Author Archives: Steven McKinney

“The Ones We Love” by Chaplain Steve McKinney

The day after the recent tragedy in Newtown Connecticut, I was emotionally troubled having watched the events unfold the previous day. I had flashed back to similar feelings of 9/11 and even the tragic loss of my brother in an automobile accident in 1986, each event being different, but yet the pain of grief so much the same.

I always take my son to school each morning before work. Some mornings we talk, and some we just “ride” trying to get started and awake. That day however was very different.

I looked several times over at my son in the car, placing in my memory every inch of his body and wishing I could count the hairs on his head. In the back of my mind, behind the grief of what was happening at Newtown, I felt selfish and guilty for not being more aware, for not cherishing more those few minutes we have together every morning.

As we approached the school, sitting in the walkway to the main entrance was a police car in front of the pillars which were there to keep other cars from entering. It looked more like a prison than a school. My heart sank when my ten year-old son asked me “Is something bad going to happen today Dad”?

How could I answer him? My response was brief. “They are here to make sure that no one comes in that doesn’t belong.” I told him. “You just listen to what your teacher tells you to do, son.” I said.

In our morning meeting at the facility, all hearts were broken. All of our management team are parents and were all deeply troubled by the tragedy. We all shared stories and our concerns and I shared the story about my son. We all prayed. As I left the room, an arm reached out to mine; it was one of our CSM’s named Angela. On a piece of paper she had written this scripture down – it was 2 Timothy 1:7:

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power and of love, and of a sound mind.”

Thank God for those around us that provide when we aren’t able. I believe it was God’s way of telling me to “listen to the teacher”!

The opposite of fear is faith. I hope this story helps someone today. It certainly changed my day.

And to everyone today, as we spend those precious moments with those we love, a very Merry Christmas wish to everyone!

Steve McKinney, Director of Spirituality

Signature Healthcare of Rogersville


“Not Ashamed” by Chaplain Steve McKinney

Psalm 31:1 says “In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed: deliver me in thy righteousness”.

I remember one of my first jobs after college. It was cleaning out railroad cars that hauled fertilizer. In the summer it was near 120 degrees inside the train cars and I had to scrape the side with a shovel to make sure the sides were clean. It was a job I’ll never forget, but mostly a part of my life I was ashamed of. A college graduate cleaning out railroad cars? Why would you do that?

I’m not ashamed now of my eagerness and willingness to work and to serve then and certainly now. In my building I’ve never met a resident or staff ashamed of what they know and believe their God can do! I’m not ashamed either. Through all of our troubles, our situations, and our concerns, we can turn to him. Total trust and knowing he is our guide and the delivery will be divine.

I’m thankful for having a friend that I can talk with, to serve and to follow. I’m glad that my job now is one of security and service. We do have a mighty God to trust in and to deliver us! Thank you God for being there and never let us be ashamed to share your love. Amen

Steve McKinney, Director of Spirituality
Signature Healthcare of Rogersville

“A Godly Reminder: by Chaplain Steve McKinney

Last week was an emotional roller coaster for me. I had a friend pass away from cancer at age 42, a co-worker battling the same disease, and several others facing the end of their journey here on earth. It’s easy to become tired and weary and even discouraged in our efforts at times. But a simple scripture shared at my friend’s funeral service gave me a much needed reminder…Romans 12:12 says “Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer”. This scripture spoke so strongly to me. Simply put a confident prayer and patient waiting, will result in perfect hope. That is the God we know! That is the God we serve! That is the God we love!


When you have days that are filled with many demands and issues that seem to weigh you down, then pray, know that God will answer, and then realize the promise of hope!


My prayers: God, today we thank you for mercy and grace and for hearing our prayers. Please encourage us and strengthen us to wait for what you have in store. And then God, show us a time of rejoicing as you reach out to our every need! In Your name, Amen


Steve McKinney, Director of Spirituality
Signature Healthcare of Rogersville


“I’ll Be Mark Today” by Chaplain Steve McKinney

Today God has given me another day to live,

I ask myself; in what way can I give?

Will it be by action, or by word, or by deed?

It really shouldn’t matter, someone is in need.


A heart-warming smile with an out-stretched arm,

A fragile little lady approaches with no alarm.

“How are you doing Mark, long-time, no see?”

My response in my mind: “I’m not Mark, but Steve”.


“Oh, Mark look, how the rain is coming down”!

She always is cheerful and never a frown.

“Mark, you better stay inside today,

The weather is bad, but I think we’re ok”.


I felt a soft pat on my wrist as she turned,

Wheeled down the hall, and took a turn.

I’ve come to realize a change in my call.

To many we are much, to some we are all.


I’ve never known for sure who Mark may be,

But for some reason to her, he resembles me.

I’ve never had a problem ever being Steve,

But today I’m gonna be Mark, I can always be me!


Written by Chaplain Steve McKinney
Rogerville, TN


“Daily Courage” by Chaplain Steve McKinney

Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart, All you who hope in the LORD.? Psalm 31:24 NKJV

My wife says one of her favorite movies is The Wizard of Oz. I must admit the movie is full of excitement and colorful events, but as a young child I was terrified by the monkeys with wings! I do remember that each character was searching for something they didn?t have. It was courage the lion was in need of.

Certainly, life gives us many challenging situations. It is much easier to face our hardships with courage. Our jobs require courage, our roles in family require courage, and our faith requires courage every step we take. I?m so thankful today that we can go to God and get courage and strength for each day. All we have to do is ask.

My prayer today: Dear God, thank you for being there when we feel discouraged. Thank you for giving us courage when we face uncertainty and trials. God, thank you for strengthening our hearts to conquer our fear through your Love! We love you and are blessed to face each day with you watching over our every need. To you we give praise, honor and glory! Amen

Steve McKinney, Director of Spirituality
Signature Healthcare of Rogersville

Sing A Song

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him. Psalm 28:7

I do a lot of my praying when I drive. In ministry, often we are traveling somewhere. It just seems a quiet time to cast my cares and concerns to the Lord. Often I lift up requests that have seemingly “piled up”, and many times some prayers are answered quickly, while others take more time. Many times I may get a phone call of praise or a positive change, that I know comes from each of us praying together.

When my flesh is weak, I know my heart will be strong. I am praying to an awesome and mighty God that provides my every need…..and thankfully not my every want. When these times of praise happen, I often find myself humming or even singing a song of praise. It may be a familiar worship hymn or sometimes even one I develop on my own.  I am not talented musically, but God doesn’t expect a performance-just our voices of praise.

My prayer today is that we together can be joyful and sing together praises to the One that brings us safety, mercy and grace. My heart is ready to sing…What about yours?

Steve McKinney, Director of Spirituality
Rogersville, TN

What’s On Top In Your World?

The Lord is exalted, for he dwells on high; he will fill Zion with justice and righteousness, and he will be the stability of your times,  abundance of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is Zion’s treasure. Isaiah 33:5-6

The last few days has been a tribute to the 100 year anniversary of the tragic sinking
of the Titanic. The world seems fascinated with the event with numerous movies
being made. I remember  my wife and I going to see one of those movies starring Leo DiCaprio. I recall him standing at the front of the ship shouting “I’m the king of the world”.  At some point in my life I felt like doing the same. Moments of self-accomplishment and success often bring self-gratification.

But, I truly believe we often forget where God really belongs in our lives. Who is the
King in our lives? I want my Heavenly Father to be my King. I want to honor and praise Him, and give Him the highest place, and watch Him spill out to those who love Him, mercy and grace. Let us not overlook the stability we can have through His love, when our lives seem tossed on the sea of life.

Dear Lord, help us to treasure what You have in store for us! Help us to understand that if we place You first, the blessings You bring into our lives will be the witness that will shout to the world! Thank you dear Lord that You desire to make us the head and not the tail in everything. We honor and love You dear Lord as Lord of all. Amen.

Steve McKinney, Director of Spirituality
Signature Healthcare of Rogersville

Be Aware

1Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days. Ecclesiastes 11

My son used to love to go to the local boat-dock and feed the fish that gathered around the walkway. The fish were healthy, but depended on the visitors to feed them. As Chase freely gave away most of the sandwich bread, I told him “Don’t give away all the bread son”!  His reply was simple. “Dad, we can get bread anytime we want it. These guys really need it”.

I ponder that story often and realize that our faith is symbolic of this event. We trust God to provide our every need, and even take for granted what He provides. But how often do we open our “bread bag of blessings” and give to those in need? When we truly give with our hearts, somewhere we will reap a blessing from simple acts of compassion.

It is never a measure of rich or poor, but of need. Truly some of the wealthiest people today have needs and voids that money cannot suffice.  It could be a need of compassion, of a caring friend, or a shoulder to lean on. Whatever the need, there is someone that can help.

Let’s open our hearts and share what God has blessed us with. After all “what goes around, comes around”.

Prayer:  Dear God, help us be aware of the needs of those around us. Help us to see how truly blessed we are and to realize there is no monetary measure of happiness. Let us freely give from our hearts acts of compassion, Godly love and support to those you allow us to be around.

Chaplain Steve McKinney SHC of Rogersville

Celebrating Our Differences

As the ark of the covenant of the LORD was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David dancing and celebrating, she despised him in her heart. 1 Chronicles 15:29

I was raised in a small, quiet, country church in East Tennessee. The style of worship I am accustomed to is a very structured and simple one. As I have grown older, and served as a pulpit supply pastor, I have been in many different types of worship services just within my own faith. There were “shouting” churches, “dancing” churches, and yes some very quiet ones too.

Also, within the chaplain role, we have been able to learn about one another’s faiths and worship styles. Our buildings each have unique mixes of worship styles.  It matured my ministry and my personal understanding of how we all express ourselves differently, yet in many instances, for the same purpose.

I am what I refer to as a “life application pastor”, in that I share God’s Word through events and circumstances of our present day lives, and applying God’s word for direction and guidance. I am comfortable with this style, but I’m also willing to accept that others will differ. One pastor friend of mine shared this statement in regards to denominational differences: “I wish we could focus on what brings us together and not what drives us

If we focus on differences, Like Michal did with David,  we may fail to be able to worship at all. God made us in His image, but made us all a little different too. Maybe somebody will see you “dancing” and “celebrating” like you’ve never done before!

Steve McKinney, Director of Spirituality
Signature Healthcare of Rogersville

The Wardrobe Of God

“So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you:  compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.” Colossians 3:12 MSG

We are blessed in our facilities to have the new uniforms and color combinations for each department. They look great…..but our uniforms of “Love” really are what shines!

Bless you today and every day!

Steve McKinney Director of Spirituality
Signature Healthcare of Rogersville