Money

Impossible dream

The original premise of LifeVesting is, what would happen if we applied principles of financial investing to all the areas of our lives?  Some of the things we have explored in the process are:

  • There are four – and only four – things you can spend your time and money on.
  • It is possible, like the Bible’s “Proverbs 31 woman,” to position yourself so that you laugh at the future rather than worry about it.
  • God has an economy and you can be rich in it.

Nearly ten years after my son proposed the idea, it still intrigues me.  Lately I’ve been thinking about some wisdom I got from my friend Kirk the Builder.  Kirk works for a major contractor who has built multi-million-dollar facilities all over the country.  One day we were having lunch and talking about the biz, and Kirk shared some profound wisdom.

In construction, he said, people can pick any two of three options:  good, fast, and cheap.  We want all three, but we can’t have all three.

We can have good and fast, but it won’t be cheap.

We can have good and cheap, but it won’t be fast.

We can have fast and cheap, but it won’t be good.

What intrigues me about that is that the principle isn’t limited to bricks-and-sticks construction.  [click to continue…]

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skd285130sdc

We needed $370.00.  That’s what I figured up after looking at the bills.

That was how much month we had left at the end of the money.

Why was this important on this day?  Because I was leading a “praise revival” at a small church in north Texas.  Because we were newly-married.  Because we were short on cash.  Because this was the last day of the conference, and the love offering check would soon be coming in.

I’ll bet you didn’t know that preachers prayed about such things.

Anyway, on this day, we needed $370.  I could have asked the Lord for more; after all, it’s nothing to God to see to it I got $1,000, or $10,000 for that matter.

I could have asked for nothing, and said, “Lord, whatever your will is – that’s fine with me.”

But I sensed the freedom to ask – not big, but not small either.  To pray specifically for a need.  The need was for $370.00, so that was what I asked the Lord for.  [click to continue…]

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ChickenSomebody just stumbled into a chicken-and-egg situation. And I’m not talking about foxes in the henhouse.  This is more of the “What came first?” variety. And the answer to that proverbial question has profound implications for your life.

Here’s the back story…

The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently published a report outlining how the average American spends his or her money.  Assuming you’re average, you spend a third of your income on housing, 17% on transportation, 13% on food, 11% on insurance, and 7% on healthcare. Entertainment lags back at 5% and the average American gives 4% to churches or charities. Interesting, there was no mention of debt service, at least in the report I read.

Of course, who’s average, right? So Derek Thompson of The Atlantic did some more figuring.  He split up income categories into quintiles – the top 20%, the bottom 20%, and the three in the middle. He then compared how the top fifth spend their money proportionally, compared to the bottom fifth.

Would it come as a shock that there is a difference? [click to continue…]

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Flying moneyEver try one of those teachable moments with your kids that gets turned back on you? As in, Who’s teaching whom?

Twenty or so years ago, we were living in West Alabama and I took Cassie, about age 9, to the local shopping center (translation: Walmart).  It was just before Easter.  We didn’t find whatever it was we were looking for, so we left past the customer service counter.

“Daddy,” she whispered.  “Look… those people are poor!

I looked.

“Those people” were a middle-aged married couple, standing at the customer service desk. They were very humbly dressed, to be sure. And they had all the individual parts to make their own Easter baskets – apparently not able to afford the prepackaged wonders that were for sale in the back.

Ah, Fatherhood! The opportunities we have to engage with our children at teachable moments to give them perspective, wisdom, and character.  This was certainly one of them, and a donned my SuperDad cape. [click to continue…]

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(A Conversation)

200291528-001The Kids

I’m impressed with your kids. Well, most of the time.

They’re not my kids.

What?

Not mine.

(Gasp!) You mean…

Noooo, not like that!  I’m their father.

Oh, so they are your kids.

Nope. I gave them away a long time ago.  In fact, on the day they were born.

To who?

To God.  He’s the one who gave them to me in the first place.  “Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.  Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands” (Psalm 127:3-4, NLT).

Okay, whatever, but they’re your responsibility.

Oh, of course.  God gave them to me for a season to help turn them into strategic weapons for His kingdom. So I feed them, clothe them, and train them.

Train them to do what? [click to continue…]

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American 1Of all the nations who have drawn some borders and set up shop, perhaps none has a shorter and more mixed (some would say mixed up) pedigree than the United States.  If the planet was populated by nothing but dogs, we’d be the mixed breeds – the hardy, loveable mutts who may not be able to point to a long pedigree, but will probably live the longest, love the hardest, and fight the fiercest of anybody in the pound.

To be an American is to be a delightful, maddening mix of contributions and contradictions, possibilities and problems.  We’re a living demonstration of what can happen when you let “the help” run the kingdom.

To be an American is to believe in the power of the people.  Your people, that is.  It is to believe that authority resides in the will of the majority, even though at any given time the Commander-in-Chief was elected by less than 21% of the population. Or if that doesn’t work, maybe power can reside in the rulings of some Federal judge who can see things your way until the majority gets with the program. [click to continue…]

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hersheykisses

Economics doesn’t have to be difficult.  Just ask my three-year-old grandson…

Understanding Liberalism (True Story)

Cohen:  Papa can I have a treat?

Papa:  What do you want? [click to continue…]

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PuzzleKnow what’s always messed me up with New Year’s resolutions?  New Year’s Day is a holiday.  So all those goals and new beginnings typically start around January 2 and I’m already a day behind.  Then I need to put up Christmas stuff and I’m two days behind.  I’m getting tired just thinking about it.  So I need some mental rest from the holidays.  Three days behind.

So this year I brightened up and decided that this will take a bit more planning and thought. And yes, I’m talking slap-dab in the middle of the Christmas holidays.

So I’m writing this to myself, but inviting you to come along for the fun.  Here are ten suggestions to prepare for the coming year – do all these by December 31, and you can have New Year’s Day off.  I know, I know!  You’re welcome! Click here to get started

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(Sort-of-random thoughts at 30,000 feet with a lot of free time on my hands…)

It takes minutes to make paper fly; to build something capable of carrying you long distances takes months, and a lot of helpful, smart people.  The same is true with your important dreams – and your character.

You were created with the language of Forever in your heart, and nothing else will satisfy.

“I will” spoken with resolve has power, but your resolve will be tested and the limits of your willpower will be exposed.

You were not born with the wisdom and capacity to wait, but wisdom and reward waits for those who learn to.

God created the world for you, not you for the world – but He does hold you accountable for leaving it better than you found it.

A thousand opportunities dance before those whose eyes are open to see them.  Ten thousand chances pass by those too lost in fear or consuming to notice them.

Summers are God’s way of showing that you don’t have to be in a classroom to learn.

I just saw a man express his gratitude by giving up his first class seat to a woman… who happened to be wearing a United States Army uniform.  I wonder how I can say thank-you to somebody today.

I will always respect the one who can wait (there’s that word again) with discipline, but then decisively act with courage.

I’m not so sure that God has a plan for you so much as God has a plan period and invites you to participate joyfully in it… Or bruise yourself on it. [click to continue…]

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And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed (2 Corinthians 9:8).

Regardless of the need or the deed that lurks in front of you, the choice that confronts you is a choice of scarcity or of abundance.  I thought today it would be a good idea to remind you that whatever God does, He does it abundantly.  Even when He’s dealing with you!

Regardless of what you may hear from the Republicans or the Democrats, the courts or the Congress, the economists or the educators, the preachers or the politicians, God is still wonderfully wealthy and lavishly generous.  All you have to do to believe that is compare what you have with what you deserve.

God is measureless when it comes to the grace and provision he offers. [click to continue…]

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