Monday, May 26, 2014

Camp meeting, Danish-style

Please start praying now for one of the highlights of the Danish summer: The annual “SommerOase” camp gathering, planned this year for July 12-19. It’s one of many Christian summer camps and events, and probably the largest.

photo: Jesper Rais
SommerOase is sure to draw hundreds of families -- including parents, kids, and youth groups -- for open air and tent meetings and worship in a large field near Odder (south of Aarhus).

This year’s theme is “Kongen og Korset” (The King and the Cross), a back-to-basics emphasis that seems especially appropriate in a country where even some church leaders and pastors seem confused about who Jesus really is.
“We want to celebrate Jesus as our king and honor him as our savior, who died on the cross for us,” explained DanskOase General Secretary Karsten Bach. “After all, that’s the essence of our faith.”

Worship leader Arvid Asmussen echoes Bach’s focus on the essence of faith, even as he prepares new music for the event and gets ready to lead worship times there.

“Lately, I think God has called me back to the foot of the cross,” he said, “where I’ve again come in contact with my own inadequacy, and have rediscovered Jesus as my savior. The answer is still ‘Jesus.’ There is no other way to the Father. There is no one like Jesus, who teaches me to live in the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Featured speaker is Ajith Fernando, internationally known author, speaker, and theologian. He leads Youth for Christ in his native Sri Lanka.

Kongen og Korset. It all adds up to a unique opportunity for renewal, revival, and spiritual growth.

PRAY for many unsaved and spiritually hungry to attend – and that their Christian friends will be bold enough to invite them along. PRAY that many will come to Christ this summer, or rededicate their lives to him.

PRAY that families will be strengthened and for Christians to grow in their faith.

PRAY for SommerOase leadership, that they’ll be sensitive to God’s leading, focusing on what the Lord wants from this event. PRAY for plenty of volunteers to help run events.

PRAY that Christians of different denominations will come together in unity here in a fun, camp atmosphere.

KEEP PRAYING until this event is over, July 20!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Balloons, anyone?

They’re the ones sharing the gospel every year at popular Danish campgrounds and public venues, organizing outreach events and concerts, wading into vacation crowds with good news booklets, telling the story of Jesus through puppets, balloons, and any other way that has a chance of reaching the hearts of Danish young people and families. And this year Friluftsmissionen -- the Danish branch of Open Air Campaigners International -- turns 20.

Happy birthday! (Or as they say in Denmark, tillykke!) The 2014 calendar is full. Their signature “Jesperhus Gospel” event is planned for June 9 this year at the Jesperhus vacation park and gardens on Mors Island. Now in its fifteenth year, and in cooperation with local churches, they’re bringing praise music, a gospel choir, puppet theater, and much more to this festive outdoor venue. In addition, a summer team outreach is planned for July 7-18 at the lovely Gammelbro campground in southern Denmark, near the sea at Årøsund. The Friluftsmission team has also been active in urban youth evangelism, in cooperation with kids from the Inner Mission Lutheran renewal organization.

And that seems to be the strength of this vital ministry: working with a wide spectrum of Christians across Denmark -- from committed Lutherans in the state church, to free church youth groups. And because of their commitment to camp and street outreach, they’re coming in contact with families and young people who might otherwise never consider stepping foot in a church building. Although they don’t consider themselves a church, the Friluftsmission workers play a critical role in building up the Danish church.

Keep in mind that most Danes treasure their summer outdoor and camping experiences. That’s part of the reason why the Friluftsmission approach is so strategic in this country. Believers from the Friluftsmission are going to where the people are, meeting them where they’re at. So they need all the prayer support we can offer.

PRAISE GOD for 20 years of successful ministry in Denmark, pointing people to Jesus, one camper (or pedestrian) at a time.

PRAY for Torben Østermark, who faithfully heads this ministry. Ask God to give him strength and vision as they reach out this summer, and throughout the rest of the year.

PRAY especially for the Jesperhus Gospel event in June and the Gammelbro campground outreach in July, that God would soften the hearts and open the ears of many who will follow Christ through these events.

PRAY that the good partnerships between the Friluftsmission and Danish churches would continue to increase and flourish. Pray for more open doors of cooperative efforts between the two.

PRAY for even more workers and volunteers to join with the Friluftsmission team, so that God might increase the harvest and use this vital support ministry to help bring revival in the Danish church.