The Final Turn of the Key
Three years ago I was backpacking through Europe with some friends as a post grad trip before we all started the next season of our lives. We were on a bus from Zurich to Munich and we met this young german guy named Ernst. He was really cool and we connected quickly. A few minutes had passed and I started talking him about what he believed about God and what happens after we die. He didn’t believe in God and was convinced that the church has been nothing more than a giant money machine that makes people pay them in exchange for the clearing of their guilt for doing bad things. He called christianity the biggest marketing scheme in history, void of love and full of hypocrites. He was so hurt by the church and all its flaws however true or untrue they were.
My heart broke.
What he said hit me HARD. I had just graduated with a degree in marketing from a Christian university and my case didn’t help his opinion. What was I supposed to say? To me, the church is a life-giving emblem of hope, but this man had such a terrible perception of the church. I knew that he wasn’t the only one, that there were many people spread all over the world, and especially in Europe, with this same mindset. Jesus changed my life. He took me from rebellious, hopeless, destruction to hope, glory, and life eternal. Jesus showed me the joy that outlasts the pain, the peace that overcomes worry, and love without conditions or agenda. For me to hear the hurt that Ernst had in his heart towards the church, the active representation of Jesus, it broke me.
I’d like to tell you that after three hours of talking with Ernst about Jesus, sharing my testimony, using apologetics to defend the truth of the gospel and the validity of the scriptures, he came to know Christ as his savior, but that is not the end of the story. After giving everything I could to try and convince this man that Jesus is real, he told me “you know what man, there is a good chance you’re right, actually you probably are right. I just don’t want to believe you.” I was shocked, and completely defeated. I had just graduated from Oral Roberts’ University, who was perhaps one of the greatest evangelists in history, and I couldn’t even talk this guy into believing anything.
Since that moment, God has given me a heart of compassion for Europe and the church there. I see a continent that has invested more time, money, and missionaries into the nations of the Earth than any other place in history, just to see the revival snuffed out of them. Its crushing. I began to pray that God would send revival once again to Europe, that the place where the good news has some of its roots would once again receive Jesus and turn towards God. But I knew that my tactic had to be different, I was not going to fail again like I did with Ernst. I knew that I needed something more for this to work.
“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
The Greek word for “power” in the verse above is the word “Dunamis.” Here is the extended meaning:
Strength, power, ability
- inherent power, power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature.
- person or thing exerts and puts forth; power for performing miracles
Jesus tells us that the Holy Spirit is the key to this ability, strength, and miracle working power that leads to being an effective witness of Jesus Christ. This is why Jesus “commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, ‘which,’ He said, ‘you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now” (Acts 1:4-5). Jesus didn’t want to send the disciples out without the tools they needed.
This is how I felt with Ernst. I felt powerless, unequipped and uniformed. I had been baptized in the Holy Spirit and I went to a spirit empowered university, but I wasn’t relying on the Holy Spirit in that situation. I wasn’t using the most powerful helper that has ever been given: The Holy Spirit.
One year later, I found myself in Brazil with this ministry called Dunamis Movement. Their goal? To equip believers with the Dunamis power of the Holy Spirit and teach them how to walk it out, having faith that God will show up in every situation. I went to a 21 day total immersion experience with the Dunamis Movement in Brazil where I learned just that. After the 21 days, through an amazing series of events, and financial miracles, God paved the way for me to go on a 15 day mission trip to Europe with my new Brazilian friends. This trip changed my life forever. We were in 6 countries during our time there. I saw all the obstacles that I had experienced with Ernst come crashing down through my faith and reliance on the Holy Spirit. We weren’t arguing with people about theology, rather we would just show them by asking God for a word of knowledge about their life, or praying for healing, or many times, just showing them love that doesn’t make sense, love that goes out of its way to be kind. This shocked them into giving us a platform to speak to them and share how Jesus has changed our lives and how He can change theirs too.
The result? I saw a building full of Finnish Europeans on their faces repenting and receiving love from God. I saw the Holy Spirit move in power to see people blessed, and many times saved and healed. In one night of evangelism training in Finland, we saw 43 healings and 7 salvations in just over 2 hours. We saw partiers and prostitutes on the streets of Amsterdam turn away from adultery right in front of our eyes. We saw muslims receive the word of God, healing for their bodies, and salvation for their souls. My point is, it works! Jesus wasn’t kidding in Acts 1!
I felt like the final turn of the key just clicked, now the door was open to see people truly come to Christ and see their lives changed, like Christ changed mine. I had it, everything made sense, using the equipping that Jesus gave us through the Holy Spirit “to be His witnesses”. Jesus didn’t give us the Holy Spirit just for the fun of it, He gave it with a purpose, “to be His witnesses”. This trip fueled my passion to see Europeans turn back to God. It deepened my burden for this generation to catch the fire of God and to see people activated and filled with boldness, to see people blessed by us, the Body of Christ. The seeds that were sown by Europeans are the very reason that we have America and the freedom to practice our faith in this country, not to mention the revivals that are happening in South America as well. Now we get the incredible opportunity to go back and invest into the people and countries that blessed us with the seeds of the gospel.
During the last 14 days of March ,I was given another opportunity to go to 6 nations in Europe. We did 14 services in 10 days and witnessed a hunger for the gospel that brought me to tears many times. What me and my team saw was the beginnings of another wave of revival that I believe will sweep over Europe. It was absolutely amazing to see the prayers that I have been praying for these last few years unfold before my eyes. It is happening. We are doing it. We aren’t waiting for a move of God, we ARE the move of God and now is the time to take our rightful places as Sons & Daughters of the most high God and pray, seek, and rise to the occasion. We are called to be a blessing to the people of this earth by bringing the supernatural healing and redemptive power of Jesus Christ to those that are ignorant of what Jesus did for them. This is what lives on the inside of us, it’s time that it came out. For Europe, the window is open. Let’s do this.
Your fellow catalyst,
- Zach Holderness