Powerlessness: Unnecessary and Unbalanced – Chapter 10
In this chapter Bill Johnson points out the false piety of powerless Christianity and Faith. He points out many say that they need to have more Christ-like character before they will ready to expect or walk in power. Johnson says that many have settled for spirituality that never requires “divine intervention”. Instead Johnson says that we are called to “become witnesses to another world”. So the “normal” Christian path is that we cultivate a relationship with the Holy Spirit based on Christ’s merits rather than a self-imposed and self-measured christ-like piety. We need to pursue a relationship with the Holy Spirit at all costs. And if we fail, then continue even more until we begin to encounter the Lord. The willingness to take risks is a big part of this. Johnson says that when the Holy Spirit encountered him he realized that “God wanted to make an exchange – His increased presence for my dignity” (pg. 114). And if that is not happening then Johnson says that something is wrong on his own end of faith because the Lord always is ready to encounter and to empower. Lastly, he says that we test every teacher by the power they walk in or not. If they do not have power, then “don’t listen to them”.
The High Cost of Low Power – Chapter 11
In this chapter Bill Johnson talks about the place for Signs and Wonders in the life of the church and communities of believers. He makes many good points about the that signs and wonders play such as authenticating the message and teaching of Jesus and authenticating that Jesus is the Son of God. Signs and wonders are manifestations of God’s glory. Their occurances increase faith and build expectation. Signs and wonders have impact. They bring people to decision and bring conviction because they are confronted with the power of God.
He also talks about how many christians have taught against signs and wonders occurring in the present. Some have even developed theologies to teach believers not to expect signs and wonders at all. Signs and wonders are replaces with religious ritual and a satisfaction with a belief system rather than real encounter with the Lord. I have seen and heard this first hand and I know exactly what he is talking about. It is very sadly true. Thank God that new teaching is being heard and faith is being increased among the body.
Our Debt to the World: An Encounter with God – Chapter 12
In this chapter Bill Johnson talks about walking and minister under anointing. Anointing means to “smear”. The statement of this chapter that really hit me is this “The ones who do enjoy fellowship throughout their day with the Holy Spirit are extremely conscious of how He feels about their words, attitudes, and activities. The thought of grieving Him brings great sorrow. It’s their passion to give Him preeminence in everything. That passion brings that believer into supernatural life – one with the constant activity of the Holy Spirit working through them.” (pg 134) This is walking in anointing – staying constantly smeared by His abiding presence. Ministry to others is simply sharing the presence we are enjoying with others. When we are willing to share His presence we enter into God’s desire for others around us. The presence comes off of us onto others. Ministering is learning “to recognize His presence, cooperate in His passion for people, and invite them to receive salvation” (136). From here Johnson says that this is not or should not be a surprise. We follow in the ministry and life of Jesus who, like Jacob, had heaven open over Him and angels called to minister ascending and descending upon him. We who have the Holy Spirit are all dwelling places of God and we should experience the same.
Aha Moment – really none other than continuing reminder to keep pressing in until we see the heaven invade earth; to live in expectation and faith that God ruling presence is within arm’s reach and about to break through…if we just grab onto it.
I was just thinking how many in modern North American Christianity hold that heaven can or will only be received and accessed….well later on. When you combine this with another failed teaching that God does not inspire people to operate in His Spirit today as he did in the early church, there is no expectation that heaven or the Spirit to intervene or intrude into anybody’s life. Even when they really want Him to!
So when do we enjoy is salvation? Just when we die? And What is heaven? the place we go when we die? And what does a Christian (who believes these things) do while we are waiting for heaven and Salvation? Be a “good” christian the best we can?
The problem is that we are supernatural beings created to be in communion with heaven. But if we a closed view that says that it is not God’s plan that that kind of communion is not possible now, some people will try to create their own vision of heaven on earth in the natural that mimics the reality of heaven . In my humble opinion that is why many christians meld politics and their “belief” systems. They use politics (the natural) as the vehicle to get a taste of heaven now rather than using faith to usher in Jesus’. Just a thought….
The Anointing and the AntiChrist Spirit – Chap 7
I love this chapter. It was the anointing of the Holy Spirit that qualified and empowered Jesus for His ministry. Jesus’ character and knowledge were great but did not enable him to engaged in empowered ministry until his being anointed with the Holy Spirit at His Baptism. It’s the invasion of the Holy Spirit into the natural world that is the breakthrough of the kingdom of God. Just as the Spirit tore through the sky at Jesus’ baptism, so did the kingdom come near. I love how Bill Johnson explains that what the Lord meant by “at hand” is that the kingdom is “available right here. Grab it” (p.80). To deny the invasion of the Spirit is to assign and characterize the works of the Spirit as something not from God -even as something demonic (p. 80). There are many churches and theologians who do not want anything to do with God the Spirit!
Teaching in to an Encounter – Chap 8
As a consequence to Chapter 7, those who are a position of authority in churches must require of themselves that they are anointed with God’s Spirit. We must require of ourselves “to do, with power” (p.88). We cannot be content to just be information dispensers but we need to take on the mantle of being teaching who can do what they are teaching – and also teachings who bring others into encounters with the reality of what we are teaching and profess. Bill Johnson really comes against pastors, teachers, churches, denominations and seminary that only work in the rational and the natural mind. They are only purveyors of information – not knowledge (in the Hebrew sense) of knowing how to do. Bill Johnson argues at length that it is out of pride and spirit of religion that people use knowledge of scripture in order to keep others coming to them rather than to an encounter with God. In contrast, those who do require of themselves that they operate in Spirit power will need to take risks in order to move in power.
The Works of the Father – Chap 9
This chapter is sort of the fulfillment of what Bill Johnson advocations in chapter 8. “Doing with Power” requires knowing the Spirit and being a person where the Spirit abides in order to see the supernatural or spirit realm and being able to operate in it, that is, seeing and doing the works of the Father just as Jesus talked about. There is a marvelous section on page 100 where Pastor Bill brings some much need corrective balance to our seeking supernatural power. We should not be seeking the power for power’s sake, but we should be seeking the heart of God first, and then allow the power of God to flow as demonstrations of God’s love and compassion for the world. God’s love is not an add-on to power, but where the power comes from. Doing the works of Jesus and works of the Father are demonstrations of God’s love. In order to do this, we need to pursue the Lord with “reckless abandon”. Bill Johnson then provides things we can do as means to this end. 1) Prayer 2) Study of scripture (especially the gospels), 3) Read those who teach this, 4) Have those who have anointing to lay hands on you 5) Try to hang around others who have anointing and 6) Obedience.
Ah – hah Moment
I really did have any ah-had moments but enjoyed each of these chapters. It was refreshing to read again what I wrote in chapter 9, viz., that power grows out of love and it is not something you add on or doing along side of power.
Chapter 4 – Summary – Faith – Anchored in the Unseen
Bill Johnson calls Faith the eyes of the soul. Faith allows us to see in the supernatural and see with heaven’s vision. Faith allows us to see what is reasonable or ‘realistic’ in God. Faith is a “mirror that reflects” what is possible from heaven’s points of view. When we decide what is reasonable or possible apart from God, we operate in unbelief. Fear is the result of a heart “broken” by unbelief. Faith is not just a mental attitude, but faith actually grabs onto what it understands in the supernatural and pulls down to earth. Bill also talks about a “cluster bomb” effect when a community is in agreement in faith
Chapter 5 – Summary – Praying Heaven Down
I love this chapter. This chapter is about grabbing onto heaven and pulling down what is in heaven. In this chapter looks at the “Lord’s” prayer from Matthew 6 the focus of which is to pray down to earth what is in heaven. I love how he speaks about binding on earth what is true in heaven. Pulling heaven to earth is the result of living as citizens of heaven. The more we live as citizens of heaven and in heaven, the more we bring what we are citizen of to earth. I also love his prayer strategies he revealed here: especially where he says that he prays “until he reaches a place of faith” for a situation. He then prays from that point from that place of faith.
Chapter 6 – Summary – The Kingdom and the Spirit
The kingdom is result of the movement of God’s Spirit. The kingdom is the realm of the Spirit. In this chapter Bill Johnson makes a radical statement: Jesus did not come only to release us from the bondage of sin in order that we may receive grace and salvation; but he did that so that we could filled with God’s own Spirit. We are filled with the Spirit in order to be empowered as we share dominion with Him. This is God’s ultimate purpose: not only to take dominion rightfully back for heaven’s purposes but also to share that dominion with His church.
Something that Bill Johnson said hit me in a new and fresh way that was very powerful. In chapter 5 he talks about a woman who set up a booth at a local faire who was going to read tarot cards etc. He did not engage her in spiritual warfare but he engaged in the spirit realm against her activity. And in doing so he prayed binding her to the Word of God that the the spirits influencing her had no power on the ground where he stood and he claimed the area for the kingdom. I like the binding to the Word. The truth of the Word is more powerful than the lies of the enemy and we can declare the Word and hold ground. It just hit me in a new and powerful way.