Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. (1 Tim. 6:17-18)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

4 Steps to Refocus Your Big Idea

  1. Clean House by getting rid of ancillary business ideas, jobs, and hobbies that are sapping your strength, energy, and better ideas.
  2. Quit doing big things that are not giving you a good Return on Investment (ROI).
  3. Concentrate your energy only on areas that create real or potential income.
  4. Be accountable through seeking out others such as a good friend or personal coach that can push you toward your dreams.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

6 Relationships in which to invest

This is a follow-up to yesterday's blog post on Investment #3 - Investing in relationships with others.

There are 6 key relationships in which we need to concentrate our energy, time, and money in order to be Richer Christians:
  1. God - He is our ultimate provider and sustainer. He desires an intimate, loving relationship with each one of us.
  2. Family - We need to pursue a passionate, loving relationship with our spouses first. The husband and wife team need to be "rowing together" when it comes to the family finances since this is the #1 cause of divorce. Second, we need to have deep, loving relationships with our children where we are teaching them the value of hard work and proper money management. If we don't teach them, the world will teach them how to blow their money on selfish desires and keeping up with the Joneses!
  3. Self - We need to know ourselves - our strengths and weaknesses when it comes to money; build on our strengths and minimize our weaknesses. We also need to battle against the selfishness in our own lives.
  4. Money - somewhat related to #3. As individuals, we need to invest time and energy developing our own relationship with money - how it works and how to become a better manager of what God has given to us. Focus on multiple streams of income, giving and receiving, financial organization, and your balance sheet.
  5. Workplace and/or business - focus on productivity; client and co-worker relationships; adding value to your business, workplace, and for those for whom you work; go the extra mile in all you do.
  6. Others - this is a "catch all" for everyone else in your life. The key, though, is to focus your time and energy on a few key relationships that really matter - close friends that build you up, not drain you; mentors, teachers, and coaches that will propel you to future growth.

Investment #3 - Invest in relationships with others

"It seems essential, in relationships and all tasks, that we concentrate only on what is most significant and important." - Soren Kirerkegaard

Back in the fall, I began a series entitled "7 Investments that place you in the flow of God's wealth," and only made it through two of the seven investments. You can see all of the related blog posts in the series here. Today, I resume the series with the Third Investment - Investing in Relationships.

The Poor Christian is characterized by selfishness. He has little desire to deepen his relationships with his spouse, family, friends, and even those who could potentially mentor and educate him.

The Rich Christian is characterized by his generous attitude of giving, receiving, and initiating relationships. He enjoys mentoring and being mentored. He is networked with those in "the know" in his vocation and areas of interests.

Wealth (spiritual, relational, monetary, etc.) is not created in a vacuum. Having strong relationships at home, at work, and other important areas of your life will enable you to become all that God has called us to be.

The most successful people in the world have coaches they have built relationships with that take them to the next level. Just think of successful sports figures such as Tiger Woods, who still has a golf coach to improve his game, even after becoming the world's greatest golfer!

Here are some great Scripture verses related to relationships:

Proverbs 13:20, "Whoever walks with the wise will become wise; whoever walks with fools will suffer harm."

Proverbs 19:20, "Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise."

Proverbs 20:18, "Make plans by seeking advice..."

Go out, today, and invest in your relationships for a wealthier, deeper, more satisfying life!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The only thing we have to fear...(Part 2)

At the end of my most recent post The only thing we have to fear...(Part 1), I closed out my thoughts with the solution to fear: FAITH.

In difficult financial times such as this, faith in better times ahead is really the main antidote to a lagging economy. I also believe that governments leaders can implement intelligent policies that can stimulate economic growth through tax cuts and other incentives that encourage investors and business owners to grow their businesses with additional cashflow. Under our new set of politicians, I have my doubts that this will occur, but I'm taking a wait and see attitude.

No matter who is in leadership, though, as a believer in Jesus Christ, my faith needs to rest ultimately in God and not in man. In 1 Timothy 6:17 we read, "Command those who are rich in this present world not to be ignorant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment."

Christ has promised to His followers that if we seek His Kingdom first and not worry about our earthly needs, that He will provide. "So I tell you, don't worry about everyday life - whether you have enough food, drink, and clothes. Doesn't life consist of more than food and clothing? Look at the birds. They don't need to plant or harvest or put food in barns because your heavenly Father feeds them. And you are more valuable to him than they are...So don't worry about having enough food or drink or clothing. Why be like the pagans who are deeply concerned about these things? Your heavenly Father already knows your needs, and He will give you all you need from day to day if you live for him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern." (Matthew 6:25-27; 31-33)

Where's your hope in these financially difficult times? Is it in your savings account, in politicians, or in God alone? Are you keeping Him and His Kingdom your number one priority? Trust in Him, and He will provide!

Friday, January 23, 2009

The only thing we have to fear...(Part 1)

In his first inaugural speech in 1933, a new President addressed the nation regarding serious issues facing our country. President Roosevelt had to provide hope and encouragement during the largest economic crisis ever - The Great Depression. The economic numbers for the United States during the early 1930s looked like this:

  • 13 million people became unemployed.
  • Industrial production fell by nearly 45% between the years 1929 and 1932.
  • Home-building dropped by 80% between the years 1929 and 1932.
  • From the years 1929 to 1932, about 5,000 banks went out of business.
  • By 1933, 11,000 of the US' 25,000 banks had failed.
  • In 1933, 25% of all workers and 37% of all non-farm workers were unemployed.
  • Between 1929 and 1932 the income of the average American family was reduced by 40%.
The citizens of the United States became extremely fearful, and who could blame them! Everywhere they went and everything they saw and heard showed evidence of the depression. As a result, people took money out of the economy through hording, they had too much debt to begin with, or they became unemployed as a result of the shrinking economy. The fear of our people became a self-fulfilling prophecy of economic disaster.

President Roosevelt instinctively knew this fear was our ultimate undoing, and addressed it in this manner:

"This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days.

In such a spirit on my part and on yours we face our common difficulties. They concern, thank God, only material things. Values have shrunken to fantastic levels; taxes have risen; our ability to pay has fallen; government of all kinds is faced by serious curtailment of income; the means of exchange are frozen in the currents of trade; the withered leaves of industrial enterprise lie on every side; farmers find no markets for their produce; the savings of many years in thousands of families are gone.

More important, a host of unemployed citizens face the grim problem of existence, and an equally great number toil with little return. Only a foolish optimist can deny the dark realities of the moment.

Yet our distress comes from no failure of substance. We are stricken by no plague of locusts. Compared with the perils which our forefathers conquered because they believed and were not afraid, we have still much to be thankful for. Nature still offers her bounty and human efforts have multiplied it. Plenty is at our doorstep, but a generous use of it languishes in the very sight of the supply..."

Fear can and will impact every aspect of our lives, whether it be our marriages, our children, our careers, or our family finances. Faith is our only hope out of the wilderness of fear.