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As always, the WordPress “stats monkeys” has produced a summary of the past blog year that you can find here. I thank God that the blog is growing and pray that He will lead me and others to inspire more and more people to become radical, charismatic Jesus hippies, combining miracles with evangelism and activism.
Here’s the top five viewed posts during 2014:
1. The Kundalini Myth. This post was actually written in 2013, but people keeps finding it on Google, and it’s the most commented post on this blog as well as the most viewed one. Many Christians believe in Andrew Strom’s claim that large parts of the charismatic movement are influenced by the Hindu kundalini sect, but thankfully many are also questioning this ridiculous claim, and I hope that my blog post has convinced some that Strom’s Kundalini warning is a myth.
2. Compelled by Love Movie Review. This amazing documentary on the lives of Heidi and Rolland Baker and their ministry Iris Global was released in January, and although the audience may be somewhat limited thousands have found my movie review through Google. Maybe I should do some reviews more often? 🙂
3. Pope Francis: “The Charismatic Movement is Necessary”. I’ve written about Francis a couple of times, and even though I don’t agree with Catholic doctrine on several spots I think his passion for evangelism, poverty reduction, peacemaking and Spiritual gifts is absolutely awesome, since I’m also passionate about evangelism, poverty reduction, peacemaking and Spiritual gifts. In this post I highlighted his positive words about the charismatic movement in his famous meeting with journalists on the pope plane from Rio back to Rome, and the post sparked some controversy but also excitement. (more…)
I’ve had YouTube for five years now, during which I have uploaded 400 videos that have been viewed 130 000 times. In total, people have watched 6800 hours of footage from my YouTube channel, which is like eight months of YouTube watching nonstop. Most of the videos are sermons, Bible studies, testimonies of miracles, teaching about radical discipleship and from time to time weird stuff like this clip.
Most of it is in Swedish, though, simply because most of the footage I record is in Swedish. I’ve tried to make sure that every fifth video or so is in English, but even then I understand that people who share the vision about Holy Spirit Activism – evangelism, miracles, peace and justice combined – and aren’t interesting in learning a weird Scandinavian language will be a bit bored if they subscribe to my YouTube channel.
So I made a second one! The Holy Spirit Activism YouTube channel will from now on be the home for all my English videos, while my old channel (simply called Micael Grenholm) will be in Swedish. Since I’ve already uploaded a bunch of nice English videos on the old channel, I’ve made a playlist on the new called Holy Spirit Activism Classics where you can find some of them, including a sermon by radical missionary Heidi Baker, testimonies about healing, the solution to global inequality, and more.
I also have a lot of videos on my harddrive to upload on the new channel, like insights in the community of goods that is being practiced by the Jesus Army, and an interview with Francis Shongwe who was raised from the dead. Here’s a teaser.
So feel free to follow the Holy Spirit Activism YouTube channel! Also, check out the new video section on this site, where I also have posted videos not published by me that I find very inspiring in my quest to follow Jesus. Blessings!
Heidi Baker is one of the countless ones who have seen Jesus. It’s the most beautiful and holy of prophetic visions, and since we should eagerly desire the gift of prophecy (1 Cor 14:1), we should all pray that we see Jesus in this life. All who believe will see Him face to face in Heaven, but it is not impossible to see Him even if this life. In fact, I myself have seen Him.
As I told you in my last blog post, I started to doubt quite quickly after I became a believer. One evening, I kneeled down in my room, praying that I would see God, that He would show Himself to me. I haven’t read the Old Testament warnings that seeing the Lord will result in sudden death (Ex 19:21), so I prayed passionately about this for over 20 minutes. And the great thing with Jesus is that He made it possible to see God, since He is God. “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father”, He said (John 14:9). And because of His resurrection to eternal life, it is possible for anyone to see Him just like Ananias or John did (Acts 9, Rev 1).
So next day in school, I was tired and rested my head on a table in the corridor. As I closed my eyes, I saw Jesus’ silhouette in front if me. “Woaw! What was that?!” I thought, opening my eyes. Later that evening as I went to bed, I closed my eyes and I saw the same picture. It was a classic depiction of Christ, similar to this one. And the crazy part is that this continued for over a year. Every time I closed my eyes and rested I saw Jesus, independently of what I was thinking about.
Some years later, in 2010, the Lord gave me an incredible gift of prayer. I prayed thousands of prayers every day, and I could have a constant conversation with God inside my head for hours. After checking off a long prayer list, I was lying on my bed worshipping, and then the whole atmosphere of the room changed. It was filled with a holy presence, that’s the best way I can describe it. From above, a picture resembling an orthodox icon came down towards me, depicting Jesus. However, He was not a picture – He was alive. He had brown eyes, a brown beard and a blue robe, similar to this icon.
Earlier this year, Iris Global in Mozambique reported about the devestating floods that struck Mozambique, leaving hundreds of thousands of poor people in big need. Iris has been working hard ever since to rebuild homes and helping local communities develop, while they are also praying for the sick, preaching the Gospel and even raising the dead. Recently, they publiched a video showing the movement’s leader Heidi Baker buying a bed for a widow called Louisa, whose house has been destroyed in the floods:
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…”
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.
I quickly mentioned in my last blog post thousands of people have lost their homes and income in Mozambique due to flooding. My spiritual hero Heidi Baker and her organization Iris Global is in the midst of the action, having parts of their own property destroyed as well as seeing their poor friends losing Everything. Heidi writes on Facebook:
My friend Francisco is one of many whose home has been completely flooded due to the torrential rains here in the Northern province. We were able to help relocate him to stay in one of our churches and share in the perfect love of Jesus. Thank you for praying. We love you so much and so appreciate your support and prayers.
Iris volontueer Ali Morgan shares some unbelievable images that depicts the devastation in northern Mozambique. She writes:
These are photos from many of us missionaries here in Pemba over the last few days. It has been heartbreaking to see the poorest of the poor loosing the little they own. Watching the Mamas run through the villages with water well above their waist and their mattresses on their heads with babies drenched on their backs and no escape. Please keep praying for all of us in the floods. Many lives have been lost, roads destroyed, electrictiy doesn’t exist, houses washed away, cars going into rivers and not coming back up… and now our base walls have started falling into the river. Rumors have it that a cyclone is coming our way next. Commanding that one to stop in Jesus name! Pray for all of us at Iris and our friends and neighbors in the villages.
Two types of rains are pouring over the nation of Mozambique right now – the sweet rain of revival, since God is saving, healing, raising and restoring thousands of lives through Iris Global, but also the devestating rains of flooding, that are destroying people’s homes, food and income. Iris is sending out a desperate plee for help, so please pray for them and give them something if you can. God bless you!
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.
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.
Wow, wow, wow. Compelled by Love is seriously one of the best films I’ve ever seen. It’s radical, passionate, moving, inspiring and awesome, it combines joyful happiness with serious pain and sorrow, and in the end I just sat in awe agreeing completely with Heidi Baker when she said that it’s all about Him – what this film portraits is nothing else than the life of Jesus today in one of the poorest nations in the world. It’s a film about an amazing missionary couple and their organization, yes, and for that very reason it is a film about Christ, because Christ is all they stand for in an amazing way.
The film is 100% Iris. It’s emotional. It’s beautiful. It’s messy. Some professional film makers would perhaps react to the patchwork-style; the film is chronological for only 30 minutes or so, and then holy anarachy is released with a multitude of different messages, themes and stories presented, some of which have already been published in YouTube clips. I love it! Shara Pradhan and her team simply takes the best Iris have directly from the field.
The Bethel and Iris culture (those ministries are basically “married” by now) talk a lot about honor, and this film truly wants to honor the life of Heidi and Rolland Baker. Bill Johnson is interviewed when he states that he simply knows no one who has constantly said “yes” to God the way Heidi has, and while she and Rolland are so extraordinary in that they always, continously, give everything to Him, their passion is multiplied to so many others that see that they are not superheroes but carrier of the divine presence of the Holy Spirit that are available for all of us. The film carefully emphasizes both sides of this paradox – the Bakers are amazing saints and should be recognized as such, but their gifts are not excluded to them but constantly multiplied to those who follow their example as they follow Christ. After all, it is the Mozambiqan bush pastors that have raised over 100 dead people within Iris, not the Bakers.
Today is the world premiere of Compelled by Love, a brand new documentary about Iris Global or Iris Ministries, the missionary organization founded by Heidi and Rolland Baker that is spreading revival across Mozambique, Africa and the world. The film is narrated by Reinhard Bonnke and will cover how the blind see and the deaf hear, how poverty is beaten and burdens released, and how love, power and sacrifice is transforming thousands of people as they encounter God on the missions field.
The premiere will be in Bethel Church tonight at 6 PM, US Pacific Time, and thanks to Bethel TV you will be able to watch it online from then on and three days ahead! I can really recommend you to see this, I can’s wait myself. 🙂 If you want to pre-order the film and/or host a screening, go to Compelled by Love’s website.
How rude of me, I’ve let you reading my blog for 18 months without ever introducing myself! Here’s a short presentation of how and why I received my passion to combine charismatic theology with activism for peace and justice, based on an article I’m currently writing for Pax Pneuma, the journal for Pentecostals and Charismatics for Peace and Justice.
Although being raised in a Swedish Lutheran family, religion never meant very much to me until April 2006, when I was radically born again at a mass in the giant Uppsala Cathedral. I started to pray and read the Bible, and I was fascinated by how the liturgy of my church – that previously was nothing but a bunch of pointless, boring rituals for me – had ancient roots filled with holy meaning.
But I also started to spot differences between church and Scripture. I was surprised that Jesus commanded His disciples to heal the sick and raise the dead (Mt 10:8) – something I had thought were things only Jesus Himself did to prove that He was the Son of God – and I was even more surprised to realize that I was a disciple (Mt 28:19)! “Disciples” was a term that I had thought only referred to the twelve men closest to Jesus, not people today. Now I realized that I was actually supposed to do the things Jesus commanded the apostles to do (Mt 28:20a).
Yet, people weren’t prophesying or casting out demons very much in my Lutheran church, so I started to attend some charismatic and Pentecostal churches. As I grew deeper into the charismatic movement, I saw some differences between church and Scripture here as well though, specifically when it came to 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!
The blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised and the good news are being preached to the poor. – Mt 11:5
I’ve known Andreas Cucca for over a year through the internet, but today I got to meet him in person for the first time. He is working with the Swedish organization Go Out Mission and has participated in almost 20 crusades all over the world, primarily Western Africa and Southern Asia. I kindly asked him if he could share some miracle stories, and he just went off like a cannon ball:
“Wow, where should I start? The blind see, the deaf hear, the lame walk, cancer tumours disappear! I prayed for a mute man in Guinea that hadn’t been able to speak since he was born, now he was between 20 and 30 years old and his first words were Jesus, hallelujah, amen. Another time I proclaimed that the lame were healed and a lame beggar outside the campaign area was instantly healed, everyone went wild when they saw it! And another time we had prayed that the blind would be healed and a man came to the stage and said that he used to be blind but now he could see. However, his eyes still looked really blurry so we wondered if he really was telling the truth, but he could grab my nose when I asked him and while he was there on stage, I saw with my own eyes how all bluriness disappeared and his eye became normal. It was a creative miracle!”
And so on and so on. These things I expect from missionaries to Africa nowadays, I get surprised if they haven’t seen the blind see and deaf hear. A couple of weeks ago I met James Thompson, an Australian guy who together with his wife Sarah had served for Iris Ministries in Zimbabwe. He shared the most amazing testimonies about a sweet, blind old woman that could see her grandson for the first time after God healed her, as well as about a deaf-mute who started to hear and speak: