All posts tagged: money

It’s Not What It Looks Like.

Last November the church was going through a series on finances. I don’t remember the series name, but with our life groups we were using a book called the ABC’s of Financial Freedom. I remember I was in my office reading the book, preparing for how we would use a particular chapter when God opened my eyes to something I had never seen before. I wasn’t generous. I did a pretty good job of looking the part. Karen and I have tithed since we were first married, and there were times this was hard to do. We support several friends who are missionaries oversees. If you ask me to help you, I will. If you have a baby, we will bring you a meal. You get the idea. I read my actions and concluded I was generous. Here is the danger in this thinking. In Luke 18:9-14, Jesus told a story about a Pharisee and a tax-collector. The Pharisee gave immensely and prayed a lot. He entered the temple and talked about all he had …

Sure You Can, But Should You?

The phrase, “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should” can be applied to so many areas of life. Just because I can eat ice cream for breakfast, doesn’t mean I should. Just because I can stay up all night watching Netflix, doesn’t mean I should. Just because I can buy that shiny new thing, doesn’t mean I should. We might have the right to do something, but that doesn’t make it right. If you have attended a Southern Hills service, you have probably heard someone mention Galatians 2:20: My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. As a Christ follower, we are called to crucify ourselves and our desires for the sake of the Gospel. We ought to give up our rights and demonstrate it’s no longer about us and what makes us happy, but it’s about honoring God with …

Have You Limited Your Generosity?

I remember the first time I saw him put a check in the offering plate. I was sitting next to him in the choir. He didn’t make a big deal about it; just quietly took the check out of his pocket and dropped it in the plate. I have no idea what the amount was. But I wanted so badly to be able to do it, too. I was only 15 at the time; not old enough to work a regular job like he did. I cut grass for $1.20 per yard. In my mind, my twelve cents didn’t match up to a hand-written check. To me, the amount was more important than the spirit behind it. I turned 16, got a job, and opened a checking account. Each week I wrote a check and dropped it in the offering plate on Sunday morning. I can’t say I tithed every week, but I was pretty consistent. After all, we are to be good stewards. Right? Right. But tithing was about the extent of my idea …

Stewardship Is More Than Money. It’s Everything.

Stewardship. What does this word make you think of? For me, my mind always goes right to church and managing money. Yes, we do say it in church and yes, we do steward money, but there is more to it. Stewardship is simply the conducting, supervising, or managing of something. While managing or stewarding money is a big part of our lives, there’s a lot more to manage than just money. My boys, Liam and Levi, are now 5 and 4 years old. They constantly keep Kelli and I on our toes. Sometimes managing the two of them seems impossible. But we seem to manage. (See what I did there?) We signed them up for fall baseball back at the end of summer, moving Levi up an age bracket as wanted them on the same team so we were together as a family on game days. The Rec Department needed more coaches so I volunteered to help. I was excited. This marked my 3rd time coaching, but my first time head coaching, both my boys …

Do You Know the Secret to Generosity?

One of the all time greatest Disney movies is “Cool Runnings.” It is enticing–the struggle to overcome unbelievable odds. One of the climactic scenes of the movie has the two main characters discussing purpose. Derice, the bobsled driver, asks his coach, Irv, why he had cheated when he competed. Irv responds, “It’s quite simple, really. I had to win. You see, Derice, I’d made winning my whole life. And when you make winning your whole life, you have to keep on winning, no matter what. You understand that? A gold medal is a wonderful thing. But if you’re not enough without one, you’ll never be enough with one.” So often, we feel compelled to win. Sometimes we are so compelled we will go to any length to be the victor, even at the expense of our integrity. And this is not confined just to sports; in business, relationships, and even arguments, winning is paramount. Even our modern American culture is rife with language that tells us we have to have it all. Winning is having …

Today is the Perfect Day to Change

The past few Sundays, we’ve talked about how nothing we have is really ours and because it’s all God’s, we should be willing to give to the Lord.  This truth is the why of managing well what we’ve been given.  So, what does the how look like?  I think that starts with Today. Here is the great thing about today: you can only live in it.  You can never live in yesterday again.  It’s gone.  You will never live in tomorrow because today is always here.  It never goes away.  Today you will go to bed, fall asleep, wake up again, and it will be… you guessed it… today.  We live in today.  This is the reality of life.  When it comes to finances, and really everything we manage, are we living in today or are we trying to live in yesterday? Are we living in today or are we trying to live in tomorrow?  Don’t brag about tomorrow, since you don’t know what the day will bring. – Proverbs 27:1 It’s really kind of foolish to try to …

Four Shrewd Money Principles For Peace

Growing up, my mom was a high school teacher and my dad was an AT&T accountant. Not only was my mom going to make sure my grades were stellar, but my dad was also going to make sure my finances and spending habits were on point. I believe what I learned from my parents is why I never worry about money. Never! I want to share a few of those lessons with you and hope they help your wallet and worry as we enter into this holiday season. Don’t spend what you don’t have. I can’t tell you how many times I have walked back and forth, pacing isles with items in my arms, debating whether I can buy it or not. I do this often at Robinson’s Overstock. If you walk in there on a Friday and see me, chances are I am going through this routine. I talk myself out of purchases all the time. I walk around the store with arms full and then as I head to the check-out, I start putting things …

Why do you give what you give?

In the Old Testament, there were actually many different tithes required under the law. A tithe is 10% of something.  There was a tithe to the Levites, a tithe for the use of the temple and the feasts, and one for the poor of the land. After Jesus’ death and fulfillment of the law, Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 16:2 that monetary gifts should be collected at the first of the week.  Nowhere in the New Testament does it specifically state how much we are to give. But time and time again it does imply that we are to give: individually, regularly, methodically, and proportionally to our income. The biggest problem most people have is that we want someone to tell us exactly how much God wants us to give, when to give it, and how it’s supposed to be given. I want to do exactly what I’m supposed to: no more, no less. I want to know what it takes to keep God happy and prevent Him from smiting me. But God doesn’t really work that …

First Give To God What is His

The Bible is filled with practical wisdom for life; nuggets of wisdom that can be mined from the Scripture to help us be “wise as serpents and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16, ESV). The book of Proverbs is a treasure house of “get smart” lessons about life. Jesus packed the Sermon on the Mount with such lessons: be careful about the foundation on which you build your life house—it makes the difference between prosperity and disaster (Matthew 7:24-27); you better be careful about your criticism of others—it’ll come back to bite you (7:1-2); settle your differences quickly—if it gets to court you’ll pay through the nose (5:25-26). Now that’s about as practical as you can get! And probably any kid in our 456 program can understand it. There’s another area of life about which God knows we need practical, elementary teaching: the way we deal with our treasures on this earth. So He gives us the principle of “first fruits.” In the Old Testament, God’s people offered the first fruits of the harvest as an acknowledgment that …

3 Ways to Better Manage Your Money Today

Kelli and I were drowning in our finances three years ago. We were frustrated and often found ourselves bickering about our financial situation. Overdraft fees and spending freezes were a part of our weekly routine. Like fools, we kept doing the same things and surprisingly nothing changed. Finally, we decided to make a change. We began studying and following a plan that has totally changed our lives when it comes to money. We’ve learned so much over the past few years, but here are three tips I’d like to share with you that can change the way you manage money starting today.     1) Stop thinking it’s your money. A few weeks ago, before Kelli was about to take the boys shopping, I asked Levi if he was going to buy me anything. He said he didn’t have any money, paused a moment, then he told me he did. I said, “Oh, yeah? What kind of money?” He went into his silly Levi voice and shouted, “Yo mon—ey!” I lost it laughing. As silly …