Thursday, July 28, 2011

Spiritual Disciplines for Todays People

I was an adult living in Cincinnati when I first heard the term, "Spiritual Disciplines". In my church we did not think about the disciplines that might help us grow up into maturity in Christ. In fact, there was very little emphasis on growth in maturity. We tended to think of it more as growing in our ability to resist sinning.

Over the past several decades I have attended seminars gone on spiritual retreats, sponsored spiritual retreats, fasted, wrote down my dreams and done various other things to learn how to use some simple disciplines to grow up into God. I am still a novice at this stuff but I probably know more than most Christians.

That is why I am leading a time of learning and practicing various spiritual disciplines. I have found several approaches to be extremely helpful to me personally and some of them are quite easy to learn and apply.

Come to the Life Way Counseling Center in Blue Ash on Monday, August 8 and learn about "Touching the hem of His garment". See the enclosed brochure and contact us today so you can sign up along with other spiritually hungry friends.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Norways Grief

The news from Norway is grim and full of agony for the people who lost family and friends and for all Norwegians. Norwegians are justly proud of their national emphasis on peace, love and Christian compassion. The State Lutheran Church as well as the Lutheran Free Church and other Free Churches that are not State Controlled are among the most open and caring groups on the planet. That fact alone makes the headlines which scream that the killer of so many was a "Christian Fundamentalist" seem unreal and fantastic.

At this moment my prayers and condolences go to the many friends Karen and I have there. I have made over forty trips to Norway and other Scandinavian nations and I love the people and the way they treat others with so much care. That is why the recent killings seem so out of place and so painful for the Believers there and here to comprehend.

People tend to jump to conclusions and the temptation to do immediate Psychiatric analysis about the killer and his family are too much for many to resist. After reading an interview with his father I wanted to think that he was getting even with a very liberal dad who abandoned him as a child and had not seen him for decades. But that may not be true. I have never spoken to these people so it is probably my projection rather than his inner hate.

So, let us refrain from judging anyone but the killer and pray for our friends and the nation of Norway. Their grief must be overwhelming.

Shalom my friends.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Misery Loves Me

The past three Sundays I have spoken at two different churches on the power to heal or harm our brain by the ways we pray, think and relate with God. Today I am posting a sure fire way to be miserable now.

Many of us know that passage from Proverbs that says, "As a person thinks in his heart so he will become". (Sweeten Summary) Over the years I have found that to be quite true. It is one more incident where the Bible's wisdom that came from writers who lived thousands of years ago were inspired by the God who created us and knows how we operate. (Many people suggest that the Bible is actually "The Owner's Manual!)

Now let us quickly admit that thinking ALONE will not solve all our physical and spiritual problems but Stinking Thinking can certainly cause a lot of them. We also need prayer, love and sometime medicine. But, we might need less medicine and less healing prayers if we thought about God and the world with more faith and hope and love.

For all of you who struggle with fears, anxieties, depression and anger listen up. The main cause is often the fact that we react to life by REACTIVELY RUMINATING rather than MEDITATING on God and His word.

To Ruminate means that we ponder, review, compulsively embrace the painful events in our lives. We capture them and think about them and twist and turn them into poison pills that eat at our souls. Meditate is the opposite. It means that we ponder, recall, enjoy, review and regale in the goodness of God.

I want to ask you to consider one action step. Only ONE thing. Agree that at least three days each week you will choose to Meditate on God's grace and mercy and not Ruminate on your misfortunes.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Meditation versus Rumination

Bible stories are full of commands and examples of people who encounter God. Today those experiences would likely be considered signs of a mental illness, and some are because we have not learned how to distinguish between the two very different events.

As a Mental Health Professional and a Christian I have had to deal with some people who are so distressed and unbalanced that they hear voices and see visions of things that are not from God. I have also encountered people who did hear from God and see things in dreams and visions that were at least "Holy Spirit inspired".

Like St. Paul who was compulsed to go here and there as an evangelist until he heard from God to "Come over to Macedonia, we human Christians are a mixture of ideas from both the flesh and the Spirit. That makes the gift of discernment critically important. Unfortunately, because of our lack of experience and bad experiences with unbalanced "spirituality" we find i9t difficult to find people with enough maturity and wisdom to discern whether an experience is from God or man.

One of our problems is the tendency of the human brain to focus obsessively on defending ourselves not hearing God's voice. This means that the default position of the brain is divisive, angry and negative. That kind of over focus on the fallen world rather than God's word can block our ability to face God with love, grace and mercy. A negative focus is RUMINATION.

Rumination is my brain's desire to think on sin, temptation, condemnation, pain, failures and God's displeasure. Meditation focuses on God's love, mercy and grace. Read David's desires as stated in Psalm 27: The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear.

If we meditate as David did on God's light and my salvation we will enjoy his positiver presence.

As David said, "I want to gaze on God". That will allow us to be built up in the Spirit not torn down in the flesh.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Effectiveness of Peer Helpers

Since I worked on a Doctorate in Counseling Education in the Seventies I have been interested in research about who is an effective Helper and why. For example, when I studied for a Masters
Degree the emphasis about effectiveness was almost totally on the theories of different authors. Our professors had us read all the "great and famous writers" and choose the one we thought would be the most effective in helping people in psychological pain.

None of us had any idea, of course, because we were there to learn what was most effective and now they said we had to figure it all out ourselves. I came from a small town where agriculture was the main employment. The farmers, generally speaking, knew what kind of soil grew corn best and which grew tomatoes best. They tried different crops and took notes about what happened from crop to crop. And, they looked at the results of the yield and decided what was the best thing to do.

Some of them attended agriculture school and actually read books about how to raise the biggest crops and biggest animals. They knew clearly that the goal was bigger ears of corn, more bushels per acre and more money in the bank.

Graduate school for Counseling and Education was different. Many people held theories about what Counselors ought to do but none of them bothered to see if their theories worked. In fact, there was great confusion about the goals of Counseling.

This approach lasted even through my Doctoral program and I was looking for a dissertation topic when I attended a week long workshop on"What Works and Does Not Work in Helping".
I discovered that there are several "CORE SKILLS" that are always present in effective Helpers. No matter what we call the Helpers, if they relate with these skills, the Seeker/Client will get better; improve; experience relief; reach his goals. And, it matters not if they have an advanced education or not.

Here are the core skills and attitudes:

Genuineness, Respect, Empathy and Warmth.

Have you noticed that these skills are mighty close to what the Bible tells us to do? Read Galatians 5 and see the Fruit of the Holy Spirit are: Love, Joy, Peace, Gentleness, Kindness, Patience, etc. These are foundational to helping people get better. Now take a look at this recent research.

A very sound study was conducted by Bright, Baker and Niemeyer in 1999 that compared professional and paraprofessional groups for treatment of depression using two therapeutic approaches - Cognitive Behavior Therapy and mutual support which is a self-help format widely taught to peer-led support groups. The patients included in the study were suffering with severe depression (BDI scores of 20 to 23 pre-treatment).

Here’s what they found:

1. Type of therapy - (CBT vs mutual support) - no difference
2. Therapist background - (professional or not) - no difference (non-significant trend favouring professionals with CBT but not mutual support)

The study is:

Bright JI, Baker KD, Niemeyer RA: Professional and paraprofessional group treatments for depression: A comparison of Cognitive-behavioral and mutual support interventions. J Consult Clin Psychol 1999, 67:491-501.

So, lay persons can be every bit as effective with hurting people as educated ones.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Let God Heal Your Soul

Resting Together

The promises of God about healing the ways we think, feel and act are numerous in the Bible and even more numerous in real life. As John Newton wrote in Amazing Grace, "I once was lost and now I am found; was blind and now I see."

It took a long time after receiving Christ for Newton to get his eyes opened so he saw just how evil the slave trade in which he was a key factor was. He had been a professing Christian for years before God's Holy Spirit got hold of him and convicted him of the sin of selling men and women as if they were cattle.

But Newton did see the light. He did repent and now he is known as a hero of the faith because his testimony has been sung multiplied millions of times. Amazing Grace is the most often recorded song by the most different array of singers, bands and orchestras in history. why? Why are people so infatuated by those words? why are they so powerful that they almost always bring tears to our eyes when we hear it played?

The text and the tune are both powerful. The text is all about getting a second chance or a third or a fourth. No matter how big and strong we are another chance looks good to us because we know our weaknesses and frailties. Some preachers think we need to confront people with their sins. they think too many modern churches have "Watered down the gospel" by offering God's love and grace too much.

I disagree. In my 40 or so years of counseling I have rarely met anyone who was not aware of their weaknesses. That awareness might be so painful and shameful; that they will refuse to look at it fully, but they know they are sinners. They know they have missed the marks in life. They know they need amazing grace but they may NOT know it has a sweet sound. In fact, the preaching they heard was overly strong on the ages of sin and not too much on the wages of grace.

So, John Newton was evidently writing to himself. He knew he was a sinner with an evil heart. He had used female slaves sexually and abused all of them. He had made money off breaking human hearts. Thankfully, God's grace broke in and he tasted the sweet candy of forgiveness and a clean heart.

What is bugging you? Do you need a big dose of God's grace and love? If so, take your medicine. A spoon full of grace will make that medicine go down. Go to God and agree with Him about your needs. He already knows all about your sin so get rid of it immediately.

See our web for more good stuff.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Relationships Bring Life or Death

it was the summer of 1969 and I had a study leave coming from my position as Assistant Dean of Students at the University of Cincinnati. My boss, Dr. Bill Nester, had just appointed me as his assistant and wanted to get some training for me in group dynamics. I had seen a three week conference planned with Dr. Carl Rogers leading it at the University of Illinois, and I wanted to go be with the most famous Counselor in America.

So, off I went to join about 75 other Psychologists, Counselors, Pastors and Priests in Champaign, Illinois for three weeks. It was a life changing three weeks because I was thrown in with a wide variety of therapists from all walks of life and all kinds of beliefs.

As a committed Christian I was always looking for ways to integrate my faith and my profession as a Counselor and Dean. I was thrilled to know that Dr. Carl Rogers and his team would be there for part of the time. I knew he was seminary drop out and thought we might be able to have some interesting discussions about faith. That did not happen with Dr. Rogers but it certainly did with some others.

Before we get to that, let me say what was one of the most powerful statements and teachings I heard during those three weeks of lectures and small group practices. First, Dr. Rogers said clearly that Professional Psychologists, Counselors and Social Workers were no more effective than ordinary men and women who acted as friends and supporters.

This was dynamite. I was shocked and stunned. I had finished a Masters Degree just two years before that and I was working on a Doctorate at that time. In fact, I was getting credit for "Independent Study" because of my attendance at his seminar. Why spend thousands of dollars on graduate education if it does not help?

Second, Dr. rogers added prophetically that in a few years there would be so many distressed and broken people in the USA that there would never be enough money and Professionals to treat all of them. The answer was??? Training and releasing Peer helpers!!!!!

Another famous Psychologist was also in attendance as a guest speaker. I had never heard of him. It was O.H. Mowrer, former President of the American Psychology Association and a strong supporter of Peer Support Systems. I was in a small group with Dr. Mowrer for a week and chatted with him for many hours.

He said something even more startling than the statements by Dr. Rogers. "The early church was the most powerful healing community that the world has ever known. People came into the church broken, bruised and distressed and they became whole. As an atheist I don't know why they taught all that supernatural stuff but it was a powerful source of healing."

I returned to Cincinnati with a passion to once again make churches into strong healing communities by training Peers to care, love and pray. They are the key source of healing, growth and change in the world if we can unleash them from their bondage to leaders that insist that the members must follow a top down approach.

Let my people grow!

Let my people Go!

If you want to join the army of peace, love joy and healing go to our web page and read about what we do so you can come and be with us.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Help Us Today

Today is the last day to vote for us at Cincinnati Innovates, a local organization trying to foster a new spirit of innovation among the people. Go visit their site and see what you think. I am excited they are carrying out this kind of activity to help Cincinnati become even more innovative than it already is.

Your vote for us is also important. We have a chance to win the popularity contest and also one of the other prizes. Every vote can help us until midnight tonight.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Healing and Growth through Relationships

The new emphasis of our work to support families with Special Needs has a funny name: Village Initiative with Parents. You may wonder why we chose it when it can lead to misunderstanding.

Well, number one, the initials VIP are shorthand for Very Important People. Let's face it, not many of us think that moms and dads are VIPs and we certainly do NOT think kids with Special Needs are VIPs. So, we are subtly trying to get the message across that they are Very Important People.

Secondly, we are piggybacking on the African Village saying that, "It takes a whole village to raise a child." Mrs. Hilary Clinton made that proverb world famous with her book on supporting children. Many of my friends and supporters do not like her and President Clinton and warned me not to use it but I was very familiar with it before Hilary popularized it. I am also not afraid of Democrats.

Here is what it means to me. A village indicates a small, close net group of individuals and families who live, work, play and worship together. The Malay word I learned in Singapore was Kampung. In my Kampung of Ina, Illinois-population 300-everybody knew everybody and all our business. we also knew each others problems and issues and needs. This is both good and bad.

It was good because we helped each other out. The Bible verse that says, "Bear one anothers burdens and thereby fulfill the work of Christ" comes close to mimicking the Village proverb and we did that often in my house. It means to help each other with loads too great to carry alone. It does not mean to do for others what they are called to do for themselves. We were imperfect but we discussed those things and tried to be helpful.

One of the most important things a village does is provide emotional and spiritual support while also doing practical deeds of neighborliness. We went to church together and enjoyed festivals together and, in my house, attended wakes and funerals together.

I was never attracted to that last part. I did not like being around dead people and sad events. But I had no choice. My parents were champion funeral and wake attenders. My mom sang at most and dad was a Deacon who knew everybody in two or three counties. Besides, the widows and parents of the deceased needed our love, compassion and presence. I learned to really appreciate grief work.

Presence. That is key. It is, in fact, the most important part of a healing and a loving community. Let's face it. We cannot bring the dead person back or heal the sick ourselves, but by our presence we offer hope, support and love. Nothing beats presence. As they say, "Showing up is half the job". Nope, I would say it is worth more than that.

Here is my point: It is essential in the 21st Century to develop INTENTIONAL COMMUNITY because we no longer have spontaneous communities. All small churches want to get big and all big churches want to get small. So, I am committed to building a kampung or an intentional community of loving, caring praying people who are willing to be PRESENT with the families with special needs.

I believe that substantial growth and healing is possible only within a community;a kampung, a village. We are going to use every digital, human, relational, written and visual tool possible but we are going to build caring relationships. We will add action steps of practical assistance but they must always arise out of care and understanding not a robotic, mechanical bureaucracy.

So, we are The Village; a community; a group of people who care and relate and who are friends. It will take a whole village to care for these families and we will do our best to spread the good news. Vote for us at Cincinnati Innovates.

Want to learn more? Go to our web site.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Fantastic Conference

We have been invited to share the results of our research as well as our planned actions steps to support families with special needs in many venues so far this year. However, none are as exciting as the one taking place this Fall at Cedarville University.

Here are th details and I hope you can attend both of the conferences.

Two Conferences. One Weekend. One Passion for Life.

Cedarville University and Joni and Friends present:

Bioethics Conference 2011 and Through the Roof Summit, September 15 – 17, 2011 at Cedarville University in Cedarville, Ohio. We have assembled an impressive array of experts in the field to address the hot-button issue of bioethics from a biblical perspective. This timely conference focuses on Equipping for End-of-Life Ministry to both young and old.

Joni Eareckson Tada will deliver a not-to-be-missed address as well as tie these two exciting conferences together with an inspiring keynote on Friday afternoon. Prepare to be challenged and educated Saturday in Embracing the Disability Community as you experience over 40 breakout sessions.

Professionals in the fields of psychiatry and psychology, pastors, authors, and parents bring their expertise to this full day of training. Round up a group and don’t miss a single thing as we address topics including: Autism Spectrum Disorders, Physical Impairments, and Hidden Disabilities as well as the impact of a child’s disability on the family and the child’s own spiritual development.

Plus, we have exciting new ways to partner with other churches and organizations for outreach to this largest unreached people group.

Sweeten Life Systems will unveil its new VIP emphasis on supporting families with opecial needs.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Psychiatric Drugs make Dopes of Us

In a two part series in the New York Times Magazine, Marcia Angell reviews three books on the dangers and scandal of overusing drugs to treat so many children and adults whose behavior is not calm, still and compliant. These two articles are amazingly powerful and very damning of modern Psychiatry. I wonder if being a Witch Doctor is not more ethical than these people who prescribe dope for every conceivable problem.

This is not all Doctors, of course, but many who see only problems that a pill will answer. Some Doctors are wholistic and believe in prayer, loving support and good counseling. The ones described by Ms. Angell did not look at any of those ways to support children.

Even government agencies are colluding with this Medicine Only Model. If a family can get a specific diagnosis then there can be money for drugs but not for other support. We at Life Way Counseling Centers have Psychiatrists but we believe in treating the whole person, not just the parts that a pill will alter. Always look for a holistic Doctor.

I have long criticized the medical model for its slavery to drugs. However, I was unaware of how many Doctors have been bought off my big pharma. More than any other specialty, Psychiatry is in the pocket of drug companies.

Below is a summary of Ms. Angell's second article. Read and weep for our kids.

The books by Irving Kirsch, Robert Whitaker, and Daniel Carlat are powerful indictments of the way psychiatry is now practiced. They document the “frenzy” of diagnosis, the overuse of drugs with sometimes devastating side effects, and widespread conflicts of interest. Critics of these books might argue, as Nancy Andreasen implied in her paper on the loss of brain tissue with long-term antipsychotic treatment, that the side effects are the price that must be paid to relieve the suffering caused by mental illness. If we knew that the benefits of psychoactive drugs outweighed their harms, that would be a strong argument, since there is no doubt that many people suffer grievously from mental illness. But as Kirsch, Whitaker, and Carlat argue convincingly, that expectation may be wrong.

At the very least, we need to stop thinking of psychoactive drugs as the best, and often the only, treatment for mental illness or emotional distress. Both psychotherapy and exercise have been shown to be as effective as drugs for depression, and their effects are longer-lasting, but unfortunately, there is no industry to push these alternatives and Americans have come to believe that pills must be more potent. More research is needed to study alternatives to psychoactive drugs, and the results should be included in medical education.

In particular, we need to rethink the care of troubled children. Here the problem is often troubled families in troubled circumstances. Treatment directed at these environmental conditions—such as one-on-one tutoring to help parents cope or after-school centers for the children—should be studied and compared with drug treatment. In the long run, such alternatives would probably be less expensive.

(NOTE: My research found that Parents and Peer Friends are often as effective as Professionals with many children.)

Our reliance on psychoactive drugs, seemingly for all of life’s discontents, tends to close off other options. In view of the risks and questionable long-term effectiveness of drugs, we need to do better. Above all, we should remember the time-honored medical dictum: first, do no harm (primum non nocere).

This is the second part of a two-part article.

Do not trust your child to drugs without checking them out. Seek a Christian Doctor.

Monday, July 4, 2011

My YWAM Friends in Sudan

As you may know, southern Sudan has been at war for decades. The people are deeply traumatized and their families are in disarray. My friends in Australia, Bruce and Nellie Litchfield, my former students in YWAM, run a dental clinic down under and run a family school in their spare time.

Read these two letters about their upcoming trip there to do a Family Life School. The conditions are unbelievable and yet they will serve Christ by healing families and better yet, Making disciples. Consider sending them some support.

Southern Sudan and Uganda Student and Orphanage Assistance Fund, 2011

We have been invited to speak in seminars in Southern Sudan (Yei - YWAM Family Ministries School, the first in Sudan) and also to run seminars in SE Uganda and at an orphanage which we have been supporting for many years.

We will be away for some 18 days commencing 21 July.

Our neighbour and my dental office manager, Chris Morressey, will be coming with us.

Some 30 students are doing the six month family ministry training program in Yei. These people are extremely poor and can barely pay their $20 enrolment fee let alone the $400 total fee.

They need help.

Also there are some 40 students doing the UIFC counselling training program in Uganda, based on our AIFC program, and they likewise have great difficulty paying their fees.

Needless to say the orphanage is in constant need of funds to expand and continue.

We need at least $15,000 to bless these people.

Nellie and I will be giving substantially to the fund.

I should mention that all costs associated with this short-term mission, as well as other YWAM missions which we are involved in, are paid for from our own income and especially from the dental practice - not from AIFC.

What can you do to help these very poor people?

Southern Sudan is ever poor than Uganda having recently come out a long civil war. (See report below).

If you can help please send us a cheque made out to NB and PJ Litchfield on behalf of the Family Resource Centre YWAM Canberra well before we leave so we can convert it into US dollars. Every cent will go to the poor in Africa as mentioned above.

You will be greatly blessed as you support the poor and needy.

Blessings to you all,


Rod Baines from AIFC Perth has just been to Southern Sudan are sent this very interesting report a few days ago.

“I have been invited to YEI Sudan to teach on a YWAM school and other ministries opportunities.

I am in a 19 seat propeller plane about to land with its 6 occupants

Customs clearance is in a tin shed where I contribute my photo and US$65 (visa) to a tall very dark man official.

The YWAM Utility is my transport.

Augustine drives; who I later find out is the base leader.

Our trip is slow due to the potholed gravel road, and as the vehicles universal joints are shot.

No funds to fix, so they just travel slowly.

The continual villages we pass are very poor, with few good gardens.

Small stalls sell paraffin (for lamps) petrol (for vehicles) and cooking oil all in small used plastic bottles – sure hope they don’t get the contents mixed up.

Many sell home produced alcohol, big problem here.

This Nation for 20 years up to 2005 was at war with the North. The South was fed by food dropped out of UN planes, then people scrambled to find and back into the forest.

They did not garden – too dangerous. A generation of gardeners/farmers have been lost! See no cows and only a few goats.

All manufactured goods come from Uganda (these were previously manufactured in Northern Sudan).

Found out later that any meat (beef & chicken are also from Uganda)

All items due to transport/taxes etc. are 2 to 3 times more expensive than in Uganda.

YEI is located 47 miles from the Ugandan border and 28 miles from the Congo border.

Reckon if I get in trouble the 28 mile walk sounds doable.

They are beginning to learn to garden again with maize (for posha) ground nuts and cassava.

Many are traumatized by 2 decades of war, evidenced by fighting especially amongst the boys.

The YWAM base, built by a generous benefactor in the Netherlands, has few buildings, but a community School and bore.

I estimate the bore provides at least 3,500 litres of good water to the nearby villages.

To evangelize they want something in return, have become accustomed to receive from the UN.

I alight from the vehicle and go to get my case – no, it is to be carried by the “hospitality lady”, who also balances a 20 litre yellow jerry can on her head for the 800 metre walk.

I am humbled.

Over my time I help with the water carrying, which replaced my home gym workouts.

My lodgings are sparse, single bed with mosquito net.

No electricity, no running water, outside a “long drop” and a western toilet, with ants, blowflies, bees, hornets and moths.

I laugh at a sign in the toilet block:

“If you make a mistake – fix it. It shows your level of maturity”

Lights out as the sun goes down at 7.30pm, lights on as the sun comes up at 6.00am

Meet my class, such lovely people:

Jarrod an American married to an Egyptian wife – small child.

Sudanese: John, Joseph 1 and Joseph 2.

Sudanese: Sorobo with wife Betty with the last of 6 children on the breast.

Alcoholic Arabic Muslim: Samuel, former soldier.

Sudanese : Kissam

Congolese: Martin – Missionary to Dalphur (Northern Sudan, where the present Genocide is taking place)

Sudanese: Base Leader Augustine with wife Miriam with 7 children, the last on the breast.

Augustine tells me of an unreached people group 100 kms away that they are evangelizing – the men are naked and the women wear covering on the “bottom half” only – they are communicating through a neighboring clan, as they cannot speak the unreached people group language. Progress is slow, but he is very optimistic. This is the real Church!!!!

Ugandan: Innocence & Alice with 2 small children.

Ugandan : George & Ann, barren no children married for 12 years.

England: Quiet girl of 19 years Susannah.

Sudanese: The Dean of the Anglican Cathedral- Uriah

Sudanese : Henry a Pentecostal Pastor with an Aid NGO

That’s it a mixed bunch with Fred/Josephine, Emily, Kennedy, Jane Brenda as Staff.

When I speak there are 2 other voices going on as Sorobo translates into Arabic for Samuel and George transfers into a Ugandan Dialect for Ann.

All this happens at the same time, I just speak normally without break and they do the rest.

Our meals are Posha (Ground Maize Flour) & beans with periodically 2 pieces 1 to 2 inch square of beef.

They also cook rice for me, when they see me struggle with the posha.

Speak every day in the School for 4 hours. Much of it, is discipleship as non existent. These dear souls need the basics, and they are so hungry to receive. It is such a privilege to be involved by the Father in this way.

We have an incredible time as God’s children!

We are so spoilt with so many tapes and books in our land.

They have other meetings, in the community and city for me during the day.

I often feel tired, but invigorated by the activities.

My quiet times I sense the presence of God – He is with me.

As I speak I get continual revelation from the Father.

I feel “warm and free” in my soul.

Visit an Orphanage opened and still run by an American Lady, with 1 leg and only 1 hip from birth.

She loves God and 108 orphaned street kids.

I feel so rich and humbled at the same time.

I experience again God’s heart for the poor and orphaned.

I cry inside as I consider my riches.

Southern Sudan becomes a Republic early in July 2011: there is celebration and fear:

Fear that the Northern Muslims will attack again soon.

Fear that the West will let it happen.

Joy that Southern Sudan (Christian) could be a new Israel.

I visit the city of Yei, with its one level tin sheds.

Dust everywhere, until we have a huge storm – the streets become a muddy avalanche of water & rubbish a meter high going past.

There are some very tall, very dark men here, up to 7 feet tall and with the women nearly as tall.

They are seen as special and command a very high “bride price”

Many Christians are still polygamists and drink freely.

Much drink appears to anesthetize the trauma

Its time to go, they verbally express their gratitude.

Emotions by us all are raw.

The base leader applauds my courage and lack of fear for coming.

Others refuse to come due to conditions and political instability.

I am amazed as for me, it is another day in the life of a “rescued child of God”.

Bought 2 Ugandan chickens/chooks at the market, costs me US $20.

We are celebrating before I fly out the next day – “Chicken & Chapattis”

Start for the Airport by pushing the utility (with others) for 800 meters to get it started (goes with the territory)

See a Norwegian Land cruiser with a team for clearing land mines.

Father thank you that “you order my steps”.

Feel I have tasted a bit of heaven on earth with God’s chosen people.

I am overwhelmed by the love of these people and my Father.

I am sure I will return!

Rod Baines”

Dr Bruce Litchfield

President and Chief Executive Officer,

Australian Institute of Family Counselling Ltd.

RTO Provider: 88037

CRICOS Provider: 02400A

AIFC National Office

PO box 210, Gungahlin, ACT 2912

Tel: 02 62425111, 1300 721 397




Director, Family Resource Centre Canberra (YWAM)

Director, Litchfield Family Services Pty Ltd.

PO Box 586, Gungahlin, ACT, 2912, Australia

Tel: +61 2 6242 9928, Mob: 0407 268 187

Fax: +61 2 6242 9935



Non Traditional healing

The healing stories found in the Gospels and Letters are generally dismissed by many modern scientists, physicians and heal care workers. And, any minister of counselor who prays for the sick is usually labeled as a primitive, unlearned, uneducated rube by the news media and others.

If this is true, and I can offer many examples, why are Eastern mysticism like Buddhism and Hinduism with their emphasis on Yoga mantras, breathing, nutrition, etc so popular at health workout centers, hospitals and medical clinics? They are considered "alternative healing" and training is often led by a doctor or nurse in a medical facility.

It may be because they seem to be exotic and no one really understands the theology behind them. The evangelists for Eastern Mysticism have been brilliant in their soft approach. Buddhism in its easily mastered western face has been "adopted" at least verbally by millions of people in the USA.

But we do not see classes and workshops on prayer, Bible reading, contemplation and so forth in many hospitals. Even those with Christian names are often hostile to Christian activities. A couple of decades ago I held a seminar at Bethesda Hospital on this topic. I asked the group of 50 or so nurses, clinicians, counselors, etc. where the name of the hospital came from and one or two knew its origin. It is obvious that the leaders of Bethesda were not proud of their Christian tradition that focused on the healing by Jesus of the lame man at the Pool of Bethesda.

In fact, much of the Old and New Testaments focus a lot on health, disease prevention, healing and human growth. Unfortunately, many Christian leaders and churches have left those parts of the New Testament out of their teachings and or practices. The Roman Catholic Church is huge, powerful and ubiquitous. Their influence is enormous. Thus, when they made the passage in the book of James that says sick people need to call for the elders of the church and receive prayer for healing into "Last Rites for the Dying" we can only imagine why so few looked at that rite as a positive intervention.

Protestant churches are even stronger because Catholics will indeed pray for healing. Many Protestants will not. No wonder even Christian scientists and doctors think we who do pray are off base. Steve Griebling and I wrote a book on inner healing several years ago. If you are interested let me know and I will send it to you.

The research about knowing Christ, following Christ and praying to Christ as The Great Physician shows positive outcomes in almost every situation. Why, then, is the research ignored and rejected when patients can really benefit from it?

Friday, July 1, 2011

Non Medical Healing and Growth

I was speaking in Europe several years ago. The other speaker was a tiny man from Africa. The man was an Anglican Priest and Bishop known in his part of the world as a powerful man of faith and healing. Some of the Clergy in the audience did not take the Bishop very seriously for several reasons.

1. He was African and thought to be inferior.
2. They did not believe his theology was strong. This was a group that was terribly proud of its solid, deep theology.
3. He talked about the supernatural healing and interventions through prayer. Although this was a seminar for Christian Pastors and Priests most were humanistic and secular in their thinking. After all, Africans were primitive but we westerners are sophisticated. We know God no longer heals and brings change. Their disbelief was very strong.
4. He was very small. he did not look like a man of power.
5. He had not prepared for the European winter. He wore sandals because his country was on the Equator.

During the workshop/seminar the Bishop told story after story about miracles of healing. The Europeans asked all kinds of detailed questions like, "Do you pray as Clergy to prepare before you have people come in for healing prayer?"

His answer was "Of course."

They asked, "How long do you pray?"

He said, "Until we are finished."

They asked, "How do you know you are finished preparing in prayer?"

He said, "God tells us when to stop."

Finally, in frustration the Bishop said, "I will ask Dr. Sweeten finish. He knows how to talk with you better than I."

How do we talk with unbelieving people who need God's power?