Frederick Buechner: Loved ‘in spite of…’ not ‘because of…’

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“We are children, perhaps, at the very moment when we know that it is as children that God loves us – not because we have deserved his love and not in spite of our undeserving; not because we try and not because we recognise the futility of our trying; but simply because he has chosen to love us. We are children because he is our father; and all of our efforts, fruitful and fruitless, to do good, to speak truth, to understand, are the efforts of children who, for all their precocity, are children still in that before we loved him, he loved us, as children, through Jesus Christ our lord.”

Frederick Buechner, The Magnificent Defeat

Bill Johnson, American Pastor

Bill Johnson was born for revival, but he didn’t start burning and shining for Jesus until he was a full-grown man. Though he was a pastor’s child in a Spirit-filled church, the thought of circling the globe teaching hungry believers how to host the presence and release the power of God never once crossed his mind. Bill had his heart set on becoming a professional baseball player.

God had different plans and used an evangelist named Mario Murillo—whose ministry was born in the drug-obsessed, occult-saturated atmosphere in the epicenter of the violent student revolution in Berkeley, California—to get Bill’s attention. Through Murillo’s persuasive gospel messages about absolute abandonment to Christ mixed with raw healing, the Holy Spirit conquered Bill’s heart. Today, he’s a fifth-generation pastor on his dad’s side and a fourth-generation pastor on his mom’s side.

“I grew up in a very good Christian home and had a fear of God, and while I never lived in out-and-out rebellion, neither was I a passionate follower of Jesus,” Bill told me in the studios at Bethel Church in Redding, California, where he serves as senior leader. Continue reading “Bill Johnson, American Pastor”