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Archive for the ‘stewardship’ Category

Randy Alcorn in a post called Depositing This Life in Eternity’s Account

One morning I was at a restaurant when a frazzled woman blew through the door and loudly complained to her friend, “The wipers aren’t working again on my Porsche, and the Audi’s in for repairs. I’ve had it!”

I smiled but at the same time was saddened for this poor woman. (Yes, poor woman.) What a contrast to the believer with eternal perspective:

I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:11-13)

deposit-eternity

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John MacArthur asks a thoughtful question and then gives a surprising answer:

When you think about coming to church, what aspect do you look forward to the most?

For the sake of this discussion, let’s assume your answer is something spiritually noble—nothing vain or selfish like wanting people to see you dressed in your finest clothes, showing off a new car, or trying to sell goods or services to friends at church. Instead, let’s assume the best—that whatever it is you look forward to most is somehow related to ministry.

Some people might say the teaching keeps them coming back each week. Others would say the music. For some believers, it might be the deep relationships with other Christians they find through their churches—relationships that they can’t cultivate elsewhere. Others might just appreciate the temporary relief from the pressures of life, work, and the world.

But let me suggest something to you: If we really understand Scripture—particularly some specific promises from Jesus—the thing you should look forward to the most is the offering.

Keep reading “The Abundance of Giving” by John MacArthur as he explains why giving ought to excite us!

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Kevin DeYoung challenges us:

Do you want to be radical in your devotion to Christ? Do you want your life to count and not be a waste? Do you want to see the nations come to Christ and the world changed for the better?

Well, here’s one practical thing you can do right now on your way to those lofty ambitions: pay down your debt.

There are 610,000,000 credit cards in the United States, and every household with at least one carries an average debt of $16,000. Total U.S. consumer debt is more than $2.5 trillion. Think of all the money Christians have tied up in late fees and financial commitments that can’t be spent on the work of the gospel in the world.

How will you ever give sacrificially to your church if you are swamped in credit card debt? How can you even consider doing missions overseas if you’re swallowed up in student loans? What sort of flexibility will you have to go anywhere and do anything if your house is worth half of what you owe on your mortgage? What will you have to give to support a new church plant in your city or the crisis pregnancy center down the street or the seminary overseas if you have two car payments, two mortgages, and twenty thousand dollars in consumer debt?

I love the emphasis in our day on doing hard things. I love the passion for a big God and big causes. I love the gospel-centered enthusiasm and idealism. But more often than not new dreams don’t come true without old-fashioned virtues like temperance, frugality, and hard work. Heartfelt passion won’t change the world. But passion plus prudence plus perseverance just might.

So if you are serious about carrying your cross and giving your all to Jesus, you should take more seriously paying down all that you owe.

Read the rest here.

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This pastor makes some good observations about the Bible and finances

More than 2,000 Scripture verses deal with money and possessions. The way we manage money is fundamentally a spiritual matter (Luke 16:10-11). On top of this, consider the problems related to poor money management. In a recent survey 46% of Americans reported suffering from debt-related stress. Financial problems can lead to marital breakdowns and contribute to unethical behavior (Prov. 30:8-9).

It never ceases to amaze me that algebra is required in school but personal finance is not. We desperately need to hear what the Bible says about personal finance.

In Ephesians 4:28 Paul boils personal finance down to two points: Earning and spending. He does so not as a financial guru but as a pastor teaching believers how to “walk worthy of the calling with which [they] were called” (v. 1).

He goes on to make some simple and yet sound points regarding how we should earn money and spend it for God’s glory which you can read here.

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David Murray writes:

The most unbelieved beatitude in the Bible is: “It is more blessed to give than receive” (Acts 20:35). The giver happier than the getter? Surely some mistake? That goes against all our intuitions and instincts. So let me help you to believe it and act upon it by giving you ten reasons why it is more blessed to give than to receive.

  1. Giving obeys God’s command
  2. Giving submits to God’s Lordship
  3. Giving exhibits God’s heart
  4. Giving illustrates God’s salvation
  5. Giving trusts God’s provision
  6. Giving widens God’s smile
  7. Giving advances God’s kingdom
  8. Giving promotes God’s sanctifying of us
  9. Giving testifies to God’s power
  10. Giving praises God’s character

Read the full article over at Christianity.com.

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Tim Challies starts the discussion:

How much of my money do I give to the church? How much should I give to the church?

My answer is short: Enough that it matters. Let me explain what I mean by that.

Read his answer based on biblical wisdom here including this quote by C. S. Lewis:

Giving that does not impact our lives at all is not sacrificial and, therefore, not enough. C.S. Lewis expresses this in a helpful way: “If our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusements, etc., is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little. If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot because our charitable expenditure excludes them.”

 

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No hearse pulling a U-Haul

Randy Alcorn:

A sad news story that powerfully illustrates “you can’t take it with you.” Think of how the treasure could have been used to make a short-term and long-term difference in people’s lives.

$7 million in gold found in dead Nevada man’s home

By Isolde Raftery, NBC News

Stack of coinsWhen Walter Samaszko Jr. died at his home in Carson City, Nev., he had $200 in a bank account. But as officials later discovered, Samaszko had about $7 million stored neatly around his home, the Nevada Appeal reported.

In late June, neighbors called authorities because of a smell emanating from Samaszko’s home. He was a recluse who had told them he hated the government and feared getting shots, but still, it had been a while since they had seen him, according to the Appeal.

According to the coroner, Samaszko, 69, had been dead for at least a month. He died of heart problems, the Las Vegas Sun reported.

In came the cleanup crews, which discovered boxes of gold in the garage.“At that point, we took the house apart,” said Carson City clerk-recorder Alan Glover.

They found gold coins and bullion, tiny dos-pesos, $20 gold pieces, Austrian ducats, Kruggerrands and English Sovereigns dating  to the 1840s – enough gold to fill two wheelbarrows.

Read the rest of the story.

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Rick Thomas, biblical counselor, offers a basic plan for financial stewardship:

Last week I had the privilege to work with a couple on the financial issues in their marriage. They were a normal couple, meaning, they made money and spent money, but did not see their responsibility of stewarding money for the glory of God.

As we talked, they noted how no one had ever carefully walked beside them, to envision them in practical ways of stewarding the Father’s money. The following is a Mind Map, which I created to give them a basic plan for financial responsibility.

Note I said “a” way as opposed to “the” way. Many of you financial gurus will look at this and say, “What about this?” or “You left out that.” You’re probably right. This is not an exhaustive look at fiscal responsibility. The reason for that is because there is not a one-size-fits-all financial plan for everybody.

This is “a” way, not “the” way. The article ”a” is important. My hope is to give a vision and a roadmap you can tweak and implement according to your season of life, size of family, monetary situation, and your age.

Though your plan may not be exactly like this plan, the big ideas in this Mind Map are universal. Let’s take a look.

Lots of counsel to mull over so read the whole article “Mind Mapping a financial strategy. .  .”

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We just finished up a series on financial stewardship in our Adult Bible Fellowship. It was great to review what the Bible teaches about money as well as hear some practical financial wisdom applied to today’s economic conditions.

Nathan Busenitz posted an excellent article that contained many quotes from well-known people (some rich, others just famous) as well as a Biblical summary reminding us that money can’t buy happiness.  Here’s a few excerpts from “Dollars and Sense” :

It was Andrew Carnegie who reportedly said, “Millionaires seldom smile. Millionaires who laugh are rare. My experience is that wealth is apt to take the smiles away.” William Vanderbilt’s comment was this: “The care of 200 million dollars is too great a load for any brain or back to bear. It is enough to kill anyone. There is no pleasure in it.” And Henry Ford concluded, “I was happier when doing a mechanic’s job.”

Even John D. Rockefeller couldn’t find happiness in the millions he amassed. When he was asked, “How much is enough?” he answered, “Just a little bit more.” Toward the end of his life, he said, “I have made many millions, but they have brought me no happiness. I would barter them all for the days I sat on an office stool in Cleveland and counted myself rich on three dollars a week.” And when his accountant was asked, “How much did John D. leave after he died?” The accountant’s reply was classic: “He left all of it.”

In more recent years, the woeful tales of many lottery winners underscore the same principle — even a financial windfall can’t guarantee happiness. In August 1975, Charles Lynn Riddle won $1 million. Afterward, he got divorced, faced several lawsuits and was indicted for selling cocaine. In 1977, Kenneth Proxmire also won $1 million. Within five years, he declared bankruptcy and his wife of 18 years left him, along with their kids. In 1989, Willie Hurt of Lansing, Michigan won $3.1 million. Two years later, he was broke and charged with murder. His lawyer said Hurt spent his fortune on a divorce and crack cocaine. On December 19, 2001, lottery millionaire Phil Kitchen drank whiskey until he passed out on his couch and died.  On July 11, 2002, lottery winner Dennis Elwell, committed suicide by drinking cyanide.

On September 13, 2003, the London Telegraph reported that 16-year-old British lottery millionaire Callie Rogers had lost her boyfriend, fought with her father, been mugged, and been accused of stealing someone else’s boyfriend. She told the Telegraph, “Some days I don’t even want to leave my house because people just scream abuse at me. Two months ago I thought I was the luckiest teenager in Britain. But today I can say I have never felt so miserable.”

Read more from Ben Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, and Patrick Henry as well as some Biblical wisdom here.

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Our Sunday School has been studying biblical principles and practical wisdom on finances.  One of the areas serious Christians will want to think about most is their giving.  In fact, most people think that God only cares about what we do with 10% of our money. They incorrectly think “the rest is mine.”

To help you think biblically about giving, I’d encourage you to read this post by Clint Archer who begins by telling the fascinating story of Hetty Green and then providing six biblical principles for giving.

Start here to learn how to be “wiser than a miser.”

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