He is Faithful

My three-year-old son and I were riding in the car the other day and I heard him singing in the backseat.

“Never once did we ever walk alone. Never once did you leave us all alone. You are faithful, God you are faithful!” he belted from the top of his lungs.

I knew the question was coming because he asks it all the time.

Silence came from the backseat, and then the question came: “What’s that mean, Mommy?”

I love these moments with my son and we had a great conversation about what it means that God is faithful. (Ok in all honesty it lasted about three minutes before he was pointing to something outside and no longer listening to my mini-sermon on the faithfulness of God.) But it really got me thinking about what His faithfulness truly means. We sing about it all the time. We remind others of it during times of strife (“I’m so sorry you’re going through this but God is faithful!”).   But what does it really mean?

The faithfulness of God means that He will always do what He has said He will do and He will always fulfill His promises.

When you really think about it, this is an incredibly counter-cultural thing. Our world does NOT value faithfulness. We remain faithful to our friends until they start getting on our nerves and we find some new ones. We’ll be faithful to our spouse until we are no longer interested and “fall out of love.” We’re faithful to our jobs until a better offer comes along.

And yet the bible is filled with promises—amazing, life-changing promises—and we can trust that our God will be 100% faithful to those promises.

This is such great news to the women we minister to in the adult entertainment industry. When we speak Truth to them, we do not give them our word, because what good is our word, really? We give them God’s word. We give them God’s promise. His promise that when we trust in Christ Jesus there is absolutely no condemnation (Romans 8:1). His promise to never leave or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6). His promise that He will continue to do a work in us until it’s carried on to completion (Philippians 1:6). His promise that He’s coming back and making all things new (Revelation 21:5). This is good news to women living in hopelessness. This is good news to us.

“Never once did we ever walk alone. Never once did you leave us all alone. You are faithful, God you are faithful!”

Jesus: The Great Weightlifter

Strength fitness is not just an interest in our culture but more of a craze. First Corinthians 6:19 tells us that our bodies are the dwelling place of God and we should care for it well and that includes a healthy physicality, but the phenomena we experience is beyond that.

Gyms are on every corner, sometimes more than one. Our fascination with our strength is, well, fascinating with the push of obtaining strength with much intensity. My children are weight lifters. While watching them carry concrete balls that are almost as big as I am I was struck by the correlation between the focus of our culture on personal strength and spiritual strength.

Is our internal drive to obtain the spiritual strength we need to make it through our lives translated into a physical expression? Jesus explains that the world’s burden is heavy but He lightens it (Matt. 11:30). He tells us to cast all of our cares on Him, because they are too heavy for us and He loves us (1 Pet. 5:7)!

Planet earth life is hard and requires great strength. Jesus told us that we will have trouble (Jn. 16:33). First Timothy 4:8 compares physical and spiritual strength. Paul explains that exercise is what our bodies need, but there is a greater need. Here’s the question friends, are we willing to allow Christ to be our strength, to lift the weight of that load?

Meet Lauren

We’d like to introduce you to Lauren Wassler, director of Scarlet Hope Greater Cincinnati.

Lauren was born in Lexington, Kentucky and grew up in northern Kentucky. She was a competitive swimmer and thought she would pursue swimming through college, but God had different plans. During her senior year of high school, Lauren became involved in an organization called Young Life and it was through this ministry that the Lord showed her what it truly looked like to surrender everything to Jesus.

At the University of Kentucky Lauren took several courses that taught her about human trafficking and was appalled and heartbroken at the condition of the world. She hoped that one day God would give her the opportunity to do something about it. A husband, 2 daughters, and several years later the Lord opened up such an opportunity. Lauren’s husband Ben encouraged her to start talking about her passion to do something about trafficking and the first person she thought of was her old college roommate, Courtney Shell, who just happened to be the Outreach Director at Scarlet Hope.

Courtney encouraged Lauren to attend a training held by Scarlet Hope in November of 2014 and it was there that God opened her eyes to the need to reach out and love women within the adult entertainment industry. After leaving the training, Lauren and Ben really began praying about what it would look like to start a Scarlet Hope in Cincinnati.

Now, three years later, Scarlet Hope Greater Cincinnati serves four of the five clubs in the area. They have great ongoing relationships with the club owners and management within the clubs. At the beginning of this year Lauren’s team began meeting at a local coffee shop near the clubs to pray and encourage one another before they go on outreach and they have had the opportunity to invite some of the women they’ve met at the clubs to join them. This sweet time of fellowship has helped unify the team and given them another avenue to go deeper on a weekly basis.

We asked Lauren what she loves most about leading Scarlet Hope Greater Cincinnati. She said, “I love that God ordains all things in His own timing. It amazes me looking back to see that He placed me in a relational ministry (Young Life) and then brought me into another one years later. And these ministries exist so that people who might not typically be seeking after Jesus have an opportunity to learn about Him through friendships and discipleship—to encounter His hope and love each week.”

Lauren is also incredibly thankful for her team of volunteers and the time and effort they put into the ministry. God has brought together a unique group of women to be effective for the Kingdom.

God is definitely doing amazing things through Scarlet Hope Greater Cincinnati and continues to grow the ministry every day. The ladies in the club welcome them with open arms and continuously reiterate that they love them and do not feel judged by them.

Lauren is excited about the future and to see what God has in store for the ministry. She and her family are gearing up to move closer to the clubs and are prayerful and excited about the possibilities that holds as they become a part of the community and are able to live and serve in the same area.

Will you join us in praying for Scarlet Hope Greater Cincinnati? And if you’re in the area and would like to serve with the ministry, please email Lauren at lauren@scarlethopegreatercincinnati.org or check out their website at http://www.scarlethopegreatercincinnati.org.

 

As You Go

Our culture admires a good multi-tasker. When we look at discipling we see that our well-ordered and logical God is the best example of multi-tasking.

Frankly, the term “discipling” can put most of us off. When you first heard this word, did you want to run right out and find someone to disciple? I didn’t. Perhaps it is because the word itself connotates discipline, not only for someone else, but for you, too. And discipline is not what we usually desire. It also infers commitment. If we don’t start it then we don’t have to worry about sticking with it, right?

But God made this commandment (note, not suggestion) through His Son in Matthew 28:19 easy for us. God takes the fear out of the discipline and the commitment of discipling by making it part of our daily lives. The verse says, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”  The word “GO” here is simple in the Greek, it simply means “as you walk or journey,” or, “as you go.”

Hanging out with someone as you do life isn’t something to fear is it? May I suggest neither is discipling? The command to disciple was made to be a natural part of life; just intentionally doing your days with someone else as you go. After all, we are doing that anyway… aren’t we?

So encourage each other and give each other strength, just as you are doing now.                           1 Thess. 5:11 ncv

Encourage us (1 Thessalonians 5:11): Spend some time considering what, or who, is keeping you from discipling today. What is that?

Submitted by Angela Clevenger

Day of Hope Program

God grows things organically at Scarlet Hope. A corporate mentality does not exist here when it comes to vision; where God says “Go!” is where this ministry, well, goes!

When God revealed to us that He wanted a more intentional and deeply relational focus of pouring into our ladies, Scarlet Hope went to work. A weekly day of programming was developed and aptly named Day of Hope. Club 0 provides support and biblical awareness to many every week. Day of Hope was smaller, allowing care to be more individualized, more like Jesus did with His disciples (Matt. 17:1, et al).

The day was structured with an opening devotional then lunch together- thank you Miss Margaret for your devoted service every 1st, 3rd, and 5th weeks! Lunches were also generously provided by Simply Thai, Mark’s Feed Store, and Penn Station Subs. This was followed by life skills training with classes such as managing finances (thank you Riverbend Financial Group). Interactive healthy cooking classes were brought by Dare to Care- complete with the recipes created that day being sent home with our ladies each week, with the ingredients to make the recipes! Other life skills such as parenting were coached.

Biblical application study was next on our agenda with our ladies citing a favorite of The Case for Christ. We ended our days with recreation, because enjoying recreation is a new concept to many of the women we serve. It may have been walking to Comfy Cow for ice-cream, visiting a local park or art museum- a particular favorite past-time, or making a facial mask while learning that we are to face the world with who we really are. One thing was always guaranteed- loads of fun memories- good times- and vast amounts of laughter never failed to be part of the mix!

It’s hard to say all that this program encompassed in a single blog post. I watched women, friends I love, grow! Grow in learning who they are and whose they are. They are well on their way to living out the divine plan and purpose God has for their precious lives (Jer. 29:11; 1 Cor. 2:9, et al). Could there possibly be a better way to spend a day…?

 

“Jesus’ leadership strategy evidently worked well. Within a generation, His followers turned the world upside down.” Michael Hyatt[1]

[1] https://michaelhyatt.com/the-leadership-strategy-of-jesus.html