Thursday, November 26, 2015

Plymouth's Pilgrims and Their Christian Faith


Using some airline miles we were able to start our last trip off by going first to the East Coast of the US for just a small extra fee—“you’re using miles we must charge you something.”

I kept thinking, “I can't believe we got all the way across the country for just 15 bucks, wow, not a bad deal!"

So we were able to stop in New England and see some historical places along the way as we started on our latest mission trip to Europe before we ministered in Scandinavia, England, and France.

One place we visited was in Plymouth, Massachusetts, where the Pilgrims from the Mayflower ship landed in 1620 and started the first sustaining colony in the New World.

A couple of other colonies had been attempted, one in Jamestown that ended with most of the colonists starving or freezing to death and the colony folding. There was also another attempt  at a colony by the French actually, at a Protestant colony called Fort Caroline in what would later become the area of Florida.

That French colony was planted and financed by an influential French Protestant Huguenot sympathizer. However, rabid Spanish Catholic fanatics got wind of it, and led by Don Pedro Menendez De Aviles, they went in and put to the sword and massacred every last person, including women and children.

So, one was facing some pretty stiff odds to attempt another colony: possible starvation, death by freezing, or massacre, none being attractive prospects. That, along with the dangers of crossing the Atlantic, surely would give one pause about leaving the homeland to go and found a new place to live in a wild land across the sea.

Persecution, however, was increasing against those who were fully embracing the Protestant Reformation in England.

The English Church had made some reforms: First under Henry the VIII, but especially under his son Edward when he took the throne; however, when Bloody Mary rose to power, she returned with a literal vengeance back to Catholicism and had Protestants hunted down and executed. Included in her massacres was the Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer, amongst many others.

The country would turn back Protestant under her half sister Elizabeth, daughter of Anne Boleyn, but her successor King James from Scotland was indifferent to reform. Even though he had authorized a new translation of the Bible into English, King James was no friend of the Puritans and had no tolerance for them, even though many were beginning to win seats in Parliament.

Those, like the Puritans, who wanted a full reformation, found themselves on the outs (the word Puritan came from their desire to purify the church back to New Testament design).

So, in spite of the grim prospects, the Mayflower set off from England in 1620 after its occupants had tried Holland for a time as a refuge from persecution. These Puritans, Separatists, and Independents aboard the Mayflower, were products of the Protestant Reformation and were under threat as Reform-minded believers in England, who wanted a full Reformation and not half measures.

They were part of the Reform movement, which was a return to biblical faith that was going on in Europe in their day, sparked originally by the influences of people like Martin Luther in Germany. It is remarkable what a chain of events were set in motion when that little unknown monk in Germany named Martin Luther found peace with God and set out to communicate about that. The History Channel recently said in a program on the Reformation and its worldwide impact “without Martin Luther and the Reformation there simply would be no America.”

The Reformation’s influence finally came across the channel to England and grew with William Tyndale, Thomas Cranmer, and others on England’s soil, when those reformers were touched by the Holy Spirit and given revelation of the Gospel.

The Puritans had been a revival movement in England that was sparked by the Reformation. They held to the main principles of the Reformation: salvation by faith through grace, through Christ alone, the Scriptures as the sole authority for matter of faith—no pope nor priest had the right to contradict God’s word.

The Puritans, however, also felt that Christ must touch the heart; mere head knowledge alone about God was not sufficient in their view. Mere cerebral acquiescence to a set of doctrines could not substitute for the reality of experiencing God’s touch in the heart. As stated by historian Sydney Ahlstrom, they could be seen as some of the early Protestant mystics.

They sought to purify and return the church back to a New Testament model like in Acts. There were those Puritans that wanted to reform from within the English Church, and those that wanted to separate (Separatists) or be completely independent (Independents). All of these Puritans though, sought as they put it, to “avoid the errors of popery in the new world.”

Like most movements and denominations, they did get formal later in their history; however, early on, they were vital, alive, and revived!

Those that came across the Atlantic were heavily influenced by the Puritan preachers in England and their focus on the Great Commission.  They were thus inspired and willing to face starvation and brutal winters even with the knowledge of how miserably those before them had suffered and how so many had died.

They were taking quite the huge step of faith. Imagine leaving everything to go to a desolate wilderness where most before you had either starved, or frozen to death, or been massacred.

A quick look at the winter Boston experienced last season with all that snow dumped every few days will give you an idea of just how rough it really could get. We happened to grab a few waves in Maine, and man, that is some very cold water and air over on the East Coast of America and that was not even in winter!

The Puritans came in spite of all the dire prospects, moved by the Great Commission and the hope for freedom to worship as they desired. Another large group of Puritans came across later to what would become Boston, as well as other areas a decade later, making up large parts of the population of the early colonies.

Thus, the Puritan revival movement and its influence loomed large in the early colonies. Their influence would continue to be visible in later revivals through people like Jonathan Edwards in the Great Awakening. Benjamin Franklin himself would be baptized in a Puritan church in Boston.

Coming across the Atlantic, these Puritan Pilgrims, contrary to what you may have been taught in school, actually sought to advance the Gospel in the new world and spread the Christian faith.

In fact their written statement on the Mayflower, which they called a Compact that they drew up and signed aboard the Mayflower declared that they were undertaking the new colony: “…for ye glorie of God and advancement of ye Christian faith…”

“…advancement of ye Christian faith…” is pretty straightforward. The earliest settlers came here and founded the first sustaining colony as believers with a prophetic intention that it would work in God’s design as a place that would advance the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

That original purpose and prophetic intention still remains over this land in spite of all the attack to undermine, and obscure, and blind people, from that truth. 

Through the Holy Spirit’s power we are still to carry that prophetic intention forth and see this land, that has experienced so much revival in the past, be revived again!

Video: Plymouth's Pilgrims and their Christian Faith
Direct link to video:
(We shot this video on location in Plymouth, MA.
It is packed with some good information. Check it out!)

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Martin Luther: A Life Transformed by the Grace of God

  • “In most big libraries, books by and about Martin Luther occupy more shelf room than those concerned with any other human being than Jesus of Nazareth.” (1) 
  • [Martin Luther] revived the Christian consciousness of Europe…Religion became again a dominant factor, even in politics, for another century and a half. Men cared enough for the faith to die for it… If there is any sense remaining of Christian civilization in the West, this man Luther in no small measure deserves the credit. (2) 
At the turn of the millennium, Time, Life and other prominent publications listed Martin Luther and the Reformation in the top 3 of the 100 most important events in the last 1000 years, yet many believers today are unaware of the important impact of the Protestant Reformation.

Not only did the Reformation bring about “the reviving of the Christian consciousness of Europe,” as Roland Bainton points out, but it also set the foundation for the coming revivals that followed in its wake:

From Hernhutt in Germany, to the Great Awakening in the American Colonies, to John Wesley and the revivals in England, all these revivals, as well as others, were directly linked to, and in the end a product of, the Protestant Reformation.

But there is something more here than just a mere understanding of the historical impact: There is a remarkable story in the events and central figure used to initiate the Reformation. It is the story of one person’s wrestling to find peace with God until he finds that “amazing grace” that liberates the soul, as Luther experienced.

A Miner’s Son

Martin Luther had been a simple miner’s son, an unknown monk, a man without power or influence in the world, who would, in the end, stand up to the establishment in both church and state that had become inconceivably corrupt and in the course change the course of Western history.

Luther was a simple Catholic monk with nothing to back him, nothing but his faith in God and the revelation of God’s grace he’d come into. In spite of the overwhelming onslaught launched against him, he stood upon the faith and revelation of grace that had come over his life. That grace sustained him through all the trials and tribulations he’d face, as a fierce attack was unleashed against him for daring to question the unbiblical practices the Catholic church had embraced and instituted.

As historian Kenneth Scott Latourette and missiologist Ralph Winter point out, his was an experience like many in Christian history, a story of the minority, the one without backing, a man at the bottom, without worldly power, without means, without money or access to any, one who goes outside the establishment.

Like Moses before Pharaoh, with nothing more than simple faith in God, Luther stood up to the powers of his day when he was brought to defend himself before the Diet, in Worms, Germany, as the Holy Roman Emperor Charles the V sat listening in judgment of what he would have to say.

In that day and age, dispensing of alleged heretics, as Luther was accused of being, was no problem. The Inquisition was in full swing, having been birthed by Catholic fanatics in Spain and the inquisitors took strange pleasure in torturing and burning to death those that did not tow the line of Medieval Catholicism.

Knowing that he was facing probable death and torture, Luther would still not recant when pressed by the diet to do so but proclaimed: “My conscience is captive to the word of God.... I cannot and will not recant anything. Here I stand, so help me God.” A poignant and important moment in all history to be sure, yet a deeper story is underneath it all.

The Transformation: From Tame to Tiger

Luther never intended to stand up to anyone or anything in the beginning at all. In fact, Luther had actually been quite a tame soul.

After entering the monastery, he unquestioningly went along and devoutly followed all the prescribed rituals the Catholic Church laid out. From penance, to fastings, to long dead prayers, to confession of his sins before the priests, he did it all, willingly, hoping…hoping to find salvation and peace, yet none of it brought him close to God whatsoever. In fact he felt further from God now and was worse off than when he started with all these rituals.

He kept at it though, hoping to persevere and finally arrive at the peace with God he was supposed to find through all the prescribed Catholic Church rituals.

He began, however, to drive the other priests mad by his frequent confessions, obsessively confessing for hours at a time, trying to expunge every possible sin in his life he could think of—after all, this was what he was supposed to do according to Catholic teaching—and he felt he must find each and every sin and confess it.

His superior Staupitz, however, was getting annoyed and told him: “Why don’t you go out and commit some real sins and come back when you have something to actually confess.”

The Revelation of God’s Grace

He was then basically sent away to study the Scriptures to get him out of the priests’ hair. Thus, Luther began to read the Bible, which was a first for him; priests did not read the Bible. Most couldn’t anyways since very few knew Latin and it was the only language in which the Catholic Church allowed the Bible to be translated into. Such edicts of the church were enforced through pain of death.

Interestingly enough, even though he had been raised in the Catholic Church his whole life, Luther pointed out later that he hadn’t even seen a Bible until he was about twenty years old.

Nevertheless, Luther had been educated and studied law before joining the monastery, and Latin was the language of law. It was while reading the Scriptures that his eyes would be opened.

As Luther read the Scriptures he began to wrestle with Paul’s words in Romans and Galatians. The words, “the just shall live by faith” perplexed him until, like a ray of light shining down on him from heaven, the Holy Spirit revealed its meaning:

Christ had taken our sins upon Himself at the cross. He took upon Himself the punishment due each one of us. Now he offers, through belief in Him and His work, complete forgiveness to those who turn to Him in faith. He justifies by faith the sinner who believes upon Him, having died in the sinner’s stead.

All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, yet in His mercy He went to the cross for us.

Luther saw the connection: Jesus Christ paid the price man could not pay through his own works, or law-keeping, or attempts at goodness—all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God—one is justified freely only though through faith in Jesus Christ. (Romans 3:21-22)

However, it is by faith through grace alone that this free gift of eternal life is bestowed on each one who will accept it. (Ephesians 2:8-10)

Christ died that we might be justified, that is, made right with God, through simple belief in the work He did for us.

Suddenly he was given that life-changing revelation that Jesus died for him. Here he had been trying all this time to pay for all his own sins through all kinds prescribed rituals, trying to justify himself through his works, when Jesus had already done the work for him on the cross. This revelation broke on him like a wave crashing onto the shore. He now understood it.

In his own words he describes his experience:

“I greatly longed to understand Paul’s epistles to the Romans and nothing stood in the way but that one expression ‘The justice of God.’ Because I took it to mean that justice where…God deals justly in punishing the unjust. My situation was that though [I was] an impeccable monk, I still stood before God as a sinner, troubled in conscience, and I had no confidence that my merit would assuage Him. Therefore I did not love a just and angry God, but rather hated and murmured against him. Yet I clung to the dear Paul and had a great yearning to know what he meant.

Night and day I pondered until I saw the connection between the justice of God and the statement ‘the just shall live by faith.’

Then I grasped that the justice of God is that righteousness by which through grace and sheer mercy God justifies us through faith.

Thereupon, I felt myself to be reborn and to have gone through open doors into paradise. The whole of Scripture took on a new meaning and whereas before the ‘justice of God’ had filled me with hate [and dread], now it became to me a gate to heaven.

If you have a true faith that Christ is your savior, then at once you have a gracious God, for faith leads you in and opens up God’s heart and will, that you should see pure grace and overflowing love. This it is to behold God in faith that you should look upon his fatherly, friendly heart…” (3)

Having come into the revelation of God’s grace and being liberated from the condemnation of the law and dead works, Luther’s heart was transformed.

He had come to know the love and grace of God and he would not back down on the knowledge of that truth so clearly laid out in the New Testament, even when push came to shove, even when the shoving came from the pope and the emperor.

He took his stand on God’s Word and the grace and truth it revealed to him. It changed history then and shall do so again!


(1) James M. Kittelson’s preface in Luther the Reformer: The Story of the Man and His Career, quoting John Todd in Luther: A Life
(2) Yale scholar Roland H. Bainton, from the book Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther
(3) Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther by Roland H. Bainton.

Video: Martin Luther and the Reformation (Direct link:
Video: Martin Luther's Conversion (Direct link:

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Ministry Update: Sweden (Part 2)

We’ve continued to minister in Europe and will be sharing music and testimonies this weekend at Tubestation Church in Cornwall, England. Tubestation is an outreach to the surf and beach community in Cornwall so a good fit for our background.  Also we’ll be ministering in France  shortly, starting off at an evangelistic outreach which has featured the surfing aspect of our background as a way of attraction.  In light of the terrorist attacks that just took place we appreciate your prayers for continued protection and provision as we travel.

We’ve been a bit behind with a lack of Internet, so here is a further update from our ministry in Scandinavia, in the country of Sweden.  After ministering on the east coast in Småland we were ministering in the south in the region of Skane, in the city of Hässleholm, and then after that in the city of Varberg on the West Coast.

We did a meeting first for the leaders of New Life Church in Hässleholm where we did some teaching and then prayed over them. The Lord came over them in power, some who were overcome by the Spirit ended up on the floor.  One of the men touched said he had not experienced a move of God like that in many, many, years. He was greatly rejoicing to see the Lord pour out His Spirit like this after such a long time. 

Hanging out after a meeting
with friends from Hässleholm, Sweden.
We saw the Lord continue to move as we ministered in some of the home groups during the week where we taught and activated them towards the “priesthood of all believers” and practicing the gifts of the Spirit and praying for one another. It was a blessed time in Hässleholm as we had a great time of fellowship with the pastor Daniel and his family, and with the people at the church there, while enjoying many great meals including a traditional Swedish meal of roasted pork with lingonberries, caramelized onions and pickled cucumbers.  We got to share a lot of Holy Ghost stories as well as teach in some intimate setting, and experienced the Lord empowering His people.

Checking out a car at the American Car Festival
where we did an evangelistic outreach with Biker Church in Sweden.
We also did an outreach with a group called “Biker Church” at an event held by “The American Car Club of Sweden.”  This type of event is really popular here: classic American muscle cars where everywhere, along with people dressing in Rockabilly style. We did some music and helped share where we could (many spoke only Swedish there at this particular event) and gave out Bibles.  We also had a divine appointment with a guy that spoke good English and after sharing with him for some time we ended up praying with him as he opened his heart to receive Jesus. We were quite stoked, as people getting saved in Sweden isn’t all that much of a common thing.

Preaching and ministering at New Life Church in Sweden.

We had a powerful meeting at New Life Church on Sweden’s Mother's Day.  God did so much—some highlights follow: We shared about Lonnie Frisbee and the outpouring that happened on Mother's Day years back at what would become the Vineyard Movement.  God showed up in power and poured out His presence for us on “Swedish Mother's Day.” Many were filled and empowered as the Holy Spirit poured out His power, some were brought to the floor as God filled them. There was a teenager named Noah who was filled powerfully as tears streamed down his face, as were others.  I had a word for a shoulder condition while a woman named Daisy was actually already overcome by the Spirit and on the floor and healed of a frozen shoulder by the time she got up.  The worship leader had a powerful encounter with God and was touched deeply by the Lord’s presence as waves of the Lord’s presence came over her as we prayed for her. As we came to a seeming close the Spirit of God suddenly broke out again,  the Holy Spirit just kept things going as He filled a twelve year old boy with His power for the first time in his life and came upon his father who just kept shaking under God’s power.  One of the workers of the church was knocked to the ground and couldn't stop laughing as God released His joy over him, the fruit of the Spirit made manifest! It was an awesome renewing time in God’s presence and power and we were told by some that it was just what they needed living in such a secularized humanistic country in Europe.  It is always awesome when the Lord moves, but even more so in such spiritually challenging places.

We then ministered in the city of Varberg on the West Coast in a Pentecostal church.  We felt led to give a message on evangelism and reaching out to the lost. The pastor shared afterwards that he had just began a program to train people for evangelism and reaching out to the lost so the timing was clearly from the Holy Spirit. 

Taking in the sights with our friend Christopher in Varberg,
where we had a powerful meeting at the Pentecostal church.
The Lord empowered many with the Holy Spirit and was releasing a burden for the lost.  A woman began praying in Spanish quite strongly, it happened that Mercedes talked to her afterwards and we found out she didn't speak Spanish…she was suddenly speaking in tongues in Spanish, which of course was quite a sign and wonder.  With Sweden being one of the most secularized and humanistic countries in Europe it is all the more awesome to see the light shine in the darkness.

Please pray for this evangelistic outreach
coming up in France.

                 How We Connected With the Pastor in Hässleholm

One time, some years back, as we were coming into Sweden, where we’d be staying at a friend’s house, something happened with coordinating our arrival.  Instead of finding our old friends there, we instead arrived to a locked up empty house. A little error on the schedule, so we figured our hosts would probably be back in a few hours, and so we looked for something to do and found that the garage was open (one of those old kind that was separated from the house out in the yard), and decided to go in there to hang out.
We were just tooling around – so to speak—and killing time, when an old phone on a work bench in there rang.  I picked it up and said hello and I got a Swedish voice back. 
It turned out to be a friend of our hosts named Daniel on the phone, who we had not met before, so I talked with Daniel on the garage phone for a bit.
We communicated as best we could, his English was still developing, and we set up a time to come and have dinner with him and his wife.
I was just telling him we we're locked out of Steve’s house at the moment and maybe he could come by, when he suddenly said, “See you when you come for dinner,” and hung up. 
“I guess he didn't catch that,” I thought as I laid the phone down.

Meanwhile our friends showed up and found us hanging out in the garage. 

“So how long you been here?” Steve asked.

“Oh, a while but it didn’t feel like that long because your friend Daniel called while we were hanging out in the garage and I talked with him a bit,” I told him. 

“Called?  Called where?” our friend Steve asked. (This was before the ubiquitous cell phone took over all of our lives, if you can remember such a time some years back.)

“Right here in the garage on this old phone.” I replied.

“What? Are you sure?”  Steve said.

“Yeah, it was that phone,” I said.

 “Hey dude, that garage phone doesn’t work at all, it isn’t even hooked up.”
“What? Are you sure?” I replied.

Steve went in and grabbed the line and showed us.  It just went over to an old transponder thing but the transponder wasn't connected to a line out or anything else. “See, look, it is dead, no dial tone, nothing. I am not able to dial out or receive anything in, it is dead.” 

“Wow! That is crazy!” I said.  “That is miraculous, a definite sign and wonder!”

Well, after a bit of musing on what kind of wild miraculous goings on were happening, we eventually made it to dinner with Daniel and his wife Camilla.
It turned out to be a very supernatural dinner itself. After enjoying some wonderful fondue, which you would expect to find more in Switzerland than Sweden, we ended up having some prophetic words over Daniel about his call into ministry.  The Spirit of God fell on him and us in power as we prayed for him and then prayed together. Daniel has been in ministry many years now since that time, and that time was a confirmation of God’s direction and purposes for him.
We have ministered with him and his family and church many times down in the south of Sweden as well as having some wild miraculous encounters too.

So, as we ate dinner with him that first time, Daniel asked, “Why didn’t you tell me you were out-locked?”

“What is out-locked?” I said.  Then it hit me.  “Oh why didn’t I tell you that we were locked out?” I exclaimed after figuring out what he was trying to say. “Well you hung up before I could fully explain,” I said.  “Then the phone didn’t work after that. I tried calling back but it wouldn’t work.” I explained what Steve had told me about that garage phone not being connected and we were both blown away at such a supernatural connection.        

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Ministry in Smålland, Sweden and Icelandic Miracles

We’ve been in Scandinavia recently ministering in different places in Sweden and Norway.  We are now finally getting a chance to send out some updates as we've been staying pretty busy. We'll update about various regions we've been to separately, as a lot has been happening. 

While ministering in Sweden, in the region of Småland in Gamleby, the Lord started things off with a very powerful divine appointment which was followed by another of the same the next day, along with doing a number of different meetings.

Young people from Sweden who were empowered by the Holy Spirit

Right as we were preparing to do our first meeting in Sweden, we met through our friends, a young sailor who just recently came to Christ. We were able to spend some time with him, which led to sharing some Scriptures and then prophetic words for him, and then the Holy Spirit began to fall upon him in a powerful way just as we were talking to him. We began to pray for him and the Lord filled him with the Holy Spirit for the first time in his life in a very, very, significant way as he lifted his hands and tears streamed down his face. He said to us afterwards that he’d never experienced something so real and powerful before!  We encouraged him also to pray for others with us right then as we continued to minister. He began to get words for them right in that moment and they were really touched through what he shared. It was a powerful time in the Holy Spirit, with a spontaneous, naturally-supernatural time of filling and discipling happening.

The Lord continued the same theme in the meeting we did that night that was held in a little “boat and tackle barn” overlooking the sea. Not a bad place, Jesus was born in a barn, as was the Pentecostal revival. The Holy Spirit was powerfully equipping people, and in the same meeting later, teaching them to pray for others.  One young woman was very shy and just sitting in her seat but I had her get up and had her pray for a lady who was beginning to speak in tongues. The Lord poured out as she stepped out and gave her some words.  Then the one who’d been praying in tongues began to pray for the young lady in return and they both got powerfully touched and encouraged.  We could see "the priesthood of all believers" which had been our message, being activated! 

We had another divine appointment when our friends’ son returned home from college the next day, and as we ate lunch together, he had a powerful encounter with the Holy Spirit while we shared some Holy Ghost stories with him.  The power of God fell as we were sharing and the glory of God began to come over him and fill him, visible signs were evident of God filling his heart as tears filled his eyes. We then prayed for him as the Lord powerfully ministered to him and his mom. That night he helped us minister in a youth meeting that by God’s hand spontaneously came together, and he helped us by sharing what he experienced and praying for others, giving away what he received earlier that day.

Old friends out on the water in Sweden

We had two young ladies receive the Lord at the youth meeting.  One of the young ladies’ mother came to another church meeting we were doing the next night to tell us how overjoyed she was as she had been praying for her daughter to get saved for a long time!  The mother, as well as her daughter, were powerfully empowered by the Holy Spirit as we prayed for them both that night, as were many youth in both meetings. Those who came had not really been around the move of the Holy Spirit much before, in fact they were very shy in the beginning.  However, God’s presence came over them and began to fill them, and they began to receive and were learning to pray for one another, which once it got flowing continued late, late, into the evening. Once they were introduced and experienced the power of the Lord, they didn't want to stop. In fact we got to bed way after 2:00 a.m.

Young people, including Patrick, praying for one another in the Spirit, long into the night.
We were blessed to see these two young ladies get saved, as well as many others get filled with the Holy Spirit and then pray for each other with hugs and tears. Many others  got filled with God’s Spirit in both meetings and stepped out to pray for one another.  This is significant for Sweden and this area.

The last meeting we did in this area went late, late, into the evening and the young people from the night before showed up with an extra friend and joined in getting empowered more and then kept on praying for each other into the night—they had been so shy in the beginning at the first meeting that they would barely get up out of their seats when we started—by the end though they were exuberantly ministering to one another and kept praying for one another way after the meeting was long over . Many others were powerfully filled and renewed as the Holy Spirit poured out Pentecostal power on “Pentecost Weekend” at this traditional mission church.

We had another divine appointment when leaving the area of Gamleby with a man who gave us a ride to the train station.  We found out that he had gotten saved and radically filled with the Holy Spirit when Lonnie Frisbee came to minister in Sweden back during the Jesus People Revival many years back; he is actively serving the Lord and walking in the Spirit today.  We shared similar experiences, both of us having been baptized in the Holy Ghost for hours when we first got filled through Lonnie’s ministry back in the day.  We were also blessed to see quite a number of the people we ministered to get significantly impacted by God’s power and filled with the Spirit and it was a blessed time!

Worshipping out on the water, the youth group went out for a sail first before the meeting we did with them

Getting into Scandinavia

Getting into Scandinavia isn't cheap so while trying to save money we ended up embarking on an adventure in our travels to our ministry destination as we found an incredible deal going in via Iceland. So we had an opportunity to visit this island nation on the way to where we would be ministering.

Welcome to Iceland

We found out pretty fast a few things about Iceland:

The name fits it as it is really, really, cold.  It has some of the coldest weather we have ever experienced anywhere! Our hands would burn like they were getting frostbite anytime we’d take them out of our pockets when outside.  I've never been in weather that makes you that cold, that fast.  When the cold north winds blow you are transformed into an instant icicle.

It is not a cheap! Being a remote island where a lot of stuff must be shipped in, makes it expensive. Maybe higher than even Norway in prices, so that makes it pretty up there. 

In a cave in Iceland where a water fall and snow come through a hole in the top

Miracles of Provision and Protection

So with the high food prices we were living off boiled hot dogs made on a little Bunsen burner in the tight little hostel in Iceland we were staying in, which of course isn't all that exciting for food but does keep you alive.

So, while walking back to the hostel in starving mode one afternoon, we were passing a harbor area with a bunch of restaurants, and I found myself praying, “Oh Lord, I've had enough hot dogs, we could use a food miracle right about now.” 

Right after I caught myself praying that odd little prayer, I was thinking, “Well, that was unusual.”

While I was thinking that, I just happened to take an unexpected turn between some buildings and ran into some people setting up an awning with tables and a grill.  I inquired what they would be charging for their food, hoping to find some kind of deal.  Instead, they said it was a special Spring Festival, one they just happen to do for only two hours once a year! They said all the food in all the restaurants in the harbor was going to be free for the next two hours.  What???

Wow, what timing! I was stunned! I was thinking, "I just barely mumbled some funny little prayer, and this just happens right after? Wow."

I had just prayed that odd little prayer without thinking much about it a moment ago and we walk right into a situation of unique provision. The Bible says, “God works in us to will and to purpose.” (Php 2:13) The Holy Spirit can lead us to pray a certain way so that we realize that what happened, once fulfilled, wasn't just some random thing but a gift from above, divinely led into.

Well, we ended having lobster soup with huge chunks of lobster, as well as other dishes with salmon, lamb, mussels, cod, and some good old hamburgers; there were hot dogs available too but I’d had more than enough of those.

We ate until we couldn't eat anymore and went back to the little hovel or hostel or whatever you call those little places where there is so little space you keep bumping into yourself.

So we lied down on our little cot-like thing and fell into a food coma and slept the night away.  A nice feeling when you’ve been cold and hungry. 

It was a great blessing at just the right time, as I’d had all the boiled hot dogs I cared to have, and Mercedes had been thinking how nice it would be to try some different foods there in Iceland. 

More Miracles

Thingvellir, Iceland, beautiful scenery and a historic spot where
1000 years of Christianity were celebrated at the turn of the millenium.
Iceland is indeed a spectacular place with many rivers everywhere, amazing waterfalls, glaciers and wild geological sights.  It is also the best place in the world to see the actual rift between the tectonic continental plates too.

It was all awesome scenery along the way while making our way to our destination to minister except...

Except for getting stuck in a full-on unpredicted snow blizzard while driving on top of a glacial mountain in the middle of the night. Storms can come up there very, very, fast and can be totally unexpected.

I seriously thought we might spin out and end up off the side of the mountain as we couldn't see five feet in front of us.  I’ve been in some nasty blizzards in the Colorado Rockies and the Sierra Nevada Mountains and this was no joke. I was getting disoriented in the blinding sideways falling snow. I had no options but to keep moving slowly forward and try to get through it in a tiny car not hardly suitable for a normal road, much less an Icelandic blizzard!  Snow piled up on the road quickly as well as on the side of us and there was a steep cliff and no place to pull off nor stop.

We all started praying in tongues very loudly while calling on the Lord as things got so bad we couldn't see at all. We prayed and called out for God’s help and suddenly the violent storm just stopped and cleared up. Wow! We were praising God and thankful for another miracle!!! Hallelujah Prisar Gud!! (Praise God)

Extra Note

Iceland celebrated 1000 years of Christianity at the turn of the millennium, which was cool learning about this, especially in the knowledge of how some other European countries have actually celebrated recently how to chant and do yoga on a bed of plastic nails. It is cool when you see, in our day, appreciation for the blessings brought over the centuries through the Gospel.