Our Lord is always available!

Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

The letter was on yellow stationary and was a collection letter warning! My doctor must be tight on funds to work so hard sending me stuff, I was waiting to make sure the insurance company did what they are supposed to do. It’s so hard to check a medical bill against insurance, have all the info in front of you and go through the rig-a-ma-roll of making the phone call. The voice mail prompts me seven times before I get a live person to handle my claim. Sometimes you can’t get a live person no matter what happens.

And, in this case, the live person I eventually get to does not have any of the data I have punched in or “said” to the automated system. I asked her why none of that transferred and she really didn’t have an answer. So back over it we go, and long story very short, the insurance company misappropriated that charge and my deductible has been met and they are sending a check. Ugh! Frustrating, I almost wrote the check myself…the money isn’t the issue. The fact that I had to do all that leg work and take time out of a busy day to get ahold of someone at the insurance company made it all so frustrating. It almost would have been simpler and easier to pay the bill and forget about it.

On this Thanksgiving week you and I can be deeply thankful our Lord is always available! We can rest easy at night because God is still awake and when we need God, when we call out to God in prayer, God hears us. When you look at the ministry of Jesus throughout the Gospel’s He never tells anyone to get back to him! Jesus never says “Gosh, I’d like to heal you but I’m booked until Thursday, can you do a 1?” Always available, always with us, always listening, always comforting, always peace giving and chaos taking, God is with us! That’s what the word “Immanuel” means in Scripture “God with us”! Matthew 1:23 “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Immanuel, which means “God is with us.” Now, that’s a reason to be thankful if there ever was one!


God Bless,

Pr. Doug


The Daily Commute


One of the many blessings of a daily commute is satellite radio! It’s really a great bonus and if your car is equipped for it, I highly recommend it. They are not very expensive and you have over 120 channels of all the news you can handle, music of every shape and size, comedy channels, and sports channels. There is even an audio book channel where you can listen to people read great books and, this time of year, they have several channels with all Holiday music!

In the morning there is a radio station and the name and location of that station aren’t important (not based out of Indianapolis, by the way!). The radio show host often takes calls from listeners. And with everyone he tells them “thanks for listening.” Many times, I’ve noted, the listener says something like “I love you guys” or “I love the show.” The radio host will say back to the caller “We love you more” and it is really kind of neat to hear. It is not a surprise why they do so well because he openly expresses his love and thanks for the listener.

It got me thinking the other day that I’ll bet God doesn’t get to thank us for listening very often. We simply don’t listen to God because to do that would require tuning out the world around us. It would mean shutting off the radio and TV and noise around us, and sitting still. Lo and behold you will probably fall asleep, but listening to God takes work. One way I believe we can listen to God is to follow our hearts when it’s time for a decision to be made. Not to “over think” like we do in our heads, but to go the 18 inches down to our hearts and really listen. And when you make a decision and you feel at peace in your heart that is God, in my opinion.

In the Bible in First Samuel chapter 16 verse 7 David is selected as the next king. And the Bible says “people look on the outside, but God looks upon the heart.” It was David’s heart for God that got him selected king, not his size and/or strength. God looks upon the heart just like in the movie E.T. when the character knows he is going home. His heart light is lit up and he is excited knowing he is going home. “Home, home” he says. And when we follow our hearts we are moving closer to God and closer to going to our eternal “Home” in Heaven.

Oh, yes, by the way, God always, always and forever says not only “I love you” but “I love you more.” And more, and more and more the unconditional love of God is for all of us because of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus!! Now that is a daily blessing we can live with!


God Bless,

Pr. Doug Givan


Getting Certified

I have been hard at work for weeks, on and off, on my certification materials to become a Board Certified Chaplain.  Writing 4 essays on 27 aspects of my  ministry, a replay and evaluation of two different patient encounters, rounding up letters of recommendation, and a 4 page autobiography has taken a lot of my time! In addition, I have to provide copies of my credentials, transcripts from college and Seminary, evaluations from 4 units of CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) from both myself and my supervisors, and an application and pay a fee! I’m not complaining, mind you, I’m just giving you a flavor for what all I’ve been working on and attempting to complete.  The goal is to wrap it up and mail this week!

I’ll be interviewed by a committee sometime in March of next year and then (prayerfully, hopefully) approved for certification. It’s an exciting time for me and I invite your prayers for this process. Many professions have their own unique certification process. And often there is some kind of continuing education that is expected as well. A lot of work is required to keep up our skills and certifications. It’s part of who we are and what we do.

I wonder what kind of “certification” process we might have for our Secretariats if such a thing took place? What would it look like for us to “certify” ourselves as Secretariats? Is it regular communication out to the membership or meetings held quarterly? Is it the number of candidates/pilgrims, team and pastors to attend or serve a weekend? Or that weekends are regularly held? We don’t have to do that, obviously, because our VDC is alive and well, thank you, nationally and even internationally. All because we all love the Lord and want to spread the message of Grace, Hope, and Love!
Thank God there isn’t anything we have to do to be “certified” by God! Our God is so in love with us and there isn’t anything we can do to cause God to love us any less, or any more. I once read a quip somewhere that if you or I were the only one on earth, God still would have sent Jesus to die for our sins.  If God had a refrigerator your picture would be on it!! If God had a wallet your picture would be in it!

You are OK, you are forgiven, you are blessed and God has called you for such a time as this. Check your heart and your passion because that is God’s call on your life! I hope and pray you are doing that now because life is to short not to be doing work that you love.

You have proven yourself worthy simply because you are! Be yourself and enjoy this day,


Pr. Doug

A Lovely Wedding Ceremony

It was a lovely wedding ceremony centered in a lovely converted dining room in a historic building located in an old historic town.  I didn’t know the couple very well, I was asked to perform the service through a friend.  Family and friends gathered, the room was decorated and everything was ready.  I asked the couple to take a relationship survey and they scored extremely high.  They were meant for each other, and very happy to be getting married.  During the ceremony as they exchanged vows the bride wept so deeply touched and so very happy.  Then they did a “sand ceremony” where each of them took a container of colorful sand and poured them together into a third container.  It’s a beautiful symbol of two becoming one and a lasting memory of their ceremony.
I focused on a verse “God is love” found in the back of our Bibles in First John, chapter 4.  In the love this couple has for each other, God resides.  God loves us each and everyone and it does not matter what we have done or not done, said or not said. I often say in wedding homily’s that the great joy of relationships is that sorrow and problems are cut in half, and the good times, the joys are doubled!  It’s important to have someone in our lives who can be that “sorrow carrier” and “joy doubler” for us!  I hope and I pray that is the case for you today, that you have someone like this in your life.And I pray even more that you are this for someone else!  Isn’t that why we have reunion groups?  Isn’t this why we provide contact information for the team after the weekend?  Let’s share a little “4th day” love with someone today!!!

And whether or not you have someone like that, God is like that for all of us.  In fact, God is the great “sorrow eraser” and the “joy giver” in all things!  Jesus said in the Gospel of Matthew 11:28 “Come to me all you who are heavily burdened and I will give you rest.”  And in the Gospel of John Jesus said “I came that you might have my joy, not as the world gives, but as I give!”  We have been joined together with Jesus through His life, death, and resurrection and now our hope, love, joy and peace remain in us forever.  Feeling distant in your relationship to God?  Check and see who moved!!  And then, the very Good News of God, is that we are always allowed to come back. God’s Riches At Christs Expense (GRACE)! To be “re-married” again to the God of love in Jesus, who is with us always to the end, no matter what. To carry burdens and bring joy, and why can’t we be that for someone else today??


Pastor Doug Givan
St. Vincent’s Hospital Clay