Friday, June 29, 2007

Link to Loving Deb Smith

Way back in the beginning of the Fourth Great Awakening was a Great Revival. It began with high school and college kids and a few adults who were knocked off their religious horses on the way to personal gratification.Two that were brought into the move of the Holy Spirit during the Campus Revival at the University of Cincinnati happened to be Tom and Deb Smith. Tom grew up a few miles from me in the mighty city of Woodlawn, Illinois.

Every revival has people and groups that serve as engines of the Spirit and fires in the fireplaces of the Lord. The First Great Awakening is remebered for George Whitfield and Jonathan Edwards and for powerful groups of enlivened Americans who spread the gospel until it led to the American Revolution.

The people and groups this time included Billy Graham and other famous preachers but it was mostly powered by groups of students from Campus Crusade, Inter Varsity, Young Life and Youth for Christ. It was the kids on campuses all over America who were liberated and brought spiritual liberty to millions. We saw the power of God at work; the awesome move of God through ordinary people and it changed the world.

Tom Smith came to the University of Cincinati as Campus Minister for the Christian Church and hit the ground running. I was Associate Dean of Students responsible for the Student Groups at UC so Dale Adams, adviser to the Church, brought Tom to meet me at a lunch. Before long Tom had recruited a bunch of students who were excited about the Gospel. Tom was and is a gifted evangelist. He also met a beautiful young woman named Deb who soon became his bride.

Tom and Deb lived among the students at The Carpenter's Houses. There was one for girls and one for guys. God really moved among the students as they learned the Word of God and did His works of love and grace among. God used Deb and Tom to spark a revival.

Deb, although about the same age as the students, was a house mother, friend, counselor, worship leader, Bible teacher and nurse maid. She led many a home sick kid through the pain of growing up apart from their moms.

That started about 1970 and developed into a church plant, a national church movement and an international association of Spirit empowered congregations. Deb and Tom were partners who parented three of their own children as well as hundreds of children they "adopted" from around the world.

Today Tom and Deb live on the Smith Family Farm in Ashley, Illinois. Unfortunately, Deb is very ill with cancer. If you click on the link to her blog you can read about ways you can help them now. They have emptied themselves in service to Christ and His people for almost 40 years and it is our turn to support them spiritually and financially.

Please go to Loving Deb Smith and begin to pray for a series of miracles. They have taught about the miracles of Jesus for decades so let us ask for another one right now.


I imagine most bloggers are a lot like me. They want, need and like comments. We are like politicians who only have one rule about reporters. "I don't care what you say about me if you just spell my name correctly."

I have thought and said for a long time that my main job after retirement will be to write letters to the editor as a full time business. Now that I have a blog I don't have to wait because I can write a stream of consciousness about whatever is on my mind. And, to top it all off, I get great comments from friends, neighbors and acquaintances from all over the place.

Not too long ago I received a note from Dan Gilliam [] a man who was one of our youth ministers many years ago. Now he is an artist, musician, writer and free spirit in ministry. When he first wrote he was in Colorado but has moved back to the Virginia-North Carolina Border area of the mountains.

I have received notes from a lot of ministers and counselors. I suppose we are all working on similar issues. My old friend from the University of Cincinnati Jay Slaydon, is a counselor in the same region where Dan Gilliam lives. Good people tend to gather in warmly caring places, I suppose.

So, keep writing. Hit the comments button and say something; anything. Stay in touch. I need to hear from you.

What is Gary Sweeten Doing Now?

This is the question I started with because we are changing the name and focus on our ministry.

What!? Again?! What are you going to do? Can't you just be satisfied with doing the same thing for twenty years or so or is you ADD gotten so bad you are bored again?

I have been through so many ups and downs, ins and outs that my family and friends are in a continual stage of confusion. First of all, I have had positions that were unknown and new from anything my parents or friends even heard about before. After leaving my teacher's job in southern Illinois the Lord opened up a position at the University of Cincinnati. It was in Student Affairs, something TJ and Leota Sweeten had never heard of before. Karen and I lived with a new born baby, Julie, for two years in a big residence hall of upper class males.

For a couple of years UC and other many campuses were roiled by unrest, riots, threats and unlawful use of drugs. As I was the head Counselor of a 600 man residence hall my staff and I certainly had our hands full during those days of tension and easily piqued students.

The university had to close its doors twice because of violence. The bumper sticker back then could have been, "Support Peace and get out of Viet Nam or I will Kill You." I was threatened with death or severe beatings several times but the Lord watched over me. We all wore badges identifying us as good guys so the police would not bash us over the heads along with the rioters, SDS and the dopers, with night sticks. It still did not make us feel very secure.

But God was also active. We often quoted So shall they fear The name of the LORD from the west, And His glory from the rising of the sun; When the enemy comes in like a flood, The Spirit of the LORD will lift up a standard against him. Isaiah 59:18-20

I had written a Master's Paper on riots in higher education so I was supposed to have been an expert on campus unrest. Man o man I was just an newbie and I learned a lot about prayer, helplessness and those who profit off of pain. The misinformation and egotism of the media who lied constantly to write a "big story" and the lies of the protesters whose motives and character were, at best, narcissistic and at worst, criminal.

But God poured out His Holy Spirit on us and brought many people to faith and healing. It was the beginning of the Fourth Great Awakening; an Awakening that is forty years into the normal 100 year cycle of Great Revivals and Awakenings. Thank God, those of us predestined by the Lord to be chosen for such a wonderful time are still feasting on His grace and marvelling at His mercy as we see how revivals and awakenings gather steam and change nations.

My new thrust is riding the waves stirred up by the Jesus Movement and the Great Awakening as God's plan continues to move along.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Pits, Prisons, Palaces, Prophesy and Prosperity

As I read my stories from past decades I am struck bu how many times I have had to face great disappointments. Anyone who reads the Bible knows that the great heroes of our faith have all faced great challenges.

I think of Joseph whose father loved him so much he doted on him to the point that the children from his other wives got so jealous they decided to sell him into slavery. They put him in a Pit after stripping him of that famous many colored coat and made a few shekels off him from the passing camel train of traders.

From that awful Pit young Joseph was transported to a Palace in Egypt where he served as a slave to a high ranking officer of the Pharaoh. Joseph did so well he ended up being the object of his master's wife's affections and after refusing her advances, went to Prison on the basis of her lies that he had tried to force her to have sex.

Joseph had not been abandoned by God, however, despite his terrible problems. As he said, "They, (the brothers) meant it for evil but God meant it for good." So, God spoke to Joseph throughout his many ups and downs, trials and triumphs. He had the ability to interpret dreams and hear God's voice so Prophesy was a great gift that continued to be placed upon him. (The gifts and call of God are forever.)

His ability to hear and follow God led to imprisonment as a result of false charges but in Prison it led to his being blessed. A fellow prisoner that had been the recipient of Joseph's Prophetic words and knowledge of dreams, remembered his friend from the Prison and suggested to the Pharaoh that Joseph might be able to understand his terrifying dreams about seven cows.

Finally, God had prepared the haughty, childish and prideful Joseph to the place where he ruled the strongest country on earth, Egypt. All those times of trials and temptations, of tests and tough events developed young Joseph into a mature leader. It is often the case that a person is not get ready to rule others until there is self-rule.

Some of my most painful and difficult times have prepared me best to serve the Lord where ever He sends me. The school of hard knocks works as the very best way to prepare us for leadership. I have been falsely accused, wrongly dismissed, painfully rejected and my "rights" stolen by people I considered to be closer than a brother or sister. My many colored coats have been torn up in front of me, my reputation tarred and feathered by those I helped most and my money taken by "friends". (IMO)

It is the Pits, Prisons and Pain that Prepare us for the Palace and Spiritual Prosperity. It is not Schoolization but Socialization that develops godliness and the fruit of the Spirit. Yes, "Knowledge puffs up while love builds up" and God is in the business of building not puffing.

The Lord has called me at this time to unleash other Seasoned Believers who have grown strong through illness, disappointment, joy and family life into the fifth and sixth decades of maturity. Most are ready to share their wisdom and love. When I was a child I thought as a child, I taught as a child and I lived as a child. Now it is time to put away childish things and liberate mature men and women to touch the world.

More on God's preparation later.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Photos from the Past

I recently discovered a few photos from the past. They will confirm the fact that I actually did teach Elementary School, including music, in Ina, Illinois, my home village of some 300 souls.
I was also a basketball coach. I actually and proudly won the "Coach of the Year Honors given by Eddie Allen's Barber Shop in Mt. Vernon. The inscription read,
"My Sin; One Win: Losing est Coach of the Year".

New Name?

I hope you will help us come up with a new name for the ministry as we go forward into the Fourth Great Awakening.

Make your nominations today.

Monday, June 25, 2007

What is Gary Up to Now!!!?

I left you at my accepting a job at the University of Cincinnati. What a blast. Karen and I moved into an upper class men's residence hall with our little six week old daughter Julia. The guys had a little sister and we had 600 men to corral.

Finding a church was difficult. They were different from the little congregations back home. But we found one way out in Dent and settled in there. We started to teach Sunday school for the College and Career Group and fell in love with the kids and their families.

I was growing in my job and taking classes on a doctorate in counseling. I discovered the power of small groups and saw the way God could use groups to train Christians to learn His word and do His works.

Through a guy named Barney Ford, Campus Director of InterVarsity Fellowship, I was invited to attend a series of training classes on Inductive Bible Study. That means we study what the Bible says and interpret it ourselves rather than have a teacher prepare a cookie cutter lesson and tell the students what it means.

These two insights were like gold to me and I immediately started to try the ideas out in tandem with our C&C group. We met in homes once each week and encouraged them to dig deeply into the passages we chose and arrive at their own conclusions. WOW! What freedom and what excitement on their parts.

Well, that did not last for long. The Church Leaders heard what we were doing and called me in for a discussion. The end result was a request for my resignation. I was hurt, mad, frustrated, sad and disbelieving. In retrospect this painful event was like the one at Mt. Vernon when I had to resign from teaching. Humiliating, humbling and infuriating but redemptive.

God meant it for good and He brought good out of it. Like Joseph in the pit. I was a better man after I got out of the hole God put me in.

More on UC next time.

Is there an Ethicist in the House?

I am interrupting my series on "What is Gary Sweeten up to now?" to report on some national news of note. As some of you might know, the New York Times is considered to be one of the top news organization in the world. Many other news groups regularly use the NYT as a source of wisdom and factual reporting. Recently, however, the Times has reported several things that are, in fact, lies, distortions and politically correct wishes.

Even more recently, a reporter for MSNBC dug deep into tax records to find that some almost all reporters and columnists gave money to Democrat and Left Wing political groups. In all, 125 journalists gave to Democrats and liberal causes. Only 17 gave to Republicans. Two gave to both parties.

One guy, Randy Cohen, writes a column for the NYT on ethical issues. People write in and ask Mr. Cohen tough questions about ethical concerns and he gives them his wisdom, insights and suggestions. However, Randy's employers, the NYT, has a rule against any reporter giving money to a political cause that might compromise his/her objectivity.

When MSNBC discovered his acts and published them, Mr. Ethicist Wise Man said something like, "It was OK to disobey the rule because it is just taking part of a community activity as a citizen."

Now Mr. Ethicist weighs in on a very tough dilemma. He gives his wise and thoughtful advice to a "Mrs. KV from Brooklyn who asks: "Should I fire my psychotic nanny? She is from Haiti and is in America illegally. I fear that I need to fire her 'to protect my children.'"

Cohen urges her not to fire the nanny. He says:

You are restrained not only by ethics but also by the spirit of the Americans with Disabilities Act. An attorney I consulted says that if you ran a larger business, "to fire her would be illegal." Were she to stop taking her medication or otherwise display dangerous behavior, a business could dismiss her. Fortunately, as a stay-at-home mother, you can see if her condition deteriorates before anyone is imperiled.

Her immigration status already restricts her other employment prospects, and her limited options, as you imply, impose an additional ethical burden on you. If she can do the job, she should be allowed to keep it. (OpinionJournal [] June 25, 2007)

This is so far fetched that it is quite unbelievable. This man is supposed to be a thoughtful ethicist who is objectively advising a woman to do the right thing. Yet, he suggests that she defy the laws of the United States while hinting that she might violate the American for Disabilities Act if she actually obeys the laws about immigration and also protects her kids from a mentally ill and possibly dangerous nanny.

The psychotic woman in question has better grasp on ethics than Mr. Cohen. No wonder we are having such a problem with the immigration debate. When the Times has loose cannons like Randy Cohen writing on a topic he can barely spell let alone discuss passing laws that protect our citizens is almost impossible.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

A Bit of Ministry History

What is Gary Sweeten up to now?

That is the question a lot of my friends, family members and colleagues get when they meet with people with whom we have ministered over the years.

Is Gary Sweeten still overseas a lot?
Is Gary Sweeten still traveling everywhere all the time?
Is Gary Sweeten still piling up frequent flyer miles?

Now that the Lord has nudged us to change directions in our ministry and come upon with a new name it is important to review our history so this move is placed into its proper context. What name would be good for us?

It needs to

connect with the past but be appropriate for the future
identify what we are all about
be simple
easy to remember
have sizzle

So, let's review the past a bit.

The beginning places. I came to Christ as a kid of ten while surrounded by parents, grand parents and friends at church who talked and walked with Jesus. I was always involved in serving people and studying God's Word.

I drifted away from the Lord as a teen and was zapped by God's Spirit in a dramatic Damascus road event in 1958. My active ministry began in 1959. Since I had read the Bible all my life and heard unending discussions I jumped into the fray almost immediately and began witnessing to people. Most importantly, I heard God tell me to attend college. So, a stint at a tiny community college was a real test of my willingness to follow God's leading.

I learned a lot about leadership and being a change agent in college. Our school was essentially two more years of high school with the same teachers and administrators we had before. I had been out of high school for two years working in a factory so I wanted to be independent and treated like an adult. Except for a counselor, they wanted to treat me like a child.

I ran for the Student Council and won the Presidency. That year I was immersed in politics, organizational planning, trying to influence the administration and the students and learning to study; a skill I had forgotten in high school.

After completing college I applied for a job as an elementary school teacher. That position required me to teach all classes for 30 students in the 5Th and 6Th grades as well as coach all sports, put out the year book and drive the school bus. I learned how to use the better students to influence my other students because I certainly did not have the time, knowledge or skills to do it all. I loved teaching and I loved the kids.

I also taught Sunday school and led the worship in my church.

During the fifth year of teaching I had a conflict with my principal. I resigned form teaching and prayed for the next step in God's call. the answer seemed to arise out of nothing and I applied to be a counselor training program at Southern Illinois University. They told me I really needed to be in Student Personnel Program if I felt called to work with college students. I enrolled in that program in memory of my favorite teacher/counselor from Mt. Vernon Community College, Mrs. Betty Ann Ward.

Afterwards I discovered that SIU had one of the top Student Personnel programs in America. I learned so much in classes but even more in the two year required fellowship. The Deans and Profs at SIU really tried to coach and mentor us about the real world of higher education as well as teaching us theories of adult learning. (This is the closest I can come to Saluki colors.)

When I graduated I was overwhelmed with recruiters who wanted me to work at their schools. I was blessed and took a position at The University of Cincinnati.

Next time; Cincinnati with kids

Ready to Launch

I have been reading about Apple's new launch of a cell phone and I am amazed at the hype Apple is able to generate over each new technological play thing. The Apple McIntosh Computer was a thing to behold and a wonderful machine to use. The hype it generated was a model in marketing and buzz.

Then the iPod came along and now it has become a regular part of our lexicon meaning any kind of MP3 player like using Kleenex to mean any type of tissue. On June 29 Steve Jobs will issue a new type of cell phone that combines entertainment and telephony. Unless you have lived under a rock, you already know this.

I am somewhat embarrassed. Why? You ask. Because I am launching a new product and an entirely new thrust to my ministry along with a new name and new board. Yet few of you, the general public, and even those close to me know about it. It appears that I need to have Steven Jobs on my marketing staff. (Oh, I forgot. I do not have a marketing department or a marketing staff. I do not even have a paid person to raise funds for the ministry.)

Despite my failure as a marketing guru, I want you to know about this new focus. So, we are going to have an two official "Launches" of the New Things on July 12 and August 9. I am hoping those few people who are invited will help us get the word out to the general public.

Why Are We Changing Names?

Life Way Ministries, Inc is a good name. In fact, it is too good and several other ministries also use Life Way as part of their moniker. That causes confusion.

Life Way is a brand of the Southern Baptist Sunday School Board and far too many people think we are part of the SBC family. That is rather nice for us because we get the overflow from the SBC good will. However, it is not accurate nor is it fair to the SBC who spend a lot of time and money promoting their brand name.

Life Way is also part of the name for the counseling center I set up in 1989. We named it Life Way thinking that by using a similar name people would understand that I was founder and head of both. That was a mistake. Life Way Counseling Centers provide professional, credentialed and clinical therapy to people in need. Our ministry is a non-profit charity so the differences are many and huge. Confusion is harmful to both organizations.

Lifeway for Youth is a non-profit group that places children in foster homes. Last year Lifeway for Youth placed a child in a home where the parents neglected him and the child died. Many people have been confused about whether or not we were the same organization. This is harmful to our reputation and opportunities as well as our funding.

So, we will have a new name. One that is easily remembered and that connects with our long and varied history. Stay tuned for the new name.

Monday, June 18, 2007

What is Better on Father's Day?

A few days ago I wrote about the joys of seeing my son Timothy Andrew interact with his son Jack Donovan Sweeten. It is a joy to finally see what our kids are made of and Tim is a very warm and loving father. Nothing could be better.

But I have something just as good: a son in law who is caring, warm, attentive and diligent. For many years Karen and I prayed for a good man to marry Julia. Rarely are one's prayers answered with such a resounding "YES!" as those were.

Over Father's Day we saw again how much David loves his family and shows it in his quiet and humble manner. Jacob and Lily love and admire their dad and he deserves their respect without demanding it with fear.

A good man now a days is hard to find so the fact that we have two in the next generation is another testimony to God's grace.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

A Friend In Need

Dear Friends,

We recently heard that Deb Smith, an old friend, a wonderful, Spirit filled believer, wife and mother is ill.

She is a Co-minister with Pastor Tom Smith, formerly Ministering to students at the University of Cincinnati and then founders of Fellowship Christian that grew out of the student fellowship. Then they founded a wider Movement of the Holy Spirit before moving back Illinois to farm and Pastor Grace Community Church.

Deb has come down with cancer. She needs the miracle working power of the same Holy Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead and who brought her so much joy.

Go to the blog at get more information and find ways to support her and Tom.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

What the World Needs Now is

What the world needs now,Is love, sweet love,
It's the only thing that there's just too little of.
What the world needs now,Is love, sweet love,
No, not just for some but for everyone.

Lord, we don't need another mountain,
There are mountains and hillsides enough to climb,
There are oceans and rivers enough to cross,
Enough to last 'til the end of time.

Lord, we don't need another meadow,
There are cornfields and wheat fields enough to grow,
There are sunbeams and moonbeams enough to shine,
Oh listen Lord, if you want to know...oh...

According to the Nobel Prize winner in Economics, Dr. Robert Fogel, Luther Vandross was exactly right when he penned the very popular song. The western world has just about reached its saturation point in terms of possessing things. How many shirts can I wear at one time and how many ragged but new jeans can I have in my closet?

Every time I see an ad for satellite radio with its twenty thousand channels I think that it is overkill, especially when I only listen to the same three stations all the time anyway.Now I am too busy listening to Rick Warren on my iPod to tune into the nuts on "Obscene Scream Radio". I have hundreds of channels on Time-Warner Cable but most of the offerings are junk science or junk ideas or junk news about Paris Hilton.

But the world never gets too much love. I get tired and even exhausted. That is why I am no longer flying to Asia every other month. My body is worn but my heart and mind are still dedicated to giving and receiving God's love.

Fogel says that the main result of the first three Great Awakenings was distribution of freedom and materials goods. He goes on to say that the main result of The Fourth Great Awakening is and will be the distribution of non-material or spiritual realities.

The main cause of poverty in times past was a lack of opportunity to attend school and own property. But democracy and universal schooling has cured those problems in the west. Now the greatest causes of poverty are mental, emotional, relational, social and spiritual. If you want your kids and grand kids and great grand kids to be poor forever it is easy. All you have to do is engage in sex outside of marriage, have kids but do not marry, do dope and drop out of school.

The greatest need of modern men and women is non-material. Their greatest resources lie with mature believers whose material needs have been satiated and whose spiritual bank accounts are filled to the brim. Mere consumption of additional, bigger and better material toys is boring. How many more trips to Hawaii or Europe will it take to satisfy us?

Jesus told the truth yet again when He said, "Give and it shall be given unto you, pressed down, shaken together and placed into your lap". Luke 6:38

It is only by giving that we shall receive blessing, peace and joy. Several years ago I was flying to Singapore and next to me was a man about 55 years old who was on the verge of retirement. He had worked for thirty years for P&G as an expert in international communication so he was looking forward to resting from airplanes and stress. "I am going to build a million dollar house on the fourth tee of the Fancy Dancy Golf Club and just relax" he said with a sigh.

I asked him, "After you have been retire for a while and played about all the golf you can play what will you do?"

He looked puzzled and curious. "I don't know," he replied. "I just haven't given it much thought. Why?"

"Well for several reasons," I said. "First, you will be bored to tears. Your wife will be irritated with you around all the time interrupting her life. Second, God has given you enormous talents and gifts that the broader Kingdom of God desperately needs. I am travelling to Asia, Russia and Scandinavia several times each year but I would love to have a way to teach via Internet or DVD. There are thousands of missionaries who need you to help them communicate with the family, friends and churches back home and you are going to just leave all your talents and experiences behind. Have you ever thought about helping us missionaries out?"

"Our church supports missions very strongly but nobody has ever asked me to help except to give money. I am just a layman. These things I am doing for P&G are secular not spiritual. I am teaching 5th Grade Sunday school now."

I went on with my sermon and said, "Why don't you consider using those talents and gifts for the Lord?"

After a few minutes of thought he said, "I don't think my pastor would let me. He wants me to teach the 5th Grade Sunday school class but I am not ordained as a Pastor or Missionary and I am too old to go back to seminary."

The world is dying from a lack of wise, mature, skilled, talented and gifted believers who have God's love and hope to share in practical ways. Unfortunately, some people seem to be stuck in a galaxy far, far away from reality and think they need a seminary degree before they can help people in need of God's love. May I quote Nike? Just do it!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Fathers' Day

What a joy to have my kids and grand kids by my side on Fathers' Day. I love seeing my son Tim play with Jack, his two year old Jack-Out-Of-The-Box, and act like a fool as they rough house and bounce around all over the place with Jack squealing and Tim laughing.

Tim is a man of 37 who I thought would never settle down as an executive or father. He was the poster child for hyped up kids everywhere and should there have been an advertisement for ADHD medicines. Back in the day he could have given a great testimonial.

But he did not want no stinkin meds because, as he told me, "I only feel really alive when I am buzzing".

Now Tim is a consultant with doctors and medical clinics who has learned to use ADHD as an inner stimulant to keep him sharp. I admire his insights and ability to bring relational skills and Six Sigma into the workplace. But most of all I admire Tim for loving his son. The delight Tim shows when he and Jack are interacting is wonderful. Tim is fully present when he is present.

Nothing could be better than that.

By the way, I have found a great blog on

Corn and Gas and Unexpected Laws

A New Era has come upon us without our doing anything to make it happen. Like most events both big and small we had nothing to do with making these things happen. Congress passes a new law to reduce the use of energy and another law takes over and changes everything. That law is called, "The Law of Unexpected Consequences".

There is an evangelistic fervor sweeping the world right now about energy usage and what is called "Global Warming". I know so little about such things I will refrain from pontificating about whether or not humans are to "blame" for increasing the temperature. I do not know.

However, because I have a small understanding about the way one small change acts like a billiard ball careening around the billiard table hitting and moving other balls I can often predict that almost any well intended legal intervention designed to reduce our "Carbon Footprint" will instead increase it.

The Federal Government as represented by the Congress became very concerned about gasoline consumption. The Representatives from the corn growing states came up with an idea. Let's make corn into a form of non oil based gas and sell it on the open market. Every gallon of corn gas will reduce the gasoline usage of oil based fuels and everyone will be happy but the corn farmers will really be happy. Happy farmers make for happy voters who make for happy Representatives.

The flaw in the thinking is simple. If more corn is used to drive cars instead of feed cattle and people then the price of corn will increase. If corn increases in price meat will increase and cereal costs will increase, and... They all did increase.

Second, it takes a lot of energy to produce corn. That energy comes from oil. So, more oil is consumed because of switching from oil based gas to corn based gas.

Third, it takes a lot of energy to produce corn based gas. This make oil consumption rise.

Fourth, corn gas is weaker than oil based gas so it takes a lot more of it to travel the same distances making it less efficient.

Fifth, gas from corn is much more expensive that oil based gas so a gallon would cost at least a dollar more and we could not drive as far because it is weaker than real gasoline.

My cousin Stanley Taylor in southern Illinois will be ecstatic about corn gasoline because he raises corn. However, I do not want to pay twice as much for meat because the feed corn is higher nor do I want to pay over $5.00 a gallon for the corn gas.

I am not really thinking about corn costs. It is just a metaphor. My goal is to help you see how things work from a biblical perspective. God's word is systemic. He touches a person or a nation thousands of miles away from the USA to impact events in the USA. It is hard for us to think the way God does because we tend to think in straight lines instead of the way various systems interact.

In WWII the German Air Force was called The Luftwaffe. It was hated and despised by the Jewish people as an arm of an evil state. Now the number one most popular air line serving Israel and its WWII survivors is called, Lufthansa. It is the former enemy of Jews who now serves Jews.

When God wants to start a national revival and then an awakening He plans many years in advance and plants seeds that will bloom and blossom decades later. Right now we are in the early stages of The Fourth Great Awakening, an event that is and is changing the way we see the world.

The seeds of this world wide tsunami were planted generations ago. We who are living in it are not in control of it or even understand it. About all we can do is ride the wild surf and enjoy God's leadership. Hang on!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Need to Share

So the question is, what are we going to do with all this free time? It brings us back to the question posed to young wealthy Athenians by Socrates, "What is the good life?"

Fogel states, "A half century from now, perhaps sooner, when increases in productivity make it possible to provide goods in abundance with half today's labor, the issue of life's meaning, and other matters of self-realization, will take up the bulk of discretionary time" (p. 192). Self-realization does not mean fulfilling one's desires, but "immersion in the political struggle to create a better world."

According to Fogel, since we mostly have the material goods, we need to focus on the misdistribution of spiritual resources. Fogel has in mind a list of 15 spiritual resources.

Tune in next time for Fogle's list of spiritual resources. However, today can we agree that the almost 500,000 local congregations in America have abundant supplies of spiritual resources they are already sharing with others. However, it is easy to see that we can rather easily expand the efficiency and effectiveness of many congregations, especially now that so many of their members have matured and grown in caring, sharing and bearing burdens.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Liesure Time

We have a crisi of liesure time and too many things. In the span of approximately 150 years (1880-2040) the time spent earning a living and doing what we want will completely reverse:

In 1880 we spent 80 percent of available time working;
In 2040 we'll spend 75 percent of available time doing what we like.

Why the change? Because of the extraordinary technological advances it takes fewer hours of work to earn enough money for living. Robert William Fogel, the Nobel Laurette in Economics, states in his book, The Fourth Great Awakening, "We have become so rich that we are approaching saturation in the consumption not only of necessities but also of goods that were in the very recent past thought to be luxuries and that were only dreams during the first third of the twentieth century" (p.189).

So the question is, "What are we going to do with all this free time?" It brings us back to the question posed to young wealthy Athenians by Socrates, "What is the good life?"

Fogel states, "A half century from now, perhaps sooner, when increases in productivity make it possible to provide goods in abundance with half today's labor, the issue of life's meaning, and other matters of self-realization, will take up the bulk of discretionary time" (p. 192). Self-realization does not mean fulfilling one's desires, but "immersion in the political struggle to create a better world."

Rich Christians, and that is most of us in America, need to think about what we have to share with the poor. Let me give you an hint. It is not usually money. More on that later.

Monday, June 04, 2007

More Affirmation of Death from Europe

Why are so many people encouraging doctors and the public to promote death rather than life? The Bible reports that God told His people that, "I have set before you life and prosperity and death and adversity." (DT 30:15) and later God says it again, "I have set before you death or life so choose life."

One would assume that the Israelites would choose life not death. But God knew what He was doing when He urged us all to pursue and choose life rather than death because we need to be reminded that life and peace and prosperity are better than poverty, death and destruction.

As I have written several times before on this blog, many countries are dying as nations. One of the main reasons for their devastating population losses is a culture that glorifies death not life. Take a look at part of an article that appeared recently:

Swiss suicide clinics 'helping depressives die'
By Bojan Pancevski, Sunday Telegraph
Last Updated: 12:39am BST 03/06/2007

Prosecutors are calling for tougher regulations on Switzerland's assisted suicide clinics after uncovering evidence that some of the foreign clients they help to die are simply depressed rather than suffering incurable pain.

The clinics, which attract hundreds of foreigners, including Britons, every year, have been accused of failing to carry out proper investigations into whether patients meet the requirements of Switzerland's right-to-die laws.

In some cases, foreign clients are being given drugs to commit suicide within hours of their arrival, which critics say leaves doctors and psychologists unable to conduct a detailed assessment or to provide appropriate counselling.

Andreas Brunner, the senior prosecutor of the Zurich canton, told The Sunday Telegraph: "We are not trying to ban the so-called death tourism, but the outsourcing of suicide must be put under stricter control.

"Prosecutors look into every suicide, assisted or not, and there are many cases where it is not clear whether the assisted person has chosen death in full possession of their decision-making capacity. But investigations are difficult due to lack of evidence after the suicide.

"We, therefore, demand that the federal government amend the legislation to enable closer and lengthier monitoring of suicide patients before their deaths."

Mr Brunner said that there had been a number of cases where prosecutors or relatives of people who committed assisted suicide had taken legal action against doctors or organisations, although he declined to go into details.

Swiss laws allow doctors to provide "passive suicide assistance" to people who are terminally ill or in great suffering, with patients given a cocktail of drugs that they must administer themselves.

A handful of clinics provide the service, with two, Dignitas and Exit International, also offering it to foreigners, who make up a large proportion of the 300 assisted suicides that take place each year.

The merchants of death want no restrictions on their activities nor any light shown onto their dark deeds. Let us, they seem to say, push our mildly depressed clients go quietly into the darkness of eternity.

As a therapist for forty years I have worked diligently to relieve people in mental agony of their chronic pain. Never have I concluded that the answer to depression was death. My maternal grand father was deeply depressed and wanted to die. He just quit trying and "took to his bed" as everyone in our little village said. He was miserable.

Now we know that depression is entirely treatable with talk therapy, fellowship, prayer and sometimes medication. To take a depressed patent's money is about as unethical as anything I can imagine. No wonder Europe is dying. They are encouraging death rather than life.

Friday, June 01, 2007

What is in a Name?

Mike Wallace warmly hugs Dr. Death

How would you like to go down in history with a name like, "Doctor Death"? In future years when people consult the Wikipedia online and look up the term "DEATH" it will very likely show the picture of Jack Kevorkian, M.D.

I do not know what motivated Mr. Kevorkian to attend medical school but we usually think of doctors being people of care and compassion who want to help people sick people get better. But he does not go down in history as "Doctor Health" or "Saint Jack" but "Doctor Death" because he constantly bragged about killing people who were sick.

The oath every physician takes and the one taken by Jack Kevorkian says clearly, "First, do no harm." But the Doctor of Death killed at least 140 men and women. This is what earned him the name he gets to carry for generations.

Perhaps most disgusting of all, one of the nation's best known and respected media moguls was there to greet Dr. K when he left prison. Mike Wallace, famous as an irascible member of the 60 Minutes team, warmly greeted Doctor Death with a long hug and big smile.

Wallace is the kind of "reporter" that zealously criticizes Christians for their supposed hatred of people with habits of sexual immorality but finds Doctors who kill innocent and ill patients great role models for our nation. No wonder our country is in trouble.