TVBackground_Johnson_SHOW771_1

Sid: I’ve been looking forward to this interview for a while I have on the telephone the Senior Leader from Bethel Church Bill Johnson. Bill, there is something that marks you, and I believe there are 2 things that have done it. The first that has done it and sometimes it marks someone in a bad way, is how many generations is it 5 generations of Full Gospel Preachers and Pastors? (Chuckling)

Bill: Yeah, I’m a 5th generation Pastor and my children are all in ministry as well, so the 6th generation.

Sid: That is… what a wonderful heritage.

Bill: Yeah.

Sid: I mean that alone is miraculous to me. I mean I didn’t even know who Jesus was until I was almost 30 in Christian America of all places. But I want to take you back to a night that you had electricity go through your whole body when was that?

Bill: October of 1995.

Sid: And take me… give me a little bit of the history of that.

Bill: Well I had been really encouraged and inspired in the subject of revival in the outpouring of the Spirit. I had gone to Toronto and was touched there. I had come home we were just hungry for something. Fresh in the Lord, I brought in a friend named Dick Joyce that was ministering, he is a great prophet of God. Was ministering at that church and that evening when I was praying for people I told a friend of mine that God was going to touch him and it could be in the middle of the night at three in the morning. It could be at the middle of the day. When I got home it was real late at night got to sleep. I woke up suddenly at 3:00am exactly with that prophesy that had given to a friend of mine. That prophesy immediately in mind. I looked at the clock it was 3:00 exactly and I said, I said out loud “You set me up.” I felt like the Lord had me encourage somebody else with something that was actually my portion. And He just began to visit me in power, I don’t know any other way to describe it except that it was electricity going through my entire body.

Sid: Let me ask you something, you said you went to Toronto when the Revival hit. What you’re about to describe did you have the same thing happen to you at Toronto?

Bill: No, no I didn’t. I didn’t have anything noticeably happen to me in Toronto except I felt the presence of the Lord, I encountered His peace there was a lot of just deep heart stuff that was wonderful. My affections for Him were strong and vibrant and that sort of thing but no, there was no there was no experience.

Sid: Okay, let’s take you back to 3 in the morning, you prophesied something over a friend, it started happening to you, describe.

Bill: Well, it’s almost… I was actually embarrassed, I felt my face turn red and the reason I had no control of my limbs they shot out with electricity like 1000 volts of electricity I couldn’t control my arms. If I clenched my fists I would try to get control then my legs would get more violent.

Sid: Now that’s interesting Bill because I have had this happen to me but for me I’ve had control. What I do I yield to the Spirit of God doing this but I’ve always felt I could stop it if I wanted to but I never wanted to. Are you telling me you tried to stop?

Bill: Yeah, I didn’t know what was happening at first to be honest with you in the first few moments I didn’t know what was happening. I tried to regain control of my body because it’s not normal to have no control, I couldn’t control it. I would fight it not knowing that I was fighting the Lord and I would try to get control and I realized through…

Sid: Excuse me, was your wife there when this was happening?

Bill:   She was sleeping and it was a miracle she stayed asleep because…

Sid: I think so (Laughing)

Bill: It really was. Interestingly a couple of days later it spread to her as well but it was just… it was violent in a sense encounter. And the Lord He paraded certain pictures in front of my mind, He reminded me of Mary the mother of Jesus, the mother of the illegitimate child.   Reminded me of Jacob wrestling with an angel limp for the rest of his life. He reminded me of these scenes in scripture where an encounter changed everything. And while it’s highly favored from heaven’s perspective not always from earth’s perspective. And I felt embarrassed for what I was experiencing. And I then there’s a picture flash in front of me that saw me trying to teach in front of the church that I pastured realizing there’s not anybody in the room that’s going to believe that this is God. This is so embarrassing so unusual that I didn’t think that there was anybody that would think that it was the Lord. And then the next scene I saw myself standing in front of my favorite restaurant in town and I realized that the city is going to laugh at me as well. (Chuckling) And it was a decision, I had been praying for months, and I had literally been praying this day and night I would wake up in the middle of the night praying this “God I want more of you at any cost, I will pay any prince.” And so when He paraded these scenes in front of me it was basically asking me “Did you mean it when you said ‘At any price?’” Because the way it looked I either will be a laughing stock in front of the church or the city or I won’t be able to get out of bed the rest of my life I won’t be able to function as a result of this Devine touch. And I laid there weeping for probably 20 minutes and after about 20 minutes or so of tears streaming down on my pillow case I said “Yes, I’ll take it, I’ll take it I want more of You, you can do whatever you want with me you can make me look any way you want it doesn’t matter to me as long as I get You in the exchange.”

Sid: Now just out of curiosity you probably can’t answer this question but it’s crossed my mind. If you had said “No, I want my dignity do you think you would have lost what you have today?”

Bill: Yeah, I do I absolutely do. He doesn’t take you to moments of decisions that aren’t necessarily. I’m not saying He wouldn’t have used me, He wouldn’t have done something in and through my life but we often are the ones that set the limits.  

Sid: Okay, did He say anything else to you at that moment?

Bill: That was it, He wanted me to lay down my dignity, my fear of man which you know if you’d ask anyone who knew me in that period of time all of my closest friends would have said “The fear of man was not an issue for me.”But the Lord saw beyond what everyone else could see that I could have been prone to making decisions based on what other people thought and I had to come to that place to go where He wanted to take me I had to be able to respond to Him, still maintain love, honor and respect for people but respond to Him without being crippled by the fear of man. And that’s what He was after.

Sid: Now out of curiosity why did He choose you?

Bill: Oh, I have no idea.

Sid: I know you told me but I thought I had to ask you any way it’s called “just His choice” and that’s all involved.

Bill: I am a 5th generation Pastor and is a wonderful thing I had a great upbringing but I’m the guy that took an F in school on oral exam in school because I didn’t want to speak aloud in front of people.

Sid: (Laughing)

Bill: I’m the guy that read one book in my all until I was 18 years old I read it in 8th grade and I avoided reading, I hated study, I wasn’t good at any of the things that are necessary for what I’m doing. So when the Lord chose me He was doing what He often does He chooses because of weakness and that way He gets the credit for what He does. So I do believe that’s at the heart and soul of what He did.

Sid: Okay, at what time did the shaking if, you will, the electricity going through your body stop?

Bill: It was 6:38.

Sid: Okay at 6:39 did you just stay in bed and process or did you jump out of bed or did you tell your wife, what happened?

Bill: No I got up I didn’t tell anyone I didn’t tell anyone. The next night it started the moment I got in bed and the 3rd night it hit me and my wife together. By that time of course she knew what was going on but I didn’t tell anyone I was processing I couldn’t figure it out. It was a great mystery to me and now I have hind sight I could see that He was dealing with the fear of man, He was dealing with dignity these issues. At the time I was bewildered.

Sid: I’ll tell you what we’re running out of time right now but on tomorrow broadcast I want to find out the first time you lost your dignity after this event. But before that I have to believe one of the most significant things that God has taught you all of these years is how to host His presence, and this was a process in which He taught you how. I asked you before we went on the air why for your workbook and your 2 DVD’s and your book. Why did you call it “Hosting the Presence” why didn’t you call it “Welcoming the Presence” why hosting?

Bill: Well if you have a special guest come to your home you want to host them, you do extra things. You make sure that you have your nicest tableware you know you have the table cloth, you have the special meal you’re doing everything to honor the guest. And I realized that the Holy Spirit is a permanent resident in me but I like to live with that sense of honor and celebration of this one that I get to host, that I get to truly get to welcome Him; but I’m hosting Him and I’m turning the affection of my whole value system to just valuing and celebrating the fact that God is with me but He’s not just in me which I’m grateful for but He rests upon me. And when He rests upon me it changes everything around me.

Sid: How important is it for you to be aware of this and for those that are listening to be able to participate with the Holy Spirit and have His presence and know how His presence can increase in their life?

Bill: Oh, it’s extremely vital. You know any… we know that any of us that become obsessed with a problem we become fearful, we become anxious, we communicate that nonverbally. We carry the environment of fear and anxiety with us where ever we go. We can walk in a room and make everybody tense. Well turn, well make that you know turn that around and flip it around and you know that the person who lives conscious of the Holy Spirit actually carries a presence into a room and the atmosphere changes instantly.

Sid: Woops we’re out of time.

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