Thursday, September 29, 2016

Success in Life

Most of us want to be winners in life. The goals we have can vary tremendously from person to person but few of us want to win. I know people who want to succeed in business, leadership, education, sports, church life, family life, parenting, sales, preaching, writing, etc. What can be said about discovering the key to success in such varied fields?

That was the topic of a doctoral dissertation I did in 1975. Back then I wanted to succeed as a Counselor, especially to adults and college students. The classes I took gave us all kinds of theories for helping people. Although every theorist claimed to have the best approach, how was I to pick the best one to actually use?

Then I went to a weeklong seminar on "Outcomes in Counseling, Education and Medicine". Wow! I liked that title so I went down to Georgia and took the training. Here is what I discovered.

1. Every theory works about as well a any other theory.
2. The key to good outcomes is how well the Helper and the Seeker blend in working on solutions.
3. The Core Conditions of good counselors, good teachers, good nurses and good doctors are the same. People who exhibit the Core Conditions will see healing and growth in their students, clients and patients.
4. The Core Conditions are being genuine, respectful, empathic and warm.

If we want to succeed as a parent, husband, teacher, salesman, leader, counselor, pastor, or person, develop these four characteristics. My books and videos are all focused on facilitating these skills can be found here. You may want to take a look and see what you think.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Conservative Christians Love and Care

Committed Christians are growing and changing and being liberated to serve others. And here is a key to understand the impact of Christianity better. Christians form organizations and form healing structures. In other words, this is not just a bunch of individuals doing good works. It is people coming together in a community of compassion and action.

The number of churches, parachurch organizations and volunteer structures that Christians form have an enormous positive influence both formally and informally.

The article goes on to say: "Following the numbers even further, we begin to see the broader picture of religion helping people in America. For instance, there are:

-78,000 programs to help people struggling with mental illness

-56,000 groups dedicated to improving race relations

-129,000 groups for people struggling with alcohol and drug abuse

-25,000 groups helping people living with HIV/AIDS

-120,000 groups to help the unemployed

-25,000 dedicated to discussing ways to reduce pollution and improve our environment

The enumeration of all these organizations and structures is amazing! And, they do not include Alcoholics Anonymous, and the other started by Christians but not openly Christian.

Can you share this and pass the word around?

Support my ministry here! 

You may find it worthwhile. 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Strongly Committed Christians Do More Good than Others

Research shows in data what many of us already know. 

People in the USA with a strong commitment to Christ actually live out their faith with a lot of hope and love. The article was in the 2016 edition of the Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion. Georgetown University’s Brian Grim and Newseum’s Melissa Grim (a father and daughter team) conducted the study, which was sponsored by an organization called Faith Counts.

In their most conservative estimate, which only factored the revenues of religious organizations, the byproduct of “educational institutions, healthcare networks, congregational activities, charitable social services, media and food,” the study found faith-based enterprises account for $378 billion every year to the U.S. economy. In their most inclusive estimate, which took into consideration all the things the conservative estimate did, along with the impact religion has on American businesses, the figure comes out to $1.2 trillion.

As the study’s Abstract states, the conservative figure of $378 billion “is more than the global annual revenues of tech giants Apple and Microsoft combined.” The higher estimate of $1.2 trillion is “the equivalent of nearly a third of America’s gross domestic product (GDP).” Whichever way you look at it, that’s a lot of money.
On their website, Faith Counts features a video that includes some of the highlights from the study’s findings and relates them to the needs of America’s modern, diverse society.

Fore the sceptics this data is not good news. There are several well known people in the USA that attack all organized religion but especially Christianity. 

What do you think about this study? 

We at Sweeten Life Systems ar a major part of this group and we have a huge outreach to help people in need. Go to our web and see our materials and videos that equip Christians to do more with more skill and knowledge. 

I am remembering the people we have trained to minister that are leading hundreds of men and women out of addiction to pornography, alcohol and drugs. One couple reared behind the Iron Curtain in the USSR came to Christ and then came to sobriety out of alcohol and domestic abuse. PTL!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Do You think we need "Safe Places" to speak Honestly?

I am fascinated by the student uprisings on college campuses demanding that speakers with conservative ideas be banned. Some also demand certain books be banned from classes and professors stop reading some authors who "trigger" negative emotions in students.

As an Assistant Dean at U of Cincy in the Sixties and Seventies we also had student uprisings. However, they focused on freedom of speech everywhere on campus. Now certain students want speech to be banned.

What a change.    

What do you think about banning speakers? If so,who?

Does the US Constitution prohibit banning uncomfortable speech?    

How about freedom of assembly? Should controversial speakers be allowed to speak only in a certain spot?

Should Christian Pro-Marriage and Pro-Life speakers be banned because they are controversial?

Are you afraid to speak up about your ideas?

If your alma mater banned speech would you still send them money?

Let me know what you think.

Hit LIKE and click this link to send a donation or get one of our heavy duty books about freedom.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

What Happened in the USSR to Stop Christian Ministry

Last week I posted an overview of some of those challenges but allow me to add a historical view to explain why I am so concerned about losing our American freedoms. Go back and read that link.

Here is what the USSR did in 1929 to suppress Christians.

The main target of the anti-religion campaign in the 1920’s and 30’s was the Russian Orthodox Church.  Because it had the largest number of faithful followers and the most clergy it suffered most. Perhaps the most devastating event occurred not in outright persecution or killing but in a subtle act of the Central Committee. On April 8, 1929, the Party made the following decree.

You say you are not of this world. Well then, there is nothing for you to do in this world. That is why I forbid the church to set up benefit societies, cooperatives of industrial societies, to offer material aid to your members, to organize children’s and young people’s groups for prayers and other purposes, or general, biblical, literal or handicraft groups for the purpose of religious instruction and the like, or to organize groups, circles or sections; to arrange excursions, kindergartens, open libraries and reading rooms, organize sanatoria or medical aid. This forbids the development of all charitable foundations, Christian worker groups, and giving food, clothing and shelter to members. 

Can it happen here? Our work directly defends freedom of religion for all people. If you support us you might can help us out. 

Monday, September 19, 2016

Fantastic Reviews about Sweeten Life

Why do I feel so badly? Can you give me some advice? Is my self anger out of control? Should I quit throwing computers out the window? 

It is always good to get feedback from our friends, students and clients. I especially like feedback when people like me. We recently received GLOWING feedback from all but one of our students.

I was wishing for 100% positive reviews but one student said," I did not like the lectures by Gary Sweeten.

I of course wanted to speak with him or her to find out what I did that was my problem. However, there were no added comments, just "I did not like the lectures by Gary Sweeten".

Shazaam! Right to the heart. Oh sure, every other evaluation was positive but guess which one sticks in my craw? Yep, that one negative review.

Then came my self assessment. "Am I so narcissistic that I cannot get even ONE negative comment without having an anxiety attack? " (Slight exaggeration!) So, all in all I am happy to get feedback that causes me to analyze what I am doing that can be improved.

How about you? If one person has a negative comment does it get under you skin? How do you handle it? Are you able to renew your mind and push those Automatic Negative Thoughts aside? At Sweeten Life we sweeten life. We take sour experiences and turn them into sweetness and life.

If you share these posts you can also sweeten the lives of your friends. Blessing others brings blessings to us as good behaviors are like boomerangs!

If we give we also receive. What a great blessing!

Thanks for listening. If you hit LIKE I might feel better and if you buy one of my very good books that is cheap and easy to order I might be healed. 

Oh, well. At least pray for me. 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Why Have We Lost our Freedom to Speak?

Dr. Borlaug spoke up and saved millions of lives.

Rasmussen Reports the following as a result of their research.

Two-out-of-three Americans view political correctness as a threat and say they don't have freedom of speech anymore. 

Earlier this month the president of DePaul University announced that he is stepping down following student protests that culminated in the shutting down of a speech by a prominent young conservative writer. The growing number of similar protests at other colleges and universities in recent months has a sizable number of Americans questioning whether free speech has a place on modern campuses. 

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 39% of American Adults think there is less freedom of speech on U.S. college campuses today than there has been in the past. Twenty-six percent (26%) believe there’s more freedom of speech, while 29% say the level of freedom is about the same

Friday, September 16, 2016

Faith Brings Joy!

It is not secret that many politicians and people of influence do not like or appreciate people with a strong religious faith and practice of that faith. Some people even resort to calling them vile hate filled names.

Despite the resistance of many liberals in public office and media, a recent study by the Pew Foundation shows that people of faith have many more positive lifestyle traits than those persons with little faith.

The positive characteristics of faithful people over those of less faith are stated by the data to be:

1. Faithful people are happier.

2. Faithful people spend more time with extended family members. That implies a healthier family life.

3. Faithful people volunteer more to assist others.

4. Faithful people donate more to charities.

Does this mean that many politicians and media people do not want more happiness, more health in families, more people to volunteer, and more money given to charities? 

I do not know. What think ye?

You people of faith can donate to our charity by clicking our web link. You might be happier if you did!

Gary Sweeten

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Can we Lose our Constitutional Rights?

I have never heard or seen any statement this man ever made with which I agree. However, I support his right in America to say anti-Christian things. I remember the Law of 1929 in the Union of Socialist Soviet Republic, (USSR) a Socialist government of evil. Can if happen in America? 

In an excellent Wall Street Journal, William McGurn write about the attempt of a Repressive Politician to overrule the US Constitution. 

Mr. Castro is chairman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights that last Wednesday made public a report on nondiscrimination protections—increasingly about gender preference and sexual orientation—that in its crassness rivals Hillary Clinton’s belittling of Donald Trump supporters.
Here’s Mrs. Clinton: “You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic—you name it.”
Here’s Mr. Castro: “The phrases ‘religious liberty’ and ‘religious freedom’ will stand for nothing except hypocrisy so long as they remain code words for discrimination, intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, Christian supremacy or any form of intolerance.”
Mr. Castro’s is the prevailing view among progressives. Barack Obama alluded to it when he derided small-town Americans bitterly clinging to guns or religion (i.e., the Second and First Amendments). Ditto for Mrs. Clinton, who in a remark about reproductive rights declared that “deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed.”
Mr. Castro’s contribution, by contrast, is so bad it’s good. For he confirms that the progressive argument is mostly about insulting Americans with differing views.
The commission report is called “Peaceful Coexistence: Reconciling nondiscrimination principles with civil liberties.” Its top finding is this: “Civil rights protections ensuring nondiscrimination, as embodied in the Constitution, laws, and policies, are of pre-eminent importance in American jurisprudence.”
Translation: Nuisances including the First Amendment’s “free exercise” of religion guarantee take a back seat to the rapidly multiplying non-discrimination causes such as the “right” to coerce any baker you want into baking the cake you want for your same-sex wedding.
“By starting with an assertion that antidiscrimination laws are ‘pre-eminent,’ she writes, “the Commission’s analysis essentially begins with its conclusion. Why should anyone accept it? The Commission said so.”
Ms. Heriot also recognizes the public-service aspect of publishing the chairman’s prejudice: Though she first thought of asking Chairman Castro to remove his statement, she writes, on further reflection she concluded that it “might be better for Christians, people of faith generally and advocates of limited government to know and understand where they stand with him.”
Indeed we are better off. The solitary virtue of Mr. Castro’s presentation is that he makes not the least effort to hide the ugly bits. These lead to a nation where the mediating institutions that stand between the citizen and government (churches, schools, private associations) are stripped of influence, and the political system no longer decides divisive issues through its elected representatives.
What does it mean for the election? Plainly Mrs. Clinton stands with Mr. Castro on this ahistoric and unconstitutional reading of rights. 
And Mr. Trump? No one would ever confuse Donald Trump with Reinhold Niebuhr. Yet even with his ambiguous stands on where gay rights begin and end, Mr. Trump seems unlikely to people his administration with Martin Castros bent on coercion.
In the meantime, we’re left with this: The melancholy spectacle of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights issuing a report trashing the first civil right enumerated in the Bill of Rights.

We at Sweeten Life Systems, Inc believe and promote the freedom of speech, religion, assembly, press and protest for everyone. Support us here.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Is Freedom Important to Americans?

The Constitution of the United States guarantees the citizens certain freedoms. The written part of the Constitution is very clear. The authors of the Constitution were fully aware of what it meant to live under a King that believed he rules by "The Divine Rights" given to him. The US Constitution wanted to guarantee that each citizen had rights that they did not have under a king.

The First Amendment

1. Prohibits any laws that establish a national religion or national church. They were reacting to the State Churches in Europe and said the US would not have such things.
2. Prohibits any laws that inhibits the free practice of a religion.
3. Prohibits any law that inhibits the freedom of speech.
4. Prohibits any laws that inhibits the freedom of the press.
5. Prohibits any laws that inhibit the right of assembly.
6. Prohibits any laws that inhibit the right of the people to petition the government for a change.

The Second Amendment

7. Protects the right to keep and bear arms.

These seven Rights are written plainly in our Constitution and form the basic foundation of our American distinctives. We are different from most nations. There are many attacks by repressive politicians who want to write laws attacking these freedoms and rights.

I have worked in countries that denied these basic freedoms. The repressors go by many names but they always promote things that inhibit these Rights. For example, politicians hate freedom of speech. They love laws that prohibit what they call "Hate Speech".

I hate hate speech but I hate laws that prohibit it even worse. 

Politicians that want to write hate speech laws are usually filled with hate and use hateful talk to attack those with whom they disagree. 

Hitler, Stalin, Mao wrote laws that prohibited speech they disliked. In the USSR, it was OK to be a Christian if you kept it a secret. 

But if you spoke openly about your faith it was considered to be "Hate Speech" so you were called an "Enemy of the State". You would lose your job and your children and grandchildren could never get an education or a good job. 

The first job of a Socialist was to destroy family, church and caring relationships. 

Do you see why the Bill of Rights is critical to our freedom?

Support Sweeten Life Systems. We train people how to act with freedom, dignity, love and healthy interactions. 

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Repairing a Broken World

The attacks and their terrible results can be a metaphor for us spiritually. How do we as Christians enter into and help repair a broken world? The nations of the earth are in a terrible mess with terror, wars, tribal conflicts and rogue leaders with nuclear weapons threatening Armageddon.

In past years the people of the USA called upon God to guide them but today it seems that Christians are weaker than ever and those outside the faith are rejecting God. Is it possible to actually impact the world?

Yes! I know it is possible because I have seen it happen in Russia, Albania, Romania, and China after the collapse of Atheist Communism.

For 70 years the USSR banned real Christianity, forcing Christians to operate underground. The same is true of China. This left them in poverty and the people in shock. Entire nations of people suffered from PTSD.

After the Wall came down, many Western Christians went to the formerly closed countries with the gospel. However, they made a great mistake.  They acted as if they were still at home with all our Christian ideals and biblical ideas.

As a result, 90% of the ministries failed and the western missionaries left. 

But one or two groups stayed and prospered.  How? They partnered with leaders of the Underground Churches and allowed them to lead the way. Most Western people are too aggressive, loud, proud, and shallow. They too often violated the traditions and values of the locals. Those who prospered were humble and careful to listen and follow the leadership of the local believers.

With traumatized people it is critical to bring salve to reduce their pain and fears. They have learned to mistrust leaders because they were betrayed by them so greatly. Thus, building trust is the first step. Trust takes time and and a genuine interest in people.

Trust is built on many small interactions where we show deep respect for the people and their cherished traditions. One large mission group wrote a long paper on why the Orthodox Church was evil! No wonder they failed! The disrespected an institution that was 1000 years old and deeply embedded in the culture.

If nationals want to criticize their institutions but foreigners are strictly forbidden from saying anything bad about the culture of another group.

It can take years of humble work to build trust, especially after it has been destroyed by evil people.

We have been there serving individuals and families in the pain of addiction for 26 years. It is really ready to expand so click here to support our work. 

Assignment 911 Ground Zero

I spent a week at Ground Zero as a Chaplain two weeks following the attacks. I met some great people. Many of them had lost friends and relatives and fought to rescue any survivors with grim determination. 

It changed us as a people and as a nation. It showed us how real men and women act in a crisis. The media still look for people with a lust for 15 minutes of fame but these people made a lasting legacy even if no one knows exactly how. 

What can we do for people suffering from such awful pain? Can I say something or do something to remove their pain or bring back a friend? No.

But we can stand with them. Listen, listen and listen. 

I sat for two or three hours with cops and firefighters that came to see me as I rested beside the morgue tent. My assignment was from 1:00 AM to 1:00 PM every day and in the middle of the darkest night is when grief is the hardest to ignore. 

Men wept and thanked me profusely for just being there all the way from Ohio. I prayed and listened and tried to understand. That's all. So that is what I did.

I am thankful for the opportunity and pray that I never have to do it again.

Friday, September 9, 2016

15 Years Since the World Changed

It is 911 this Sunday. Do you remember?

It has been 15 years since I was preparing to teach on equipping Peer Counselors in Virginia Beach when we were asked to come into an office and watch the replay of an airplane hitting the World Trade Center.

A little later, after prayers for the victims, my class was interrupted with the announcement of a second attack. SHOCK!

I was stuck there for several days because every flight to Cincinnati was cancelled.

The day before the attack, my hosts took me to the huge Naval Base near their home. John and Larose Allman had spent years in the Navy and wanted to give me a tour of the awesome power of American Military.

But on 911 it was useless. A sneak attack went around the greatest Navy and Air Force and Army ever assembled.

Are we prepared spiritually and mentally to protect ourselves and our families from the wiley attacks of the evil one?

Four of us went to Ground Zero two weeks after 911 to minister to the First Responders. It was a very grim task to listen to men and women that had lost family members and family friends.

We still minister to hurting people. Pray for us.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Change! Can Addicts Actually Do It?

Addicts have been changing for as long as there have been people with problems. When I first went to Russia and other Eastern Bloc nations I was stunned by the high percentage of alcoholics/drug addicts.

Drinking rituals have a long history in the world which makes alcohol problems common. That is also true in Russia, but the extreme nature of drinking I saw after Perestroika was shocking.

Remember, true addiction has two components:

1. Pain that leads to Compulsive Drinking +
2. Pleasure that leads to Dependency

Many people are Compulsive users of drugs like alcohol, marijuana, or heroin in order to relieve themselves of physical, emotional, and spiritual pain. They are Compulsive users. The best way to stop drinking or drugging is to find an alternative to pain relief.

Inner pain from emotional problems can be relieved with counseling, and building better relationships.

The spiritual issues behind Guilt and Shame can be relieved with receiving the love and grace of God.

In Russia, thousands of people are set free from Compulsive behavior through Christian care of the friends of Sweeten Life Systems. You can support them by supporting us at our web page.