Monday, May 31, 2010

Too Much Stress? Chill Out!

A recent research study discovered that many Americans are stressed. Do you why? The survey says it is too much debt. Too many bills to pay. Too much buying and too little saving. Who would have thunk it? I am shocked! Shocked!

Not really. I am surprised that it has taken so long for it to catch up with us. We are not in an era of GREED but of Galloping Greed! How many more toys will it take before we are satiated? Always one more toy? Seems like it.

Look at Greece. They have over spent and over promised their people so much for so long that they are being bailed out by the one nation that saves: Germany. Spain is close behind them and so is Portugal. (The USA is also sending them $$$$$)

But despite the crisis of overwhelming debt the Greek people are not spending less and saving more. Nope, they are rioting. Who is rioting? The government workers and students and retirees, all of whom are getting their living from the government. These rioters killed three bank employees. Burned them to death and kept the fire trucks away from the burning bank. GREED! Galloping Greed.

When will we ever learn? When will we ever learn? See that poster above? It is an ad for a group that wants to destroy the government. It appears they are succeeding.

Do you want to discover a life of less stress? Go to my web page and download my materials.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Families With Disabled Kids Struggle

An interesting article in the Science Daily online magazine reveal what research is showing about the stresses on families with Special Needs Kids.

We know that it takes about $1,000,000.00 extra to rear a disabled child to age 18. Can you imagine that? Some Federal Government groups are promising money and support but getting through the frightening bureaucracy is daunting if not impossible.

If you want to know more about our ministry to special needs families writ me at

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Disability and Government Budgets

The Wall Street Journal has an interesting article how the high costs of caring for the seriously disabled are clashing with the budget crises of most states and the Federal Government. The Journal notes that it is easier to cut money that have been budgeted for home care than to cut money budgeted for institutional care. The WSJ does not take sides in the debate but concludes that it is much more expensive to care for the disabled at home than it is to place them in an institution.

Some of the comments by readers disagreed with the WSJ on that point,arguing that many people receive care from each employee and only one receives care per employee at home. That needs to be examined very closely by people who understand these issues well.

We at Sweeten Life Systems are completing the first year of a research study on how to best support families with severely disabled children. The results have been very insightful and somewhat surprising to us. Many of the most pressing issues focus on the needs of parents to receive very practical support. Things like:

House work
Lawn care
Transport to the Doctor, grocery shopping, etc.
Food preparation
Respite care
Spiritual support

Now we need to find churches, schools and individuals willing to volunteer to help these families with those practical and important areas. Are you willing to help? Does your church already have a program of support for shut ins, the elderly, etc?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Lawsuits! it is a Crazy World

The enemy prowls around like an angry alligator looking for someone to devour.

Here in conservative Cincinnati we are seeing some of the most bizarre and troubling news headlines that I can imagine. Headline one, "Sorority Punished because of Drunken, Criminal Behavior". (Not the exact headline but its meaning.

We are blessed in Cincinnati to have beautiful center that honors the heroes of the Underground Railroad Movement that liberated thousands of men, women and children from slavery. It also educates the community about the need to be vigilant about oppression and modern slavery.

Because the Center needs revenue to cover expenses, people can rent it out for weddings, celebrations, parties, and so forth. The Alpha Xi Sorority of Miami University rented the building for a Spring Formal but used it instead for disrespectful, destructive and boorish behavior. Miami University has placed them on a two-year suspension.

Wealthy young men and women attending an above average university and becoming members of a sorority that claims to promote the "highest ethical behavior" were acting like thugs and low life criminals. They intentionally urinated all over the Center, vomited all around it and destroyed expensive parts of the building. This is the second sorority from Miami to engage in this kind of behavior this spring.

What can we say about such crass, violent and disgusting acts? That our young people are growing up without any kind of morals and ethics? We have all read about the rampant sexual interactions happening on high school and college campuses. So many of the students are "hooking up" with each other that those who wish not to engage in the behavior are harassed and bullied by peers.

Anyone familiar with the Bible knows the passage that, "When there was no leader in Israel, every one did whatever was right in his own eyes." Judges 17:6 There are no leaders in higher education, politics or religion that can command the attention of the society and call such behavior out of order.

That brings me to the second headline. It goes something like this: "Son Sues Covington Catholic High School for Failing to Protect Him from Peers". Mrs. Dinkle. was convicted of having sex with her high school son's best friend. The son has sued the high school he attended. He claims that the teachers and administrators failed to protect him from the jeers and negative comments from other students because of his mother's behavior with his friend.

I do not know what will happen, of course, but the fact that he could retain a lawyer and actually claim such a ridiculous thing shows how corrupt our legal system has become. Abe Lincoln told about the man who killed both parents and asked for mercy as an orphan. Sin and sinners are as bold as that alligator!

Mrs. Dinkle was and is the cause of the distress her son no doubt suffered. But, in a twist too often seen in American jurisprudence, he is blaming the school for his pain. I wonder if the sorority will sue the Underground Freedom Railroad Center for damaging their reputation by turning them in to the school and the police.

I could add this headline to the rogues gallery of rampant sins: "Mayor Resigns after Affair with on duty Cop Revealed". However, she first said it was a private act that was no body's business.

What do you think we can do as Christian leaders to slow down such behavior? Is it hopeless?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

C.S. Lewis on Jesus

The radical conversion from atheism to Christianity of C.S. Lewis is one of the great testimonies of the last century. His writings about faith are not only brilliant they have helped millions of Christians defend themselves against pseudo intellectual arguments against the divinity of Jesus.

In a much-cited passage from Mere Christianity, Lewis challenged the increasingly popular view that Jesus, although a great moral teacher, was not God. He argued that Jesus made several implicit claims to divinity, which would logically exclude this:

I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: 'I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God.' That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronising nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to. (Lewis 1952, p. 43)

Satire: A New Spiritual Gift

I am officially naming satire as an authentic spiritual gift. Satire is closely related to paradox on one end and is often slips into cynicism when people get angry. Yes, satire is poking fun at something without the edge of anger or personal attacks.

Making fun of people when they are not laughing always borders on ugliness so cynicism is out of order. But cynicism can be beautiful and educational. Wikipedia says:

In satire, human or individual vices, follies, abuses, or shortcomings are censured by ridicule, derision, burlesque, irony, or other methods, ideally with the intent of improvement. Although satire is usually meant to be funny, its purpose is often not so much humor for its own sake as an attack on something strongly disapproved by the satirist, using the weapon of wit.

Some of my posts here are intended to be satirical and allow readers to laugh at the foibles and craziness of our age.

The Bible has satire in it. Remember when Elijah was fighting against the Priests of Baal? They were unsuccessfully calling on their phony, powerless gods to come and set their pyre on fire? Elijah laughed so hard he could hardly stand it. Then he mocked them with great satirical questions like, "Where are your gods? Did they have to go to the toilet?"

Sometimes the best way to bring down an opponents position is to make fun of it. Modern comics devastated George W. Bush and his administration. However, so far, Mr. Obama has the comics on his side in the war of satire.

The Left Wing of American politics seems to do political comedy/satire better than Conservatives. Ronald Reagan was very funny and quite satirical but not many can fill his shoes. Governor Sarah Palin could rival President Reagan if she works hard but so far she is too up tight to consistently bring down the house with her humor.

The perfect target for satire is a person or group that is uptight, pompous, rich, strong or arrogant but inept. This is one reason that people make fun of the Federal Government. I try my best to come up with satirical insights and I even post some of them. Tell me what you think about satire.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Shocking Research on Early Death

Sometimes I am shocked by the research done around the world. The results are not surprising but the fact that someone paid millions of dollars on the topic is a shock. Here is an example.

Researchers in Britain wanted to find out the health and longevity implications of sitting in a pub, eating fast food, drinking lots of alcohol, heavy smoking and getting no exercise except frequent trips to the bathroom. I am sure that none of my readers can guess what they found.

Here are the very shocking results:

1. The people look some 12 years older than those who do not spend their lives in a dark, dank, smoky barroom.

2. They die earlier.

Aren't you glad someone in the government is paying big bucks to ask the really important questions?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Heaven's Ageless Life

How old will we be in heaven? What will happen to children who die as infants? Will they grow up or remain as babies? Those are some of the questions asked and answered in the Presbyterian Pro Life Newspaper.

I think you will find the writing and insights interesting and provocative.

Enjoy your reading.

Gary Sweeten

Monday, May 10, 2010

Government Says STOP PRAYING!

Here we go again. Some people who are paid by the Federal Government to feed Seasoned Citizens have been told they must stop praying before meals. Why? Because the food was partially payed for by tax monies.

According to, Seasoned Citizens in Wentworth, Georgia like to pray and wanted to pray but were told they could only "Have a moment of silence" and keep quiet. The reasons is that super sensitive watch dogs are afraid people would think that the USA was formally establishing a Federal Church with those Seasoned Citizens. The ever vigilant, hyper sensitive atheists among us were shaking in their boots with fear lest a couple of 80 year old radicals take over the retirement community and throw them and the agnostics out.

Just look what happens in places like Iran and Yemen when a religion takes over a country. I am sure the masses of citizens in Wentworth were as anxious as can be lest the jihadists in the nursing home start a campaign of terror.

I am so relieved to know that the IRS, the FBI, the NSA and the CIA are protecting us from praying seniors.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Why Do People Get AIDS?

An article in the CBS News Online tells us why so many people come down with AIDS. In an amazing story it relates that over 40,000 "women of the night" are headed for South Africa to sell themselves for money to the visiting soccer fans coming for the World Cup.

I cannot imagine going to a prostitute in any country but a man would have to be either insane of drunk to take such a chance in a place ravaged by AIDS. But this is what CBS says is happening. I always knew soccer fans were a bit off but this proves how out of control they are.

Henry Africa, 49, drives a taxi in Cape Town and, aside from the usual airport pickups and winery tours, he also operates the "Bright Red Tour," which he expects to be a hit among soccer fans. For the equivalent of 500 dollars, he'll shuttle customers from strip bar to strip bar all night and even bring them over to a safe-sex practicing prostitute, a relevant selling point in a country where one in five adults are estimated to be HIV positive.

The terms "Safe Sex" and South Africa just do not go together.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Doctor Ben Carson

I heard dr.
Ben Carson
speak yesterday and I was inspired. Thanks to the Chick-Fil-A sponsored broadcast I was able to watch on video and hear several top speakers share their insights about being a positive, servant leader.

Thanks to Prasco Company, a wonderful Christian citizen located in Mason, Ohio, and Sunrise Commuity Church, the annual simulcast of John Mazwell and other inspiring men and women shared their lives, insits and innovative ideas with some 65,000 people in auditoriums around the world.

All of them were terrific speakers with something to say. But my favorite was Dr. Carson, one of the most accomplished brain surgeons in the world. he grew up in some of the most repressive and soul killing social environments imaginable. Poverty, racism, rejection by peers when he made good grades and affirmation when he acted like a bum along wit a single mother that could not read or write.

But listen to her character. She forced Ben and his siblings to go to the local library every week and read some books. He also had to write a review of one of the b books and turn it in to his mother. He hated it. He was upset. he rebelled. But she persevered. She marked up each paper and gave It back to the kids.

Finally Ben started liking to read. He became a voracious reader. Why? His illiterate mother. Yes, I said illiterite! She could not read or write. But she faked it to make him read and write.

Now Dr.Carson is at John Hopkins Hospital. He is a renowned surgeon who, with his wife, has set up a scholars program to encourage kids to do well in school.

He is also a committed Christian and an outspoken man against Political Correctness and the Federal Government's take over of medicine. Why? They kill innovation and creativity.

I hope Dr. Carson will live a long and healthy as well as influential life. Go to his web and read all about him.

Friday, May 07, 2010

You Can Make a Difference

"When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and
healed their sick." - Matthew 14:14

Heinrich Himmler was the head of the Nazi SS and the mastermind of the Holocaust. During those blood-filled days between 1940 and 1945, the second most powerful man in Germany sent millions of Jews to their deaths. Himmler suffered from intolerable psychosomatic pains and the only person who could relieve these pains was a Doctor Felix Kersten, a Finn, who was a massage therapist.

During Himmler’s massage sessions, he would tell Dr. Kersten about the concentration camps. In 1942, Kersten intervened with Himmler to save Finish, Norwegian, and Dutch Jews. After moving to Stockholm in 1943, he continued to work on rescue and relief, securing freedom for several thousand more Dutch, Danish, Norwegian, Polish, and French Jews.

In the closing days of the war, Kersten acted for Himmler in negotiating freedom for Jews with the Swedes and the Allies in Stockholm; he was instrumental in arranging a meeting in Germany on April 19, 1945 between Himmler and Norbert Masur, a Zionist German living in Sweden. One result of the meeting was the freeing of 7,000 women from Ravensbruk to a haven in Denmark and Sweden. The World Jewish Council credits him with saving 60,000 of Jews from the concentration camps.


Some statistics about those who give and do not according to religious preference.

Religious people give more; much more.

Giving by Secular and Religious Donors

* Thirteen percent of all Americans claim no religious identity.
* In 2009, 63 percent of Americans said they belonged to a church or synagogue.
* Ten years earlier, that figure was 70 percent.
* In 2005, 72 percent of households that reported a religious affiliation said they gave to charity.
* In the same study, 56 percent of people who did not report a religious affiliation said they contributed to charity.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

How to Measure Maturity?

I can remember clearly my first forays into the realm of comparing church successes and by analogy, pastoral leadership success. As a 30 year old volunteer campus minister I was invited to the monthly meetings of the local denominational gatherings with all the local ministers and various denominational officials. I was excited to be with these mature spiritual leaders.

I wanted to learn how to be a "real man of God" and I assumed that I could see them up close and personal here. I must admit that I was sorely disappointed. I discovered that almost all the talk was about numbers, noses and nickels. The number of baptisms, the noses that showed up at the various church meetings and then how many nickels the congregation had contributed to the church.

Whey did they do this? I am sure there are many reasons but the easiest and most direct ways are numbers, noses and nickels. Attendance, giving and commitments are the quickest and most "reliable" ways to communicate how well we are doing in the ministry. Let's face it, measuring spirituality is like catching mercury or measuring the humidity. We only see people at public meetings so we don't really know what people are doing in private.

And, the model of ministry most churches have chosen is preaching and teaching by the ministers. It is not related to the inner spiritual development of believers but the outer, easily counted things like giving and attendance.

Here I am over forty years later and I still do not see many Pastors with different ideas about how to measure maturity of their members. Take a look at the brief article by Dallas Willard to see what you think of his ideas about measuring maturity. I like it a lot and have spent a lot of my ministry trying to foster Christian maturity. But let me say quickly, it is not easy to do.

I mistakenly posted on this blog rather than my other one, Spiritual Healing and Growth. Take a look at it there as well if you wish.

I strongly urge you to read a great book, The Critical Journey, by Janet Hagberg on this topic. It is shown at the top of the page. You can purchase it at

Monday, May 03, 2010

Healing Marriages

A school in Moscow with kids trying on gas masks

A recent article in the New York Times shows the devastating effect of dysfunctional families in Russia. There are more orphans in Russia today than there were immediately after WWII when Russia lost 25 million people!!!

we have been working in Russia since the beginning of perestroika. My first trip was in 1991 but we got going a few years later after Dr. Galina came here and learned our methods of equipping lay and professionals how to "Heal the broken hearted and set the captives free."

We focus a great deal on breaking the bondage of addiction in Russia as well as the other nations where we minister. However, Russia has the most addicted population I have ever seen so we must do everything we can to raise up Pastors and Christian Lay people to minister to those in need of sobriety.

But sobriety is not enough. Couples must learn how to live together in harmony and parents must learn how to love their children and discipline them well. Almost every family has an addict in it so divorce, abortion and domestic abuse are rampant. And, the professional Pastors, Psychologists and Social workers have almost NO real skills to bring healing through Jesus Christ.

The result? Abandoned babies. Precious babies. Lovey babies. We help workers in orphanages learn the skills of loving and healing those abandoned babies. But the most important things we do are healing the parents. healing the marriages. healing the addicts so there are no abandoned babies.

Will you help us? Pray for us? Support us?

Sweeten Life Systems