From Dave's Desk...
13 February 2020
Why should we host a “Financial Resource Workshop” at Corner House?
Some might wonder why Christians should get involved in the personal affairs of others by offering instructions on how to prepare financially for the future. We might be tempted to assume that is the role of a personal financial planner and the church should stay in the business of helping people with the spiritual and not the material.
Here are several good reasons why we should help others plan financially for the future:
Money is a topic Christians should discuss
Money is a big deal in the Bible. We're given more instruction in the Bible about money (more than 2,000 verses) than almost anything else. Although some might try to make us feel guilty about it, there's no biblical law against earning a living, or even succeeding greatly in our chosen field. What is important is how we use the money we make, and how we balance our time and attention so that we do not become obsessed with it.
Money is a powerful tool
With our money, we have a powerful tool to express our values through what we buy and how we use it. Each purchase is an extension of our Christian walk, and when we understand that, we can strengthen our faith and the example we set for others.
The Apostle Paul often collected money to care for impoverished Christians. Not all of us can be missionaries, traveling abroad to spread the Gospel. And not all of us can quit our current jobs and volunteer full-time for worthy causes. But even the smallest donation to one or another cause such as these can make a huge difference – and support others’ good works. As we understand that no donation is too small to matter, we can open our eyes to the possibilities of doing good beyond our limited means.
Money is a way to teach people the gospel
Financial literacy is important for everyone, but especially for those young girls and boys who will someday be in positions of great responsibility in our society. Beyond balancing the checkbook, strive to impart responsible lessons about the good that money can do and the importance of discipline and proper stewardship of it.
Money doesn’t make us who we are
We make choices and our choices turn around and make us.
There will always be people who have more money than you do, and people who have less. But nobody will be who you are: uniquely and very preciously you. The less we identify ourselves solely with our financial situation and tie it into our self-worth, the more we will become the individuals God has intended us to be. And as we grow in wisdom, we will also rise above our tethers to money and find ways to use it to promote God’s Word and love.
Money brings about the temptation of debt and debt can be dangerous
Debt is common these days; all forms of consumer debt are on the rise. Some debt may occasionally be necessary, but most kinds can be avoided with careful planning and discipline.
Scripture doesn't explicitly prohibit lending and borrowing, but it does teach that debt is a form of "bondage," since it makes the borrower a slave to the debt payment itself (Prov. 22:7). It also makes the borrower a slave to the lender in the sense that the lender has partial "ownership" of the time the borrower must work to pay the lender back.
Unless there's an overwhelming need to borrow, we shouldn't put ourselves under the bondage of indebtedness. At a minimum, we shouldn't frequently borrow, and we should always pay off debt as soon as possible (which is the wise thing to do regardless).
We should view our financial needs as an opportunity to trust God
Contentment allows us to trust God with our needs and not our own ingenuity. It frees us from worry and fear and allows us to cling to the Giver of good gifts (Jas. 1:17) for our sustenance and provision. This is what is meant by the prayer, "Give us today our daily bread" (Matt. 6). Everything we own is from the hand of the Father.
There are a lot of opinions in the church about money and finances, even among spiritually mature followers of Christ. Good people, sometimes in the same household, disagree on how much to give, the use of debt and what constitutes a good use of money. But certain basic, bedrock, biblical principles are things all Christians can and should agree on—and agree to pass on to the next generation.
January 16, 2020
Perhaps you feel as I often do - “overwhelmed by Christianity.” The things that Christ expects me to do including attending and involvement in my church, loving others, even enemies, witnessing, tithing and faithful prayer and meditation on God’s word. It would take a small miracle to major in all these categories.
Christian writer Kathleeen Norris tells one of the most incredible stories I have ever heard about an encounter with the Bible, in her book, "Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith".
Norris recalls a conversation she and her husband once had in a local steak house with one of their South Dakota neighbors, a grandson of “dirt-poor immigrants” who now owned several thousand acres and bought new cars for his family every year; a man who had now begun treatment for a probably terminal cancer. That night this man of few words who usually spoke about business when he did speak, began telling about receiving a wedding gift, many years before, from his devout grandfather. Norris says:
His wedding present to Arlo and his bride had been a Bible, which he admitted he admired mostly because it was an expensive gift, bound in white leather, with their names and the date of their wedding set in gold lettering on the cover. “I left it in its box and it ended up in our bedroom closet,” Arlo told us. “But,” he said, “for months afterward, every time we saw grandpa he would ask me how I liked that bible. The wife had written him a thank you note, and we’d thanked him in person, but somehow he couldn’t let it lie, he’d always keep asking about it.” Finally, Arlo grew curious as to why the old man kept after him. “Well,” he said, “the joke was on me. I finally took that Bible out of the closet and found that granddad had placed a twenty-dollar bill at the beginning of the Book of Genesis, and at the beginning of every book … over thirteen hundred dollars in all. And he knew I’d never find it.”
Arlo said, “I knew little about how to practice Christian faith when I first began attending church, in my early twenties. But I had heard the Bible is The Book for Christians. So I started reading…
Forty-some years later, I’m still reading the bible nearly every day, and still learning what life and the bible are about every day… There are still parts of life and the bible I don’t understand well. He said, through the years I have been given gift Bibles, and though I haven’t found money stuck inside the pages of any of them, I have found in all of them the gift beyond price… (See Matthew 13:44-45).
Maybe you feel like you don’t completely understand the Bible or why Christians are called to read it so often. But after prayerful study on your own and with other believers – you will discover that essentials like prayer, worship, witness, and works of mercy, justice, and love, the most basic practices of the Christian faith – all depend on listening to God through His eternal Word.
May God give us grace to open wide the scriptures – and find treasure far beyond price.
The grace and peace of Jesus Christ our Savior be with you.
December 19, 2019
My wife is a collector of Nativity sets. Awhile back I came across a single stable at a sale marked $2, so of course I bought it. (I got brownie points for that one!) The miracle of Christmas is that God chose to come be with us in Jesus Christ. While we may over romanticize the stable where Jesus was born, we can know that this birthing place speaks volumes about God’s infinite courtesy towards all people. Jesus was born in an earthy, raw, smelly stable, not in a temple or royal palace. In fact, most scholars tell us it wasn’t a stable at all, even worse -it was a cave.
Being born in such a place is God’s way of showing that Christ comes to us in all sorts of human conditions – earthy, smelly, broken and accomplished. No matter what we’ve done or haven’t done, God comes to be with us in Jesus Christ where we are in life, and out of his great love for all humanity. Wherever you find yourself this Christmas – let God come to you and transform you in that place into something worthy of his honor and glory.
November 15, 2019
Everything happens for a time and a purpose. Solomon reminds us that God makes
everything beautiful in his time. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)
I think it is God’s timing, and not my plan that we are doing a couple messages this
November about finances. I personally hate to talk about money. I’d like to tell you
that I am a great financial planner and that all my bill are always paid and that money
problems have escaped me, but that would be a lie. I would also like to tell you that I
give to God from the depths of my heart and never under compulsion but that too
would be untrue.
But in the past year God has been speaking to my gut about a couple of issues dealing
with finances. The question I have wrestled with is "How can we (CHCC) expect
people to give their ten percent and above and beyond when we haven’t taught them
how to better manage the other ninety percent?" So God began placing the
individuals in my path who were able to guide my thought process.
For instance: A Christian preacher who does financial planning with churches
engaged me over lunch a year ago; one of our local funeral directors spoke about
preparing for death at our Happy Wanderers meeting several months ago; One of our
members spoke to me about leading a Financial Peace seminar using trusted
curriculum from Dave Ramsey; Finally, one more member of CHCC has shared their
passion for helping people with important life choices. To make a long story short
the end result is that we will be offering a Financial Peace Class at Corner House in
the near future as interest prevails. On February 22nd we will be hosting a Financial Planning Seminar right here on these facilities. We will also hope to be offering a session or two for young people who are in college, trade school or who are anticipating post high school or college on how to get a debt free degree.
In II Corinthians 8 Paul is addressing the Macedonian Christians who took up a love
offering for the church in Jerusalem. Paul said that their generosity "exceeded our
expectations" because "They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by
the will of God also to us." Remember my flock, when we give ourselves first to the
Lord our priorities get straightened out rather expediently.
In doing some recent research, I came across an article that gave 5 reasons why
people are motivated to give to the church.
Reason #1: They See a Need
One reason why people gave to the church remodel phase one project is that
needs were established. Our foyer was bottlenecked and crowded – our
children’s classrooms were in need of updating. Although worship, or giving
to the Lord because it flows naturally from a heart that is attuned to God, is by
far the best reason to give, needs are one of the biggest motivators of giving.
Just note that when natural disasters occur, people are motivated to give based
on real needs of real people.
One of the primary goals of our Vision ministry is to establish a priority list of
needs for our congregation. We will then have the opportunity to give
sacrificially and joyfully in order to fulfill those needs.
Reason #2: They Believe in the Vision
Let’s face it - keeping the staff employed, the mortgage current, and the light
bill paid isn’t that inspiring. But being a part of a church that’s making an
eternal difference is a mission that will inspire people.
Think about what we could accomplish at CHCC in terms of ministry if we
didn’t have to worry about the bottom line of last year’s budget or weekly
giving stats. What if we could take the lid off the building and see far beyond
the parameters of the four walls? What is God’s vision for CHCC?
Reason #3: They Are Taught How To Give
Many people don’t give because they don’t know how. Beyond a sermon
series and a simple seminar, what else can we offer our people to teach them,
not only how to give, but how to manage their current resources?
Reason #4: They Understand the Bible
In a recent study of churches it was discovered that the average church teaches
on money for about the sum total of 90 minutes a year. When you consider
that the typical American household consumes more than six hours of
television each day, and that people are now spending on average 24 hours a
week on line, it’s no wonder people in the church don’t manage their money
differently. They get the worlds perspective on resource management and not
the biblical perspective.
We must teach them what the Bible says about money. There are more
passages in the Bible that deal with how we manage our resources than any
other topic including faith.
Reason #5: They Have a Relationship with Someone
Whether it’s the minister, a volunteer, or another Christian friend in the
church, relationships in the church are VERY powerful. When people are
relationally connected, they are more likely to financially contribute. When
people become disconnected, their wallet will leave quickly. Endeavor to
build solid relationships with other people.