Monday, January 30, 2012

School Obesity Causes Eating Disorders

The University of Michigan has concluded that school based programs designed to reduce obesity have failed and promote other kinds of eating disorders.

Using guilt and shame to promote "healthy eating' is bound to fail. I do not know of a single government sponsored program that achieved its goals. The DARE program has failed to prevent drugs, the suicide prevention programs have failed to prevent suicide and so on. When will we ever learn no to throw money and pressure at kids? It far too often promotes "Stinking Thinking". Teach your kids how to defeat depression and anxiety and they will eat better.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Divorce and Beyond Workshop

Before i finished my blog post on Conflict and Its Impact on Kids I received a note from Bill Koontz who many years ago developed a seminar at the Vineyard Community Church in Cincinnati on supporting separated and divorced adults and children. I am very happy to recommend it to you.

If you are having serious conflict, get help. Research shows that Counseling does help in most cases. So, do not delay. Find someone to help you now.

By the way, we have over 30 videos on our web page. They are short and free!

Here are the details.

Dear Divorce & Beyond Supporter :

Our next Divorce & Beyond Seminar will be held Friday, March 2nd and Saturday, March 3rd. Instead of mailing brochures this year we are requesting that you forward this e-newsletter on to friends or loved ones who may be separated or divorced. Our hope is to reach more people who can benefit from the seminar.

As an Alumnus of a previous Divorce & Beyond Seminar or group you know how helpful the seminar can be in dealing with the pain of separation and divorce. If someone you invite does not feel comfortable attending the seminar alone, please feel free to come with him or her at no charge.

The Seminar
Divorce hurts, but there is hope. If you are separated from your spouse, going through a divorce or are divorced, we encourage you to seek support. We understand the feelings of guilt, rejection, fear, confusion, isolation, and helplessness that can result from divorce. You may feel like you are on an emotional rollercoaster. Our emotions have a way of fooling us into believing that things will never get better. During this time it is critical to gain a healthy perspective so that you can take the necessary steps to move forward with you life.

KidKare and TeenTalk Seminars
Your children are dealing with their own emotions and it is important for them to understand that they are not to blame. When you are attending the seminar, you can arrange to have your children, ages 8-12, or your teens, ages 13-17, involved in activities and discussions that deal with their feelings, changes in the family structure and self-esteem. The KidKare and TeenTalk programs are coordinated by a team of qualified volunteers.

Divorce & Beyond Support Small Groups
Tuesdays, beginning March 6th, 7-9PM at VC Tri-County
These groups offer an open and honest discussion on the issues surrounding divorce. We will discuss several topics including: loneliness, anger, forgiveness, moving on, what it takes to have healthy relationships, etc. We will use resources including books and videos to facilitate our discussions. These groups are ideal for those who are going through divorce, recently divorced or those who were divorced several years ago. Childcare for support groups is $5/child ($10/max). If someone you know is unable to attend the seminar, they may sign up for a support group by calling the Vineyard Community Church at 671-0422, ext. 6425. Group closes after third week.

Pre-register for childcare at 513.671.0422 x6328

The seminar will be held in Tri-County at:

The Healing Center Auditorium
11345 Century Circle West
Cincinnati, OH 45246
phone: 513.671.0422 x6425
fax: 513.671.2041

Click here to view map

Friday, March 2nd, 2012 at 7:00pm-10:00pm
Saturday, March 3rd, 2012 at 9:45am-4:00pm

The *cost for the seminar is $25.00 per person in advance and $30.00 per person after September 19th or at the door.

4 Ways to register:

· Call 513.671.0422 x6425

· Go on line to download registration form at and enter a one word search for divorce. Click on the link for Classes: Divorce and Beyond Seminar. Scroll down the page and click on the link for the PDF (mail in) registration form.

· By e-mail to

· Go on line to and enter a one word search for divorce. Click on the link for Classes: Divorce and Beyond Seminar. Follow instructions to pay on line. (NOTE: This requires you to logon to the website BEFORE you attempt to register)

*Includes workbook, continental breakfast & lunch.
*We are committed to healing those experiencing divorce whether fees are in the budget or not. If finances are a problem, let us know... we understand.

In Him,
Mark Lutz
Pastor of Growth & Healing/Divorce & Beyond Ministries

Family Conflict Impact on Kids

I have been re-reading the research on how divorce and its preceding conflicts in marriage impact the following generation. Kids are impacted deeply and sometimes permanently by divorce.

Dr. Martin Seligman, a world renowned Psychologist and research professor at the University of Pennsylvania is famous for his research on depression. and its causes. He has concluded that the primary cause of depression is the ways we learn to think about Adversity. If we encounter problems that we are unable to change but are ongoing despite our efforts, we tend to develop a sense of Hopelessness or Pessimism.

After that, whenever we encounter any problem or issue we dislike we start thinking immediately that it is impossible for me to overcome. The result is simple: I will give up rather than bounce back. I will not be resilient but think/feel hopeless.

Children of divorce have a long track record of develop this kind of thinking pattern. They often have habits of the mind and heart that focus on Hopelessness because they believe their situation cannot be changed.

Seligman, who is divorced himself, says: Conflict and divorce is the most important facilitator of a child's depression.

In the Princeton-Penn Longitudinal Study on children impacted by conflict and divorce they discovered several things. On average:

Children of divorce do badly. When they were tested twice annually, they were much more depressed than kids from intact families.

That is the very bad news. However, even worse, the depression does not decrease over time. In fact, these children were sadder, act out more at school, have lower self esteem, evidence more physical illnesses, worry more and evidence less zest for life.

If you are considering divorce, get some good couple counseling from a person trained in marriage and family dynamics. If the person is only trained in individual psychology, you will not get the full relational picture.

Parents can definitely help prevent depression in their children.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Spiritual Christianity

Spiritual Christianity means supernatural faith. Not that my faith is supernatural but that I place my faith in a supernatural, miracle working God. Coming to faith in Christ is a supernatural event or series of events.

I was dead in my trespasses and sin but God supernaturally made me alive. I did not really realize that I was dead when I came to Christ. I was very much alive and kicking against God. So my deadness was not physical but spiritual. As a kid I thought my sin was like a zit; skin deep. Now I can see it was bone deep requiring heart surgery.

Not only that, but I am like Frankenstein's Monster, alive but walking stiffly with a terrible limp. I still needed the Holy Spirit's power on a daily basis to help me walk straighter and smoother as a new person. I still needed God's help to get rid of my old preferences and habits. I still needed my inner life to be saved daily. Anyone who lives the Christian life as if we do not need the supernatural power of God insists on peddling his new car rather than starting the engine and using its power to move forward.

Are we peddling or allowing God's power to move us?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Spiritual Healing is Confusing to Some

If you read the comments on the prior post you will see that a young woman offered to help me write the blog. She volunteered to write on what she calls, "energy healing". I appreciate anyone that is willing to invest in the betterment and healing of people with cancer but I will not accept her offer.

You may be interested in why I am rejecting her offer. It is simple, I am committed to pray and interact in the Name of Jesus which is above all other names. Over the past few years many people int eh USA and Europe have adopted the term "spiritual". In that context, spiritual can mean any focus on anything including Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.

In our nation anyone can believe in and worship almost anything and I like that fact. I affirm the legal right of any person to worship god, gods or God in any way their are led. But i am a convinced and convicted born again, Holy Spirit filled Christian and I do not worship any God but the Lord God of Hosts.

There are three main ways to think about spirituality:

1. Pantheism holds that god or gods are in everything. A Pantheist may have millions of gods and see the in trees, rocks and people. They believe that the physical universe and disease is a myth that exists only in the mind.

2. Secular Humanism is the preferred religion of many educated Westerners. They beleive in the uniformity of natural causes in a closed system that excludes the supernatural. However, they may claim to be very spiritual.

3. Dualism is the religion of many who see a supernatural or spiritual world but hold that the spiritual and physical are not c0mpatible because the spirit is pure and matter is evil. They hold that there is a uniformity of natural causes in a closed system.

4. Judeo - Christian Wholism sees the supernatural, spiritual realm as real and ever present. There is a uniformity of natural causes in an open system.

I am wholly committe4d to live and move and breathe in #4. while Jillian is in, so it seems, #1. so we are in-compatible.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Types of Stinking Thinking

I am in the business of helping people discover and live an abundant life. That is what Jesus Christ promised but so many have not been able to find the abundance that He came to earth to offer us.

For decades I have had a passionate desire to help churches become healing-growth communities where we practice the "Love of God and neighbor as our selves." There are not many. One of my favorites is "The Dwelling Place" in Loveland, Ohio where Rich Femia Pastors. It is a small, intimate, mutually serving group of people who really love to worship, share and help each other.

But let me get on to my topic, "Stinking Thinking!" This is the type of thinking that impedes the abundant life. Unfortunately, it is rampant among Christians. One of the main reasons so many are happy at Dwelling Place is because they are dwelling in God and His truth not the mis-beliefs of the world, the flesh and the devil.

Here are three examples of Stinking Thinking.

Filtering: Take the negative details and magnify them and filter out all positive aspects of a situation.

Polarized Thinking: Things are black or white, good or bad. You have to be perfect or you're a failure. There is no middle ground, it's "all or nothing."

Over generalization: Coming to a general conclusion based on a single incident or piece of evidence. If something bad happens once, you expect it to happen over and over again.

If you want to be miserable, just start thinking like this. If they are not enough, come back when I add more.

Gary Sweeten

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

New Life for Newton and Gary

I can identify with Isaac Newton about whom I posted last. He did what A.A. calls a "fearless moral inventory" and developed a big list of things he did that were sinful. Thankfully, Jesus gave us a way to muddle through sin, guilt and shame and come out victorious. What do you think it is?

1. Try harder___
2. Sin less_____
3. Pledge never to rebel again____
4. Get angry with myself_____
5. Fast and pray_____
6. Read the Bible more_____
7. Go to worship services more often _____
8. Name you favorite_______

Read James 5:15 and 16. It is simple but not easy. It describes the role of the church fellowship.

Want to learn how to live in peace?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Spiritual Giants Must also Repent

Isaac Newton was one of the most brilliant scientists in history. He was also a committed Christian. However, young Isaac, like the rest of us, had trouble with his heart. It was filled with sins of rebellion, anger, vengeance and bitterness. The list below shows his condition before God at age 19. I would have loved to see what he wrote at age 50 or 60.

Old Isaac Newton’s List of Sins by Maria Popova


Using the word (God) openly

Eating an apple at Thy house

Making a feather while on Thy day

Denying that I made it

Making a mousetrap on Thy day

Contriving of the chimes on Thy day

Squirting water on Thy day

Making pies on Sunday night

Swimming in a kimnel on Thy day

Putting a pin in Iohn Keys hat on Thy day to pick him

Carelessly hearing and committing many sermons

Refusing to go to the close at my mothers command

Threatning my father and mother Smith to burne them and the house over them

Wishing death and hoping it to some

Striking many

Having uncleane thoughts words and actions and dreamese

Stealing cherry cobs from Eduard Storer

Denying that I did so

Denying a crossbow to my mother and grandmother though I knew of it

Setting my heart on money learning pleasure more than Thee

A relapse

A relapse

I love the last two items!

Gary Sweeten

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Stress Begone

The high school from which I graduated, Mt. Vernon, Illinois, many decades ago has worked to keep in touch with each other over the years. The internet has allowed us to maintain many good relationships. At our ages it also means grieving the losses of family, friends and pets. Yes, I said pets. Let's admit that some of our best relationships have come from loving pet so when we lose them we grieve.

Some of my favorite churches have a strong desire to be a community of love and healing for us when we grieve. Unfortunately the goal can be derailed by the stress of grief. As I look at the past few years and months of some churches history I see a very high number of losses that are effecting the mental, relational and spiritual health of each person and family and the church family. Trust, peace and unity are usually the first casualties of this warfare. This is the “collateral damage” that comes from death, loss of members, family dysfunctions and disappointing events.

Research indicates that anxious stress can weaken our immune system and allow germs and viruses that are otherwise dormant to cause symptoms and sicknesses. Researchers made a list for life change events and gave each event a stress number.

Below are a number of normal life-change events. Place a circle around the numbers in the mean value column for each of those events that have happened to you during the last 12 months. The total number will be explained below. Holmes & Rahe (1967) Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 11:213-219. My last post mentioned that joy and happiness are strongly correlated with having good relationships. However, the deeper the relationship[s, the deeper the grief when the relationship ends.

After looking over the following list make you own list and figure up the points.

  1. Death of spouse 100
  2. Divorce 73
  3. Marital separation 65
  4. Detention in jail or other institution 63
  5. Death of a close family member 63
  6. Major personal injury or illness 53
  7. Marriage 50
  8. Being fired from work 47
  9. Marital reconciliation 45
  10. Retirement 45
  11. Major change in the health or behavior of family member 44
  12. Pregnancy of spouse/partner 40
  13. Sexual difficulties 39
  14. Gaining a new family member (through birth, adoption etc) 39
  15. Major business readjustment (merger, reorganization, etc) 35
  16. Major change in financial state (a lot worse off or a lot better off) 37
  17. Death of a close friend 37
  18. Changing to a different type of work 36
  19. Major change in the number of arguments with spouse (a lot more or less) 35
  20. Taking on a significant (to you) mortgage 31
  21. Foreclosure on a mortgage or loan 30
  22. Major change in responsibilities at work (promotion, demotion, transfer) 29
  23. Son or daughter leaving home (marriage, attending college, etc) 29
  24. In-law troubles 29
  25. Outstanding personal achievement 28
  26. Partner beginning or ceasing work outside the home 26
  27. Beginning or ceasing formal schooling 25
  28. Major change in living conditions (building a new home, remodeling) 25
  29. Revision of personal habits (dress, manners, association etc) 25
  30. Troubles with the boss 23
  31. Change in residence 20
  32. Changing to a new school 19
  33. Major change in usual type and/or amount of recreation 19
  34. Major change in church or spiritual activities (a lot more or less than usual) 19
  35. Major change in social activities (clubs, dancing, movies, visiting, etc) 18
  36. Taking on a small mortgage or loan (purchasing a car, TV, freezer, etc) 17
  37. Major change in sleeping habits (lot more or a lot less sleep, or change) 16
  38. Major change in number of family get togethers (a lot more or a lot less) 15
  39. Major change in eating habits (a lot more or a lot less food intake) 15
  40. Holiday or vacation 13
  41. Christmas or other major holiday celebration 12
  42. Minor violations of the law (traffic tickets, jaywalking, etc) 11

Add the circled items to obtain your score

Stressful events affect us body and soul and their effects last for months or even years. The trauma that resulted from 911 were immediate and long term. The greatest effects after the bombing of Oklahoma City were noticed nine months following the blast when depression, suicide, alcohol related problems and family conflicts were the highest. Stress events are similar to throwing a rock into a pool of water making waves that slap up on the shore long after the initial event has passed.

According to the Holmes-Rahe statistical prediction model, a score of 150 or less means a relatively low amount of life change and a low susceptibility (about 30% probability) to stress-related illness within two years.

A score of 151 to 299 implies a 50% probability of a stress related illness. A score of 300 or above implies an 80% probability of experiencing a negative health change.

These predictions are not definite. What produces a change in health status is an interaction of many things such as how significant those life events are to you, your personal capacity to cope with change, and the available support through family, work and friends. However, completing the inventory can give you some insight into the STRESSORS that are potentially dangerous to your health and well-being.

One of the key points to remember is that stress makes us more susceptible to infections and communicable diseases. In fact, many people who get sick during an epidemic are not infected with the virus but have heart attacks, strokes, family disputes, back problems, etc. Although we may not see physical illness increase there is no doubt that mental, relational, organizational and spiritual dis-ease is a result of trauma.

Go to my web page for materials and video tapes on successfully dealing with stress.