Thursday, September 27, 2007

Toxic Shame

Almost everybody has something they are ashamed of. Something in our past that we would rather just forget about and move on. Something that we hope no one else ever finds out. Some have made peace with their secret past. They have moved on. They experienced a healthy sense of shame that led them to a realization that dishonor and dishonorable behavior was unacceptable. They have been honest with God (and others) and confessed and turned from it. They have healed/are healing from the damage. Others have not.

There are many who live with a toxic sense of shame. They feel more than guilt. They don’t just feel bad about what they did, they are what they did. Toxic shame, the shame that poisons us, is experienced as the all pervasive sense that I am flawed and defective as a human being. In his book, The Road Less Traveled Scott Peck explains, “Toxic shame is a state of being, a core identity. Toxic shame gives you a sense of worthlessness, a sense of failing and falling short as a human being. Toxic shame is a rupture of the self with the self”.

Toxic shame is like internal bleeding. “Exposure to oneself lies at the heart of toxic shame” says Peck. “A shameful person will guard against exposing his inner self to others.” He will live with a sense he is a failure to himself. His identity is now intrinsically connected with past failure. He has’nt just a guilty conscience for a particular failure, he is a failure. He has not let himself and others down, he feels he is a let-down.

Erik Erikson writes,

"Once internalized, toxic shame is functionally autonomous, which means that it can be triggered internally without any attending stimulus. One can imagine a situation and feel deep shame. One can be alone and trigger a shaming spiral through internal self- talk. The more one experiences shame, the more one is ashamed and the beat goes on.
It is this dead-end quality of shame that makes it so hopeless. The possibility for repair seems foreclosed if one is essentially flawed as a human being. Add to that the self-generating quality of shame, and one can see the devastating, soul-murdering power of neurotic shame.
The reader can begin to see how dramatic it was for me to discover the dynamics of shame. By being aware of the dynamics of shame, by naming it, we gain some power over it."

Do you have a healthy sense of shame? Do you have a strong desire not to dishonor yourself and those you love (especially God)? Or has something much more toxic been diabolically set up in your life? There is hope in Jesus Christ. If you don’t like the person you have become you can be made new.

2 Cor. 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

Join us this weekend at NCC as we find a hope-filled new identity in Christ. Hear the final message in the “My Secret” series and discover how to be free from shame and receive new energy in life!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Sexual Healing

Porn revenue is larger than all the revenues for ABC, NBC, and CBS combined.
90% of 8-16 year olds have viewed porn online.
33% of visitors to adult web sites are women.
Adult bookstores outnumber McDonald’s restaurants in the U.S. by a margin of at least 3-1.
Up to 37% of men and 22% of women admit to having affairs.
About 60 percent of men and 40 percent of women will have an affair at some point in some marriage
Conservative infidelity statistics estimate that "60 percent of men and 40 percent of women will have an extramarital affair at some point in their life”.

18 Run away from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. 19 Or don't you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body. (NLT)

Our bodies where created by God with certain strong drives and powerful desires. Sex is one of them. The problem is that many do not know the truth about sexual sin. While God created sex and declares it holy, Satan lowers his crosshairs directly at this blessed gift. He seeks to steal its purity, kill its joy, and destroy its purpose.

Our bodies are for God. He cleary states that He wants to inhabit us as His temple. He wants to fill us with His presence and satisfy our spiritual desires. He gives men and women marriage as a healthy way to enjoy sexs and to be satisfied. By doing this he protects us from emotional and physical harm. As we follow His Spirit’s leading in us we are fulfilled, but Satan knows how to wound us. He understands how to introduce experiences (usually when we are young and innocent) that will scar us for life. Some of these sexual secrets have been huting our relationships.

There is a greater desire that leads to healing and wholeness in our lives. The sexual brokenness of our secret past does not have to define our future. We can be free. WE CAN BE LOVED. After all, isn’t that what this is all about anyway? Surrender your God created body to the one who loves you so much that He died to show you His love.

Join us this weekend for “Sexual Secrets” and learn how to be free. Invite a friend.

My Chemical Romance

Statistics show that 7 in 10 Americans are either addicted themselves, or have a close family member who is addicted to a destructive habit. When asked they report the addiction negatively affecting them in one of at least three ways: Physical illness, financial hardship, or emotional trauma.
How does a person become addicted? Here is some of my research
Typically it happens like this:
A person takes a drug of abuse, be it marijuana or cocaine or even alcohol, activating the same brain circuits as do behaviors linked to survival, such as eating, bonding and sex. The drug causes a surge in levels of a brain chemical called dopamine, which results in feelings of pleasure. The brain remembers this pleasure and wants it repeated.

Just as food is linked to survival in day-to-day living, substances begin to take on the same significance for the addict. The need to obtain and use becomes more important than any other need, including truly vital behaviors like eating. The addict no longer seeks the substance for pleasure, but for relieving distress.

Eventually, the drive to seek and use is all that matters, despite devastating consequences.
Finally, control and choice and everything that once held value in a person's life, such as family, job and community, are lost to the disease of addiction. Like a young person blinded by an infatuation, a stormy chemical romance ensues and eventually destroys that person’s life.

Join us this weekend for a powerful message entitled “My Chemical Romance”.
If you are struggling or know someone who is, then you will find hope at New Community this weekend. There is a Way to freedom!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Who are you really?

My three year old son now closes doors so as to not be seen in certain activities. The other night he closed the door to his room and climbed up and got into a drawer that had lotions and powders and such. In his newly achieved privacy he began to empty it all out on the carpet. After several moments of unusual silence, I went upstairs to look in on him. Our next few moments were instructional for both of us.

What do you do behind the closed doors of your life? That is a powerful question isn’t it? Who are you when no one is looking? The truth is there is never a time when “no one” is looking.

Proverbs 15:3
The eyes of the LORD are in every place, Keeping watch on the evil and the good.

The eyes of God are always there. Like one of those paintings of someone’s face, no matter where you walk in the room the eyes follow you. I guess that could be a little scary for some. If you are in honest pursuit of good character it can be a joy that God is watching over you. But if you are running in the shadows this truth can be quite disturbing.

A different question is who are you when no people are looking? What secrets are you holding in that you hope nobody will ever know? What’s the stuff you’ve tried to stuff way down deep but still seems to linger somewhere right under your skin? Secrets-we all have them. Or do they have us?

Right now I am in the process of asking this probing question of myself. Who am I really? Who am I when no one is looking? Are there parts of my life that I still don’t want you to know about? Honestly, the answer is yes. I am taking action to change this. I want every area of my life to say that I truly follow Christ. Not most areas-every area.

Secrets can make us sick. Like mold and fungus that flourishes in low light, secrets have a way of spreading darkness throughout our hearts. The answer is light. We have to allow light to come into our lives. We have to choose to walk out of the shadows and into His marvelous light! The liar will tell you that you are safer in the shadows. He will attempt to scare you with thoughts of judgment and rejection. Don’t believe him. It is safer in the light. Let Jesus shine into your life today. Walk with Him in the light! Tell someone you can trust and shed light. Many are taking steps toward freedom. They are confessing sins to God and to the appropriate people. They are finding forgiveness & healing in a community of acceptance. Join us for the rest of this month as we lighten up the atmosphere a bit.

1 John 1:5-7 (NLT)

5 This is the message he has given us to announce to you: God is light and there is no darkness in him at all. 6 So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness. We are not living in the truth. 7 But if we are living in the light of God's presence, just as Christ is, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from every sin.