Monday, 12 January 2015

UNDERSTANDING PARADIGM SHIFTS –GOD IS GREATER THAN MY FAILURES – PART 1 OF 9


Last spring I received an email from Steve Brethour, pastor of the Bridge Community Church in Bancroft.  Let me share part of it with you….
David, I have a favour to ask of you. I am wondering if you would be interested in speaking at The Bridge this summer. It would be the long weekend in August. We are doing a series entitled "God is Greater Than...."
Now here is the reason that I am asking you. The first week is "God is Greater Than My.... Failure". 
Now, I am not calling you a failure [thank you Steve!] but knowing you and your story you have experienced the highs and the lows and yet you have seen God carry and meet you in both. And you have a great way of articulating what you learned about God in both.
Now in there Steve makes a very valid statement, “you have experienced the highs and the lows and yet you have seen God carry and meet you in both…”  This is a fundamental truth of my life.  As to whether I “…have a great way of articulating what you learned about God in both.”?  I will let you be the judge.  So, let us begin this journey of discovery…
What is a paradigm shift?
One of the on-line dictionaries describes it this way:
paradigm shift— noun.  a radical change in underlying beliefs or theory.
I doubt you need or want to be reminded of your failures.  My objective, my prayer for you in sharing these thoughts is that you will experience a paradigm shift in your ‘underlying beliefs’.  That you will better understand how God sees you, rather than how you might perceive yourself.  God does not view you as a failure – in fact He specifically says that you are His masterpiece!
I would never be so arrogant as to suppose you need to change your thinking but, as I have asked five critical questions of people I have met (I’ve added a sixth for this series), virtually all of them answered the majority incorrectly and left the conversation having experienced a paradigm shift or, at the very least, they left contemplating their understanding of the wonderful reality of exactly who they are in Christ.
I want to be very clear that I am not challenging the Gospel Message.  How one becomes a believer, a follower of Christ, has not changed two-thousand years.  In Romans 10:9 the apostle Paul distills the way of salvation into a single sentence:  “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”  The minute we add a single condition to these words we corrupt the Gospel.  It really is that simple!
So, let’s begin our journey of discovery and see what God has to say about who we are and what He thinks about our failures.  
Am I a failure?  Are you a failure?  What happens when we fail?  Do we disappoint God?  Let’s compare your present understanding to what the Bible says.  What God says.
I only discovered the answers to these questions having been in a Bible study group, going through The Grace Walk, by Steve McVey.  It’s an 8-week study that took our group a full year to digest.  Even now I am challenged by many of the paradigm-shifts I experienced.  I believe them intellectually, simply on the basis of what the Bible says, but the intrinsic joy and the freedom these truths are intended to provide have yet to fully migrate to my heart. 
So, here are our six statements.  Are they TRUE or FALSE?
  • I am a sinner
  • I am a slave to sin
  • I am holy
  • I am righteous
  • I disappoint God
  • I am a failure
Why not write these six statements down and your present belief or understanding beside each, TRUE or FALSE?

David Harrison © 2014