...and I'm still broke, but at least NOW we have a plan.
Our church ended our annual money series today. Oh boy, I can hear the reactions now. I totally understand those reactions, too. Everyone has heard the horror stories of churches or ministers and how they take advantage of the well meaning. I've heard those stories, too. Heck, I grew up Catholic and had a very weird understanding of giving, tithing and the Church.
When we started attending Springcreek years ago, we did not give. Springcreek did not ask us to give nor did the plate get passed during service (Instead, there are offering boxes at the exits for those that choose to give).
However, as we became at home at the church and as we became part of the church community, we decided that we wanted to give. We wanted to support the church that was teaching us and that had become home. We were motivated by the desire to support our church so others could find what we found. At first, we gave sporadically. Sporadic giving became regular "first-fruits" giving. Now, our budget and our plan includes automated giving, as well as, regular sacrificial giving. I mention this not for a pat on the back, but to frame the rest of this post.
Angie and I have come to believe that we have been incredibly blessed and that our blessing has a purpose. To share more and more. We try to live our financial lives according to biblical principals, particularly the "Parable of the Talents (MT 25:14-30)." Ultimately, our purpose is to do His will and to help others and thus, His kingdom.
However, Angie and I are not perfect. We have been incredibly blessed, but have allowed ourselves to get into some credit card debt. We honor our gifts, and give regularly, but often purchase on credit - robbing us of freedom and of money. Starting today, that will end. We attended Joseph Sangl's "Financial Learning Experience" at church today...it was the PERFECT ending to the six part series on money and biblical principles we just concluded at church. Based on his book, "I Was Broke, Now I'm Not", Joe discussed how to make money work for us, how to get out of debt, and other financial principles. Based on this conference, Angie and I are going to alter our budget with the plan to get out from under our credit card AND to start having our money earn more for us.
Why? We answered that question at the beginning of the conference. Our answers we to eliminate worry and conflict, to give the kids the best of everything, to have freedom, to retire earlier, and most importantly, to give more away.
We aren't real fans of the whole "gnashing of teeth" thing.