Balance Your Checkbook Please!

There was a day in the not so distant past where balancing your checkbook was a given. Before the days of the debit card and electronic banking, it was pretty important to make sure that you agreed with the bank about how much money you had. The bank would snail mail your statement and then you would painstakingly check off the bank charges, bank interest, the checks that had cleared, and the deposits that had cleared and then figure out what was still outstanding. Every month like clockwork. But not these days. Continue reading “Balance Your Checkbook Please!”

Is Your God Big Enough for Your Money Troubles?

Last night my son exposed me to the biggest star that science has discovered to date. The name of the star is VY Canis Majoris. Before I begin to spew my Astronomical ignorance or steal the thunder from the video we have embedded, let me just say that this star is huge. Even the name, Canis (dog) Majoris (big), implies the girth of this big dog star. The picture shows its size as compared to the earth’s orbit around the sun. I see this and all of a sudden I am struck with the immensity of our God and the finiteness of myself. Our God literally spoke a word and the universe came into play including Canis Majoris. Continue reading “Is Your God Big Enough for Your Money Troubles?”

Rocking the Financial Roles

One of my favorite marriage books of all time is Robert Lewis’ Rocking the Roles. Coming from a divorced home where there was a definite disconnect from Biblical roles in marriage, I was hungry for someone to tell me what the blueprint was supposed to look like. Lewis does exactly that in that he describes the Biblical role of the man as the head of the home (said another way as the leader of the home) and the Biblical role of the wife as the helper of the home (said another way as the heart of the home) (Ephesians 5). These roles describe a complimentary set of ideals where the husband fights off his inclination towards passivity and actually provides proactive, loving, servant leadership. While the husband is learning to lead the wife is fighting her own battle to fight off her own inclination to want to take control of her environment. She has to learn to trust him. He has to learn to honor her in her role. It is a thing of beauty when done right. Continue reading “Rocking the Financial Roles”

When should my missionary get a raise?

Have you ever supported someone or some ministry for a long time at the very same amount? When I was on staff with a student ministry we had many families who locked into their $25 a month for 10 plus years. Now don’t get me wrong I appreciated their faithfulness, but someone who is that committed to our ministry has a lot of time, prayer and energy toward seeing us be successful. True partner kinda of folks. And I always wondered why they didn’t consider increasing over time. For some of them I don’t think it every crossed their mind. Now maybe I should have chatted with them about considering raising their support, but I didn’t always. What the point you ask? Continue reading “When should my missionary get a raise?”

Is it possible to be completely debt free?

chains-break-free-freedom-600x477Have you ever considered what it would feel like to be completely out of debt?

  • No mortgage payments.
  • No car payments.
  • No school loan payments.
  • No consumer loan payments.
  • No medical debt payments,
  • No personal loans.
  • Nothing.  Notta. Zilch.

What does that feel like? Freedom? Liberation?  Continue reading “Is it possible to be completely debt free?”

One Million Dollars is a lot of Money to Save

I have been doing a lot of thinking lately about retirement. Unfortunately, I am one of those guys who didn’t listen real well in the Investment 101 class. Come to think of it, I am not sure I got invited to the Investment 101 class. I heard about it and even got some of my friends who shared some of their notes and highlights with me. Best I can remember, the curriculum is pretty simple: invest money early in your 40 year working life and that money grows over time and will hopefully grow enough to tide you over in your 20 years of retirement.

Let’s do the math on the American Dream. Young professional settles in to a working rhythm by age 25 and works 40 years till he hopefully retires at 65. Retiree enjoys healthy golden years and hopefully gets to put in another 20 years where he/she dies peacefully at ripe old age of 85. Because it is no longer cool for said retiree to depend on children or anybody else they must have saved enough money over the 40 years to help them remain “financially independent” till they die.

That sounds awesome. All I have to do is figure out what I want to live on and then save it. Simple right? Continue reading “One Million Dollars is a lot of Money to Save”

What is Modern Day Contentment?

I have a new necessity in my routine… Shave Butter. Where have you been all my life? The makers of Shave Butter say that I have been “flying blind” all these years in my shaving. And I guess that’s true because I really can’t see my face with the old traditional foams and gels. But Shave Butter is clear and it “transforms the dread of shaving into the joy of softly wiping whiskers off your face”. Lest you think I jest, this stuff is pretty cool. But it adds yet another opportunity for me to express my discontentment. What happens when my $8 container of Shave Butter disappears? Can I ever go back to plain ole gel?

The modern world we live in is full of these kinds of things. We fill our homes, our cars and our lives with things designed to make life easier and then find ourselves cluttered with stuff. Sometimes we dream of the good old days when they didn’t have 17 choices of ketchup like we do in our super-duper markets. Continue reading “What is Modern Day Contentment?”

Giving to Change the World

passing the plateWe are reviewing a book that has the potential to be a game changer in the area of generosity.. or at least a thought provoking work… check out this excerpt

LET US BEGIN on a positive note. The up-side potential for good in U.S. Christian giving is immense, almost unimaginable. If American Christians were to give from their income generously—not lavishly, mind you, only generously—they could transform the world, starting right away. Ordinary American Christians have within their power the capacity to foster massive and unprecedented spiritual, social, cultural, and economic change that closely reflects their values and interests. In order to achieve such dramatic, world-transforming change, ordinary American Christians simply need to do one thing: start giving reasonably generously from their incomes, let us say 10 percent of post-tax income. Fostering such changes could begin immediately. It would not require getting Congress or the United Nations to act. It would not require a military mobilization or waiting for a majority turnover in the Supreme Court. It would only require ordinary Christians from one country to start doing something that seems entirely within their power and that most of them, according to the teachings of their own faith traditions, ought to already be doing anyway: giving generously from the financial resources with which they have been blessed. Continue reading “Giving to Change the World”

Vicarious Giving

Buc and Bengals atta boyWe all have a little bit of understanding of what it means to live vicariously through someone else.  Some sports fans live and die with the wins and losses of their favorite team. In my neck of the woods, grown men have their whole weeks wrecked by our beloved Razorbacks. And most parents will be quick to admit that they live (at lease a little bit) through the exploits of their children.  Case and point: Facebook.  I have a shirt that I stole from my wife that says, “My Son Plays – I Brag”.  And to be honest it doesn’t matter what they do, we love to be part of their experience and call it our own.  We call that vicarious living.  But have you ever considered vicarious giving?

Continue reading “Vicarious Giving”

Managing our Emotions in Tough Financial Times

thumb903241500061559My dad calls it a flesh break.  I call it the tirades of a crazy man.  The Lord calls it sin.  I have to admit that I was a little surprised by the string of expletives coming out of my mouth.  Even though I whispered my displeasure toward the Lord, I think my heart screamed inside.  And there is no doubt that He heard me to my chagrin.  It has been a long time since I had been that upset.  Before I became a believer I had a pretty foul mouth but that was one of the things that I really hadn’t struggled with afterward.  That is till the other night when I hit the wall: the financial stress wall.  The Scripture says that anxiety in the heart of man weighs it down. Said another way anxiety in the heart of man wears him out.  Just like a marathoner hits the physical wall, a person who is dealing with ongoing financial struggles hit the emotional wall.  Growing up in a chronically poor family, I saw it first hand with my mom who must have had the patience of Job.  But, ever so often she would lose it.  Not like I did but she would have to collect herself and work through her emotions.  Managing our emotions in the face of financial adversity is a key to managing yourself.  But how do you do that? Continue reading “Managing our Emotions in Tough Financial Times”