Friday, January 13, 2017

Why Are Many Churches Failing to Bring in New People?


                      Follow the Yellow Brick Road!

Leaders from around the world tend to ask me a simple question. "How do we motivate the unmotivated to be motivated?" We have an unconventional answer. First, we recognize that everyone is motivated. Unfortunately, they are not motivated to do what we want them to do.

Second, we need to be careful that our attempts to motivate do not backfire and cause people to do the opposite of what we want them to do. For example, some drug prevention programs may actually have the opposite of our desired effect.

It seems that many churches and preachers try to motivate their people and those outside their congregations by fear and condemnation of "SIN". Does that approach really work well to motivate people to change their "bad" or "Wrong" behavior? 

Research strongly questions the efficacy of drug prevention and Teen Suicide Prevention Programs. The Journal of the American Medical Association reported, "There was little evidence that the programs reduced suicides and suicide attempts."

Importantly, the programs reviewed were "intended to raise awareness of teenage suicides by describing the warning signs to young people at risk."

Teenagers participating in the study experienced two main effects: (1) they were less likely to recommend the program to peers; and 

(2) they believed that the programs made kids more likely to kill themselves.


One is left to wonder why programs based on fear and the identification of pathology continue to be used when other, more effective modes of intervention exists--namely skill building approaches. Dr. Scott Miller




Thursday, January 12, 2017

Do You Expet Perfect Answers to Prayer in Faith?



There are two things God rarely does and which we want never to assume: everything and nothing. What usually happens is something. If we put God in a box of everything or nothing we lose faith. Even if God does something we will miss it because we are obsessed with everything or nothing! His presence in our problems gives Him glory. 

Disappointment and discouragement comes from idealizing and expecting instant perfection. Perfectionistic attitudes about faith devastate us personally and destroy real faith.

If you want to understand faith, love, power and heaven get my books. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Interpersonal Conflicts and Slander





James 4: 11 

Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. 

12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?

This is one passage of scripture I rarely if ever heard taught in church. However, I really needed to hear God's word and adopt it as a rule for my life.

I like groups of men that tease, put each other down and make fun of famous people. It is a lot of fun. It makes me feel better about myself as though I won a contest with the person I put down.

It also draws me closer to other smart alecs because it seems to put us on the same team againts someon else. But, despite the way my evil self feels, the Holy Spirit brings me conviction and Guilt! What can I do?

Who can deliver me from my imprisonment to a sinful nature? Only Jesus Christ Romans 7:24-25

Maybe I can read some of my own books and see what the author said. Here is the link.


Sunday, January 8, 2017

Why Is Christianity a Great way to Live?



                           
                              The Empty Tomb

I write andand share a lot about the goodness of God and the goodness of His people. Not everyone agrees of course. Some attack me and rail against God. I pray for them but I know that my belief in God and practices in my faith has many, many positive outcomes for me, my family, and my world. 

Even if my children and grandchildren will live better and longer because of the faith of their ancestors. When I teachg about our family tree it is easy to spot our forefathers who said, "For me and my house we will serve the Lord". 

I was criticized by a therapist one time when I said, "Unlike most medicines, there are no bad side effects to prayer!"  Rodney Stark, professor of sociology and comparative religion at the University of Washington, writes: 

Christians in the ancient world had longer life expectancies than did their pagan neighbors. Modern demographers regard life expectancy as the best indicator of quality of life. In all likelihood, Christians simply lived better lives than just about everyone else. In fact, many pagans were attracted to the Christian faith because the church produced tangible (not only "spiritual") blessings for its adherents. 

Chief among these tangibles was that, in a world entirely lacking social services, Christians were their brothers' keepers. At the end of the second century, Tertullian wrote that while pagan temples spent their donations "on feasts and drinking bouts," Christians spent theirs "to support and bury poor people, to supply the wants of boys and girls destitute of means and parents, and of old persons confined to the house."

Similarly, in a letter to the bishop of Antioch in 251, the Bishop of Rome mentioned that "more than 1,500 widows and distressed persons" were in the care of his congregation. "The impious Galileans support not only their poor," complained pagan emperor Julian, "but ours as well."

Their faith led to many good worksand great lives that lasted, on average, longer than the lives of pagans. 

If my writing and ministry blesses you feel free to click the link, follow me, purchase on of my books or donate a new Rolls Royce so I can ride around in luxury! 😊

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Planning for 2017?


                 Now We See Though a Dark Glass Unclearly

I just spent a few hours making plans for meetings, writing proposals, raising money to expand our impact, and get away on a warm vacation. WOW! Big plans eh? 

But, what will God say about my plans. I don't know I hope God agrees with MY plans. 

I am sure Carrie Fisher had some great plans for 2017. In fact, she probably had nice plans about what she was 'GOING to in her flight ended. But, those plans did not make it to reality. Why? Was it bad planning or faulty ideas? Nope it was God who said, "Well, Carrie, I have my plans for you!"

I am not saying anything of a negative nature about Carrie Fisher. I admired her profesionally but did not know her or her spiiritual situation. But she was just like the rest of us. No one really knows if their plans wit be interrupted by illness, accident or death. In fact, God says so in James 4: 

13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.”

14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. 

What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.

15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 

16 As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. 17 If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.

It is pretty clear that I need to say: "My plans are up to God. If He wills it we shall go to ______________ and we shall do _____ and _____ !" 

Go now to this link and see some pf the other brilliant things I have written, said or taped. You might even like it!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Healthy Christians Among the Poor



If you want to help the poor, pray for them and pray with them while befriending them. We have a vibrant life with God money cannot buy.

The churches of Jesus Christ have always been involved in what the Journal of the American Medical Association calls “alternative healing interventions”. For Christians it includes loving care, confession, prayer, and fellowship. We add personal prayers and meditation along with worship as additions and alternatives to the srict, secular, medical model. 

When all of scripture is taught and practiced, people get better and live better. When we do our best to love one another and love ourselves because God loves us, we are improve. 

Do you really believe life with God is better than living for money, pleasure and things? Is the supernatural life with God real and a blessing?

Let me know your opinion. 



Blessings,

Dr. Gary Sweeten


Thursday, December 29, 2016

Support Us so we can Heal and Bless





I established the foundation for Sweeten Life Systems when I was on the Pastoral Team at College Hill Presbyterian Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. I began to teach the Listening Classes we called Apples of Gold in 1974.

The key to getting me started was a group of eight women led by Edith Barr . God used Edith to push me beyond my comfort zone.  And, Edith had enough heft to get the Elders to agree to teaching "psychology" in the church! A very rare idea in 1974. So, I started teaching my Doctoral insights to eight ladies. We had a blast learning and trying new things in a church setting.

Before long the Elders changed my duties from Christian Education to Christian Discipleship. This new position included small groups, equipping members how to care and coach each other. The curriculum included listening, renewing the mind, family wellness, healing prayer, and so

In 1976 we set up the Teleios or Wellness Center with twenty or so Peer Helpers on call to meet, listen and pray for people with emotional, relational, and spiritual distress. (We never  call them "mentally ill". Such a stigma is a major deterrent to asking for assistance. It is also a deterrent to a church thinking about providing such assistance.)

In 1978 we started a new nonprofit called, Christian Information Committee. It was designed to train other Christians how to develop every church into a caring community for all people. We later changed the name to Equipping Ministries International. That early beginning has spread to nations around the world.

It has many names and many different forms according to the local culture. That is one of the beautiful things about our model. It is flexible and does not require leadership from highly trained professionals. In fact, clinically trained people often misunderstand us because we train Moms, Dads, Brothers and Sisters, Uncles and Aunts as well as simple folk that are caring and Compassionate.

If you like the idea of ordinary people doing extraordinary things because we have a super ordinary God pray for us and consider going to the special donor page here!