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“Tell Me You’re Not One of Them?”

New Photo for LouBy Lou Coleman

Recently I spoke with a young lady. She is a Christian, but she refuses to go to church anymore. You know what her excuse for not going is, “Everybody there’s a hypocrite,” she says. They are so phony. They live one way all week and another on Sunday’s.” Please tell me you’re not the one she’s talking about?  You see one of the biggest excuses the world uses to rationalize why they don’t come to church or are not Christians is the hypocrite excuse. “I don’t go to church because it’s full of hypocrites.” “Who needs church if the people in it are no more genuine than the people outside it?”

Listen, we cannot be phony Christians who nullify our witness by our deeds. William Barclay once said, “A man’s message will always be viewed in context with his character.” In other words, your message don’t mean squat if your actions don’t follow suit. [Titus 1:16] says, “They claim to know God, but by their actions deny Him.” You’re not the one this verse is referring too are you? I want to know; because there is probably no greater a curse on the church than that of hypocritical [phony Christians]. You see the world is not so much turned off by what we preach. They are turned off by the fact we don’t practice what we preach. We don’t walk the talk we talk. That’s why [1Peter 2:1] instructs us to, “rid ourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.” We cannot be phony Christians who turn the world off because we fake our relationship with God. Just going through the motions! They aren’t fooled. We must be aware that our deeds affect the lost. [1 Peter 1:21] says, “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.”

You know a few years back the Coca Cola Bottling Company decided to start a new campaign to sell Coca Cola. They called it the “Real Thing.” Because they found that people are searching for authenticity. And so it is in our world; people are looking to see if we are the “Real Thing.” Authentic followers of Christ! I tell you we must live our life of authenticity and character so that there will be no doubt in their minds about who we are and Whose we are.

Let me tell you a story. “Once upon a time a grouchy old Deacon was teaching a boy’s Sunday school class. He wanted to help them understand what a Christian was, so he asked them a question. He asked, “Why do people call me a Christian?” There was a moment of silence and then one of the boys said, “Maybe it’s because they don’t know you.” Just like that little boy, Jesus always told it just like it was. He told the Pharisees and the scribes exactly what they were. He told His disciples exactly what resided within the hearts of men. Pretending to be something they were not! I don’t know about you but I would rather be called anything than a hypocrite! Therefore as [Titus 2:7-8] instructs us, “In everything [let us] set the world an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about you.”

I tell you, our day-to-day living must become genuinely more and more Christ-like, and not just fake it. We should never be false or defeated Christians. Even if everyone around you seems hypocritical—or even if no one else around you is a Christian—you need to be a real Christian. That is your calling. You need to stand out from the

First Responders Acknowledged on the Assembly Floor


Front row: Mayor Carey Davis, City of San Bernardino; Supervisor Josie Gonzales, 5th Supervisorial District; San Bernardino Councilman Fred Shorett, 4th Ward; Assemblymembers Eric Linder (R-Corona), Freddie Rodriguez (D-Pomona), Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale), Cheryl Brown (D-San Bernardino), Jose Medina (D-Riverside),Marc Steinorth (R-Rancho Cucamonga), and Jay Obernolte (R-Hesperia); Senator Mike Morrell (R-Rancho Cucamonga); San Bernardino Councilman John Valdivia, 3rd Ward; and San Bernardino Councilwoman Virginia Marquez, 1st Ward.

Back row: Robert Duarte Gutierrez, American Medical Response; Captain Jack DeJong, San Bernardino County Fire; Chief Mark Garcia, Redlands Police Department; Annemarie Teall, San Bernardino Police Dept. Dispatch Unit; Deputy Sheriff Shaun Wallen, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Dept.; Chief Jarrod Burguan, San Bernardino Police Dept.; San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon; Chief Thomas Hannemann, San Bernardino City Fire; Ryan Starling, San Bernardino City Fire; Eric Sherwin, San Bernardino County Fire; anonymous lady John Chamberlain on behalf of Kathleen Opliger, San Bernardino County Fire; and Dr. Michael Neeki, Arrowhead Regional Medical Center/San Bernardino County Department of Probation.

Honoring Woodie Rucker-Hughes, Citizen of the Year

Waudier "Woodie" Rucker-Hughes accepts the Chamber's Citizen of the Year Award from Chairman Bob Stockton and past Citizen of the Year honoree Nick Goldware. Photo credit: Michael Elderman.

Waudier “Woodie” Rucker-Hughes accepts the Chamber’s Citizen of the Year Award from Chairman Bob Stockton and past Citizen of the Year honoree Nick Goldware. Photo credit: Michael Elderman.

By Dr. Paulette Brown-Hinds

She has spent her adult life as an advocate for “the least, the lost, and the last.” She is a champion for social justice. For many she is a beacon of hope, serving simultaneously as a guide, an access point, a connector between what is plausible and what is possible. And last week, as the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce honored her as Citizen of the Year, I joined hundreds of our fellow citizens in tribute to Waudier Rucker-Hughes, known affectionately to most of us simply as “Woodie.”

Woodie is a problem solver. She’s one of the few people I can call with a difficult issue and know she will find a resolution. She never says “no I can’t…” Probably because she grew-up hearing the phrase, “can’t is a lazy animal that doesn’t try,” an adage her parents regularly repeated during her formative years. Many of her parents’ beliefs have been “indelibly imprinted” on her brain, “Your attitude about life will determine how far you get in this life.” Those beliefs inspired her and in turn she uses them to inspire others.

As the longtime president of the Riverside Branch of the NAACP and an advocate for homeless and foster youth with the Riverside Unified School District, the work she does on behalf of others is more than just a job. Like her hero Martin Luther King, Jr. she has the drum major instinct. She is a model of love, moral excellence, and generosity. In his address to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1967, Dr. King outlined those attributes:

“We all have the drum major instinct. We all want to be important, to surpass others, to achieve distinction, to lead the parade…and the great issue of life is to harness the drum major instinct. It is a good instinct if you don’t distort it and pervert it. Don’t give it up. Keep feeling the need for being important. Keep feeling the need for being first. But I want you to be the first in love. I want you to be the first in moral excellence. I want you to be the first in generosity.”

A citizen. A beacon. A drum major. A remarkable woman and community leader. Woodie earns the “citizen of the year” moniker every year through her giving spirit, her love for others, and her understanding that excellence is not a skill, it is an attitude, which is another lesson she learned from her parents:

“Good…Better…Best…Never Let Them Rest…Until Your Good Becomes Better…And Your Better Becomes Best!”