Sunday, December 31, 2017

Gratitude



Not long ago we celebrated Thanksgiving in America. As I wrote then, my Russian friends marvelled at the fact that we have the phrase "In God we Trust" on our money and set aside one day each year to Thank God for His blessings. 

Today I am thinking more about gratitude because we are hearing that several companies are giving large bonuses to their employees. Some are as large as $1000.00 per person! 

That is a remarkable thing to do and is very generous thing for a company to do when it amounts to many millions of Dollars that they could use in other ways. 

My friends and I were recently discussing their expected year-end bonuses and some were excited that it would be bigger than they had supposed. Some others were thinking that this could be a down year for their company and that means no bonus at all. 

During the discussion it struck me that I have never  been in a job where any bonuses were given. I am not unhappy about that fact, nor do I covet the bonuses my friends and family get. I have always been in jobs where bonuses were not a tradition or expectation. I have been a teacher, a college administrator, a minister, a counselor, and the head of a charity. None of my students or clients or church members sent me a bonus because I did a good job! 

As a child I was taught to be grateful for whatever I had and not to covet what others had. I am often tempted to covet the house, car, or income of others but it doesn't last long. I think God has given me what I needed. If I were poor I might be angry and if I were rich I might be proud. So, I am thankful for the roof over my head, the food that I enjoy, and the warm clothes I wear. 


Saturday, December 30, 2017

Disciples are Grown not Reborn




I read a lot about Discipleship these days. It seems there are several ideas about the way Disciples are developed.

1. As soon as a person is reborn, they are supposed to be disciples ready to witness, serve, teach, lead, and minister to others. When I ask how long it was after Saul met Jesus on the Road to Damascus that he became a leader, I usually hear some irrational ideas. What do you say?
a. Immediately
b. When he returned to Jerusalem
c. When he was in Tarsus
d. When he joined the group at Antioch
e. When he was on the first Missionary Journey

2. Who Equipped Saul to lead?
a. Peter
b. The guy in Damascus that prayed for him to see again
c. Nobody-Jesus did it directly
d. Joseph/Barnabas

3. How much time passed after Saul Christ before he was in leadership?
a. Two days
b. Three years
c. Five Years
d. Ten Years
e. Fifteen Years

Leave me a note with your guess.

Gary Sweeten
Support us at Sweetenlife.com


Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Don't call it Mental Illness




Peer Helpers in the former USSR. They help hundreds of hurting people annually! 


Dear Christianity Today Editors:

I am writing in response to a recent story in your magazine. It is about the need for churches to do something about the crisis of "Mental Illness" in the land. The tragedy of suicides, drugs, depression, anxiety, and other mental and emotional problems impacts all of us and I want to see churches respond in healthy ways. 

I am a retired Clinical Therapist that founded a Christ centered Clinical Counseling program with an in-patient unit in 1989. The outpatient clinic is still at College Hill Presbyterian Church. We equipped some 4000 people at the church and community to care for themselves and each other. out of that larger population we recruited gifted and talented men and women and equipped them to be Peer Helpers. It has has been implemented in churches in many nations. 

After several years we had about 100 Lay Pastors and 65 Lay Counselors. We did NO Professional, Clinical Therapy. The Pastors did little counseling, home visitation, or hospital calls. The Lay Helpers did it all. 

I wince when I read about all the people with "mental Illness" in the church. Only about 10% of all the people in pain need professional therapy. But all need support from Christians and churches. By suggesting that person with an emotional/mental distress is "Mentally Ill" we imply that everyone needs Clinical Therapy. 

By labeling every person with emotional distress as "Mentally Ill" it puts that person into a box requiring professional, clinical, treatment with Medical implications. It immediately implies that the average Minister and Lay person has no business trying to help them. Most people in emotional and mental  distress will do fine with a Pastor or Lay Minister. They will get better. 

When a church equips its members to live more healthily and relate with the Fruit of the Spirit, it will give most people the support they need. 

When we teach our members how to renew their minds they will find relief from anxiety and depression.

When Christians learn how to pray for hurting hearts, fewer end up needing Clinical Therapy. 

Every Peer Helper can be trained to refer to a Professional when necessary. 

God's best this Christmas season,

Dr. Gary Sweeten
Sweeten Life Systems, INC




Monday, December 25, 2017

When Gary met Jens-Petter and History was Made

I met Jens-Petter in Nairobi, Kenya in 198 when we were both attending a conference for "Leaders of Leaders Conference". He was head of the Lutheran Renewal in Norway and I was head of the Renewal for Presbyterians in the USA. We roomed next door to each other and spent an entire day with a young, enthusiastic African Pastor named Paul who drove us all over the place to visit his home village and his family.








This photo was taken when Jens-Petter and I were having lunch with the Bishop of a huge indigenous African Church. We asked him how many members were in his church and he said "There are between 30 and 40 million members! It is hard to keep track. Most of them have no building or formal places to gather."

Jens-Petter and I felt like a "Lion in a den of Daniels!" These Pastors had suffered mightily for Christ and were still persecuted. 

As a result of that meeting Jens-Petter decided God was calling me to come to Norway to teach. I have been deeply engaged with him ever since. 




Ina School Memories



This photo was taken in the early 1940's. It says it was 1947 but I am not in the picture and the smallest kids who are in the front row are my brother Maury's age. So, it was before I was in the first grade. I remember many of the people here, all of them older than I am. Most have passed away.








Bottom row, far left is Donald Cook, 4 in is Wendell Dunbar, then Maury Sweeten, David Fitzgerald, Burton Dunbar, skip to Donald David Sneed, Jerry Taylor. Second row top right, Red Taylor, Far Left Bob Fowler. Top row, far right, Bonnie Jean Kohut, skip one to the left is her sister Geraldine with arms folded. Principal? Mr. Upchurch?

Ina School was probably 4 rooms back then as it was when I attended. There is no longer a school just for Ina students. Bonnie and Dodds Schools have both consolidated into one district.



Sunday, December 24, 2017

Light Heals



When God sent His angels to come to earth some 2000 years ago and spread their magic dust to heal the people and the earth, it was in the form of light. 

God said, "Let there be LIGHT!" at the announcement of the First Adam in Creation and in the Second Adam when Jesus was born. 

In John 1 we read "The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not welcome and apply it to itself". 

Spiritual darkness hates the light and refuses to welcome it because the dark spirits will be overcome and healing will begin. 

We often wonder why so many people not only refuse the Light of the World but also attack it and attack those who have accepted and allowed it to penetrate our hearts and minds. 

But "If we walk in the light as He is in the light we will have fellowship with each other and the blood of Jesus will clean us up from all our dark places!"

Christmas arrives in the Northern Hemisphere at the time we have the longest nights and the shortest days. Maybe that is why we have such wonderful traditions as candles and lights. Norway burns more candles per capita annually than any other nation. And, they have other very strong Christian traditions. That is no coincidence! 

In all our ministries we focus on being a positive presence of the Light of the World. We hope you can do the same.
Gary Sweeten



Friday, December 22, 2017

Churches Impact the Health and Welfare of a Community






Friends, if you knew you and your church could do things that facilitate the health, welfare, and longevity of the people you know, would you be interested in discovering more?


Although nearly three-fourths of health outcomes are determined by social determinants, few clinicians can ably identify those patients facing challenges related to social and environmental conditions or other experiences that directly impact health and health status


According to a December 2016 ASPE report to Congress on Social Risk Factors and Performance Under Medicare's Value-Based Purchasing Programs, there is growing evidence that social risk factors have a strong impact on the health and welfare of our families, friends, and neighbors.

Key Social Factors:

1. Income, 
2. Education, 
3. Race and Ethnicity, 
4. Employment, 
5. Community Resources, and 
6. Personal Motivation and Social Support

If we Christians do everything we can to support people in developing one or more of these 6 things we are showing LOVE to them. 

5 and 6 are especially important to churches. Fellowship, prayer, meals together, worship, encourage, etc. 

Our books and materials all foster these six items. If you want to grow, buy a few! (They are eBooks that you can download as PDF format and print if you wish. 





Friday, December 8, 2017

Why is there so Much Perverted Sexual Behavior Now?


In today's news we see what happens when traditional values and morality are rejected by government agencies, schools, and leaders. 

This question is not a simple thing to answer but I will give my insights as a Christian Counselor.

The Sexual Revolution began in earnest occurred on campuses in the 60's and 70's. I was an Associate Dean at the University of Cincinnati and saw first hand several ways the college leaders attempted successfully to destroy traditional morality and values. 

1. The University Medical Center secretly gave students free birth control pills. Why secretly? Because parents and taxpayers would never approve of it.
2. Some of the Student Affairs Staff pressured the college to secretly mix male and female students on the dorm floors. 
3. No student would be disciplined for inviting another person to "sleep over" even if it disturbed roommates. 
4. Sexually Transmitted Diseases was treated free by University Doctors. 
5. One year STD rates went up by 1,000%, and they wondered why.

This was your tax dollars at work.

Go to our web page if you want to get materials to counsel men and women harmed by the lack of morality. 


Thursday, December 7, 2017

Bible reading Reduces Sexual Harassment




Will Americans recognize why sexual harassment is so common? Roman citizens discovered why. St. Paul tells us in  Galatians  3:28 why women are to be respected.

“There is no difference in eternal inheritance for Jew-Greek, slave or free, male  or  female”. 

Before Christianity was strong, women and babies were not respected. Roman law allowed parents to kill their babies, do forced abortions, and steal from women and slaves. The Christian faith changed that. Abortion and infanticide were prohibited, poor people, women, and slaves were given rights. 

Forced marriages were prohibited by the church and were allowed to live freely. Before the Bible was accepted young girls were placed into forced marriages with older men at ages 11, 12 and 13. That was dramatically altered as women in the church were allowed to choose when and with whom to marry. 

Divorcing a woman was easy in Jewish and Roman circles. As a result, women and their children were left destitute and hungry. Philandering husbands commonly found someone younger and new. The church started to take women and children's causes seriously and began to prohibit no-cause divorces. They saw Jesus statement about divorce as protecting the family. 

Women were expected to be chaste and have no sexual partners in those days but men were expected to be promiscuous. The church changed that double standard so men and women both expected to be sexually pure. 

Over time the laws also changed in Rome. Christianity impacted every society.  Mothers could choose to rear their children. Women could inherit and control property, have money and choose their husbands. Men were expected to be good husbands and fathers. Younger siblings inherited property. Women and slaves were able to become Deacons, Prophets, Teachers, and Evangelists. Some were martyred for the faith. Junia, a female, was even an Apostle (Romans 16:7).  

Elevating the eldest son is the tradition today in most of Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Eldest sons are emperors who can control family life. The Chinese have a special name for the eldest son. He has more power and more responsibility, as well as more prestige. In America, we are so accustomed to Christian thinking about equality that these passages do not mean much. However, to an African, Muslim, or Asian, the term is radically liberating, as radical as we can get. 

Women are still treated as second-class or worse in some non-Christian countries. A famous Muslim scholar said that one thing Muslims cannot accept in the west is the way we treat women as equals. A Muslim ambassador reported back to his king that men treat women so amazingly the king would not believe it.

Read all of my eBook, "The Healing Release of the Holy Spirit" by downloading it from our bookstore. 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The Power of Encouragement




When attempting to heal damaged emotions, few things are as important as positive encouragement. Years ago, a study was done attempting to assess the impact of non-possessive touch on people. 

Since the skin is our largest organ, it was assumed that warm, caring, and unobtrusive pats, hugs, and handshakes would have a positive impact on others. And, it does. In fact, listening to others with warmth in our facial expressions, eyes, and touches cause the body to relax and our defenses to lower because we do not sense an attack. 

The following story illustrates what encouragement can do to us versus discouragement. 

In the early 1900’s, in the small village of Podsreda, Croatia, an altar boy named Josip Broz was serving the priest at Sunday mass. As he was holding the wine cruet, it accidentally dropped and shattered. 

The village priest struck the altar boy sharply on the cheek and in a gruff voice shouted: “Leave the altar and don’t come back!”

Crushed, Josip left the church and by the time he was eighteen, he joined the newly formed Croatian Social Democratic Party. During World War II, Josip changed his name to Marshal Tito and in 1945 Tito became the cruel, angry, Communist dictator of Yugoslavia.

There was another altar boy in the early 1900’s named John who grew up in El Paso, Illinois. He too was serving Sunday mass to a Bishop when a wine cruet accidentally fell from his hand during communion. With a warm twinkle in his eyes the bishop gently whispered: “Someday you will be a priest.” 

John took that lesson of forgiveness and hope to heart. Archbishop John Fulton Sheen was one of the most captivating radio preachers and influential religious authors in America.
   
What power we have when we say the right word at the right time. Are your words “apples of gold”? Today in prayer, thank Christ for His example of aptly spoken words. Look to the Lord to give you wisdom in all that you say.


 “A man finds joy in giving an apt reply--and how good is a timely word!” - Pr 15:23

Go to our bookstore and download one of the the PDF eBooks on building great relationships with God, self and others. 

Friday, December 1, 2017

Healing Damaged Hearts



90% of the people suffering from a damaged heart and mind never seek Counseling from a Pastor or Clinical Counselor. There are too many barriers to asking for help from a professional. 

What are the barriers?
1. Fear of being labeled as "sick" by the Minister or Counselor.
2. Fear of being called "Mentally Ill" and never recovering from it.
3. Fear of exposure to others.
4. Fear of exposing a loved one as a bad person.
5. Fear of "Dishonoring" a parent. 
6. Fear of being blamed for the problem, especially if sex was involved. 
7. Fear of being labeled as having no faith in God. 
8. Financial anxiety if a Counselor is suggested. 
9. Fear of "Breaking Down" and seeming weak.
10. (YOU ADD) 

That is one reason we set up a Lay Caring Ministry at College Hill and equipped people all over the world to do the same. People will often meet and interact in informal settings and the Lay people equipped to care can minister gently by listening at any time. 

fter listening and refusing to interrupt, share Power Christian Thinking to them. 

Listening with understanding and love can uncover and begin to heal so much of the long term pain and break the dam of fear.

In Asia we equipped hundreds of Cell Group Leaders to Care, Counsel, and Coach their members, by listening and loving with patience. Growth and healing in those groups burst forth and multitudes gave glowing testimonies. Your church can do the same, if you want. 

Wednesday, November 29, 2017





As a Christian Counselor I have listened to many stories of shock, trauma and abuse from both males and females. The issue, IMO, is a lack of personal relationships that are open, genuine, and private, if not confidential. I focused almost my entire 40 years of professional work on equipping Peer Helpers to provide careful, caring, confidential counsel. Until a multitude of churches equip Helpers to do that, the shock, trauma, and abuse suffered by so many members, the pain will stay stuck in the subconscious and bring more havoc on generations of people. 

Ministers cannot and ought not try to counsel everyone and it is impossible to hire Clinical Counselors for every issue because costs and availability are prohibitive. Plus, it is not necessary. 

We ought not focus on "Mental Illness" because that term is a big barrier. It causes hurting people to hide rather than seek assistance for shock, trauma, or abuse. 

The very best way to help individuals and church groups become mentally, relationally, and spiritually healthy is to "Equip the saints to DO the ministry of healing and renewing the mind."

See our web page and the materials in our book store.

The books Breaking Free and Power Christian Thinking for teaching on how to heal hurting hearts. 

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Making and Keeping my Money





While arguments in DC about taxes and spending keep us confused, there are many ways we can keep the money we make. Even if the GREED CATS in DC refuse to reduce our tax rates, we can do more with what we have. 

Richard Thaler just received the Nobel Prize in Economics by writing about money in very practical ways. Mainly by telling us how to KEEP the money we have by saving smarter. 

This link has some very interesting articles and book about making and saving that smart people are already practicing. I have done some of these things for years even though my income in ministry has been small in comparison with others. However, by smart investing, and saving a little at a time we are doing very well in retirement. 

I hope Christians will become wiser and better at both making and keeping and donating their resources to ministries that follow Jesus Christ. I have a personal as well as a charitable desire for this to happen. First, my Christian non-profit depends on donations small and large to survive. Most of them are small but some are quite large. We are thankful for both. 

Second, I read about billionaires with evil intentions donation to evil causes. We need Christians to support the many positive causes led by believers. I pray that God will raise up many rich, Christians so they can support great charities. 

See our link to pray for us. 


Friday, October 20, 2017

Disabled Children



Almost 10 years ago we were told we could receive a large grant from the Hatton Foundation to do research about the needs of children with a delay or disability.  We discussed this issue with the Hatton Foundation leaders and agreed to alter the focus of the grant. 

Why would we want to alter the focus of a grant to do research on children with a disability? Do we think these kids don't have great, unmet needs? 

No, absolutely not. 

We know the kids have deep and ongoing needs! So why not do in-depth research? Because numerous, brilliant, caring, insightful people are already doing such research. Consider for a moment the fantastic hospitals and research institutes in America and Europe that focus almost exclusively on discovering the causes and cures of sick children. 

Here in Cincinnati we have a huge, highly regarded Children's Hospital staffed by some of the most brilliant Physicians and Medical professionals in the world, and similar places can be found elsewhere. But there is at least one glaring and discouraging topic that desperately needs research. The needs and importance of Parents and Caregivers. 

So, we agreed with the Hatton Board to take a plunge into doing in-depth research on what Caregivers and Families want and need. In the next few weeks we will launch a powerful and practical new web presence designed to give those who love and care for these kids the insights, wisdom, and knowledge they need to reduce their stress and flourish personally and as a family. 









Marketing



Marketing 101

The codfish lays a thousand eggs
The homely hen but one.
The codfish never cackles
To tell you when she’s done.
And so we scorn the codfish
While the humble hen we prize,
Which only goes to show you;

That it pays to advertise.



Kurlansky, M. “Cod: A biography of the fish that changed the world” p. 29

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Why is it Taking Me so Long to Get Better?



The Apostles and Prophets, Pastors, Evangelists, and Teachers that began the new churches after the resurrection of Jesus were just ordinary men and women with an extraordinary God!  They faced personal and interpersonal conflicts that came from and added to the anger and bitterness that dominated the ancient world. In my opinion, St. Paul the Apostle that was so wise and influential, had to deal with his own personal, anger and bitterness. 

In the history of Saul/Paul, we see he was a angry and bitter man. He suffered from a thorn in his flesh that I think was anger and bitterness. He writes in 2 CO 12:

And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me, lest I be exalted above measure. I asked the Lord three times that this thing might depart from me. But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will boast in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 So I take pleasure in weaknesses, in reproaches, in hardships, in persecutions, and in distresses for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

In Galatians 5 Paul wrote that the Fruit of the flesh included, hatred, strife, jealousy, rage, dissensions, anger and murders. He knew what he was talking about because he was an angry, hateful, man who murdered people with whom he disagreed. 

Before Saul was converted, he was a bad dude. Now that he was reborn, was all his rage gone? It seems he still struggled with deep issues of his flesh. Like everyone I know and have ever known the Christian life is marked by what can only be called, a need for constant "Pilgrim's Progress". 

We need to assist each other in order to progress. I need you. Do you need me? Paul needed his friends. May God show us how to get better and better at "One Anothering". 

Sweeten Life is dedicated to supporting that task in many nations and we are seeing great progress. 



Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Why Do We Get So Upset?




The current polarization of people in the USA has me wondering why we so easily act as if we were facing WWIII. In fact, Senator Bob Corker said the President was on a track to take us into WWIII. That is what we in Counseling and Psychology call "Catastrophic Thinking and Feeling". 

There is no question that President Trump has been making fun of Senator Corker and refused to support him in a reelection battle, but that is hardly WWII, even if the Senator thinks leaving the Senate is a catastrophe. Every Bulletin on TV is announced as though it was going to snow, and THAT is a CRISIS!!!!

Every visit by a Russian to Washington, DC is expressed as a huge, unique crisis by breathless TV talking heads. Every Democrat that is challenged for reelection is offered in a TV BULLETIN! 

But, North Korea has been acting up since Truman. So, breathe deeply and stop screaming about it on Facebook. 

Take the peace that Jesus offers us. Get my book, Power Christian Thinking, a PDF eBook that can be read or printed. 


A New Prayer for Sleeping


Do you have nightmares or bad dreams? Here is a prayer I wrote for parents to teach their children to pray each evening. It recognizes the presences of God with us all night long. Feel free to copy and print it out for your family. 

A New Prayer for Sleeping


Now I lay me down to sleep
I thank the Lord my soul will keep.

No fear of night, He will provide-
His angels near, my sleeping side.

At morning's dawn, I will awake,
To live again for Jesus' sake.

He gives me strength, the whole night rest,
Enough each day to give my best


Friday, October 6, 2017

Bitterness Kills




The polarization in America has gotten worse over the past few years. There are many theories but no proofs showing why, but I have an idea as a result of 40 years of counseling.

In a word: BITTERNESS, a desire for revenge and a refusal to forgive. It says, "I demand that ______ be punished."

 Hebrews 12: 14 Pursue peace with all people and the holiness without which no one will see the Lord

15 watching diligently so that no one falls short of the grace of God, lest any root of bitterness spring up to cause trouble, and many become defiled by it

Peace and harmony can arrive only as a result of grace. Grace is the opposite of revenge and justice. revenge and a lack of grace can focus on ourselves and others. It can be focused on individuals or groups. 

When focused inwardly it leads to depression and anxiety and even suicide. Rage and bitterness is very destructive to the carrier and those around them. 

When focused outward it can be directed at one person or at a group or leader. A political party, a President, a nation. In some cases a church or religion. Karl Marx was the son of a Jewish father that converted to Christianity for protection and business.  His resentment led him to despise all religions and even God which he severely punished. 

The people that explode and act out tend to be outwardly timid, passive, and weak.  They will often have powerful fantasy filled  lives who may play violent games or write violent stories, but act passively and mild mannered. 

It is the weak and timid that blow up and get revenge. It is rarely the strong, independent, hunters that go out with their buddies to sit in a duck blind or stalk a deer. the bearded men of Duck Dynasty are as safe as a nursery worker. Barney Fife was a danger to anyone that scared him. 

If you want to heal your inner hurts and bitterness, go to the Sweeten Life web store and download the PDF for Breaking Free.  

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Anger and Polarization Reduction



I wrote a response today to a great joke posted by my friend Dennis Cole. It tells how a lowly private stopped a car driven by a private  that forgot the password. He was driving a general who also forgot the password. The General told the guard to let him through and the young man's response was a beautiful for us as Christians. He said, "General, I am new at this guarding thing. Who do I shoot, you or the driver?" 

The country is more openly divided now than any time I remember. This makes it easy to get suckered into taking one side or the others of the pole. Everybody asks us, "Who do you think is right, Trump or Hillary"? 

To make things worse, even playing sports is polarized.  "Hey Gary, do you support the right on football players to stand, kneel, sing, sit, etc or do you support the flag, America, and apple pie?"
In other words, whom do I shoot? 

Whomever I shoot, it will have a mob effect. A mob will be on my case, people will unfriend me and my fellow Christians will wonder if I have fallen from grace. (Except my Baptist relatives.)

Polarizing leads to destruction and makes peace almost impossible. Some of us remember the fantastic book and film, Peace Child. The author, Don Richardson, told how he and his family moved to share the gospel with some unreached people. When he was finally able to speak their language, he had to learn to also speak to their culture because when the people heard the story of Jesus they thought Judas was the hero. 

Revenge was their greatest virtue meaning that wars could never cease because every tribal conflict had casualties that must be avenged. Until a way to reconcile the poles is found, the conflicts between identity groups will not cease and Postmodern ideals demand we place everyone into separate Identity Groups that can never be reconciled because it would mean the end of a group 

Can we discover a way to reconcile the Postmodern situation? I think so. 








Russia Bought the Attack Ads on Facebook

Some accounts that Facebook Inc. has said appear to be tied to Russian entities and bought ads around the U.S. election continued to post divisive messages as recently as this past August, according to saved versions of the now-deleted pages.
“Secured Borders,” a Facebook page that the social-media giant told congressional investigators bought ads during the presidential campaign last year, posted messages after the election that called for killing Muslims and that labeled illegal immigrants as “rapists, murderers, child molesters,” according to cached versions of the page. A person with knowledge of the Facebook page confirmed its authenticity as well as that of three others.
The pages expressed extreme views on both sides of the U.S. political and social spectrum, espousing radical ideas that demonized opposing viewpoints. “Blacktivist,” another Facebook page that bought ads during the campaign, posted videos that allegedly showed police violence toward blacks. “We could see that police are totally out of its mind and its actions are no longer correlate with common sense [sic],” said one post from August.
That same month, during the white-supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., Secured Borders posted an article from a separate site called The Blacksphere titled “Democrats ARE White Nationalists in Charlottesville.” The article from Blacksphere, a site by conservative black commentator Kevin Jackson, included a photo showing civil-rights leader John Lewis, a representative from Georgia, in a defiant stance. Secured Borders added its own comment: “Charlottesville is a real mess. We’re on the brink of another civil war.”
Four of the accounts that remained active at least until late August—“Secured Borders,” “Blacktivist,” “Heart of Texas” and “Being Patriotic”—collectively had nearly a million followers before Facebook removed the accounts for violating its policies by misrepresenting their identities.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Memorial Services and Good Memories



One time I attended a memorial service so inspirational that a friends said, "It almost makes me wish I had been in the casket!"
The memorial service for Bob Wade, Ph. D, at College Hill Presbyterian Church, was at that level of inspiration. Bob was a brilliant scientist, leader at P&G, and a servant leader at CHPC. 

Bob leaves his wife Sue, one of God's most loving, and joyful lay leaders at the church. They have two children and several grandchildren filled with the memories of his love.  

Bob and Sue were key people in equipping emphasis at CHPC with national and international impact. The legacy of Bob will linger long in hundreds of hearts and thousands of  people around the world. Bob was a quiet and dedicated Christian that let his walk do most of the talk.

His life exemplifies why equipping and unleashing all of God's people is biblical.   

Our ministry has benefitted from the gifts and care of Bob and Sue for many years and saw up close their genuine love for God.


Monday, September 11, 2017

Ground Zero




Four of us from Life Way Counseling Centers spent a few days at Ground Zero. It was just two weeks after the shameful attack on civilians by pagan cowards.  Two of us had the shift from 1:00 AM until 1:00 PM, usually described as the "Graveyard Shift" and it was anything but a quiet and docile time. 

The three tents were placed just a couple of blocks from the downed towers and the air was filled with tiny bits of their remains. One night I sat next to the morgue tent that sat empty but expectant of being filled with the bodies of men and women brought out of the carnage. But none came because everything had been atomized when a hundred weighty floors fell. 

While there I, as a Chaplain/Counselor, was able to listen to the long, painful stories of police and firemen who worked day and night to recover their family members, colleagues, and friends. 

We were all sad to look ahead and see the reality of wars to come to eliminate the evil men that planned such a horrible event. Here we are today mourning the fact that more good men and women have lost their lives and homes as the result of bitterness and hate unleashed on our nation. 

One of the jobs of a Christian like me is to lead people that have suffered to leave their bitterness behind by following the teachings of Jesus to forgive. Ground Zero is an example of what happens when people have no faith leaders that teach redemption and starting over. 

Our Father who art in heaven 
Hallowed be thy name
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our trespasses 
As we forgive those who have trespassed against us. 
And lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from the evil one.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. 

Let us pray this often; even daily.

Gary Sweeten




Thursday, September 7, 2017

Serenity Prayers for the Myers-Briggs Types



Those who know the Myers Briggs will enjoy this.
  • ISTJ - God, help me to begin relaxing about little details tomorrow at 11:41:32 am
  • ISFJ - Lord, help me to be more laid back, and help me to do it exactly right
  • INFJ - Lord, help me not be a perfectionist (Did I spell that right?)
  • INTJ - Lord, keep me open to others' ideas, wrong though they may be
  • ISTP - God, help me to consider people's feelings, even if most of them are hypersensitive
  • ISFP - Lord, help me to stand up for my rights (if You don't mind my asking)
  • INFP - Lord, help me to finish everything I sta
  • INTP - Lord, help me be less independent, but let me do it my way.
  • ESTP - God, help me to take responsibility for my own actions, even though they're usually not my fault
  • ESFP - God, help me to take things more seriously especially parties and dancing
  • ENFP - God, help me keep my mind on one thing - Look, a bird - at a time.
  • ENTP - God, help me follow established procedures today. On second thought, I'll settle for a few minutes
  • ESTJ - God, help me to try not to run everything, but if You need some help, just ask.
  • ESFJ - Lord, give me patience and I mean right now
  • ENFJ - God, help me to do only what I can and trust You for the rest. Do You mind putting that in writing?
  • ENTJ - God, help me to slow downandnotrushthroughwhatId