Wednesday, March 30, 2016
The Early Christian Church was the most powerful community of healing and growth that the world has ever known!
It was in 1969 that I heard an agnostic Psychologist make this statement. I was tremendously shocked and inspired.
It was the former head of the American Psychological Assoc. that said it; Dr. O.H. Mowrer.
I left the conference after hearing this statement dedicated to regaining the same status of growth and healing that existed in the Early Church.
We do everything that Jesus taught and Early Church practiced. As a result, miracles occur, Christians are empowered and people are healed. Not only that, society is impacted because of the salt and light from great churches small and large.
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Monday, March 28, 2016
The article I posted last suggested that, despite our perceptions, faith in God and Jesus Christ seems to be vigorous and healthy in the USA. I wonder why we are so surprised. Let me guess. Please add your own ideas.
Statistics about church attendance count every denomination and congregation. That includes many old line churches that are dying so the stats may look different than they really are.
Church history seems to indicate that two factors are important in promoting Christian or Church growth.
1. An emphasis on the Fundamentals of the Faith. The life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Changed lives morally and ethically to match the new life Christians have in Christ.
2. An ability to change with the cultural shifts in music, attire, means of communication, language and styles. New generations require new music and new ways to dress and communicate.
Key Point: Growing churches must have modern ways of meeting people where they are without losing their strong commitment to the fundamentals of the faith.
If either is lost the church will die.
In today's world, styles and communication can change rapidly so churches must change rapidly.
Support Sweeten Life Systems, We equip leaders to accomplish both of these factors.
Sunday, March 27, 2016
This report from Rasmussen is quite encouraging, especially in light of the naysayers who think Christianity is dying in the old USA. It is changing but not dying.
While Easter is not the most important holiday of the year for the majority of Americans, most plan on attending a church service to honor it.
Thirty-nine percent (39%) of American Adults continue to regard Easter, the day Christians believe marks the resurrection of Jesus Christ, as one of our nation’s most important holidays.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that only 12% think it’s among the least important holidays, while 46% place it somewhere in between.
See Rasmussen Reports for more on this story!
Two-out-of-three Americans still believe the central tenets of Christianity, that Jesus Christ was the son of God who was resurrected on Easter Day.
The Wall Street Journal has a good article about forgiveness that can reach many unchurched people and Christians during Holy Week. It mentions how many older people, especially females, suffer from depression but that being forgiven sets them free.
As a Minister and Counselor it has been my experience that many sad, anxious and depressed people suffer from a lack of good teaching about the value of gaining a clear mind and a clear conscience.
Why do so few Churches teach about confession and forgiveness? It might be because few Protestants actually have tradition of interpersonal confession. Despite its grounding in the Bible, I have rarely heard it taught or seen it practiced in my 7 decades of church attendance. And, we know that most church leaders hate to change even if God tells them to change.
"Why do you call me Lord, Lord and refuse to do what I tell you". Great question.
You can learn a lot more and help yourself and others by buying my e book Breaking Free. It is your choice.
Wednesday, March 23, 2016
Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Friday, March 18, 2016
theological and physiological understanding. He indicates great insight into the ways all humans are inextricably connected body, soul and spirit. He gives a clear call to keep each in the best condition. The health of the whole is connected to the health of each portion.
The Psalm focuses on how sin impacts all human dimensions. The Spirit gives the author a unique insight into exactly what sin is. To some, sin is rebellion and David agrees. To others sin is a bondage of disease and David agrees. To many sin is an offense that demands justice and a penalty. It is guilt. Finally, for most in ancient Israel sin was a loss of membership in God's chosen family, and again, David agrees.
See if you can find his agreement with all four dimensions in these first two verses.
Thursday, March 17, 2016
Dr. Leon Hass is a controversial person because of his ideas about God and the Bible. The enclosed video is thought provoking and articulate about good and evil.
He was very controversial because he enraged liberals with his views.
In particular, under Kass’s leadership, the President's Council issued a report in August of 2001 recommending that federal funding for research on stem cells derived from embryos be curtailed (more specifically, limited to cell lines already in existence). Bush implemented this decision by executive order, igniting a firestorm of controversy with Kass at its center.
The video reveals why hs is so controversial.
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
Spiritual Healing and Growth: Prayer and Meditation Heals the Body and Mind: I have struggled with high blood pressure. At one time I was dizzy and saw spots before my eyes so I took my BP with the Kroger Home BP...
I have struggled with high blood pressure. At one time I was dizzy and saw spots before my eyes so I took my BP with the Kroger Home BP kit and it was almost 190 over 80, as best I remember.
That is scary!
I was scared.
I called my Doctor and went through a bunch of tests. Now I take medications that help me but I learned how to pray and meditate so that the BP goes down without more meds.
I first sit down and relax.
Next, I take deep breaths. This relaxes my chest and calms the nerves.
I Yawn several times. (YAWN? Yep, I Yawn.) This brings a lot of oxygen into my system so I am getting calmer.
Then I begin to praise God and offer myself to the Spirit. I focus on a passage of the Bible and breathe deeply as I focus on the Bible.
That is enough for now. Try that process and see what happens. It is enough to bring my BP down several points.
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As a survivor of ADHD myself as well as a parent and teacher attempting to manage others, I know how important it is to find effective ways to help these kids calm down.
A new study reveals some of the best ways to help kids with Attention Disorders.
Go to the above web and register for the updates on ways to support kids.
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Why do professional golfers still practice?
Practice take ten times more effort and action than the actual games. Every time they practice they do the same things over and over again. In basketball it is:
Driving to the basket
Defense, Dribble, Pass
if a player forgets those simple things the game will be lost. When do Christians practice the basics of our faith? How can we practice? With daily:
Hearing a confession
Declaring others forgiven
Witnessing to family, and friends
Leading a Bible study and discussion
Why do so many of us fail to practice with a coach/mentor before performing? What leaders can coach his/her players in the basics of Christianity? It takes practice to hone those skills.
Can most do more than lead a Pep Rally?
At Sweeten Life Systems, Inc., we train Christian leaders how to coach their people. We equip them to "Build a Lifetime of great relationships in the fruit of the Spirit!
Want to see churches and people grow and expand around the world?
Donations can be made online here or you can mail your donation to Sweeten Life Systems, P. O. Box 498455, Cincinnati, OH, 45249.
Monday, March 14, 2016
Many people in our society suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I thank God He has provided ways for us to relieve people of their PTSD and make it PTSD-Recovery!
One of the best ways to bring healing to the body, including the brain, is by engaging in deep, caring fellowship. Nurture and empathy from family and friends is"The balm of Gilead".
Listening with warm attention has a miraculous impact of the people that have been traumatized. Find a worshipping fellowship with caring people and allow the Holy Spirit bring healing to your life.
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Sunday, March 13, 2016
I just heard a podcast that discussed helicopter parents. The people said that one of America's greatest Generals ran a large section of the family farm at age 8. At age 12 he bought and sold horses and livestock!
No helicoptering in that household.
The General was US Grant, the man that defeated Robert E. Lee and won the Civil War.
If you want strong ad strong adults we must rear strong kids that are independent. We will not go back to those days but we must stop treating kids like orchids in a hot house who can't even walk to a school bus a few blocks away.
The fears of modern life are greatly overblown. Resiliency is important as is independant thoughts. When adults in college complain if they have to read about violence or sex we know that they do not belong in college but raising cows and horses on a farm until they build some inner strength.
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Saturday, March 12, 2016
Creativity and Innovation by Poor People!
How can we stop feeding the beast that eats money spent to reward more poverty? The War on Poverty has been fought for 50 Years and the results are clear; "It has spawned more, and more poverty."
So, is the War on Poverty that President Johnson and his political friends set up in 1976 really working? Yep, if the goal is to advance poverty, create more poor people and build a huge governmental bureaucracy that no one can understand or manage, it is a huge success! But if we want to stop the terrible cycle of poor people stuck in poverty, then it is a miserable failure.
The Wall Street Journal reports that uncoordinated poverty abatement programs expend an average of $78,000 annually for each family of four in poverty.
Who benefits from these wars? Not the poor and needy. It has only one real beneficiary: Politicians and their friends that receive all the funds to fight poverty.The more we support poverty programs or any other programs the more they grow.
Why not just give $50,000.00 to every poor family in America? It would be much cheaper and much more efficient.
1. Poor people are not dumb or stupid. They can learn, grow and change.
2. Organize groups of them to come up with ideas to take care of themselves.
3. Pay them for every good idea that they come up with and implement.
a. Find land on which you can plant gardens. Plant a garden and harvest the food. Fix and eat the food.
b. Support your kids in school. You will get $$$ for every completed assignment.
c. Take classes to get better educated.
d. Volunteer to help others.
What suggestions do you have? Read about Positive Deviance!
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Friday, March 11, 2016
It is hard to believe that the mother of growing kids who diss other kids at school is blaming Donald Trump. And, she did it while interviewing the star of a horrible TV show!
Ashley Banfield said her TV is always on and the kids hear Donald Trump insult others so they do too. She cannot turn off the TV or teach her kids about good behavior. NOPE! It is the fault of a businessman turned politician.
YIKES! As a teacher I was blamed for a lot of things but never for allowing kids to watch bad TV shows! It is like children on Ivy League schools complaining about micro-aggressions when other kids are starving, wars are ongoing and poor kids in the USA cannot afford any college. Those are complaints of the pampered and protected.
Are helicopter parents to blame?
Juut show some courage and do what adults are supposed to do. Send your kids to th inner city to help ki that have already needs.
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I learned a lot about the ways to develop healthy groups when I was in grad school. Group dynamics was part of my training. But I learned even more when I was working with Faith Community Baptist Church in Singapore.
It was a Cell Group Church that was focused on small groups as the core and key to church life. They organized almost everything around the group and developed an order for the groups to follow so it had a better chance to stay healthy.
I call this a D Group or Design Group. It follows a process designed to keep the people focused on the healthy lives of Cells. A cell makes up the entire body of every life form, including the Body of Christ. To stay healthy the cells must operate on certain rules.
1. It must multiply
2. It must differentiate itself from other cells but stay close
3. It must eat
4. It grows slowly with a certain order.
A Church Cell Must follow the Same Rules so see my book, Healing Souls, Touching Hearts.
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Thursday, March 10, 2016
My friend Pete Bronson has written a book that introduced me to a great organization that I want to share with you.
It is all about flying the veterans from WWII and later to DC to visit the war memorials. Go to their page and watch the videos and order the book by Pete. Proceeds go to pay for the flight.
These people kept us free from tyranny! They love the ability to go to DC and see the memorials.
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I was training leaders in Europe when I mentioned the need to make a clear plan to guide small group processes. Since small groups are one of the favorite ways for a church to do Discipleship Training, it is important to have a plan to make sure we are educating and equipping people in the key dimensions of Christianity.
Some of the leaders were agast. They murmured and looked down, breaking eye contact with me. I said, what is the problem? You all seem to be upset with my statement. One of the Pastors said, "We don't believe in quenching the Holy Spirit with planning. We want our people to just trust the Lord and encourage everyone to hear God."
Now it was my turn to be a bit taken aback. It is hard to read and believe the Bible and not think planning is important. Yet, this group seemed to think leadership, planning and organization were sinfully quenching the Holy Spirit.
Failing to plan is planning to fail
Groups and churches that encourage everyone to talk, pray, teach and share at any time about any topic is inviting the least mature and most emotionally explosive members to dominate and run the mature and dedicated people out of the group/church.
Wherever I have trained and taught on small groups the number one cause of group dysfunction and lack of attendance is letting anyone and everyone try to take charge. Controlling mentally and emotionally volatile members is not quenching the Holy Spirit but it is quenching the fleshly spirits.
Read I Corinthians 14: All of you are zealous to use your gifts, but you must seek to build up the congregation! Verse 12.
When you come together and each one has a song, a hymn, a teaching, a revelation, a tongue or interpretation. Make sure it is all done to build up the church.V 26.
Leaders plan so the church is built up not torn down.
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See my book Healing Souls, Touching Hearts
Wednesday, March 9, 2016
I was in a European country teaching on the Six Key Elements of a Successful Christian Group just before the Pastor resigned. The Elders had gotten mad at the Pastor because he tried to train them how to set up an orderly group with discipline and focus. That meant some people were not going to be allowed to dominate every group meeting.
The Elders were so "Filled with mercy" that they rebelled at the idea of setting boundaries for undisciplined group members that wanted to talk all the time and be the center of attention. That is not mercy but a fear of criticism. We call it "Co-Dependence" in Recovery.
The people moaned, groaned and complained so much that the Pastor took another job. Before he left he asked me to cover the basic dynamics of a healthy small group. As I went over the processes, one of the Elders exclaimed, "No wonder all our groups fail. We violate every rule."
I hear that complaint over and over as I visit with Christian leaders who want to set up small groups. Most just can not establish any boundaries. Unfortunately, far too many Pastors and Leaders dislike order and so they get chaos, discouraged members, and a lack of growth.
The next time I will cover the basic dynamics of a healthy, successful growth group. If you prefer chaos, do not read my posts.
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Monday, March 7, 2016
I was talking yesterday after church with some friends and remembered one time I preached the week after Easter. How can any Preacher speak after the Easter worship?
We can do an Easter theme and ask a guy like Rob Reider to sing a special after I preach.
There are two ways to have a service or presentation strongly impact a group. With Recency and Intensity. An intense presentation by a fantastic preacher can have a terrific impact on the congregation. I can still remember sermons from decades ago that brought me insights and awareness of God's Word and the Holy Spirit.
Second, Recency. We often remember the last thing that touches us at a sermon and/or service. At CHPC we planned our services to have three stages:
Stage I. 20 Minutes Preparation for the Word
Stage II. 20 Minutes sermon/teaching (Sometime longer)
Stage III. 20 Minutes Worship Response to the Word of God.
So, we planned Stage I. of the Sunday after Easter to encourage the people to rest in the Lord and be ready to hear God's Word.
Stage II. I spoke about the Resurrection and Post Resurrection of Jesus in our lives.
Stage III. Rob Reider sang He's Alive by Don Francisco.
He's alive, He's alive, He's alive
and I'm forgiven,
Heaven's gates are open wide!
He's alive, He's alive, He's ALIVE!
The entire congregation stood and sang with Rob! It was amazing. It had both Recency and Intensity!
Can any of you remember a good worship service and music? Does one come to mind? Have you ever worshipped? When?
How about the Vineyard Music?
How about Rise Again by Dallas Holm?
Or, classic hymns or Second Chapter of Acts?
Or Gospel tunes or Black Gospel?
Send in your nominations.
Sunday, March 6, 2016
If you have ever tried to speak, write or share with groups of people, I am sure you have been misunderstood. It is especially difficult during these elections.
All a Republican has to do is say something like, "I think we need to care for the poor" and a thousand people scream at him, "YOU RINO PIG!!!"
If a Democrat says, "I hope we can reduce the number of abortions" and the mob cries for the person to be aborted.
Once upon a time I had a poorly listened to radio program on which I attempted to speak frankly about the need for Christians to stop telling wild urban myths as the gospel truth! Station WAKW received letter swearing that I was secretly selling drugs to kids in Cincinnati because I hated the Bible!
Enclosed is a video that explains why public speakers are so often misunderstood. Listen carefully to the woman who calls in to the radio program asking for the hosts to assist her in the new crusade of the day.
Saturday, March 5, 2016
Each of us prefers different styles of music in church because we grew up with different musical styles in our society. I grew up in a small village where Country and Western music was the preferred style in society but it was not my favorite. I preferred Rock and Roll and Rhythm and Blues.
Neither of these was popular in my church. There we sang the old familiar revival hymns and choruses. After meeting the Holy Spirit in 1958 those hymns came alive in me because I finally understood their deeper meaning.
Later Karen and I moved to Cincinnati where we were involved in the Jesus Movement and lapped up the blend of Contemporary Christian Music and the heart-felt choruses that grew out of the JM.
Finally, we were on the staff of College Hill Presbyterian Church that had great choirs and great organ & orchestra music along with hymns and choruses. What has influenced your Christian musical tastes? How have you changed? What facilitates your meeting God in worship?
Send in your lists.
Gary at Sweeten Life Systems firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, March 4, 2016
I often tell people that our goal is to "Continue the work of the Great Physician". We have written often here about the potential power of worship and church attendance. However, it may be more precise to focus on the power of worship, prayer and meditation when alone or in a group.
Dr. Andrew Newburg, an MD Neuroscientist, has written about this in several books and one it titled "How God Changes Your Brain". In it, Dr. Newburg tells about studies of how the practice of prayer, worship and meditation actually causes the brain to change.
In a recent newsletter from Dr. David Mee-Lee, an expert on recovery from drugs and alcohol, a guest writer tells how she and others are using music to rewire the brains of addicts that have been damaged.
These studies can be of great encouragement to all Christians because our faith is a singing religion! However, allow me to suggest that, although all good music can be therapeutic, participatory worship is the most powerful. Second, it is best to promote music that comes from the depths of the heart and mind not just high praise that is emotional but fails to touch the deep heart.
When I first got involved in the Jesus Movement in the 60's and 70's we gathered in homes and churches and sat in a circle singing new songs. One of our favorites was "Hallelujah!" which allowed us to harmonize around simple phrases and rest in the warm comfort of the Lord. That, and other choruses, were rewiring our damaged brains and filling our hearts and minds with hope and healing.
There was no loud instruments or loud voices leading but a relaxed and peaceful focus on the Lord. I miss those days when UC students messed up on dope were coming to faith in Christ and gathering in our home to be discipled by the love and power of God in worship.
If you want to impact worshippers, reduce the up front domination by musicians and bring the people to the feet of the cross.
Good music builds the mind.
Great worship heals the soul, body and spirit.
Thursday, March 3, 2016
Historically, kids had six to eight adults around them from birth to adulthood. When I was a boy we lived next door to my maternal grandparents and my father's mother lived a few blocks away.
In addition, we live in a small village and attended a small church and school where everybody knew everybody else. My school teacher was also a Sunday school teacher and my dad, who was on the school board, was also a Deacon at our church. I was nurtured, taught, encouraged and disciplined by the entire village.
If one person was unable to care for me another person quickly came along to replace them. My grandfather became ill and my family was available to be with him while grandmother ran their tiny retail store.
We had little money but a lot of support.
How about now? How many people are there who nurture and discipline us in love? Who can we depend on? Who can we trust? Who is there for us, especially in poor areas?
Many poor kids are born into single parent families with little support from the community. The moms get a bit of money and food stamps from the government but are often isolated and alone.
Some research indicates that about 40% of these moms are clinically depressed so they have little time or energy to give a newborn baby. The males who come by are little comfort to the child and, in fact, have high rates of child abuse.
All this leaves children abandoned and without basic nurture that they need to develop a high functioning brain. If they miss nurture and love for the first five years it is very difficult to ever make up later.
Ministries to the poor can't change all those things, but we can try to provide early childhood support to the moms and their kids. Play, materials, sports and faith can invigorate the brain and stimulate the development of more cells and better ability to think.
What can your church do to support them?
Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Back in about 1972 Karen and I were chin deep in ministry to college kids. Our home had become a "City of Refuge" where dozens of mostly young people gathered for worship, Bible study and Prayer for healing.
Both of us had come to faith in Christ and grew up in churches that emphasized God's word but rarely if ever prayed directly for people to be healed. As one of the Pastors said with his tongue placed squarely in his cheek, "Oh,yes, we believe in praying for the sick we just don't believe in asking for them to be healed."
Now we were involved in the Jesus Movement that taught and practiced prayers for healing. NOW! I can see why so many Pastors refrain from teaching about healing and rarely ever practice it. Much of the time the sick do not get better and that is embarrassing.
If you preach about healing almost everyone will show up and ask to be healed. Until you start praying for the sick it is impossible to understand how many people live in pain and discomfort. Almost everyone is a problem, has a problem, lives with a problem or makes problems.
I tried yelling, crying, shouting, shaking and everything else trying to get the Holy Spirit to show up and keep me from being embarrassed. I named it and claimed it and blabbed it and grabbed it to no avail. It did not work. I had to admit it. Only God can do miracles.
Although few were cured or physically changed, almost everyone felt God's presence and were blessed that we loved them enough to hear their pain and pray for relief. God did show up but God is not my servant. God does what God pleases.
For more stories about God's works go to our web page and get an eBook.
I read a story about the Grammy Awards and saw that Kendick Lamar walked on stage in chains and dressed like a prisoner. The music was filled with pain and images of abuse. I wondered about his background until I read this piece in the Guardian Neespaper.
Six-Year-Old Kendrick Lamar Witnesses MASS CHILD ABUSE & MALTREATMENT
In his 2015 Grammy award winning Rap Performance titled "I", Kendrick Lamar writes, *"I've been dealing with depression ever since an adolescent."*
In paragraph eight of a January 20, 2011 LAWeekly interview published online Kendrick, born in 1987, the same year songwriter Suzanne Vega wrote a song about child abuse and *VICTIM DENIAL* that was nominated for a Grammy award, told the interviewer:
*"Lamar's parents moved from Chicago to Compton in 1984 with all of $500 in their pockets. "My mom's one of 13 [THIRTEEN] siblings, and they all got SIX kids, and till I was 13 everybody was in Compton," he says."*
*"I'm 6 years old, seein' my uncles playing with shotguns, sellin' dope in front of the apartment."*
*"My moms and pops never said nothing, 'cause they were young and living wild, too. I got about 15 stories like 'Average Joe.'"*
Kendrick speaks about experiencing Childhood Trauma, witnessing MASS CHILD ABUSE & MALTREATMENT, Human OPPRESSION, violent felon family & community members who intentionally & recklessly ignored the well being of their children, depriving these kids from enjoying a home environment where they feel safe, loved & cared for.
In school little Kendrick & his Elementary School classmates are being taught to be good citizens & to respect their neighbors.
While at home, under duress of being harmed if they open their lil mouths, families & communities are teaching their children anti-social 'people and community' harming values that often results with kids experiencing during a critical period of their childhood development a mentally debilitating condition known as Cognitive Dissonance.
In this one paragraph, it seems evident to me Kendrick identified the source of his depression, the roots of poverty, the child abuse/maltreatment that prevented him, his brothers, sisters, cousins, neighborhood friends, elementary and JHS classmates from enjoying a fairly happy safe childhood.
Seems the adults responsible for raising the children in Kendrick's immediate and extended family placed obstacles in their children's way, causing their kids to deal with challenges and stresses young minds are not prepared to deal with...*nor should they or any other children be exposed to and have to deal with.*
It seems evident to me these PARENTAL INTRODUCED obstacles and challenges cause some developing children's minds to become tormented and go haywire, not knowing *OR NOT CARING ABOUT* right from wrong...because as they mature, young victims of child abuse realize their parents introduced them to a life of pain and struggle, totally unlike the mostly safe, happy life the media showed them many American kids were enjoying. *RESENTMENT*
I cannot speak for anyone else, but if I was raised in Kendrick's OPPRESSIVE family and community environment I would most likely be silently peeved at my parents, particularly my mom, for being immature irresponsible "living wild" Violent Felon embracing adults who deprived me of enjoying a safe, fairly happy "Average Joe" American kid childhood.
Though like many victims of child abuse, most likely I would deny my parents harmed me, seeking to blame others for the pain my parents caused to me.
I wonder how little Kendrick and his classmates reacted when their elementary school teacher introduced the DARE presenter and they learned about the real dangers of drugs and how they harm people, including their parents? *Cognitive Dissonance*
No small wonder why Kendrick raps & speaks about childhood & adult depression, as well as experiencing suicidal thoughts.
Kendrick Lamar Talks About ‘u,’ His Depression & Suicidal Thoughts (Pt. 2) | MTV Video News April 2015
The large number of children impacted by violent, drug addled adults with a huge sex drive but no self discipline of compassion for the children they produce are developing into a huge, chronic sub culture of damaged people in desperate need of love and healing.
If you want to be part of the solution, find a way to get trained in basic care and counseling skills. I recommend The Eve Center and Equipping Ministries International.
Every caring church must begin immediately to reach out to the families caught in the vicious cycle of poverty and dysfunction of see a never ending death spiral of dysfunction.
Our web provides basic training materials and videos where all believers can learn how to care and counsel.