Tag Archives: churches

Greatest Muslim nation on earth wonders what happens; Christianity grows like never before!

Indonesia, a nation with over 215 million Muslim believers that total 13% of the total Muslim world population is in for a surprise! Unprecedented growth among Christians with an Evangelical and Pentecostal identity puzzles the nation. In Indonesia it is a disgrace and a dangerous act to convert to Christianity from a Muslim background. People who are converts are experiencing different kinds of persecution within the extended family, but also within society.  Exact figures are hard to gather but a recent report estimates that 10% of Indonesians are Christians. A figure many Christian leaders believe is too low.

Some interesting facts?

  • In the early 1960s there were no Evangelical churches in Temanggung, where the soccer-field revival took place; now there are more than 40.
  • In the capital Jakarta, newly built mega churches send steeples into the sky
  • Other Christians worship at unofficial churches based in hotels and malls, where Sunday services rival shopping as a popular weekend activity
  • Asia’s tallest statue of Jesus Christ, built in 2007, presides over Manado city in eastern Indonesia, while Indonesian cable TV beams 24-hour Christian channels.

Time magazine reports: “What is it about Evangelical Christianity that has so resonated in Indonesia? As in many other crowded, developing-world countries where a person can feel lost in a teeming slum, the concept of individual salvation is a powerful one. At the same time, the attempted hijacking of Muslim theology by a small band of homegrown terrorists who have killed hundreds of Indonesians in recent years has led some to question their nation’s majority faith. So, too, has the general trend toward a more conservative Islam that has given rise to hundreds of religiously inspired bylaws, from caning for beer-drinking to enforced dress codes for women. Not everyone, though, is celebrating Christianity’s boom. Some Muslims view the faith as an unwanted foreign influence, even though Islam, too, is an imported religion”.

I am excited about this recent development and it gives hope to us who have not been part of such sweeping moves of God in our nations. If God can do it in strongholds of Islam, He can AND will move here as well!

John

Report: Christianity Growing in Indonesia – World – CBN News – Christian News 24-7 – CBN.com.

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“Take this city, a city should be shining on a hill” U2- Stockholm

One of my favorite songs is the beautiful song of U2 from the album “How to dismantle an atomic bomb”. At the end of the song Bono’s lyrics say: Take this city, a city should be shining on a hill
. Take this city
, if it be your will.” These words relate to the Gospel of Matthew 5:14“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden”.

As I am thinking about these words and what it takes to be shining in the world… Bono answers that question too as he sings: Yahweh, Yahweh
. Always pain before a child is born. Yahweh, tell me now
. Why the dark before the dawn?

There is always pain in birth. There is always darkness before light. I have this picture in my heart that becomes stronger and stronger as I think and pray about my dear city Stockholm that in so many ways seems to be overcome by darkness.

The picture I have is that of planet earth as it was still unformed, Gen 1:2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters…

If you and I had been there would we have noticed the presence of the Spirit of God? Would we have noticed that He was hovering over the waters? What was He doing there? How long did this go on? From our history and from the Bible we know that the Holy Spirit prepares the ways of God… In the same way as the Spirit was preparing the still unformed and dark earth, God is preparing our city, Stockholm which seems to be empty of His presence (at times)… yet I know that when the time has come God will speak as He did in the beginning: Gen 1:3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light!

Also in our days God is preparing Stockholm by His Spirit, at times we hardly notice it… there is so much work done in hiding, yet when the time has come He will speak with such authority, such hope, such grace that people will turn to Him, acknowledging Him and knowing Him. I see that day in my heart. While there is still pain, while there is still darkness… I am waiting for that day!

There are people in our city overcome by pain and darkness… let’s pray and tell them that soon there will be birth, soon there will be light… as God speaks again words too wonderful to imagine… as young and old turn to Jesus and be transformed!

That’s the Way I see it (in faith!)

John

For the lyrics of “Yahweh” by U2 click here!

Jesusmanifestationen in Stockholm…

I had the privilege to be part of the Jesusmanifestation… I was part of this day together with leaders and members from Korskyrkan, Vineyard, Tomaskyrkan and Petruskyrkan and our own church New Life as we met at Sergelstorg. See picture:

I had the privilege to lead the two-hour meeting on the infamous Sergelstorg where according to the Christian daily paper DAGEN 90% of Stockholm’s drugs exchange hands (pockets, mouths) or pass through. I told the audience (up to 2500 people) that the name “Jesusmanifestationen” was well-chosen because Jesus is able to manifest Himself and is still doing that as He is walking the streets of our beloved city Stockholm…

Musicians, gospel singers, a worship team, pastors and other people telling their stories of how Jesus had become real in their lives and the wonderful presence of Christians and non-Christians created a familiar atmosphere where many people stayed for long periods of time, sometimes maybe almost against their inclination… Yet they stayed… could it have been because the Holy Spirit was there and intercessors had prepared the ground?! (Thank you God!)

People were invited to receive prayer at the back of a truck which was dividing the stage from the people.. small trickles of people came for prayer… for different needs. At the end of the two hour meeting (divided in 3 sections of 40 minutes each) I felt the urge of the Holy Spirit to invite people forward to the stage as intercessors gathered… each of the 20 intercessors was busy praying for people who came forward to be prayed for (according to Dagen’s journalist).

What can one say about the manifestation… The press in the nation shows the importance of this event by its sheer absence (only Svenska Dagbladet wrote a small article about it).

I preached today in our church and said. “The only sin left in the Western world, and especially in Sweden is the sin of intolerance. “Diversity,” we are told, is the source of our strength”.

The absence of the press proofs another thing to me: In our pluralistic society we have to respect the “cultural diversity” of all peoples except those who keep Christ in the center of their lives!

Honestly, in the sermon (which you might be able to listen to via our homepage. I gave a warning in regards to pluralism and the temptation as a church to move the path of tolerance which our society offers us. (I even felt that the letter from the queen encouraged that pluralism which is endorsed by our society).

The church is following that same path and approach about which A.W. Tozer wrote,

“A new set of 10 commandments have been adopted by the neo Christians of our day, ‘Thou shall not disagree’ and a new set of Beatitudes too, “Blessed are they that tolerate everything, for they shall not be made accountable for anything.”

Now then we have the philosophers of our days who can give us tons of reasons not to join these kinds of events…

In an earlier blog about this event I said:

  • I rejoice, not because I find this the most effective and appropriate way to let the people in Sweden know that we as Christian Church exist. But because we are uniting around Jesus Christ and Who He is!
  • I rejoice because we are doing something! Many of those who are against this kind of manifestation have opinions on what to do, and how to do it. Let’s be honest; they are not particularly known of doing anything at all in regards of furthering the Gospel in our nation!

For now, that’s the Way I see it… and just that you know… I will join next time, and another, and another as long as I feel that God is in it!

Enjoy some of the pictures from Bas van den Eijkhof from this event!

John

For English news read the following