If you go
What: Biblical Prescriptions for Life
When: 2-5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 30
Where: ICCM Theatre, 6425 Lee Highway
Admission: Free, but registration required to reserve seat
To register: BiblicalPrescriptions.com
› Why Are We Sick? How we put stress on ourselves that leads to disease.
› Making Changes Today: Explaining the science behind the Bible and how to apply it to life.
› The Evidence for Worship: How worship itself, no matter your faith, can change the chemistry of the body and affect the body for good.
Dr. James Marcum calls Jan. 30 "one of the poorest health days of the year."
"People have gotten their credit card bills from Christmas; they're coming due and that's building stress. Some have made New Year's resolutions that they aren't sticking to. The days are still short and people aren't getting outside to enjoy Vitamin D," the cardiologist gives as examples for why this month can end in a downward health slide.
For those reasons, Marcum has chosen Jan. 30 to launch his new health program: Biblical Prescriptions for Life.
In a free, three-hour seminar on Saturday, Jan. 30, he will introduce the series, which teaches what he terms "Christ's methods" to improve health. The nondenominational program explains his biblical Rx and gives participants an overview of a seven-week Bible study they can take back to their home churches.
"One of the study lectures is on the healing qualities of praise and worship. I've taught on that theme for years myself, but coming from a well-known cardiologist who has done a study on it is interesting to me," says Mitch Maloney, pastor of North Cleveland Church of God in Cleveland, Tenn.
Marcum is a practicing cardiologist with Chattanooga Heart Institute who was inspired to found Heartwise Ministries 10 years ago after observing the number of repeat patients in his office.
"I realized that modern medicine is great at treating acute emergencies, but we weren't very good about getting to the cause of the chronic problem," he says. "In the office, I can't accomplish that in the 10 to 15 minutes I have to see a patient.
"More than 4 billion prescriptions are written every year and there are more diagnoses of diabetes and strokes each year. So I went to the Bible and started looking for solutions."
What he found were practical answers to health care that most people ignore or consider themselves too busy to practice.
"The Bible tells us to drink water, but 70 percent of people don't drink enough; 90 percent of people don't get enough fiber in the body," the doctor describes says. "We aren't resting well without medication. We were never made to sit all day instead of walking and moving."
Jerry Arnold, pastor of Collegedale Community Church, will lead the seven-week Bible study at his church on Wednesday evenings.
"It's good, solid, scientific-based information about health," says Arnold. "It is written in such a way that it applies to our spirituality and our ability to connect with God. It is also written in a way that is not particular to any denomination but in general principles about developing our faith and our experience with God."
Arnold says he also appreciates that the study is written in laymen's terms so any medical terminology or biblical principles are easily understood by participants. Each week's study opens with a 20-minute DVD on the topic of the week followed by the leader's discussion. Individuals are given a followup Bible study for each day of the following week.
Marcum adds the study lessons entwine health principles with Scripture; for example, drinking water and living water (as referenced in John 4 when Jesus speaks to the woman at the well), or movement/exercise and an individual's walk with God.
"We are not selling health products," Marcum states. "We emphasize that the Bible has principles that change our body's chemistry. There is a place for modern medicine, but ultimate healing will come from a loving relationship with our creator."
Marcum explains that, in medicine, doctors treat one chemical pathway but not the entire body. However, when his patients began to apply biblical prescriptions to their lives and to focus on overall health, they showed improvement in chronic diseases, weight loss and overcoming depression; some were even able to reduce or quit their medication, he says.
He first took this good news to the airwaves with a television program, "The Heart of Health Live," which airs at 6 p.m. Thursdays on 3 Angels Broadcasting Network and the National Religious Broadcasters Network and is rebroadcast on Vimeo. Marcum will present his Biblical Prescriptions for Life at the National Religious Broadcasting convention in Nashville in February.
Then Heartwise Ministries began a 30-minute radio program, which discusses a variety of health topics and answers questions submitted by listeners. Now the doctor is launching the person-to-person Bible study. He compares it to the personal interaction the Bible describes of Jesus' ministry.
"Jesus used health care nearly one of every two times he interacted with people during his public ministry," Marcum describes. "He healed lepers, healed the bleeding woman who touched his garment, raised Lazarus from the dead.
"(The gospel of) Luke is filled with examples of Christ's first contact with people being a healing. He met their physical needs first and that brought them into a worship relationship."
In addition to improving health care, the doctor sees the Bible study as a new approach in outreach ministry, a different type of evangelistic tool to draw visitors to church — invite a friend to come learn how to improve their health and there's the potential that visitor becomes interested in learning more about the church.
Contact Susan Pierce at email@example.com or 423-757-6284.