Stop Tithing and Become Generous
I love people who shape an argument so they can “win” rather than honestly ask the right questions and risk getting an unwelcome answer. During my legal career we referred to that as raising the straw man argument. The technique was simple. Misdirect the opponent from the real issue and instead address a slightly different […]
Lower Costs for 2020 Are Possible
Between inflation and increasing expectations, it is getting increasingly expensive to live. It’s hard to make ends meet when you can’t even find the ends! However, I often hear people comment that they can’t do any better, can’t live on less, and that they are just scraping by. I have yet to see anyone making […]
Are You Visibly Committed to God?
“I dare you!” Those are challenging words coming from almost anyone. Now imagine those words came from God Himself. Really! Would God do that? Would God dare anyone to do something? He did! The book of Malachi is a series of questions and challenges by God directed at His people. One of those questions and […]
Money and Your Heart
The pull of the wallet or pocketbook (or the credit or debit card, PayPal or other payment tool) is great. The power of money is – or should be – frightening to any observer. In fact, fright, or fear, is a good point to start almost any article or conversation about money. In 1 Timothy […]
Why Should I Give?
I teach on stewardship and generosity at Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz, Florida, and I ask one question in my initial stewardship lesson that always raises eyebrows and catches people’s attention, “Why give to the church?” I can also see that it makes some people uncomfortable. It isn’t a question that most expect since our […]
The Purpose of Wealth
Most people live in one of two realms of reality when they think of money, (1) they either work and get what they want or can afford, or, (2) they expect someone else to provide what they want, either through government aid or by taking from others. There is a third realm, one made clear […]
What About Giving and Generosity?
Looking at the words giving and generosity closely might yield some surprising results. Many times the two words have almost interchangeable applications. But there are a few hidden differences between true generosity and just giving. You can actually give, give often, and give a lot and still not be generous. You can also give little […]
The Problem With Worrying About Money
“Don’t worry. Be happy! That is easier said than done by far, especially looking at our economy. 2018 has not been a kind year for those watching the U.S. economy and the stock market. And it isn’t just the economy that can cause financial worries. In 2018, personal and household debt is at an all-time […]
The Stewardship of Time, Part 2
In the last article, The Stewardship of Time, Part 1, we started looking at the stewardship of perhaps the most precious resource God has given us, our time. We saw that our time is limited and uncertain, looking at Ecclesiastes 3:11 and Psalm 39:4-5 among other verses, and we started looking for ways to get […]
The Stewardship of Time, Part 1
There is a resource you have that is far more precious than your money. It is a resource that is universally nondiscriminatory and fairly distributed. Everyone has the same amount every day. Everyone’s supply is renewed every single day he or she is alive. It can be spent or wasted but can never be saved […]
Are You Really Content? Really?
Any discussion of a word as deep and complex as “content” requires the foundation of a solid definition. Content means: “Satisfied with what one is or has; not wanting more or anything else.” Dictionary.com Any discussion of the word content leads to the word “contentment,” defined as “the state of being contented; satisfaction; ease of […]
Doing a budget is not fun. There is nothing pleasurable about going back through old financial records looking for charges, checks, payments and deposits so that the budget can reflect reality and be meaningful. But there are multiple benefits to doing a budget. In my case, I immediately spotted an odd feature of my monthly […]
Dumping Your Mortgage Debt
Getting out of debt is an honorable goal. The easy part is setting the goal, the hard part is figuring out how to get to that goal. It’s those in-between steps that are so tough. How can you do that in the shortest time possible? Here are a few ideas that may help shorten the […]
How to Give Wisely in 2020
The tax law enacted as a 2017 Christmas present to Americans by the administration and Congress, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, has had an impact on the structure and amount of charitable donations. A brief explanation of the tax laws and how these changes affect most Americans is in order. In the […]
Called to Work- Part 2
Last quarter we started outlining what is now commonly called a theology of work, about the fact that you are called to work. We looked at common mistake that cause many to have a negative image of work – after all, it is called work and not fun. Then we took a look at some […]
The Disaster of Debt – Stop Making Financial Excuses
One of the most common problems with digging out from under debt is procrastination. There are a number of ways we try to mentally justify our procrastination, no matter how wrong they are. They include: My Debt Is Too Big To Manage, So Why Try? One basic rule for life is that when you find […]
Called to Work – Part 1
We look at things in an odd way. Many years ago, shortly after I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, I struggled with the idea of leaving my profession, going to seminary, and becoming a Pastor. At the time, circumstances prevented that and I stayed working in the secular world. Instead I served […]
Save More – 10% Isn’t Enough
That is an outrageous title! Save more than 10% of your income? Most Americans don’t save at all, much less save 10% or save more than that. Why would anyone say save more than 10%? That’s a fair question. The Bible, math and the realities of life answer that question and all agree. The Bible […]
Debt Consolidation? Maybe and Maybe Not
It is amazing! The advertisements come through like a gift from somewhere. It sounds too good to be true. And that may be the problem, it may not work and it may not be true, or at least not entirely true. I am writing about debt consolidation, a debt release “product” that is highly touted […]
What is Biblical Stewardship?
We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give. Winston Churchill Many Christians limit their concept of stewardship to hearing sermons on tithing and calls for church building programs. That barely scratches the surface of God’s clearly expressed concept of stewardship for us. Biblical stewardship is so […]
Tax-Wise Charitable Giving
Giving to Charity Has Great Benefits Giving to your church is a call from God. There are many scriptures in both the Old and New Testaments that give us God’s direction to generously support His church. But the need for giving and for generosity goes much deeper. The call of God is also for believers […]
Getting Out of Debt
One critically important part of a close walk with God is giving back to Him. It is a command and a calling to give to God who has given so much for us. John 3:16. But it is hard to give when the past due notices arrive and the phone rings with the friendly call […]
April 15, A Day of Unlikely Celebration
Every year, taxpayers send billions of dollars to the U.S. government that could have gone to Kingdom work. Paperwork. Frustration. Fear. Those are the first things that come to most people’s minds when they hear the words “April 15,” America’s annual deadline for filing income tax returns. There is another word, however, not usually associated […]
What Is Legacy Giving?
I once received a legacy gift. Actually, I have received more than one, but one in particular stands out in my mind. I had been out of school about two years. My wife and I wanted to buy a home, but we did not have enough saved to even come close to being able to […]
Americans in Debt
Americans are drowning in debt! And here in the Sunshine State, Floridians have gone down as fast if not faster than most. The recession starting in 2008 drove Americans and Floridians farther in debt than ever before and the result was a flood of bankruptcies and foreclosures that ruined lives, destroyed a housing boom and […]
It’s Time to Start Saving
We live in the land of opportunity! Many come to this country thinking it is not only possible but likely that they can find financial security and perhaps even wealth in this land of opportunity. But every opportunity also has its risks and current events demonstrate that remarkably well. In the 1960s people saved more […]
Ideas for Living Better Through Stewardship
The Idlewild Foundation is committed to the Biblical concept of financial stewardship. Stewardship is about much more than just giving, it is all about living better. The wise handling of your money is an essential aspect of reducing stress in your life, having a solid financial plan, and securing your financial future. When your eyes […]
Are Your Kids Involved in Your Giving?
Charles was a successful business owner. Out of the blue, he received an offer from someone who wanted to buy it for $25 million–three times what it was worth a year earlier. “This is it, the time is right,” he announced to his wife Margaret. “We’re going to sell the company.” Charles and Margaret talked […]
Social Security Can’t Do it All – A Primer
Social Security was created in 1935, signed into existence by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the heart of the Great Depression. The first taxing of earnings took place in 1937, with a maximum of $3,000 in earnings taxed at 2% (compared to a maximum of $127,200 at 12.4% in 2017 for a self-employed individual, plus […]
Essential Documents – End of Life Checklist
Why does documentation matter? Two Different Stories for Ken and Noreen Ken has been married for 22 years to Joanne. He has been the head of the household, the worker outside the home and the father to 3 children, Mary who is 19 and in college, Jimmy who is 15 and Ellen who is 11. […]
7 Steps for Financial Progress
Start saving $1 a week — and keep adding more money each week Start on January 1 and put it in an envelope (and do not remove it). Gain a little traction by adding another dollar to the envelope “bank” each week. In early February, you’re saving $5 that week. By the last week of […]
Creating a Legacy of Generosity
How to instill the values of giving in your children – create a family legacy of giving As a parent, one of our most important jobs is to instill Biblical values in our children. One of the most important values we share as Christians is the scriptural principle of giving our time, talents, and treasure. However, […]
Foundations of Retirement Planning
Nearly two out of every three working Americans expect to delay their retirement. Many have no choice. The most commonly stated reason is insufficient savings. When and how can you start preparing for retirement and for the rest of your life? The answer to that question is easy. Yesterday, if possible.
How Can I Afford a Nursing Home?
People always assume that Medicare will pay for the nursing home. But Medicare only pays for a limited time after hospitalization and does not pay for long-term nursing home stays. Medicare was not designed to pay for what is more commonly referred to as long-term care. Despite that discouraging truth, you do have options. 1. Sell […]
Retirement Friendly Legal Planning
No thirty or forty year old looks forward to aging or to the thought of being in either assisted living or a nursing home, or to the problems, aches and pains that come with growing older. However, you should do some early legal planning and goal-setting to avoid being broke and living off minimal government […]
What Legacy Will You Give?
One of the great blessings of my life was when I received an inheritance from a great uncle that happened to be the amount of the down payment my wife and I needed to buy our home, the one we now have lived in and loved for almost forty years. However, receiving an inheritance at […]
Save, Don’t Store
One in ten Americans rent a storage unit. One estimate from the industry says that Americans spend about $32 billion a year on storage units. That may make sense for some as they are temporarily storing family treasures during or after a move. But many are throwing their hard-earned money into storing what should be […]
Tests of Godly Stewardship
To understand the breadth and scope of true Godly stewardship, here are three questions every Christian should form an answer to between himself or herself and God: Who really owns what I have? How much is enough for my needs? Have I prepared for what will happen when I go home to be with the […]
Planning Your Future Financial And …
Ask almost anyone what their financial goals are and you will get a short list of responses which will virtually always include making enough money to retire early – and securely. Believe it or not, that is possible, although it will take effort, planning and sacrifice. And that is a very reasonable and desirable financial […]
Your Financial Future By The Decade
Your future actually just started. Are you on board? Even if the answer is “yes,” there could be a problem. If you don’t know where you need to go or where you should aim, how can you possibly know what you need to do to get there? It makes some sense to give yourself some […]