Friday, June 9, 2017

D Day Memories

It has been 73 years since D Day and few people keep it's memory fresh in their minds. I do not, and I am sorry. I read a nice story in the Wall Street Journal today that has a link to the speech Ronald Reagan gave at the 40th Anniversary. It was a tremendous speech that promised the people on Europe that we in the US would stand with them anytime they need us.

Here is that fantastic speech. It is worth listening to it just for how well it was written and spoken. 

President Trump mad that same promise when he was in Europe at the NATO meeting recently and reemphasized it today.

Freedom is costly.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Angry Kids

There was a great article published some time ago by a Psychiatrist that is worth reading by professional Counselors and parents. The author is Mark Goulston, M.D. a Los Angeles based psychiatrist and the author.

I read it on Twitter and think my readers might benefit from it though it was written in 2007 it is still relevant to families.

If you want to better understand yourself and your family get my PDF book on family systems. It is called How to be me in my Family Tree.

You can start helping your self by assessing your own family.

Gary Sweeten

Sunday, June 4, 2017

The Power of God's Spirit on Pentecost

As the Western countries move away from faith and scripture we focus more toward treating others with disrespect. In the Roman Empire Greek thinkers Plato and Aristotle taught that killing babies after they were born was a good idea. Just as killing Gladiators was seen as a fun sport killing girl babies was thought to be great for family health. 

No wonder Rome fell. Fewer women meant that there were not enough wives; that meant there were not enough babies; Rome had to import slaves to work and had to pay men to fight for them. It caved from immoral, awful ethics. 

Christians went out to the fields and mountains where the Pagans dumped little girls to be eaten by wild animals and saved them from death. This started what we now call orphanages! The small, house churches grew because women were drawn by a religion that protected them and their babies. They brought their children and husbands and many came to faith in Christ. 

Christian women were free in the church. They were not forced to marry at 12 and 13 years of age. They led the churches and used their gifts. Today is Pentecost Sunday when the Spirit was poured out on men, women, slaves, Greeks, and Jews just as it was promised in Joel 2:27-29

You will know that I am present in Israel
and that I am Yahweh your God,
and there is no other.
My people will never again be put to shame.

I will pour out my Spirit on all humanity;
Then your sons and daughters will prophesy,
Your old men will have prophetic dreams,
Your young men will have prophetic visions.
I will even pour out my Spirit on the male and female slaves in those days. 

Get my book, The Healing Release of the Holy Spirit might help you understand. 

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Lack of Motivation?

Many people think that folks engaged in drug use need to be motivated because they are not motivated. Drug users are motivated. Indeed. To use drugs. 

The 4 Factors of Healing

Some things work and some don't. 

If it works do more of it
If it ain’t broke don’t fix it
Each factor is important but some are more influential than others. Good therapists want to know how to be more effective so here are the facts from forty years of research. The special knowledge, techniques, advice, medicine and brilliance of the therapist is worth about 15% of a successful outcome. 

When a doctor gives a depressed patient medicine, suggests that he exercise, offers insights about the family system or reinforces good self esteem it counts for something but not much. My professional colleagues are disappointed to learn that the thousands of dollars spent on graduate school and all the materials they have mastered over the years make such a small difference to the client.  The Peer Counselors are ecstatic. 

If it doesn’t work stop it

The faith and hope of the client 15%. is worth about the same as the professional’s insights and knowledge.

Many of us can tell stories about how a patient refused to give up and was healed or changed. As Jesus said, “Your faith has made you whole.” There is no technique or treatment plan more effective than the client’s faith. Belief will have a more consistent payoff than any single treatment intervention.

Hope for change is as effective as cognitive restructuring, positive reinforcement, family interventions, medication, etc. Eclectic therapists use a combination of treatment techniques because no one technique is always helpful. However, the client’s faith is always helpful.

The third factor is worth about twice of the other two. The client who sees his therapist, nurse or doctor as caring will have a 30% boost in getting better. Research has even discovered that one of the “magical keys to caring in the helper’s Genuine concern, Respect, the Empathic understanding for the client’s situation and her Warm relationship to the seeker. 

We call them the GREW skills.

Finally, we come to the factor that makes the most difference. It is also the one over which helpers have the least influence. The client brings it to each session. It is her level of motivation and the support she gets from family, friends and coworkers to make the healthy changes in life. 

These account for 40% of positive outcomes. It is very important to seek ways a client can increase her motivation. All clients are motivated but not to do what we want them to do.  

Second, it is critical for clients to get a lot of support for change from family and friends.  The personal faith of the client and the support of her faith community add greatly to her motivation.

This is why church and Sunday school attendance are important in motivating positive teen behavior.  Money, family dysfunctions, discipline styles or IQ pale in comparison to parents, Sunday school teachers and Christian friends to prevent sex, drugs and violence among youth.

See our books and materials here.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Impacting The unchurched

I have a poem and need music for a song. Send your suggestions

Don't Go Near the Water

Don't go near the water
Til you learn how to swim
Don't go near those sinners til they look like Him

Those people that are drinking and swearing
As they walk this sod
They can't come near us til they act like God

Don't go near the water
Til you learn how to swim
Don't go near those sinners til they look like Him!

Jesus never talked to sinners and He never had a drink
You must come out from them
You know what they think!

Don't go near the water
Til you learn how to swim
Don't go near those sinners til they look like Him!

Never water the GOOD NEWS down with mercy, kindness, grace and love!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Biblical Leadership

How can we minister to a hurting world when so many people are in pain? Do it the way Jesus did. Start small and build deeply! Then call each of them to find some people to equip the same way they were equipped. Before long that small group had become a large movement. 

In the Old Testament we can see how God revealed His plans for taking the Kingdom back for evil. Take a look at Moses and why he decided to delegate. See Exodus 4:

Moses was killing himself until his father in law, a pagan priest, said he was on the road to burning himself out. Like any good consultant, Jethro told Moses the truth about what his egotistic desire for control would do to his people. It will burn them out as well!

We need more people to adopt the discipleship and multiplication process. But it is hard work. It makes us reduce our need for control. That is the biggest barrier!

It also requires us to place large events in their proper perspective, at the bottom in the Kingdom.

I read a blog last week by a well-known church researcher and consultant. He focused on Eight Ways Pastors are ill prepared to head a church. Several can be boiled down to an lack of training and ability to work with people.  Included was an inability to equip, train or disciple members. I agree. Those are not taught or emphasized in most Bible schools and seminaries.

The responses were many and many were defensive. Not a few blamed the people for being unsaved wolves rather than sheep, blind, stubborn, rebellious, etc. It came down to blaming today's Christians for being much worse than in past generations.

From my brief studies of Church History I cannot agree that believers today are worse than ever. Are they worse than those in Germany that supported the Nazi party? Are they worse than the slave owners of America? Are they worse than the pagans in the First Century that raped, pillaged and burned Christians before they were saved?

As my Dad was fond of saying, "Gary Ray, sin was not invented in this generation. It has been around a very long time. Leading and Pastoring has always been difficult." It is important that we not give up doing good.

Exponential growth of Christians into maturity is critically important. Recruiting and equipping the laity is hard work but very rewarding. I was a layman that was discipled by a defrocked Presbyterian Minister who taught me how to pray, lead small groups, do Pastoral hospital visits, do Bible studies, and so forth. The laity we recruited and trained came out of drugs, sexual perversions, stealing, homelessness, etc.

It was hard. It was very hard and it was thankless! In fact, despite staying up all night to minister to these people after working all day and feeding them the last thing in the fridge they complained about Karen and my lack of commitment. That is what immature people do! Dozens of these young people became outstanding husbands and wives and solid Christians. Some even went to seminary. It was exponential healing, change and growth.

Do you have any nominations for exponential leaders from your life?Who led you to Christ and who equipped you?

I am going to repeat my focus on this man. Who would you say was the most influential Christian leader in history? I have asked this question many times in a variety of places, including this blog. I think it is a most provocative issue that cuts across the grain of Christianity. It scares most Pastors so they refuse to discuss it. 

I have asked people at seminars and seminaries; churches and church elder boards; sermons and solo pastors. I get some rather interesting answers. Here are a few of the nominations.

  • Mark (He wrote the first Gospel)
  • Peter (The Rock on which the Church is built)
  • Mary (The mother of Jesus)
  • Paul (The great preacher to the gentiles and writer of many books)
  • Luke (He wrote more of the Bible than any other person)
  • James (Brother of Jesus and wrote a book)
  • Luther (He started a revolution)
  • Mohammed (Without him, Christianity would be much bigger)
  • Billy Graham (A modern evangelist of repute)
  • Bill Bright (Founded Campus Crusade)
All of these nominations are worthy of fame, fortune and many books but they are not my pick. I nominate a man that gets little contemporary press. He did not write any of the books in the Bible nor did he have the gift of oratory. He operated behind the scenes with power, wisdom and incredible influence. 

Without him, there would have been no Paul, no John Mark, no Luke and no gentile church and no missions to the gentiles. He was a multiplier and is lost to history because he had few big audiences and most of us fear his approach. It was the same as Jesus. 

And, it was more than what Jethro told Moses!

Our web has some good books to help your train and equip others into maturity. When you open that link you will see a book on witnessing to Muslim neighbors. It is a fantastic book. Donna Thomas, one of the most successful Missionaries of the last century has a book for you. My Mentor Dr. Richard Walters has a couple of great books that will help laugh your way out of legalism!

The book that has an anonymous author and a title about the Threads of God tells how a married couple retired and took the equipping tools from our church across the whole country. Want to be inspired?  Go see them.