Category Archives: Finances

Money, Money, Money

In an essay entitled, “How Am I Going to Make it Financially?” in the book, Faithful Endurance: The Joy of Shepherding People for a Lifetime, edited by Collin Hansen & Jeff Robinson Sr, pastor Brandon Shields makes some insightful comments about money.

Financial anxiety is an ancient problem. In Matthew 6:19-34, Jesus identifies our compulsively anxious relationship to money as one of the barriers that hinders our ability to experience the good life of the kingdom: “You cannot serve God and money. Therefore, I tell you, do not be anxious about your life” (Matt. 6:24-25). Jesus invites us to see that money is not some commodity we make to secure goods and services—it’s a primal power that can also make us insecure.

Money functions like a narrator or storyteller—it excavates the hidden motivations, values, myths, and longings that unconsciously drive our patterns of feeling, thinking, and behaving. In other words, how we relate to money reveals more that our financial principles; it uncovers our true ambitions. Money shines a bright light into our inner world, illuminating a complex ecosystem of spiritual and emotional narratives: fear, guilt, shame, joy, godly desire, selfish ambition, security, comfort, scarcity, abundance, and a legion of others.

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Posted by on June 13, 2019 in Books, Finances, Quotes


Accounting humor

The comic, Non-Sequitur, certainly provides a familiar refrain. Every church I’ve served in had at least one staff or budget meeting that ended with the instruction, “Go your way and spend no more.” 

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Posted by on December 18, 2018 in Finances, Non-Sequitur


Prayerfully planning a church budget

At a recent elders’ meeting, our church administrator and the chair of our finance board joined the council to discuss how to prepare our 2019 budget. The finance chair said he was praying about four questions. He encouraged the elders and the congregation to join him in seeking God’s face regarding these issues.

Here are the questions if you would like to pray with us, or adapt them for your church’s use.

  • What do we believe will be our level of giving in 2019? How much do we think God will provide?
  • How should our budget be distributed? How much of the budget should go to staff, missions, ministries, maintenance, etc?
  • How aggressive should we be in next year’s budget? How do we find the appropriate balance between self-reliance and faith-stretching?
  • How can we best use the remaining funds in the parsonage proceeds account?

Building Renovation – June update

Below is a letter sent to the congregation of First Central Bible Church providing an update on the progress of our building renovation project. We’re getting closer.


The high cost of Christmas lights

As we were talking one night in Elista, Naomi asked me about the medical costs for my hip surgery. Since I had time on my hands in the hotel in Moscow, I decided to total them up. As you can see, it turned out to be the most expensive Christmas lights we ever purchased. Thank God for good insurance.

Category Total costs Out of pocket expenses
Ambulances $2,529.13 $100.00
Hospital & personnel $26,999.56 $1,000.00
Ultrasound $2,543.73 $25.00
Surgery & follow up $8,671.00 $25.00
Rehab Center $4,307.14 $752.18
In-home physical therapy $1,539.75 $0
Rx $3,154.46 $187.19
Primary Care Physician $1,160 $200.00
Physical Therapy $4,715 $525.00
Totals $55,619.77 $2,814.37

Considering I have another follow up visit with the surgeon on Monday and possibly more PT to come, as well as more follow up on the blood clots, it’s not quite done yet.

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Posted by on April 21, 2018 in Finances, Health


Transforming lives through strategic stewardship

Book Review: A Disruptive Generosity: Stories of Transforming Cities Through Strategic Giving, by Mac Pier

A Disruptive Generosity: Stories of Transforming Cities Through Strategic Giving by Mac Pier is the follow up to his previous book, A Disruptive Gospel. In the first book, the author lays out the philosophy and strategy to using generosity to reach cities with the gospel. In this book, he tells stories of how it is taking place.

In this volume, the author weaves together three big ideas.

The first is God’s vision for the world as referenced in the book of Isaiah. Isaiah gives us the big picture of a God who comes to transform cities, who causes nations and nature to rejoice in him. Isaiah announces the coming of a Savior who will be the ultimate expression of the generosity of God in the gospel.

The second is that of movement. A spiritual movement is taking place when the Christian population is growing faster than the general population. A movement is taking place when the church is making an impact on the great social realities of a city or nation. A movement is taking place when Christian leaders are finding themselves in places of cultural influence.

The third big idea is that of a relational network, a movement of friendship.

The book contains 31 chapters in which the author interviews 40 leaders in 10 countries around the world who are using generosity for the sake of the gospel. While you can easily read the book in one sitting, you could also read one chapter a day over the course of a month and let the stories sink in. The interviews and stories are designed to encourage the reader to think of creative ways to use their own resources to help fuel the advance of the gospel.

Disclosure: I received this book free from Baker Books through the Baker Books Bloggers program. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.

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Posted by on August 9, 2017 in Books, Finances, Generosity, Quotes


Passing down a legacy of generosity

Book Review: Giving It All Away … And Getting It All Back Again: The Way of Living Generously, by David Green with Bill High

David Green, the founder and CEO of Hobby Lobby, believes that the rule of generosity, the rule of giving, is the foundation for building a lasting legacy. In the early part of the book, he explains the concept of legacy.

Leaving a legacy is about succession—those who follow after us… “When all is said done, your ability as a leader will not be judged by what you achieved personally … You will be judged by how well the generation behind you did after you were gone. Your lasting value will be measured by succession.”

Later in the book, he explores the meaning of generosity.

My journey into generosity has shown me two important thing, among others. First, generosity has a starting point. You don’t just wake up one day and poof, you’re generous. It begins with a decision to steward your resources with a heavenly mindset. Second, generosity depends not on how much money we have but on the posture of our hearts. Too often we think of generosity as the sharing and giving of money. But that’s a shallow definition. Generosity goes much deeper.

Part of the book is a memoir where Green talks about lessons instilled in him by his parents. He also describes what the family experienced when they sued the US Government over Obamacare and the case went all the way to SCOTUS, the US Supreme Court. The rest of the book explains how David and the Green family developed their convictions and commitments towards generosity and how it impacts their business, Hobby Lobby. He also describes their approach to wealth management and passing on wealth to children and grandchildren.

In the final chapter, he lays out the family’s basic ideas regarding wealth, business, and generosity.

  • We are not owners of anything. God owns everything.
  • God wants us to be good stewards of everything he’s put into our hands.
  • We all have wealth—our intellectual capital, our social capital, our emotional capital, our spiritual capital, and our financial capital.
  • Stewardship produces responsibility: as stewards, we need to be found faithful.
  • The great joy of stewardship is generosity: giving it away because we get it all back again in the form of joy.

While the book is very simple, straightforward, and easy to read, it will stretch your thinking on the subject of generosity and passing wealth on to the next generation.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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Posted by on May 6, 2017 in Books, Finances, Legacy, Ministry