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Ever had your power turned off by the electric company?

Posted by Chuck Bentley

Jul 30, 2015 8:00:00 AM

One evening, a pastor who is a friend of mine, arrived at his house about a half hour before members of his church were coming over for a Friday night Bible study. When he entered his home his wife was in tears; the electric company had just shut off all power to their home for past due payments on their monthly bill and they did not have the money to get it turned back on. 

The pastor did some quick thinking and came up with a plan to have the Bible study “by candlelight” to cover for his embarrassment.  He explained to me that all during the study he could hardly pay attention because of the shame he felt inside.  He had disappointed his wife; his children and now he felt his congregation would discover that he had never been able to manage his finances well. 

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Topics: Personal Finance

Would you take out a 30-year mortgage loan to buy a pizza?

Posted by Chuck Bentley

Jul 29, 2015 8:00:00 AM

While it sounds ridiculous, you may actually be taking out a mortgage when you use your credit card to make purchases on things like pizza or coffee or gasoline.  Here’s why:

If you use a credit card that carries a $2,000 credit balance with an 18% annual rate, with a minimum payment of 2% of the balance, or $10, whichever is greater, it will take you 370 months or just over 30 years to pay off. 

So what is the real cost of that pizza?

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Topics: Personal Finance

Stewardship may not be what you think it is!

Posted by Chuck Bentley

Jul 28, 2015 8:00:00 AM

Many folks have a misunderstanding of what it means to be a steward.  Some think it is the campaign the church has once a year to raise more money. That’s not it. Others think it means taking care of the environment. That’s not it either.  It has become popular to see stewardship as a financial plan to set you free from debt so you can live however you want.  That’s not it.  All of these are misconceptions of the true meaning.

Stewardship is not ordering your finances in a way that you can spend whatever you want; it is ordering your life in such a way that God can spend you however He wants.

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Topics: Personal Finance

Popular financial advice can actually be harmful.

Posted by Chuck Bentley

Jul 27, 2015 8:00:00 AM

One author of a best selling investment book that sold over 20 million copies offered a very clever strategy to get rich by following the way he learned how to do it himself.  In the book, he actually stated that the reason you are not getting rich (like him and or his Dad that taught him the right way to get rich) is that you likely believe an old wives tale…“for the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil”.  His challenge was that you needed to reject this “old wives tale” because it is holding you back from him a proper mindset.  He was not quoting on old wives tale, but the Word of God found in I Timothy 6:10.  That verse is actually a warning about the very mindset he was suggesting that you get rid of!

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Topics: Personal Finance

Today, I have a very encouraging money story.

Posted by Chuck Bentley

Jul 23, 2015 8:00:00 AM

Just a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to meet a young couple in my office who told me their remarkable story.

Both were raised in Christian homes and regularly attended church.  When they first met and fell in love, they decided to live together which they did for four years.  At that time, a friend invited them to participate in a Crown Small Group Bible Study.  In the study, both realized that they had never fully surrendered their lives to Jesus Christ.  They both did just that and more. God’s Word convicted them of their sin in living together so they got married!

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Topics: Personal Finance

Are you concerned about the American economy? You have plenty of company!

Posted by Chuck Bentley

Jul 22, 2015 8:00:00 AM

Political pollster, Ed Goeas, recently said, "Concern over the economy is the highest I've ever seen," He said 72 percent are worried about an economic downturn.

While I hope you are not among those who are worrying about the economy, I encourage you to be keeping a watchful and skeptical eye on it. My opinion is that these record highs being achieved in the stock markets are built upon sand and are vulnerable to a painful correction in the near term.  Now, don’t panic. If you are in the 72% who likely agree with me, then get prepared.

First, be sure your investments are diversified.  In Ecclesiastes 11:2, Solomon advised that the best plan was to divide your portions into 7 or 8 different places. That means you should have no more than 12-15% of your investments in the same stock or bond. Get professional advice if you don’t know how to best achieve that.

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Topics: Personal Finance

Jesus did not come into the world to create more Rich Young Rulers.

Posted by Chuck Bentley

Jul 21, 2015 8:00:00 AM

 

Ever think about the financial advice that Jesus gave in Matthew 19 when He encountered the Rich Young Ruler?

  1. Go sell everything that you have. That probably arrested his attention, but there is more.
  2. Now go and give it all away to the poor. That may have caused a mild stroke.

How many financial advisors writing for our prestigious financial magazines today are offering this as their best financial advice? Not many that I meet!  In fact the opposite is the case. Most financial advisors make their living helping people to become rich young rulers, or at least a happy baby boomer with a comfortable retirement package.

But Jesus gave this young seeker of eternal life the greatest financial advice ever given because he said one more thing we should not miss in their exchange:

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Topics: Personal Finance

What we treasure is an indication of what we love.

Posted by Chuck Bentley

Jul 20, 2015 8:00:00 AM

Matthew 6:19-21 Jesus taught us, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

To be honest with you, I seldom think about the future treasures that God has promised to His children. While it is true that God will have treasures awaiting us in our eternal home, my focus on this verse is in the present. Jesus explains that all we have, everything that we call treasures today are temporal.  They are so short term that they can be eaten by a little moth.  They can be rusted by humidity.  Or they can be taken from you by a thief.  In essence Jesus is saying that all our stuff is just stuff and it should never be viewed as of greater value then serving Him.

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Topics: Personal Finance

Want more disciplined children when it comes to the chores?

Posted by Chuck Bentley

Jul 16, 2015 8:00:00 AM

Around our house, Ann made a little Chore Organizer or Tracker that hangs on the refrigerator.  It is a little felt square with pockets.  One pocket is labeled TO DO and the other DONE.

In the TO DO pocket are blue and yellow Popsicle sticks labeled with the chores our children are expected to do.  When the chore is finished the blue stick is moved to the DONE pocket so that Mom and Dad can see their progress.  By keeping the Organizer in a visible place, it is also a form of accountability.  If the Popsicle sticks are still in the TO DO pocket on the day the chore was supposed to be completed, then it hangs there as a reminder that it is still an outstanding obligation.

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Topics: Personal Finance

God wants us to have a faithful heart and disciplined hands…

Posted by Chuck Bentley

Jul 15, 2015 8:00:00 AM

Luke 16: 11 If then you have not been faithful in the use of worldly wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches?

God’s Word never calls us to financial success. The Bible emphasizes that we are all to strive to become financially faithful.  Success is measured by amounts, by what is in our hand. Faithfulness is measured by devotion, by who is in our hearts.

But God’s Word also calls us to be disciplined.

2 Timothy 2:6 It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops.

No garden can maximize its potential without the daily disciplines of the farmer watching over it with skill and knowledge.

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Topics: Personal Finance

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