Posted in chip gaines, discernment, fixer upper, hypocrisy, joanna gaines, mothers

The hypocrisy of HGTV’s Chip and Joanna Gaines of ‘Fixer Upper’

Yesterday I looked at a popular HGTV personality, Joanna Gaines, and her testimony. She and her husband Chip are stars of a new show that are getting so many huge ratings it has sparked a revolution to find other Christians to put on the HGTV schedule. To this end, both Matthew West and Jen Hatmaker have been given series of their own.

With all the national attention given to folks who claim to be Christians, and have been given a platform to speak it or live it out for all to see, we should examine both their theology and their lifestyle to see if indeed what they are saying lines up with the Bible.

In Ms Gaines’ case, her testimony was not biblical. That’s what we saw in yesterday’s essay. Today we examine the Gaines’s lifestyle.

Some object to looking at how a famous Christian lives. They say, “Let them be! Their lives are private! We have no business looking at their home lives.” Five years ago I received much flak for looking at how Beth Moore lives. More recently I looked at the IF:Gathering ladies to see if their lifestyles are as solidly biblical as they claim. (Answer: no). I learned early on that what a Christian says and what they do are just as important as their theology. (Acts 18:3, 2 Corinthians 5).

If there is a gap between what they say and what they do, this is hypocrisy. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for their hypocrisy (Matthew 23:1-12) and warning the people not to become like them. “They do their deeds to be seen by others,” He said. (Matthew 23:5)

We must look at whether a leader teaches what is true, and whether they live with spiritual integrity. If you want to be sure that examining the life of a teacher or Christian celebrity is biblical, listen to this sermon, “Why Integrity Matters.”

That said, the Gaines say they have made a commitment to put Christ first. Well, have they?

From this excerpt from GotQuestions’ essay “What does putting God first really mean?”, we read the following,

Jesus’ life was characterized by submission to the Father’s will, service to others, and prayer. It is interesting to note that Jesus never pursued worldly ambition in any way and never pursued the glory of this world. He had every gift, talent, and ability to make Him the most famous and wealthiest man who ever lived. But there was only one goal that He considered worthy of His talents—the glory of the Father. 

This should be an example to believers. The time, resources, energy, gifts, and knowledge of God that we’ve been given should be used not to gain influence, make money, or fuel pride, but instead to multiply glory for the Kingdom (Matthew 25:14–30) and to save the souls of the lost (2 Corinthians 5:20) 

In my opinion, though the Gaineses say they put Christ first, they don’t. I offer these thoughts for your consideration and meditation and leave the ultimate decision up to you. In other words, I am not making generally dogmatic statements, only that I have done the work of looking at what the Gaineses say and what they do and have come to the personal conclusion that they are hypocrites. The ultimate goal of this essay is a teaching lesson on, firstly, the importance of looking at a Christian’s life as they live it as well as their beliefs as they state them, and secondly, as a lesson on how to discerningly do that.

There are two areas I am looking at in regard to the Gaines’s lifestyle.
1. Their family
2. Their brand

Please note that I am not saying that it isn’t OK to be rich. It is. I am not saying it isn’t OK to be in business. It is. What I’m saying is that it isn’t OK to pursue one thing and pretend to be another at the same time.

———————–Family———————–

Kids visiting mom at work.
Joanna: “If I could get a couple hours alone to do this work, that’d be great.
Chip: OK, I’ll take the kids
Mom & dad leaving the kids to go to work
Joanna: Mommy & daddy are going into town to meet with clients,
so Grandma and Grandpa are going to watch you guys, OK? Bye! I love you!
Joanna and child labor
Joanna brings the kids at work to do some art projects
so she can use them as part of her staging for her client
Birthday party at work
It’s Chip’s birthday. Usually said Joanna, they like to go out of town
or do something fun, but she was busy staging a house
so she made a party for her husband at her workplace instead.

And most telling of all:

The kids are part of my work (not the other way around)
I love my kids and I love that this [my work] is such a part our our lives
that they don’t walk in and wonder.They know, mommy & daddy are on a deadline,
and mommy’s probably going to be here late again tonight.

It is well known that

Every “Fixer Upper” episode is filmed in or within miles of Waco, mostly so the parents can be close to their 4 small kids,…” 

And yet in every episode, Joanna is working late staging the house and someone, either an extended family member, the dad, or a babysitter, brings the kids in and they get a piece of pizza or a burrito shoved in them, the kids re-arrange a few flowers for their mom, and then they get shuttled off the set with promises from mommy to see them real soon. It doesn’t matter to a 6 year old if the mommy is 20 miles away or 200 miles or 2000, if there is a babysitter on scene because mommy is working late a lot, and fast food, and daddy taking on roles he is not biblically mandated to, then that is not putting Christ first. Christ maintains that the woman’s primary role is oriented to the home. Mrs Gaines is not putting the children first, as even admitted by her husband. He has said many times she is the main part of the show, she’s the draw. The show would not go on without her. So when they had a chance, they signed on for four more years. That means they sacrificed the kids. Period.

Secondly, I have to say that there’s nothing in this world that gets me exercised than a hypocritical mother. Bible twisting saddens me, spiritual extortion and snake oil duplicity makes me shake my head in disgust. But let me see a mother who is trading on her motherhood in the name of Jesus to make money, and you have another whole level of righteous anger from me. I’ve written about the hypocrisy of these women previously, examples are Beth Moore, Diana Stone, Raechel Myers.

We have Joanna Gaines who says she puts Christ first, which means she should put her family first, but we have already seen in her testimony that Mrs Gaines’ dream is to have a big store. That’s her priority. As a matter of fact, when they signed on with HGTV for another four seasons, they were told they WILL have to travel to promote the show. They accepted. So when you see Mrs Gaines on the show, trotting out her children as a Christian trophy, eating a hurried piece of pizza with them and sending them back out into the night with a babysitter, just know that she didn’t HAVE to spend so much time apart from her kids nor use them as set props on a reality television show. That was the parents’ choice.

As long as I can go home at night and be with the babies. It’s worth it just to be able to do that locally. Joanna Gaines #hypocrisy


———————–Magnolia Branding———————–

The second area to look at in terms of lifestyle and whether it matches up with the reality is their conscious, deliberate branding of themselves. They like to put out there that they are just an ole country couple, surprised by all this fame, but that is far from the truth. Joanna has always wanted to be on television, and Chip has always wanted to make money. It is their dedicated, conscious, and planned goal in life for their careers. There is nothing accidental about it.

Joanna has a degree in broadcast journalism, interned locally at KWTX, and interned for Dan Rather in NYC at the show 48 Hours. She returned to Waco and spent ten years filming tire commercials for her father in hopes of getting on TV in a more formal way.

Chip started and sold two businesses while still in college, and after graduating with a business degree, earned enough to buy and flip his first house. He made $30,000. Stating in an interview,

“I made $30,000 on my first house flip that I ever did. It became obvious to me that I could work an entire year and make $30,000, or I could work for three months flipping a house and make the same amount of money,” he explains. “I became very excited about investing in rental property and flipping property.”

Joanna’s goal was to be on TV (fame) and Chip’s goal was to flip houses (money). It’s what drives them. Now, neither of those things are bad. Not at all. But it’s the hypocrisy of the quotes you find where they say, for example,

She appreciates the old ways of living, simple and hard-working with home at the center. 

Oh really. Or this one,

Chip and I run a few businesses here in Waco, Texas, but Magnolia Market holds a special place in my heart

Let’s see about the “few businesses” and “simple living” with “home at the center.” These are screen shots from their business and property holdings, which is public information.

Third Street Ranch is owned by the Gaineses.

Wayfair Partners with Joanna Gaines and Chip Gaines, Stars of HGTV’s Hit Series “Fixer Upper”

BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Wayfair (NYSE:W), one of the world’s largest online destinations for home furnishings and décor, today announced a partnership with Joanna Gaines and Chip Gaines, the stars of HGTV’s hit series “Fixer Upper” and owners of Magnolia Homes. Wayfair will feature the popular renovation duo and their design tips in an upcoming marketing campaign.

What they’ve got going is-

–a television show to which they have committed for 6 years,
–home renovations,
–a realty office with employees,
–4,000-square-foot store with 140 employees,
–two vacation rental properties (not B&B’s),
–speaking engagements at $62,000 per,
–Magnolia Farms and its own apparel line,

–Magnolia Villas, a gated subdivision of 37 garden homes in a pocket neighborhood. Chip’s first house flip earned him $30,000 15 years ago. Today he said he invested seven figures for the gated community,

–a new partnership with case goods manufacturer and importer Standard Furniture to create a comprehensive furniture collection called Magnolia Home. Joanna is designing the pieces,
–a bakery,
–Magnolia Market’s online business, ships 700 packages a day, employing 32 people,
–an autobiography due out in Fall 2016,
–a 600 square foot working garden,
–a 40-acre working farm with chickens, goats, cows, turkeys, horses, cats, dogs and bottle calves. Over 60 animals in all,
–craft workshop with tickets costing $100 per,

“I don’t know if we’ll ever get used to it because I feel like we’re just so normal,” Joanna said.

Aw shucks. Just a small town couple. Who’ve hired an entertainment attorney and an agent.

Their brand is that they want us to believe they are a casual couple riding a wave of popularity thrust upon them and cheerfully acknowledging it’s all a bit bewildering. But no, it’s conscious and planned and exactly what they want. Here is the brand:

To think that my business plans scribbled on scratch paper have turned into this online store is unbelievable to say the least. Joanna Gaines

Here is the reality. Their business plans may at one time have been scribbled on scratch paper but they certainly aren’t now. Chip talks of a seminal business meeting where their brand was hashed out and their future decided.

An August 2007 meeting served as a catalyst for the current Magnolia business model. Joanna was spending more time at home, yet adding in time for business at the office. The couple sought inspiration on possible future directions for the business with Chip calling a meeting with some of his closest friends to seek their advice.

“It wasn’t all top executives invited from all over the country,” Chip jokes. “It was a gathering of friends that God had provided for us. I remember some of the specific bullet-point outcomes–what an asset we had in Joanna and her design style, and her as a human being, her looks and her character. Basically, we established that Joanna had the ‘it’ factor. That meeting was a defining moment. We regularly go back and recall what was discussed at that meeting.”

Like Joanna said, a few notes scribbled on scratchpaper, or a well-thought out tycoon meeting where plans were made to deliberately promote the mother for the power couple’s success?

Let’s go back to family for a second. Is their priority really ‘for the kiddos’? How much is enough? When you have little ones at home and you have plenty of money and a 40-acre working farm, a 600 sf garden, and over 60 animals, anyone who was really putting Christ first would have said, ‘I’m stepping out. I want to focus on my home. Working the garden, the farm, and raising the kids will keep my busy enough.’ THAT is Christ-exalting. That is putting Him first.

When one owns as many diversified holdings as Joanna Gaines does, how much is enough? When do you stop? CAN one be a home-centered mother raising children with multi-million dollar corporations at stake? Are you really biblically child-oriented and putting Christ first when you have the opportunity to stay at home and you choose NOT to? When in fact, you choose to make your life even busier? When you focus on your own dreams and career?

I am not happy to write this kind of essay. Not at all. I do not like to do it. It’s even worse than when I looked at Mrs Gaines’ testimony video and compared it to the Bible. These kind of discernment essays are the worst of all. They’re unsavory, distasteful, distressing, and sickening.

It is important because Jesus hated hypocrites. He excoriated them, the men who lengthened their tassels so as to look more religious. Joanna marketing her kids on tv to show what a good mother she is and merchandising them within Christianity as trophies of wifelihood is the same as making her tassels long. I hate it. I absolutely hate it and become very angry over it. Beth Moore did it. Rachael Myers did it. Diana Stone did it. I hate it. Using your children to hypocritically say one thing while doing another IS worthy of a woe.

They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues (Matthew 23:5-7).

I know the woes Jesus pronounced on hypocrites and they were heavy. God said,

You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men'” (Matthew 15:7)

The most I hope for is that I’ve made you think about what you’re seeing and thinking about it a little deeper with some common sense. When you see a teacher or celebrity say one thing, but do another, it’s a problem. It’s hypocrisy. And it is a sin.

Posted in hypocrisy, hypocrite, pharisees, sardis, warning

Are you becoming a hypocrite? Do you have an alive reputation but dead works?

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. (Matthew 23:23)

They were busy, but had neglected faithfulness.

neglect the more important matters of the law: In this fourth woe, Jesus criticizes the religious leaders’ meticulous attention to detail. Their close attention to particulars often went beyond the law, resulting in a disregard for the law’s true heart (see Isa 1:17; Jer 22:3; Zech 7:9–10; Mic 6:8; Hab 2:4). Barry, J. D.,  Faithlife Study Bible (Mt 23:23).

Source, credit: (Jonathan Woodcock/Getty Images)

The love of the Lord was not in the Pharisees, as evidenced by their neglect of the weightier matters. They tried to buy reputation cheap by being busy tithing exact amounts which in the end, cost them nothing. A few verses later, Jesus charged them with being whitewashed tombs- pretty on the outside but dead inside. (Matthew 23:27)

This is similar to the charge to the Church at Sardis where they had a reputation for being alive, but were dead. Jesus said,

I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. (Revelation 3:1a-2)

As with the Pharisees, a group of people were being charged with incomplete works. It’s hypocrisy again.

Christ quickly stripped away their reputation of being alive by declaring, you are dead. Like the Pharisees, their outer appearance was a facade hiding their lack of life (cf. Matt. 23:27–28). Christ added, I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of My God. They were falling far short of fulfilling their obligations as believers. [The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures].

More from Matthew Henry:

With a reproof, and a very severe one: I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Hypocrisy, and a lamentable decay in religion, are the sins charged upon this church, by one who knew her well, and all her works. (1.) This church had gained a great reputation; it had a name, and a very honourable one, for a flourishing church, a name for vital lively religion, for purity of doctrine, unity among themselves, uniformity in worship, decency, and order. We read not of any unhappy divisions among themselves. Every thing appeared well, as to what falls under the observation of men. (2.) This church was not really what it was reputed to be. They had a name to live, but they were dead; there was a form of godliness, but not the power, a name to live, but not a principle of life. 

Dictionary of Bible Themes explains hypocrisy

An outward pretence masking an inner reality. Scripture condemns hypocrisy, especially in matters of faith. Believers should express their commitment to God in their words and their deeds, as well as in their inner motivation.

The origin of hypocrisy
Jer 17:9 See also Hos 10:2 Israel; Mk 7:21-22 pp Mt 15:19

The expression of hypocrisy
Insincere motives Mt 6:2 See also Mt 6:5,16; 15:7-9; 22:18; 23:5-7

When deeds do not match words Isa 29:13 See also Mt 15:7-8 pp Mk 7:6; Pr 26:24-26; Jer 9:8; 12:2; Eze 33:31; Mt 23:28; Ro 2:17-24; Jas 2:14-26

A tendency to judge others Mt 7:5 pp Lk 6:41 See also Ro 2:1

The alternative to hypocrisy
Heb 10:22 See also Ps 24:3-4; 26:4; 32:2; Jas 3:17; 4:8; 1Pe 2:1-3

I post all this to make a warning I personally take to heart for myself and I hope you do too. People tell me that in the past they have fallen under the spell of “doing church”. They mean that they realize they’ve been coasting along doing ministry or attending as a congregant but without heart, without thought. Suddenly they understand that they are coasting along on a former reputation but have lost the warmth or the motivation for being there in the first place. They say they realize now that they had been “playing church.” Sometimes the Lord uses a tragic circumstance to awaken and warm the sleepy Christian. Though it is difficult to go through a tragedy or a trial, this is one way God uses all to the good of those who love Him. Other times, the Spirit gracefully convicts us. Don’t ignore those warnings.

It is easy to become a hypocrite and hard to detect it one’s self. Unfortunately the Pharisees, Sadducees, and scribes never did come out from their hypocritical religion, which was the point of the woes Jesus leveled against them in Matthew 23. They were doomed. The church at Sardis was never complimented for one thing but grace was given to them with a personal rebuke to awaken them from their empty machinations. Did they ever awaken? One does not know since it isn’t declared in scripture. One this is for sure, there is no longer a church at Sardis.

Have you been playing at church? Has your church been coasting on a reputation, looks busy, but is empty inside? I don’t suppose hypocrisy comes on a person or a church like Sardis all at once like a flood, but incrementally. See this from John MacArthur. There were no drastic warnings to alert the church at Sardis that they were dead:

Like the city, the church declined. There was no mention of persecution about Sardis, though there must have been some. There was no mention of corrupt theology on the inside. There’s no mention of false teachers. But the church died. It had a good reputation. It had a name that it was alive. The light was still shining even though the star had died. There was no spiritual life. It claimed to be alive. The claim was a lie.

A slow decline is the hardest to detect. We don’t have the advantage of the Lord personally telling us like He did the church at Sardis that we have slidden from the warmth of a heart rightly motivated in worship, but we do have the Holy Spirit to convict us when we are beginning to hollow out our worship. We have the many warnings in the Bible about hypocrisy. Listen to Him if you feel that church or ministry reputation is all that you have, and have made your works incomplete. Attend to the mint and cumin, but do not neglect mercy and justice.

Posted in apparel, hypocrisy, pharisees

Getting dressed for Easter

Happy Easter! He is risen! He is risen indeed!!

I’ve been thinking today about apparel. I have been putting off doing laundry because, well, I hate doing laundry. But on the other hand I know that I have to because the things I want to wear to the Easter Service tomorrow at church are included in the overflowing laundry bag on my bedroom floor. I have long planned what would be nice to wear: something different from the usual skirts or dresses I wear every Sunday, to mark the distinction that this Sunday is a special day of services. Something that would also be seasonally appropriate, and not the least of all, something that fits. Or fits long enough to wear for a couple of hours, lol.

I decided on a spring skirt I haven’t worn to church yet, with a green shirt, and a yellow cardigan. Aren’t you glad to know this? Stay with me, I have a point…

All that got me thinking about dressing for church.


I remember that Easter outfit: I must have been three or four. I loved Mary Janes, the black patent leather cutie pie shoe that were popular for girls in the 1960s. I wore Mary Janes well into elementary school, second or third grade, I think. Then it was Keds. I loved the dress and I really loved the coat. When we went to Easter Dinner (I don’t think we were headed to church services) my mother gave me white gloves to wear that had three pearl buttons on the wrist. I loved the gloves too.

I think it is a good thing to present one’s self for worship in clothing that shows a distinction from what we wear from say, cutting grass or cleaning the toilet. I think it is good to take thought and care when preparing our bodies as a living sacrifice at the service. The Old Testament priests had specially constructed priestly garments they must wear. You can read a description of them here.

The Pharisees were obsessed with clothing. They not only wore the required garments to show their ordained position, but they deliberately altered their clothes to show how holy they were and then by definition get stuff, like adulation and honors. They were accused by Jesus of enlarging the borders of their garments (Matthew 23:5-6) – This refers to the loose threads which were attached to the borders of the outer garment as a fringe. This fringe was commanded in order to distinguish them from other nations, specifically as God’s people, and that they might remember to keep the commandments of God, (Numbers 15:38-40; Deuteronomy 22:12). The Pharisees made them broader than other people wore them, so people would see them, and notice them when they stopped on the corners to pray aloud.

But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men call them ‘Rabbi.’” (Matthew 23:5-7) They loved the trappings, and their apparel became a trapping to them and later when Jesus came, a trap.

Though I thought about what I would wear tomorrow, I do not think it is too good to overly dwell on our apparel, church wear, work wear, or casual wear. The bible is replete with admonitions about outer wear, believe it or not. It’s also replete with metaphorical warnings instructing us on the comparison of the outer garment and the inner man.

In Zephaniah 1:8 God warns that He will strike down those wearing ‘foreign garments’, or ‘strange apparel’ (depending on your translation). The pagans wore strange apparel, often an indicator of degeneracy, especially in the old days when it signified allegiance to pagan gods. When times get prosperous, people have time to lift their heads from grinding toil and look around to what other people have, and then import with intent to copy their extravagances, including apparel and then mores, customs, and religion.

Paul said with a sigh of relief that he never coveted other apparel: “I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing.” (Acts 20:33). It may seem strange to us today that the list of things that were often coveted in Paul’s day were not only the expected items like gold and silver, but also apparel. But clothing bespoke wealth. Remember Lazarus and the rich man. (Luke 16:19-31). In Luke 16:19 the rich man’s name is forever forgotten but his wealth is what is listed, among the riches mentioned are clothing. “There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day.”

Yet on the Day of the Lord, their wealth and clothing will not save them. “Neither their silver nor their gold Will be able to deliver them On the day of the LORD’S wrath; And all the earth will be devoured In the fire of His jealousy, For He will make a complete end,Indeed a terrifying one, Of all the inhabitants of the earth. (Zeph 1:18) Their silver and gold will not save them, a reminder AGAIN of how prosperity promotes self-sufficiency, as then and so now. And in self-sufficiency, we forget God. It is easy to do, and it happens in every generation.

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean.” (Matthew 23:27)

As we dress tomorrow for the sacred services celebrating His resurrection, pray starting today that His Spirit would work in us to remind us that it is what is inside that counts. Are our motivations good? Do we love Him purely? Are we in right standing with Jesus having confessed our sins?

I’m not saying that dressing up is a bad thing. I’m not saying nice clothes are bad, either. But if dressing up is the only thing we worry about for tomorrow’s service, then it is a bad thing. He knew the Pharisees and scribes were hypocrites, even though they were splendidly attired, because He could see their hearts were far from God. He knew the Rich Man was far from God too, despite the fine linens He wore to all his banquets.

Let’s think about tomorrow as a time prior to which we can prepare ourselves inside and come to Him clean tomorrow. Are we willing to examine ourselves? Or are we just a whitewashed tomb that looks good?

“For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have”. (2 Cor 8:12)

“Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.” (Romans 6:13)

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” (2 Tim 2:15).

He doesn’t care if we have a new dress or are wearing a tie, but sees the effort we make to ready ourselves to celebrate the universe’s greatest achievement, resurrecting Jesus from the dead as the slain lamb, for our sins.

If our heart is in right standing to Jesus (repentant and humble, a servant desiring change from the inside out) He will clothe us. He will give us garments of righteousness —

“I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.” (Isaiah 61:10)