At the end of our Oregon road trip we popped across to Bethel Church in Redding – an 8hr drive, we’ve got this road trip thing down. We love Bethel’s worship and teaching and often tune in.
A few friends asked us ‘So… what’s it like at Bethel’
We were so blessed to be in touch with the pastoral team through our friend who arranged for us to receive prayer from the Bethel pastors. Of course they took it to another level and saved us seats, a parking space and blessed us with a gift bag of books and cds – reviews and book clubs to follow 😉
We were prayed for during the course of the day by several of pastors who immediately felt like friends, who loved us, encouraged us and called out dreams that had only been whispered in secret places.
We heard Carol Arnott speak on Sunday morning and Bill Johnson on Sunday evening. During Sunday evening we saw over 60 physical healings – of injuries and sicknesses, many of which had been around for years. We saw freedom from pain… and feathers floating.
All this time the ‘man’ didn’t run around praying for people, nor did people run to the man, no glory was given to anyone except God. It was very low key and almost understated in terms on man’s involvement. The involvement came when Bill encouraged those in the congregation to pray for one another or in his words ‘church family you have a job to do.’
I love all of the above – there was so much we took away from Bethel, mostly the genuine culture of honor, which is fostered among ALL the people. You might know the book ‘Culture of Honor’ written by Danny Silk. He writes that ‘Honor means relating to someone according to his or her God given identity… Honor looks for gold in people’.
Danny Silk writes that honor – accurately acknowledging who people are – will position us to give them what they deserve, and to receive the gift of who they are in return. Honor relinquishes the desire to control, accepting risk and trusting freedom. Honor leads with love and creates zones where people feel safe and important. Through honor, masks come off, walls come down, and hearts come out. People’s gifts are revealed, affirmed, and released. Life flows through honor.
He also writes: A controlling God, who is usually represented by a controlling church leadership, is just not good news. How can church leadership create freedom and not more rules? How can we bring out the best in human beings and keep it at the surface even as we deal with their problems and shortcomings? Can we empower others and release them to live from their best natures and from the truest reasons they are alive?
Imagine if we all grasped hold of this truth and were able to say:
‘I carry something that no one else carries. I must develop and release my gifts into the Church and the world and do my part in bringing Heaven to earth’
Does it feel like a difficult, risky task to verbally identify someone’s identity through honor? Possibly for some – our own insecurity might prevent it, underlying judgments that the person does not deserve it, maybe? Fear? Don’t know what to say? Start with ‘you are loved…’ and go from there.
That’s what I carry from Bethel to Willow Park. To see the gold in people of our community, our city. ‘In a culture of honor, leaders lead with honor by courageously treating people according to the names God gives them and not according to the aliases they receive from people’
YOU are loved!