Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Good Works are Not Good Enough

I try to write a brief, pithy post that is to the point. However, when I saw this article I was deeply moved to repost it from Social Velocity

1. I strongly agree with it. Love, compassion, trying, caring, crying and good intentions are not enough.

2. Many non-profits, including churches, mission agencies and outreaches do little good or get very littl bang for the buck.

3. We need to get better at doing outcome research.

4. Sweeten Life is getting very good at planning, researching outcomes and doing good works well.

There is an increasing drumbeat in the world of social change that nonprofits must start measuring their work. The argument among thought leaders, funders, raters and others in the social change sector is increasingly that nonprofits MUST:

A. Figure out what they exist to do (a theory of change)
B. Create a disciplined operational model for creating that change
C. Measure whether the change is actually happening
D. Articulate that change in order to garner more support

But all of this is fairly new to the nonprofit sector and not yet widely practiced (by a long shot). In fact, some of these ideas are still quite controversial. Let’s take #2 for example, “Creating a disciplined operational model.” David Henderson analyzes this well in his post ...

He argues that nonprofits must become more discerning and disciplined about who they provide service to. Because nonprofits have limited resources, they cannot serve everyone. Therefore instead of serving people on a first come first served basis (which is the norm), they should instead serve those who they can best help. In other words, they should determine and then serve those populations of people who will benefit the most from their intervention:

In the case of the youth workforce development program, while all low-income youth would qualify for services, we might have a preference for placing people into the program who are likely to complete the internship. In this case, one could use historical data to fit a predictive model that provides some insight into what characteristics made an individual more or less likely to have completed the program in the past. Under this framework, social welfare maximization would involve not only placing people into the program, but maximizing the number of people in the program who complete the internship.

To the nonprofit world, which is very much focused on trying to help as many people as possible, this is a potentially radical idea. But if smartly employed, nonprofits could actually provide more social change through this disciplined method. And in an increasingly resource-constrained environment, it makes sense for nonprofits to want to get the highest return on their program resources.
In order to take this approach, however, nonprofits must have a theory of change. You cannot create social change if you don’t:

1. Know what you want that change to be, and

2. Measure whether that change is happening

(Sweeten Life is doing this and offering to help others do it. Call us to find out how you can get free assistance.)

In an increasingly competitive marketplace, it is getting harder and harder for nonprofits to attract support. The harsh reality is that those nonprofits that develop a smart theory of change, measure whether that change is happening, and then articulate the change to supporters will increasingly be the ones that survive. Not to mention that they will be the ones that actually create social change.  

Contact us for an assessment that will allow you to help your families help themselveswww.sweetenlife.com. FREE!

Ages of Disciples

As a school teacher I needed to know the ages of the children I taught and coached in sports. This knowledge is the most basic thing any educator needs to understand. In Counseling and Education it is called "Developmental Growth"

By ages I mean several things.

Biological Age: (Date of Birth)

Emotional Age: (Ability for Self Control)

Physical Age: (Physical Agility)

Intellectual Age: (Ability to learn):

Academic Age: (IQ-Knowledge Known)

Creative Age: (Music, Art, etc)

Relational Age: (Ability to Relate to Others)

Ministry Age: (Mature and Equipped for Ministry)

Practical Age: (Managing and Leading Others)

As a Christian teacher I need to also understand Spiritual Age: (Faith, Hope and Love)

As Ministers we tend to get these ages confused. I worked with men who were leaders in business and industry who were selected as Elders or Trustees but whose Spiritual Ages were very low. They were selected ebcause of their financial or practical wisdom but were quite immature when it came to matters of Ministry.

Write down the top ten Lay People in your Ministry. Think about their Ages in different categories.

Young Adult
Mature Adult
Ministry Adult
Wise Adult
Servant Adult

Gary Sweeten

Monday, July 30, 2012

Church and Discipleship

I was thinking last week about Christian growth or what we call "Discipleship" and began to wonder what the Bible tells us about growth and change as Christians. Can you leave me a comment or two that offers a Bible verse that clearly tells us how to grow in Christian maturity?

One passage came to my mind as I listened to the sermon. It was not what I usually think about or hear from the pulpit but I can see why God brought it to my mind.

James 1: 1-27.

Read it and write a comment about what we need to pursue to be made holy.

Gary Sweeten

Disciple Making Like Jesus

I have never heard a talk about Discipleship that the speaker did not claim to be simply offering the advice of Jesus. Yet, I rarely ever see a person doing what Jesus did or said.

Think of the life of Jesus and reflect on how He made Disciples. (A Disciple is a learner)

List the different ways Jesus dealt with learners.

Preaching to a larger group
Speaking to a small group
Modeling certain behavior
Commanding learners DO something
Using pithy proverbs
Using stories
Assigning homework
Assigning online classes
Using Social Media like Twitter and Face Book
Assigning readings
Assigned memorizing Old Testament and New Testament scripture
Sword Drills
Small Group Discussions
Paradoxical Interventions

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Is Compassion Harmful?

The most shocking and painful thing for me to learn in Graduate School was that helping often does more harm than good. The longer I am training Christians to care and counsel the more people I see who are harmed by compassionate people.

And, the greater the compassion the greater the harm.

Why? Because overly compassionate people cannot stand to see others in pain and react too quickly to relieve their suffering.

We see a poor man on the street begging for  money to "buy food" and we give them Five Dollars. Come to find out the man is an addict and he immediately spends the money on alcohol. He is still in the cycle of chronic poverty. He has money but it is spent on harmful substances not to invest in positive activities.

Do you give emotionally to an emotional appeal?

Do you follow up to see if a person used the money in a positive manner?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Listen to the Patient? Are You Kidding?

I read a lot of articles and newsletters about the new Obamacare laws and regulations because I have operated a Clinical Counseling agency for the past 23 years. For just over 7 years we had an in-patient unit for teens and one for adults.

I operated the in-patient units a lot like I ran the Discipleship Ministry at College Hill Church. Our goal was to help the residents get healed from their broken spirits and souls and grow into maturity as Christians and as persons.

We offered the regular Psychological and Medical interventions and expertise that any good hospital offers but we did more because we knew the power of God's word, His love and His healing gifts. We also knew the power of a caring community who would surround the residents and encourage them while they were residents and after they left the Life Way unit.

We listened carefully to the residents and to their family members and support supporters. We invited all of them to come to family times and learn how to change their dysfunctional patterns and stinkling thinking. We encouraged Pastors, neighbors and family members to be full partners with the Psychiatrists and Counselors anbd Nurses because we knew the power of a caring community.

In I CO 13:13 St. Paul says, "These three remain; faith, hope and love but the greatest is love". In Medicine there has been a lot of research over the apst few decades on the power of a placebo. In Christian terms it is called "Faith". Drug companies are now finding it almost impossible to find a drug to fight depression that is more effective than the placebo of taking a sugar pill. If a trusted Doctor gives a depressed patient a pill he says will reduce depression, it will likely work even if it has no active ingredient.

Faith is powerful medicine, so in addition to giving residents some antidepresdsant medeicines with an active ingredient, we also had a loving, praying, hopeful community standing with them in their struggle. This combines faith in the Doctors with faith in the medicine with faith in God.

Above all, we loved the residents and their support system and treated them with understanding and respect. (Read my book, Hope and Change for Humpty Dumpty  for examples and research.) Our approach was so powerful and so effective that several non-Christian Psychiatrists asked to place their patients into the Life Way Units. That is a high compliment.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

How I Learned about Healing

As a therapist my interest in faith and medicine began in earnest in 1968. I had received a telephone call from Mother saying Dad was near death from an auto accident.  It was a harsh reality. Dad was dying and the doctors only hoped he would survive until my brother Tom arrived home from Korea. My older brother Maury and I went immediately back home to Illinois to Good Samaritan Hospital. After surgery, we took turns holding on to Dad’s arms to keep him from pulling the tubes from his nose and mouth. It was an awful experience. I felt so helpless and hopeless.

After some time of talking with Maury, I silently prayed that God would heal Dad. I hadn’t prayed like this before. Our denomination did not believe in healing or any of the miraculous gifts. We often “Prayed for the sick we didn’t pray for them to get well,” so went our joke. We asked God to “Bless the patient, the doctors and nurses and comfort the family” But I failed to ask for a miracle. This time I was so desperate that I forgot my theology and prayed for healing.

My prayers were awkward, mumbled and panic stricken. They were not filled with faith or hope. Despite this, I sensed the presence of a powerful force come in the room. The hair on my head stood up and I had chills down my spine. About the same time Dad became quiet and his labored breathing became smooth and peaceful. His body was calm and quite sleep replaced the thrashing and resistance we two brothers were trying to control.

I immediately knew Dad had been healed. I followed his lead and relaxed. His hands fell quietly on the bed. I had faith that God had answered my prayer. And, as it turned out, He had. Dad recovered fully. He lived another ten years and I was thrust into the healing ministry with no educational preparation but a great personal experience.

My church and my profession both resisted the telling of my story. Neither was thrilled by my sudden entry into the healing journey. Few of my friends welcomed my new faith in God as healer. Preachers and teachers who regularly talked about the Great Physician were shocked when I mentioned what He had done to integrate their theory with His experience. 

I was caught between the Scylla of fearful Christians and the Charybdis of anxious Counselors. When I was preparing for graduate school my Sunday school teacher warned me to “Stay away from psychology! It’s from the devil” but now those same religious friends were frightened about using prayer to heal.  I found that my professional friends were deeply suspicious of any healing other than their own brand.

For example, while getting a doctorate at U.C. in 1972 a sociology professor refused to allow me to research the effectiveness of Alcoholics Anonymous. “We are a public university and we cannot violate the separation of church and state,” he pompously said. A.A. is not a church, but they do allow clients to acknowledge God. Research shows clearly that A.A. is effective in treating addictions but that fact did not convince my agnostic professor that ending addiction was enough reason to research faith. Many of my teachers were frightened about the idea that there is a spiritual reality in the world and used all kinds of bogus excuses to forbid its study. 

The event with Dad at the Good Samaritan Hospital spurred me toward further study. In 1974-75 I wrote a doctoral dissertation that integrated psychology, theology and prayer. During my studies I found few believers and fewer psychologists willing to support my quest.  Even today some people are militantly against all expressions of religion outside a sanctuary. Recently an honor guard was fired for speaking about God. He ended his graveside talk with "God bless you and this family, and God bless the United States of America," he would say as he presented a folded flag to them. Because of that, he was released from his duties.

Most Americans want doctors and counselors to integrate religious practices into their lives. In 1993 and again in 1997Eisenberg and colleagues surveyed Americans about their use of alternative medical and psychological treatments. The percentage of persons who use at least one alternative therapy increased from 34% to 42% in those four years. The percentage who sought care from an alternative source increased from 36% to 46%.

Between 1990 and 1997 there was a 47% increase in visits to alternative practitioners, from 427 million to 629 million, exceeding the total number of visits made to all conventional primary care physicians in 1997.  The estimated amount paid to alternative practitioners increased 45% to $21.2 billion. The total estimated out-of-pocket expense for alternative therapies in 1997 was $27 billion, comparable to the amount paid out-of-pocket for all physician services in the United States. (1998 JAMA)

The numbers of persons seeking soul care from “alternative sources” has always exceeded those who visit professionals. Some 42% of distressed persons seek help from pastors, priests and other religious leaders and 18% seek help from a doctor. Only 8% look to professional mental health practitioners. However, 100% speak with family members, friends, colleagues and church before seeing anyone else.

Religious ministries are five times more involved in delivering mental health counseling than Mental Health Professionals. Ministers deliver more care and counsel than all other professions combined. When we add friends, Bible studies, healing services, church counseling centers, Alcoholics Anonymous and other self-help groups the percentage of influence raises dramatically. At least 95% of all emotional support, counseling and therapy in the USA is delivered through religiously oriented individuals and groups.

One commentator notes that India is the most religious nation on earth and the least is Sweden. It appears that America is a nation filled with citizens like Indians ruled by Swedes.

According to a recent NEWSWEEK poll, 84% of Americans believe God performs miracles today. They also found that 48% have personally experienced or witnessed a miracle. However, many doctors and therapists do not agree with their patients and refuse to accommodate their faith and hope. The lack of support and affirmation causes much unnecessary client pain. Some would say it is malpractice.

Several years ago a psychiatrist friend asked me to see a patient who had been under her care for several years. The diagnosis was depression and treatment was medication. The patient never improved and kept asking the psychiatrist, a Christian, to discuss her spiritual condition. The woman believed she had committed the unpardonable sin and was doomed to hell.  The doctor refused to discuss religion but decided to ask me to help the patient with pastoral care and counseling.

I saw the lady for four years and listened intently to her stories about why she believed God had left her. After some months I asked if I could pray for her and she agreed to allow me to pray silently. However, she was convinced it was hopeless. It was not long before the patient began to feel better. Then, after some months of probing and prayer, she started to consider the possibility that God was still with her.

The client is currently free from most of her depressive symptoms and is convinced that God loves her. It was a slow but remarkable recovery. She will tell you it is the result of prayer. I would add that in addition to prayer it was patience, supportive interactions, cognitive interventions including scriptures on the love and grace of God.

This lady has been under psychiatric care since 1955 but did not find any therapist that would take her spiritual concerns seriously until she met with me.  It seems to me that intentionally disrespecting the patient’s beliefs and convictions led her to live in misery for 50 years.  That is malpractice.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Ask Needy People what they Need

Jim Donovan, Andrea Bowsher and our team at Sweeten Life are busily trying to perfect a Quality Of Life Assessment for families. The General QOLA will be used for churches to give to families who want to get an idea about their overall Quality Of Life, Stresses, Strains and Joys.

The Assessment grew out of our year-long study about the needs of families with a member who has a serious disability. After giving a monthly QOLA and home visit to the people in our research study, we discovered that filling out the Assessment and discussing it as a couple was extremely valuable.

1. It required the couple to spend time discussing the Assessment. That is rare for most couples.

2. We asked questions that couples rarely ask themselves and almost never discuss. For example, what are the areas of stress and exhaustion. They were different for husband and wife and often surprised their mate with their answers.

3. When noted and discussed, many couples faced and removed the stress points. About 50% of the stressors were removed. Victory!

4. It revealed that almost no one was asking the parents about themselves. the care givers are largely ignored by medical personnel, ministers, family and friends.

5. The couple, when asked, did not know what to tell people they needed. The QOLA solved that problem.

6. The things noted by parents as needed and desirable were usually very different than what others thought they wanted and needed. In fact, what the public, pastors and medical community wanted to offer usually caused MORE stress not less. 

7. The parents were able to track their progress by taking the QOLA and looking at it later.

We will use those insights to construct a new QOLA that will be useful for any and all families as well as families with a disability. If you are interested in using the Assessment, let us know.

Gary Sweeten

Monday, July 23, 2012

Medical Care for the Poor

Obamacare was supposedly developed to take care of 30 million people in the USA to who have no health insurance. The politicians took this to mean they had no health care.

Is that true?

Will Obamacare give the poor good medical care?

No one knows but if the track record of past Government programs is any indication the answer may be NO.

The front page of the Cincinnati Enquirer yesterday was a news expose about the fact that multiplied millions of dolalrs are spent every year because of the rule that Congress made to offer free medical health care for every man, woman and child in America. Any person, legal or illegal, can walk into a hospital emergency room and be treated free of charge.

Several years ago I woke up in the middle of the cold winter night to go to the bathroom. It was about 3:00 AM and I discovered that my stool was filled with fresh blood. So, I did what almost every Middle Class American does if that happens, I asked my wife to take me to Christ Hospital.

I got to the Christ ER and signed in. A whole line of mohters with screaming kids with colds was ahead of me. I took a number like I was in a butcher shop. Two hours later and several bllody stools later, my number was called. With someone with symptoms as bad as mine I was stunned that I had to wait behind kids with colds for two hours.

Why was the ER at Christ Hospital filled with kids at 4:00 AM who had no emergency? Why did they come to a place that charges over $5000.00 a person to treat their mkid with sniffles? Because it was free medical Care provided by me and others who have Medical Insurance at the command of the Federal Bureaucrats.

A friend of  mine went to the ER one year over 60 times. Every time he called 911 and rode free to the ER. That free ride cost you and me about $1500.00 per trip. The total cost of treating the cute little kids at dawn was about $7000.00 each. One man in Cincinnati, the Enquirer says, got ER treatment that cost us almost 1 Million Dollars a year.

Will the huge new bureaucracy crafted by Mr. Obama change all that? Probably not. If the hospitals in our area quit treating the common cold at $7000.00 a patient where would they go? To a GP Doctor? If they did, and the barriers are enormous to getting them there, it would require another 100 Doctors to do it. What did Obama do to provide for the huge influx of patients? He hired thousands of new IRS Agents.

From now on when an IRS Agent treats us he will threaten us into taking our meds. "Lose weight or to jail you go!"

If I am wrong I would like to learn how so write and elt me know if I have goofed up.

Carry The Disabled to the Physician

Jesus lauded the friends of the sick man because they made sure he got to the Great Physician. The single most important part of healing is love that carries sick people to Jesus. These were friends in deed not just friends in name. They had to go out of their way to get the guy and take him to Jesus.

The research we did with parents of kids with a disability discovered something that many of us might have guessed but did not really know for sure. Parents with a disabled child have a lot of appointkments:


One of the greatest needs is for someone to volunteer to take Mom and Child to these places. Just think, we wouldn't even have to tear the roof off to get them an appointment.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Building a Lifetime of Great Relationships

                                                            Love through the roof!

For the past 60 years outcome research from Counseling and Psychology has concluded that the key to influence and change is a skill set of Great Relationships. Amazingly, that research exactly mirrors the teachings from the Bible.

These three remain: Faith, hope and love but the greatest is love.

Why, then, do we spend so much time talking and so little time developing great relationships with God, others and ourselves?

Anybody who says he loves God but hates his brother is a liar because God is love.

Early this morning I wrote a quick post before I left home for church. When I arrived at church the service was yet to begin because everyone was talking, hugging and laughing. Dwelling Place Church in Lovelenad, Ohio is a loving bunch. Its Pastor, Rich Femia is a warm, caring, praying man who loves people deeply. The congregation follows his lead and opens its collective heart to ccare for each other in the Holy Spirit.

Greet one another with a holy kiss.

Bryce Gray spoke today. The topic was love from god and from us to God and each other. It was passionate, biblical and true. I am sorry you missed it.

Change Your Neighbor

I often tell Pastors who are facing members of their churches who are resistent to change, "these folks want change as much as you. However, you are trying to change them and they are trying to change you! How do we as people influence others? How does a church influence the people around them?

According to Dr. Martin Seligman in his web Authentic Happiness and book Flourish, we can influence our neighbors and friends and people around us by the way we live. It is hard to believe but the data from a long term study about health showed how a person and family that lived with joy and happiness will influence their neighbors to be more joyful and happy. WOW!

Go to our Vimeo Page and watch the video Buidling Each Other Up by Charlie McMahan and me as we discuss this. You can also study more about this kind of influence by reading Hope and Change for Humpty Dumpty.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Want to be a Change Agent?

Ever since I was a child people have come to me to talk about their problems, emotional upsets and concerns. I always thought they wanted me to give them my insiights and advice but maybe I have been wrong. I went to college to be a school teacher and for the years I labored in the classroom I was fulfilled. However, it quickly became apparent that the kids are actually learning on their own and the teacher is a facilitator of learning by how we organized the classes and interacted with them emotionally.

Then I went to graduate school in Counseling in Higher Education. I made that choice because I was so positively influenced by our Counselor, Mrs. Betty Ann Ward, in my Community College. I studied hard and learned a lot. The greatest teachers were not those with the most information but the greatest amount of interest and EQ. I motivated my self to study and to learn. I was involved in self-change and I had discovered some colleagues who were also self-motivated to change.

But the content in my classes seemed to tell another story. The books on psychology and Counseling taught that my IQ was  more important in changing hurting students than my EQ. I was never told that EQ was important to being a change agent. I was never graded on EQ. I received real good grades but all of them were based on how well I remembered stuff from the books not from how well I related to the students I counseled of how much they changed for the better.

It is as though a basketball player was judeged on how well he could talk about shooting and diagram the plays not on how well he actually put the ball through the hoop or how well he influenced the rest of the team to play well. In sports we call that, "Chalk Talk" for how well a coach and player can use the chalk board to explain plays.

In Counseling the only thing that counts is how well the Client does. It matters not if the Counselor can talk about the case if the Client does not change for teh better. In Medicine we say it this way: "Successful treatment but the Patient died".

Want to be a Change Agent as a Friend, Pastor, Teacher, Counselor, Parent, Small Group Leader, etc? It is all about EQ not IQ. See my book Hope and Change for Humpty Dumpty for more on Change and Influence.

Violence and Public Safety

Another mass killing and another movement to ban guns. I do not own a gun nor can I imagine shooting an animal let alone a person. However, from a psychological point of view, an armed public is probably safer than an unarmed public. When I was a Resident Counselor at The University of Cincinnati during the riots and acts of terror by the anti-war radicals, I carried a gun during my nightly rounds to check the safety of the building. Every nigh before I went tobed I walked through every floor to see if everything was in order. We received reports about bomb plots almost daily from the FBI who had infiltrated the Weather Underground, The Black Panthers and the Students for a Democratic Society. Those groups were threatening violence against us all the time. One night i discovered that someone had turned off all the fire alarms in our building! After that I bought a gun and carried it on my rounds. Would I have used it against a violent mad man trying to kill my students?

Friday, July 20, 2012

Is The Computer Male or Female?

A language instructor was explaining to her class that in French, nouns unlike English are grammatically designated as masculine or feminine.

"House," in French, is feminine-"la mansion."

"Pencil," in French, is masculine - "le crayon."

 One puzzled student asked, "What gender is a computer?" The teacher did not know, and the word wasn't in her French dictionary.

 So for fun she split the class into two groups appropriately enough, by gender, and asked them to decide whether "computer" should be a masculine or feminine noun. Both groups were required to give four reasons for their recommendation.

The men's group decided that computers should definitely be of the feminine gender ("la computer"),  because:

 1. No one but the creator understands their internal logic;

 2. The native language they use to communicate with other computers is incomprehensible to everyone else;

 3. Even the smallest mistakes are stored in long-term memory for possible

later retrieval; and

 4. As  soon as you make a commitment to one, you find yourself spending

half your  pay check on accessories for it.

The women's group concluded that computers should be masculine

("le computer")  because:

1. In order to get their attention, you have to turn them on;

2. They have a lot of data but they are still clueless;

3. They are supposed to help you solve problems but they ARE the problem.

4. As soon as you commit to one, you realize that if you'd waited a little longer you could have gotten a better model.

The women won

Be Careful What you Name your Kids

Former NBA star Dennis Rodman has finally met his estranged father after 42 years of separation, following an exhibition game in the Philippines. 

Philander Rodman Jr., who has acknowledged fathering 29 children by 16 mothers, says he was happy and surprised that his son agreed to meet him late Wednesday. Associated Press, July 19, 2012

Do you think there might be a connection between the name of Rodman's Dad and his behavior?  Would you ever name your kid Philander?

Did he Philander?

Does Dennis Philander?

Is there a generational connection?

Read my newest book: How to be Me in my Family Tree: Generational Patterns in Families

Get it from our bookstore at sweetenlife.com

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Yes every day.

Sometimes instantly
Sometimes partially
Sometimes slowly
Sometimes after a time of saying wait
Sometimes after telling us to hurry up
Sometimes when we have lots of faith
Sometimes when we have lots of despair
Sometimes when we have no hope
Sometimes when we have lots of hope
Sometimes after we pray
Sometimes before we pray
Sometimes _________________ (Well, you get it.)

But always when God is ready not necessarily when I am ready.

Go to sweeten life for more

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Helping the Poor and Defeating the Depression

May 22, 2009
Time to Legalize Counterfeiting

Many Americans today believe certain illegal vices in our society should be decriminalized, taxed, and regulated. The most popular of these vices include marijuana smoking, prostitution, and all forms of gambling. The proponents for decriminalization believe that the new tax revenues produced would help support schools, healthcare, and the impoverished, ease the pain of taxpayers, and reduce the deficit. They also believe that transgressions such as these will take place no matter, but, if properly regulated, would be safer for society in general. It would be a win, win situation.

Unfortunately, when it comes to lowering taxes and helping the downtrodden, the best-laid government plans seem to fall short of expectations. However, there is one vice, one small illegal indiscretion, that, if decriminalized would solve all our problems.  The United States needs to legalize the victimless crime known as counterfeiting.

Once legalized, counterfeiting would be for everyone. This could be accomplished by making Federal Reserve Note paper (complete with silk threads, watermarks, etc.) available to the public. With the correct paper, most computers with the right software would have no trouble replicating U.S. currency. If a household did not have a computer, special over- the-counter counterfeit kits could be made available, with instructions in both English and Spanish.

Once in place, universal counterfeiting would prove to be the ultimate stimulus package for the economy. Employees would always have enough money and never have to go on strike. Citizens would have no trouble paying their mortgages and never face foreclosure.  Everyone would gladly pay his or her taxes and there would be no need to have an IRS.

Free market consumerism would return with a flourish. People would purchase whatever they wanted and stores would only have to worry about having enough merchandise on hand. Stores could charge the consumer whatever they wanted and the consumer could still afford. Every shopping day would be like the day after Thanksgiving and the day before Christmas.

Once legalized, counterfeiting would still have to be regulated.  Parity and fairness would dictate that families earning over $250,000 would only be allowed to print $1, $2, $5 and $10 denominations. Families with combined incomes of less than $250,000 could print $20 and $50 bills. The unemployed could print $100 bills, and ACORN workers and UAW members would be entitled to counterfeit a new denomination, something even larger than the $100 bill (with President Obama on the front).

Universal counterfeiting could be the entitlement program that ends all other entitlement programs and sets us free. It is time to stand up and tell our legislators we want universal counterfeiting.  If they protest, "You cannot just print money," then promptly respond in kind, "Why not? It works for you."

This is satire

http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/05/time_to_legalize_counterfeitin.html at May 23, 2009 -

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

From Addiction to Addition

When we first began to travel in Russia I did some research about the people, their health and their faith. I discovered that the people had been treated very badly by the Socialists in the USSR and many people lost their parents, grandparents and children when the Bolsheviks terrorized them and peresecuted them because they were successful.

Yes, it was the intentional plan of the Soviet Socialist Republic to destroy the Middle Class and Upper Class. Stalin and his henchmen hated any person or family that excelled and did better economically than others. Even today, the Socialists in Russia hate the idea of the Bell Shaped Curve that describes reality in terms of statistical distributions.

Some people are smart and some are dumb but most are average. Some people are extremely talented and some have no talent but most have a few talents. Some people have a lot of energy and some people have very little energy but most have an average amount of energy.

Socialists attempt to destroy the statistical  model that predicts such things. They deny that these statistics are accurate and they insist that the notion that some people are smarter, harder working and more talented is unfair so they pass laws making these statistical truths illegal.

Stalin and his Socialist buddies passed laws making it illegal to own farm machinery taht allowe dthe owners to plow more acreage, cut wood faster, or reap crops more efficiently. Farmers who prospered were taxed highly and had their machinery taken away from them. They were called, Kulaks in Ukraine and were villified by the Federal Government. In fact, many were burned out, killed and scattered to the four winds.

In Russia today we see the Federal Government suppressing the high producers. They are taxing and suppressing any group that received support from overseas. That includes churches and ministries.

Pray for the Christians in Russia. Only God can give them relief. Many of the most effective ministries started out as Counseling and teaching the families of alcohol and drug Addicts. Through those Recovery Groups thousands of people have come to Christ. Numerous families have been healed and restored. Former Addicts have become Pastors and Priests.

Revival is happening but the world, the flesh and the devil are attacking hard.

 PRAY for:

Galina, Irinia, Anya, Anatoly, Yvgenia, Marina, Paul, Michael, Anna, and all others! Pray for prosperity and protection.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Russian Laws Supressing Non-Profits

Pray for our Christian friends in Russia. We cannot supoport any of them because the new law says we have to register as a foreign agent to help them out. However, we can pray. That is not restricted.

One of our Russian friends came to faith in Christ at age 10. Prayers of western Christians broke through the barriers of Communist atheism and the Holy Spirit miraculously convicted her of the need for salvation.

Pray. Write me off line if you want names and particulars. Christians at worship!

How can we get People to Change?

How Do We Change? Here is a shocker. All change is SELF-CHANGE!!!

One of the most common questions we get at our workshops and seminars is from Pastors, Counselors, Coaches and Consultants. It is the same question:

How do I motivate people to change? This is a tricky question, but a good question. Hidden beneath this question is another statement: (How do I get them to do what I want them to do? Pastors, Coaches, Counselors and Consultants do not just want people to chamnge but to change like I want them to change.)

Maybe I need to tell you some things that will not work to motivate people to change in the direction we want. In fact, the things I am listing below will  more than likely motivate people to do the opposite of what we want them to do.

(The guy below is the poster child for how not to motivate change. He has tried to witness to Muslims by burning a Koran!)

1. Do not preach at people as though they were stupid, children or ignorant. Jesus said, "Do  not be like the Gentile Pagans and lord it over your people." In other words do not stand above them and cut them down to size.

2. Do not threaten people. Threats can leave people with anxiety and anxiety causes them to resist positive changes. In my experience, it causes people to do negative things, usually different from what we want.

3. Do not insult them. Name calling and shaming or addinjg guilt to them will likely boomerang.

4. Do not be impatient. getting ahead of the Lord's conviction will usually not work.

5. Do not call them to action before they are ready to change. Do not get ahead of their readinesss to change.

Add you own insights to this list. Who would you nominate as a falure to motivate good works?

See our bookstore at the sweetenlife.com web page has our book, Hope and Change for Humpty Dumpty, which is a manual for those who want to influence others to change.

Gary Sweeten

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Publishing and Prophesy

Busy! That has been my life so far in 2012. In fact, I have not even had enough time to play golf. That, my friends, is too busy. Since January of this year I have written and re-written four books, a syllabus for each one and posted them on Randy Clark's online classroom called Global Awkening. Randy has a powerful international ministry of healing and training. However, he, like the Apostle Paul, heard God say, "Slow down on that travel business and set up a school to 'Equip God's people to heal the broken hearted and set the captives free". There are, at this time, three tracks. 1. Physical Healing: Randy teaching 2. Inner Healing or Soul Care. Gary Sweeten teaching 3. I ritual Warfare: unsure Ho is teaching My track has four courses with eight weeks in each. My four tracks are: A. Theology of persons and how to encourage Seekers to Change with God's support. B. Power Christian Thinking-How to integrate the Bible and brain science to take every thought to the mind of Christ. C. Breaking Free to be everything God has for us D. How to be Me in My Family Tree Healing the past as I move forward These books and videos are on line and the sweetenlife.com for a small fee. They are written at a fairly advanced level so they may be too advanced for many of our readers.

Friday, July 6, 2012

How Parents of A Hurting Child Feel

Our ministry to families with a member who has a special need is growing. However, we have a long way to go. NAMI, an organization for families with members who have issues of mental and emotional health, have been around for a long time providing support, encouragement and wisdom for parents and care givers. I am publishing a Parent's Rant to let us get a taste of the frustration many parents chronically feel.

My son and I talked about the studio apartments...he came to me...Yeah!!!   He is a little reluctant concerning “unnamed” for some reason but my friend suggested “unnamed” in Sunnyvale so we are off to check into that sometime during the next week or so plus we'll check into “unnamed “and get his name on the years and years and years long waiting list. 

All of this scrambling around that we do.  We are all frantically searching for that one small straw that will give our loved ones just a glimmer of hope!  Trouble is, the wheat field has been through a storm!

First, we are told, "Oh just get help for your loved one!"  Then "oh, you should be doing this and that, and it's your fault that your loved one is as ill as he or she is!"  The we are told, "Well, if your loved one is turned away from services it's because you are taking care of him or her!"  "Put them out on the streets!"

Then help finally comes, 'Why didn't you get help earlier." we are told!  Enablers, everyone cries!
Then, our loved ones are put through programs while in rehabilitation and that's great.  We begin to feel some hope at this point and are so grateful for the care received!  Oh but they've started smoking.
Finally, moving day!  At first, we can't believe it!  One bathroom for 9 people!  Then we see 3 people sharing a room....$725!!!
Two filthy mattresses on a floor....but the rent is only $700.00...
Another home, "Why do you padlock the washing machine?" I ask and the kitchen is locked and all of the clients stay to their rooms!

Then, we are finally broken.  Our loved ones are herded like sheep.  If we complain, they are blacklisted from other homes.  If we don't complain, we have to watch them live in squalor.
Homes smelling of urine on hot days.  Rampant theft!  Complaints from neighbors!   Police calls, arguments and drug use!

Our loved ones though did a great job going through the programs needed at “unnamed”and “unnamed”!  I'm so proud of them! 
Once in a while, some of the fortunate clients with courage, perseverance and  let's face it at that point feeling  more able and just screaming inside for something more; those people go on to being able to manage their own lives a little better.  With tremendous support, they are able to go forward....but, Most will still need some form of low income housing...a small bathroom, kitchenette...their own space!

And once again, we find ourselves going from door to door..."Didn't he apply for section 8." they ask?

yes, but his number is low and another 20 years away and he keeps moving and we have to update all the records each time that he moves!

Oh well, that's my rant,

The lesson here is, "Greet care givers with understanding and compassion not judgment and labels."

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Medicate Mommy and Granny?

Harvard says Medication Use Grows

Medicaid analysis reveals trends in depression care

An analysis of Florida health insurance data revealed trends in the delivery of depression care. Overall spending increased mainly because of a marked rise in spending on drugs, especially — in a surprise — because of spending on antipsychotics.

Why are we drugging Mommy and Granny with anti psychotics?   There is evidence that older people are increasingly struggling with depression. That, in itself, is a mystery because we are all living better today than ever before. I am convinced that it comes down to Stinking Thinking or Pessimism among the older people.

Here is the good news, we can impact our loved ones by the ways we think and feel. If we are optimistic, hopeful, loving and faithful the people around us are likely to feel more positive. Yep, isn't that a blast?

If you want to help others, just help yourself.

Positive, Bible believing, worshipful, caring churches are almost guaranteed to help people feel happier and healthier. So, why are Doctors feeding the elderly anti-psychotics. Those very powerful drugs are designed not for depression at all but for psychosis like schizophrenia. 

Look at the headlines.  More money is being spent on treating depression but it is the wrong treatment. These drugs have tremendously bad side effects. Why?

Several years ago a friend called me to inquire if our Life Way Counseling Center had a Medical Doctor Psychiatrist on the staff.  His mom was suffering from depression and the drugs were killing her. We have a Psychiatrist and I suggested that he bring his mom in to see our Doctor.

Our Doctor took her off all those bad drugs and replaced them with appropriate medications. She almost immediately got better. If you have a parent or loved one being treated for depression, check the medication.

See my web for more help.

Gary Sweeten

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Nostalgic Memories

I remember the first time I heard the phrase, "My country, right or wrong." I was in college and one of  my classmates was telling s why he was going to attend West Point. I admired his grit and his dedication but I was not sure about that phrase about supporting America if it was right or wrong.

In my youth I was pretty cocky. Back then I thought I was pretty smart and I tended to judge the actions of politicians and educators and preachers and public servants as inferior to me. I had a personality that was, "Often wrong but never in doubt."

My personality has not changed much but my attitude has. I am much more gracious toward others in leadership.  My increase in graciousness has come as a result of several things.

1. I am older and age tends to knock off some of the rougher edges of one's personality.
2. My theology has changed. When I was younger I thought sin and human weaknesses were rather shallow things that could be easily overcome. A person could just choose how to ,live and do it. The Nike saying fit me fine: "Just do it!" My Grandmother Taylor had given me a very popular book by Sheldon to read and it influenced me greatly. It was called, In His Steps and the constant drumbeat of focus was to ask "What would Jesus do" and simply do it. Now I see sin, weaknesses and humanity as a  tangled web of deep seated, unconscious drives and weaknesses which require God's grace, mercy and power to overcome.
3. My experiences have taught me that decisions are tough  and leadership is very difficult. Mistakes are easy to make and understanding how to read the future impossible.The only law that is predictable is "The Law of Unpredictable Outcomes and The Law of Unintended Consequences".
4. I no longer desire to straighten everybody out as I once did.
5. God is in control

Having said all that, I am much more appreciative of the history of America. I see how amazingly wise were the founders. Despite their human weaknesses and lack of seeing the future they built a great foundation for us to live free and prosper.

God has blessed America. I hope the politicians who think they know better than the founders will grow in wisdom and grace as much as I and lay down their ideas about destroying the founding ideals.

May God bless us on this July 4, 2012