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Who Shows Up?

• Greg Boyd

In many ways Jesus, and the kingdom he established, was anti-king of all kings. The holiness he embodied was guided by love, not law. Instead of using his kingship to separate himself from the unclean, lowly and hurting in the world, Jesus made his home right in the middle of our pain and our sin. This was unbelievably good news back then and today for all those who are hurting, needy, lonely, sinful or poor. God desires to make his residence in us, just as we are.

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Many of us have heard the Christmas story so many times that it has become overly familiar, and has lost its grip and edge. The goal of this series is to wake us up to the beautiful God we find revealed in this story. In John 1 we learn that Jesus is the Word of God. He is God in his face toward us. In this becoming of flesh and blood, and moving in to our neighborhood, we learn about God’s character. He took on our flesh, our pain, our sin, and became our curse. Jesus moved into our neighborhood knowing that he would be killed because he was motivated by love. His pursuit of us is very counterintuitive in many ways, and is unlike any king seen before or since. Jesus establishes his upside-down kingdom reign by letting himself get killed, while praying for those that are doing the killing. He’s the anti-king of all kings.

We all believe that God is holy, but the important question is what kind of holiness. We normally think of God being set apart from sin, assuming that it is so antithetical to his nature that he can’t even stand to be around it. We have taken this false assumption and built whole theologies around it placing Jesus in the crosshairs of God’s wrath toward us. Jesus did die in our place to save us and free us from the bondage of our sin, but the self-righteous view of God as unwilling to get dirty and enter into our sin is a human projection. Jesus destroys this way of thinking by who he spent his time with, who he ate with, who he invited to follow him, and who he provided healing touch to. God reveals his holiness to us, which is identical to his love, when he becomes our sin. Although we often feel forsaken and abandoned when going through dark times, the truth is there is nothing that can separate us from God’s love. In fact, the only way to be transformed is to experience his love in the midst of the darkness.

Our invitation is to let God prove to us that our sin is no challenge to the depths of his love. In this revelation comes the building blocks of our freedom and healing, which usually gets revealed to us in layers. Thanks to Jesus we are not separate from God. We are invited to experience the story of God becoming human through Jesus and let it blow apart our expectations of what a king should be like. He invites us to stand before him vulnerable, naked, accepted, and as we are. In fact, if we can adopt a discipline of being ruthlessly honest about all our shortcomings and fears, then we allow his love to fully penetrate us down to the core of our being. Truth uncovers, and it invites us into the light just as we are, and then empowers us to leave behind what doesn’t belong in the life of a child of God.

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Topics: Christmas, Identity in Christ, Kingdom of God, Power

Sermon Series: When God Shows Up

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7 thoughts on “Who Shows Up?

  1. David says:

    FYI: The audio file is missing or the link is bad. This is also resulting in podcast downloads to fail.

    1. Charley Swanson says:

      Sorry about that David! The web site link should work now if you refresh your browser, and the podcast should update soon. Thanks for the heads-up!

  2. Becky says:

    Thank you Greg and Woodland Hills, for this most beautiful sermon, “Who Shows up?”. I had tears streaming while watching this on youtube. It came at exactly the right time for myself and my family to hear. Greg’s willingness to open his heart and speak to the vulnerability of our walk through this world, and to Jesus’ presence through all of the pain, sin and mess, was a gift of healing that landed on a family and home far away in Washington State. Bless you all.

  3. Robert Woerter says:

    Beautiful I couldn’t agree more. Jesus called the Holy Spirit the comforter, how like a mother to comfort us when we most need it. Thank God that he(she) showed up for me when I needed him(her). It’s been a long time almost 50 years but I vaegly remember what it was like to be desperately seeking for God and crying out to him(her) to show me what to do with my life, and he(she) answered and in spite of many trials I’ve never felt alone. Though we are faitless yet he remains faithful, he cannot deny himself. thanks again love to all.

  4. Randy says:

    I’m really excited about the three ministries for which Woodland Hills wants to raise money! How do we give to those? Do we put in the memo line which ministry our donation is for? I’d encourage the staff to list details and even put it on the front page of the website or something.

    1. Paige Slighter says:

      Hey Randy,
      Thank you for your response and feedback. My name is Paige and I work on the Communications team with Woodland Hills. We are excited about our fundraiser as well!
      I have included a link below from our website that explains how you can give. Donations made will go to the fundraiser as a whole, “When We Show Up.” You will not need to specify which ministry.

  5. Ken Revell says:

    Amazing message! Liberating message. Very picturesque message. Packed with hard hitting theology.The God who moves in to our neighborhood, and into our fallen nature, Into our humanity, into our Mess. The holy God who runs towards the sinner oh how freeing is that!The messages coming out of Woodland Hills church are radical, revolutionary and emancipating. If I could just hold on to this message and all of its nuances I will be the Freeist person ever.Thank you very much Greg Boyd

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