Ellen and I had the privilege of worshiping in our home church (adopted), the Hällebergskyrkan Church in Lüngsjkile, Sweden, yesterday. Most members arrive about 45 minutes before the the actual worship service, sitting quietly in prayer as they anticipate and prepare for worship. One person may begin singing very softly, then another, and yet another joins in perfect harmony, as the Spirit leads His people without human exertion. At one point a person may offer a quiet prayer, soon joined by others. Then silence again in corporate solitude, as young and old including small children at times, continue to prepare their hearts and minds for the soon to begin service of worship.
The highlight of yesterday’s worship service was the youth choir who sang in both Swedish and English, with fresh joy and obvious love for Jesus! At a time when it is not popular to be a Christian in Sweden–one young student told me it is even taboo on university campuses in Stockholm to profess Jesus Christ–these young men and women were taking a firm stand for Christ without shame or embarrassment. They know that the Gospel of the Kingdom is the power of God for salvation to all who believe.
My first words to them were the words spoken to Daniel by the angel Gabriel, as Daniel was interceding for his people: “You are greatly loved!” (Daniel 9:23) We do not need to be afraid even though the majority may oppose us. Be courageous and bold, because God is with us! Wherever God may send us, God is there with us.
Yesterday I met young men and women of Sweden who are living the with-God life, running against the stream of the highly secularized, materialistic without-God life of contemporary Europe and North America.
Now is the time to lift up our prayers for the growing numbers of such young people whom the Holy Spirit is raising up throughout the world to proclaim the Gospel of life in Jesus Christ.
My parting words to my dear friends at Hällebergskyrkan were, “You are indeed part of the worldwide community of the Holy Fire.”