Posts Tagged ‘money’

All whose hearts were stirred and whose spirits were moved came and brought their sacred offerings to the LORD. They brought all the materials needed for the Tabernacle, for the performance of its rituals, and for the sacred garments.- Exodus 35:21 (NLT)

The need may not always be met the masses.  The Word says that those who had been “stirred” and “moved” gave what was needed for the Tabernacle (v. 21).  Building projects and other campaigns tend to raise awareness without increasing much participation.  Those who will help typically come through and offer their best in the name of God.  What we need to focus on is getting everyone schooled on the Word’s depicts as a  “cheerful giver.” As we get people educated on what God expects of us when it comes to giving, I believe we will shifts in approaches to giving to God.  Imagine what condition our churches would be in if we developed people spiritually, physically and financially.  Picture the changes that need to occur in the Sunday school classroom and from the pulpit.  That’s where it will show up, but that’s not where it starts.  It will have to start in the hearts and souls of men and women who truly believe and understand what can be accomplished through the people of the church.

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For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.- Matt. 6:21

I am trying to get some things in order as I continue my walk in Christ.  That’s a given for most of us who profess to believe in Christ.  Money is somewhere near the top of the list of things to get straight and in line with God’s standard.  I know and I read it, too.  Yes, money is “what is least” according to the Word.  I do agree with that.  Yet, money has a stranglehold on many of us for many different reasons.  Whether it be debt, saving, cost of living, or simply making ends meet, many people have trouble when it comes to money.  We need to ask for forgiveness, pleading with the Father for both grace and mercy, but we also need to take a realistic look at what we do with the money we do make.  It’s time for a check-up on our checkbook.

Jesus simply shared that you can tell a lot about us by what we spend our money.  Look at where you spend your money and you’ll discover what matters most to you.  People with family budgets that have “miscellaneous” and “emergency fund” listed are doing a slight shift by playing with words if miscellaneous is seeing something that I like and getting it, and if the emergency fund is for tires, brakes and other “incidentals.”  I think many of the materials published by Ron Blue, Larry Burkett, and Dave Ramsey speak to the need for people, especially Christians, to live within their means.  John Wesley’s sermon has often been paraphrased: “Make all you can,Save all you can,Give all you can.”  Money really does matter in a Christian’s life.

Try this on for size: Does what you do with your money honor God? Review your checkbook (or, if you’re like many folks, review your online check register) and see who you give most of your money to monthly.  Are supporting worthy causes or are you simply spending? Is your money going to support the ministry of the church? Are you saving anything? If there were a call for a special offering to help with Haiti or Chile, would you be in the financial position to help out or just pray? Here goes the big one.  Looking at what you have done with what you have, would you trust yourself with more? Better yet, should God trust you with more?  It’s a matter of stewardship.  Let God lead you, even with your money matters.

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Thinking Through It

As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.- Proverbs 23:7

Settle down… Catch your breath… Simply have a seat somewhere and think through it.
We can feel like we’re losing our grip. Money matters and other pressures can get us down, but simply think through it.  Let your mind be at ease for a moment, and then think it through throughly.  Go over the steps that you need to take to get things settled.

Have you prayed yet? Pray over it as you think through it.  Have you sought wise counsel? Consider who is the best person who can help you with sound advice on the matter.  If you can’t think of anyone off the top of your head, pray for God to direct you to someone who can offer a listening ear and sage advice.

Don’t lose it.  Keep it together.  Think through it and simply follow God’s lead as He guides you.

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It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer. – Albert Einstein

Most would-be entrepreneurs find themselves at a great distance from the dreams because they fail to commit to getting things started.  When your dreams remain dreams, they will never manifest into your destinations. If you are not pursuing your God-given purpose with vigor, you most probably are playing it safe by sticking to what you know rather than taking a stab at launching your own personal business.  Personally, I wish more people would start doing and stop dreaming, initiate and stop delaying.

Starting a business may require some homework and even some legwork, but its benefits and blessings pretty much outweigh the burdens.  There are tax write-offs and retirement options open to small business owners that you may not be aware of today.  Do you paint faces at local street fairs and kids’ parties on weekends? Are you a writer on the side, publishing where and when you can? Do you tutor students in your spare time? Take what you are doing (or dreaming about doing) and make it official, and then reap the benefits.  It doesn’t have to replace your full-time job.  It can just serve as additional income.    It can be a part-time “gig” or a weekend thing.  Just start it today.  You have numerous options available.  It will take prayer and patience, but it’s up to you.  Yet, there is still one thing left to do. . . Get started.  Get yourself started now.

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Faith-based organizations and churches may not always have the deliverables desired by most funding sources such as foundations. Even some grassroots organizations may have difficulty with this.  Let me add a warning at this point.  Chasing the money can lead to serious problems that may not be worth the strain a grant opportunity can place on a small agency or church.  What we may not have in the tangible results may actually be offset by the intangibles that exist in our daily work, serving the people of our community.  I learned early on in writing grants that a compelling story should be shared, an ancedotal narrative of the change that occurs as a result of the services that you provide. Yes, I agree that you should track your numbers with outputs and outcomes, even SMART goals where applicable, but that may not convey the story of a child learning to love literature by presenting a culturally-relevant reading curriculum.  Think of how you make a difference and share that with those with your potential contributors and donors.  Make an argument for the little things that occur that lead to you making a big difference.  Survey your clients.  Conduct focus groups.  Host forums and discussion groups.  Do all that you can to reach those who you claim as your target audience.  Craft your proposals so that they point to the results that go beyond the numbers.  You’re already making a difference by what you provide.  Now make a difference by how you present it to others.

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We all need to applaud New Orleans. That’s not just because of the major Super Bowl accomplishment of the Saints this year. New Orleans is a city that proves that people can come together to put the pieces back together, even after a disaster like Hurricane Katrina. CDF Freedom Schools did a mighty work by setting up sites after Katrina, all with the help of Essence Magazine, Oprah Winfrey, and Reese Witherspoon. Look at the contributions of Harry Connick sand Brad Pitt for the city. The MSNBC show Morning Joe broadcasted from New Orleans earlier this year to help with much needed media attention for areas still in need. Hats off to you, New Orleans! You are showing us all something about rebuilding, recovery and resiliency.

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The Cost

“Success is costly.”- A.W. Tozer

Many of us go straight into action, no questions asked.  We just seem to take action and ask questions later.  Of course, that is if we feel that questions are necessary to get the job done.  Yes, this is even true in church and ministry from time to time.  We get going headlong and don’t have a means by which to pull our breaks per se.  That may not be best, but it is often what may happen if the circumstances dictate such a move in the opinion of leadership.

The Lord Jesus Christ said that we should calculate the costs (Luke 14:28).  In particular, we should see if a venture is worthwhile or not.  We need to see if we are willing to go all the way, giving all that it takes to see it rhough to the end, or whether we should just table the whole idea.

We need to plan the work, and then work the plan as I was once taught in Business Management 101.  We can’t get to a destination without charting the course.  If we do, that’s called being “lost.” If we want a venture to become a success, whether it be in ministry or business, we need to take a full view of what all it takes to see it to fruition.  For Christians, there is more on the line than simply your reputation.  Jesus’ name is on the line, too.

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Otis Redding sang that he couldn’t “get no satisfaction” many years ago.  It was a song that typified the heartfelt soul music of a generation.  Yet, many people today find themselves without satisfaction whether they know the lyrics to the song or not.  It’s a reality for many in the world today.

Check the stats and survey reults out there.  People say that they don’t make enough money and they don’t get enough recognition.  What we need to do is start looking at variable compensation plans and identifying rewarding recognition programs.  People like perks.  “Success is costly,” said A.W. Tozer.   Yes, we also need to identify the blessings and benefits that exist beyond your hourly wage or salary.    If churches take on nonprofit status, then they also need to take care of business according to the guidelines and standards in place for any other nonprofit religious entity.  If you’re going to play the game, you need to learn the rules.  

We need to offer breaks and lunch breaks, but also recognize staff for their sacrifice with comp time or paid time off to volunteer at their children’s school.  We can offer flex schedules for parents to pick up children from school or reduced tuition for employees to utilize our on-site day care.  We have to look at how we can bridge the gap between the administration and the remainder of the workforce, especially when dollars are stretched to the maximum.  By doing so, we keep our people satisfied by at least by meeting the minimum standard and going beyond the least that we can do.

Check out:
http://www.barna.org/topics/leadership  www.fdncenter.org
www.managementhelp.org   http://www.daveramsey.com/fpu/home/

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Have you ever read Malachi? No, I mean have you really taken the time to read and understand the issues that came up and went down during this last Old Testament book of the Bible? What you see is the people’s frustration with the church officials and the church’s corruption along with the people’s resolution, and then God has to step in between them both to settle the matter.  God puts it down and states His case, and that’s that.  That’s final.  No need to question it or ask about it.  God said it and it’s over and done with for real.  Then, all of a sudden, God stops speaking.  It’s hundreds of years before we get another word from God.  Prophets no longer prophesise of coming events and the man of God doesn’t seem to carry that special quality of the Word of God.  All of a sudden it is chic to quote the Scriptures since nothing new is being said.  Suddenly, there is birthed a new reliance upon the prophet’s word about the Messiah.  Almost overnight, Moses, Joel, David, Isaiah, and Jonah become biblical superstars in the darkest of times because God is no longer speaking to His chosen people.  It is as if the people had to move beyond the silence in order to discover what God had really meant for them to hear and understand all of those prior generations.  It’s a shame what we do that causes God to use extreme meausres, even silence for hundreds of years.

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Early in my years when I started working at the church, I was exposed to a book that has helped me for years.  Larry Burkett’s Business by the Book filled my head and heart with ideas and insights into running a business as a steward of the kingdom of God.  I have shared the book with many people over the years, even my wife as she launched her own law practice.  If you are a Christian leading   ministry, working for a church or running a businesss of any size, I suggest that you find a copy of this book.  It can serve as a serious guide for your walk as a business professional and leader.  You will not be disappointed.

Other Bible-Based Business Titles include:

Business Proverbs, Steve Marr

The Path,  Laurie Beth Jones

The Management Methods of Jesus, Bob Briner

Using Your Money Wisely, Larry Burkett

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