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Bible Money Tip: Generosity Is Contagious

I recently heard Ken Friar, Executive VP of INJOY Stewardship Solutions, share the following statement:

People don’t plan to be selfish. They just don’t make a plan to be generous.

But it only takes one or two people who are living generously to move literally hundreds – even thousands – to give.

Consider Exodus 36:3-8:

And the people continued to bring freewill offerings morning after morning. 4. So all the skilled workers who were doing all the work on the sanctuary left what they were doing 5 and said to Moses, “The people are bringing more than enough for doing the work the Lord commanded to be done.” 6 Then Moses gave an order and they sent this word throughout the camp: “No man or woman is to make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary.” And so the people were restrained from bringing more, 8 because what they already had was more than enough to do all the work.

Moses cast the vision God had given to him, and the people responded in an amazing way.

I’ve seen similar examples happen throughout my life. When tornadoes swept through Alabama in 2011, I saw one or two people begin giving to provide immediate assistance, and it compelled me to give. The next thing we knew, more than $100,000 had been raised.

When Hurricane Katrina smashed the Gulf Coast, people around the world rushed to help by giving tremendous amounts of money. The same was true for the earthquake in Haiti and tsunami in Indonesia.

We see it happen when a family’s home burns down and a community unites together to help them.

Generosity is contagious!

As I consider the various “contagious giving moments” I’ve witnessed, here are some common variables:

  1. There was a clear need. We all want to make a difference with money that we give away. We want a “return on investment” on the money. Without clear understanding of the ROI, we are more inclined to hold onto their dollars.
  2. The need was urgent. There are many cases where there is a need, but it isn’t urgent. Urgency is what causes us to move immediately.
  3. There was a trusted entity to send money. There have been so many highly reported instances of financial mismanagement that we have been conditioned (and rightly so) to ask the question, “Is this organization going to handle this money in the exact manner they’ve communicated?”
  4. Someone gave first. When we see our friends, family, or heroes give, it inspires us!

Have you ever been able to be a part of a “Contagious Generosity Moment”? Will you take a moment to share it with us in the comments?

This is part of the “Biblical Financial Lessons” series here on the wildly popular JosephSangl.com. Click HERE to read more posts in the series.

You Can’t Set Money Apart From Your Heart

“You can’t set money APART from your HEART.”

It is a biblical principle: Matthew 6:21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

It is a fundamental rule of money.

Where ever you have spent, given, or invested money, you will be interested in it.

  • If you have placed money into a particular company stock, you will suddenly become very interested in that company. You will check the stock price, follow news about the company, and tell your friends and family to buy their products.
  • When you purchase a home, you will treat it as an owner. When something breaks, you will fix it. You will spend money to decorate it. The lawn will be kept up.
  • If you’ve started up a small business or have seen a friend start one, you are fully aware of how much time and energy they place into getting the business off of the ground.

The opposite is also true! You will spend money on people and things you love. Money will just flow to them.

  • I spend money on my bride and my children because I love them.
  • I spend money on deer hunting because I’m passionate about it.
  • I give money to my church because I love Jesus and my church helps people

In other words, show me your bank statement, and I will be able to tell you what is important to you.

This is part of the “Biblical Financial Lessons” series here at the wildly popular JosephSangl.com. Click HERE to read more.

Mentors Matter

The people who are allowed to speak into your life impacts your ability to make progress.

Stated more simply, “Mentors matter.”

If I had not sought wisdom in managing my personal finances, I would have remained broke. But I did seek wisdom. I’m no longer broke.

If I had not sought wisdom in operating a business, I would have run ours into the ground by now. But I did seek wisdom. I have three healthy businesses.

If I had not sought wisdom in raising up a strong and independent daughter, I would have an obstinate teenager by now. But I did seek wisdom. I have an incredible daughter.

If I had not sought wisdom in running a 26.2 mile marathon, I would have bonked a few miles in. But I did seek wisdom. I have run not one, but two full marathons.

Proverbs 4:7 shares this: “The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.

Don’t skip past the advice about the “price” one should be willing to pay: though it cost all you have

Have you ever sought wisdom though it cost you tons of money?

My Favorite Sources for Financial Knowledge

I seek to learn something new about money every single day.

Every. Single. Day.

The sources are wide ranging. I learn from:

  1. Leaders
  2. Organizations
  3. Magazines
  4. Books
  5. Conferences
  6. Blogs
  7. Major websites
  8. Observation of people
  9. Personal experiences
  10. My family

But none of these are as good as the best source that I’ve used to gain proven financial wisdom and knowledge: The Bible.

There are stories of feast AND famine. Moments of wealth AND poverty. More than anything, I’ve discovered that if I would:

  1. Read the Bible, and
  2. Put the teaching and wisdom into practice

I would maximize every dollar I’ve been blessed to manage.

I’m convinced the same is true for every living being. This is why I’ve written many blog posts as part of the “Biblical Financial Lessons” series. They can help you get from where you currently to living the fully funded dream you have in your heart.

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The Importance of a Financial Coach

I recently asked the following question on Twitter (via @joesangl): “What does it mean to be a “COACH”? What does a COACH do?” The responses were awesome and are shared below:

  • @Shelton_22: @joesangl A coach must Love, Develop, Motivate, Construct, Encourage, Prepare, and Inspire an individual for the future.
  • @peteraug: @joesangl brings out the potential in others
  • @CynnamonClinton: @joesangl A coach, teaches, leads, motivates, and instructs based on their own achievements, mastery & experiences!
  • @RealAustinHall: @joesangl to lead, motivate, be an example, inspire, encourage, discipline, show compassion, challenge and direct towards a common goal.
  • @PaulJolicoeur: @joesangl A coach comes along side, to push you beyond where you thought your limit was!

Every single successful person I know has had someone in their life who provides coaching to them. So-called “self-made” persons KNOW that they have achieved greatness because of the help and coaching of others!

This is why I have three financial coaches.

When I was broke, I realized I was seeking advice from broke friends! It was like accepting long distance running advice from a sumo wrestler.

Proverbs 15:22shares, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.”

I was broke, and I knew wisdom was necessary for me to change my financial life. I established desired criteria my coaches should possess:

  1. They had to love me.
  2. They weren’t interested in selling me anything.
  3. They had availability to mentor me.

My financial coaches helped me change my life!

Do YOU have a financial coach?

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Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing – Acts 6

Have you ever been involved in a big project? I mean a big project! One with large quantities of work, assignments, people, and deadlines involved?  If you have been associated with a number of projects like this, I can virtually guarantee you have experienced the “mired-in-the-details-I-have-no-clue-about-what-is-going-on” leader.

This is the type of leader who, when leading a project similar to solving world-hunger, will spend fifteen days determining what type of tablecloth to have at a fund-raising dinner. A leader who, when leading a project to build a new school, will spend seven days figuring out the number of pounds of clay it will take to bake the brick it will take.

Most of the items the project leader focuses on ARE important, it is just not important for them to figure it out!

They have forgotten to keep the main thing the main thing!

I believe all people have found themselves stuck in the details at some point.

Examples include:

  • Polishing up the entire house for Thanksgiving dinner, but forgetting to put the turkey in the oven.
  • Making sure the children are delivered to and picked up from school on time, but never taking time to see how school is going.
  • Obtaining a huge promotion at work, but neglecting the entire family for three years to achieve it.

I see a great example of this in the Bible, Acts 6. The widows were being overlooked in the daily serving of food, and the disciples were being asked to attend to the widows. Was it important to feed the widows? Absolutely! However, what was the Main Thing for the disciples? Telling others about Jesus! So, what did the disciples do? They selected seven trustworthy individuals and put them in charge of serving the widows.

The disciples said it so well …  “It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables.”

Are you keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing?  Have you been distracted from the ultimate reason you have been put on this earth.  It is time to refocus!

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Biblical Financial Lessons – Ecclesiastes 5:10

This is a series that appears on a regular basis here at JosephSangl.com – “Biblical Financial Lessons”

Ecclesiastes 5:10Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless.

This is an incredible statement, and every single person on planet Earth wrestles with this issue. We all must deal with money, and most of the time we simply do not have enough to buy all of the things we want. If we are not very careful, we will begin to pursue money and develop a love for it.

Marketers know this, and this is why they continually play upon the feelings of lack or scarcity. Of course, once you obtain the item they are offering, they must sell you something else. They move the “happiness” line again, and create another feeling of “you are nothing unless you have this one thing.” And for those who are in love with money and wealth, the cycle never ends.

Here is a great question to ask yourself:

“How much money is enough?”

If your answer is an actual number (such as $1 million), watch out! A great answer is “I have enough right now. I am so blessed!”

In Matthew 6:21, we read “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” To avoid giving your heart over to the pursuit of money and “More. More! More!!”, employ these regular activities:

  1. State “I am so blessed!” at least once each day.  Tell someone WHY you are blessed.
  2. Give money away. Giving keeps me from being greedy and connects my heart to the organizations and individuals I have given to.
  3. Pray. Prayer helps maintain focus on what is most important.
  4. Serve others. Serving others allows me to see that the world does not revolve around me and ensures that I live an open-handed life focused on helping others!
  5. Document your blessings.  When you write down the blessings you have in your life, it opens your eyes to just how blessed you really are!!!

Application Questions

  1. Are you giving money away?
  2. How are you serving others?
  3. Have you written your blessings on paper lately?

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Proverbs 14:30-31

30: “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.”

31: “He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.”

As I help people get their finances in order, I cast vision as to “how things could be” IF “they would just do this, this, and that.”  Many times this involves selling some stuff – cars, boats, motorcycles, houses!  I want people to have nice stuff, but many times the nice stuff is eating up 50% of their budget OR MORE.  People just will not win with expenses like that!

As I cast vision, it is not unusual for me to say, “If you sell the two cars and buy two used cars, you could be debt-free except for the house in 12 months.  If you choose to keep the cars, you may be debt-free in 60 months.” Or I might say, “If you sell the boat and motorcycle, you could be debt-free immediately.  If you keep the boat and motorcycle, you may be debt-free in 72 months.”

When I mention selling some stuff, I begin encountering resistance!  This is their stuff!  They love their stuff!  They bought this stuff, and they want to keep it.  Even when it is eating them alive financially!  Even when they are not able to give one thin dime and are not assisting others at all!

As I go through meetings like this, I see that God’s word is true.  Proverbs 14:30 says that “envy rots the bones”.  When people have a bad case of stuff-itis, it is usually a result of envy.  They saw someone else with that item, and they wanted one too.  The difference is that they could not afford it.  The verse also says that “a heart at peace gives life to the body.”  When stuff-itis is cured, WOW!  The peace is awesome!  Knowing you could go to the store and buy anything in there, but not doing it because you really don’t need anything.  I am telling you it is AWESOME!  Jenn and I have been vaccinated against stuff-itis, and it feels good!

Proverbs 14:31 says that “whoever is kind to the needy honors God.”  I guess that is why it pains me so deeply in my soul when I see people up to their eyeballs in debt with a bad case of stuff-itis.  They are so loaded up with their own wants that they do not even see the the needy, let alone help them.

The solution?  Get a vaccination against stuff-itis!

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Importance Of Margin – Nehemiah 1

This is a series that appears on a regular basis here at JosephSangl.com – “Biblical Financial Lessons”

Nehemiah 1

While Nehemiah was in the city of Susa, his brother Hanani came into town from Judah.  Nehemiah asked him how things were in Jerusalem, and the answer he heard absolutely wrecked him.  Hanani responded, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.

When Nehemiah heard of the terrible plight of Jerusalem, he was distraught and devastated. It is recorded that he said, “When I heard these things, I sat down and wept.”

You see, Jerusalem had no wall which meant that they had no protection!  In other words, they had no margin.

Think about it. If they grew crops or built something of value, their enemies could approach without anything blocking them. Without margin, the city of Jerusalem was in great trouble and disgrace.

There is a huge financial lesson to be learned from this story. Without financial margin, a person faces great trouble and disgrace!  If you ever want to truly prosper, you MUST have margin. Margin offers protection against whatever life may throw at you.

If Satan can keep you broke, he can keep you ineffective.

Here are some fundamental truths:

  1. Life IS going to happen
  2. WITHOUT margin, you will face incredible challenges, stress, and anguish
  3. WITH margin, you will have a defense that allows you to remain focused on the mission and vision of your life
  4. It is easy to achieve BROKE. It requires focused effort to build and maintain financial margin.
  5. You CAN do this!

Just as we can learn from the book of Nehemiah, the first step toward establishing margin is to recognize that we don’t have it and that we need it!

Do YOU have financial margin?

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Plan Before You Start – Luke 14:28-30

This is a series that appears on a regular basis here at JosephSangl.com – “Biblical Financial Lessons”

Luke 14:28-30

28 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? 29 For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, 30 saying, ‘This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.’

There are several key financial lessons we can learn from this parable that Jesus told.

  1. It is important to plan when preparing for a large task  In this parable, an attempt to build a tower is referenced. Your great task will be different, but it will still require appropriate planning. You might want to build a business, an office building, or a home, but to attempt it without a plan will lead to disaster.
  2. Money is an important part of the planning process  “Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it?”  It can’t be any clearer than that! It is essential and necessary to have a financial plan to support the major work you are setting out to accomplish!
  3. It is clear to others when we attempt to accomplish something large without planning first  Have you ever seen a building project that was stopped in its tracks because the money ran out? I have seen literally thousands of these examples across the United States when the economy came to a screeching halt in 2008 and banks pulled their financing and individuals ran out of cash.

Most people wrestle with this issue. We want to move right away and start accomplishing the goal! The idea of stopping to prepare a plan seems to be too cumbersome and time-consuming. After all, we can make these decisions “on the fly.” Planning ahead seems too abstract, and it seems to hurt the brain too much to consider all of the potential issues and plan for them ahead of time.

But it is the planning process that differentiates good from great, bland from phenomenal, and uninspiring to life-changing. It is a cornerstone of financial freedom – “There must be a plan!”

QUESTIONS

  1. Have you ever attempted something great without a plan? If so, what was the result? What lessons did you learn that you would be willing to share with everyone?
  2. How should you go about preparing a plan for a future project?

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Seed Costs Money – Mark 4:26

This is a series that appears on a weekly basis here at JosephSangl.com – “Biblical Financial Lessons”

Seed Costs Money – Mark 26-29

26 He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. 27 Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. 28 All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. 29 As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.”

Most financially broken people fail to recognize the fundamental fact that in order to have a harvest, one must first sow seed.  No matter how much you pray, seek God, call down fire from the heavens, or plead with God to bring you a tremendous harvest, one will have no harvest if seed is not sown.  This is so clear to me because I grew up on a farm.  If we did not invest the time and energy to plant seed in the Spring, there would be no harvest in the Fall.

People get fired up about the idea of a huge harvest, but then they realize that seed costs tremendous money.  For example, special hybrid seed can cost 20 to 30 times what the harvested seed will sell for!

Think about an author who dreamed of having a published book, but no publisher would print it for them.  Without being willing to spend money to self-publish the book, the author would just be standing around hoping for her dream of having a real-life printed book become reality.  BUT if she were willing to spend money to self-publish the book (sowing the seed), the author would be positioned to reap a harvest as the book was sold around the world.

MAIN POINT: Most people remain broke without ever reaping a tremendous harvest because they lust for the harvest, but are unwilling to spend the money necessary to acquire, plant, and cultivate the seed.

Application Questions

  1. Have you saved up money to be able to purchase seed?
  2. Are you actively sowing seed?

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Why Do I NOT Do The Things I Know I Should Do? Romans 7:15

Romans 7:15 – 15I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.

Paul shares his thoughts on his struggle with not doing the right thing and doing the wrong thing.

This is a problem everyone faces – especially in the following areas of personal finances.

  • Budgeting  We know that we should prepare a monthly written Give/Save/Invest/Spend plan, but for some reason we don’t allocate the time and effort required to make it happen.
  • Giving  We know that we should give, but we fail to do so when it comes time to write the checks or pay the bills on-line for the month.
  • Saving  We know that we should be saving money.  After all, the children are growing like weeds, and it seems like they will be headed to college tomorrow!  The car has special “rattling” sounds, yet we have not saved any money to repair or replace it.
  • Investing  We know that we should be investing to fund our big-time dreams and prepare for retirement.  After all, our bodies are creaking, and it seems to take much longer to get rolling each morning.  Yet, we choose to invest little to no money to cover our living expenses and live life to the fullest during our retirement years.
  • Wills/Estate Plan  We know that we will die someday, but we choose to ignore that reality by failing to have a written will and estate plan.
  • Insurance  We know that we are going to get sick one day.  Yet, we choose to not have health insurance.  We know that law requires us to carry insurance for our cars and that we will probably be in a wreck someday, yet some still choose to drive without auto insurance.
  • Debt  We know that substantial debt can delay or completely prevent the funding of our future plans, hopes, and dreams, yet we choose to “sign the line” anyway.

The LIE that we tell ourselves is this:  “Things will be okay.  After all, we have made it this far living this way.”

If that is you, let me ask you a few questions:

  • Are things REALLY okay?
  • Are your dreams fully funded?
  • Are you living the life you dreamed of when you were young?
  • When was the last time you really allowed yourself to dream?

What do you need to do?

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A Financial Miracle

This is a series that appears on a weekly basis here at JosephSangl.com – “Biblical Financial Lessons”

I believe that the Bible is the best money book ever written, and I really want to take some time each week to share the money lessons I have learned from the Word.

A Financial Miracle – II Kings 4:1-7

II Kings 4:1-7  (You need to click HERE to read it)

I covered II Kings 4:1 previously and shared the fact that debt had jeopardized the very freedom of her children.  Wonderfully, the story does not end there.  In fact, a financial miracle takes place.

In verse 2, the prophet Elisha responds to her, “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?

The woman responded, “Your servant has nothing there at all except a little oil.

Thought #1 - Have you noticed that when we are faced with an extremely difficult situation for which we can see no answer that we tend to minimize everything we DO have?  This lady said that she had nothing – except a little oil, but that was not the full truth!  She still had her sons at the moment.  She also apparently had good health (a tremendous blessing).  Moreover, she had access to the man of God!

In verses 3 and 4, Elisha responds to her with a command.  “Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few. Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons.  Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side.”

Thought #2 – When we seek God’s guidance, He will give it!  This lady went to the man of God, and received the word she needed.  We have direct access to God through prayer.  He hears our desperate prayers – even as we cry them out in despair!

In verse 5 and 6, the miracle takes place.  The lady left Elisha and did exactly as this man of God had instructed.  The oil flowed until the very last jar was full!

Thought #3 - We have to do our part.  What if this lady had refused to do as the man of God had instructed?  The miracle would not have happened, and she wouldn’t have been able to save her two sons from slavery!

In verse 7, the lady informed Elisha of the miracle, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts.  You and your sons can live on what is left.”

Thought #4 - God always provides overflow!  He provided enough to settle the debts and enough to live off of the rest! Simply amazing.

In summary, here’s what happened:

QUESTIONS:

  1. Do YOU believe that a financial miracle could really take place for you?
  2. What do YOU need to do?
  3. What is your desperate prayer?  Email it to me at joe@iwbnin.com and me and our team would be honored to pray for it with you!

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Are You Enslaving Your Children? – II Kings 4:1

This is a series that appears on a weekly basis here at JosephSangl.com – “Biblical Financial Lessons”

I believe that the Bible is the best money book ever written, and I really want to take some time each week to share the money lessons I have learned from the Word.

Debt Enslaving Children

II Kings 4:1  The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the Lord.  But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves.”

In this incredible story, a man has passed away while still having young boys in the house.  Apparently, this man had incurred substantial debts, and his untimely death placed the family into a financial tailspin.  The situation is so terrible that the creditor is going to take the two boys as slaves to repay the debt.

No one prepares to die before they grow old, but we see obituaries of young people all of the time.  It’s awful.  Without a plan, this situation can literally enslave the family just as is recorded in this story.

It’s time for you to ask yourself two questions.

1.  Has your debt situation become so bad that it has enslaved you and your family?

  • Are you BOUND to your job because you have to receive the paycheck?
  • Are you doing things at work that you are morally or ethically against, but your financial situation has prevented your standing up for what you believe?
  • Do you have a second job or demand overtime just to pay the bills?
  • Are your children paying a tremendous price because of your financial situation?

If so, it is time to calculate your Debt Freedom Date and start the journey toward freedom!  Being a slave to debt is a terrible way to live life!

2.  Would your family prosper even if you die prematurely?

  • Do you have substantial savings that would sustain the family over a two to three month period?
  • Do you have life insurance that is equal to 10-times your annual take-home pay?

I have met with families after the untimely loss of a spouse.  I have seen families that had no plan and were enslaved.  It was a terrible moment, as I watched the family move toward poverty overnight.  On the other hand, I have met with families that had planned appropriately, and they were able to focus solely on grieving.

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Biblical Financial Lessons – Proverbs 15:22

This is a series that appears on a weekly basis here at JosephSangl.com – “Biblical Financial Lessons”

I believe that the Bible is the best money book ever written, and I really want to take some time each week to share the money lessons I have learned from the Word.

Proverbs 15:22  Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.

Have you ever attempted to accomplish something that was HUGE for you, yet failed in spite of all of the planning?  First, let me welcome you to the club!  Second, let me ask you a question – Did you have a set of mentors to help you?

Perhaps one of the top things I have learned as I have launched a couple of businesses and purchased another is this – “I do not know everything!”  The act of ASKING FOR HELP and ASKING FOR WISDOM from people who have “been there – done that” has been so rewarding.

My mentors have helped me in the following ways:

  1. Helped me identify potential major issues
  2. Asked me great questions that forced me to really evaluate WHY I was even considering the initiative
  3. Provided connections to other people that had experience with what I was attempting
  4. Prayed with me, for me, and for the initiative
  5. Provided key steps for me to take to safeguard against or avoid pitfalls
  6. Shared options with me that I would have never even thought of (this was HUGE)

QUESTION:  Do you have a set of mentors?  Who could you ask TODAY to begin coaching/mentoring you?

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