Thursday, September 5, 2019

We Need Real Men!!

The world will go the way of the free countries within it.  The free countries go the way of the greatest free country, America.  America goes the way of her religious bodies.  The religious bodies go the way of the families that make them up.  The families go the way of the marriages and the marriages go the way of the men that lead them.  If we do not get the manhood of the American fathers back...the whole world is doomed. 

Today men are soft, selfish, sculpt their bodies and wear designer sunglasses.  They chase women like they are different types of cuisine at different restaurants and they raise their children like they are burdens OR toys to play with and put back on a shelf until later.  

More than anything, the world needs men again.  Real men! Hard working, self-sacrificing, wife loving, women respecting, child raising, pickle jar opening, hand holding, money saving, walk taking, talk having, stay to the bitter end, never give up, back bone having men!!!

The majority of the evils that The Church is having to face today can be traced back to weak or absent men and Jesus already knew that it would come to this when He walked the Earth. He told the church from the beginning that a man was to keep his house in order and rule his family well.  He also told the church in it’s inception that many of her continual efforts were specifically to be toward THE FATHERLESS, THE WIDOWS, THE ORPHANS....Those without real men in their lives!!

Viable studies show that the majority of abortions are performed on women that have no “father of the baby” involved, the majority of federal prison inmates were raised without a father and the majority of rapists were raised without a father.  We also have studies concluding that most prostitutes had no father in the home or were abused by their father or a father figure.  

One more.  There is a study recently out, claiming that almost all mass shooters in the modern American era...were raised by a single parent…No father! 

Christ’s teachings were right from the beginning, they are still right.  We had a stirring and a little preaching about this just a couple of months ago.  Please don’t let it be just another fleeting thing.  Lives, souls…our community, culture and society depend on us!

  
-Rev. D. Todd Sloggett




Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Witnessing 101

The center of the Christian life is loving God and the center of loving God is evangelism.  The simplest and most effective way to evangelize (and the most common) is witnessing.  Witnessing, like any other outreach, involves consistency.  To be consistent in witnessing you must first have a lifestyle that consistently puts you around lost people.  It is quite ineffective to attempt to “go find some lost people” at a designated time to witness.  It works much better if they can get to know you.  Of course, in order for this to happen, you must vulnerably be outside of your religious bubble on a regular basis.  You must live and present yourself in a way that the lost perceive you to be both happy and kind.  Nobody wants to put forth effort to go from their kind of misery to your kind of misery.  

Next, you need to consider them and their needs in order for them to believe that you are sincere in your efforts. If all you do is show up and do all of the talking, then they can easily decide that the interaction is really all about you.

Make sure that you are witnessing the truths of the gospel. Just telling about your own experiences, or worse yet, the experiences of others, isn’t good enough. You need to tell the facts of the gospel message to establish a foundation to build on. How God loved us and sent His son Jesus. How Jesus suffered all of the fleshly evils of this world so that He could experience them, carry them to the cross and die for us. Then how He rose again victorious over death, hell, the grave and such things as depression, anxiety and lust. That we owe Him our lives for doing all of this for us and He in turn promises us access to share in His victories over our hurts and our sins.

You may think that everyone knows all of this but they do not. And even the ones that have heard it, have usually only heard it through the skewed particular religious groups that presented it. The Baptist version, the Mormon version, the Holiness version, etc. You need to be the one that brings them the Gospel version!

Once given opportunity through the open door of the power of truth, then tell what God has done for YOU. Do not exaggerate but do not fail to give the full glory for all that The Lord has really done for you. Be sure that in your testimony, God receives all the praise for what He has done and none of it is given to a man, an idea, a theology, a church or a doctrine. Be real and sincere and talk like you would at work or at home. Do not use a bunch of silly or strange religious terminology that the common unchurched person wouldn’t know or could easily get confused by. Avoid terms like trinitarian, oneness, holiness, fundamental, praying through, hitting the rock, sanctification, Calvinism and holy roller. Also avoid terms and phrases that would mean completely different things to different people. Like, old fashioned, standard, modern culture, charismatic. Instead use universal and profoundly Biblical terms like, love, power, strength, sin, freedom, evil, Savior, help, hope, prayer, faith and healing.

Do not complicate the basic power and beauty of the Gospel. Most people are hurting and sinning and would love to believe that they know someone who has found a way out and is willing to share it. It is your calling in this life to be that someone to as many people as possible. This is what Christians do and this is the most powerful way to show our love and appreciation to Jesus Christ.

Lastly, be dually prepared for good responses. #1 Always be prepared to pray with people. If we do not have faith in praying to the Lord and His promised responses to those prayers, there is no reason to expect others to believe either AND #2 Have a particular place, time, event and atmosphere that you already trust and are already prepared to invited them to. Don’t just witness to them and then leave them hanging, because after witnessing should come conversion and following conversion should always be discipleship. Discipleship is what the church structure is supposed to be about…but that’s another lesson...

-Rev. D. Todd Sloggett




Monday, November 26, 2018

Sneak Peak (Evangelism)

I want to share with you a little back and forth "rough" email conversation between myself and some ministers from around the country.  Hopefully this will encourage and inspire some of you as you see some of the behind the scenes communication that I am blessed to be a part of almost every day.  I have added some graphics to help with the mundaneness of it all.  Here you go:




 From Preacher 1:

I ran a revival a little over a month ago for a Pastor friend of mine, Bro.
B.L Horne. He pastors South Thompson Baptist Church near Vidalia Ga.( *I
caught some heat from teh Holiness Powers that Be for preaching at a
Baptist Church but I have felt it heat for other stuff so I knew I would
survive it !)*

After the last service we were talking outside and I could see he had the
burning desire to reach out to folks but had not had success in the past.
Literally across the street was a large trailer park. I asked how often had
he and his church made contact with these folks.
Bro. Horne told me they had knocked on doors over and over and invited to
church but very little response. He said his church folks are not as
engaged in it as I would like them to be and they don't seem to enjoy the
experience of meeting strangers.

I told him about Holiness Missions to America, Bro. Todd Sloggett and I
also told him what I knew about Bro. Kevin Vickers outreach efforts in
Waycross. I told him, " You know BL , my buddy Bro Todd Sloggett says, "
Its Amazing what you can accomplish when you don't care who gets the
credit!" and He also says       " Lets build the Kingdom of God first and
the Church Membership second."

I told him of all the things Bro Vickers and his church ws doing and the
impact it had made in his Church's community.

I thought to myself, What would Todd and Kevin say to this man!! So, I
asked him , Have you considered that you and your church folks could
establish a relationship with the neighbors in the trailer park and
minister to them even if they never came to South Thompson Baptist?

His face lit up..He said, We could fix Thanksgiving Dinner and go invite
them all to eat with us at the Social Hall! I said, Or you could just setup
a tent in the middle of the Trailer park where they live and bring the food
to them on their own turf?

I think it was the best sermon I preached the entire week and it was in the
parking lot to the pastor after the revival was over !

Attached are the 2 photos he sent me this morning and I have copied his
texts into the 2 entries below for your reading pleasure:

We did it yesterday and it was awesome. We prepared smoked chicken plates
(150) and carried them out. We went door-to-door last Sunday and met with
108 people and told them what we would be doing yesterday. They came to a
central location in the trailer park to get the plates, many of our church
members were there to meet and greet, Some went door to door delivering
plates. The chicken we had left over was delivered afterwards to the Mel
Blunt youth home Which is opening a completely new door of ministry for us
in December. The best is yet to come!

There is so much that has already come out of this that I just stand in
awe! The participation and turn out from going into the community and
surveying every house, To those that participated in preparing and cooking,
assembling the plates and what really blew me away those that went into the
trailer park to deliver from the STBC family. I realized last night after
reading some post that to some it was their very first trip into the
mission field and their eyes were opened and are excited. - Pastor B. L
Horne


*Now throw your hands in the air and SHOUT HALLELUJAH and keep on keeping
on !! -BF*








Also from Preacher 1:


I want to put you 3 guys together in this email. I have shared already with Todd and Kevin what I know about STBC outreach experience yesterday but Bro. B.L can tell it better himself .

Bro BL told me so many positive things that has happened since the revival I cant name them all but he can. I'm just putting good folks together that share a love to help others in hopes y'all can compare notes.

Let me introduce yall:

Rev. B.L Horne, Pastor STBC 
https://www.facebook.com/souththompson.baptistchurch.35

Rev. Todd Sloggett, Evangelist and President of Holiness Missions to America
https://hmaministries.com/about/

Rev Kevin Vickers, Pastor Waycross Holiness Baptist Church








From Preacher 2:


Bro Brian I want to thank you for your prayers, encouragement, and challenge to me when you didn’t even know you were challenging me.  The Holy Ghost prompted you, convicted me and is now working in our church and community in an incredible way.  Here are my thoughts.  Excuse my rambling but my heart is just full of little things that God has done over the past few weeks.  And I KNOW that He has more to come our way.  Just keep us in your prayers.

Bro. Todd and Bro. Kevin,

Let me just take the time to introduce myself.  I’m a nobody that became somebody because Jesus cared enough to call me to Himself.  I have pastored Southern Baptist Churches for the past 21 years. I am not an evangelist but I have an evangelical heart.  I thank you guys for what you do for our Lord.  My goal is 2 fold.  In all I do, bring Glory to His name and see lost people saved.  Brian asked me about using our story of our recent outreach and you may under one condition.  Give God Glory.  It is not about me or South Thompson Baptist Church.  Our story may seem really insignificant to many but I have seen Him work through this process and truly believe the Best is Yet to come!  I look forward to hearing some more ideas from each of you and  one day getting together.  Here is what happened,

The last night of revival, Bro. Brian Fowler made the comment that we (South Thompson Baptist Church) had a gold mine across the road in a trailer park.  I agreed and explained that we had set up a bounce house, slide, snow cone stand, door to door invitations to festivals, VBS visits, just about everything I could think of to reach the unchurched.  Efforts had not been useless, we had seen some response, and a small number of salvations but over the 8 years that I had been at STBC, the community that we call John’s Trailer park, showed little to no interest in anything we attempted.  In fact, the day we set up the bounce house, slide and treats, only one child came. 

 

But as Bro. Brian shared how another mission minded, gospel loving Brother had reached the low and lonely by feeding them, I felt inspired.  Well it was more encouraged and conviction than inspiration.  I felt like I had given up but God hadn’t.  I all of a sudden became excited about a new direction, a new idea that God had delivered.  I quickly assembled our Church Council and we began sharing ideas of how we could reach these people by feeding them.  Not preaching to them or trying to get them into our church service, but just feeding them.  After a couple of meetings and discussions, we decided to not invite them to a thanksgiving meal as we initially planned but take a plate of food to them.  The idea popped into my mind to do it on a Sunday during regular worship time.  To “Be” the church instead of “having” church. 

 

The idea was saturated in prayer, shared with the church and quickly developed into a plan.  The plan was in 4 stages.

 

1.) Planning- Map the area and go to every house, not asking names or any private information.  Just simply identify who we are and ask if they would like a smoked chicken plate at no charge.  If they said yes, ask how many plates and invite them to pick them up at a central location under a white tent located in the middle of the trailer park.   This was to be carried out by the council but I invited anyone to go.  On Sunday November 11 we assembled and instead of 5 people, we had 18 people show up.  We went out to 50 houses making 108 contacts and invited them and presented them with a card  to remind them of the location and the time.

 

2.) Preparing – Each Sunday School class hand wrote cards with a personal scripture to be placed inside each chicken box.  The men’s ministry gathered together early Sunday morning to prepare the food.  A group peeled, cut and cooked potatoes for potato salad then mixed it.  Other men sliced and bagged pieces of cake. Yet others smoked chicken and cooked green beans all while fellowshipping and eating breakfast together.  At 10:30 others from the church joined the men to prepare the plates.

 

3.) Presenting – Once 150 plates were prepared, they were loaded into the church van which is marked with the church name on the side to identify who we are.  We then took the plates to a designated area in the center of the park under a white tent.  People were waiting when we arrived.  Plates of food were distributed as people from the trailer park and surrounding area came.  They were met and greeted by about 25 members of the church, both children and adults.  I took the van, loaded with children and a few plates and went to houses that did not come to pick up plates.

 

4.) Pray, Pray, and Pray – Prayer surrounded every part of this mission.  

 

 

Once we were finished, we gathered around the table as a church family to share a meal together and individually give thanks for God's provisions and gifts in this life, things we call blessings.  Upon cleaning up, an abundance of chicken remained even after all had eaten, (like 12 baskets after Jesus fed 5K).  One of our members, Jim, suggested that we give the chicken to a boys home a few miles away and he and his wife agreed to take it.  A short time later I received a text from his wife that said “What a blessing. 20 more fed and praising God for His provision.”  Later that night Jim called telling me of the experience and how each boy personally introduced himself and gave thanks for the food.  Once Jim told me this, I began thinking of how we could minister to these boys.  Plans are already underway. 

 

 

Even though no one has come to the Lord since this took place yesterday, as we know of.  God has already worked in this opportunity.  First I saw the response of those willing to serve.  It has opened people’s eyes. I was surprised at the turnout of STBC members.  Some of them commented that they had doubts but were excited when they went into the community and saw the needs of others being met by our church.  This caused me to realize that this was the very first mission trip that some of our members had ever been on and it was 500 feet from our church steps.  Three people that live 2 counties away heard what we were planning and came to help.  A hospital heard and volunteered to cook for us and only charge what it cost them. Secondly, I saw the response of the community.  They came.  Even if it was to get food, they came.  Jesus met people’s physical needs first by developing a relationship.  I feel for the first time in 8 ½ years that I have been there, that STBC has begun a relationship with our community.  Thirdly, other opportunities have developed.  We now have a foot in the door to minister to 20 teenage boys at a boys home that is only a few miles away, this was not in the scope of our mission area. (God is so good!!!)  An elderly lady the stepped across missing boards on her back porch to come out to talk when we knocked on her door is willing to let us repair her porch.  The last house that we took plates to, a Hispanic family of 6 wanted to know from another Hispanic lady that is a member, about our services, times, and child care.  THE BEST IS YET TO COME!!!




I did have some back and forth in there with each of these ministers but I left my part out.  Just wanted some of you to catch the raw dialogue of the beginning stages of what something like some of our ministries might have looked like as God began to spark a dry field.  Please be in prayer for all that are involved that God's will and Holy work is done. 

While so many are arguing, fighting, splitting, building up power, wealth, influence and clout, we have worked with a couple hundred cases such as these and are in daily workings with about 50 of them right now.  We have seen hundreds and hundreds of conversions in a little over a decade.  To God be the glory.  Fight, work, love and pray on!












Your humble servant,
Rev. D. Todd Sloggett

Monday, June 18, 2018

Video Game Addicts are "Mentally Ill"?

Today Fox News released the findings of a medical group states that “constant and or continual video gaming is now officially labeled a mental health illness”.  

 Ok, I have been asked several times about this.  

Yes, constant and or continually video gaming is now considered an actual mental health illness.  

I hear people both praising this move and bashing it and I have very mixed feelings about it.  

First of all, if you play a “video game” for 2 or more hours in a 24 hour period with any degree of consistency, regardless if it is on a console, TV or phone, and it requires no physical challenges and no mental intake, you have a serious reality problem. 

I have a huge issue with that because a reality problem generally will equate into an eternity problem.  If your mind has to escape into a world different than the real one, you will lose your concept of what the real one is about.  Namely preparing for the after one. 

Now I made a statement about “no mental intake”.  Some will say, “Oh but I am learning skills and developing hand eye coordination and memory”.  That is not the same as mental intake.  

Mental intake is learning useful information and or skills that are life applicable.  How to save money, how to speak properly, how to build strong relationships, how to cultivate a garden, how to be a better person.  

It is the difference between reading a book or playing Life or Monopoly with your kids as opposed to watching a Harry Potter series.  One has interaction, life skills, relationship building, knowledge imparting, etc. and the other has been proven to dumb down and shorten attention span.  

So for reasons such as these, I am glad that it is finally being acknowledged just how bad this behavior is.  BUT, I know our current culture and we as a society tend to always do similar things with issues like these. 

Mark my words, there will eventually be tax dollars used to come up with a medication to treat this “new illness”.  Remember Ritalin?!

These people will actually end up getting “benefits” for their “debilitating condition”.  They will then be able to go after the gaming companies in court.  None of this will be good for the individual or society as a whole. 

What I hope and pray happens to those who read this, is that you carefully and prayerfully stop and evaluate your personal leisure lifestyle and that which you allow and encourage in your children.

What are you watching?  What are they watching?  How much reality is involved?  How much escapism?  Is there useful knowledge gained?....or lost?  

Are the things that you do in your “spare time” loving to others, does it build your physical, mental, emotional or spiritual strength?  Do you gain true rest and strength from doing it?  OR Is it more of a way to just “pass time”?  Would the world, YOUR world, be no better off if you did it or not?  AND perhaps most importantly, who around you is missing out on your interaction while you are escaping? 

In my humble opinion, too much of this type of gaming activity is a very selfish a self deteriorating thing to do.  God bless you.  I will be praying for all!

Your humble servant, 
Rev. D. Todd Sloggett 






Sunday, February 11, 2018

Treating DEPRESSION with PILLS or PURPOSE?

I had a young minister ask me recently about what I believed as far as Christians taking anti-depressants, etc. Here is my response: 

First and foremost is this:  THE CURE FOR DEPRESSION IS PURPOSE.  (Sometimes I refer to it as “GETTING A CAUSE”).  When you get a RENEWED DRIVE, it “drives away depression”.  It may come back, but the feeling of purposing to DO something, BE something or ACCOMLISH something is the human beings natural anti-depressant.  Sometimes the individual has to search diligently for that purpose.  Do you like painting, raising a garden, would you be into bicycling or volunteering at a daycare, etc. etc. etc.  Find your “reason”.  Ultimately one of the greatest “reasons” or “purposes” for someone to get, is to help someone else.  Feed the hungry, give coats to the cold, raise money for missions, teach people a skill.  Hold babies, read a book to a kid, visit the shut ins.  There is a CAUSE that rises up in someone when they do for someone else.  With that cause comes purpose and that purpose drives away depression. 

Let’s look at a few scriptures.

Isaiah 61:1-3 (KJV)
1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;
3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.
In these verses the term meek in verse one means- of low self esteem.  Then the term mourn means- sorrowful.  Also, the term heaviness means- “being pushed down or held down; depressed.  DEPRESSED!
Depression is a very real, very legitimate crisis in the lives of many men, women and children today.  The biggest problem with it seems to be that many cannot agree on what causes it or where it comes from. 
Let me ask a question.  If you had something very bad wrong with you, would you be more concerned about the cause or the cure?
When I was a boy I had fever and was very sick to my stomach.  My parents ended up taking me to the hospital.  The doctor ran some tests and gave me some penicillin or something and within several hours I was better.  The doctor came in and said that my parents could take me home.  I remember asking, “What was it that I had Doc?”  He said that he didn’t know for sure.  Now do you think that I slumped down in the hospital bed, folded my arms in defiance and said, “I ain’t leaving until I know what I had”?  NOOOOOO!  I didn’t care what it was.  I was just thrilled that it was gone. 
I believe that there is too much guessing about what causes depression and not enough understanding of what cures it. 
Millions of things can cause depression.  But what can cure it?  Read the verses at the top again. 
In these verses there are three things that are always involved in the “cure”.  Action (anointing, binding, sending, opening, proclaiming, comforting, proclaiming), something positive, (good tidings, liberation, comfort, acceptance, beauty, joy) and God, (The spirit of God, The Lord, The spirit of The Lord). 
There are people trying each of the three components or a combination of two, without the other.  It helps at times.  But it doesn’t seem to give the breakthrough that they are needing.
If you look up some books or programs about depression you will find many on excersize, activity, etc.  You will find many on thinking positive, speaking positive, etc.   And you will find many about meditation, positive energy, prayers, God, etc.  The reason for all of these is because they all found a key ingredient to what God says, cures depression.  And each ingredient is helpful in it’s own way.  But any individual ingredient isn’t the cure. 
Sometimes depression is truly something physical.  Possibly a chemical imbalance, etc.  Primarily when this happens, it is diagnosed as bipolar.  One of the biggest problems with that is that bipolar is probably one of the most diagnosed diagnosis in history.  And it will most likely continue to be because there is no test to prove if someone has bipolar or not.  They diagnose solely on symptoms but the symptoms are never exclusive to bipolar.
Let me give you a few radical, but realistic, examples.  Drug addiction has the same symptoms as bipolar.  You get a non-normal level of a high that causes a mania that lasts for anywhere from a few minutes up to several days and then you have an extremely abnormal depressive low that can last up to a year per episode.  That sounds like I was describing manic-depressive disorder or in modern terms, bipolar.  But I wasn’t, I was describing what it’s like to be on meth, crack or heroine.  You wouldn’t believe the things that have the same symptoms as bipolar. 
Committing a crime and trying to cover it up, post partum depression, cheating on your spouse.  These are all things that have an extreme chemical based high, that is created in the brain and then a very low point that lasts much longer that the high.  This long low spot is a feeling that occurs through a natural reaction between the brain chemicals and the nervous system.
BUT, these things are not considered physical ailments as such.  Some of these things are merely natural course and others are more of a moral/conscience reaction to an abuse of relations between man and God, man and man or man and nature.   Of course when you have a morality problem and it causes a physical side affect and then you go to a doctor, a doctor will not diagnose morality.  But he has to diagnose you with something.  It is his/her job.  So what better thing to diagnose you with than something that no one can prove them wrong.  So they diagnose you with depression and prescribe: 
Zoloft, Xanax, Pristiq, Adavan, Buspar, Lithium, Celexa, Clonozopam, Dilantin, Effexir, Haldol, Paxil, Prozac, Ritalin, valium Wellbutrin….and many more!

And by the way, there are two things that all of these drugs have in common.  #1 They are all used to treat clinical cases of depression and #2 THEY ALL HAVE AS A PRIMARY SIDE EFFECT…DEPRESSION!
That’s right!  One of the primary side affects of almost all depression medication is “can CAUSE depression”. 
Here is the thing.  You may have done something in your life, or something may have been done to you or you may have a temporary issue and you are excessively depressed.  So you are prescribed something that can cause depression.  So let us say that whatever caused your initial depression is removed as a stimulant in your life over a period of six months.  You go back to the doctor for a check up and he wants to know if you are still depressed.  You say yes.  Perhaps (unknown to you) not because of your initial depression anymore.  Perhaps now you are depressed as a side effect to your meds.  So because you are STILL depressed on the lower dose, he/she decides to up the dosage.  Hello?!?! Is anyone following this?
Truth be known, depression meds are supposed to be monitored very carefully with many interactions between doctor, patient and people within the life structure of the patient.  This is the only way that I would go along with their use.  Needless to say, most doctors, patients, parents, etc DO NOT monitor these meds enough for them to be able to be used correctly. 
Ultimately Satan wants every one depressed.  Depressed people are not working people, are not well functioning people, are more likely than any other people to worsen the mood of everyone around them.  The opposite of depressed people are people that can be described with words like happy, victorious, winners, friendly, excited, strong, stable, enduring…Read the versed again at the top.  (good tidings, proclaim liberty, comfort, beauty, joy)
I agree with many that there is a physical/chemical side and a mental/emotional side to depression but there is also a spiritual/moral side.
One great psychiatrist said this: “With guilt, of a necessity, comes depression.”  Not to say that if you are depressed that you are automatically guilty of something but according to many top psychiatrists, lots of cases of depression are after affects of long term feelings of guilt.
Guilt comes in three forms-
#1 Godly guilt, which is called conviction.  Convictions causes repentance which empowers us to have true change in our lives.
#2 Another guilt is called condemnation.  Condemnation says things like, “You’ll never get it right.  You’re always going to be like this.  You’ll always be a failure.  You are not cut out to succeed. And, You aren’t a good enough person.”
The difference between conviction and condemnation is simple.  Conviction has the power to draw you near and condemnation has the power to push you away. 
#3 The third and final guilt is a favorite tool of the Devil.  It is humanistic guilt or self guilt.  Some of you are falling for it right now.  Self guilt says things like, “When I quit drinking I’m going to get right with God.  When I quit doing drugs  am going to start attending church.  When I quit smoking, or buying pornography or when I stop fighting or stop lying, then I am going to clean my life back up.
This thought process has some tremendous flaws in it.  First of all it starts with the premise that you have the power to make life better all by yourself…and you don’t.  Secondly it imposes one of the greatest lies Satan ever told.  That you have to be good to get saved.  That you have to live right to go to church.  That you have to earn God’s love and His forgiveness.  None of this is accurate.  The Bible says, “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” 
Before I go on, let me say this, there is a word in the English language that is always associated with depression.  That word is loneliness.
Loneliness is used as an attack against us but remember that loneliness was instilled by God FOR OUR BENEFIT.  There is an auntomatic void, emptiness, “loneliness” within us that is supposed to be filled by our quest for a relationship with our maker.  If it is not, then we must try to fill it with something.  Fame, fortune, popularity, sexuality, drugs, intoxicants, lying, cheating, stealing, gambling, cruelty to animals or other humans…anything to try to get a high good enough to forget that we are miserable because of our loneliness. 
Obviously, none of these things can replace God.  Because loneliness is “built in”, some people can be in a perfectly crowded room with hundreds of people that are their friends and loneliness can set in.  So loneliness caused by depression is not necessarily a need to be with others but a need to feel accepted, loved and ultimately to feel “right”.  The amazing thing is…God offers all of that!
Now, all real “treatments” for depression have a common idea to them.  The purpose idea.  Gut up, learn something, believe something, do something, be something and become something.  All treatments...except drugs. 
As far as the medications themselves are concerned I will say this.  There are 2 or 3 major classifications of anti-depressants.  The ones that are most commonly used are also the most dangerous.
If someone is going to take anti-depressants, I personally, would only agree to it if certain criteria was met.  First, find a physician that speaks clearly and communicates well and often about the different classifications.  A doctor that tries to avoid the more aggressive drugs, especially in the beginning.  One who starts with low doses and DISCONTINUES DRUGS BEFORE TRYING NEW ONES instead of just “adding” meds.
Also, I would not trust a doctor to treat anyone for depression that did not do two very important things.  #1 Prescribe healthy activity/exercise as well as healthy and moderate sleep and diet (and not follow through on drug treatment without following through with these categories as well).  And #2 ALWAYS start with a short term plan of using the meds to get through a “time in your life” and then back off of them for a long enough period of time to see how you re-adjust before trying any other prescriptions. 
As most people that have been around depression know, these ideas are EXACTLY how depression treatment is supposed to work AND, in most cases, this is NOT how it is being done. 
If you are reading this and have or do suffer with depression, please understand something.  Depression is a part of life.  EVERYONE has battles with depression at different times and to different degrees.  You are not bad or broken because you have depression.  You are actually NORMAL if you have depression. 
Some of the greatest men in the Bible had severe bouts with depression.  Don’t you see the signs of horrible depression in 1st Kings Chapter 19 when the great and accomplished Prophet of God, Elijah, requests to die?  Study the lives of Noah, David, Moses and Jonah, just to name a few.  Study them, thinking of two things.  #1 Were they depressed?  And #2 The arch enemy of depression is PURPOSE!  You will be amazed at what you find. 
SO!  Get up, learn something, believe something, do something and become something…FOR GOD!  Work for it, plan for it, push for it and don’t settle for anything less.  Your plan, your path and your emotional prosperity doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s.  It just has to work and it must keep you above helplessness. 
You must make progress.  Some form of progress.  There IS a formula for you that will involve some level of positivity, a high degree of action and activity and a full dose of God. 
I will note one other thing.  If you take any of these depression meds and you feel “inspired” to get off of them; You need to get off of them in a proper incremental manner.  Quitting cold turkey is VERY DANGEROUS.  Even though all doctors claim that these drugs are classified as non-addictive, that is very deceptive.  The same doctors that call these drugs non-addictive will also strongly warn you to wean yourself off of them under the supervision of a medical professional because of the harsh and even life threatening side effects of stopping them all at once. 
FULL DISCLOSURE:  I have been diagnosed with Bipolar II-B for a couple of decades and I DID find a mild dose of a natural salt substance that can be purchased in pill form that helps me a lot in conjunction with good diet, exercise and sleep regimen.  When I continue all of them together I am always much better.  I struggled with extreme manic depressive activity all of my life.  I have counseled many people that have gone through similar trials and I have found that near 80% of them needed no chemicals what so ever to have full health.  I have also found that ALL of them were capable of full or near full health with no more than these practiced principles and ONE medication.  The average 40 and under person in America that is being treated with anxiety and or depression by a medical professional is on SEVEN medications.  One of the latest ones that I have worked with is on nineteen meds from 5 different doctors!  There is a better way. 
This is my answer to a question from a minister peer.  This is a life//relationships/conservative/Christian/Ministerial advice blog, not a medical profession blog. 

Your humble servant,
Rev. D. Todd Sloggett

Monday, December 18, 2017

DITCH THE DRAMA!!

By the time I was about a Sophomore in High School (15 yrs old) I had begun to pick up on somethings.  I didn't enjoy meanness, negativity and drama.  I didn't like when people were mean and aggressive toward me.  I didn't like being around when people were mean to others.  I didn't even enjoy the feelings that I had when I was mean to someone else.

The easy part was deciding to avoid mean and aggressive people and all of their drama.  Probably the next easiest part was trying to not be mean and negative anymore myself.  But then things got a little complicated.  I realized that sometimes people thought I was being mean when I wasn't.  I also realized that sometimes I was negative when I wasn't intending to be.  Lastly I picked up on the fact that there were times when I thought others were being mean or angry and in all reality they were not.  Or at least not on purpose.

For about a decade of my life (16 years old until about 26 years old) I tried to isolate the main components of getting past this mean, negative and dramatic problem.  I came to 2 major and many minor conclusions.  Today I will only mention the 2 big ones, INTENTIONAL EFFORT and COMMUNICATION SKILLS.

I learned that many people (myself included) have a natural negative disposition.  If we just drift along in life and go with what comes natural, we will be very harsh and critical.  But I also learned that with information and effort, this can be altered for the better.  I began to read about the perils of being negative and read and listen to positive people and realize the affects that it had on me just hearing them and being around them.  I remember saying out loud to myself in my truck. "I want to make people feel like these people make me feel."

One of the most unique tools that I have ever worked on has been learning to say something negative that has to be said but saying it in a positive way.  I have not been wonderful at this but I have worked on it and over long periods of time, I believe I have done better.

The other thing that I learned besides just seeking out information and putting forth effort, was this; Communication skills are probably the single most important element to not being mean, negative and condescending.  Proper communication is key to not complicating other people's lives.  The more you communicate, the better you tend to get at it.  The more you communicate outside your normal comfort zone, the greater of a communicator you become.

I have probably excelled a lot more in my professional life in these areas than I have in my private life.  Because of that, I have spent some time lately working specifically on better communication and more positive relations in my private life.

The reason that I write this today is this.  I was driving around town last Saturday doing errands. (Nine days until Christmas).  I was mailing packages, picking up donations, giving out little thank you gifts to people in the service industry, etc.  And I noticed a pattern.  I saw 4 people in line at Walmart, 3 of them were angry and complaining and the 4th was completely oblivious to everyone and everything.  I stopped at McDonalds for coffee and there was a person at the counter yelling at the server.  I drove about 20 blocks and during my drive I noticed 5 different people on cell phones, with angry expressions and yelling into their phones.

Right then I started praying for people.  Just people in general.  Then I started thanking God for my wife, kids, staff, church and friends.  People that are much more positive than your average Americans.  People that I attempt on a regular basis to communicate properly with and teach to communicate well with others.   I also asked forgiveness for several times lately that I could think of where I wasn't kind and didn't communicate well.  And then...I begged God for my ministry.  I asked Him to somehow help us to spread better communication, more hope, less aggression, more stability in relationships and more truth.

My humble musings,
Rev. D. Todd Sloggett