I don’t know if you ever felt disappointed on something or someone? I have quite a few times in life. Mostly my disappointments have the root in my wrongly tuned expectations either on people or sometimes even on God (not been disappointed on Him though)
It’s hard when people let you down, at least for me. on one side I am not perfect myself so Its kind of awkward to put to high expectations on others. But actually I have no real problem with peoples failures, falls and shortcomings so much. But when people say one thing and then does another deliberately its really hard on me. When I feel someone declares one thing and then shows to be preparing for the opposite I have a hard time with disappointment.
I’ve noticed in my emotions the older I get the more suspicious I get. I don’t like to be suspicious, its a sign of getting old and cynical, I don’t want that, well I will get old but I don’t want to get cynical. Suspicion I guess is an effect of to many disappointments in life, it is a mechanism of protection, an emotional defense mechanism.
As I read this morning in 2 Cor 7 Paul writes about sorrow, how to have sorrow after Gods heart and in Gods way. I think my own sorrow too many times been more destructive, a worldly sorrow as Paul describes it. But by nature I am a thinker, thoughts flows my mind often trying to figure out the purpose and reason of life, sometimes with the bible in hand and sometimes without.
Today I woke up with this heavy feeling of sorrow and as I opened my daily bible reading it was 2 Cor 7 speaking about sorrow in two ways. So I was pondering my sorrow. Sorrow comes from some kind of loss, something you treasured has been lost. different kinds of loss of course. If a thing it can be irretrievably , if a dear one leaves this life its also permanent, if a broken relationship the person might still be around but your relationship have changed. Like in a divorce for example! Especially if it is a one-way divorce, one wants to split but the other not. That hurts even more, you feel abounded, disqualified, rejected and that hurts really deep.
But Jesus experienced all these things and still He loved those who did it toward Him. its hard for my emotions to grasp that, to embrace that side of redemption but still its a fact. Jesus managed to give His whole life to God there on the cross, bleeding, rejected, betrayed and abounded. I have to do the same, but its not easy.
‘Lord help me to forgive, forget and continue to live life even after deep disappointments’
Today I did it! I decided to close down all my socialmedia accounts so I don’t even know who is seeing this blog actually. Facebook have occupied to much of my time lately. I personally also feel it started to impact my perception of life and reality in a very negative way. When seeing or reading a post from someone I connect, it impacts my relation to that person some how, I feel something, think some thing but that person don’t know about. It is a kind of strange 1,5 way communication. If I haven’t been in contact with that person for say 6 months I also read in the today’s update into my 6 month old encounter with the person, but a million things have happened in his/her life since then. It’s like pouring new and old wine in the same glass, tastes not new nor old, just strange. (bad example, I don’t drink wine)
Another thing I noticed with myself was that I always lived somewhere else, not in the room I am at the moment and with the people I have fellowship with right now.
I want to live here and now, not here and there.
I will write on the blog and can be reached on email email@example.com or on cellphone +46732706291 if someone wants to get in contact.
(I will keep my FB account open but only to publish links to this blog on it. I’ve taken away the app from my phone and will very seldom open it on the computer as well. Instagram I’ve also removed from my phone as well as. Vkontakte and twitter are closed down)
I guess the summer of 2014 will go to history as the summer when the world went totally crazy. First the Ukraine crisis turned to full scale war, Israel attacked by Hamas and finally the ISIS army arises in Syria and Iraq.
Pictures of women and children killed and mutilated floods social media, some fake, but still the reality is brutal. Tens of thousands fly in different directions to find a safe haven. After spending many years in both Ukraine and Azerbaijan with people of different religion and culture I have learn a few things about people. Most common people just want to live a normal, peaceful life. Work, eat, love and laugh once in a while. The ambitions are not so tremendous at all. In fact most people strive daily just to fill their basic need of shelter, food and clothing. No dreams of being a billionaire, or even millionaire, just a decent happy life is desired.
War puts a dramatic end to the very basic need of a human being, safety. If live’s ended everything is ended, its final and its very brutal.
Having lived in Ukraine and traveled a lot in the areas where a full scale war is now raging having some of my closest and dearest friends there this summer has been very special for us as a family. Every single morning I open webpages and read about what has happened during the night. Same morning same reading. Bloodshed, death, destruction and millions of speculations, propaganda and anti-propaganda about who is guilty of what.
My heart has breaks for the people under shelling from either side, for those young lives ended in battle, mothers loosing their sons. Again blood is flowing in Ukraine!
As I opened my bible this morning I read in 2 Cor 4:8-18 ‘We are hard pressed on everyside, yet not crushed…’. As long as there is breath there is hope. God is able to turn a crazy summer into His glory. How? I don’t know but I have to believe He can because He promised to do so.
‘Lord, let the power of Love and reconciliation defeat the powers of darkness and bring forth your eternal light and life’
This Sunday we left our hotel in Rayon with a taxi to go to Bangkok and the flight back home to Sweden the Bangkok taxi driver got a little lost on very small roads while he was looking for the main road to Bangkok. We drove for about an hour through the Forrest. Beautiful full of rubber trees everywhere. I sat there in the car looking at the small houses we passed, all the small Buddha temples and thought ‘Who will reach these people for Jesus?’.
Of course nearly all of them have satellite TV. I thought maybe they will accidentally turn on a christian TV program, sit down and listen to the sermon, write a letter to the producer, receive a bible, read it and rightly understand and become a Christian rubber farmer.
I sat there and realized the enormous need of missionaries. When God wanted to save the world he send a person, Jesus Christ. Those people in the rubber tree Forrest really need a missionary, or several missionaries. People who live among them, talk, eat and maybe work with them. I thought ‘We need 10,000 missionaries!’
In Ethiopia Joshuacampaign is involved in church planting project in the unreached territories of Ethiopia. The goal is to plant 100 churches the next 5 years by sending out missionaries to those regions.
Jesus said we should pray for laborers to the harvest because the Harvest is plentiful. My prayer this morning is ‘Lord, speak to young people to forsake all and follow You into the missionfield’.
A few years ago while still serving as Lead pastor for Word of Life Baku I was apart of a group of people from different ministries and churches, mostly foreigners. Good people who felt the Lord had called them to Baku for some kind of outreach or ministry.
Now for some reason someone wanted to create an umbrella organisation for all the others to be apart of. When I prayed about it I felt very clearly the Lord leading us a church in a slight other direction. Due to that I started to agitate and influence this group of people in a certain direction. This didn’t no really turn out so well and they kind of ignored my attempts, which I didn’t like at all of course:), an due to this I developed a stinking attitude in my heart toward those brothers and sisters. The more I prayed about it the more I was convinced the Lord was leading us in a slight other direction (later it became evident it was the right thing for us to do). And I got more and more upset about the direction they where taking this ‘umbrella organisation’.
My attitude really started to smell bad before God I guess. But still I was more and more convinced I was walking the right direction, but with a stinking attitude! One day as I was having my daily devotion one scripture popped out of the bible from Psalms 50:23 ‘Whoever offers praise glorifies Me’ and I suddenly realized all those people I was so upset about actually praised God everyday. I got so convicted there by myself in my prayer closet so I repented and decided to go before them and and change my decision to not be apart of that particular Umbrella organisation.
Then something happened in my heart, I kind of heard a small voice saying, ‘The problem was your attitude not the decision you’ve made on which way to walk’. I realized the Lord was leading us a different path forward and I had wanted them all to take the same road, and I had tried to make them do so. But the way was mine to follow, I can’t say about them nor make decisions for them, it had to be their choices and whatever choice they made, whether I agree or had another opinion about it I had to still love them and keep my heart clean before God.
My point is I made the right choice but with a bad attitude! I had to change my attitude not my choice.
‘Lord help us to walk before you with a clean and open heart’
Recently I’ve been talking and pondering the necessity of the Evangelist. This ministry carries a high profile in the New Testament and should be regarded in importance accordingly. When the evangelist been scorned and ridiculed using expressions like evangelastic and so on I think it grieves the Holy Spirit of God who has anointed the evangelist to be the ministry in the forefront.
In our early days in former Sovjetunion the evangelist always played a crucial role in breaking through preparing the way for the next ministry, teacher or pastor to step in to form and build new believers in their walk with Jesus.
The fivefold ministries are grace given to the church for its equipping and development and they have their place and time for ministry to build the house of God. No ministry carries the fullness but minister according to the grace God has given them, not more or nor less.
The evangelist fires up the church and releases passion and vision for reaching the lost. A church’s highest calling is to reach the lost, in the neighborhood and in the city. The evangelistic fervor and spirit is absolute crucial. When we stop making altar calls inviting people to repent is a sign our priorities have changed and we are slowly leaving the evangelistic for a more cozy church life where we become like a subculture having lost all our natural connections to unbelievers and as result our services become irrelevant filled with church vocabulary hard for unchurched people to grasp. Jesus becomes elitistic and separated from daily life as a result.
We need revival and the evangelist is often equipped for releasing this to the local church. He also carries power and especially the power gifts of healing and miracles to set people free from bondage and sickness which we need to be renewed among us over and over again.
No Other Name than Jesus saves!
Yesterday I visited one of my favourite cities of Sweden, Malmö. I had the great privilige to speak at Malmö International Church where Ingmar and Tina Aronsson is pastoring. Ingmar started the church from scratch quite some years ago and is still keeping up the good work.
It is quite successful church plant in Sweden. During our dinner after the service we touched on the subject church planting. We both agreed about the desperate need of new churches in Sweden. I heard someone say not so long ago that a new started church are between 6-8 time as a effective in reaching out with the gospel than any older church. The enthusiasm and passion in a newly started church is contagious. It rubs off!
I don´t think the one and only answer is megachurch, huge extremely influencial sometimes even draining smaller churches of their members. Of course I believe in megchurches, they have their place.
But also smaller churches, neighbourhood churches should not be despised at all. They can have a tremendous impact in their neighbourhood. We need lots of small neighbourhood churches all over sweden. I believe its time to rethink some of the ways we think church.
A church with 100 members might not have the strength to send tonnes of missionaries overseas, but they can impact their neighbourhood strongly. Faithfully bringning out the message of Jesus to the people around. In our suburbs and small towns we need hundreds of such a churches. With pastors faithfully serving year after year giving testimony about Jesus Christ.
I want to thank and honor all those pastors who year after year faithfully serve in their churches. Maybe no one will ever give them recognition or they might never be bestselling authors and world famous preachers. But that is not the calling either, but it is to make Jesus known to every man and women on the planet which includes our neighbourhood as well.
In the gospels Jesus talks about end time at several occasions. In doing so he mentions in Matthew 24:14 about the gospel being preached in all the world as a witness to all nations, then the end will come.
Witness is someone giving his life for a cause, a person living for a purpose. Here the purpose is talking about Jesus, what he did on the cross, died for our sins and resurrecting in power now having the authority to forgive sins, heal broken hearts and lives. The whole of Old Testament points to one thing and that is the Cross of Christ. He is the center and the star of the bible!
Jesus talks to His disciples in Matthew 24 about the situation when they go on their witness-mission, war, ethnic conflict, false Messiah’s and so forth. The focus is to establish a witness about Jesus so all ethnic groups will hear the true message of the gospel, not a self promoting, ego centered, human worshipping gospel, but Jesus and His sacrificial death on the cross. Jesus is to be the one witnessed about! Jesus!
There is no salvation in any other name!
These witness centers what is it? What is it Jesus talks about? Well, I think He thinks about groups of people living in community in their community witnessing about Jesus. About the Cross! We call this church! A group of believers living together, worshipping together socially open for integrating new members of their ‘family’ of believers, actually their solemn purpose is to grow in numbers.
Today in the world there are spots where there are no such a witnesses, unreached areas. There might be some barely surviving churches but very isolated from the rest of the community. There is a desperate need of new wineskins, actually tens of thousands of new ‘witnesses’.
The Lord spoke to me recently asking me if I wanted to be a part of a movement of church planting which He carries in His heart. It has already begun, it’s not that public due to the persecution and challenges. I said ‘Yes, Lord I want to be a part of that!’. We saw it when the Iron curtain fell down and we run in preaching and proclaiming the gospel in the former soviet union. Today as a result of mine and many others work tens of thousands of churches has been established and now there is a living testimony about the Cross, about Jesus in that part of the world.
Now we must go to other parts not having a testimony established. Recently when visiting Ethiopia and my good friend Per Åkvist, Joshuacampaign, I talked with an Ethiopian man of god, a church planter who had planted hundreds of churches over the years. Now he had left the movement he once started to start all over again to plant churches. I asked him how many churches he could start in 5 years. His answer came fast and very convincingly ‘100 churches in 5 years’. A missionary pastor is send out and he gets 50 Usd/month for 2 years then he must be selfsupporting. I thought to myself for 30,000 Usd I could help this brother start 100 churches in the unreached areas of Ethiopia.
This was a couple of weeks ago and I can’t get it out of my head. I want to channel those 30,000 Usd to this man.
For 50 Usd/month you can support a missionary/pastor to go and start a church. This means it will cost around 1000 Euro to establish one church! Not much.
If you want to help this pastor please write me firstname.lastname@example.org and I will get the money over to him. He told me he has 9 ready missionaries he want to send now! Will you send them!
There are lots of controlling forces in the world we live in. All through the history man has been on a surge for freedom. Freedom is first and foremost inner freedom, the ability to live after my own convictions and to follow my consciousness. There is a price to keep this inner freedom alive and healthy all through life. It demand strength to uphold it.
I read a great book by Nathan Sharansky some years ago, Fear no Evil, where he describes his battle against the Soviet regime to keep his inner freedom of thought and faith. It lead him to spend 11 years in prison. During these years he fought tirelessly to maintain his inner freedom. His method was simple. He never obeyed anything contradicting with or limiting his inner freedom. When commanded to sleep, he stayed awake, when commanded to eat he didn’t. When he finally was released and brought to the airport i Berlin to be united with his wife he was told to walk straight to the car from the airplane. He then turned around and walked zigzag backwards towards the waiting car.
Of course this was an extreme situation but extreme situations demand extreme counter measures!
I value my freedom, my freedom of choice, freedom of religion, freedom of thought, freedom of movement enormously much!
Jesus came to set us free, not to bind us within a some religious system. He came to set us free from sin which so easily and hardly snares us bringing us into captivity. The sacrifice of Christ was to set us free, to make us free from sin and death to give us the gift of life, to live for Him and with Him.
Let us use our lives for His Glory and to fulfill everything He has enabled us too!