Monday, September 12, 2016

Living in Obedience

"I don't want to preach or teach anything 
that does not make someone want to crucify me".
Bill Johnson

My response to Bill's radical statement is, "No worry there, Bill."  Some call Bill Johnson a healer. Some call Bill Johnson an anti-Christ.  Some call him a cult leader.  Some call him pastor.  It never ceases to amaze me how some "crucify" what scares them.....or what they don't understand, or believe. Verbal crucifixion......not to take away from what our Savior went through.   Whatever this 5th generation pastor is labeled, I think it comes from the filters the "some" use to live life.  We all view life through filters.  Joel and I have listened to him for 4 years now, and have not found anything that would make us feel he is not Biblically sound and authentic.  We don't always agree with everything he preaches, but we have seen a humble man who love the Lord with all His heart and is obedient to God.

But some are quick to condemn.  To criticize.  To judge.  Some are especially eager to judge if someone is sharing a new way of thinking, outside of their areas of comfort.  Joel and I have worked hard to be discerning when hearing something out of our comfort zone.  We ask Holy Spirit for guidance and affirmation of what we are hearing. God is always teaching us more and we are eager to learn, but it is not always easy to keep criticism out of the equation.

Getting back to what Bill Johnson said about what he is called to...............revival and the healing movement.  They have a membership of around 8,000 in Bethel Church, Redding CA, but also have people come from around the country and the world on a weekly basis.  Several of their staff speak and teach around the world.  It was not always so.  When Bill took over the church 20 years ago, he felt God tell him this church was about revival, Holy Spirit, and healing.  Many people in the church disagreed with him.  One long time elder told him, "I know that what is happening here is from God, but I just can't handle it."  He left along with about 1,000 other church members.  Bill stood his ground and slowly they saw the church thrive, healing come, and the presence of God respond in powerful ways.  Bill, Kris Vallotton, and others still take a lot of flak, but they prayerfully continue forward in their desire to serve God and His people.  What they teach as a whole is Biblically sound, but it would be a full time job to answer the questions of critics, according to Bill.  He is obedient to God not man.   I have to respect that.  We have seen that on a smaller level in another church out in CT.  Pastor Teske was healed by God and told to bring healing and Holy Spirit into his Missouri Synod Lutheran Church. He often had healing gatherings where no one showed up, but he continued to be obedient to God and now has a thriving congregation which even holds its own healing conference.  We went there in 2013.  Bethel is next on our list.

I believe Joel is like Bill Johnson and Paul Teske.  I know, I know, I'm kind of prejudice....but that is okay.  He is obedient in telling his healing story.  He is obedient in sharing his strong convictions about Holy Spirit, and on healing and deliverance being connected to salvation.  He has unwavering belief even when he sees his wife challenged by sickness. He does not let what others think or say get in the way of speaking his beliefs and praying for others.

When he feels a nudging by Holy Spirit, he obeys.  Like the time we were in a Amish touristy type store in southern Iowa and as we were browsing the aisles, Joel turns to me and says, "I have to go back and pray for that woman."  "What woman" I asked?  "The woman back there having lunch", Joel responded.  In all my great confidence and faith I replied...."Okay, then, you go ahead and I will wait here." Yeah.....not my best moment.  After wrestling a few minutes with my own thoughts, I decided to go support Joel.  He was already on his way back to me....... He had asked her if he could pray, explaining that he noticed her head shaking and that he felt God wanted him to pray for her.  She cautiously said yes.  So he did.  A brief prayer at which time her head shaking went down to barely noticeable.  It did not totally go away, but he felt he had done what God had asked him to do and he moved on.  Just like that.    He has prayed with a stranger in the aisle of Menard's.  He has prayed in tongues over someone who wanted speaking in tongues defined and then to hear it.  He prayed and the man felt heat go into his body.  Thank you Jesus.  He is always courteous and respectful, asking permission first.  He often tells his healing story.  He also tells people they can speak to their own health problems in Jesus name and by His authority.  He has had people think that we believe our prayers are better than theirs.  Not a chance of us believing that, but he does want to share what we learned about healing and prayer.  He has not had out right criticism to his face, here in the Midwest things come across sideways....but it would not stop him if he did.

So I have been pondering what Bill said today.  Do I write and speak in a way that would make others want to "crucify" me?  I know when I write about healing or Holy Spirit manifesting, people get stirred up, but sometimes I am too careful in what I for thought.

As Christians we know ISIS would love to kill us all.  Does it stop us from proclaiming Christ? What about Kayla Mueller who was kidnapped, tortured, and killed by ISIS over in Syria.  The second in command of that terrorist group told other captives she had converted to Islam but she adamantly denied it.  She was made a sex slave to this leader, and eventually killed when Jordan bombed the place she was staying. She would not give up her beliefs even to stop the torture. She died faithful to God.

We do not have to worry about such things here, and we may never be challenged as Bill Johnson and Paul Teske are, but maybe, just maybe, we need to step out boldly and speak what we believe without worrying about being criticized or "crucified" by the "some". Maybe we need to be a voice.   Maybe we need to speak and live out our faith with courage and love, and most importantly out of obedience to Jesus, who is not only our Savior, but Lord over our lives.

1 comment:

Sharon said...

This certainly seems to be a time in history when it's crucial to speak out when called to do so. We need more courageous voices, and the world certainly needs more Truth.

Kudos to Joel for being bold.