What Should We Do At Halloween?

Halloween is a big deal in our area around the Tampa Bay region of Florida. It is no small irony that Halloween day is when the property tax bills for the year are placed in the mail. Now that’s really terrifying!

So, it is so strangely appropriate that the witches and the goblins come out when our tax bill arrives. However, at the same time, Christians face questions. How should Christians respond to Halloween? Is it wrong for Christians to participate in Halloween? Do we have a better witness or impact if we do nothing? Do we have any positive impact if we have across carved into a pumpkin and give out tracts?

Is a Halloween alternative like Trunk or Treat good, or is it a part-way capitulation to the world? Should parents let their children do trick-or-treat? Is there a best practice? What are the different approaches and why is this such a contentious issue?

The Mixed History of Halloween

Halloween has a history that is a curious blend of Christianity and paganism. Today there is virtually no semblance of Christ in any aspect of Halloween. That is a good warning of what the world will do to any Christian day if it can. Just look at what is happening to Christmas.

The name “Halloween” comes from the All Saints Day celebration of the early church. All Saints Day has had several different names and has been celebrated on different days since it was first begun in the 4th century. It has gone by All Hallows’ Day, the Feast of All Saints, the Feast of All Hallows, the Solemnity of All Saints, and Hallowmas. It started as a celebration of the many martyrs of the church.

It should be no surprise that when the Roman emperor Constantine adopted Christianity of the Roman Empire that the lines between the pagan practices and Christianity blurred as pagan temples and pagan priests were forcibly converted in mass.

The earliest known celebrations of Christian martyrs were held around Pentecost. As the holiday shifted to be for all saints and not just martyrs, and as the church suffered as the Roman Empire started to collapse, things changed. The date of the celebration shifted to late October or early November. The earliest evidence for the November 1 date of celebration and of the expansion of the celebration to include saints as well as martyrs occurred during under Pope Gregory III (731–741). He dedicated a chapel in St. Peter’s Basilica on November 1 in honor of all saints.

Over many years after that, the name All Hallows Eve was shortened to Hallow-e’en and then it degenerated into Halloween. But more changed than just the name.

As Christianity expanded and overcame pagan cultures, pagan holidays and festivals sometimes lingered in the hearts and minds of the new Christians. There was a Celtic celebration at the end of the harvest that featured death images including skeletons, skulls, and the color black, Samhain.

This Samhain festival celebrated this last harvest and the onset of winter, Samhain was a celebration covering October 31 through November 2. During this time, the belief was that the curtain dividing the living and the dead lifted. That allowed the spirits of the dead to walk among the living—ghosts haunting the earth.

Pagans sought “divine” spirits as well as the spirits of their ancestors for everything from weather forecasts to crop expectations. Bobbing for apples was used to gain the spirit’s “blessings” on a couple’s romance.

How did this become the “trick or treat” of Halloween? Simple. Some believed these spirits, actually demons, were trapped on earth until they were given treats. If they were not given treats, they would remain on earth and haunt people. Some also believed that these spirits would be scared away by an ugly face carved into a gourd or vegetable. That became the Jack-o-lantern. Over many years, the Samhain festival overtook All Saints Day in popular appeal. At the same time Samhain revelers took over the Hallowmas name of All Saints Day.

New believers should have rejected this pagan superstition. Of course, we can see that with the wisdom of years of Bible study and a lot of hindsight. Deuteronomy 18 might have been some help had the new believers known of it.

Deuteronomy 18:10-13
10  Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft,
11  or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead.
12  Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD; because of these same detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you.
13  You must be blameless before the LORD your God.

But until the Renaissance Age, the Bible was not written for the common people to read. Around 1440 AD, Johannes Gutenberg developed the moveable type press which made mass production of books possible. English translations were produced in the Renaissance and that brought about radical change doubtless unimagined by Gutenberg.

Nor could anyone at that time have foreseen what mass migration in the 18th century and American marketing eventually would do.

The move of All Saints Day to a date right in the middle of the pagan holiday of Samhain created the perfect opportunity for social confusion and blending. The Christian aspect of All Saints Day dwindled and the public acceptance of the pagan superstitions of Samhain grew, all under the name Halloween that was rooted in Christianity.
Immigration in the 18th century finished creating the social environment for Halloween becoming an American tradition. Immigration from Europe soared with many heading to the new country and its freedoms and opportunities. They brought with them the Samhain practices which then grew over the years into our modern Halloween.

It wasn’t hard then for Halloween to expand and grow, while at the same time, All Saints Day has almost vanished from view. Now the formerly pagan holiday has added non-Biblical fictional characters and Hollywood marketers use Halloween to sell over-priced costumes of fictional characters with more resemblance to the Pocahontas or some fictional Hollywood character than to unrelated to any aspect of Samhain.

So, we have a day derived from a purely pagan celebration that has subsumed a purely Christian celebration for martyrs and saints. The pagan celebration has come to wide public acceptance even among Christians. Is it right for Christians to participate in an activity that is historically and visibly based in pagan practices? What do we do about it?

So How Should We Respond to This?

Today, Halloween is an American secular holiday, but few who participate in it know or care about its pagan root. A number of distinct questions appear.

1. Who cares? Should we even make this an issue? Don’t we face bigger challenges?

While the world faces many challenges, it would be dishonest to call the deterioration or pollution of foundational beliefs anything less than extremely important. Our goal should never be to make this world a better place to go to hell from. If we focus only on the world’s problems and let our foundational beliefs be destroyed, no one will be helped. See Matthew 7:24-27.

The same deterioration of All Hallow’s Day that led to Halloween and it’s portrayal of evil would also overtake other aspects of our faith, ruining lives.

But you can reach the same result about the importance of taking a stand from a different perspective. It simply is not possible to look at the images of evil Halloween costumes and say that they glorify God. They do not. The Psalmist made it clear – we are to praise the Lord with all that we do.

Psalm 150:6
8  Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.

It simply cannot be said that anything that glorifies evil can also glorify God. Nor should we be pleased to have children play at being satan, or a demon. That hardly glorifies God. In 1 Corinthians 10:31, Paul wrote, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” Can you dress in a devil costume or a skeleton to the glory of God? No.

God’s Word makes it clear that God is a God of life. 1 John 1:1. On the other hand, Halloween, or Samhain, is about death. Can a believer truly rejoice and celebrate a holiday where the focus is death and demons, where tombstones decorate front yards, and skeletons are a popular costume?

Perhaps, instead of getting cozy with the world, we are to be separate from the world’s evils. 2 Corinthians 6:17.

But what if the costume isn’t a devil, but is instead a princess? Isn’t that okay? No, because that is a bit like telling your children, “it’s okay to play on the edge of a cliff, but just don’t fall over the edge.” Instead of being careful around temptation and danger, we are to flee it. 2 Timothy 2:22.

Halloween is a day celebrated by Wiccans; it is a sacred high holiday for the religion of witchcraft. Do we really want to be alongside them with our children? As a Wiccan website puts it,

“Samhain is a sabbat that is the third and last harvest festival on the Wheel of the Year and is often the biggest celebration for Wiccans as it is the Witches New Year. During this time of the year, the border between our world and the spirit world is porous and thin. Spirits can easily cross over so we can reach out to them for communication, guidance, and closure.”

The most obvious reason to draw a line and stick to it is the reality of our world today. Even today there are blurred lines between Christianity and pagan practices. In some South American countries blurred lines are common. In Peru, there are common roof top ornaments/shrines consisting of a cross, a manger and a cow. This cow image is for good fortune and for the protection for the house and the family. This tradition of a shrine including a cow comes from the time of the Incas.

What happened to faith in God alone? This shrine is nothing less than a “good luck charm” and reflects a weakness of faith in God.

Another very strong reason to avoid celebrating Halloween like the world is because of potential confusion and dilution of Biblical truths. Part of the message the of Halloween in the world is that all of the figures depicted are fictitious. Some are fictitious, bad developments of Hollywood; there are no zombies, werewolves or Frankensteins. But satan is real. His demons are real. Angels are real. The best and most effective lie satan has told is that he doesn’t exist. Halloween is one way that lie is socially communicated.

Who cares about Halloween and its history and underpinnings? We all should because we should want a better life for the next generations and a life with superstition and without Jesus cannot be that better life.

2. Are alternative activities such as “Trunk or Treat,” a “Harvest Festival,” or a “Hell House” good choices?

The answer is a strong “maybe yes,” and “maybe no.” Trunk or treat with costumes is an activity that usually does little more than move pagan activities onto the church parking lot. Even with some level of control over “acceptable” costumes, it is difficult. Trunk or Treat is an activity teetering right on the edge of the cliff. However, this time it isn’t one child or one family on the edge of the cliff, it is the whole church.

But someone will ask, isn’t that better than wandering the neighborhood where there is no control over costumes or behavior? That question can be countered with this question, “What does Trunk or Treat demonstrate to the world about our separation from the ways of the world and its sin?”

1 Corinthians 10:14
14  Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.

2 Corinthians 6:17
17  Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.”

Paul wrote that we are to flee from idolatry. Never are we told to try to control it or limit it so that it isn’t too terribly bad. Nowhere does God set our standard of behavior to just be a little bit better than the world.

But Trunk or Treat isn’t the only Halloween alternative. There are Harvest Festivals, sometimes where the children dress up in harmless costumes like farmers.

Instead of a Harvest Festival, some do a Reformation Festival where the children dress up as Bible characters. For some, these are far enough from the edge of the cliff to be safe.

Some churches opt for totally different activities not involving costumes but instead involving acts of service in the community.

There is yet another alternative some more fundamental churches have chosen and that is sometimes referred to as Hell House evangelism. Different rooms are set up and visitors are invited to walk through rooms laid out like haunted houses. Sin is put on display, sometimes quite graphically. Only a few use this alternative since scaring people into the faith is not considered by many to be the most loving or effective approach to evangelism.

Simply put, in a cold and violent society, the level of shock needed to scare people into accepting the gospel is hardly the image of a life transformed by the love of God that most believers want to live. Romans 12:2.

How far to be from the world is a personal judgment or a judgment to be made by a church’s spiritual leaders.

3. How do you decide what to do?

How do you decide what is best? How do you decide anything else regarding your life and your faith? Start with spending time with God and with His Word. Seek the wisdom and guidance of God first, then ask for guidance from other believers you know and respect. On some parts of this issue there is no clear Biblical right or wrong.

When there is a lack of clarity, ask God.

James 1:5
5  If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

Your relationship with God is exactly that, it is yours. What you decide in social issues like this where there is uncertainty may depend on your level of maturity as a believer and may also be highly dependent on specific details and facts that are unique to you and your family. It isn’t right to violate clear instructions from God, i.e., Exodus 20:14, “You shall not commit adultery.” It is right to forge your own personal relationship with God.

Paul wrestled with that and came up with a good way to measure your choices.

1 Corinthians 6:12
12  ”Everything is permissible for me,” but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible for me,” but I will not be mastered by anything.”

There is a comparable modern saying that reflects Paul’s thinking, “Just because you have the right to do something doesn’t make it the right thing to do.” How true that is! Always measure what you do against God, with His Word, and finally against the impact you may have on others. Romans 15:1-13 and Matthew 18:6.

4. How can my Halloween be a good Christian witness?

There are very few times when your neighbors come knocking on your door and ask for something. This is perhaps the only time it happens. Don’t just give them candy, give them Jesus as well. Don’t make Christians look cheap or stingy or unfriendly, instead, be open and obvious and be a witness.

Matthew 5:14-16
14  “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.
15  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.
16  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

How you do this is a personal decision. Some believers have come to the conclusion that their best witness is to give Gospel tracts along with treats, to have small treat bags with key verses, to have a joyful attitude and make coming to a Christians’ home a positive experience. Resist the devil and he will flee! James 4:7. The same can be said about his demons and imitators. They will stay away, but those who might be blessed will still come by your home.

Christians have nothing to fear from Halloween. We know the truth, the world lives through superstition, luck and evil spirits. Truly, “the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4). We are less at risk from “evil spirits” on Halloween than we are from sinful conduct including vandalism and hateful people on the prowl.

Instead of a darkened door, make your home well-lighted welcoming door. Most non-believers have a quiet fear of the death and evil that Samhain, or Halloween, promotes. Instead of death and horror, give them a smile and the true light.

1 John 2:10
10  Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble.

Use the very imagery of darkness and evil as an opportunity to show that what we have is eternally better.

This is also an opportunity to engage in open and honest communication about what you believe and why you believe it. As a neighbor, you have an opportunity to be that light on the hill. As a parent, you have an opportunity to live your faith visibly for your children to see. As someone who opens the door to “Trick or Treaters,” you have an opportunity to demonstrate that Christians are warm and welcoming, a truth that much of the mass media will never admit.

5. Does the Bible speak to Halloween at all?

Not directly, not using that name or even using a similar holiday or feast. But there are several stories that offer guidance. The issues or witchcraft and sorcery did come up at times in Biblical history. One time was in Acts 8. Simon was a sorcerer who lived in Samaria. He had displayed his power many times and was considered powerful. They called him “the Great Power of God.” Acts 8:10. When Philip brought the gospel and the true power of God to Samaria, Simon became a believer and was baptized. When Peter and John arrived, they placed their hands on the new Samaritan believers and they received the Holy Spirit. Simon coveted that power so badly that he offered money to gain that ability.

The moral of that story is that Simon should have made a complete break from his past and sin. He walked too close to the edge of the cliff and found out how dangerous that was. Can we as believers risk being too close to pagan practices? Perhaps yes, but that depends on you and your maturity. Regardless, we certainly we cannot risk our impressionable children.

There is also the passage in 1 Corinthians 8 mentioned earlier and our witness to weaker brothers and sisters in Christ. There may be nothing overtly sinful in wearing a princess costume or some other non-satanic or evil costume and asking for candy. Doing what I call “Halloween light” isn’t overtly sinful. One Christian agreed and wrote:

“I am a born-again believer and have been baptized in the Holy Sprit. I believe Halloween can be fun and celebrated in the right manner. I am not worshiping Pagans or Satan. It is just a fun day for all.”

That may be true for her, but what we do will influence others and may confuse others, including our own children. Can we afford to send mixed messages to our children? Can we be sure they won’t view our mixed messages as evidence that we don’t really practice what we preach?

1 Corinthians 8:9
9  Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak.

Eating food sacrificed to idols may not be an endorsement of idol worship, but it may confuse a weaker believer. Are we committing a wrong if our conduct leads others into sin? Yes.


Christian participation in Halloween is a personal choice, one of conscience before God. However, you answer the questions asked earlier, make a choice that will honor your Creator and Sustainer.

1 Peter 1:15-16
15  But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do;
16  for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”

About the Author

John Campbell has retired from a 40-year legal practice as a trial attorney in Tampa. He has served in multiple volunteer roles at Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz, Florida, where he met Jesus. He began serving as the Executive Director of the Idlewild Foundation in 2016. He has been married to the love of his life, Mona Puckett Campbell, since 1972.

Make This A Legacy Year for You

There is a song I love that was sung by Steve Green, Find Us Faithful. It is a great encouragement as he beautifully sings,

We’re pilgrims on the journey
of the narrow road,
and those who’ve gone before us
line the way.
Cheering on the faithful,
encouraging the weary,
their lives a stirring testament
to God’s sustaining grace.

Surrounded by so great
a cloud of witnesses,
let us run the race
not only for the prize,
but as those who’ve gone before us.
Let us leave to those behind us,
the heritage of faithfulness
passed on thru Godly lives.

It is the chorus of that song I especially love,

O may all who come behind us
find us faithful;
may the fire of our devotion
light their way.
May the footprints that we leave,
lead them to believe,
and the lives we live
inspire them to obey.
O may all who come behind us
find us faithful.

What a great expression of Christian legacy. Legacy is a topic I have written about several times because I have heard interest from readers and people I speak with on behalf of The Idlewild Foundation. Don’t wait until “next year,” “next month,” or even “next week. Start today and make this a year in which you focus on how you will be known and remembered. May those who follow in your footsteps find you faithful!

Here are a few ideas to start your legacy.

Think about your family. As only four of an endless number of possibilities:

  1. Can you help provide a Christian education for grandchildren? 
  2. Is a family member considering adoption but struggling with the cost?
  3. Is there a family member with special needs who could use some support? 
  4. Is there a family committed to foster care, serving as foster parents –  opening their homes and their hearts to children at risk.

Spend a few minutes and think back to the last missions conference you attended. At Idlewild we call them Global Impact Conferences.  Think of a booth you visited or a story you heard that excited you and warmed you heart about someone’s special service. Now write that name down. Call someone in that ministry and find out how you can offer support that will be meaningful and that will hit the sweet spot in that ministry that caught your attention. Consider joining in that ministry with more than financial support. If you are short on cash, I don’t know of many ministries that couldn’t use more prayer support, “feet on the ground” in terms of short-term missionaries, or even local administrative support.

Meet with your financial advisor or a representative of The Idlewild Foundation to learn how wise estate planning can create a tax-wise series of gifts for family and ministry and, in doing so, increase the net donation and the impact of the estate with a gift of highly appreciated assets such as real estate, traditional IRAs, 401(k)s, 403(b)s, or appreciated stocks or bonds to Idlewild or to the Foundation.

Consider giving to an endowment, or permanent fund, such as The Idlewild Foundation’s Permanent Fund. Such a fund can support Idlewild or the ministries of your choice indefinitely. Read more at The Idlewild Foundation Permanent Fund.

A donation to The Idlewild Foundation’s scholarship fund can ensure that your money will help educate an Idlewild member who is active in the ministries of the church and in a small group, and who has a financial need to complete college or attend technical or vocational training. The Idlewild Foundation has given out hundreds (more than 450) of scholarships totaling over $1.1 million in ten years and will continue to do so as long as faithful people give to this worthy fund.

Or make an impact in the life of a child and donate to Fund 1:27. That fund, starting by the Foundation in 2021, is for the foster care ministry at Idlewild Baptist Church and Tampa Bay. Not one dime of any donation goes to a Foundation salary or overhead. We are almost fully volunteer and work hard to make sure that donations go 100% to ministry. Foster children (and there are over 8,000 in the Tampa Bay region) face special challenges. Many came from a substance-abusing or abusive environment and they can have special (often expensive) needs. We support Trust Based Relational Intervention® therapy for families with a need, help with respite care, have a support group, help the families build Care Communities and otherwise provide a range of support to try to interrupt the cycle of abuse – hurt people do not have to hurt people! To learn more or to donate, go to our website for foster families.

Please consider a legacy gift that will demonstrate your faith and light the way for those who follow you. In this very difficult world, your display of your faith, your legacy, may make an eternal difference for many.

To learn more, contact us at The Idlewild Foundation at (813) 264-8713. It is our ministry and legacy to help you find and support yours.

About the Author

John Campbell has retired from a 40-year legal practice as a trial attorney in Tampa. He has served in multiple volunteer roles at Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz, Florida, where he met Jesus.  He began serving as the Executive Director of the Idlewild Foundation in 2016.  He has been married to the love of his life, Mona Puckett Campbell, since 1972.

Start Saving Yesterday

We live in a spender’s world. There are a few folks promoting the idea of saving in articles, but I rarely, if ever, see that idea of saving money in any advertisement on major network, online, or in a magazine. It just isn’t advertised or promoted. And that’s a shame, because in America we need a shift from our spending culture to one that at least accepts the idea of saving as something good.

That would be quite a change if it happened. As of February, 2019, the average credit card debt per household was at $5,700. If you remove those households which pay off all charges every month and never carry a balance, the average debt rises to $9,333.

Credit card debt has grown astronomically. In 1983, credit card debt was “only” $120,000,000. Now revolving debt, largely credit card debt, is over $1 trillion, nearing ten times as much debt as 40 years earlier. About 41.2% of American households carry a balance forward on their credit cards. Sadly, but predictably, the highest debt households are those with a zero or a negative net worth. Revolving debt is the most damaging and harmful debt because interest rates are the highest and committed spenders get hooked on spending.

At the same time, personal savings are low. In the 1970’s and 1980’s, personal savings rates were between 5 and 7%. However, those high rates decreased to a 1 to 3% range after the year 2000. There was a brief peak of saving during the recession from 2008 to 2010, but as the economy started recovering, spending began to soar again. As of March 2018, the savings rate in the United States is 3.1% according to Investopedia.

We need a change in the American spending culture that has developed. Why? There are many reasons ranging from financial freedom, wise planning for retirement, wise preparation for emergencies and hard times, peace of mind, along with just being better stewards of the wealth and resources God has entrusted to us.

Many people will recommend saving 10% of your disposable income. That is simply too low. See Save More, 10% Isn’t Enough.

The inevitable challenging question is, “How can I save even 10% much less more than that?” The equally inevitable answer is “by spending less, a lot of discipline, and a little sacrifice.” Here are a few more ideas with more detail than just those few words.
Develop habits

The only way you will ever reliably save over the long run is if you are fully committed and engaged in saving; get out of the habit of spending and get into the habit of saving.

Before you make a purchase, always ask yourself five questions:

  • Does this fit within my monthly budget?
  • Do I really need this?
  • Do I have room for it?
  • Will I really use this?
  • Are there long-term upkeep, maintenance, parts or repair expenses or costs associated with this and can I afford those expenses?

Before you make the purchase, walk away. Wait a minimum of 10 minutes and then address the five questions. If all (yes, I said all) of the answers to the five questions are favorable, (four “yes” and one “no” is a “no”), only then should you consider making the purchase.

Write the questions down and put them in your wallet, taped to your credit card, or save them in your phone and always open them before making a purchase. But what about buying a soft drink? Yes, even that. There is even a long-term cost associated with soft drinks and food – exercise (and those things aren’t free). Those many little expenses add up quickly into budget breakers.

Another tip for you is this, set a weekly or monthly savings goal.

A final tip for creating this saving habit, leave your credit card at home and pay cash. This is far more important than you may think. Forbes Magazines says that multiple studies have shown that people spend more, a lot more, when they have the “convenience” of a credit or debit card or a pay app on their phone. Psychology Today agrees. That convenience has a cost, convenience results in spending a lot more, twice as much or an even greater amount that that based upon studies.


Saving needs to be as automatic and invisible as you can make it. In the past people had government savings bonds purchased directly out of their income before they got their check. But government savings bonds are no longer a typical investment (nor should they be). However, the idea of having the money seamlessly go to an investment or savings account and never make it to your bank checking account is a great idea.

Some articles suggest that all savings and investments should be done by hand because automatic transfers do not develop a habit. That is a reasonable concept, but I believe the greater concern is the temptation of having money visibly in your account.

When a paycheck is cashed, it is just too easy to keep $10 or $20 or even more as “spending money.” The funny thing about “spending money” is that it never gets saved and is always spent.

If a sum goes directly from your employer to a savings account (perhaps your emergency fund) or into your 401(k) or some other saving fund, it is much harder to spend. If you are doing well and get a raise, put the entire raise into savings too.

Budget and cash flow tracking

You can best follow what you spend if you keep a cash flow record that tracks every expense. See Where Does Your Money Go? to see how to get started with a cash flow analysis and budget.

This will be work and it will take time. Just know that the result will be worth it and after a few months you can relax and be less stringent because you will have developed better spending and saving habits and practices. You will also be able to see the savings add up!


After you have an emergency savings account, your savings need to go in a different direction. No one ever became wealthy on the savings rates paid by banks (except the banks themselves). To make progress against the inevitable power of the rate of inflation which is compounded annually to your detriment, you need to invest, and the best opportunity to stay ahead of inflation is the stock market. Isn’t that risky? Of course, there is risk. But read Aren’t Stocks a Risky Investment? so you can see that there is a certainty of loss if you do not invest at all.

Cutting expenses

Cutting expenses and costs needs to become equally automatic. The idea is not to be Draconian about it and not to put yourself in total self-denial. Your goal is not to deprive yourself of enjoyment of life, but keep this one fact in mind: overspending today does deprive you of enjoyment of life and spending ability in the future. Every dollar not saved today is two dollars you won’t have in the future, when you may need it much more.

For ideas on cutting expenses, see Ideas for Living Better Through Stewardship, 7 Steps for Financial Progress, It’s Time to Start Saving, Planning Your Financial Future and …, and Save More, 10% Isn’t Enough. There is no area of your spending that can’t be reduced; be creative and persistent.


If you have debt that can be consolidated with a lower net cost to you, seriously consider consolidation. First see Debt Consolidation, Maybe and Maybe Not. Your goal is to be debt free, out of the bondage of being a borrower.

Now what?

Once you are out of debt and any loan payments stop, put the former loan payment money into your investments. Don’t just increase your spending, instead, increase your investment in your future.

Year, every household should do a financial check-up. Life happens and we begin to slip into spending patterns and habits that waste small amounts of money very easily.

How can I keep this up?

There are two points to make to answer the question, “how can I keep this up?” The first is that like any discipline, it gets easier as you develop good spending and saving habits. If you are consistent and regular with your budget and saving, you will find the pressure of the spending mindset decreases. You become more adept at spotting the subtle pressures encouraging frivolous spending and you also begin to see results as your savings and investments increase.

The second point is even more important. Your disciplined financial management is more God-honoring than the spending mind-set. For a good lesson on this point, read God and Money by Greg Baumer and John Cortines. Greg was a spender and John was a saver. Together they learned stewardship and Godly handling of money. Which rises the final issue.

Now what?

What are you saving for? If you save for 20 or 30 years and accumulate a large portfolio, so what? Being out of debt is important, but only for a short time when eternity is considered. Our lives were never meant to be just about ourselves, our comfort, and our satisfaction. We were created with a purpose, Ephesians 2:10, and that purpose is not to serve ourselves. Don’t ever forget God who made your ability to earn money and build savings possible, Deuteronomy 8:18. Don’t leave Him out of your financial plans or your life. We are called to be servants of our Creator and to be generous with the money and gifts He has given us. 2 Corinthians 9:11-13.

If you would like to earn more about your purpose and how your financial blessings (and even your financial struggles) can fit into God’s plan, give us a call at The Idlewild Foundation at (813) 264-8713.

About the Author

John Campbell has retired from a 40-year legal practice as a trial attorney in Tampa. He has served in multiple volunteer roles at Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz, Florida, where he met Jesus. He began serving as the Executive Director of the Idlewild Foundation in 2016. He has been married to the love of his life, Mona Puckett Campbell, since 1972.

With a Little Help from Our Friends

The Idlewild Foster Care Annual Picnic, a part of February Month of Love activities for foster families was a huge success and a joy for all.

First and foremost, God blessed us with a beautiful day, clear and cool but not either cold of hot, a perfect Florida winter day!

Second, with the help of our friends at Redeeming Love Foster Closet and Once Upon a Child, we went from 80 in attendance in 2022 to 163 on Saturday!

Third, with the fantastic food from South Florida Catering, there was food for all and extras to take home for many.

We had balloons from the Lamberts.

We had face painting from Fabulous Fuentes that was even good enough for Ercel to get painted.

We had Uncle Charlie and many, many Carlitos, and Isaac even presented to gospel and a young man accepted Christ.

And we had other friends from ministry including Belinda Leto from Celebrate Birthdays, Esther Dupree from Redeeming Love Foster Closet, and a host of volunteers who generously gave of their time and energy to make for a blessed day.

Thank you all for your part in a great day!


Save $ in 2023

Saving money is a challenge, especially in the high inflation of 2022. The money seems to (and does) build up slowly and the temptations (or need) to cheat and spend rather than save are like dieting temptations, easy to find and hard to resist. Here are a few practical ideas to keep your savings increasing and to help you hold the line on spending. When you save on one of the ideas here, save the money toward an emergency savings account, your retirement or a special trip and vacation.

Try these ideas and save:

1. Your car insurance rises every year even though your car is older and is worth less. You would think at least the collision coverage would decrease since your car is a year older and worth less. No! But it will, if you decide to shop around at least every three years. You may not want to decide based upon premium cost alone, because there is a lot to be said about receiving good service; but if money is tight, shop around. 

2. If you have emergency savings, go with high deductible collision coverage. You can save a lot that way. I will admit it may cost you if you have an at fault accident, but if you go several years without an accident or if the other guys has no coverage and no money, your savings will far exceed the amount of your deductible. If you don’t have an emergency savings fund, start one now.

3. Shop your homeowners coverage as well. Those premiums tend to rise more than the value of your home. For some reason, the premiums never seem to decrease when the value of your home goes down. Home insurers, like car insurers, count on you not wanting the hassle of changing carriers.

4. Drop your magazine subscriptions. Check and you may find the very same magazine is available at your nearest public library. Or, alternatively, spend a quiet evening at a local bookstore, reading your favorite magazines for free.

5. Hold a garage sale. Go through your closet and find clothes you have not worn in a year. The chances are you will never wear it if you haven’t worn it in a year. Pull the junk out of your closets you never use and out of the attic that you stuffed up there and see if there is someone else who wants your junk. You won’t make a lot, but you will make more than doing nothing will make for you. Alternatively, try eBay or sell online. A second alternative is for you to donate what you have to a Christian thrift store and take the deduction on your tax return if you are able.

6. Check your Internet, cable, streaming and phone plans. You can almost always improve your plan and save money if you check once a year. Ask yourself if you really need that landline. We dropped ours over a year ago and discovered we received fewer junk calls during dinner.

7. Get a free energy audit from your power company and see where your electric use can be trimmed. Consider adding attic insulation if your house is old, many types of older insulation settle and lose R-value, costing you money every month. Alternatively, you could do something really radical and turn off the lights when you leave a room.

8. If it isn’t free, drop your gym membership and take up walking. It is easier on the knees and hips than jogging, can be done well into your 70’s, and is free!

9. Keep your tires properly inflated, put the right gas in your car and maintain it based upon the manufacturer’s recommendations.

10. If you use AAA for emergency roadside service, go to an AAA location and check out their available gift cards. You get a 3 to 5% credit in AAA dollars towards your next year AAA bill. If it is a card for a restaurant you are going to eat at anyway, a store you will shop at anyway (or even Amazon Smile), or a gift card you would give as a gift anyway, you will save an annual AAA fee in a fairly short time, certainly less than a year.+

11. While I am on the topic of gift cards, buy them at a discount from a discounter like giftcardgranny.com. You can at times find meaningful discounts on hundreds of gift cards including Walmart, Target, and many large retailers.

12. Buy used, not new. A used car, if checked out carefully, is a great savings over a new car. New cars lose thousands of dollars almost the same moment you drive the car off the lot. If the car isn’t too old, you may still have some warranty left – always check. If buying a used car, always check the obvious things such as the tires. Many dealers will put new tires on a car if you spot a worn or repaired tire.

13. Used books are readily available at thrift stores, or, even better free books, magazines and videos are available at the public library.

14. Buy an Entertainment Book and eat out for 50% at many restaurants. Try Entertainment Books and see what restaurants and services are covered in your area. In the Tampa Bay area there are over 150 restaurants and services offering substantial discounts. You quickly save the cost of the book, try new places and then save a lot more.

15. Save without the hassle of coupons. There is a rather remarkable website worth checking – Savingstar. You can go to their free website, check the products you want to buy from a store and get cash back after you shop. You can link your store loyalty card or upload the receipt and save. The stores available can be seen from the site and include Publix, WalMart, Target, CVS, Walgreens and literally hundreds of other retailers.

Saving just requires that you try. The problem is that we tend to get so busy, that time is a commodity that is hard to find. But if you can find the time to try a few of these ideas here, you can save a lot. If you have additional ideas, call or email us and we will pass them on.

About the Author

John Campbell has retired from a 40-year legal practice as a trial attorney in Tampa. He has served in multiple volunteer roles at Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz, Florida, where he met Jesus. He began serving as the Executive Director of the Idlewild Foundation in 2016. He has been married to the love of his life, Mona Puckett Campbell, since 1972.

God’s Heart for the Poor

God’s heart for those people who are unable to help themselves is overwhelmingly apparent during a reading of the Scriptures. I thought I would go through and find the many times He has made His heart visible to us, either by expressions of his compassion for the poor or His direction for us to act as His hands and feet to serve the poor. It turned out to be a greater task than I had expected. I kept seeing more and more verses and passages where God’s heart for those who are struggling was evident. I don’t claim to have nearly all of them simply because there are many passages that can be interpreted as directions to serve and help those less fortunate, far more than I can list here.

Some of the early verses in the Torah were directed at God’s chosen people, the Israelites. And in the New Testament there is a special affection shown by God for followers of Jesus. But God made it clear that His heart cries out for all His children, Jews and Gentiles alike.

Exodus 22:25
25  “If you lend money to one of my people among you who is needy, do not treat it like a business deal; charge no interest.

Exodus 23:11
11  but during the seventh year let the land lie unplowed and unused. Then the poor among your people may get food from it, and the wild animals may eat what is left. Do the same with your vineyard and your olive grove.

Leviticus 19:10
10  Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner. I am the LORD your God.

Leviticus 23:22
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.’”

Leviticus 25:35-37
35  “‘If any of your fellow Israelites become poor and are unable to support themselves among you, help them as you would a foreigner and stranger, so they can continue to live among you.
36  Do not take interest or any profit from them, but fear your God, so that they may continue to live among you.
37  You must not lend them money at interest or sell them food at a profit.

Leviticus 25:39
39  “‘If any of your fellow Israelites become poor and sell themselves to you, do not make them work as slaves.

Deuteronomy 15:7-8
7  If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites in any of the towns of the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them.
8  Rather, be openhanded and freely lend them whatever they need.

Deuteronomy 15:10
10  Give generously to them [poor Israelites] and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to.

Deuteronomy 15:11
11  There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land.

Deuteronomy 23:19
19  Do not charge a fellow Israelite interest, whether on money or food or anything else that may earn interest.

Deuteronomy 24:12
12  If the neighbor is poor, do not go to sleep with their pledge in your possession.

Deuteronomy 24:14
14  Do not take advantage of a hired worker who is poor and needy, whether that worker is a fellow Israelite or a foreigner residing in one of your towns.

Psalm 9:9
9  The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.

Psalm 9:17-18
17  The wicked go down to the realm of the dead,
all the nations that forget God.
18  But God will never forget the needy;
the hope of the afflicted will never perish.

Psalm 10:14
14  But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; you consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to you; you are the helper of the fatherless.

Psalm 12:5
5  “Because the poor are plundered and the needy groan, I will now arise,” says the LORD. “I will protect them from those who malign them.”

Psalm 12:7
7  You, LORD, will keep the needy safe and will protect us forever from the wicked,

Psalm 35:10
10  My whole being will exclaim, “Who is like you, LORD? You rescue the poor from those too strong for them, the poor and needy from those who rob them.”

Psalm 41:1-3
1  Blessed are those who have regard for the weak;
the LORD delivers them in times of trouble.
2  The LORD protects and preserves them—
they are counted among the blessed in the land—
he does not give them over to the desire of their foes.
3  The LORD sustains them on their sickbed
and restores them from their bed of illness.

Psalm 54:4
4  Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.

Psalm 63:7
7  Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings.

Psalm 69:33
33  The LORD hears the needy and does not despise his captive people.

Psalm 70:4
4  But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who long for your saving help always say, “The LORD is great!”

Psalm 109:30-31
30  With my mouth I will greatly extol the LORD;
in the great throng of worshipers I will praise him.
31  For he stands at the right hand of the needy,
to save their lives from those who would condemn them.

Psalm 112:5
5  Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely,
who conduct their affairs with justice.

Psalm 140:12
12  I know that the LORD secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy.

Psalm 146:5-9
5  Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the LORD their God.
6  He is the Maker of heaven and earth,
the sea, and everything in them—
he remains faithful forever.
7  He upholds the cause of the oppressed
and gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets prisoners free,
8  the LORD gives sight to the blind,
the LORD lifts up those who are bowed down,
the LORD loves the righteous.
9  The LORD watches over the foreigner
and sustains the fatherless and the widow,

Proverbs 14:21
21  It is a sin to despise one’s neighbor,
but blessed is the one who is kind to the needy.

Proverbs 14:31
31  Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker,
but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.

Proverbs 19:17
17  Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD,
and he will reward them for what they have done.

Proverbs 19:22
22  What a person desires is unfailing love;
better to be poor than a liar.

Proverbs 21:13
13  Whoever shuts their ears to the cry of the poor
will also cry out and not be answered.

Proverbs 21:26
26  All day long he craves for more,
but the righteous give without sparing.

Proverbs 22:9
9  The generous will themselves be blessed,
for they share their food with the poor.

Proverbs 22:22
22  Do not exploit the poor because they are poor and do not crush the needy in court,

Proverbs 28:27
27  Those who give to the poor will lack nothing,
but those who close their eyes to them receive many curses.

Proverbs 31:8-9
8  Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
for the rights of all who are destitute.
9  Speak up and judge fairly;
defend the rights of the poor and needy.

Isaiah 1:17
17  Learn to do right; seek justice.
Defend the oppressed.
Take up the cause of the fatherless;
plead the case of the widow.

Isaiah 10:1-3
1  Woe to those who make unjust laws,
to those who issue oppressive decrees,
2  to deprive the poor of their rights
and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people,
making widows their prey
and robbing the fatherless.
3  What will you do on the day of reckoning,
when disaster comes from afar?
To whom will you run for help?
Where will you leave your riches?

Isaiah 41:17
17  “The poor and needy search for water, but there is none; their tongues are parched with thirst. But I the LORD will answer them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.

Isaiah 58 is a wonderful chapter with dialogue that clearly shows God wants more than just ceremony and worship in a service; He wants worship through how we treat others. Formality, ritualism, and religiousity are not what God is seeking from His followers. God clearly wants us to care for all of His children.

Isaiah 58:3-11
3  ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say,
‘and you have not seen it?
Why have we humbled ourselves,
and you have not noticed?’
“Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please
and exploit all your workers.
4  Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife,
and in striking each other with wicked fists.
You cannot fast as you do today
and expect your voice to be heard on high.
5  Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,
only a day for people to humble themselves?
Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed
and for lying in sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call a fast,
a day acceptable to the LORD?
6  “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
7  Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
8  Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.
9  Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
10  and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.
11  The LORD will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.

Zechariah 7:8-10
8  And the word of the LORD came again to Zechariah:
9  “This is what the LORD Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another.
10  Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other.’

By the time of the New Testament and Jesus, the early appearance that God’s heart was only for His Chosen People had vanished. Understand that God’s heart did not change, but His prophet’s message and their writing did. It is undeniable that God’s compassion is to all people, the Gentiles as well as to the Jews. His Chosen People will always have a special place in His heart, but God’s love is for all people.

Matthew 5:42
42  Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

Matthew 10:8
8  Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.

Matthew 10:42
42  And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.”

Luke 3:10-11
10  “What should we do then?” the crowd asked.
11  John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.”

Luke 6:30
30  Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.

Luke 12:33
33  Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.

Acts 20:35
35 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

Romans 12:13
13  Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

Galatians 2:10
10  All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I had been eager to do all along.

1 Timothy 5:8
8  Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

1 Timothy 5:16
16  If any woman who is a believer has widows in her care, she should continue to help them and not let the church be burdened with them, so that the church can help those widows who are really in need.

1 Timothy 6:17-19
17  Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.
18  Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.
19  In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.

Hebrews 6:10
10  God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.

Hebrews 13:2
2  Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.

Hebrews 13:3
3  Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.

Hebrews 13:16
16  Do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

James 1:27
27  Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

1 John 3:16-18
16  This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.
17  If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?
18  Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

After a review of those verses, I doubt it is possible for anyone seeking the heart of God to not feel His compassion for those in need and to at least begin to feel the same compassion.

The real question is not what God’s heart is, but rather what you will do about it now. The one option you do not have is to do nothing.

Proverbs 21:13
13  Whoever shuts their ears to the cry of the poor
will also cry out and not be answered.

For a few ideas of how to get started, give us a call at The Idlewild Foundation at (813) 264-8713. It is our mission to motivate, educate and facilitate a spirit of Godly stewardship and radical generosity for the Kingdom of God and we would love to encourage you to walk closely with God.

About the Author

John Campbell has retired from a 40-year legal practice as a trial attorney in Tampa. He has served in multiple volunteer roles at Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz, Florida, where he met Jesus. He began serving as the Executive Director of the Idlewild Foundation in 2016. He has been married to the love of his life, Mona Puckett Campbell, since 1972.

A Great Start to 2023

New Year’s Resolutions to Kick-Off the Year

What are your New Year Resolutions for 2023?  Lose weight – check, exercise more – check, and get in better shape – long overdue! Those three resolutions are there for me almost every year. But then life happens! Sometimes I keep such a resolution for a few weeks or maybe even a few months with strong encouragement. After that, the busy days of spring begin to take over.

Instead, join the Campbells and make one of your resolutions for 2023 to review your family financial and estate plans. Significant life changes (and even significant inflationary, market or legal changes such as increasing income tax rates) are something that should trigger in our minds the question, “Do I need to change my will or trust?” or “Should I change any of my beneficiary designations?” If you need an easy way to keep track of your bequests and beneficiary designations on bank accounts, IRAs and financial or investment accounts, make a list. It is best done on a computer file so you do not have to re-do the entire document each time there is a significant change, but then print it and keep it with your estate and financial documents just in case your computer files are somehow lost. For a few additional thoughts on this topic, see A Few Estate Planning Pitfalls (especially #3) and A Few More Estate Planning Pitfalls.

Also, think about adding a few fresh ideas in which your entire family can become involved! Here are some things we are trying that I can offer as suggestions to prayerfully consider.

  1. Serve: Serve together as a family, a small group or just as a group of friends.  Find a ministry that touches your heart and about which you can be passionate. Schedule yourself to serve regularly in this ministry with your family, a group of friends, or involve your small group. On a simpler note, you can visit a friend you haven’t seen in a while, perhaps someone out with an illness or injury. Always remember that stewardship is a L.I.F.E activity that is not limited to dollars and cents. It involves your Labor, your Influence, your Financial resources, and your Expertise, your entire L.I.F.E. Stop by the Movement booth in the Gatheria at Idlewild. Learn how you can discover God’s gifting to you and put your gift(s) into joyful service. You can give an hour a week – yes, you really can.

2. Broaden your view: Look for new opportunities to broaden your stewardship. Never neglect giving your tithe to your home church. Check out Does the New Testament Teach Tithing?, More on the Tithe – Tithes and Offerings 1, and More on the Tithe – Tithes and Offerings 2. Know that God has also called us to give over and above the tithe. Read and reflect upon Deuteronomy 15, Matthew 23:23, and Luke 12:33-34.

3. Give generously and wisely: When you find a ministry that touches your heart, consider giving as well as serving. You can give in different ways. Instead of just monetary giving, consider giving an appreciated asset, stock, or a piece of property. This type of giving may be better for both you and the charity than if you sold and donated the net proceeds. This strategy may reduce your tax burden if done correctly (and wisely) and increases the amount the charity receives – and what that charity can do. Not sure how to do this? The Idlewild Foundation can show you how. Just give us a call at (813) 264-8713. And never forget God in your giving.

4. Learn about Giving Funds: Explore the possibilities of a Donor Advised Fund that will allow you a deduction now, but choose who you want to support and how much you will give at a future date. This kind of fund can be an efficient means of setting up recurring donations and makes record keeping for taxes easy. Learn more at Ways to Give, or just give us a call. Now, with the new administration in Washington and with there being a great likelihood of either direct or indirect tax increases, more than ever you need to examine tax-wise giving. We can help!

5. Share your experience with others: If you have a life example of how God has blessed you and how you have given back to Him, share your story. Tell your small group, your friends, and your family about how you’ve been blessed and how you’ve been able to bless others.

6. Accelerate your giving: In 2021 Idlewild completed its debt elimination program that was called Accelerate. Despite the rugged inflation in 2022, you have some additional money that can be given to the kingdom. Rather than increase your standard of living, instead increase your standard of giving (a quote from Randy Alcorn). Increase your giving to Idlewild’s kingdom investments, join Pastor Ken in that goal, or increase your giving to other Christian ministries. Please consider The Idlewild Foundation and its Fund 1:27 where 100% of any donation goes to ministry. Nothing – not one cent – goes to salaries, overhead or administrative costs. Give over and above the tithe and enjoy the joy of generosity. For a bit of help encouraging that, read More on the Tithe – Tithes and Offerings 1, More on the Tithe – Tithes and Offerings 2, and Science Proves That It Is More Blessed to Give Than Receive.

Here’s another idea! Why not spend some time reviewing your spending for last year? By looking at your bank and charge card statements you’ll get a pretty good picture of where your money was spent and what your priorities have been. Did you find ways to glorify God through any of your spending? Did your spending in 2022 give more glory to yourself than to God? Could you do better? Give God the credit He is due. He made your income and your abilities (and every breath you took in 2022) possible.

Deuteronomy 8:18
18     But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth …

Take some time to sit down with your family and discuss ways to manage your money more effectively. Consider speaking with someone from the Stewardship Ministry of Idlewild Baptist Church or with us at The Idlewild Foundation. There are financial counselors who work with Idlewild’s Stewardship ministry who will meet with you for free to discuss your finances and budget and help. We can give you tips and ideas in managing your money. And don’t worry. You won’t be bludgeoned until you agree to give money to Idlewild or to the Foundation! On the other hand, you will learn ways that you can further God’s kingdom by sharing His blessings with others – with open hands!

You can contact us at The Idlewild Foundation, (813) 264-8713 or email me at jcampbell@idlewild.org. Make 2023 a year to celebrate!


About the Author

John Campbell has retired from a 40 year legal practice as a trial attorney in Tampa. He has served in multiple volunteer roles at Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz, Florida, where he met Jesus.  He began serving as the Executive Director of the Idlewild Foundation in 2016.  He has been married to the love of his life, Mona Puckett Campbell, since 1972.

Idlewild’s Widow Ministry Restored

In July, The Idlewild Foundation and the Idlewild Women’s ministry combined to bless the widows of IBC. Before the pandemic Idlewild had a widow ministry, In His Image, that held monthly luncheons. But the pandemic and its seemingly never-ending health issues put an end to in-person meetings like that, even ones so important to good spiritual and emotional health.

But time passed and by mid-2022 it seemed overdue to offer some help and encouragement to our widows. So, we reached out to the Idlewild women’s ministry and got the ball rolling.

Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.
And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do,
but encourage one another,
especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
Hebrews 10:24-25

There were several factors that called out that this was God’s timing:

  •  There was a generous donation given to the Foundation for widows.
  •  The previous head of the widow ministry had stepped down after 20 years of service and God provided a new volunteers to head it.
  •  All of the facilities and support needs fell into place with the incredible cooperation and hard work of the Idlewild special events team.

The only problem with the luncheon timing was that it fell ten days after John Campbell, the Executive Director of the Foundation, was to return from a mission trip to Atibaia, Brazil. But that seemed like enough time to deal with the final details and preparation. Satan worked to make things harder. The return flight was delayed by a day and John returned home with a mild case of Co-vid 19, but enough to keep him quarantined right up to July 8.

Still, with the extraordinary effort of Jodie Montgomery, Director of the Idlewild Women’s ministry, her volunteer helper, Keira Rinchuse, who made literally hundreds of phone calls, and the Idlewild Special Events team led by Nancy Reed, the luncheon happened and was a blessing. Also helping was the chairman of deacons Chris McNeal and a number of deacons who drove the cart from the parking lot, greeted the widows, and sat with them for a Carabbas meal and a dessert choice from Wright’s Gourmet Deli. Take-home treats were put together by the special events staff with an extra treat by the Fox family

Jodie led the luncheon and did a short devotion. But the best part of the luncheon was the fellowship with a deacon at each table and the widows spending precious time together.

The luncheons will resume regularly now, led by Terry Gilbaugh and Meredith Wester. The widow ministry will bear the new name, Silver Linings. Additionally, the widows will continue to be blessed through the generous gift to the Foundation which will also help support widows with particular needs that they cannot handle. This community effort shows the church at work in a big way. The church is not and should never be a building. Instead, the real church is a body of believers living in the rescuing power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The church is what just happened.

“Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much”
Helen Keller.