3 Reasons Why I Love Stewardship Ministry

When I was younger, I had no idea what the term “biblical stewardship” meant. Having not grown up in a church environment, I did not consider the Holy Bible, God’s Word, to be of any authority, especially money management. I thought I owned the money and even worse, I thought I was entitled to it simply because I breathed air.

Through many hardships caused by poor choices, God finally got my attention. As I say often, it wasn’t about the money or the amount that was the issue. It was how I managed the money. Eventually, I got a hold of the true meaning of God’s word and applied it to money management. because of that, my attitude, perspective and application of His Word that changed my life.

Continue Reading »

How to Live On-Purpose With Your Finances

Six Simple Steps to Controlling Your Money

Here are some eye-raising statistics on the web when it comes to how people in America relate to money.

Where are you and your family in these statistics?

  • 70% of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck in middle-class — 80% in high-income. (DaveRamsey.com)
  • A little less than 1/3 of American families prepare a monthly household budget each month (Gallup.com)
  • One out of every five people (20%) worries that they will never get out of their paycheck-to-paycheck rut. [source: NerdWallet.com]
  • After adjusting for inflation, household debt has grown 15% faster than household income since 2003. [source: NerdWallet.com]

  • 23% of people with a credit card say they have been surprised at least some of the time by their bill. [source: NerdWallet.com]

When I was younger I didn’t have a problem with ambition. My parents wondered if I’d ever graduate high school, but I did. Then four years later, I graduated from The Ohio State University. My problem was that I was foolish and I didn’t want to rely on others showing me what to do. I thought I had the better plan and my plan was always on my terms. In my earlier years, I lacked wisdom and my planning was a theory without any practical application. I didn’t really have a plan, I had an idea of a plan. When we don’t have a solid, practical financial plan we can get caught “skinny dipping in a low tide”. I used to live life in the low tide while forgetting that my clothes were on the shore. Maybe you know what I am talking about and your financial life is represented by the statistics above.

It isn’t necessary to live like the majority, especially not in the richest country in the world. We aren’t entitled to the riches of our land, we must take an active role in staking our claim. Making money is a noble effort because earning wealth is not really about the accumulation of dollars, it is about the building of our character!

Our character grows through experiences including the trials and the triumphs. Did you ever play a video game where the mission gets accomplished by tbe building of your character? In these games, you measure how far the character is growing through the acquiring of XP, or experience points. Such is our financial lives. We all have to start somewhere. To do this in video games, you have to turn the video game console on, pop in the disc and press the start button. Growing in our money management is no different.

So, let’s start winning with money — here’s how to build up those experience points (XP):

  1. Identify the Why you will be doing a written budget Create a vision statement.
    example “I will build and live on a budget so I can have margin in my life”
  2. Determine the time that you and your spouse will create and discuss a budget
    example “Sunday nights at 7pm after the kids go to bed”
  3. List out your monthly income sources (jobs, commissions, child support, bonuses)
  4. List out all your monthly expenses (give, save and spend Categories)
  5. Balance to Zero for the budget month (Spend it all into expense categories)
  6. Review the monthly budget with a mentor, trusted friend, accountability partner or your accountant

It is clear that to win with money we must tell it what to do. We earn it, we manage it and we must direct it. This is what the written monthly budget helps us to do. We must have a family budget for each month. The family battle cry needs to change from “I owe I owe so its off to work I go” to “I will live my life on purpose with a budget that works!”

I used to be in the “chasing my tail” mentality, like many Americans. To remember to not go back there, I review my saved notes from my times of financial struggles and in the times of victorious transition. I like to look back and reflect on where the change occurred in my life. It was when I enrolled in FPU. At that time, I was done saying, “enough is enough”. Once the first class began, it didn’t take long for me to get excited about having a plan for the first time in my financial life. Since 2007, I decided to plan my money in advance through the creation and execution of a monthly budget. The budget saved me from continued financial misery and ruin.

After just 3 months of budgeting, 84% of people say they feel more in control of their money (Dave Ramsey). I could not agree more! From teaching and leading people in their finances, I commonly hear “I feel like I got a raise” or “I am able to give and save more than ever before.” You, my friend, can start NOW with budgeting! You can live now, as Dave Ramsey says, like no one else, so later you can live like no one else. When I first started FPU in March 2007, I had 37,000 in debt. With the help of Jesus Christ in my life, the tools in Dave Ramsey’s FPU program and some sweat equity, I was able to pay those debts off, including my student loan, in 16 months. Fast forward to today, my wife and I create and live on a written budget every month. It has strengthened our marriage, assisted us in raising our little boy and helps us live the life of purpose that God intended!

Question: What is God intending you to do with the finances He provides you? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Why You Should Attend Next Year’s CSN Forum

3 Things I Learned from The Christian Stewardship Network Forum

This past week I had the opportunity to fly to Dallas, Texas to attend the Christian Stewardship Network Forum.  I was blessed by the trip.  The forum was truly that, a forum. We had terrific small group table talk, corporate worship, breakout sessions, fantastic Texas BBQ and we were all able to share and learn best practices to minister to our city in the best way possible. I would also like to use this post to share with you the 3 main takeaways that highlight the WHY you and your church should attend next year.

Relationships trump programming

There are many stewardship programs built on the host of curriculums available.  Tools like Howard Dayton’s Compass, Andy Stanley’s Balanced bible study, Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University and many others.

I have been leading stewardship ministry at Grace Family Church in Tampa, Florida for nine years.  At first, I didn’t have a clue about how to build and lead a ministry.  I simply applied my relationship-building acumen to grow the ministry.  Since 2007, our #1 curriculum has been Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University (FPU).  Our first class had eighteen people and it was also the first time I was learning the material.  Since that time, we have had over 2,000 people attend through on-campus and off-campus offerings.

Continue Reading »

3 Bible Verses About Money Management Every Christian Should Know

Many people don’t believe the Bible has much to say about money. Did you know that there are over 2,300 verses in the Bible about money and possessions? In the New Testament alone, 16 out of Jesus’ 38 parables are about finances. There are 3 times more verses in the Bible about money and possessions than love. The Word of God is an authority on the subject and the number of verses about money represents its kingdom importance.

To help us on our journey, I wanted to share with you three “must-reads” in Scripture that serve as a guide for our management of God’s time, talent and treasure. This biblical management is called Stewardship.

Psalm 1:1-3 NLT

This is a verse that I have discovered recently. My wife and I liked it so much in our studies that we decided to use verse 3 as our family scripture for 2016.

Continue Reading »

Marriage and M.O.N.E.Y.

Meant to Go Together

It’s here! The wedding day! The bride has been dreaming of this her whole life. The groom is an aisle walk away from seeing his favorite girl like never before! It’s exciting times on marital bliss lane and married life is about to become reality. After becoming a believer in Christ, I learned that marriage is a blessing from the Lord. Today, I view the holy institution of marriage as two of God’s unique creations, man and wife, united in a powerful way to change the world. I have heard it said God designed marriage to make us holy, not happy. When I became married, myself, I quickly learned God wanted to change me first. I wasn’t ready for the “heavenly” makeover.

There are many lessons to learn through marriage. One of the hardest, yet one of the most influential is the M.O.N.E.Y. lesson. The purpose of this writing is to you help you with this powerful tool God gives us.

Make money a part of your marriage mission

Continue Reading »