Sonshift Study – Chapter Nine

We’re now ready for chapter nine in our discussion on my book, Sonshift: Everything Changes in the Father’s Embrace. Today, we’ll be looking at “Heaven Shift.”

I invite you to respond to some or all of these questions. Also, please give additional comments on the chapter that my questions don’t address.  My only rules are that you’ve actually read the chapter and that your answers are brief.  Okay, here we go!

Chapter Nine: Heaven Shift

This chapter challenges our traditional view of heaven, which in my view, has greatly hindered understanding our identity and mission in Christ, and has also led to a powerless version of Christianity. Many wait for heaven when they die, when heaven lives in us right now, it’s all around us! (Luke 17:21 AMP).  Jesus said that we will live under an open heaven (John 1:51), and Paul said that our citizenship is in heaven, from which we wait for a Savior (Phil.3:20). That’s right, we live in two places at once! We’re God’s mobile temple; heaven touches earth through us! (1 Cor.6:19; Eph.2:6)

“Certainly, heaven will come in greater fullness with the physical return of Christ, but when He left, He gave us the Holy Spirit to bring the Kingdom of heaven to the earth like He did.
So the Heaven Shift we need to make is about this change in perspective. In other words, it’s about changing our traditional perspective of living from earth to heaven to one where we’re seeing ourselves living from heaven to earth.” (p.194, Kindle loc.3239)

Discussion Questions:

  1. What does living “from heaven to earth” look like to you? How is it different than living “from earth to heaven?”
  2. The author shared an encounter with God where his whole view of heaven and the purpose of the church changed. Have you ever had such an encounter? If so, briefly explain.
  3. What is the problem with how the popular phrase, “My home is in heaven” is traditionally understood?
  4. Why do you think seeing “heaven” as our orientation is better than just our destination?
  5. How might this Heaven Shift change our understanding of “mansions” in John 14?
  6. Why would it be important to understand that we are “God’s house,” where heaven touches earth through us?

If 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!

********************

NOTE: I will be away from the blogosphere until Wednesday, May 10th. Until then,  please leave your comments here and I will respond when I return. Thanks!

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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 37 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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6 Responses to Sonshift Study – Chapter Nine

  1. Hey, Mel – first, thanks for the Luke 17:21 verse. It was exactly what I was seeking for tomorrow’s post!
    1. Living from heaven to earth is shifting my worldview from an earthly agenda to a kingdom one. It’s living out God’s mission of restoration, and keeping that in the forefront of my vision on a daily basis in what I think, say and do.
    2. I don’t know that there’s been one experience; I believe God keeps refining my vision every day. It’s my journey of transformation.
    3. If we wait until we die, we miss out on the richness of the relationship we could have now – the blessings we might receive and the blessings we might give.
    4. If we are open to learn about ourselves, we are then able to walk with God during the entirety of our lives – be strengthened, comforted, forgiven, guided and loved every step of the way. We don’t need to wait any longer. In addition, the more we walk with Christ, the more we become like Him, making the world a better place.
    5. The mansion is not some distant place – it is us – and if we grok that God makes His dwelling place in us, we might begin to understand how powerful our relationship with Him truly is.
    6. It just may affect the way in which we interact with others – family, friends, neighbors, strangers…even enemies – because in all we say and do, we demonstrate what others see as Christ to everyone.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Thanks, again, for taking the time to answer these, Susan. All your answers are great, I especially loved how you answered question #1:
      “Living from heaven to earth is shifting my worldview from an earthly agenda to a kingdom one. It’s living out God’s mission of restoration, and keeping that in the forefront of my vision on a daily basis in what I think, say and do.”

      That would be a definitive answer! Pretty much how I taught my ministry students to think. It really is a renewal of our whole mindset (Rom.12:2). That shift changes everything! It also explains the difference between the Old Testament saints and their authority, and what Jesus has done in us, for us, and to us. We are seated with Him and in Him, far above all principalities and powers. As He is, so are we in this world (1 John 4:17).

      • This is so important, Mel. And it is also important to remember that as human beings, we will wander off the path. However, when we do, we have the unconditional love and grace of our Father, who holds out His arms for us to run into.

      • Mel Wild says:

        Amen! And when we know how to freely receive His grace, we learn how to extend that same grace to others.

  2. dawnlizjones says:

    1. That’s a progressive journey, to be sure. I think the first eight chapters pretty well speak to it, but that’s a cop out for a Bible study so here goes. Seeing my self as “seated” next to Jesus—as someone once said, “not standing, as in the presence of an authority, but seated as part of the family”, which means I have the full authority of that family. This speaks to everything concerning that family’s authority and mission, as well as responsibility, and identity. And resources.
    2. One of the few times when I “heard” God speak to me was when I cried out saying “can’t do all of these things”, and immediately heard, “I know you can’t; that’s why I had to come.”
    3. The problem is how we define heaven. Heaven is more a Person than a place, and since that Person resides in me, than in a reality more important than sensate, I am home. Now. This is a difficult discipline to achieve, but you have put it well under the category of renewing the mind (a Holy Spirit venture.)
    4. Love that section heading! If I’m already there, I can make use of the resources (too practical?) and enjoy the relational quality of hang-out time. This is also necessary for a “loose” hold on what is temporary, those things over which I am merely a steward.
    5. Not only am I that mansion, so is the guy next to me in the pew! (Even if he looks like he has a few windows knocked out!)
    6. We, individually and collectively, have responsibility and calling, as well as power and resources, for “Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” We are the conduit. He has no Plan B.

  3. Mel Wild says:

    Awesome answers, Dawn! Thanks for taking the time to respond. I liked what you mentioned here…
    “not standing, as in the presence of an authority, but seated as part of the family”, which means I have the full authority of that family.” That’s exactly it! We’re not slaves, we’re beloved sons and daughters. We belong! Talk about placing a high value on us!
    I also liked your “mansion” answer. “…I am that mansion, so is the guy next to me in the pew! (Even if he looks like he has a few windows knocked out!)” Yes, some of us need some repair work done, but we’re still God’s house, and we do have a carpenter living in us!

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