Last month was very busy for us but also very exciting. On December 28, Beth, Alan, Allison and I left for Stockholm, Sweden on our first ever European speaking engagement. We were warmly greeted (quite ironic considering the snow was up to your eyeballs and the temperature was close to Zero) by our hosts, the Forslunds and Enbloms. The conference was, in my opinion, a great success. It was amazing to see how many people showed up in the midst of a weather system that was constantly dumping snow. Some people traveled as long as 7-8 hours on a train from the northern part of Sweden, Norway and even St. Petersburg, Russia! It was both exciting and humbling. All the meetings were filmed and plans are underway to air these sessions on Sweden’s only Christian television network, perhaps as early as March. Also, there have been thoughts of trying to air them on the largest European Christian network – Gospel Television Europe – which would reach into the entire European continent. Pray that the Father’s will in this matter be accomplished.
We were invited to go to Sweden because our hosts wanted to re-launch the Hebrew Roots message in Sweden. It seems that certain doctrines had infiltrated the message – Talmud over Torah, Y’shua is not God come in the flesh, etc. – to the degree that the believers of Sweden considered anything Hebraic Roots to be cultic. I was amused that my primary contact in Sweden thought that this was something unique to his country. Needless to say, I corrected his perspective on this. Still, this was the environment that I went into and was prayerfully considering what to say and how to say it. During the meeting and even now, a month later, I can honestly say that the Father directed our path and gave me the words to say, sometimes even surprising me. I remember one night in particular that, after I had finished speaking, I sat in the back of the room with Beth. The pastor – who had been a spectator all day - went to the front and began to address the crowd in Swedish. As he did, Beth leaned to me and said, “Something is happening.” I felt it too.
My prayer for the conference had been, “Father, please give me what to say to these people.” As I said, I do believe He directed me in this manner and, so, the theme of my message was IDENTITY. So many in Sweden are being called upon by Christian leaders to return to their roots but what they mean by that is, return to Catholicism. The irony of this is that Sweden rid their borders of Catholicism centuries ago. With so much skepticism and secularism permeating the culture, churches are searching to find something that provokes the Swedish people to return to the churches. Consequently, returning to Catholicism is the prevailing “Roots” movement in Scandinavia. In sharp contrast to this thinking is the Hebraic Roots movement, but as I said, that had been undermined by those who came teaching that Judaism is answer and that Y’shua, though the Messiah, was just a man not the Word made flesh.
My goal was to help people to understand that our identity is not determined by the Pope, not by Judaism, not even by Christianity. Our identity is determined by the Word of God, personified by Y’shua the Messiah, within us. John said, “As many as received Him, to them He gave the power to become the sons of God. Furthermore, throughout Scripture, those who are His are called Israel – not determined by who their father or mother is, but by who their Father is! This was enthusiastically received and, from what I am told, rescued some of those who had been duped into believing they must deny Y’shua and convert to Judaism. The reason I share this with you is because of something that developed during the conference.
As I said, the pastor of the church where the conference was held had attended most of the sessions. I was later told that he attended, at least in part, to make sure that no heretical teaching was being propagated from his pulpit (the conference was not sponsored by the church). His concern was based on the fact that, again, the Hebraic Roots movement in Sweden had been linked to denying the divine aspect of the Messiah. In the course of the meeting something was said that really got his attention, so much so that, he was moved to go before the crowd (something not planned) and ask the people to give in support of the conference and of the message (this was where Beth leaned over and said, “something is happening”). My hosts were floored! Not only were they shocked at his response but were really blown away when the pastor asked me to come back to the church the next day (Sunday) and speak to his congregation. I am told that, as far as this church is concerned, that had NEVER happened. (If you wish, you can view this message, "Laodicea and Philadelphia," complete with Swedish translation, by following the link below.
The next day, things really got interesting. Two of my hosts, this same pastor and I had lunch. That is when he told me that, during my message, he was reminded of something he had heard thirty years before – exactly thirty years to the very day. That “something” was a message about identity, in other words, that we in Messiah are Israel. He had embraced the message, at first, but for some reason that was not clear to me, he had dismissed it. Yet, at some point during our weekend there, the Holy Spirit brought it all back to him and impressed upon him that he must support this message in Sweden. Consequently, I may have the opportunity – through this pastor – to go into many countries in eastern Europe to take this message. Through my Swedish contacts, other countries (e.g. Norway, Switzerland and Germany) may also be added to our itinerary.
I can’t say with certainty that this will indeed happen or when it might happen. I can only say that Beth and I – and even the children – came away from this trip with a deep and sincere love for the people we met there and for the spiritual climate within their country. In my estimation, the fields are ripe for harvest. Furthermore, we are sensing that our ministerial efforts must include methods of reaching those of our international brethren who are hungry, frustrated and searching. It is our desire that you join with us in prayer concerning the matter and what the Father wants to accomplish there through Shoreshim Ministries. If you wish to hear more about this, you can watch a interview with me and my host, Daniel Forslund, by going to the link below. The interview is about 60 minutes and addresses everything from the false accusations that I am a Kabbalist to the role of the Torah in the life of believers.