Baby Step #1: Begin Emergency Fund

When Carole and I first met and were comfortable enough with one another to talk about money, we discovered that we both didn’t want to live with debt.

Proverbs 22:7 says “The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.”

After we were married we decided to tackle this debt deal head on. Of course I was shocked when I discovered that this wonderful woman had zero debt. I on the other hand was buried under $25,000.00 in Debt. That is exactly what it felt like, the whole world on top of me.

This is where we will begin. Carole and I had to come up with a plan. New York Times best selling author, radio host, speaker and financial guru Dave Ramsey teaches people to take control and with Gazelle intense focus tackle and eliminate your debt, build wealth and give like no one else.

The first thing you must do is decide that you want to be completely debt free. Being debt free means that you have everything paid off except your mortgage or everything paid off including your mortgage. Imagine how much you can give, save,invest and spend if you didn’t have any debt. You could literally change your family tree.

If you are married, both husband and wife must agree to take this journey together. Not agreeing will make it extremely difficult, if not impossible to reach your financial goals. Singles must find an accountability partner, someone they trust, like a parent, uncle or pastor.

Second, you must decide not to go into debt while you are getting out of debt. You can’t get out of a hole if you continue to dig out the bottom.

Dave Ramsey developed the “Seven Baby Steps” to financial freedom. We would like to introduce them to you, one step at a time.

Baby Step #1 – Save $1000.00 as a “Emergency Fund”. As quickly as you can, save one thousand dollars that can be used if an emergency were to arise. You must be firm when determining if you have a legitimate emergency. This Step will keep you from automatically swiping your credit card every time something pops up.

This is a critical step and once you take it you will be ready to get rid of all debt, minus your mortgage as quickly as possible.

Destroy the Debt from Your Life and Enjoy Less Stress!!

We will introduce Baby Step #2 – the Debt Snowball in the next blog.

“The Borrower truly is, Servant to the lender.”

Are you ready to be set free?

Seek God’s wisdom and trust His guidance and you will be set free.

 

Visit Dave Ramsey’s web site to learn more about the Baby Steps and his program for Military Families.

Why Teach Tithing?

I taught my son to use the toilet so he wouldn’t be wearing diapers forever.

I taught my son to say “please,” “thank you,” and “you’re welcome” so that he will be polite and well-mannered.

I am teaching my son to read so that he will be a literate, productive citizen.

And I am teaching my son to tithe so that he will be a man who loves God and submits himself to the leadership of our Lord.

Every parent knows the importance of teaching potty training, manners and literacy.  They are necessary skills for life.  But few parents recognize the importance of teaching tithing.  Contrary to popular belief, tithing has very little to do with money.  Instead, it has everything to do with the heart.

God does not need our money.  He does not need the 1¢ my son will drop in the offering plate.  What he wants is our hearts.  He wants my heart and he wants my son’s heart.

God knows that we value money.  He understood it so well that he gave us over 800 verses of Scripture to help us understand how to use money in a way that honors him.  If God thinks it is that important, shouldn’t we obey?

God gives us everything we have.  To some he has entrusted more and to some he has entrusted less.  I want my son to understand that no matter how much or how little he has, it is from God.  God asks only that we return the first 10% of what he gives us.  Not because he needs it, but because he wants us to recognize he is the source of it all.  He allows us to keep the other 90% for ourselves.

It is all about having your heart in the right place.  A heart that is willing to trust God.  A heart that is willing to obey God.  A heart that puts God first and all else second.  That is the kind of heart I want my son to have.

By the way, my son is four.  We are starting small: an allowance that is easily divided into ten (10¢ in pennies works for us).  I explain that God asks we return one out of every ten to him.  He can easily understand that if there are ten pennies, one should be given to God.  I also explain that one way we can return it to God is to give it to the church to use.  Then we take the penny with us on Sunday and give it in the offering.

Simple lesson, but how much easier is it for him to start with a penny, then increase it to 10¢, 50¢, $1, $5 and so on.  It is a lot harder to teach a teenager to be faithful with his $10 or $20 if he hasn’t first learned to be faithful with his 1¢.

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.”  Luke 16:10

The Word for Today is… Pressure

In the northeastern United States codfish are a big commercial business. They ship them all over the world. Keeping them fresh until arrival is a problem for shippers. At first they froze the cod, but the flavor disappeared. Next they shipped them alive, but the meat became soft and mushy.

Finally, the codfish were placed in a tank of water along with their natural enemy–the catfish. From the time the cod left the East Coast until it arrived at its farthest destination, the catfish chased the cod all over the tank. But when they arrived at the market, they were as fresh as when they were first caught.

Each one of us is in a tank of particular and inescapable circumstances, where God-appointed “catfish” are bringing pressure on our lives. The purpose is to keep us alive, alert, fresh, growing, and close to God. It’s all part of the Master Shipper’s plan to shape us to be like Him.

The word for the day is “pressure”.  Sir – This concludes my brief.

Slide Content:

“A diamond is a chunk of coal that is made good under pressure.”
Former Sec. of State, Henry Kissinger,

“It was good for me to be (pressured) afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.”
Psalm 119:71

The Word for Today is “Temper”.

There once was a little boy with a bad temper. To remedy the character flaw, his father gave him a bag of nails and told him, “Every time you lose your temper, go hammer a nail in the back fence.”

Finally, the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. His dad then instructed him to pull out one nail for each day he was able to hold his temper. The days passed, until finally, all the nails were gone.

Again, the father took his son to the fence. “Son, I want to show you something. Look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, it leaves a scar just like this one, and this one, and this one. No matter how many times you say, ‘I’m sorry,’ the wound is still there. A verbal wound is as bad a physical one.”

The Scriptures never forbid anger; it is a normal human emotion. But it states very clearly, “Anger needs management.” It is a powerful emotion. Unchecked it will hurt you and others around you.

The word for today is,”TEMPER.” Sir – This concludes my brief.

 Slide Content:

“Moderation in temper is always a virtue; but moderation in principle is always a vice.”
Thomas Paine
Author and Founding Father of the USA

“A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.”
Proverbs 29:11

The Word for Today is. . . Bounce

Gracie Rosenberger fell asleep at the wheel and wrapped her Honda around a concrete barrier. After 73 medical operations and the loss of both legs she is running today with a message of hope and courage.

As a part of her own healing, Gracie started a non-profit work called, Standing With Hope. It is an effort to provide fabricated limbs to 3rd world disability organizations.

She says that the hardest part of her work is not raising money or organizing teams to travel to faraway places; rather it is answering the question of suffering: “Why did this happen to me?”

In speaking to Wounded Warriors and at the 2010 Community Thanksgiving Service at Ft Gordon, Gracie talked about her decision to trust God with her heartache and loss.  She said, “Now someone else is literally standing because of I found a way to slip my hand into His.  When you do that you can become a powerful opportunity to lift another up!”

The word for today is “BOUNCE”, Sir – This concludes my brief.

Slide Content:

“Success is how high you bounce when you hit the bottom.”

General George S. Patton

“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and near to those crushed in spirit.”

Psalms 34:18

Originally presented at UR CH Office, 29 DEC 2010

 

The Word for Today is . . . Catapult

Ret. Rear Admiral, Ed Allen was an F-14 pilot and led six operational commands in his Naval career, culminating in a Carrier Battle Group Cmd.

In talking about the Power of Encouragement, Admiral Allen explains it this way, “A fully armed F-14 is 60,000 pounds of dead weight. To launch from a carrier, it must achieve airspeed in excess of 150 knots, within the approximate 200 feet of flight deck.  It takes around 2.3 seconds. Simply, the catapult is the force, absolutely required to get the aircraft airborne and out on its mission!

Encouragement works in the same way. It releases positive energy, lifts spirits, and makes the challenging and “the impossible” seem possible. When you encourage people, you are the catapult.”

St Paul writes in the New Testament, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up….” Encouraging words make a difference. They launch people into the possibilities of their lives. Perhaps Admiral Allen said it best in his closing comments, “The key to naval aviation is the catapult.”

Subject to your questions, this concludes my brief.

Slide Content:

“The key to naval aviation is the catapult.”

Ed Allen, Rear Admiral Ret.

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up….”

1Thessalonians 5:11

The Word for Today is. . . “Tattoo”

Soccer star David Beckham is known as much for his tattoos as he is for is abilities on the pitch. In January of 2010, he took off his shirt after a soccer match and revealed his 9th tattoo. It was a picture of “Jesus on the way to the cross. Some of Beck’s other tattoos include his sons’ names, a winged cross on the back of his neck, and a guardian angel between his shoulder blades. His left arm has a lot of designs that focus on his wife, Victoria, the former Spice Girl.

How do people choose their tattoos? The answers are probably as many and varied as there are people? But it reminds me of the guy in Hong Kong browsing through the tattoo books looking for his next ink mark, when he saw the phrase, “Born to Lose”.

He asked the shop owner, “Does anyone really have that terrible phrase, ‘Born to Lose’ tattooed on their body?”
The Chinese tattoo artist replied, “Yes, sometimes.”

“But I can’t believe that anyone in their right mind would do that.”

In broken English, the artist replied, “Before tattoo on body, tattoo on mind.”

In April of 1939, in his address to the Pan American Union, President Roosevelt said, “Men are not prisoners of fate, but only prisoners of their own minds”

The Scriptures simply say, “As a man thinks, so he is.” What we focus on in our private thoughts, we often become – sometimes we even tattoo it on our bodies.

Sir, the word for the day, “Tattoo”, Subject to your questions, this concludes my brief.

Slide Content:

“Men are not prisoners of fate, but only prisoners of their own minds.”

Pan American Union Address, April 14, 1939 President Franklin D. Roosevelt

“As a man thinks, so he is.”

Proverbs 23:7

 

Originally presented at UR CH Office, 23 SEP 2010

Introducing “Get the Point”

Get The Point” is a collaborative bulletin board posting illustrations and stories in a short 60 second format. It is the place to come if you are looking for a good word for God to share at a Command and Staff meeting, or perhaps needing a sermon illustration with a powerful spiritual message.
If it can be said in 200 words or less, if it tells a story and delivers the point, we would like to hear from you. Browse through the ones Chaplain Meador has posted, contribute your own, or use one that is right for your next Command and Staff or sermon illustration. The point is to never be without a good word for God at your next ministry opportunity.

 

Get the point?