Friday, August 31, 2012

The Power of Love to Bring Change

If it isn't a specific theory or a specific intervention what is it that great leaders do that is the best way to influence people to change? Think for a moment about the teachings and the ways Jesus went about motivating folks to change? Any ideas?

St. Paul joined in the chorus of being a change agent by writing a great hymn about it. He said that three things are consistently available to influence change. Faith in God, Hope for a better life and Love of God and other people.

There are many books written about leadership and most ignore love and the rest of the fruit of the Spirit.  Currently there are books and articles written about technology as a way to bring about change. Write on Twitter. Post on Facebook. Write a blog. Record your Video for uploading onto You Tube.

All of these are passive. they take whatever the author writes or the preacher says. What if the stuff he says and does is hateful, divisive and disrespectful? Will Twitter or Facebook filter out the anger and replace it with faith, hope and love?

Not likely.

Film makers have always known that their craft reveals the character of the actors.It is said that, "The camera never lies". Unless we are preaching and teaching love we ought to stay away from the modern digital media.

See the Sweetenlife bookstore if you want to bring healing love to hurting hearts. Try my book Breaking Free

Thursday, August 30, 2012

What Really Helps People Change?

 Bush Listens to Two People in Conflict

In my last post I discussed research comparing different approaches to Helping. (Coaching, Counseling, Therapy, Psychiatry, Ministry, Pastoral Care, and do forth are all called Helping.) In that post I said that there is not much difference between one theory and another. Despite the marketing from various people who tout their approach, when it comes down to it, their supposedly superior methods do not necessarily produce superior results for the Client, Patient, Student, etc.

For example, a lot is said about the superior performance of anti-depressant medications.  Drug company X goes on TV and says "My drug is effective at reducing depression. In fact, it is better than another intervention that we tried in our studies.

What they do not tell us is how many studies they had to do to find one or two that worked for the depressed people. In some studies they had to try multiple times before they got a better result from using the medication than they did without it.

In many cases the Placebo Effect was as powerful as the Medication Effect. In other words, just taking a sugar pill with no active ingredient was as effective at reducing the symptoms of depression as the drug with an active ingredient.  Take a look at the active ingredient in a dandruff shampoo. In many of them the active ingredient is Coal Tar. The amount of Coal Tar is very, very small.

Over 90% is stuff that smells good and conditions the hair. If a person with dandruff used only the conditioner without the active ingredient but firmly BELIEVED it had the active ingredient, their dandruff would disappear as much as if they actually used the Coal Tar.

The antidepressant drug trials just gave the patients some stuff that looked like it had an active ingredient but did not. In many cases, the patient's symptoms were reduced as much with the fake pill as much they did with the real pill. Scientifically speaking, BELIEF that the medicine was real was as important as the REAL MEDICINE.

Having said this, Helping/Counseling/Coaching tends to be effective. Talking with a caring person who listens, shows us respect and insight tends to reduce the symptoms of depression, anxiety, bi- polar disorder, anger, and so forth with and without medication. Sometimes medication is very, very good at relieving anxiety and depression, but almost always when it is accompanied by Talking with a Counselor.

If you need assistance, find a good listener who shows you respect, concern, understanding and love. At Life Way Counseling, we offer great Counseling and medication when needed.

If you want to improve your own ability to Help others, take one of our classes in listening or Download my book, Hope and Change for Humpty Dumpty.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Choose The Best Theory of Change

The people who research such things as how people change and how effective different methods of Helping are were surprised recently. They looked at the various Counseling and Helping Models and set up elaborate ways to see which was most effective. 

I will not bore you with the ways they tried to make sure each Helping Theory was tested and compared because it is not important. However, it is important to know that the researchers were interested in the results from theory to theory.

The Kinds of Theories that have been Tested:

Client Centered
Family Systems

One of the most popular ways to describe a Psychological Theory today is by using term
Best Practices. That means that the theory the Professional is using has been approved by someone as the Best Way to treat and problem.

When I read the literature there are often references to a theory that has been debunked or that has proven to be a Best Practice.  The state of California recently passed a law forbidding Therapists from practicing Conversion Therapy with gay youth because it has been debunked. This is false.

When the major theories of treatment were compared, none was really a Best Practice. None was clearly superior to the others. And, none was clearly inferior or debunked.

Monday, August 27, 2012

To Lead Means We Stay Cool

Listen and learn!

Never offend and never defend. When we attack a person we lose the battle for we look like a bully.

When we defend ourselves we look like a loser and we become one.

Stay calm and never overreact.

I watched a movie last week on an old guy coaching a young potential golfing star who was out of control. (7 Days in Utopia). He took the kid fishing to teach him how to conduct himself on the course. He cast the fly and got a fish, then asked the kid why he was able to catch the big guy.

The kid guessed wrong on bait, etc. The coach said, "I made him mad and he bit". It was a great line. We who think clearly must not lose our cool and grab the bait.

We may agree with some hot headed friends but the ability to stay somewhat cool and non-reactive is key to thinking well and getting in the best jabs.  I often forge that but the movie reminded me of it.

My mentor was Dr. Edwin Friedman who constantly reminding us of that when in a great debate.

Get my book, Hope and Change for Humpty Dumpty from the web bookstore.

Changing the World for Good

I am often asked about how to be an influence in an organization, group or society. Let's begin with the obvious. Being a change agent is not easy. Read and reflect on these wise sayings:

1. I want progress, but I hate change.

2. I want change but I can't stand it when someone tries to change ME!

3. Nobody wants to be changed but a wet baby.

4. The more we push others to change the more they resist.

5. (Add your old saying here!)

A fellow overseas wrote recently about getting involved in politics and asked about my opinion. This is how I answered him.

My thoughts on being a change agent as a minority.

1.       To influence a system positively, we must be a part of the system.
2.       To be a part of the system we must get involved before we have any influence.
3.       Influence takes time and great trusting relationships.
4.       We cannot get too deeply involved or the system will change us we will not change the system.
5.        We usually begin to influence the system by showing those friendly toward us the positive benefits of our ideas for them and other people.
6.       This requires patience and prayer and offering ideas at the right time in the right way.
7.       Changes usually begin very small.

My book, Hope and Change for Humpty Dumpty has a list of the Six Stages of Change every person who wants to influence a system must go through to succeed. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Levels of Health and Wellness

                                                                  Missed it! Oh No!

In most of my books and classes I promote health rather than healing. That is why the name of this blog is "Spiritual Healing and Growth" not just "Spiritual Healing".  Despite my desire to spend most of my time and energy on Maximizing Health and Wellness I am the 911 button for many Christian organizations when there is a crisis. I love helping Christian leaders when they are in crisis but wish they got in touch with us before the crisis struck. Prevention is easier than healing.

I know it is hard for leaders to admit weakness or temptation. It has been said that 95% of the time a male will not seek Counsel or Coaching until his wife yells. HELP! That is an exaggeration, but men do not like to ask for directions in life or driving.

As a golfer I need coaching. I need a lot of coaching. In days past my ego was bruised whenever I had to ask for help. Then I saw that even Tiger Woods has a coach.  If the very best in the world need help it must be OK for me as well.

Think carefully about any really professional who did not have a coach. I cannot think of a single one.  If you are Doing Good now is the time to Do Better. 

My books are about Life Long Learning.

Go to the Sweeten Life web and download one of  my books on pdf. and coach yourself. Or call and I will help find a coach for you.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Health and Happiness

Most of the focus in health care is not health care but sickness care.

President Obama says he is fixing the broken health care system but he did not focus on health care but paying for sickness. In one of the President's ads for reelection a man attacks Romney for "Taking away his health care and that of his wife and she died." But he was not focusing on health care but health insurance. (However, she did not lose her health insurance either.)

Almost all the money spent on health care goes to cure health sickness. 98 cents goes to medicine, surgery and other medical intervention when a person is ill.

2 cents goes to prevention and lifestyle enhancements.

I am much more interested in promoting health than sickness.

For example we know how to improve marriages but most churches do not have any activities designed to prevent divorces and enrich marriages and family life.

We know how to enhance happiness and joy and resist depression and anxiety.

Dr. Martin Seligman calls it "Positive Psychology" but I prefer to call it "Common Sense".

It is rather easy and a lot of fun! Come on along.


Church Growth

 The early Christians were persecuted and ordered not to witness. However, during the first few decades of the Early Church the numbers of people who came to faith in Christ were astounding. Beginning as a separate group from Judaism, the founder, Jesus Christ, was tried in court, found guilty and crucified.  No PR firm today would suggest that this would be a great way to start a movement.

One thing was different: That crucified, dead and buried man rose form the dead and revealed himself to hundreds of followers. Jesus walked and talked and even ate among his small band of uneducated followers for a season. Then Jesus disappeared into the air. However, he said, "Wait for the Holy Spirit."

They had to scratch their heads and wonder, "Wait for a dead man who disappeared into thin air to send someone to us? What is that all about?"

On Pentecost the Holy Spirit came. It was then that we got a taste of the way God was going to "Build His Church". It would be through Holy Spirit empowered men and women. From then until about 300 AD small bands of people sprang up all over the known Roman world. They were educated and uneducated, rich and poor, bright and not so bright, Jew and Greek, pretty and ugly. You get the picture.

Their genius was how they acted out their faith. they went house to house eating and drinking and worshiping the Lord. they prayed for the sick, took in strangers and witnessed to the risen Christ in power. There were no Bibles, no buildings, no books, no music leaders, no formal pastors and no money. However, they had a lot of the Spirit.

They met in houses and had nothing but small groups because the houses were tiny.  Their structure was relational with God and each other. The evangelism was daily and baptisms followed on that decision immediately. Whoever led the person to Christ dunked the Seeker. Nobody had to ask permission from headquarters because the Head was Jesus and He was quartered inside each believer.

The Spirit produced love, power, gifts and truth. Those basics showed the others that God was real and life in the Spirit was good. It was very good. People would flock to receive God's love, power, truth and healing.

Oh why not tonight?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Ministry Fit for Me

 When I help people discover their call and ministry, I ask them to do a little homework. I show them a window diagram with four windows.

The two window panes on the left are called, "What We Are Born With"

The top is Born Physically: In this pane we place our attributes such as IQ, Physical Abilities,
Temperament, Talents, etc.

The bottom is Born Again Spiritually: In this pane we place Fruit of the Spirit, Truth of the Spirit, Gifts of the Spirit, God's Call to serve

In the second set,mew place "What we Develop" I will include them later.

If you write me I will send you a copy of the full paper.

Gary Sweeten

God's Will

Many years ago I was very anxious to find God's will for my life. I anxiously prayed and read books about the topic. One author promised to help me find "God's perfect will." wow, I dug into that book with great expectations. Now I would find His PERFECT will for my life and never wonder again if I were missing it. Peace at last.

The author used terms like Permissive Will and Perfect Will and it was up to me to find the difference. In fact, the whole thing was up to me. If I missed finding God's Perfect Will and lived my whole life wrongly I would face a disappointed Jesus at the Great White Throne Judgment.

It seemed that this guy found His Perfect Will hard to find. I was having to hunt, sweat, worry and coil out a lot of forms to get it.  At the end of the book I was as confused as ever. No wonder few Christians do any strong ministry. They do not know if it is God's Perfect Will or not.

I think God is bigger and more transparent than that. I think it is almost mpossible to miss His will. Of course outright rebellion will do it but I mean doing ministry and going about my daily life. God is real clear about that stuff and I do not try too hard to find His will on every thing I do. As Luther said, "Love  God and do what you want."

I love my wife and want to please her. We almost never disagree about important matters. We are one flesh so I intuitively know her interests and goals. I love her and do what I want. She loves me and does what she wants. It is easy.

All the anxiety and gnashing of teeth about submission and decisions in marriage are useless if not damaging. All the anxiety about trying to please God and obedience is useless and counter productive. Love covers all those issues.

I have been crucified with Christ, never the less I live.

I am dead to sin and alive to God.

Stop worrying about your sin. It isn't! That big a deal.


Friday, August 17, 2012

Why Do We Focus on Special Needs Families?

I ran into Dave Workman today and had a nice catch up conversation. Dave is Pastor of the Vineyard Community Church, the Mother Ship of all the Vineyards in our region. He and Steve Sjogren were the two who planted the Vineyard here many years ago.

The Vineyard Mother Ship Church has planted about 30 additional congregations around Greater Cincinnati making them the most generous and most influential congregation in this town with the most generous leaders. I wish I had a million Dollars to give them so they can keep up the great work. I hope the 30 churches they have planted with send a tithe to them monthly to allow them to give it away as generously as they have given for decades. (Don't tell Dave I said this. he would be embarrassed.)

Dave asked us if our focus on families with a disability was a new thrust for Sweeten Life. Good question. We have always had a major focus on helping families develop a healthy life. Fro the biblical and psychological perspective, the family is the foundation of all spiritual, relational and emotional health or sickness.

The family is the key to educational and economic health. teachers cannot do squat if the family is dysfunctional or anti educational. (Do you know the one most important correlation to family life and well educated kids? (Read to the last and I will tell you.)

When I was a teacher, the parents were committed to support me and the school to educate and discipline  their children. If a kid was in trouble with me they were disciplined at home.  I was not expected to give to the kids the motivation or discipline. They got that at home and I built on it.

What about today? The teachers and schools are blamed for the kids having no discipline or respect. Parents send spoiled, hyperactive kids to school and then complain if the teacher tries to corral them.

We have always tried to train parents how to rear children and counsel, heal and correct a family with a disabled, sick or problem child. I did my Post Doctoral work in Family of Origin Therapy. The focus is on helping generations of families get together and get functional. As I CO 12 says, "when one member of the body hurts everyone is in pain..." Research on family life proves that saying to be true and when a family has generations of dysfunction  the children cannot be fully functional.

The emphasis on disabled children came about when The Hatton Foundation gave us a very generous grant to study the needs of families with young children with a severe disability.  Here is the fact about family life from generation to generation.

A family is like a stream of water that flows downstream to mix with other steams until a larger stream is formed and then a river. The large stream is like a church or community and the river is called society. Every few yard a rock or limb will fall into the stream causing an impediment and the water to be roiled and bubble.

This is what happens to a family when death, disease and accidents of divorces enter the stream. Emotions are roiled, stresses occur and the free flow of water is disturbed. These nodal events in the life of a family can make the family stronger of weaker. Some families rise to the challenge and develop strategies that bring the talents, gifts and strengths of the people out. In other groups, an event that disturbs the flow of the family results in hurt, anger, bitterness, hopelessness, blame and divorce.

A wise family will seek out a wise guide to pray, offer insight and support. That is what a Family Counselor or Pastor is for. We cannot keep rocks or limbs from falling into the stream but we might be able to assist the family in facing the currents and standing against them so they are not overwhelmed.

Stay tuned for the soon release of some fantastic new materials designed to help guide roiled family systems get through the rapids safely.

(The number of books in a family home.)

We Help Sressed Out Parents

Did you know that rearing a child with a diagnosis on the Autism Spectrum has about the same amount of stress as a soldier in Iraq? Yep, no joke. In fact, it can be like suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. (PTSD)

This is one reason we are starting to focus on families with a member who has a chronic disease. We have developed simple materials designed to lead people to ways that can lower stress, exhaustion, conflict and hopelessness.   During our yearlong research process with parents and kids we learned that a well designed Quality Of Life Self Assessment could serve as an in home Mentor and Wise Guide for the care givers.

A family is like a flock of birds who move instantly as if they were all tied together. Every family is deeply connected to every one else and reacts instantly to the environment. Kind, warm, loving interactions build the family unit up but worry, stress and miscommunication tear them down.

Our materials will build the entire family up spiritually, mentally and emotionally whether they have a special child or not. Look for the QOLA and try it out.

If you or someone you know has a member with a special need let them know about our web page.

Does Religion Help or Hurt Drug Recovery?

Using the Virginia Twin Registry as a data base, researcher Kendler (1997) investigated the effects of personal involvement in religion on substance use and dependence. The study found that personal devotion acted as a buffer against life stress and that personal religious conservatism was inversely related to the amount of current alcohol use and lifetime risk of smoking. Membership in a conservative religious institution was further associated with a decreased lifetime risk of major depression.

For years, beginning in earnest with Freud and continuing in its most malignant form with figures like Albert Ellis, members of the psychology community have attributed all manner of psychological and social ills to religion. Clearly, this research suggests that the opposite may be true and that religion may play a helpful role in protecting people from life stress and risk of substance abuse.

Kendler, K.S. (1997). Religion, psychopathology, and substance use and abuse: A multimeasure, genetic, epidemiologic study. American Journal of Psychiatry, 154, 322-329.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Will Faith Cure Addiction?

Drug abuse is a terrible curse on our land. I spoke with a business leader recently who wants to hire people for his company. He is having a hard time finding anyone even though the unemployment rate is high and many are looking for jobs. The reason? Many of the applicants are failing the drug test.
  • Can people be cured of drug addiction by healing prayer and faith? 
  • Can people be cured of alcohol addiction by healing prayer and faith? 
  • Can people be cured of food addiction by healing prayer and faith?
  • Can people be cured of sex addiction by healing prayer and faith?

Over the years of being in the ministry of counseling, healing and education I have seen many, many people come out of addictions to drugs, alcohol and sex among other things. As a rule if is not easy and it takes more than one prayer or two to accomplish the journey.

In France there is a very expensive wine called Dom Reigning. It comes from the name of a group of Priests who went to France many decades ago to drain the swamps and bring healing to the people by eliminating the mosquitoes and dampness. Their motto was: Ora ET Labora or Prayer and Work!

To clean swamps and turn them into vineyards that produce the best champagne takes a lot of prayer and works. To take the wine out of a person's life and turn it into the a Vineyard for the Lord to produce the best works normally takes both Ora (Prayer) and Labora (Work).
 I have known of some addicts who received a powerful healing touch from God and were delivered immediately from their overwhelming lust for drugs. It is rare. Very rare. And even after they were delivered from the lust for a fix they needed many hours of teaching, discipleship, love, support and encouragement. In fact, most addicts continue to be tempted long after they have become sober so the battle is not over.

People not familiar with addictions seem to think that being cured means that we will never be tempted or relapse again. That is false and can lead people to give up after starting recovery when they encounter temptations to get a fix. However, prayer usually assists any addict to break free if their theology is solid and they have good support.

Self Esteem and Religious Faith

STEPHEN FRAZIER, CNN ANCHOR: So, what role does religion play if building a teenager's self-esteem? We hinted at that a minute ago. According to a recent survey of eighth-grade students, quite a bit. And joining us now to explain all that is Rebecca Nolan, a professor of psychology from Louisiana State University, one of the authors of the study. Dr. Nolan, thank you for joining us.


FRAZIER: You looked at attitudes held by more than 1,000 eighth- graders. Was religion your intended focus, or did it surprise you that it was such a big contributor to self-esteem?

NOLAN: Yes, it was one of the things that we were looking at. Dr. Young Die (ph) of LSUS and Dr. Jing Zing (ph) of Wells College in New York and I were particularly interested in this issue. So, we looked at this survey, a national survey, which was collected by the University of Michigan through a federal grant, and we really wanted to see if there was going to be an affect of religion on early adolescents' self-esteem, and we found that the more involved with religion that these early adolescents were, that the higher their level of self-esteem.

FRAZIER: Now, why do you think that is? Is that because of their belief in the all-mighty, or some kind of a doctrinal support, or because of youth groups and other sort of support organizations that are created around organized religion?

NOLAN: Well, the students who answered this survey graded themselves according to their degree of religious involvement. There were four different levels.

The first level was very involved, and this means that they went to church more than one time a week.

Involved was going to church once a week.

Somewhat involved was going to church occasionally.

And the last category was not involved at all.

The different sexes were not differentiated. So, they were looking at how involved with religion the student reported their activity.

FRAZIER: Any faith? It didn't matter what organized religion it was?

NOLAN: No, it didn't.

FRAZIER: And did you say that the more involved they were, the better their self-esteem was?

NOLAN: Yes, it was. We looked at a measure of self-esteem, where there were four possible ways to answer and four negative ways, and with the positive answers they were looking at things such as "I feel satisfied with myself," "I feel I'm a person of worth."

FRAZIER: And those are important questions to ask for an eighth- grader. I understand that's sort of a crossroads year?

NOLAN: Yes, it is. They are changing physically, psychologically and they are at a point where they are ready to venture beyond what they have known in the past. And they need a foundation from which to explore.

FRAZIER: Doesn't the family provide some of that foundation? I mean, are the families religious too, or are these children finding their way to churches on their own?

NOLAN: We are assuming that they are introduced into this setting by their caretakers. The caretaker takes the child to church, and continues with the child with the activity.

FRAZIER: Final question, because we are getting ready to leave now, but what do you make of this argument that today's youngsters may have too much self-esteem, that they are a little bit self-absorbed and are a little bit hollow inside as a result of all this cheer leading we do as parents?

NOLAN: It's very important to be very positive with children and adolescents, but adolescent and children need accomplishments. They need to do concrete things which relate to their self-esteem, not just to be told that they are a good person, but also to do things which they feel make them good people.

FRAZIER: Which they recognize are true accomplishments, not just gimmes from those of us who are praising them all the time.

NOLAN: Exactly.

FRAZIER: Well, professor Nolan, thank you for joining us to explain the study, a significant outcome there. Dr. Rebecca Nolan at Louisiana State. 


Take your kids to church if you want them to be confident and have eternal life.

Gary Sweeten

Discover your Ministry

 How do we find our place to minister? It is easy: 

Do what you like and are good at doing.

Here is a letter by a woman from College Hill Presbyterian Church who left Procter and Gamble to do volunteer ministry. One of her talents and gifts was teaching and she was an excellent swimmer.  She put them together and started a ministry that focused on healing adults and children of their fear of water. Now she and her team teach and pray for hundreds annually.

She trains all her staff to use the Sweeten Life Relationship Skills.  Read what they did this summer!

"And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good." Genesis 1:31. 

It was a great summer with the kind of weather for which Swimming Teachers pray. I know that I say this every year, but you really were the best staff ever. Here are some end-of-summer housekeeping items:

STATISTICS  I was asked to share the statistics I quoted about the summer, so here they are:
We had a paid staff of 118. 

We spent over $16,000 in salaries and gave over $4400 in swim scholarships.  

403 people were involved — swimmers and staff — ages 75 to barely 3.  

We taught 651 lesson hours in 3 weeks!  

When I was asked how I was doing, I'd simply reply, "I feel like the booking agent for the greatest show on earth." Phil 4:13, but I wasn't alone.
I am very grateful for the incredible physical and prayer support of other adults on staff and literally hundreds of people praying for the Ministry throughout this summer. God not only 'showed up' at Swim Ministry, He did unbelievable miracles in our midst!

"And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good." Genesis 1:31.  

Sharlyn 'Sam' Star'

See our bookstore for more on finding your ministry. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Equipped For Ministry

I often speak about how to follow God's plan to impact the world. I am a teacher that is strongly committed to making the Bible as practical and applicable as possible. I see that as the only way for Christians to bring hope and healing to the distressed, break the generational chain of poverty and grow the church. Pastors and Christian leaders usually they ask what it would look like. We have rarely followed the commands and model of Jesus so most people have never seen the church doing effective ministry. 

What would you say was the church growth model Jesus taught?

What passage or passages back it up?

Where and when have you seen it applied ?

What would you like to do to start implementing this model?

What do you want to add?

Comments are welcome. 

Gary Sweeten

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Pray and Support Russian Christians

The nature of the Communists was so mean and oppressive that millions of the survivors must life with serious psychological, relational and spiritual wounds. No wonder so many of them use alcohol to deaden their pain.

Now the Russian leaders are returning back to suppression and oppression to control their people. Christians are especially targeted because the Holy Spirit has set many of them free from their alcoholic stupors and they see what liberty looks like.

Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty!

Dictators hate free people. Dictators love passive, servile citizens. One of the things Stalin did to subjugate Russia was pass The Law of 1929 which forbade churches from helping people in any practical manner. Christians were told that they could worship, pray and read scripture but only in the sanctuary. No medical care, no schools, no hospitals! That was government work.

Putin is attacking churches in a Stalinist manner to keep them from becoming strong. If any ministry openly accepts support from us they will be forced to register with the Federal Government as a "foreign Agent". If we send them money e the Federal Government takes taxes of  95%.

This is what you can do:

1. Pray for Christians
2. Pray for us who secretly support Russian Christians
3. donate to Sweeten Life and other supportive charities.

Go to Sweeten Life to donate

PS. A donation of any amount and you will receive a book with examples of healing Christians traumatized by past Communist actions. How to be Me in My Family Tree

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

What Charities Do I Support?

There are a lot of charities in the USA. We are the most generous society in the world, so it is no wonder that tax free charities abound.

Which charity do you send money to support?

Why do you support that group?

1. I know the people
2. I like their materials
3. They minister to a group I want to help
4. My friends say it is a good group
5. My church supports them
6. A famous person supports them
7. They have a great reputation

How do you ever evaluate how well that group is doing? 

1. Great stories 
2. Many people are served
3. Lot of people are saved
4. Many are healed
5. God tells me

If you had a chance to have lunch with the leader what would you ask her about the success of her group?

Gary Sweeten

Russian Repression and Revival

We have been involved in the former USSR for a long time.  Our ministry of evangelism and healing has been very successful, but it is in danger of government reprisal.

The people of Russia and other nations destroyed by the Atheist leaders of that Socialist Republic suffered greatly. We in America can hardly believe what those leaders did to crush every evidence of spiritual life.

But the prayers of Christians in Russia, Poland, Ukraine, America and around the world finally brought down the Iron Curtain. It was a joyous occasion when people could worship God without fear. One of my friends still has the New Testament printed and smuggled into Russia by Christians from South Korea.

Today, more Christian prayers are desperately needed. 

Repression is returning.

The scars of those anti God years are deep and great healing is still needed to help them recover. This is why our Recovery Ministry is spreading from St. Petersburg to Ukraine in churches and Recovery Ministries of every denomination.

Pray for our friends whose names must remain secret lest they be persecuted by the government. God knows who they are and every Christian group is under pressure to stop its outreach so general prayers are wonderful. Contact me at if you want specific names and places.

Go to Sweeten Life web to donate and see what we do. The persecuted Christians need us now.

One of our friends holding A newly printed copy of our training manual translated into Russian.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Hackers Must Get Capital Punishment

Up until now I have been wishy washy about capital punishment. Sometimes it seems like the right thing to do to reduce capital crimes and at other times the logic about reducing crime seems ridiculous. Then something really evil occurs.

The evil hit me a few weeks ago but I had no idea how bad it was until yesterday. I had to call for an  emergency intervention from an expert. The expert came flying over to my house for a Doctor's House Call. That kind of emergency service is almost unheard of today but my situation was so critical I needed someone with deep expertize and experience to be with me. I hope I can pay the bills.

The virus had a deep hold on not only my computer but my soul. I have meetings I must prepare for, people! I swear, you bug manufacturers deserve prosecution to the full extent of the law!

The chair, I swear!

The noose for that goose!

The guillotine for someone so mean!

Finally, at about 9:00 PM we decided to sing the funeral dirge and put my baby to sleep. From 3;:00 to 9:00 PM! How much can a man take?

We went back to the original settings of the computer at the factory and swept the baby clean. No more scanning and deleting to discover it had come back automatically. I had had it! Clean it up! Sweep the hard drive with Swiffer! Use Tide!

 The people who did this deserve the chamber and irons.

Now I have to completely rebuild every file and Microsoft software! Yikes!

Will you join me in calling for death to hackers?