Friday, January 30, 2015

Real Men Care

I just saw the Super Bowl advertisement for Dove Products. Dove is well known to women but men have rarely flocked to beauty products. 

I recently saw a blog for Dads that was sponsored by Dove and it was good stuff. Take a look at the Dove ad and let me know what you think!


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Some Immigrants are Christian

While Christians continue to make up a majority of legal immigrants to the U.S., the estimated share of new legal permanent residents who are Christian declined from 68% in 1992 to 61% in 2012.

Over the same period, the estimated share of green card recipients who belong to religious minorities rose from approximately one-in-five (19%) to one-in-four (25%). This includes growing shares of Muslims (5% in 1992, 10% in 2012) and Hindus (3% in 1992, 7% in 2012). The share of Buddhists, however, is slightly smaller (7% in 1992, 6% in 2012), while the portion of legal immigrants who are religiously unaffiliated (atheist, agnostic or nothing in particular) has remained relatively stable, at about 14% per year.1
Unauthorized immigrants, by contrast, come primarily from Latin America and the Caribbean, and the overwhelming majority of them – an estimated 83% – are Christian. That share is slightly higher than the percentage of Christians in the U.S. population as a whole (estimated at just under 80% of U.S. residents of all ages, as of 2010).2
These are among the key findings of a new study by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life examining recent trends in the geographic origins and religious affiliation of immigrants to the United States. 
(For information on religion among migrants not just in the U.S. but globally, see the Pew Research Center’s 2012 report “Faith on the Move: The Religious Affiliation of International Migrants.”)

Religious Convictions of Immigrants

With this geographic shift, it is likely that the religious makeup of legal immigrants also has been changing. The U.S. government, however, does not keep track of the religion of new permanent residents. As a result, the figures on religious affiliation in this report are estimates produced by combining government statistics on the birthplaces of new green card recipients over the period between 1992 and 2012 with the best available U.S. survey data on the religious self-identification of new
immigrants from each major country of origin.
See our web page for ideas on how to reach immigrants with the Good News.

Why a Norwegian flag? Because there are more people of Norwegian heritage here in America than there are in Norway!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Who Are the Main Taxpayers? Where do you Rank?

January 21, 2015

My friend Wayne Essex writes a great newsletter on taxes and charities. 

Do you know how you compare with your fellow taxpayers when it comes to the income you make and the taxes you pay?  

Ever wonder how your income stacks up against your fellow workers? Do you make enough to put you in that at-once extolled and excoriated 1% of richest Americans? In the bottom 50%? Somewhere in between?

(Those of you that hate the i% speak up now!!!)

What the Numbers Show

The latest numbers from the IRS -- based on just released data from 2012 tax returns -- show what it takes to be among the top 1 percent of income earners: 

1. Top 1% of all earners had Adjusted Gross Income of $434,682 or more. 

That's almost $50,000 more than it took to buy into this rarefied status a year earlier. 

The 1.4 million Americans with this elite status reported 21.9 percent of the total adjusted gross income reported on 2012 returns. That's right. One percent of taxpayers reported almost 22 percent of all income. 


That same tiny group of 1% however, kicked in 38% of all the federal income taxes paid. Hmm! They made 22% but paid 38%. Is that fair? Did they pay too much? 

(A year earlier, the top 1%t of earners kicked in 35 percent of all taxes paid.) So, they payed MORE taxes this year!

How much do you need to make to be in the top 50 percent of earners? Want to guess? Scroll Down and See.

Have you guessed? 

Is it more than $100,000 a year?

Is it over $50,000 a year?

Nope, it is---------------------

Just $36,055.

2. Fall below that level and you are in the bottom half, along with about 68 million of your fellow taxpayers. 

All told, that group earned just 11.1% of the Average Gross Income reported on 2012 federal returns. 

And they paid just a tiny 2.78% of all taxes paid. What???? Is that fair? They made over 11% but only paid 2.78%.

Shouldn't all of us pay at the same rate? Are you that poor? 

Wishing you many happy returns, Wayne Essex


Friday, January 23, 2015

US Immigration

Overview from the Pew Foundation 
Over the past 20 years, the United States has granted permanent residency status to an average of about 1 million immigrants each year. 

These new “green card” recipients qualify for residency in a wide variety of ways – as family members of current U.S. residents, recipients of employment visas, refugees and asylum seekers, or winners of a visa lottery – and they include people from nearly every country in the world. 

But their geographic origins gradually have been shifting. U.S. government statistics show that a smaller percentage come from Europe and the Americas than did so 20 years ago, and a growing share now come from Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East-North Africa region.
What are the major implications for Christians? 

We Must Destroy It to Save It

The heading of this post is a paraphrase of a comment from a military officer during the Viet Nam Conflict. Reporters came to look over a town that was totally destroyed by American bombs, artillery and fighting. When asked why the fight was necessary, an anonymous officer replied:

"We had to save it from being destroyed by the Viet Cong."

The protests in Ferguson, Missouri bring that comment to mind. The protesters cared so deeply about "Racial Justice" that they destroyed the  stores and property of the residents.

I was in Detroit during the riots of 1968. It was so bad we had to stay in Canada and cross in the tunnel back to Detroit. Recently that once rich and magnificent city had to file bankruptcy. It has never recovered from the riots of 68!

Will that happen to Ferguson? Not if there are peacemakers.

Blessed are the peacemakers!  

This CS Lewis Quote may sum it up: 

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

If interested in peacemaking skills, see this site.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Has Society Seen Many Changes since WWII?

Can you see a difference from then until now?
Are their important differences between young people in the Forties and today?
What are the main differences?
Are they good or bad or indifferent?

What do their faces say to us?


See us at Sweeten Life Systems and support our work to help families.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Is the Wealth Gap Hurting Poor People?

What do you think of the report that 1% of the population own over 50%$ of all wealth? Does that bother you? Do you think the Government needs to take it all back and give it to the poor and middle class?

What would happen if the Federal Government passed a law stipulating that the Billionaires must give everything to them so they can donate it to the poor? Bill Gates would be forced to give his 40 Billion Dollars to the Government!

Warren Buffet, the good friend of Gates, would likewise stop making money and give his 30 Billion to the Feds. That is 70 Bills total. It would buy a lot of food stamps!

Maybe they do not deserve all that money. Maybe the actually got it by nefarious means. But, poverty is growing because of the few, greedy people.

Would that alone solve our poverty?

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Want to Live Longer, Healthier and Better?

Encore is an organization dedicated to supporting seniors that want to get involved in positive social actions.  They have an annual event that honors folks over 60 who are trying to change the world for the better.

A major part of the event is The Purpose Prize that awards very generous grants to people they consider who are "making a difference" in the world.

Last October they held their annual conference in Arizona and heard speakers, learn new ways to touch lives, and network. One of the speakers was New York Times writer Nicholas Kristof. Here is a brief part of his talk.

Regular Religious Involvement-29%
Regular Exercise-30%
Regular Volunteering-41%

Get involved for longer, happier, healthier lives. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Levels of Adversity

I suggested earlier that there are various levels of adversity, especially for children. Think of Adversity in Two Categories:

Adverse Interventions------Adverse Neglect

Verbal Disrespect ------------ Lack of Verbal Affirmation
Physical Disrespect ---------- Lack of Physical Care
Sexual Disrespect ------------ Lack of Appropriate Sexual Roles

Each of these can leave a person with confusion, mental anguish, emotional pain, dysfunctional habits, defense mechanisms, physical diseases, anti-social behavior, etc.

See our books for an overview of healing and growth through these issues. 

It is never too late to have a happy childhood.  

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Adverse Childhood Events

There is a great deal of disagreement among Christians and the general public about the role emotional psychological and  physical pain are related to later problems.  This is especially true of childhood adversity. I have written a great deal on this blog about Adverse Childhood Events and Adult Diseases. The data about correlations between the two strongly suggest that Adversity in Childhood is strongly related to Adult Disease, Dysfunction and Damaging Behavior. (Get my book Breaking Free to see the research.)

Next I will share my thoughts on the levels of Adversity.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

How Do We Reduce Addictions?

Here in Ohio, USA drug addiction seems to be increasing, especially Heroin use. As a result, quite a few people, young and old, are dying from overdoses or ending up in accidents. They are also losing their jobs, families and livelihoods.

Many men and women in high places are discussing the problems and some are asking the state to allocate more money for treatment. One approach is to give a wonder drug to Police and EMT professionals to wake those who overdose from their stupor and save their lives.

What can the churches do to help stop these problems? We are not very likely to keep expensive drugs on hand or train people in emergency medicine.

First, allow me to remind us that there are 5 Levels of need.

1. Very healthy in body, soul and spirit with no life interrupting problems.
2.  Healthy with some symptoms of medicating ourselves with food, tobacco, work or religion.
3. Over medicating with some substance or activity with harmful results.
4. Habitually over medicating, compulsive & dependency in need of professional insights, assistance and interventions.
5. Desperately addicted and in need of special treatment.

Where do you put drug addiction? For me it is a 4 to 5. Few churches are prepared to take on the Ebola epidemic or the heroin epidemic. However, every church can do some things to slow the epidemic down.

The church is especially suited to help individuals in 1 and 2 develop prevention programs. They can also sponsor Recovery Groups for people in 3 and 4 and follow up for those in 5. seeking treatment.

All Christians need to:

1. Show compassion and concern without condemnation, guilt or shame. Preach on accepting all persons. Preach on healing, growth and change. Offer HOPE!
2. Equip some of the healthy people in the church to serve as Peer Helpers.  Start by teaching classes on family health. Raise the level of health in the congregation.
3. Start Coaching and Lay Caring programs for any and all people in distress. Remove shame from the church. If healing and growth are not available for normal, daily problems, no addict or his family will believe you want to them them.
4. Start a weekly time of healing prayer for anyone with mental emotional, relational or physical problems.
5. Start an Alanon meeting for family members.
6. Start an AA meeting for addicts.
7. Bring in ex-addicts to offer testimonies.

Get our materials and watch the videos. NOW!

Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and one other singing Gospel Music. All suffered from over medicating themselves.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

A Variety of Addictions

Over the years we have become acquainted with many different kinds of Compulsive/Dependent Behavior. Almost anything can become a Compulsive Habit and lead to an Addiction.

Real addictions have two parts.

1. Compulsions
2. Dependencies

Compulsions are habits designed to cover, remove or reduce inner discomfort or pain. This may be why so many people who become involved with drugs have had serious childhood trauma.

What are the major sources of childhood trauma?

1. Loss of a parent by death
2. Loss of a parent by divorce
3. Loss of a parent by mental illness
4. Loss of a parent by drugs
5. Loss of a parent by incarceration.
6. Parental violence in the home
7. Personal sexual activities

Healing is possible. It leaves many scars that are best healed by Christians that know how to listen love, pray, and renew minds. See the PDF. E Book Breaking Free            

Pain is inevitable but misery and compulsions are optional.  

What Churches are Doing to Promote Health and Wealth

People who attend worship services regularly are healthier, wealthier and wiser! (Ben Franklin did not follow Jesus in his own life but he wanted he Colonists to be Christians. He saw the benefits but chose to rebel from the teachings he had received at home!)

Take a look at some recent research on faith, attendance and health/wellness.

There are many things you can do to increase your life expectancy: exercise, eat well, take your medication and ... go to church. A new study finds people who attend religious services weekly live longer. Specifically, the research looked at how many years are added to life expectancy based on:
  • Regular physical exercise: 3.0-to-5.1 years

  • Proven therapeutic regimens: 2.1-to-3.7 years

  • Regular religious attendance: 1.8-to-3.1 years

"Religious attendance is not a mode of medical therapy," said study leader Daniel Hall, a resident in general surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. "While this study was not intended for use in clinical decision making, these findings tell us that there is something to examine further."

"The significance of this finding may be controversial," he said. "But at the very least, it shows that further research into the associations between religion and health might have implications for medical practice."

Read my books and see how this happens. The Healing Release of the Holy Spirit and Healing Souls Touching Hearts are especially relevant. Also go to our web pages and learn how to promote healthy churches. 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Innovation is Possible

I am reading a lot about innovation. Some of it written by cheerleaders for the Cincinnati region. They tend to tout every cell phone tower and new parking meter as signs of innovative genius. It is always about technology.

Why are the people so enamored with technology? The Apple Watch and Fit Bit are supposed to make us healthy. But those promises are propaganda. We need new motivations not new technology. If there is no self discipline there is no change even if we spend a lot of money on bells and whistles.

It is us that decide to get and stay healthy! Nothing digital can change that. The health care providers are key to real change. I have been in three professions. I have been a teacher, a Minister and a Counselor.

All depended on one gift: The ability to Motivate others to WANT to change. 

We are helping county agencies learn how to better support families of Special Kids. Their job is to get the child and her Family to change on their own.

We are researching how to teach them motivate others. That is real innovation in health care.

 Th Professional Helpers love our approach. They can actually do the work that drew them into helping kids.

If you are interested in improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the health care system, let us know. We are looking for partners and agencies who are committed to innovation and positive changes that improve Patient Satisfaction, Patient Care and Lower Costs.

See for more information.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Why Leaders are Not Peaceful

Many Pastors are like Ben Franklin. We want others to practice faith in God but don't do it ourselves. We know prayer and meditation are good for us spiritually, mentally and relationally, but we are too busy to slow down and rest in Christ ourselves. We can preach sermons on the benefits, write articles about all the research and urge our friends to "Abide in the Vine of Jesus" but find God as a "Mean task master" personally.

Conservative Preachers favorite passages are those designed to motivate members to change. Like-

"Choose this day whom you will serve!!!" (And then spend 30 minutes telling people how to serve the church!")

We remind listeners to "Find the Sabbath Rest daily" by "Going to Jesus whose yoke is easy and burden is light..." As one man shouted to me after a sermon on Grace, "You are preaching grace too much. That will make people SIN!!"

We think about our Professors and fellow Ministers. Will they affirm my theology? Will it be consistent with the big men on campus? If we conclude they might disagree, we get anxious.

We might even preach a series on "Jesus doesn't want you well so you need to stop praying and accept your pain!" Sure, it has some truth in it but are you afraid people will be disappointed if you pray for healing?

Few people are totally "CURED" but almost everybody gets better from church attendance and study. People get substantially better. So why not preach about that?

Can we Improve Health Care?

                            I've fallen and I can't get up!

Making changes in any system is not an easy task. Yet, the need for change is badly needed. In fact, it is dangerous not to make some important alterations. Especially in some of the biggest and most complex systems such as health care.

The man in this video has some good ideas. He wants serve people and reduce costs. He thinks it is very important to stop making so many mistakes.

 In addition to his video, there are several well written, free articles on the BBC website. One of them is here where you connect to the BBC from the Wall Street Journal website.

He is from England where the medical care is awful.

We have a new organization that has some great ideas. We have developed tools and processes to improve medical systems. They focus on making things simpler, person centered and easier to navigate.

Our new group is called, Patient Home Advantage, L3C. It is a sub system of Sweeten Life Systems, Inc., 501c3 but allows us to be more flexible. (See