Churches - are you reaching out to help people in their time of need? This is a time where we need to spend less time preaching about tithing and other matters of "the law" and spend more time reaching people. I'm not saying that there is not a time and place to educate on these important matters. However, this is not the right time of emphasis, as a rapidly increasing number of folks are doing all they can to make ends meet due to job losses, pressures from an increasing debt burden, a drop in income, etc. If we meet the needs of our congregation and those in the communities around us, the giving will happen, as people will be committed to their churches in ways that they never have been previously.
For instance, do you have a financial education program in place? Do you have a financial counseling ministry? Do you have a well-defined benevolence program? Are people being helped? How much of your church budget is going toward meeting people's needs?
This is likely the most profound time of financial need that our congregations will ever see. Are we responding with the hands and feet of Jesus, or are we just being a big mouth?
If you or someone that you know is in a personal financial crisis, our thoughts and our prayers go out to you. Here are some tips :
1) Stay calm; God & your family and friends still love you. You still have value as a child of God.
2) Take care of basic necessities first – food, clothing, shelter (including utilities) and transportation. Prioritize your remaining expenses, so that the important things are taken care of first.
3) Don’t live in denial and hide from your creditors; communicate with them and negotiate a plan. If you show that you have a plan, it will likely buy you some additional time
4) Never give a debt collector direct access to your checking or savings account; they will wipe out your account and cause all kinds of problems for you
5) Debt collectors are not your friends; do not give them too much information or else they may use it against you later
6) Keep learning…read, listen to audio programs, learn from websites, etc.
7) Seek Godly counsel
• Proverbs 15:22, "Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.“
• Proverbs 19:20-21, "Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise. Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails“
8) If there’s someone in your church that you trust on financial matters, seek that person out
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
"Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told."
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that an increasing number of churches are being forced into bankruptcy and foreclosure, due to the burden of their mortgage debt and a dwindling contribution base.
Giving is down 15% in some places, according to the article, which cited data from pastors and lenders.
Until the past few months, foreclosures on churches were very rare, as church financial leaders were very conservative and hesitant to go into debt. However, construction on church buildings grew from $3.8 billion in 1997 to $6.2 billion in 2007, which increased the pressure on churches to keep people in the pews and giving generously. As the economy soured, pledged offerings did not come through, and financial problems for the churches ensued.
The problems even caused a lender to churches to fail, Church Mortgage & Loan, after they were unable to sell properties on which they were forced to repossess.
Clearly, this is a set of unfortunate circumstances, as these congregations likely had lofty goals of building places where they could reach out and impact their communities.
The underlying problem is likely that the congregation members are having financial problems as well, which impedes their ability to give as much as they would like. Financial education is a huge need right now, as this article illustrates.
I pray that things turn around quickly, so that more churches don't fall behind and lose their buildings.
I recently learned of a new site where employees and past employees can go and privately rate their places of employment. The site is called JobVent.
Each person rating the company gives a numerical score to each of 9 categories - pay, respect, benefits, job security, work/life balance, career potential/growth, location, co-worker competence, and work environment. Then, the total from each category is tallied into an overall score. Finally, the overall scores are tabulated into a company score, where companies can be ranked.
The top 10 companies are shown on the main page in the "I Love My Job" list, whereas the bottom 10 are presented in a "I Hate My Job" list.
In addition to the numerical ratings, each reviewer also provides descriptive ratings for each category, and others can comment on each post.
If you really hate your job, I suggest either finding a new job or starting a new business. There are a wealth of opportunities in this country, so there's no need to be miserable every day.
Regardless of whether you love your job or not, I recommend checking out the site to see what your co-workers have to say.
If you'd like to give someone a gift this Christmas that can help the recipients improve their financial situation, you may be interested in the sale going on at DaveRamsey.com. For as little as $10, you can purchase items such as one of Dave's best selling books, software, single session DVD's from the Financial Peace University series, or an audio lesson from Dave.
If you order more than $65 of materials, the shipping is free.
The sale ends Sunday, December 21st.
With many banks struggling to make ends meet, due to large bets made on subprime mortgages and other risky assets, it's becoming more difficult each day to find a good deal on a standard checking account. Many checking accounts have monthly fees, minimum balances, and/or pay a low rate of interest. If this sounds like your current account, there is a website that can help you find a better deal.
CheckingFinder.com is a resource that shows available accounts that have CD-like rates, no monthly fees, ATM refunds nationwide, and no minimum balance requirements. The accounts returned are all insured by the FDIC, NCUA, or ASI (depending on the type of financial institution).
You enter a zip code and the search tool looks for deals for you.
Click on the link above to get started now!
Some of the commentators on TV have begun to compare the current economic situation to the Great Depression. It is likely that the massive government interventions that we have witnessed will prevent a repeat of a depression. However, clearly, there are people hurting all around us. Home foreclosures are on the rise, job layoffs are increasing day-by-day, investment account balances have dropped dramatically, and people are feeling uncertain about the future.
With the current situation in mind, we have compiled a series of thoughts that will hopefully add some perspective.
Where does our value come from?
Our value comes from being a child of God, not from having money. God still loves us, regardless of whether we are in an economic expansion or contraction. Furthermore, Jesus still died on the cross for us. Nothing will take that away from us. For this fact, we should continue to praise Him.
1 John 4:9-10, "This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins."
Psalm 139:14, "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made"
In whom do we trust?
We should place our trust in God, not the size of our net worth. We all know that God's principles are eternal, whereas the riches of this world are temporary. Let's place our hope in eternal things, not in temporary possessions.
Psalm 20:7, "Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God."
Proverbs 11:28, "Whoever trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf."
Proverbs 3:5, "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;"
Proverbs 23:5, "Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle."
Does anyone know what will happen next?
No, they do not, no matter how smart they are. The Bible urges us to be wary of anyone who claims to know the future.
Proverbs 27:1 (NLT), "Don't brag about tomorrow, since you don't know what the day will bring"
How should we react ?
Proverbs 16:3, "Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed"
Proverbs 15:22, "Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed."
Proverbs 19:20-21, "Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise. Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails"
Ecclesiastes 11:1-6, "Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again. Give portions to seven, yes to eight, for you do not know what disaster may come upon the land. If clouds are full of water, they pour rain upon the earth. Whether a tree falls to the south or to the north, in the place where it falls, there will it lie. Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap. As you do not know the path of the wind, how the body is formed in a mother's womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things. Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let not your hands be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well."
Proverbs 28:20, "A faithful man will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished."
Proverbs 13:11, "Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow"
Stick with your savings routine
Proverbs 6:6-8, "Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest"
Proverbs 21:20, "In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has."
Proverbs 14:29, "A patient man has great understanding, but a quick-tempered man displays folly."
Proverbs 21:5, "The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty."
Proverbs 11:25, "A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed."
Proverbs 28:22, "A stingy man is eager to get rich and is unaware that poverty awaits him."
It is in the rough patches of life where people often seek out answers. We, as a group of Christians, can use opportunities like these to reach out and meet people's needs. There will likely be some opportunities in the coming days and months to minister to those around you and lend a helping hand. I encourage you to keep your eyes open and move as the Holy Spirit guides you.
Our September newsletter is scheduled for release on Friday, September 5th. We are excited about this month’s edition, as we think that it is jam-packed with useful information for you.
Headlines for the September edition include:
• Looking for a Deal on a Checking Account?
• Do You Have a Love Drawer?
• What Do the Problems and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Mean to Me?
• Are You Working in Your Center of Excellence?
• Hiring One Person for Two Jobs?
• Signs of a Miserable Job
• Cash is King
• Money Saving and Free Sites
• Are Youth Sports Worth the Investment?
• September Contest
• Verse of the Month
• Quote of the Month
• Recommended Resource : The Winner’s Manual by Jim Tressel
• Humorous Video
• Did You Know?
• Answers to Your Questions: "Is Debt a Sin?"
We encourage you to sign up today, so that you don’t miss it.
Today, the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) announced that it's list of "problem" banks had grown to 117 institutions, as of June 30, which is the highest number since 2003 and an increase of 30% since last quarter. To read more about the most recent update, click here.
With the recent failure of IndyMac Bank and fears in the marketplace of potential other bank failures, it's worth a quick mention of how the FDIC Deposit Insurance program works.
Generally, deposits from a single depositor up to $100,000 are fully insured. The limit is $100,000 per depositor, regardless of how many accounts were opened. For instance, if an individual has $95,000 in CD's and $10,000 in checking, then $5,000 of the deposits would generally not be covered.
Any bank that participates in the FDIC program must display the FDIC logo at teller stations where deposits are accepted.
The FDIC does not insure money invested in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, life insurance policies, annuities, or municipal securities, even if they were bought from an insured bank. The FDIC also does not insure U.S.Treasury bills, bonds, or notes, but those are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government.
Deposits with each FDIC-insured bank are insured separately from any deposits at another insured bank. If an insured bank has branch offices, the main office and all branch offices are considered
one insured bank - a depositor cannot increase insurance coverage by placing deposits at different branches of the same insured bank. Similarly, deposits held with the Internet division of an insured bank are considered the same as deposits with the "brick and mortar" part of the bank, even if the Internet division uses a different name. If two banks are affiliated, such as having a common holding company, but are separately chartered (indicated by having two different FDIC Certificate numbers), deposits in each bank would be separately insured.
To read more details from the FDIC or to use an interactive tool from the FDIC that helps assess your potential risk, click here