C3 Church has a simple mission: To provide Real Hope, For Real People, in a Real World. This church is weird (not normal) in a good way.
Often, churches are difficult places to be real. Pastor Jeff served on staff here years ago before starting a church in Wilmington, NC.
It is a natural tendency to hide our mistakes in life. It's really easy to put on a facade when God just wants us to keep it real. God did not create us to live like that.
Genesis 2:24-25 (NIV)
When God created Adam and Eve, he did so that we could live a shame-free existence. Because there was no sin, there was no shame.
Have you ever experienced a moment when you felt ashamed or vulnerable? Jeff talks about a time where he felt a sense of shame. His first memory started in elementary school when he shared a bedroom with his brother.
During this one weekend, they repainted their bedroom and put up football wallpaper. One morning while waiting for the bus, Jeff's brother wanted to show off their bedroom decor. Unfortunately, Jeff was busy getting dressed and wearing only his tighty whities. As the guys and girls walked into the bedroom, he hid behind the door. Before he could finish getting dressed, someone closed the door leaving him wide open [audience laughes].
God gave Adam and Eve one rule: "Don't eat from the tree of life." If you know the story, then you know that the serpent (Satan) started to attack Adam and Eve. As a result, they ate the fruit and something happened. Sin entered the world and it affected every generation that followed.
One of the first actions that Adam and Eve took was to put together fig leaves in order to hide their nakedness. When God came to visit, both Adam and Eve hid from him.
In looking at this story, Pastor Kapusta found that we all are a lot like them. We have all experienced some sort of shame.
Romans 3:23 (NLT)
If there is one thing that we all have in common, it's that we have all sinned. Our actions have a way of affecting ourselves and others. Many of us are currently carrying around a hurt or shame. This has a way of causing us to hide from God.
Some of us, that shame was not caused by us. Maybe it was your parent's divorce, your spouse's infidelity, or maybe you were the target of a verbal lashing.
Words have serious hang time. Hurtful things have a way of sticking with us long after an event happens.
Pastor Jeff tells a story about his son. One night while putting him to bed, his son asked him if they could buy him a treadmill. He asked why and his son said that someone called him "Fat."
That hurt causes a sense of shame and we want to hide. Some other hurt and shame is self-inflicted. Maybe you dabbled with drugs or alcohol. This addiction may have started with you. Maybe you picked the wrong friends that eventually impacted your life. Maybe something happened in college where you made wrong decisions in relationships. Maybe it's bad financial decisions. In the end, we have a lot of hurt and shame.
Hurt Causes Us To Hide
Like Adam and Eve, that hurt caused them to hide from God. When we hide, we seek solitude. More times than not, we may not seek solitude, but rather hide behind masks. As a result, we use those masks to hide being real. There are many defense mechanisms that we use.
One mask that he uses is, HOLY JEFF. This is where he makes it seem like all is well even though life is messed up. Even though he has yelled at people or became angry.
Another mask that he uses is, HAPPY JEFF. This is where he becomes the life of the party. Nothing can affect him. Even when scathing emails arrive, he is always happy. Unfortunately, this is not the truth. He feels beat down and bad.
One last mask that he uses is, SUCCESSFUL JEFF. This is where he uses his accomplishments and possessions to impress people and make them like him. He hides behind these different faces.
What are YOUR masks? We all have them.
Hurt Will Lead To Healing Or Hiding
It matters what you do with it. Will you confess or conceal the hurt?
Genesis 3:9-10 (NIV)
God goes looking for Adam and Eve, but they're hiding from God. Like a parent playing "Hide and Seek" with their kids. As parents, we know where the kids are, but we playing along. Pastor Jeff wonders if God was playing along. Just because we took our eyes off God, doesn't mean that he took his eyes off of us.
No matter what your circumstances are today, you cannot outpace God. God is the one person that can heal you. He is looking for you and walking towards you.
What You Conceal Will Not Heal
Have you ever heard these words, "Time heals all wounds." Well, that's not true. Many of us are carrying things from childhood. Did you know that if our past is messing with our present, it's still in our present.
Maybe someone said something to you and you've carried it with you all these years. Maybe you think that God cannot love you because you cannot love yourself. Remember, time will not heal your hurts, but Jesus can.
James 5:16 (NLT)
Maybe you confess your sins and then repeatedly do the same thing again. Eventually, you just run away from God and those that can help you best.
Pastor Kapusta tells a story of a time where he confessed his challenges to friends and he immediately felt a healing. He explains how the chains just fell off of him.
Today, you can find that freedom and remove the masks.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NIV)
When God heals and comforts you, you will become vocal in your testimony. Jeff says that we should keep it real. God is the source of all healing.
So much of the hurt that happens to us is eventually just accepted. At the end, we just begin to feel worthless. For those that feel that way, "That damage done to you does not discount the price paid for you." God's perspective of you is different from how you may see yourself.
God sees your potential. He bought you for a high price. So, don't be a slave to the world. We have a heavenly Father that gave his only son for you. You are not in the second hand section, you are perfect. Here's the question, "Will we keep this real?"
By letting God in, we allow him to help us. Let's drop those masks today.
Do You Need A Fresh Start?
If you need hope or help. God wants you to know that he loves you. Jesus died and rose from the grave. If you would like to know Jesus as your savior then pray this prayer.
Dear God, I realize I've sinned and I need you. Thank you for dying on the cross and rising from the grave. Come in to my heart and save me. Thank you for giving me eternal and abundant life. Help me to live for you, for the rest of my life. In Jesus' name. Amen.
To share your story, want more information about next steps, or just in need of prayer, please contact Pastor Matt Fry.