Category Archives: My pastoral journey

All Christians Are Hypocrites

samandniaSam and Nia Rader are perhaps most recognizable as the couple behind the viral video where the husband announces to his wife that she’s pregnant. This launched them into the public spotlight in such a way that they’ve now been able to vlog on YouTube full time.

Oh, and did I mention? They are very outspoken Christians and use their channel to share the reality of their daily faith.

Yesterday, it came to light that Sam had a paid Ashley Madison account, and the critics have blasted them for being hypocrites. Despite the video they posted explaining the mistake, the reconciliation, and the forgiveness involved in this bad decision, no doubt there will be those that will brand this couple and their “Christianity” as hypocritical for all eternity.

First, I want to talk about what hypocrisy means. Hypocrisy is, according to Google’s definition, “the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform.”

When a Christian is caught in bad behavior, those who are not Christian, and even many of those “holier than thou” Christians, will brand that person, their past, and every future word or action as forever hypocritical. But the problem with that kind of blanket fatalism is that ALL Christians, by definition, are hypocrites.

The whole point behind the Gospel of Christ is that we cannot overcome our sinful nature. Not now and not in the future so long as we are bound to our sin-flesh and this sin-world. We will always make mistakes. I make mistakes daily, and I’m a pastor. Paul said in 1 Timothy 1:15, It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. Paul also talked about this whole hypocrisy thing in Romans.

For I know that good does not dwell in me, that is, in my flesh. The willing is ready at hand, but doing the good is not. For I do not do the good I want, but I do the evil I do not want. Now if [I] do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. So, then, I discover the principle that when I want to do right, evil is at hand. For I take delight in the law of God, in my inner self, but I see in my members another principle at war with the law of my mind, taking me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Miserable one that I am! Who will deliver me from this mortal body? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Therefore, I myself, with my mind, serve the law of God but, with my flesh, the law of sin. Romans 7:18-25 NASB

We’re Christians because we can’t fix ourselves. Jesus died for our sins because we can’t fix ourselves. And everyday, every moment, that we have to live with our sins, past, present, and future, we are reminded of our inability to fix ourselves.

nothowthisworksChristians mess up. Sometimes they mess up big and we have to pay the consequences. We aren’t perfect and we never will be. We’re human just like anyone else, and to expect Christians to be perfect is completely unrealistic and a little bit hypocritical too. It doesn’t work like that. ALL Christians are hypocrites. We have a message of salvation through Jesus, we have a hope of eternal life in heaven, we have a relationship with the perfect moral law giver, and we try, we really try, to be the best we can be and to live up to all these things we believe, but those things are impossible to achieve, and we will always fail, always fall short of perfection, and always act in a way that contradicts what we’ve been telling people about our faith. And when we fail, it tears us up inside because we know just how deep that hypocrisy runs.

THAT’S EXACTLY WHY WE NEED JESUS. The only difference between Christians and non-Christians, is that Christians have forgiveness and grace and hope through Jesus. Thank God for that, or else we would be completely hopeless.

I, for one, stand with Sam and Nia. They’ve faced a tremendous ugly, they did it as a couple, they turned to God to help get them through it, and they’ve come out on the other side a stronger couple and stronger believers than they were. That’s the process of growth in faith, to face sin, face our inability to overcome it, turn to God, and then come out on the other side stronger than you were. (To Sam and Nia, if somehow in the great spaghetti plate of the internet you find yourself reading this, if you are ever in South Carolina you are hereby invited to speak and give your testimony at my church. God knows more families and more couples nead to hear that marriage is worth fighting for.)

(And by the way, if you’re one of those that think this couple is using YouTube in a prideful way and that God doesn’t need their viral videos, in two and a half minutes they shared their faith and the need for humanity to have a savior with THOUSANDS of people. What have you done today?)

Now there are other sides that need mentioning. First, to those “holier than thou” Christians who think they’re already perfect and that they should look down their noses at Christians, or pretty much anyone, who fails in life and then shoot them like wounded horses. Stop it. You’re not fooling anyone. You sin just like everyone else, and your pride is the most glaring of them all. Get over yourself.

Second, to those “Christians” who enjoy all the religious perks and attention, the “fire insurance” and the moral supremacy you feel, but behind it all you’re hiding an unrepentant nastiness just waiting to jump out and wave it’s arms at the world…**cough Duggar cough** …Your hypocrisy isn’t that you sin, it’s that you’ve never given your life to Christ and you’re not a true Christian. Get it right before it’s too late.

Third, to those constantly watching for hypocritical Christians to fall on their faces so you can laugh and point and shame them and their “stupid” religion. Grow up. Your hostility isn’t fair at all. How could you possibly expect Christians to be anything more than human? Christ was the perfect one, not us…that’s why we need him. That’s actually the WHOLE POINT OF THE BIBLE!

Christians aren’t perfect, Christians are forgiven. And it’s good to be forgiven.

-k

Mom’s Night Out: Review from a Pastor’s Wife

Jesusfreak Mommy

So, the other night, my hubby and I FINALLY watched Mom’s Night Out.  I’ve been wanting to see the movie since its release, but never had the opportunity to go.

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I thoroughly enjoyed the laughter found in a rare, truly family friendly comedy.

The chemistry between the cast was phenomenal.

Seriously I LAUGHED so hard…much needed after the past few weeks around here.

But, I also cried.  There were several moments of silent tears as I found myself identifying greatly with the story.

I’ve been the frazzled mom…many many times.  I’ve found myself putting the focus in entirely wrong places.  I’ve felt the aggravation over never seeming to have a moment alone.  Children who refused to just go to church and take part in children’s activities while mom had a rare moment of adult worship.  I’ve been there.

I’ve tried not to crush dreams my children have by freaking…

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The Three Pastors a Sick Church Needs

There has been a lot of recent research into the decline of churches and there are many churches who are in positions where they are struggling to keep their doors open. These churches are simultaneously looking for the right pastor to swoop in and make everything better but they are still not willing to let go of the things that got them in that position in the first place. The reality within these churches is that they’ve lost the plot…they’ve built a life that focuses on things that bring comfort rather than focusing on being obedient to God. So the reason there are so many churches struggling to keep their doors open is because there are a lot of very sick churches in need of returning back to the thing that made them a church in the first place…a genuine relationship and pursuit of God. Thom Rainer talks about this in great detail in his book Autopsy of a Deceased Church, which I highly recommend.

Recently, I attended a one-day pastor’s conference. Dr. Lloyd Stilley of First Baptist Church, Gulf Shores, Alabama, made a statement that mulled over in my brain until it gave birth to this blog post. He said, “You’ve got to decide if God wants you to be the David to fight these giants.”

And he’s right. But I want to take it a step further and discuss more than just being the David because David didn’t do it all himself. There were two other men, Samuel and Solomon, who had roles to play in turning Israel around. So with that in mind, I want to describe to you the three pastors sick churches need the most.

Continue reading The Three Pastors a Sick Church Needs

What Pastors Fear Most

Last spring, I preached from the passage below. It was a very vulnerable sermon to preach, because it struck too close to my heart. As I uploaded the video to YouTube today, I decided that some of what I said should be shared with others. So this post is for pastors…that you might have encouragement and know that you’re not alone. And this post is for church members…that you might understand a little more what your pastor goes through.

In 2 Corinthians 12:16-21 Paul gives us four things that he fears most about his ministry to the Corinthians. It shows us that ministers have always had the same fears and that there can be some comfort in knowing that Paul felt the same way we feel over our ministry. So according to Paul, here are the four things that pastors fear most. Continue reading What Pastors Fear Most