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Living As God's Beloved

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By James Bryan Smith


216 pp., Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2013, $17.00, hardcover; eBook, $13.99.


Review: This is a beautiful book, perfect for busy and tired nurses. Each single, short chapter is loaded with great riches. James Bryan Smith unpacks the treasures of Colossians chapter 3 in 30 meditations, using key words from the passage like "raised," "seated," "hidden," and "revealed."


Smith explains in the introduction that his goal was not to create a scholarly work but to bring forth the powerful truths of Colossians 3 in such a way that they would bring encouragement, refreshment, and enthusiasm to the reader. Each chapter concludes with an exercise, affirmation, prayer, and questions for reflection. The exercises expand the benefits of reading the book and include such things as "ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you that you are God's beloved," (p. 135) or "today, or this week, pay attention to your lips, to your tongue, to the things you say.... Make it a goal to say ten kind and encouraging things to those around you on any given day" (p. 105).


The extravagant love of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit invites us to also live in love and unity. As we linger with Smith's selected 30 words and in the glorious truths from this one chapter in Colossians, we embrace the reality that this love and unity is normal for the person living in Christ and is fully attainable to us. Hidden in Christ is a book that is serious and deep but definitely not heavy.


This small book is ideal as a daily devotional or for a group discussion with other nurses. A small group of nurses at work or the university could easily share insights from a chapter in a brief discussion group.-Lesa Gardner, Wichita, KS




Leader's Guide; Participant's Guide

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By Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert


Leader's Guide 139 pp. + 112 pp. scripting for the Participant's Guide, Chicago, IL: Moody, 2014, $14.99, soft cover.


Participant's Guide 112 pp., $12.99, soft cover.


Review: The success of their book, When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor... And Yourself, has led Steve Corbett and Fikkert from the Chalmers Institute to offer these two guides to assist churches who are seeking to do short-term missions using a new missions paradigm-one that comes alongside of Christians who are working long-term in programs designed to alleviate poverty, in their own contexts.


Corbett and Fikkert acknowledge that short-term missions (STMs) are a relatively new phenomenon made possible by improved travel and technology. They are asking the church and its leaders to reevaluate the way STMs are done and proposing some better ways of doing STMs. They ask some difficult questions to pose the problem: Is it best to call 1- to 2-week trips a short-term mission? Can we really impact poverty in a 1- or 2-week trip? Who really benefits from STMs? "Could it be that the popularity of STMs is partially an outgrowth of our insatiable need for emotional experiences to validate faith and obedience?" (p. 34, Leaders Guide). Are the financial and material resources devoted to STMs being stewarded well? They cite research done by Robert Wuthnow and Stephen Offutt in 2005 that estimated 1.6 million U.S. adults went on an STM, at an average cost of $1,400/person, or nearly $2.2 billion (pp. 31-32, Leaders Guide).


Corbett and Fikkert posit that the different ways people who are poor and people who are helping the poor define poverty is the fundamental and underlying problem. Those who come from resource-rich countries define poverty as a lack of material possessions-money, housing, clothes, food, and medicine. Therefore, the answer to poverty is to provide those things. The poor, on the other hand, define poverty in psychosocial terms-shame, inadequacy, inferiority, powerlessness. When STMs go and provide material resources, the result is an increased sense of shame, inadequacy, inferiority, powerlessness, not an alleviation of it. This actually causes more harm and increased dependency than it contributes to poverty alleviation. The alternative is not to go to do and give, but to go to be with people, establish relationships, and learn from one another.


These guides are invaluable in addressing some of the issues related to the STM industry. Corbett and Fikkert are seeking to create a revolution within the church as to how STMs are done. The Leaders Guide succinctly lays out the issues and guides church and mission leaders to help their congregations and STM participants into the new way of doing STMs. Entering into a long-term, committed relationship with Christians engaged on the ground in poverty alleviation in the name of Christ, will build the Church on both sending and receiving sides of the relationship.


The guides include lesson plans for preparation, on-the-ground experiences, and debriefing for STM programs. Each lesson provides access to a video presentation via Internet by Steve and Brian, along with a discussion guide. These lessons are designed to provide for the spiritual formation of the participants in STMs. The lessons ask participants to engage in more than a 1- or 2-week trip, but rather to commit to their own ongoing spiritual transformation that comes from long-term involvement in wholistic missions that includes poverty alleviation.


This book is not for people who want to feel good about their involvement in STMs or who are addicted to service tourism. This book is for Christians who are eager to participate in God's kingdom-building activity and desire to grow through their engagement in it.-Grace Tazelaar, MS, RN, NCF Missions Director, Villa Park, IL



30 Days and 101 Ways to Demonstrate the Gospel

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By Ben Connelly and Bob Roberts, Jr.


224 pp., Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2014, $13.49, paperback.


Review: Mission, missionaries, and missional living must certainly apply to someone other than me or you, right? After all, I don't live overseas so I am off the hook, right? Not so fast. The authors encourage those who identify with Christ, those who call themselves Christians, to live out the gospel where we live. "Our identity leads us to demonstrate the gospel. This isn't just true for the tiny percentage of Christians who actively choose to call themselves 'missionaries,' who get on a plane for the more traditional picture of 'mission.' It's true for everyone redeemed by God" (p. 24).


Where we live, where we work, our activities, our hobbies, in the backyard, or along the sidelines at the game, we have opportunities for influence. We can invite our neighbors over rather than going out. We can build a fire and roast marshmallows, rake leaves together, remove snow with the idea that we are creating relationships that will allow us to live out our faith, ask questions, and do life together. Doing so opens doors to faith-related conversations.


Important questions regarding the ins and outs of everyday mission where we live include: Who is my everyday mission field? What does an everyday missionary do? When does everyday mission happen? Where does everyday mission happen? Why should I even care about everyday mission? How do I share the gospel without killing the relationship? These are the real questions that keep many of us from doing anything any day, let alone every day.


Each of these questions is addressed in six chapters, with seven sections per chapter: one per day, 30 days for a month of thought-provoking reading. Each daily section contains three everyday ways to demonstrate faith in action. (For you math people, some days contain more than three.) You'll find simple, right-where-you-live-and-work ideas to open doors for relationship and conversation.


By being with others in various settings, Christians can build relationships and develop a real love for others. "If we truly loved those around us, and if we truly want what's best for them, our posture is not one of winning souls or gaining a return on investment. Instead, the posture of everyday mission is one of patience, kindness, selflessness, humility, truth, joy, hope and persistence. Even when it gets hard, we believe, hope and endure. Because that's what love does, and mission is birthed in love" (p. 106).


The authors use the term "not-yet believer" to describe those who do not know Jesus. The term is hopeful. It is also sobering, as one day every knee shall bow (Philippians 2:9-11). I want to be more intentional in serving where I live to make a difference in the ordinary moments of life. How about you?-Cathy Walker, JCN Associate Editor, Madison, WI


Going Deeper

Going Deeper helps you dig deeper into JCN content, offering ideas for personal or group study with other nurses-great for NCF groups! Previous issues of Going Deeper are available free online at under "JCN Extras."


* Neonatal Loss: Read Holston, pp. 18-25.


1. What does the author cite as helpful in assisting those facing the loss of a child? What approaches can be unpleasant?


2. How does the role of keeping the family informed offer compassionate care?


3. Discuss the author's statement, "Caregivers should refrain from remarks such as, 'He/she is in a better place,' 'It was God's will,' and 'I know how you feel.' Although well-intentioned, statements trying to explain why the unexplainable happened are offensive." Describe a time when you witnessed such an interaction and how it was received.


4. Where you practice, what supportive measures are in place to support parents facing neonatal loss?


5. What Scripture might help you process loss? See Psalm 23, 31:1-10, 43:1-3; 2 Corinthians 4:7-9.


* Hospice Clinical Experiences: Read Spicer et al., pp. 46-49.


1. Discuss the competencies presented in Table 1 on p. 47. Choose one or two competencies and relate them to your personal beliefs and faith.


2. What are some outcomes of student clinical time with hospice care?


3. How comfortable or uncomfortable are you in providing care for a dying patient and his or her family?


4. The Bible says a lot about death. How do these Scriptures help you in caring for dying persons? Psalm 116:15; Proverbs 14:27, 32; Matthew 16:24-27; Romans 6:4-5; 1 Corinthians 15:26, 50-57; 2 Timothy 4:18.


* Minority Status in Culture: Read Cusveller et al., pp. 26-30.


1. What is the difference between spirituality and a faith tradition?


2. Discuss this statement, "Christians in many European countries have become a minority. Numerous Christians have chosen the strategy of adapting to their surroundings by living their Christian life 'quietly,' in terms of attitude rather than behavior." To what degree can you relate? Explain.


3. See also Student TXT, page 15. How does integrity relate to this discussion?


4. What challenges to practicing as a Christian nurse in European countries are noted?


5. What challenges/barriers do you face in your practice setting that make it difficult to integrate faith and nursing?


* Essential Nursing: Read Kenagy, pp. 31-33.


1. What made nurse Laura so special to this patient?


2. Describe a nurse in your work setting that goes the extra steps to assist patients. What is he or she like?


3. The author writes, "Nursing, caring, is all by wordless movement. An odd dance to the cadence of muffled sighs." Respond to this statement.


4. See Luke 6:31; Romans 13:10; Galatians 5:14; and James 2:8. How do these verses apply to nursing care?