Archive for March 2012

Why Sarah Went On A 365 Day Spending Fast

This post was guest-written by Sarah – I’ve written about her spending fast previously HERE.  Today marks the end of her 365 day spending fast – Congratulations!!!

=== Sarah’s post ===

I’m Greedy.  So what?

Once, a baby peed all over my lap because his mom didn’t have any diapers.  Once, I held the hand of a homeless man who was in agony, and he couldn’t tell me why.  Once, a woman said “God bless you!!” with a huge, toothless smile when I had only given her half a sandwich.

The poor exist because we have not learned to love our neighbor as ourselves. (credit to Shane Claiborne for opening my eyes to that in a whole new way…)

I claim to be a Christian; to follow Jesus Christ.  “Love your neighbor as yourself” is his commandment, second only to loving God with all we are.  It’s funny how those link hand-in-hand so closely.  If we claim to love God without loving our neighbor, can God’s love really be in us? (1 John 3:17)  Recently, I’ve begun to see how much I am failing at this.  I am greedy!  So what?

“If you have two coats, one of them belongs to the poor.” – Dorothy Day (…but the guy that baptized Jesus said it first!)

I have three coats.  Actually, four.

I buy myself things I don’t need all the time.  Those shoes that were on sale. That little dress I might wear… someday.  A wall hanging I just fell in love with.  More CD’s, books, movies – why not?!

I’m afraid to count how many t-shirts are in my drawer.

We all buy things we don’t need, and we all have neighbors that need. So what?

You already know this – we live in a community and nation that is obsessed with more, bigger, better. The more we get, the more we want. Our stuff “expires” fast and then we want to buy more stuff. When will we stop believing in stuff?  Meanwhile, your neighbor has an empty fridge.  My neighbor has no friends. Their neighbor has no home.  Still, so what?

We have an opportunity to change things; the only thing I can change is me.

Will you join me?

As a result of personal conviction on this issue, I realize I need to confess my greed and throw it away.  So I confess to you now – I am greedy, and I am sorry! On March 21st 2011, I resolved to buy nothing new for myself for 365 days.  I will shop at second hand stores only.  I will borrow and share.  I will give what I do not need to those who need it more.  I want to be free from always wanting, and I pray this resolution changes me from the inside out. Every time I see something new that I want to buy, instead I’ll turn to God and say thanks for all the ways He has already taken care of me. Filled and inspired by the love of Jesus, I’ll throw my old self away and put on a new way to live. (Ephesians 4:21-24)

Will you join me in buying nothing new for a day, a week, a month, a year, whatever you choose…?  Instead, give that money to someone you know that needs it, or take a bag of groceries to the food bank or a friend, or support your local church, or sponsor a child through Compassion, or send some flowers.

Will you let it change you?

=== End of Sarah’s post ===

One of the finest and most convicting posts I’ve read in some time.  Your thoughts?

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Savings Tip – Fast From Something

Here’s a savings tip that be a lot of fun and a serious challenge if taken seriously – Go on a spending fast and give or save the difference.

It’s a simple concept.  Stop spending money on a specific item for period of time, and deposit the money that would have been spent on that item into savings or give that money away.

Here are some examples:

  • Stop buying soda (or pop or Coke or whatever you call it) and redirect the money to savings
  • Refuse to purchase any new clothes for an entire year and redirect the money to savings
  • Eliminate the daily $4 coffee drinks (gasp!) and redirect the money to savings
  • Park the car and ride a bike to work for a month and redirect the money to savings

A young lady I met a year ago embarked on a journey just like this.  Her name is Sarah, and she resolved to “not buy anything new for 365 days.”  Her year-long quest began on March 21, 2011, and she is about to finish her journey. On March 21, I will be posting the blog post that I asked her to write.  You won’t want to miss it.

QUESTION:  What will you choose to go on a spending fast for?  What will you do with the money that would normally have been spent on that item?

I’ll reveal my spending fast goal next week.

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Are You Really Ready To Win With Money?

I’ve noticed something that has happened in my life as I have transitioned from BROKE to NOT BROKE, and I can’t say I was prepared for it at all.  I’m pretty certain I was not prepared to win with money.

My bride and I have faced questions that were completely irrelevant when we were broke.  Questions like:

  • Where to invest money to obtain the best rate of return?
    • We did not know hardly anything about investing
  • What charitable organizations and causes should we give to?
    • We wanted to maximize the impact of our giving
  • Where should we put our saved money?
    • We’d never saved money before
  • Should we talk with our family and friends about how we are winning with money as the result of preparing and following a monthly budget and pursuing debt freedom?  If so, how much?
    • Believe it or not, your family or friends may not be as excited as you are about winning with money – they might refer to your genuine excitement as bragging/boasting/pride
    • Even worse – some people have a legitimate concern that their friends and family will steal money from them!

“Are you really ready to win with money?”

It’s a legitimate question that anyone pursuing financial freedom should consider.

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U.S. National Debt Update March 2012

The US National Debt has increased by $93,188,029,341 since our last update in January 13, 2012.  Another month, and the United States has dropped nearly another $100 billion in the hole.

National Debt as of 3/13/2012

$15,497,165,306,031

That is an increase of $4.9 BILLION PER DAY since our last update 36 days ago.

QUESTION: Have you ever lived this way – where you used a credit card or some other form of debt to spend money that you did not have?

My question remains:  At what point in time will this type of spending stop?

I believe the answer remains the same – When the citizens of the country as a collective whole start managing their own money responsibly!

What are YOUR suggestions for addressing this?

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CHURCH LEADERS – FREE Church Stewardship And Generosity Conference

What do the following people have in common?

  • Perry Noble
  • Bishop Walter S. Thomas, Sr.
  • Casey Graham
  • Clayton King
  • Mike Madding

ALL five are tremendous church leaders who have seen their vision become FULLY FUNDED!

AND the great news is that ALL of these great men will be speaking LIVE at the Funded And Free Church Leader Conference in Charlotte, NC on Thursday, April 19, 2012!

  • Bishop Thomas will be able to share how New Psalmist Baptist Church completed a major building project in the middle of The Great Recession – and continued to see tremendous ministry growth!
  • Perry Noble will share how NewSpring Church built a youth facility, children’s facility, and launched multiple campuses during 2008 – and continued to pour tremendous amounts of money and resources into missions and outreach!
  • Mike Madding will be talking about how The Cove Church has been able to equip their people to win financially even in the face of a tremendous economic downturn in their area – and their church has grown by leaps and bounds.
  • Casey Graham will be sharing how to increase your operational giving through the implementation of proven biblical systems.
  • Clayton King will be sharing about his worldwide ministry and how leaders can THRIVE in the midst of a chaotic and crazy schedule!

You don’t want to miss this one-time only event!

Want even better news?  Injoy Stewardship Solutions has partnered with some other great organizations to provide this conference absolutely FREE for church leaders.

Here are the details:

  • DATE: April 19, 2012
  • LOCATION:  The Cove Church – Mooresville, NC (Charlotte Area)
  • TIME:  ONE DAY (9AM – 4PM)
  • COST:  $0 (thanks to the kindness of our sponsors!!!!)
  • FOOD:  Provided (and it is free too!)

Space is limited so reserve your spot while one is available!