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Author, Face to Face with God (Charisma House 2007);
Sr. Pastor, Bethel Church with
Oversees a growing network of churches partnered for revival;
Married to Brenda
MODERN DAY MIRACLES
Bill and Brenda Johnson are the Senior Pastors of Bethel Church. Bill is a fifth generation pastor with a rich heritage in the things of the Spirit. Together they serve a growing number of churches that have partnered for revival. This apostolic network has crossed denominational lines in building relationships that enable church leaders to walk in both purity and power.
The present move of God has brought Bill into a deeper understanding of the phrase,"on earth as it is in heaven."
“Heaven is the model for our life and ministry. Jesus lived with this principle by only doing what He saw His Father doing. Learning to recognize the Holy Spirit's presence and how to follow His lead enables us to do the works of Christ, destroying the works of the devil. Healing and deliverance must become the common expression of this Gospel of power once again.”
Bill and the Bethel Church family have taken on this theme for life and ministry. Healings, ranging from cancer to broken bones, to learning disorders, and emotional healing, happen with regularity.
“This is the children's bread. And these works of God are not limited to revival meetings. The church is learning how to take this anointing to the schools, workplace, and neighborhoods with similar results,” adds Bill.
Bill teaches that we owe the world an encounter with God, and that a Gospel without power is not the Gospel that Jesus preached.
Bethel Church has many accounts of miracles happening today. One of their members, Chris Cruz, was at a stoplight when he looked over at the car next to him and saw two women signing to each other. Chris rolled down his window and asked if one of the women were deaf and the driver said, “Yes.” He asked them to pull over so he could pray for her. They did, God opened her ears and the two gave their hearts to the Lord. Chris reported the woman was completely healed.
In another account, on a Sunday night in January 2008, a woman named Joy had a tumor on her back bigger than a golf ball. Daniel Newton prayed for the tumor, and it shrunk and went away!
One of the most recent accounts is a lady reported that her client’s 84-year-old husband was in a rehabilitation facility. He was lethargic. Some Bethel people asked if they could pray for him. After the prayer, he awoke. He is alert now and talking. The man in the bed next to him was feeling bad, but the next day, after receiving prayer, he was able to check out of the hospital.
FACE TO FACE WITH GOD
Bill Johnson believes that every outpouring of the Holy Spirit contains the face of God. Though many times, people look at the signs and the outpouring rather than actually looking for God's face.
“God is always trying to reach out to people and is always drawing us toward Him. Whatever the point of need of a person is, God wants to move. He never scolds people. Once a person has an encounter with God, there is an increase in the hunger for the presence of the Lord and miracles are a by product,” he says.
Bill's teachings try to bring people into divine encounters with God, remove religious restraints, and have a good emphasis on the testimony of what God is doing.
“If you come to God as you are and cry out to Him, God will meet you and change you in your encounter with Him. As you change, the impact of your world around you changes.”
Bill says, “If He doesn't come right away, He will eventually meet you – the persistence in prayer shapes you. Anyone who is truly hungry for God will have these encounters, but the encounters have to come on God's terms.”
BILL'S ENCOUNTER WITH GOD
Face to face encounters with God will change a person's life. Bill's encounter with God started when he said "yes" to His call on Bill's life. One Sunday in 1971, Bill's late father (who was also a pastor) taught a message from Ezekiel 44 about the greatest honor given to mankind – our ministry to the Lord Himself in thanksgiving, praise, and worship.
This message stirred Bill beyond anything he had ever felt before. From the pew, Bill responded to God by praying,"Heavenly Father, I give you the rest of my life to teach me this one thing."
He was more than moved. He was basically saying that in his surrender to Christ his main objective would be to minister to the Lord above any other purpose. This ministry to the Lord also meant ministering to Him in His actual presence. Bill says the Lord responded immediately through revealing scriptures about why people were created, their relationship with God, and His love for people. Also, that God's encounters with people were not only for the Biblical era, but can happen again today.
Bill says, "If signs and wonders aren't following you, follow them, until they follow you."
Bill continued to have personal encounters with God. In 1996, Bill became the pastor of Bethel Church in Redding, CA. He was invited to take that position in the church because it was calling out for revival. When he first spoke to the congregation, he said if they didn't want revival, they didn't want him as their pastor because revival is non-negotiable. The majority of the congregation responded positively. Within a month of the Johnsons' arrival to Bethel Church, there was an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Lives were changed, bodies were healed, and divine encounters increased in large numbers. Also, 1,000 people left the church, because that is not the kind of revival they wanted. However, Bill continued on the path that God had him on and found that the more of God's presence he experienced, God's will was too obvious to miss.
POSITIONING YOURSELF FOR AN ENCOUNTER
Bill says it is possible to position yourself with an encounter with God and not even know it.
“One of the things we have to do is recognize His presence. For example, in a corporate church gathering, if you notice others have connected with the presence of God and maybe you haven't, you can become aware of His presence by acknowledging His presence on the basis of those around you. Another aspect to realize is that God is communicating with us and is inviting us to know Him and partner with what He's doing in the spiritual realm. We are not just spectators. Encounters with God are for everyone and not just a select few. He is looking for those who will listen and those He can trust. God looks at the heart and reveals Himself to those who love Him. There is no need to strive anymore. Working from God's presence is more effective than working for His presence. Waiting patiently for God is never passive.”
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