Asked God for a hug lately?

February 11, 2016

2112016hugWhen my daughter was barely able to talk, she’d stretch her arms above her head, look up into our eyes, and say, “Hold you?” We knew she wanted to be held, and we usually complied. In fact, we tried to meet her every cry at that precious, helpless stage of life because we loved her deeply — and still do!

Just like a parent responds naturally to a child’s cry, the Bible assures us that God responds to our cries and petitions. Our prayers not only give God glory and align our hearts and minds with his sovereign plan, but they are also instrumental in bringing about his plan.

In 2 Kings 20, the prophet Isaiah told King Hezekiah that he would die from his illness. The king responded to this news by pleading with God to spare his life, and God gave him fifteen more years.

Did God change his overall purposes for King Hezekiah, the people of Judah or all of his creation when he answered his prayer? No! We can learn from Hezekiah’s example that God can respond to our prayers and control all circumstances and events without changing his sovereign purpose. God not only commands us to pray, he also promises to answer our prayers as part of his holy plan. Our prayers are the means that he has designed to fulfill his ordained ends.

God is calling you and me to offer him our petitions now so that we can share in his great plan!

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:7-10 NIV)

These Scripture verses are an invitation to confidently approach our heavenly Father who always holds us close to his loving heart. As we grow into his character, we prayerfully seek ways to become more involved in his kingdom-building work in our world.

Jane Hall, NCF National Director

R for Record

February 9, 2016

292016record220Many years ago I started keeping a prayer journal. My small notebook is more like a prayer list. I write out a date with a simple phrase or sentence. For example: 1/15 Karen—diagnosed with breast cancer. This brief statement reminded me to pray for my friend on a regular basis.

Eventually I added an update: 2/15 successful surgery, starting chemo/radiation. The best part is when I am able to cross out the prayer and write in PTL (Praise the Lord!): 1/15 Karen—diagnosed with breast cancer 2/15 successful surgery/starting chemo/radiation..

Since I have used the book for multiple years, I can go back and see a prayer, often with an answer or resolution. Many entries are for basic concerns. They include personal concerns, the time I had surgery,  and prayers for professional colleagues and projects.

Recording our prayers and praises doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. It is a great way to remember and reflect on how the Lord has worked in our lives. Psalms 143:5 states,

“I recall the old days; I meditate on all you have done; I reflect on your accomplishment.”

Seeing answered prayers keeps me steadfast in hope for the unanswered ones.

Carrie Dameron

ncficares

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/.

Being Transformed?

February 1, 2016

212016jcnandbibleWhat changes are you hoping for this year? What would you like to see transformed in your life?

The apostle Paul has a lot to say about how God transforms us in Romans 12:2.

“Paul encouraged the Christians in Rome not to fashion their lives after the customs of the world about them, but to have God-focused thinking,” writes Kathy Schoonover-Shoffner in her recent editorial in Journal of Christian Nursing.

“It’s the same for us today. To be transformed, we must renew our minds by focusing our attention on God and feeding our thoughts with God’s Word, as found in the Bible,” Kathy writes.

This is why Nurses Christian Fellowship uses the tagline “Be Transformed, Transform Nursing” to invite nurses, students, and educators on a journey of renewal and transformation.

“NCF helps nurses think about God and make daily, real-world connections between God’s Word and nursing,” writes Kathy. “As we follow Jesus in nursing, we are changed from the inside out. We help each other fix our attention on God and his designs for our individual and collective nursing practice.”

Kathy invites you to start your 2016 journey to be God’s transformed nurse by becoming a member of NCF. Join NCF and be a part of what God doing to change the nursing world.

Kathy summarizes, “Together, we can transform nursing students and schools of nursing. Together, we can be transformed nurses who transform our work places. Together, we can transform nursing.”

Find out more about membership and benefits of the NCF professional network.

Urbana15: Miraculous Encounters

January 25, 2016

1222016restroomsUrbana 15 was marked by miraculous, divine encounters where God put us in specific places at precise times so he could act! One such time was the 4th evening during a Communion Service for the 16,000 attendees in the Edwards Jones Dome in St. Louis. It was a sacred, solemn moment as we were led by ushers to stand row-by-row to be served the bread and wine representing Christ’s body and blood sacrificed for us.

As I waited quietly in prayer, my aging bladder started talking, then screaming at me. I tried to ignore the growing sensation but realized I would need to take action soon. Finally our row stood and received the elements, then I quickly exited to find a bathroom.

To my surprise, as I left the bathroom, a young woman said, “I know you. You’re famous!” She clarified that she’d been in a seminar that I had taught a few days earlier with Jane Hall, NCF National Director. I discovered she was a nursing student, and like many of the students at Urbana, seeking God’s calling on her life. Then suddenly, she began to cry. As her voice broke, she asked if I would talk with her for a moment.

We quickly found a quiet place and she poured out her story. The Bible studies at Urbana had brought into sharp focus the reality of God’s judgment for those who reject him. Her voice trailed off as she said, “I don’t know if I can serve a God who will send some to eternal punishment…”

I shed a few tears with her, and I told her it was a good thing to ask God hard questions. That he welcomes our questions. Then I said I wondered if God was breaking her heart for the lost so she would realize the urgency of reaching out to others, of being his messenger. We then went to scriptures like 1 Timothy 2:4 and 2 Peter 3 and talked about how it is God’s will for all to be saved; that he is patiently waiting, not wanting anyone to perish but everyone to come to repentance. We talked about how God is calling us to bring the good news of salvation to the world.

We prayed, cried, hugged, and I promised to stay in contact with her as she continued to seek God’s will for her life. We laughed as we both realized God had spoken to my bladder to create a divine encounter. He had ordained our meeting in the hallway during Communion at Urbana 15.

Finding Life at Urbana 15

January 22, 2016

urbana15

“What story will you tell with your life?” This invitation to tell God’s story deeply challenged 16,000 participants at Urbana 15–including hundreds of nursing students–who gathered in St. Louis for InterVarsity’s student missions conference.

“At Urbana 15, we challenged this generation to tell Jesus’ story with their lives, and to learn from stories that are different than theirs,” said Urbana director Tom Lin. “I pray that this generation will give their whole hearts to Jesus and surrender their lives for God’s global mission.”

Catch the excitement of Urbana in these brief summary videos: Find Your Life and What Story Will You Tell?

During December 27-31, thousands of Urbana participants worshiped God together through music and drama, studied the Gospel of Matthew, prayed for persecuted Christians, and engaged with hundreds of mission-focused seminars and mission agencies.

NCF staff connected with more than 200 people at the NCF exhibit about serving God in nursing. Nursing students got excited to start Bible studies for their friends to learn more about Jesus.  They also discovered the Journal of Christian Nursing and other NCF resources that offer a Christian healthcare perspective to influence their nursing practice.

“My first Urbana conference was in 1990 and this was the best yet,” said Bonnie Hann, NCF Campus Liaison. “I loved talking with nurses and nursing students who were passionate about loving God and serving others with their lives. Some even expressed interest in NCF staff positions.”

Overall, students at Urbana made serious commitments to follow Jesus Christ:

  • 681 students made a decision to follow Jesus in faith at #urbana15
  • 5,418 students committed to taking the book of Matthew back to campus and sharing with friends
  • 9,254 students committed to praying for the global church
  • 5,058 students committed to short-term missions
  • $1,000,000+ raised for our global missions partners

See all the Urbana 15 videos at urbana.org. Be inspired by speaker David Platt’s call to prioritize love for Jesus over service to Jesus. Listen to the audios for healthcare seminars, particularly the seminar on Whole Person Care by Jane Hall and Kathy Schoonover-Shoffner.

“We are praising God for the many significant conversations at Urbana, especially with nursing students who are clearly gifted in leadership,” said Jane Hall, NCF Director. “Please join us in praying for students to take active steps to fulfill the commitments made at Urbana 15—it’s only the beginning of following Jesus for a lifetime.”

Top 5 Blog Posts of 2015

January 11, 2016

You’re in luck. You may not have had time in 2015 to read all of the new posts on the NCF Nurses Blog, so here is the highlight reel. These inspirational stories and articles reflect our most popular blog posts among Christian nurses.

Whether you’re a nurse, student, educator, or retired, may God’s Spirit encourage and equip you to spread His love, joy and peace in 2016.

Praying#1 10 Quick Prayers for Nurses

These brief scripture prayers will help you rely on the Lord throughout your day, in addition to your more extended devotional times.

 

C. Dameron#2 Christian Nursing 101

This 2010 blog classic is again high on the charts. What does it mean to be a Christian nurse? How is Christian faith reflected in essential skills for our profession and practice?

 

Fatigue#3 Addressing Compassion Fatigue

Nurses dealing with frequent heartache may feel fatigued, stressed or lose their ability to nurture. But there is hope for nurses suffering from compassion fatigue!

 

K. Doan#4 From Campus to Hospital to Campus

When God knocks on your heart, it’s time to open the door. For Krista Doan, God’s knocking meant applying for a campus staff position with Nurses Christian Fellowship.

 

Stethoscope#5 I Am A Nurse

My first stethoscope was a surprise gift from my children and husband after I was accepted into nursing school.

When I became a nurse, the new weight of responsibility reminded me of that feeling when I brought my first baby home.  Am I ready for this? Can I do this and do it well?

See more of the top stories from the NCF Nurses Blog, including Spiritual Nutrition, Good Grief: Living with Dying, and God is My Life.

NCF at Urbana 15

December 27, 2015

12urbanaNCF staff will be at the Urbana missions conference with 16,000 students and missionaries who are seeking God’s will for their lives, eager to participate in his mission in the world. Hundreds of nursing students will be in St. Louis to explore how to serve God in nursing. Pray for fruitful conversations at the NCF exhibit, seminars and gatherings.

Lives will be transformed this week through worship, speakers, seminars, exhibits, Bible studies in Matthew, individual conversations and times in prayer all focused on the theme, What Story Will You Tell?

Find out more and join us on streaming video December 27-31 at urbana.org.

Why We Should Pray, Part 4

December 8, 2015

1282015gpsToday I use GPS to find where I want to go. But I am technologically challenged, so first I must learn to enter my destination, then listen to a voice or watch a moving dot for directions. I assume that the GPS will guide me forward on the best available route. If the GPS directions are correct and I follow them precisely, I have confidence in making it to my destination.

Jesus knew that his disciples needed help in finding their way, so he taught them to ask God for directions and to meet all of their needs. In the beginning of Jesus’ model prayer in Matthew 6:9-10, he first taught the disciples to acknowledge that God has a plan to establish his Kingdom on earth, and that he will fulfill this plan according to his will.

Jesus prayed:
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

When we include this same acknowledgment in our prayers, we are agreeing to seek and accept God’s plan for all things, even for ourselves. Acknowledging God’s sovereignty and control helps us align our requests with his will, rather than making self-focused requests and having a limited perspective about what God wants to do.

 Even Jesus had to learn to trust in God’s self-sacrificing direction for his life. As he faced death on the cross in the Garden of Gethsemane, he fell to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

 Our NCF staff team has spent months praying intensely for God’s guidance as we searched for a new national director to lead NCF into the future after I retire in June, 2016. We were all stretched to trust the Lord in this process.

 But God, in his great faithfulness and infinite goodness, has not left us without direction. I am pleased to announce that Kathy Schoonover-Shoffner has been appointed as the new NCF director beginning July 2016. As editor of Journal of Christian Nursing, Kathy brings a wealth of gifts and abilities, a dedication to NCF, and a passion to see nurses and students grow into a deeper love for God that flows into the lives of others. Thank you, Lord!

 1282015mangerIn this busy Christmas season, may we reflect on how Jesus, the Creator of the universe, made his way to the confined womb of a Jewish teenager to begin his human journey. Jesus didn’t need a GPS; he listened confidently and humbly to the voice of the One who guides us all.

 Merry Christmas!
Jane

New NCF Director Appointed

December 4, 2015

1242015kssNurses Christian Fellowship will have a new director when Jane Hall retires June 30, 2016. Kathy Schoonover-Shoffner will lead NCF ministry for students, nurses and educators beginning July 1, 2016.

Kathy has served NCF as editor of Journal of Christian Nursing (JCN) for the past 11 years. She has over 35 years of experience and expertise as a nurse, administrator, researcher and editor. Kathy also has served as an NCF volunteer staff for students and faculty at Wichita State University and Newman University schools of nursing.

“I am thankful to God for Kathy’s appointment,” said Jane Hall, the current NCF director. “He has answered our prayers. Kathy is a compassionate nurse, a scholar, and a devoted student of God’s Word. Kathy cares for people, and she graciously and boldly shares the love of Christ. Under Kathy’s leadership, NCF will continue to see nursing students and faculty transformed by Christ and to have a biblical, Christian influence in nursing.”

Kathy was appointed JCN editor in 2004. The following year she helped NCF negotiate a partnership with publishing giant Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. “That was a miraculous work of God that widened the influence of NCF and InterVarsity,” Kathy said. “We now publish JCN in print, online, mobile, and iPad formats, and our biblically-based continuing education for nurses is online with one of the world’s largest continuing education providers.”

“Kathy is highly regarded in both the Christian and secular nursing worlds,” said Paul Tokunaga, InterVarsity vice president and director of Strategic Ministries. “But foremost, Kathy is passionate about seeing nursing students come to a saving faith in Jesus and then be salt and light in healthcare.”

The role of NCF director is a demanding one, but Kathy is ready to meet the challenge. “I am excited about what God will do through NCF in the coming years,” Kathy said. I don’t know all that will be needed to lead NCF, but I serve the One who holds ‘all power and wealth and wisdom and strength’ (Revelation 5:12). God will lead NCF.”

Jane Hall agrees, and invites the NCF community to pray for a smooth transition in the months ahead. “Please join us in thanking God for Kathy and for the gifts she brings to the leadership of NCF.”

______________

Kathy received her PhD in Nursing from the University of Kansas. She lives in Wichita with her husband, Richard, a physician. They have three grown children. Find out how you can get involved in NCF ministry. 

See Me, See My Child

November 30, 2015

11302015autismA special needs child is a beautiful gift to display God’s unfailing love, yet such children also present unique and complex challenges.

Hannah Fraley knows the joy—and the anguish—of raising a son with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). In her article, “See Me, See My Child,” published in Journal of Christian Nursing, she writes, “My goal is to educate about ASD and shed light on how nurses, who encounter children with ASD and their families, can have an impact on understanding and caring for their unique needs.”

Fraley recounts the story of a nurse who saw the frustration and pain on the face of a mother in her church who was struggling with her son while attending church activities. She wondered how the faith community could become more welcoming for this boy and his family when they attend ministry activities.

Sadly, Fraley describes how parents and children with ASD often feel judged by fellow parishioners and chronically feel alone and isolated, othered.

“The complexity of the family caring for a child with ASD presents a crucial ministry area for nursing, particularly to intervene at the faith community level,” Fraley writes. “We can strive to create environments in which we treat special needs children with special honor, God-like honor.”

In her article, Fraley discusses the causes, diagnosis and treatment of ASD, as well as offering suggestions on how nurses can help children and families, especially within the context of the faith community.

___________

You can receive the peer-reviewed Journal of Christian Nursing as a member benefit when you join NCF, a professional nursing organization. Or, subscribe to JCN.


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