Saturday, August 30, 2014

What's in your mirror?

The image above has been plastered all over social media sites because we all can relate to it.

We all have dreams we want to turn into realities, and when we step in front of a mirror, we see the potential God has planted into us. We know He has been growing us to become the lion in the reflection.

But for the moment, if we were to be honest and see what the mirror truly reflects, many of us are still cats.

George Bernard Shaw understood this "mirror issue." Shortly before he died, a reporter asked him, "Mr. Shaw, if you could live your life over and be anybody you've known, or any person from history, who would you be?"

Shaw thoughtfully replied, " I would choose to be the man George Bernard Shaw could have been, but never was."

So when are you going to become the lion in the mirror? How much of your God-given potential are you going to leave untapped? When are you going to take the steps to fully become the man or woman God intends you to be?

Scotty

Friday, August 29, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: A mediocre Bible for college students ...

I love the fact that the Bible remains the best-selling book of all time.

I've also not been shy to state my disdain regarding how publishers treat the Bible as another product in the way they try to churn out a myriad of offerings for different "types" of Bibles to bolster their profits. There's the "recovery" Bible, men's study Bible, women's study Bible, teen study Bible, new believer Bible, and so on, all offered in different colors, covers, and designs. But when I saw that Zondervan had published the "College Bible: Devotional Version" (NIV version), I was curious and hopeful.

I was hopeful because I think it's those college years, when young adults take their first significant step away from home and not only into greater independence, but usually into an environment very hostile to their faith, that is one of the most impacting years of life. I was hopeful that, if a publisher really did want to publish a Bible version focused on meeting the needs of a particular audience, that this would be a great Bible college students could find great value in.

I was disappointed.

At least, regarding the emphasis on the college student.

The good thing is, this is a Bible, and if college students make that central to their lives, then they will have what they need to guide them through this time in their lives.

But as far as being a good resource beyond being a Bible, this new Bible misses the mark. Here is what Zondervan promotes as being the key features in this Bible:
  • 222 school-year devotions with daily insights on, and applications to, relevant topics.
  • Devotions use a unique storytelling approach to connect God's Word with your real-life questions, struggles, and decisions as a student.
  • A practical reading plan that helps you stay connected to God during the nine months of school each year.
  • Quick-start guide shows how to get the most out of reading the Bible.
  • Subject index for looking up topics of interest.
  • Complete text of the clear, accessible NIV Bible.
None of these features are unique, you'll find them in just about any study Bible on the market today. So, for this new Bible to have any additional relevance to college students, the devotions would need to be of high quality and really offer some significant value to college students in their new life experience.

That's where this Bible fails.

The devotions are very short, and of mediocre content; there is nothing about them particularly impactful to a young adult away from home for the first time. Given this fact, there's nothing that makes this Bible the preferred Bible version for a college student. In fact, other study Bibles have more resources than this Bible offers, and might be of greater value to a college student as far as study Bibles go.

I actually liked the concept of equipping college students with a great study Bible that could really provide them with study resources that speak to this time in their lives, but this Bible just didn't rise to the challenge.

That's okay.

As long as college students are willing to make the Bible, itself, their primary book of study as they move forward into their future, they'll have what they most need.

Scotty

I received this book free from HarperCollins Christian Publishing as part of their BookLook book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Does God really want to use you in His kingdom?

A few days ago I overheard one Christian telling a few others that sometimes God might want to use us to do something for Him regarding His kingdom.

Yes, I bit my tongue instead of butting in.

"Sometimes"?

There's a very non-biblical mindset among many Christians that God created us, gave us life, and then let us loose to be our own sovereign beings, molding life according to our own desires, and every now and then He might ask us to do something for Him, as if we were a "neighbor god" he was seeking assistance from.

Wow, could we get the truth more wrong?!

Sin entered --- and wrecked --- this world when one of the first human beings bit into the temptation of wanting to be like God. But there's only one God, one sovereign Creator, and that's not you or me. Since that disastrous decision in a garden long ago, we've all made the same deadly choice, and God is the only one who could fix it.

He did.

Get this ...

"For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people's sins against them ..." 2 Corinthians 5:19a.

God was so amazingly gracious in how He fixed our mess that He adopted us as His very own and, as His children, has made us His personal ambassadors to represent Him in this broken world. God doesn't just "sometimes" want to use us in His kingdom work, look at what God's design for us really is ...

"... and he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are Christ's ambassadors; GOD IS MAKING HIS APPEAL THROUGH US ..." 2 Corinthians 5:19b-20a.

Hmmm, reading that, I think God's plan is a little more than "sometimes" using us in His kingdom work. Rather, His appeal for reconciliation to a sinful, lost world ... get this ... is being made by God through us!

At least, it's supposed to be.

Are you an ambassador for Christ through whom He is making His appeal for reconciliation? If not, what do you think your role in His kingdom is supposed to be?

Scotty

How to change someone's life ...

I hope the headline for this blog post captured your attention and genuinely interested you. Changing lives, whether yours or someone else's, is utterly essential.

So how do you do it? How do you change someone's life?

Introduce them to Jesus Christ.

That's it?

Yes, that's it.

You see, Jesus Christ is the Creator, everything was made by Him and for Him (Col. 1:15-16), and that "everything" includes you and me. He designed us for a purpose and it is only through Him that we can be whole and complete, that we can have life and life to its fullest (John 10:10). You might be able to moderate or even fix some of the circumstances you face in life, but in order to be transformed from someone who is spiritually dead to someone who has real life, you must surrender your entire life to Jesus.

And here's the big deal: everyone has sinned, and that means we're all spiritually dead. Every single one of us needs to be made alive, a whole new person, through Jesus Christ.

I share that because it's understanding this basic truth of the human condition that has led to the design of services that will make up the Scott Free Clinic when we are able to launch this ministry. It is our view that science is a gift from God, and that includes psychology. There is much that a competent, Christian clinical counselor can do to help bring significant change to the lives of his or her clients. But if you don't view your clients as being spiritual beings, and serve them from a holistic approach of mind, spirit, and body, you'll largely minister more to symptoms than to root causes. You may assist some surface level changes, but you won't see transformation that only Christ Himself can bring.

Therefore, part of our ministry is designed to consult with churches to help them become disciple-making churches, and specifically to train disciples of Christ to be able to competently and confidently share the Gospel with non-believers.

We're committed to helping Christians be able to share the Good News of Jesus so that lives can be fully transformed, fully changed through Christ, for the glory of God. Seeing lives changed is what is at the heart of this ministry, and by equipping believers to share the Gospel we can multiply the number of lives that will be transformed.

That doesn't mean we won't offer comprehensive counseling services. Quite the opposite, as such clinical services will comprise much of what we offer. We have churches full of Christians who are still hurting and need help. Those churches are in communities full of people who are lost, broken, hurting, and in need of help. We intend to offer that help both clinically and spiritually, and to help you be able to serve others who are broken and hurting and in need of help.

Do you know how to share the Gospel in a comprehensive, yet concise and effective way? If not, stay tuned to what we will be offering in evangelism training in different locations and via technology. And as we move this ministry forward, we'll invite you to let us know of your interest in being equipped personally, as well as opportunities to help your churches become disciple-making churches.

Together we can see many lives transformed as we partner together to introduce people to Jesus Christ! Pray with us as we move in that direction, there's exciting life-changing times ahead!

Dr. James Scott, Jr.
Founder & President, Scott Free Clinic

http://www.ScottFreeClinic.org

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

These parents need our prayers ...

There's an old story about two young children who were standing on the corner of a street, bragging about who had moved from state to state the most.

One little boy said, "My family has moved three times in the last three years."

"That's nothing!" said the other little boy. "My parents have moved five times this year --- and I found them every time!"

Parents sometimes joke about wishing they could get away from their kids. But not this time of year. This is the time of year that nostalgia hits parents like a ton of bricks, and they wish for just one more day with their child.

It's around this time every year that social media is flooded with pictures of children getting ready for the first day of school, and notes from parents who can't believe their child is that old, that tall, and going into that school grade.

But there's another group of parents out there who are really tugging on my heart. It's those parents who are saying goodbye to their children.

Not a permanent goodbye, but a goodbye nonetheless as they see their children take their first real step away from home as they head off to college.

Now, "college" may be across town, or across the state, but for some it's several states away. For all of them, their kids might as well be studying gravity on the moon as far as the distance is concerned because the bottom line is they are no longer home.

They're not away on a sleep over.

They're not visiting grandma and grandpa.

These "kids" --- young adults, really --- have taken their first permanent step out the door to begin forging their own lives as adults. While many of these parents are bursting with pride in their children who are stepping out into adulthood, there's a million different thoughts and emotions swirling around in their minds, causing some aching of the heart.

These parents won't be getting their children back; instead, their grown offspring will be returning for visits.

That's not just a major change in the young people who are riddled with anxiety as they step into the unknown of their futures, it's also a huge change for these parents.

Over the past few weeks, a lot of prayers have been offered for students heading off to college, or even to serve in the military. But let's not forget these parents who are also experiencing a big change in their own lives as they say goodbye to their young adults. Let's specifically add these parents to our prayers as they experience this change in their lives with their now adult children. They need our prayers, too.

Scotty

Monday, August 25, 2014

Depression is not the boogeyman ...

There was a huge response to the recent tragic death of comedian Robin Williams. From that sad event came a deluge of discussions across media sources (social and otherwise) about the reality and severity of depression.

It was good that we had some honest and brutally vulnerable discussions about depression and other such maladies so many face today. I purposely waited for some of the discussion to die down so that some of the raw emotion involved could have time to abate. Now that it has, let me offer a word of encouragement:

Depression is not the boogeyman.

What I mean by that is ... yes, depression and other issues are very real, and as painful and harsh as so many volunteered to describe from their personal experiences, but there's some good news out there regarding facing such issues. That good news is that competent counselors routinely have great success helping clients deal with and/or overcome such issues. There is a hefty volume of reputable research showing that cognitive-behavioral therapy and other treatments available through competent therapists can have a dramatically positive impact on the lives of people who suffer from depression, anxiety, stress, PTSD, and other issues.

I waited for some of the discussion to die down because there was a lot of open emotion being communicated, and I appreciate how that has helped others understand the pain and difficulty so many have, and do, experience in their struggles with depression and other problems. But the good news is that you can get help for these issues, and more often than not, that help usually renders very good results for those who really want to experience change. It isn't easy, and it requires very real work by those who are willing to engage a competent counselor, but I want to encourage you that there is much that can be done to change and radically improve lives.

But we don't often hear about that!

Instead, depression and other issues are more often described as being the "boogeyman" who pursues and ravages lives without any hope of rescue. We hear the horror stories, but we don't hear about how most of these experiences could be avoided with competent, professional help. The onslaught of tragic stories told one after another after another are terrible, but the truth is, it doesn't have to be that way!

If that's true, why don't we hear more stories about changed lives? There are a couple of reasons.

First, many who struggle with depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other issues often don't seek out professional help, for various reasons. Sometimes when they do, they connect with therapists who are not competent, and such experiences can be both negative and detrimental.

The other reason is that so many facing these issues cannot afford to access professional help. Resolving that issue is more than a social and cultural discussion, it is a personal one as well. Let me give you a brutally frank example. In almost three decades of clinical counseling, I've had very good success at helping my clients overcome a host of issues, including depression. To maximize access to such care, I have been working on raising the necessary funding for the Scott Free Clinic, a new ministry which will provide competent care without the barrier of cost ... in other words, free services for everyone. The response to the vision and mission of this ministry has been massive ... as far as people wanting services or pastors needing to refer people for professional help. But so far we've had a real failure in getting people to think, "Hey, I can donate toward making this happen." We want the services, but not many are yet willing to contribute in any significant way to make such vital resources available to the public. I'm not going to use this issue as a commercial for the Scott Free Clinic; if you'd like to learn more about it, or how you could help, you can watch our video here http://youtu.be/xTD7VlVfay0 and you can view our ministry website here http://www.ScottFreeClinic.org.

Tragic stories like that of Robin Williams should motivate us to communicate, loudly and broadly, that there is help for the hurting, and that we implore you to get the help you need! You do not have to suffer in silence. You do not have to hurt alone. And you do not have to be hopeless. There is real help available IF you're willing to pursue it AND if you're willing to do the work you will have to do to become an overcomer and be set free from your suffering.

Such stories should also challenge the rest of us who don't personally struggle with such issues to have enough compassion on those who do to help make available to them the professional help needed to see lives changed and set free. That means digging deep into our pockets. It might even mean tapping into our savings. It should mean doing something if you're able, and there are many ways you can help those in need to gain access to the professional services that could change their lives.

Isn't it time we change the discussion to what we're willing to do to change things so that we're hearing more and more stories of transformed lives and fewer stories of personal tragedy? If competent professional help really makes a radical difference in lives --- and the research shows it does --- then why don't we work together in making that help available to the masses?

Scotty

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

There's nothing passive about a life of faith, it really looks more like this ...

If you're going to live a life of faith, you're going to have to put some fight into your life ...



You can do it, through Christ!

Scotty

Monday, August 18, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: "No Place to Hide" is a page-turner ...

It's easy to sit in the comfort of an American home and spew all kinds of political opinions about war and the American use of force, but it looks very different when you're the one who has to go to war and do the fighting.

Ask any soldier to describe war and they'll tell you one thing: War is hell.

We tend to clean it up and even glorify it from a distance, but the reality is very different.

That's what makes "No Place to Hide," written by W. Lee Warren (published by Zondervan), such a compelling story. It's not the tale of a fighting soldier in Iraq, instead picture something closer to a modern-day version of M*A*S*H but not written for humor and without so many colorful characters.

"No Place to Hide" is the personal story of Lee Warren's experience as a neurosurgeon who, as a major in the United States Air Force, left a successful practice in San Antonio, and a failing marriage, to serve as part of the medical team that would perform surgery, including brain surgery, in tents on a base in Balad, Iraq.

With mortors and rockets being shot at the base, shaking the hospital tents while the doctors operated on soldiers, terrorists, and even Iraqi civilians, Warren would learn what war really looks like. It's not glamorous when day after day, your job is to try to save the mangled bodies that continue to pour in from the battlefield. Warren and his colleagues saw more carnage to humanity in their 120-day assignment in Iraq than any person should ever have to see in a lifetime.

You might be surprised about one famous Iraqi Warren met face-to-face ... but you'll have to read the book to find out who that was!

With his marriage at home over, and now having to face the horrors of war, Warren's time in Iraq was the impetus for re-discovering his faith, something vital for sustaining the soldier-physician through the war and beyond.

I might stop short in describing this book as "riveting," but it certainly is a page-turner. Not only is the content of the story compelling enough to keep you turning from one chapter to another, but the quality of the writing is excellent, the flow as smooth as a well-written novel. The only weak part of the book is the ending, which suddenly becomes choppy and ends quickly. After spreading his story smoothly throughout the book, it looks like Warren struggled a little with a smooth landing for an ending.

Nevertheless, "No Place to Hide" is worth reading for a couple of reasons. First, not only does it provide readers with a more realistic view of war, but also what our military men and women have to go through when serving our country in times of war. It is also an encouragement to readers to see how faith can sustain us even in the worst of all circumstances.

A final note: while I recommend this book, it is written by a neurosurgeon during a time of war. Some of the descriptions of what Warren had to deal with are a little graphic and might make you a little queasy if you're sensitive to medical settings. However, Warren shares just enough description to provide an adequate understanding for readers without becoming purposely "gorey" in the details.

Scotty

I received this book free from HarperCollins Christian Publishing as part of their BookLook book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday, August 15, 2014

If you don't define them, they will define you ...

The reason many people come in for counseling is because they feel overwhelmed with their current circumstances. As hard or challenging as some circumstances may be, they are just circumstances, they do not have to be a source of defeat for you.

The gifted Chinese pianist, Liu Chi Kung, who placed second to Van Cliburn in the 1948 Tchaikovsky competition, was imprisoned a year after that performance during the Cultural Revolution in China. Kung was denied use of a piano during the entire seven years he was held captive. Soon after his release, however, he was back on tour. Critics wrote in astonishment that his musicianship was better than ever.

"How did you do this?" one critic asked, "You had no chance to practice for seven years."

"I did practice, every day," Kung replied. "I rehearsed every piece I have ever played, note by note, in my mind."

It is during those times when it feels like your back is against the wall and defeat is sure that you need to remember these are just circumstances, and the Apostle Paul has an exhortation for us regarding life's circumstances ...

"For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength," Philippians 4:13.

If you don't use this strength from Christ to define your circumstances, they will define you. It's your choice.

Scotty

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Applying some "White-Out" to life ...

Bette Nesmith had a good secretarial job in a Dallas bank when she ran across a problem that interested her. Wasn't there a better way to correct the errors she made on her electric typewriter?

Bette had some experience in art and she knew that artists who worked in oils just painted over their errors. Maybe that would work for her, too. So she concocted a fluid to paint over her typing errors.

Before long, all the secretaries in her building were using what she then called "MistakeOut." She attempted to sell the product idea to marketing agencies and various companies such as IBM, but they turned her down. However, secretaries liked her product, so Nesmith's kitchen became her first manufacturing facility and she started selling her product on her own.

When Nesmith sold the enterprise, the tiny white bottles were earning $3.5 million annually on sales of $38 million. The buyer was Gillette Company and the sale price was $47.5 million.

If you've never used a typewriter, you may not understand how permanent a typing error can be. There it is, imprinted on the paper for all to see. You can't just backspace like you can on a computer; unless the error is blotted out, it cannot be corrected.

The same is true with sin in our lives. Sin is more than a mistake, more than an error; it is a stain that ruins our lives. Unless it is blotted out, it cannot be corrected.

Well, here's some good news from the Lord about the stain of sin on our lives ...

"I --- yes, I alone --- will blot out your sins for my own sake and will never think of them again," Isaiah 43:25.

On our own, our sins are permanent stains upon the beauty of what God has created in us. But when we surrender our lives to Jesus Christ, He blots out all our sins with His own blood, and paints over them the image of Himself.

"But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ," Ephesians 2:13.

Have you surrendered your live to Jesus Christ so that His blood, poured out in sacrifice upon the cross, can blot out your sins?

Scotty

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: New biography reveals Bonhoeffer in "warts and all" style ...

When you hear the word "theologian," what comes to mind? What kind of man do you picture?

That stereotype you hold about the image of a theologian probably won't fit the actual life of the famous theologian and Lutheran pastor, Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Helping us understand who this man was, and what he was really like, is probably the key contribution made by the latest Bonhoeffer biography called "Strange Glory: A Life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer," written by Charles Marsh (published by Alfred A. Knopf).

Marsh spent more than eight years conducting research for this biography, and it's loaded with details about the man so that we learn how he really lived, rather than be exposed to just the myth about him.

This story of Bonhoeffer's life is written with flowing prose, sometimes as if you're in the room with Bonhoeffer himself, observing his work or listening in on conversations. While 400 pages is a lot of reading, there's a lot of life story to be told, and Marsh does it with detail; some might even think getting too far into the minutia of Bonhoeffer's activities. But the result is seeing the man as who he really was.

The initial impression isn't an appealing one when thinking in terms of a stereotypical theologian. Bonhoeffer was born into a family of privilege, who lived comfortably when most in his country didn't. An easy, but accurate description, is that he was spoiled. He lived with his parents for the larger part of his life, and also relied on them for not only his needs, but his wants as well, which were plentiful. He cared about fashion, was devoted to vacations and recreation, and initially didn't work hard. He rose late, worked a few hours, then gathered with friends to talk of music, literature, theology, and other personal interests, and spent the evenings out late taking in musicals and critiquing them with friends late into the night.

His parents paid for his education, and he simply accepted what he considered to be the fact that he was a bright young man. Bright enough to complete two doctoral dissertations while still in his twenties, and he expected to enjoy a promising career in academia as a theologian in a leading university.

Marsh weaves into this personal look at the man the men who influenced his theology, and you see how Bonhoeffer's thinking was developed, influenced, shaped, and changed over the years.

With such a picture taking shape, you think Bonhoeffer would live his life rather as a "dandy" kind of fellow who just happened to have a great mind for theology. Even though Marsh shows us the influence of other theologians on Bonhoeffer's thinking, he didn't simply follow other thinkers. He did the hard work of his own study, and his theology would be the result of his own time devoted to scholarly effort.

What is incredible about the life of Bonhoeffer is how the horrible times of experiencing Nazi Germany provided Bonhoeffer with the a unique impetus for spiritual development and growth that changed him from the man who enjoyed a life of ease, to a man who was willing to die for what he believed in. It may well be said that Bonhoeffer was born "for such a time as this," for without the evil brought into that culture through Hitler, it may well have been that Bonhoeffer would have never been adequately challenged to grow into who he became as a man, a minister, and a theologian.

There is an issue of note about Bonhoeffer that Marsh unnecessarily forces into this biography, which is to clearly implicate that Bonhoeffer had a homosexual relationship (without sexual activity) with the younger Eberhard Bethge. The author points to the two living together at times, having a joint bank account, signing Christmas cards as coming from "Dietrich and Eberhard," and the level of intimacy he used in his communications with his friend. However, Bethge has always stated that his friendship with Bonhoeffer was never of a homosexual nature, regardless of the fact that they were intimate friends. Without any clear evidence to the contrary, there is no justification for Marsh's persistent push to move the reader toward thinking the relationship between Bonhoeffer and Bethge was a homosexual one.

I would anticipate some readers of this biography would prefer more detail regarding certain aspects of Bonhoeffer's life than Marsh offers, while preferring less detail in other areas. But if you're going to stop at 400 pages, there's only so much you can fit in.

"Strange Glory" works as a good addition to the existing biographies on the life of this remarkable man, expanding a detailed look into the person behind the myth, making this book worth adding to your list of books worth making some time for.

Scotty

I received this book free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Let this tragedy motivate you to act to help others ...

As a kid, I wasn't quite sure what to think of Mork from Ork. Part of me thought the TV alien played by comedian Robin Williams was funny, and part me thought he was a little weird ... but I watched the show regularly.

And yes, like so many others, I was weird enough to parrot the phrase, "Nanu nanu!" while making the corresponding hand gesture.

My initial impression of this energetic man would be somewhat of a lasting impression over the years as I watched Williams in different performances, of which his role in "Dead Poet's Society" remains one of my favorites.

Williams loved to  make people laugh, but we're not laughing today.

Instead, millions are mourning the early demise of the man who made us laugh, but couldn't find enough to laugh about in his own life; instead, he lost an ugly battle with depression that resulted in him taking his own life.

So many of you who laughed at the hilarity of Williams' characters can also relate to the depression the man suffered from because you struggle with it yourself. You know the pain of depression personally. Williams was fortunate enough to be able to get help for the different maladies he struggled with in life, but the average person cannot afford to get the same kind of help.

It's time we change that!

It's time that we do more than continue to just mourn the loss of person after person who lose battles they could win if they just had the help they need. It's time that we join together to help people --- perhaps people just like yourselves! --- who need some help to not only get through the day, but to get through life well, healthy, happy, but especially, to get through life whole!

That is both the mission and vision of the Scott Free Clinic --- to remove the barrier of cost so that ANYONE can have access to competent, quality clinical counseling, advanced coaching, couple communication training, fitness consulting, Pastor Care, and consulting with churches. All of these FREE services are designed to help change lives, support pastors, and improve churches so that lives can be changed by the thousands! This ministry not only reaches out locally, but serves people, pastors, and churches regionally, nationally, and internationally.

Even though this ministry is still in its developmental stage, last month we had the opportunity to step into the lives of three people whose lives were spiraling out of control and had become suicidal. Fortunately, they asked for help and we were able to provide it. But many, many more people have also asked for help and are just waiting for us to be able to provide help for them. To be able to offer the needed services, all we need are the financial resources to fully launch this ministry. Once those are in place, we will be able to offer these critical services to anyone without cost.

Could you help us with a donation toward our being able to launch this ministry? Could you donate $5, $10, $25, $100, or even more? The cost to launch and operate this ministry is significant; any amount offered is a great help, but we also need men and women, churches and businesses, who can dig deep and make large contributions toward launching this vital ministry.

All donations to the Scott Free Clinic are fully tax deductible. If you would like to join us in helping to change lives, you can give either online or by mailing a check. If you would like to give online, you can do so through our Fiscal Sponsor, Hope Christian Church, at the church website here www.hopechristianchurch.net. Just click on the "Donations" tab near the top right of the website, fill out the information and make sure to write on the "designations" box "Scott Free Clinic" and your donation will go to this ministry. You can also donate by mailing a check made payable to Hope Christian Church, and please write on the memo portion of your check "Scott Free Clinic" to designate the donation toward this ministry. The check can be mailed to:

Hope Christian Church
149 Grobric Court
Fairfield, Ca. 94534
You can learn more about this ministry by viewing our video, which includes a couple of real life stories about changed lives, at this link http://youtu.be/xTD7VlVfay0 (one change regarding the content in the video is that our ministry headquarters is now based out of Oregon rather than California) and you can explore our ministry website at http://www.ScottFreeClinic.org.
By joining in supporting this ministry, you help make available to the hurting and those losing hope a much needed resource for help. It WILL make a difference in many lives!
Thank you for both your prayers and your financial support!
Dr. James Scott, Jr.
Founder & President, Scott Free Clinic

Monday, August 11, 2014

I can't believe it happened ... literally!

It finally happened.

Today, as a matter of fact.

You might even want to note today's date in your calendar.

I have, for years, joked about how some people want to evangelize just by the process of "spiritual osmosis," that our presence among non-believers will be enough for them to receive the Gospel and they could discover Christ that way alone. Well, today I read a blog that promoted the idea of evangelism by osmosis!

I. Kid. You. Not!

Folks, it just doesn't work that way!

In fact, a lot of evangelistic efforts we try are not effective. The most embraced method is "relationship evangelism," the idea being that we create relationships with people who don't know Christ, and then from that platform of friendship we share the Gospel with those people. Now that we've tried that method for a long time, we see it hasn't been effective. That's because we either fail to get out there and make relationships, or if we actually make those new connections, we continue to fail at sharing the Gospel with our new friends.

Another very popular method is the idea of inviting people to small groups instead of inviting them directly to church. But we have the same problem of failing to build real relationships, or actually communicate the Gospel, either in the groups or from relationships that are supposed to be developed from small groups. Throughout our country, we have thousands upon thousands of small groups that have been together for years -- even decades! --- and are no more spiritually mature, or biblically literate, than when they began together. Just putting a person in a group with other people does nothing to assure the Gospel will be shared and disciple-making will occur.

There's one way of evangelism, or making new disciples, that we know is highly effective, and that is purposely asking for an opportunity to share the Gospel with someone who doesn't know Christ. When you equip disciples of Jesus Christ with the ability to effectively and concisely share the Good News of Jesus, and then they actively ask for such an opportunity with people who don't know Jesus, many of those people DO accept the offer to learn about Jesus, and many of those who accept such an opportunity also accept God's offer of salvation through His Son.

What do you know, the direct method actually works!

This methodology has been used to reach the lost and make new disciples in churches not only all across this country, but around the world!

It's been a blessing to use this methodology throughout my ministry, and I've helped multiple churches equip their members to be able to do the same. I've watched other churches implement this method with real success, with "success" meaning people surrendering their lives and being baptized into Christ.

When the Scott Free Clinic is able to launch, one of the services that will be offered as part of our church consulting component will be to provide this evangelistic training and help churches become effective disciple-making churches. We can't change lives, but God can, and so part of our commitment at the Scott Free Clinic is to assist the body of Christ in effectively reaching the lost so that lives can be transformed through Christ, for the glory of God. We are already praying about the possibility of providing this training in regions of Oregon, Washington, California, and Texas, as well as internationally in places like the United Kingdom, Europe, and Canada.

If you as an individual, or a church, might be interested in learning more about how the Scott Free Clinic can help you become an effective disciple-making disciple or church, please feel free to contact me, either by commenting on this post, or you can email me at drscottyjr@gmail.com. You can also explore our ministry website at http://www.ScottFreeClinic.org.

Let's work together to change lives, especially by introducing people to Jesus Christ!

Scotty

Saturday, August 9, 2014

When a Christian walks in the footsteps of Satan ...

Satan isn't just a liar, he's also an accuser of those who follow Christ (Rev. 12:10).

The enemy doesn't always lie when he makes accusations against the saints; in fact, one of his favorite ploys is to dredge up the truth of past sins perpetrated by believers to stir false guilt and confusion in their minds and hearts.

False guilt, that is, because those sins have been washed away by the blood of Christ, and God no longer has any remembrance of them.

That doesn't stop the serpent of old from trying to use the past against God's children. While the devil may be willing to dig up the old man that was buried with Christ, what does it say about those who profess to be Christians who behave the same way toward brothers and sisters in Christ?

Strife between the brethren is too much a reality today, and one ugly behavior that is sometimes observed is when a Christian threatens or attempts to dig up past sins of another with the intent of hurting them with it.

Who does that behavior most resemble, that of Satan, or the love of Christ?

Back in 1887, the coffin of Abraham Lincoln was pried open to determine if it contained his body. What makes that act so remarkable is the fact that Lincoln's body had rested in that coffin for 22 years. Yet, even more amazing is that 14 years later a rumor again circulated that Lincoln's coffin was empty. The furor of the gossip so gripped the public that the only way to silence it was to dig up the coffin ... again. This was done, and the rumor silenced, when a handful of witnesses viewed the lifeless body of Abraham Lincoln.

Some Christians are like those rumor-mongers and gossips of Lincoln, who like to stir up what is dead and buried about other saints. Thinking of themselves more as "spiritual vigilantes," their behavior really has a single agenda: to cause hurt in the life of the one they are accusing. Why else would they dig up something already buried by God's forgiveness? Such behavior speaks more of the character and heart of the person making the accusation than the one being accused.

My fellow Christians, the forgiven past of your brothers and sisters in Christ is not your playground; it's not a place for you to find something with which to purposely hurt a fellow believer. If you're behaving this way, or thinking this way, stop and confess such evil intent, and repent. God will forgive your evil intentions and bury them in your past!

Scotty

Friday, August 8, 2014

If you aren't growing in and living like Christ, you might be a tassel collector ...

Christina Ng of ABC news reported an interesting story about Michael Nicholson (pictured above) that gives new meaning to the term "life-long learner." Check out the short version of this story ...

"Nicholson, 71, of Kalamazoo, Michigan, has earned 29 degrees and is now pursuing his 30th. He has one bachelor's degree, two associate's degrees, 22 master's degrees, three specialist degrees, and one doctoral degree. He is currently working on a master's degree in criminal justice.

"'I would like to get 33 or 34. I'm almost there,' he told ABC News. 'When I complete that, I'll feel like I've completed my basic education. After that, if I'm still alive --- that would take me to 80 or 81 --- I would then be free to pursue any type of degree.'

"Western Michigan University professor Tom Carey said of Nicholson, 'I've had 18,000 students in class and I've never heard of anybody like this. He's the ultimate life-long learner. I marvel at his tenacity to go to school ... he's intrinsically motivated. It's unique, but it almost sounds bizarre. Some people collect animals and he collects tassels.'

"'Eventually, it became getting as many as I could," Nicholson said.'

"Yet, with all those tassels, Nicholson has never been employed in any of his fields of expertise.

"'I just stayed in school and took menial jobs to pay for the education and just made a point of getting more degrees and eventually I retired so that I could go full-time to school.'

"'He likes going to school but doesn't want responsibility,' said Professor Carey'."

Doesn't that last statement sound like many church members today? They like going to church and listening to sermons, and spending years (decades) of their lives attending Sunday school, small group Bible studies, "life" groups, taking other church-related classes, and immersing themselves in ongoing Bible learning.

But they don't like responsibility.

So they just keep going to classes or groups, but don't put to practical --- and purposeful --- use what they have been learning.

Discipleship is the ultimate call to life-long learning, but with a purpose, one of teaching us to actively live like Jesus. The goal of discipleship is one of transformation ...

"This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God's Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ," Ephesians 4:13.

"Students are not greater than their teacher. But the student who is fully trained will become like the teacher," Luke 6:40.

What are you doing with what you've learned, and are learning, in your Bible studies? How are you applying and actively living out what your learn from your study of scripture? How are your Bible studies leading you to become more and more like Jesus, and to live like Him?

Or are you just collecting tassels?

Scotty

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Who have you written off as hopeless?

When do you write someone off?

When is "enough, enough"?

When do you start to believe there's no hope for them regarding change?

For many of us, it's at the first blush of annoyance with them.

Our tolerance with others is woefully lacking.

For example, in John 4 we read about the encounter Jesus had with a Samaritan woman at a well. This woman had failed at marriage five times, and the man she was living with wasn't husband number six. Do you think her friends thought there was any hope of this woman ever experiencing the joy of relationships that had enduring love and commitment?

Probably not. They had likely written her off long ago.

In Mark 5, we read about a man possessed by a legion of demons. Scripture describes him like this:

"This man lived among the burial caves and could no longer be restrained, even with a chain. Whenever he was put into chains and shackles --- as he often was --- he snapped the chains from his wrists and smashed the shackles. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Day and night he wandered among the burial caves and in the hills, howling and cutting himself with sharp stones," Mark 5:3-5.

Do you think the people living in the area near this man had any hope for this guy ever living a "normal" life? Not likely. They had probably written him off as hopelessly lost.

And what about the man we read of in John 5? In Jerusalem there was the pool of Bethesda, and tradition says every now and then an angel would come and stir the water, and after doing so the first person entering the water would be healed of any diseases or ailments. Because of this, we read in scripture, "Crowds of sick people --- blind, lame, or paralyzed --- lay on the porches. One of the men lying there had been sick for thirty-eight years," John 5:3-5.

We don't know how long this man had been coming to the pool in hopes of being healed, but after being sick for 38 years, do you think anyone had any hopes for him ever getting well or being healed?

Not likely. He had probably been written off as permanently sick years or decades ago.

And yet the lives of all these people changed!

The woman at the well: "The woman left her water jar beside the well and ran back to the village, telling everyone, 'Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could he possibly be the Messiah?'" John 4:28-29.

The demon-possessed man: Jesus cast the demons out of him, then we read this, "A crowd soon gathered around Jesus, and they saw the man possessed by the legion of demons. He was sitting there fully clothed and perfectly sane, and they were all afraid," Mark 5:15.

The sick man by the pool of Bethesda: "Jesus told him, 'Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!' Instantly, the man was healed! He rolled up his sleeping mat and began walking! ..." John 5:8-9.

What was it that changed the lives of these "hopeless" people, people who had probably been written off by family, friends, and anyone who knew them?

Jesus!

Where there is Jesus, there is hope for a transformed life!

We're so fast to write off others because we don't see them through the mind of Christ, and we all too often fail to share Christ with them. Yet, there is NO ONE who is hopeless or helpless with Christ.

Maybe instead of writing people off, we need to be diligent in bringing them Christ so that they can have real hope.

And for those who are just perpetually annoyed at people and routinely think there's no hope for others, well, there's hope that you can change that hopeless attitude of yours ... through Christ.

Scotty

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

If fear is optional, are YOU choosing it?

Last year, Associated Press reporter Kirsten Grieshaber told the story of 95-year-old Margot Woelk, one of Hitler's 15 food tasters during his stays at the infamous Wolf's Lair (Hitler's command center in what is now Poland), who had decided to purge her conscience. Plagued by decades of guilt and shame, Margot is now telling her story --- a story she hid from even her husband and closest friends ...

"Woelk says her association with Hitler began after she fled Berlin to escape Allied air attacks. With her husband gone and serving in the German army, she moved in with relatives ... in Rastenburg, then part of Germany ... it became Poland after the war.

"There she was drafted into civilian service and assigned for the next two and a half years as a food taster and kitchen bookkeeper at the Wolf's Lair complex, located a few miles outside the town.

"'The food was delicious, only the best vegetables, asparagus, bell peppers, everything you can imagine. And always with a side of rice or pasta,' she recalled. 'But this constant fear --- we knew of all those poisoning rumors and could never enjoy the food. Every day we feared it was going to be our last meal'."

Imagine, all that delicious food readily available, yet too afraid to enjoy it.

A lot of people live life similar to the way Margot used to. God offers us all this delicious life, there just to be lived fully, but we're too afraid to do so. We allow fear to starve us from fully tasting Christ, and the fullness and wholeness of life He offers us.

Just imagine if you could live this life Christ offers without fear.

You can!

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline," 2 Timothy 1:7.

Fear doesn't come with God, so if it's in your life, dear Christian, you can toss it away, it doesn't belong there!

Would you rather live a life wracked by fear, or would you prefer a life of power, love, and self-discipline?

Sin offers you the first option, God provides you with the second. Now which one are you really living?

"Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!" Psalm 34:8.

Scotty