Saturday, December 31, 2011

Predictions Anyone

Here we are on the cusp of 2012 wondering what will happen this year. My family gathers each year at Christmas and New Year to celebrate Christ's birth and celebrate family.

One of our traditions is to write a list of ten or so Predictions about the coming year. Then we gather around the table after dinner and read our predictions and count who has done the best job of seeing into the future. This year Grandma and eldest Daughter tied. If we were judged on prophesy the same way the Prophets of old were we would be facing the guillotine.

With elections coming up we had to choose a Republican and then choose the winner between him and Obama. We also have to predict the Bengals record and the DOW Jones Level. Below are some big predictions by famous people that were dead wrong. It shows you why the USSR was such a terrible economy: the Communist Party tried to predict what would be best to produce and they failed miserably
. It is also why the people in DC who predicted that the public really needed gasoline made from corn cost us billions of dollars. And don't get me started on Solyndra.
"Man will never reach the moon regardless of all future scientific advances."
                -- Dr. Lee DeForest, "Father of Radio & Grandfather of Television."
"The bomb will never go off. I speak as an expert in explosives."
                - - Admiral William Leahy , US Atomic Bomb Project
"There is no likelihood man can ever tap the power of the atom."
                -- Robert Millikan, Nobel Prize in Physics, 1923
"Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons."
                -- Popular Mechanics, forecasting the relentless march 
of science, 1949
"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers."
               -- Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943
"I have traveled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that 
won't last out the year."
               -- The editor in charge of business books for Prentice Hall, 1957
"But what is it good for?"
               -- Engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM, 1968, 
commenting on the microchip.
"640K ought to be enough for anybody."-- Bill Gates, 1981
This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as 
a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us,"
               -- Western Union internal memo, 1876.
"The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would 
pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?"
                -- David Sarnoff's associates in response to his 
urgings for investment in the radio in the 1920s.
"The concept is interesting and well-formed, but in order to earn better 
than a 'C,' the idea must be feasible,"
                -- A Yale University management professor in response 
to Fred Smith's paper proposing reliable overnight delivery service. 
(Smith went on to found Federal Express Corp.)
"I'm just glad it'll be Clark Gable who's falling on his face and not 
Gary Cooper,"--Gary Cooper on his decision not to take the leading role in "Gone 
With The Wind."
"A cookie store is a bad idea. Besides, the market research reports say 
America likes crispy cookies, not soft and chewy cookies like you make,"
                -- Response to Debbi Fields' idea of starting Mrs. 
Fields' Cookies.
"We don't like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out," -- Decca Recording Co. rejecting the Beatles, 1962.
"Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible,"-- Lord Kelvin, president, Royal Society, 1895.
"If I had thought about it, I wouldn't have done the experiment. The 
literature was full of examples that said you can't do this,"
                -- Spencer Silver on the work that led to the unique 
adhesives for 3-M "Post-It" Notepads.
"Drill for oil? You mean drill into the ground to try and find oil? You're crazy,"-- Drillers who Edwin L. Drake tried to enlist to his project to drill 
for oil in 1859.
"Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau."
               -- Irving Fisher, Professor of Economics, Yale University , 1929.
"Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value,"
              -- Marechal Ferdinand Foch, Professor of Strategy, Ecole Superieure de 
Guerre ,France.
"Everything that can be invented has been invented,"-- Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, US Office of 
Patents, 1899.
"The super computer is technologically impossible. It would take all of 
the water that flows over Niagara Falls to cool the heat generated by 
the number of vacuum tubes required."
               -- Professor of Electrical Engineering, New York University
"I don't know what use any one could find for a machine that would make 
copies of documents. It certainly couldn't be a feasible business by itself."
               -- the head of IBM, refusing to back the idea, forcing the inventor to 
found Xerox.
"Louis Pasteur's theory of germs is ridiculous fiction."
                -- Pierre Pachet, Professor of Physiology at Toulouse , 1872
"The abdomen, the chest, and the brain will forever be shut from the 
intrusion of the wise and humane surgeon,"
               -- Sir John Eric Ericksen, British surgeon, appointed 
Surgeon-Extraordinary to Queen Victoria 1873.
                And last but not least...
"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home."
               -- Ken Olson, president founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977

Friday, December 30, 2011

Pain is Inevitable Misery is Optional

The so-called, Self Esteem Movement in America has been a series of unmitigated disasters leading to the development of wimps with depression and fear. It seems that the Self Esteem Movement has attempted to eliminate all short term mental and emotional PAIN and has thereby promulgated long-term misery.

In sports and all other kinds of naturally competitive activities the Self Esteem Movement fanatics see to it that everyone gets credit for winning even if they refuse to show up and compete. The awards ceremonies are filled with non-winners and failures that get honors and awards anyway. Such nonsense tends to develop either adults with a strong dose of cynicism who think all people in authority are dweebs and fakers or conversely those with a hothouse mentality so fragile that they collapse into a heap of self-condemnation at the first sign of a failure.

Far better would be an approach that fostered extreme competition and developed a tough resilient mentality that would not break the first time they were called a bad name. The Self Esteem Movement has led to the development of another American tragedy, the Politically Correct Police and it’s bastard son, Hate Speech Laws.

One day last year a six year old kid called another first grader some kind of bad name. I do not remember exactly what it was but I think it had to do with sexual dysfunction. The offended boy went home and told his mommy who immediately called the school principal and demanded that more protection be placed on the bus so her super-sensitive son would have his ears protected from other little boys name calling.

Unable to get her satisfaction with the principal she went to the school board and demanded more bus police. Can you imagine that her son will not develop the named sexual dysfunction with such an overactive and oppressive mother? Is no one aware of how much such behavior is overkill?

We need kids with hardened ears and resilient brains who will not faint at the first sign of rejection, dislike and conflict. Why are the Self Esteem Movement people teaching kids to give such power to others? Do they not know the old saw “Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me?”

Why teach our children that they should allow every jerk to control their feelings and behavior? This develops adults who are only one insensitive jerk away from total collapse and death from a heart attack.

By attempting to nanny pain away we have almost guaranteed the recipients who buy the lies it is built upon a lifetime of misery. Self Esteem Movement robots can only develop mental notes of helplessness, hopelessness and haplessness.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Great Time With Grand Kids

I am wondering how many of my friends have been with grand kids during the holiday. Having grand kids is a joy. Karen and I are so much more relaxed now than when we had our own kids. I was so uptight about producing perfect kids that I tried to force my ideas on them rather than trusting God for them.

Since then I have learned the truth of the Bible verse that says, "If you seek to save your life you will lose it". Trying to live my life through my kids or my job always ends in disappointment for me and them. Now, I can let those grand kids be themselves without getting uptight because they are rambunctious or loud or fighting.

How about you? Can you chill out and enjoy the grand kids?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Incarnation is For Me

How would I make it through life without the Holy Spirit dwelling inside of me? I don't do so very well with the Holy Spirit so I do not like to think how awful I could be without the guidance and love of God actually permeating my body and soul.

Young people and adults with certain kinds of personalities tend to see the world in specifics. so, when they hear that "Jesus is in their heart" an image springs to life in the mind of a tiny Jesus sitting down in the living room of the heart to chat with God or read the Bible. Some might even look down their shirt to try to find Jesus peeking out at them.

Before the Day of Pentecost came with its powerful manifestation of God in the lives of several thousand new believers there was rarely ever any outward sign of God's presence with people. A few very special people like Abraham, Moses, David and Elijah had the Spirit with them but not in them. When the Spirit came upon one of the famous people in the Bible he or she did something remarkable and even miraculous. However, the promise was given by God that some day every believer would have the Holy Spirit.

Joel 2: 25 “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten—
the great locust and the young locust,
the other locusts and the locust swarm—
my great army that I sent among you.
26 You will have plenty to eat, until you are full,
and you will praise the name of the LORD your God,
who has worked wonders for you;
never again will my people be shamed.
27 Then you will know that I am in Israel,
that I am the LORD your God,
and that there is no other;
never again will my people be shamed.

28 “And afterward,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your old men will dream dreams,
your young men will see visions.
29 Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days.

This is a wonderful passage that many believers read and prayed to see. When Jesus in John 14 was telling His students to prepare for His leaving He said that Joel was going to come to pass soon.

15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.

With and In You!

They knew He was the result of the Holy Spirit's coming to Mary and now we shall be able to be visited by that same Holy Spirit who will be a dwelling place for us and we shall be a dwelling place for the Spirit.

Earlier in John 14 when Jesus said, "In my Father's house are many dwelling places..." the flocus is not on heaven but here and now. The dwelling place is the heart. The Disciples will be able to dwell/live in the Spirit. Not only that but the Holy Spirit with dwell/live in them. The many dwelling places are all the hearts of those who know Jesus.

That is a wonderful promise so grab it and love it.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christian population shifts from Europe

NEW YORK (AP) -- The Christian population has shifted dramatically over the last century away from Europe to Africa, Asia and the Americas, yet Christians overall remain the largest religious group in the world, according to a new analysis released Monday.

Europe is home to about one-quarter of the world's Christians, compared to two-thirds a century ago, according to the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life. About one quarter of the global Christian population can now be found in sub-Saharan Africa, while 37 percent live in the Americas and 13 percent reside in the Asia-Pacific region.

Brazil has twice as many Roman Catholics as Italy, while Nigeria has more than twice as many Protestants as Germany, where the Protestant Reformation began, the study's authors said.

Despite these changes, Christians are still the world's largest faith group, with nearly 2.2 billion adherents. Muslims comprise the second-largest group, with about 1.6 billion people, or slightly less than a quarter of the global population, the study's authors said.

Pew compiled the study from national censuses, population surveys, estimates from church groups and other sources in which respondents identified their religion. Analysts compared the findings to surveys from 1910, including data from the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Mass.

The shifting Christian population has been a major concern of church leaders, as they try to build stronger ties with fellow believers across geographical boundaries and reconcile differing views of the Bible.

As just one example, mainline Protestants in the developing world tend to be more theologically conservative than church members in the United States and Western Europe. The tensions have been most visible in the global Anglican Communion since 2003, when the Episcopal Church, which is the Anglican body in the United States, elected the first openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire. The 77-million-member fellowship has been fracturing ever since.

Pew researchers concluded that the Christian population is so widely distributed that no specific region can claim to be the center of the faith.

The smallest concentration of Christians can be found in the area where the faith began, the Mideast and North Africa, where Christians are only about 4 percent of the population. Egypt has the largest Christian population in the region, with about 4.3 million Christians, mostly Orthodox, who have been targets of violence, especially in the upheaval since the fall of President Hosni Mubarak.

Still, all but 10 percent of the world's Christians live in countries where they are the religious majority, according to the study.

The countries with the largest number of Christians are the United States, Brazil, Mexico and Russia. Christians comprise nearly 80 percent of the U.S. population, and about 74 percent of Russian citizens.

About 5 percent of China's residents, or 67 million people, are Christian, according to the study's authors. However, accurately estimating China's Christian population is notoriously difficult, due to the mix of government-sanctioned churches and grassroots house churches that operate illegally underground.

"Global Christianity" study:

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Incarnation is Here for Us

Luke 1: 26-37 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.

But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.”

The Holy Spirit was largely unknown until the New Testament. Incarnation means that God's Holy Spirit entered Mary and caused her to conceive a child.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Incarnation on Tap for Tomorrow

Praise God I get to speak tomorrow about The Incarnation. Just think, this is the time of year when we who have been changed by God's Holy Spirit can explain to the world about the Change Maker!

When we read Luke 1 about the angel 's response to young Mary when she protested that she could NOT be pregnant because she was a virgin, the meaning and source of change is clear: "

29 Mary was greatly troubled ... and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.

The Holy Spirit will do it!

36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”

The Holy Spirit has already done a great miracle with your cousin!

So, the same Holy Spirit that filled you and me and that had raised Jesus from the dead has brought about a miracle of a virgin birth. This was the Incarnation! God and Man came together in one person.

The Creator of the universe was now on earth in a physical body. Amazing. Wonderful. Emmanuel!

John 1---The Word Became Flesh

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

What is next? What can we do to really enjoy that reality?

Gary Sweeten

What is effective Evangelism?

There is a tremendous reaction today against using terms like evangelism, sin, being saved or even the term Christian. I think I understand the hesitancy to use old, worn out or culturally offensive terms. Every new generation needs to generate its own language and communication strategy.

Back in my days at the University of Cincinnati, Barney Ford, head of the Inter Varsity Christian Fellowship chapter on campus, once commented to me that we need a MOT Manual. (Managing Our Terms Manual) to stop all the confusion among Christians and others about our work.

I have no negative reaction against the new terms or the Seeker Sensitive churches that use them. My concern is that we are still as fervent about doing the real stuff even when we no longer describe it in old fashioned ways. However, let us older Christ Followers openly admit that even though we used terms like Evangelism we were usually confused about what it is Biblical and in actual practice.

In my culture, evangelism usually meant "Verbally reciting a specific verse of scripture or series of terms well known by people inside the Christian community but largely unknown outside that system". Preachers were expected to recite those words at the end of every religious service while giving an altar call asking people to "Come forward to the altar and pray to receive Christ as their savior." This ritual was followed at almost every Sunday school class, worship service, wedding, funeral or public prayer.

Not following that ritual was seen by many as sure evidence that the speaker was a liberal or Roman Catholic. However, as I became older and read the Bible for myself I rarely found such rituals contained in the pages of Holy Writ.

What about your background? Were the rituals of evangelism similar or different? How did you find out what it meant to be a Christian?

What do you think is the best way to "Share your faith? "

Let me know what works for you?

Gary Sweeten

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Impact of Lay Ministry

When the number of people going to seminary increases the number of church plants and people coming to Christ decreases. Why would this be so? I do not have hard data to prove why but I have a one reason why that makes sense to me.

Seminary trained Pastors tend to wonder what their Seminary Professors and fellow students think of their preaching, teaching and serving. Church leaders who have not been to Seminary tend to be more concerned about what the congregation thinks of their sermons and servings.

Take a look at the following data about new births around the world. Most conversions are the result of lay ministry by family, friends and co-workers. some 95% of all churches outside Western Europe and the United States are led by lay men and women.

All over the world men and women are being encouraged to follow God, discover their gifts and see a vision for touching lives. The following chart shows the worldwide church growth since the New Reformation began in earnest through the Jesus Movement Revivals of the Sixties and the Seventies.

The world population grew by 60% through new biological births. However, the Kingdom of God grew by 126% when we count the new spiritual births.

World Total



Europe is nearly dead, only 11% annual growth in new biological births. By the year 2050 there will b almost no white Europeans left in France, Germany, England and so forth. Thankfully, even in an area of the earth where there are more witch doctors than there are Christian clergy, people are still being converted. In this case 41% growth.




Thankfully, we in America are growing through new births of babies than they are in Europe. 31% to 11%. While more babies in the US would be great for us, the spiritual growth is outpacing biology. (57% to 31%)

North America



The most dramatic growth biologically and spiritually is happening in Africa, South America and Asia. There lies the best opportunity for God's Kingdom to flourish.

Oceania (Australia, NZ)






Latin America






I worked several months each year in Asia and can say that it is there that lay people minister with amazing fervor and energy. Biological growth is very high but spiritual rebirth is even higher. Missionaries, mostly lay persons, from Africa and Asia are now spreading out to Europe, The Middle East, Russia, and the United States and having a wonderful impact. This is our best hope to spread the good news to all people.

What think you?

Gary Sweeten