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




Saturday, December 16, 2017

Why Do MEN Support Abortion?!

For the longest time I struggled with what kind of weird twisted thinking could possibly go through the minds of people that are not pro-life!  I mean, just the fact that they were allowed to be born so that they could think about this concept should challenge their ideas.

I don't even understand how it became a woman's right issue or a health care issue.  The facts, stats, science and social climate doesn't even support being non-pro-life.  And then something happened.  Something that only could have clicked if it came at just the right time under just the right set of seemingly unconnected circumstance.

I saw a statistic that said "77% of all pro-choice leaders are men".  BAM!!  A light came on.  Now to be fair, if I had read this 9 months ago, 3 years ago....I would have most likely just skimmed right over it and moved on.  BUT.......

I will do my very best to not convolute this and keep it simple and clear.  Most of you will know exactly what I am talking about and some of you will pretend not to.  But it will be too late.  I will have already connected the dots for you.

If you take the facts that a) we probably live in the most selfish society and culture ever b) our culture and societal influences have brought us to the point where everyone is trying to get out of all possible responsibilities.  It is always, my parent's fault, societies fault, the governments fault, the white man's fault, the Mexican's fault, the black people's fault, the Republican's fault, the Democrat's fault, big government's fault, big business's fault, Walmart's fault, the Oil executives fault..........a bad raising, a bad crowd that I got in with, the rules are prejudice against me, etc. etc. etc.

Then you add c) the monopolizing, monetizing and sexualizing of women.  As an adult male with three grown sons, a grown daughter, two daughters in law and a granddaughter, I can hardly go                                anywhere or do anything in America anymore without considering the sexuality factor.  There are inappropriate men and women, sexual innuendoes and blatant sexuality in literally every aspect of life anymore.  Sex sells so sex rules.

Now you add d).  Male dominated abuse of power.  (see my last blog about Harvey Weinstein).  Over the last several months, it has been brought to light over and over and over again how men that have great power, wether through money, politics, fame or religion, can abuse and cover up their inappropriate sexual desires, dominance and abuse of women.

Now, you take these 4 factors of a belligerent and backslidden society and add one more little thing and you touch off a powder keg.  The little thing....guilt.  It crossed my mind that if you have a bunch of men that have learned to be selfish, taught to not take responsibility for their actions and they want to have inappropriate sex with women that they have power over.....OF COURSE THEY WOULD BE PRO-ABORTION!


#1 It leaves a way to erase the damning life long evidence and #2 It makes them appear compassionate to all of the other women that they haven't abused yet.  Consider this and you may finally realize why there is such a large percentage of men, driving the pro-choice movement and how that particular movement is still about men sexualizing and abusing women and having a legal and "compassionate" means to make some of their problems, burdens and guilt go away so that they don't have to own their responsibilities and they can continue their selfish ways.

My Humble Musings,
Rev. D. Todd Sloggett





Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Abuse of Power….ANY Power. MY THOUGHTS ON HARVEY WEINSTEIN.




 The news of Harvey Weinstein flooding the airwaves has once again started my wheels turning.   And as always, I think things a little different than most.

Something seems to be happening in America and I am happy about it.  There is no doubt that there are some dangerous waters ahead, but never the less, it is better than staying where we are. 

 Over the last, who knows how many decades, the powerful have grown more and more corrupt.  Of course this has ALWAYS happened throughout history but it does seem to come in ebbs and tides. 


For a long time now America has been the capitalistic market for people that hunger for power.  If you are willing to pay the price, you can get above the lazy, the common and the ignorant.  Once atop, you can have a better life of luxury, feasting on grand food and feeding your other appetite as well.  Your appetite to control people, to be right and be in charge of things.  To bless those that bless you and hurt those that hurt you.    It is the flesh at it’s greatest.  It is human nature. 

As these cycles go.  People first don’t realize what is happening, then they ignore it out of denial and laziness, a few try to stand up to abuses of power and they are crushed by those with the power, then the people begin to develop a system where abuses are over looked, considered baked into the game and only the most egregious offenders are dealt with.  Eventually most of the power to abuse is controlled at the very top by just a handful that are considered insulated and almost un-touchable.  This is basically true whether it be business, politics, family, church, gang or club. 

If you look at the eventual swell that has come from the people themselves over the last several years in America, you can see where the anti-power is coming from. 

Roger Ailes, who built the Fox News empire, was taken down.  Bill O’Reilly was taken out.  Police are being called into question all over the country.  Some abuses are definitely being discovered.  Even terrorist groups like ANTIFA are garnering their power to continue to influence our culture from the anti-establishment ground swell.  A boisterous, showman is in the White House pushing buttons and tweeting tweets. All because the people have had enough of the abuses of power. 

The strength of this ground swell is what allows people to come forward against people like Harvey Weinstein.  When most of the power is at the top and the people are all basically sedated and in no mood to fight it, then abuses of power are rampant.  When the people begin to be agitated and win a few small victories here and there, then power begins the process of leveling out again. 
 
There are many dangers of this continued occurrence throughout the history of humanity.  One is that there will only be changes in those who hold the power and not changes in the power structure, thus starting the slow but sure cycle all over again. 

Another fear is that good men will be taken down with the bad.  There are always extra casualties.  Yet another danger is when the people rise up, they get caught up in taking down those that are doing wrong and forget to focus on a better system of doing it right.  They get more of a mob mentality and it becomes all about hate and revenge and less about a correction. 

In business, family and ministry, I have learned my lessons the hard way.  There are basic rules to protect yourself against being one who abuses power and or being an enabler of one who abuses power.
 
First, being an enabler.  Do not let yourself get lazy.  Do not believe things because they were told to you by good people.  Believe them because you found them to be true.  Do not allow yourself to worship men, places or ideas.  This is the greatest danger that most people will find themselves in.  Being in AWE of someone to the point of attaching your worth to being attached to their worth.  Love great men, admire them, follow them and have confidence in them.  But judge for yourself every single word, work and deed.  When a man is right 50 times and then wrong twice, those two wrongs are just as wrong as anyone else’s.  You greatly harm the youngest generation that is present, when you pretend that a good man’s mistake is not a mistake because he was a good man. 
 
As far as abuse of power…two things.  Spread the authority and spread the wealth.  No one man will always be right.  Nobody is so good at anything that they won’t make mistakes at it from time to time.  If you are at the very top of an entity with no direct oversight you are in the greatest danger of abusing power.  If there are 2 or 3 of you at the top and you get little to no input, oversight or corroborating with others, you too are in jeopardy, perhaps not quite as much. 

Surrounding yourself with peers, elders, oversight and constant input that you will listen to, is one of the greatest things that you can do for your success, your chances at being right and for the health of those under you. 

Lastly, no one ever needs a 10 bedroom house, 250,000 dollars worth of vehicles or to have a personal worth of tens of millions of dollars.  I have had friends that meant well and tried to do good and great things with large amounts of money but they ended up hoarding it, keeping total and complete control of it and they ended up believing that they were the only ones that knew best how to use it.  Some of them just slowly developed fancier and fancier lifestyles and absorbed much of the wealth to themselves.  One man had the means to do great and incredible things with an abundance of wealth but the people that he wanted to share it with wouldn’t “obey” him enough so he never surrendered any of it.  He died a wealthy, lonely and greatly mistaken man. 


When you have what you need, find the best possible causes that you can and spread the rest around.  Use wisdom, do some research, but get it out there and give it a chance to do good.  If mistakes are made it is not the end of the world.  I have found that the mistakes of the sincere are often times more successful than the successes of the insincere. 

Ministry leaders, be wise and beware.  This isn’t the good ol boys family church days anymore.  The people are coming back to their causes and their senses.  It happened with Luther, it happened with Washington and the continentals, it happened with Trump and if it keeps up…it will happen at the churches, in the meetings and in the fellowships.  It is scary, but it is mostly a good thing. 


Take head, make notes, use wisdom young people.  Pray through and follow Christ and Christ alone.  Brother Todd is staking everything he has on you. 

Friday, August 18, 2017

Amazing Bethany IV

I have written quite extensively about my home church and I suppose that you would just have to be there sometime to really understand why.  In writing about Bethany Holiness Church in Sand Springs, OK, my intentions are not just to brag on and show my thankfulness and admiration for these people, but also to hopefully inspire others to strive to be ever more like them.

The amount of ministry that is done on and from this place is exhaustive...and exhausting.  HaHa!  But it is not just the activity and action in and of itself that is so impressive.  It is often the hidden talents of so many people that only a true need will sometimes bring out.

Many places that I go, and they are many, have the talents of all of their people on full display at each event, happening or occurrence.  The best singers will be singing, the best preachers will be preaching, the best leaders will be leading, etc.  And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.  But amazingly enough, I see more and more incredible strengths and talents in our people just by accident.  Or I at least seem to find out about them by happening upon them, because they are not on display.


Incredible cleaners, amazing organizers, those that are great with children and problem solvers, cooks, meal planners, handymen.  Ask any Pastor or leader and they will tell you that these are the things that they need most!  And these seem to be the types of people that we are overwhelmingly blessed with.

I thought that I realized this completely until very recently.  I am of course the President of HMA and we put on an annual Outreach Conference.  This year, for the first time, we held the conference at Bethany.  The 4 previous years we had it at Revival Tabernacle in Richmond, KY and Pastor David Lamb's staff did outstanding.  I always made my phone calls, sent my money and showed up for the conference like everyone else.  It was so incredibly easy for me because Revival Tabernacle did almost all of the heavy lifting.

This year I prepared for a much different experience.  My local Oklahoma staff and I (many of which already attend Bethany) were geared up for putting on this conference without the hands on help of many of the Revival Tabernacle people that we had grown so accustomed to.  We had a meeting about a month out from conference and I asked for volunteers and took down names.....THAT WAS IT!  The next thing that I knew, it was as if the conference was putting itself on.

Our Bethany family has worked events, prepared meals for homeless people, hosted funerals, weddings and showers, put on fellowship meetings and done outreach and Vacation Bible School to the point that everyone knows who is good at what, who does what, where each other's strengths are and where the weak spots are AND.....THEY KNOW HOW TO "JUST DO IT".  They do not have to be seen, heard, told or given the credit.  It is an amazing testimony to the leadership, the leadership style and the type of people that are willing (and not willing) to attend church here.

I will give you an example:  As soon as the meeting was over and everyone had their subsequent jobs to do, a young lady approached me and said, "Pastor Todd, I am just making a suggestion, but I noticed that people will be coming form all around the country and there will be day and evening services and you do not have a specific plan for children.  Is there a need for something for the children to do while the parents are in these intense study sessions?"

I immediately realized that there could be such a need and I just didn't think about it.  I told here that something for the children to do could become an issue and I would get back to her.  THE NEXT WEEK, a couple called from Kentucky and said that they intended to come for conference but they ended up not having anything to do with their three children and were just checking for options.  I called the lady that I had spoken with and asked her if she could put something together.  She then informed me that a children's church plan had been put in place, there were activities that were built around Bible stories that had been planned and that there were young workers for each activity as well as adults to oversee the whole thing already prepared to be there.

These people are just does, that's all there is to it!  They help, they work, they plan, they are flexible and they do not have to be micro-managed.

After conference was over, the parents of the children came to me and bragged and bragged on the children's group and thanked me for it being possible. I tried to explain to them the entire situation and they just kept thanking me.  I was embarrassed for getting any kind of credit for it.  I later found out that there had been 24 to 29 children in the kid's activities almost every session.

This is just one of many examples that I could use to show how it was just GETTING DONE in the background almost literally while I slept.  All week long people were fueling vehicles, preparing food, cleaning up until 1 and 2 in the morning.  Coming in early before morning sessions and picking up after us all, praying in the sanctuary between services and on and on and on.....

Listen closely, THIS DOESN'T JUST HAPPEN!  This environment is developed...over time...on purpose...with great effort and great intent.

God has been so good to my family and our ministry and one of the best things that He ever did for us was guide to a real home church.  A church full of people that love, work, strive for unity, solutions and Godly behavior.  God bless Bethany Holiness Church!

Your humble servant,
Rev. D. Todd Sloggett

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Dealing with mental, suicidal, emotional homeless people.

This is another response to a Pastor that we are working with that has asked questions about working with homeless people in Arkansas and running into a lot a mental instability/suicidal stuff: 



Finally getting around to your question.  Sorry!  I have to admit that this is such a broad question that there is no complete and right answer to it.  Every situation is different.  There are many general rules to use as guide lines but none of them work every time.  Except the ones that you already know. 

Get them to Jesus is first and foremost, BUT how, is another story.  If they will come to church great.  Have the best JESUS services that you can and let them absorb that over time until they surrender to The Lord and His will.

Constant interaction with saints is another basic but pure response.  People that love unconditionally, correct carefully and don’t sin or approve of sin.  This is generally a side of God’s humanity that they are not very familiar with.  It is refreshing and often life changing for them.

After that, it gets tricky.  Be very leery of over medicated people.  There are more of them than the ones that are not.  Study medications.  Not just on google and Facebook and shallow stuff like that.  Really study them.  Don’t start telling people to flush their meds if you don’t know what you are talking about.  Don’t just quote something from the pulpit that you heard on the Drudge Report or something.  If you are going to be an expert, the first thing you must do is become one. 

Suicide is also very careful business.  Most suicide “attempts” are for attention purposes only.  But you better know what you are doing because one mistake can cost an eternity. 
 
For example:  There are some suicide attempts that are almost never genuine, there are some that are rarely genuine, there are some that are often genuine and there are some that must be assumed to be genuine.

ie.  Wrist cutting is the most commonly talked about and “attempted” form of suicide.  But I will let you in on a little secret.  I have dealt with dozens, probably hundreds of suicide attempts and I do not know of anyone who has “successfully” killed themselves by cutting their wrists.  Zero!  It is almost always a sign of emotional attention problems and it is almost never a serious attempt at taking ones own life. 

Things like overdosing on pills, taking poisons and attempting to drink oneself to death are a little more serious and a little more commonly successful. 

Jumping out in front of a train, shooting oneself, jumping off a bridge, etc. these are even more serious and even more commonly successful.

The number one successful form of suicide that must be taken gravely serious is hanging. 

You must also remember that when dealing with American homeless people, almost every one of them is homeless because of an addiction.  They will talk about their job problems, family problems, society, government, etc.  but they are homeless because they have an addiction and can’t obey rules. 

The ones that do not fit this category are the ones that you suggested in your question.  The mentally unstable.

This category is broken up into 3 groups.  Those that are clinical, which is most likely the smallest group. (Though the doctors and the government treat them as the largest group).  Those that are mentally unstable because of the medications that they take, abuse or are mis-prescribed to them (This probably being far and away the largest group).  And those that are possessed.  And of course do not forget the possibility of many of them being a combination of these groups.    

So, to answer your question.  How do you deal with these.  I will take them one category at a time. 

If they are addicts.  Then you deal with them based on our addiction teachings that are on our website, in our teachings, all over the web, etc.  Addicts are the most selfish amongst us and the selfish cycle must be broken by helping them get to rock bottom as soon as possible.  This of course is done by removing all of the enabling.   When they hit their real rock bottom, then they have a choice that has to be made and hopefully they choose Christ.  Also, hopefully, you have been Christ like enough and around them enough that when they need help being discipled on HOW to serve Him, they contact you. 

If they are possessed, and you continue to follow the Biblical rules of engagement and you and your ministry are filled with the Holy Spirit of God, they will manifest and it is a matter of taking authority over them and casting them out, thus freeing the individual to choose a new master.  Again, Christ, with your help. 

If they are truly mentally unstable, with a retardation or brain damage or something, all you can do sometimes is love them, befriend them and make sure that they get the needed services.  They are God’s special children and they should not be homeless and they are generally very abused when they are.  God will bless you for caring for them. 

If they are temporarily mentally unfit due primarily to abuse and over prescribing of medications….this is the hard one.  Primarily you can love them, befriend them and gain some trust.  Next you want to advise about  and possibly even call into question certain aspects of their medical and medication history.  Informing them with the best and most accurate facts that you can.  Knowing that at some point you are going to cross their doctor, case worker, etc.  (So you better be right).  All the while trying to love them and continue to gain their confidence because if they are coming around saints, services, etc there are always chances for them to get saved and or delivered from their prescription abuse.  Then you have a whole new person on your hands to work with. 

Warning:  Many will get saved and still be addicted to their prescriptions.  This is a very delicate balance.  You need to seek to be in contact and even know personally the doctors, clinical nurses, EMT’s, parole officers, judges, etc in your area.  This is something that we always teach here at HMA for reasons just like this.  You don’t want to send them to any doctor, therapist, etc.  Most of them are the type of person that helped get your new convert hooked in the first place. 

I cannot stress this enough.  YOU NEED TO KNOW YOUR STUFF!  If you want to be in the ministry in 2017, not just have a pulpit and belong to a fellowship or a denomination, Pastor a church, preach some meetings…..But be involved in real new testament Biblical ministry.  You need to apply effort to learn the tools of the trade.  Bible, Bible application, counseling, relationship studies, drugs, addictions, and on and on and on. 

Too often I hear, “I don’t know about these things Brother Sloggett, can you take care of this for us?  We just don’t understand.”  It is one thing to BE ignorant of something, it is another thing to STAY ignorant of it.  The information is available but you have to want it more that you want to play video games, have parties and attend events.  This is no reflection of you personally.  You are actually doing the right thing.  But I am answering in general of course. 

I hope this is helpful my friend.  If you have anything more specific, I can probably get a little more detailed.  God bless you!

Your humble servant,

Rev. D. Todd Sloggett