Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Finally, Mother Then Taught Me

15. My mother taught me about ENVY.
"There are millions of less fortunate children in this world who don't have
wonderful parents like you do."

16. My mother taught me about ANTICIPATION.
"Just wait until we get home."

17. My mother taught me about RECEIVING.
"You are going to get it when you get home!"

18. My mother taught me MEDICAL SCIENCE.
"If you don't stop crossing your eyes, they are going to freeze that way."

19. My mother taught me ESP.
"Put your sweater on; don't you think I know when you are cold?"

20. My mother taught me HUMOUR.
"When that lawn mower cuts off your toes, don't come running to me."

21. My mother taught me HOW TO BECOME AN ADULT.
"If you don't eat your vegetables, you'll never grow up."

22. My mother taught me GENETICS.
"You're just like your father."

23. My mother taught me about my ROOTS.
"Shut that door behind you. Do you think you were born in a barn?"

24. My mother taught me WISDOM.
"When you get to be my age, you'll understand."

25. And my favorite: My mother taught me about JUSTICE.
"One day you'll have kids, and I hope they turn out just like you!"

Mother Also Taught Me ...

My Mother In Law Hazel Guriel Was A Great Teacher

8. My mother taught me about the science of OSMOSIS.
"Shut your mouth and eat your supper."

9. My mother taught me about being a CONTORTIONIST.
"Will you look at that dirt on the back of your neck?"

10 My mother taught me about STAMINA.
"You'll sit there until all that spinach is gone."

11. My mother taught me about WEATHER.
"This room of yours looks as if a tornado went through it."

12 My mother taught me about HYPOCRISY.
"If I told you once, I've told you a million times. Don't exaggerate!"

13. My mother taught me the CIRCLE OF LIFE.
"I brought you into this world, and I can take you out."

14. My mother taught me about BEHAVIOUR MODIFICATION.
"Stop acting like your father!"

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Biblical Story of Generational Family Life

Today I am suggesting that you watch a video tape by Charlie McMahan, Lead Catalyst at Southbrook Christian Church in Dayton. In this video Charlie had one of the very best explanations of generational blessings and curses that I have heard.

It is the first of four talks he did on the topic of Regenerate your Family Tree. The next two I joined with him to show the Genogram and share from my own family experience. The last one is Charlie and his beautiful daughter Jordan discussing the fun and imperfections of growing up in the home of a Minister.

Happy watching!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Pictures Tell A Story

The photo I posted last time showed the John Thomas Dempsey family and many of their spiritual and temporal values. What do you think the family is trying to communicate by the way they posed the picture. Back in the early 1900's when the picture was taken it was a serious matter to spend the time, money, energy and effort to have a family photo taken. With the advent of the telephone camera we have made photography easy, cheap, and universal. That was not the case in 1910.

They would have thought about what values and principles they wanted to communicate. Rev. J.T. and Belle and the entire family are dressed in their Sunday best. It is a formal occasion. One in which they had to prepare.What else can we discern?

He and Belle are holding the Holy Bible opened to a passage of scripture. Although we do not know which passage, we know their lives are based on the Bible.

As you look at the photo more carefully, ask yourself what you think the rest of the photo is telling us about this family at this time in life.

You can get a copy of my text book How to Be Me in My Family Tree at the web store.  In that book you will learn how to start the process of tracking your own family heritage and discern what the photos and memorials mean to you and your offspring.

The photo above was taken of the three male offspring of Nancy (Nannie) Dempsey Taylor. Left to right are: John Max Kirk, son of Lelah Taylor Kirk, Maurice Dwayne Sweeten and Gary Ray Sweeten, sons of Leota Taylor Sweeten. Later John Max was joined by Linda Ann and Danny Dale and The Sweeten boys by Tommy Taylor.

What does this photo tell you?

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Generational Blessings

Many of us have had a picture taken of the family with a new car or a new boat. But my Great Grand Father and Grand Mother were proud of the Mule they had back at the turn of the Century. My Grand Mother, Nancy Dempsey Taylor, their daughter, was born in 1894. She is a teenager in the photo so it must be around 1910.

Pa Dempsey was converted as an adult and had a call to minister. In 1894 he and about 20 others went to a revival meeting and were revived by the Holy Spirit with a Second Blessing. They returned to visit their preacher at the Union Missionary Baptist Church to exhort him to preach the revival doctrine and were given the "Left Foot of Fellowship".

After being asked to leave they went down the road to buy a piece of land and built a beautiful white clapboard building and a cemetery across the road. (I have the records.) I am returning "home" in March to be with my friends in that church as they celebrate a new construction project.

I dedicated one of my latest books How to be Me in My Family Tree to the people in that photo.Nancy Dempsey's photo is below.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

My Generational Heritage

I recently wrote a book on the biblical approach to family of origin counseling. I dedicated it to my Great Grandfather John Thomas Dempsey and his Wife Belle McKinney Dempsey and Daughter Nancy Ann Dempsey Taylor and family. Their photos are below. Mom Dempsey Taylor was about ten so this was probably taken in 1905.

In March the New Hope Free Will Baptist Church will have a reunion and I am driving back to Ina, Illinois to join the festivities. My Great Grandparents were charter members in 1894 and their daughter was a tiny baby.

Grand Dad Dempsey was ordained and became one of the early Pastors of New Hope Church. Here is his picture with other Free Will Baptists at Tamaroa, IL conference. He is in the third row from the bottom five men from the left.

Grand Dad Dempsey with one of the congregations he Pastored. 

What is Love?

Fruit of the Spirit!

Do We Believe the Bible?

One of the clearest commands in scripture is from Jesus to "Go out to the entire world and make disciples". MT 28:18. It has been repeated so often that most mature Christians are tired of hearing it. Despite that, few disciples are made because few churches try making disciples and few Christian leaders are adept at making disciples.

Like the weather, it is often talked about but seldom practiced.

Making disciples is difficult. A disciple is a student. A graduate disciple is a person that has mastered a certain set of skills and knowledge. For the mass of Christians in the world few have mastered either knowledge or skills.

All of my classes are designed to produce men and women who have both skill and knowledge. they are designed with the following skeleton outline in mind to make sure we cover both knowledge and skill. It forms a DREAMS Acrostic.

D-Didactic is lecture and reading or listening to the content and theory of knowledge. It is biblical knowledge but not good for applying skills.

R-Reflection means we get to think new knowledge over and discuss it so as to make it really ours.

E-Experience allows us to practice the application part of the new knowledge. "Truth separated from experience will always be in doubt".

A-Accountability means we have a supervisor who helps us correct our mistakes and rewards our accuracy.

M-Modeling allows us to see and hear how things are done properly.

S-Supernatural brings God's presence into the process and means what we are learning changes us into His image more each day. It brings transcendence to the table.

A Christ Follower needs all this every day.

Our web has many free materials and some premium materials for sale.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Marks of Maturity

This letter by Chekov is a short summary of what he sees as a "Cultured Person". By cultured I think he means well rounded, wise, mature and well educated. In England it might be a "Gentleman".

I am often asked what it means to be "Normal". It is a bit difficult to describe but I think Anton Chekov's letter to his younger brother gets at it nicely. Read it and see what you think. It was on a weekly newsletter I get online that I find is a good source of well written ideas.

Send your own comments in and add pertinent insights. 

Gary Sweeten

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Marriage is Good for All of Us



New FRC Report Finds 162 Reasons to Marry

February 10, 2012|9:13 am
To celebrate National Marriage Week, Family Research Council's Marriage and Religion Research Institute has released a new study called "162 Reasons to Marry."
The findings reveal that married persons enjoy stronger relationships with their children, have better mental and physical health, and are less likely to commit a crime.

According to Dr. Patrick Fagan, director of the Marriage and Religion Research Institute, marriage is the foundational relationship of society because all other relationships stem from what children see displayed by their parents.

"[O]ther relationships thrive most if that father-mother relationship is simultaneously a close and a closed husband-wife relationship," he said. "Within a family built on a good marriage, the child gradually learns to value and perform five fundamental tasks in society."
Those tasks include raising a family, practicing religion, getting an education, finding a job, and participating in government.

The report points out that fewer than half of children in the United States are now reaching the end of childhood in an intact married family. With that, FRC believes "it will be good for all adolescents to learn again and again that an intact married life is a great good to aim for. If they are clear on the goal, they may be motivated to reach it."

Those raised in stable married families are more likely to practice sexual chastity, to worship more regularly, and to expect and attain more from their education, according to the study. They are less likely to experience poverty as children or to experience or commit violence.

The study was released as churches across the country celebrate National Marriage Week USA, which kicked off on Tuesday, with banquets, date night challenges, and conferences. The annual observance is part of an international effort (involving 16 countries) during the week leading up to Valentine's Day to help strengthen marriages and families, reduce the divorce rate, and increase the marriage rate.

Part of the goal of National Marriage Week is to get more people to pay attention to the state of marriage.

"Our campaign to strengthen marriage is quite timely," said Sheila Weber, executive director of National Marriage Week. "A recent Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census data said that in 1960, 72 percent of all adults ages 18 and older were married; today just 51 percent are a record low."
The weeklong initiative has been recognized by congressmen, including Rep. Gregg Harper (R-Miss.) who said Tuesday "it should always be our goal to keep that family unit together" especially at a time when divorce and broken families are prevalent.

Weber said in a released statement that most prisoners come from broken homes, or have grown up without a father in their lives. The economic cost of that is huge. "In 2009, California judges ordered the state to release 27 percent of its prisoners due to overcrowding," she pointed out. Aside from curbing violence and crime, marriage is also linked to a stable economy. "Taxpayers spend at least $112 billion a year for divorce and unwed childbearing. Marriage brings vastly more financial stability to individuals," she highlighted.

"Research shows that virtually all of the growth in child poverty in the United States since 1970 can be attributed to the nation's retreat from marriage."

FRC concluded in its study that the strength of the nation "depends on good marriages to yield strong revenues, good health, low crime, high education, and high human capital. Smart parents and smart societies pay attention to the state and strength of marriage."

Want to know how to honor your father and mother so you can prosper emotionally, spiritually and financially? Get the book shown in the photo above. How to Be Me in My Family Tree brings honor and blessings to light.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Mission 2013 #30 Healing Hurting Hearts

Here is Cincinnati we have The Lindner Institute for the Human Heart. Unfortunately, there is no Institute for the Care and Cure of Christian Hearts. Almost no church today is interested in Healing Hurting Hearts. There is a frenzied push to build churches that are a mile wide and an inch deep.  One Mother Church is spawning multiple campuses but almost none do any type of inner healing and pastoral care. 

The number and percentage of people being crushed by parental dysfunction and divorce is skyrocketing yet the churches have little training in how to listen carefully and therapeutically to those hurting heart. Would you like to learn how to Heal Hurting Hearts? Go to my web page and download our books on the Care and Cure of The Soul. Take a look at Breaking Free to learn how to heal all the hurting hearts that God sends you way.

The use of heroin is rising and public officials are in a panic mode but Christian leaders seem unaware of it. This means that the church is not being a place of intentional healing. Yes, coming to Christ is healing and growing in Christ through the Word and Worship help all of us but they cannot do  everything that is needed to turn the tide.

 In fact, there are few places where funds for Christian planning, leadership, research and development.  The most successful companies in the world spend billions on R&D but churches spend little if any.

Apple increased the amount it spent on research and development during 2012, though it remained a fraction of its overall spending.
According to the company's annual report, which was filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission this afternoon, Apple spent $3.4 billion on research and development during its fiscal year, up $952 million, or 39 percent from last year. The year prior, the company spent $2.4 billion, up $647 million or 36 percent from the year before.
While the cost went up, the amount Apple spends on R&D versus its overall sales remained tiny. As in 2011, Apple's tally for 2012 remained at 2 percent.
Apple's R&D spending has been under close watch for years, in no small part because it spends considerably less than many of its rivals. Microsoft, for instance, spent $9.8 billion in its fiscal 2012, while Google spent $5.2 billion in its fiscal 2011.
"[Apple] continues to believe that focused investments in R&D are critical to its future growth and competitive position in the marketplace and are directly related to timely development of new and enhanced products that are central to the Company's core business strategy," Apple said in its filing. "As such, the Company expects to make further investments in R&D to remain competitive."

 With the advent of Obamacare God's people have an opportunity to step into the gap of health care needs and do wonderful works of the Holy Spirit. Pastors, get ready! 

Mission 2013 # 29 The Future of Education

We made a decision last year to publish all of our materials, books and training manuals online. We minister internationally and our materials must be available internationally. The book in green above is Listening in Russian. We also decided to join with Randy Clark and put our classes into his Global Awakening Class system and train people how to set up Teleios Centers around the world. Until recently we went the route of traditional paper publishing. That approach is dead for small fry like us. The story below tells why the traditional school models are dying.

Education adapts to changing student needs

Madison - Stereotypical college students who live in dorms and go home for the occasional weekend no longer are the main driver of changes in higher education, one of the nation's top education experts told the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents on Friday.

Working adults trying to finish a college degree started years ago, or wanting to gain another degree to either advance in the workplace or reinvent themselves, will push universities to find new ways to deliver an education, said Molly Corbett Broad, president of the American Council on Education.
They're the new majority of college students. They have no desire to live on a college campus. And they juggle too many other demands between jobs and families to take classes on a set schedule, Broad said.

While 15% of the nation's undergrads attend four-year colleges and live on campuses, 43% attend two-year colleges, 37% are enrolled part time, 38% are older than 25, and 25% are older than 30.
 "I think we are experiencing a confluence of forces of change, the likes of which I have not experienced in my lifetime," Broad said.

Find this article at:

Now you can go to the Sweeten Life web page and get over 40 video tapes on You Tube and Vimeo. They are all free. We also have some training manuals and books and self-assessments that we charge for but they are in a pdf. format that can be downloaded and printed out. Since we have dynamic ministries all over the planet it is impossible to distribute paper books. Besides, it is less expensive to produce and almost everybody has a computer these days. We are adding to the list of titles almost monthly so go and take a look to see what we have.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Mission 2013 #28. Family Life Restoration

My wife and I have been on several cruises over the years. It is a wonderful way to vacation. It is usually no more expensive than driving or touring because the cruise is all inclusive once you are on board. The food is wonderful and the entertainment is usually great.

This cruise was sponsored by Family Life, a great ministry located in Little Rock, AR. It is affiliated with Campus Crusade, now renamed CRU and id headed by Dennis and Barbara Rainey. A visit to their great web page will reveal a terrific range of up-building programs and ministries.

We were on a ship operated by Carnival that sailed from Miami to Key West to Cozumel, Mexico. No, we did not have any engine problems.The entire ship was filled with Christian couples from all over the place and the speakers were very good and the music and worship wonderful.

If you are interested in a great cruise you cannot find a better one than next year's Family Life cruise. The link to a video is here.

Gary Sweeten
Still crazy in love after all these years.

PS. Here is a hint from the TSA guards at the airports to my wife. "Do not try to carry on a Swiss Knife."

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Mission 2013 #27 Discipling Equipping for Mission

I was on the staff of a wonderful church for 16 years. It was an enlightening and personally stretching time when God was doing some amazing things in us and our congregation. Here is Cincinnati and around thew world graduates of the church are still doing all kinds of ministry. Some lead, some are missionaries, some heal, some are doctors, lawyers, psychotherapists and some are great at rearing families for Jesus. 

Here are some things we did to disciple our members for ministry, mission, multiplication. 

1. We led and were led to emphasize God's Kingdom not just our church. We shared all our insights and resources with any Christian, any church and any theological focus. 

2.  We talked a lot about growth and it meant several things:

a. Growth in numbers. We wanted to bring new people to Christ and new Christians to membership. We refused to get too big in numbers and when we reached just over 2,000 we stopped adding services.
b. Growth in maturity. We fervently promoted a lifetime of healing and growth spiritually, emotionally, relationally and vocationally. We were an Equipping Center that decided to equip every member to minister.
c. Growth in outward impact. We served the poor, helped the cities, ministered to families and equipped other churches. 
d. We grew in reputation, compassion and love.
e. We had an open, innovative, permission giving approach to ministry.  Individuals, groups, committees and ministries could do just about anything that was not contrary to the call, vision and values of the church. 

3. When I left the church staff to follow God's call, I counted over 600 men and women who said they knew their gifts, their call and were well equipped to minister in those gifts.Yes, 600 people actively involved in MISSION Activities. 

You can see the results of one retired couple we call Seasoned Believers who bought a camper and went on the road to churches and ministries all over America to teach, train, evangelize, pray for healing and offer Christian Counsel. The book is God's Threads or What a Coincidence, and it was written by a woman who did the traveling and teaching after she was 60 years of age. 

That church had numerous lay men and women doing active ministry: 

1. Over 40 who visited homes weekly wit a message of hope and evangelism.
2. Over 60 who served as Peer Helpers to pray for hurting people.  
3. Over 125 who served as Lay Pastors
4. Over 30 who visited the homes of persons who were ill.

This is Ephesians 4 at its best. 

Want to learn more? Write me at 


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Mission 2013 #25. Adverse Childhood Events and Drugs

 In order to stop or reduce drug abuse we must reduce childhood trauma or bring healing to the victims. The following examples of Adverse Events are Closely Correlated with Adult Disease and Adult Addiction

Adverse Childhood Experiences Definitions
The following categories all occurred in the participant's first 18 years of life.
Emotional Abuse
Often or very often a parent or other adult in the household swore at you, insulted you, or put you down and sometimes, often or very often acted in a way that made you think that you might be physically hurt.

Physical Abuse
Sometimes, often, or very often pushed, grabbed, slapped, or had something thrown at you or ever hit you so hard that you had marks or were injured.

Sexual Abuse

An adult or person at least 5 years older ever touched or fondled you in a sexual way, or had you touch their body in a sexual way, or attempted oral, anal, or vaginal intercourse with you or actually had oral, anal, or vaginal intercourse with you.


Emotional Neglect1

Respondents were asked whether their family made them feel special, loved, and if their family was a source of strength, support, and protection. Emotional neglect was defined using scale scores that represent moderate to extreme exposure on the Emotional Neglect sub-scale of the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ) short form.

Physical Neglect1

Respondents were asked whether there was enough to eat, if their parents drinking interfered with their care, if they ever wore dirty clothes, and if there was someone to take them to the doctor. Physical neglect was defined using scale scores that represent moderate to extreme exposure on the Physical Neglect sub-scale of the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ) short form constituted physical neglect.

Household Dysfunction

Mother Treated Violently
Your mother or stepmother was sometimes, often, or very often pushed, grabbed, slapped, or had something thrown at her and/or sometimes often, or very often kicked, bitten, hit with a fist, or hit with something hard, or ever repeatedly hit over at least a few minutes or ever threatened or hurt by a knife or gun.
Household Substance Abuse
Lived with anyone who was a problem drinker or alcoholic or lived with anyone who used street drugs.
Household Mental Illness
A household member was depressed or mentally ill or a household member attempted suicide.
Parental Separation or Divorce
Parents were ever separated or divorced.
Incarcerated Household Member
A household member went to prison.


We cannot stop all Shock, Trauma Abuse and Neglect but we can slow it down and also train our members how to carefully show others GREW Skills of: Genuineness, Respect, Empathy and Warmth. See our free videos or get our healing books at the web.

Great healing comes from love and caring. To those add worship, praise and fellowship.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Mission 2013 #24 Drug Prevention That Fails

As I read blogs, chat with friends and work with Pastors, Counselors and Crusaders I am struck with how fervent many of them are to prevent drug abuse and heal addicts. Unfortunately, we know little about both treating addictions and prevention it. First, we can become in bondage to several different things.



Food (It has been said that Eskimos can become addicted to whale blubber)
Masturbation-sex with porn or without porn
Heterosexual or Homosexual Behavior
Repeated Tics

Internal Things
Self Pity
Pleasing People
Self Pain like cutting, pinching, burning
Hiding, Shyness

Conclusion: Any repeated behavior that becomes an difficult habit to change must offer the person something that is a reward. If it is not a reward they will stop it.

Unfortunately, many of our attempts to PREVENT such patterns end up being a REWARD and thus make the pattern WORSE or STRONGER. An example is the DARE DRUG Program that was used an many schools and churches. People who attended those Prevention Programs were LESS LIKELY to support their friends who wanted to REDUCE DRUG USE and less likely to PREVENT USE. 

Why was it a failure? Maybe it was the
Wrong People Speaking
Wrong Message
Wrong Setting
Wrong People Listening
Wrong Assumptions about the Needs

During my tenure at the University of Cincinnati the Administration decided to start programs to prevent drug use. They assumed that the users knew very little about the physical and psychological effects of drugs. Students needed, we thought, to be "Educated" about drugs. We assumed they were naive, ignorant, stupid and innocent dragged into drug use. We did not respect them. Our arrogance actually caused them to do more drugs to show us up and, as one student told me, let the "dumb a__ administrators" know how stupid we were. He said, "I know more about dope than you will ever know!" He was right. The program made students more likely to use.

Think about these things:

Who is most likely to use drugs and get hooked?
What kind of personality do they have?
Who would be most likely to speak their language and appeal to them?
Who would be least likely to appeal to them?
What message would be most likely to appeal to them?
What message would be most likely to appeal to them?

Think it over.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Question: Is This The Answer to Violence?

The gun rights debate in DC rages on an on. The politicians are divided as are American citizens.

Is this video the answer? 

Does it scare you or seem right?