Thursday, October 12, 2017
The Apostles and Prophets, Pastors, Evangelists, and Teachers that began the new churches after the resurrection of Jesus were just ordinary men and women with an extraordinary God! They faced personal and interpersonal conflicts that came from and added to the anger and bitterness that dominated the ancient world. In my opinion, St. Paul the Apostle that was so wise and influential, had to deal with his own personal, anger and bitterness.
In the history of Saul/Paul, we see he was a angry and bitter man. He suffered from a thorn in his flesh that I think was anger and bitterness. He writes in 2 CO 12:
Tuesday, October 10, 2017
The current polarization of people in the USA has me wondering why we so easily act as if we were facing WWIII. In fact, Senator Bob Corker said the President was on a track to take us into WWIII. That is what we in Counseling and Psychology call "Catastrophic Thinking and Feeling".
There is no question that President Trump has been making fun of Senator Corker and refused to support him in a reelection battle, but that is hardly WWII, even if the Senator thinks leaving the Senate is a catastrophe. Every Bulletin on TV is announced as though it was going to snow, and THAT is a CRISIS!!!!
Every visit by a Russian to Washington, DC is expressed as a huge, unique crisis by breathless TV talking heads. Every Democrat that is challenged for reelection is offered in a TV BULLETIN!
But, North Korea has been acting up since Truman. So, breathe deeply and stop screaming about it on Facebook.
Take the peace that Jesus offers us. Get my book, Power Christian Thinking, a PDF eBook that can be read or printed.
Do you have nightmares or bad dreams? Here is a prayer I wrote for parents to teach their children to pray each evening. It recognizes the presences of God with us all night long. Feel free to copy and print it out for your family.
A New Prayer for Sleeping
Now I lay me down to sleep
I thank the Lord my soul will keep.
No fear of night, He will provide-
His angels near, my sleeping side.
At morning's dawn, I will awake,
To live again for Jesus' sake.
He gives me strength, the whole night rest,
Enough each day to give my best
©Gary Sweeten 1997
Friday, October 6, 2017
The polarization in America has gotten worse over the past few years. There are many theories but no proofs showing why, but I have an idea as a result of 40 years of counseling.
In a word: BITTERNESS, a desire for revenge and a refusal to forgive. It says, "I demand that ______ be punished."
Hebrews 12: Pursue peace with all people and the holiness without which no one will see the Lord
When focused inwardly it leads to depression and anxiety and even suicide. Rage and bitterness is very destructive to the carrier and those around them.
When focused outward it can be directed at one person or at a group or leader. A political party, a President, a nation. In some cases a church or religion. Karl Marx was the son of a Jewish father that converted to Christianity for protection and business. His resentment led him to despise all religions and even God which he severely punished.
The people that explode and act out tend to be outwardly timid, passive, and weak. They will often have powerful fantasy filled lives who may play violent games or write violent stories, but act passively and mild mannered.
It is the weak and timid that blow up and get revenge. It is rarely the strong, independent, hunters that go out with their buddies to sit in a duck blind or stalk a deer. the bearded men of Duck Dynasty are as safe as a nursery worker. Barney Fife was a danger to anyone that scared him.
If you want to heal your inner hurts and bitterness, go to the Sweeten Life web store and download the PDF for Breaking Free.
Tuesday, October 3, 2017
I wrote a response today to a great joke posted by my friend Dennis Cole. It tells how a lowly private stopped a car driven by a private that forgot the password. He was driving a general who also forgot the password. The General told the guard to let him through and the young man's response was a beautiful for us as Christians. He said, "General, I am new at this guarding thing. Who do I shoot, you or the driver?"
The country is more openly divided now than any time I remember. This makes it easy to get suckered into taking one side or the others of the pole. Everybody asks us, "Who do you think is right, Trump or Hillary"?
To make things worse, even playing sports is polarized. "Hey Gary, do you support the right on football players to stand, kneel, sing, sit, etc or do you support the flag, America, and apple pie?"
In other words, whom do I shoot?
Whomever I shoot, it will have a mob effect. A mob will be on my case, people will unfriend me and my fellow Christians will wonder if I have fallen from grace. (Except my Baptist relatives.)
Polarizing leads to destruction and makes peace almost impossible. Some of us remember the fantastic book and film, Peace Child. The author, Don Richardson, told how he and his family moved to share the gospel with some unreached people. When he was finally able to speak their language, he had to learn to also speak to their culture because when the people heard the story of Jesus they thought Judas was the hero.
Revenge was their greatest virtue meaning that wars could never cease because every tribal conflict had casualties that must be avenged. Until a way to reconcile the poles is found, the conflicts between identity groups will not cease and Postmodern ideals demand we place everyone into separate Identity Groups that can never be reconciled because it would mean the end of a group
Can we discover a way to reconcile the Postmodern situation? I think so.
Saturday, September 30, 2017
One time I attended a memorial service so inspirational that a friends said, "It almost makes me wish I had been in the casket!"
The memorial service for Bob Wade, Ph. D, at College Hill Presbyterian Church, was at that level of inspiration. Bob was a brilliant scientist, leader at P&G, and a servant leader at CHPC.
Bob leaves his wife Sue, one of God's most loving, and joyful lay leaders at the church. They have two children and several grandchildren filled with the memories of his love.
Bob and Sue were key people in equipping emphasis at CHPC with national and international impact. The legacy of Bob will linger long in hundreds of hearts and thousands of people around the world. Bob was a quiet and dedicated Christian that let his walk do most of the talk.
His life exemplifies why equipping and unleashing all of God's people is biblical.
Our ministry has benefitted from the gifts and care of Bob and Sue for many years and saw up close their genuine love for God.