Masks

I read this quote from William Shakespeare today and it got me thinking – “God hath given you one face, and you make yourselves another.”

In ancient Greece they loved the theater, they wore giant masks to portray good or evil. It was always a caricature to emphasize the character. They would sometimes switch masks during performances to let you know they had changed. These performers were not known as actors. They called them hypocrites, which literally means “one who wears a mask”.

Today we too wear masks, we are all performers because we don’t often show our real faces. Here are some of the masks we wear:

  • The “happy” mask
  • The “I’m better than most” mask
  • The “I’m very together” mask
  • The “I’m a victim of others” mask
  • The “I don’t care” mask
  • The “I’m self-sufficient” mask
  • The “I’m very important” mask
  • The “I’m competent enough to not need love” mask
  • The “I’m the expert” mask
  • The “I’m not hurt” mask
  • The “I have the answers” mask
  • The “I am independent” mask
  • The “I am cool” mask

Those came from a book called “True Faced” by Bill Thrall, Bruce McNicol, and John Lynch. Here are some I thought of:

  • The “I don’t have an addiction” mask
  • The “My marriage is doing great” mask
  • The “My children are doing great” mask
  • The “I don’t have an anger problem” mask
  • The “I don’t need accountability” mask
  • The “I don’t need to be in a small group” mask
  • The “I don’t need a church home” mask
  • The “I don’t want to get involved” mask
  • The “My finances are fine” mask
  • The “I’m a Christian” mask

The reason most of us wear these masks, is we have a fear of people really knowing who we are. We are afraid they won’t accept us or will think we are unworthy. These fears keep us behind our mask, trying to convince ourselves we are not being a hypocrite.

Here is a pattern that I see often in people I talk to. There is some issue or hurt that causes pain in their hearts. They feel alone, hurt, desperate, filled with anguish and many other emotions. Others around them are not struggling as much and so they feel alienated and alone. They push the pain down deep inside their heart and hope it will eventually go away. Unfortunately it keeps popping its head up again and again. Slowly they lose hope that they can change or be “fixed”. They decide that they must live with this pain and therefore they start wearing masks to cover up their dysfunction.

I think that Christians wear more masks than those still seeking Christ. We think we have to have it all together and are afraid we will be discovered. We can be like Jekyll and Hyde. Acting one way in public and another in private. That kind of behavior has turned a lot of people off to Christianity.

To overcome this problem of mask-wearing, it starts with Trusting God. Trusting that He is who He says He is. That He will do what He said He would do. Understanding the grace that He has given us, that we are forgiven and made white as snow.

The more intimate we get with God the more He can heal those hurts, help us overcome those hangups and habits that are unhealthy. Only Jesus can heal you. To smash those masks, you need to get real with some people. You have to let some people into your world, admit you have struggles and issues. Community and accountability are required for the masks to come down. That is the beginning of being the real you and not a mask wearing hypocrite.

So make the effort to first of all admit what masks you wear and determine to be true to who you are. It means taking a risk and letting down your guard, but the freedom on the other side of that is amazing. Smash your masks today. Be real.

Captured

We live beside a woods and because of that we have lots of critters that come and hang out at our house. The problem is we have outside cats and the critters eat their food. We suspected we had some bandits coming at night, so we set our live trap. The last three nights we have caught a raccoon. This morning we caught a bigger one. I think it is one big family, hopefully we can help all of them relocate.

No animals were harmed physically, there may be some emotional trauma, but nothing they can’t overcome with some good counseling.

“Oh” moments

This week I went to visit an elderly man and his wife. They started attending NewPointe about two years ago. I first met them at our NewPointe 101 class, which is our membership class and a great place to learn about why we do church the way we do.

They recently discovered that he has bone cancer and will soon start radiation treatment and is undergoing many test. As you can imagine they are somewhat shocked. I went over to visit with them, pray with them and anoint him with oil.

As we sat talking together, I was so impressed with Bob. He told me that if it is his time he is ready and OK with that. He also said if its not his time, he wants to make the most of that as well. He told me that he thought when he reached his age he would be this wise, kind of all knowing person that had it all together. He said that is so not true. He said he still has a lot of “Oh” moments. Times when he learns something new, discovers a new insight into God word, and how to apply it to his life. Those moments when a light bulb goes off and you finally get it.

He was very humble and talked mostly about growing and changing no matter how old you are. He told me that he never thought they would go to a mega church and especially not one that played loud “rock” type music.

He said he thinks it is very important for the church to grow and reach as many people as possible. He sees how NewPointe is connecting with a wide range of people and that excites him. He loves going to church when his health allows him to. They bring their granddaughter whenever she visits as well.

I really enjoyed my time with Bob and his wife Betty. They are great people and I am so glad I got to meet them. It really challenged me to keep growing, learning and having those “Oh” moments myself. It’s never too late to change. It’s never too late to be used by God to impact someones life. When was the last “Oh” moment for you?

The Old And The New

I read this quote today from Lee Iacocca: “The most successful business people hold onto the old just as long as it’s good & grab the new just as soon as it’s better”

I think you could say most successful leader’s hold onto the old as long as it’s good & grab the new just as soon as it’s better.

Great leader’s have a sense about how long to hang onto something, whether it’s a product, system, strategy, or even employee. They know when it’s time to start something new before things are declining. If you wait until something is declining it is too late.

Churches are the same way. As church leader’s we need to hang onto the old as long as it is good, but be willing to make changes when we can make it better. What I am talking about here is systems, strategies and even worship style. There is a constant tension to find the new and better or keep the old and familiar. We need to be watching others that are farther ahead of us to learn from them. We also need to be aware of our own culture and people and how we can connect with them and help them grow spiritually.

The lesson we all need to be aware of is to be aware of things that may have worked in the past, but may not in the future. Just because you are doing well now, does not mean that will always be the case. Don’t get stuck doing things only one way, when a better way may be available.

What new thing do you need to grab, or what old thing do you let go?

The Quest

This morning I went on a red raspberry quest with my wife. She was my guide on this quest, because she had gone many times before. She helped me pick out the right kind of clothes (long sleeved shirt and old sweats, rubber boots).

As we headed out on our quest, I wondered if I had what it takes to complete this quest. What would I learn on this expedition into the forest? Would we find lots of berries or get shut out? Could I fill my bucket?

The first stop was about 4 miles from our house. Here are some of the lessons I learned on the Raspberry Quest:

  1. Having the right gear saves you time and pain
  2. You need to focus on one berry at a time
  3. Sometimes you need to get down on your knees to find the low lying fruit
  4. The best berries are usually hiding behind a leaf
  5. Look for the path others made
  6. Sometimes you need to make your own path
  7. The best berries are in the thickest thorn patch
  8. If you look from a different angle you can find new berries
  9. Sometimes you need to step back to get a bigger picture, and know where to go next
  10. Enjoy the sights and sounds around you as you search for more berries

All that work will yield some good eats. I may have picked up a few nuggets of wisdom along this quest. Can’t wait for the next quest – Blackberries!