Thursday, July 9, 2009

A Paradigm Shift

Facilitating a Paradigm Shift from Religion to the Kingdom of God

Helping God's people transition from the Christian religion to a dynamic relationship with Jesus Christ - advancing His kingdom 24/7 as a lifestyle in every area of life.

Helping people change the way they view and experience reality is no easy task. Some call it a "paradigm shift". Thousands of stories describe just how difficult it is to get a large segment of the population to see and do things differently. One story concerns the Swiss watch industry. Not long ago, the Swiss led the world in making the finest watches. These watches were powered by springs which drove moving gears. Watches were built like this for hundreds of years, and no one expected or desired a change. Thousands of companies and millions of workers had a vested interest in the traditional watch paradigm. Any change was a perceived threat to the old paradigm watch makers which in turn, supported its work force. Along came a creative Swiss engineer who designed a completely different kind of watch. It was digital, powered by a small battery with no moving parts. He took his new paradigm watch to the largest Swiss watch companies, and every one of them scoffed at his idea. Finally he decided to attend an international trade show and make his patent available to all bidders. Texas Instruments and Seiko paid relatively small sums for the idea and the rest is history. Because the Swiss refused to see and apply the new paradigm, they lost approximately 80 percent of their market share. Once dominant, they became almost irrelevant.

How about those Wright brothers and their flying machine? Most people thought that no object that heavy could ever fly. The so-called scientific experts were convinced that even if they could make an airplane fly, it would serve no practical purpose. The new paradigm of transporting millions of people by jet-powered airplanes over great distances was inconceivable to 99.999% of the population less than a hundred years ago. And think of wireless phones and internet, two more staggering examples of a paradigm shift in communication.

An even more dramatic paradigm shift is occuring worldwide, one that will cause global transformation. It is the change from the Christian religion into the reality of Christ and His kingdom. Christianity as a religion is declining everywhere, including in the United States. However the Kingdom of God is an ever-expanding reality that will ultimately be the ONLY reality on earth. (see Psalm 2 and Revelation 19-22)

One version of Christianity is a religion invented by people. It is much different from the Kingdom of God, led by Christ the King. Religion is an attempt to reach God and improve our lives now and for eternity by obtaining some state of heaven through human ideas, efforts, and strategies. Religions are designed so that we can remain in power while attempting to get God and others to do what we want, in the way we want it. Religion is a clever enterprise to stay in control, so we can function as our own god. At the same time we try to manipulate the One True God into serving us by using religious language, rituals and sacrifices. But the Kingdom of God is initiated by God, for God's own glory, and involves His will, done His way, by His Spirit, all the time, and in every area of life. He is a living King, who rules another dominion or realm of reality. He has every intention of fully bringing His rule and realm onto Planet Earth through His sons and daughters by His Holy Spirit.

Christianity as a religion is nearly dead in Europe, where only 1-3% of the population identifies themselves as Christian. However the Christian religion is being replaced by another more aggressive religion called Islam. What does Europe, America, and the rest of the world need? Do we need more religion, even if it's the Christian religion? Absolutely not! The earth needs the Lordship of Christ, His powerful, compassionate kingly rule over all of life... a paradigm shift from religion into the Kingdom of God. We need the Reclaiming Of Christ's Kingdom all over the world. That is why we named our international spiritual family, "The R.O.C.K.". It reminds us of the centrality and supremacy of Christ, and our only mandate - to advance Christ' s kingdom in every area of life.

Here are a few of the changes that will occur in order to produce this kingdom "paradigm shift":

  1. From a secular humanistic people-centered worldview, to a God-centered biblical Kingdom worldview.
  1. From emphasizing the clergy or priest as the primary minister, to the priesthood of all believers.
  1. From religious activities in a church building, to practicing faith everywhere.
  1. From practicing religion in church services, meetings, programs and events, to constantly exchanging the life of Christ to everyone, all the time, anywhere.
  1. From restricting our spiritual lives, to a certain day and time to "being and doing" church all the time.
  1. From a religious institution, to a spiritual family that connects deeply with one another.
  1. From unifying around doctrine and church policy, to unity around the Person of Christ, core values, kingdom vision, and convenant relationships.
  1. From a transactional leadership model, to a transformational leadership model.
  1. From an institutional model - organizing based on political power, position and pay, to organic relational servant leadership - everyone submits to Christ in one another.
  1. From compartmentalizing faith so that it affects only certain areas of life, to integrating Christ's will and ways into every dimension of life - body, soul, spirit, finances, sexuality, relationships, time, work, play, etc.
  1. From emphasizing church work as the main way to serve God, to advancing Christ's kingdom everywhere, all the time, in all arenas of life. This includes marriage, family, community, friendships, work, media, arts, education, social services, and civil government.
Janet and I have committed our lives to training and modeling this paradigm shift from Christianity as a religion, to Christ and the Kingdom. It has been a long and hard journey for us personally. We have had our own religious baggage to deal with, let alone helping others to change. However we are enjoying sweet victories. A viable Kingdom family has been forming in the inner city of Kansas City, which has impacted the neighborhood, even helping to reduce crime. We practice being and doing the church as a lifestyle. From small ways (like raising chickens and planting gardens together), to more dramatic ways (like planting small covenant families - house churches), we are trying to be part of this global Kingdom revolution. Our international family is growing in size and depth. Thanks to your prayer and financial partnership we able to help others move out of religion and into Christ and His kingdom.

With deep gratitude... we bless and love you!

Dr. Timothy and Janet Johns

ROCK Tribe

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