Sunday, December 30, 2007

Identity


I KNOW WHO I AM

I am God's child (John 1:12)


I am Christ's friend (John 15:15)

I am united with the Lord (1 Cor. 6:17)


I am bought with a price(1 Cor. 6:19-20)


I am a saint (set apart for God). (Eph 1:1)


I am a personal witness of Christ (Acts 1:8)


I am the salt & light of the earth (Matt.5:13-14)


I am a member of the body of Christ(1 Cor 12:27)


I am free forever from condemnation ( Rom. 8: 1-2)


I am a citizen of Heaven. I am significant (Phil.3:20)


I am free from any charge against me (Rom. 8:31-34)


I am a minister of reconciliation for God (2 Cor5:17-21)


I have access to God through the Holy Spirit (Eph 2:18)


I am seated with Christ in the heavenly realms (Eph 2: 6)


I cannot be separated from the love of God (Rom.8:35-39)


I am established, anointed, sealed by God (2 Cor.1:21-22)


I am assured all things work together for good (Rom. 8: 28)


I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit (John 15:16)


I may approach God with freedom and confidence (Eph 3: 12)


I can do all things through Christ (Ph 4:13)


I know that the work God began in me will be perfected (Ph 1: 5)


I am a branch of the true vine (John 15: 1-5)


I am God's temple (1 Cor. 3: 16).


I am complete in Christ (Col. 2: 10)


I am hidden with Christ in God (Col. 3:3)


I have been justified (Romans 5:1)


I am God's co-worker (1 Cor. 3:9; 2 Cor 6:1).


I am God's workmanship (Eph 2:10)


I have been redeemed and forgiven (Col. 1:14)


I have been adopted as God's child (Eph 1:5)



"The LORD bless you and keep you;the LORD make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn His face toward you and give you peace. Numbers 6:24-26

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Laughter in the face of Reality


As we finish one year and look forward to another, it is good to remember that fun keeps us going. Here are some Inspirational Sayings" I got off the Web Evangelism Bulletin Web Evangelism Bulletin guide@web-evangelism.com

Top 25 sayings for office inspirational posters

~ Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.
~ Doing a job RIGHT the first time gets the job done. Doing the job WRONG fourteen times gives you job security.
~ Rome did not create a great empire by having meetings ... they did it by killing all those who opposed them.
~ We put the "k" in "kwality."
~ A person who smiles in the face of adversity probably has a scapegoat.
~ If at first you don't succeed, try management.
~ Never put off until tomorrow what you can avoid altogether.
~ Teamwork means never having to take all the blame yourself.
~ The beatings will continue until morale improves.
~ Hang in there - retirement is only thirty years away!
~ Go the extra mile. It makes your boss look like an incompetent slacker.
~ A snooze button is a poor substitute for no alarm clock at all.
~ Indecision is the key to flexibility.
~ Aim low. Reach your goals. Avoid disappointment.
~ You pretend to work, and we'll pretend to pay you.
~ Work: It isn't just for sleeping anymore.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Great Video

Our good friend Steve Helterbridle put together a neat little video to introduce our focus and mission. It is called, "What If?" and relates the core of our ideas about ministry of the future in Sweeten Life Systems


http://wms11.streamhoster.com/s70x7/whatif_final.wmv

Take a look at it and let me know what you think of it.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The Whole Gang @ Christmas

The Sweeten Clan and assorted in-laws gather for Christmas.

There is Hazel, Karen's Mom and sister Toni Lynn in black. Our son Timothy holding Jack Donovan Sweeten; his wife Shelley in pink. Daughter Julia in red and husband David in gray with Jacob and Lily in the center. Karen in green and I at the back in red round out the family.

What a blessing to have health enough and wealth enough with warm homes and great food to come together and celebrate the birth of Jesus. Hazel was born in 1916 and has seen 91 of these celebrations through wars, the flu epidemic, depression, death, moves, poverty and sickness.

We are exceedingly blessed to have a caring, close family of four generations to share hugs and love from year to year. May the Lord bless each of you, my blogging friends, in the New Year ahead.

Follow Up on Scrooge


Go to my Seasoned Believers' blog to get the rest of the Scrooge story and hear how Jesus differed from Ebby.

Monday, December 24, 2007

New Link

Dr. Andrew Jackson, one of the premier bloggers in the Christian blogesphere, has noted the existence of our Seasoned Believers blog.

A tip of the hat to Andy with a big thanks! Go to his blog by clicking the Smart Christians Link on this page. He also has a face book connection for Christian bloggers you may wish to join.

What Difference Does Christmas Make?




STAVE ONE-MARLEY'S GHOST


Charles Dickens



MARLEY was dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it. And Scrooge's name was good upon 'Change for anything he chose to put his hand to.
Old Marley was as dead as a doornail.

Scrooge knew he was dead? Of course he did. How could it be otherwise? Scrooge and he were partners for I don't know how many years. Scrooge was his sole executor, his sole administrator, his sole assign, his sole residuary legatee, his sole friend, his sole mourner.

Scrooge never painted out old Marley's name, however. There it yet stood, years afterwards, above the warehouse door, -- Scrooge and Marley. The firm was known as Scrooge and Marley. Sometimes people new to the business called Scrooge Scrooge, and sometimes Marley. He answered to both names. It was all the same to him.

Oh ! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, was Scrooge! A squeezing, wrenching grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner! External heat and cold had little influence on him. No warmth could warm, no cold could chill him. No wind that blew was bitterer than he no falling snow was more intent upon its purpose, no pelting rain less open to entreaty. Foul weather didn't know where to have him. The heaviest rain and snow and hail and sleet could boast of the advantage over him in only one respect, -- they often "came down" handsomely, and Scrooge never did.

Nobody ever stopped him in the street to say, with gladsome looks, "My dear Scrooge, how are you? When will you come to see me?" No beggars implored him to bestow a trifle, no children asked him what it was o'clock, no man or woman ever once in all his life inquired the way to such and such a place, of Scrooge. Even the blindmen's dogs appeared to know him; and when they saw him coming on, would tug their owners into doorways and up courts; and then would wag their tails as though they said, "No eye at all is better than an evil eye, dark master!"
But what did Scrooge care! It was the very thing he liked. To edge his way along the crowded paths of life, warning all human sympathy to keep its distance.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

**This description of Scrooge is the best illustration I have ever seen of a hardened, callous sinner whose heart and mind and spirit are so deadened to human life and nurture that he prefers loneliness and rejection to warm fellowship.

Just imagine for a while the cold, hard, penetrating eyes and the lack of compassion that covered his face like a steel mask. No knight in armor ever had a more forbidding visage than Scrooge. Can any force on earth or heaven change that dead cold heart to one that is alive, warm and caring?

Gifts and My Pet Peeves



For as long as I can remember gift giving with strings attached has been a pet peeve. I can remember so many conversations by family members who said things like, "The gift I gave to Uncle Mort cost me $10.00 and so far I have only spent $7.00 0n Aunt Gert so I have to go out in this blizzard on Christmas Eve and get a $3.00 gift for her.


In all the gifts I have received from parents, relatives and friends it has never occurred to me that my gift cost more than my brothers or less than theirs.


Shopping is agony for some people. They work very hard trying to find the right toy or bauble at the right price. For me, shopping is different. I simply find something they will like, plunk down the money and run home with it.





Maybe the difference is one of males versus females. When my golfing buddies and I eat after a game, more often than not one of us will pay for the total tab or pitch in the total tip. Women, however, labor for an excruciatingly long time over making sure nobody pays a penny more than their bill. This is the same attitude that rules gift giving. As long as females control the gifts it will not change so that means it is a permanent fixture in life.

But, I do enjoy Christmas, especially now that we have grand children. Karen and I love to see the grand kids get gifts that they enjoy regardless of cost. This year Lily, age 5, received several gifts with cute dog themes and she was in seventh heaven. Jack, age 2.7, got some great puzzles and has been putting them together ever since. Jacob, almost 13, received an electronic Wii guitar and was able to really play it well.

Thankfully our family was able to buy these things without going into debt or missing a meal. Thank God for His immeasurable grace and for living in a country where it is possible to live in spiritual freedom and financial ease.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Is It OK for Christians to Give Gifts?


The Wall Street Journal published a small article about the history of Christmas yesterday. If you read this blog often you know I like the WSJ. It has some great articles and this one is insightful and stimulates thought.
I prefer Easter to Christmas when it comes to theology. However, the galloping greed we see on display each Christmas is a good way for God to show the world that narcissism never satisfies. This time of year is probably a better time for evangelism than is Easter but both holidays (Holy Days) are centered on miracles.
Easter also fits better with the theme of eradicating sin, guilt, bondage and condemnation.

But at Christmas we have much better music. No, I don't mean the songs about Rudolph, Momma Kissing Santa Claus and having a Blue Christmas, I am referring to Silent Night and all the tunes about angels and stars. Even the radical secularists who fear even showing a poinsettia on government grounds has to hum these old tunes when no one is listening.

I hope the creative class will get busy and ask God to inspire many more great Christmas songs. There may be no better way to touch the hearts of a rapidly declining culture than through the arts, especially music. Several years ago I collaborated with C. Harry Causey to write a song about Communion. (Break the Bread, Serve the Wine) I was inspired by the fact that we have about exhausted that genre of music and encountering the Lord in His Supper is so wonderful.

So I wish you all a Merry Mass of Christ. (Christmas) and a very happy Holy Day!

Friday, December 21, 2007

It is Easy to Miss the Mark


The term sin comes from a Greek word that means to "miss the mark". It was used by archers who were in a contest trying to hit the bull's eye but who did not quite hit the innermost circle. Thus, they had sinned or missed the mark.


Normally when we see the word sin in the Bible it conveys the meaning that a person may be trying hard to hit the bull's eye of perfection but he just can't do it. We can all identify with the Apostle Paul who said in Romans 7 that he was trying to act perfectly but perfection eluded him. "I know what is right," he says, "but I just can't do it".

The Commandment Paul mentions as an example is Coveting. It is brilliant because it comes from the heart. I may be able to fool you into thinking I am not coveting your house, car or bling, but my heart knows better. That is missing the bull's eye.

Sin comes from having a fallen or distorted nature. It oozes out of me at the times I least expect it. I want to be better and do better but my nature fights me. Christianity is not about being better. My works are all filled with self deceit and selfishness. They are filthy rags because they arise from a sinful heart.

Some folks tell us to try harder. But Paul said it would not help. He cried out in anguish, "Who will deliver me from this body of flesh?"

Then he answers himself. "Praise God, through Jesus Christ."


Jesus paid it all

All to Him I owe

Sin had left a crimson stain

He washed it white as snow


Monday, December 17, 2007

After Eden, What?

The whole discussion about sin, sins, guilt and false guilt is very confusing. Even among Seasoned Saints on the Yahoo Discussion Group I find the interaction strained and quite difficult to understand. There are several reasons for the confusion but I think one of the most important has to do with a lack of clarity about the terms.

Barney Ford, the Inter Varsity Fellowship Director at UC in the Sixties, was a very capable guy. He used comparisons to help students and faculty to understand the importance of terms. For example, Barney had been a math major before signing on to direct IV and was fond of asking math questions to clarify theological issues.

"How much is 20 plus 20?" he would ask some innocent frosh. "Forty, of course" he would say and smile with pride. Then Barney would ask, "Is that with a base number of ten or a base number of two?" The freshman would gulp and say, "What do you mean?"

Back then few of us knew that computers ran on a base number of two. Everything was a zero or a one. All of us grew up with a base number of ten so twenty plus twenty is forty. None of us knew how to add in a base number of two or seven. (I am still confused.)

Barney's point was deeper than math. He wanted to be careful about the terms we use when discussing our faith. He commonly used a funny way to illustrate this by saying, "We need an MOTM!"

Confused, of course, we had to ask, "What is an MOTM?" He would reply, "A Managing Our Terms Manual"!

Next time I will develop a short MOTM.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

What is Sin?


Over the past week a few of us have been interacting on a yahoo discussion group about forgiveness. The interaction actually began when we started to chat about the challenge of living a holy life. That led to some discussion about the nature of sin and whether it is even possible to be sinless.

These are very deep and important issues. So much so that they divide almost every theologian and denomination. After 20 or 30 posts I could see why they are so divisive. It is hard to even difficult to define sin in a way that everyone agrees let alone define how it manifests itself and how to best deal with it.

I grew up in a church going culture and I attended Sunday school, Sunday morning and Sunday evening worship services as well as Wednesday evening services. I heard a lot about sin. I did not understand exactly what it was.

That was probably my fault not the preachers and teachers who were trying to teach me. I thought sin was what I did. If I smoked, drank, played cards or committed adultery I was sinning. But I never understood the issue of the heart and motivations as sin. Not did I understand the difference between sin and guilt. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Do you understand the differences? The first person that challenged me to think about sin differently was President Jimmy Carter. For an interview with Playboy Magazine, President Carter mentioned that lust in his heart was a sin. Just lust alone, without acting on it, was sin. Wow! If so, that changes everything.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Death and Taxes


I regularly send and receive messages from a group of Christians from around the world. The "leader" or "facilitator" of the group is a wonderful and brilliant Pastor from Louisiana named Bob Vincent. Sometimes Bob finds unusual or penetrating articles and issues to send out as "What do you think" pieces. Not long ago Bob posted the following obituary. Let me ask: "What do you think?"


(Just hit the comments link and type away freely.)


R. BRUCE EVANICK is a shareholder with the law firm of Abbott, Simses & Kuchler.

Mr. Evanick completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Notre Dame in 1971. He received his law degree from Duquesne University School of Law in 1974."Mr. Evanick is a member of the Louisiana (1997), Texas (2002), Mississippi (2004) and Pennsylvania (1971) bars and the Louisiana Bar Association" <http://www.abbott-simses.com/r_evanick.html

'Robert Bruce Evanick (always known as Bruce to those who loved him - and those who employed him and exploited his work ethic) -- died Tuesday afternoon, December 4th, 2007. A massive heart attack killed him - despite the heroic efforts of many physicians, surgeons and nurses - in a waiting area at Ochsner Hospital.
He was not an inpatient there. He was there to provide company and comfort to Brenda, his wife, whom he loved and supported, in all ways, for 32 years. Her heart is broken. He died a horrendous death, on the floor of the waiting room, at Brenda's feet.

'His death should be a warning to all those who believe that they are being used by insensitive employers. He deserved better, both in life and death. Bruce had been seduced into a sedentary and high stress life style after he moved to New Orleans by the promise of "big money" from a corporate defense law firm. Essentially, his succumbing to that seduction and his devotion to duty caused his death.
Of the many shareholders in the firm for which he labored, only one took the personal initiative to call Brenda to offer her personal condolences.'Bruce's death leaves a huge void in the world. It is truly a sin and a shame that only one of his fellow shareholders were moved to personally console his widow. He loved her to his last breath and would have been deeply saddened by their cold attitude.

Bruce is survived by two siblings from whom he was estranged. The firm will be holding a Memorial Service in their office sometime on Monday, December 10, 2007. It is not known if they would welcome people from outside the firm and the firms prestigious client list. Brenda will not attend. Bruce has been cremated and his remains will be placed in an exquisite wooden box which he loved and will remain with his grieving widow'



Another Letter



Way back in the spring I wrote an article about the dramatic rise in the number and percentage of people suffering from clinical depression. The figures are rather frightening when we look at what is happening.



Well, we received a comment on the blog but I chose not to post it because it would have appeared so long ago that all of my readers would have missed it. So, I will publish it now. Actually, the very reason why they're depressed is because of nutjobs like you thumping the bible as a naive answer to everything. Purpose in life, good; religious pedophiles and other christian nutjobs, very very bad. Anonymous http://garysweetenblogspotcom.blogspot.com/2007/04/depression-and-anxiety-can-be-reduced.html


Obviously, Mr. Ms or Mrs. Anon does not like the positions I take on matters of faith. This leads him to say some very harsh but confusing things about me, the Bible and what he/she calls, "Christian pedophiles".

I welcome this person to my blog and hope he/she reads my response because I am mystified as to what was offensive on that post. Perhaps it is my belief that salvation and knowledge of the Bible serves as a source of joy and resilience for many people. Knowing Christ is no guarantee of happiness but the data show that it certainly helps.

Be assured, dear anonymous reader, that Jesus died so you can have eternal life. Ask Him today to come into your life and give you the peace that passes all understanding.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A Letter from A Friend


Every once in a while we get letters and comments from old friends who want to tell the world about the value of our ministries. The following comments come from a wonderful educator whose cutting edge work in the urban jungle has given generations of children a new hope for a meaningful life.

It has been both my pleasure and benefit to have known Dr. Gary Sweeten and his progressive work for well over twenty years. At the time when he initiated the Teleios Ministry, it was the first I had experienced of the blend of Biblical truths applied to psychological healing. It gave zoe life, hope, and meaning to the church, providing real answers to real problems.

Through Dr. Sweeten’s teaching workshops and seminars, pastors and church leaders were equipped to understand spiritual growth and interpersonal relationships within their congregations, as well as bringing structure to their churches. Equally as important, pastors and their spouses have been offered a place to openly discuss personal issues within a safe and confidential environment, a resource rarely available to clergy, yet sorely needed.

Although a forerunner in this type of ministry, Dr. Sweeten has continued to expand professionally. He and his ministry have joined the purpose of Christ “to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives…to set at liberty them that are bruised” -–from local neighborhoods to the nations.

--Carol B. Dantley, M.Ed.
Christ Emmanuel Christian Fellowship/Academy

Monday, December 10, 2007

Hi Tech Needs Something More


We live in a highly technological world. I am in contact with people all around the world through email, telephone and TV. Before long we will have a way to talk with our people via a video link. That is amazing.

My mother in law, Hazel, was born in 1916. She is presently 91 years of age. She has survived many wars, pestilence called the Flu Epidemic of 1918, poverty and the Great Depression and saw the growth of technology beyond anything we could imagine.

Hazel lives near us now and it is a delight to have her. We have long talks and lots of laughs. We love to play pinochle and she is my partner. Technology cannot replace Hazel's laugh or her stories. She is unique.

That is why we need people. We need to touch and be touched.

Technology alone leaves us that way: ALONE! Remember this dictum:

Hi Tech needs Hi Touch.

Because radio, TV and the Internet have grown so much people are starving for human contact. People need to relate deeply without taking advantage of others. I call it, "Non-Possessive Touch".

We need quiet places where we can talk and most importantly, listen.

This is one reason that missionaries on the ground are essential to authentic outreach. God is personal. he came down as a man and was incarnated. Thank God He showed us the best way to live together.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

TV And World Ministry


Our ministry is small in comparison to many of the big, rich TV preachers. They take in hundreds of millions of dollars each year and spend most of it to buy air time so they can broadcast to more people.

I have always been mystified about why so few of these groups put missionaries on the ground in Africa, Asia and Russia. Their intake of funds is greater than the entire budgets of many Evangelical denominations even though the denominations all support seminaries, Bible schools, missionaries and church plants.

We established a separate 501 c 3 not for profit in 1978 at the suggestion of our elders and financial advisers at College Hill Church. The materials we had written on healing and Christian care were greatly in demand and our seminars were taking off here and other places. I asked our elders what they wanted us to do with the copyrights and income from those activities and they said, "Set up a non-profit separate from the church".

That not-for profit has divided and sub divided into ministries all over the earth. Because we adopted a core values of, "Freely you have received so freely give" we gave the rights and income to the people in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Russia and Asia.

We do not know how many people have been healed, delivered and equipped for ministry through those organizations. The song, "Thank you for giving to the Lord" says what we believe. We serve God His way. (I am not complaining about our material situation. We are blessed.)

Our treasures lie in the thousands of individuals and families that have received God's touch over the past several decades. We estimate that over 200,000 people have gone through our classes and been blessed by the people we taught. I do not know if that is correct or not. I do know that men and women on every continent are still being blessed by the little ministry we started in Cincinnati.

Here is the lesson. If a Believer does what the Holy Spirit says, the results will glorify God and not the ministers. The score card will be full of healed and delivered people in heaven not millions in the bank. How do you think God keeps score? By counting the number of Rolls Royce cars or by the people who received the touch of the Master's hand?

If you want to support world mission, tithe and then donate to people you know.
Sweeten Life Systems
P.O. Box 498455
cincinnati, Ohio 45249

Friday, December 07, 2007

Christ is Born

In the old days, it was not called the Holiday Season; the Christians called it "Christmas" and went to church; the Jews called it "Hanukkah" and went to synagogue; the atheists went to parties and drank. People passing each other on the street would say "Merry Christmas!" or "Happy Hanukkah!" or (to the atheists), "Look out for the wall!" - Dave Barry

Greed and Avarice in Christian Work


The fact that several large TV programs by famous preachers are the focus of Senator Charles Grassley is well known by most of us. I do not know the details of the organizations in question but it does not take a CPA or tax expert to see what is happening. All we need to do is turn on the TV or read some of their materials.


When men and women in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ preach about the importance of wealth and live in obvious opulence, it throws a shadow of doubt on all of our ministries. It is natural to look at TV preachers and wonder if they are honest in their dealings. Such doubts raise questions in everyone about non profit charities, including this one. So, when the Slick Willies of the world end up living in $20,000,000.00 mansions, our ministry is also suspect as well.

Most people do not have the time or expertise to understand how some TV preachers can brag about driving a Rolls Royce. To us, "Ministry in a "non profit" means we live simply and carefully not with slick manipulation and excessive lifestyles. Lush private jets and $3,000.00 suits do not communicate humility and devotion to Jesus.

But that is not all. A few weeks ago, a friend was telling me how much impact the TV preachers were having overseas. I finally told him the truth. TV preachers do not get much "bang for the buck".

The amount of money they spend per successful contact is very small. In other words, the preaches may brag about their international influence but I have personally been overseas and these guys are not effective as evangelists or preachers. And, their theology is so aberrant that what they teach actually harms more people than it helps.

If you want to support overseas evangelism and missions, give to groups with real, live people on the ground. People not TV sets make disciples. World Vision has influence; YWAM has influence; and, many others have influence. Ask your pastor.

TV preachers rarely impact people positively.

When I minister in Russia I have to spend hours and hours picking up the pieces from the mistakes, cultural gaffes and terrible theology of some famous western preachers. It is less so now because the famous people have moved on to more financially fruitful fields but a few of us are still ministering deeply to the broken hearted and are setting the captives free.
In a 1994 trip, the local leaders wanted to know how much money I was making off of these "Crusades". (TBN brings in some $200 million dollars annually.) When they discovered I had no TV program they were amazed. "Doesn't every American have a TV program?"

After hours of careful and intensive interviews they invited me to teach in their churches and seminaries. I was the first American to be so treated in St. Petersburg.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The Allure of Tyranny

Communists Demand a Return to the Old Ways

Russians voted away their freedoms, and Venezuelans almost did. Why? BY BRET STEPHENS Tuesday, December 4, 2007 12:01 a.m. EST

OpinionJournal [OpinionJournal@wsj.com]


"It is ultimately a cruel misunderstanding of youth to believe it will find its heart's desire in freedom," says Leo Naphta, the great character of Thomas Mann's "The Magic Mountain" "Its deepest desire is to obey." On Sunday, voters as far apart as Caracas and Vladivostok took to the polls and put Naphta's theory to a practical test.


In Russia, the result of parliamentary elections was a triumph for President Vladimir Putin: His party, United Russia, won 64% of the vote. Add that to the votes taken by the Kremlin's allies and the Putin tally reaches 80%, with the principal "democratic" opposition represented (at 11.5%) by the Communists. The vote sets up Mr. Putin, an exceptionally fit 55, to rule Russia for another four-year term, and perhaps several terms beyond that.


By happy contrast, Hugo Chávez's effort to establish himself as Venezuela's president-for-life via a constitutional referendum seems to have failed by a narrow margin. Even so, an astonishing 49% of voters were prepared, according to the official count, to permanently forgo the opportunity to choose a president other than Mr. Chávez.


Surely you now know why we pray for Russian Christians and do everything we can to take the good news to the good people of Russia?


Without a great deal of healing, Russia will never develop into a democracy of safety for the masses.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Reactive People Need Healing

Apostles Reacted to Children and Jesus Responded


Over the past forty years or so that I have been a counselor and counselor educator I have worked with thousands of people. Almost without exception the most dysfunctional people are Reactive and get into trouble because they cannot Respond objectively to the ways others live and think. Or, maybe it is more accurate to say, they cannot Respond objectively to what they THINK others mean when they speak.


Our media's language is filled with emotionally loaded terms and barely rational ways of seeing the world. For example, reporters often say, "I feel like the President is.........." when they really mean, "I perceive that the President means...."

We also say such irrational things as, "You make me feel so badly!"

In American we even have such irrational things as, "Hate crimes."
We could argue that most crimes agains others is based on hate rather than love.

Most of my clients give other people an awful lot of power over their feelings and behavior. But thankfully, some of our people are learning to take responsibility for themselves and not blame others. Thankfully, we have been able to train thousands of Christians how to remain calm in the midst of the storms of life.

A young man started to Junior High this year and was accosted verbally by many of the other boys. When he related the story he smiled and asked, "I am bigger than all of them and think it is funny when they try to act so mean."

This kid is refusing to React and choosing to Respond. Bullies and manipulators always try to suck us into feeling badly. A wise person keeps calm and peaceful and will not React. This is what Jesus meant when he said, "Turn the other cheek." With this one small sentence Jesus told us how to remain calm and Respond not React to a bully.





Next time maybe I will tell you how Chad Johnson of the Bengals made the Cleveland Brown Bully Group look weak and useless.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Reactivity Scale




When I read about the folks in The Sudan who want to kill a Middle Aged woman from England because she allowed some of her students to name a teddy bear Mohamed, I can think of little else other than "Reactivity". When we are dealing with people who are reactive it is easy to spot. For example, they are extremely serious. A sense of humor is not allowed, especially on subjects they take seriously.

Second, their emotional reaction is far greater than the offense. If I tell a joke about Hillary and they are big fans of hers, the reaction will be one of serious umbrage at my "attack". Then, a great effort to convince me that Hillary is more holy than Mother Teresa.
Third, God wants to give them His peace.

We family therapists have had some training in the subject of Reactivity. There is a a scale to determine whether one is Peacefully Responsive or Anxiously Reactive. I use Zero indicate Perfect Peace. Ten is used to indicate high Anxiety.

When Jesus was before Pilate and was threatened by him, He remained peaceful and refused to React to the threats of such a very powerful man. He was a Zero.

But Peter, one of the, big guys who follwed Jesus was Reactive. When the cops came to arrest Jesus, Peter was about an eight or nine on the Reactivity Scale and cut the ear off one of them. Jesus calmly put it back on the guard.

Not all Muslims are as Reactive as those in Sudan. I worked with and had a lot of fun with many Muslims in Singapore. Most were Peaceful and Responsive rather than Anxious and Reactive. I even trained them how to set up Divorce Recovery Groups and Mentoring Models for school kids. They were attentive and caring students.

But here is the point for us. Are you and I Reactive or Responsive when someone "pushes our button" on some topic? Hamida, the Muslim lady with whom I worked, told Karen that she was unable to find a Christian who would listen to her ideas. They all wanted to "preach to her". If our preaching is from personal defensiveness rather than love, it will not be very effective.

When Bill Clinton was President many of my friends Reactive whenever his name came up. Why did they allow that to evoke such anxiety? Now, some of my friends are Reactive to George W. Why do they allow his name to bother them?

Reactivity indicates that we need to grow in an area. It is God's Yellow Caution Light warning us that we have lost our peace. Like the bumper stickers from the Seventies, "Support Peace or I will Kill You."

Facebook Forced to Change



Do you ever wonder if your voice is heard when you have complaints? Well, a story today on the BBC website shows that when we band together we can make a difference. The complaints of regular people caused Facebook to stop using their private information.
Facebook is a very powerful brand and we the people stopped them dead in their tracks.

One of the reasons I have a blog is to be a force for positive change in the world. This is especially important when bid media are so busy attacking my values and beliefs. For example, a new book outlines the ways Nickelodeon has intentionally tried to teach kids to undermine parental authority. (See Kids Rule, by Sarah Banet-Weiser)

This is also why it is important to teach Christians how to wisely use their influence by blogging, writing letters to the editors and commenting on blogs. Take a look at this news story.

Facebook members have forced the social networking site to change the way a controversial ad system worked. More than 50,000 Facebook users signed a petition calling on the company to alter or abandon its Beacon advertising technology.

When Facebook users shopped online, Beacon told friends and businesses what they looked at or bought. Many considered the data sharing to be an intrusion that exposed them to more scrutiny than was comfortable.

Privacy please

In response to the demands, Facebook's 55 million members will have more control over whether data about what they do online is used for Beacon.

Before the changes, Beacon was an "opt out" system and many complained that they missed the chance to avoid using it when it was introduced in early November. Now Beacon will be an "opt in" system that only tracks data if explicit permission is granted to Facebook to do so.

So, the people won this battle. But it is not the last so get involved wisely.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Do You Believe?

Doctor’s Spiritual Belief May Affect Care

Spiritual or Religious Doctors More Likely to Believe Religion Affects Personal Health
By Jennifer Warner
WebMD Medical News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

April 9, 2007 -- Most U.S. doctors agree that religion and spirituality have a significant effect on a person’s health, according to a new survey on doctor’s spiritual beliefs.

But doctors who themselves are religious or spiritual are more likely to see the impact of religion or spirituality on personal health as positive and believe it strongly influences health.

Researchers say the findings support recommendations that doctors recognize how their own beliefs influence how they provide care.

"Physicians' notions about the relationship between religion and spirituality and patients' health are strongly associated with physicians' own religious characteristics," write researcher Farr Culin, MD, of the University of Chicago, and colleagues in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

"Consensus seems to begin and end with the idea that many [if not most] patients draw on prayer and other religious resources to navigate and overcome the spiritual challenges that arise in their experiences of illness," write the researchers. "Controversy remains regarding whether, to what extent and in what ways religion and spirituality helps or harms patients' health."

Doctors’ Spiritual Beliefs Affect Care

In the study, researchers mailed surveys to a random sample of 2,000 U.S. doctors from all specialties. Participants were asked to estimate how often patients raised religious or spiritual issues, how much religion and spirituality affect health, and how the influence of religion and spirituality is manifested.

Among the more than 1,100 doctors who returned the survey, the results showed that 56% believed religion and spirituality had much or very much influence on health.

But only 6% believed religion or spirituality had changed “hard” medical outcomes.

Instead, most doctors believed that religion and spirituality:

  • Often helps patients cope with illness (76%)
  • Gives patients a positive state of mind (74%)
  • Provides emotional and practical support through the religious community (55%)

Compared with those who rated themselves as not very religious, those who were more religious were more likely to:

  • Report that patients often mention religious or spiritual issues
  • Believe religion and spirituality strongly influences health
  • Interpret the influence of religion and spirituality in positive rather than negative ways

SOURCES: Curlin, F. Archives of Internal Medicine, April 9, 2007; vol 167: pp 649-654. News release, Archives of Internal Medicine.

Ever more people today have the means to live, but no meaning to live for.
Viktor E. Frankl

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Fund Raising

As you may know if you know me, I do not like to do fund raising by sponsoring a lot of golf matches and gala parties. The article below from The Journal of Philanthropy electronic version says why I do not think it is a good idea to get support these kinds of efforts.

Gary Sweeten

November 19, 2007

Galas and Golf Outings Hurt Fund-Raising Efficiency

Are charities hurting themselves by focusing too much on playing host to special events and not enough on face-to-face fund-raising?

Officials from two Long Island nonprofit organizations tackled that question in an opinion article published this weekend in Newsday.

Marsha Gittleman, director of development and public relations at United Cerebral Palsy of Suffolk, and James R. Rennert, province director of development at the Cenacle Sisters, argue that fund raisers are often burning too much energy on costly special events.

In doing so, they argue that they are losing out on the opportunity to raise money through more direct — and less expensive — channels.

“We are beginning to learn, as have our colleagues in fund raising across the river in Manhattan, that it’s easier, quicker and certainly cheaper to get $10,000 from a face-to-face meeting with one person (or company) who expects nothing in return than it is to get a dollar each from 10,000 people at a gala,” write Ms. Gittleman and Mr. Rennert.

That sentiment is echoed by the anonymous author of the blog Don’t Tell the Donor, who says many special events are inefficient.

“The real target of this opinion piece does not appear to be the event planners, caterers, and silent auction promotion companies,” the author writes. “Rather the real target of this piece seems to be fellow development directors who have forgotten how to solicit donations based on the mission of their nonprofit without selling donors a ticket to a gala or an event.”
Are charities leaning too much on special events to raise money? Are there benefits to such events that are ignored in this argument? Click on the comments link below this post to share your thoughts.

Peter Panepento

Posted on Mon Nov 19, 01:43 PM

I hope and pray for you and others will support your churches and charities. If you want to play golf call me and I will play with you personally. If you need some music to spur a gift, call me and I will sing for you. If you need a piece of cold chicken call me and I will take you to KFC for lunch. But is you are interested in supporting compassionate and effective ministries, pray about where to send your hard earned checks.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Perceptions from Around the World

In the past few days I have been blessed to hold conversations with several people from other countries. I always enjoy chatting with foreigners because it is an opportunity to learn from them and see how they perceive America and Americans.

All of my conversations were with well educated Christians whose quality of life and international experiences are broad and deep. Each has traveled to Africa, Asia and America many times. they are the elite of Europe and Great Britain. Despite their wide experiences and deep education I am shocked by some of their perceptions of America and Americans.

First, all of them are convinced that the USA is collapsing economically. They must all be watching Lou Dobbs of CNN, the most pessimistic and anti growth person in the media. The US is experiencing a small hiccup in housing but all other indicators are actually quite high. (I realize that during an election cycle the people out of office have to "pretend" that the economy is bad. So, the Democrats will weep crocodile tears about how awful things are.) Read this story by David Brooks.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/27/opinion/27brooks.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

Second, many perceive all conservative Christians as following some kind of secret plan to make America a theocracy ruled by a Baptist Preacher. At the same time they are confused about the difference between Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell.

Here is my point. The media in other countries tend to attack whoever is President of the USA. The media generally hate George W. Bush and it is no wonder the people in those nations are ignorant about what is really happening. So, remember, we in the USA know even less about other countries than they know about us, so be gracious.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Russian News


The Millionaire Convention in Moscow

While the working people and old folks live in poverty, there is a rise in the number of rich Russians. Sales people from all over the world are going there to sell luxury items like this diamond encrusted Mercedes.

In contrast to the oil magnates, oligarchs and criminals, Galina has just recently been able to get her computer on a high speed internet connection. And, we both recently signed up for Skype so we can chat very cheaply by voice and instant message.

Here is her financial situation. The current computer is a Dell that's ten years old and was given to her after being used for several years in the USA. Needless to say, Galina is not attending the Millionaires' Convention in Moscow.

Now Galina must get the new computer. When she finally gets her office up to date, the team can minister more effectively and efficiently. I have been i messaging back and forth with them this afternoon and it works wonderfully and inexpensively.

If you wish to do something special for Galina and the team in Russia this Christmas, send a donation to Sweeten Life Systems. We will arrange to buy a computer, pay for the high speed connection and get a printer, fax, copier and other supplies. They are quite expensive in Moscow but a friend has figured out ways to buy everything fairly inexpensively.

Send the donation today to:

Sweeten Life Systems
Memo: Galina
P.O.Box 498455
Cincinnati, Ohio 45249

gsweeten@cinci.rr.com with questions
Click www.liferoute.ru for Galina's Web

International News about Ministry


Over the past 25 years God has seen fit to send me to places where I needed a passport or a visa almost 100 times. Although I do enjoy learning about other cultures and people jet lag has never been a favorite past time for me.

There is great misunderstanding between Americans and the citizens of most other nations. Back in the Eighties I was speaking with a well educated man who thought all Americans lived in ranch houses like the Dallas TV program. Others thought we fought daily among criminals in drug wars just like they see on TV.

The misunderstandings are also rampant among Americans and sometimes I think we are more mistaken about other nations than they are about us. The USA is a very large country and we travel less to other countries than do many folks from Europe and Asia. And, our media fail to cover the news in foreign countries as much as they cover us.

This morning I got up and started looking at the headlines from the BBC. One that caught my eye had to do with a trial in the country of Turkey. Two young men are charged with the murder earlier this years of a Christian missionary from Germany and a Pastor.

You can read about the trial here http://newsvote.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7108607.stm

Please pray for Christians to be safe during the trial. I am concerned that the media and rumor will combine to stir up a lot of misunderstanding and hatred for Christ and His people. Pray that Christ will be lifted up and people will see His love shine in the midst of great evil.

Secondly, a news item concerning the millionaires in Russia was displayed. Please pray for our friends in Moscow. Elections are coming up soon and tensions are high. The police and other government officials are making life difficult for honest people, especially Believers.

It is very expensive to live in Moscow and our friends struggle to maintain their apartments and offices. As you can imagine, ministry is very difficult.

But God is able to break through the clouds of suspicion and difficulties. During the cold war with the USSR millions of Americans prayed for Russians to come to faith in Christ and those prayers were effective. I know of several people who suddenly and without human intervention developed a thirst for the Bible and Jesus Christ.

Pray for President Putin and his cabinet to develop an openness to God's will.

Pray for our friends to find space to minister that is inexpensive.

Pray for the good news to grow in acceptance.

Intercede for God's Spirit to prosper the Christians and their healing efforts.

For more information on ways to support our friends call me at 513-300-5065 or write to me at gsweeten@cinci.rr.com

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Good News!!



















Today is our anniversary. Karen and I married after a whirlwind courtship of six months on the Thanksgiving Holiday in 1961. I was 23 and she had just turned 21 when we went down the aisle of the First Baptist Church in Pinckneyville, Illinois.

I was a school teacher at the Ina Grade School where I had the 5Th and 6Th Grades and taught all the subjects while coaching all the sports and driving the school bus. My salary was, as best I remember, about $3,000.00 but I received another $100.00 per month for driving the bus.

We were in love and wanted to marry so Thanksgiving seemed like a good time because I was off for vacation from Thursday through Sunday. We chose November 21 because it gave us a couple of extra days for a honeymoon.

We loved to dance then and still find dancing a wonderful past time. These photos show us at different times in our life. The top photo is with my brother and wife, Maury and Angela, Time and me and Tim and Karen, Karen and me dancing and finally the couple in the pink at a party.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Show me the Money


Everyone who is alert and active in the USA today knows well the trials and travails of folks who need to buy health insurance. For the past decade the cost sky rocketed. However, the professionals and institutions who deliver health care are getting less per patient than they were ten years ago. Managed Care is Managing us right out of care.

Prices up to individuals and business owners and those who deliver the service get much less. Who is prospering in this scenario?

Not long ago the media reported that Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield in Greater Cincinnati had, without cause, cut reimbursements for mental health by over 20%. In addition, the doctors and therapists have no recourse but to accept it. Each Psychiatrist, Psychologist and Counselor with their umbrella organizations have to eat the reduction keep their mouths shut.

Here is a story in the The Chronicle of Philanthropy on Friday, November 16 that reveals where these cuts go

William C. Van Faasen, the former chief executive of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts, the state’s largest health insurer, retired from the company in January 2006 and was paid $16.4-million in retirement benefits, reports The Boston Globe.

Since Blue Cross’s 2006 executive pay was disclosed yesterday in filings to the attorney general, several groups have expressed outrage at a compensation package of that size being awarded at a nonprofit organization.

Jerry Flanagan, health care-policy director for the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, a nonprofit, nonpartisan consumer group in Los Angeles, said that this type of excessive compensation harms the public by driving up costs. He explained, “Double-digit premium increases that are fueled by insurance-company excesses like this are uninsuring the insured.”

Chris Murphy, a spokesman for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, said Mr. Van Faasen’s retirement contributions are an accurate reflection of his lengthy tenure and his “extraordinary performance as chief executive of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts.”

Mr. Murphy added that the retirement package was evaluated by external compensation consultants, who assured the company that the payments “met industry standards.”

My comments: How true that these kinds of extravagant salaries are common among Managed Care Officers. All of them, not just Anthem, are ripping us off. And, it is being done by tax-free organizations.


What manager of a philanthropy needs or deserves such an outlandish amount of money? The IRS is looking into Preachers who abuse their tax free status. Now maybe the IRS will look into insurance companies that abuse their special status.

I have worked in the non-profit sector most of my adult life and have never received an exorbitant salary and I do not know anyone who has. Most ministers and others in the helping professions suffer from being under appreciated and under paid.

This is highway robbery. We are the victims.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Coming to a City Near You Soon


Would Honest Abe be allowed to speak freely today?

With some in our Congress defining biblical Christianity as "hate speech" we will very likely see cases like this grow in America. Several European have already mad it illegal to call some sexual acts sinful.

Take a look at what happened in France.


On September 27, 2007, Top Chrétien, the largest French internet ministry in the world, was sentenced to pay $12,000 (8,500 Euros) to the Palestinian support organization Committee for Charity and Support for the Palestinians (CBSP) or Comité de Bienfaisance et de Secours aux Palestiniens.

In March 2005, Top Chrétien had republished an article from a Jewish press agency that identified the CBSP as an organization that financed terrorism in Israel. The group sued Top Chrétien for defamation and lost. However, they appealed the decision and won. According to French law, Top Chrétien may not appeal this judgment and is forced to pay 8,500 euros ($12,000) to CBSP by the end of the week. The entire team at Top Chrétien is shocked and saddened by this news.

There are 5 million Muslims in France (10% of the population)

Evangelical Christians are less than 600,000 (1% of the population).

In addition to often being marginalized and ridiculed by French society for believing in God and supporting Israel, there are also many cases of judicial bias in the French courts. From denied building permits and unlawful seizure of churches and, now a judgment against Top Chrétien for defamation, Evangelicals continue to face a hard road when working in France.

Click this link for the full story. http://ied.gospelcom.net/bulletin-syndicate.php

Pray for European revival.



Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Research and Development


Some of you have written to ask me about the Reveal book from Willow Creek. I have read it and analyzed it on my other blog at http://seasonedbelievers.blogspot.com

I am very excited about the fact that Willow has the courage and integrity to do the research and then publish it for all to see. I know of few Christian groups that are open about their weaknesses. This is especially true when we consider that the research seems to show that Willow has failed in meeting many of their most basic goals.

Take a look at my other blog and think about what is going on. Barna is also writing about these issues from a different angle with the book, Revolution. What is God saying to the church?

I have spent my adult life as a professional educator, coach and therapist. All these professions involve growth, healing and influencing change. From what I see in most Christian publications, it is a wonder that any believer is ever equipped, healed or mature.

Christians have confused Pep Rallies with Playing the Game. I have always loved pep rallies. They are loud, exciting, colorful, inspirational and positive. We get to see beautiful girls dance, enjoy a pep band play our favorite fight songs and hear a wonderful motivational speaker tell the crowd that out players are the best in the world.

Then the game begins and the pep rally is forgotten. What counts now is not noise but skill, preparation, practice and stamina. When I coached basketball I had my players do wind sprints, practice defense and run laps until their tongues flopped out like puppies. They hated it. But it was those dreary, pain filled practices won games.

We preachers love the music, pomp and circumstance of a pep rally. Rarely does a preacher or teacher take members through the paces of a real practice and make sure the members can actually play the game. Oh, I know that our call is to "Equip the members so they can do the works of the ministry." It is a rare event when we even thinks that is our main job. The power of the platform is simply too strong to resist.

Willow's research proves that entertainment is not equipping; performance is not playing and crowds do not mean growth. Let's pay attention to the data.

I confess I still need to "Do what Jesus did and actually 'coach' people to do His works and not just 'tell" people what He did.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Take a Look at A Dynamic Video



Welcome to the video age. We recently put together a six minute video to open the eyes of Seasoned Believers to the possibilities of continuing to experience a life of vitality, worth and interest. We used it to launch our Gathering in October and the response was great.

Click on the streaming video at http://wms11.streamhoster.com/s70x7/whatif_final.wmv
and see what you think. Steve Helterbridle is the workman who put it together with input from several others. Watch and post your responses. As the new book, Wikinomics says, "Peer collaboration is the life blood of future entrepreneurial activities."


Monday, November 12, 2007

Gary's Socialism




Growing up in a home that honored over functioning, I slipped into that role with glee after my younger brother was born. I was just seven years old at the time. Mother was mercifully drawn back into her proper role as wife and mother to us boys. But that left a vacuum in the care taking of Grand Dad Taylor.

Mom Taylor had made up her mind not to stay at home with her "sick" husband. She preferred to work six days a week at their little store and go to church almost every night. Their daughter, my mother, was stuck at home with the new baby and my brother and I were left to tend for ourselves.

(Over functioners always fail some place. Despite the grandiose notion that they can be Omnipresent, they , so someone is left out. Workaholics neglect their wives and kids and religious fanatics neglect God and family.)

In a combination of God's sovereignty and human dysfunction I, at the tender age of seven, chose/was chosen, to fill the role as a care giver to my Grand Dad. Every day for seven years I was nurse, massage therapist, counselor, chaplain, radio operator and sports announcer for a man fifty years older than I.

I received enormous emotional and spiritual rewards for my service. Rewards that left me more confused about what it meant to be "a good Christian boy". Those seven years marked me for life. My role as a heroic care giver has impacted almost everything I have done since. I turned into a hard working, intentionally but confused heroic over functioner who tried to help people whether it was wise to do so or not.

This is why I dislike socialism so much. Socialism is governmental over functioning that almost always ends up keeping its clients under functioning. The Golden Rule of Jesus says, "Do unto others what you would have them do unto you."

The socialist says: "Do unto others what they should do for themselves."

Only one of these Rules is healthy.

Why Not Socialism?

After writing the last post I was ruminating on why I react so strongly to socialism. The reasons may be deeper than I know, but I think some of the reasons are easily discerned.

First, I am a converted socialist (A small s socialist not a formal Socialist.) I grew up in a family that chose me to be an "over functioner". Because I know family systems well, it is also clear that I also chose the role. In fact, I loved the role and was rewarded by almost everyone because I was a nurse and baby sitter to my sick grand father.

Every family distributes various "functional roles"from generation to generation to all its members. There are some who are chosen and who choose to "under function". These folks get stuck in cycles of sickness, depression, alcohol abuse or poverty.

Others take the opposite role and "over function" by hard work, perfectionism, religious involvement and trying to help the "under functioners" in their family, church and society. The problem with being a hero is that we need a constant supply of victims to rescue. Where would Superman be without a city of Victims like Metropolis and Persecutors like Lex Luthor or the Joker?

My mother was a wonderful woman who came to faith in Jesus Christ as a young girl. She spent her adult life caring for others out of "spiritual and religious conviction". Her mother and father lived next door to us and our families were deeply intertwined.

"Mom" Taylor was a spiritual giant in our little town, and almost killed herself over functioning in her marriage taking care of her husband, my Grand Dad Taylor. After suffering a near fatal ulcer attack, Mom seems to have made the decision to stop taking care of a perfectly well husband and he reacted in a shocking manner. He got worse, much worse. (This is not unusual.)

What was the family to do? Someone HAD to take care of Grand Dad Taylor. He could not take care of himself. (So we all thought.) Despite looking strong, he "felt" terrible and talked constantly of his aches, pains and depressed feelings. My mother came to the rescue.

With my mother replacing her mother as the official over functioner for Grand Dad Taylor, she was unable to do as much at home. That caused great conflict between my Mom and Dad and the conflict caused much pain in me.

Think about socialism as an attempt to over function for those who are under functioning. It sounds good and compassionate but it destroys both the people who do too much and those who do too little.

Socialism, either formal or informal, is the cruelest of all systems for the weak and the strong are both spending energy on the wrong things.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Socialism in our Future


It is hard for me to believe that the strongest and most prosperous nation in the history of the world would intentionally choose to destroy its economic and spiritual values by promoting socialism, but I fear I may have been wrong. For the past eight years the Republican Party, long noted as the party of Free Market Capitalism, has spent our money like a congregation of drunken pirates. "W" has thrown money at all kinds of projects with the willing support of the Left Wing Socialists we call The Democrat Party.

Is Ron Paul the only Capitalist running for the Presidency? The Democrat hopefuls are trying to outdo one another with wild promises of profligate spending for every partisan group in the country in a blatant attempt to buy our votes. Senator Clinton even went on CNN and called the oil company's profits "Obscene" and promised to take them away from the stockholders and distribute it to "The People".

Shades of Lenin and Trotsky! Do these people not realize how destructive that kind of policy is? Has she never visited or studied the USSR, Cambodia, China or the Eastern Bloc to see the devastation wrought by Socialism and the confiscation of private property? Those countries are still economic disasters. Is that what she wants for us?

America has the best economic system in the world because of capital investments and hard work. Why destroy it with policies that have failed miserably everywhere they have been attempted? Dependency destroys. Responsibility brings freedom.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Societal Suicide


Damned if your Do
Damned if your Don't

In psychology and counseling we can "Double Bind Messages" by a big name, suggesting the cause mental illness in kids from those kinds of homes. Our kids must be getting more confused and mentally stressed by the week by the "Double Bind Messages" in our culture.

TV, radio, music and government agencies are getting more aggressive and bold about promoting genital sex. Some schools want to distribute condoms to pre-pubescent girls. Despite research to the contrary, they say that condoms will prevent sexually transmitted diseases such as genital warts, gonorrhea and AIDS. That is a strong "Go for sex" message.

At the same time schools and law enforcement agencies warn kids against hugging, patting and other "Public displays of affection". Kids are being expelled weekly if they are caught anywhere hugging, even at a sports venue. (One kid was punished for hugging a friend who had recently lost his mother!)

No wonder kids are having mental and emotional breakdowns at record rates. Depression rates are skyrocketing among youth. Girls are especially vulnerable. Is it because women no longer know what is right or wrong?

Genital sex, along with abortions by teens, is encouraged by liberal Surgeon Generals. The court system and government bureaucracies will not allow schools to dispense an aspirin but will offer brightly colored condoms and birth control pills without parental knowledge because, "They are going to do it anyway".

Sex is now called "hooking up" because it is OK to share genitals without sharing one's heart, soul or commitment to care. Sharing and caring are forbidden but sharing genitals is inevitable in the jargon of modern values free education.

Is hooking up forbidden or only hugging?

Some school systems are building "Homosexual only schools" so young people with that issue will not feel "disrespected or put down". This promotes genital sex.

Is there any wonder why school levies fail time after time? Do you want to support such irrational social and cultural disasters? Why do so many people in the educational industry want to destroy younger generations on the altar of personal "freedoms" and yet forbid healthy interactions?

The Fourth Great Awakening is upon us. What the world needs now is "Love sweet love" and that is what we have. The world also needs the wealth of wisdom and values we bring to the table. By modeling and teaching about marriages and family life filled with hugs, pats and caring we can model a better way for the future.

We need families and churches that hug and teach hugging. We need small groups that celebrate a full range of generations and male female relationships with no confusion about what is right and wrong.

We need Seasoned Believers to write articles, letters to editors and books about living a life full of commitment and family values. Tell your politicians and school boards you want this downward spiral stopped.

We need 4 hugs daily to survive emotionally, spiritually and physically
We need 8 hugs daily for emotional, spiritual and physical health
We need 12 hugs daily to thrive emotionally, spiritually and physically

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

What is Happening to Our Society?

Forbidden Behavior by Babies

There is, I think, a growing amount of irrational and hysterical behavior being demonstrated by many well educated people in our society. I was a teacher among poorly educated in southern Illinois, but I never saw such hysteria.

Yesterday my grandson Jacob (12) and I were discussing some of the rigid and foolish rules his Junior High School. The rules forbid such things as ice picks, scissors, guns, knives, machetes and bazookas. (Just kidding) Many schools have a "Zero Tolerance Policy" that requires educators to expel anyone caught with such items. We have all read about six year old kids who were kicked out of school for drawing a gun or bringing blunt scissors to class.

The incident that caused Jacob to bring the subject up was a sign on the door of his great grand mother's nursing home. The sign has a picture of a gun within a circle and a line drawn across it with the words, "Firearms forbidden..." Jacob saw the folly of having such a sign and said, "Papa! Don't bring your guns in here when we visit Greatie." We both laughed at its ridiculous nature.

The news that night included a story that the folly that has overcome our educational system even in southern Illinois, I was born and reared.

Girl gets detention for hugging friends

By Georgina Gustin

ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH

11/06/2007


MASCOUTAH — A 13-year-old junior high school student was given two days of detention after school officials spotted her hugging friends after school last Friday. (Spies?)

Megan Coulter, an eighth-grade student at Mascoutah Middle School, was hugging her friends goodbye after school Friday when vice principal, Randy Blakely, saw her and told her she would receive two after-school detentions.

Blakely had previously warned Coulter that she was in violation of the school's policy on public displays of affection after she was seen hugging a student at a football game. (Even after school??) The school's policy says that “displays of affection should not occur on the campus at any time.”

Coulter's mother, Melissa Coulter, says she has requested to speak with the School Board at its next meeting, and is mystified about the punishment leveled at her daughter.

Mascoutah Superintendent Sam McGowen said today that the district's policy helps prevent misunderstandings and unwelcome expressions of affection.

The hysteria of educators has already affected the students and led them to disrespect the educational establishment. How can they not lose respect for their teachers and administrators when they behave so immaturely? With educators acting with such rigidity and a lack of commons sense it is no wonder kids are confused.

Every time I fly and see the foolish and politically correct way security is handled at the airports I lose more respect in the ability of the government to protect us. They regularly frisk 85 year old women in wheel chairs to show there is no racial profiling.

I am concerned that the current fear that is gripping our citizens about safety, terror, kidnapping, etc will lead us to remove our constitutional rights and further restrict our freedom of speech and movement.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Roots of Bitterness and Church Growth


I had a recent conversation with a Pastor who told me that he knew of a church that had been through three bitter divorces/splits over the past six years. He went on to say that he was convinced that the congregation could not and would not grow substantially until the "roots of Bitterness" were healed. I agree with my friend and urge each of you to ask God's Spirit to reveal any Bitterness in your heart and rid yourself of everything He reveals. (Al Qaeda never forgives and this is the result.)

Ephesians 4:26-27 has a very interesting comment that is key to reconciliation, healing and growth. It says, "Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your bitterness. Do not give the devil an opportunity."

I was reared in a culture that knew anger first hand and we frequently used it to get what we wanted. We used our anger to manipulate, frighten, bully and intimidate. However, the church's stand was to turn a blind eye to anger's bitter abuses as well as its positive effects. Yes, I said positive effects.

Most of us in the counseling fields attempt to put a positive spin on anger but no book of counseling I ever read does a better job of re framing anger and bitterness than the Bible. In this passage St. Paul makes a key distinction between anger as a feeling and anger that has become a mind set called Bitterness.

God does not condemn our angry feelings. But He does forbid the negative results of anger. When anger settles into the brain and becomes a way of thinking and guiding our actions it has become a "Root of Bitterness". This is what the Bible forbids in Ephesians when St. Paul says, "Do not let the sun go down on your bitter mind set of unforgiven."

We need to be preaching, teaching and counseling people about this verse. By helping people clean up grudges, long held pain, deep resentments and judgments we can allow God to be an evangelist and draw many to Himself and to the church that has been healed.