Cell Phones :(

Good morning Friends!

I’ve decided I don’t like cell phones anymore! Saturday I upgraded from my beloved flip phone to a phone of immense proportions and swiping capability. Now trying to get used to the 100’s of things this phone can do, I’ve forgotten all I want to do is talk on it and text. But the little guy at the cell phone store was so good with the phone and made it look easy to operate! He pushed and swiped rapidly showing me all the technology not realizing my eyes had fogged over and I was no longer cognizant.

There is even a lady’s voice on there who will answer commands…..so he pulled up where we were located somehow and asked her for the closest grocery store. He was running a test to show me, but I can’t find her or the voice. I’ve lost more apps due to fat finger touch and swiping than I will ever download. I know I’m complaining, and yet I have to remember the guy said for me to give it a couple weeks to get used to it. And as soon as I figure out how to make a call I’m going to call him for more help! (I am well aware that many of you are technologically savvy and can’t believe anyone would have this much trouble!). Saturday night when I got an incoming call I learned that you can’t just touch the green arrow to accept the call, you have to swipe in the direction of the arrows…….

The hardest part of the Great Transition going from one phone to the other was watching the cell phone guy work. He took my flip phone and was able to change it from “breeze mode” to “advanced mode.” And all of a sudden my old phone changed and all kinds of new options were available including finding the dreaded “outbox”. Over the last year or so occasional text messages could not be sent and the phone told me they were moved to the outbox. I couldn’t find the outbox in the older “mode” and when it came up Saturday there were 151 messages! Sigh….I give up……I remember the days of getting up from your chair and going to the phone when it rang. Even though I like having a phone in the car when I travel, I sort of prefer simpler times.

Faith is like that. It’s simple. Just believe. We are the ones who make it so complicated perhaps because there are so many spiritual “apps” than can be downloaded. According to the Christian calendar we are in the season of Lent. It’s a simple time, to remember the sin of our lives. We are to feel sorry about that sin and seek God’s forgiveness and grace in Christ. Then we go forward toward the Easter resurrection remembering again that Jesus died for that sin, and rose again defeating death. No upgrade needed. No cell towers or tutorials really. Just simple, real life faith. It makes all the difference in a world of constant change!

Pastor Doug Givan


St. Vincent Clay (Brazil)

St. Vincent Seton Specialty (Indianapolis)

“Live for something….write your name in kindness, love, and mercy on the hearts of thousands you come in contact with….you will never be forgotten.”  Thomas Chalmers


Ash Wednesday/Lent

Greetings my brothers and sisters in Christ:

I can’t think of anything more scary than waking up in the middle of the night cold. I had that terrible feeling something was wrong and I was right. The pilot had gone out on my furnace Sunday at 3 a.m. I find out later in the day through a repair person the ignitor switch had gone out and had to be replaced.

I like to have my own climate control! I don’t like the extremes when it’s too hot, or too cold! I suppose I should live in San Diego where it’s 60 to 70 degrees year round. Then I would miss the change of seasons and probably complain there isn’t enough weather variety! Speaking of variety, how about the weather? I know not everyone reading this is affected necessarily but we are all reading about Boston and the New England area. We hold all of them in our prayers for the exhaustion that kind of weather brings and it’s repeating over and over again! We don’t know what’s next with the weather but we can hold out hope Spring is just a month or so away!

I love the church seasons. The church calendar begins with Advent (the 4 weeks before Christmas) and beginning this week, Ash Wednesday, we begin Lent. The tradition is an ashen shaped cross is placed on our foreheads to remind us of our sin as we enter the 40 day period before Easter. This is a time when we reflect on sin, death, and our sorrow over our sin eventually reaching the Easter story of Jesus defeating death and rising again!

The tradition has been to give up something for the season of Lent. I’d like to suggest we prayerfully consider taking on something! Why not take on added time in prayer, or Bible study? Worship at mid-week services and if your church doesn’t have them find one! Why not take on giving of our time or money to the cause of our choice?  Slow down and take some serious time to be serious about your faith. Do not hang onto the guilt; however, remember the cross. Remember “we are dust and to dust we shall return” as we look to the empty tomb. It’s easy to try and give up chocolate or soft drinks, but maybe more of a challenge to actively engage our piety, study and action! In any case, know of God’s love for you in this and every season and a blessed Lent to all!

Pastor Doug Givan

St. Vincent Hospital Clay
St. Vincent Seton Hospital, Indianapolis

Anxiety is My Friend

Anxiety is my friend. That may sound kind of weird, but I have lived with anxiety all my life. I stopped fighting it a long time ago and now just accept it as part of my personality. I realize the anxiety is there, I “talk” to it, tell him everything is okay and it drops to almost nothing. One way anxiety manifests itself in me in my life is to sometimes “speak before I think.”  I am also a raging extrovert and sometimes those two together cause comments or flippant statements to come out and sometimes at the wrong time.

I have to say, however, I am miles and miles beyond where I used to be. I have learned the art of quietude and I can listen very well and the anxiety and extroversion go away. I think that is what helps me do well in the patient room and in private moments of counseling or assistance. It is my growth in God, my love for the Lord that relaxes my anxiety and gives peace to my soul. I hear the words of our Lord in Matthew 6:24,“Don’t be anxious about tomorrow….look how God takes care of the flowers and the birds of the air, and aren’t you much more value than they?”  (My interpretation of the words of the text). Anxiety is living out of tomorrow I think. Or it’s living out of the next moment and we lose the present moment.

I think guilt and shame from the past coupled with anxiety about what is next cause us to miss out on what God has for us in the moment. Isn’t that what we do on a weekend? We slow people down. We take out 3 whole days of our life to bask in the glow of Christ. Is there anything better? Why aren’t all our weekends full to the max in both team members and candidates/pilgrims? Everyone, deep down, wants and needs this very thing. Once the weekend starts, we want to be sure that our actions, words and deeds don’t create more  anxiety on the person. Through prayer, fellowship and conversation we work to alleviate that anxiety on Thursday night or Friday morning.

One way to look at it comes from an NFL player. I don’t have the exact quote but I read that the quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks NFL team isn’t worried about that last play of the Super Bowl. He talks about living in the present, taking each moment as it comes. That’s a goal for all of us I imagine, live more in the moment. Give up trying to control; we really don’t have any.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Pr. Doug

NLS Spiritual Director

Pastor Doug Givan


St. Vincent Clay (Brazil)

St. Vincent Seton Specialty (Indianapolis)

Are you a morning person?

Good Morning Friends:

Are you a morning person? I’m told there are two kinds of people: those who wake up and say “Good God, it’s morning..” and those who wake up and say “Good, God, it’s morning”. Two perspectives I think and a comma makes all the difference. I’m a morning person as I age I’m finding the evenings getting “shorter” at least as far as energy is concerned!

In driving my high school son to school this morning he reminded me he is not a morning person and my jokes, quips, comments, and quoting lines from our favorite TV show wasn’t helpful. He just wants quiet and that’s ok. I understand we all have our best parts of the day. These are the times when we get the most done, are the most alert and awake, and have the energy for what is ahead. And, likewise, I’m sure we all have those times in the day when we do not have the energy, we are not alert and don’t get much done.

For ultimate success, say those who know, is to put the most important tasks in place to be at our best times of day. In healthcare I am aware that often it doesn’t seem to matter when our peak time of day is, everything is urgent. Patient care can’t wait until you “feel like it” or reach your best time of day! And in our beloved Via de Cristo is there ever a “best time” to be on team? I’m sure all of us have agreed to serve only regretting the decision as team meetings and the weekend itself approach. This is where the evil one takes great pride in bringing us down, changing minds, stressing out the schedule, etc. God’s time is never our time, but we just know “God is good, all the time…”

Of course, the spiritual life is similar. Tired in the evening? Try having morning prayer time while you drive. Really hard to read your Bible? Be flexible, read a verse on your phone, take your Bible with you. A friend of mine does his Bible reading in his truck at lunch time. The factory where he words doesn’t allow him to bring the Bible inside! Study, piety and action need some work? Please “grace” yourself and do not “grade” yourself. God always starts today. That’s why we give thanks for yesterday’s forgiveness in Christ and the promise of God in our tomorrow’s so we need not be anxious. We can always begin again. And through it all our God is always there, anytime day or night, and knowing that can make all the times of the day our best times. We are not alone, God is with us!

“The steadfast love of the Lord never stops, His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning, great is God’s faithfulness”

Lamentations 3:22-23

 Amen!  Have a blessed week…..is the end of July a good time to travel? Why not? Make arrangements right now and lock in on our National Gathering in Moline, Illinois! Check out www.viadecristo.org for more information. God loves you and so do I,

Pr. Doug

Pastor Doug Givan

Staff Chaplain

Clay, Brazil

Seton, Indy