30 January 2010

Faith- The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

My dog just got back from the vet after needing Heartworm treatment. This is extremely expensive, but worth every dime. My biggest financial supporter was directed, BY GOD, to go another direction and give the finances elsewhere. My camper is in need of repairs and finding parts are next to impossible. My truck needs breaks, transmission service and an oil change. My car insurance is due in a few weeks and finances have been anywhere but where they need to be, and now God is calling me to go to Haiti for a couple weeks. Why do I mention this? Not to complain, I assure you. I couldn't be happier or more blessed. God always makes a way he always supplies my needs.

The reason that I mention this is because if I am going to be honest about faith I need to share the good, along the bad and the ugly. The truth is that just because I have faith and just because I believe God wants the best for me does not mean that it will be all smooth sailing. Walking by faith is not a guarantee that nothing will go wrong. It means the exact opposite, otherwise, what would I have to stand in faith for? Look at Paul in 2 Cor 11:22-28:
 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? So am I. Are they ministers of Christ? ––I speak as a fool––I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one.Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness–– besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches
Not many would argue against whether or not Paul had faith. He spent a good amount of time talking about faith. He wrote about some of the faith giants in Romans. Many say he wrote Hebrews, which is where you find the Hall of Faith in Heb. 11. Yet Paul, as he went through life, went through struggle as well. He had things that he had to be in faith for. Why did he struggle? Because God had a problem with Paul? No! The answer is in John 10:10:
"The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly."
We have an enemy. This enemy will do whatever he can to stop the work of God in your life. I would venture to say that if your not experiencing struggles, your not a threat to the enemy, the devil. Struggles are a part of our Christian life, they are a part of our walk with God. God's best for you is not to suffer, but struggles equal growth, which equals spiritual maturity, which equals victory over the enemy.

After all the struggles Paul went through he said he had learned something. He learned how to continue on the path God had him on regardless of what he came up against. Phil 4:11-13:
Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Not only did Paul learn how to survive through these struggles, but he also knew how to go to the next level in the midst of all this struggle. Phil 4:4:
Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!
That's a bold statement coming from a guy who talked about all his struggles in 2Cor 11. Also keep in mind that when Paul wrote Philippians he was in a prison where he hung by chains for most of the day. Scholars say he was knee to waist deep in human waist while hanging in shackles. And when he was let down for a short time, Philippians is what he wrote.

 I made a commitment in an earlier blog about being more active on my blog and to be myself. I go through phases of isolation, doubt, unbelief, and struggle. I have been hesitant to share my times of struggle with fear that people would get the wrong idea about who God is. Like most Christians, I want to tell everyone about the good so it makes God more appealing to others. I want people to see God for what He is, a good and loving God. The funny thing is, God doesn't need me to make Him look good. He can handle His own PR. He is more than capable of making Himself look good. He needs me to be open and honest about life. He needs me to help others find a real and true path with Him, a path that includes great times, as well as some struggles.

God is God, and I am not! Great words to live by. When struggle comes it is not my place to question God, but instead, to trust Him for the answer out of the struggle. I know this phase I am in is only a phase and standing in faith means, like Paul, I too can praise Him, even in the difficult times. I too can know without a doubt that God loves me and will see me through the good, the bad, and the ugly. Faith is putting your faith in God above your faith in what you see. Be bold today, trust God!

Have you ever been mad at God? Have you ever blamed God for a situation in life only to later find out is was all on you?

Right Side Up Ministries is going to Haiti to help others through a pretty intense struggle. If you would like to help us go to Haiti please click the "DONATE" button to the right, or visit the RSUM website for more info.

28 January 2010

Even Just One

This is an email that I received today. I wanted to share it because it is a great example of Luke 15:7 "I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety–nine just persons who need no repentance." This email comes from Dara.

"Did you hear about the 16 year old girl they pulled out alive yesterday in Haiti? She had been in a bathroom, and managed to stay alive for the last 15 days by drinking water from the bath. I was thinking about how absolutely miraculous that this girl is still alive and in relative good health, beyond the obvious dehydration. Then I started thinking about how the world has been celebrating whenever one more person is found alive- just one person in the midst of hundreds of thousands- and we celebrate with tears in our eyes that even just one more is alive. And then it clicked- that is what heaven is like when just one more person is saved. Its not the number that matters, it is the feeling of utter gratitude and amazement that one more person has been pulled from disaster and death, and brought into the land of the living. It is one more life that has a second chance at living. It is one more miracle of God. That is why even just one person matters. And that is why we should celebrate the one- even just one."
We rejoice more over the one survivor in Haiti than the thousands who are already known to be alive. We sit on the edge of our seat in anticipation when we hear that they may have found another survivor. Our anticipation and excitement quickly turns to tears and rejoicing when we get our first glimpse at a survivor as they are pulled out. It's not wrong, just human. It's not that we don't celebrate the life of those alive, we are just reminded about the frailness of life and rejoice at those who beat the odds. As the miracles continue to happen, let's not forget where they come from. Let us not forget who orchestrates such miracles as these. As miraculous as it is to see this girl still alive after fifteen days, it is even more miraculous to think that we have an opportunity to be in a relationship with the One who created us. Why? Because we are reminded of the frailness of our spiritual life and rejoice for the one who comes to know Jesus just beat all the odds. So together, let's celebrate one-even just  one.

Have you ever "beat the odds" in your life? What made it possible for you to overcome?

If you would like to help Right Side Up Ministries be a part of the healing process in Haiti please click the DONATE button on the right or visit the RSUM website.

27 January 2010


Let's face it, Americans are opinionated. We have an opinion about everything from the Apple iPad, to the health care system, to the price of oil, to whether or not our favorite star was on the best or worst dressed list at the Emmy's. Opinion, opinion, opinion! It's what we're all about.

Recently, while reading some articles about Haiti I caught myself starting to form an opinion. How American of me, right? Let's take a tragedy like this and form an opinion about it. Which government is doing more, who got there first, who is doing the best at fighting the social injustices of Haiti, who is finally going to do something about child trafficking?

The problem I noticed about my opinion was that the next day when I watched the news again nothing had changed. The very thing I had formed an opinion about had not changed one bit. Suddenly it hit me, "my opinion DOESN'T change the world." Stellar epiphany, one that more Americans would benefit from, if you want my OPINION!

I recently read a blog by Shaun King where he talked about the new word for Haiti being "organize". It suddenly hit me, you can't organize if all you are carrying are your opinions. Organization isn't dependent on your opinions to operate, but instead on your actions. We need to do something to make a change. I heard in church on Sunday that your intentions don't determine your destination, your directions do. If I take an honest look at my opinionated life I see an army of opinions lined up behind good intentions that never lead to a desired destination. Opinions=intentions, such a novel thought to come from my mind. So its not opinions+intentions that=destination. WOW! So if that is the case then what am I missing? Action! I need to put an action to my opinion, which, ironically, in my opinion, creates a solution. Put solution with direction and you have a destination.

My question is this, are you going to be "opinionated" and watch everyone around you do something so you can form your opinion and complain about it, or are you going to be "solutionated" and be the one everybody else is complaining about? I don't know about you, but for me, I want to be doing the solution. Let's become solution oriented and get something done. Let's start a new movement and call it SOLUTIONATED! Say it with me, "I am going to be SOLUTIONATED, not opinionated!" There, that wasn't so hard was it? Now it's time to get involved and make a difference.

What are you doing to get involved? Could you do more?

Here's some people doing something about it. These are people who are "Solutionated":

Shaun King- from The Courageous Church
Chance Craven-from Its Chance
Drew Benton-from Project Live Love

These are only a couple people doing something big. If your doing something big let me know. Leave a link to a web page so I can see what your doing to get involved. Who knows, maybe I will get involved with you.

If you'd like to help us get involved in Haiti you can donate to the Right Side Up Ministries trip by clicking on the donate button on the right or by visiting the RSUM website.

25 January 2010

Spiritual Lessons Learned from Lorelei

Lorelei is my niece and is almost three years old. She is adorable and has quite a large vocabulary for a kid her age. She's a pretty smart kid, which means she is more than capable of doing everything herself, knowing everything she needs to know, and can make her own decisions on everything important in life... at least in her own eyes. If you've ever been around a two-something kid you know this is the age of independence.  This is the age where they want to go potty by themselves, eat by themselves, get dressed by themselves, and the list goes on. This is also the age where if any of the above is not allowed then sudden fits of rage resulting in screaming, crying, throwing hands in the air, and (my personal favorite) throwing their bodies around in ways that will only result in harm to themselves. I like to refer to this stage as whiney-pants-itis. This necessary stage of childhood growth can be more than a little taxing on the grownups who are subject to the daily onslot of tantrum after tantrum. The funniest thing about my niece is that sometimes, well most times, she starts to whine before she is even told no. It's like she is anticipating the worst before it ever happens. She is so determined in her two year old little mind that her parents are out to get her and they will never let her have anything that will make her happy. The thing she hasn't figured out yet is that if she would have not started whining or throwing a fit she probably would have received whatever it is that she desired. If she would just slow down and relax, use words in a normal tone, and be calm about her approach she would have a much higher chance of success. Why? Is it because my sister and brother in-law want to make things hard on her? No, absolutely not, but instead they wish to teach her there is a proper way to do things. They want to let her know that you can succeed with your desires if you go about it in the proper way. They also want to teach her that sometimes, no matter how cute she is, things cannot work out the way she wants. Sometimes her safety and protection have to come before her own perceived happiness.

Sounds a whole bunch like us in our relationship with God. We come to Him expecting the worst, so we come to Him with the wrong heart or intent. We come to Him expecting Him to say no to everything that we want in our lives. It's like it is bred into our DNA to expect the worst from God. Recently I suffered from whiney-pants-itis with God. Not in a "violently throwing myself to the ground while screaming at the top of my lungs" kind of tantrum, but rather an "I don't want to do that, why am I here doing nothing, I want a new life" tantrum. The worst part of this tantrum is that I was so comfortable doing it that I didn't even notice it was happening. I didn't even notice that I was out of line or acting in a whining, woe is me, self-pity way. I didn't even catch that I was freaking out, expecting the worst, and acting a fool before I even talked with God. So many times kids get mad at their parents without either side saying a word. They get upset for no real reason, just an imaginary issue that never existed to start with. This was my approach to God.

Throwing a fit with God will lead to nothing productive. Not because God wants to ignore me or doesn't want me to have what I want. It has more to do with the approach that I take with God. One thing I noticed with Lorelei is that when she starts whining prematurely she has no faith in my sister that she will get what she wants. Hebrews 11:6 says, “But without faith [it is] impossible to please [Him], for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and [that] He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” My tantrum before I ask is not faith. It has absolutely nothing to with faith in God. On the contrary, it has everything to do with my own insecurities and uncertainties with God. It shows God what I really trust and rely in, which is not Him. Like my niece, I put all my trust in what I think I know and not in what is really true.

Mark 11:24 tells us how to receive from God, “"Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive [them], and you will have [them].” If I am  going to have anything that I ask for then I have to ask it in faith. Like I said about Lorelei, I know that if she asked without whining she would have received much more of what she wanted. Whining to God is not asking God in faith, but rather demanding in doubt and unbelief that God is going to act on your demand rather than on His Word. People say that it is arrogant to pray in "faith" for things and expect God to move. What is true arrogance is to demand something from God and expect Him to move because you've demanded it. God works with faith, “But without faith [it is] impossible to please [Him]..." God is under no obligation to you and your whiney requests, but He does have an obligation to those who come to Him in faith.

When was your last "whiney-pants-itis" moment with God? Do you think it really accomplished anything?

P.S. if you would like to help us go to Haiti please click the "DONATE" button on the right or visit the Right Side Up Ministries web page.

22 January 2010

The Truth About Haiti

This morning I was catching up on some blogs that I follow. I have a list of about 15 or 20 that I read. There's one that I have taken a particular liking to. It's by author Anne Jackson. I think I enjoy it because she is able to say things the way that I wish I could say them. The reason I mention her blog is that while reading her post about going to Haiti I came across the most disturbing picture that I have seen come out of Haiti. It is the picture of a mass grave where bodies are piled on top of each other in a large pit. It seems so uncivilized. It seems so inhumane and unthinkable. It seems in a time when the world is capable of things never before imagined that we could do better than this. It made tears well up in my eyes to think about how huge this catastrophe really is. Estimations go as high as 200,000 dead, this picture (it is very graphic) is about 50. That's a representation of .025% of the people that died! Unfathomable! I cannot picture in my mind just how many people that is. To put it in perspective- in nearly 30 combined years of war (Korea, Vietnam, Gulf War, Iraq, and Afghanistan) the U.S. has lost 103,770 military personnel. In 45 seconds Haiti nearly doubled that. The saddest part... people continue to die daily from lack of essentials like food, water, and proper medical treatment. People are living in the streets under makeshift tents made of tarps or any other semi waterproof material they can find. Children at orphanages are living without food, water, or shelter. People are laying everywhere in need of medical attention that range from needing stitches to needing brain surgery. All this amongst aftershocks that continue to come and continue to knock building down and put peoples lives in danger. To put it simply, this is a war zone! You might ask, why the war analogy? (Eph 6:12) “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual [hosts] of wickedness in the heavenly [places].” Because we are in a war. The scary part... we can't see our enemy with our eyes. I can't turn and look and see him pointing a gun at me. That doesn't change the fact that he's there and he wants nothing more than to destroy me, to destroy us! (John 10:10) "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." Don't be mistaken, this is a calculated attack on mankind from an enemy who has blinded us; from an enemy who wants nothing more than for us to point fingers everywhere and anywhere, as long as they don't point to him. The battle we fight here isn't fought in the flesh, but fought in the spirit. And it can only be won by God through our prayers and our acting on the Word and what it says. By all means, SEND people. Help those who are willing and able to go, but most importantly PRAY! Pray for Haiti, for its people, and for the thousands who are there or heading there to help. Pray for safety, provision, strength, encouragement, and hope. A hope in a God that loves them and is available to them. A God who wants nothing more than to have a relationship with each and every one of them. What's the truth about Haiti? It's a spiritual war zone and is in need of those who are willing to fight for it in the spirit! Are you willing?

If you would like to help us go to Haiti you can simply click on the DONATE button to the right or go to the Right Side Up Ministries web site. We will be leaving some time in Feb. The team will consist of 2-5 people and cost between $6,000.00 and $15,000.00. We really need your help!

If you would like to help a larger organization or people who are already in Haiti click on the links below.

Its Chance
Shaun in the City
Samaritans Purse
Guts Church

These four links are churches and organizations who are doing HUGE things in Haiti. I believe in all of them and thank God for them and there willingness to go the extra mile!

20 January 2010

Help Send Us To Haiti

OK, so here's the deal, I need your help. After the earthquake in Haiti I was able to come to terms with the fact that it was just not reasonable, or possible for me to go. Any emotion I felt I shrugged off as just that, emotion. The more I watched the news as time went on, the more I knew I was suppose to be there. Big problem! No passport! Problem solved. My renewal is in the mail as I type. Next problem- I don't have a single connection in Haiti. I am currently working on this problem, and because of my "Big problem" I have a little time to put the connection together. Next problem- finances! This could be in the "Big Problem" category as well. I have been researching plane tickets and they run anywhere from $650-$1100.  This is where you come in. You can help in a big way. To the right of this blog there is a "DONATE" button, click it to give an online donation. DISCLAIMER- there are currently no tax receipt option through online giving at this time. If you want a tax receipt you need to go to the Right Side Up Ministries website. You will see an address, as well as instruction about who to write the check out to, etc.

If you have it in your heart to help send RSUM on this trip, now is your chance. The estimated cost is $3,000.00 per person and I want to put a 2-5 person team together. If you do the math you will find that comes out to $6,000.00- $15,000.00. This is the biggest task I have taken on to this point. I know it can be done, but I need you help! Without your help this trip is not possible. I know times are tight for many of you right now, so if you can't give I am asking you to tell your friends. Get people you know involved! Direct them to this site, or to the RSUM site! You can also direct them to the RSUM Fan page on Facebook or our Twitter page. There are so many people in need in Haiti right now and I know we can make a difference. Thank you in advance for all your help.

If you may be interested in going to Haiti please email me Scott@rightsideupministries.org. Keep in mind, this is not a comfort zone trip. Be prepared to do the unimaginable and unthinkable. Nobody know what the next few weeks has in store for Haiti, so we could be walking into just about anything.

18 January 2010

Haiti Needs our Help

With the recent earthquake in Haiti I had one question for myself, "Why don't I have an updated passport?" I'm in the process of getting that done, and as soon as I have it I will be heading to Haiti. Details are not known at this time, but I will update you as they are known. In the mean time I will be raising funds to make my presence in Haiti a reality.

If you would like to help the people of Haiti, here are four ways you can help.

1) Help Right Side Up Ministries  (this is us) go to Haiti. Or click on the DONATE button to the right.
2) Help a friend of mine, Chance, go to Haiti. He's leaving with a team in less than 72 hours.
3) Help some other friends of mine at Courageous Church in Atlanta do some unique things in Haiti by clicking here.
4) Help Samaritans Purse as they work in big ways in Haiti.

Which ever way you help I just want to say thank you for your support. The people of Haiti are in desperate need of our help and with your help it possible for people to make a difference and show Jesus' love. If you are interested in going on a trip with me to Haiti please email me, scott@rightsideupministries.org.

06 January 2010

I Just Need To Be Myself

OK! So, I've been reading  about how to make my blog better. I've found many conflicting ideas. It seems for every magic idea there is an equal and opposite magic idea that will work just as well. Some say to never delete a comment, others say to delete comments that don't fit into a predetermined set of guidelines. Some say blog 7-10 times a week, we don't want our readers to be bored. Others say to blog 2-4 times a week, we don't want to over power our readers with too much to read. With all this info out there it is tough to decide the best approach, so what I've decided is to do what comes natural, be me. This idea isn't unique to me. I actually got it from a blog I read by Anne Jackson. She wrote it best, "Just Be Yourself", so that's what I intend to do. She had more points, but this is the biggie, I just need to be myself. A part of being myself is to write about the experiences that I have on the road. To write about things that I am passionate about. To write about what I see and how I feel. So, in 2010 I plan to write more, be more open, and to show more of how experience and the Bible work hand in hand. I know that my ideas, opinions, and experiences may not line up with what others say and that's OK. I don't always agree with everybody who's blog I follow so why would I expect others to agree with me all the time? Just know that what I write is from a pure desire to help others experience God in a more real way. It is my goal in 2010 to help people understand the love of God and how He showed that love through His Son Jesus. I won't always write about God, but I will always seek God's guidance before I write. I hope that you will continue to follow this adventure God has me on through 2010 and I hope through this blog that it will help you to find God in America as well.

What are some great blogs you follow? What makes them great?

Finding God In America's Blog