Just a few days after his wife and co-pastor Beni Johnson passed away, Bethel Church Senior Leader Bill Johnson preached Sunday at one of the church's services.
As he was introduced, Johnson received a standing ovation from the audience.
"It's so good to be here. It's such as incredible privilege to have such a large family, you know," he said, overcome with emotion.
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Johnson pointed to God's goodness and His kindness, even during life's hardest moments.
"We don't get to choose stuff like, 'I don't want to experience any pain'," he said. "That's not an option we get. We do life. In fact, let's be really honest, He (God) says things like, 'Rejoice always,' 'Pray without ceasing,' and 'In everything give thanks.' Those three verses are completely useless if you aren't going to experience loss and disappointment. Nobody needs to rejoice if everything works as you want it to work. It's pointless."
"But what about loss?" Johnson asked. "That's the mystery that we have the privilege of carrying. The level of revelation God gives you will always be equal to the measure of mystery you are willing to live with. And the inability to live with mystery is your resistance to childlikeness. It's childlikeness that actually gives us access to dimensions and realms in the kingdom that you can't get in any other way. There's certain things He's hidden in the journey."
"For example, several years ago, I discovered something about 'in the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil because you are with me' (Psalm 23:4)," the Bethel senior leader said. "And what I found was, there are measures of His presence that you can only find in the valley of the shadow of death."
As CBN News reported, Beni Johnson, passed away on July 13 after battling cancer surrounded by her family and friends. Bill wrote on social media that Beni is now "Healthy and free" in her eternal home in heaven.
Bethel posted a statement on the church's website that a memorial service for Beni will be held in a couple of weeks.
Please pray for the Johnson family and the Bethel Church community during this time of grief and loss.
The Johnsons have been the senior leaders at Bethel Church for decades, a church that is known globally for its innovative worship songs and a consistent emphasis on the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The church's website points out that Beni was an integral part of the church's mission and was pivotal in the development of Bethel's Prayer House and the congregation's Intercession Team.
The church also wished Bill a Happy Birthday on Instagram Monday as he turned 71.
"Today is Pastor Bill's birthday! We are incredibly grateful for the life and legacy of 'Papa Bill.' @brevived, we honor your 'yes' to the Lord and your devotion to the pure pursuit of His presence. We value your yielded leadership as you shepherd our movement. It is a beautiful privilege to serve your passion for revival—the personal, regional, and global expansion of God's kingdom through His manifest presence. Thank you for modeling a life lived from heaven to earth. Your love for God ignites the flames of our hearts and stirs our hunger for all that Jesus paid for on the Cross. We're covering you with a blanket of prayer today and celebrating the pastor, father, husband, and noble man that you are," the church wrote.
Besides the Redding, CA, location, Bethel also has congregations in Atlanta, GA; Austin, TX; Cleveland, OH; Valparaiso, IN; and Whangarei, New Zealand.
Watch Bill Johnson's message he preached to the Bethel congregation on Sunday below.