Tag Archives: preacher

Just for Men…ok, Women too


For nearly two thousand years, the church has struggled with the hierarchy of leadership. Bishops, priests, deacons, elders, pastors, preachers, cardinals (birds?), etc. We have worship leaders and prayer leaders and ministry leaders and youth leaders. Now there are arguments as to whether women can be leaders in these and other roles. I think we argue about  leadership roles because we have forgotten what true leadership looks like. 

Husbands, you are the head of your household, physically and spiritually. The scriptures say so. So you get to have your way, right? 

If your marriage is struggling, may I suggest it is because you have held a more worldly view of your headship in the home than a biblical view. 

The world says the head is in charge. That’s where the brains are. That’s where the mouthpiece is, and the rest of the body sustains the head. In families, men act like kings and unintentionally trample those they claim to love by their exercise of authority. 

Jesus is the head of the church. How does he lead? He sacrificed himself and daily intercedes for us.  

When you read of a husband’s leadership in Ephesians 5, you read terms like these:

  • Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ
  • Gave himself up for her
  • Sanctify her
  • Love her as your own body
  • Nourish and cherish her
  • Love her

Where’s the authoritarian attitude in this passage? It is non-existent. A godly husband is a voluntary servant for his family – loving them by sacrificing himself for them daily. 

Does this look like your experience as husband? What woman wouldn’t want a husband like this? 

In the church we encourage the men to take leadership roles, but those don’t look much different. A leader is a servant. He is not someone who is exercising his authority to get his way. He is sacrificing time and effort and even finances for the good of the church, the bride of Christ. 

Oh, and he’s not doing it for the praise of others. If that were the case, he would receive no reward from the Father. 

If the church functioned with the servant-mind of Christ, there wouldn’t be so many arguments about who can do what. We wouldn’t consider someone of higher prestige because of their particular title. We would encourage all to serve and be grateful for their service. 

If husbands functioned with the servant-mind of Christ, there wouldn’t be divorce. If you were serving, cherishing, loving, praying for, and nourishing your wife, she would be with you forever. If wives functioned with the servant-mind of Christ, there wouldn’t be so much resentment against husbands. 

Face it. No one deserves to be served by you. No one deserves your love and gifts of time and effort. But you don’t deserve that from Christ either, and he gladly, willingly, gave everything for you. So do likewise. 

“Do you understand what I have done for you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.” -Jesus (John 13:12-15)

Lead by serving like Jesus, and watch the people around you blossom. 

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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).


The Secret Sin of the Church

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Have you ever been to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting? If you’ve been or even heard of what goes on there, then I’m sure you’ve probably heard how each person introduces themselves when he or she gets up to speak. “My name is [insert name here], and I’m an alcoholic.”

It doesn’t matter if they quit drinking yesterday or 20 years ago; the introduction is the same.

They recognize that it would only take one drink to get them back into the habit. Only one drink to shatter their lives once more.

Drug addicts are similar in their meetings and understanding of how precarious their sobriety really is. It is said that someone who has been off drugs and begins again doesn’t start back slowly. Oftentimes they start back with even more than they quit with.

I experienced this hard reality when I was in preaching school. A good friend of mine had been clean for years, but with the influence of another student got back into drugs. I didn’t know until I had to go visit him in the hospital because of an overdose. Thankfully The Lord spared us all from having to mourn his death.

There is another addiction people struggle with even (maybe especially) in the church, but no one seems to be talking about it.

My name is Jonathan Dobbs. I’m a preacher, and I struggle with pornography.

The first time I ever saw inappropriate images such as these was the day after church camp when I was a boy. Those images have never left my mind no matter how hard I try to get rid of them.

When I went to Harding University (a Christian university), I got really exposed. There was a computer lab in the physics building that didn’t have a firewall or filters, and a row of computers didn’t face the door. Plus, no one hardly ever went into the physics computer lab at Harding when I was there. That opportunity coupled with the influences of the young men in the dorm all around me allowed me exposure to things that rid me of whatever innocence I had left.

I understand the urge to look even against my better judgement. I understand the feeling of disgust after having participated in such viewing. I know the dark places my mind would go when I went on a pornography binge. I understand the mental gymnastics used to justify such actions. I know that it only takes one weak day to take me back to those places of mental, sinful bondage.

Such things are rarely talked about in churches, yet this particular sin affects almost every young person today and in many generations recently past. We talk often about homosexuality, abortion, adultery and “shacking up” yet many more people are participating in a much more harmful sin. The problem with porn is that it is so subtle in the ways it destroys you that many people believe it’s not hurting them at all.

Porn addicts are much like alcoholics and drug addicts. They need accountability. They need to be away from the temptation. If they fall back into the habit they often fall hard. Porn addiction controls its victim.

As a church we need to be people who understand this problem. We don’t need to shame people for having struggles with this – they feel shame enough. We don’t need to sit in condemnation for their sin is no worse than yours. We need to love them and befriend them and hold them accountable.

As I’ve been in recovery there are a few things that have helped tremendously. First, I immersed my life in the presence of God and his word. I strategically placed key verses around my computer like Philippians 4:8. I made sure that I had purpose for the time I spent on the computer. The most important thing I did, however, was find accountability partners. The most important accountability partner I have is my wife.

This struggle isn’t just for dirty boys. It’s for men and women. It is for singles and married people. It is for young and old. Just this week I read an open letter to Christian churches by an 18 year old girl recounting how her first experience with porn was at age 8. I’ve personally known of children not much older than that who struggle with pornography. Don’t be deceived. It is everywhere, and we as a church need to be a place of recovery.

If you struggle with porn you are not alone. I can help you find resources to battle the temptation, and I am an understanding ear. If you don’t struggle with porn, then present yourself as available and accepting to those who do. You make an excellent accountability partner. I pray for the women and men exploited by this industry. I pray for the church as she learns to deal with this issue in a more open way. I pray for you in your struggle. Please pray for me as I continue to overcome. Don’t keep your struggle a secret. You are not alone. Jesus still loves you, and so do I.


Huh? Is that really in there?

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When I was a young man, my grandfather would tell me a story from when he was a youth worker and my parents were teenagers. My grandfather has always been active in the church, so when my parents were teens, he saw a need to step in to facilitate classes and activities for the teens.

One Sunday morning he saw two young men walking down the aisle, and he decided to have some fun with them. Bear in mind that this was probably the early 1970’s. Both of these teen boys had mustaches, so my grandfather asked them,
“Do you boys read your bible?”
“Oh yes sir,” was their reply.
“Well, then you can quote Hezekiah 14:26.” My grandpa was trying to hold back his grin.
“Um, can you remind us how it goes?” The boys were back pedaling quickly.
“Thou shalt not grow tame upon thine upper lip what groweth wild upon thine leg.”

The two hairy-lipped boys thanked him and went their merry way. The next time Grandpa saw them they had shaved their lips. Obviously they hadn’t bothered to look up the verse, because if they had they wouldn’t have found it. Hezekiah was a king, it isn’t a book in the bible. There is no verse that says men shouldn’t grow mustaches. I cracked up every time I heard that story.

Do you know your bible? Let’s take a test today. I’m going to list some common phrases, and see if you can figure out which ones came from the bible and which ones didn’t.

Is this from the bible or not?
1. Cleanliness is next to godliness
2. The apple of my eye
3. The golden rule: “Do unto others what you would have them do unto you”
4. Once saved, always saved
5. Spare the rod, spoil the child
6. God helps those who helps themselves
7. The sinner’s prayer
8. The lion will lay down with the lamb
9. Hell hath no fury like that of a woman scorned
10. The writing on the wall
11. Wolf in sheep’s clothing
12. You reap what you sow
13. This too shall pass
14. A fool and his money are soon parted

Well, how did you do? The only ones that are actually in the bible are numbers 2, 3, 10, 11, 12, and 13.

We believe a lot of things that just aren’t true. Not being willing to check out the facts through any form of research is a high form of self-deception. We are given a brain to use, but many of us just accept everything at face value.

When Luke wrote the book of Acts, he said that the Bereans were of “more noble character” than those around them because they heard Paul’s message and went home and searched the scriptures to see if it was true.

This practice should apply to every area of our lives. There is an election coming up. Do you believe the hype, or have you done the research so that you have an educated opinion upon which you will cast your vote? Do you accept what the preacher says just because he is the preacher? Do you accept what your school says because the teacher proclaims a message that sounds good?

“Most people who profess a deep love of the Bible have never actually read the book.” Rabbi Rami Shapiro

Please don’t be a person who hears something and accepts it without verifying the facts. There are plenty of people who will lie to you with lies that sound too much like truth. Even some religions will expect you to take what they say at face value without verification. One very popular religion has even made it their rule that what they say is more important than what the bible says. Thus there is no way to be a Berean in that system of religion.

The bible is full of wonderful information that feeds your need for truth. Preachers, pastors, and teachers are flawed, erring human beings, so it is important that you verify what they say. Don’t do it because you’re just a skeptic. Don’t do it because you think they’re bad people. They aren’t, I’m sure! In fact, I try very hard to tell the truth all the time, but sometimes I get my facts confused. It is important, then, that you have the ability to discern truth on your own.

You can be noble like a Berean as well.

If you know any other common phrases thought to be in the bible but aren’t, then I’d love to hear them. Many of these are truths that can be verified in scripture, but the wording isn’t there. Shoot me a message at mrjdobbs@gmail.com or comment on this article at my blog at http://www.mrdobbs.org. God bless you as you seek His truth every day.


Preacher Pet Peeve

[tweetmeme]I have one HUGE pet peeve when it comes to some preachers.
I have seen a preacher (at a youth rally a few years back) use the illustration during his sermon – Here’s Your Sign by Bill Engvall.

What he did was take the jokes and change it from “here’s your sign” to “bless your heart.”  It WAS funny…my grandma used that phrase on me alot. The thing that frustrated me was that he told the stories like they were his personal experiences and didn’t give any reference to his source.
I don’t know about you, but this is a big integrity issue for me. If a preacher is going to use a source, he should cite the source. To be sure, I didn’t hear the rest of his message because I was so disgusted at his illustration.

Have you ever experienced this? What are your thoughts? Am I way off base?

Truth … Big part of life on the sharp end.


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