Guest Blogger: Jason Helopoulos

I love my family. I love being a husband. We celebrate sixteen years of marriage this week and I can’t imagine living life with anyone else. I love being a father. I have two kids that delight my soul. I can’t wait to see them in the morning before I head off to the church and I am always anxious to see them in the evening when I return. There are few things I enjoy  more in this life than being a father. I love my family. However, having said that, I want to be on guard against loving them inordinately.

I am thankful for the growing emphasis upon the Christian family in evangelical circles. Our two children are home schooled, so I am in no way opposed to homeschooling. We attempt to practice family worship each night of the week, so I am not opposed to family worship. For goodness sakes, I wrote on a book on the subject. I am passionate about it. We have attempted to have our children in corporate worship with us since they were babies. I am working on a book on that subject as well, so I am not opposed to children in worship. However, there does seem to be a tendency with the home school/family worship/children in worship emphasis that can turn this good thing upon its head. If we aren’t careful, instead of encouraging worshipping families, we become family worshippers. The following are possible signs that we have begun worshipping the family rather than encouraging our family to be worshippers:

We Seldom Host Others:  If our home is seen primarily as a citadel set against the world, there is a problem. A home centered upon Christ will be marked by growing hospitality. It is a way station of truth and worship. We gladly invite others into it for rest, encouragement, and strengthening.

We Seldom Reach Out to Others:  If our family is so insular that others don’t know us, there is a problem. A Christian family filled with love and worship should overflow to those around them. Neighbors and co-workers can’t help but be touched by the love that permeates in and cascades from our family.

We Seldom Serve in the Church: If our family is so focused on just being a family that we can’t attend  mid-week bible studies or are so intent on being together Sunday morning that the parents can’t teach Sunday School or assist in the nursery, there is a problem. As a Christian family we are to see ourselves as part of the community. Not separate from it. Not more important than it. But essential to it.

We Seldom Have Time: If our family is always busy with its own activities, whether soccer, piano, ballet, family vacations, or even family worship to the point that we have little time for others, there is a problem. The enrichment and growth of our children, even in spiritual things, is not to pull us away from people but towards them. Yes, we only have so many years to train and teach our children while they are at home. But are we teaching them that they and their activities are the center of life or worshipping Christ and loving others is what is most important?

We Seldom Sacrifice: If our family is reluctant to give generously, because of what it costs our family, there is a problem. We hesitate to give above our tithe to missionaries, the local church, the building fund, or the homeless shelter because our children’s college education comes first. We neglect supporting the church member headed out on a short-term mission’s trip, because our family “educational trip” is more important. We always have an excuse. And it is always our family’s need that provides the ground for that excuse. Rather, the Christian family should be generous in giving—generous to the point of giving sacrificially.

We Seldom Have Flexibility: If others feel like they are always interrupting our family by calling, visiting, or proposing a time to get-together, there is a problem. Others will notice it before us. They begin to feel like our family’s routine cannot be interrupted under any circumstances. We convey this consciously or even subconsciously and others pickup on it. Rather, our family should be noted by its flexibility and joy when others stop by, friendliness when called, and availability when needed.

We Seldom Speak Well of Others: If our family tends to have an arrogant air about it, there is a problem. We have it together. Others don’t quite understand the importance of the family, worship, and our calling as parents. Our conversations are too often critical and judgmental. If only others understood as we do. May it never be! Our families should be filled with thanking God for others. Our children should hear us commending and promoting others. People should find that we are refreshing to their souls, rather than critical of their practices.

By all means, let us enjoy and treasure our families. Let us celebrate the gift they are. Let us pour out our lives and hearts into ministering to our spouse, rearing our children in Christ, and filling our homes with the love and truth of Christ. However, in so doing, let us also be worshippers of the Christ we are seeking to honor. Let us worship Him in our worshipping families, rather than worship our families in the name of worshipping Him.

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67 thoughts on “7 Signs We May Be Worshipping Our Family”

  1. liz says:

    Larry, your disdain for “supposed ministry” is a HUGE slap in the face to me and my daughter! How obnoxiously arrogant of you!!! Shepherd’s minister to sheep and lambs. The ones Jesus told Peter to minister to when He asked Peter if He loved Him. Your condescending, disrespectful, tone towards “supposed ministry” to people like me and my daughter nauseate God! You want to be a leader???? Learn to SERVE!!!! Otherwise you’re who Paul talked about in 1 Cor 13, ” a noisy gong or a clanging symbol.” Yea, I’ll be sure to tell my chronically ill 17 year old that someone who THINKS he’s a shepherd at home considers her needs and mine a waste of time cause we’re only a “supposed ministry”! But let me guess, you vote Republican cause you’re pro-life and might even have a pro-life bumper sticker on your car…. but you want Republicans to cut food stamps to the leeches out there who don’t support themselves. Probably 70% of those leeches are the single moms who you don’t want aborting their babies… but you don’t want them to get food for their kids either.

    Sorry pal. Can’t have it both ways. Seriously, your spirituality is fake and your love is bitter. Your true colors come through this screen. I would venture to say you’d better ask God if He is truly your Lord and Savior and if He is, then you have a LOT of repenting to do!

    “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

  2. liz says:

    Kim are you kidding me???? You must be like Grant where family is something you have never ever lived a single day on this earth without. If you’re too busy to take a phone call a few times a week or rather make a phone call a few times a week for a single mom or a widow, then sorry, something IS wrong! If you have money for groceries and it NEVER dawns on you to buy extra for someone you know is struggling …. then something IS wrong! If every raise your husband gets, every inheritance, every bonus at work is for YOUR family, then you have something terribly wrong in your life. God commanded the Israelites to not glean the corners of their fields and to not go over them twice. They were commanded to leave the corners and what was left behind on the first harvest so that the poor and widow and foreigner among them could feed themselves. But the American church is sick with idolatry and greed. Every raise means a nicer newer shinier bigger WHATEVER and none of it is earmarked for the poor among you. Not 100% of the time, of course, there ARE believers who are obedient and give God the first fruits of their wealth. But most, sadly never consider the poor.

    And if you think hosting people is “just one more thing…” then you obviously have never read or thought about the Scripture in Hebrews that says “Be hospitable to strangers for some have entertained angels unaware.”

    Sorry Kim, you are EXACTLY WHY this author WROTE this article! You are so tied up and wrapped up in your own family you can’t see past the nose on your face! Outside intrusions are just that… intrusions into your little world and that little world of your family. Single parents, widows, college kids who are homesick are just a burden that you don’t want to be bothered with.

    In a nutshell, you’re selfish. Sorry but I call it as I see it. And sorry if my words or the author’s words offend you but you NEED to be offended. Because your selfish self-centered life and self centered world view OFFENDS GOD!

  3. liz says:

    Ok, last comment here. Thank you for the people who appreciated the article and didn’t get all defensive over it. Thanks for those who are struggling trying to figure out HOW to do this. And JW I’ve worked for reformed ministries. I attended Moody Bible Institute. John MacArthur is my favorite pastor. I love the puritans and Jonathan Edwards. And in none of these men will you find EITHER a lack of theological knowledge OR an inhospitable spirit! They do BOTH! And if you think that outreach is only for those whose primary gift is evangelism, then you are ignoring everything Paul, Peter, James, John, and the author of Hebrews says when they talk about the Body of Christ and our relationship to each other in it.

    Someone said in a comment that teaching children is our number one priority. My question is Teaching them What???? Books, history, math, science, geography, English, all from a Christian perspective? But you see the lonely old lady or old man or the single mom whose up to her eyeballs in responsibility who feels like she’s drowning and you don’t think your kids will get an education if you HELP these people?

    I have to kind of chuckle here especially at some of the comments by the moms. Ladies, you feel overwhelmed by all you have to do? How about doing it all ALONE??? That means no paycheck from your husband, no support system to lean on, no joint decision making, everything in the world is on YOUR shoulders! And on top of it picture yourself having NO mom, dad, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, cousin… etc. You are completely ALONE! And you’re struggling to raise a child, keep a roof over their head, pay your quarters for washing clothes, dragging yourself and your child/ren to the store cause ONLY YOU will EVER bring home groceries. ONLY YOU will ever cook a meal for your family! ONLY you will buy your children birthday gifts and Christmas gifts and you’ll do the best you can to afford them.

    How many videos do ANY of you have of your kids when they were toddlers??? Guess how many I have? ZERO! I was struggling to keep a roof over our head, pay a car payment, pay daycare, put gas in the car, pay for insurance, buy clothes for myself and my child, buy diapers, etc. How many Christians thought about me and said, “Gee I wonder if she has a video camera? I bed she’d like videos of her child to remember.” How many? Zero. I even had my daughter take a ballet class and the woman who video taped our kids together wouldn’t give me a copy of the video without my giving her money for the cd or video tape. And she was a stay at home “Christian” mom whose husband was an officer in the military. But did she see our need? HELL NO! But she went out for lunch after church every Sunday and didn’t miss a beat attending church.

    For those of you who are offended by this article, shame on you! Honestly. Selfish so-called Christians are so full of it. This is the reason my child is struggling to believe in God right now. She made a profession at 3 and has had fruit all her life. But now at age 17 when she has seen nothing but bad and worse from Christians, she’s done. We frequently quote C.S. Lewis, “Christ I love, but Christians I hate.”

    Harsh, yes. True? Yes.

    You decide whether or not you want to play games and get overwhelmed with your lives…. or if you want to pick up your cross daily and follow Christ.

    One more thought. I don’t own a tv. You THINK you have no time? How MUCH time do you spend watching tv per week?

    Because I know God and because I understand that man is sinful, I choose to be obedient and live a chaste life. I want my daughter to be a virgin when she marries and if she observes my example, I believe God will honor that and give her the strength and wisdom to resist temptation.

    But you know what??? Many Many Many single moms who ARE Christians aren’t that strong in their faith. They need a roof over their kids heads and they need to put food on the table. And since as Larry so eloquently put it, “Do not neglect YOUR family for SUPPOSED ministry”, (emphasis mine), the supposed ministry to single moms falls by the wayside and the single moms fall right along with it. Many of them date, live with, and marry unsaved men because they are willing to support these desperate single mothers. And since Larry in his great and Godly wisdom sees single moms and their needs (or anyone else that’s not his FAMILY) as a “supposed” ministry, it’s easy to walk right by them and ignore what you see.

    I hope each of you thinks about what I said. And don’t you dare tell me I’m an angry person and I need to forgive and God won’t bless me cause I’m bitter. Save it. I refuse to listen to that. I KNOW who I am and l know what l need to work on.

    But my question is DO YOU???

    And once again, thank you to the people who “get” this article. Who “get” why your nuclear family and your parents and your relatives should not always come first. For those of you who sense God has a bigger plan. For the pastor’s son who said how God used his family of 4 to touch thousands of lives. For those who “do” ministry WITH their kids, not INSTEAD of spending time with their kids.

    God led each of you personally to read this article. For me it was a HUGE encouragement that people are listening to God and speaking truth about the selfish self centered nature of our American “Christianity”. Others are rejoicing with me and glad to see this in print.

    Others are recoiling and rebelling against the truth in this article. Making excuse after excuse why you’re too “busy” to notice anyone around you.

    A few people are trying to compartmentalize this and categorize it by “seasons of life” and “balance”.

    No. Life is not meant to be hoarded. lt’s meant to be given away. And yes, that’s in the Bible.

    God led me to read this article too. It did encourage me, but some of your comments also hurt and angered me. Cause I’ve been a Christian for 30 years and a single mom for 17 of those years. And no, I wasn’t immoral. I was married. My husband left me when I was pregnant with our daughter. And he and his family never miss a Sunday. And they are evangelical, Bob Jones university graduates… so they are the “real deal” if you will. Claimed Christ but denied Him in every single way they could. I pray for their repentance and salvation. But I’ve seen pastors, elders, etc…. all let their calls go to voice mail cause they don’t want someone interrupting their tv show, family dinner, etc.

    We are the ONLY people in the world with HOPE! We are the ONLY people in the world with TRUTH! We are the ONLY people in the world with SALVATION! Why would we hide our lights under a bushel?

    Is your family a bushel where your light is contained and reserved for them only? Or is your family a lighthouse where others can see it for miles and KNOW that your home is a refuge and a kind and caring and safe place?

    Or is the family lighthouse idea just supposed ministry or “another thing” you “have” to do because legalistic Christians just want to make you feel guilty?

    Maybe you should feel guilty. Maybe you should.

  4. Very well said, I do love the fact that you are really thinking about the future of your family. And yes, children’s education is important and ofcourse their health.

  5. liz says:

    Matthew 10:36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ 37 “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

    Luke 18:29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or sisters or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God 30 will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come eternal life.”

    Luke 14:25 Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.

    And to Larry, especially, 1 Timothy 3:3 It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of [a]overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do. 2 [b]An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach…

    Wow Larry! Hospitable was right up there! Even BEFORE he mentions his children! Look at that! He puts hospitality in verse 2 THEN mentions children in verse 4.

    It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of [a]overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do. 2 [b]An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not addicted to wine [c]or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money. 4 He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity 5 (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?),

    “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to SET A MAN AGAINST HIS FATHER, AND A DAUGHTER AGAINST HER MOTHER, AND A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AGAINST HER MOTHER-IN-LAW; and A MAN’S ENEMIES WILL BE THE MEMBERS OF HIS HOUSEHOLD. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life shall lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake shall find it” (Matthew 10:34-39, NASB).

    Here is the Greek word for hate in regards to disciples “hating” their parents, spouses, children and other family members;

    miséō – properly, to detest (on a comparative basis); hence, denounce; to love someone or something less than someone (something) else, i.e. to renounce one choice in favor of another.

    Lk 14:26: “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate (3404 /miséō, ‘love less’ than the Lord) his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple” (NASU).

    [Note the comparative meaning of 3404 (miséō) which centers in moral choice, elevating one value over another.]

    So there you have it. It’s right there in the Bible and Jesus Himself said it.

    Following Him is the only option for the Christian. We have familial responsibilities of course. But none of those relationships are ever to come BEFORE our relationship with Christ. Didn’t he “have to pass through Samaria”? How many Samaria’s are you NOT passing through because your children, spouse, parents, family come first????

    Ephesians says we are to “grow up” in Christ.

    11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the [d]saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the [e]knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature [f]which belongs to the fullness of Christ. 14 [g]As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness [h]in deceitful scheming; 15 but [i]speaking the truth in love, [j]we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together [k]by what every joint supplies, according to the [l]proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.

    We’re at war. We’re at war with the world, the flesh and the devil. Soldiers go and DO battle! They leave their families behind and go to war! Figuratively speaking this is what we’re called to do. But the same God who said we are to hate our families (in comparison with how much we should love Him), ALSO said we are to bring up our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

    So for those that think putting your children first is God’s instruction for the family, you are wrong. For those that abandon their parental and marital and family duties to pursue “ministry” (here I agree with Larry if he is referring to ministry done in the flesh and not by the Spirit), for their own glory and personal satisfaction, they are wrong.

    It IS possible to raise your children in the Lord AND do ministry. Jesus knows you need rest! He Himself went off to a quiet place to rest.

    Do you not know? Have you not heard?
    The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth
    Does not become weary or tired.
    His understanding is inscrutable.

    29
    He gives strength to the weary,
    And to him who lacks might He increases power.

    30
    Though youths grow weary and tired,
    And vigorous young men stumble badly,

    31
    Yet those who [aa]wait for the Lord
    Will gain new strength;
    They will [ab]mount up with [ac]wings like eagles,
    They will run and not get tired,
    They will walk and not become weary.

    Only in God’s strength can you raise children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. And only in God’s strength can you minister to people with the love of the Holy Spirit coming through you. And only in God’s strength can you love your spouse and family with the love of Christ.

    God expects His children to “grow up”! Theologically and spiritually. Someone mentioned “Beaver Cleaver” Christian families. It was a good example.

    Did “Leave it to Beaver” come home every day from a battle zone? Did he experience missels and flaming darts coming at him from the enemy of man and the creator of all human misery? Was he at war with the prince of darkness who hates everyone who names the Name of Christ and who despises every single human being made in the image and likeness of God?

    OF course not! His family was “perfect”. Well, yours isn’t. Neither is mine. And if you THINK you are raising your children as Christians and leaving out the spiritual battle part of it, you are doing them the biggest disservice in the world. They NEED to see you struggle with sin in your own life and with other people. You’re worried about “exposing” them to sinful examples? How about their own hearts???!!!! All the sin in the world resides in there! And if they are not redeemed, they are your spiritual enemies. Of course you love them and minister to them and pray for them, but as unsaved people, they hate you, they hate Christ, and cannot please God in any way shape or form. They cannot be the number one priority in your life!

    Obedience to God is now, and always has been number one. It’s time to grow up into Christ, put aside all notions of the perfect happy family and realize you are now and until you go to be with Christ at war. You’re training your children to be warriors.

    Can’t do that when you’re too busy idolizing them.

    Blessings to you all. Sorry some of my words were harsh. I pray you think long and hard about your ideas and that you take your thoughts and ideas and compare them with Scripture.

    God bless you all.

  6. liz says:

    Danny, the family is NOT the bedrock of the church. Christ is.

  7. Lucas says:

    Follow the money. As some people veil their true motivations with distracting sophisms, those who promote “their ministry” for “filthy lucre” (1 Peter 5:2) are the obvious (and mostly admitted) commenters supporting this post. The real self-funding Christians are the ones making the honest critiques of this post. One former pastor’s family commenting above even admitted the change of focus when the family stopped gaining funds from a congregation as a pastor and joined “the private sector.” Be wary of getting your doctrine from someone who benefits from the cash receptacle in a building under his control that he calls “the house of God.” The Church is the body of believers , not a building or a guy guilting you into hanging around him and giving “sacrificially” to things he promotes. Charlatans are attracted to this “profession” to gain the 501 (c) (3) income and benefits. The biggest blowhards and clowns (not the serious Christians) are not put off by the idea of doing antics, yelling, joking, crying, and making up self-promoting doctrine to get your money. They are attracted to the profession of paid preacher and expect your life and money to revolve around them. Any ministering you do in your life that doesn’t promote a circle that they feed off of is irrelevant and critiqued by them.

  8. liz says:

    Lucas, I think you’re off base here. I support this post and I’m not in any ministry that takes money. In fact I’ve seen the heartless greed from so-called Christians for years. I don’t think the author of this article is in it for the money either. He’s simply saying that people focus on their families to the exclusion of anyone else cause we think our own little inner circle is so important. I don’t get where you’re coming from. This has nothing to do with money and everything to do with the fact that self centered Christians keep their family tightly cloistered around them and never see the need to “pass through samaria.” to touch the world outside their four walls. And where on earth do you get “the real self funding Christians are the ones making the honest critiques of this post????” The ones critiquing the post are the ones who don’t WANT to be hospitable. They are full of excuses as to why their life is so freaking important and why the needs around them go unseen.

    Thanks for mucking up and confusing the issue even more.

    NOT!

  9. stephanie says:

    I think it’s easy for those of us who have been attacked by the church to feel like we have to just circle the wagons and take care of our own. We are in a church right now that is relentlessly encouraging us to step out of our comfort zone – to practice hospitality, even though to be honest, it feels scary. To involve others in the things we do. We on purpose moved close to another family in our church, so that we could do more life. This is seriously such a scary thing. The Christians in our family have not been safe people, and church people have often tried to attack us for choices like homeschooling, protecting our littles, not wanting to participate in every little thing (seriously – babies do need naps, and moms to little tiny children need them, too…). I find the extroverts among us are quick to point out all these things we should be doing – but one thing i try as a mom is that if i do something for the church or for others, i try to make sure i am also doing those things for my own family, too – special treats but we never have dessert? that’s me. But i am trying to find a balance between protecting my little ones, and opening our family up so that we can have that support and Christian community we all need…

  10. liz says:

    Stephanie do you mean your biological family are the Christians in your family that are not safe people? Nobody in church has any right to say anything about your life choices. Sin, yes, the church family can speak into your life about sin you’re involved in. But homeschooling is a personal choice, the foods you eat, the clothes you wear, the car you drive, the house you live in, etc. These are all your choices given to you by God. Anytime a church makes you feel guilty for not doing something that is not a Biblical mandate you have the signs of an abusive church. I’ve been part of several. It’s why I am having a hard time finding a church and trusting people. We’ve been almost nothing but abused by Christians. The article here was encouraging and pointed out for people to look into the areas in their lives where they overemphasize their biological family to the exclusion of any other people you come across. You know your limits and you have to set appropriate boundaries. But the iron/steel/fortress walls that some families put up to keep everyone else outside who isn’t their family is 100% WRONG among Christians. Hopefully people will start writing more about this subject and Christians will start listening more to God’s heart instead of their own paradise on earth.

  11. J says:

    Liz, your hatred of Christians shines through. I haven’t seen an ounce of love in any of your comments. I have bad situations as do many of us. I won’t go into them because I don’t want to be prideful or attention seeking. However, I want to know your excuse for the people who don’t have families and choose not to serve. Don’t think it can be called family worship. It’s called sin and ignoring the Holy Spirit (which you seem to have tried to take his place on the comments section). Thanks for all your guilt and condemnation (which is from the enemy). Perhaps you should check your relationship with God. God’s word tells us if we hate our brothers we do not love him. I’ve read every one of your posts, so really think we’ve got a picture of your whole miserable (according to you) life. My prayer, is if you are really a Christian that you would be lifted up to heaven like Lazarus at the end of your life and your heart will have forgiveness for all the mistreatment you have received at “Christians'” hands. Praying for you hurting lady.

  12. Thank you for this article, Mr. Helopoulos. Although I know that we would not agree on some things, I found this refreshing and encouraging. Recently I have been studying and writing about the Biblical Patriarchy Movement (so-called), and their idolatrous view of the family has been very discouraging to say the least. Your honest and challenging observations here are so needed. Lately the Lord has been reminding me often of this command – John 13:34-35 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

  13. liz says:

    J,

    In response to your comment that I only hate Christians, I will remind you of one of the ends of my posts…

    Blessings to you all. Sorry some of my words were harsh. I pray you think long and hard about your ideas and that you take your thoughts and ideas and compare them with Scripture.

    God bless you all.

    I am not playing the Holy Spirit J. I have quoted Scripture in reference to the article (which was written by God not me) and I am very loudly applauding the author for his choice in writing this article. And to those who are offended by the article, I question THEIR commitment to Christ and their Christianity. It’s not being judgemental. I only responded to the comments people made like Larry’s comment about not “neglecting your family for supposed ministry” and reminded him FROM THE BIBLE that he IS to be hospitable BEFORE spending time with his children!

    And your question about those who don’t have families and still don’t serve is kind of irrelevant to this article. This article was not about guilting people into fake “serving” it was about TRUE worship and TRUE service to God which involves putting people who are not our blood families but who ARE the family of God as very important people.

    I don’t hate Christians. I dislike many I’ve met. I have been hurt a lot by Christians. And your comment about being prideful or attention seeking was I assume a dig made at me personally for sharing so much about myself. Which is exactly why I am disgusted by the behavior of so called Christians. You have NO IDEA what it’s like to have no family and be like a kid at Christmas who is extremely poor, looking into the stores and wishing for just one of the many toys he sees. Well it’s like that when you have no family and you go to church. You see these happy little self contained islands with huge extended families and they are happy as pigs in mud. But alert them to the fact that there are people within the church who are without families to share holidays with or to even have a Sunday dinner with and they run and hide under the guise of “spending quality time with my family”. OR they invite you over but the strain is as obvious as the nose on your face and the air is thick with tension and everyone breathes a HUGE sigh of relief when the excruciatingly painful “ministry” opportunity has come and gone. The love which is lacking my friend, is not mine. I’ll give you that I’m harsh and to the point and don’t mince words. But the love is not the issue in my heart. It’s in the hearts of those who seclude themselves except for on Sunday mornings or Wed. night Awana clubs and think that’s true ministry and never do anything more to rub shoulders with hurting lonely people in the church.
    The author of this article made his point and I am echoing his sentiments with a bull horn. And I see the contempt and disdain for serving others through comments made on this page. And Larry in particular who thinks he’s doing “God’s work” by serving his family and then turns around and is so Biblically illiterate that he doesn’t even know that hospitality comes BEFORE his children! I will reiterate, it IS a slap in the face to be treated like a “supposed ministry” and the hate from Larry to people who inconvenience him and his family time is so apparent. Why not rebuke him if you’re so eager to point out my failings. Did you read ONE WORD of the suffering we’ve gone through as a result of selfish Christians? Did ANY of our situation break your heart for us? Or are you just focused on my hurt and angry comments so that you can’t even see through the pain we’ve endured as a direct result of the worship of the family which is so prevalent in churches across America.

    We have every right to judge those within the church. Not their motives (as you have done to me), but their actions and their words. And for your comment, “Thanks for all your guilt and condemnation (which is from the enemy). ”

    That is a very terrible thing to say. My exhortation was to change and be Godly and GROW UP into Christ, not stay children whose sweet sentimental view of their families is so out of alignment with God’s word. True rebuke is not from the enemy. God rebukes his church and his people Israel over and over in Scriptures. Jesus called the Pharisees a “brood of vipers, white washed tombs” etc. Do you remember Him turning the tables over in the temple courtyard?

    Your view that Christians should never be rebuked fits the times we’re living in. Everyone wants to be comfortable and have their ears tickled and there are only too many pastors who will oblige the babies in the congregation to stay immature infants in the faith and never grow up.

    Well it’s time in case you haven’t noticed to put on your big boy or big girl undies and face the world with discernment and God’s wisdom when tackling the massive issues we face. Stop crying and whining that someone is making you feel “guilty”. Maybe you SHOULD feel guilty! Did you ever think about that? Maybe the other people who read this article and had a knee jerk reaction to it SHOULD feel guilty as well! Condemnation says you are bad and it’s hopeless. Godly guilt says you are bad, here’s a way to change. It’s my prayer that every single person who read this article gets it and those who are opposed will sting and smart from being chastised and that they will repent and be the Christians who love strangers (not blood relatives) that God called them to be. But unless you have walked in my shoes and seen the things that I have seen don’t even presume to know my motives and tell me that guilt is bad. That is purely childish thinking. Hebrews says that ”
    “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
    and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,

    6
    because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
    and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”[a]

    7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”

    This article was a gentle rebuke, when people resisted, I rebuked much harsher with examples of the shattered lives that are a direct result of the sin in the body. Don’t like my abrupt manner, ok, pray for me. But don’t ignore the far bigger picture here, that in the name of “family time” the church has selfishly ignored to the point of tragic consequences, people without families, especially single moms.

    Maybe you should focus on the bigger picture here instead of picking my words apart. Are YOU hospitable? Or are you one of the people this article is talking to?

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  15. Keith says:

    I think that this article – particularly the sections “We Seldom Serve in the Church,” “We Seldom Have Time,” and “We are not willing to sacrifice” – should include cautionary notes against using the points therein to validate pressuring families into “sacrificing” (whether their money, their time, their privacy, their children’s activities, etc.). Please note: I am NOT presuming to ascribe such pressuring motives to the article’s author; but I do think there should be safeguards against the possibility of undue burdens being imposed upon families. Must Christian families cultivate an austere, Spartan lifestyle in order to be, in effect, permanently “on call” to serve/donate on demand? Care, sensitivity and restraint should be exercised when recommending that families serve/sacrifice. While such verses as Matthew 10:37 and Luke 14:26 cannot be ignored, proper attention should also be paid to such verses as 1 Timothy 5:8.

  16. Josh Walker says:

    This seems to have stirred up quite the comment thread here but I really enjoyed the post. Hadn’t read it until today. Thanks Jason for your word of caution to families. We have two children right now and have felt at times some of the things you’ve mentioned. Really good word of exhortation.

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Kevin DeYoung


Kevin DeYoung is senior pastor of University Reformed Church (RCA) in East Lansing, Michigan, near Michigan State University. He and his wife Trisha have six young children. You can follow him on Twitter.

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