Hitting Home with JCN

October 23, 2014

Living Will“Every JCN has great articles, but several in this issue touched me deeply,” writes Kathy Schoonover Shoffner in her editorial, JCN Articles Hit Home, from the recent Journal of Christian Nursing. In her job as editor, Kathy chooses and edits all the articles in each JCN, yet several family situations gave two articles very personal meaning for her.

One JCN article pointed to the critical need for Advance Directives Education. “ADs made all the difference in my father’s death,” Kathy recalls after she was called upon to make a difficult DNR decision. “Making an AD is a tremendous gift people can give to themselves and to their families,” Kathy said.

Yet, most adults do not have ADs, even though people are living longer. Despite the growing need for advance care planning, many healthcare providers lack the education needed to provide teaching on advance directives. Learn more in the JCN article where you can earn 2.5 CE contact hours.

The second JCN article that hit home with Kathy was Nursing Students’ Perceptions of Adoption (article free for a limited time) about the need for educational preparation to talk compassionately with those impacted by adoption. Nurses in every area of practice will encounter adoptees, adoptive parents, and birth parents who relinquished a child.

As an adoptive parent, Kathy has had many awkward moments with nurses who asked about her child’s “real” mother, or insisted on an unobtainable family history. “Knowing how to communicate appropriately is one of the most compassionate gifts you can give us.”

As a daughter, a mother, and a nurse, Kathy found something in JCN that resonated with her heart and nursing practice.

As the JCN editor, she hopes you will, too.


Read more of Kathy’s editorial, JCN Articles Hit Home, in the Journal of Christian Nursing, October–December 2014. Become a member of NCF and receive every issue of the peer-reviewed Journal of Christian Nursing as one of your member benefits. Or, subscribe to JCN.

God is Omniscient

October 17, 2014

horseAs a young girl I loved to read books about horses, and I thought I knew everything about them. But then I had a chance to ride one, and I realized that some things cannot be learned by just reading books.

This lesson really hit home in my nursing fundamentals class when I needed to learn how to take an accurate blood pressure reading. I had a good basic nursing skills manual and the demo film was life-like, but it didn’t matter. I still had to practice this skill correctly over and over to become confident and competent.

Thank goodness our great God does not have to read books, watch videos, or practice skills to know anything! God is and has always been all-knowing — he is omniscient.

The apostle Paul wrote, “For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God” (1 Corinthians 2:11). According to A.W. Tozer, this means that God knows himself, and that he is divinely omniscient. He is the source and author of all things, and he contains all things. God does not have to work or strain to understand anything or to know the past or the future. Tozer writes that God’s awareness, knowledge and intelligence are beyond space, time, matter, causes, and effects.

Thankfully, God knows everything about everyone. He does not lose us or forget us. He knows our every need, our every move, our every thought — everything about us. David described this in Psalm 139:1-6.

You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.

Even if people do not know God, he knows them. He knows if they will accept his love and accept Jesus as Savior and Lord, or if they will decide to live their lives without him. But regardless of their choice, he loves them still. In Hebrews 4:13 we are reminded that God is never surprised or fooled by people or events because “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”

In view of God’s unfathomable knowledge, people might wonder why God’s very Word instructs us to pray, even as Jesus did. Tozer explains that when we pray we are not telling God anything new, but we benefit from casting our cares on him, sharing our joys and struggles, and humbly acknowledging that he is the all-knowing God. God is glorified as we depend on him, and he gives us his peace in return. Don’t delay for a minute in trusting our omniscient God.

–by Jane Hall, NCF National Director

All quotes from: A.W. Tozer, The Attributes of God, Volume 2

This is the sixteenth post in a series by NCF Director Jane Hall on God’s attributes. She is inspired by the writings of A.W. Tozer in The Attributes of God, Volume 2

Hope That Shines

October 17, 2014

Take HeartAs I write this, the world news includes a devastating volcano in Japan, militant wars in Syria, student protests in Hong Kong and, if that isn’t enough, an ever-spreading Ebola virus.

It is hard not to get worried or anxious about these and other troublesome current events. Yet, fear is exactly what steals our hope and sends us in a panic. Fear or worry comes from ourselves and the Enemy (Romans 8:15; 2 Timothy 1:7). Instead, the Lord gives us strength, courage and peace (1 John 4:8). Jesus told his friends, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

No matter what is happening in our community, nation, or across the globe, God is in charge. His hand is still on the calendar and he knows exactly what is occurring (Isaiah 14:27; Psalm 33:11; Proverbs 19:21). In fact, his plan never changes and our work for Kingdom remains constant. It may currently look different and take place in unsafe areas, but our purpose is the same—to be the hands and heart of Jesus to our patients and colleagues.

As Paul writes in Romans 12:12, let’s continue to be “joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer”. Then our firm faith can be a hopeful light to others during these scary times.


Carrie Dameron, MSN, RNBC, who is a regular contributor for Nurses Christian Fellowship International and Journal of Christian Nursing. She provides resources for Christian nursing on her blog http://blog.carriedameron.com/.

NCF Nebraska Promotes Healthy Clergy Week

October 16, 2014

Clergy WeekIt’s Healthy Clergy Week in Nebraska, thanks to the efforts of Nurses Christian Fellowship of Nebraska.

The NCF nurse chapter in Omaha submitted a proclamation request to the governor of Nebraska to proclaim Healthy Clergy Week for October 12-17, 2014. They are encouraging all nurses and health care professionals in their state to do something special for their clergy that improves their overall health and well-being. As clergy take small steps toward better health, they become positive role models for their congregations.

At Saint Columbkille Catholic Church in Papillion NE, priests were given a gym bag, ear buds, iTunes card, and information/educational material on how to stay healthy. They also received a memory foam pillow because good sleep is essential to health. One priest even received a Fitbit activity tracker! All these items were donated by the parish nurse team.

The NCF Nebraska chapter reached out to the Faith Community Nursing Network in their community and now they have partnered together to reach out to over 400 churches in the Omaha/Metro area to see what needs they have for improving health in their clergy and congregations. Once the NCF chapter identifies the needs of the clergy and their congregations, they plan to apply for grants to fund the costs associated with their project.

The idea came from an article published in the Journal of Christian Nursing (article free for a limited time). The group hosted a continuing education journal club review to discuss the article, “Health Report for U.S. Seminary Schools: Are We Training Healthy Clergy?”

The NCF of Nebraska chapter hosts monthly meetings and quarterly accredited continuing educational programs which are highly valued by their members and the community.

You can partner with NCF of Nebraska by praying for the health of your clergy this week and considering how to make Healthy Clergy Week a year-round event in your area.

A “Thank You” for NCF Faculty Advisors

October 9, 2014

Jane Hall videoIf you are a nurse educator, thank you for investing in the next generation of Christian nurses.

If you also serve as a faculty advisor for a student chapter of Nurses Christian Fellowship, thank you! You have a valuable role and an added responsibility. You guide the student leaders. You are the liaison to the nursing program. You provide continuity of care for the chapter to continue from year to year as students graduate.

I understand how significant a role you play in the lives of your students. I “found” NCF when I began teaching years ago. I joined a small NCF chapter of students and one faculty advisor who met twice a month over lunch to talk about our lives and faith, do a brief Bible study, and pray together for each other and our classmates, families, and school.

NCF has a rich history of student and nurse ministry. Since 1948 NCF has been a strategic, focused ministry of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. InterVarsity is a non-denominational, multiethnic campus ministry that brings Jesus to the whole campus.

Currently the vast majority of our nearly 100 NCF chapters are led by faculty and students. NCF is a place where students and faculty can search for answers to their questions about life, death, and suffering that they witness first-hand in their clinical experiences.

Together they explore how God’s Word offers hope and peace to the suffering and to the caregiver. They reach out to classmates who might be stressed, searching, or struggling to succeed in nursing school and invite them to join in a journey of spiritual discovery.

We believe that God wants all nursing students and nurses to have the opportunity to follow Jesus with their whole lives. It is our prayer that God will provide on every campus a team of NCF staff, faculty and students who will engage their friends, classmates and teachers to consider God’s love and purposes for their lives.

If you have an NCF group at your school, there may be an InterVarsity staff member on your campus who is eager to reach nursing students and will assist you in growing the chapter. The InterVarsity staff can disciple students and provide opportunities for leadership development and spiritual growth. Contact NCF to find InterVarsity campus staff in your area.

If you do not have a chapter and you want to be a part of God’s work in your school, please contact NCF. We will pray with you, encourage you, and provide resources such as online-Bible studies designed especially for nursing students, spiritual care materials, Journal of Christian Nursing, and much more.

Once again, thank you for your interest in ministering to nursing students and fellow nurse educators. We look forward to what God will do on your campus!

Jane Hall
NCF National Director

Curious about Healthcare Missions?

October 6, 2014

MedicalMissions.comYou’re invited to connect with thousands of other people interested in healthcare missions at the Global Missions Health Conference (GMHC) on November 6-8, 2014 in Louisville, KY. It’s a unique opportunity to hear from a variety of speakers, attend seminars, ask questions, and interact with a wide range of exhibiting organizations.

Nurses Christian Fellowship is a partnering sponsor for the conference. GMHC is a gathering where Christian nursing students and nurses can discover God’s call on their lives, especially those seeking opportunities around the world to use their gifts, knowledge and skills. Grace Tazelaar, NCF Mission Director, will be hosting an NCF booth at the conference. Stop by and say hello.

This year GMHC will feature special sessions on the outbreak of Ebola that has ravaged the lives of so many in Western Africa. The devastation of Ebola became even more real as several people in the medical missions community were infected and brought back to the United States for care.

Dr. Kent Brantly was one of them. He works with Samaritan’s Purse and SIM in Liberia. Dr. Brantly’s story caught the attention of a nation and the world — no one could understand why men and women would serve people with such a dangerous and fatal disease. Their inspiration to serve others was something deep and eternal.

Dr. Kent Brantly and his wife Amber will be sharing their story in a live interview with Dr. David Stevens during one of the plenary sessions at GHMC. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear their story in person.

Several breakout sessions will be offered for those seeking to learn more and become more engaged with Ebola around the world. Please visit MedicalMissions.com for more information on 2014 GMHC Breakout Sessions and the other clinically related Ebola sessions.

Please pray that nurses and nursing students will embrace God’s mission to care for the needs of others around the world.

You are Part of Something Bigger

September 25, 2014

World Student Day 2014World Student Day is October 17, 2014.

NCF students and InterVarsity students are part of a global movement reaching the world for Christ. We are members of the International Fellowship of International Students (IFES).

Make plans to pray with others in your NCF group on October 17, 2014. Learn about specific opportunities and challenges facing students around the world. Open your heart and mind for what God is doing on campuses in Nigeria, China, Norway, Brazil, Pakistan or Egypt.

Sign up here for instructions, resources and ways to participate in World Student Day. Find out more about IFES in this video, “You Are Part of Something Bigger.”

Our God is a global God. Our faith is a global faith. Our mission is a global mission. We’re praying to support our brothers and sisters around the world on October 17, 2014. Will you join us?

Dogs and God at WSU

September 23, 2014

Dogs to the RescueThe very first meeting of year went to the dogs for the Nurses Christian Fellowship chapter at Wichita State University (KS).

The discussion topic was how dogs and other pets often show us the character of God. One of the NCF faculty advisors had been reading the devotional book, Dogs to the Rescue, by M.R. Wells (Harvest House).

She shared one inspirational story about a dog that helped a man with physical problems and PTSD. The lesson was clear: This faithful canine companion reminds us about the character of God who is always with us, never abandons us, sees and knows things we don’t know, protects us, etc. For those who had dogs as pets, the analogy was very real.

About 20 students came to the NCF meeting, including some pre-nursing freshman students. In addition, twelve faculty members attended as part of a growing ministry to faculty.

Building on the theme of God’s faithfulness, the group did a brief Bible study on Paul’s experience in prison and his words to Timothy:

“At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (2 Timothy 4:16-18)

The discussion soon became very meaningful and powerful. “We talked about how we are to be like faithful dogs to our patients, being there for them when they need us, nonjudgmental, comforting, and keeping them safe,” said NCF staff Kathy Schoonover-Shoffner. “I shared the full gospel of having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ to experience his presence fully and to know he is watching over you faithfully.”

A new first-semester student texted Kathy afterwards:  “Loved the meeting, hearing God speak through you really helped me make it through my last class. It also helped me realize that nursing is what I want to do without a doubt.”

Kathy encouraged students to pray and reach out to their fellow students and bring friends to the next NCF meeting. She challenged them to consider how they can make a difference in another student’s life by demonstrating God’s character so often displayed in beloved dogs.

“I am always amazed at how God shows up and works in our midst. I wasn’t sure about using the dog story but it turned out to be a natural, easy way to talk about the character of God and share the gospel. God is good!”

InterVarsity Derecognized at CSU

September 16, 2014

Please PrayPLEASE PRAY for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship! The California State University (CSU) system has issued a nondiscrimination policy that requires InterVarsity to allow non-Christians to be chapter leaders. Nurses Christian Fellowship is a strategic ministry of InterVarsity and is affected by this decision. Our NCF groups are no longer sanctioned to meet on campus.

While we applaud inclusivity, we believe that faith-based communities like ours can only be led by people who clearly affirm historic Christian doctrine. The policy affects 23 InterVarsity chapters on CSU campuses that are no longer officially recognized student groups.

All InterVarsity chapter leaders are required to affirm InterVarsity’s Doctrinal Basis. A new CSU non-discrimination policy does not allow us to require leaders to be Christian. It is essentially asking our InterVarsity chapters to change the core of our identity, and to change the way we operate in order to be an officially recognized student group.

While we are disappointed, we know God is sovereign. He holds the decisions of Cal State and the future of our chapters in his hands. We believe he hears our laments and our requests for intervention. We believe he desires that every student, faculty, and administrator come to a living faith in Jesus.

“Our campus access challenges give this generation of students an opportunity to reinvent campus ministry,” said Greg Jao, InterVarsity’s National Field Director. “Even as we use new tools and techniques, we remind students that effective ministry is ultimately relational. It’s about students inviting other students to follow Jesus.” (See Greg’s video with more information.)

  • Praise God for our great staff and student leaders who are fired up for Jesus, and not daunted by the world.
  • Please continue to pray for students who are boldly reaching out to their campuses in innovative ways.
  • Pray also that the Lord would raise up financial partners to cover the additional costs associated with ministry on campuses where we are no longer able to reserve free meeting space and promote our chapters in the same way we have in the past.

InterVarsity has 949 chapters on 616 college campuses across the U.S. This includes a ministry to nursing students through Nurses Christian Fellowship.

Thank you for standing with us and praying for InterVarsity chapters in the California State University system. For the press release with more information, click here.

God is Immutable

September 12, 2014

Railroad tracksChange. Some people embrace it, some people detest it, but it is a fact of life! The reality is that change can be challenging, but it is necessary for living creatures to grow and adapt to changes within themselves and in their environments. Babies do not stay babies!

As nurses, we must be keenly aware of how people grow and change, and we observe them over time to determine if their growth and development is progressing according to established norms. And if their growth and development is lagging, we intervene to look for the cause and establish a plan of care to alleviate the problem or help the person adapt.

Change is especially important and necessary for people who follow Jesus so that we can grow to be more and more like him. God has ordained for his creation and his creatures to change, but no change is necessary in God. According to A.W. Tozer, if God were to change, he would need to change in three ways:

  1. from better to worse
  2. from worse to better
  3. from one kind of being to another.

But God is immutable. He is completely, eternally holy and perfect. Tozer writes, “He cannot go from better to worse. You cannot think of God being any less holy than he is now, any less righteous than he is now. God must remain infinitely holy, fixed, forever unchanging in holiness. He cannot go from worse to better for the simple reason that God, being absolutely holy, cannot go beyond himself.”

God reveals to us in Malachi 3:6, “I the Lord do not change.” In James 1:17 we read, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

Thankfully, God does not change, but he allows us and helps us to grow in our knowledge and love for him — to be totally transformed. Do you know people who became radically different when they trusted in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord? John Newton, the author of “Amazing Grace,” repented and turned away from being a slave trader. The apostle Paul turned away from persecuting followers of Jesus to become one of God’s greatest Christian leaders.

We can know the same Jesus, the One who transformed Paul and John Newton, gave sight to the blind, healed the lame, and calmed the sea. As we follow Jesus, we are assured that he is always the same, always with us.

“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt. 28:18-20).

In spite of the constant change in and around us, God is always with us and always the same, and wants us to live in a relationship with him for eternity.

–by Jane Hall, NCF National Director

All quotes from: A.W. Tozer, The Attributes of God, Volume 2

This is the fifteenth post in a series by NCF Director Jane Hall on God’s attributes. She is inspired by the writings of A.W. Tozer in The Attributes of God, Volume 2


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