Tag Archives: hypocrite

Who am I to preach?

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I’m a sinner.

Every day I struggle with thoughts of anger and resentment. Sin is constantly trying to get me to fall into its greedy temptations, and many times I fall.

I’m not perfect.

People often expect the preacher to be better than everyone else, but I’m not. I struggle with grudges and addiction. I am not a man to be placed on a pedestal. I am a man who wants to walk with you not above you.

People think that the preacher must always have great faith, but, to be honest, sometimes I struggle. Yes, I do come back to a remembrance of all the glorious things that have happened in my life that can only be explained by God’s handiwork, but that doesn’t mean I’m strong every day.

I struggle with depression and stress and anxiety. I struggle with people who don’t see things my way.

I struggle with selfishness.

If you’re looking for the perfect preacher, I’m sorry to disappoint you. I need the grace and forgiveness of Jesus as much or more so than anyone reading this.

But I am forgiven.

I have given my life to Jesus, and though not all of my life looks like that of Jesus it is no less offered to Him.

I have been saved by the grace of Jesus, and I get the chance to start anew each day through the gift of repentance and forgiveness.

That is why I preach. I preach because I know how badly I need a Savior, and I know how great my Savior truly is. I preach because despite my selfishness I still have genuine love for those around me and want to see them receive the same gift I have been given.

I preach because the blood of Jesus didn’t just cover my sins from yesterday, but it covers my sins today and tomorrow and forever. I preach because I want to live foreverin the warmth of the love that is the presence of God in heaven. I preach because I want you to be there with me celebrating that glorious rest.

I preach because there is nothing else in the world I could think of doing. It is like a fire shut up in my bones (Jeremiah 20:9)..

I preach because I understand that nothing good lives in me, but the Holy Spirit in me brings out whatever good there is. I preach because I know that God doesn’t expect me to be perfect – He just wants me to be willing.

I preach because I love being a part of the plan of God to bring you and others to the cross and the empty tomb. I preach because I am addicted to watching people’s sins be forgiven as they connect with Jesus’ death and resurrection through their baptism (Romans 6)

I hope you can accept a flawed preacher. I hope you will allow me to walk with you as we both strive to love God, love others, and become more like Jesus. I pray that you preach too (Philemon 6).

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Hunters Who Never Hunt

IMG_4681It’s hunting season across the nation. Each morning thousands of people wake up before dawn and get into their vehicles or walk out to their desired location and listen and watch as the sun rises. This process usually begins with a gathering of tools and weapons needed for the hunt. If the hunt is for the day or for a week much preparation is needed before the day of the hunt.

Many hunters spend hours and hours hunting, not for game, but for areas where the game are. They do research and read books and peruse articles that may give them an edge on the hunt that they have chosen. They spend countless dollars on gadgets and gizmos they see as needed to reach their prize. They look at maps and drive miles upon miles to get to their hunting grounds.

Then there’s the hunt. The hunter is properly camouflaged and adequately still and quiet. They pick a place where they can find cover but still see well enough to find their quarry. Then they wait. They may make game calls with their gadgets if they deem necessary, but more important than gadgets is that they are in the right place at the right time, so they wait.

Hours and hours have gone into this one morning. The sun is rising. The air is calm and crisp. Anticipation and adrenaline runs high.

There’s the prize.

Now the harvest.

God be praised for the bounty of his creation.

What if they never went out?

What if week after week they talked about hunting. They paid for subscriptions to the best hunting magazines and read them cover to cover. They bought all the gadgets and gizmos and practiced them to perfection in the comfort of their homes (or the car if their wife deems necessary). They have the right gear and weapons.

What if they even got together at the local shop to talk about their latest gadget. They showed off their best camo. They talked about their favorite hunting dog.

What if they did all this but never went out and hunted.

Would they be hunters?

Week after week people flock to churches to sing praises to their God. They read their bibles and partake of the Lord’s Supper. They teach classes to people of all ages on how to know their bible and properly practice the traditions of their faith.

Many of these people know the bible forward and backwards. They can quote book chapter and verse with ease. They can tell you all about Jesus. They are good people and look like they have it all together.

Week after week they read the words written in black and white, and week after week they fail to put those words into practice.

Does that make them Christians? Is your knowledge of the bible what makes you a follower of Jesus? Is it not, rather, the way you live your life?

We call ourselves Christians, but how well are we evangelizing the world around us? Jesus seemed to make that a priority for his followers.

We call ourselves Christians, but we look like the world on every day but Sunday. Isn’t that contrary to what we are called to in the bible?

It’s time to stop pretending and start participating. You have been called to be fishers of men. You are called to hunt for the lost and rescue them from the wages of sin. It’s time to stop filling your buckets with preparation and start using your tools for the work you were called to do.

Join with me as we work together to do more than learn about Jesus. Join with me as we tell the world about him.


If You Love Jesus You’ll Buy This

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The other day I was listening to a local Christian radio station and I heard a commercial for a “gift this Christmas”. I’m not going to tell you what it was, but the people gave all these reasons why someone should buy this item and give it to someone. Then, at the end of the commercial they said “honor The Lord by giving this gift”.

Really? Honor The Lord by buying some Christian merchandise? Shouldn’t we better honor The Lord by living our lives in service to Him and being content with what we have? Do we really need more stuff?

I see this all the time. “Christian” companies using their religious preference to get you to buy their goods. Is there such thing as a Christian company anyway? Sure, there are Christians who own companies. There are companies who deal with merchandise that promote Christian symbols and ideas. There are Christians who work for companies, but the companies themselves cannot be Christian or non-Christian.

I hear commercials by companies who have no direct tie in their business to anything specifically Christian. They aren’t selling Christian goods or teaching Christian ideals, and yet they are advertising themselves as a Christian company.

1 Timothy 6:5 gives warning that there are some who think that their godliness is a means to financial gain. He warns to watch out for these people. He says rather to find godliness with contentment.

As you live your life, don’t use your status as a Christian to manipulate or coerce people. You should gain people’s trust and friendship by the way you live. Christianity is not a badge we wear but a life we live. And if the fruit of our lives don’t match up with the faith we profess then that makes us a hypocrite, and Jesus had a lot of negative things to say about hypocrites.

We are called to be consistent in how we live. When we make a commitment to something, we follow through because we have made our “yes” as good as a promise. When we talk to people they are able to hear Jesus reflected in our speech. When we do things, whether working or playing, people are able to see that we are doing everything to the glory of God. When we run a company or work for a company we should be the most highly sought after people because of our reflection of the attitude and lifestyle of Jesus in our lives.

May you be people who reflect Jesus in everything you do. And may you be content with what you have (Hebrews 13:5-6). God bless you!


The Least Popular Article I’ve Written

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This will not be my most popular article.

Are you a Christian? If you say yes, then this article is for you. If not, you are welcome to read this because you may get a glimpse into what this life is all about, but you should know that the standard set before us in this article is not for you…not yet. Hopefully, however, you will find that the Savior, Jesus, is well worth whatever it takes to seek Him.

So, are you still with me? Good!

As humans, we have a tendency toward brokenness. If you look at the world around us you will see that we are a broken species living broken lives in a broken environment that we choose broken procedures to try to repair to a less broken status. Because we are a messed up people, then when we do things, by our nature, we mess them up.

This is true of our ability to follow Christ.

We are called to be Christians, but for many people this is merely a moniker, a title that gives us religious clout in whatever circles we desire to reveal that title to others. We are but fans of the One to whom we declared our allegiance when we became Christians.

There is a difference between being a fan of Jesus and being His follower. Unfortunately, since the beginning of Christianity, the majority of people who claim his forgiveness are not much more than fans.

Maybe you’re reading this, and you’re saying, “not me!” I hope so, but let’s look at the calling to which you were called.

First of all, Sunday morning worship services and Wednesday night classes are not the penultimate experiences of the Christian life. We are not called to worship on Sunday and Wednesday only. We are called to offer our bodies daily as living sacrifices to God. Worship is supposed to come from us all day every day. In many churches the people who do show up barely even sing anyway, and the attendance on Sunday morning is considerably different than the actual church membership roster. However, this is only a small sampling of evidence for fandom.

What have you sacrificed/given up for Christ? When we are called to Christ, we are called to die to ourselves. In fact, Jesus says we must take up our own cross. He wants us to come to Him and die with him. Can you imagine if the new church slogan was “Come and Die”? Would you want to worship with that group? You would if you understood what Jesus was calling you to.

He is not calling you to a life of luxury. If he were, would he have spent his life and ministry with no home and little food? Wouldn’t he have had a great financial base with which to do ministry?

He didn’t really focus on wealth and prosperity. In fact, he said as a promise that if you follow him you are guaranteed hardship as a result. Have you suffered hardship because of Christ? If you haven’t, then are you truly following him the way you are called to do so?

He doesn’t call us to live for him when it’s convenient. He doesn’t call us to live for him when we aren’t at work or school or doing something else important. He doesn’t call us to go on mission trips and to revival weekends. He calls us to live in mission wherever we are all day every day. We are called daily to revival as we seek His will for our lives.

In America, the American dream of prosperity and status has had an open door into the mindsets of our churches, and it won’t be until we rid ourselves of the needs and desires for things of this world that we can truly put our hand to the plow and not look back.

The world is watching. Recently I was told by a couple of different people that the reason they didn’t want to come to Christ is that they couldn’t see that it was doing anything special for His followers. That is sad, and it convicts me on so many levels.

You aren’t called to be a fan of Jesus. You are called to be a follower, and following means going where He would go and where He is calling. He went to the broken and hurting and dirty people of his day. He went to the poor and the lame. He went out into the world and didn’t associate with the religious cliques of his time. He is calling you to follow him there. He is calling you to get uncomfortable for Him. He is calling you out of YOUR life and into HIS.

Jesus knew this would be tough, and he knew you would have to make some hard choices. Some of you may even have to reject your family because you choose Jesus over them. You may have to change jobs or friends. You may have to tell your boss you can’t work at certain times because you are dedicated to something greater (and being with the saints on Sunday is something greater). I know of a farmer who dedicated to God that he wouldn’t work on Sunday even during the harvest, and he always got his crops in…in fact he had a bumper crop from that point forward.

When we follow Jesus the way he calls us to follow, then we can truly begin to live in the Eternal Life He is calling us to.

If you’re not willing to give yourself up in that way, then consider the choice. It’s time for all of us to stop pretending we are one way and living another. Jesus spoke a lot about that too, and he said it to the religious folk of His day.

So, I hope you’re still with me. We have all fallen short of this, but through the grace of Jesus He helps us get back up and continue to dedicate our lives to Him. When you fail, don’t wallow in self pity. Stand back up! Jesus has already forgiven you.

Please share this with your friends who are Christians. Please make changes in your life as you truly seek Christ with all your heart. Let hypocrisy die in us as His Spirit comes alive in us.


The Greatest Show on Earth

The Community Actors of South Texas (CAST) have their next production coming up this weekend: “A Country Christmas Carol”. This show will be Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at the Rhema Fellowship building in downtown Bay City. I’m in the show, and you can find out more about it at http://www.communityactors.org.

I am not writing this article to simply plug the show, though I would love for you to come support CAST. It’s just that as I prepare to perform this weekend, I can’t help but reflect on all the work that must be done to make this show a success. Each person has to do his or her own job to make this work. Actors and actresses have to rehearse lines and movements (in this play, songs too!) or else the play just won’t work. The director has to be preparing for the play before the first rehearsal and has to lead the performers and crew. There are many different roles that have to be undertaken to make this work: stage managers, sound technicians, light crew, prop builders, promotional managers, costumes, etc… Without each person working to prepare then performing their task as needed then this would be a disaster.

As the show grows in its ability to perform, something else grows. The relationships between those working on the play grow. People come together from all walks of like with a common purpose. The result is not only a performed play, but a shared experience that will be a lasting thread to connect each of us no matter where life takes us from this point forward. When this is done right, the performance is great, and others like what they see and want to join in.

As Christians, Jesus is supposed to be our thread. We are his church. The church isn’t a place or a building or even a couple of services on Sundays and Wednesdays. The church is the people who have committed their life to the Messiah.

Through the years the church has morphed quite a bit from the way it was in the first century shortly after Jesus ascended into heaven. Churches today are frequently where people come to be spiritually fed. Usually this is the only spiritual feeding they get each week. Churches have encouraged its members to “bring a friend” in order for the preacher or some other minister to evangelize them taking that burden of responsibility off the lay-Christian. We often speak of “going to church”. Then, when we get there, they are highly ritualized ceremonies where a few people participate and the rest are spectators.

If we could bring some Christians here from the first century they wouldn’t recognize the church.

The church of the first century was quite different. First of all, they had no church buildings, so they WERE the church. In fact, they were so excited about it that they often met daily so they could encourage one another and share in that common thread of Jesus. The church had a common experience (coming to Jesus), and it had a common purpose. The purpose of the church was to take care of each other first, then evangelize the world all with a view of heaven.

The church at one time “had everything in common” and made sure that no other Jesus-followers had anything lacking. Their first priority was to take care of each other in love. They were fulfilling Jesus’ words when he said “by this they will know you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

They daily shared in that common experience. They also daily told others about the message of Jesus. This was made quite easier by their lifestyle. You see, they didn’t live anything like the world. The world saw their collective living. It saw their newfound love for others, and it wanted to be a part of that. The disciples lived their lives in such a way that led others to ask “what makes you different?” Then they had a great opportunity to start right there with the saving message of Jesus.

You are not called to allow the church to be your spiritual dinner table. You should be fed and feeding others each day as you commune with the body of Christ. How can we be a witness to the world if our lives show that we haven’t witnessed anything?

If we didn’t practice and work together for the play, then even if you did show up, the performance would be disastrous. Not only would you not come back, but you would talk to others about that as well. We are called to “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” (1 Peter 2:12)

So may you re-dedicate your service to God, His church and the world. May you be an agent of change to bring the church back to where it needs to be. And may God use you to show the world what love really is.

Come see me in the show, and if there’s anything I can do for you or pray with you about, feel free to contact me at jddobbs@verizon.net or at the office at 245-1611. God bless you!


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