“…not merely a doctor”

“The doctor has so objectified himself that he never faces up to himself and his own life at all.”

“Somewhere in Pembrokshire a tombstone is said to bear the inscription, ‘John Jones, born a man, died a grocer.’ There are many whom I have had the privilege of meeting whose tombstone might well bear the grim epitath: ‘…. born a man, died a doctor’! The greatest danger which confronts the medical man is that he may become lost in his profession.”

D Martyn Lloyd Jones, in “Healing and the Scriptures.”

Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones was a brilliant British physician and an outstanding preacher, and offers great medical wisdom and spiritual insight. This book was published in 1982 but still contains “a masterful view of the Christian physician’s calling, and of the dimensions of ministry to the whole man.” (Quote from J.I.Packer).

How often our identity is tied up with being medical professionals. Lloyd Jones challenges us to view success not merely as the accumulation of medical knowlege, reputatation and material wealth, but fruitfulness for Christ and His kingdom. The foundation of our identity must be in God, not ourselves; we are creatures made in the image of God and created for fellowship with God — all of which is only possible through the salvation obtained by Jesus at the cross.

Dr. Lloyd Jones says to us, “I beseech you not to allow the profession to make you forget yourself, that you are a man, and not merely a doctor.”  And to bring the vocabulary in the 21st century, we’d say, “you are a man or a woman, not merely a doctor!”

Zeal without Burnout: Seven keys to a lifelong ministry of sustainable sacrifice

Quotes from this helpful little book by Christopher Ash and Alistair Begg:

  • “God so often allows his ministers to come to an end of themselves in order that they might begin to be more useful to his service.
  • And it is worth remembering that none of us thinks we are on the path to burnout until we are nearly burnt out; it is precisely those of us who are sure we are safe, who are most in danger. we need to heed Paul’s warning: so, if you think you are standing firm, be careful you don’t fall!
  • The problem is that we do not sacrifice alone. It may sound heroic, even romantic, to burn out for Jesus. The reality is that others are implicated in our crashes.
  • Perhaps the expression, “sustainable sacrifice” gets to the heart of the idea — the sort of self-giving that God enables us to go on giving day after day.
  • The trouble with being strong and healthy is that you and I begin to believe that we are something other than dust into which God has temporarily breathed the breath of life. Because I can walk, think, talk and act, I begin to believe that I am immortal — and that I will always be able to walk, think, talk and act. But I won’t.
  • Good sleep is a gracious gift of God.
  • The sleepless nights were caused by an addiction to adrenalin that was beginning to have a negative effect in other ways —
  • “We doctors in the treatment of nervous diseases, are compelled to provide periods of rest. Some of these periods are, I think, only Sundays in arrears.” Sir James Brown, The Times, 30 April 1991
  • God needs no day off. But I am not God, and I do.
  • Most people crack up because they try to do what God never intended them to do. They destroy themselves by sinful ambition, just as much as the drunkard and the drug addict. Ambition drives them on.
  • Some of us in a world of social media have a great many Facebook friends, but very few, if any, deep friendships.
  • Think about the kinds of things that drain you and the sorts of things that energize you. Try, so far as it lies in your power, to put in the diary sufficient of the things that energize you to keep you emotional, physical, intellectual, relational batteries topped up.
  • To neglect sleep, Sabbaths, friendships and inward renewal is not heroism but hubris. It is to claim that I am a level or two above normal members of the human race.
  • Gospel ministry is ministry in a messed up world. And there is grace in the disruption, for it humbles me. it shows me afresh my total dependence on God.
  • If joy is to motivate us to gospel work, then joy must be rooted in something outside the fruits of our work, something that cannot be touched by the vagaries and frustrations of this life under the sun.

How to prepare medical missionaries — part 2

Here were the resources suggested in our survey of current health workers in SIM. I’ve arranged them by topic: community health and health education; leadership and management; theology of work and mission; and tropical and international medical courses.

Community health and health education:

http://www.chenetwork.org/     Global CHE network – Community health education/evangelism

http://www.hifa2015.org/     Meeting the information needs of nurses and midwives – looks like quite a good site!

http://www.talcuk.org/shop.htm     Teaching aids at low cost at TALC, including “Where there is No Doctor”

http://www.thewhpca.org/resources/palliative-care-toolkit     Palliative care toolkit (example)

www.digitalhealthlibrary.net     Digital African Health Library, providing clinical decision support on mobile devices in Africa (includes DynaMed, Oxford Handbooks, medical calculators, etc. Only downloadable for those living in Africa.  Costs about US$45 per year.  Search app (IOS or android) “Digital African Health Library”

Leadership and management in healthcare missions:

www.TECHmd.org     Technical and equipment issues

http://managementhelp.org/     Excellent management library of resources and training ; check out their free “eMBA”! Can help in the areas of strategic planning, financial accountability, management of non-profit(mission) staff, etc.  Extensive library online; easy to use. Not a “Christian” library per se but very helpful for these kinds of questions.

http://www.cmf.org.uk/international/hsp/     Here is a pretty complete list of mission hospitals, agencies, national association, training programs and other resources!

https://cmda.org/bookstore/product/beyond-medicine     “Beyond Medicine: What Else you need to know to become a healthcare missionary.” Written by CMDA Director David Stevens.

Theology of work and mission

Connecting your work to God’s work: Every Good Endeavor by Tim Keller

How to alleviate poverty without hurting the poor: When Helping Hurts (Corbett); avoiding paternalism

What is the Mission of the Church?  DeYoung

Preach and heal” by Fielding. Very good at some points; somewhat anti-institutional.

Sharing our faith in practical ways as medical professionals; training designed for an international context; saline process

Tropical and international medical courses:

http://intermed.org.au/   Graduate diploma in International health and development in Australia

http://medicine.hsc.wvu.edu/tropmed/tropical-medicine-course/     West Virginia tropical medicine course

http://www.equipinternational.org/who-are-you     Equip courses for physicians and medical practitioners (and some non professionals too!)

http://www.lshtm.ac.uk/study/cpd/stmh.html     Diploma in tropical medicine and hygiene (3 months in London)

http://wrair-www.army.mil/OtherServices_TropicalMedicine.aspx     3- and 5-day “Operational Clinical Infectious Disease Courses” at Walter Reed Army Institute

http://www.inmed.us/     The mission of the Institute for International Medicine is to equip healthcare professionals and students with the unique skills to serve forgotten people.

Also highlighted by most:

CMDA CMDE Continuing education conferences every year in either Greece or Thailand.

What is your experience?

"Every Good Endeavor"

“Christians’ disengagement from popular culture usually carries over into dualism at work. “Dualism” is a term used to describe a separating wall between the sacred and the secular. it is a direct result of a thin view of sin, common grace, and God’s providential purposes.

“Dualism leads some to think that if their work is to please Christ, it must be done overtly in his name. They feel they have to write and perform art that explicitly mentions Jesus, or teach religious subjects in a Christian school; or that they must work in an organization in which all people are professing Christians. Or they must let everyone know that they lead Bible studies in the office in the morning before work hours. This kind of dualism comes both from a failure to see the panoramic scope of common grace and the subtle depths of human sin.  People with this view cannot see that work done by non-Christians always contains some degree of God’s common grace as well as the distortions of sin. And they cannot see that work done by Christians, even if it overtly names the name of Jesus, is also significantly distorted by sin.

“The opposite dualistic approach, however, is even more prevalent — and based on our experience, even more difficult to dismantle. In this approach, Christians think of themselves as Christians only within church activity. Their Christian life is what they do on Sundays and weeknights, when they engage in spiritual activities The rest of the week they have no ability to think circumspectly about the underlying values they are consuming and living out. In their life and work “out in the world,” they uncritically accept and reenact all of their culture’s underlying values and idolatries of self, surface appearances, technique, personal freedom, materialism, and other features of expressive individualism. While the first form of dualism fails to grasp the importance of what we have in common with the world, this form fails to grasp the importance of what is distinctive about the Christian worldview — namely, that the gospel reframes all things, not just religious things.

“The integration of faith and work is the opposite of dualism. We should be willing to be very engaged with the cultural and vocational worlds of non-Christians. Our thick view of sin will remind us that even explicitly Christian work and culture will always have some idolatrous discourse within it. Our thick view of common grace will remind us that even explicitly non-Christian work and culture will always have some witness to God’s truth in it. Because Christians are never as good as their right beliefs should make them, we will adopt a stance of critical enjoyment of human culture and its expressions in every field of work. We will learn to recognize the half-truths and resist the idols; and we will learn to recognize and celebrate the glimpses of justice, wisdom, truth, and beauty we find around us in all aspects of life. Ultimately, a grasp of the gospel and of biblical teaching on cultural engagement should lead Christians to be the most appreciative of the hand of God behind the work of our colleagues and neighbors.”

"Every Good Endeavor"

“Christians’ disengagement from popular culture usually carries over into dualism at work. “Dualism” is a term used to describe a separating wall between the sacred and the secular. it is a direct result of a thin view of sin, common grace, and God’s providential purposes.

“Dualism leads some to think that if their work is to please Christ, it must be done overtly in his name. They feel they have to write and perform art that explicitly mentions Jesus, or teach religious subjects in a Christian school; or that they must work in an organization in which all people are professing Christians. Or they must let everyone know that they lead Bible studies in the office in the morning before work hours. This kind of dualism comes both from a failure to see the panoramic scope of common grace and the subtle depths of human sin.  People with this view cannot see that work done by non-Christians always contains some degree of God’s common grace as well as the distortions of sin. And they cannot see that work done by Christians, even if it overtly names the name of Jesus, is also significantly distorted by sin.

“The opposite dualistic approach, however, is even more prevalent — and based on our experience, even more difficult to dismantle. In this approach, Christians think of themselves as Christians only within church activity. Their Christian life is what they do on Sundays and weeknights, when they engage in spiritual activities The rest of the week they have no ability to think circumspectly about the underlying values they are consuming and living out. In their life and work “out in the world,” they uncritically accept and reenact all of their culture’s underlying values and idolatries of self, surface appearances, technique, personal freedom, materialism, and other features of expressive individualism. While the first form of dualism fails to grasp the importance of what we have in common with the world, this form fails to grasp the importance of what is distinctive about the Christian worldview — namely, that the gospel reframes all things, not just religious things.

“The integration of faith and work is the opposite of dualism. We should be willing to be very engaged with the cultural and vocational worlds of non-Christians. Our thick view of sin will remind us that even explicitly Christian work and culture will always have some idolatrous discourse within it. Our thick view of common grace will remind us that even explicitly non-Christian work and culture will always have some witness to God’s truth in it. Because Christians are never as good as their right beliefs should make them, we will adopt a stance of critical enjoyment of human culture and its expressions in every field of work. We will learn to recognize the half-truths and resist the idols; and we will learn to recognize and celebrate the glimpses of justice, wisdom, truth, and beauty we find around us in all aspects of life. Ultimately, a grasp of the gospel and of biblical teaching on cultural engagement should lead Christians to be the most appreciative of the hand of God behind the work of our colleagues and neighbors.”

The Cape Town Commitment of faith and call to action – – the mission of God

Cape Town Commitment

Here is a rich description of the mission which God calls us to as believers, expressed in the words of the Lausanne commitment at Cape Town, South Africa

This is section 10 of that commitment word for word. It is an exciting and joyous mission. How are you involved?

We love the mission of God

We are committed to world mission, because it is central to our understanding of God, the Bible, the Church, human history and the ultimate future. The whole Bible reveals the mission of God to bring all things in heaven and earth into unity under Christ, reconciling them through the blood of his cross. In fulfilling his mission, God will transform the creation broken by sin and evil into the new creation in which there is no more sin or curse. God will fulfil his promise to Abraham to bless all nations on the earth, through the gospel of Jesus, the Messiah, the seed of Abraham. God will transform the fractured world of nations that are scattered under the judgment of God into the new humanity that will be redeemed by the blood of Christ from every tribe, nation, people and language, and will be gathered to worship our God and Saviour. God will destroy the reign of death, corruption and violence when Christ returns to establish his eternal reign of life, justice and peace. Then God, Immanuel, will dwell with us, and the kingdom of the world will become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ and he shall reign for ever and ever.[53]

A) Our participation in God’s mission. God calls his people to share his mission. The Church from all nations stands in continuity through the Messiah Jesus with God’s people in the Old Testament. With them we have been called through Abraham and commissioned to be a blessing and a light to the nations. With them, we are to be shaped and taught through the law and the prophets to be a community of holiness, compassion and justice in a world of sin and suffering. We have been redeemed through the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and empowered by the Holy Spirit to bear witness to what God has done in Christ. The Church exists to worship and glorify God for all eternity and to participate in the transforming mission of God within history. Our mission is wholly derived from God’s mission, addresses the whole of God’s creation, and is grounded at its centre in the redeeming victory of the cross. This is the people to whom we belong, whose faith we confess and whose mission we share.

B) The integrity of our mission. The source of all our mission is what God has done in Christ for the redemption of the whole world, as revealed in the Bible. Our evangelistic task is to make that good news known to all nations. The context of all our mission is the world in which we live, the world of sin, suffering, injustice, and creational disorder, into which God sends us to love and serve for Christ’s sake. All our mission must therefore reflect the integration of evangelism and committed engagement in the world, both being ordered and driven by the whole biblical revelation of the gospel of God.

‘Evangelism itself is the proclamation of the historical, biblical Christ as Saviour and Lord, with a view to persuading people to come to him personally and so be reconciled to God…The results of evangelism include obedience to Christ, incorporation into his Church and responsible service in the world… We affirm that evangelism and socio-political involvement are both part of our Christian duty. For both are necessary expressions of our doctrines of God and humankind, our love for our neighbour and our obedience to Jesus Christ…The salvation we proclaim should be transforming us in the totality of our personal and social responsibilities. Faith without works is dead.’[54]

‘Integral mission is the proclamation and demonstration of the gospel. It is not simply that evangelism and social involvement are to be done alongside each other. Rather, in integral mission our proclamation has social consequences as we call people to love and repentance in all areas of life. And our social involvement has evangelistic consequences as we bear witness to the transforming grace of Jesus Christ. If we ignore the world, we betray the Word of God which sends us out to serve the world. If we ignore the Word of God, we have nothing to bring to the world.’[55]

We commit ourselves to the integral and dynamic exercise of all dimensions of mission to which God calls his Church.

God commands us to make known to all nations the truth of God’s revelation and the gospel of God’s saving grace through Jesus Christ, calling all people to repentance, faith, baptism and obedient discipleship.
God commands us to reflect his own character through compassionate care for the needy, and to demonstrate the values and the power of the kingdom of God in striving for justice and peace and in caring for God’s creation.
In response to God’s boundless love for us in Christ, and out of our overflowing love for him, we rededicate ourselves, with the help of the Holy Spirit, fully to obey all that God commands, with self-denying humility, joy and courage. We renew this covenant with the Lord – the Lord we love because he first loved us.