Uncertainty is a fact of life. Though the weather forecast predicts sunny skies for the weekend, rain may still come. When you gather the courage to ask that cute guy or girl from Bible study on a date, will he or she say yes? Or perhaps, you may prepare intensively for a clinical licensing exam, only for your hard-won patient to cancel at the last minute. (Dental students, can you relate?) The higher the stakes, the higher the anxiety caused by such uncertainty. Across the nation, students are graduating during most uncertain times of the COVID-19 pandemic and national turmoil.

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Last weekend I had the opportunity to join InterMed NYC, a network of Christian physicians and trainees in the tri-state area, to check in with CMDA students and residents and learn about the needs of their community.

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Those words spoken by Kwame Achampong, a third year Howard University College of Dentistry student and new CDA chapter president, were surprising to hear. After all, at the age of 20, he founded a non-profit called Project Dental All, “whose purpose is to educate children on the importance of oral health maintenance and empower them with toothbrushes, toothpaste, and floss.”

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The advance of COVID-19 interrupted the education of medical students across the country. I was pulled from third year rotations. Although I’m not qualified to speak about medicine with much credibility.

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Justin Whitney Earley’s epilogue to “The Common Rule: Creating Habits of Purpose for an Age of Distraction” provides timely insights for beginning a new year.

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Cancer is a meddlesome yet surmountable disease. During my internal medicine rotation at York Memorial Hospital in York, Pennsylvania, I worked with patients in the hematology/oncology unit. It was a difficult few weeks. However, as I spent more time on the wards, I grew comfortable learning medicine and, more importantly, growing closer to patients.

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“And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.”
—Genesis 2:2-3, ESV

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“If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing…” (1 Timothy 6:3-4, ESV). “But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene…” (2 Timothy 2:16-17, ESV).

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When do you fast for spiritual reasons, i.e., not because you’ve lacked “time” to engage in an activity such as eating? From what do you fast?

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“…‘The Lord our God is one…” (Mark 12:29, NASB). John R.W. Stott, former rector of All Souls Church in Langham Place, England, wrote a little book, Your Mind Matters, in which he lamented the anti-intellectualism along with the radical socialism and political activism among many Christians.

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“Either we curate our stories, or the world of media will curate us.” — Justin Whitmel Earley, author of The Common Rule: Creating Habits of Purpose for an Age of Distraction.

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“And he said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind’” (Matthew 22:37, ESV; also included similarly in Mark 12:30 and Luke 10:27). Mental Christianity. We tend to think of faith as a private, heart matter of the emotions, a spiritual thing that hardly involves the mind or mental commitment.

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“I’ve Got This.” Al Weir, MD December 11, 2018

“Once we know who we are in God, we can turn to the world to offer love. But when we don’t, we will turn to the world looking for love. And that order makes all the difference.” — Justin Whitmel Earley, author of The Common Rule: Creating Habits of Purpose for an Age of Distraction

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“Our spiritual DNA longs for presence. But how often are our phones the reason we are around each other, but not present with each other?” — Justin Whitmel Earley, author of The Common Rule: Creating Habits of Purpose for an Age of Distraction

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“Anything worth doing sucks you in. If I have an important meeting or a big deadline, I wake up thinking about it, and all I want to do is get to the office to focus on it. Breakfast easily gets sacrificed on the altar of either my nervousness or my hunger for productivity….”

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A healthcare professional? Receive this prayer. Not a healthcare professional? Join pastors, partners in ministry, friends, family and students in praying for current healthcare professionals with whom you are connected.

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A student? Receive this prayer. Not a student? Join pastors, partners in ministry, friends, family and current healthcare professionals in praying for future healthcare professionals you are connected with and/or are studying at a school in your area.

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“Our lives are something like a jasmine plant, and our days and weeks are something like the trellis. At best, we’re made to grow upward, blossom beautifully and fill the earth will all the rich fragrance of God’s uncountable glories.”

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Your mission might stand for one thing, but your habits might stand for something entirely different. Usually your habits win…Our habits form us. They form our identities, they form our loves, and thus they form our whole lives.” — Justin Whitmel Earley

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Talking about Jesus while ignoring the way of Jesus has created an American Christianity that is far more American than it is Christian. Paying all our spiritual attention to the message of Jesus while ignoring his practices has not only led people like me into devastating life crises, it has also created a country of Christians whose practical lives are divorced from their actual faith.

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For those whom I have not yet met, my name is Thomas B. Grosh IV. I am a child of God who has been serving as a full time ambassador of Christ for over 20 years. For most of this time I ministered to college students and faculty with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship / USA. InterVarsity / USA was instrumental in the Lord calling me to follow him and in my own discipleship, even the focus of my studies in higher education.

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Our newly formed South Central Pennsylvania CMDA Chapter certainly upholds these ideals. One function of the South Central chapter is connection with the national organization and its many resources, meetings, and conferences. However, as a local group, we also can help connect, encourage and inspire each other with our walk with Jesus in healthcare on a much more personal level. We intend to facilitate this through this through this blog, small local get togethers in the various towns in the area, and Lord willing, a larger event for the whole region. The students at Penn State Hershey College of Medicine have been a focus for CMDA is the region, appropriately so. We hope to continue this but also to expand this to practicing colleagues in the region.

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