Saturday, April 30, 2016

Stop The Excess Theology and Theory

I get tired of hearing so many people talk about theology and Theory but do so little to Equip folks to live that theology out in real life. (Yes, Rick, another rant on discipleship.)

Enjoy watching Shark Tank and other TV shows like it because I learn so much about dealing with reality. The billionaires on that program can cut a person down fast if he or she shows up with dreams, passion and theories but no proof of concept.

I wish Pastors, Counselors, and Educators, had to appear before a Shark Tank kind of panel before taking the reins of a school, organization or church. How many could survive more than five minutes before Mr. Wonderful said, "That is the stupidest idea I have ever heard! You do not have a call you just have a hobby!!!"

Research indicates that it takes between 10 and 15 years of training and practice in a leadership position before we are prepared to be a senior leader. Seminary or other graduate schools prepare leaders with five or ten theories of leading and no experience.

What could possibly go wrong?

Gary Sweeten, read my books and watch my videos of practical ways to prepare folks to lead.

Reaching Others in a Hostile Culture

I was speaking recently with a retired minister and his wife about the challenges of evangelizing in today's society. I asked him what he was doing today to effectively reach people with the gospel.

They responded by offering a series of ways they serve the church as a retired couple to leave the four walls of the building and touch people. They offer food to the hungry, clothes to the poor and friendship to the lonely along with prayers and support for the needy. It was a wonderful example older Christians being friends and neighbors to people in need.

They also mentioned that few of the people they served actually came into the church. they are upset and concerned about what happens to new believers that fail to join a fellowship learn about ways to live a new life in Christ.

I asked them, "Why do you think that happens? He said, "Many do not trust the church'. They have been hurt and frankly a lot of church people do not want new people."

As we discussed this issue further, he said, "The church needs to do what Christ commanded" and I asked, "Which thing?" He said, "Go preach the gospel and get people saved" but too many churches are not doing it.

This fine man and wife are genuine believers doing the work of the Lord.  Yet, there is a fatal flaw in his theology. Did you catch it in what he said about the teaching of Christ?

Gary Sweeten
Get our inexpensive eBooks on PDF that teach how to penetrate our hostile culture.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

ISIS Follows Jesus

ISIS may not follow Jesus in His life, death and resurrection but they sure do mimic His model of building networks of true believers.

ISIS is committed to death while Jesus is dedicated to life, and that is a huge difference. However, the successes of ISIS comes from following the model Jesus came up with. It proves that the Discipleship Model Jesus developed and commanded us to follow in Matthew 28 works. The Early Church conquered large pieces of land and the hearts and minds of millions.

Jesus practiced Multiplication rather than Addition. And it worked. It is working with ISIS and it could work with your church. 

Want to try it and see that Jesus was correct?

Want to succeed? Try Jesus!

Here is a web telling how.

Gary Sweeten
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This sounds a lot like humility. A comment like this rarely comes from young people.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Why Do Churches Keep Repeating the Biggest Mistakes?

I love reading about the biggest airplanes, the biggest man, the biggest mountains and the biggest liars. But I am very disturbed to see lists of "The Biggest Churches in America" or "The Biggest Southern Baptist Churches".

I was a member of the Baptist Tribe from birth until age 30. Then Karen and I discovered the Jesus Movement and started a House Church. There was a bunch of rag-tag kids from Cincinnati colleges that longed for freedom and peace. No one ever published a book on The Ten Biggest House Churches in America.


Because House Churches focus on quality not quantity. I saw an ad one time for a place that sold a steak so large that it was free to anyone that could eat it all at one sitting. That is similar to a mega church. No one can actually embrace a huge church. Every person is a statistic not a member. Membership has its privileges and mega churches are like TV shows; all glitz and marketing but little depth.

Big churches want to be small so they set up small groups. Small churches want to be big so they constantly try to expand. These are not sinful or wrong but they may be misplaced goals.

I follow the Model of Jesus and build deep foundations of faith, hope and love. I want to see a rise in maturity among the members but that is hard. It takes a lot of work! Talking is easy. I have been talking since I was a toddler.

Leaders who are often able to go deep themselves, since they have missed out on being a disciple. We can't lead others where we have not been ourselves. 

Since few leaders have been led, discipled and equipped, they are mystified about how to do it. As a result they talk to crowds instead of mentoring a few. As a result, the dysfunctional cycle continues.  The power of the Great Commission Model taught by Jesus is stifled .


Gary Sweeten
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Friday, April 22, 2016

I Saved the Planet

Many of you are too young to remember the very first Earth Day. Not me. I was at the inaugural Earth Day, dancing with the fauns and fairies at the University of Cincinnati in 1970!

I was there with the people wearing Hush Puppies and sandals, my full beard and striped pants in all their glory. Thus I saved the planet that day.

The prophets of gloom and doom were loud back then. I took every prophecy of disaster to heart and single handedly joined the group at UC as we banded together to save the planet. Here are the most serious predictions for you pleasure.

The end of civilization within three decades
Nobel laureate George Wald prophesied in 1970 that civilization would end “unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind,” The Daily Caller reported. Civilization is still here.
Hundreds of millions will starve
Paul Ehrlich, author of The Population Bomb, forecast in 1970 that vast famines would occur in that decade and the next. England would be hit by food shortages, the country would collapse, and civilization would come to an end. And yet the world’s per capita GDP has grown even as the global population has, and fewer people live in poverty.
Gas masks will be required in cities
In January of 1970, Life Magazine claimed that people would have to wear gas masks in cities in ten years due to pollution, and that in 1985, air pollution would cause the world to receive only half the normal amount of sunlight. In fact, air quality is getting better, the World Health Organization says.
The world’s oil will run out
Kenneth Watt, an ecologist, predicted in 1970 that there would be no more oil in the future. Watt wasn’t the only one who thought the world’s oil was peaking— but he was wrong. In fact, today there is an oil glut, leading to cheap prices. Part of the reason for that is the boom of fracking in the United States, where oil production is now much higher than it was in the past.
As I remember it, there were also headlines about  Nuclear Winter! Yep, it was supposed to be Global Freezing! 
How did that work out?

Gary Sweeten

Read the Bible to discover prophetic words that always come true! And, see our books at Sweeten Life Systems to find peace, serenity and hope!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Biggest Mistakes

There have been many errors and mistakes noted by scholars over the years. Most of them have been focused on theological differences. Yes, there is no doubt that heresy and unbalanced ideas have hurt the church. they continue to hurt us in many ways.

My focus is on the almost total lack of the churches after about 350 AD to obey the Last command of Jesus to "Go into all the world and make disciples." I know some of you will recognize this as a hobby horse of mine, but I must repeat it.

For the first 300 years or so Christianity grew by leaps and bounds. The first book of the Bible, I Corinthians, kept the original vision alive with God's people. It focuses on being alive in Christ fully embracing God's Word, Fruit and Gifts.

The new believers joined with older believers in house churches and ate together, prayed together, sang together and cared for each other. The church "Grew daily as the Disciples met together". (Acts 3)

There was persecution, resistance, poverty, spiritual attacks and many kinds of heretical ideas but still the churches grew in vitality as they worked hard to love each other, pray for each other and study God's word.

Historians record remarkable signs of new life as women were free to choose a mate, slaves were liberated and children left outdoors to die were brought into their homes. Open confession was practiced with every new believer. Many if not most had come from sin filled lives of lies, debauchery, crime, violence, domestic abuse, etc, that exomologesis or open confession was a necessity and very powerful with no gossip since everyone knew the real stories.

The result of such love and healthy lives attracted many to the ranks. The number of house churches grew dramatically since they had no other places to meet.

This was discipleship that followed and mimicked the Lord Jesus Christ. As a result, the faith prospered and grew. It was just as God had planned and taught through Jesus. "It is better that I go away because I will send the Holy Spirit who will be with you and in you..." (John 14 and 15)

Read my books here to understand this ancient approach.

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The Biggest Mistakes of the Christian Churches Historically

No one has posted on the blog yet but a couple did write on my Facebook page. Rick said, maybe it is "cessation of the gifts, or Liberalism..."

Then Rick adds, "There are so many of them".

Yep, but Jesus did not give many commands that we have so blatantly disregarded as the one I am thinking about. (It is a brain teaser with no certain answer.)

Think about the arc of the life Jesus lived on earth and what did He command. Then ask, "Which of these is ignored in books, videos, churches and seminaries?"

Now, Rick and friends, what think ye?

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Gary Sweeten

Monday, April 11, 2016

The Biggest Mistake in Church History was______ ?

What do you think was the greatest single error or mistake the church ever did?

Or, the biggest mistake that has impacted church life and success most negatively?

When did it happen and who was involved?

If you comment I will send you a free eBook.

Gary Sweeten Support our work here. 

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Repeating Instructions to Kids A Million Times

Have you ever grown tired of repeating the same instructions to your children? Most of us have and some still do. But, it seems to be a necessity of parenting.

Enclosed is a beautiful story from the mom of two special kids. Every parent can be blessed by it.

We train professionals and concerned lay people how to minister to stressed out families. Go to the web page to learn more.

Gary Sweeten

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Kids with ADHD Need Peer Support

Here is a great article that says we need to build support communities of care to make sure children grow and learn. However, communities of care are especially critical for kids with special needs. There needs to be intentional support communities at school and home. Collaboration between parents and teachers is one of the very best ways to make sure our children learn and grow.

The article by Dr. Rabiner gives strong support for this notion. 

Dear Educator,

I hope that you are doing well.

This issue of Attention Research Update employs a risk factor and protective factor approach to examining how ADHD impacts academic outcomes during middle school. Specifically, the authors are interested in whether better peer relations are a 'protective factor' that enable some youth with ADHD to avoid the risk that ADHD typically confers on academic achievement. The value of this approach is that it both provides a more nuanced understanding of how ADHD affects development as well as having the potential to inform interventions that can lead to more positive developmental outcomes.

Please feel free to forward this newsletter to others you know who may be interested - you'll find a "Forward to a Friend" link at the end of this message. If this has been forwarded to you, and you would like to receive Attention Research Update on a regular basis, just visit to subscribe.

I hope you enjoy today's issue.


David Rabiner, Ph.D.
Research Professor
Dept. of Psychology & Neuroscience
Duke University
Durham, NC 27708

We need your support. Stay in touch with us at Sweeten Life Systems to learn how to grow as a human and help others while you do it. 

Gary Sweeten 

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

This Is How to Handle a Customer Complaint

I read the enclosed story about how a great chain of restaurants handled a complaint in such a  way the will probably built a favorable perception to the customer and will keep him for life.

What was the complaint?
How did the manager respond?
What skills and attitudes did he/she show?
Was the response creative?
What would you have done?

Do we handle Customer Complaints as well?

It can be a Church Member or Colleague not a paying Customer. The key is how we respond rather than React.

Learn how here and support our work!

Gary Sweeten

Monday, April 4, 2016

Why Are Complaints Good for Us?

Why in the world would great leaders seek complaints? A little reflection will, no doubt, reveal to you why. Do you want to ponder this question for a little while right now?

Every organization is in the change business. We all want to get better at what we do and the services we are delivering. I spoke with a man recently that told me he knew a company that was growing fast in the early days of the Dot. com bubble. The owner was offered $100 million Dollars for it but turned it down.

Advisers and friends strongly urged him to sell but he refused. He blamed them for having no faith in him and for being disloyal!

The company failed in the later collapse and he lost everything because he refused to take the complaints of his team as anything but stupidity.

Proverbs says, "There is wisdom in Counselors"! Organizations need wisdom from those who tell the truth. Hopefully it will come in love but regardless it needs to be truthful.

Can you receive complaints without BLAMING?

Can you use the complaints to improve the organization?

Can you and your organization grow from them?

How have you done it in the past?

Support us here. We help leaders improve at seeking and using feedback. 

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Forgiveness? Really!

I teach a lot about the importance of forgiveness, but I am a hypocrite. If one of my family members needed a kidney I would offer it to them. Jesus says laying down our life is a great thing to do.

If the head of ISIS needed a kidney transplant I would hesitate to offer mine.

Is that wrong?

Gary Sweeten

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Why Great Leaders Seek Complaints

                                      Thorn in the flesh!

If we look hard at growing and organizations we see a similar process. They ask for feedback, positive or negative. They need both but they want complaints more than positive encouragements.

Now, compare that with most Charities and Churches. Rarely do they ask for complaints. When someone brave enough to complain comes along the leaders get defensive, protective, and blame.

The villain in this scenario can be one or several individuals.

1. Blame the Complainant. "You are old and cranky!"
2. Blame the person in the organization that is responsible for the area of weakness. "If you screw up again it's the end."
3. Blame yourself for allowing imperfections. "I have failed again!"
4. Blame the Devil for attacking your organization. "It is so successful that Satan is trying to stop us."
5. Blame God for failing to protect you from Adversity. (Oh, Lord! Why do you want to punish me?"
6. Blame reality and deny that anything is wrong. "Those people do not really understand our goals."

Whom do you blame when you hear a complaint?

We can equip you to welcome complaints and use them to grow your organization and people. Support us here.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

What is needed to Lead?

There are so many articles about leadership in business, church, government, schools, and life. I think a lot of it panders to the desire of people to be important. As a result, the articles and advice make little sense and it is ineffective.

The articles are usually quite simplistic and focus on one factor or idea such as being effective speakers, organized, creative, generous, visionary, efficient, etc. All of those must be present in an organization but not all of them in one man or women.

Allow me to differentiate several different kinds of leaders or influencers.

Visionaries: They provide the big picture and energy to change things. They must be good communicators.
Example-Build a new type of city; a suburb near Cincinnati

Planners: Takes the vision and lays out the streets and zones for businesses, homes, schools, roads, etc.
Example-The Greenhills

Architects: Develops plans for single family homes, stores, apartments, schools, etc.

Contractors: Build the roads, design the buildings, hires subcontractors.
Example-Fischer Homes

Subcontractors: Provides carpenters, brick layers, heavy machinery operators, etc
Example-Deer Park Roofing

Back Office Workers: Each of these groups has a leadership role. No single concept of leadership fits every group. Plus, behind every group is a lot of activity with accountants, maintenance, cleaners, assistants, etc.

Which kind of leaders do churches usually look for?
Daily Workers,
Back Office Workers,

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A Report from Behind the Iron Curtain

The term, "Iron Curtain" was created by Winston Churchill in a speech after WWII in Missouri. It was intended to describe the wall of total control exhibited by the Bolsheviks and radical Left Wing Socialists that had taken over Russia and the Eastern Bloc of nations.

Churchill actually wanted to give arms to the defeated Germans and destroy the Left Wing Communists then but no one had the guts or heart to wage another war.

With the leadership of Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher in England and Pope John Paul the Iron Curtain was ripped into shreds. For a few years, liberty and freedom reigned but another Iron Curtain has descended on the Eastern Bloc and we are doing a lot to promote freedom through Jesus Christ in the hearts and lives of the people.

In 1929 the Socialist Government passed a Law prohibiting churches and Christians from practicing their faith outside the four walls of the church building. That attitude is growing again in the Eastern Bloc.

Prayer brought the USSR to its knees and prayer can penetrate the curtain again.

Pray for our friends who must remain anonymous for they operate largely underground. 

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Friday, April 1, 2016

Are Christians losing our Rights?

The campuses once known for citadels of freedom are becoming places that fear open discussions.

The campuses that were founded by solid Christian Ministers and designed as places where Missionaries were trained are becoming centers of anti-Christian bullying.

Harvard University was founded by a Minister to train Missionaries and Ministers but are now known for squelching free speech when it comes to sharing Bible verses. Perhaps the recent incident is an anomaly, but when staff members force students to quit discussing a Bible verse it does not take a giant leap of logic to see where it can end.

Prayer and challenges to bullies can keep us on our toes to resist being pushed around!

Support free speech here and around the world. Go here.

How Did the Early Church Become Healthy Places of Change?

How did the early church manage to radically impact the evil, brutal, slavery centered, societies of Rome, Greece, and Palestine without political or financial clout? Why was poverty and ignorance not a total impident to Christian growth, change and impact?

Because they built communities that mimicked the belief and activities of Jesus. The communities  of believers were families that followed, as best they could, the things Jesus did taught, and modeled.

Their assets included:

No New Testament.
No church buildings.
No trained leaders.
Mostly people of poverty.
Many former and current slaves.
No equality of males and females.
Tremendous persecution by rulers.

And you thought you had problems!

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