Saturday, December 26, 2015

Failure to Communicate

At my age I could write a daily blog on all the bloopers, mistakes and experiences of the many ways I have failed at communication.  Looking back I still cringe at the memories.

One time I was trying to teach my colleagues about the needs of people with mental and emotional troubles. I decided to invite a well-known and successful local therapist to share his insights.  He may have been a good therapist but he was a very poor communicator because he offended the audience.

We were all people of deep faith and deep compassion. My guest was neither. He told numerous ribald stories about his work and made fun of the people he saw in Counseling. I sat stunned as he ruined his talk, my reputation and a nice lunch.

He and I violate a basic rule. Know your audience and know the speaker. I knew my audience fairly well but I failed to know my guest.  Needless to say, I was embarrassed and I failed in my goal.

Another time I was overseas and refused to eat the offered meal. It was a terrible faux pas and I look back with deep embarrassment. International travel makes communication very difficult.

Can you remember some real failures to communicate?

Let me hear of a few.

Go to our web to discover some materials to assist you to communicate better.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Top Ten Best and Worst Communicators of 2015

She failed to communicate well enough to get help!

If you want to learn how to communicate better, read the Decker blog on a regular basis.

What top communicators surprised you?

Who disappointed you?

What would you like to change as a result of reading the blog?

Why are so Many Retailers Acting Like Scrooge Before His Conversion?

Dan Henninger wrote an interesting story in the Wall Street Journal today about retailers refusing to acknowledge Christmas but bending to PC ideals. One store even put a fortune teller in the window display instead of a Christmas scene.  It is titled The Year Christmas Died.

Those retailers can market whatever they want and I can spend my money wherever I want. I refuse to give money to people that are willing to insult me and my faith. How about you?

Happy Holy Day!

Scrooge Before His Conversion and Repentance


MARLEY was dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it. And Scrooge's name was good upon 'Change for anything he chose to put his hand to.

Old Marley was as dead as a door nail.

Scrooge knew he was dead? Of course he did. How could it be otherwise? Scrooge and he were partners for I don't know how many years. Scrooge was his sole executor, his sole administrator, his sole assign, his sole residuary legatee, his sole friend, his sole mourner.

Scrooge never painted out old Marley's name, however. There it yet stood, years afterwards, above the warehouse door, -- Scrooge and Marley. The firm was known as Scrooge and Marley. Sometimes people new to the business called Scrooge “Scrooge” and sometimes Marley. He answered to both names. It was all the same to him.

Oh ! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, was Scrooge! A squeezing, wrenching grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner! External heat and cold had little influence on him. No warmth could warm, no cold could chill him. No wind that blew was bitterer than he no falling snow was more intent upon its purpose, no pelting rain less open to entreaty. Foul weather didn't know where to have him. The heaviest rain and snow and hail and sleet could boast of the advantage over him in only one respect, -- they often "came down" handsomely, and Scrooge never did.
Nobody ever stopped him in the street to say, with gladsome looks, "My dear Scrooge, how are you? When will you come to see me?" 

No beggars implored him to bestow a trifle, no children asked him what it was o'clock, no man or woman ever once in all his life inquired the way to such and such a place, of Scrooge. 

Even the blindmen's dogs appeared to know him; and when they saw him coming on, would tug their owners into doorways and up courts; and then would wag their tails as though they said, "No eye at all is better than an evil eye, dark master!"

But what did Scrooge care! It was the very thing he liked. To edge his way along the crowded paths of life, warning all human sympathy to keep its distance.

**This description of Scrooge is the best illustration I have ever seen of a hardened, callous sinner whose heart and mind and spirit are so deadened to human life and nurture that he prefers loneliness and rejection to warm fellowship.

Just imagine for a while the cold, hard, penetrating eyes and the lack of compassion that covered his face like a steel mask. No knight in armor ever had a more forbidding visage than Scrooge.

Did You Get to Worship Christmas Eve?

Angels we have heard on High
Sweetly singing o'er the plain
And the Mountains in reply
Echoing their joyous strains

I wanted to worship and sing Christmas carols during the Holy Christmas Season. However, I found it very difficult to do because so few contemporary churches actually sing anything that is singable by the ordinary lay person and many of the younger musicians evidently do not know or care for carols.

One way to kill your church is to ignore what the people want when they attend.  I have been doing a lot of research on customers over the past few years and there is one thing that stands out.  Customers, Church Members, Patients and Worshipers want to be Engaged in deciding what kind of services they get and pay for.

Mainline Churches are dying because they refuse to supply what people want. Mainline Churches fail to preach about God, Jesus, and Forgiveness. They refuse to evangelize and lead people to the forgiveness of Christ.

Contemporary Churches have concerts and great entertainment but people want and desperately  need to be engaged in real, soul cleansing worship.

Every year Handle's Messiah is sang at concert halls. It soars and people can sing along. If a concert hall and symphony orchestra understands the need for real spiritual transcendence, why can't churches?

Last night I was able to actually worship along with several hundred others because we sang traditional Carols like Angels we Have Heard on High and I could actually hear others sing!

They also had some nice visuals but gave us worship that is engaging and participatory.

Go to our web to find real teaching.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Worship at Christmas

I have a difficult time worshiping anytime but especially at Christmas.  Worship, according to the Bible, needs to be "In Spirit and in truth" and that is not easy. My brain is the problem.

My brain is filled with thoughts, ideas and feelings that intrude into my consciousness at all time of the day and night.  Some believers scoff at the idea that we have a subconscious or unconscious part of our brain. I suppose they have never had a nightmare or dream where a difficult problem was solved during the night.

That restless, ever moving part of my brain that keeps spinning and pushing its unwanted ideas on me interrupts my desire to rest in Christ and cast all of my cares on Him in worship.  I call it a problem with ANTS!

Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTS) intrude on my intention to "Be still and know that God is God!"  During the Christmas season I want to worship God but I keep being interrupted with strains of Jingle Bells and Have a Holly, Jolly Christmas! YIKES!

Then I attend church and want to sing carols at the top of my lungs. I want to sing "Oh Come Let Us Adore Him"! The band is blasting out some song from AC/DC. I am overwhelmed by the noise and no one is singing at all.

My brain goes crazy!

Who can deliver me from this overwhelming press of music that blocks my worship and leads me to the throne of grace? I can do it at home and avoid the distractions of bad music.

How about you?

What child is this who, laid to rest
On Mary's lap is sleeping?
Whom Angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping?

This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and Angels sing;
Haste, haste, to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Baby in Bethlehem and Our Babies

Luke 2:6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in swaddling cloth.

 What does it mean that Mary wrapped Jesus in swaddling cloth?

Think of the movies and TV shows that have a mummy in them. Dead people were wrapped up in a very tight piece of cloth to preserve the body until burial. A baby was wrapped in a long piece of cloth for a different reason.

It made the baby feel comfortable and safe. Jesus had been inside the womb of Mary for 9 months. That is a very tight, safe and comfortable place for a child to grow. At birth a child is taken out of that warm, secure place into the cold and and insecure light.

Swaddling the baby is calming, safe and warm. It is much more welcoming than an open air room or cave manger.

A baby is fragile. It is an emotional and physical shock for the baby  to be rudely taken out of that nice, loving environment so those mothers knew the baby needed the security of a tightly wound cloth.

Monday, December 21, 2015

It is Not About Bethlehem, Angels or Shepherds

Well, let me edit that headline. It is about MORE than Bethlehem, Angels and Shepherds. 

I John 1:1 

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes,which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 

The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life,which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 

We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 

We write this to make your joy complete.

1. Jesus was her from the beginning! Jesus is the Creator of all this.

2. God appeared to us in human form that we heard, saw, and touched! He came to us. We did not go to Him through our efforts or performance. It was and is through His mercy and grace that we have been redeemed. 

3. We proclaim all this so you can know, experience and share our eternal life with the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. It is not just on December 25 when we have eternal fellowship with Christ. 

Learn more about how Jesus saves us. 

It is why we sing with the angels:

How silently, how silently,
The wondrous gift is given;
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of His Heaven.
No ear may hear His coming,
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him still,

The dear Christ enters in.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Listen This Christmas so you can Love

I am always a bit shocked when I see or hear about how some people try to promote their ideas. I actually grimace and want to shout out why they are missing the mark. But, I resist the urge.

Some examples: 

Harvard University, supposedly one of the most advanced institutions of higher learning in the world, spent untold thousands of dollars to publish a place mat for their students on how to brow beat their families at Christmas. (Oh, I am sorry to use a harsh name, I mean The Holidays!)

The administrators flooded the cafeterias with these things to prepare the students to go home and push the school's idea of Politically Correct notions on four topics.

1. The Yale students protesting being uncomfortable
2. Islamaphobia and taking in Syrian refugees
3. Changing the House Master title to the heads of the residence halls
4. Marches about Black murders

Do the administrators really think the rote answers will convince a parent of the correctness of those issues?

The key to life is LISTENING, for Heaven's Sake. Listen and love your family, especially when they disagree with you. Be patient and kind.

Tune in and hear their ideas and feelings. It is not up to us to tell others what to believe. It is our job to try to understand them.

Tune in to us and we will share our stories and insights.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Experiencing Chistmas; A Guest Blog

My friend Mitch Teemly is a wonderful story teller about many things but especially about His Story or History.

I read his blog today and it struck me that you might like it as well. Soooo, click on this link and read what Mitch has to say.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Are Christians Afraid of Non-Christians?

Why do Christians focus so much on people that refuse to do business with believers? Are they afraid they will get slimed by sin from touching an unclean person?

It reminds me of an old saying my dad liked to describe overly cautious parents who would tell their kids:

"Don't go near the water until you learn how to swim!"

Yes, it is a paradoxical statement. A kid must go into the water in order to learn how to swim. It is impossible to learn to do something without trying it out first.

It seems that this is how overly cautious Christian leaders are treating folks not already committed to Christ with a flawless record of tithing, bathing and carrying the King James version of the Bible!

Are preachers telling their flocks:

"Don't go near those sinners until they act like HIM?"

I know of parents that complained that the kids in Sunday school with their kids were not sufficiently pious! Do they want the church to turn unchurched kids away?

How many parents spend thousands of dollars to keep their children from being contaminated by a public school peer group?

Would you refuse to invite non believers to your church? What if the church web site advertised that everyone was welcome to attend your services and some real, obvious sinners showed up?

What about it?

Can we handle people that are not asking, "What would Jesus Do?"

Think it over. Read my book Hope and Change for Humpty Dumpty, especially the chapter on churches being a healing community. 

An Angel Reveals the Plan of God to Mary

The Birth of Jesus Foretold

Luke 1:26  God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[b] the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”
38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
Can you imagine the fear and disbelief of a young girl in a tiny village in Palestine when an angel of God spoke with her about her impending pregnancy. Remember this, Mary knew how pregnancies occur. The academic world is full of lies about the ignorance of these rural people.
Years ago, while reading research for my Doctorate, I saw an article by a supposed scholar that Mary and her family just imagined that an angel showed up and told her this fanciful story about a miraculous pregnancy. The reason was they did not know how people became pregnant. 


A girl from the country filled with sheep and shepherds who were ignorant of breeding? This would require a bigger miracle that angels and the Holy Spirit causing a pregnancy. I was reared in the country and we knew about sex and breeding from early childhood! 
Obviously this teenage girls knows more than those scholars who attempt to disregard the truth of scripture by obvious obfuscation. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Christmas Basics

A friend went to the Post Office to get stamps. He was looking over the array of options from the Jedi Collection to the American Eagle but wanted something that showed a traditional scene of the birth of Jesus. He finally saw the Three Wise Men and pointed to it as his selection. 

The clerk, a woman of 45 or so, said, "I am getting a lot of requests for that one. Why do so many people want some picture of Maggie's?" 

"Maggie's?" my friend asked. 

"Yes, a Maggie."

The educational level of Americans is not very impressive!

As a Minister and Educator I do not think I have done a very good job of educating people. If so little is known by the general public about the birth of Jesus to realize the Three Wise Men how can we expect anyone to respect Jesus as Savior? 

Maybe we need every church in America to do more teachings on the very basics of the Bible.

You can donate here to our international ministry to share God's love and the truth of His word.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Swim in the Living Waters

Away in a manger, no place for a bed. the little Lord Jesus lay down His sweet head.

His birth leads us to our new birth. I have been twice born and I am very happy about it.

Nothing has impacted me like the new birth.

Any changes that do not include a new birth are wrapping up a broken leg without setting it first. Scripture says "We were dead IN sin" but because of our new birth we are "Dead TO sin and alive IN Christ". 

Behavioral change comes from inner change.  Out of the heart of a born-again Christian comes living water.

From my works of the flesh will come only brackish water, a mixture of salty water, me, and Jesus, fresh water.

Which do you want to swim in?

Donate to our ministry here so we can spread the good news and invite others to drink of the living waters.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Mary Had a Baby

Thank God that Jesus was not aborted. Although Jesus was hounded, hated and rejected, He was loved enough by His Mother and Step-Father to be born.

It took courage to carry what many believed to be an "Illegitimate Child" into the ancient world of rigidity and male domination. Jesus, as an adult, told about what might happen to a woman who was thought to have sex outside of marriage.

John 8:1-11New International Version (NIV)

1 ...Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.
At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 
The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
Stoning was the way some people wanted to deal with a woman's sin. It was an early form of abortion because the death of a mother meant the death of her unborn child. It also covered up the sexual sin of the man involved. It benefited males not females or babies. 
Was that suggested when Mary was caught in pregnancy without a husband? 
We do not know. We do know, however, that Jesus, born from a seemingly sinful relationship, understood the cultural and spiritual need of the woman and offered mercy rather than judgment. 
A difficult pregnancy presaged His approach to failure and sin. He offered second chances. 

This is why we celebrate Christ-Mass not a secular time off of work. So, Merry Christmas!

Pray for Peace in Russia through Jesus

Friday, December 11, 2015

Merry Christmas

Why say Merry Christmas and sing Christmas carols such as Silent Night?

Why do we give gifts and put up a tree at Christmas?

Why is it silly to fill the air with silly songs like Rocking Around the Christmas Tree instead of singing Away in a Manger?

Because the Reason for the Season is the birth of Christ and all the supernatural events surrounding it.

This morning a good friend at McDonald's said, "Happy Holidays" to me. There is nothing wrong with indicating we have a holiday because it really means "Happy Holy Day". (Whoops! Now the PC Police will ban holiday as well as Christmas.)

However, when Mark said it I reacted by saying, "Merry Christmas Mark! I am not going to be PC this year."

WOW! A dozen people turned, smiled and said, "Merry Christmas!"

It is all about Jesus Christ. Remember that fact.

Donate Here to keep it going.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Importance of Early Childhood Nurture and Education

Fred and Sally have weathered unbelievable stress, illnesses and job changes but stayed together! If they can, so can others.

Common sense will reveal what scholars must spend millions to discover. Here it is: "A two-parent family that stays together and rears their children with love and discipline is essential to the health and welfare of the parents, the kids and the culture.

Why is that a hard concept to accept and support? I was reared in a poor, blue collar, red neck little village on the edge of nowhere with very little education and advanced training is Psychology but we all knew that good parenting was essential to happy families and kids ans schools and churches and communities.

What happened to that basic knowledge and wisdom? Was it abortion that led us to deny the critical link of love between a Mom and her Baby? Abortion is the lie that a woman is NOT pregnant with a child. The propaganda says that she is pregnant with a blob of cells called a "Product of Conception".

Have you ever heard a woman say, "I just learned that I have a "Product of Conception inside of me?"

Now, abortion is easy and two parent families are hard. That is backward. Happy 54th Anniversary to Karen and Me. We stuck it out with love and commitment and have two great kids with four great grand kids.  All of us stayed married.

Marriage is essential to the health and welfare of society. We at Sweeten Life Systems are doing fantastic things to assist families in the quest to rear healthy kids and grand kids. What we do is working all over the world.

Donate here!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Government Insurance and Veterans Medical Care

It seems that politicians are long on promises and short on delivery. The roll out and actual delivery of Obamacare is such an awful scandal that everyone involved in it would be cowering in disgrace if they had a shred of moral fiber. Yet, despite the intentional lies, the failed web sites costing billions of dollars, the designers continue to brag that it is a great idea.

Look at the VA Hospitals for examples of terrible Federal Medical Care despite trillions spent on delivery. (Here in Cincinnati we seem to be different and do offer great care.)
Despite massive failures the politicians ask for more money and cover up their waste.

At Sweeten Life Systems, we are attempting to positively impact every kind of professional care giving from hospitals to Doctor's offices, government agencies for children, nursing homes, counseling centers, ETC. we do it by insisting that the patients and their caregivers be the center of all of it.

Do not get me wrong. Doctors, Counselors, Nurses, Social Workers, and others who deliver care are the most compassionate and committed people on the planet. However, they are in systems that force them to do a certain kind of care on a very short timeline.

I have run part of an in patient hospital and an outpatient clinic. I know the people and systems first hand. I am consulting with government agencies and schools that are mandated by the government to care for the disabled, veterans, and the poor. The requirements are made not for real care but for a bureaucratic goal. That is why so many people cannot get timely care. It is not because of uncaring professionals.

Take a look at our web page to read what we are doing.