Scarlet Hope logo with women in picture

Transformed? Or Religious?


The Parable Of The Two Sons

Matthew 21:28-32

“What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’

“‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.

Scarlet Hope logo with women in picture“Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go.

“Which of the two did what his father wanted?”

“The first,” they answered.

Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you.  For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you still did not repent and believe him.

As i read and ponder on what Jesus was telling his audience in the first century, i can’t help but reflect on what I see happening in my community here in the twenty-first century.  While Louisville, Kentucky might be considered by some to be the center of the Bible belt, I’ve come to believe that it is filled with men and women who call themselves “Christian” merely because that is the cultural norm here.

Christian Versus Christ-Follower

The word Christian is used only three times in the entire Bible: Acts 11:26, Acts 26:28, and 1 Peter 4:16. In all three New Testament verses, where the title “Christian” was used, it reflects a derisive element by chastising followers of Christ who did not acknowledge the emperor of Rome.  Unfortunately 2,000 years later, we still use that same word, which i contend does not communicate at all what the scriptures teach.

It was not Jesus intention that we be seen as anti-anything, whether it be government, authority, people who are different than ourselves, or even the evil all around us.  Conversely, I believe we are called to choose, trust, seek, and obey the character and teachings of Jesus Christ, and let that speak for itself to others.

There is a stark difference between humbly and intentionally following Jesus and willfully and rebelliously standing against anything we consider to be evil and unacceptable — all in the name of being a Christian.  The first is active, the second is reactive.  The first is confident, the second is defensive.  The first is desirable to others.  The second is offensive to others.

The life of a Christ-follower is not defined by our ability to master the do’s and don’ts of life, but rather to seek the heart of Jesus through daily surrender and sacrificial service to others.

Scarlet Hope

Dave and Ann with Rachelle StarrWithin this posting, I’ve included an image of an amazing ministry that began here in Louisville — Scarlet Hope.  Rachelle Starr, founder and president of Scarlet Hope envisioned a ministry where women who have fallen prey to the lures of the adult entertainment industry being shown the unconditional love of Jesus right where they are.

[Dr. Dave and Ann Ralston pictured with Rachelle Starr at the Scarlet Hope facility in Louisville, Kentucky]

Now in its fourteenth year, this ministry takes meals, friendship, and hope to these women right into the strip clubs where they work. In 2022, Scarlet Hope has expanded into jails and massage parlors, as well as an increasing number of strip clubs.  Further, the Scarlet Hope vision has multiplied into other cities, including Cincinnati, Reno, Las Vegas, Nashville, Miami, and Denver.

From Darkness To Light

In this parable, when Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you,”  I sincerely believe that oftentimes when a person who has lived a life of sin surrenders to Jesus, their passion to follow Him is much greater than the individual who was culturally raised in a “good Christian family.”  There’s something in the stark contrast that makes following Jesus real and powerful.  My personal story is a testimony to that.


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