Sunday, November 30, 2008


Isaiah 30: 185-21
"This is what the Sovereign LORD, the HOLY ONE of Israel, says: 'In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it. You said 'No, we will flee on horses!' Therefore you will flee! You said, 'We will ride off on swift horses!' Therefore your pursuers will be swift! A thousand will flee at the threat of one; at the threat of five you will all flee away, till you are left like a flagstaff on a mountaintop, like a banner on a hill.'

Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! O people of Zion who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you. Although the LORD gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, 'This is the way; walk in it.'"

The last weeks and months have been times of seeking the Lord for direction. I was overwhelmed by options and no clear sense of which direction to pursue. I would spend time praying, but did not receive freedom to move in any direction. I was frustrated and struggled to wait patiently. I wanted to make a decision, to move in some direction-any direction! I returned many times to the above passage. I realized that I was stuck in the first part, wanting to come to a solution on my own, in my own timing. To choose rest and trust was difficult. I was challenged by those more wise than I to rest in the process; to seek the LORD and let the seeking be enough.

A few weeks ago I was at a medical mission conference. I was able to spend more time praying and spending time with the LORD. I still remember where I was standing when the Lord very clearly give me a vision for the next few years, guidance in where to find a practice and connections for future mission work! Praise the LORD for answered prayer! I was actually talking to a missionary at the time. It wasn't anything profound that he was saying or any new information that I learned, simply the power of the Holy Spirit! "...Whether you turn to the right or the left your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, 'this is the way, walk in it.'" I am humbled that in the middle of my struggle to trust, the Lord has shown himself faithful-as he has so many times in the past! To him be all honor and glory!

I continue to learn that in repentance and rest is my salvation and in quietness and trust is my strength. As I look back on the days and nights of frustration and the angst related to next steps, I see that I continue to be drawn into deeper relationship with Christ. And THIS is what I choose; to know Christ, considering everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Him. How can I choose otherwise?

Praise you LORD for your faithfulness! May the path that you take me on be a testament to your greatness and character. "If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you." (Ex 33:13)

Monday, September 15, 2008


I have been raised in The Church and my experience tells me that outreach is an Event. Through out high school I went to outreach events where we brought friends, a speaker told them about Jesus and we were encouraged to "follow up". I was challenged to share my faith, but it was easier to let a speaker do it! Even now I immediately think of alter calls and large gatherings of Christians when I think of "outreach".

Luke 10:1-12 is the story of the sending of the 72. This is one of the first times where they did "outreach" on their own. Jesus is sending 72 disciples out like "lambs among wolves" to tell an unbelieving people that the Kingdom of God is near. His instructions include "don't take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road." Really Jesus? I can imagine the disciples just looking at him. They must have been thinking "Why would I NOT take these things with me!?" I would venture a guess that the other Rabbis of Jesus' day did not tell their disciples to leave the food, water and money at home! This was a huge step outside of their comfort zone. This was uncharted territory.

Relationship was also key to their mission. They were not to hold large gatherings and baptize people with water like John the Baptist's disciples. They are told to go to one house and stay there- to be in relationship. Their words are to be accompanied by action. They were meeting the needs of people as an expression of love and authority. This was not simply preaching, this was investing a part of themselves in the people they were with.

Mathew 10:7-10 summarizes their task;
" As you go, preach this message:'the kingdom of heaven is near. 'Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. Do not take along any gold or silver or copper in your belts; take no bag for the journey or extra tunic, or sandals or a staff; for the worker is worth his keep.'"

Speaking the Message of Truth.
Meeting the physical needs of people.
Extreme trust in the provision of the Lord.

I am not to organize an event to entertain and amuse my friends.
I am not to recruit the most eloquent speaker to share their testimony.
I am not to depend on extensive budgets and plans.

I am to tell them that the Kingdom of God is near
I am supposed to live among the sick and the hungry.
I am to feed them and heal them.
I am supposed to trust in the provision of the Lord
Somehow I don't think that this will be convenient.

The Church has become comfortable with her Programs and Outreach Events. We have allowed ourselves to be smothered under apathy and religiosity. We defer Truth to be spoken by pastors and speakers. We clutch our gold, silver and extra tunics and we stay with the other sheep. We have forgotten the poor, the sick and the hungry. They are in the uncomfortable places. They are with the wolves.

Lord forgive your Church for being content and apathetic. May your Holy Spirit bring a new understanding of who You are. May we weep your tears as we feed the hungry and heal the sick. May we speak Truth with your boldness and authority as we walk among the wolves. May we hear and respond to your call to intimacy and passion. Work great things in our day that You would be glorified. Hear our prayer and listen to our cry for mercy...

Saturday, September 6, 2008


It is easy to miss God's faithfulness in the busyness of life. I was reminded in a very profound way this summer of where God has taken me and given a new hope for the future.

In high school my friend Jessica and I would meet weekly at a coffee shop and talk about God, our dreams for the future, how our devotions were going etc. Over the four years of High school we led worship team together, did Jr high bible studies, went to youth retreats and in general had a blast. Commonly we would talk about going to the mission field, maybe being married, me being a doctor, and wondered what countries we would go to and what languages we would learn. We had amazing dreams for where God would take us.

Jessica and her husband are now missionaries overseas. They teach bible and music and have a great time! It was fun to see God bring a man into her life with giftings and passions that complement hers so well! This summer they came back home because they were going to have a baby...and wanted me to be their doctor! I was so excited and privileged to be taking care of them and their unborn son.

The delivery was so fun! I was the first one to "meet" their first born son and to hand him to his excited (and tired!) parents. After the delivery was over I was able to pray a blessing over him. Wow. 10 years ago we could have never imagined such a scenario! God has fulfilled so many of our dreams and brought us to some amazing places.

It is easy for me to get discouraged by the never ending business of my life. It is hard to imagine life outside of residency. This delivery was a profound reminder that God IS Faithful! I have so many dreams that seem impossible, but really, the reality that God has for me is so rich that I am sure to look back in 10 years and be amazed at where God has taken me.

Friday, March 21, 2008

The Death

I saw Christ die today. I followed the soldiers and saw the beating. I heard the cries of Mary mingled with the shouts of the people.

The catholic church in my neighborhood walked the road to Golgotha tonight. The teenager who was chosen to portray Christ carried a cross, he was beaten with ropes and mocked by soldiers. The cross was made of wood and heavy. The whips were rope, but the soldiers who used them were not afraid of skin. The crowd that followed sang "Perdona su pueblo Senor, Perdona su pueblo perdona le Senor". (Forgive your people Lord, Forgive your people, forgive her Oh Lord).

He was placed on a cross with two others beside him, one who mocked and one who begged forgiveness. Above his head was "INIRI" or "King of the Jews". Mary wept with the other women and the disciples followed at a distance. There were varying degrees of concern and attention among the crowd, much the same as two thousand years ago.

It was powerful in its liturgy. The discrepancy between acting and the reality of Whips, Pain, and all that was Suffered by Christ became invisible as I caught a glimpse of Golgotha.

The Blood was real.
It is Given freely.
The Suffering was real.
It was Chosen.

It was the Choice to be obedient unto death, that the forgiveness of sins for all people might become a reality.

May I never forget the Reality of the Cross. May I not take lightly my Salvation. May I not be an unconcerned bystander when the Blood of Christ is given and his Body broken.

"With a loud cry Jesus breathed his last. The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, heard his cry and saw how he died, he said,'Surely this man was the Son of God.'" Mark 15:37-39

Monday, March 3, 2008

On Assignment

I became a part of Community last night. There was no subtle transition, no getting my feet wet. It was simply a plunge. Full submersion. A myriad of kids speaking as many languages were running/ tricycling through out the house. Adults were sharing a meal and again, speaking various languages. I missed the sermon, but it had been translated from English to Swahili. Unaelewa kiswahili? Welcome to our house church!

I am living with a family that has 6 kids, one puppy and one dog. After work I read Dr. Seuss to a 3 year old and took turns reading Nancy Drew aloud with a 9 year old. (the classic Nancy Drew, in front of a fireplace listening to the rain!) We were host to a group of college "kids" tonight who are working in the neighborhood for the next week. Along with chocolate chip cookies and milk they were learning about my host why a white doc and his family would live in the hood of Memphis. Why does he work in a clinic that serves his neighbors for a fraction of the salary he would make elsewhere? Fascinating really!

I started talking to recruiters last week. We talked about salaries, bonuses, opportunities to do scopes, c-sections and vacations. We did not talk about Christ, Community or Service. As I listened to the vision of the community tonight I had to ask myself- Am I serious about living in community or is it something that is more convenient to talk about rather than do? What do I want my practice to provide-a cush salary or training in how to die to self and serve the poor?.

I am tired. It was a busy weekend and I am emotionally and spiritually drained. I would like nothing more than to curl up with a book and lose myself in the pages. Yet, I think this is when true community happens. It is when Self is exhausted and I can either break down and cry or cry out to Christ for the peace and strength to continue. I might still break down, but I pray that the spirit of anxiety, busyness and self would be gone. I pray that self would die (often a painful process!) and I would become more Christ like. May I learn more than medicine this month.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Living Hope

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade--kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls. I Peter 1:3-9

The past few weeks have been difficult. Friends suffered heartache, I felt the acuity of my loneliness and work was emotionally draining. I was reading favorite passages and came upon verse 6 "In this you greatly rejoice...though you suffer trials of many kinds". Why is it so hard for me to rejoice during a difficult week? What allows us to rejoice in the midst of sadness and stress? What is the "IN THIS" that Peter is referring to?

Looking back a few verses I find answers. The first few verses of this passage are rich with reasons to rejoice.
God has great mercy! We do not get the punishment that our sins deserve!
New Birth is a result of his great mercy-not only are we not punished, but the record is wiped clean and we are given a new identity, a new way of interacting with the world!
Living Hope is a part of our new birth. Not only do we get a fresh start as Christ followers, we have a continued relationship, continual hope that is validated by the resurrection of Christ!
Eternal Inheritance is the second result of our new birth. It is an eternity of security and belonging. It is something that cannot be destroyed.
We are shielded by God's power until salvation is complete. God's power protecting us. WOW.
This is the source of our rejoicing. This is the TRUTH that transcends suffering.

My trials are small. I am blessed beyond belief and still I find it hard to rejoice. In the same way that fire purifies gold, trials have the purpose of proving our faith and bringing praise, glory and honor to God. I am ashamed that I can not rejoice when I have merely the smallest embers in my life.

In the past few weeks there has been much dissatisfaction. I was bemoaning singleness, my married friend was feeling like a stranger among friends and others are longing for children. While it is natural for us to want husbands, children etc, how much of our dissatisfaction is the enemy preying on our desires? As we label these circumstances "trials" how do we choose to rejoice? Do we choose to rejoice or just do we commiserate with each other and feed our dissatisfactions and longings?

I WANT Inexpressible Joy! I want to know Christ and rejoice in the reality of his provision for me! I do not know how to do this. Can I acknowledge the reality of loneliness and at the same time rejoice in God's provision for me? I am not sure exactly what that looks like.

Holy Spirit, May I be ever aware of your presence this week as I live in my world seeking to rejoice and bring honor to your name. May I rejoice instead of wallowing, may I praise instead of complaining. YOU are GOD. May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to you. You alone are worthy of praise!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Pattern

Romans 12:1-2
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer you bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship. do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is- his good, pleasing and perfect will.

We were challenged in church today regarding this, the pattern of this world. How often do we conform to this worldly pattern? What is the Normal Christian Life? How does the Normal christian life compare to the Typical christian life? How has our society infiltrated the church. Perhaps better asked, How has the church embraced society?

I look at my typical christian life and see very much the pattern of my world. How many times do we discuss the newest American Idol, quote Clinton and Stacey regarding fashion or use retail therapy to de-stress after a long day? How often do we discuss scripture, quote Christ regarding our struggles or pray together to de-stress after a long day? The scale is not tipped in the right direction.

I do not want this life. I want the Normal Christian life. In "The Overcoming Life" Watchman Nee defines the normal Christian life as the following.
"The Bible shows us that God has ordained for every Christian a life that is filled with joy. This life is completely at peace, has no barriers in its fellowship with God, and is not contrary to His will in any way. The life that God has prepared for a Christian is one that does not thirst after the world. It walks apart from sin and is victorious over sin. It is holy, powerful, and victorious. It knows the will of God and fellowships with God without interruption. This is the life that God has ordained in the Scripture for a Christian."

My culture tells me that I must look a certain way, have a certain boyfriend, achieve certain things in order to have identity, meaning, purpose and community. After a while, the lies start to sink in and I find myself wanting. It is subtle the affect the world has on my relationship with Christ. Truth is the antidote to lies. My spirit struggles to believe what my head knows to be truth.

Romans 8:1-8
Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit. Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful man is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law , nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sin full nature cannot please God.

May I be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit. May my life reflect what is normal for a Christ follower, not merely what is typical. May the World see in me something different, something that will lead them to Christ. For Christ alone can give us an identity that will never change, meaning in a meaningless world, purpose to know Him and a sense of community. I pray that my city will come to see the inadequacy of the band aides and come to know Christ. Kick us out of our comfort zones Lord that you might be glorified.

Friday, January 18, 2008

A Day

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I have had a day. Not good, not bad, just a day. Somewhat spiritually draining to be honest. I worked with a psychiatrist this morning (ie MD who does mental health) and a chaplain for Visiting Nurses Hospice program (ie medical care for terminal ill) in the afternoon.

This am was the typical medical perspective on life. Treat the disorder with medicine and have someone else do the counseling. Spiritual issues weren't addressed. I talked to a patient with schizophrenia. He is doing quite well- the voices sound like a low radio in the background and the three people that he sees regularly haven't been too bothersome lately. He knows that if "The Man Who Wants a Gun" gets a gun he (The MAN) will hurt him with it. He has been known to have out of body experiences in the past. As the psychiatrist said, "If I didn't know better I would say he was possessed." And I wondered. It is not politically correct to be "possessed" in the United States. I can not address and issue that does not exist.

The chaplain I worked with does not know Jesus, but she has all the right words. She embraces sin, but acts as a liaison between dying people and God. She assures people that they will go to heaven, that their husband is waiting for them, that they are going home. She quotes the 23rd Psalm and John 3:16. And my spirit cries because she does not know truth. It is not politically correct to tell someone that they might not go to heaven if they die. She sees something in me that is different. I am "interesting". She said I have a "vocation" and prayed for a husband that would complement that. I'm not really sure what to do with that!

And my spirit is drained. I long to speak truth and healing but have been stifled today. Oh Lord, hear my prayer and listen to my cry for mercy. In your righteousness and faithfulness come to my relief. Ps 143... May I have words, boldness and opportunity to speak your truth and healing. May their hearts be willing to hear what you would speak to them.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Ninaitwa Kenya

The BBC news is my window to the world here in the middle of the US. Typically the headlines are interesting in a non-personal way. In contrast, the events in Kenya in the past few weeks are strangely personal. At times it seems like last week when I was eating chapatis and attempting Swahili, but in reality it was 2 1/2 years. The two short months I lived in Kenya were significant in my development as a doctor, as a Christ follower and as a person. I remember asking my friends, both Kikuyu and Luo, how the different tribes interacted. The general consensus was that "our" generation saw beyond the tribal distinctions. The conflict was behind them, limited to their parents opinions of who they should marry.

I have read some of the blogs by "our" generation in Kenya and I see that they too are dismayed at the actions their peers have taken. What is it that drives people to attack their friends, their neighbors, their colleagues over ethnic identity? This is a question that can not be easily answered. I am quick to say that I can not understand the division. Americans do not speak of Irish, German, English descent as anything more than interesting trivia. Yet, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the stereotypes and discrimination faced by minorities in my country. The disarray and crimes in after hurricane Katrina should warn us that we, as Americans, are not above violence and tragedy in the face of chaos. And I find it is easier to understand.

My city was recently hit by tragedy. 8 people were killed by a suicidal young man. As tragic as it was, it pales in comparison to the violence in Kenya. I think of the people I met, the friends I made and I wonder how they are. Tragedies can be impersonal, particularly when the struggle is on the other side of the globe. This conflict is uniquely personal for me. I ache for my friends, for the country that was so good to me, for the future of a country with so much promise. May the Lord redeem the pain and suffering of Kenya's people, may the violence end as suddenly as it began. May the conflicts of history not be repeated and may forgiveness conquer revenge

(My name is Kenya)