Sid: I love the teaching of my guest because my guest says that what we see today displaying the power of God is abnormal compared to what God wants for us. His name is Pastor Bill Johnson. I’m interviewing him on his brand new book “When Heaven Invades Earth.” He is the Senior Pastor of Bethel Church in Redding, California. I’ve been there, and I have to say Pastor Bill it is a wild exciting happening. And that’s the best way that I can describe your Sunday morning service.
Bill: I agree I just love it so much I miss it a lot when I’m gone.
Sid: Now we’re going to have a lot of people upset with us if we don’t get right to this story. I said “You officiated in one of the most abnormal and that’s the word…”
Sid: “…unusual weddings I’ve ever heard of.” For those that didn’t listen yesterday if you would just update us real quickly and then talk about the person that you prayed for.
Bill: Okay, well we had a wedding where a couple met in our ministry to the broken and poor. They decided to invite the homeless and the poor of our city to their wedding as the honored guests. And they would give all of their wedding presents to them. They had registered at Target for coats, hats, gloves and sleeping bags. So it would be something that they could really use. A man was brought on the bus to the wedding that was in bad shape had 2½ – 3 years to live. The exciting part for me was the response of our people. They came to me so excited that there was somebody there that had 2½ – 3 years to live and they were excited because they knew what God was about to do; they had that sense that here’s another impossibility that’s going to bow it’s knee to the name Jesus. So when the wedding was over and my brother and I took him to the side and asked him what was wrong with the wrist? He told us that he had carpal tunnel; so I asked him if he could remove the braces. Because I like people to remove whatever they may be trusting in. And my brother and I each took an arm and laid our hands on the wrist commanded it to be well in Jesus name. We removed our hands and asked him to move them around and he did and they were completely healed. So I said “What’s wrong with your leg?” I noticed he limped and he had a cane and he told me that he had been in a very severe accident. He had stainless steel shin; I think stainless steel hip; he had half a lung removed. It was a real serious thing and his leg ended up 2 short; when they put everything back together it was just too short. So we prayed for him; I had him sit down and of course most people like to close their eyes when we pray and I like to keep them open so I can see what God’s doing. So I said “I want you to watch this.” So he watched and so we held his leg out and his leg actually grew. And you’ve got to remember he’s got metal parts in there.
Sid: I was just going to ask; it’s a miracle when bone grows…
Sid: It’s getting absolutely ridiculous.
Bill: Yeah, we’ve seen a few of those cases where metal will either grow or shrink according to what the need is. And in his case it needed to grow so we command it to grow; either the bone or the metal something grew. The leg came completely out and he walked across the room. This was really funny; I love to pray for nonbelievers because they just don’t have that religious response you know. He stood up he just kind of shifted his weight from side to side and he said “That’s about right.” And it made me feel like he was trying on a new pair of shoes or something. But I said “Why don’t you walk across the room.” And he did and there was no pain, there was no limp he was completely well. I said “What’s up with the neck? And he said “Oh, he said “I’ve got cancer and they’ve said “I’ve got 2½ – to 3 years to live.” And he had this brace that actually held his head in place it wasn’t like a small whip lash that breaks; that was just for protection. It actually held his head in place. I said “How about if you remove that.” And he said “That would be fine so he did, but he told us ahead of time that the muscles in his neck were destroyed and he wasn’t able to hold his head up.” Now I don’t remember it’s been awhile, and I don’t remember is it was because of the cancer or the chemotherapy at any rate the muscles weren’t functional to hold his head up. So we had a bunch of folks gather around him; and actually a medical doctor came and held his neck his head in place and we began to pray. And the medical doctor I heard him call out the muscles by their Latin names commanding them to grow. We prayed for maybe 60 seconds, maybe 2 minutes. And when we were through, removed our hands and the gentleman turned is head from side to side and all of the strength was restored in his neck instantly. Then he put his hand on the side of his neck and he said “They’re gone.” I said “What are you doing?” He said “They’re gone.” I said “What?” He said “The lumps on his neck” apparently the cancer. And he went back to the doctor and got a clean bill of health because the Lord had healed him completely of the cancer and everything else.
Sid: Out of curiosity a homeless man; a few years to live, his chronic pain, limp, braces.
Sid: What happened to him? Unsaved.
Bill: Yeah, he was around town for a while he actually went back to work; he hadn’t worked in 17 years. He had been on the welfare system for all of that time for various reasons. He got a job within a couple of weeks. I don’t know that they were hopeless; I think that they were living in an old school bus so they had some sort of covering a roof over their head.
Sid: You made a comment to me, your glad that he wouldn’t have the typical religious response. What is the religious response?
Bill: It’s actually harder sometimes to pray for Christians because they have this thing in their head… they have an expectation of what’s going to happen or what’s not going to happen. And a non-Christian just seems to have a clean slate. And Christians tend to give me some sort of religious response. They’ll say “Well, I know it can happen or know that it’s going to happen someday.” They almost shut down the miracle just in their response.
Sid: Are Christians almost brainwashed to walk in unbelief?
Bill: Oh, absolutely. (Laughing) People will tell me all the time that I know that God can do it; it’s faith that says “I know He will.” There’s a great difference that hope that says “I know that He can,” and the faith that says “I know that He will.”
Sid: So what advice do you give a Christian that’s saying “That’s me, I’ve got a disease, I’ve been prayed for by the best I know God heals; I know that God wants to heal me but I’m not making that connection I must be rain washed, what should I do?”
Bill: We’ve got to return to a place of rest. Hebrew 3 and 4 talks about that place of rest, it’s not a striving. The culture that we have in America much of the faith culture is a striving culture where we are laboring so hard to believe. And faith really comes out of rest; it comes out of a place of acceptance.
Sid: Your right; it’s almost a works mentality “I’ve got to do something to earn my healing.”
Bill: Exactly or to earn faith to get my healing.
Sid: I’ve got to mediate for 8 hours every day and then I’ll have my faith.
Bill: Yeah, the enemy what he does he tends to use the principals that are true to have us overuse them to have us at the point of abuse so that we lose the real nutrient if you will, the nutrient value of the truth. So the striving has to stop; we got to come to a place of real peace. That shalom of heaven to really saturate our hearts. Faith is the most natural response for the Christian if he’s had a true encounter with God.
Sid: Now in your book you talk about the original commission that Adam and Eve had to subdue the whole earth. However it got short circuited; explain that.
Bill: Well, Adam and Eve were giving the commission to subdue the earth and to be fruitful, multiply and subdue the earth in Genesis 1. Be fruitful means to have a productive life to multiply means to have children, who have children, who have children. Subdue the earth means outside of the garden that God planted them in it’s not in divine order it’s chaotic and dark. And God gave them the commission to be His representation on the earth. The Bible says the heavens were made for man but the earth was… or the heavens were made for God but the earth was made for man. And so we were assigned to be delegated authority of God to establish His dominion through us bringing the earth under our dominion. And man gave it up; when we obeyed the serpent all that we owned that was given to the serpent that was given to the enemy. The Bible says “That we are slaves of the one that we obey.” When Adam and Eve obeyed the devil they gave up their keys of authority over the planet. So when the Bible says that “Jesus came to seek and to save that that was lost,” I don’t want to cause offense here but I don’t believe that that particular passage is talking to save lost people. He obviously did, but He came to save that which was lost which was the dominion that man gave up to the enemy when we obeyed the serpent. In Luke 4 Jesus had a confrontation with the enemy after 40 days of fasting. And the devil told Him “If you’d bow down and worship me I will give you all the kingdoms of the world.” And he made this statement “For they have been handed over to me and I can give them to whomever I wish.” He was making a statement there he was telling the truth. They were given over to me from Adam and Eve and now I can give them to whomever I want.” And they way that whole story reads to me is that Jesus… Satan was kicked out of heaven because he wanted to we worshiped like God. And now he’s standing in front of Jesus and he saying “Jesus I know what you came for; I have keys of dominion that you came for but you know what I want I want to be worshiped, so if you bow down and worship me I’ll give you the keys back.” And of course Jesus said “No,” and was crucified on our behalf, and when he ascended He first descended to the lower parts of the earth. He got the keys of dominion back and He stood before the disciples in Matthew 28 the great commission. And He said “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth.” And the interesting thing to remember here is that Jesus did not make that proclamation as God because God never lost that authority. He said that as man, as our elder brother the one who had gone before us the first born of creation to take the keys of dominion back and then he gave them back to us to continue with the original commission.
Sid: Because if He had done that as His role as God then there would be no hope for us to walk in that type of authority. But if He did that as man you explain in your book, then that’s why He said “As I am, so are you also.”
Bill: Yes, that’s exactly right; that’s exactly it. If He did it as God I’m impressed, but if He did it as the Son of man I’m compelled to follow.