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Hundreds of People Saved at Asbury Revival, According to Professor
Dr. Craig S. Keener, a highly respected New Testament scholar at Asbury Theological Seminary, is widely known for his work on the Bible’s background and his enormous books consisting of thousands of pages with tens of thousands of references. He’s not known to be a very emotional guy. And yet, during the Asbury revival, he proclaimed that he could feel the tangible presence of God just by walking near the chapel area.
The Asbury Revival, which took place at Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky, began on February 8, 2023, when a group of students spontaneously stayed in Hughes Auditorium after a regularly scheduled chapel service. Asbury President Kevin Brown sent out a brief email inviting others to join in the worship. News of the revival quickly spread through social media and Christian online publications, drawing thousands of people each day, with total visitors ranging between 50,000 and 70,000.
Dr. Keener, who joined the Asbury faculty in 2011 after teaching at Palmer Theological Seminary and Hood Theological Seminary, has authored 25 books and more than a million copies in circulation. He was an eyewitness to what went on during the revival meetings and has defended the outpouring against critics on YouTube. Recently, I had the honor of interviewing Dr. Keener about how the revival started, why the public phase eventually was shut down – and how the Holy Spirit impacted him personally:
It’s not every day that you see an accomplished New Testament scholar proclaim in all caps on social media: “I CAN FEEL THE TANGIBLE PRESENCE OF GOD”. But this was indeed what Dr. Keener experienced, and he hadn’t even got inside the building yet! Keener could tell me that a teacher he trusts reports that hundreds of people have been saved during the outpouring, including students who come from Christian families but have never taken the faith of their parents seriously. Additionally, there are many reports of healing as well as you can see in this video:
Dr. Craig Keener’s experience at the Asbury Revival serves as a powerful testimony to the profound impact that such events can have on individuals, regardless of their academic or spiritual background. It illustrates the importance of remaining open to the divine presence and the transformative power it can bring to our lives. As a testament to the power of faith and the presence of God, the revival demonstrates the potential for spiritual growth and transformation, even among those who approach their faith from a more intellectual perspective.
“Jesus Revolution” Movie Causes People to Worship in Theaters, with Some being Saved
The film Jesus Revolution about the youth revival in the 1970s has done much better than expected in US cinemas – and now there are reports that some have even given their lives to Jesus after seeing the film. At a movie theater in Miami, a prayer and praise meeting arose after the film was over where some made the decision to become Christians.
Here I have made a video where I have collected clips from the revival meeting at the cinema:
People were saved even during filming. When Jonathan Roumie, who plays the hippie preacher Lonnie Frisbee in the film (and who also plays Jesus in the series The Chosen) filmed a scene where Lonnie baptized hundreds of people in the sea, some of the extras said that they had never been baptized but wanted to be born again in the name of Jesus. Thus, some of the baptisms that made it into the movie are not staged, but the cameras filmed people being baptized for real! 🙌
The film’s producer also said that many in the studio and on the production team who were not Christians were moved to tears when they saw the film and wanted to know more about Jesus. This is truly no ordinary Hollywood movie!
It’s amazing to see how the Holy Spirit is impacting people’s lives through this movie. Now sadly, I haven’t been able to watch the movie myself since I live in Sweden, but a Swedish friend of mine, Anders-Petter Sjödin, went to the premiere in Los Angeles and said that it was amazing. If you have the opportunity to see it, you should definitely take it.
The Prayer that Started the Asbury Revival
Right now, an amazing renewal is taking place at Asbury University in Kentucky – a prayer meeting that usually lasts for 15 minutes has instead been going on with uninterrupted prayer and worship for over a week. Thousands have made their way to the meeting, with students and teachers worshiping together with family members and strangers. Classes and assignments have been cancelled to be replaced with tearful prayers for God’s power and love.
“Revive us by your love”, pastor Zach Meerkreebs prayed at the chapel meeting of Asbury University on February 8th, 2023. Since then, the prayer and worship of that meeting hasn’t ceased and thousands have come to be blessed, healed, saved and transformed by the power of God. In this video, you can hear Zach’s full prayer as well as some testimonies about what God has done to them:
Jason Vickers, one of the teachers, wrote: “The peacefulness in that place is so palpable that a mere ten minutes had made an impression that will last the remainder of my lifetime.”(more…)
What Jesus Didn’t Need
You didn’t need an army
You didn’t need a sword
You didn’t need the president
that they are fighting for
You spread your holy Kingdom
with words and deeds alone
And that makes you the greatest King
that I have ever known
You didn’t need a building
You didn’t need a car
The latest tech and fancy clothes
you didn’t need at all
You didn’t need that I were
good-looking, friendly, smart
The only thing you need from me
is just my fragile heart
You didn’t need to suffer
You didn’t need to die
You could have stayed upon your throne
and still be glorified
You didn’t need to save us
You didn’t need to care
But yet you did and that is why
I offer you my prayer
My Thoughts on Hell
I was recently interviewed on the Rethinking Hell podcast who talked with me on how I got saved and what my thoughts on life after death look like. As I was born again, I quickly realized that Jesus is the only way to eternal life and that we cannot live without him. Eternal life is a gift, not something we already possess:
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom 6:23)
“Whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
“Jesus… has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” (2 Tim 1:10)
Thus, from Day One of my Christian journey I’ve believed that immortality is conditional, not universal: it is something imparted to us through the grace of God in Jesus Christ. This means that those who reject the grace of God will not inherit eternal life but will instead die, and be dead forever:
“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Mt 10:28)
“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” (Mt 25:46)
“He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction, reducing them to ashes as an example of what is coming on the ungodly.” (2 Pet 2:6)
This of course goes against the Platonic idea that the soul is innately immortal and that hell therefore would be some alternative form of eternal life, but in torment rather than in bliss. This idea, known as traditionalism or tormentalism, I’ve never found any strong support for in the Bible.
More on this in the podcast episode, which you can listen to here!
Why the Cross Changes Everything
Every Good Friday I usually go outside to pray when the time is approaching 3 PM. That’s when he died. He who transformed my life.
There was a time when I didn’t care at all about Jesus. He was cool, sure, but he didn’t have as many superpowers as Superman and he was far less badass than Samus Aran. The church, in my opinion, was a boring museum. The Bible was hard to read and lacked pictures.
But when I was confronted with my own mortality and understood the message of Easter – that he died for us to live forever – then I could not get enough of him. I opened the gospels and read. I can honestly say that I have never encountered so much wisdom and love from any other person, before or after.
Some want to reduce Jesus to a non-divine moral teacher. As C. S. Lewis has pointed out, it is impossible. A reasonable moral teacher does not claim to be the Son of God, the light of the world, and the door to eternal life – unless it is true.
But I understand why people recognize Jesus as wise and moral. He is! That’s what makes the painful killing of him so incomprehensible and wrong.
God died on that cross. God himself died for our sake so that we would have the eternal life we in no way deserve. This eternal life, in eternal happiness, is greater than anything we can imagine. No other gift is so great and as wonderful as the gift of living in paradise.
All the peace and justice we long for will be realized to its fullest in heaven. That’s no reason to stop promoting such Kingdom-values here. On the contrary, when we truly have the eternal perspective we will become even more zealous to bring God’s Kingdom to earth. As John says:
“Beloved, we are now children of God, and what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that when Christ appears, we will be like Him, for we will see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as Christ is pure.” (1 Jn 3:1-2)
What I realized 13 years ago is that when we celebrate on Sunday that Jesus arose from death, it is not just that we are happy for His sake. His resurrection shows where we are going if we follow him. His path is the path of life. A life that never ends. It is because of his painful death on the cross that we can go that way.
Today at 3 PM, think of Jesus and pray to him. He loves you so much that he was subjected to one of the world’s most evil execution methods. He gave everything for you. You are too precious and loved to be lost in the bottomless darkness of death. God, your Creator and Friend, calls you to eternal happiness.
Testimony of Salvation and Healing
Recently on a Jesus Army conference, I shared the brief testimony of a new friend of mine who was recently saved and healed from what seemed to be demonic suppression. ∞
A Church Without Evangelism isn’t a Church
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…)
A Witch Set Free by Jesus
Originally posted on Jesus Army’s website.
Swedish speaker and author Désirée Kjellin used to be a witch involved with occultism, but a powerful encounter with Jesus transformed her completely.
“IT’S great that yoga suits you”, the psychologist told Désirée. “I think meditation would be the perfect next step.”
He recommended these practices with good intentions, wanting to promote Désirée’s mental health, but little did he know that he indirectly put her on a very dangerous path.
Désirée’s yoga teacher was a passionate believer in new age, and before long she taught Désirée not just the practices of eastern meditation, but also shamanism, Reiki healing and Kundalini.
Désirée joined her at secret pagan meetings in Swedish forests where people worshipped the moon, as well as interacting with “spiritual guides” who for Désirée were a deceased Native American chief and a Samurai. During deep meditation, they became so real to her that she could physically touch them and speak to them. (more…)
Obeying Jesus Even When You Don’t Feel Like It
I was talking to a church leader the other day about why they quit doing public evangelism, which reached tens of thousands of people and led many to the Lord and made many join the church. The main reason was that they had even higher expectations on the fruits the street evangelism would bring, and there was even a demanding pressure centrally from the denomination that basically was never satisfied. 25 years of this created a weariness and bitterness which in turned spawned a backlash, making the church quit public evangelism altogether.
The church leader said to me that there are people in the congregation who used to be very skilled in leading people to Christ but that now want nothing to do with street evangelism. They’ll still share the Gospel if they get the opportunity, but they hardly ever get the opportunity. Their anxiety caused by not meeting expectations was cured by lowering expectations to almost zero, and so many of them blamed street evangelism for not being fruitful enough while living a life that from an evangelistic standpoint is close to fruitless.
The emotional pain from almost being forced to share the Gospel with promises for a revival that never came is strong, and understandable. But it’s not a reason for letting people go to hell. As strong as our emotional dislike for an action may be, if the Bible commands it we should do it. As we recognise this and pray for strength to do it, God can heal our emotional scars. (more…)
Words of Knowledge that Led to Salvation
God is so good. Last Sunday I went out on the streets of Kettering with a guitar and some Gospel tracts to invite people to our evening meeting. I met a woman in dark clothing walking with the help of a crutch, who commented how happy I looked when I played. I asked her how she was doing. “Like shit” she said, explaining to me her tough family situation, tragedies in her past and her homelessness.
She then asked me what I was doing and I said that I invite people to a Gospel meeting where there will be worship, Bible study, prayer – and tea. She responded that she doesn’t believe in God – she found it impossible after all the bad things that had happened to her. I gave her a booklet the Jesus Army has printed called The Biggest Issue which asked on the front cover “Where is God when all goes wrong?”
She asked me how I got involved with this church and I explained that I found it on the Internet and came all the way from Sweden to join a training year, living in community and working in one of their Kingdom Businesses. She was really impressed by that kind of commitment to a church. She revealed that she actually carries a cross necklace around in her bag, “I guess I do have a little faith after all.” Then she said that a warm cup of tea would be lovely and decided to go with me to the meeting hall. (more…)
Awakening Europe Managed to Do Something I’ve Never seen Before
Last weekend Heidi Baker, Todd White, Chris Overstreet and other revivalists were preaching and ministering in Stockholm at the huge charismatic Gospel event called Awakening Europe. Sarah and I were there along with at least 12,000 other Christians hungry for God and the expansion of His Kingdom in Scandinavia. Even though I’m critical to big arenas, church shows, expensive equipment and male dominance the overall impression from the event was very positive since the message was centred on something we are desperately lacking in Northern churches:
This was without doubt the most Jesus-centred conference I’ve ever been to. The pure Gospel was being preached every night with emphasis on repentance, faith, salvation and being born again. The program booklet proclaimed that Europe shall be saved and that we should believe for 100 million souls over the next ten years. The pause screen in between sessions asked us if we had spoken to someone about Jesus today – something my friend Rebecka Rodriguez calls the One Person a Day Challenge. Swedish church leaders prayed that we once again would become a nation of missionaries.
Most impressively, they managed to get most of the ten thousand attendees out on the streets to preach the Gospel, heal the sick, love the poor and invite people to the event. I have never seen that happening previously. Every time when a Christian conference has had evangelism, it has only been a tiny minority participating while most people do other stuff in the conference or camp area. It has often been viewed as a bonus activity for those especially called rather than as discipleship training for all the saints. (more…)
Why Doesn’t God Make His Existence More Visible?
In the third lecture of my Spiritual Q&A series, I talk about the alleged hiddenness of God. Why doesn’t God make His existence more obvious? Is it because He doesn’t care, or is it because it wouldn’t change our skepticism anyway?
Sex in the Pews
Today I’m starting a new series on my YouTube channel called Radical Bible which aims to do Bible study in a prophetic, profound and a bit provoking way. The first episode is about people having sex in church pews and what to do when ministry gets messy.
The Hiddenness of God: a Charismatic Response
There’s a theological problem known as the hiddenness of God which is sometimes used by atheists as an argument for God’s existence. If there is a God and He cares for human salvation, why isn’t He making His existence more obvious? Why isn’t He putting a neon cross in the sky or stamp every cell with “Made by God” in Hebrew letters? Why is He so silent and invisible if He exists?
Apologists generally offer two responses to this. First, God’s existence is already obvious as it is, the arguments from natural theology are good and atheism is really a position held by a minority on a global scale. Second, we cannot be sure that more people would actually be saved if God’s existence was even more obvious, knowing that He exists isn’t the same thing as building a relationship with Him.
I think those responses are good but would also want to offer a third response – a charismatic one. In the video above you can see how a deafmute boy in Zambia starts to hear and speak. On this page you will find resources on medically verified healings. There you go, evidence for God’s existence.
The atheist may respond that these events have natural explanations that we just don’t know yet. But that’s probably what s/he would say about the neon cross and the “Made by God”-stamps as well. And so there’s no way those kind of atheists will accept the existence of God. But if they’re open-minded, they’ll realise that He isn’t far away from any of us, and He can do convincing miracles in all of our lives.