Friday, November 25, 2016

We teach EQ or Emotional IQ



In the last few years a new term has hit the press and our vocabulary. It is EQ or EIQ. It is shorthand for the ability to relate to others with a positive quality.

It means we have the ability to do several things at the same time. They are all related to our own character and self control. It is the ability to relate with all nine of the Fruit of the Holy Spirit.

Galatians 5: 

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. 

Historically, the church and its leaders focused a great deal on EQ or the Fruit of the Holy Spirit. It seems that in my lifetime, however, the focus has been much more on IQ. The ability to be coolly analytical about scripture and ideas. To do a careful word study and exegesis about the Greek and Hebrew. Although that is important for some, for most of us the key to live and evangelism is Fruit that comes from abiding in the Spirit.

The Root is the Holy Spirit

The Fruit is the list above

An external, analytical study of the Fruit will not promote a healthy Root. 

Only by living, loving and focusing on the Holy Spirit can the Fruit develop. 

EQ focuses on developing Emotional skills. Today we ask kids to memorize the passages about the Fruit and explain them. Bible memorization might impress some but not the writer of that passage! We need to spend time actually practicing the skills in prayer, worship, role plays and exercises.

To succeed in life build on the Root and the Fruit will follow.

Click on my link and get our stuff so you can soar with the eagles of love and power.








The Supreme Court Picks Influenced 70% of Voters



I find this to be rather surprising. I personally found the future of the Supreme Court picks as very important but am very interested to see that I was not alone. I was and am not even close to being alone.

Exit polls show 70-percent voters rated Supreme Court appointments as the most important or a major factor in their decision. 

And of those who identified it as a priority-- 

56-percent voted in favor of Trump 

41-percent for Clinton

This 15% extra may have been the winning margin for Trump. Few pundits even mentioned it. 

Are you also surprised?




Thursday, November 24, 2016

Andre Crouch Says Thanks!




How can I say thanks for the things
You have done for me?
Things so undeserved yet you gave
To prove your love for me
The voices of a million angels
Could not express my gratitude
All that I am, and ever hope to be
I owe it all to thee


To God be the glory, to God be the glory
To God be the glory for the things he has done
With his blood he has saved me
With his power he has raised me
To God be the glory for the things he has done

Just let me live my life and
Let it be pleasing Lord to thee
And if I gain any praise, let it go to calvary
With his blood he has saved me
With his power he has raised me
To God be the glory for the things he has done

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C.



A few weeks ago Karen and I flew to baltimore to visit with my brother and his family. While there we drove down to DC to see how the construction of the new building for the Museum of the Bible was going.

I knew it was not open yet so I wrote Jerry Pattengale to see if he could help us get a pass. Jerry and wife were in Australia but sent a note to the people in charge who let us know we could come down at 3:00 PM.

The tour they gave was a 5 Star Event. It will open next November but I saw a You Tube of the massive new bronze doors today. If you are interested in how things are made and how massive projects will look, click here. 


Follow us and click here to donate. 

The New Secretary of Education




Thankfully, Betsy Devos has been nominated by President Elect Donald Trump to head the Education Department.
I am an educator and activist in promoting parental empowerment. Right now we are busy promoting the engagement of parents of special kids in their schools and agencies. It is a common sense notion that kids of all kinds do better when their parents are deeply engaged in study, caring and planning.

It is also the Federal Law that parents must be involved in planning and implementing all treatment plans for their children. Despite these facts, schools and agencies rarely openly invite parents to collaborate with them.

I pray that Mrs Devos will be able to bring positive changes by ensuring that parents will be able to be engaged in educating their children.

Check here to watch our great videos and get materials so you can educate yourself. 


Listening and Remembering




                               Sweeten Family in about 1956

It is a great time to remember and be thankful.

Reminiscing fights loneliness and depression in older adults: research


This is part of a regular series on aging well.

Next time grandpa goes on about his winning goal in minor league hockey back in 1956, do your best to nod and smile, even if you’ve heard the story a million times.
The benefits of polishing an old chestnut are so well documented that psychologists have come up with various forms of “reminiscence therapy.” Delivered in groups or one-on-one, the approach encourages older adults to talk about significant events in their past – winning a science prize, the birth of a grandchild – with a focus on reflection, not just recall.

Australian gerontologist Lynne Parkinson looked at reminiscence therapy as part of a 2016 review of interventions to improve psychological well-being in nursing-home residents.

In the review, published in June in the journal Quality of Life Research, Parkinson and colleagues found that reminiscence therapy was more effective than conventional social activities, indoor gardening, listening to the radio or playing Nintendo Wii games at helping to lift feelings of isolation and depression in older adults.
While each activity showed some benefit, “reminiscence therapy is the only one that came up to tell us that you can actually do something about both social isolation and depression,” Parkinson said.

Combined, feelings of loneliness and depression double the mortality risk in older adults, Parkinson and her co-authors wrote.

But their findings about reminiscence therapy and other interventions in the review are not conclusive, she noted, in part because of the lack of high-quality research in this area. In the paper, the best evidence to support reminiscence therapy consisted of a Taiwanese study in which 45 men in a long-term care facility (none with dementia) received eight sessions of group reminiscence therapy over two months.
Exercises in the therapy sessions included sharing memories, expressing feelings about life events, recalling family history, gaining awareness of personal accomplishments and talking about how to apply positive aspects of past relationships to present relationships.

Compared with 47 residents assigned to a wait list for the therapy, men in the reminiscence group showed improvements in depression and loneliness, and reported an increased sense of accomplishment and meaning in life.

While men in the group sessions had more opportunities for social interaction, increased contact with others may not explain their improved well-being, Parkinson said. Contrary to what many people think, adults in long-term care facilities interact with people all the time, including nurses, staff and other residents, she pointed out.
“They’re not isolated in terms of contact with people,” she explained, “but they are isolated in terms of that richness of human interaction.”

Reminiscing with others, whether casually or in group sessions, may spark the kind of meaningful conversations that older people crave.

Too often, Parkinson said, family members stop visiting grandparents in nursing homes “because they want to remember them the way they were.” Parkinson urges people to fight that instinct and make an effort to ask older adults about their lives.
“The best thing we can do is to go in and talk to them,” she said. “They love it, and they will talk to you.”


Follow Adriana Barton on Twitter: @AdrianaBarton

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Revival



When I came to Cincinnati in 1967 the divisions of race, religion, east side and westside were huge. The Jesus Movement in the Sixties and Seventies that included the Billy Graham events strongly promoted unity as John 17 says. 

The divisions today are about 1/10 of what they were just 50 years ago. I was in Colorado at a conference on "The Future of the Church" recently. A panel on diversity spoke. Several people in the audience asked what we can do to promote international diversity and love. 

Two of the members of the international panel said, "Stop apologizing for sending missionaries and preaching the gospel to us. If you had not done that we would still be locked in slavery and spiritual bondage.

 Some people still don't get it but most Christians are still taking the good news to people. Just support us as we preach and teach."

The good news is essential to revival. As each of us shares God's love, mercy, and grace, the foundation for revival is laid. Daily seeking God and reading His word plus acting on it prepare the way for the Lord.

Click here to get our materials and support this work.


PS. Our international work is growing.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Russian Kids Wanted to Understand American Thanksgiving



Way back in 2002 Steve Griebling and I traveled to Russia to train key Christians how to foster a peaceful, healthy transition from Communism to Democracy. It is impossible to explain what happens in a nation controlled by aggressive atheists.

1. Sunday school was prohibited.
2. Christians could not share their values or ethics in medicine or social work. 
3. 12,000 churches were closed. 
4. Speaking openly about God would result in a loss of going to college and getting a job. 

When we visited a private Christian school the Director wanted us to share about:

Why we have a national holiday dedicated to Thanking God. 

Why we have an inscription on our money dedicating ourselves to God.

Why Christian values permeate our laws and culture. 




These fresh faced kids were very eager to hear about Christianity in America. Steve and I were very happy to share the good news with them.

Are you thankful we live in a nation with a day to thank God for our bounty? I am.

  Click here is you can support our national and international efforts to educate people about American's Christian foundations.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

My Anniversary withThanksgiving



It was a cold night in 1961 That Karen Judy Mayer walked down the aisle of the Pinckneyville Baptist Church to agree before God and an assembled group of family, friends, and my elementary school students to be my wife. I had no idea how blessed I was at that night 55 years ago.



Today I can sing Amazing Grace, the most recorded song in Christian history in full agreement: Through many dangers toils and snares we have already come. Tis grace has brought us safe thus far and grace will take us home. 



Because of grace God has been with us from the beginning and shall be until the end. Rich and poor, sick and well, rough spots and smooth, we have had His presence.



On the 55th anniversary of our wedding we give thanks to God, our family and Christian friends. It has been a great trip for which we are grateful.



Friday, November 18, 2016

Guilt and Shame are Gone




It is popular in some circles to urge people with feelings of guilt and shame to be transparent. To come out and share their deepest feelings of fear and angst. To flaunt their weaknesses and behaviors despite what others think or feel. But, that does not work long term for many reasons.

1. First, because it focuses primarily on outer behavior not inner ideas. The inner state of the person is the key to external behavior.

2. If the reason we refuse to share openly is due to True Moral Guilt we can receive justice for our crimes or faults. Thus, we are ration to hide rather than share.

3. If the inner reason is Shame the reason to stay quiet can be equally valid. Since Shame arises from the perception that my honesty can result in rejection by my support group, it can be unwise to be completely honest.

Thus, the cause of my silence is important. Guilt and Shame are very different.

Western Theology tends to avoid the subject of Shame and emphasizes the reality of True Moral Guilt and its antidote: Forgiveness. This leaves Shame out of the picture so people often struggle with Shame but think it is Guilt so they confess over and over but the feelings remain.

In traditional theology we have no antidote theologically for Shame, but in the Bible there is so we use the Bible rather than tradition. The Bible is clear.

Through Jesus Christ we have an eternal home and identity in the Family of God. Shame has been erased by inclusion in a new group.

Follow us and click here to support our work to clean out the swamps of guilt and shame. 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Which do you Prefer; Guilt or Shame?



                                   Shame on Christmas

For many years I have been writing and teaching about the radical difference between Guilt and Shame. Over the past few years the topic of shame has become written about and talked about very much.  ( The Healing Release of the Holy Spirit.)

Bene Brown is a wonderful speaker who became quite famous by sharing on the challenges we face when shame is a factor. Her take is very interesting from a Secular Psychological point of view.

Psychologically, Guilt Feelings are warnings that "I have done a bad thing. I have failed or sinned. 

On the other hand, Shame feelings arise when I think that I am a bad person. 

These distinctions can be helpful in Counseling and secular education. However, from a theological/spiritual point of view, they fail to get to the basic questions and thus will fail to give people ongoing peace.

From a biblical and spiritual point of view, True Moral Guilt is a legal concept based on the fact that I have violated the law. If I speed and get caught by RADAR the police will give me a ticket. That ticket says "You are Guilty!" I may not feel guilty. In fact I may FEEL angry or resentful or self pity but not GUILT. But I am guilty! The ticket will require Justice.

We who violate God's standards are Guilty. We deserve justice. Most of the people in the world that violate God's Laws do not feel guilty. They feel happy and satisfied.

Shame from a biblical view is a sense of that I have lost my Identity as a child of God and membership in His Family. That means I have also lost my Inheritance of eternal life. It is also based on facts not feelings but, like Guilt, if ignored, deep, negative feelings can  haunt us.

Support our focus on relieving people of Guilt and Shame biblically as well as psychologically. Follow us on Facebook, and Twitter. Get our materials here. 


How to Build a Ship for War



If you wanted to be an influential Christian, would you desire to:

  • Witness to thousands of people about Jesus?
  • Build a big congregation with many campuses and movie screens?
  • Write a book?
  • Preach on TV?
  • Serve others?
  • Disciple/equip a few people deeply?
All of these activities can be godly and impactful. However, the method taught by Jesus is to disciple/equip a few people so they can multiply themselves. Multiplication is more impactful than addition, but exponential growth is best of all.  From 30 A.D. to 300 A.D. Christian growth was phenomenal. Growth came fast and deep because it operated on the notion that every Christian was called to serve, evangelize and heal. 

Each one reaches one and each one teaches one. Christian influence grew so powerful that the Emperor of the Roman Empire was impressed. He, like all politicians, wanted to get the Christian vote, so he made Christianity the state supported religion.  Priests became politicians and bureaucrats. They were concerned about pleasing the Emperor and his henchmen whether it pleased God or not. Only a few special, carefully selected people were allowed to preach, teach, serve and evangelize. The model that Jesus taught was exponential in growing disciples. The model we inherited from Emperor Constantine is subtractive. Only a few Christians could minister.  


The Church of the Savior in Washington, D.C. taught us how to build a balanced congregation. They taught about leading people through a journey into the heart to discover God’s life in the vine.  Once the inner life was strong we can take our insights to others on a journey out in a continuous cycle.  

We wanted every one of the 2500 members of our church to become teleios: mature in Christ. Mature Christians would minister at home, neighborhood, work, and ministry. Thousands of lay and clergy are still involved in rearing multiplied generations of healthy offspring while leading churches and non-profits all over the world. 


God longs to build congregations that equip, train and coach every member to operate as a mature minister. Unfortunately, church members are as liable to divorce as atheists. Those are terrible stats if true. Terrible because we know a lot about building great relationships and God has given us the Holy Spirit and all the Fruit of love to buffer the hard paths we walk on. 

Take heart, God is alive and well.


Click here to support our building efforts. 



Tuesday, November 15, 2016

How to Influence Everyone





While working to finish a doctoral dissertation, I attended a workshop on "What works in counseling." The presenters correlated various theories with successful outcomes. It seems that regardless of theory, clients change when they interact with family, friends, colleagues and therapists with the "Core Conditions of Influence". 

These core behaviors closely mirror Dale Carnegie did in How to Win Friends and Influence People, one of the best selling books of all time. 


I summarized them as: 


Being Genuine: Not a fake. 

Respect: A belief that people are able and responsible. 

Empathy: Interacting with interest and accurate understanding. 

Warmth: Friendly 

 The GREW skills! 

It is the Golden Rule applied.

You can find it in Hope and Change for Humpty Dumpty on my web store in a PDF.format that can be read on any device. 


Monday, November 14, 2016

Families are Key to A Kid's Success







Families shape their children’s prospects more profoundly than anything government can do. Autumn 2014

It’s a sad and intransigent truth that poor children don’t do as well in school as kids whose parents have money. During most of American history, few jobs required more than minimal education, and that fact didn’t cause much hand-wringing. But about 30 years ago, manufacturing jobs began to evaporate, median incomes stalled, and the expanding knowledge economy increased the number and type of cognitive skills needed for most middle-class jobs. Suddenly, the academic performance of low-income kids mattered a great deal.

 In an age when good jobs require advanced skills, it’s only a slight exaggeration to say that education gaps are income gaps and income gaps are achievement gaps.

As dismay over economic inequality has grown, so has skepticism that culture has anything useful to tell us about how people do in school or in life. “Blaming poverty on the mysterious influence of ‘culture’ is a convenient excuse for doing nothing to address the problem,” 

Pulitzer Prize–winning columnist Eugene Robinson has written. “If we had universal pre-kindergarten that fed all children into high-quality schools, if we had affordable higher education, if we incentivized industry to invest in troubled communities—if people had options for which they were prepared—culture would take care of itself.”


But skeptics like Robinson are missing something important. No one would argue that such things as hunger, homelessness, a mother’s job loss, a father’s imprisonment, and—sometimes forgotten in this familiar list—a parental breakup have no effect on a student’s ability to learn in school. 

It’s equally foolish to suggest that culture—the habits, meanings, and aspirations that parents bring to child-rearing—has no effect. America, with its diverse population, has had more than a century to learn this lesson. Now, with record immigration, Europe is learning it as well.

Kids who never have or ever lose a parent are at a terrible disadvantage. So, engage parents at every possible touch point. When a parent is missing, get a church youth volunteer, club sponsor, sport coach, or big sister to come along and support the kids. 

We train mentors to support these kids. Still, it is a battle. Few will make it so get involved and make it happen.  





More Peacemaking in America



Let me briefly post something about the advancement of irenic behavior in my Cincinnati lifetime. We moved here from Illinois in 1967. The divide between denominations, races, politicians, nationalities, languages, etc was pretty high. Each group tended to stay in its own Tribal Identity.

In the Sixties and Seventies



Christians in America went through a series of very dramatic changes socially, racially, culturally, and especially spiritually. Several streams of revival came to us in profound ways. (Revivals are times when people develop new and dynamic relationships with God.)

The streams of revival included student groups, lay renewals, Billy Graham, Charismatic groups, healing movements, confessional movements, etc. As a result, there was a Fourth Great Awakening. Revivals bring new spiritual life and awakenings bring new social and relational life.

Thus, barriers were brought down between groups previously divided. Our house church groups had former Baptists, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Church of Christ, Roman Catholics, Blacks, Whites, Appalachians, Holiness, Jews, etc involved. We had former and current clergy, professors, missionaries, nuns, women, men, and students.

This was in 1970. The combination of Revival and Awakening is the usual way God works. First, get our hearts changed with God and second, with our neighbors.

The revivals and awakenings were led largely by young people. We old people were used to keep the kids focused and stable because revivals always lead to exuberance and wild claims. 

But I believe a new revival will come or is arriving through young people again. I cannot work full time and stay up all night praying in battles of spiritual warfare anymore! But the youth can so go for it!

My constant prayer during the election season was:

"Come Holy Spirit. Bring revival. Do it again!"

 You can support us here if you like revivals. If you want to fight, don't bother.






Churches that Impact the World







Most of our materials were developed after God called us to implement Ephesians 4;11- 6. It tells God's leaders to " Equip God’s people to be priests and ministers to each other

In other words, every church needs to be an Educational Center. Every church is supposed to became an equipping center that builds loving relationships with God, self and others. That means we are to focus on helping people discover their gifts, call and ministry and then learn how to carry them out as God's Spirit leads..

The term equip in Greek is Katartismos. It has several possible meanings, all of which point to growing into maturity.  

My Swedish friends say in that language it is used to mean ‘to outfit a Viking ship of war.’ The image of various officers recruiting and establishing a ship that is on a long voyage into hostile territory is an apt image for the churches of Christ.

The Officers are Elders who must think long term about the health and welfare of the ship's crew. Sailing vessels travelled for months and even years so they had to plan for every contingency for a long, dangerous journey.  They had to select and train gunners, food servers, carpenters, doctors, sail makers, navigators, and so forth.  People became sick, wounded, and sometimes rebellious. The officers had to discipline the crew and be a leader.  It was warfare, which meant every crewmember had to be well equipped and cross-trained. (Captain and Commander, 20th Century Fox, 2003 is a view of the requirements of leadership.)

We believe that equipping means that leaders are to:

  • Master a curriculum that covers the basics of sailing and going to war.
  • Mend the broken hearted
  • Mobilize Christians for service, caring, sharing, and loving ministry
  • Master the Bible and spiritual teaching
  • Ministry Skills that promote the mission they are on. 
Equipping God's ships are still required to equip the crew to operate all of the ship's mechanisms and organizational structures.  It is the entire crew, not just the officers, that do 99% of the work on the ship. 


If you are interested in equipping, see our stuff and download one of our eBooks dressed up on a PDF file that you can download and give to your friends and be a hero. 



Saturday, November 12, 2016

Peacemaking after the Election



Many people are shaken by the election of Trump. We were all stunned and surprised by it because the polls said that Hillary was going to win by a landslide.

Many Christians and their leaders were shocked and shared their emotions publicly. I posted several articles on my blog and Facebook page and I got hundreds of hits and comments. They are split about 50% for Trump and 50% for Hillary. Some were very critical of Trump and others were critical of Hillary. So, we have a divided country in terms of politics.

Who is correct?

I am not sure of anything as a result of the election. I look a the people who voted more for Trump than they had for Romney and see that Hillary received fewer votes from women than Obama did! 

As a Christian and citizen I attempt to support candidates of good character who promise policies close to my values. That is not easy. My heart goes out to my friends and fellow Christians who voted for Hillary and are sorely disappointed.

I do not share their fears that we live in a more dangerous world but I understand their anxiety.  Trump acted so differently than any other candidate in my lifetime. He intentionally insulted individuals and groups to get the approval of certain groups whose votes he needed to win. 

We do not know how he will act. It is too early to predict. But his past reactive and unpredictable behavior certainly leads many to worry about him.

Other friends think Mrs. Clinton is a terrible leader. They dislike the ways she attacked the women her husband had affairs with and she was caught in several compromising behaviors with an insecure email system. The underground videos of her surrogates setting up violent attacks at Trump rallies plus the way she promotes abortion were also keys to fueling the fires against her. 

At this point all the major candidates have offered statements of forgiveness and pledges to work together for the nation. This is a good start to future harmony but we have much work to do. 

Can my counseling and equipping experience be useful to those that want to be blessed as Peacemakers?  I am praying about that right now. Will you pray with me?

Support our peacemaking here.





Friday, November 11, 2016

I Voted for the Right Person this Time







Blind Men and the Elephant – A Poem by John Godfrey Saxe (1816-1887) version of Blind Men and the Elephant:

It was six men of Indostan,
To learning much inclined, 
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind), 
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind. 

The First approach'd the Elephant, 
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side, 
At once began to bawl: 
"God bless me! but the Elephant
Is very like a wall!" 

The Second, feeling of the tusk, 
Cried, -"Ho! what have we here
So very round and smooth and sharp? 
To me 'tis mighty clear, 
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a spear!" 

The Third approach'd the animal, 
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands, 
Thus boldly up and spake: 
"I see," -quoth he- "the Elephant
Is very like a snake!" 

The Fourth reached out an eager hand, 
And felt about the knee: 
"What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain," -quoth he,- 
"'Tis clear enough the Elephant 
Is very like a tree!" 

The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear, 
Said- "E'en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most; 
Deny the fact who can, 
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a fan!" 

The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope, 
Then, seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope, 
"I see," -quoth he,- "the Elephant
Is very like a rope!" 
And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long, 
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong, 
Though each was partly in the right, 
And all were in the wrong! 

MORAL, 

So, oft in theologic wars 
The disputants, I ween, 
Rail on in utter ignorance 
Of what each other mean; 
And prate about an Elephant
Not one of them has seen!


Support us here because we open the eyes of the blind!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Future Under Trump



                   We need a Moses & God at this point in time.

Many of our friends overseas are worried, sad, concerned, upset and overwhelmed with the election of Donald Trump. I am deeply touched by the fact that we have so many friends and Christian colleagues around the world.

As I read their posts on Facebook, Twitter, and eMails I am left with one query. "What is it about Mr. Trump that causes such concern?"

In America, we are used to rocky, angry elections.  We grew up in a strong Democrat family with deep union ties. One of my worst whippings came after I walked across a union strike line at age 10 or so.

Nothing caused more displays of anger and strong language than an election. My dad never saw a Republican he thought was a Christian. How could such a reprobate be born again. And this was from a man who taught me about Grace and Mercy.

Prostitutes could be saved, addicts could be saved. Thieves could be saved. But Republicans? The jury was out on that question.

So, political arguments that get rough and hard nosed are nothing new to me. It is hard for me to join in the national practice of resist attacking those with whom I disagree. Both the Left and Right attacked the other side and said awful things about each other. Attacks that are contrary to my biblical beliefs about "Speaking the truth in love".

I often failed by what I thought and sometimes enjoyed saying things that were wrong. Despite my family history of politics as a blood sport, my sins were not my dad's fault but solely mine.

When Wikileaks and secret tapes revealed things the candidates said or wrote I was often convicted of my own faults. I was often happy that I was not taped when I went on one of my rants or told terrible jokes 20 years ago. In fact, such a prospect leaves me in a cold sweat.

Despite such a rough election season, we are seeing the former enemies come together with statements of mutual support and future cooperation. The stock market is soaring because investors believe the Trump Administration will be great for business and industry.

The balance of power from Left to Right is transferring at a  steady rate with peace and cooperation. America shall make it from one party to another without violence or riots. We cannot know the future but we trust God for that not politicians.

Keep us in prayer. The USA has a great need for wisdom and spiritual guidance. Whomever won the election would need God's daily, moment by moment presence to oversee our national response to the crises in the Middle East, Russia, Asia, and our inner cities.

Gary Sweeten

Follow us and contribute to our ministry here. 






Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Christian Voters



What have I learned, if anything, from this election? I learned that I needed to re-learn some basic truths.

1. The Kingdom of God will not come on Air Force I. It will not come from politicians and legislators. No one is pure or operates on biblical ideals. We are not electing a Pope.

2. The Devil's Kingdom of death, greed, corruption, dictatorial policies and police, slavery, can arrive from politics, and legislators, and judges.

3. Voting is just one important step in the incremental process of protecting Christian values of life, liberty, freedom of speech, freedom or religion and freedom of meetings.

4. Many Christians lost the ability to preach, read scripture, pray, meet, rear children, help the poor, care for the sick, etc because they backed evil leaders.

5. Evil people seek to control good people. We can elect evil people.

6. Pray for freedom. Fight daily for the freedom of all people as it says in the US Constitution.

7. Donate to organizations that love and promote freedom.

Gary Sweeten 

The bones of innocent men, women and children in Cambodia after Pol Pot's reign.


Prayer for Peace at Election Time

Don’t be anxious about anything but with prayers and intercessions let your needs be known to God with thanksgiving. Philippians 4:

Listening to God's Leading is Critically Important

A Prayer for Courage and Serenity


Rev Reinhold Niebuhr

God, grant me the serenity to accept
The things I cannot change

The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference

Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time:

Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace:
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it:

Trusting that you will make all things right
If I surrender to your will:

So that I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with you in the next


Distributed by Dr. Gary Sweeten
Sweeten Life Systems
P.O. Box 498455
Cincinnati, Ohio 45249

Sunday, November 6, 2016

A Terrific Sermon Series

                       My Tools or the Tools of Christ?

My wife and I love the services at Southbrook Christian Church. The music is contemporary and infused with the Holy Spirit. It touches me every time I am there and I am an old, wizened Believer with worship experiences on several continents.

The key speaker is Charlie McMahan whose stories and gracious approach is liberating to people of every era and age. The sermon series is on grace versus self sacrifice. Today, November 6, was a great start. If you need grace or sick and tired of inserting your own sacrifices for the work of Christ, watch or listen.

My stuff is not chicken liver so go ahead and spend a couple of bucks to get rid of your stinking works sacrifice. Here it is!


Ideas About Growth and Outreach



Every organization that wants to remain strong must grow internally and externally. There is a journey inward to strengthen the people, the systems, communication, etc.

As we grow internally, there must also be a push to grow in impact those persons outside the organization. Both are critical to the church.

Some are very good at building community inside the church but the fact that  people inside are so close it is hard for anyone new to "break into the old system". However, the churches that want to thrive must focus some of its time and energy on those outside the community.

If you are in a church that needs and wants to reach out to new people, take this personal check list to assess your knowledge and interests. If you and a small group of friends are interested, have everyone take it and discuss the choices of everyone individually and see if the Holy Spirit nudges you to do something different. 

In my Experience, who is most likely to welcome discussing Christianity;

Persons reared in church but lapsed ______
An atheist ___ 
Prodigal children____ 
A person in crisis____
Never heard___
 Another faith___ 
A friend___ 
A relative___

In my experience, the most effective way to reach others is:

Revival Meetings___ 
Funerals___ 
Marches against sin___ 
Help poor___
Child care___ 
Musicals___ 
Children and youth programs___
Programs for addicts, depressed, anxious, etc. ___
Interesting seminars on marriage, parenting, business, etc. ___

In my experience, the greatest barriers to faith are:

Theological___ 
Sinful Preachers, Priests___ 
Past hurts at church__
Past hurts by parents______ 
Sin/Guilt___
 Ignorance___ 
Science ___
All religions are the same___ 
Bible errors___ 
Patriarchy___


What Writer, Pastor, Friend Has the Best Ideas about Outreach?

_______________________________________________________ 


About Inreach/Discipleship? _______________________________________________________



What churches do you nominate as the best/most successful in reaching out?



Write your insights and ideas on the letters section. We want to hear from you. 

You can also get my cleverly named book to help you. (Hope and Change for Humpty Dumpty!)