Hope’s Not Dead!

August 11, 2014

pluseAs I was thinking of our living hope (1 Peter 1:3), I was reminded of a modern Christian song and movie entitled God’s Not Dead. I wanted to replace the words of the song “Hope’s not dead, it is surely alive.” For, sometimes we live as if our hope is dead.  Is your hope breathing independently with a strong pulse? Some of us are in desperate need of hope CPR (cardiac pulmonary resuscitation). These lifesaving procedures have a healthy, skilled person breath and provide chest compression for a patient who is technically dead.  And at times, we need assistance with our breathing and pulse so we can keep our hope alive.

How do we know if our hope is dead—let’s check our breathing and our pulse.  Here are a few questions to think about: Are you a hopeful person? In other words, do you look forward to what Jesus will do in your life today? Are you excited about how the Holy Spirit is moving in your ministry, job, or community? OR Are you feeling dragged down by the concerns and stress of today? Does the thought of tomorrow bring more stress upon your life? These questions are based on the biblical meaning of the word hope—“anticipation or confident expectation.”

I encourage you this week to take time in prayer and check if your hope is breathing and has a pulse.  Next time we will look at hope saving procedures to jump-start our living hope!

NCFI Cares

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://www.carriedameron.com/.

Innovations in Nursing 2014

August 1, 2014

IWUGod has answered our prayers! After sixteen months of preparation, the Innovations in Faith-based Nursing Conference took place June 16-19, 2014 at Indiana Wesleyan University. Throughout the planning, I had a strong sense that God was going to use this conference in the lives of the nurses, nurse educators, and others who came. It was a joy to see the many ways God was working!

“It was an extremely nourishing, informative and inspiring conference,” said one of the participants. “This was my first time and I will be back. It was phenomenal. Coming from a secular, large, public university, this was an extraordinary experience that has changed my perspective on what I do.”

Both of the plenary speakers were recommended by NCF, Elizabeth Johnson Taylor and Kamalini Kumar. As requested in previous years, there was more time allocated for devotions and personal spiritual development.

One seminar, “The Science and Art of Spiritual Care,” was added late to the schedule by special request. The four sessions on this topic were so popular that attendance was limited because of space. This demonstrates the deep need for more quality teaching on giving spiritual care, a topic that NCF has actively promoted for decades.

Nurses Christian Fellowship International added a global perspective as a co-sponsor of the conference. NCF/USA was well-represented by our staff team and provided a national perspective of God’s work in nursing.

Another participant said, “I really enjoyed this time. It was such an inspiration to see how God is working throughout the USA and around the world! See you in 2016!”

After evaluating the conference, program director Beverly Schaefer is already asking the planning committee for possible plenary speakers for 2016. I’m not surprised at her eagerness because God is working! God knows the needs for nurses to share best practices in teaching and practice among all cultures and in all settings from a Christian worldview. They need to know and practice the science and art of spiritual care. They need to be empowered by Christ and his followers.

God is preparing Christian nurse educators to make a difference in his Kingdom. Our next Innovations conference will be June 20-23, 2016. I’ll be there, and I hope you’ll plan on it too!

 – by Sandra A. Jamison

The Practice of Presence

July 28, 2014

Listening“I heard a commotion and found one of my patients screaming, banging doors, and hitting walls,” recalls Kathy Schoonover Shoffner, PhD, RN, during a recent shift.

Nursing experiences like this reminded Kathy of the immeasurable importance of offering presence to patients. She listened with full, undivided caring attention and asked simple reflective questions to calm the patient and address her needs.

“People just want to know we care,” Kathy confirms. “Our patients desperately want to be heard, to know we will help them. Offering true caring turns everything around.”

How do you care for patients under pressure? What strategies do you employ when you are stressed?

“Jesus is the supreme example of grace under pressure,” Kathy offers. “Even when he was arrested and knew he was to be crucified, Jesus cared for others.” His example is worth remembering the next time you feel pressure mounting.

Read more of Kathy’s editorial, “Caring Under Pressure,” in the Journal of Christian Nursing, July –September 2014.  Join NCF and receive every issue of the peer-reviewed Journal of Christian Nursing as one of your member benefits. Or, subscribe to JCN.

Delaware Nurse Chapter Gives Back

July 11, 2014

NCF DelawareThe members of the Delaware Nurses Christian Fellowship nurse chapter had a busy year, hosting several events to support local outreach ministries and raising scholarship funds for their first Christian Nursing Grant for a nursing student.

“As Christian nurses, we strive to contribute to the advancement of nursing by encouraging and incorporating our Christian beliefs into all aspects of our profession and practice,” said Lisa Rossi, a leader of the NCF group.

The eight Delaware nursing students who applied for the grant were evaluated by the scholarship committee on the criteria of financial need, faith-based activities, and a short essay on how the student will apply Christian principles to nursing practice.

Paige Merring was this year’s recipient. Paige is a nursing student in the University of Delaware’s accelerated nursing program. This is her second degree. Paige is very active in her church and has been involved with many community outreach projects. She helped start a health ministry at her church, including monthly blood pressure screening for church members.

Paige states, “I plan to live out God’s plan for my life by maintaining a positive and uplifting attitude so that if my patients are experiencing one of the worst days of their lives, they can see God’s love for them and know that there are good people in this world that care for them.”

As part of National Nurses Week, the NCF group members gathered for a celebration lunch. Paige and her husband attended and graciously accepted the scholarship grant for $500 which she plans to use toward her student loans.

The NCF group meets on the third Saturday of the month at 10:00am. They welcome all nurses, nursing students, or other healthcare providers who want to join in the mission. For more information, contact ncfdelaware@gmail.com.

Learn more about local nurse ministry or find an NCF Nurses group in your area.

No Nurses in Heaven!

July 10, 2014

hospital hallAs health care workers we have dedicated our gifts and talents to caring for the sick, the disabled and the mentally ill. Our nursing service is a calling or ministry, with God equipping us to care for his children. As Christians, we have joy and confidence in knowing we are doing the Lord’s work.

Yet, even with the blessing of serving the Lord, we yearn for a time without sickness, disease, and death. Our yearning is fulfilled in heaven as described in Revelation 21:4, “Jesus will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

In addition to seeing Jesus face-to-face and loved ones who have gone before me, I am excited to go to a place where there are no hospitals, no clinics, and no nurses! Hallelujah! We will suddenly be unemployed and our services will no longer be needed. This is the good news of the gospel for our patients, their families and for all health care workers. Someday, there will come a time when healthy bodies, minds and souls will live for eternity without the fear of disease, the heartbreak of disability, nor the slow deterioration of aging (1 Corinthians 15:52-55).

We do not know what the Lord has planned for us; however, we do know we can anticipate an eternity without the need for nurses!

This is my prayer for you from Romans 15:13, “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Amen!

NCFI Cares

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://www.carriedameron.com/.

God is Omnipotent

July 8, 2014

Hydro-electric powerNurses know the five rights of medication administration: the right patient, right med, right dose, right route, and right time/frequency. Nurses also check that medications don’t expire and lose effectiveness and potency over time.

Unlike medications, God never loses his strength, potency, or effectiveness. His power is immeasurable and unlimited, no matter what power he has used or given away. God never weakens or becomes ineffective!

A.W. Tozer defines this attribute of God as “able to do and to have power.” In the Bible, “omnipotent” is only used one time and it refers to God. The word “Almighty” means the same thing as omnipotent; it appears 56 times in the Bible and is only used in reference to God. It means “having an infinite and absolute plentitude of power.”

It is this Almighty God who created the universe from nothing, brought about the Incarnation of Jesus, the atonement of all sin, and his resurrection. And Almighty God can bring about our resurrection. We can dare to believe that God is omnipotent and that our needs are nothing compared to what he has done.

Tozer describes God as the unlimited source of all power, as well as the dispenser of power. Unlike my cell phone battery that loses it charge as I talk and text, God never runs out of power. He is always fully charged! He gives away power to us through the Holy Spirit, yet he retains all of his power.

Tozer writes, “But when God gives power — to angels, archangels, redeemed men (people), mountains, seas, stars and planets — he doesn’t relinquish anything. He does not become less than he was before; God’s batteries do not run down.”

This same powerful God is also very, very personal. In Romans 8:15 we are told that we can approach God intimately as our Father. “The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”

We can trust the most powerful God for everything because we are his very children. And we do not just trust him for the easy and obvious things in life, but for the really hard and impossible things.

In God’s view, there is no difference between easy and hard. I am reminded of these biblical stories:

  • In Genesis 17, God told Abraham (Abram), “I am the Almighty God.” Then he proceeded to give Sarah and Abraham their son, Isaac.
  • The angel told Mary, a virgin, that she would become the mother of Jesus because with God, nothing is impossible.
  • In Matthew 19 Jesus told the disciples that even though a rich man would struggle to enter the kingdom of God, nothing was impossible with God.

Almighty God has all the power to pardon our sin and give us a new nature just as easily has he created heaven and earth. He is powerful enough to sustain and change all things, all circumstances, all illness and disease, all people, everything!

Take a few minutes and meditate on God’s unlimited power. What things in your life can you trust God to make right, according to his will? Consider your work situation, your family, your health, your attitudes, your fears, your finances, or whatever comes to mind as you pray.

Let John’s words in Revelation 19:6-7 remind you that you can trust the most omnipotent God to do anything:

“Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: “Hallelujah, for our Lord God Almighty reigns! Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory!”

Hallelujah!

–by Jane Hall, NCF National Director

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

This is the fourteenth 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

Students and Faculty Transformed at Camp

June 30, 2014

NCF at GPC

NCF Faculty Advisor Jeanette Crawford, RN, MSN, was amazed and humbled when she went to her first InterVarsity training camp with two nursing students and another faculty member in May. “I was struck by the eagerness of all the students to share their passion for the Lord. We spent many hours together scrutinizing Scripture,” she said.

“I witnessed young people who burned with the desire to gain new understanding and apply it to their lives,” Jeanette added. “It was an eye-opening experience to study the Gospel of Mark (which I have read many times) and then discover new insights!”

Another faculty advisor and two NCF student leaders from Georgia Perimeter College joined other students from InterVarsity Southeast at the magnificent Pinnacle Retreat Center. Together they gathered to worship, study Scripture, pray and seek God’s work in their lives and in their ministry on campus.

Nearly missing out

Devindra Cariño, an NCF student leader, was not planning to attend the training event due to finances. She was elated when InterVarsity staff Skip McDonald told her she received a scholarship, along with another chapter member, Paula Ball. “The opportunity to attend the InterVarsity Chapter Camp was an absolute blessing.  It was amazing to see all of the like-minded students who were there studying Jesus, changing our relationship with him, and pursuing a vision of reaching our campus with his gospel,” Devindra said. “The beautiful retreat center made our time of reflection, evaluation and listening to God so peaceful and enjoyable.”

Paula Ball also nearly missed the experience. “Sometimes, as nursing students, we are offered opportunities and we dismiss them too quickly. What a jewel I would have missed,” she admits. “My heart is full from worshiping our Creator and digging deeper with God through inductive Bible study methods. Jesus used this camp to woo me from the world to meet him.”

Faculty enrichment

“This was my first opportunity to participate in chapter camp and I must admit it was phenomenal,” said faculty advisor Tanis Goldman, RN, BS. “I have attended Bible study for 16 years and have never been guided to such depth of wisdom and understanding. I learned so much and will share my experience with others who desire to study God’s Word.” As a result of camp, the students requested more training to lead inductive Bible studies with their classmates. They are planning a day-long training meeting to prepare for growth of the group at GPC.

Jeanette’s vision for the group is expanding. “My hope is that next year we can bring at least 8 students to this camp. It’s a wonderful time of fellowship, praise and spiritual growth.”

T-shirts

Will you invest in the future of healthcare?

June 13, 2014

Invest in the future of healthcareHealthcare is changing. Today’s nursing graduates are facing a challenging future in nursing. But one thing never changes: our eternal and compassionate God! He is the source of hope, identity, peace, and ultimate health and wholeness – our true shalom. This is our message as Christian nurses. It’s good news!

That’s why we are passionate about equipping nurses, students and educators to be faithful followers of Jesus in nursing. Nurses who love Jesus and serve others have a special calling in our broken and pain-filled world. We want to encourage you in the opportunities you have to reflect the love of Jesus professionally and personally.

Nurses Christian Fellowship is a non-profit ministry funded by donations. Will you join us to advance God’s Kingdom among nurses, students and educators? We want to contribute a Christian voice to nursing for a long time to come!

Crisis in Kiev to Kindness in Kansas

May 19, 2014

It's a GirlThe conflict in Ukraine is close to the heart of the NCF students at Newman University in Wichita, Kansas. A touching front-page news story in The Wichita Eagle explains how the nursing students sprang into action for a woman from Kiev who was pregnant, scared, and in desperate circumstances.

The newspaper article reports,Ukraine native experiences what she already knew: Americans are good.” The story describes how one student in the Newman nursing school, Anastasiya Inchekel, went to the NCF group to ask them to pray for her twin sister who was pregnant and had just arrived from Ukraine to give birth to her baby in safety. Her sister had no prenatal care, no baby supplies, no money, and she was very anxious about her husband being drafted into the army to fight the Russians if war breaks out.

As the Newman NCF group heard about the needs of this family, they immediately sprang into action. First, the students and faculty surrounded the family in prayer, laying hands on Anastasiya when she shared her heart at the NCF meeting. Next they arranged for free prenatal care and maternal services at a local hospital. The local Pregnancy Crisis Center, a Christian ministry, was instrumental in helping to arrange the care.

When the NCF students realized the family had nothing, they hosted a baby shower and provided baby clothes, diapers, wipes, toys, shoes, a crib, and much more. The baby is due May 29, and the NCF students are committed to ongoing prayer and support for the family.

Amy Siple is the NCF faculty advisor and a professor of nursing at Newman who was first aware of Anastasiya’s concern for her sister. She is proud of how the nursing students rose up to serve the needs of those around them.

NCF staff Kathy Schoonover Shoffner said, “These students are learning to put their Christian faith into practice through the art of nursing.”

From Wichita to Kiev – with love!

Read the full news article.

God is Eternal

May 9, 2014

EternalI was in the health & beauty section of a store recently, staring at all the shelves filled with anti-aging creams and high-energy products. We are obsessed with slowing down the aging effects of time on our bodies or speeding up our productivity. Everything we do is connected to time: past, present, or future.

A.W. Tozer writes that, unlike people, God is “above” time. He has no past or future; he dwells “in an everlasting now.” This reality comforts me as I grow older in this fast-paced culture.

Tozer explains that “God didn’t begin to be — God was. God didn’t start from somewhere — God just is.” Time is a creature word because all creatures began to be. “But there was never a time when God was not! No one said, ‘Let God be’! Otherwise, the one who said ‘Let God be’ would have to be God.” Time cannot apply to God. He can’t have yesterdays and tomorrows because they are both time and he has already lived tomorrow. According to Tozer, the fact that God dwells in eternity can explain why the prophets who were anointed with the Spirit of God could foretell the future with extreme precision.

God is immortal but we, as God’s creations, are mortal beings. We grow old and wrinkle and die, but he has placed eternity in our hearts. “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end” (Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV). And because of this need for immortality, we cannot ever find satisfaction on this earth knowing that our lives are limited.

But thankfully, we can be satisfied in God through Jesus who can fill the longing for eternity in our hearts. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26 NIV). Tozer emphatically writes that “immortality and eternity you’ll only find in God — and you’ll only find God through Jesus Christ the Lord.”

So, as time marches on, how should we approach each day or look to the future? Should we rely on chemicals to stop the aging process, or move at break-neck speed through every day?

We need to live fully, peacefully, in each moment, knowing that God has already lived our today and our tomorrow and believing that faith in Jesus secures us a place in eternity with him. As nurses, we know that life is fragile, suffering can seem unending, and death is a sure thing. But as nurses who know Jesus, we can extend God’s peace to others and share with them that God desires for all to live eternally with him. He has made a way for all of us to join him in eternity if we will only acknowledge our deep need for him and for the forgiveness that only faith in Jesus can bring.

The Psalmist wrote, “Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God” (Psalm 90:2 NIV). Eternity is for real! Hallelujah!

–by Jane Hall, NCF National Director

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

This is the thirteenth 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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