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Archive for April, 2011

I came across an interesting video the other day which compares the Democratic plan for taxing the rich to student GPAs. The makers of the video asked students whether or not they would be willing to give some of their GPA points to students with low GPAs. The responses are pretty interesting. So take a look and let me know what you think. Should the rich have heavier taxes? The students repeatedly said grades were different than money.  Do you think so?  Why or why not?  None of the students could say why.  Was it
just because they had grades and didn’t have money? What other possible answers are there?

Blessings,
Steve

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Holiness

In his book Revolution, George Barna says, “Holiness defeats worldly cleverness.” Barna defines the Church as “the people who actively participate in the intentional advancement of God’s Kingdom in partnership with the Holy Spirit and other believers.” He says we are not so much called to go to church as we are to be the church.

On this weekend, as we celebrate the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, let me summarize 7 passions that George Barna says were characteristic of the early Church. And by “Church”, I mean the organism, not the organization.

1) They were expected to worship God daily, both in private, and with other believers.

2) They looked for opportunities to share the Good News through faith-based conversations.

3) They focused on intentional spiritual growth.

4) They believed that serving others demonstrated the love of Jesus to others.

5) They used their resources to benefit other believers.

6) They formed spiritual friendships.

7) They used their homes to teach their families and others the ways of God.¹

My prayer is that we would all begin today to experience significant revival, first within ourselves, and then spreading around the world.

¹George Barna, Revolution, 2005.

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For those of you who are interested, here’s a short article on the Bible and taxes. This article examines the differences between how the government handles taxes and what the Bible has to say about taxes. It is divided into four sections: capital gains taxes, wages, income tax, and inheritance taxes. David Barton, the author of the article, has some good insight and does a great job distinguishing between Biblical and governmental perspectives on taxes. Feel free to share your thoughts!

http://www.wallbuilders.com/LIBissuesArticles.asp?id=119

Blessings,

Steve

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Advisors

This is the last blog post I’ll be writing for our 40-day study, and it makes me a little sad! I’ve enjoyed being able to share my thoughts with you and learning some financial tips along the way. I hope you have enjoyed the posts and have learned something too. So, with this last blog I’d like to leave you with some information that will help you continue your spiritual and financial journey.

It’s always good to have a mentor, someone you can talk to about anything, who is wiser than you and has experience in what you are going through. The same is true regarding our finances. I personally know very little about the complex financial world. Having someone to walk me through the steps and the terms makes a complicated process much less intimidating; when that person shares your financial and spiritual beliefs, the comfort is even greater.

A Biblical advisor can help you make sound spiritual decisions with your finances. They also have a great knowledge in that area, and can be of help when you are trying to figure out your options and what is best for you and your family. In his book, Steve names a few helpful organizations and prepares a list of questions we should ask any financial advisor before working with them. If you’d like more information, check out Steve’s book, or visit the website for ways to contact Steve (links to the website and to purchase the book are off to the right).

Blessings,
Caleh

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Thoughts on Taxes

Here are some random bits of information relating to taxes:

The #1 expense paid by most American families during their life- time is taxes.

Tax reduction is a legitimate goal. Even the IRS won’t argue with that.

Tax credits reduce taxes, not income.

Know the difference between taxable, tax favored, tax deferred, and tax free.

Getting a large refund check may be a sign of poor stewardship.

Integrated tax planning is critical to long term financial success.

Tax planning and tax preparation are not the same thing.

Don’t hesitate to ask questions from someone who knows. Will Rogers said, “Everybody’s ignorant, just about different things.”

I will say to you what I’ve often said to clients: “I hope you make so much money this year that you have to pay at least a $1,000,000 in taxes next year.”

Blessings,

Steve

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Active Giving

There was a time when I was a child that I thought being wealthy was a bad thing. After all, the Bible says that the love of money is the root of all evil. So surely people who had a lot of money were bad, right? But I missed the point. It’s the LOVE of money, not money itself, that is evil. Like many things in life, moderation is the key. God gave us money, so obviously it isn’t bad; it is when we use it for the wrong reasons or become obsessed with it that it becomes something evil.

I believe a big part of keeping money from becoming an evil thing is to use it for God’s kingdom, and to give it away according to His will. When we use money for His glory, and not our own, it becomes a thing of blessing and glory, not evil. We should give because we are able and because it is a spiritual act. It’s easy to fall into the habit of doing something, and that can include giving. It’s important to be active givers, rather than passive givers. When we are actively giving, we are mentally and spiritually involved by seeking God’s direction for our giving, instead of giving as we
always have without asking God how He wants us to give.

Giving is spiritual process, and when we surrender everything to God, our whole lives become a spiritual process. I encourage you to look at your lives and see where you can work on making it more spiritual and in-tune with God’s direction and guidance.

Blessings,
Caleh

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Being A Blessing

There are a lot of views floating around about Christians these days, many of them not very pleasant. Because we believe that believing in Christ’s death and resurrection for the forgiveness of our sins is the only way to get to heaven, people see us as being arrogant and intolerant of other
religions. Proclaiming the truth to a world striving to be politically correct is not always the popular thing to do. So how can we minister to others without falling into the secular stereotypes of Christians?

The answer is remarkably simple: live as Jesus would have us live, and be kind and generous to people. Over the Christmas break, I took my brothers out Christmas shopping. All day we dealt with the crowds and check out people who looked and acted like they had had enough of working with people. But as we were checking out at Kohls, the check out woman was kind and friendly, laughing and asking us about our holiday plans. She was a true gem, and made the rest of our trip so much better.

It’s amazing how one person with a good and caring attitude can change the whole day. Imagine if we acted like that to others on a regular basis, trying to enrich the lives of others instead of being consumed with our own problems. The world would begin to see Christians in a different light, admiring us and wanting what we have, rather than calling us hypocritical. I encourage you to be a blessing to someone today. With the help of the Spirit and God’s direction, you could change someone’s life.

Blessings,
Caleh

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