Are YOU a Quasimodo?
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ConnectUs Church Audio Podcast
ConnectUs Church Audio Podcast

Episode 10 · 1 year ago

Are YOU a Quasimodo?

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

How are you doing? When we are honest about the answer it opens us up to be truly loved and cared for. God meets us in times of need and rescues us. God wants to use you to show up in the lives of others and love and care. You never know what someone is going through and we all need someone. Will that someone be you?

Hegang we've grown accustomed towearing masks. If you're like me, you have several. Some of them have ties. Some have a lasstic, ah somfet over ourheads, like a sleeve of many years, are Carkeyd to your outfit, and maybe youhave disposable utilitarian kinds. Some are embellished with the logos of yourfavorite teams, some maybe with your favorite schools. Someone I've seen afew that are just downright silly. They've got like animal noses on themor our puppy tongues sticky out of the Frie. I donl want to go down that pananyhow masks are part of our culture and they're part of many people'sculture throughout history. In some cultures masts serve as a Vale H toindicate purity in sub cultures, theyre used to board off evil spirits, doringfestivals, some cultures use them as an integral part of their theatreperformances. Some of US believe that they are aprotection from infection. Perhaps we wear them for the safety ofothers. They shield us, they hide our smiles and they hide ourfrowns. Some of US hide behind invisible masksof our own making to avoid being seen as maybe we think we truly are, ormaybe we wear them to avoid being hurt. We don't always like, but we see in ourmind's eyes and some of US wonder if people wouldreally like us if they knew what we looked like inside and we become reallyadept at covering ourselves with the in fine ask. You know the one wheresomeone comes up to you say: Hey Howe, you doing denny. Oh I'm, fine! I'mgreat! Thank you for asking you've heard those that have beenaround have heard bits and pieces of of my story. I was raised in LancasterCounty by godly parents, grandparents, friends, who trusted Jesus. Theyprovided a solid Christian upbringing. I went to church Sunday morning andSunday evening, Sunday, school vacation, Bible, school midweek services in highschool. I went tol you for Christ, Club at Warwick High School go warrior. I even went to a conservative ChristianCollege, two of Hem to be exact. I had a good life we weren't wealthy, but I wassurrounded by love and family and friends that wanted me to know Jesus now I teach some theater classes and inthose classes we talk a lot about something called the menetic impulse.In other words, we mind what we see others doing, it's, how we learn our language T's,how we learn to tire our shoes we copy.

We do we mind what we see others doing,particularly what our parents and friends do. I knew all the right scripture. I could see all the cooses, I could saythe right words. I do when to lift my hands in praise, depending on whichchurch I was in. I could smile and say I'm fine and foranyone new I was fine. I seemed fine and my family and friends seeme tothink I was fine, even during the seventies, that wonderful era of sexdrugs and rock and roll, and did I celebrate yes. Indeed, I did mytwenties were party central, but when I was around my family, myChristian friends, I knew how to put on this nice boy mask. Even when I feltlike I was dying on the inside. I knew how to wear a mask. It was safe course. I always had that partyboymasked standing by, for when I was with my other friends and the gang thatI worked with. All that mask wearing got really oldand on the final Sunday, in October nineteen, seventy four I hadto come to Jesus moment. I recognized the truth. It wasn'tenough for me to know about Jes I needed help. I needed a saviour. Weall do. The Bible tells us. I Rom is threetwenty three, that all of us have sinned and Roman's. Ten Thirteenreminded me that everyone me, you included everyone who calls on the name.An the Lord will be saved. I have a question you don't have toanswer this. This is hypothetic. Have Anyou noticed that after a week of twoof wearing these masks, we got accustomed to wearing them. Have I you been driving home from ashopping trip or from the bank or work and realize wow? I forgot to take offmy Nask. They became part of who we are. Weadjusted our breathing, especially if we wear glasses or have allergies. We adjusted our speaking so that wecould be clearly understood and heard they became part of our routine. Now Jesus had provided salvation what Icalled out to him, but it wasn't easy for me to quit.Wearing my masks. In fact, I created a brand new one. I threw myself into doing ministrygayme. I started a team drama ministry. I started working in a church full time.I got licensed to preach good grief. I won a national award, a national wardfrom being youth leader of the year...

...impressive Huh and then in August onnineteen. Ninety nine, I was one of two caltum. Two men nominated to be youthpastur of the year by the National Fellowship of Grace, brethern churches,big stuff- and I was pleased with myself, proud of myself. I hadaccomplished a lot. I I I neme meme me. I had polished offthat religious ministry mask really well, but four months later in December, ONineteen and ninety nine, my finally crafted religious mask, wasripped off. When I propositioned and undercover policemen you sae I'De, been wearing a lot ofdifferent masks for over forty years. I was leading at least two lies. I hadbecome so comfortable switching masks that they'd become my identities hat. Is these naturally recognizedyouth leader, the other? As a gay man? I need to stop and say that today'smessage is not about my journey out of a particular lifestyle if you'reinterested in that journey I'll be happy to give you websites of severalchurches where I talk in length about that journey. But what I want o clearlystate today is: God promises us in Som Forty six, one that he god is ourrefuge and strength, a very present help in trouble and on December NineNineteen N. ninety nine, I desperately needed help that morning of December ninth lookedpretty good. My life was great. I had grown comfortable with my multiidentity by six o'clock that evening my well constructed facad had been rippedoff. I lost everything, my job, my career, trust, friends, reputation, mycharacter. Everything was shot. I couldn't breathe. I didn't want tobreathe for weeks. I just wanted to die, andone early evening as I was driving my car from Lilitz to Manvine, I started tolook at telephone poles in a whole new light. I saw them as a weapon a way outof my hurt Kevin. Can you play that Clip Yeah Yeah? It's Amazin whell, he's settingthis up. It's amazing how some of the great works of literature have verydefinite biblical themes in this particular piece of literature,the hunchback of noter down. We see a deformed, unwanted orphan, prompted bylove to Sav someone who's equally...

...tarnished ready. I was at a point of desperation. I hadfailed, absolutely had failed. I had broughtshame on a youth group of about two hundred kids. I had brought shame on a church family and I didn't have a close motovesswooping down and lifting me above the heads of a jeering crowd. I didn't havea Quaset Moto rescuing me from the hurt pain, humiliation while shoutingsanctuary- I wonder, had you know me, then how would you have responded? Jesus calls and his followers to loveGod and love others as we would be loved ourselves. I had one leading pastor o tell me thatI would always be a loser, complete with e hand gesture one of my youth group parents pulledhis family away, as I was entering a store and said loudly for my benefit.Well we're getting out of here, just in the neck of time, a religious broadcaster on a localradio station and used me as a target of his jokes and, let's be honest, Iwas guilty back in the days of Sophocles andEuripides and that Golden Age of Greek theatre actors were Meskd that designated theircharacters. The common name for these actors washypocricies. I think you know what that word relatesto today. I was definitely guilty H. primarily, I was guilty of the original Sin Pride. I knew God's word. I chose to do my own thing. I chose togo my own way before that Disney clip. I told youthat I was driving and planning suicide that night the sky was dark withthunderclouds and they matched my mood. I didn't have hope there was none leftand there didn't seem to be any way out of the pain except hitting one of those telephonepolls. But excuse me, a still small voice inside my head, kept repeating. Stop the car pull over kept going, stop the car pull over and I pulled into a parking lot put myhead on the steering wheel...

Di said God. I can't do this any more and that intervoice haid get out of thecar. What I did I looked to the east, I kid you not.There was a rainbow that stretched from one part of the heavens tof the other, and I remember boards from scripturefrom God himself. I will never leave you or forsake you. I didn't have a fictional characterlike Qasimoto. Looking out for me. Had someone infinitely better had the suna man who had been brutallybeaten beyond recognition have a saviour who died the mostinhumane death men have ever devised to pay the debt for all my soons and I had a friend who promises tostick closer than any brother and I had a refuge, a shelter, a rockthat I could depend on. I had a godsaviour that knew me withoutany masks and he loved me anyway, and he still does, despite by manyfailures, pretty gool right, but here's somethingthat gets really really really really cool and that's. This Jesus hasstrategically given each one of us his people, gifts and calls on his churchto care for each other got a paaphrase a little bit of Ephesians Four. Elevento sixteen. We find out that that Christ himself gave the apostles theprophets the evangelists teachers pastors, and why didn't he do thatverse, Twelse as to equip his people for works of service so that the bodyof Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in theknowledge of the son of God, and become mature attaining to the whole measureof the fullness of Christ, and that passage continues and calsingus to speak the truth in love. We will grow to become in every respectthe mature body of him who is head out of the Church that is Christ from him. The whole body joined andheld together by every supporting ligament grows and builds itself up inlove as each part doesis bork. Now we I sometimes get a bit nervouswhen called upon to care for and share with others. I've got a confession, andyou it's probably good you're sitting...

...down for this caring for others is difficult for mebecause believe it or not. I'm shy and introverted. I'm really uncomfortable when talkingwith a small group or one one, especially with my peers, Andi'm afraid that all too often Imaybe many of us think t it takes big gestures when it comes to serving. I Gino tell you about some of the waysthat gods used very human quasi motoves to minister to me and believe me: theydidn't swing from some notodom cathedral anywhere. One of the first was a guy by the nameof Abe. I'd got to confess it was incrediblypainful for me to continue attending the church that I had failed and whereIh'd been a youthpaster, but I knew that there were many who would like meto just disappear, but I also determined that it was important for myyouth kids to see God continuing is work in mylife and then on Sunday. This farmer, by thename of Abe man, I barely knew walk up to me in the hallway, gave me a barehug and said Jenny. I still love your brother, so I did I reminder from first JohnFour seven, dear friends, we should love each other because love comes fromGod. It was a family, a quasi motives thatcame the next Christmas. After my big failure, they came caroling frm e longand acro family from Anin Ere outside my health. The the Hallua course led bySteve Courtney, He'as married to one of the Longnackersthey, reminded me thatthey wanted me to know that they cared and the words of that Gorgeous Song reminded me that Jesus is king of kingsand Lord of Lord's unchanging. The one who is our refuge is my refuge.My strength, your strength, a very present help in time of trouble and Jesus was my refuge. Even outsidethe convenience store, the only job I could get where I finally found thisjob and he was there and I fell his presence. While I was standing outsidethinking God. How am I going to do this and Jesus continued, giving me helpwhen I finally found another job working for a bank? Lo dicated at agrocery store in Hershe Pennsylvania? I was hurting. I was angry. I was angryat the world. I was angry mostly at myself, and it likely showed you seewith t e Maskgone. My face was revealing a lot of pain, N, a lot ofhurt ndthen one Sunday at the bank. Anotherquasie MOTO WALKED UP Steve. A client from the bank looked at me and saidDenny. I don't know you other than from...

...doing my transactions here at the back,but I can tell your hurting, but you mind if I pray for you who does that well at that time, I didn't tell himanything about my payofts. He didn't know anything about it, but six monthslater we got in contact and he volunteered to come alongside and serveas a mentor to me. Another crose Motov encouraged me intwenty fifteen. That's fifteen years, gone by folks H,encourage me to enroll in in living waters a program that provides hope forthose struggling with relational issues. It was there that I learned the valueof James Five, sixteen which reads confess your sins to one another andpray for one another that you may be healed and a tiny group of men Rod,Jeff Eric Rodny, David others became partners in that confession, and thelaying on of prayerful hands. God was using men and women his churchto love on me and bring rescoration and, I might add, is still using the becauseLord knows I still needit h. Then there was pastor Atam, anotherquasi motove, one of the guys from my former youth group, and he called meout of the blue and INVITEDG ME to share my story, my journey with hischurch, which led to another church and another church and to this morning Wuathem otoves flawed men and women who, and they would tell you were far fromperfect themselves and they reached out to me. Many of these individuals wereabsolutely unaware that their small acts made me and continue to encourage me tobe the man who had become and n becoming the man God intended me to be in a world, that's incredibly brokenand hurting church. How should we respond? I believe Jesus would remind us, LoveGod, love others who love each other, it's a simple message and he wouldremind us an enfusions four thirty, two bekind tender for giving others, justas God in Christforgave us or in First John Thirty, one, seventeen. Eighty,not just talking about love but doing something Galatian, six, nine ten useevery opportunity to do good for others, especially those who are in thehousehold of faith. First Cesilonius, five eleven encourage and build eachother up in the Fath Roman's fifteen one we who are strong have anobligation to bear with the failings of...

...the weak and so of gang ie told you thebearbones of my story, my journey and as big daddy weave sings. If I toldyou my story, O would hear hope that wouldn't let go I told you my story, you would hearlove that never gave up. If I told you my story, you would hearabout victory over the enemy. I hope in this time this morning thatyou will recognize that I'm here because of the grace of God, that wasgreater than all my sin. Who is greater than all my sins? I can also tell you that I've heard alot of sermons in my lifetime. In frankly, I can't remember them what I do want you to remember from ourtime this morning, first and foremost, as I'm here this morning, because ofJesus, His mercy, grace and incredible patience, and if you've never asked Jesus intoyour heart. I'd really like to talk to you. If you're hiding behind masks, it's notworth it, I'd really love to talk to Yo. However, I'm also thankful for thisthis morning for every imperfect quasimoto whoallowed Jesus to shine through their lives with acts of kindness. Even when that kindness was as simpleas a hug wonder e, is God calling you to be aquaze mitor today, Father God? Thank you for your love. Thank you for your long suffering and the fact thatyou put up with all my foolishness for all these many years and thank you forloving me. Just the same, loving me enough that you died for me. Thank you. Jesus use US in the lives ofothers. I pray andthen.

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