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, December 30, 2010

My Top 10 Blog Posts in 2010 According to Pageview Traffic


In a blog post earlier in the week, I took a look at My Personal Top 10 Favorite Blog Posts in 2010. In this post, I will list the top 10 blog posts in 2010 on the Rich Christian, Poor Christian blog according to pageview traffic analytics. Let me qualify this list by saying that some of these posts were written prior to 2010, but they still received a lot of pageviews in this year.

In order to read each post listed below in it's entirety, just click on the embedded links. So, without further delay, here are the top ten posts in 2010 according to pageview traffic [drum roll, please]:

Top 10 Blog Posts in 2010 According to Pageview Traffic

10. 10 Money Mindsets and Attitudes. I wrote this post near the beginning of 2010 and it still receives a considerable amount of pageviews. In this post, I discuss ten different money mindsets such as ignorance, apathy, materialism, and abundance. This is a thought-provoking post to see where you line up in how you think about money.

9. How I Paid Off Over $25,000 of Debt in 18 Months. Here is another post that I wrote at the beginning of the year that still receives a good deal of traffic. In this post, I give my readers the six steps that I went through in order to pay off $25,000 worth of debt in 18 months. These steps included the following: Inspiration, Determination, Separation, Perspiration, Celebration, and Continuation.

8. 10 Influential Christians to Follow. This is an older post from way back in 2009, almost a year and a half old, that continues to receive a number of pageviews. At the time of its writing, I list ten Christians who have had an impact on my life, including such people as Dave Ramsey, Dan Miller, Rick Warren, and Greg Vaughn.

7. Success is a journey, not a destination. In this post, I take a look at how the world defines success, and then how John Maxwell defines success in his book The Success Journey. Ultimately, success is about knowing your purpose in life, growing to reach your maximum potential, and sowing seeds that benefit others.

6. Giving While Getting Out of Debt. In this post, I address the issue of whether or not a Christian should tithe while trying to dig their way out of debt. This was in response to reading a Christian finance book that was very non-committal about the whole concept. At the end of the argument, God did not cause you to go into debt. You caused you to go into debt. God has expectations that we will live a life of generosity. He will bless us as we seek to give back a portion of what He has blessed us with. I would contend that you will get out of debt faster through giving back to Him. God will bless you in amazing ways as you seek to take a Biblical approach in your money matters.

5. 7 Relationship priorities. Here's another 2009 post that I wrote over a year and a half ago that continues to receive considerable traffic. In this post, I list seven relationships that should be a priority in our lives including God, ourselves, spouses, children, parents, friends, and professional relationships.

4. Pride | A Sin God Hates. In this post, I provide examples from Scripture of people who struggled with the sin of pride and God's response. I concluded the post with a three-step remedy for pride: reliance on the Lord, embrace humility, and repent immediately.

3. Equipped to do God's Will | Spiritual Gifts Inventory. I wrote this particular post near the beginning of 2010, and comes in at the number three spot. God has equipped each believer with specific gifts and abilities for a specific purpose in His Kingdom plan. In this post, I provide links to online tools in order to assess your spiritual gifts through inventory questionnaires.

2. Giving testimonies. Written back in 2009, this is a very brief post where I list out eight online resources for giving testimonies. I continue to receive a lot of traffic on this one.

1. Creating your personal mission statement. And finally, this post comes in at the #1 position for my most popular post this year. I wrote it back in 2009, and it still continues to receive a lot of pageviews. This is a "meaty" post which gives you a great starting point in crafting your own mission statement. I talk about what should be included in your mission statement. I list seven book resources to help you in your quest to write out your mission statement. Finally, I give you some ideas on the actual process of sitting down to put in the hard work of writing everything down on paper.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

My Personal Top 10 Favorite Blog Posts in 2010


During this holiday week, I thought I would share some of my favorite blog posts that I have written over the last year here on Rich Christian, Poor Christian. I believe these posts reflect some of my best writing and the most thought-provoking information that I have shared with my readers. Please note, this list includes my personal favorites, but they do not necessarily reflect the most popular posts according to pageview traffic. I'm saving those for my next post later in the week.

In order to read each post listed below in it's entirety, just click on the embedded links. So, without further delay, here are my top ten favorite posts [drum roll, please]:

Larry's Top 10 Favorite Blog Posts In 2010

10. Moving from good to great | Rinse your cottage cheese. Part 1 and Part 2. In this two-part post, I discuss the "rinse your cottage cheese" factor as described by Jim Collins in his business book Good to Great. In Part 1 of this post, I describe that the "rinse your cottage cheese" factor is a matter of extreme self-discipline. In Part 2, I apply this principle to the Christian life.

9. Creating an 80/20 Lifestyle - Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. This is a lengthy three-part post based on the book The 80/20 Principle, The Secret to Achieving More with Less by Richard Koch. In Part 1, I introduce the Pareto Principle or 80/20 Rule as outlined in Mr. Koch's book and why this principle is important. In Part 2, I summarize Mr. Koch's thoughts in using the Pareto Principle in our time management, relationships, work, and money, as well as in expanding our happiness. In Part 3, I apply the Pareto Principle to the Christian life. I use Jesus as the ultimate example of the 80/20 lifestyle and what we can learn from how He lived on this earth. Through writing these three posts, I also made a personal connection with Mr. Koch, which was an incredible experience to communicate with him via email.

8. Are you telling a compelling story? Part 1 and Part 2. This is a lengthy two-part post based on the book A Million Miles In A Thousand Years by Don Miller. In Part 1, I discuss the foundation of a good story, which is a character who wants something and overcomes conflict to get it. In order for a good story to evolve, transformation must take place. I vaguely allude to my own life story as an example. In Part 2, I use the principles of telling a compelling story and apply them to the 7 Investments of a life rich in Christ: worship, generosity, people, yourself, money, action, and attitude (faith).

7. The Gospel of Jesus revolves around generosity. Part 1 and Part 2. I really enjoyed writing these two posts because generosity is at the heart of living out the Christian life. In Part 1, I look at the beginning point of the generosity gospel of Jesus through the preaching of John the Baptist and apply John's teaching to the Christian life. In Part 2, I look at specific verses of Jesus' own teaching on money and living out a life of generosity. Jesus spoke a lot about money, and we as Christians would do well to follow what He teaches us.

6. Optimistic determination | Jackson and Crocker's automobile journey across America. I really enjoyed writing about this story for two reasons. One, because I love history. Two, because I think this is one of those truly great American stories. At the end of this story, I apply this principle of optimistic determination or "never give-up" attitude to the Christian life.

5. Show up for your part, and then allow God to do His part. I hate to admit this, I not only read but I also enjoyed the book Eat, Pray, Love by Liz Gilbert. In this post, I preface my commentary in stating that I do not agree with Ms. Gilbert's spirituality. She has never claimed to be a Christ-follower, but in spite of this fact, we can still learn important life principles from the lives of unbelievers, as long as we filter those principles through the teaching of God's Word.

4. Struggling in a Tough Economy? | 7 Reasons to Walk by Faith. In this post, I give some practical, Biblical advice for believers who are going through financial difficulties in our current economic climate here in the United States. I was made aware by a couple of my readers that they circulated this post with some of their family and friends. I am humbled and give praise to my Lord and my God that He could use this post to bring encouragement to other believers who are experiencing real trials in their financial situation.

3. Considering the Tithe as a Baseline Metric for Giving. Whether people like it or not, the concept of the tithe or giving 10% is all throughout Scripture, including pre-law and post-law. Granted, in the New Testament it is only mentioned a couple of times, but my personal belief is that 10% is a very "doable" beginning place for giving back to God's Kingdom. Can we as comparatively wealthy American Christians really consider ourselves generous givers if we are giving below the percentage level of 10%? God has blessed us with great wealth, not to spend on our own selfish, temporal desires, but rather in order to build-up His Kingdom while we live here on this earth.

2. 7 Practical Ways to Give to the Poor. I don't think there's anything more satisfying to a blogger than to have an impact on people's thinking and actions. A friend of mine on Facebook wrote me a rather lengthy online comment on how this post moved him to action in his own life in seeking out ways to help those who are less fortunate around him. Again, I give God all the praise, honor, and glory for using my writing to have an impact for God's Kingdom.

1. Is desiring to be rich, evil? My #1 favorite post in 2010 was actually my written response to an email question that I received from one of my blog readers. I gave this reader 13 Biblically-based thoughts to consider in a desire for wealth. In my personal opinion, this is some of my best, God-inspired writing on a Christian's desire for financial wealth.

So, out of my personal Top 10 list, do you have a favorite post that spoke to you or that God used in your life? Feel free to leave me a comment below and tell me your story. I'd love to hear it.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Divine Appointments

Take The Desert Road

In Acts 8:26-40, we read the story of Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch. I won't include the entire passage in this post (I've given you the link to view online), but let's quickly look at verses 26-30,
Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of the Kandake (which means “queen of the Ethiopians”). This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet. The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.” Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked (NIV, 2010).
I find this passage in Acts extremely interesting on a number of different levels. One, the Lord asked Philip to head for the desert road. This was a desolate place out in the middle of nowhere. Two, the Lord never gave an explanation to Philip why he should head out to this desolate place. Three, Philip listened and obeyed. There was no argument. God spoke and Philip left immediately. Four, because Philip was obedient to the Lord's direction, he just "happened" to meet an important official from the court of the queen of Ethiopia.

A Divine Appointment

God had a greater purpose for Philip and this Ethiopian official meeting up on the desert road. Because God is God, He knows all things. God knew that this God-fearing Ethiopian would be on this road reading a certain Scripture passage from the book of Isaiah. God knew that this Ethiopian was spiritually hungry to learn more about Him, but he needed help. He needed a teacher to help him understand Isaiah's prophecies about the Savior.

As an evangelist in the early church, Philip was available and ready to do whatever God needed him to do. God told him to go, and he went. Philip was God's man at God's timing to carry the gospel to Ethiopia through this government official from the court of Queen Candace.

The Ethiopian official was in a unique position to be an influential messenger to his country. He already had a heart for God. Apparently, he was either a Jewish Ethiopian (perhaps as a result of Old Testament exile of the nation of Judah) or he was simply a convert of Judaism. Either way, this official had just made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem to worship God, and he was now on his way back to Ethiopia when God sent Philip to tell him about Jesus.

This was no accidental encounter, though. God had a purpose for bringing together the divine appointment of Philip and the Ethiopian official. First, so that the official would understand the gospel and accept Christ as Messiah and Savior. Second, so that the official could carry the good news back to his country and tell others.

Divine Appointments In My Own Life

I don't know about you, but I can point back to specific points in my life where I can now recognize those as unique divine appointments that were brought together by God. He brought unique circumstances as well as people across my path and into my life to help me gain clarity on what His direction was for my life. Without these unique circumstances and people, who knows where I would have ended up?

God has an exclusive plan for all of us who claim the name of Christ, and He will accomplish His plan for us through a special blend of timing, circumstances, and people. Be open to these divine appointments, and as God brings circumstances and people in your life, embrace the changes that God wants to bring about in your life.

One final word: don't forget that God will never tell you to do something through circumstances and people that will contradict His Word. Always measure these apparent divine appointments against the truth of God's Word.

Also check out these related posts:

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Tangible and the Intangible Rewards of Right Actions

The true harvest of my life is intangible - a little star dust caught, a portion of the rainbow I have clutched. - Henry David Thoreau

The Tangible Rewards of Right Actions

When we take right actions, we have expectations that certain visible results or rewards will follow. When we get on a budget with our finances, then we assume that we will be able to save some money, pay off debt, spend money with a purpose, and give more to God's Kingdom. With a simple budget spreadsheet, we can measure our financial actions and rewards.

The same is true with losing weight. When we decide to get healthy and lose some weight through diet and exercise, then we expect that we will lose a certain amount through these right actions. We can track our progress through measuring our weight on a scale, measuring our body mass index, and using a tape measure to measure our waistline.

There are tangible rewards for taking right actions in various areas of our lives, but there are often other intangible benefits that follow along with the tangible ones.

Definitions defines the following two words as:
Tangible: real or actual, rather than imaginary or visionary. Definite; not vague or elusive.
Intangible: not tangible; incapable of being perceived by the sense of touch, as incorporeal or immaterial things; not definite or clear to the mind.
Another way to think about these two terms is the visible or invisible. Or, stated another way, in terms of what is measurable and what is not measurable.

The Intangible Rewards of Right Actions

Let's go back to our examples above. In the case of our family finances, again, we have expectations that as we do right things with our money, then we will have the margins to give, save, spend, and invest as we should. These are the tangible benefits, but there are also intangible ones that accompany these better behaviors. We will gain financial discipline as we handle our money better. We begin to be joyful and content with what the Lord has blessed us with. Our personal character will begin to be transformed. Discipline, joy, and contentment are unmeasurable - there is no way you can chart these on a spreadsheet. They are those invisible benefits that we gain through right financial decisions and actions.

The same thing happens with weight loss. We can measure all the visible, outward elements of getting our bodies in better physical condition. We can track important variables such as calorie intake, actual fat loss, and muscle gain. In the process of taking these healthier actions, though, we start to build our character. We build discipline into our lives through saying "no" to unhealthy and "yes" to better alternatives.

Tangible or Intangible. Which Is Better?

So the question begs to be asked, which is better, tangible or intangible benefits? They are both beneficial, but the intangible will be of greater benefit long-term because it shapes our character. At the end of the day, God is more interested in our character than anything else. In Romans 5:3-4, Paul writes:
Moreover [let us also be full of joy now!] let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance. And endurance (fortitude) develops maturity of character (approved faith and tried integrity). And character [of this sort] produces [the habit of] joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation (AMP).
I know in my own financial life, I have a stronger, more disciplined character because I took right actions to get on a budget, pay off all my debt, give more back to God, and save. As you character grows and you become more disciplined in one area of your life, the great thing is that this often translates to other areas of your life as well. The discipline you have developed in one area such as money, you can turn around and apply it to your spiritual life, your health, your business, and your relationships.

The intangible reward of right actions is character building. Focus on taking right actions in areas of your life that need to change. Allow growth to take place in your character. The tangible rewards are satisfying and beneficial, but the intangible rewards will far exceed and outlast the tangible.
Good character is more to be praised than outstanding talent. Most talents are to some extent a gift. Good character, by contrast, is not given to us. We have to build it piece by piece by thought, choice, courage and determination. - John Luther
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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Giving is a test of the sincerity of our love

A Gift To Poor Christians In Jerusalem

In a few different passages in the Pauline Epistles, we read of the Apostle Paul writing to various New Testament churches regarding taking up an offering to help the poor Christians in Jerusalem who have faced persecution for their faith in Christ. In Romans 15:25-27, we read of Paul's account that he gave to the church at Rome:
Now, however, I am on my way to Jerusalem in the service of the Lord’s people there. For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the Lord’s people in Jerusalem. They were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in the Jews’ spiritual blessings, they owe it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings.
Paul had a burden for these poor believers living in the city of Jerusalem. As an itinerate preacher and missionary to the Gentiles throughout the Roman Empire, Paul knew that there was money and resources available in other, more affluent parts of the Roman Empire among the Gentile believers. He appealed to these Gentile converts to give generously in order to help their fellow Jewish brothers in the Lord.

Generosity Encouraged Through Example

In 2 Corinthians 8, we read of the Apostle Paul encouraging the Corinthian church to also be generous givers. He gives this church the same example that he gave to the Romans - the churches of Macedonia.
And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us (2 Corinthians 8:1-5).
The example of the churches in Macedonia is a powerful one for three reasons. One, these believers gave generously in spite of their own trials and poverty. Paul doesn't elaborate on this point, but these churches apparently were not extremely well off themselves, but he mentions that they gave beyond their ability. Two, these churches actually begged Paul for the privilege to give to the saints in Jerusalem. They wanted to be a part of the financial gift that Paul was collecting. And third, these churches exceeded the expectations of those collecting the gift.

A Test of Love

Paul encouraged the Corinthian church to follow the example of the Macedonian churches, but then he issued a new challenge to them in 2 Corinthians 8:6-8,
So we urged Titus, just as he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion this act of grace on your part. But since you excel in everything - in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you - see that you also excel in this grace of giving. I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others.
The first part of the challenge was to finish the job on taking up a collection for the Jerusalem saints. Titus had already visited the church at Corinth on at least one other occasion to encourage this church to give, but apparently these Corinthian believers had not finished the task. Paul was asking them to complete the collecting of the gift.

The second part of the challenge was to give out of love. Paul tells these believers in Corinth that he is in no way commanding them to give. Rather, he is testing them to see the sincerity of their love. Do you truly love God? Do you truly love the universal church body? Do you love these poor Jewish Christians at the church in Jerusalem?

Paul confronted this church to actually demonstrate their love through giving. He used the determined action of the Macedonian churches. In essence, he tells the Corinthians, "hey, I can really tell that the Macedonian Christians really love God and their brothers and sisters in Christ because they gave a lot in spite of challenging times. Now, I'm testing the sincerity of your love through completing your giving so that we can take this gift to Jerusalem as soon as possible!"

If We Love God And Others, Then We Will Give

Although the purpose of this gift has long passed into the pages of Biblical history, one universal truth still stands. If we love God and if we love others, then we will give. We will give financially to support the ministries of our churches. We will give to help those who are less fortunate. We will respond to our leaders when a need is made known to us.

Some Christians can give much from their wealth, and some can give a little even out of their poverty. What matters is that we all do our part.

Are you giving back to God's Kingdom out of a heart of love? Or, do you love money and stuff over your love for God, His church, and others?

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

12 People Who Have Had a Tremendous Influence On My Personal Finances

Fascination With Money Matters

From an early age, I have always held some type of curiosity about money. How to best make it, handle it, save it, invest it, and give it. As I was pondering this fact a few days ago, I was reminded of several different people who have had either a major or minor influence on how I currently view and handle the money that God has allowed me to manage for His Kingdom.

12 People Who Have Influenced My Financial Life

This is certainly not a comprehensive list of people who have had an influence on my current financial mindset. There have been numerous others who have had some type of impact on my life, but this list of twelve is certainly a great representation of those from whom I have learned the most from, whether it was through a book they wrote, a class they led, or a life they lived out as an example to me and others.

Please note that even though there are only eleven numbers below, my parents do count as two people, making my total number twelve. I didn't accidently leave one person off my list.
  1. My Mom and Dad. I have never viewed my parents as being as obsessive-compulsive about money as I may tend to be, but growing up in my parent's home, I was really given an incredible working example of how to handle family finances. They taught me how to open and handle bank accounts at an early age. They encouraged me and my brothers to have some type of part-time job as young teenagers. They were fairly frugal with their money. We went out to eat maybe 1-2 times a week, and nowhere extremely expensive (Little Caesar's Pizza and Long John Silver's were pretty standard fare around my house). My mother cooked meals at home at least 4-5 nights a week. My parents had some type of petty cash system (they hid their weekly cash in a tin container, up on a high shelf where 3 sneaky boys couldn't get at it very easily). My dad also faithfully wrote out the tithe check and inserted into the church giving envelope every Saturday evening and placed it near his wallet and keys so that he would remember to take it to church with him on Sunday mornings. Thank you mom and dad for being positive financial role models for your sons.
  2. David Chilton. In my early twenties, I swiped David's book The Wealthy Barber from my parent's bookshelves. This was one of the early financial books for the "everyday man" that teaches the important concept of consistently investing something for retirement from an early age as well as additional common sense advice to become financially independent. 
  3. Ron Blue. At some point in my mid to late 20s, I did some type of church Bible study or devotional program on Biblical finances called Master Your Money that was written by Ron Blue. Honestly, I don't remember any particular direct influence of his, I just remember that this was my very first encounter with the rudimentary concepts of Biblical finances. I believe it was around this time that I started tithing regularly. I had finally completed my master's degree and had landed my first decent paying job.
  4. Bart Nill. Bart is a friend who used to work as a midwest regional director for Crown Financial Ministries who I got to know through his leading our church staff through the 10-week Crown Financial Bible Study in the early 2000s. Even though we as a staff were not particularly excited to go through this lengthy Bible study during a busy fall season, Bart's passion for money principles based on God's Word left its mark on my life. This is when I really started to understand what God's Word taught about money. Thank you, Bart, for passionately teaching me God's principles of money management. I will never view personal finances the same ever again.
  5. Howard Dayton. Through Crown Financial Ministries and Howard Dayton's books and Bible studies, this man has probably left the biggest impression in my current financial mindset that I am simply a manager of God's money. He owns everything. The money I currently possess needs to be handled in such a way that pleases Almighty God and serves His Kingdom purposes.
  6. Dave Ramsey. Around 2005, I was walking through a local bookstore and happened to stumble across this bluish-green book called Financial Peace by some author I had never even heard of named Dave Ramsey. I flipped through the book a couple of times and just knew that I needed to read it. Through Dave's book and radio program, my view of debt was transformed. Through following Dave's baby steps, I was able to become completely debt free in 18 months.
  7. Paul Brooks. My senior pastor is one of the most generous Christians I have ever known. Whenever He preaches a sermon series on stewardship, giving, or a capital campaign, I believe what He is preaching because He lives out what He preaches regarding a life of giving and generosity. If it were not for my pastor, I wouldn't be a stewardship pastor. He saw the potential in my life concerning Christian money matters way before I ever did! 
  8. Robert Kiyosaki. Robert's book Rich Dad, Poor Dad is one of those "must have" financial books for your personal library. It has had a tremendous influence on how I view assets, liabilities, investing, and business practices. Obviously, Robert's book also influenced the title of this blog.
  9. Thomas Stanley. Through his book The Millionaire Mind, Dr. Stanley really helped me understand how the average millionaire in America really lives. We have a certain view of how rich people live based on what the media tells us. Through extensive research into the lives of average millionaires, though, Dr. Stanley uncovered the real story of the everyday American millionaire. They run economically frugal and productive households. They live in lovely homes located in fine neighborhoods. Balance is their approach to life. They are financially independent, yet they enjoy life - they are not "all work, no play" type of people. Neither their lifestyle nor their wealth was generated from being highly leveraged financially. They are not credit junkies. The lesson that Thomas Stanley discovered from these millionaires was this: You cannot enjoy life if you are addicted to consumption and the use of credit.
  10. Randy Alcorn. Through his book The Treasure Principle, Randy has given me a completely new perspective on joyful giving. Christians should give out of "enlightened self-interest" in order to build-up the Kingdom of God while we are living here on this earth. Our time here is extremely short. Eternity is forever. We invest into our eternal future by grabbing hold of the best investment advice you will ever hear: "Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven" (Matthew 6:20). Every believer in Jesus Christ needs to read this book!
  11. Ramit Sethi. Over a year ago, I read the book I Will Teach You To Be Rich by blogger and author Ramit Sethi. I had been a follower of Ramit's blog for a while and ordered his book when it was first released. While I don't agree with everything that Ramit teaches on personal finance, I put into practice the advice he gives on conscious spending, optimizing your finances, and automating your finances. He gives some great insights on mastering your money with the least amount of effort - and then getting on with your life.
So, who has had a major impact on your personal finances and why? Feel free to leave a comment below and share with me and my readers who has shaped your thinking on money.

Also check out these related posts:

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Show up for your part, and then allow God to do His part

A YouTube Video And A Disclaimer

Several weeks ago, I was trolling around YouTube looking for inspirational/motivational videos to watch, and I ran across an 18 minute video of author Elizabeth Gilbert at the TED Conference from a couple of years ago. If you're not familiar with who Elizabeth Gilbert is, she is a best-selling author who recently reached rock-star status through her book Eat, Pray, Love.

I must preface the remainder of this post by saying in no way am I endorsing the speeches, writings, philosophy, or religion of Ms. Gilbert. She grew up as a child with a Protestant background, but currently practices Hindu-type meditation. Through her Eat, Pray, Love book, she claims that her journey was a quest to discover or to know God, but I would argue her journey is not that of a follower of Jesus Christ (I don't think she would argue this statement, either). A religious debate is not the point of this post.

Elizabeth Gilbert At The TED Conference

OK, so with that disclaimer out of the way, let me go back to Ms. Gilbert's TED Conference talk. In her speech, she discussed the philosophical make-up of modern day creative people. She explained how for the last 500 years since the Age of Renaissance Humanism, creative people have taken on the sole responsibility for their creative work. If their work was brilliant, then they were brilliant. If their work bombed, then they were thought of as failures and losers. This current creative mindset has created a culture of manic-depressive type personalities in which authors, musicians, and artists have hit the bottle or worse yet, taken their own lives due to the roller coaster journey of success and failure of their life's work.

Elizabeth Gilbert then reached back into ancient history and analyzed how our current creative mindset was not that of ancient artists. The ancients recognized that works of genius were more "acts of the gods" or divine inspiration rather than man inspired. If an artist's work was a success, then it was a result of divine, spiritual intervention. If the artist's work was a complete miserable failure, then hey, it wasn't entirely their fault.

Establishing A Healthy Creative Philosophical Mindset

Ms. Gilbert argues that the ancients had a healthier mindset for the creative, artistic personality. In her own journey in writing Eat, Pray, Love, she mentioned that there were a few occasions where she struggled in writing her book. Through her writing, there were a few instances where she wanted to give up on the whole project because in her mind it was turning out to be the worst book ever.

But, every morning she continued to show up to write. She claims that she started taking on the mindset of the ancients where she would "pray" to her muse that she was doing her part by showing up each day and doing her part in the writing process. Her muse needed to show up and do his or her part in the writing of the book - the divine, genius, inspiration part of the process.

The Take-Away For The Christian

Let me restate that in no way am I endorsing the religious-philosophical views of Elizabeth Gilbert, but I believe even Christians can learn life lessons from non-believers. After watching this video, what I gleaned from her message is that I can maintain a similar philosophy, but instead of praying to some mystical muse, I can pray to God the Father through the Son, that the Holy Spirit would bless my walk with the Lord, as well as His will and work for my life.

At five o'clock in the morning, when I'm sitting in my home office reading and meditating on His Word, I can pray for His Word to penetrate my heart and use me in a more effective way in what He has called me to do in my life's mission. But I need to show up wherever I need to be at that time and do my part.

As a parent to two young daughters, I need to show up and be engaged as a father. I need to love them, instruct them, and yes, sometimes I need to discipline them. I need to follow through on my part, but then pray that God through the power of the Holy Spirit would do only what He can do.

As a leader in my church, I need to be engaged in leading those that God has called me to lead. I need to show up and do my part and, at the same time, ask the Lord to show up and do the ministry work that only He can do.

As I write blog entries, I can pray that the Holy Spirit would give me creativity and insight in my writing. I need to do the hard part of setting aside the time, energy, and commitment to write, but then I need to allow the Holy Spirit to do His part in blessing that work.

The Challenge

What's your mission here on earth? What has God called you to uniquely do that only you can accomplish for His Kingdom purposes? Be sure to show up faithfully and consistently for your part of God's work for your life, but also be sure to pray that the Holy Spirit's power would be infused in that work to accomplish what He desires.
Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you. - Saint Augustine
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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

How you handle money demonstrates your spiritual maturity

I Don't Want To Baptize My Wallet

There is an ancient story that has been circulated for many years now that when the Crusaders were baptized, they purposely held their swords out of the water. This was a symbolic gesture to God saying something like, "I will be baptized into the Christian faith, but Lord, you can't have this area of my life - fighting, bloodshed, and war."

I've heard a running "joke" for many years now that in the church when people get baptized, they often do something similar as these ancient Crusaders. Instead of a sword, though, they symbolically (in their minds) hold their wallets out of the water saying, "Lord, you can have all of me, except my money. I'm going to keep this area to myself."

The Pocketbook Is Oftentimes The Last Thing To Be Surrendered

Money is one of those areas in our lives that seems to be one of the last things that is given over to the Lord. In all my reading and research into church stewardship issues, this would seem to ring true. When people accept Christ as the Savior, they often start their relationship through wanting fire insurance from the damnation of hell. Hey, don't we all want that? Over time, though, we should begin to see a genuineness of faith in God through the process of maturity in the Christian life. These new believers begin to grow in the Lord or they don't.

The ones that are growing in their walk with Christ begin to display maturity in their lives. They seek the Lord and His will for their lives through Bible reading, scripture meditation, prayer, church attendance, and fellowship with other believers. They desire to be salt and light to unbelievers around them by living out a life that pleases God. These same Christians begin to understand through this growth process that everything they have belongs to God. God owns everything. They begin to consider handling their money in a different light, because it's no longer their money, it's His money.

The wallets, pocketbooks, check books, and bank accounts are often the final things to be surrendered in the maturing process of the Christian. As we begin to understand through God's Word that He created all things and owns all things, then we recognize EVERYTHING we possess is His.
The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it (Psalm 24:1).
Under New Management

Once this thought process begins to change in the mind of those of us who are believers, a new management style should emerge in our lives. Now, instead of being both owner and manager of our money, we simply become just managers of His money.
The Lord answered, "Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns. I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions" (Luke 12:42-43).
If we believe that God is the owner and we are managers, then our management style should change. Instead of living for our own selfish desires, we should desire to handle the time, resources, money, and abilities He has given us to manage in order to build up His Kingdom in an effective manner.


Salvation through Christ brings about a refreshing freedom. We become free from "keeping the rules" of the law. It is only through faith in Christ that we can be born again into the family of God. But, our new found freedom in Christ does not mean that we should live a life of selfish gain. In Galatians 5:13 we read,
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.
Our flesh wants more. We want more money and more stuff. But, when we allow the Holy Spirit to take control of our lives, including our money, a new money mindset should emerge. And when this money mindset change does occur, a new freedom emerges. We are free to give more, do more, and serve more because of this new recognition that everything we have is the Lord's. And remember, He's observing our financial plan. He's testing us to see how we well we can manage His wealth.

Where Are You At In The Maturity Process?

So, where are you at today in the growth process? Are you a new believer who perhaps held your money out of the baptismal waters? Or maybe, you have been a believer for many years, and you're still struggling with the surrender of the wallet over to the One who owns it all to begin with.

If the money thing is still a battleground in your Christian walk, what do you need to do today to begin yielding control over to Him? What changes do you need to make today in your money management style?

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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Success Is Achieved Through a Constant Dripping

Even Water Can Cut Through Rock

When given enough time, even a slow, constant dripping of water can cut through rock.

I was recently reminded of this example while listening to the Dave Ramsey show a couple of weeks ago. Dave was using this as an example of what it takes to be successful at just about anything.

The Problem of the Quick Fix

The problem we have in our microwave society, though, is that we want the quick fix. We want to do one or two actions that will bring immediate success, so that we can move on to another area of our lives and then repeat the process all over again. Could this process actually work? In some areas, maybe, but in many areas of our lives it simply won't. If we desire to improve in our spiritual walk, in our relationships, in our health, and in our work, then we must have consistent daily actions that will slowly move us forward toward our goals.

Focus On the Right Drips

In our ADD culture, it's so easy to get distracted on pursuing the latest and greatest action plan that promises a faster success. Why do you think athletes get lured into taking steroids? It's the faster route. Unfortunately, though, it causes more problems for these athletes in the long run.

The same thing can happen in our own lives when we get in a hurry. We want to whip out the sledge hammers, so to speak, to bust through the rocks in our lives. Yeah, the hammer is going to break through the rock, but it's going to cause massive destruction afterward.

In order to be successful long-term, we need to focus on the right actions. If we take small, positive action steps each day, this will lead to positive, healthy results.

Success Is Not A One Time Event

Achieving success in our Christian walk is often a cumulation of many things over a period of time such as:
  1. prayer.
  2. God's will.
  3. being at the right place at the right time.
  4. hard work.
  5. planning or strategy.
  6. consistency.
  7. faithfulness.
  8. determination.
  9. doing right things.
  10. connections or the help of others.
Real Life Examples


This is what consistent daily routines, rituals, and actions will feel like. No quick fix. No excitement here. If you want to be successful in living out a life that pleases God, it's going to take a constant dripping of small, faithful, consistent actions each and every day.

Do you want a stronger relationship with the Lord? Then it's going to take the small, consistent actions such as Bible reading, prayer, giving, and church attendance in order to grow in your walk with Him.

Do you want to be successful in your vocation or business? Then it's going to take small, consistent actions that will generate connections, business, and clients that desire what you are offering.

Do you want to be debt free? Then it's going to take the small, consistent actions of doing a monthly budget, using cash instead of credit, working a little more, and putting any extra money toward your debt instead of buying more stuff.

Do you want to have a healthy body? Then it's going to take a daily diet of eating the right foods and a regular routine of exercise in order to stay in shape.

Are You Dripping Through Life?

So, do you have what it takes to be successful in your life over the long haul? Are you taking those small baby steps each day in order to grow in your walk with the Lord? Are you focused on the right small, daily actions that will lead to a successful calling, career, or business? Are you giving back to the Lord faithfully each and every week through small, consistent amounts of time, abilities, and money? Are you engaged in leading your family in consistent actions that will grow your love for one another and the Lord?

What are the constant drips or small actions that you need to focus on today to move forward in your life?

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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

It's OK to Live the Christian Life Out of Obedience

A Dangerous Trend

Over the last several years, I've noticed a dangerous trend in Christianity in regard to living out the Christian life. My concern has been in regard to motivations for living out what God's Word has called each of us to do in our lives. This concern has been birthed upon hearing statements such as:
"I can't give back to God in tithes and offerings right now because I would be doing it with wrong motivations. I don't think I would be doing it out of a love for God."
"I just don't feel like reading God's Word and spending time with Him in prayer each day. And because I don't 'feel' like it, I probably shouldn't do it. If I did, then I would doing so out of a sense of obedience and duty."
"If I serve the Lord in the way that I think He wants me to serve Him, I think I would be doing so out of guilt, and I wouldn't be very joyful about it, anyway. When I feel like doing what He wants me to do, then I will act."
Suck It Up

Everyday, each and every one of us has to do things that in the moment we don't feel like doing. When my daughters were little babies, I never "felt" like changing their diapers. I mean c'mon. Does anybody really enjoy changing poop-filled diapers? I never did. But I did it because I wanted my little girls to have clean little bottoms and not have diaper rash. The consequences of not changing the diapers were much worse than the act of simply changing their diapers on a regular basis. A screaming baby with diaper rash is not a fun experience!

And, does anybody really enjoy doing weekly laundry, grocery shopping, or cleaning the house? But, if you want clean clothes, food to eat, and a clean home, many times you just need to "suck it up" and get these chores accomplished.

Falling On The Ball

My pastor likes to refer to these type of activities as "falling on the ball." He came up with this analogy from doing football drills during practice when he played high school football. Nobody enjoys doing these types of skills practice because they are boring and tedious. It's much more exciting to go out there and play the game. If you want to win football games though, then you have to do the disciplined work that is necessary to play the game well.

I view the Christian life at times in the same way. Many times (even as a pastor), I don't feel getting up early to read my Bible and pray. Hey, I'd rather get a few extra minutes of sleep. That's what I feel like doing. That's what my "flesh" is telling me to do, you know, that little "demon" sitting on my shoulder saying, "C'mon, Larry. You're tired. You need your sleep. You and your family would be better off today if you sleep in. You've earned it." Believe it or not, sometimes I may not even feel like going to church on a particular Sunday [gasp!]. I must and I need to, obviously, because that is my vocation. And, even as a stewardship pastor, there are times that I don't really want to manage my money God's way. I can get lazy and get "stuffitis" like everybody else. That little demon shows up on my shoulder, again, and starts telling me that I've worked hard for my money (even though it's really God's money), and I deserve a new flat screen digital TV or MacBook Air.

Feelings Often Follow Actions

Because I don't have an emotional feeling to do something that is right, that doesn't mean I shouldn't "fall on the ball," follow through, and do it. Also, because I feel like doing something else doesn't mean I should take that particular action. Consider the following quote by Zig Ziglar,
Feelings follow actions. so when you don't really want to or feel like doing what needs to be done - do it and then you will feel like doing it.
The Apostle Paul likened this struggle that we all have to running a great race. This great race is our life here on the earth. He wrote to the church in Corinth,
Do you know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize (1 Corinthians 9:24-27).
In the book Crazy Love, Francis Chan gives us an illustration of loving God through obedience:
A friend of mine was speaking recently. Afterward a guy came up and told him, "I would go serve God as a missionary overseas, but, honestly, if I went right now it would only be out of obedience." My friend's response was "Yes, and...?"
Jesus said, "If you love me, you will obey what I command" (John 14:15). Jesus did not say, "If you love me you will obey me when you feel called or good about doing so..." If we love, then we obey. Period. This sort of matter-of-fact obedience is part of what it means to live a life of faith.

In a perfect world, we should do everything for God out of love. We should read our Bibles and pray every day. We should offer our natural talents and abilities in service to our churches. We should be "salt and light" to the world around us. We should be generous givers.

The challenge is that we all have a fleshly, sin nature. We are selfish, and we are rebellious. In order to "beat down" our sin nature, though, we have to take action that is often contrary to what we feel. We have to push back. At times, it will seem like a lot of work. It won't necessarily feel like we are taking action out of a pure love for God. My response: take action anyway. The love for God will flow out of your right actions.

Living out the Christian life is a race of endurance. We must discipline ourselves over the long haul and be obedient to what our Lord has asked us to do. Am I suggesting in this post that our salvation is a work-based one? No, definitely not. But, if I have yielded myself to Him, if I have accepted Jesus Christ as not only my Savior, but also my Lord, my life and my actions are going to look radically different from those who do not know Him.

Does this mean I'm perfect? Of course not, but each day, I should be heading in the direction of Jesus. I crawl out of bed, put one foot in front of the other, and "fall on the ball" in my spiritual walk in order to live a life that honors God and pleases Him.

In what areas of your spiritual walk do you need to discipline yourself, today?

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

7 Practical Ways to Give to the Poor

The Biblical Mandate

Throughout the Bible, we see commands in both the Old and New Testaments to give to the poor. In Jewish Law, God gives several instructions to the nation of Israel to give aid to those who are in need such as,
For six years you are to sow your fields and harvest the crops, but during the seventh year let the land lie unplowed and unused. Then the poor among your people may get food from it, and the wild animals may eat what they leave. Do the same with your vineyard and your olive grove (Exodus 23:10-11).
When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the graps that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the alien. I am the Lord your God (Leviticus 19:9-10).
He who gives to the poor will lack nothing, but he who closes his eyes to them receives many curses (Proverbs 28:27).
The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern (Proverbs 29:7).
In the New Testament, we see the same call of compassion for the poor from Jesus and the leaders of the early church.
Then the Lord said to him, "Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? But give what is inside the dish to the poor, and everything will be clean for you" (Luke 11:39-41).
"Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" (Luke 12:32-34).
When Jesus heard this, he said to him [the rich ruler], "You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me" (Luke 18:22).
Avenues of Giving

Now that we have seen that there is a Scriptural mandate to give to the poor, there are a number of giving avenues available to us in which we can give help to those in need.
  1. Your church's general budget. Some churches do not operate on designated gifts. They funnel all of their offerings through their general budget. If your church operates in this manner, check and see if your church has budget line items to help those who are poor in your community. Your church may also have specific line items in their missions budget that support para-church ministries that help the poor. Through your faithful giving to your church's general budget, you will be helping to fund these budget line items.
  2. Church designated offerings. Many churches operate with a "benevolence fund" in which designated money is given to help those who are poor. My own church has a tradition of taking up a benevolence offering for the poor each time we take The Lord's Supper in a service. This is an opportunity to give specifically to help the needs of the poor.
  3. In house church organizations. Some churches establish non-profit organizations that operate on the property of the church. These are ministries not specifically funded through the church budget.
  4. Para-church organizations. These are faith-based organizations that would include homeless shelters, child care, domestic violence, disaster relief programs,food pantries, and clothing closets. They normally exist outside a specific church or denomination. Many times, churches will take on a para-church organization as part of its missions budget line item.
  5. Other non-profit charities. These would include any charitable organizations outside the realm of "faith-based."
  6. On the spot giving. When you come across someone in need, you have an opportunity to give to them.

7 Practical Ways to Live Out a Life of Giving to the Poor
  1. Designate your offerings. If your church has designated offerings for benevolence or a specific ministry to the poor, then consider designating a separate offering above the tithe each time that you give.
  2. Give of yourself to a church ministry or para-church organization. Consider volunteering your time, energy, and abilities to ministries that help those in need. These ministries depend on people donating their time and energy to do the work of the ministry.
  3. Donate major assets. Most major non-profit ministries to the poor have the capacity to accept large, non-cash personal assets such as cars, RVs, boats, and jewelry. If you have any of these items that you no longer use or need, consider donating them to help others in need.
  4. Donate clothing or other household goods. Goodwill and The Salvation Army are two non-profit charities that come to mind that have generated millions of dollars for the poor through selling America's unwanted clothing and household items. Instead of going through the hassle of a garage sale, why not donate your unwanted items and generate a few hundred dollars for a worthy cause? You can also use your gift as a tax deduction.
  5. Purchase clothing or household goods from charities. Flip #4 around. So, instead of donating your unwanted items, why not walk into these charities' stores and purchase some used, donated items that you may need for your home? Purchasing these items will provide cash flow to help the poor. It could also save you some money in your family's budget.
  6. On the spot giving to charities who are fundraising out in the community. We've all seen these groups from time to time. They camp out in front of your local grocery store or superstore. Once you finish shopping, consider giving them a few dollars on your way out to your car.
  7. On the spot giving to the poor in your community. Depending on where you live, you may run into homeless, hurting people on a regular basis. Consider setting aside a few budget dollars each month and carrying that money around with you in your wallet. As the need arises, purchase a meal, buy some gas, or give some cash to help those who are less fortunate.


God wants His children to help those who are "down and out." Our giving to those who are hurting is a demonstration of the love of Christ to a lost and dying world. He wants us to use our time, energy, abilities, and finances to help others. Look for opportunities to be the hands and feet of Jesus and love those who are less fortunate. The Lord Himself said, "And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward." Go out this week and be a blessing to others. As you bless those around you, you will receive a blessing as well!

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

How To Be An Intentional Giver

A gift consists not in what is done or given, but in the intention of the giver or doer. - Seneca

What is an intentional giver?

It's Sunday morning and you're sitting in church. It's that time in the service when the ushers stand and get ready to pass the offering plates. You reach for your wallet in your back pocket or your purse to see if you have any cash. Oh, good. You find a $10 bill that you can toss into the plate. So the plate comes down your row, and you put in your $10. You feel good, right? At least you gave something back to God and your church.

Unfortunately, millions of weekly church goers perform this style of giving - they like to "shoot from the hip." Their giving most likely reflects their overall money plan - they don't have much of one.

The word intentional is defined as done with intention or on purpose. If I'm doing something with intention, then I am taking action after a mental determination upon some result. Let's use weight loss as an example. When people have an extra 10 or 20 pounds that they would like to shed, what do they do? They come up with a weight loss plan. First, they alter their diet. They come up with lower-calorie meal choices and a weekly menu. They go to the grocery store to purchase the ingredients they need, and they begin to eat healthier. Second, they begin to exercise. They schedule time in their day to get in a workout. If these people take action and are consistent with their plan, they will begin to lose weight.

What does the Bible say?

Giving for a Christian should really be no different from our weight loss example. We must develop a strategy in order to become intentional givers. A giving plan is crucial in order to build a spirit of generosity in the life of a believer in Jesus Christ. Consider these Scripture passages where a giving strategy is encouraged:
On the first day of the week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made (1 Corinthians 16:2).
Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:6-7).
A giving plan

If we desire to become faithful, consistent givers, than we need to have an action plan. Consider the following ways in which you can build intentionality into your giving:
  1. Be sure to place your giving right at the top of your monthly budget/cash flow plan. In Financial Peace University, Dave Ramsey talks about making giving a priority by automatically taking out 10% of your monthly income right at the beginning of your budget. When we don't take this approach, all of our other life expenses have a tendency to crowd out our giving, and then we have a tendency to serve God the leftovers of our budget money instead of the "firstfruits," or the first and very best of what God has blessed us with.
  2. Determine the intervals in which you will give back to God through your local church. If you get paid once a month, then perhaps you should give once a month. If you are paid bi-weekly, then the Sundays closest to the 1st and 15th of each month may be your best choices to give. For many years, I did bi-weekly giving and then about a year ago, I decided in my heart to give every week for a couple of different reasons. First, I wanted to be able to give something each week instead of going every other week. Second, I wanted my church to have consistent cash flow from week to week.
  3. Utilize giving envelopes with cash or personal checks. Once you have established giving as a priority in your budget and you have determined the frequency of your giving, then you need to determine the method of your giving. Are you going to withdraw cash from your bank account or will you write a personal check? Also, are you going to give anonymously, or are you going to utilize church giving envelopes so that the church can track your charitable giving for tax purposes? Whatever method you and your family decide to use, be sure to faithfully prepare your tithe and offerings on the weekends you have decided to give. The Saturday night prior to the Sunday you have decided to give may be a great time to prepare your gift. Before you go to bed, be sure you place your gift in an appropriate place so that you won't forget it before you leave for church on Sunday morning.
  4. Consider automating your giving. Many churches today have online giving tools in which you can setup an account where your tithe and offerings can automatically be deducted straight from your bank account. You can preset the amount of your gifts and place this on a set schedule, whether it be monthly, weekly, or somewhere in between. I'm a big fan of giving online because I never forget to give back to God through my local church what He has asked me to give. You can just "set it and forget it!"

Follow through

Once you have placed giving as a priority in your financial plan, you have determined your giving schedule, and you have selected your method of giving, then you must take action and follow through as an intentional giver. You will need to remember to take your offering with you and drop it into the offering plate on your predetermined Sundays. If you give online as a reoccurring automated gift, then you will need to monitor your bank account account activity to make sure that everything is working properly and according to schedule.
I don't wait for moods. You accomplish nothing if you do that. Your mind must know it has got to get down to work. - Pearl S. Buck
It is not good enough for things to be planned - they still have to be done; for the intention to become a reality, energy has to be launched into operation. - Walt Kelly
Don't wait until you "feel" like giving, because you probably never will, at least to the level that you should. Come up with a giving amount and a giving plan, and then take action on your plan. God will bless you and your family as a result of your intention and faithful action.
Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God (2 Corinthians 9:10-11).
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