We are on Holiday; chilling in the south of Spain, close to Malaga. Our friends Jonathan and Mirrku are getting married this Saturday and we have a great testimony to share with you! Last Sunday, we met Andrew, one of our friends from Gibraltar. He told us about a Ukrainian girl that Guro met two years ago during one of our Summer Teams. She had responded to the Gospel, and prayed the salvation prayer. He told us that after that encounter, she had been baptized, that she is now in Madrid, and that she regularly does the same kind of street evangelism that she saw us doing 2 years ago! God is good!
With our Mission Training School underway, I have been reading about leadership, and particularly a book by John Maxwell called “Relationships 101”, a great book about becoming a servant and living for others.
A mistake that I tend to make as a leader is that I think too much in terms of influence and impressing, rather than in terms of investing into people’s lives. That usually reveals one thing: insecurity. Have you ever noticed that the people that encourage others the most are the most secure? When we feel the need to elevate ourselves above anyone else, it is because we base our value upon what other people think about us. In the same way, if we are unable to encourage, it is because we are unwilling to consider others more highly than ourselves.
Show me someone who thinks he is too important to serve, and I’ll show you someone who is basically insecure.
So are you a servant, are you investing into people’s lives, releasing them to be all God wants them to be? Or are you insecure? Part of the cure is just to start serving in small things, and your heart will follow you mind. Use every opportunity you have to encourage the people around you, and to make them feel important!
A new season is starting at Jesus Revolution’s base in Oslo. Tomorrow our new missionaries are coming from all over Europe. Three of my heroes, Vidar, Kristine and Guro will lead the mission training school.
An interesting question is raised up every year when I see that there are many more young women than boys coming. This is reflected in every other mission’s organization that I know.
Here are some of my questions on the subject (*updated from the comments):
Girls are more sensitive to God’s calling?
- The evangelism methods used by our organizations tend to be artistic in a way that appeals more to young women than young men?
- This is simply a reflection of a more general trend in the church today where women are much more involved than men?
- Young men love Mama’s cooking too much?
- A lack of masculine examples?
- Queen Victoria’s influence over the church of England and methodism in the 19th century.(*updated from Joshua’s comment)
- The increasing depreciation of men in society which has come into the church (*updated from Magnus’ comment)
Our home church in Oslo, Jesus Church, has just organized it’s first festival called “Jesus Festival”. I estimate that about 2000 different people turned up during the week to celebrate Jesus, be equipped, and learn about reaching the nations. My flesh didn’t like the festival so much, and here is why:
It reminded me of who I should be and the work to be done
Ron Luce was one of the guest preachers at the conference. He also held a youth ministry leader workshop, and depicted the condition of the world’s youth. This reminded me that I cannot have a self-centered, comfortable life; I have a great responsibility as a leader for young people, a fact altogether too easy for me and many of us to forget. If I am going to be a part of reaching this generation with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I need to dream, to plan, and to work more than ever before. Painful stuff for the flesh, but so good to hear.
Too much focus on Jesus and Missions
True to modern Christianity, my flesh would have liked to hear Ulf Ekman and Denis Rouse, the other guest preachers, share about how to be a successful middle-class Christian. Unfortunately, one preached about the Holy Spirit, and the other about value transformation, how to deny yourself and be more like Jesus. On Saturday, Jesus Revolution celebrated its 10 years with a MEGA concert, putting together many great songs from these last years. Again, the need for workers in Europe was preached. My flesh didn’t like it, but I loved it! Added to this, great worship and fellowship finished the work. I look forward to next year!
Here is a little video from our holiday in Marseille, my Mum is playing around with Lisa Joy, our niece. Isn’t she a cute little baby?
Lesson 1: The place in Europe where people are the most closed to the Gospel is in the brains of the Christians.
Wherever I have been, in the north, the south, east, and west of Europe, there is openness to the Gospel among the youth. I have yet to come to one place where more people are not interested than those that are. When I am out on the streets, I tend to be very selective as to who I would like to speak to depending on people’s appearance. However, I have discovered that frequently, those that are very interested are those that don’t seem to be on the outside.
Lesson 2: People want the supernatural — pray for the sick.
All over Europe, many of the people I have met recognize the genuineness of my experiences with God, but then go on to affirm that they need their own experiences to be able to believe. I have found out that asking people if they have pain anywhere in their bodies, and then praying for them, is a great way to witness. When Jesus heals them on the spot, they are immediately interested in hearing more. Try it out for yourself! The more you pray for the sick, the more you will see healed…
Lesson 3: People need to dissociate their thoughts of Jesus from their thoughts of the church.
I admit that this is a trickier one. The church has not always been a great example of Jesus’ love; as the DC talk song intro puts it: “the greatest cause of atheism in the world today, is Christians.” You can use this simple example that I was taught: Christianity can be assimilated to an orange. If you bite straight into it, it is very bitter. But if you take away the peel, the inside is very sweet. Often, if people look at Christianity, it looks rotten or bitter. This is because of the peel of man-made religion that has been put around the inside: Jesus. He is the very heart of religion, and will never disappoint. When people get this, their picture of God changes.
Hope this was helpful for you! Do you agree? Do you have any tips for witnessing?
What do you get if you mix a bunch of Jesus loving young people, train them for four days, and send them into the streets of a nation that is wide open to the Gospel? We have just come back from two amazing weeks of Summer Team in Italy, and God has done great things.
After five days of training in the north of Italy, we came down with around 70 young people to the city of Bari, in the south of Italy. After the first day of outreach, we found out that many young people there believed in Jesus, but had never experienced him personally, or understood why Jesus had died on the cross. It was the perfect environment for Jesus to manifest His love in healing the sick. One of the outreach groups prayed for a man in a wheelchair, having a leg shorter than the other. His sister exploded in tears when she saw the leg grow out in front of her very eyes. All of the people looking on gave their lives to Jesus. Other people were healed from bad eyesight, knee problems, and more…
One of my life’s best experiences
My best experience was the last night, for the very last streetmeeting that we had. After preaching the Gospel, I called for anyone with pain to come forth. At first no one came, but then a courageous lady with pain in both knees walked towards me. I prayed for her and Jesus totally healed her. Immediately one other old lady came, with pain in her back. Jesus also totally healed her, ad she left crying for joy. Five other people came, and all left healed. Then two guys came forward, one of them wearing a t-shirt with a big anarchy sign. Their words went straight my heart: “We don’t have pain anywhere in our bodies, but we have pain in our souls. What can we do?”. It was not so hard to explain the Gospel to them…
Photos and Videos
In addition to the testimonies above, so many lives have been changed, both the participants of the Summer Team or the people they met on the streets. It is such a blessing to see God in action! Here are some videos of what we did, and here are some photos from the whole trip.
Guro training 200 people in dancing
One of the outreaches
Young Italians looking on
200 crazy people and my wife is teaching them… We arrived in Bologna on Monday, and since then it has been a blast. With around 100 Americans and 100 Europeans, we have had time in teaching, worshiping God and learning dance and drama as you see on the video! Why crazy people? Because they are dancing with temperatures of up to 44°C! Tonight we will have the first outreach in Bologna, and tomorrow we will travel down to Bari. I will keep you updated in the coming days.
In one week’s time we will leave to Italy for a mission trip gathering around two hundred young people. We will first spend 4 days together in Bologna, in the North, training in dance, drama, receiving teaching, and preparing the way together in prayer and worship. Then will be split into three groups traveling to three different destinations.
Mission to Bari
We will going with a group will be heading for Bari in the south of Italy, a city of 330 000 people. Down there we will work with the local churches to do street evangelism, creative performances to share Jesus with people. From my previous experiences in Italy, the youth are very open to the Gospel. With Italy being a religious nation, most young people believe in God, and have a fear of death and hell, but have never experienced Jesus personally. Whereas in France most conversations would revolve around the existence of God, in Italy the main aim will be to tell the youth how to meet with Jesus.
Leading a team
I have been asked to lead the group in Bari, which amounts to around 70 people. This will involve teaching, overseeing the outreaches, and dealing with quite some practical issues. Pray that God would help me and give me wisdom for those days!
This year we have the joy of leading what is called “headquarter team”. This team deals with all kinds of practical matters at the base in Oslo. Here are the different people that are part of it:
Has been a part of Jesus Revolution for 6 years. He has been working as a sound and light technician with one of our musicals, and leading a mobile team and a base team in different parts of Europe.
Has been a part of Jesus Revolution for 6 years. He has been working as a sound technician in concert teams, and is the “internet, network and fileserver man” at the base, people are constantly in the office asking for Thorsten, he’s the man!
Espen Frøyshov, Norway
Espen has been a part of Jesus Revolution for 6 years. He has been working with media, touring with a musical, and is now responsible for the partners department at the base, as well as other areas. He has a Master of Science in Engineering cybernetics;
Karoline Humlestøl and Kristine Tolås, Norway
Karoline has been part of Jesus Revolution for 3 years, she has been singing with 2 of our concert teams and is now assisting Kristine for the “food department” at the base, which with so many people living at the base, is no minor job, believe me.
Kristine has been a part of Jesus Revolution for 5 years. She has been touring as a dancer with our concert teams, and assisting the “schools manager” with many different tasks. She is now sick and has to relax until at least easter, so you can pray for her!
Well I will make the long story short, but I have this friend in Oslo that invited me to pizza on the day when the celebrate Abraham. He was going to pray at the mosque and invited me to join him just to visit, and it turned out that I had a really good time there! I was able to speak to the Imam and ask some question, and then a young guy asked me what I thought about being there, so we got to speak some more, which was very cool! Loved it!
For those interested, here is a link to an article about the celebration that have on wikipedia.
Here is a website that you can give to any muslim friend that you have spoken about Jesus to, it is about former Muslims that have had dreams and visions about Jesus and became Christian.
A short video about the outreach that we had in Oslo during the Autumn