Honoring Bill Johnson

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Bill Johnson of Bethel Church in Redding is truly one of God’s greatest gifts to the 21st century church. At a time when many (perhaps most) Christians unthinkingly accept the brokenness of this world as “just the way things are”, He has both preached and practiced the vital truth that Christ came to give us victorious life.

He has led Bethel for decades with humility, integrity, and compassion — including a perhaps unprecedented openness to raising up and blessing other leaders. I wish more leaders were like him.

But to be honest, sometimes he drives me crazy.

The thing that I love most about Bethel is their relentless courage at inviting the Holy Spirit to heal us in miraculous ways. Yet I worry that people I know become so focused on having faith for physical healing they actually lose faith for other things. Especially when the people they pray for get sick and die.

But even as I write that, I realize I am guilty of the exact same thing.

I tend to place my faith in having an accurate mental model of reality (with the Holy Spirit’s help, of course). Which means I feel scared and powerless when the people around me seem to be thinking incorrectly. So I feel a need to “fix” them; though really I am just trying to make myself feel safe and in control.

What if instead I actually trusted that God was bigger than my fears, and other people’s mistakes (real or imagined)?

What if I sought to deny rather than protect myself, and bore my own cross — rather than expect others to bear it for me?

What if I took the plank out of my own eye, so I could see clearly how to genuinely help others; not just go through the motions to make myself feel better?

Then maybe I could learn to see Bill Johnson as God sees him: with compassion and joy, rather than judgement and irritation.

And just maybe… I could learn to see myself that way too.

Thanks, Bill.

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