This site is dedicated to Dr. George Sweeting and his words to live by.

Isiah 9:2- The People walking in darkness have seen a great light, on those living in the land of the shadow of death a LIGHT has dawned.

Palsm 84:11- For the Lord God is a SUN and shield, the Lord bestowes favor and honor, no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.

"Excuses only satisfy the one who gives it" -gs

"If you are five minutes early, you are 10 minutes late" -gs

"We have a head on us for the same reason a pin has; to keep us from going to far" -gs

"There is only one thing as difficult as unscrambling an egg, and that is unspreading a rumor" -gs

Just as ordinary sun rays when focused through a magnifying glass burn holes in the material beneath,
so ordinary ability when focused, excels -gs


Lessons From the Life of George Sweeting
Nineteen Lessons My Father Taught Me
By Don Sweeting
Summer 2007

One of the greatest influences in my life is the influence of my dad. For me he has been a father, a pastor, a hero, a colleague, and a friend.

George Sweeting was born On October 1, 1924. The son of William Sweeting (b. April 2, 1893), and Mary Roger Irving (b. June 21, 1897), George was the first in his Scottish family to be born in America. His heritage consists of Christian martyrs (listed in the Foxe Book of Martyrs) and Scottish Covenanters on the one hand, and yet there was also drunkenness, poverty and abuse as well. His father fought in World War I for the British and worked hard as a young immigrant brick layer in America. The lives of both my dad’s parents radically changed when they became committed Christ followers through the influence of several ministries spun off by D.L.Moody’s evangelistic campaigns in Scotland (in the late 1800s).

As a child my dad lived through the Great Depression (1929-1941). As early as age eleven he worked on a milk truck to help support his family. This was especially important when his own father lost his job due to the collapse of the building industry.

In 1940, my dad committed his life to Jesus Christ. In 1942 he became a college student at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. He was ordained a pastor at Hawthorne Gospel Church in 1945. He began speaking all over the East, the Midwest and the South as a traveling artist-evangelist. He married Margaret Hildegard Schnell on June 14, 1947. Together they raised four sons, George David (b. 1949), James Douglas (b. 1952), Donald William (b. 1955), and Robert Bruce (b. 1959). Dad served as a pastor in several churches in the East. Then in 1966 went to the Moody Church in Chicago to serve as senior pastor. In 1970 he became president of the Moody Bible Institute. Later he became the school’s chancellor. He has written lots of books, preached lots of sermons, survived cancer twice, served as chancellor, gone back into pastoral work at age 80!

Some Lessons My Dad Taught Me
My dad taught me that “Christ is the Answer”
This is the most important lesson of all. This particular phrase was the motto of his early evangelistic crusades. Dad believed it and proclaimed it his whole life. Over the years he explained the gospel to many people, and I was one who benefited in knowing that there is a way to get right with God, to have my sins forgiven, and to know that I am heaven bound.

He loved the Word of God.
My dad taught me to value the reading, the study and the preaching of the Bible. He believed and wrote about the truth of Joshua 1.8. “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”

He was gripped by a vision of 100% surrender to the will of God.
Both of my parents were influenced by the life and words of missionary/martyr Betty Stam who at age fifteen wrote this covenant—“Lord, I give up all my own plans and purposes, all my own desires and hopes and accept your will fro my life. I give myself, my life, my all utterly to you, to be yours forever. Fill me with the Holy Spirit. Use me as you will…send me where you will. Work out your whole will in my life at any cost, now and forever.”

Dad taught me that other parts of life are important too.
Dad was an artist. He was trained in art at the Art Institute of Chicago, while studying at Moody. He would draw, paint and sketch. He loved great art. He would read about it, study it and view it. I had the privilege of going to some of the great art museums of the world with dad to see and have him explain to me some of the great paintings. Whether it was in his drawing, his handling of an institution’s PR, the way he took care of and designed his rose garden, or the flair with which he signed his name, his artistic ability came out.

He taught me that dads are around and involved.
We read a lot these days about absentee fathers and the hole it leaves in kid’s lives. My dad did travel a lot, but I don’t remember him being away much. When he did go away he often brought something back for the boys to tell us that he was thinking of us. He made up for it at other times.
While he was busy with some very large leadership responsibilities, he had time to play catch, to take me on trips, to take family vacations and spend time together. Along with this, I remember him as both a firm but loving father. I got my share of spankings from dad (and, I think it is safe to admit now that it was with his belt! He could pull it off with one swift swoop!) But even when I had to be disciplined, he managed to convince me that he loved me, and that I must learn to obey his laws and God’s laws.

My dad taught me to love nature.
When I was quite young, we would often take walks as a family on Sunday afternoons after mom’s amazing dinners. We’d go on walks through a ravine where we’d shoot the BB gun, or walk to fields where we would pick wild blackberries, or hike up a local mountain. While our northern New Jersey mountains were not huge like the Rockies of Colorado, they exposed us all to the out-of-doors. Mom would sometimes pack a picnic lunch, and we’d just get away. My parents would also take us to the ocean shore in New Jersey or Florida. That combination of mountains and ocean has never left me. To this day I get restored by exposure to either one of them.

He exposed me to the wider world through early travel opportunities.
My first international trip was with my parents at age three. It made me realize that I had roots in Scotland and Germany. It made me aware of the wider world. Over the years he took me to England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, France, Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium, Canada, Japan, Thailand, China, Cambodia, Israel, Jordan and Turkey. I suspect this is what gave me the travel bug, made me curious about the world, and set the stage for me to live overseas.

My dad taught me to love books and reading and to value a good education.
As I grew up, books where everywhere in the house, especially in dad’s study. He loved history and biography. There were always new and interesting books showing up everywhere. When I was a teen, he would actually pay me to read certain books that he would recommend (I had to read and outline them). Not only was it a way to earn money, but it helped spark a love of learning. Dad’s favorite books were the Bible, a biography of D.L. Moody by Day, Spiritual Leadership by Oswald Sanders, Leaders and Leadership by Bogartus, How to Win Friends, by Carnegie, Practicing the Presence of God, by Brother Lawrence, The Pursuit of God by Tozer, and other books by James McConeky, F.B. Meyer, and Andrew Murray. Time and time again dad would tell me, that “readers are leaders and leaders are readers.” In later life, we would sometimes just go to a book store together to browse and chat.

Along with recommending good books dad enabled me to get a first class education. He not only encouraged me to attend Moody, but my parents helped me go to Lawrence, Regent and Oxford becoming the first in our family to get a Ph.D. If it wasn’t for his encouragement, it would not have happened.

Dad modeled generosity.
He and my mom were great givers. When I was younger, dad would sometimes slip me a $5.00 bill. In college, he would sometimes slip me a $20.00 bill. As an adult, he would sometimes slip me a $50.00 bill. Not huge amounts, but always a little encouragement to keep going. One of his mottos was “seldom repress a generous impulse.” Dad lived this. He would occasionally grouse about it, saying how much he would have if he had invested it all. But then, I believe, he reminded himself that he had invested it all. He would sometimes say, “do your giving while you’re living, then you’re knowing where it’s going.”

He believed in the importance of laughing and the futility of worry.
Dad liked to laugh. I am told that as a kid he was a real cut up. He would often be sent out into the halls because he made everyone in his class laugh! As an adult dad was always good with one liners and jokes. He liked to be around people who made him laugh. He would sometimes say, “better to laugh than to cry.” And things like “there is a lot to cry about in life, but laughing is good for the soul,” and “he who laughs, lasts!” Not that he never worried. But he would tell us that “most of the things you worry about never happen. And what does happen isn’t as bad as you thought. And besides, no one is going to get out of this world alive anyway!”

Dad talked a lot about choices, excuses, goals and discipline.
About choices, he would say “Success in life depends not on the dreams you dream but because of the choices you make.” He reminded the children and grand children about the importance of making wise choices. And when it came to excuses, he had little tolerance for them. He would say “excuses only satisfy the people who make them.” On setting goals, he would encourage us to write out our own goals in each season of life, reminding us that “if we aim at nothing, we will hit it every time,” and “goals are like magic,” and “ordinary ability when focused excels.” And as far as discipline goes, he would say, “discipline plus determination, not desire, equals destiny.”

He modeled commitment in marriage and the importance of love.
How many people do you know who have been married for 60 years?! We couldn’t even find cards that celebrated 60th wedding anniversaries. Yet both my parents modeled a committed marriage for decades. They gave us a vision for marriage and family. To this day, they are still best friends and still holding hands. Amazing, isn’t it?

He was a visionary.
My dad taught me the power of vision. He did not do it consciously, but more by example. He had sayings over his desk, such as, “Make no small plans, they have no power to stir the imagination of people.” And he would bless his churches, and MBI with the God given gift of his own vision. He would see things that others did not. I am not 100% sure how I got this gift, but I know he had something to do with it.

Dad lived on hope with enthusiasm.
My dad approached life with a “the glass is half full” perspective. While it was to some degree shaped by his temperament, it was even more shaped by his faith in the Lord. So, no matter what the trial, he would not stay stuck in it. He would tell us—“when the outlook is dark, try the up-look.” He would say “it’s too soon to quit.” He would ask us when we were teens if we “had the joy?” He would remind me “Don, to be enthusiastic, act enthusiastic.” He would encourage us to a PMA “positive mental attitude,” (which was really a God centered attitude.). At bottom, this wasn’t mere optimism, or wishful thinking. It was grounded in his hope as a Christian.

He was an essentials man.
You know the famous Christian quotation, sometimes attributed to Augustine? “In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity.” My father was thoroughly committed to the essentials or fundamentals of the faith. But he had a tolerant personality. He kept his eye on the big picture for the most part. This showed up in his leadership at Moody. He tried not to get side tracked with petty, secondary concerns. As an evangelist, he pointed to Christ. As a father, his big concern for me was not that I be in this denomination or that one, but that I know and love the Lord and serve him faithfully. In that sense, he really did imbibe the spirit of men like Moody and Augustine.

He taught me to love the church.
Now granted, there are some things in the church that are difficult. Churches go through hard times. They make mistakes. They can get lost. As a pastor and Christian leader, my dad had experienced disappointments. He had seen Christian organizations mess up. But his pastor years also convinced him that the local church is extremely important to Christ’s work. The para-church is to serve the local church. Dad shared disappointments with us, but he never bad mouthed the church. He modeled a life-long commitment to the church because, I suspect, he knew that Christ loves the church and gave himself up for it and has promised to build his church until the end of the age.

Dad modeled retirement for all of us.
His idea of retirement was not golfing in Florida or Arizona. In fact, I don’t think he believes in retirement. Many people these days don’t believe in heaven. So the retirement dream for them becomes a kind of secular heaven. But dad believes that you don’t really retire. You keep serving the Lord and mentoring the next generation as long as you can. Not only is this a great investment, and not only does this kind of serving prolong your life, but I sense dad really believes it will be rewarded by heaven’s rest. So for him, a big fat retirement down here is not an option. And slowing down is not a happy prospect. He sometimes says, “Life is like water skiing, when you slow down, you go down!”

He taught me about finishing well.
It was Eugene Peterson who said that “the Christian life is a long obedience in the same direction.” In listing all these good things about my father, I don’t want to leave you with the wrong impression. I am not saying dad was perfect. He would hide his faults from us pretty well. He was not real open about his own temptations. Were there slip-ups that he regrets? I know there were. But to take his life as a whole, he modeled for us this long distance obedience to the Lord and finishing well. (That is why I am trying to get him to write one last book called How to Finish The Christian Life!)

In the end, he gives God the glory for the good things in his life.
How many people do you know who have a building named after them, magazines dedicated to them, and appreciations galore held for them? My dad has. And, truth be told, he has accomplished quite a lot. But in all of it, he will tell you without a moments hesitation that God graciously extended his life and God gets the glory. Then he’ll quote a favorite psalm— “Not to us O Lord, not to us, but to your name be glory, because of your love and faithfulness” (Psalm 115.1)

Summing it up
These are only a few of the lessons that come to mind as I write about my dad. There are others that will come to me when I put my pen away.

Lives teach us. His life taught me. It still does. One of the books my dad and I co-wrote is called Lessons From the life of D.L. Moody. But now I have shared with you on these pages lessons from another life—from the life of George Sweeting.

Through the years, I have seen him up close. We were able to travel together, work at Moody together, (I was his assistant for two years), speak at conferences together, write together, work in the same church together. Strangely, he was my pastor early in my life, and I would sometimes stand beside him at the church door. But later in life I was his pastor and he would sometimes stand beside me at the church door!.

Even though I have often lived very far from home (Canada, British Columbia, England, and Colorado), I have watched him. Over the many miles and years his life has taught me a lot. Most important of all, it has prepared me for the one to whom all fatherhood points, the one whom Scripture calls, “the everlasting father.” Thanks Dad! I love you!

John I:5-7- This is the message we have had from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness,we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

If you have any more quips to add by Doc please email them to john@print911.com