Hypo-Christians

A thought just occurred to me a few minutes ago, so I grabbed my phone, opened the WordPress app, and here I go. The term “hypo-Christians” came to mind after thinking about two similar words – hypocrite and hypochondriac. Let’s dissect these words.

The prefix hypo means “beneath, below, or less than normal” according to dictionary.com. The word hypocrite comes from the words which means “under decide or under judge”. In other words, hypocrites play a part while under judging others while thinking their judgment is accurate. Here is the mid 17th century definition of hypochondria: “via late Latin from Greek hupokhondria, denoting the soft body area below the ribs, from hupo ‘under’ + khondros ‘sternal cartilage’. The term was first used to denote a form of melancholy that was thought to arise from the liver and spleen.” Those who are hypochondriacs believe they are suffering from serious illness and are quick to tell you.

“Hypo-Christians” have a serious illness. They are under the impression that their good performance for others will convince others of their spirituality while they cannot fool God. They perform for an audience of many while forgetting they are only predominately accountable to the Audience of One. Christ is the righteous Judge.

Jesus made some pretty strong statements about “hypo-Christians”. In Matthew 15, he described these as drawing near to God with their mouths but their hearts were far from Him. They can talk a decent talk, but their hearts reveal the dirt of sin. These will be those who did a ton of things in Jesus’ name, only to hear, “Depart from me, I never knew you.” This is the saddest of all.

True Christianity comes when God’s Holy Spirit convicts sinners who respond in repentance and faith. Their actions flow from a changed heart. False Christianity plays a part while true Christianity flows from a life that has been changed.

If you are playing a part but have no sorrow over sin, something must change. Mere church attendance and impressive prayers won’t cut it. God knows those who are His. You can fool others, but you can’t fool Him.

Don’t Diss Your Past

I know you’re probably thinking, “I’m really gonna read this post since Matthew used the old word ‘diss’.” I never claimed to be the coolest, most happening guy in the world. Now on to the post.

Over the last few days, I have had tons of past memories come back. I’ve had way too much thinking time since I have only slept a few hours each night. These thoughts included old songs from worship services years ago and other ministry memories. Those memories led me down another road. I was reminded of how I have “dissed” my past. Yes, I have been in circles and experienced things I wish I had not in the church world. In my own pilgrimage through the accompanying emotions, I have made a lot of jokes about my ministry past that offended many people. My goal is never to offend, but I do realize that some people will defend something to the death if they feel that they or something important is being attacked. You have your rights as I do mine. Here are some things I learned through my difficulties for which I will not apologize:

  • I am no longer denominationally minded. I affiliated with a particular denomination for many years, but I am nondenominational and kingdom-minded now. The church I attended or serve is not my kingdom. It is a small part of God’s greater kingdom. I will not proclaim that Baptists, Wesleyans, Pentecostals, Presbyterians, or any other denomination have it all together. Each has its issues. My focus will be Christ and helping people know Him.
  • I am no longer married to tradition. Tradition is great. We all have them, but they are a means, a vehicle. One may sing all hymns, another sings the latest and greatest, while a third group does both. I am not going to engage in bashing churches or pastors for what they wear or don’t wear, Bible versions, and song selections. Too many people have gotten discouraged by such debates and walked away from the faith. I don’t want that on my hands when I stand before the Lord Jesus.
  • I will unapologetically stand for many whom the institutional church has marginalized. While many are hurling stones, I want to be the one whom people say helped them see the love of Jesus and find victory over their sin rather than shame from those who love to condemn.
  • I will continue to be honest and authentic in a world where many professing Christians know how to fake the part. I spent too many years trying to conform because it was the thing to do. I am who I am – a sinner saved by grace who still struggles but strives to be like Jesus.

The experiences I had in the past were the means to get me where I am today. Those included toxic working environments, hateful church folks, loving church folks, critics, encouragers, affiliations of which I am proud and some of which I am ashamed. Such is life. It’s time to stop dissing and start accepting.

What thing in your past keeps you bitter? What ministry experience or relationship do you diss in efforts to cope with the pain? These are some serious things to consider. Keep dissing and you’ll bleed all over those who didn’t cut you.

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6 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Dating Someone

Many people enjoy recreational dating. This post from Sarah T. reminds us that dating serves a biblical purpose, and that dating outside God’s plan has horrible repercussions.

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Let’s face it: relationships? dating? All are quite confusing some way or another, especially when you find yourself in the conundrum of being asked out on a date. What do you do? What do you say? How do you know if this person is a good influence as a boyfriend/girlfriend? If you are wondering if you should say “yes,” or even “no,” to this proposal, read on to find six questions to ask yourself for beginning a relationship. x

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1. Does he/she love Jesus?

This is kind of an obvious question to ask, but you can’t deny that it’s often overlooked in the beginning of relationships. There are so many cases where someone claims to be a “Christian,” but their lifestyle doesn’t back that claim up. In reality, if a person actually loves Jesus, their lives will reflect that love. Do they love and respect others? Do they attend church…

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Make Yourself Do It!

During this time of year, I often deal with seasonal depression. Over the last few weeks, I have not had the desire to do the things that interest me most. This morning, I began catching up on blog reading (which I had to force myself to do).

Sometimes, we have to force ourselves to do what we enjoy. Once we do, we are glad we did. Although I had almost a month’s worth of blog posts to read, I began experiencing the joy of reading what others write, especially in relation to their spiritual growth.

Maybe you are like me. You don’t like being down, but you feel stuck in that seasonal funk. I know that you are tempted to isolate yourself. I do that all too well. Take that first step. Nothing that is of benefit is always easy. Push yourself and experience the joy and reward of doing what you enjoy.

The Meaning of Holiness

Holiness is not something that is emphasized much anymore. David Ruybalid does a great job here explaining holiness and calling us once again to be holy as our God is holy.

I Doubt it!

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I graduated from a Christian High School. I remember a song that we would sing in chapels.

Holiness
Holiness
Is what I long for
Holiness
Is what I need
Holiness
Holiness
Is what you want
From me

I would hear the word “holiness” often. If you asked the high school version of me what it meant, I would probably tell you that it meant “perfect”. The word “holiness” conjured up the pressure to do or not do certain things when it came to lifestyle choices and behaviors.

If you ask someone today what “holiness” means, the majority of people would probably respond with “not drinking, cussing, or ______ (insert behavior here)”. As I talk and engage with people about the Christian life, I believe that there are many misconceptions about what holiness means.

If we look at scripture, we see that God commanded this of His people. Leviticus 11:44-45, Leviticus…

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What Just Let the Air Out of My Tires?

Have you ever been at a point in your life where the “air was out of your tires”? I’m there right now. The energy of things surrounding the holidays has left me feeling lifeless as I begin 2019. The atmosphere is the same at work. I guess we are all worn out from our various life activities.

I’m glad it’s the weekend. This is a time to rest, reflect, and reboot. We all need to take time to slow down the pace and do some things we really enjoy rather than simply fulfilling responsibilities. One pastor wrote an article several years ago, describing this issue as going from duty to delight. I find that to be accurate. I want to be able to find delight once again in my duties.

As I write, I think about another “r” word I didn’t include in the last paragraph – refocus. Colossians 3 begins by telling us to set our minds on things above. Sounds like a good way to reinflate the tires.

Expecting

Let me begin by saying that, to the best of my knowledge, my wife and I are not expecting another child. I’m sure some of you are wondering if we are ever going to stop😆. Anyway…

I’m sitting here on my lunch break thinking about the new year. In my last post, I stated that I believe 2019 will be a game changer. I am expecting something. Do I have a clue at this point what it will be? No. I have no way of forecasting anything, but I believe that God is ushering me into another season that will be built upon the past as its foundation.

Many people want to move into a new year while forgetting about the past. The past is what makes us. Pay close attention. I’m not saying that your past has to dictate your future. I am saying that the lessons of the past are a stepping stone to your future. Don’t miss the lessons!

I have spent parts of my life trying to block certain things from my mind. It doesn’t work. It always lifts its ugly head. At one time, I would have chosen for a redo. I would want to change so many things, but I must live in the reality that I cannot. I must choose to learn from the lessons of a failed marriage, ministry hurts, and life’s bumps in the road.

Go into 2019 with expectation. But don’t expect the past to go away. Expect that God will fulfill His promises in making crooked paths straight and using the difficulties of life as a testament to His faithfulness.

God bless each of you in this new year!

2018 In Review

What can I say about 2018? This is probably, by far, the weirdest year I have had yet. I began the year as a pastor of a church plant, wondering if it was headed anywhere. Within weeks, I saw some promise. We went through ups and downs, and God made it abundantly clear in September that I was no longer meant to be there. I immediately unplugged. Let’s jump back for now.

The month of May brought a special addition. Our little boy was born. He has brought so much joy.

The Summer was depressing. The church hit a slump, another church made a proposal, and I preached for the first time with someone interrupting me 5 minutes into the message and turning the power off. I have no words to describe the craziness of the situation.

The Fall provided some predictability. I always tend to get more weddings, funerals, and other preaching opportunities during the Fall. I enjoy that (not the funerals necessarily but the opportunity to minister to families).

Now, we are just days into the Winter. I am ready for 2019. I’m believing it will be a game changer. I don’t want the same old thing I’ve been experiencing. It’s time for change.

I have some goals I haven’t verbalized to anyone. Part of me wants to keep it between me and God and then say later, “Look what God did!” I think I’ll do that. Here’s to a forthcoming report of God turning things around for His glory.

And Just Like That…

I’m always a bit melancholy when December 26 comes around. We spend months building up to Christmas, and then BAM! The plug is pulled, and everything goes back to normal. The radio station play what they played before, and people act like nothing ever happened.

I find that to be true with people. They “encounter Christmas” in the sense that they say they are saved or born again. They go through a big deal and may even get baptized, but nothing changes. Everything goes back to normal after they have been “saved”. The Bible says that we are new creations that live a new life when we are born again. I know that Christ changed my life and gave me a purpose and destiny I did not have without Him.

Yes, Christmas is over in the sense that the festivities are done. The reality of Christmas still remains. What happened that first Christmas Day changed my life. Has it changed yours?