Posts Tagged ‘Intermed’

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Looking Back, Moving Forward

June 18, 2013
Jon, one of our students turned resident, joins us virtually from CA!

Jon, one of our students turned resident, joins us virtually from CA!

Summer is here!  Our first-year students have finished with their exams, second-year students are either studying for ‘boards’ (comprehensive exams necessary to continue with third-year) or starting rotations, and, things are relatively quiet here.  Sort of like the shore at the end of the season.

But not quite.  There’s still plenty to do, like:

  • Give thanks for another great year of student ministry!  This year, in addition to supporting our 5 major campuses, we also started connecting with, and supporting, several new ones: Arcadia (formerly Beaver), Penn Dental, Temple Dental, and, Temple Podiatry.  We enjoyed discipling/mentoring many individual students, developing leaders and helping them reach their campuses, hosting students in our home for bible study brunches, and, provide relational counseling for couples.
  • Give thanks that our ministry ‘council’ (healthcare providers who work alongside me in ministry, also providing encouragement and accountability) doubled from 3 to 6.  This has been such an incredible encouragement and greatly increased what we’re able to do.
  • Hire a part-time ministry assistant.  God’s continued blessing has led to greater administrative and relational ministry needs, especially with our female students.  We hope to hire an assistant by August when our academic year begins.
  • Raise support.  Along with other increased costs, hiring a ministry assistant will require us to raise additional funds.
  • Hanging out at one of our brunches.

    Hanging out at one of our brunches.

    Prepare for fall Intermed and our first-ever student overnight retreat.  We’re asking God to use these events to refresh our current students, and, to enfold new students into our fellowships quickly.

  • Continue meeting with students.  While many students are away or busy with rotations, some have limited availability and we plan on taking advantage of that!  We’re also hosting 5 gatherings for the students over the summer as we study the Book of Malachi and the theme of spiritual refreshment.  This past Sunday, we concluded our study with ‘designer s’mores’ and great discussion on the patio late into the night!
  • Help our current leaders get ready for the new year.  Although we’ve already discussed vision and strategy for the first few weeks back, during the summer I will continue to touch base with our leaders so that we’re ready for this narrow, yet critical, window of opportunity.

As you can see, there’s plenty to do… and pray for.  Will you please join us in bringing these concerns before the Father over this next month?

Thank you for being a largely unseen, but so, so critical, part of our ministry.  We look forward to seeing you in July with another update!

With love,

Bryan & Sharon

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God At Work: Fall Intermed 2012

November 14, 2012

Our speaker, Dr. David Suh

One of the most exciting things about our ministry is that God seems to know – and provide – exactly what we need at just the right time.  This was certainly the case at our recent ‘Intermed’ event, where 95 healthcare students, residents and professionals gathered for worship, teaching and fellowship.

At the center of our time together, Dr. David Suh (Cancer Treatment Centers of America) provided two excellent talks on what it means to receive, and then give away, God’s love.  In fleshing that out, his call to examine the ways we ‘put God in a box’ was incredibly challenging.  By sharing his own testimony, Dr. Suh helped us look at our own lives and see if we, too, often assume that God can’t or won’t do more than we can do on our own.  As a group, we tend to rely on our own intelligence and ability to get things done, so his teaching reminded our healthcare community that God intends to do ‘far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us’ (Eph. 3:20).

During the event itself, God ironically (and appropriately) did just that.  Throughout the second talk, God was powerfully stirring our hearts and

Intermed Small Group Time

we spontaneously decided to have a time of large group prayer, led by Dr. Suh.  It was refreshing to connect with God right there, repenting of sins that had been holding us back and asking Him for new power as we move forward.  As I visit our area campuses, I’ll be touching base with the students and seeing how God continues to work through our time together at Intermed.

Drexel Doubt Night

While it’s critical to reach students of faith on our campuses, we also want to reach out those who are searching.  Last Tuesday at Drexel, I had the opportunity to participate in a ‘Doubt Night’ with a local physician (Dr. Keith Herzog) and pastor (Rev. Steve Munz).  Together, God gave us the opportunity to field questions from the audience about why we believe Christianity is true.  While nothing dramatic took place, many good questions were asked and it gave the students and I an opportunity to follow-up with people afterwards.  I’ll be having lunch with one student who is seeking, something I’m looking forward to.

Regardless of who we’re interacting with, we’re thankful for you, our supporters, mindful that we are extensions of you in reaching Philadelphia’s healthcare campuses for Christ.

Warmly,

Bryan & Sharon

For praise & prayer:

  • Praise for God’s work at Intermed & Doubt Night!  Praise also for the many, many people who made Intermed a success, especially our student leadership team.  Please pray for ongoing fruit – that God would convict hearts about areas of growth, and, that seeds planted at Doubt Night would sprout.  Pray also that the Drexel students and believing faculty would be prayerful as we follow-up with those who came.
  • Praise for a still-forming group of male healthcare students from around the city who are eager to figure – and live – out what it means to live as a Christian man.  Please pray that God would give discernment for next steps.
  • Please pray also for a good year-end financially and spiritually with the students.  I want to help the leaders do a ‘halftime report’, seeing how things are going and making any necessary course corrections.  We also look forward to our last brunch for the semester on 12/8.
  • Finally, pray also that God would be preparing hearts for our annual CMDA Northeast Winter Conference 1/18-20.
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Another Great Start

September 12, 2012

It’s hard to read the words, but these are index cards the Jefferson leaders used to map out their ministry vision for the year.

 

It’s hard to believe, but already another year is well underway!  This year, I’m spending time at 7 different campuses, so this has been an especially intense, but wonderful, season of ministry.  Here’s a quick roundup of what’s going on.

 

How Are We Going To Strengthen This Ministry & Reach This Campus This Year?!

Since we experience 100% leadership turnover on each of our campuses every year, helping our leaders develop and carry out a vision for their campus is a critical, and significant, part of my ministry.  Although many issues – like outreach – occur at all of our campuses, the key issues tend to take on a specific flavor at each one.  At Temple, we’re beginning to partner with local healthcare providers and pastors in an effort to holistically reach the surrounding community.  At Penn Dental, the students are re-launching the chapter after a few years of relative inactivity, so we’re wading through what that means.  Drexel is trying to reach their campus community more actively, hosting a ‘Doubt Night’ and possibly participating in a forum on abortion.  And Penn (Med) is asking what it means to include other believing healthcare (i.e., nursing) students in their ministry, but with an eye to helping them launch their own, independent ministries in time.  I really enjoy coming alongside the students and helping them meet the particular challenges, and seize the specific opportunities, that God lays before them!

Building Relationships

For this first month or two, it’s so important to build relationships with new, and returning, students.  As the cliché goes, “people have to know you care before they care what you know!”  The primary way we care for the students is simply by “showing up” on campus, or, inviting students into our home.  Already, we’ve hosted two Saturday morning brunches, with 20-25 in attendance each time.  I’ve been to each of our campuses, some a few times, for their activities fairs, large group meetings, leadership meetings, individual discipleship times, and, just to “hang out”.  Sharon and our kids have also joined me as they’re able so that students can start connecting with them, too.   As we build these relationships, trust grows and ministry moves forward.

Intermed

As you may remember, each year (sometimes twice) the students gather for a citywide time of fellowship, teaching and worship through song.  This fall, it’s been my privilege to put together, and guide, a phenomenal team of students as we get ready for this effort.  While at first summer breaks and busy schedules made coordinating calendars challenging, God has given us real momentum and things are moving forward nicely.  God led us to a theme of experiencing, and giving away, His love.  This is our passion and prayer.  But more than the event itself, the process leading up to the event is an amazing ministry opportunity to invest in our very best leaders and help them learn how to think about, and do, ministry so that they too will be ready to guide ministries on their own someday.  We want to raise up leaders who will raise up others leaders, the chain continuing until Christ returns.  This is how the Kingdom moves forward!

So, there’s a quick snapshot of what God is up to.  There’s so much more to share, but we’ll say more in future updates.  Thank you, as always, for your love, prayers and gifts that make this ministry possible.

With deep gratitude,

Bryan & Sharon

For prayer & praise:

  • praise for so many new students; pray that they keep coming out, and, that God shields them from getting consumed by their studies.
  • praise for faithful leaders at each of our campuses; pray that God helps us discern where we need to provide guidance at each campus, and, how.
  • pray for new discipleship relationships for Sharon and I to form with the incoming (first-year) women and men (respectively).
  • pray for Penn Dental in particular as they re-launch their ministry this year.  Each class (there are four) has different schedules, making coordinated efforts challenging.
  • pray for our Intermed team as we move toward our fall gathering (Nov. 2-3).  We need God’s Spirit to guide us!  Pray also that God will help me mentor our students throughout the process.  Our heart is that their vision for the Kingdom expand, and, that they will become equipped to teach others what they are receiving.  And, that God will be glorified in it all.
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Journey to Jesus

June 13, 2012

As this academic year ends, I’d like to tell you (with his permission) about one student’s journey to faith in Jesus.

Toward the beginning of the year, Mat liked Christianity and its premises, but admitted that he was somewhat on the outside looking in.  Then, after returning to his apartment, he realized he lost his checkbook on campus.

Understandably upset, he returned to campus and ran into another student who could tell he was upset.  After Mat filled her in, she offered to help him look for the checkbook even though she barely knew him.  Although they were not successful, the student said she would pray for Mat and that really struck him.  He felt like God was becoming real in his life, the very thing he’d been hoping and praying for.

Two days later, on Sunday, he found a Facebook message from one of his fellowship’s leaders saying that the wallet was found and already back in his campus mailbox.  Beyond being relieved, he again saw God at work and becoming present in his life.

A few days later, though, doubts began to set in.  ‘Was that really God?  Or, was it just a coincidence?’  Mat continued to read his bible and connect with Christians on campus, but still, he hadn’t made a decision to follow Christ personally.

I can remember one meeting with him where I asked what was holding him back.  He reflected for a moment, then said, “I’m not sure.  It’s like a jigsaw puzzle with a few pieces missing, but I’m not really sure what they are.”  And so, I continued to pray with and for him for God to keep reaching out to him.

Perhaps a week ago, Mat and I met again for lunch.  This time, something he said made me think that his relationship with Christ had changed.  “Wait a second,” I said.  “Has your relationship with Jesus changed?!”

He then reminded me of a conversation we had where he shared about a Mark Driscoll sermon he heard a month or two ago.  The sermon, from Luke, said that at some point we need to be satisfied with the evidence we have and make a decision to embrace Christ personally.  Although Mat didn’t become a Christian when he first heard the message, he really thought about it and eventually decided he needed to ‘go all in’.

Although there were no ‘fireworks’ or a clearly-defined moment of faith, something very dramatic has happened to Mat.  Like Christ said, “whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life” (John 5:24).  It’s been so exciting to see God’s faithfulness to Mat and watch his journey to Jesus.

He also understands that, in some ways, the journey is just beginning.  Thankfully, he’ll have a break from classes this summer, so we’re planning to meet together regularly to see what it means to be a disciple and keep growing in Christ.

It’s such a privilege for me to play a small, but real, role in the lives of students like Mat.  Thanks for your prayers and support that allows us to journey alongside them!

In Christ’s love,

Bryan & Sharon

Quick prayers and praises:

  • praise God for His work in Mat’s life and pray for that work to continue.
  • praise God for a phenomenal year of reaching students for Christ.  We saw so many changed lives and watched the students reach out with passion to their classmates!
  • pray for our summer: we will host a new bible study on 2 Timothy in our home and meet with many students individually for discipleship. Pray also that God gives us wisdom as we help campus leaders plan for the fall.  Also, many new students and residents will be coming to town, so please ask that we connect with them quickly and start forming relationships with them.
  • Pray also for me and our student leadership team as we plan for our fall ‘Intermed’, our gathering of students/professionals for worship, teaching and fellowship.  It’s a great opportunity for me to invest in many of our key leaders, and, for them to get hands-on experience that will prepare them for future investment as they become healthcare providers!
  • Finally, pray for this fall’s incoming students.  We are praying for many Christians, skeptics and seekers that we can encourage on their own journeys to Jesus.
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The Best Week Ever

March 15, 2012

Just this morning, Dr. David Levy drove off to New York City for the final stage of his East Coast trip.  It marked the end of a wonderful week of ministry in Philadelphia, so I wanted to provide you with a brief report of his time here.

Intermed

This was our biggest event of the week, with well over 100 in attendance on Friday and Saturday.  In addition to our usual student population, we made an effort to attract more residents and graduates this time, and we made good progress on that front.

Without exaggeration, the talks by author and neurosurgeon Dr. Levy were some of the best I’ve heard in a long time.  His messages on sharing faith with those around us, forgiveness and joy combined humor, real-life experience, Scripture and specific application in a very special way.   At the end of the sessions, he walked us through practical exercises on forgiveness and letting go of offenses that created an atmosphere that was, at once, both serious and light.

After the exercise on forgiveness, one student said, “Up until now, I’ve been angry with my mom, but I couldn’t really say why.  Dr. Levy’s practical examples helped me put words to my anger so that I could confess it and forgive my mom.”  She was almost giddy with joy as she shared, and many related similar stories.  God was at work!

Campus Events

In addition to Intermed, Dr. Levy spoke at the Temple, UMDNJ-SOM (Stratford, NJ) and Penn medical campuses.  These were exciting events, with an unusual mixture of Christians and others at various points in their own spiritual journeys.

At SOM, about 55 people came out to hear Dr. Levy speak over dinner.  Jasen, one of the student leaders, had attracted a unique group of believers and spiritually-open folks from the school and surrounding community.  One student said the presentation was the best he had heard the entire year!

Later, 12-15 of us went back with Dr. Levy to the Hrics’ home to continue the conversation over dessert.  Dr. Hric and his wife Susan have made their home a ‘safe place’ for people seeking truth, and our time together there was phenomenal.  Dr. Levy invited each of us to share our spiritual journey, starting with our experience growing up.  One student, honest about being agnostic, expressed his respect for the humility he’s observed in Christians.  He understands the connection to the Christian faith, where our God, though strong, came to serve the weak.  The next day, another student texted me, saying “last night was the most enriching night I’ve had in a very long time, possibly ever.”  I’ve heard testimony today that those came are still telling others and that there’s an overall buzz and excitement!

It’s really hard to communicate in an email how absolutely wonderful this week was.  Everyone who participated came away challenged and encouraged.  ‘Friendships with a purpose’ were created and renewed.  And, there has been a real synergy created by so many people coming together for a common purpose.

Thank you, thank you for your prayers!  Please keep praying that God continues working, and that we intentionally engage others, in the weeks ahead!

Amazed by God,

Bryan & Sharon

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Three ‘Nights’ And Intermed Just Around The Corner!

March 5, 2012

Doubt Night

“So, when can we do it again?!”

That’s the response we received after holding our first Doubt Night at PCOM, one of our area’s medical campuses.

You may be wondering, though, what Doubt Night is all about.  (First, credit to liberti Church for giving me the idea some years ago).  In short, Doubt Night is a time where seekers and others with questions about the Christian faith can come and dialogue honestly with Christians about their concerns.  To facilitate this, I took part in a panel that also featured Dr. Keith Herzog and two PCOM students.  Throughout a 1.5 hour discussion, we heard questions dealing with:

  • heaven – is it real?  Is it right to be moral because we want to go there, or, should we act rightly because it’s inherently appropriate?
  • the apparent contrast between God in the Old and New Testaments – why does ‘the God of the NT’ seem more gracious and loving?
  • the trustworthiness of the bible – Christians put so much faith in the Bible, but what makes it more special or reliable than any other book?

Of the 15 who came, I’d say it was about a 50/50 ratio of seekers:Christians, which is what we were hoping for.  We look forward to continuing the conversation on campus, and, in future Doubt Nights!

Men’s & Women’s Nights

Later that week, we also hosted Women’s and Men’s Nights at our home on consecutive evenings.  Sharon led nineteen women in tackling the sensitive area of sexuality and how to live for Christ in a confusing, sexually-charged culture.  The best part about the night was that it provided a safe place to deal with the questions everyone has, but is afraid to ask.  We need to speak to topics like this!

For our men’s night, nine men joined me for an exploration of the topic of why men are so passive, and, what we can do about it.  We took a look at our culture’s portrayal of men, then surveyed key bible passages that help us ‘diagnose and treat’ not only the symptoms, but the underlying causes as well.

Both nights were greatly aided by Sharon’s baking, especially the flourless mocha cake and Ghirardelli brownies!

Prayer Needed for Intermed This Weekend

This Friday night and Saturday morning, MCO and CMDA are hosting Intermed, our annual gathering of local healthcare students and professionals for worship, fellowship and teaching.  But this is not our usual Intermed.  God has allowed us to invite Dr. David Levy, neurosurgeon and author of Gray Matter, to be our speaker.  Based in San Diego, Dr. Levy is going to speak to us at Intermed, but also at other medical campuses throughout his week in our area (March 8-15).

On Friday evening, he’ll show us what it means to talk about Christ with the people around us, as well as challenge us on what it looks like to let go of anger we harbor toward God and others.  More than just raw information, though, Dr. Levy has dealt with these topics very personally in his own life and medical practice.  As we minister to students and professionals, we’re excited about offering them one portrait of who we hope they’ll become.

As you can imagine, we very much need your prayers for Dr. Levy’s visit:

  • for protection from the evil one.  Already we’ve seen evidence of spiritual resistance, and need God to protect us.
  • for the Spirit’s power as Dr. Levy speaks.  His messages will be powerful, but lasting change only happens through Christ’s work in our hearts.
  • that weary people would come away not only changed, but refreshed!
  • for God to put together “divine appointments” for Dr. Levy in between speaking engagements.  He very much wants to minister to those who need what God wants to do through him.  Pray also for me and others as we interact with students at these events; I expect that God will be giving us similar opportunities in response to his work through Dr. Levy.  We want to be His instruments of healing and change here in the city!
  • pray for all the last-minute details that need to come together.  This leads me to praise God for our entire planning team (a collaboration of students, MCO & CMDA) for all the amazing hard work they’ve done to make this week a reality!

Thank you, dear friends, for standing so faithfully with us!

Bryan & Sharon

 

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Looking Back, Looking Ahead

April 15, 2011

By God’s grace, this past month was another solid season of ministry.  Here are a few highlights, as well as a look ahead:

Men’s & Women’s Nights

God gave us two great nights with key men and women from around the city!  For our men’s night, I led the guys through a study in 1 Samuel 17, which you’ll recognize as the story of David and Goliath.  For our purposes, we were considering insights on what it means to be a godly man.  I chose this topic because we’ve noticed fewer men becoming involved, and especially taking leadership, at our local healthcare campuses.  We are incredibly thankful for the many women God has given us, but we want to see men stepping up as well, and feel that this was another important step toward achieving that goal.

During women’s night, Sharon led the ladies in a study on bitterness and forgiveness.  As she interacted with the women on this topic, it became clear that it was something everyone was wrestling with in ways that are very real and personal.  In His wisdom, God had matched those who came with what they needed to hear.

Intermed

Another key event this month was “Intermed”, a student-driven gathering for worship, fellowship, teaching and, of course, eating.  Although our ministry did not personally sponsor the event, a number of different ministries and ‘people groups’ came together in making it happen.

Our informal hope for the evening was that the students would come away with a picture of what their own futures in medicine might look like as they considered how God had led our two speakers.  They were incredibly different: one, a younger geriatrician (treats older patients) at Penn, the other, an older nurse practitioner in the Dominican Republic who practices medicine and also raises up national pastors.  At the same time, both these men are tremendously dedicated to serving Christ through healthcare, and the students came away inspired to follow Christ into their own futures.

I was thankful to have played a role in the planning process, in addition to having many significant conversations during the evening and in the days that have followed.  It was a tremendous time of connecting with key students, as well as meeting new ones that I hope to influence in the months ahead.

Upcoming Plans

In the next few months, I’m excited to participate in several important events.  The first is our annual CMDA National Convention in California.  It will feature some of the very best speakers in the healthcare field, and I will be traveling with one of our key student leaders.  Since he will be graduating in May, it will be one of my last extended opportunities to spend time with him, which I cherish.  At this year’s convention, CMDA is also rolling out its National Student Council, a student-driven group designed to shape the future of healthcare and CMDA, so I’m excited to get in on the ground floor.  And, as always, the convention promises to be a rich time of networking and ideas.

As the summer approaches, as usual, my family and I hope to participate in parts of both SMI Philadelphia (July 9-30) and SMI Texas (July 2-30).  If you’ve been with us for some time, you know these are medical missions projects that teach participants how to share their faith through medicine while living in community.  They’re absolutely critical in that they allow us undistracted seasons of investing in the students, something that simply isn’t nearly as possible during the academic year.  In fact, we get more time with them during project than we do throughout the rest of the year combined.  This is discipleship at its best!

SMI Philadelphia is easy for us to participate in since it’s so close (1/2 hour), but SMI Texas is naturally more challenging.  At the same time, we are passionate about it because it allows the students to truly get away from the city and out of their comfort zone.  It also affords our family the opportunity to live on site with them, which is key both for us and the students.  One of the ways we will decide whether we should go is by seeing if the Lord provides the needed funds (about $5,000).

And so, without any fanfare, we want to put this need before you.  If you feel God leading you to contribute, would you please let us know in the next two weeks?  This will help us be good stewards of the summer God has placed before us.

Regardless of your decision, we thank God for each one of you.

Warmly,

Bryan & Sharon

Please join us in prayer/praise:

  • Praise God for wonderful men’s/women’s nights.  Please pray for lasting fruit among the students.
  • Praise God for a focused season of prayer and fasting leading up to the Intermed retreat.  We believe that much of its success was due to this foundation, largely driven by the students.
  • Pray for my times of investing with key men from around the city: Sam, Erik, Dan, Burton, Shane, Loren and others.  My heart is that God will take these men and multiply their lives in those around them.  Pray also that God will continue introducing me to other key men around the city.
  • Pray for our medical evangelism (“International Saline”) training ‘taster’ at Drexel on 5/3, and especially that believers among students, residents and “attending” physicians would come and get excited for the full version training in the fall.
  • Pray for my time at the National Convention (4/28-30), and God’s wisdom/provision for SMI Texas.