Tuesday, September 4, 2018

The Crisis in Care for Chronically Ill People






When I visited an adult day care center yesterday the 20 older adults there were just finishing up a game that had most of them smiling. Maybe the smells of lunch played a part in their good mood but they generally seemed to be in great spirits.

For adults with a chronic disease/disability the need for day care and home care is rising. Many of the Caregivers are either too fragile or they work all day so finding a place to stay that is safe and caring is crucial. 

So, the needs are great but there are several barriers to offering care for all of us older folks.
1. The average retiree has only about $400.00 saved and that is not enough to pay for a week of care.
2. Medicare and Medicaid are available for the indigent and those over 65 but we are rapidly running out of funds and the numbers are rising. 
3. The number of people doing home care is shrinking. Care taking is a tough job and the places where they can get good training are few, the crisis is growing.
4.  The pay for caregivers is low. They make about the same as working at Wendy's. 

I do not have an answer to these issues but each person and family needs to start thinking about who will care for them. We are living a lot longer but outliving our ability to care for ourselves or pay for others. How do you plan to deal with these realities?

We are releasing a new web based software to guide caregivers through the process of dealing with the stress and details of having a loved one with a chronic disability or illness. Pray for us as we deal with the caretaking crisis.

If you want to learn more about thinking clearly, get the eBook Power Christian Thinking at Sweeten Life or on Kindle at Amazon.com
www.sweetenlife.com


Saturday, August 25, 2018

Recovery from Trauma




Adverse Events can mark us for life. This is especially true when a child loses a parent or loved one.
However, as Christians we have the ability to pray for healing of the wounds that occur deep in the hearts and minds of people traumatized by losses and offenses as children.

The brain can hold traumatic memories within that somehow cause pain forever unless unleashed by good Counseling and/or prayers. James Chapter 5 offers us insights into how our prayers can unleash us from the past. One of my favorite phrases is: "It is never too late to have a happy childhood".

The book of James builds on that assumption. For example, James counsels us to Count it all joy when we encounter various trials.

Why would that be a positive step in regaining a happy childhood? He gives the answer. Because we can choose to see growth through trials and our thankfulness allows us to seek God for a better future rather than focus compulsively on the past.

It is well known that obsessing pessimistically about past hurts and losses actually leads to anxiety and depression. However, by seeking a better way can strengthen our perseverance and builds us as Christians.

This is not suggesting that we deny past pain but that we refuse to dwell on it and dwell on ourselves as victims. Face the losses and grieve them but refuse to dwell on why it makes me a worthless victim.

Come back next time and read on about having a happy childhood.

Now, go to Sweeten Life and download one of our fantastic books that are liberating people all over the earth!

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Out of the Roots Come the Fruits






I led a healing prayer service at our church for several years and people came for prayer for a wide variety of complaints. One lady, I will call Ellen, came with a request that her complaint be kept confidential. As a Minister I assured her that whatever she told us in confidence would stay that way.

Ellen poured out her story of sexual abuse and trauma by family members from childhood until she left home. She was about 20 pounds over weight and suffered from nightmares, depression and a fear of men. I hesitated to simply pray for her because her symptoms were so severe. After listening intently to her long list of traumatic events and current symptoms I asked if she had considered therapy. "Oh yes. I have been in therapy for years but all my Psychiatrist does is give me drugs. I need healing."

My female partner that night was Marie and we anointed the lady and prayed for healing of memories. Afterward, Ellen was dramatically relieved and explained that during the prayers she had felt a warm feeling inside of her chest. We suggested that she come back several times to get more "Soaking Prayer" since her trauma was so deep and long term in development.

Can you imagine how many adults are carrying around memories of deep trauma and distrust as a result of the betrayal of the evil Priests who violated their covenant with God and the young people they violated? It is shocking and startling so hear about so many Roman Catholic Priests have been involved in such awful, evil behavior. Many of the victims are likely to carry the scars for many years. Every single victim needs inner healing. (Outer healing is physical.) Healing is possible. . 

I first met adults in the 70's who suffered from sexual trauma as children and teenagers. Almost every one of them showed current signs of those past wounds. My training as a Counselor had neglected to educate us about how to treat adult victims, most of whom had never revealed their experiences to anyone else. Not only did they suffer from the trauma itself but also the False Guilt and Shame of sexual relations with a Holy Man!

From the Bitter Roots of Abuse can come the following Fruits:

Our of the heart and mind comes all kinds of emotional, relational, and spiritual dysfunctions. God has equipped each believer with the Holy Spirit to release the Love of God, the Peace of Christ, the truth of the God's Word, and the Gifts of the Spirit to "Heal the broken hearted and set the captives free. If 10% of the churches in a community offered free prayers for members and visitors many of the fruits of past trauma could be healed.

It is great to see so many churches establishing Recovery Groups which promote transparency, confession, prayers and love to help people get free from the past.

One of the most powerful books we have that can be used privately or for a small groups is Power Christian Thinking. It can be ordered he from Amazon Kindle. 
https://www.amazon.com/Power-Christian-Thinking-Changing-Hopelessness-ebook/dp/B015EXEBJI

Our Ministry has books, videos and seminars to equip Christians to care and counsel. 
www.sweetenlife.com




A Powerful Way to Heal the Brain




I grew up in a tiny town in southern Illinois. During WWII many of our young men were carried off to places with strange sounding names and impossible places on the map find. In my childhood the economic level we all faced was pretty grim. My dad described the situation as being a "hard scrabble existence".

When the soldiers who survived came back from the war economic opportunities improved but the mental and emotional issues worsened. A lot of the ex GI population suffered from Post Traumatic issues and had few places to go to get help.

Today, the data about an increase of people suffering with mental and emotional issues is a surprise to those of us in the Counseling professionals. While doing a Leadership and Discipleship Equipping Ministry I discovered Cognitive Therapy and how it has been used to renew the minds of many people with irrational and anxious thinking. It is a perfect fit for accomplishing the goal of Romans 12:1-2 that tells the benefits of Renewing our minds.

I beg you my friends to stop thinking like the world and be transformed by renewing your mind. 

I wrote several books and articles that individuals and churches can use to lower their anxiety, depression, and anger of people without having to see a Therapist. My latest book is called Power Christian Thinking and is on Amazon Kindle.

Thousands of men and women have shared how the book helped them stop Stinking Thinking and started enjoying life more fully!





Sunday, August 19, 2018

We have always done it that way




The United States Standard railroad gauge; the distance between rails is 4 feet, 8.5 inches, an exceedingly odd number. What caused engineers to use this gauge? Where did it come from?

  1. Why was that gauge used to build U.S. rail lines? That is the way they built them in England. English expatriates built the first U.S. railroads.

  1. Why did the English people build them like that? Because the first rail lines in Europe were designed and built by the same people who built the pre-railroad tramways, and that is the gauge they used.

  1. Why did they use that gauge for trams? Because the people who designed and built the tramways used the same jigs and tools that they used for building wagons, which used that same wheel spacing.

  1. Why did the wagons use that odd wheel spacing? Well, when they tried to use any other spacing, the wagons were prone to breaking down on the old long distance roads, because that is the spacing of the old wheel ruts.

  1. So who built these old rutted roads? The first long distance roads in Europe were built by Imperial Rome for the benefit of their legions. The roads have been used ever since.

  1. And why did the ruts come about? Roman war chariots first made the initial ruts. Since the chariots were all made to certain specifications for Imperial Rome, they were all alike in the matter of wheel spacing.

    Thus, we have the answer to the original question. The United States standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches derives from the original specification (Military, as it were) for an Imperial Roman Army war chariot. But one nagging question still remains.

  1. Why did the design of the Roman chariots incorporate that specific wheelbase? The chariots were designed for the back ends of two Roman war-horses.

So, the modern transportation system got its original dimensions by following the rear ends of two warhorses!

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Why Change is Hard



All of us realize that change is hard. It is especially hard when people have developed rituals and habits that seem to have extraordinary meaning to their members. For example, when I first went to Russia I met many people who proudly proclaimed they were Russian Orthodox. However, after some discussion it was clear they were also atheists who were born and reared in the days of atheist USSR when actually believing in God was dangerous.

Many Russians are very proud of the fact that the Russian Orthodox Church was founded over 1000 years ago! That, my friend, is a long time! So, the Russian people felt great pride in their history and culture. As a result, many agnostics and atheists proclaimed their heart felt allegiance.


Several years ago I was pretty optimistic about being a change agent. I had gone to school and learned to be a change agent with kids in school: I thought every kid could learn and wanted to learn. Even more optimistically, I thought I could motivate parents to insist that their kids try to learn! It is hard for "leaders" to lead change.

I attended Graduate School and learned about psychology and motivation. I got a position in a college at the same time kids wanted to have free sex, free drugs, and engage in riots. I tried to foster change, but Change is hard! 

I went into to ministry and sought the Holy Spirit as I tried to motivate people to come to Christ and live a holy life. Change is hard!

In order to be a success as a change agent we must pray, be patient, and humble! God alone is the only real change agent. Do you know why? Change is hard!


Sunday, August 5, 2018

Innocent Until Proven Guilty By Gossip in the Media




It is difficult to keep your job and your reputation if you are famous and accused of a crime. There are individuals and special interest groups that will destroy us if we seem to be a vulnerable target. 

Men accused of "sexual harassment" are especially vulnerable. If they are in college the hanging will very likely be swift and filled with hysterical accusations but little if any right to a fair trial. There are numerous cases of false chargers against male groups that ended with complete exoneration weeks after the organization and its members were hounded, publicly scorned, and punished academically. 

A fraternity at the University of Virginia was accused of sexual attacks against a young woman in Rolling Stone Magazine. The group was sanctioned by the President and the members attacked by the President. The fraternity and all men were found to be innocent and the magazine and woman who charged them to found to be lying. The president of Virginia attacked the organization and the men and yet was never held accountable. She recently retired with no regrets. 

When I serve as Associate Dean of Students at Cincinnati we were always careful to give every student due process if he or she was accused of wrongdoing. But with great pressure from the Obama administration due process was not applied and many schools are now having to pay millions of dollars for following the DC demands. 

We cannot afford to allow the mantra of "Innocent until proven guilty" to become "Innocent until accused by gossipy liars, and social media". 


Thursday, August 2, 2018

Are Dads Important to Healthy Kids?






New MUHC research highlights the value of fathers in both neurobiology and behaviour of offspring

Published: 4 Dec 2013



Even with today’s technology, it still takes both a male and a female to make a baby. But is it important for both parents to raise that child? Many studies have outlined the value of a mother, but few have clearly defined the importance of a father, until now. New findings from the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) show that the absence of a father during critical growth periods, leads to impaired social and behavioural abilities in adults. This research, which was conducted using mice, was published today in the journal Cerebral Cortex. It is the first study to link father absenteeism with social attributes and to correlate these with physical changes in the brain.

“Although we used mice, the findings are extremely relevant to humans,” says senior author Dr. Gabriella Gobbi, a researcher of the Mental Illness and Addiction Axis at the RI-MUHC and an associate professor at the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University. “We used California mice which, like in some human populations, are monogamous and raise their offspring together.”

“Because we can control their environment, we can equalize factors that differ between them,” adds first author, Francis Bambico, a former student of Dr. Gobbi at McGill and now a post-doc at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto. “Mice studies in the laboratory may therefore be clearer to interpret than human ones, where it is impossible to control all the influences during development.”

Dr. Gobbi and her colleagues compared the social behaviour and brain anatomy of mice that had been raised with both parents to those that had been raised only by their mothers. Mice raised without a father had abnormal social interactions and were more aggressive than counterparts raised with both parents. These effects were stronger for female offspring than for their brothers. Females raised without fathers also had a greater sensitivity to the stimulant drug, amphetamine.

“The behavioural deficits we observed are consistent with human studies of children raised without a father,” says Dr. Gobbi, who is also a psychiatrist at the MUHC. “These children have been shown to have an increased risk for deviant behaviour and in particular, girls have been shown to be at risk for substance abuse. This suggests that these mice are a good model for understanding how these effects arise in humans.”

In pups deprived of fathers, Dr. Gobbi’s team also identified defects in the mouse prefrontal cortex, a part of the brain that helps control social and cognitive activity, which is linked to the behaviourial deficits.

“This is the first time research findings have shown that paternal deprivation during development affects the neurobiology of the offspring,” says Dr. Gobbi. These results should incite researchers to look more deeply into the role of fathers during critical stages of growth and suggest that both parents are important in children’s mental health development.

About the study 

The paper in the journal Cerebral Cortex entitled Father absence in the monogamous California mouse impairs social behavior and modifies dopamine and glutamate synapses in the medial prefrontal cortex, was authored by Francis Bambico (First author) from the Behavioral Neurobiology Laboratory, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Toronto; Baptiste Lacoste, Patrick Hattan and Gabriella Gobbi from the Neurobiological Psychiatry Unit, Department of Psychiatry, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal. Cerebral Cortex is published by Oxford University Press.

This work was supported by the Fonds de la Recherche en Santé du Québec (FRSQ), and fellowships from the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) and from the Faculty of Medicine of McGill University.

www.sweetenlife.com

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

How to Draw People to Church

                     
                         We can treat everyone like royalty!

It seems that it is harder and harder to draw new people to church. As I study the reasons why one thing continually jumps out to me. People are afraid of being attacked for being bad, wrong, or sinful. Of course all of us are imperfect but the church seems to have a reputation for showing disrespect for imperfect people.

This short video speaks to the importance of showing RESPECT to everyone. And, we don't have to say it as nicely as The Queen of Soul!


Monday, July 9, 2018

Let My People Go and Grow



I woke up this morning thinking about the wonderful people we had at College Hill Pres. The staff there was a great team that worked hard and attempted to listen to God as best we could. However, it was the congregation that really made us into a fantastic place.

As I read Twitter, Facebook, and blogs I am struck by the emphasis on elite Preachers, Pastors, and Leaders. I think we need great theologians and preachers. But the emphasis in scripture and in my experience as an Organizational Consultant is really on the ordinary, non titled people in the pew.

Some of the very best Bible teachers I know were Laity. They were great at Practical Theology and application. They knew how to walk the talk. Members of our church rans P&G and GE and many other organizations. If they can run a billion dollar organization they can do ministry.

We had a large church with several terrific Ministers but our congregation was filled with energized men and women that were encouraged to try new things. We had a policy of giving permission to anyone in the church that believed they had a Call from the Lord to start a ministry. The Call had to be consistent with our Mission and Vision and cost the church nothing. If a person had a sense of call they had 3 minutes on Sunday morning to tell the congregation what they were doing. 1. They wrote out their 3 minute announcement. 2. They gave their call to join. 3. If people responded, they had a ministry. If no one was interested, it did not go anywhere. The church did not control the ministry.

When Laity are liberated, then innovation will grow and the church will grow.

Let my people go and grow!



Monday, July 2, 2018

My Triple By Pass and Prayer

                                                        
                                                                  God still Heals


It has been six weeks since Dr. Griffin and his team of people at The Christ Hospital took care of the three arteries that were blocked. I am reminded of the scripture that says, "All good gifts are from God." As a Social Scientist I have taken that truth very seriously by constantly examining scripture, research on how the brain and body work and mixed in prayer to keep God engaged in the process.

My recovery has gone well. The most important person is Karen who is the Chief Nurse, gatekeeper, schedule keeper, medicine regulator and emotional supporter.

For the past two weeks I have been attending Cardiac Rehab at Christ Hospital in Liberty Twp. Before that Karen and I had the distinct pleasure of getting home health care from some wonderful Nurses.

The Medical Staff at Christ and at home were extremely pleased with my progress since it was faster than most. Especially those who like me are 80 years old. One Doctor said, "You do not look 80, or act 80 but every organ in your body IS 80! So, take care of yourself and allow the healing to be complete."

I was able to share with several of my Medical Team at Christ that my improvement was due in large part to their great treatment as well as having so many people praying for me. Thank God for great friends that pray.

I am slowly reentering my office to write and plan so this note is one result. I tire VERY easily so I am certainly taking naps and slowing down even though I feel OK I am 80.

I am so thankful for Ron Peake, Andrea Bowsher, Jim Donovan, and Randy Creamer for taking the reins of our ministry and keeping it going so I can rest and recover.

I have some way to go before I can be fully operational so thanks for your prayers for me and the ministry.

Blessings and Peace!

Gary Sweeten


Monday, May 14, 2018

Update on My Heart Treatment



Thanks so much for the encouragement and prayers. 

After the angiogram last Friday, Dr. Kereiakes came into my room to explain the results. He said although my heart was beating strongly and looked healthy there were three arteries that were seriously occluded. They were to long to fix with stents so he recommended bypass surgery. 

Dr. Kereiakes had his colleague, Dr. Griffin come in and explain the procedure of taking vessels from other places and putting them to bypass the occluded ones. 

Today his office called to give me the schedule:
1. Tuesday at Christ Hospital for pretesting and instructions.
2. Thursday arrive at The Christ Hospital at 8:00 AM for preparation.
3. Surgery scheduled for 12:00 Noon Thursday.
4. Surgery will likely last about 4 hours.
5. Recovery in the hospital for 6 days with exercise and instructions. 
6. Return home on about May 23 for recovery for two months. 
7. Dance in the Spirit to thank God for His love, power, and provision of surgeons, nurses and medical personnel as well as great technology. 

Post Script: I am rereading the old book Healing and Christianity by Morton Kelsey. He traces the healing of body, mind, and spirit by prayers and physicians. He notes that some of the greatest names in Christian history promoted healing by multiple means. Prayers, Fasting, Anointing, Medicine, Dreams, ETC. One of the very first free hospitals in the world was set up by St. Gregory in Caesarea in the 4th Century, AD. 

I want to receive everything God has for me so pray all you can whenever you can. There are no bad side effects or fear of an overdose!

You can choose to follow me to get updates. 


www.sweetenlife.com




Thursday, May 10, 2018

John Donne 1623






This is always first. Everything must bring praise to God!
.
A Hymn to God the Father

Will You forgive that sin where I begun,
Which is my sin, though it were done before?
Will You forgive that sin through which I run,
And do run still, though still I do deplore?
When You are done, You are not done,
For I have more.
Will You forgive that sin which I have won
Others to sin? and made my sin their door?
Will You forgive that sin which I did shun
A year or two, but wallowed in a score?
When You are done, You are not done,
For I have more.
I have a sin of fear, that when I have spun
My last thread, I shall perish on the shore;
Swear by Yourself, that at my death Your Son
Shall shine as he shines now and heretofore;
And, having done that, You have done,
I fear no more.


Psalm 103:12 "as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us." 

Micah 7:19 "He will again have compassion upon us, he will tread our iniquities under foot. Thou wilt cast all our sins into the depths of the sea."

Give thanks and honor our God.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Great Churches Thomas Road



Do you wonder what he most influential in church history in the past 100 years were, and 
what trends did they set and how they expressed their influence?  Can those past churches’ successes help us today?  

Read, The Ten Most Influential Churches in the Past Century, published by Destiny Image Publishers by Elmer Towns.  Order this book from Amazon.com

Thomas Road Baptist Church, Lynchburg, Virginia

I first visited Lynchburg, Virginia, in 1968 doing research on the book, The Ten Largest Sunday Schools and What Made Them Grow.  That book eventually became a bestseller and remained on the list for over 14 months.  During my first Sunday visit, I taught the Pastor’s Bible Class in the main auditorium to around 2,000 people.
What captivated me most was the sermon preached by Jerry Falwell, the church’s founder and pastor. His sermon was taken from Acts 5:28, “Behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine.” Jerry explained every church should fill its “Jerusalem” where it is located.  Falwell explained Saturation Evangelism, “Using every available means, to reach every available person, at every available time.”  He wanted to preach to every person in America over television and his aim was to air the Old Time Gospel Hour in every major television market in America.  He also created a mailing campaign to get the gospel out to everyone.  I walked into the first auditorium to see four large computers, larger than a walk-in refrigerator.  The data for 100,000 mailing addresses were kept on those computers. Today, that amount of data can be stored in a smart phone.  Jerry Falwell was committed to raising the money, paying the price, sacrificing his time and effort to carry the gospel to the entire world. 
Out of Thomas Road Baptist Church has grown Liberty University, the largest Christian university in the world (and perhaps in history).  When I retired as dean of seminary and School of Religion there were over 113,000 students enrolled online and in the resident program.  There have been graduation class of approximately 20,000 people, with over 4,000 young people going into ministry.  Many report that there are more Liberty graduates from Liberty in fulltime ministry than any other Christian university and seminary in the world. 
That morning when I first visited the church, Dr. Falwell announced to the audience that I was preparing a book on the ministry of Thomas Road Baptist Church.  He said, “If you have been saved at this church, grab a visitor cards and write your testimony on the back of it, or use two or more cards. Put it in the offering plate and we will give it to Dr. Towns to help his research.”
Jerry handed me an old cigar box packed with over 100 testimonies of those who had been saved in the church.  I went back to Harvey’s Motel, sat on the floor with the concept of Saturation Evangelism in my mind.  I began placing different testimonies in piles with others who were saved using the same evangelistic method.  People were saved through the jail ministry, television ministry, radio ministry, Sunday school bus ministry, evangelistic crusades, telephone outreach, tract distribution, etc.  As I read the testimonies I wept.  God had touched my heart through what He had done in many lives, alcoholic, broken families, abandoned, etc.  In my opinion, Thomas Road Baptist Church was doing more to get the gospel to their entire “Jerusalem” than any other church I had experienced.  I prayed that night that I might have a part with this church, not knowing that one day I would be the Co-Founder with Jerry Falwell of Liberty University.


WANT TO READ MORE?


What churches were the most influential in church history in the past 100 years?  What trends did they set?  How did they express their influence?  Can past churches’ successes help you today?  What can the ministry of past successful churches teach us today?  Read, The Ten Most Influential Churches in the Past Century, published by Destiny Image Publishers by Elmer Towns.  Order this book from Amazon.com


We train Christian leaders how to build a great church regardless of size. Tune in to my Sweeten Life Web page and buy my books to learn more about building great Christian relationships.  
      

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Sexual License and Despair





The "Me Too " tag has unleashed a torrent of complaints from women accusing males of accosting them in ways large and small. Hardly a day passes that we do not read about some famous person who was previously lauded as being "Pro Woman/Pro Feminist" that has been outed as a sexual predator.

A recent article on the sexual revolution has a stinging assessment of the past and present damage done to America because of it.  Women, who were led blindly into the revolution expecting a wonder filled heaven of pleasure and freedom but have instead found the life of sexual license filled with predators and pain.

God always has the good or humans in mind when He tells us about the limits we need to set up on our behavior. God set limits of our sexual behavior and we have disagreed and we thought we knew best with tragic results just as God predicted when He said, "I have set before you death and life. Choose Life!"

The article lays out the tragic results of going astray for us as a nation and the citizens that must pay for the errors. As always, Christians who follow the ways of the Lord will pick up the pieces because we continue the works of The Great Physician.

I recently spoke with a man in his fifties that greeted the sexual revolution and volunteered to lead the charge in his region. He and his wife had been fighting for decades and he could not figure out why. I asked if they had had sex before marriage and he said, "Are you kidding? Everybody had sex back then. I do not know of a single man that did not."

I asked, "Have you asked your wife for forgiveness?"

He "Forgiveness? Why?"

Me, "Were you a confessing Christian?"
\
He "Yes".

Me "Was it wrong to do it?"

He "Well...Yes".

Me "Then go home and ask her forgiveness."

He "Well, I know a lot of guys that need to confess."

Me "So, now you can tell them how you did it."

Want to know how to recover from past errors? Get my books. 
www.sweetenlife.com/store





Thursday, May 3, 2018

Drugs, Suicide, and Mental Health




In the paper recently there have been several articles about the deaths of people from drugs and suicide. The death of one person from an accident or disease is terrible but when it occurs in the life of a seemingly healthy person it hits us doubly hard.

The survivors of deaths from drugs and suicide are especially hard hit. It leaves the family and friends asking themselves a lot of questions and pain because we wonder what we might have done wrong or left out that "caused" our loved ones to take such a drastic action.

Both suicide and drug abuse are hared to prevent. What signs of real depression or anger did I miss that I SHOULD have caught? Did they hint at their despair? Did some comment of mine cause them to lose hope? We just do not know, and that is an awful feeling.

In each situation we often read how happy or well adjusted the person was and how surprised we are a his or her decision. In some situations the person is in Therapy and the Therapist is as surprised as everyone else. So, intervening is difficult.

Some of the usual preventive factors are an active involvement in a faith group and a solid sense of self respect, not just self image.

Fellowship with good people and a faith in God are very good acts of prevention. Learn more on our web page. 
www.sweetenlife.com

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Why So Much Despair?



The correlations between drugs, alcohol, smoking, pornography, and a despairing lifestyle is highly correlated with early childhood losses and trauma. As long as we as a nation have women having babies and rearing them without a man around to love, nurture, discipline, and support the child we will have increasing despair. 

The lack of agreement in our society that sex outside marriage is harmful has damaged the psyche of millions of people and brought about an anti-commitment attitude in millions of people. This has been exacerbated by the honoring and idolizing of people like Hugh Hefner and Larry Flint have led many people to fulfill their lusts with no consideration of the consequences in themselves, their partners and their offspring. 

Hefner ended up with leading beautiful triplets on a leash around his mansions like a slave owner proudly showing off his chattel. But, the truth was far different. Hefner was unable to have sex with any woman and spent his days watching gay porn in a bizarre display of failing to live anything but a nightmare. 

The more recent evil acts of Harvey Weinstein and others who acted out the violent fantasies they saw on pornographic videos. Several have asked, "Where were his parents?" but it is more likely that they knew nothing of his desperate search for sexual highs though brutality. 

Despair leads to acting out desperately in ways that bring death rather than life. God told His people that He had set before them "Death or Life and to choose life". Hefner knew his scripture but he rebelled against it and chose death rather than life.

Scoffers make fun of VP Pence for being a prude but he has chosen life not death. When I was a teenager I met the Lord in a dramatic manner. To the consternation of my drunken friends I stopped all the drinking and partying and they protested strongly. One great former friend even threatened to "Kick my _________" if I refused to drink with him. Why do  humans that chose  activities of despair demand that we join them? 

To abstain is to judge! People in despair know they are choosing deathly actions. When we show we can change it is convicting to them and they get angry. 

Jesus told us in Luke 10 to ignore Scoffers who point their bony fingers at us and accuse us of evil. My friend who promised to "Kick my ____" did not. I just smiled and said, "Would you also get mad at me if I did not want to eat green beans?" He laughed and let it go. 

But the evil haters want to attack us because of politics and religion so they will not stop. They are addicted to despair and cannot stand happy people. 

Want to be happy? Get my practical books on living well.
www.sweetenlife.com/store




Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Despair and Death


                                                            Disaster Awaits Me

Unless a person is under a rock, we all know that drugs, depression, and self harm are killing  many, many people. There is a recent article about it here. 

The article points out, as have others, that people are frustrated and lost the meaning of life. They are living in despair.

As a Christian, an educator, and a Counselor, I am convinced that it will take more places of Recovery but much more to make an impact on the problem of drugs and the problems behind the drugs. For example, the article mentions that many drug users have given up hope of getting a better job or getting out of the bad parts of town. These are issues of imagination and identity. For millennia people have had to scratch and labor to make it in life. Before the current era 90% of the US had to work in menial jobs. But they did it and most did not become addicts or depressed as a result.

I am not sure why but I wonder if it was because our expectations were low. Now, expectations are sky high ands when we do not all become famous, we may conclude we are failures. Dr. Martin Seligman studied distressed, depressed, and anxious people. He came to the conclusion that people in despair had a faulty or easily overcome Belief System.

Seligman said many depressed folks have an Explanatory Style of Pessimism that leads them to view Adversities in an especially devastating manner. Maybe you or someone you love has such a style of thinking.  Hang on and I will lay it out for you in my following posts.

You can help others by getting my PDF. eBook at the Store on Sweetenlife.com  

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Great Churches Jotabeche in Chile





Do you wonder what he most influential in church history in the past 100 years were, and 
what trends did they set and how they expressed their influence?  Can those past churches’ successes help us today?  

Read, The Ten Most Influential Churches in the Past Century, published by Destiny Image Publishers by Elmer Towns.  Order this book from Amazon.com

The Jotabeche Church (Pentecostal Holiness) Santiago, Chile

I first visited the Jotabeche Church in June 1982 with John Maxwell, leadership guru, and two other pastors.  We were touring great churches in South America, researching the topic, “The World’s Ten Largest Churches.”  I wanted to follow up my best seller book, The Ten Largest Sunday Schools in America.  In 1982, it had the largest sanctuary in the modern area, seating 19,000.  (John Maxwell left me talking to the pastor to count every pew to verify the number). 
At the time the Jotabeche Church was averaging over 92,000 in Sunday attendance, in a multisite strategy.  The main church downtown was called the Cathedral, approximately 13 churches surrounding the city are called Temples.  Out beyond the Temples were approximately 100 congregations simply known as churches.  And beyond the edge of the city were a multitude of mission Sunday schools, each would eventually become a church.
This was the church that introduced the Pentecostal phenomena of speaking in tongues to South America.  When Joseph Seymour lead the Azusa Street Mission in Los Angeles to speak in tongues in 1906, a letter describing the phenomena of tongues and the movement of the Holy Spirit was sent to a missionary in India. That missionary wrote to the people of a new Methodist church in Santiago, Chile, re-telling the phenomena, and a church was built on the power of the Holy Spirit.
Technically it was founded as a Methodist church in 1903, but when the gift of tongues began there was a break with the Methodist denomination.  The Jotabeche Church was founded in 1909.  The church is known for street preaching; its lay preachers proclaim the gospel on street corners throughout the city.  In 1982 I saw several street preachers addressing small crowds on street corners.  Then in 2014, I stood on the main street in downtown Santiago and saw a stylishly dressed young woman in her 30s reading the scriptures from her cell phone and preaching to business people as they were rushing off to work.  None stood around to hear her preach. 
The multisite pattern of evangelism has expanded beyond Santiago to other major cities throughout Chile.  Technically, the Jotabeche network has over 350,000 believers today.
I preached in a prayer meeting to a crowd of over 19,000.  However, right before the service began, everyone was chatting which raised the noise level throughout the auditorium.  Pastor Vasque approached the platform, threw both hands in the air and shouted at the top of his voice, “Glory to God” (in Spanish).  Immediately 19,000 people jumped to their feet shouting at the top of their voices the threefold “GLORY TO GOD.”   They shouted “Glory to the Father, glory to the Son, glory to the Holy Ghost.”  Every nerve in my body sprang to attention and I broke into uncontrollable tears . . . tears of worship . . . tears of praise. 

WANT TO READ MORE?







What churches were the most influential in church history in the past 100 years?  What trends did they set?  How did they express their influence?  Can past churches’ successes help you today?  What can the ministry of past successful churches teach us today?  Read, The Ten Most Influential Churches in the Past Century, published by Destiny Image Publishers by Elmer Towns.  Order this book from Amazon.com

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Friday, March 30, 2018

Speaking the truth in love




Speaking the truth in love we are to grow up in every way into Him... Ephesians 4:15


Helping is not for the benefit of Teacher but for the Learner. Our goal is to help ourselves to pass life, health and peace to people we know. We, like Jesus, come to serve not be served. The cause of much conflict and difficulty among Christians lies here. We all want others to help us.

Scripture is clear about the need for balance between love and truth, rest and action, challenge and submission.  I read many criticisms of Christians and agree with most of them. I suggest that the primary problem with those who attack each other is not ideological but a lack of love. Without the fruit of the Holy Spirit even those who agree ideologically can get caught in a harmful conflict if we have no ability to "agree to disagree agree-ably."

It reminds me of an apocryphal story about a man was stranded on the proverbial deserted Pacific Island for many long years. Finally one day a boat came sailing into view, and the man frantically waves to draw the skipper's attention. The boat came near the island and the sailors came on the island to greet the stranded man.

After the tour the sailor asked the man,

"Why are there three huts you have here?"

"Well, that's my house."

"What's that next hut?" asks the sailor.

"I built that hut to be my church."

"What about the other hut?"

"Oh, that's where I used to go to church.

One of our favorite philosophers was Pogo, a cartoon possum of the Forties and Fifties. He was fond of saying,

We have me the enemy and he is us. The cause of warring and fighting is not far from us for it is within us.

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Do they not they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but do not get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. James 4:1-3

We all need a heartectomy from the sword of the Spirit, the word of God. The term used here is desires. According to the Greek-Hebrew Key Study Bible, epithumeo is a specific type of desire meaning, "A passionate demand arising from natural desires." The nature of our flesh is selfish, demanding and unyielding on theological as well as personal matters. As James says, we fight and quarrel because of our selfish demands. He goes on to say that even our prayers are not answered because we ask from wrong motives in order to serve our selfish desires.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Drugs and the Government



The President and top government officials are calling drugs a national crisis and want to DO something. This is an area very close to the heart of President Trump because his brother died from alcoholism, which is still a very dangerous drug. 

The challenge to reduce addiction and early death is very great. I have been working in Mental Health and Addiction for a long time and I certainly do not have THE ANSWER.
I do have some suggestions. 


1. One of the least expensive ways to reduce addiction is churches with Recovery Groups. The most successful programs in Russia  was Recovery for both Addicts and for Co-Dependent family members. Supporting family members is as important as helping addicts.
Addiction rates in Russia are ten times worse than ours but they have been very successful by helping families!

Drugs are only one part of the total Compulsive and Dependent behavior spectrum. People also get hooked on sex, pornography, the internet, food, anger, etc. 



Options for Us

A. Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are the most prevalent. They also sponsor Al Anon for family members

B. Celebrate Recovery is a Christ centered program with many resources to get started.  http://www.celebraterecovery.com/


C. Teaching people to pray is very helpful.


D. Trained Peer Helpers is important.


E. Train people that the scripture says, "There is no condemnation" for people that struggle. So, let us stop condemning addicts. 

In Cincinnati we can get help at:


City Gospel Mission https://www.citygospelmission.org/recovery/


The Serenity Network has several options.

nfo@serenityrecoverynetwork.org

The Cincinnati Vineyard has groups for addicts plus they train Helpers.


Addictive Behavior = Compulsions + Dependency 

Compulsions arise to quell inner guilt and shame. If we add to the addict's guilt and shame
we can do damage. 

Dependency is  the result of a desire for happiness and joy. If that comes froms ex and 

drugs we need to offer better feelings of spiritual joy to replace
the momentary feelings from bad behavior. 

Prayer and meditation can raise good feelings and reduce the need to false highs. 


Never, ever, suggest that a person cannot change. 

Never be Pessimistic. Always promote Faith, Hope, and Love.



The best interventions is a combination of 
Inner healing prayers and Power Christian Thinking. Many sex addicts were brought to recovery with that combination plus worship at College Hill Church. 


Ministers: Do not preach against drugs, porn, sex, alcohol, etc. 
It can make the problem worse by increasing guilt and shame. Preach 
Healthy behavior and resting in Christ. Preach answers not failures
and problems. 


Get my Power Christian Thinking Book for use yourself.