atheism and theism for three hours. Johannes has struggled a lot with atheism and I used to be an atheist in my early teens before turning to God. We covered several arguments for God’s existence as well as sharing our own stories and answering questions, and it was appreciated. (more…)
I’m currently reading Nabeel Qureshi’s bestselling book Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus. It’s a really good read with solid arguments against Islam and for Christianity. It contains some serious challenges for devout Muslims.
Nabeel had been raised believing that the Qur’an is unchanged and perfectly preserved and that Muhammad was sinless and, in fact, the greatest man who ever lived. Both of those beliefs are actually very easy to disprove when you start looking into it.
I meet Muslims every week when I’m out evangelizing with the Pancake Church. Several of them have argued that Muhammad never killed anyone. One of them was even a dai who used to hand out Qur’ans to people on the streets and who claimed to know the life of Muhammad quite well. I was perplexed by this: how could he have missed that Muhammad fought at least 27 battles, or that he once commanded the beheading of 600 Jewish men?
Nabeel’s book has helped me understand this. Most Muslims never read the hadith or the early biographies of Muhammad’s life (which originated around 200 years after his death or later). Many of them don’t even read the Qur’an, they just recite it in Arabic during prayer. What they know about Muhammad’s life is based on what their Imams or parents tell them, and oftentimes those stories are very distorted and biased. Most Muslims genuinely believe them though and are for example convinced that all of Muhammad’s battles were defensive, something that the earliest collections of hadith denies. (more…)
Every weekend I evangelize on the streets together with the Pancake Church, and last week’s Holy Saturday was no exception. I started to speak with two guys about Jesus, and one of them said that he really liked Jesus. He thought that Jesus was a good moral teacher and said: “I believe that when it says that he healed blind people and lepers and stuff, he didn’t actually physically heal them, but he was kind to them and taught that they should be accepted into society.”
“That’s a very tragic and pessimistic view!” I said. “Wouldn’t it be better if He actually physically healed them? As the Son of God He’s surely able to do it, right? Miracles exist, medically verified healings happen all around the world even today. Surely that’s good news, isn’t it?” He was actually a bit speechless when I said this.
There has been a tendency among several Western preachers to de-emphasize miracles, Heaven and evangelism in order to “focus” on peace and justice. They may say things like “Jesus greatest miracle wasn’t to heal the leper but to touch the leper” or “God doesn’t just want to give you eternal life in Heaven but a descent life on earth.” (more…)
The Qur’an includes some embarrassing mistakes, such as describing Jesus’ mother Mary as the sister of Aaron and daughter of Amran (surah 19:27-28 and 3:35-36), which would make Moses the uncle of Jesus even though they lived about 2,000 years apart. Or there’s that passage that portrays the Christian belief in the Trinity as consisting of God the Father, Mary the mother and Jesus the Son (surah 5:116). Muhammad’s biggest mistake however was to argue that Jesus didn’t die on the cross:
And [for] their saying, “Indeed, we have killed the Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, the messenger of Allah .” And they did not kill him, nor did they crucify him; but [another] was made to resemble him to them. And indeed, those who differ over it are in doubt about it. They have no knowledge of it except the following of assumption. And they did not kill him, for certain. (Surah 4:157)
In this lecture, Christian apologist Nabeel Qureshi shows why the Islamic claim that Jesus didn’t die on the cross is so absurd. If there’s anything we can know about Jesus, it is that He died on the cross. In fact, even the most skeptical and atheistic Jesus scholar will most likely agree that Jesus existed, that He was baptized and that He was crucified. Extremely liberal New Testament scholar John Dominic Crossan has said: “That he was crucified is as sure as anything historical can ever be”. (more…)
Hello charismactivists and all you others who follow this blog! I got two pieces of fresh news for you. The first being that the URL to this website has shrunk to the much simpler name of holyspiritactivism.com. All the old links are still functional and redirects to this site. God bless WordPress for making this transition so easy and convenient 🙂
Secondly, I’ve created two new resource pages on the website to equip your work for the Kingdom of God. One is about street evangelism which provides some tips on how to share the Gospel as well as arguments for why all churches should make public evangelism as common as Sunday services:
In Biblical times, churches evangelized weekly or even daily in public places. Let’s do the same today! Here are some blog posts with inspiration for evangelistic ministry as well as teaching on why all churches should make street evangelism as normal as Sunday services: