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Waking From Oz

• Greg Boyd

In the movie, Wizard of Oz, the characters are all looking for something they think they need. As Christians, we do the same. Whether it’s a new job, a marriage, a lack of a marriage or some other change that we’re looking for, we all look for something else that we think we need. In this sermon, Greg shows us that we have all we need for joy, and we just need to activate it through faith.

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Throughout the movie, Wizard of Oz, the characters look for something they already have. If you’ve seen the movie, then you know that the scarecrow is looking for brains. And the tin man is looking for a heart. And the lion is looking for courage. They all want something which they don’t think they possess.

The problem with all four characters is that they had a misconception of themselves that caused them to be searching for things they already have. The scarecrow was looking for brains, but he was always the one that had a solution to problems. And the tin man wanted a heart, but he was the most empathetic and emotional person in the group. The lion wanted courage, but he was the one that always wanted to jump into action. The wizard pointed this out to them at the end of the movie, and instead of giving them the things they wanted; he gave them something to remind them of what they already had.

Epigenetics is a good way to explain this. Epigenetics is a field of science that found that our genetics are activated by an external source. They found that identical twins separated at birth and adopted by different families turned out differently later in life. So, the twins could have similar genes for Alzheimers but only one of them would develop the disease. It was the difference in environment that stimulated one to develop the disease and not the other. This was the same for other things such as their personality, height, weight, etc.

Our lives are the same way. As we learned last week, when Jesus died and rose again, he fundamentally changed our reality. God said that we were new beings with different destinies and character. So, when God speaks things into existence, they are already within us, even when we don’t realize it. It takes an external source, our faith, to activate this new spiritual genetic code within us. But, we constantly seek after these things as if they haven’t been implanted within us. We hunger for the new self but God has already given us our new identity.

When Jesus died and rose again, God said to all of us “You are holy, blameless, and characterized by compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” This isn’t an external list of rules that we need to live out in order to be sons and daughters of God. Rather, we are this way and simply need to awaken this genetic change in our lives. Simple, but a lifelong struggle and call.

By God’s grace, we are characterized by compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. But we can only live out that life by how much faith we have in this reality. To activate this faith, trust what God says is true even if you don’t feel this way. Choosing to be these things, by your faith, will activate this real self in your life. Everything we do either suppresses or releases our new self. That’s why it’s especially important to practice the presence of God in your everyday life and in all situations. And make sure you’re not the only person to remind yourself. You should have friends and a community of believers around you that can help you live out this new reality that God has made for you.

We all long for and want to live a life that is characterized by the goodness of the Spirit. But we all continually strive to live this life and fall short from time to time. That’s ok. When we continually see the real us, when we imagine the real us that God has defined, we begin to see that living out these characterizations is not a list of rules we have to live by but a new, beautiful character that God has lovingly given us.

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Topics: Faith, Identity in Christ, Transformation


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Focus Scripture:

  • Colossians 3:12

    Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

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6 thoughts on “Waking From Oz

    Dave Pritchard says: Wednesday April 17, 2013 at 7:07 am

    Another Awesome Message!

    Maintaining a deep intellectual acknowledgment and continual surrendering to the work already done for us at Calvary, can be an intense mental challenge in a world that keeps trying to wedge itself between those facts. For me, it has been amazingly liberating though, to remember that it’s really all about letting go, embracing His love and knowing that He does not see us as the sum total of our past experiences but rather, as a beautiful potential within His Kingdom. We are a “Tabula Raza” – a clean slate, a fresh piece of white paper (Isaiah 1:18) ready for him to fill with His creativity! There’s a great book out there on Epigenetics called – “Evolution in Four Dimensions: Genetic, Epigenetic, Behavioral, and Symbolic Variation in the History of Life” by Eva Jablonka and Marion Lamb. It’s the “Fourth dimension” of “Symbol Based Inheritance” i.e. Language, (His Word) that gives us the distinct advantage, or rather privilege, of knowing our creator.

    Reply
    teresa says: Saturday April 20, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    GREAT questions! Love you WHC!

    Reply
    kevin says: Sunday April 21, 2013 at 7:43 am

    Getting somewhat easier to grasp; still, it’s ‘feels’ like i just let an important paper fly out the window:/

    Reply
    Matthew Hansen says: Sunday April 21, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    Totally needed this. We always need an injection of truth in our lives as we are bombarded with lies from our culture, fallen nature, Satan as well as other variables. We are told we are never enough or never have enough in this culture. So we automatically compare and feel well I don’t have this and that so my “worth” isn’t as much. Which is of course a bold face lie. We are all worthy, just look at the cross. I know I’m not perfect but I know I’ve grown so much in this area and keep growing of course. But I must trust God and not my own understanding in this struggle. Glad he spoke on this. Its the lie that Satan as told us. That we have to “work” towards God when he’s given the gift of his freedom and love. Amen!

    Reply
    Paul Pinos says: Monday April 22, 2013 at 10:44 am

    I needed this so badly. Thank you for being such a blessing Woodland Hills!

    Reply
    Jessi says: Monday April 22, 2013 at 11:29 am

    After coming off of WEEKS of watching the Wizard of Oz (3 of my children just performed in the musical this month)…this was perfect timing for God to use something I was totally inundated with to give me a spiritual takeaway. Great message…great timing! 🙂

    Reply

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