Thursday, January 29, 2009
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Sunday, January 25, 2009
The web is called ecounseling.com and they are trying to sell their training and counselors. I suppose they liked what I had to say, but they did not ask me...
I am flattered that Tim Clinton, President of AACC, would choose me to quote. In fact, I think the folks from right here in Cincinnati, Ohio have more experience and insight about training Counselors both Professional and Para-Professional than 90% of the people in our profession.
The Teleios Center we founded at College Hill Presbyterian Church in 1976 is still offering training and Para-Professional Care and Counsel. Call them at 513-541-5676 for help.
Equipping Ministries Inc that we founded in 1978 is still training hundreds of care givers each year all over the earth.
Teleios Centers in Norway, Denmark, Russia, Singapore, etc are providing Christian care and healing for thousands of people. PTL! The Lay Ministry Model is growing. Nothing can stop this revolution. God is doing it.
On Saturday I spoke with about twenty men and women who are volunteering to be available to people in pain to offer a listening ear, a warm heart and caring prayer. The group was called together by Jim and Kathy Mills who are fostering the development a Chaplaincy movement here in Greater Cincinnati. It is a great idea.
If you are interested in being trained as a Chaplain, send me an email and I can get you in touch with Jim and Kathy.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
The truth is this takes place in Utah, the truth is these people are some bizarre offshoot of the Mormon Church, and the truth is a lot of Mormons gave a lot of money to the church to make Prop-8 happen. There are a lot of people who feel that is un-American, and I am one of them. Tom Hanks
Yep, voting one's conscience is un-American to the billionairre elites of Hollywood.
Friday, January 23, 2009
It is as though the religious right has known in its bones that God belongs in public, but without understanding either why or how that might make sense; while the political left in the U.S., and sometimes the religious left on both sides of the Atlantic, has known in its bones that God would make radical personal moral demands as part of his program of restorative justice, and has caricatured his public presence as a form of tyranny in order to evoke the cheap and gloomy Enlightenment critique as a way of holding that challenge at bay.”
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
I just received a note from an old friend in Australia. Bruce and Nellie Litchfield run a Family Counselling Graduate School for Youth With A Mission in Canberra.
Bruce and Nellie attended our training many years ago at YWAM's University of the Nations in Hawaii. Thankfully, they took what they learned, integrated it with YWAM teaching and developed transferable models that have been implemented all over the world.
Take a look at their newest announcement: VOCATIONAL GRADUATE CERTIFICATE IN COUNSELLING AND FAMILY THERAPY
You will be very interested to know that we (AIFC) have completed the final application for a Vocational Graduate Certificate in Counselling and Family Therapy (Christian) involving a third year training.
It is very gratifying to see our ideas being spread throughout the world by great Christian organizations. YWAM is a very large missionary organization that has training centers in nearly 200 places. They train Believers in all manner of ways so they can take the good news of Jesus Christ to individuals, families, businesses and educational institutions.
I have been blessed to teach at the YWAM University on several occasions and to see them up close and personal. One of the most remarkable and creative of ideas was setting up schools to train young men and women how to be beautiful. Another school taught Polynesians how to use their indigenenous dances to proclaim the gospel.
If you are interested in what Bruce and Nellie are doing you can write them at
email@example.com Mention that you read about the school on my blog.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Saturday, January 17, 2009
First, biology is NOT destiny. In fact, physical/biological preferences are changed all the time. A Russian researcher named Pavlov did a series of studies with dogs way back in the early 1900's. One of the studies rang a bell when the dogs were ready to eat their food. After ringing the bell on several occasions, Pavlov rang the bell without providing the dogs their regular food but he dogs salivated anyway, proving that the biological processes of the dogs were altered, and it did not take much to cause the changes.
Second, God creates all persons in His image. We have the ability to make decisions, moral judgments and relate with God. However, because of sin every person is flawed, broken and fallible. The brokenness of humanity includes biology so our bodies and our sensual drives are also unholy and distorted. Sexual deviance is normal but it is also sinful so we dare not claim that our deviancy is from God or a gift of God.
Third, God defines what is right and wrong and we do not. The Bible says that God created male and female to marry and live together as one. God does not consider adultery, polygamy or homosexuality as gifts but as sins. My sinful sexual deviance is adultery. If I let myself I would have sex with women other than my wife. But, that is wrong and I have never been involved in adultery and I never will.
Biology is not destiny. Thank God change is possible and often.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Interviewer: What do you do?
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it. John 1:5
Today we heard Kristin Johnson Tremba and Brad Grammer tell how God brought them out of same sex relationships. Each was better than the other. Their stories were compelling, hopeful and painful.
1. Compelling because their stories are so different from what the Politically Correct Police in our media are saying. The air is full of stories urging us all to accept same sex compulsions as natural and unchanging but Kristin and Brad's stories show that the PC Police are off base.
2. Hopeful because these are great models of what God can do to bring healing and growth to people stuck in a lifestyle of confusion and compulsive sin. There are few places where the healing message of Jesus Christ is presented so convincingly and lovingly. Hopeful because some Christians finally did respond to them in love and acceptance. Hopeful because God intervened in miraculous ways.
3. Painful because so much of their youth was filled with their confusion and pain and because of the churches and Christians who failed to help them find a way out of their confusion. Painful because so many people are confused and fearful about the causes and cures of sexual dysfunctions. Painful because so many Christian leaders are caught up in sexual sins. Real painful because so few churches seek the healing love of Jesus for their members.
You can learn more about where to get help to establish your church as a healing community by contacting me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, January 12, 2009
Tomorrow, Tuesday January 13 2009, Sweeten Life Systems and HOPE for Cincinnati are sponsoring talks by two persons who have come out of long term same sex relationships. Some of my friends have said that it is brave of me to sponsor such a program because it is "controversial". What could be so controversial about giving hope for a changed life to persons who want to be heterosexual rather than homosexual in desire and inclination as well as behavior?
It is only controversial because many professional therapists have lost their nerve and caved in to the PC Police. The Politically Correct Police are unhappy with those who say that sexual orientation is malleable. But would a group of counselors say that depression or anxiety can be substantially healed? No!
A recent research study by two psychologists has confirmed that which many of us know by personal experience. People stuck in same sex attractions can be helped to change those attractions if they are highly motivated.
The research concludes "it is possible for homosexuals to change their physical attractions and become heterosexual through the help of Christian ministries." This is published in the new book, "Ex-Gays?" (Inter Varsity Press) by psychologists Stanton L. Jones and Mark A. Yarhouse.
They found, "Thirty-eight percent of the subjects followed in the study said they had successfully left homosexuality, while an additional 29 percent said they had had only modest successes but were committed to keep trying. In another significant finding, Jones and Yarhouse said attempts at conversion do not appear to be psychologically harmful."
"These findings contradict directly the commonly expressed views of the mental health establishment that change in sexual orientation is impossible, and that if you attempt to change it's highly likely to produce harm for those who make such an attempt," Jones, professor of psychology at Wheaton College in Illinois, said at the news conference.
The subjects were placed in six categories from success to failure:
15 percent reported their conversion was successful and that they had had "substantial reduction" in homosexual attraction and "substantial conversion" to heterosexual attraction. They were categorized as "success: conversion."
23 percent said their conversion was successful and that homosexual attraction was either missing or "present only incidentally or in a way that does not seem to bring about distress." They were labeled "success: chastity."
29 percent had experienced "modest decreases" in homosexual attraction and were not satisfied with their change, but pledged to continue trying. This category was labeled "continuing."
15 percent had not changed and were conflicted about what to do next.
4 percent had not changed and had quit the change process, but had not embraced the "gay identity."
8 percent had not changed, quit the process and embraced the "gay identity.
These data are remarkably high for success when compared with the outcomes for others with serious issues of long term compulsive behavior. I am surprised that only eight percent of the people in the study reverted back to "Homosexual Identity". The change process is long and slow for any deeply ingrained habit pattern and relapse id a part of almost every recovery attempt. Thus, I would have suspected a much higher rate of relapse in this study. I assume this means that the counselors were doing an extraordinarily good job of supporting their Clients.
This is very good news for all of us. Changing sexual orientation is considered to be very difficult so if the success rates are this high for this very tough emotional issue we can be confident that other issues will also yield to Christian care and counsel.
Secondly, it is my assumption that the Christians who were offering the counseling were lay persons, offering increasingly important evidence that Peer and Para-Professionals can deliver high quality ministry in the local church.
Change in a lifestyle always requires time. Change is rarely if ever immediate. So, when a Seeker continues to be tempted to fall back into an old behavior we are not surprised. We must always plan ways to prevent a relapse.
See our Humpty Dumpty book for ideas.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Socialists talk a lot about caring for ordinary people but the walk is far different. The USSR reminds me of the Madoff Investment Company that scammed ordinary people out of some 50 Billion Dollars. They even ripped off religious groups and other charities but always talked as though they loved the poor and would do anything for them.
Our books all focus on how ordinary people can live lives more abundant and free and how they can be a blessing to others. These ideas are rare in Post-Communist Russia and this little book can liberate thousands of people.
Pray the the Holy Spirit will use it to be a doorway to healing and growth. Visit the web site of our ministry in Russia. Much of it is in English.
Grace, Not Goodness
We are on slippery ground when we discuss humility, because religion and morality inhibit humility. It is common in the evangelical community to talk about one's worldview—a set of basic beliefs and commitments that shape the way we live in every particular. Others prefer the term "narrative identity." This is a set of answers to the questions, "Who am I? What is my life all about? What am I here for? What are the main barriers keeping me from fulfillment? How can I deal with those barriers?"
There are two basic narrative identities at work among professing Christians. The first is what I will call the moral-performance narrative identity. These are people who in their heart of hearts say, I obey; therefore I am accepted by God. The second is what I will call the grace narrative identity. This basic operating principle is, I am accepted by God through Christ; therefore I obey.
People living their lives on the basis of these two different principles may superficially look alike. They may sit right beside one another in the church pew, both striving to obey the law of God, to pray, to give money generously, to be good family members. But they are doing so out of radically different motives, in radically different spirits, resulting in radically different personal characters.
When persons living in the moral-performance narrative are criticized, they are furious or devastated because they cannot tolerate threats to their self-image of being a "good person."
But in the gospel our identity is not built on such an image, and we have the emotional ballast to handle criticism without attacking back. When people living in the moral-performance narrative base their self-worth on being hard working or theologically sound, then they must look down on those whom they perceive to be lazy or theologically weak.
But those who understand the gospel cannot possibly look down on anyone, since they were saved by sheer grace, not by their perfect doctrine or strong moral character.
The Stench of Moralism
Another mark of the moral-performance narrative is a constant need to find fault, win arguments, and prove that all opponents are not just mistaken but dishonest sellouts. However, when the gospel is deeply grasped, our need to win arguments is removed, and our language becomes gracious. We don't have to ridicule our opponents, but instead we can engage them respectfully.
People who live in the moral-performance narrative use sarcastic, self-righteous putdown humor, or have no sense of humor at all. Lewis speaks of "the unsmiling concentration upon Self, which is the mark of hell." The gospel, however, creates a gentle sense of irony. We find a lot to laugh at, starting with our own weaknesses. They don't threaten us anymore because our ultimate worth is not based on our record or performance.
Martin Luther had the basic insight that moralism is the default mode of the human heart. Even Christians who believe the gospel of grace on one level can continue to operate as if they have been saved by their works. In "The Great Sin" in Mere Christianity, Lewis writes, "If we find that our religious life is making us feel that we are good—above all, that we are better than someone else—I think we may be sure that we are being acted on, not by God, but by the Devil."
Gracious, self-forgetful humility should be one of the primary things that distinguishes Christian believers from the many other types of moral, decent people in the world. But I think it is fair to say that humility, which is a key differentiating mark of the Christian, is largely missing in the church. Nonbelievers, detecting the stench of sanctimony, turn away.
Some will say, "Phariseeism and moralism are not our culture's big problems right now. Our problems are license and antinomianism. There is no need to talk about grace all the time to postmodern people." But postmodern people have been rejecting Christianity for years, thinking that it was indistinguishable from moralism. Only if you show them there's a difference—that what they rejected wasn't real Christianity—will they even begin to listen again.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
the right thing, stopping at the crosswalk, even though he could have beaten the red light by accelerating through the intersection.
Change is hard. If that were not true we would not be seeing commercials for weight loss programs every five minutes on TV. Half the people in Outback Steak House just came from a weight loss class and are eating to deal with their lack of losing weight.( My joke.)
If you are in a position of helping people change it is helpful to learn about the things that help and the things that hurt your efforts. In other words, you and I need to CHANGE the ways we try to help people CHANGE.
If you are interested you need to read my book Hope and Change for Humpty Dumpty and keep reading these posts on change. Preachers, teachers, parents and sales people can all benefit to say nothing of counselors. Here is the first hint.
The change must be desired by the Seeker not just by the Helper or the Seeker's family. Helpers often try to please themselves or a family member and miss the central fact that the Seeker must decide to change himself before anything positive happens. Have you ever said, "If only they would listen to me they would be OK." I have.
This boils down to the old saying, "God loves you and I have a plan for your life."
So, what to do? Listen carefully to what the person wants. What are his goals, objectives, values and interests? Does he know what they are? Few people do. This is a major way to help people change. If goals are clear then it is much easier to start working to accomplish them. If not, all the work in the world will not produce much more than confusion.
Next time it's timing.
Thursday, January 08, 2009
In 1973 homosexuality per se was removed from the DSM-II classification of mental disorders and replaced by the category Sexual Orientation Disturbance. This represented a compromise between the view that preferential homosexuality is invariably a mental disorder and the view that it is merely a normal sexual variant.
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
FOXNEWS O'REILLY 2,747,000
FOXNEWS HANNITY/COLMES 1,913,000
FOXNEWS SHEP SMITH 1,754,000
FOXNEWS GRETA 1,377,000
CNN KING 1,373,000
MSNBC OLBERMANN 1,308,000
CNNHN GRACE 1,264,000MSNBC
CNN COOPER 1,035,000
Sarah Palin surprised all of us with her tremendous ability to connect with people. I will be interested to see where she goes from here.
Take a look at a great blog on communication. It has the top ten best and worst communicators of 2008. ( I am not on either list.)
According to The Herald American paper, militant atheists and humanists are spending lots of money to spread their powerful message: "There's probably no god; now stop worrying and enjoy life."
According to the Herald: Next week, the Atheist Bus Campaign plans to place 1,000 advertisements in the subway system, featuring enthusiastic quotations from Emily Dickinson, Albert Einstein, Douglas Adams and Katharine Hepburn.
An interesting element of the bus slogan is the word "probably," which would seem to be more suited to an Agnostic Bus Campaign than to an atheist one. Dawkins, for one, argued that the word should not be there at all.
But the element of doubt was necessary to meet British advertising guidelines, said Tim Bleakley, managing director for sales and marketing at CBS Outdoor in London, which handles advertising for the bus system.
I wonder if thousands will rush to convert to doubt after this campaign.
“We remember before thee all darkness and suffering of our time...We remember the sick and mentally ill, the needy, the refugees, the oppressed and the exploited, the children who have no good parents or no parents at all. We remember all those who are called on to help as much as [humans] can help, the officials of our country and of all other countries, the judges and civil servants, the teachers and educators, the writers of books and newspapers, the doctors and nurses in the hospitals, the preachers of thy word...We remember them all when we implore thee to let thy light of Christmas shine brightly, much more brightly than ever, for them and for us, so that they and we ourselves may be helped. We ask all this in the name of the Savior in whom thou hast already hearkened to our supplications and wilt do so again and again.”
May Christ himself shine “much more brightly than ever” in our hearts, and may we discern his brightness in the darkest and most unexpected places this year.
Friday, January 02, 2009
The findings, though, have been supported for years. In 2004, a survey of more than 31,000 adults released by the National Institutes of Health found that prayer is the most commonly used "alternative medicine." It's even more popular than acupuncture, chiropractic, yoga and vitamins.
2009 Contract: After serious & cautious consideration... your contract of friendship has been renewed for the New Year 2009! It was a very hard decision to make... So try not to screw it up!!!
My Wish for You in 2009
May peace break into your home and may thieves come to steal your debts.
May the pockets of your jeans become a magnet for $100 bills.
May love stick to your face like Vaseline and may laughter assault your lips!
May happiness slap you across the face and may your tears be that of joy
May the problems you had, forget your home address!
In simple words ............
May 2009 be the best year of your life!!!
Thursday, January 01, 2009
Where did all this kindness come from? We certainly didn’t do anything to deserve it. None of our good works performed in obedience to God’s law earned it. Instead, it came from being enlightened by the Holy Spirit, being renewed by the Word of God, and having faith in Christ. Through these, we have received a new spirit that makes God’s Word and God’s laws a pleasure to obey.
Now we find joy in trusting God above everything else…The undeserved kindness that Christ has given us through faith makes the First Commandment a pleasure to obey.” Martin Luther, By Faith Alone
The courage to be is the courage to accept oneself, in spite of being unacceptable. Paul Tillich
The church is the only human organization that requires its members to be unworthy in order to join. Gary Sweeten
Not because I became famous instead of rich. I did not. In fact I am even more humbled by my lack of fame and influence.
Not because I was successful as a minister or teacher. I was not successful in the sense that Obama wants me to be his Pastor nor does anyone me to speak at their big conferences. In fact, I get to talk to small groups of hearty Believers occasionally and I like it.
Why was 08 great?
Why will 09 be fine?
Because I have Great and Fine God. God is in control and I am not. Whew, that is a relief. I just heard two men argue over how to stop the wars in the Middle East. They were very sure of their answers to issues that have lasted several thousand years. They are deluded and I am not. I don't know what to do.
I am glad that Obama is President and I am not. I am even more pleased that God is in Heaven and I am on earth. I pray that Obama will also seek God.
I am greatly blessed by the Providence of God. I grew up with five rooms and a path to the bath room. Our water only ran if we carried it as we jogged. Our coal stove barely warmed a space of a few feet around it. My family and neighbors had little education and less money.
Thankfully, I was reared with a solid faith in God. The Holy Spirit came to me while I was a young boy of ten. Yes, I have been a Believer for over sixty years. That means I have accumulated a lot of grace, mercy and blessings from the hand of almighty God. So, I have an attitude of gratitude. I am thankful for my family, friends, fellow believers and this nation.
The Lord s my light and my salvation.
Whom shall I fear?