By Paul Strand
CBN News
July 5, 2007

CBNNews.comREDDING, California – Imagine a church where so many believers get excited about miracles that more healings happen outside the church than in it.
CBNNews recently visited such a fellowship in
California. The thing that makes Bethel Church in Redding fascinating is that many of its members say they’ve come to realize that God wants to move mightily through them, not just the clergy.
He wants to work outside the church walls, not just inside them. It’s led to miraculous moments where the church folk get to experience God using them in
Church member Bob Perry said, „What happens away from the church or outside the walls…that’s who we are.“
Perry was with his daughter just after she gave birth to baby Talyah six weeks early.
They were facing disaster, as the baby was born with a hole in her heart and her blood wasn’t flowing right.
They got a prayer chain of
Bethel people praying all over the city as they themselves stood by the baby, desperately pleading with God.
Then the doctor — an unbeliever — suddenly shouted as he was doing an echocardiogram on the baby’s heart.

„Would you look at that!“ he exclaimed.

Amy Goodall watched with the doctor as the hole in her baby’s heart disappeared on the echocardiogram. „And he’s all ‚look at that! This heart,it’s healing right here in front of me.'“

One of the doctor’s reports before all this discussed the hole in Talyah’s heart, but another report after the healing makes no mention of the hole, because it had indeed totally disappeared.

Goodall said, „And the doctor and all of us got to watch it right there on the screen.“

Bethel teaches its members that God wants to move like this — with great power — to back up His people’s witnessing. The contention here is that the Great Commission wasn’t meant to be carried out by words alone, but that power from on high would come alongside the testimony of the saints.

Bethel senior pastor Bill Johnson, author of Strengthen Yourself in the Lord, says believers just need to look at Jesus. „He was sent to destroy the works of the devil, and then He turned to us and said, ‚as the Father sent me, I send you.‘ So it’s not that complicated,“ Johnson said.

Two years ago, Chad Dedmon was going into a Redding grocery store to buy donuts, and decided to pray for a lady with hearing aids at a checkout stand. She was instantly healed. „She was 90 percent deaf in one ear and about 85 percent in the other,“ Dedmon said. „So she had her hearing totally restored. She started crying…the checkout girl started crying.“
Then Dedmon announced on the checkout girl’s intercom, „Attention, all shoppers, God is here and He wants to release His presence and His healing.“ A crippled lady rolled up to
Chad for prayer and was healed right away.
„She stands up,“ Dedmon recalled. „She begins to run around the checkout aisles, screaming ‚Jesus has just healed me, Jesus has just healed me!'“

Still there in the store, Dedmon then prayed for a man with horrible pain in his wrists.
Dedmon said, „And he starts screaming, ‚They’re on fire, they’re on fire.‘ I’m saying, ‚This is a good heat…this is good.‘ And he’s like, ‚Oh, my gosh,‘ and he starts crying and he says ‚the pain is all gone.'“
„He gave his heart to the Lord,“ Dedmon said, „and that’s when I realized the Kingdom just showed up and it would probably be a good idea to introduce the King.“

led seven people to the Lord. He said, „I was so excited actually that when I got home, I realized that I left my donuts at the grocery store!“

Chris Overstreet works frequently with other Bethel members among Redding’s poor and homeless, the city’s down-and-outers — feeding them, befriending them, praying for them. One day last October, he was walking past Pamela Mullikin’s second floor motel room. She’d been to the local hospital six times over a horrible issue of blood that doctors feared was caused by cancer.
Mullikin said, „It got to the point where it was just so scary.“

Cancer is a particular target of Pastor Johnson and Bethel because it’s been so widespread and deadly.
„It’s a Goliath that has been taunting the armies of the living God. And we need Davids to pick up their stones and to run after the thing, and stop speaking of it with respect like it’s powerful. It’s an inferior name to the name Jesus,“ Johnson said, Chris simply reached up a hand to pray as he walked past Pamela’s room.
„So he just put his hand out,“ Mullikin said, „and he started praying, and then everything just went away.“ She said, „It stopped, and no cancer.“ „We see things like this happen every day,“ Perry said, „This is really what God wants to do,“ Dedmon said, „and this is what’s available for every Christian.“

Johnson said, „The Kingdom of God is within you, the Spirit of God is within you, and He desires to be manifested.“
people are always looking for crutches, wheelchairs, hearing aids — any sign that God’s moved them next to a person they can pray for. But this January God used that instinct in Bethel School of Ministry’s Heidi Propst out on a jogging trail, to save rather than heal a hobbling Jerry Thomas.
Thomas said, „She looked over and gave me a wonderful smile.I’ll never forget the smile that I got.“ Heidi was shy about asking if she could pray for Jerry’s leg. „It was a bit intimidating for me, but I just decided I’d try,“ she said.

Thomas recalled, „She said, ‚Can I pray for you?'“ God didn’t heal Thomas that day, but He began wooing his heart. The 71-year-old soon ended up in Bethel’s Café, with Heidi leading him in a prayer of salvation. Now Jerry’s been baptized and is entering Bethel’s School of Ministry.

One of the most powerful lessons from churches like Bethel is that the professional clergy can only do so much.
If the Kingdom of God is going to invade the streets, the businesses, the homes of the world, it’s going to take all the body of Christ waking up to the fact that God means for them to be His ministers, His witnesses, His hands extended.

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