Sonshift study – Chapter One

sonshift_3dI’m starting the discussion on my book, Sonshift: Everything Changes in the Father’s Embrace” today. We’ll be looking at chapter one titled, “What is Sonshift?”

Here’s what I would like to do. Each week (usually Monday), I will give a brief overview of a chapter from my book, followed by a series of questions. I invite you to respond to some or all of these questions, or give additional comments on the chapter that my questions don’t address.

My only rules are that you’ve actually read the chapter before you answer the questions, and that you state your comments briefly (as if you only had a small space to write in a workbook). I will number the questions so that you can simply use the numbers for reference. Our interaction with the comments will make for some good discussion!

I DO encourage your comments and thoughts because it will greatly help me put together a study manual for the book (I will also be collecting information from other studies.) When I’m done, I will also make the finished manual available for download (PDF) free of charge.

So…here we go!

Chapter One: What is Sonshift?

This chapter is an basic overview of the book, but answering the first obvious question…what do I mean by the term, “Sonshift?” 

First, the title is a play on words, combining the biblical idea of “sonship” with the major shift I see taking place in the body of Christ today. The subsequent chapters simply expound on that shift. Here’s how I answer the question in the book…

“Sonshift is about my personal journey into the Father’s heart and how that has changed everything—how I see God and my relationship to Him, how I relate to my family and friends, how I read the Bible, and even the foundational things that I thought made up the Christian life. Sonshift is about Jesus’ true love—His Sleeping Beauty—in the middle of a great awakening. She isn’t dead, just sleeping. She’s always been just as beautiful as she was on the day she was born. Jesus has always loved her the same. But a wicked prince has always hated her because she is the object of the King’s deepest affection. So he tried to kill her, but he could only manage to put her in an orphan sleep. And now, in our lifetime, the time has come for her to awaken.” (p. 27-28, Kindle loc. 332)

Discussion Questions:

Please briefly comment on some or all of the following questions:

  1. Does the “Sleeping Beauty” analogy speak to you? How so?
  2. Can you relate to the author’s personal journey? If so, briefly comment on what significant events transpired that shaped the way you understand God and relate to Him?
  3. What do you think needs to change for people to see Jesus’ bride the same way they see Jesus?
  4. Can you relate to “Giving your heart to Jesus but losing your soul?” How so?
  5. Do you think the “current model of Christianity is broken”? Why are why not?
  6. Can you relate to the comparison between an “orphan” Christian and being a son or daughter of our heavenly Father? How so?

coffee_commentsIf these questions didn’t address something you think is important, please add it in your comments. If you would like to make any comments offline, please email me at mwild@ceuturytel.net.  Thank you!

Now, it’s your turn!

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About Mel Wild

God's favorite (and so are you), a son and a father, happily married to the same beautiful woman for 36 years. We have three incredible adult children. My passion is pursuing the Father's heart in Christ and giving it away to others. My favorite pastime is being iconoclastic and trailblazing the depths of God's grace. I'm also senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Wisconsin.
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21 Responses to Sonshift study – Chapter One

  1. paulfg says:

    1 Yes. And then no. “She” is not “me”. Later, yes, she the church. But in the first mention. I am sleeping beauty in that first mention.
    2 Many – nothing to add other than each stage resonates – resonates as my stages.
    3 Qualifications and establishment. Both impose order and hierarchy. Both reinforce trust to be earned. Both keep individual brides in their place.
    4 YES! So much – your description of you is not unique. it is me as well. And qualifications and establishment are a real factor.
    5 Personal aside: Christianity the label serves to distance. To a “non-Christian” it is shorthand for the worst excesses of religion, and to the “Christian” is the best excesses of religion. And religion is qualification, establishment, tradition and order.
    6 For me, in chapter one – “orphan” is a concept a few chapters too soon. Sleeping Beauty is a concept introduced wonderfully then discarded too quickly. The great awakening – that was my journey for a long time. Then fully awake – that is when orphan makes sense (and only after other stuff drops into my relationship)

    • Mel Wild says:

      Wow! You answered all of them. Bravo!
      Please elaborate a little more on what you mean in your answer to #1 (“yes then no,” etc.)

      I also have a question for clarification on #3. A little more on what you mean by “qualifications and establishment,” I’m assuming you’re talking about the present problem with the hierarchical church is what needs to change.

      I would agree with #5. This is why Messianic Jews don’t call themselves “Christians!” Too much historical baggage with the name. We want to be followers of Christ known for our love for one another (John 13:35).

      Your point on #6 is well taken. I hadn’t thought about that before but I can see where it may seem too soon for a reader not familiar with the terminology. And elaboration on the “awakening” at the beginning. Makes sense!

      Thanks for your comments, Paul. You are awesome, bro! 🙂

      • paulfg says:

        Thanks, Mel.
        1 – The reference to “she” – I “was Sleeping Beauty” and became confused by “she”.
        3 – Yes to your comment – and perhaps even deeper than that. My experience is that Christians and Church are interchangeable labels. Once a Christian I go to church – if I don’t I am not a “real Christian”. My “realness” is a public status and interchangeable with my staus within the church. Length of service seems to be as much a “qualification” as a “qualification”

        Good stuff Mel!!

        • Mel Wild says:

          Okay, that makes sense. Yeah, I was thinking more the relational “she” than the gender “she.” (Just like women are “sons” in the New Testament!)
          You’re right, after the time of Constantine we started “going to church” instead of being the “Church.” It all became about the appearance of spirituality (meaning conforming to the Roman state) instead of a transformed soul. We’ve carried on a lot of that baggage with us into the modern world, but it is changing! Yay God!
          Thanks again for your thoughtful comments! Blessings.

  2. Lucas Harris says:

    I think I’m late to the party. How do I purchase your book or is it by invite only for now?

    • Mel Wild says:

      Never too late to join in, and all are invited! The special price on the Kindle version is over this morning, unfortunately. But the regular Kindle price is only $3.49 US (if you don’t have a Kindle, you can download their free reader). You can also get the paperback for $12,95 US, of course. If you click on the book icon (right column) it will take you to the US Amazon site. Please join in the discussion! 🙂
      Blessings.

  3. bullroarin says:

    1. Yes, it speaks to me for the simple reason that an analogy (in this case Sleeping Beauty) allows us to see the point you are trying to make from a different perspective. It casts a wider net allowing readers to take a familiar story and draw comparable conclusions.
    2. Yes, in some ways my life’s journey was similar to yours…a constant search knowing there must be more to religion, even after years of maintaining the status quo. My relationship with God began to change when I took an honest look at my church life after a tragic event in my life, which literally rocked my faith and cause me to ask some hard questions. Long story short…my questions set my life of a different coarse.
    3. My simple answer…we need to be more like the compassionate Jesus and less like the judgmental church we see today.
    4. Yes, because the soul (meaning the mind, will, and emotions) will only be engaged by what it is fed. A worldly diet will produce worldly actions. A spirit & soul surrendered to the Holy Spirit will produce a Christlike life.
    5. Yes, the current model of the church is fractured on so many levels. The evidence of course is the many different denominations that claim to be the one true church, lol! Sadly, the world sees the divisions and the how vehemently each denomination defends its own brand of theology. I think the current model is not sustainable…at least for a NT model of the church. Religion will carry on as it always has, but, I think the church (the body of Christ) needs a large paradigm shift et-al. We cannot continue to build on the current foundation which is not sound…sooner or later the structure will fall.
    6. Yes, simply put a son/daughter is always close to the heart of the father and knows the father’s heart and touch. An orphan may know about the father but doesn’t experience the father’s touch or know the father’s heart. In my life I was definitely an orphan…but I’m learning how to be a son.

    Thanks Mel…hope this helps. ~ Dave

    • Mel Wild says:

      Thanks Dave. I love your answers!
      On #1, I was actually thinking of making the story completely a fairy tale allegory, but it became too much work, so I went with its current form. I think I will attempt a fictional allegory at some point in the future, for the very reason you stated.
      On #5 – I obviously agree. I personally don’t think our traditional evangelicalism is going to last past our generation, if unchanged. Young people have already pretty much rejected it. And if it were totally biblical, I would defend it to the death. But the “model” is based on a 500 year-old paradigm, built on a Medieval foundation. A lot of it is still sound, but there needs to be some “pruning.” And it’s never that the truth should be compromised, but understanding that our perception (framing) of the truth is always subjective. I think God is constantly upgrading our understanding of the truth, if that makes sense. This is why I believe we’re in another “reformation.” It’s actually a pretty exciting time to be living.

      It’s interesting that Jesus said the world will know Him and us by our love for one another in community (common-unity – see John 13:35; 17:23). We seem to have had a different agenda. Basically, the opposite, as you pointed out. Maybe if we started following His…. 🙂

  4. 1. Yes, it speaks to me because I can vividly recall the difference between being asleep and awake; feeling like an orphan and knowing I am part of a family.
    2. While I can relate to your journey, I was never part of a Christian family growing up, so I didn’t have to “unlearn” anything. When I walked into the arms of Jesus, it was transformational. I began with a thirst and a curiosity, and have been opening my heart and mind wider ever since. I think I have simply allowed the Spirit to teach me, rather than doctrine or dogma.
    3. The “packaging of the cross,” as you stated, must be the same as Jesus packaged it – in love instead of condemnation. We, as individuals, need to insist our own church must welcome people as they are and love them as they are instead of expecting broken people to be fixed before they come to Christ.
    4. As I said, I wasn’t raised a Christian, so I didn’t need to walk back learned dogma. But I did feel like an outsider in church for a long time because of it. I watched and listened to all the “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts” and ended up leaving church so I could focus on my relationship with God.
    5. Yes. See #4
    6. Absolutely. The more I focused on my own personal relationship with God, the more I could feel the love and grace of my Father; the compassion of Jesus; the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. I am in that relationship now, and my heart is full. It’s a huge difference between this and the continual measuring of my performance, which is what church felt like.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Awesome, Susan. Thanks for taking the time to answer these.

      I really appreciate how your journey came from a different perspective, going from “unchurched” to trying to fit into the traditional “church” mold. It’s incredibly sad to me that people have to stop attending a local church in order to develop a relationship with Jesus! That should tell us something is terribly wrong right there! Just like us totally missing Jesus’ agenda for our witness to the world (John 13:35; 17:23).
      If this were a company, and I were in a board meeting, I would stand up and shout “STOP!!!” Let’s stop doing what we’ve been doing, and pretty much do the opposite! We will immediately start getting results more like Jesus.

      On #6, I could’ve have said it better! Perfectly stated. 🙂

  5. Lucas Harris says:

    1. It makes me uncomfortable, which is usually a good sign that I need to hear it 🙂 I didn’t connect with the analogy at first but I was intrigued. Once I read more about being an orphan then I started to connect the dots.
    2. Yes! I became a Christian when I was 5 years old and devoured the Bible and Sunday school material. But eventually all the head knowledge was like throwing ashes on a fire.
    3. I’m not sure I understand the question. I guess I’m one of those people who needs awakening 🙂
    4. Yes, I’ve only recently understood the trap of following religion instead of the freedom of being with Jesus.

    I’m so excited to continue reading. I’m on a similar journey myself, albeit barely at the awakening stage. I’m looking forward to learning from your experiences.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Thanks for your candid answers, Lucas. I really appreciate your perspective, coming at this having not read the book before and in the process of being “awakened.”

      For clarification on #3, according to surveys done, people still have a high view of Jesus but see Christians as mean-spirited, divisive, judgmental, etc., Even though that’s a caricature, there’s a lot of truth in their estimation. So, if people aren’t seeing us like Jesus, (which they should be if we’re actually following Him) then what needs to change? Hope that makes better sense!

      Blessings to you, Lucas. Enjoy the “shift!” 🙂

      • Lucas Harris says:

        Ahhh that makes sense. I completely agree that’s how people see Christians. I think it’s because most of us end up following religion throughout our day instead of focusing on being with Christ.

  6. AfroScot says:

    1. Yes, definitely. It is such a lovely analogy, thank you! I had the fear of God at a very young age. A friend once told me anytime she was sad, all she had to do was look at me and the sadness left her. However, everything went downhill in my early teens. I have now been awakened by the lover of my soul.
    2. Yes, I can. I was so far gone with my relationship with God although I still attended church. I was filled with anger, resentment and low self-esteem. The significant events that changed me were encounters with 2 of my unbelieving friends. One was a former colleague. Every day at work, she wouldn’t just say, Good Morning but asked how I was doing? This had a profound effect on me more than I expected. I also met another colleague a few years after that. I had felt my career was at a standstill but he came along and mentored me. He was so caring, honest and selfless. In Christendom, this would have been frowned upon as I am female. Our constant rules and regulations about gender mixing wouldn’t have let this happen as we’re so sin obsessed even though the bible gives us 1 Tim 5:1-2 as our model. Our friendship has now extended to his wife. One day, I realised that my joy was slowly returning and my self-esteem. I knew that the goodness of God had led me to repentance and totally surrendered my life to Him. God showed his love for me by using unbelievers to reach out to me. I don’t have a theological explanation for this but it’s my story.
    3. Mary Magdalene was at the cross when Jesus died and she also went to his tomb after his death. Words fail me here to convey why she was so fearless to be associated with Jesus when the disciples were in hiding on both occasions. She had given her heart to the one she loved because he loved her first when she may not have deserved it.
    4. Yes, I can. A relative came visiting for a few days many years ago. We were all going to attend church on a Sunday but my relative only brought trousers. Females were not allowed to wear trousers in the denomination I belonged to then. I left my 5 year-old relative crying profusely at home with my uncle. She was just a child!
    5. I think it is broken but can be fixed. We should focus more on knowing Him and having his heart, from which his power will overflow. Where I live, there is no fear of hell fire anymore as unbelievers now say that they are going to have a party in hell. When evangelising, we tell people to come to Christ because of what He can do for them or a license to heaven instead of the beauty of who He is. This is why there is so much discouragement in the church as Christians have been promised what Jesus never did. I bet the disciples had a better revelation of the gospel as in the midst of persecution, Paul could say, “Rejoice in the Lord always and again, I say Rejoice.”
    6.I can relate to the performance driven, rules and regulations orphan mind-set. This made me judgemental and hypocritical towards others. Now I know my identity as a daughter, I now see others the way He sees them – dearly loved.

    God bless

    • Mel Wild says:

      Those are some awesome answers, AfroScot! Thank you for sharing your story of how God reawakened you. It’s funny how many limitations we put on God, like He can’t use co-workers to lead us back into His love!
      I really like what you said about Mary Magdalene. It’s receiving God’s deep love that casts out fear and makes us brave.
      It’s so sad when I hear stories about people not being allowed to go to a church because of clothing requirements. It’s downright cruel! I’ve talked to people who won’t attend church because, even though God was touching their heart, they were told they have to quit smoking before they can come. This is so NOT Jesus! Sounds more like the Pharisees.
      I’m totally with you on #5. We’ve have been teaching an American (or Western, European) gospel, rather than learning how to follow Christ. To treat others like He did and believe like He did, whether we’re under persecution or great favor.
      Being hypocritical and judgmental comes from not letting Jesus deal with the log in our own eye. I agree, Jesus will not let His bride fail. We are being awakened to love and the best days are ahead of us!

      Again, thank you for participating in the discussion. Blessings to you, AfroScot.

  7. Cindy Powell says:

    Hi Mel. I won’t answer all the questions but as a REALLY marginal, mega-orphan-minded believer since I was a kid (but not too “churched” since no one in my family except my great-grandma believed) I can very much relate personally to the Sleeping Beauty analogy. He awakened my heart and I fell head over heals in love with Him in 1994 (a bit of the splash-over from Toronto, I have always suspected) and have continued to fall more in love with Him ever since. However, because of that, I can’t relate so much to questions 2 and 4. As for question 3, I think the quote from Bill Johnson sums it up: “…and when we represent him well, they’ll want his body too.” In other words, when Jesus’ bride looks more like Him, they’ll see us like they see Him. As for question 5-Um, yes. It is telling that I have had a very tough time “fitting” in church for the last twenty some odd years because most seem to “preach another Jesus” than the One I know. I have clung to that word God gave Mike Bickle since I first heard him share it years ago–and I am believing this is THAT generation. With only a few exceptions, almost everyone I know who is solid in their identity as a son or daughter of God, has either become church-less in recent years, due to a decreased tolerance for sitting under orphan-minded teaching, or is “on assignment” in a particular church but not being fed or encouraged there.I have high hopes this is an indication that we ARE making the shift–and that is an exciting thought indeed!

    I know this is a big blob of text – hope it makes sense. Good stuff!

    • Mel Wild says:

      Makes perfect sense, Cindy. Yes, the answer is, when we start following Jesus and get with His agenda, we will get His results.
      On #5, like I said to the others, it’s so sad that people have to leave the church in order to get closer to Jesus. There’s something terribly wrong with that picture! I seriously don’t think the current model of American evangelicalism is going to last past our generation. It’s already hemorrhaging big time. It may still be around but it will be a shell of what it once was.
      I believe we are in the generation Mike Bickle saw, but it may take the next generation before the changes will have a wide spread effect. We’re in the change and having to unlearn a lot of things. But, for example, the kids in our local church already get it! They don’t have to relearn anything. They don’t have an orphan mindset at all. So, maybe their generation will bring this to the mainstream in a greater way. That’s why my ministry mandate has been on building up the next generation. 🙂
      Jesus IS building His church, and He won’t let it fail! It may be that our generation are the trailblazers, witnessing the great pruning, if you will. Pruning back to love. But the local church will thrive again, it just isn’t going to look like the one we grew up with at all. The Constantinian church paradigm we’ve been operating under has run its course. And that’s probably a good thing.
      Thanks Cindy. Blessings to you.

  8. Sorry my friend. I have not yet gotten the book but will ask my wife to order it tonight.

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