Hope for your financial life and beyond

Some Say There Is No God. What If They Are Wrong?

I recently published an article highlighting some short Bible verses that hold tremendous meaning. For a couple of weeks, I promoted that post on Facebook. The article was well received, generating over 1.3k likes. But of course, as Facebook goes there are always dissenters. I had some fairly interesting comments posted on my page from people asserting that there is no God.

there is no godI don’t mind. I’m used to that kind of stuff.

I’ve always been fascinated by people who claim there is no God. Questioning whether there is a God is one thing. At least that person is thinking it through. But to deny the possibility altogether seems unimaginative.

I had a professor in grad school who fit this description. He thought we Christians in the class were shallow and narrow-minded. He scoffed at our belief that there is one God who oversees the entire universe. To him, we needed to open our minds and embrace other philosophical and scientific realities.

I always found that ironic. He chastised our singular vision and wanted us to be more open. Yet he himself was never open to the possibility that we might be right.

Which brings me to ask this question to anyone reading this right now:

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3 Reasons Kids Should Watch Every Moment of Olympic Coverage

Today my kids will drag themselves out of bed and head back to school. Unfortunately, our back to school season is clashing with another major world event happening right now – the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. So there will be no more 10-hour, lying on the couch veg-out sessions, flipping back and forth to the many channels of Olympic coverage.

I have to admit I love the summer Olympics. I can do without the opening and closing ceremonies, which I know many people love. But I’ll take anything and everything else that happens. The Olympics are a sports enthusiasts dream.

My love affair with the Olympics started in 1984 when they were hosted by Los Angeles. I was 11 years old and still remember being in awe of the athletic performances. If you are under the age of 25 and have never heard of Carl Lewis, Edwin Moses, Mary Lou Retton, Greg Louganis or the Zola Budd collision you need to spend some time on YouTube. Great athletes with great performances in a great atmosphere.

Now I’m raising four kids who are growing up in an age where there is a greater variety of Olympic events and they have greater access to them. There weren’t 7 stations broadcasting the competitions in those days. And we certainly didn’t have streaming options via computer or mobile phone app.

So far my kids are eating this up. There have only been a few days of Olympic coverage but they are fixed in the TV room, cheering the USA on at every turn. I’m usually one to limit TV and computer viewing because I don’t think it’s healthy for kids to be looking at a screen all day.

But here is why until the Olympics are over I’ll be stretching the viewing limits and bedtimes a little farther even with school being in session.

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What Should I Do For My Birthday Today?

Birthdays come but once a year. Today just so happens to be mine. And with it comes the obligatory question, What should I do for my birthday?

Some birthdays seem bigger than others. When I was a child, my birthday ranked right behind Christmas as the most important day of the year. I’d look forward to March 7th each and every year because it meant parties and cake and presents. I mean, what child doesn’t like to have those things on Christmas or their birthday or on any given day of the year?

what should i do for my birthdayNow, at 43, there is not so much gifting. There are fewer parties. Sometimes there is cake or perhaps a night out – if a babysitter can be found. More than likely though, the kids just come along on said night out.

The decade birthdays draw a bit more attention like when I turned 40. But for the most part I’m finding birthdays in middle age pass quietly without much fanfare.

And I’m OK with that.

A few months ago I spent some time with my grandfather, just a few weeks before his 102nd birthday. As we sat down to dinner one night, the conversation turned to a discussion about things that had occurred during the last year that we were thankful for. I’ll never forget his response when it came time for him to answer.

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102-Year-Old Says You Are Never Too Old to Celebrate

You may be too old to become an astronaut. Your age can hinder you from driving a car or starting another family. Many of the things you used to do when younger may be no longer feasible. But this one thing is surely true – you are never too old to celebrate living into a new year.

you are never too oldHow do I know this?

Because I just spent last weekend with my soon to be 102-year-old grandfather and he has no intentions of slowing down.

Don’t get me wrong. He moves slower than he used to. His hearing isn’t what it used to be and he eats slower than the rest of us.

But his mind is alert and he knows exactly why he is still here…to live and impact people, whomever he can.

At the dinner table Sunday night, my aunt asked each of us to share our biggest highlight of 2015. We each told of an experience this past year that meant something to us. When it came time for my grandfather to end the conversation, he said something I’ll never forget.

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Why I’ll Cherish Every Moment of the Next Four Years

It’s a Milestone Monday of sorts at our household. Today at 7:45 I’ll be dropping off our four kids for their first day of school. That may seem ordinary but it’s not the start of just another school year for us. This year is a bit more special.

hourglassOur oldest daughter Kelly is entering high school.

14 years down.

4 more to go.

Four more years until…

…she likely moves out for the first time.

…she doesn’t regularly join us at the dinner table.

…she isn’t in our home church each and every Sunday.

…she really learns what it’s like to depend on herself.

…we face the college tuition bill (oops, sorry…that’s a tangent of thought for another day).

I used to not care about this stuff. When she was two, high school and college seemed so distant. I’d find myself in circles of older parents who would say, “Cherish these moments because it will fly by so quickly.” I’d politely nod at their exhortation and think, “Sure, sure…I won’t miss anything.”

Now I wonder where all the time has gone. Why did it happen so fast? How can it be 14 years since my first child was born?

Ironically, now I’m the older parent sharing the value of cherishing time with those just getting started on the journey.

Everything Has Its Time

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A Time For Choosing Freedom

Eerily, this man’s words, penned in 1964, are coming true on many levels:

American flag“Every lesson of history tells us that the greater risk lies in appeasement…[and] policies of accommodation…”

“If we continue to accommodate, continue to back and retreat, eventually we have to face the final demand, the ultimatum…and what then?”

“…And someday when the time comes to deliver the final ultimatum, our surrender will be voluntary because by that time we will have been weakened from within spiritually, morally and economically…”

 But there is hope found through courage and sacrifice:

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I’m Losing Sleep Tonight For a Worthy Cause But Never Will Over Money

Tonight I’m going to do something I haven’t done in a long time – losing sleep by voluntarily pulling an all-nighter. The last two legit occurrences happened over 20 years ago in college while I was studying for finals. Then all it took was the fear of failing, a couple sleeves of Pringles and a two-liter of Mountain Dew to pull me through the wee morning hours.

losing sleepNow, at 42, I’m not sure all the Jolt Cola in the world will do the trick. The old body ain’t what it used to be. But I’m gonna give it the old college try.

Why would I put myself through this? Well, it’s for a worthy cause.

It’s a lock-in…at our church…for the youth group.

Some of you are wincing (or laughing) right about now knowing what I’m about to go through.

They need events like these every once in awhile though with crazy, sometimes chaotic fun. It will be memorable, which is what you want out of your teen years.

As the youth leader, I don’t mind losing sleep for this cause or any other worthy cause for that matter. But what I’m really thankful for that I’ll never lose sleep over money related problems. Because…

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The One Winning Formula For the Poor (Proverbs 28:11)

Hidden Nuggets Series #88 – “The rich man is wise in his own eyes, but the poor who has understanding searches him out.” – Proverbs 28:11

The winning formula to have success with money involves two things: altering our knowledge and altering our behavior. Of those two, behavior is by far the most important factor in the winning formula. We can have all the knowledge in the world but unless we put it into practice we’ll never win.

winning formulaRich people have figured this out. Their behavior is commensurate with the fact they have money. Somewhere along the way they realized (gained knowledge) what they should and should not do (behavior). They’ve done something (actually a lot of right somethings) to get to where they are.

According to the Bible the rich are “wise in their own eyes.” They understand what they’ve done and know the right path to take. They have chosen to avoid or pursue behaviors that might damage or propel their future respectively.

They don’t need any more advice.

They’ve figured it out.

The poor on the other hand haven’t and could sure use some.

And as we see in the second part of Proverbs 28:11, they would be wise to seek advice from the rich.

Seeking Out the Rich Is a Winning Formula

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Why You Should Never Discount Success When Others Praise You

Have you ever received praise from someone because of a great personal success and then downplayed why that success came? In other words, do you discount or make excuses for personal achievements when people applaud you? I find myself continually tempted to do this even though I know it’s damaging.

woman receiving an award Last month I had my most successful day and month ever on this blog…more page views and revenue than I realistically thought possible considering what I’m doing. When my wife complimented me on a job well done I assumed my best Floyd Mayweather stance and went into defensive mode.

“Well, if it hadn’t been for this and this and this then…”

“It really wasn’t anything I did, it was because…”

“It was just one month…I don’t think it will carry over.”

I sucked her praise right out of the air.

I didn’t accept it.

I didn’t acknowledge it.

Instead I downplayed it and swatted away her alley-oop praise pass.

Why Do We Act This Way?

You’d think we would relish the chance to be recognized for worthy achievements. I love awards and a pat on the back as much as the next guy. But why do we become a downer in the moments immediately after receiving praise for a success?

Perhaps it’s because…

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How I Got Financially Real in 5 Minutes

(A special “Thank You” to Shannon at The Heavy Purse for organizing this blog carnival for Financial Literacy Awareness Month. Check out her post and see how other personal finance bloggers got financially real.)

Financially Real

Up until seven years ago I lived with the delusion that I had no money problems. Everything seemed fine to me. We were paying bills on time, building our credit score and saving/investing money along the way.

What more do you need than that, right?

The truth however didn’t match reality. I was an over-spender…a chronic over-spender. Every month we were spending more than we made. (Well, it probably wasn’t every month but it sure seemed that way.)

Like so many others who live on credit and spend, spend, spend, I was content to keep walking that path. That was until I had an encounter I’ll never forget.

The five-minute encounter changed my life.

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The Ultimate Risk in Wasting a Play

Everyone knew Marshawn would get the football. He’d just run four yards on the previous play to push his team to the one-yard line. With less than a minute to go and the Super Bowl on the line the monster running back would surely bring a championship to his team with one more beastly plunge.

super bowl interceptionExcept his coach called for a pass play on 2nd down.

What?

The resulting interception thrown by Russell Wilson caused the dozens at my Super Bowl party to jump off the couch, screaming in disbelief (or triumph depending on their rooting interest).

After the game the Seattle coach was faced with questions from the media about the play call. To his credit he took full responsibility for the misfortune that befell his team. But his logic for making the call was curious to say the least.

In essence he said they didn’t have the right personnel on the field to match up with New England’s defense. So he chose to give away (#waste) that 2nd down play with a passing call and then get set up to call better plays on 3rd and potentially 4th down.

Give away a play…with the championship on the line.

Unthinkable.

The Risk in Giving Away Plays

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