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Monday, December 8, 2014

"Experience the Impossible" (Bill Johnson)

TITLE: Experience the Impossible: Simple Ways to Unleash Heaven's Power on Earth
AUTHOR: Bill Johnson
PUBLISHER: Minneapolis, MN: Chosen Books, 2014, (256 pages).

In faith, we are connected with the Divine. In hope, we joyfully anticipate good things from God. In love, everything is changed. Using the three themes of faith, hope, and love as ways to experience God and the things that appear impossible with man, Pastor of Bethel Church in Redding, California, Bill Johnson provides 79 reflections to help us experience heaven's power on earth.  Each chapter begins with a short devotional on faith, hope, or love, and ends with a prayer and confession. The titles of each chapter alone is often appropriate for a thought a day. Like the first chapter on faith, where Johnson describes faith as not coming from striving but from surrender. It is a contrast between faith in surrender versus the striving via works. He helps us along by stringing together thoughts about faith throughout the Bible. For hope, Johnson describes the positivistic aspects like the cultivation of gratitude and hunger so that one will increase desire for God; the revelation of God's promises to draw us closer; and how hope is the "soil" for our faith to grow on. Beautiful. Many aspects of hope are also introduced in a manner of warnings such as the tendency to be obsessed with failures; how resentful people attract more complaints; how the size of our problems grow larger if we let our minds be filled with them; how those without hope can expect the worst; how it is terrible to live with regret; and so on. On love, he encourages us that the "heart to hear God" is more important than the "ability" to hear God's voice; Jesus understands our losses for He himself had experienced personal suffering and death; how love is warped when people without love tried to interpret the Bible; how important it is for Christian leaders to have passion in leadership; learning to let love silence fear; and many more.

As I leaf the pages of the book, I find fresh insights coming through with regards to the themes of faith, hope, and love. Written pastorally, Johnson is able to connect the promises of heaven with the disappointments often encountered on earth, to motivate a "can do" perspective for readers. That is what he means by "experience the impossible." Underlying the book is the constant reminder that it is the Holy Spirit that enables the fruition of faith, hope, and love. Christian people can be discouraged from time to time. When the cares and worries of this world overwhelm us, we can easily lose sight of the promises of God. We let the world get to us more than we get ourselves to the world. For the battle needs to be fought first inside our souls. This is the battleground that only in the Holy Spirit can we be victors. In order to experience the impossible, we need faith to believe, hope to long for, and love to live and belong together. In a strange way, believers who allow God to work will realize that unleashing the power of heaven is not about what we do. It is about the willingness to let God use us to do what He deems best.

Rating: 4 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me courtesy of Chosen Books and Graf-Martin Communications in exchange for an honest review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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