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Global Health Outreach Blog

Catching Character

Catching Character

“Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me-put it into practice…” (Philippians 4:9, NIV 2011).

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The Secret

The Secret

Do you know the secret of making it to the mission field after you know God is calling you? Do you know the secret of faithful service to the Lord once you get there? Do you know the secret of overcoming the many obstacles you will face on your journey from heartbreaking medical cases, to burn out and the difficulty of being away from your family?

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Whatever…

Whatever… by Rev. Stan Key

How can parents say to their teenager, “Let me take the speck out of your eye; when they don’t even see the log in their own eye?” (Matthew 7:4, NASV-Non-Authorized Stan’s Version).

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Are You Gifted?

Are You Gifted? October 17, 2017

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you will be my witnesses…” (Acts 1:8, NIV 2011).

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Destroying Giants

Catching Character October 16, 2017

What are you scared of? For most of the 12 spies Moses sent to scout the Promised Land “flowing with milk and honey,” it was the giants who lived there. In Numbers 13:27-32 they said, “We can’t attack those people; they’re way stronger than we are” (NIV 1984). Then, they spread scary rumors among the people of Israel.

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Words about the Word

Words about the Word, October 6, 2017

Some of the assumptions we have about life are so much a part of the warp and woof of our faith that we are unconscious we even hold them. Like the glasses (for some of us) that sit on our nose, we have become so habituated to wearing them and seeing the world through them, that we aren’t even aware of their presence.

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Test Run

Test Run September 29, 2017

“‘…Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,’ says the Lord Almighty…” (Malachi 3:10, NIV 2011). I was writing clinical notes at my computer when I overheard my administrative assistant talking to someone, probably a family member.

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Tell Me Why

Tell Me Why September 22, 2017

The real question that must be answered when it comes to missions is not Where? or How? Or even Who? The real question is Why? If we can answer this question, all other questions will take care of themselves.

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Dreams

Dreams September 15, 2017

It was raining and we could not see the mountains, but we could feel their glory in the freshness of the air. I was sitting in a Christian medical retreat in the mountains of central Asia. A young doctor-in-training was speaking about his life within a radical environment that does not allow the gospel to be preached.

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Undiscipled Disciples

Undiscipled Disciples September 8, 2017

Three times in the New Testament the followers of Christ are called “Christians.” But they are called “disciples” more than 260 times! There is more than semantics going on here. The gospel of Jesus is about discipleship.

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Money Thoughts

Money Thoughts September 1, 2017

“Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve” (1 Peter 5:2, NIV 1984).

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Fed Up

Fed Up August 28, 2017

Early in his presidency, the infamous Ugandan dictator Idi Amin was invited to England by Queen Elizabeth. After a state dinner at Buckingham Palace, he reportedly said, “Thank you, Mr. Queen. I have eaten and I’m fed up. If you come to Uganda, I will revenge.”

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Second Chances

Second Chances

I’m not sure I deserved the credit Bonner gave me. “I want to thank you for saving my life, Doc. “But more important than the credit was the way he finished his statement. “I’m going to put this second chance to good use. I’m not going to squander it.”

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You Don’t Have to Come Back

You Don’t Have to Come Back

In his book The Insanity of God, Nik Ripken (pseudonym) shares the story of a Russian pastor sent to a Siberian prison because of his faith. His wife and children followed him there to support him in his suffering, and they too suffered.

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First Things First

First Things First

You could easily argue that my first six months on the mission field in Kenya were a waste of time and energy. Jody and I, along with our 3-year-old son Jason and 1-year-old daughter Jessica, weren’t living at Tenwek Hospital, where God had called us to serve. Instead, we were stationed 35 miles south of the hospital at Kaboson, a two-hour mud-slogging drive in the rainy season if you didn’t get stuck.

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The Key to World Transformation

The Key to World Transformation

When one’s eyes are opened to the overwhelming needs around us and then you realize that the Lord Jesus is calling us to help change the world, it can feel overwhelming, even paralyzing. What can I do? Where should I begin? Should I volunteer for the food pantry?

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Voice Recognition

Voice Recognition

“Don’t go to Africa,” they said to us. “You’ll never see your husband. He’ll be consumed by constant medical needs.” “Your children will be at risk of getting malaria.” “Why go to Africa when problems are all around us here in the U.S.A.?”

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Pee-Wees

Pee-Wees

Nik Ripken (pseudonym) is a Christian aid worker who has served in the most dangerous regions of the world. In his book The Insanity of God, he tells the story of his time in Somalia during the “Black Hawk Down” days. Christianity was extremely dangerous to promote and deadly for Somalians to accept as truth.

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You Ain’t Nothin’ But A Hound Dog

You Ain’t Nothin’ But A Hound Dog

Huh? Elvis gave hound dogs everywhere a bad name forever. And yet, if we can get beyond Elvis’ body contortions and those mindless lyrics, we may be able to grasp the reality that God is, in fact, a lot like a hound dog. Think about it. Bloodhounds are noted for their ability to follow a scent for long distances. Once on the trail they are famous for their tenacity.

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I Could Have Been a Better Missionary

I Could Have Been a Better Missionary

I’m an overachiever, probably just like you and most other healthcare professionals. Okay, that is not completely accurate. I confess, I’m an over overachiever. I’ve always wanted to be the best of the best.

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Under-appreciated

Under-appreciated

I’ve got a new chief at the office. And he doesn’t know how great I am. He doesn’t know I work harder and longer than most; that I care for my patients more than most. He mainly complains about the petty stuff. I was dwelling heavily on this on the way home this evening: This is not fair; how am I going to prove to him that I am worthy of his appreciation?

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Big God: A Devotional Thought

Big God: A Devotional Thought

How big is your God? Isaiah’s God was enormous! When he writes about his vision of the Holy One, the thing that seems to impress him the most is that the hem of his robe took up all the space in the temple. Jut the hem! Think about it.

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Pyromania

Pyromania

I love a real log fire. It is a feast for all my senses. The flames dance before my eyes in yellows, reds, blues and purples. The popping and snapping is a never-tiring music and the smell of wood smoke fills the house. A real fire is so nice that I will arise from my warm cushy comfort to go out into the bitter cold to add logs and then stoke the fire.

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Dealing with Difficult People

Dealing with Difficult People

Like the withdrawing alcoholic who cusses out and swings at staff. The missionary physician who belittles less experienced team members. The surly dental patient who repeatedly demands the one o’clock appointment yet never expresses thanks.

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TGI Monday

TGI Monday

Jesus spent 18 years as a carpenter. He spent three years as a preacher. In other words, the Savior of the world invested six times more of His life sawing lumber, hammering nails, planning boards, making cabinets and sweeping sawdust than He spent preaching, teaching and healing.

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Why should I do Short-Term Medical Missions?

Why should I do Short-Term Medical Missions?

Do you ever ask what you should get out of serving? What is the benefit to you? How should you be changed by the act of serving? Here are the heart-felt thoughts of someone struggling with exactly these questions.

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God Knows

God Knows June 16, 2017

I received a text from Janice today. “They did not have approval for my medicine.” Janice requires long-term immune globulin for an immunodeficiency and my office had forgotten to update her insurance approval. I apologized for the mistake and her wasted time.

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From Battleground to Sacred Space

From Battleground to Sacred Space

R.I.P. “Rest in peace” is usually reserved as a benediction for the dead. But it is the living who need restful sleep, and for one in 10 Americans, this is only an elusive dream. As sleep evades, the mind becomes a strategic battleground and the pillow a daunting beachhead.

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Nothing is Wasted

Nothing is Wasted

It was October 1997 and I was spending a semester studying abroad in Australia. I was at a church service, where a group who had just returned from a trip to Namibia was speaking. I listened to their presentation and was struck by how “meaningful” it all seemed, and how, by contrast, what I was doing (studying civil engineering) was not.

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Whole-hearted or Hole-hearted?

Whole-hearted or Hole-hearted?

A nasty rumor is going around, and it is my goal to squelch it! It seems many in the church today have been led to believe that one can be a follower of Jesus Christ without being fully devoted. Do you buy into this rumor? Can you make only a partial surrender to Christ and simultaneously sing “It Is Well With My Soul?”

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Struggling Well

Whole-hearted or Hole-hearted?

We were seated in a large circle, each with our spouse, sharing family war stories so that we might hold them up to the Lord-physicians, dentists, physician assistant, medical student, resident in obstetrics. Linda shared her story and then concluded before we prayed, “We have our struggles-but we are struggling well.”

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Humble Apologetics

Humble Apologetics

Perhaps the greatest damage that can be done in our efforts as Christians to “defend the faith” is to do so with a spirit of pride. More arguments are lost by arrogance in our attitudes than by errors in our reasoning! Our apologetics must be humble because the God we serve is humble.

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The Diabolical Heritage of the English Language

The Diabolical Heritage of the English Language

If I were Satan and my mission to capture souls for hell, I think my first theater of operations would be the dictionary. I could greatly enhance my diabolical plan for world dominion if I could subtly change the meaning of words so that verbal accuracy was lost and truth became foggy.

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Expenditure or Investment?

Expenditure or Investment?

Yesterday I attended a retreat for Christian medical students at a beautiful spot on a small lake in Arkansas. Tim is a third year medical student who led a session on discipleship for his fellow students there. I was struck by his speaking ability, his maturity in Christ and by one particular statement he made.

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Where the Battle is Won…Or Lost

Where the Battle is Won…Or Lost

Deep within every human soul resides a kingdom where self is sovereign. In this little fiefdom of autonomy the unholy trinity of me, myself and I reigns supreme. Here, I sit on the throne of my life enacting decrees, making judgments, forming decisions and controlling my destiny.

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Spunk and Love

Spunk and Love

Author and psychologist Mary Pipher encourages parents to expose their children to beauty and goodness. Thus it was, before home school each morning in Kenya, we walked past hedges and the hospital to stand and stare at majestic Mt. Elgon.

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Healing Wounds With Honey

Healing Wounds With Honey

I had a great chat with Louis Carter at the Global Missions Healthcare Conference. If you don’t know Louis, he spent time as a missionary in Nigeria, and for last 20 years or so has spent a month or two, three or four times a year at mission hospitals teaching plastic and hand surgery techniques. He is now completing a book on those techniques for the Pan-African Academy of Christian Surgeons.

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Ziklag

Ziklag

It’s been 30 years, but I can still recall his look of disappointment. James was a medical student who had looked up to me when I had surrendered my life to God’s call for international healthcare missions. It hadn’t worked out. We hadn’t lasted. Back after two years in Nigeria, seeking a career like other doctors who had never heard the call, I had let him down.

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Service Spot

Service Spot

I was checking my email in the family room with the Wimbledon Tennis Championships on TV in the background when a phrase the announcer used grabbed my attention. He said Nick Kyrigos, an Australian tennis player, was a “spot server.”

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Body Bag Living

Body Bag Living

We were seeing him in the hospital because his blood counts had dropped, probably nothing serious. As we talked, I learned he was a Korean War veteran and asked him if he was at the Chosin Reservoir, in that “Coldest Winter” where more than 100,000 Chinese poured over the Korean border and drove U.S. soldiers south though cross-fire and frostbite.

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The Be-Baditudes

The Be-Baditudes February 19, 2017

Blessed are those who have their act together and are spiritually with it, for they illustrate what God’s reign in this world really looks like. Blessed are those who are healthy, wealthy and happy, for they’ve found the true meaning of life.

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Sugar Cane Sabbath

Sugar Cane Sabbath February 7, 2017

Sugar cane-sweet, juicy. Anyone familiar with the taste will salivate at the mention of the word. During our years in Kenya, a fresh stalk of sugar cane trumped all other treats as far as our children were concerned. Eagerly they watched us cut away the tough outer layer with a sharp knife.

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