Friday, November 30, 2012

How to Build a Christian Nation

 For as long as I can remember Christian Preachers and writers have lamented the sinful nature of the United States. The remedy is usually thought to be another revival with massively big meetings led by Billy Graham type of Preachers with hundreds of sinners walking down the stadium walkways in response to the song "Just As I Am". In fact, Billy Graham is supposed to have said that the USA was so sinful that God would have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah if He did not punish us.

I have studied history from a religious and spiritual perspective and I am not at all sure  the USA is so bad comparatively speaking and I certainly do not agree that the answer is a series of 1950 style "Revival Meetings". We had a Spiritual Awakening in the Sixties and Seventies. It happened in a parallel fashion with the Hippie Movement. As one side of the nation was moving farther into sex, drugs and rock music the other was being touched by God's Spirit. In other words, as preachers railed against the sin of young people God was busy bringing millions of them to faith in Christ.

At this point in time we are in the afterglow of the Fourth Great Awakening and need to follow God's plan for reaping the harvest of the fruit in terms of Discipling and training the people God was saving. Revival brings people into faith and Discipleship equips them for ministry. However, the in depth, hard work of equipping the saints has been neglected.

For example, almost without exception Conservative churches take strong stands against divorce, abortion, sex outside marriage, drug abuse, poor parenting, pornography use, etc. At the same time, fewer than 10% of the churches I know have any program of pre-marital preparation, marriage enrichment, parenting skills, etc. In a new book by Hugh and Brad Rosenberg called FatherPrint, these statistics are quoted about homes without a father in them:

43% of U.S. Children live in one!
90% of runaways and homeless kids come from one!
71% of pregnant teens!
85% of kids with behavioral issues!
63% of suicides!
71% of dropouts!
85% of inmates!

But churches do not teach people how to stay together and parent their kids?

In our ministries at Sweeten Life we help churches and Para-Church Groups build solid families.  In the former USSR families were destroyed by terror, murder, persecution and state policies on abortion and spiritual life. How did we try to build a strong nation? By building strong families. The two cannot be separated.

Big revivals and new church plants were common in the aftermath of the Iron Curtain's demise. We saw large crowds clamoring for free Bibles and eager to get saved. Less than 50% of the churches planted in those days survived. Why? No Discipleship. No healing the trauma suffered by every family in Russia.  Just big meetings like a 50's Billy Graham Crusade. It was as broad as the Pacific Ocean and as deep as a dishpan!

We were different. We recruited a few gifted, talented, mature Christians and equipped them to follow the biblical model found in Isiah 61 to "Heal the broken hearted and set the captives free." Here we are 20 years later with thousands of Christians who have been "Healed, Equipped and Sent out to Serve". Hundreds of families are being restored every year all over Russia.

Galina and I have been sharing some inspiring stories about God's love, truth, power and gifts being unleashed through all the churches in Russia. If you are interested in  discovering how to build a nation came and listen to us Saturday at 2:00-4:00 at the Vineyard Tri-County and Sunday morning at Dwelling Place Church in Loveland.

For books and videos on Healing the Broken Hearted go to our Sweeten Life Bookstore for free and inexpensive materials.

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Russian Revolution

It has taken 20 years of work, prayers and Christian Discipleship but we are seeing God's Kingdom reasserting itself in the former USSR. The Communists left a devastated populace in shambles because of the ignorant, evil and misguided policies of the Left Wing Radicals whose ideals about everything from agriculture to social policies were backward, wrong headed and vindictive.

As I wrote in an earlier post, the atheist hatred of religion led them to try to kill the church by forbidding it from doing works of mercy and health for the people. By the end of its reign even the hard core Communists were begging the church to print Bibles and start helping the poor.

We are hosting the head of our Revolution of Russian Love Ministry in Cincinnati this week. Dr. Galina Chentsova will speak at the Vineyard Community Church from 2:00-4:00 this coming Saturday, December 1. Come and greet Dr. Chentsova and learn how she and her team are winning hearts and souls and families to Christ and His healing love.

Every guest will receive a free book from Sweeten Life Systems. It illustrates the way Dr. Chentsova is ministering in Russia.  Go to for more information.


Dr. Gary Sweeten

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Why Strong Men Fall 2

Think back over the past few years at the numbers of famous men who have fallen from their positions of honor and strength because they gave in to the temptation to have sex with a woman to whom they were not married. Several of these men were known for their self control and moral integrity but that was obviously not enough to keep them from giving in to the lure of the opposite sex or in the case of some preachers and priests same sex.

Almost every sermon, book, TV program and lecture I ever heard or saw on sexual morality focused on will power. The arguments usually discussed the horrible impact of a moral failure and said outright or implied that if we all took a pledge of moral purity we would be able to resist temptation. From the case of the current General to that of Tiger Woods, Jimmy Swaggart and many others, what was present was a strong commitment to morality but they failed anyway.

What is the main issue then? In my opinion, it is a spiritual issue. There are several things which cause a male to be easily seduced by Eros.

1. Spiritual Dryness: Men, even those who have in the past had great spiritual encounters, who fail to keep the spiritual fires burning deep within and a member of the opposite sex comes along and the secret places of the heart that are reserved for the Spirit of God are drawn to her. The spirit of Eros is the closest thing to there is to the Spirit of God. When a male is not resting in the Holy Spirit as an active, alive, dynamic presence he is easily seduced by the Eros of a certain kind of woman.

2. Men who become powerful, gifted, talented and successful tend to depend upon themselves and forget to depend on God's Spirit.  When "Image Management" becomes more important than true humility and dependence on God, the flow of the Spirit is hindered within and the strong man can be quite successful without the obvious evidence of God's Spirit. Such men tend to be well organized, disciplined and angry. They do not allow others, even old friends, offer them helpful feedback or accountability.

3. Men who suffer a deep wound of the heart and whose fragile ego is damaged. This may cause the man to hearken back to similar wounds in childhood or adolescence that were never healed. The willingness of an attractive woman to affirm and offer love is a very heady temptation.

4. There is almost always anger, hurt and poor communication between the man and his wife. He feels unappreciated,   rejected, unloved and under served sexually by her.  He deserves better than this. She has not grown with him and is no longer his equal.

There may be more but these are a good start. The real danger is within not the woman that comes along. I have ministered to a lot of men like this.

What think thee? Write your comments. I would love to hear from you.

You can find a manual on Inner Healing and Soul Care on my web page book store. Look for Breaking Free.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Why Generals and Other Strong Men Fall

Yesterday afternoon, I went to the White House and asked the President to be allowed, for personal reasons, to resign from my position as D/CIA.  After being married for over 37 years, I showed extremely poor judgment by engaging in an extramarital affair. Such behavior is unacceptable, both as a husband and as the leader of an organization such as ours. This afternoon, the President graciously accepted my resignation. David Petraeus

General Petraeus  was a war hero and one of the greatest military minds in the history of this nation.  He was known to have enormous self control and a high commitment to his nation. Loyalty was his middle name!

If you believe the moralists, you would be shocked at this because they believe that will power is enough. "Just say NO! " is the rallying cry of a moralist. But he will not, sadly, be remembered for those highly moral  attributes. He will go down in history as a colossal failure to have self control. His will power was, they will say, just too weak.  What do you think? Is will power enough to break the power of sexual temptation?

Who is most vulnerable to sexual sin? Is the moralist or the slacker? the guy who       he answer for Christian leaders to preach trying harder or relaxing the standards? Or neither?

Let me know what you think. And, it will help if you back your opinions with the Bible.

Go to my web page bookstore and buy the book Healing Release of the Holy Spirit for a biblical basis to respond.

God's Love Transforming Russia

A Training Group from all Christian Backgrounds in an Orthodox Church Meeting Place

Grace, mercy and love work. Maybe that sounds crass and un-spiritual but it is true. We do not share the gospel with people because we know it will bring them prosperity, healing, joy and eternal life, we share it because it is God's will that all hear it. However, I am like John Wesley in that I love to help the poor. But like Wesley, those who get redeemed do not stay poor. Unlike Wesley, I am very happy that they do not stay poor.

Before the Holy Spirit invaded my 1957 Ford Fairlane in 1958, I would have sworn that I was happy, free and enjoying life. I made good money, drank and smoked and had a good number of girl friends and that was the standard for happiness in secular circles. Then I was stunned by the Holy Spirit who said,"Choose this day whom you will serve!"

From then on i have continually grown in wisdom, stature and joy as well as finances, family harmony and professionally. God opened up avenues of personal, professional and interpersonal fulfillment that I did not imagine existed.

I say that to let you know that despite the intentional, evil, demonic attacks of atheist rulers in Russia which brought about poverty, pain, grief, death and destruction, God is bringing about the recovery of millions of Russians. God is fulfilling IS 61 in multiples! Thankfully He is allowing us to labor along side Him in this great venture of love, mercy and grace.

Come to the Vineyard Community Church on Saturday, December 1 at 2:00 PM to discuss these changes with one of the main instigators of those improvements. Dr. Galina Chentsova, M.D. Psychiatrist will share how God has used her and a team of wonderful Christian workers to make significant differences in the lives of hundreds of Russian families.

Galina is also speaking at The Dwelling Place Church Sunday, December 2. The church is located in Loveland on Remington Road

You can support Galina and her gutsy band of believers by going to the Sweeten Life web or send an earmarked check to:

Sweeten Life Systems
P.O. Box 498455
Cincinnati, 45249 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

To Rescue or Not to Rescue

In Pastoral Care and Christian Counseling we are often surprised when the people we help the most turn out to bitterly complain about our lack of compassion. Or, even worse, tell some horrible lie on us to ruin our ministry.

This is evidently what happened to a coach and is reported by Jason Whitlock below.

It’s my suspicion that Bernie Fine, the former Syracuse basketball assistant, spent the past year reflecting on the cliché that “no good deed goes unpunished.”

Fine lost his job, his good name and the life he knew for three decades because two men he helped when they were kids and young adults seized what they thought would be their opportunity to exact revenge from Fine for cutting off his assistance.

It’s not difficult to understand what happened to Bernie Fine, who was under federal investigation for child molestation the past year, thanks primarily to the childish, overzealous, gossipy reporting of ESPN’s Mark Schwarz.

My colleague sent me this article because it reminded her of my teaching on Triangles in our E Book, How to be me in my Family Tree. The book is an essential guide to healthy ministry and is a must read for every church worker and elder, deacon and minister. Triangles are the foundation of ministry and not understanding them always leads us into trouble.

This particular teaching is called, "The Responsibility Triangle" and has to do with trying to help a person in need only to discover that they turn on us like a mad dog with hurt, anger and spite. When a person attempts to Rescue a Victim from a Persecutor and fails to do exactly what the Victim wants, he/she often turns on the Rescuer with false accusations and gossip. The Rescuer feels like a Victim and accuses the former Victim of being the Persecutor.

In the situation mentioned above, Mr. Fine was a coach in Syracuse who helped many people, including two young men. When he attempted to wean them off his charity, they accused him of sexually abusing them. He lost his job and reputation. Nothing was ever proven. He is evidently innocent. 

This is often the situation in ministries. It is also true of nations. The USA gives trillions to help poor nations but they often complain, attack and hate us. The people on welfare in America rarely seem thankful and want more because the USA, they say, is stingy.

The media are often complicit in these situations. They wrote many stories about Hurricane Katrina that were completely fabricated and are still retold today. We heard of murders, starving, callous government officials and other horror tales that later turned out top be false.

So, be very careful about whom you try to Rescue at home, work or ministry.

We Care but only God Cures! 

Again, read my books on the family tree and Humpty Dumpty. They could save your life.

Gary Sweeten

Meet Galina from Russia December 1

If you want to meet a modern hero in liberating a nation from evil, come to our reception for Galina Chentsova at the Vineyard Saturday afternoon, December 1. You can ask questions and chat with her.

It is our 20th anniversary of the  ministry in Russia and the former USSR.

Maybe we can learn how to bring revival into America.

Gary Sweeten

Can We Prevent Being Cursed?

Many of us look at the USA and can hardly imagine why we are not doing better as a nation. We were founded on biblical principles and have a Constitution that would seem to draw the best out of people. Yet, morality seems to be spiraling downward as crime increases, drugs haunt us and families fall apart.

What can we, as Christians, do to improve the situation? Are there biblical passages that would give us guidance? During the political season do we have an opportunity to vote for people who will make positive changes?

First, are there biblical passages that can guide us? Last week I watched a TV program on The History Channel that reviewed the Roman Empire during the time of Jesus and the Early Church. They looked at people like Caligula, one of the most evil leaders ever recorded. He was so bad that his own guard finally killed him.

In one session they looked at the sexual immorality of the Romans and concluded they were about as sexually perverse as any culture in history. The record of sexual perversion is kept fairly accurate on the walls of Pompeii as a result of the volcano eruption that wiped it out. Their frequent use of prostitutes even as a part of the Temple worship was probably more debauched than anything we know in America.

In the Old Testament, God commanded those kinds of temples to be destroyed. Is that the answer today?
  1. He also tore down the quarters of the male shrine prostitutes that were in the temple of the LORD, the quarters where women did weaving for Asherah.
    2 Kings 23:6-8 (in Context) 2 Kings 23 
  2. Micah 1:7
    All her idols will be broken to pieces; all her temple gifts will be burned with fire; I will destroy all her images. Since she gathered her gifts from the wages of prostitutes, as the wages of prostitutes they will again be used.”Micah 1:6-8   
Dr. James Dobson recently stated that the main reason pornography is rampant is because police have failed to stop its production. Is that the answer you would give to our moral problems? Would better policing solve sinful behavior?

What is the biblical answer today? You may find my book, How to be Me in my Family Tree helpful in knowing how to pray for generational healing. Go to the bookstore.

Gary Sweeten

Monday, November 12, 2012

Revive a Nation from the Dead

At the turn of the 20th century, Berdyayev wrote about the revival of Russian culture. In his mind, it depended on Christians gathering in small groups around the kitchen table to discuss scripture, pray and encourage each other to live holy lives. The Communists saw the dangers of that force and tried to eliminate fellowship, mutual support and the practical application of the good news. House churches as well as public churches were attacked.

Any ideals that did not bow to Socialist philosophy were deemed too dangerous to be allowed.  They chose to destroy all religion but especially Christianity with its emphasis on building healthy social ties. When one’s own religiousness becomes our main interest, the fate of the rest of the world loses all meaning. (See James 2:18 on faith and works)

So, if we are to bring revival we need to repair the broken foundations.  Build stronger families and stronger churches of all kinds. Denominational churches, in dependent churches house churches. They are all important. 

How to Destroy a Nation Number 2

In my last post I asked you how you think the infamous Law of 1929 might have been used to destroy Russia/USSR. I am wondering if any of you guessed what the atheistic Socialists actually tried as a means of destroying the Russian culture and its people. Remember that Christianity came to Russia almost 1000 years ago. Two Priests from the Greek Orthodox Church were sent as missionaries to the Slavic people. Along with Christianity they brought a fiery desire to teach the locals how to read and write. There are always there when missionaries travel overseas.

In the mind of most Russians is the notion that to be a Russian you must also be an Orthodox Christian. Even atheists claim to be Orthodox. So, Stalin and his evil henchmen decided that they had to destroy Christianity in order to destroy the Russian nation.

If you were going to kill Christianity, how would you do it? Comment and let me know.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Future of America?

I had a lot of hits on my posts about how to destroy a culture and a nation. I hope it leads people to actively pursue practices and policies that promote healthy ideas and healthy ideals in our personal, church and political lives. 

Let me add some thoughts about our western cultures. For many years I have been aware of the fact that that Europe has moved dramatically away from embracing the moral and ethical values of Judeo -Christian values. Another way of saying it is that the values  upon which those cultures was based and on which they prospered have slowly given away to secular humanist assumptions that are largely immoral and unethical. Now, it is plain from the last few elections that we also live in a Post Christian age in America.

In fact, with the advent of secular humanism has come anti-Christian bias that leads organizations formerly build on Christianity to actually ban groups who hold to its traditional values. Despite a guarantee of freedom of religion in the US Constitution, Vanderbilt, Tufts and other universities have banned Christian groups from their campuses.

Despite the guarantee of free speech Christian speech is now attacked by Left Wing politicians like Rahm Emmanuel and iTunes has banned Christian groups from placing their apps for commercial application.  Most frightening was President Obama's dictatorial forcing Christian groups to violate their values and spend money on abortion and contraceptives after pledging that he would never do such a thing.

The question remains whether these are good or bad for Christianity. God is in control of nations so it is obvious that He is controlling who is elected. Even those callous leaders who despise freedom and democracy are often chosen to lead.  It is certainly contrary to my ideals but God has done it before and revival came as a result.

Mao came to power in China after a regime very supportive of Christianity. In 1949 there were an estimated 3,000,000 believers in that huge land. Mao and the Communists were horrible to the people and attacked Christians repeatedly and millions died. When the Great Wall began to crack in the Nineties, Christians from the West found at least 50,000,000 believers. Most were in underground churches.

As Jesus said to His followers: "It is better that I go away..." It was better that the pro Christian government go away. Maybe that will be the best for America as well.

Gary Sweeten

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Destruction of our Nation so a New Phoenix can Arise

That is what a young, bearded, long haired hippie college Junior said to me while he was high on pot and sitting on top of the school computer in Beecher Hall at UC in about 1970. He also said it was too bad they had to "off me" because I was a "pig" as an Associate Dean of Students.

We can still hear that kind of reckless and evil language in discussions of why America has to be overthrown. It is usually stated by men and women who grew up in the Sixties and Seventies and are still carrying around their utopian ideals.

That was the goal, so it was stated, in the Communist take overs in Eastern Europe and Asia. As one of my friends recently wrote a few like Stalin were bad apples but most of the Communists were nice, warm and fuzzy people. To the contrary, they were callous, hateful, evil and destructive. They starved, murdered, shot and hanged millions to make room for the new order.

As always they started with the educated, the religious and the family heads. Pol Pot in Cambodia killed people who wore glasses because he thought it showed that they spent a lot of time reading. He killed the teachers, doctors, nurses and ministers. But it failed.

Families and churches are under attack in the USA today. Government officials hurl a constant stream of attacks on priests, ministers and their policies. Vanderbilt University was founded as a Methodist school but recently banned from campus any religious group that only allows straight students to be officers. How long will it be that hospitals, schools and churches that restrict abortion and homosexual ministers be able to maintain their tax free status? Through the new health insurance laws the government has already banned religious groups from exempting abortion from their policies.

The enemy of our souls hates strong families. He hates a strong church. He hates life, liberty and the search for happiness. Look at what happened in 1929.