Day 10: A New Way to Talk about Money

Think about the last argument you had with your spouse. If the fight started about money, you’re not alone. Money Magazine found that 70 percent of couples argue about money more than household chores, togetherness, sex, snoring, or what’s for dinner.

Few things can rile us up or put us on the defensive like someone questioning how we spend our money. That’s because how we spend money reveals what matters to us (Matthew 6:21).

When we question each other’s spending, we’re usually not arguing over the actual dollars and cents, but about what they represent. For example, one spouse dropping hundreds on a shopping spree might mean the other has to give up a night out or pick up shifts to pay the car note.

You can avoid a lot of resentment and anger if you both agree to submit to Jesus’ priorities and expectations. This changes the way you talk about money because it puts you and your spouse on the same team.

The conversation is no longer about who gets more. Instead, it’s about how both of you can get behind Jesus’ promises for your finances. You’re no longer pursuing two separate agendas, but submitting both of your agendas to the Lord.

You’re no longer pursuing two separate agendas, but submitting both of your agendas to the Lord.

Jesus tells us not to worry about keeping up appearances or building our own kingdoms. Instead, Jesus tells us to spend our money on what will last. All the things we buy will one day fall apart or disappear. None of our stuff comes with us into eternity (1 Timothy 6:7). But our relationships? Our faith? These are forever things worth fighting for.

We can spend our marriage fighting against each other, or we can spend time fighting for unity. A constantly squabbling family disintegrates, but a family pursuing Jesus will grow closer together (Mark 3:24-25).

Question for him:

  • What is most important to you when it comes to your family’s budget?
  • Is what’s important to you important to Jesus? Why?
  • If you could change one thing about how your family manages money, what would it be?

Question for her:

  • What is most important to you when it comes to your family’s budget?
  • Is what’s important to you important to Jesus? Why?
  • If you could change one thing about how your family manages money, what would it be?

Questions to talk about together:

  • Share what you wrote with each other. What’s one step you can take to rework your family budget to pursue those priorities?

Need help with your finances? View the sermon series titled “Master Your Money: 5 Principles From America’s Premiere Financial Planner – Ron Blue.


Article courtesy of NewSpring Church

Day 5: Do you love me enough to tell me the truth?

We all know what it’s like to have a difficult conversation with someone you love. You know, the one that you put off having because it’s awkward.

We wonder “What do I say?” and “What if they never speak to me again?”

Having hard conversations may not be fun, but they are necessary. One of the most difficult ways we show visible love to someone is by being willing to tell them the truth, even when it hurts.

Hard conversations, like the one Paul had with the church in Corinth, can lead people away from sin and into the abundant life Jesus has for them. Being truthful with each other pushes us forward and helps us become more like Jesus.

So how do you have a hard conversation with someone? Start by praying. Ask God what He thinks about the situation and what He wants you to say. Ask God for clarity and courage as you prepare for the conversation. Once you’re sure your motives are pure and you have the other person’s best interest in mind, it may be helpful to write out what you want to say as a reference for your conversation.

Next, ask the other person to sit down and talk with you in private. Let the person know you love them and have their best interest in mind. Say what you need to say, and be kind but clear. Give the other person time to respond or ask questions. When you both feel the conversation is finished, pray and remind the person how much you love them.

It may take time to process what was said, and that’s OK. Stay connected, so you can encourage and support each other as you take next steps.

Flattery feels good, but a real friend won’t stand idly by while we wreck our lives. We all need people who will do more than support our decisions. We need people who will love us enough to tell us when we’re wrong and help us change our ways.

Reflect:

  • Is there anyone that you need to have a hard conversation with? Pray and ask Jesus what He wants you to say. 
  • Has someone recently had a hard conversation with you? What is Jesus teaching you through that hard conversation?

Article courtesy of NewSpring

What Is A Tithe?

“Tithe” literally means one-tenth. It’s a mathematical term.

When Scripture talks about tithes and offerings, it means 10% (tithe) plus whatever you give beyond that (offering).

Pastor Kevin explains why he and his wife, Marcia, have agreed to tithe regardless of their circumstances – through times of hardship and times of abundance. PK explains that he can always afford to give, if he gives first. In other words, we may not be able to afford everything we want, but we can always afford to give.

What Does “Give Generously” Mean?

Old Testament tithing was just the beginning of giving. In the New Testament, giving is best explained in 1 Corinthians 16:2:

“Give as God has prospered you.”

We often make the mistake of believing that only the first 10% belongs to God, and the rest is ours. Nope, it’s all God’s money. He created it all.

We tithe in recognition of God’s ownership, but if we’re prospering, we should be giving more! After all, giving produces joy.

The Longer Term Your Perspective, The Better Your Decision Is Likely to Be

The further down the road we see, the better decisions we will make today.

Considering the long-term first (eternity, then retirement, 20 years down the road, 10 years, 5 years, etc.) will set the framework for making the best decisions about to spend and save money. Manage money today considering long-term implications first.

God Owns It All

The Bible states, “The Earth is the Lord’s and everything in it.”

When you acknowledge God’s ownership of everything, only then you can recognize that 100% of what you “have”, actually belongs to God. It’s one of the most fundamental understandings a Christian can have.

Once you understand that God owns it all, you can be open-handed to Him and others instead of closed fisted and selfish.

 

 

Giving Generously

5 Financial Categories:

  1. Surplus
  2. Secure
  3. Stable
  4. Surviving
  5. Struggling

5 Biblical Financial Principles:

  1. Spend Less than you earn.
  2. Avoid the use of debt.
  3. Build Margin (Save)
  4. Set long term goals
  5. Give generously

Why we (PK/Marcia) return the tithe (first 10% of all income) to God through our local church:

  1. God Owns it All
  2. God is First
  3. I Can Afford to Give

Join Jesus To Live Bigger

Rescued – Transformed – Sent (Pattern)
“Father, as you sent me into the world, I have sent them (my disciples) into the world.” John 17:18 (LiveSent)

2 Challenges:

1) Live for a Bigger Why! (Join Jesus)

  • “Because of the Rescuing hand of Jesus, we pursue personal transformation, one life at a time.”

2) Live for a Bigger What! (Join Jesus)

  • Transformed people bless, train & send.
  • We invite you into God’s blessing, to bless others!
  • God is a blessing God, so we are a blessing people.

God Applauds Doing Good for One Another

It matters that we do good to one another.

When someone blesses a child, it blesses their parents! That’s how God feels with us. When we do good to one another, He (God) feels good.

  • Love one another (John 13:35)
  • Honor one another above yourselves (Romans 12:10)
  • Forgive one another (Ephesians 4:32)
  • Serve one another (Galatians 5:13)
  • Build each other up (I Thessalonians 5:11)
  • Pray for each other (James 5:16)
  • Spur one another on toward love & good deeds (Hebrews 10:24)

Drill Down for Good

Discovered: When you chase Feel Good; it progressively destroys good. When you chase do good; it grows feel good!

The Challenge: Drill Down for Good (Because God’s good goes deeper and lasts longer.)

  • Public
  • Private
  • Secret

The Secret to a Merry Christmas “good life”? (Join Jesus)

  1. Yoke up for His pardon.
  2. Learn to live good in secret

Should We Give Beyond Tithing?

Scripture tells us in Ecclesiastes that there is a time and a season for everything. There may be seasons of abundance in our financial journeys when we feel prompted by God to use that abundance as an offering to the church, to individuals, or to organizations. This is honoring to God when done in obedience to him.

There may be times, however, when we are pressed to give and we’re uncertain as to the wisdom of the timing because of our circumstances, or because we don’t know if it was actually the Holy Spirit prompting us or a professional fundraiser guilting us into giving. When uncertain, wisdom would tell us to take into consideration the long-term picture of our financial plan and to make decisions that fit into that plan.

Rich’s Story of Holy Obedience

Rich Schoeck stood at the gas pump, staring at the beat-up car next to his, shaking his head. With $100 in his pocket and a clear prompt from God, there was only one thing Rich could say.

“God, there’s no way this is what you want.”

Saying Yes

Rich’s journey to that gas pump began a long time ago, during a childhood where faith was ritual and a relationship with Jesus was unheard of. But God, in His gracious way, kept coming back to Rich, drawing him through life experience after life experience, steadily calling Rich into a relationship through Christ.

One day, Rich finally said yes.

From that moment, Rich began seeking to develop his relationship with Jesus. A voracious reader, he began studying the Bible and other books about faith and Christianity. Soon, he set aside times for “relationship development” with Jesus – times of prayer and listening for God’s voice to speak, times to break down the walls around his heart.

It was during one of his most recent “relationship development” times that God spoke in a very clear voice.

“I had gone to the bank to get money for my daughter and son-in-law’s birthday,” he says, “and I hear, clear as day, Rich, I need you to get an extra $100 out. That’s an easy one, so I did it. I folded the bills up and went to put them in my wallet, and I hear, No. I want you to put that in your pocket. Another easy one.”

Rich walked out of the bank, got in his car, and heard God again.

I want you to turn down this street.

Is this just in my head?

Rich obeyed, expecting to run into someone to whom he could give the money. Instead, he found no one. He drove around looking for someone – anyone – to bless, desperate to fulfill the God prompt over the cash in his pocket. But he struck out. Dejected, he turned his car around, wondering if he had made a mistake, wondering if he had really heard God or was all this just in his head. He looked down and noticed that his car was almost on empty.

And that’s how he found himself at that gas pump, money in his hand, heart in his throat, scared out of his mind.

“I’m standing there at the pump, and in pulls this beat-up car. The driver is a young mother. She has a teenage daughter sitting in the front seat, and the cutest little boy sitting in a car seat in the back. They pull up, and I hear in my head, I want you to give that $100 to her.

“And my immediate response was simple: ‘That ain’t happening. That’s crazy – and creepy!’

“But God continued to press on me, and I continued to argue, until I finally just said, ‘Okay – if you want me to give this money to her, have her do something outrageous, something like buying on $5 worth of gas.”

Rich watched as the numbers on the young mother’s pump spun and spun until – plunk! – it stopped. And, to the penny, the pump reads $5.00.

“The woman gets back in the car, and her daughter walks up to the register to get something. And I’m still standing there saying, ‘I’m not doing this Lord. It’s just creepy.’ But as the daughter makes her way back towards the car, I hear God one more time, Give the money to her. And in my head I say, ‘Okay – but you’d better protect me.’”

He stopped the daughter and said, “Excuse me, this is gonna sound weird, but Christ just told me to give your mom this money. It’s $100.”

He handed her the money. The young girl stared at him.

“Who are you?” she asked.

Rich started backing away, apologetic. “I’m just a follower of Christ, and He said to give you that money.”

“Are you Him? Are you Jesus?” she asked.

Rich shook his head. “No.”

Tears began falling from the girl’s eyes.

“You won’t believe this,” she said, “but we just left the doctor’s office, and my mom told me the doctor’s bill for my surgery was more than she could pay for. We don’t have the money to do it.”

The girl looked at Rich. “Mom said, ‘I don’t even have enough money to get gas.’”

Rich smiled at her.

“All I was told was to give you the money.”

She grabbed him in a hug. “Thank you! Thank you!”

When she let Rich go, she ran back to her mother’s car – and Rich jumped in his and drove away, overwhelmed by the moment. And he had a thought.

“God, if she needed more money, I would have given it to her.”

And God said, This wasn’t for your glory. It was for mine. She will go and tell other people this story – about a follower of Jesus who gave her money when she was in need – and those people will say, ‘Well, how much do you need?’ 

And I will open the floodgates for her.

The Real Lesson

A few days later, the greater lesson from Rich’s moment of holy obedience became clear.

“I was in Kroger,” Rich says, “and there was this woman at the check-out line. She had her little boy with her, and she was talking on the phone, waving her hands in the air. I felt a prompt to walk over to her and ask her what was wrong.

“She said, ‘I’m trying to pay for my groceries, but my credit card doesn’t work.’

“So I said, ‘I’ll pay for your groceries.’ I pulled out my card and swiped it, and she grabbed her groceries and went on her way. She didn’t say thank you, I didn’t say anything about Jesus or being a follower of Jesus, but I just knew it was what I needed to do.

“And what I remember the most from this moment is the cashier, who saw this whole thing happen. He’s in his late 50s, staring at me, as if he disapproved of the woman leaving without saying ‘Thank you.’

“I looked at him, and I said, ‘It’s all cool.’

“And it was.”

Your Relationship With Money

The answer to all our unmet longings is more of God – more presence, more power, more peace, more joy, more fulfillment. The truth is, our relationship with God will always define our relationship with money. When we understand that earthly abundance won’t bring us happiness, we will begin to desire to manage our money as John Wesley instructed: “Earn all you can, save all you can, so you can give all you can.”

Struggling With Greed

Greed isn’t about what’s in your bank account; it’s about what’s in your heart. And we all struggle. That’s why Jesus said in Luke 12:15, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”

“The neediness of our soul is a pointer to God.”

Thomas Aquinas

Do You Ever Feel Like You’ve Been Scammed?

Kevin Queen shares the humorous story of a person who he believed scammed him at a local restaurant. The next day during his quiet time, God revealed to Kevin that he wasn’t scammed; he actually scammed the person in need. He did so by telling the man he bought his meal in Jesus’s name, yet his heart and his attitude didn’t reflect the love of Christ.