Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Money Part 1: We Could All Use a Little More of It

Hey gang!

Welcome to September! I am personally excited about this month and it’s not because of the music contest going on at One Man Revival Ministries Facebook Fan Page. I’d like to rename the “Fan Page” portion of it and call it the “Revivalists Page” because you guys aren’t fans, you are friends that are going on the journey of revival with me. As of today, there were 338 of you on the “fan page”, another 148 of you following through Networked Blogs and eight more of you on Blogger itself. There are some doubles amongst you, but I feel easily that over 400 of you are reading now and then. So thank you much for that!

Back to what I’m excited about. Over the next two months, the work is so mapped out. The places we are going are placed in my little planner and I do feel as if I am becoming more organized. But even more than that, it is what we are covering over the next few months on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday are exciting topics that everybody has an opinion on. This month, we will be looking at something all of us wish we had a little more of, MONEY! Starting next month, we will be looking at different spiritual disciplines that will strengthen you as we grow in God. That one will take us into November, but it will be exciting.

So without further adieu, let’s begin talking about money.

It can be pretty depressing to talk about money, especially if you don’t have much of it. As we have come into 2009, unemployment is up, people are being asked to take pay cuts instead of pay raises, food keeps going up, gasoline goes up and down like a scary rollercoaster and that’s just the beginning of financial blues. People who are investing for retirement have been losing more money than they are gaining, if they actually even are able to save for retirement. Medicine continues to go up with more and more of America becoming uninsured. If there has ever been a time in recent history to start crying about how little we might have, it is now.

Anyone under 25 doesn’t remember that we were in a recession in the Reagan years in the White House. It wasn’t as bad as the current economy, but it was the last time that the USA had financial woes. The last depression was in the late 1920’s, known as The Great Depression. If you ask old-timers if the current situation is worse, they actually say yes. Why? Because in the late 1920’s, there wasn’t CNN or FOX News telling us that we were poor, they say. We didn’t know it was bad until good times came along during World War II.

So let’s be honest. Money is a big deal. Christians and non-Christians need money to pay the bills, eat, and do the fun stuff of life. No one wants to spend every day sitting around in their living room watching the grass grow outside and the dust bunnies grow on the inside. Remember, without money, there is no money for television, the internet, air conditioning, heating, gas for the stove and the list goes on. Without money, there is no car, no money for car insurance, no gas, no wheels, no cruising’ with the crew on Friday nights. More devastating for teens, no Nintendo, no PS3, no tickets to the movies and no visits to Mickey D’s, Steak n’ Shake or any other hangout.

This isn’t exactly encouraging, is it? All of us know what money is and what it can do, basically. We know as people that we get jobs, earn wages and make that lovely little paycheck at the end of the week. We know that we have to pay the bills. We know that all of us like stuff. All of us make decisions on what we use our money for.

Do you like a nice ride? OK, one nice ride. At that point, we don’t get more than a small apartment to live in. We have to get generic peanut butter while “Choosy Moms Choose Jif!” We have to make our own coffee rather than stop at Starbucks every day. What? But Frank, I like my Mocha Mocha Whatchamacallit and you can’t take that from me. I didn’t. But then there are other choices to be made. You know what I’m saying.

So what am I getting at? On the American dollar, there is “In God We Trust.” But do we? Do we trust God in the decisions that we make with our money? Do we own stuff? Or does stuff own us? Does God say that we should be poor beggars, join a monastery and live off the land? Is the money we keep really ours anyway? Are there better ways to spend our money? Can we know these ways in plain English?

That’s my goal this month. I want to answer questions and not make it so confusing in the process. I went to a Dave Ramsey money class for 13 weeks a few years back and some of the stuff he said was common sense. Was I able to get it all? No. If you are in a deep hole trying to get out, these lessons may prolong the agony of a defeat. I still recommend financial counseling for anyone that even “thinks” they could be sinking in financial debt.

I am not a financial counselor, nor will I play one for this study. I will share some of the common sense for free that I paid money to Dave Ramsey Ministries for. I recommend taking one of his classes even if you don’t have questions after this month. Larry Burkett is another good Christian counselor to listen to on money. I’ll be pulling from them throughout the month.

But I’ll also tell you straight that God has a plan for our money as well. God doesn’t want or need your money. Believe me, I heard a statistic that only 6% of the average church is tithing. Many churches are still doing great things because God is in control and not money. But God wants you to do the right things with your money too. I’ll tell you what those things are as we go through the month.

Finally, don’t tune me out. If I told you that listening could help you in the coming year make $5, would you keep reading? $50? $500? $5000? Everybody has a dollar amount in their head. That’s where we need to take off. I’m not promising a figure. But I am promising truth and tips from others. I’ll emphasize others again.

So are you ready to see what money can do? On Thursday, I’ll start with a story about Joseph. Joseph took Egypt through some good times and some bad times. They made it through and they didn’t go hungry. He trusted God and the people trusted him. Let’s see what we can learn from Joseph and a few other tips that will help us get to the other side of these hard times.

I love you guys!

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