Sunday, May 21, 2017

Being Financially Faithful

                In Matthew 4:18-22, Jesus calls his first disciples and they leave everything behind to follow Jesus. In Luke 18:18-22 when Jesus is asked by a rich man what he must do to inherit eternal life, Jesus brought to his attention that he had been faithful to the commandments but hadn’t sold everything he had and given it to the poor. In Mark 12:28-32 where Jesus is asked which was the most important of all commandments, Jesus said to first “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” and secondly “Love your neighbor as yourself.” My takeaway from these scripture is that I must make God and Jesus priorities in my life and care for others however I can.
                Unfortunately I didn’t realize the guidance in the Bible on the subject of financial stewardship until later in life after the pull of our culture and my own desires set had already taken a toll. I have the debt to show for my incompetence. But as Jesus said in Luke 18:27, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”
                So what does it mean financially to put God first and love my neighbor? First is to commit my firstfruits to the church. Second is to give generously in care for my neighbors.
                From Genesis on, God has instructed us to give our firstfruits proportionally. Technically, tithe in Hebrew means tenth and hence involves giving the first tenth of our harvest. However, the proportion depends on the individual as Paul said in 2 Corinthians 8:12, “if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable” and in 2 Corinthians 9:7, “give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
                Aside from the firstfruits committed, we are to give generously. As said in Leviticus 23:22 “‘When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and for the foreigner residing among you. I am the Lord your God.’” I gather from this that I am to use what I need after providing the first proportion of my income to the church and give the rest charitably.
                For some, giving a tenth of their income is difficult given their financial circumstances. I read that 65% of families are living paycheck to paycheck and the average mainline churchgoer gives less that 3% or less of their income to the church. Given my personal financial situation and this need, I started a financial stewardship ministry to spread the good news. I believe accepting God’s grace and guidance enables us to be financially faithful.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Keep your home inventory away from home

My parents recently lost their home to a tornado. The house was demolished and my parents salvaged what they could. My mother told me that they had an inventory of their possessions stored on their computer, and that the computer wasn’t destroyed in all the devastation. Thank goodness for that. All their effort to document their possessions wasn’t lost.

This calamity reminded me of my last will and testament that I had just recently executed. I uploaded the scanned document to my Google Docs account and shared it with certain people so they have access to it in the event of my demise. I could store my home inventory in my Google Doc account, so I could access it later in the event that my home and computer is demolished.

The home inventory should be kept up to date, just like my last will and testament. Therefore, I should have triggers in place to update it every year or when a significant event occurs.

My lesson here is to keep good records of your home inventory and store those records outside of the home.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

My personality test

I was introduced to Myers Briggs personality test at work. The upper management in IT had taken the test to expose communication styles. After searching the web to learn more, I came across the Jung typology test which is similar (and free). Here are the results of my test.

ESTJ - "Administrator". Much in touch with the external environment. Very responsible. Pillar of strength. 8.7% of total population.
Personality Test by

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Poor Credit and An Opportunity to Consider

After a discussion last night with a colleague regarding credit scores and the immature decision making process of financial institutions based on these scores, I remembered a blog post that I wrote in December 2008 regarding debt and unemployment. Many people accrue debt due to expenses incurred during unemployment. Hence, a poor credit rating may be a result of a prolonged period of unemployment. As far as I know, financial institutions based decisions on the score and do not consider the reasons behind the score. I'm still paying for debt accrued during my year long unemployment in 2003-4. Therefore, I want to reach out with some options that may help mitigate or overcome this situation.

I have these options listed at this link on my website. For those of you that are unemployed, I don't expect that the income generated by these options would replace the income that you made while employed. However, that is possible if you feel strongly about the options and devote adequate effort. I do expect that this income could mitigate the debt accrued during unemployement. In other words, you may reduce your future burden. For those of you that are employed and have debts, income generated by these options could reduce or pay off these debts. For those of you that are employed and are debt free, income generated by these options could add to your reserve fund. Your fund should eventually contain 3 to 6 months of income.

I would be happy to discuss these options with anyone. Please feel free to contact me at

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The value of good counsel

During a stewardship class that I recently attended at my church, I read Proverbs 15:22.

“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.”

This wisdom from the Bible reminded me why I value my legal plan from Prepaid Legal Services and why I enjoy offering the plans to others. A legal plan allows people to affordable access legal counsel. I have gotten some good benefits from my personal plans that have saved me time, money, and headaches.

I am also excited that the Prepaid Legal Services website now includes free legal videos on a variety of subjects. From that page, there is a link to public domain resources with more information on a variety of subjects and a link to the Forms Service Center that provides forms for a variety of legal needs. If interested, learn more at my PPL website and get your plan.

Since I’m talking about my side business, I would appreciate your help in my effort to reduce my debt. Information is available at my website.

Yes, I have made financial mistakes in my life and have not been a proper steward. However, I know now that I am responsible for taking care of what I have been blessed with. I tell you that I sure do act better as a parent when I remember that I am caring for his children.

Now with good counsel and the help of good people, I will get out of debt and be the assertive philanthropist that I want to be.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Generosity during the holidays.

I was reminded this past holiday season, a time where we help, give, reciprocate, and appreciate, that people help in ways within their means that they believe will benefit others. Likewise, people reciprocate in the same manner. Unfortunately, some people do not appreciate the help or gifts offered to them. They fail to recognize the intention. Failure to appreciate generosity, even if it doesn’t appear to be of any value or benefit, will degrade relationships. By “doesn’t appear to be of any value or benefit,” I mean that the value or benefit may become apparent later. However, the lack of appreciation may have already damaged the relationship. My advice is to appreciate all generosity. Appreciating someone’s generosity doesn’t mean accepting it, but it positively acknowledges the offer and sustains good relations.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Leading a horse to water

You can lead a horse to water (but you can't make him/it drink). I think about this all the time when I propose opportunities to people that express a need, and they simply dismiss the proposal. In other words, I direct them to the water but they will not drink. Even though they are thirsty, many will not drink. Furthermore, many will not even go to the water. Similarly, it's frustrating to see someone struggling in the pool that will not grasp the floatation device within their reach.

So why do I bother to extend my assistance? I have faith in people, and I believe I am accountable to a higher authority for my actions. I believe I shouldn't walk by a person in need without offering assistance. I do recognize sometimes that I overlook the need, but that's another issue. I cannot make people consider or accept my assistance, but I feel better knowing that I acted. I can only hope that people learn that they are less likely to succeed with tunnel vision.

I agree with the theory of relativity where people prioritize based on what is important to them. I'm inclined to believe that the successful people have done what they needed to do to become successful whereas the people that want to be successfully generally do what they want to do to be successful. In other words, people generally avoid needed actions that are uncomfortable. Like the SNL skit says about credit, "Don't Buy Stuff You Can't Afford." With the same mindset, assess opportunities in front of you, create an opportunity, or create the environment for opportunity to thrive if you can't find an opportunity. It may seem uncomfortable, but consider the comfort of your current situation.

Speaking of opportunities, I think a great opportunity is getting a free Blastoff account. There is no harm in checking it out, and it may lead to more opportunities.