Who Will Be Around You On Your Deathbed?

Who Will Be Around You On Your Deathbed?

Holding sick person's handNo one wants to die alone. It may feel a bit morbid, but thinking about your last earthly days is one of the most clarifying questions any one of us can ask.

The truth is there are only a very few people who are likely to be there when you take your last breath. And unless you don’t want anyone around at all, wouldn’t it be wise to invest most now in the people who are likely to be there at the end? Who will be around you on your deathbed?

For many years I worried a great deal about what everybody else thought of me: teachers, employers, classmates, coworkers, patients, friends, and business contacts. It’s right to treat all these people well, kindly, and with respect. But almost all of them are only in your life for a short time. And that’s OK.

Recognizing how temporary most relationships are is both freeing and sobering.

Continue reading...
Why Do Religious Teens Have Unprotected Sex?

Why Do Religious Teens Have Unprotected Sex?

Why do religious teens have unprotected sex? Parents, teachers, pastors, and more would love to know.

Ask the average teenager going to a conservative Christian church to name the most important messages their church gives to teens. You’re almost certain to hear, “Don’t have sex until you’re married.” It may not be the most common message, but it’s certain to be high on the list. And many of them would probably say that’s the same message they get from their parents.

Of course that’s very different from the messages they get from most media, most schools, and most peers.

I will always remember a 15 year-old girl and her very unhappy mother who came to see me a few years ago. Jasmine (not her real name) had just found out she was pregnant. It was clear from the conversation with them that getting pregnant at 15 was deeply frowned upon in their family and their church. And an abortion wasn’t even a consideration.

I pieced the story together over the following months. Jasmine wasn’t “supposed” to be having sex at all. She hadn’t told her mother when she and her boyfriend became sexually involved, and she didn’t use contraception, thinking she wouldn’t get pregnant. Jasmine felt a lot of shame about what she had done, knowing it was “against the rules.”

Continue reading...
Christian Doctor Addresses Sex, Contraception, and STDs

Christian Doctor Addresses Sex, Contraception, and STDs

Woman at the Doctor's officeAs an OB-Gyn physician I am privileged to talk with women about some of the most intimate issues of their lives. Here on this site I wear two hats when it comes to women’s health: Medical Doctor and Doctor of Ministry. I’m only going to put on my Medical Doctor hat here for a moment.

There are two things I know for sure. First, the only way to completely prevent pregnancy is to not have sex, or have a hysterectomy. I can’t tell you the number of women I have seen who became pregnant while using some form of birth control. (Of course I’ve seen many, many more women become pregnant while not using birth control at all!)

And second, the only way to completely prevent STDs is to not have sex, or to remain in a mutually monogamous relationship. And I’m not talking about “serial monogamy:” when you have sex with someone, you are also having sex with everyone they have ever had sex with. I can’t tell you the number of women I’ve seen who have contracted an STD when they thought they were “being careful.”

Now my Medical Doctor hat comes off, in a sense. There are some questions I get asked periodically that have much more to do with how to take these medical, personal, emotional, and sexual issues and live with them in a spiritually realistic and responsible way. Here are a few of my answers.

Question: Can God agree with me using contraception?

Continue reading...
13 Things On A Bucket List For Christians

13 Things On A Bucket List For Christians

Do you ever think about things you’d like to do before your time on earth is over? A “bucket list? I believe there’s a bucket list for Christians.

An acquaintance was feeling “old” after having a baby at age 38. It got her to thinking about the rest of her life. In response, she came up with a “bucket list” of things she wanted to accomplish by the time she turned 40.

Now I’m all for having goals. But as someone who passed 40 more than 10 years ago, I can assure you that 40 is not old. I don’t think 50 is old. I’m on my way to 60, and I don’t know if I’ll feel any older then. And I know people in their 70s who are accomplishing more than most of the rest of us who are half their age.

I don’t think 40 is old! But it is a point of wisdom to realize that our life on this earth is finite. How sad to get to the end and be left with only regrets for what we could have risked, could have done, could have said – but didn’t.

The six-year-old girl perhaps said it best: “If you love someone, hurry up and show it!”

Wanting to “kiss at the top of the Empire State Building,” or “learn to play guitar” may be great goals. But if you believe that God has a purpose for your life, there are some other things that should be on your “bucket list” for sure. Here are some things you don’t want to get to the end of your life without having accomplished:

Continue reading...
How to Find the Freedom of Forgiveness

How to Find the Freedom of Forgiveness

You’ve been wronged. Badly. Someone stole a lot of money from you. Your spouse cheated on you. Someone told horrible lies about you. You were physically, sexually, or emotionally abused. You were purposefully passed over in a business deal. A loved one was killed.

There comes a time after every such horrible wrong where you must make a decision. And it’s yours alone to make. You have only two choices. Do you:

  • Remain hurt and miserable, or
  • Do the hard work of forgiveness.

Remember, it’s your choice. Before you quit reading, let me acknowledge the depths of your pain. I may not know exactly where you hurt: pain is a very private thing. But I can give you the respect you deserve and need. I only ask that you think about what I have to say.

Forgiveness sets you free. It does much more for the one doing the forgiving than the one needing to be forgiven.

Forgiveness is also one of the hardest things for most people to do. There’s a sweet misery in nursing your wounds. Having been hurt is a wonderful excuse for all kinds of bad behavior.

Forgiveness is a process much more than a one-time event. It’s been misunderstood and made light of far too much. Here’s what forgiveness is, what it is not, and how to do it.

Forgiveness is:

Continue reading...