Jul 31, 2012

My Anniversary: Thirteen Years of Bliss

Today Christy and I celebrate thirteen years of being happily married.

Well... I celebrate 13 years of happiness. For Christy I'm sure it's been 13 years of reminding herself that murder is illegal and generally frowned upon in our society. Plus it would be hard to effectively hide a body as large as mine. Seriously... she spends a lot of time watching those true murder mystery shows where the spouse bumps off their partner. I've learned to sleep with one eye open and check my brake lines before leaving the garage.

We live in a world where over 50% of all marriages end in divorce. So how have we made it 1/8 of a century? Simple. We've learn that we can either battle each other, or battle together whatever we are facing. Your spouse can be your best ally or your worst enemy. It's usually one or the other though.

About a year before we were married, Christy had a discussion with Kim Baker, who is the wife of the Youth Pastor we were serving under at the time. She shared that love is not just a feeling that comes and goes, but a choice to made each day. So each day we choose to not be selfish and love the other, no matter what.

So to my wife: I love you and thank God for each and every day that we are together. I'll try my best to make the next 13 years even better than the first 13 years. You are an amazing woman and I am truly blessed to be able to call you mine.

And to my other readers (both of you...): If you are looking for some good teachings on marriage, I'd like to suggest some great messages from Newspring Church (click here...).

Jul 17, 2012

What Does The Bible Say About Money?

What Does The Bible Say About Money?

Almost everyone agrees that the Bible contains great advice about life, from improving your marriage to getting along with your boss at work.  But does the Bible really say much about money?  Does it really give us advice that we can apply to our own life in today's world?

The Good News is Yes!  Absolutely!  We believe the Bible is as relevant and helpful today as when it was written, and God has a lot to say about money.  Did you know money is mentioned in the Bible over 800 times?  God must be pretty serious about this subject to talk about it that much. 

In fact, Jesus says in Luke 16:11, "So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?"  It appears from this verse that God uses money as a test of our management and stewardship skills before entrusting us with spiritual things.  See more below.

Money in the Bible
1. Proverbs 13:22  "A good man leaves an inheritance to his childrens' children" indicating that God wants us to make a difference, financially, in our family tree.
2. Proverbs 21:20  "In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has."  This gives us an idea of how God wants us to save for a rainy day, to set something back for safekeeping.
3. Proverbs 22:7 states that "The rich rule over the poor, And the borrower is servant to the lender."  Really?  The Bible discourages debt?  Does God really want me to pay my debts off and avoid debt?
4. Luke 14:28  "For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it."  Does Jesus really want me to save up and pay for the things I buy?
5. Matt. 6:24  "You cannot serve both God and money".

If money is this important to God, why are there so few Sunday school classes on this topic?  Why don't we see lots of small group studies on "Managing Your Finances" or "Getting Out of Debt"?  Why aren't there more sermons in this area?

There are many reasons, but the top reason is that most people don't realize how much of a problem managing money is for the average family.  Look at the statistics below:

Financial Statistics

1. Marital Problems - 37 percent (the highest rate) of marital problems derive from financial situations
2. Cash Flow - 70 percent of all consumers live paycheck to paycheck, meaning they run out of money before the end of the month
3. Savings - The average family would have to use a credit card to pay a $1,500 unexpected expense (ex: home or car repair).
4. Retirement - Nearly half of all Americans (46%) have less than $10,000 saved for their retirement.
It is a problem that affects everyone, inside and outside of the church.  In fact George Barna says that the fastest growing churches are teaching about marriage, child rearing, finances, and careers.  Money is a serious subject, and God is serious about money, which is why we should study closely what he has to tell us.

Finally, there is something to guide us!  A study to take God's wisdom about money and help us apply it to our own lives. It is called Financial Peace University.