4 years today. A good, good Father.

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Calvin James

My eyes opened for the day just before 4:00 AM. I listened to the birds coming awake in the trees just outside our bedroom window and thought “how blessed I am.”

I spent some time talking to God about the names He brought to mind. There were three new names that came in the last 4 months: Calvin, Emma and Tanya.

As my mind grew sharper, I began to think of my day ahead and my calendar note that said “PLAN NOTHING – REST” in bold red print across this whole weekend. I was up making my coffee by 5:00 AM and watching my little dog search for the perfect spot on our freshly-mowed lawn.

A quick text to my son and daughter-in-law, “I’m up if Calvin is awake and chatty and you’d like more time to sleep.” No response made me a little bit disappointed.

I settled in to write a bit, turned on Pandora heard Chris Tomlin,
“You’re a Good, Good Father
It’s who you are, it’s who you are, it’s who you are”

A quick check of my social media shortly after I woke reminded me of today’s date, May 7.

“And I’m loved by you
It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am.”

It was four years ago at this very time when my son Josh and I were in hospital beds at Lahey Hospital in Burlington, Massachusetts. They were wheeling him down the hall to the operating theater to remove 60% of his liver to transplant in me to replace my diseased organ right at about this time.

“You’re a Good, Good Father
It’s who you are, it’s who you are, it’s who you are”

Four years ago people joined in prayer all over the world for us and waited for my sister, Gloria, to post updates through the day.

“And I’m loved by you
It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am

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Emma Hazel

Cause you are perfect in all of your ways
You are perfect in all of your ways
You are perfect in all of your ways to us”

I wrote my last blog post before transplant the night before. Rereading it this morning is surreal:

“As I write this, I’ve got to tell you I’m that I’m scared. I’m not afraid of the outcome… I’m scared of the process … I have no fear that Josh and I will be preserved … we were preserved years ago and rest in the hands of our Father no matter what … I’m at peace with the surgery and that’s weird for me … Jesus holds us. He loves you like crazy!”

“You are perfect in all of your ways
You are perfect in all of your ways
You are perfect in all of your ways to us”

Those three names on my mind this morning … Calvin, Emma, Tanya … three precious children, two my grandchildren, one my newly newly sponsored child in Guatemala, will grow up different because my God has chosen to restore and heal me.

“Oh, it’s love so undeniable
I, I can hardly speak
Peace so unexplainable
I, I can hardly think”

Tanya scott goodbye 2

Tanya

These words on my screen are blurred again through the tears that come so frequently in these bonus days of the last four years. The graduations, the weddings, the family times, the new friendships … new life came when life was about gone … abundant life more than I could ever ask or imagine

“You’re a Good, Good Father
(You are perfect in all of your ways)
It’s who you are, it’s who you are, it’s who you are
And I’m loved by you
(You are perfect in all of your ways)
It’s who I am, it’s who I am it’s who I am.”

Loved by You. Yes, it is who I am and I will never again take that for granted.

Thanks for this bonus day, Lord, and for any you choose to grant me from this day forward.

By the way, Calvin and I are now hanging out listening to the toddler station on Pandora while the rest of the house sleeps.

“B-I-N-G-O, B-I-N-G-O, B-I-N-G-O,  and Bingo was his name-O.”

Can it ever get any better than this?

Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. Psalm 139:16

Listen to “Good, Good, Father” here.
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Weird coincidences?

By Scott Linscott

We’ve been back from Guatemala for almost two weeks now. Today, our sponsor kit with a photo of Tanya’s smiling, 7 year old face looking at me. The first thing I notic…

Source: Weird coincidences?

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Testing from Guatemala

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We are Guatemala bound in 9 days!

IMG_20160406_205229 (1)Pinch me. Not hard, please, but I think I need to be pinched. This is a dream, right? Or, am I actually having another part of the life I loved so much before transplant returned to me?

In 9 days, at this time, I will be on a plane with 18 of my friends on the first leg of our trip to Guatemala where we will be working in a school with 350 children in the little village of Oratorio.

We’ll be doing some painting at the school, encouraging the staff and playing with kids as well as whatever else comes up. I bought some children’s books in Spanish and am looking forward to reading “Are You My Mother” to as many children as will listen. It was my favorite.

God has provided more than $30,000 to make this trip possible. Someone asked me if it would not be better to just send the cash. It’s a fair question.

First, it is HIGHLY doubtful we would have raised $30,000 just to send to Guatemala without the relational link. We are all more likely to support a friend bringing a gift than we are to give with no connection.

Second, apart from the plane tickets, everything else is going to Guatemala and supporting either the sponsoring ministry or the local economy. That is about $17,000 not including what our team spends on gifts, trinkets and extras. That is a significant supply to a local economy where the average annual income is about $4500. It will help fund the school, pay for our work project, support the staff at the lodging house and even provide additional money for food boxes or additional projects. So, yes, Delta is benefiting but the people we work with are benefiting more.

Third, team members are carrying their own expenses. My vaccines were $330 (my part was $80 thankfully). Some needed passports and all need to supply their own travel gear. And all have given directly to the fundraising goal.

Lastly, experience in leading these trips has shown me that the greatest value from these trips is the relational ties that comes home with team members. For example, after our trip to Mexico several years ago, a woman we worked with desperately need a surgery on her back but, of course, had no resources to pay for it. The Lord provided a lot through the relational ties made with visiting mission teams who came to love Labrada and her children. People I take on these trips come home with a heart for ministry and, after experiencing poverty firsthand, are more generous with what God supplies.

I’m not a supporter of American missions tourism. My goal is always to try to help ease some of the weight of local workers and serve them.

Don’t worry. I will be VERY careful. I will eat no uncooked foods or veggies, will only drink and brush my teeth with bottled water. I have plenty of high-powered hand sanitizer that kills even super bugs instantly (3M Avagard) and will use it frequently. I have antibiotics to begin at the first sign of a tummy ache. I am vaccinated and protected and my docs have no hesitation in letting me go IF I am cautious.

But, a little prayer covering never hurts! So, pray!

Pinch me. I am so very thankful that God has given me such a full life after transplant.

If you would like to increase the amount of the additional gift we are bringing to directly benefit the people, visit www.fbcwestbrook.com and give online. Be sure to indicate it is for Guatemala. (NOTE: the info page has not yet been updated. )

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Anxiety up, heart rate up and nervous about something out of my control

Faith. Trust. Providence. Anxiety.

One of those words is entirely out of place but, right now, it trumps the others in me.

I’m nervous. My heart rateyikes is up and I feel like I am a rubber band that has been twisted tight. My health is good, my life is good, my family is good and I have little to complain about. Why so tightly wound?

Just to be “safe,” my doc ordered an extra blood test last week after the test I had the week before showed that, despite having been vaccinated, I was not immune to Hepatitis A. That was no big deal. I was re-vaccinated and ready to charge into Guatemala to work with 350 kids in Oratorio.

“We better check your Hep B immunity, just in case,” he said. I was vaccinated against Hep B in 2011 so it was just a little extra precaution.

Yeah, you guessed it. The blood test came back showing I am not protected against Hepatitis B either. That’s a bigger deal. He told me to check with my transplant team to see what we should do.

So, as of Thursday, the green light to head to Guatemala turned to yellow. The trip I’ve been planning since November is now uncertain while I wait. Each day with no answer is another twist to the rubber band that is me.

I’ve been promised an answer today from my transplant coordinator. Today, the yellow light will either turn from yellow to green or yellow to red. Go. No go.

My wife reminds me that it’s only by Providence that we are even aware of this gap in the armor protecting my new liver. If not for the fact that proof of my hepatitis A vaccine went missing, I would have charged ahead thinking all was well. The timing of finding the records of my 2006 shots after the Hep A blood test was already
complete
is what people who do not know my God would call a “fortunate coincidence.” We know it as God’s providential protection. If that record had been found one day sooner I would not have been tested for Hep A or B antibodies at all.

So, here I sit, waiting for a call from the infectious disease department of Lahey Hospital. My hope is that they will tell me to get a shot this afternoon that will provide me with enough protection in 19 days to board that plane. But, of course, they could well tell me that it will take longer to provide adequate protection and I will have to kiss my wife goodbye and hug all my pals before they pass through TSA security on April 16 without me. Twist. Twist. Twist.

So, here I am, thanking God for misplaced records and his Providential watch-care over me while simultaneously praying that his plan sees fit for me to go. I am trying to prepare myself for a red light but have my foot on the gas for the green.

I’m trying to convince myself that I will be content either way. I am reminding myself that it’s out of my control and there is nothing I can do about any of it. I am trying to prepare myself to face disappointment with trust.

I wish I could tell you that my efforts are working. But, right now, anxiety has the upper hand. Twist, twist, twist…

Waiting for my phone to ring is making the minutes drag.

 

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I need $7000 dollars by Monday

Scary, right? I remember, back when we had only gap insurance with a huge deductible, writing that I needed $10,000 by Monday, barely a week later, to be able to settle a Florida hospital bill and see $5000 of it written off. The following Monday, because God moved so many people, we sent $10,000. It still gives me goosebumps.

Now I need $7000.00 by Monday. But, thankfully,  it’s not for hospitals or surgeries or expensive procedures. I need $7000.00 because the Lord saved my life and put me back into ministry to share the Hope and Love of Christ. He answered my prayers and restored me to doing something I love so much – leading teams of people to changed lives through serving impoverished people. Because He restored my health, I am going on my first mission trip since 2010 and our team of 18 desperately needs you.

We’ve raised about $25,000 of the $32,000 needed to go to Guatemala in April to serve the 350 children in a school in Oratorio. I’m asking you to join us by giving of your resources and with prayer. I’m thinking maybe you could look at it like a Kickstarter fundraiser with these levels. (I’m totally serious about the rewards!)

$500 Book Sponsor
You’ll get a custom-designed, hardcover book filled with full cover photos of lots of pictures I take of our work in Guatemala and I’ll have all our team members sign it. And you’ll get a team t-shirt to wear too.

$250 T-shirt Sponsor
You’ll be styling in your own Guatemala team T-shirt.

$100 Reading Sponsor
I’ll gather up a circle of kids and read a children’s book from you to them.

$50 Postcard Sponsor
We’ll mail you a team thank you postcard from Guatemala.

$25 Soccer Sponsor
I’ll run around playing soccer with some kids in your name.

$10 Hug Sponsor
I will give a big squeeze to a child from you explaining that there are people who care.

I’m hoping this is kind of a fun way to look at helping us and puts some real teeth on your support and let’s you know how important your partnership is. I have more than 5000 people who subscribe to this blog. If just 10% of you helped it could make a huge difference.

What if we raise more than $7000.00? How cool would it be to drop a big gift into the hands of the school directors who are dreaming of one day building a roof over the play area so that kids can still play outside during the rainy season??? So cool!

So many of you support me in my fight to SURVIVE. I’m praying you consider helping us now as Robin and I lead this team, because today we THRIVE.

CLICK HERE TO GIVE NOW SECURELY ONLINE (Tax-deductible) and choose “GUATEMALA SPONSOR”

If you prefer to send a check made out to “FBC WESTBROOK”, please mail it to:

FBC WESTBROOK – GUATEMALA
733 Main Street
Westbrook, ME 04092

Thanks so much, guys. Where would I be without you?

Hugs,

Scott
(for our entire team)

 

 

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When the “Evangelical Christian” candidate looks nothing like Jesus.

Note: I’m not a political person. I don’t do politics. I started writing this article several different times and held off on publishing thinking, “it’s not worth it.” My belief in Jesus, however, is very important to me. It’s that belief that has pushed me off the cliff and into the political fray with this entry. 

“I only date Christian boys.”

“Well, then, I am definitely a Christian boy!”

Cute girls inspired religiosity in me when I was a teenager. Heck, I’d even volunteer to pray out loud at a youth group thing if it would get me closer to a girl and make her want to bring me home to meet her mama! At the same time, if you asked my friends at school, the hallway jocks, if I was “a Christian” they would have laughed at you.

Actions speak louder than words, right?

Every four years I hear Christians say, “we only vote for Christians” to which most of the politicians respond, “Well, then, I’m a Christian!” It really doesn’t matter how they act in the halls, in their speeches or how they live their lives. We start seeing press coverage of them going to church and meeting with Christian celebrities and Christian big wigs.

The current political race is no different. “Evangelical Christians,” whatever that label means today, are rallying behind their candidate, cheering at the rallies and waving signs.

I keep looking for signs of Jesus because, if the bible has any bearing, that’s what being a Christian is about. It’s about identifying myself with Jesus as the one who shapes my life, my actions, my speech and my perspective. The word “Christian” is not something I inherited, it’s a lifestyle I chose based on where my Hope lies. Sometimes I resist admitting that I am a Christian because I know that, in America today, it can have little to do with reflecting the character of Jesus. But, I am quick to point out that I follow Jesus and ascribe to his life and teachings regardless of what “Christian” has come to mean.

inigoIn the movie “The Princess Bride” my favorite quote comes from Inigo Montoya saying, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

“Christian,” huh?

Some of the most misapplied passages of the bible focus on judging. We’re not Judge. God is the ultimate judge. But there are scriptures that help us make sound judgments especially when it comes to people claiming to be Christians.

“You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?” Mt. 7:16

Romans 12:9-21 is another passage Jesus followers try to apply. It has a lot to say about character and conduct. For example, “17 Never pay back evil for evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honest clear through.”

And then, those who truly believe Jesus also believe that the Holy Spirit takes up residence in our lives and starts producing His fruit. Galatians 5:22-23 says that fruit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Granted, many of us are still in the bud stage when it comes to seeing some of that fruit in our own lives.

What words do you think of when you think of the character of Jesus? I think, “humility, servant, grace, forgiveness, love.” It’s not that he was weak at all or lacked leadership. In fact, he was very firm and forceful especially with those who were using God’s name for their own personal power and position. Jesus consistently stood up for those who could not stand up for themselves.

That’s what I hope for rather than the politician who decides to temporarily slap the “Christian” label on his or her chest for an election season. My stomach turns when I see this Christian celebrity or that Christian power broker smiling, shaking hands and giving their endorsement to the latest label wearer who bears little resemblance to the Jesus I follow.

 

Cast your vote for whomever you want but, please, I beg you, stop claiming to be voting for the “Christian” candidate if their fruit looks nothing like Jesus. All that is doing is misrepresenting Christ and causing confusion for people who know nothing of him. Voting for one candidate because he is closer to Jesus than another, who also shows no fruit, is like standing with your arms held skyward claiming that you are closer to Jupiter than I am.  The reality is that neither of us is anywhere near Jupiter. Leave Jupiter out of it.

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. True Jesus followers show signs of this fruit, or at least attempts toward growing fruit, in their lives.

If you can’t use words like”love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness or self-control” to describe your candidate, you probably should stop using the word “Christian” as well. Go ahead and vote for whoever you want. Just stop trying to convince others that Jesus endorses your candidate too.

Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?” “Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” Joshua 5:14-15

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