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God’s word has a lot to say about finances, in fact, there are more than 2,300 verses in the Bible on the topics of money and possessions!

God did not leave us alone to fight all the financial pressures and challenges we face without His wise guidance and trustworthy principles.

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Learning Lessons from Losing $4.5 Billion

Originally posted at Christian Post June 24, 2016.

To learn Biblical answers to your financial questions, you can AskCrown by clicking here. Questions used may be lightly edited for length or clarity.

Dear Chuck, 

I have been fascinated by the news stories about the embattled founder of the medical testing company Theranos, Elizabeth Holmes, who lost $4.5 billion – BILLION – and it is really hard to understand how someone can go from the top of Forbes richest people list to the bottom. Is there Biblical advice on how to avoid that kind of rise and fall? I have a business that I operate and I want to avoid that kind of disaster.

Working Hard for the Money

 

Dear Working, 

Thank you for the question. I’ve been fascinated by the story as well, which has all the drama of a Greek tragedy, and some lessons for those who want to create their own “unicorns” – an industry term for start up companies valued at over a billion dollars. Perhaps the whole tragedy could have been averted if a little more of Biblically recommended caution had been applied by those who first heard about the venture. 

As Christians we are urged to “be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:16). Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes told the world that she has built a better medical mousetrap – claiming she could revolutionize the world of blood testing, which impacts many people. But according to pending lawsuits, words and deeds did not match up. Blind faith is never a good thing in investing.

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Does God Really Require Fathers to be the Breadwinner?

Chuck Bentley on 6/17/16 9:00 AM

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Originally posted at Christian Post June 17, 2016.

To learn Biblical answers to your financial questions, you can Ask Chuck your questions by clicking here. Questions used may be lightly edited for length or clarity.

Dear Chuck,

As we celebrate Father’s Day this weekend, it seems to me that today’s dads are under pressure of all kinds as well as having to endure being the butt of the joke too much of time. Father may not always know best, but Hollywood makes dads appear weak, stupid and clueless. What kind of leadership does God require of husbands and fathers? And does God require men to be the primary breadwinners, bringing home more than their wives? My wife and I both work, and I’m not sure how God sees that.

Duel Income Dad


Dear Dad,

Your question raises a common confusion: the distinction between leader and provider, and how God instructs men on both. God the Father – the image that we are given in scripture for the highest and best leader of all – provides us with a template for understanding what is expected of men … and what is not. In the Bible, God lays out a chain of command, which does not subjugate, but rather organizes how people work together, and at the foundation of the structure is sacrificial love by the leader who is held to the highest standard.

When it comes to organizing leadership, 1 Corinthians 11:3 puts it like this, “But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.” In this outline, we see God detailing who is accountable for whom in relationship. God, out of love for the world, sent His Son to die for us. He made a plan to care for all of us. He asks the most of Himself. The husband is told to lay his life down for his wife and family as well, following God’s example. Accountability does not equal tyranny, but rather describes a sacrificial relationship.

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What Jesus Wants to See on Your Resume

Chuck Bentley on 6/10/16 9:00 AM

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Originally posted at Christian Post June 10, 2016.

To learn Biblical answers to your financial questions, you can Ask Chuck your questions by clicking here. Questions used may be lightly edited for length or clarity.

Dear Chuck,

For so many of us looking for work, the first step always seems to be to get a resume together. Do you have any tips for me on what makes a good resume and on any advice from the Bible for putting my best foot forward?

Writing a Resume … again.

Dear Writing,

With fewer good jobs available right now, a good resume can be the perfect advertisement for the amazing miracle of creation that is you. It’s easy to be discouraged and think that you are just one more resume in a pile. In Psalm 77, the discouraged writer ultimately remembers that he cries out to a God who can lead us with miracles and in new and mysterious ways … even on “a path through the sea.”

Start writing your resume with hope in the God who can lead you to the next great job for you, his dearly loved child, even if the journey leads you places you never expected to go.

There are many resume templates out there to choose from, so pick one that highlights what is wonderful about you. Forget the rules. Think about your unique skills.

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Is Graduating Debt-free from College Even Possible?

Chuck Bentley on 6/3/16 9:00 AM

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Originally posted at Christian Post June 3, 2016.

To learn Biblical answers to your financial questions, you can #AskChuck @AskCrown your questions by clicking here. Questions used may be lightly edited for length or clarity.

Dear Chuck,

My husband and I are more concerned everyday about how we are going to help our children get through college without burying themselves in debt. It’s starting to be similar to the costs of buying a house! What can we do to help our kids graduate with as little debt as possible?

Frugal Folks

Dear Frugal,

I share your concern! Forbes reports that the projected costs of a 4-year degree from an elite college can run as high as $334,000 … and that’s assuming the kids make it out in 4 years! Strategies exist for cutting those costs if you really work at it. Not long ago, my wife and I proudly watched one of our sons graduate from the University of Georgia – debt free. I’m not saying it’s easy, but it is possible.

As I wrote in this column last week, before you make an investment in a college education, take some steps to be sure that you are in a field of study that is suited to your unique and God-given design. Too many students increase the costs of their educations by switching their majors and adding years to their schooling. Borderzine.com reports, "About 80 percent of students in the United States end up changing their major at least once, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. On average, college students change their major at least three times over the course of their college career."

Time is money, when it comes to a degree. And time spent effectively in the high school years, can save thousands of dollars in college tuition fees.

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Make Your Expensive College Education Count!

Chuck Bentley on 5/27/16 9:00 AM

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Originally posted at Christian Post May 27, 2016.

To learn Biblical answers to your financial questions, you can #AskChuck @AskCrown your questions by clicking here. Questions used may be lightly edited for length or clarity.

 

Dear Chuck,

With kids in college, I’m very worried about whether they can get a job after graduation and about the debt they’re going to need to manage because my wife and I can’t afford to pay for their educations free and clear. But it’s hard to get a good job without a college education. Do you have advice for us on making the most of a college degree?

Worried Parents

 

Dear Parents,

With four sons, my wife and I can relate to your concerns as we have worked with our boys to get a college education without debt.  I’m especially concerned for today’s graduates because I believe that they are on the verge of suffering through another economic bubble poised to burst – a college debt bubble - just like the housing bubble that burst, leaving people stuck with homes worth less than the mortgage debt. Similarly, many graduates will owe more than they can afford to pay back because of low-paying or unavailable jobs. According to the Wall Street Journal, 2016 college graduates broke the debt record set in 2015, leaving college today with an average debt of $37,172.  With so many young people burdened as they start their adult lives, it’s important to make a plan that ensures their investment pays off.

Because the costs are so high, I believe parents and students need to seek lots of counsel before going into debt for a college education. Proverbs 15:22 notes, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.”

Know Yourself. We are all “fearfully and wonderfully made” by a loving God who intended us to accomplish His purposes on this earth. The question is, what is God’s purpose for our lives? Crown has developed Career Direct as an assessment tool to understand a person’s unique gifts and talents, because those are the skills best developed into a career. It’s important information to have as so many young adults get into additional debt because they’ve chosen the wrong majors for themselves, leading to higher costs and delays to discovering the right path.

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Let’s Give Them Something to Talk About

Originally posted at Christian Post May 20, 2016.

To learn Biblical answers to your financial questions, you can #AskChuck @AskCrown your questions by clicking here. Questions used may be lightly edited for length or clarity.

Dear Chuck,

My spouse and I find that talking about our finances is so stressful, we would rather just avoid the topic altogether. We sort of go our separate ways, but try to avoid things like debt, and we agree on tithing. But I wonder if we would be doing better as a couple if we could really talk about money. How can we tackle an uncomfortable topic?

Married and Mum on Money Talks

 

Dear Married,

You are certainly not alone as millions of couples find talking about their finances a very difficult and painful topic. But it is a topic that cannot be avoided. You’ve heard the phrase “talk is cheap,” but the truth is NOT talking about money decisions can be very expensive when you’re married and trying to live happily ever after.

In fact, a study from Kansas State University found that arguments about money were the best indicator of divorce – more than conflicts over child rearing, sex, in-laws or any traditional areas of tension. I believe that being on the same page with your spouse on financial issues is one of the keys to a strong marriage.

Harmonious communication is key because your financial future depends on working together toward mutual goals. Since we all bring different beliefs, methodologies and goals into our marriage, a helpful first step is to seek to understand where your spouse stands on these issues.

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When should Helicopter Parents Fly Away?

Chuck Bentley on 5/13/16 9:49 AM

0 comments

Originally posted at Christian Post May 6, 2016.

To learn Biblical answers to your financial questions, you can #AskChuck @AskCrown your questions by clicking here. Questions used may be lightly edited for length or clarity.

Dear Chuck,

I’ve been reading about helicopter parenting, where parents hover over their children trying to control almost every aspect of their children’s lives to get “the right” outcome compared to so-called “Free Range” parents who are hands off, and then of course we’ve all seen stories of parental neglect, where parents don’t care much at all. How does someone find the happy medium? As my kids are getting older and preparing for college, I worry in particular that they are not ready to handle money, which can be very complicated, and I’d like to be involved in their financial decisions. How do I parent my kids about handling money without getting in the way of important life lessons?

Perplexed Parent

Dear Perplexed,

Let me commend you right up front for understanding an important truth – sometimes children need to learn from failure, and sometimes they need to experience unpleasant consequences to instill in them hard but important truths. The current controversies surrounding Helicopter parenting, to my mind, involve a misunderstanding over the need to adjust as children grow older. To paraphrase Ecclesiastes, for everything there is a season … a time to be very closely supervising, standing ready to rescue your children (Helicopter parenting) and a time to fly away to let kids figure out a few things on their own.

Young children need an appropriate amount of hovering, for their safety and to learn the basics of life. According to the Bible, the best way to teach your children the truth about the world we live in is to share God’s word with them as you spend time together. In Deuteronomy 6, Moses tells the young nation of Israel that parents are responsible for passing on the most important lessons: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”

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Pop-Star Prince Problems to Avoid!

Chuck Bentley on 5/6/16 9:00 AM

0 comments

Originally posted at Christian Post May 6, 2016.

To learn Biblical answers to your financial questions, you can #AskChuck @AskCrown your questions by clicking here. Questions used may be lightly edited for length or clarity.

Dear Chuck,

When the pop artist known as Prince died so unexpectedly recently, I was shocked and saddened by the loss, but also surprised when I saw this headline: Prince Leaves $300M, No Direct Heirs And The Ultimate Succession Nightmare. I don’t haven nearly as much as he did, but I’m not sure my affairs are in order either. What needs to be done to have a plan in place?

Not Ready to Go Just Yet

Dear Not Ready,

Sadly, the tragic, legal tangle that Prince’s potential heirs are facing is pretty common. With no current wife, no living children and few close relatives (he has a sister), it’s not entirely clear just yet who stands to inherit, though likely to be his estranged sister according to media reports. It’s going to get complicated, and not just for Prince’s relatives.

I like to say that if you don’t have a will, the government has one for you. Who would you rather have prepare your will for you?

LexisNexis reports that about 55 percent of American adults do not have a last will and testament, and for some segments of the population it’s even higher. Among African Americans, 68 percent don’t have final documents, and 74 percent of Hispanics also don’t have a plan in place. And while people may think it’s no big deal to die without their estate in some kind of order, it makes a real mess for those who are left behind.

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Beware of Craig’s List Scams!

Chuck Bentley on 4/29/16 9:00 AM

0 comments

Originally posted at Christian Post April 29, 2016.

To learn Biblical answers to your financial questions, you can #AskChuck @AskCrown your questions by clicking here. Questions used may be lightly edited for length or clarity.

Dear Chuck,

I’m a little afraid of selling things on the Internet. This month a man was sentenced to life in prison for helping his stepsister beat to death a man she met on Craigslist that she intended to rob. She’s in prison now too. So many people I know have made a lot money by selling things on the website or buying things at what seems to me to be an international garage sale, but I am a little afraid to use it because of all the stories you read like this one. I know Crown advises people to simplify and to sell things to downsize and earn money when possible, but do you think it is safe to use it?

Scared of the Worldwide Web

Dear Scared,

It’s very appropriate to be concerned about any exchange on the Internet, whether it’s money or just information on Craigslist or any other site. Just because we are Christians, and hope for the best, that doesn’t mean we don’t want to be wise about how we conduct business. In Matthew 10:16, Jesus said, “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”

Here are a few tips that I recommend when using such a service.

  1. Research what you’re buying or selling and stand your ground. You really need to know the value of things to get a good exchange. Too often people become deceived by a sales pitch or are cleverly discouraged from asking for something’s true worth. Negotiating is part of the sales process and is as old as time, but you need to understand what you have or what you want. Proverbs 20:14 notes the truth about such exchanges, “’It's no good, it's no good!’ says the buyer-- then goes off and boasts about the purchase.”
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Can you Legislate Greed Away?

Chuck Bentley on 4/22/16 9:00 AM

0 comments

Originally posted at Christian Post April 22, 2016.

To learn Biblical answers to your financial questions, you can #AskChuck @AskCrown your questions by clicking here. Questions used may be lightly edited for length or clarity.

Dear Chuck,

With all the talk about socialism in this election cycle, I keep wondering if there is a way to better deal with greed than our country’s capitalistic system. Do you think that greed can be controlled through economic policy? Does socialism do a better job than capitalism in controlling greed?

Puzzled by the Headlines.

 

 

Dear Puzzled,

Great question. I believe that a lot of the conflict in the debates about socialism and capitalism can be informed by considering God’s law found in the Ten Commandments.

In Exodus 20, God outlined two commandments that influence our economic lives everyday (and that most of us agree with): Thou Shalt Not Lie and Thou Shalt not Steal.

Pretty much every government in the world has some structures in place to protect or reimburse people from theft and to guard against those who would rip-off a buyer. People generally agree that they don’t want their homes robbed or that they don’t want to be deceived by a crooked salesman or be the victim of a fraud. Our own government has set up all kinds of regulatory agencies – like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) -- trying to ensure that products sold deliver on their claims or are not dangerous.

My point is this: These commandments obviously have strong economic implications. When either one or both are chronically violated, people, businesses and the economy as a whole will suffer.  High crime leads to bad economic growth.

But I believe that it’s the last commandment – Thou Shalt Not Covet – that’s the hidden issue behind the headlines now, as many people consider economic policies that look into other people’s lives, homes and businesses making a judgment about whether they “deserve” their possessions. And as the commandment says, considering other people’s possessions is a bad idea. Fundamentally, a socialistic structure evaluates people’s possessions to determine if they deserve it – and that is a judgment call, made by human beings.

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