Wednesday, February 12, 2014

In awe of my Lord!

We began our Chapter 10 study of the Solar System, Stars, Time & Seasons. It's a 21 day study & we're on day 5 beginning tomorrow. I found this today & can't wait to watch it with the kids tomorrow.

Please take the time to watch & hope you enjoy!

Blessings & Love,

Friday, February 7, 2014

"Learning Bookkeeping"

Stewardship Lesson #11

Learning Bookkeeping

Parents & students need to understand bookkeeping principles & how - to's to be successful in managing finances. The following information is designed for a 3-4 day period, or longer of needed. During this time period the student will be keeping an entire set of books for a two-month period.

Income Statement

You are an Engineer for a major corporation. Your gross (that means before any taxes are taken or anything is paid from the money you earn) wages are $52,000 per year. To determine how much you will take home each month, you need to divide $52,000 by 12 (there are 12 months in a year). Your total should equal $4,333.33 per month. This is still considered your gross income. To determine your net income (taxes have to be taken from your gross income. A net income is the amount you really get to take home), subtract 18% of your gross monthly income. To do this take $4,333.33 times 18%. The subtract the 18% from $4,333.33.

This is your net income. Enter this amount in your check book as a beginning balance.

Now, you must pay the necessary bills. Write checks for each of the following bills.

For February:

Norco Christian Church
Mexico Missions
Mercury Insurance Company
Stater Bros (Groceries)
City of Riverside (Elec/Water)
Cash (for personal use)
Pacific Bell Telephone
Ryan's Elec. Repair
Stater Bros (Groceries)
Dr. Dividian, D.D.S
Command Performance
Stater Bros (Groceries)
Cash (for personal use)
Toyota Motor Corp.
Mobil Oil Company (Gas-Car)
Mervyn's (Clothes)
Stater Bros (Party)
Home Mortgage Company
To Savings
Gifts Galore

Note: Ending balance for February should be $401.70

For March:

Deposit Paycheck
Norco Christian Church
Philippine Missions
Mercury Ins. Co.
Stater Bros
City of Riverside (Elec/Water)
Cash (for personal use)
Pacific Bell Telephone
Stater Bros (Groceries)
Dr. Dividian, D.D.S
Command Performance (Hair)
Stater Bros (Groceries)
Cash (for personal use)
Toyota Motor Corp.
Mobil Oil Company (Gas-Car)
Stater Bros
Home Mortgage Company
Gifts Galore (Birthday)
To Savings

Note: Your ending balance should be $660.12

  1. Look at the above budget: Your goal is to be able to reduce your debt ratio. You want to be able to pay off your car early. You still have 20 payments to make on it at $255.00 per month. What can you do to (1) pay it off early, & (2) continue to put money in savings for a new car? Where will you cut?

  1. Look at the above budget: If your income fell by ¼, what or where would you cut? Restructure the budget to fit a monthly net income of $2,665. Home mortgage, care payment & insurance must remain the same. In a column list each item for a one-month period. List what was spent in that month. Now list your new budget.

  1. Look at the above budget: Suppose your income increased by 50%. You want to do three things immediately: First is to reduce your debt structure – you want to pay off everything you owe. Make a reasonable plan to do that within 10 years. Your outstanding debt is $85,510 (without interest). Second, you want to begin to put aside more money into savings so that you won't need to go into debt again. You want to put away at least $3,000 over the next 3 years. Third, you want to begin giving more to missions. You want to give an extra 4% of your income to missions.

To reach the first goal of paying off all debt, list how much each year you will need to pay to pay off entire debt. Then divide this number by 12. This is how much you will need to pay on your debt each month. Add this amount to your monthly payments, subtract the total from your monthly income.

To reach the goal of saving $3,000 in three years, how much will you need to save each month? Add this amount to your monthly payments, & then subtract the total from your monthly income.

Determine what an additional 4% of your income is. This is the amount you want to give yearly to missions. Divide this amount by 12 to determine how much extra you will give each month. Add this amount to your monthly payments, & then subtract the total from your monthly income.

After having done this, determine if you can successfully meet all your goals with this increase in income. How much money is left (or short)? If you have money left, what priority will you out on how to spend that money? Can you pay off your debt earlier? How much earlier if you applied all if the extra money to debt reduction? Do you want to divide the extra just like you did before between the three areas? If so, how will you divide it? List how much more you want to go to each area, & then list a total.

Last check:

Be sure your checkbook is balanced correctly.

List the four Biblical principles for finances.

Assuming that you were employed for $8.00 per week, divide the money according to the five short-term areas. This is the most important thing you have done so far, because this applies to you!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

"The Dangers of Debt"

Stewardship Lesson #10

When discussing buying & living styles, you must always consider the dangers of debt.

Is debt a sin?

Or is it just not the wisest choice for our lives?

Are there times we need to be in debt?

Or should you do without necessities to be able to avoid debt?

These are all questions that must be answered.

The Dangers of Debt

  1. Debt is not a sin. The Bible discourages debt, but does not prohibit it.
  2. Debt is never the real problem; it is only symptomatic of the real problem – greed, self-indulgence, impatience, fear, poor self-image, lack of self-worth, lack of self-discipline.
  3. Debt can be defined in many ways. It is any money owed to anyone for anything.

There Are Five Kinds of Debts

  1. Credit Card Debt
  2. Consumer Debt
  3. Mortgage Debt
  4. Investment Debt
  5. Business Debt

Before purchasing an item, & before going in debt for it, there are four questions to ask:

  1. Does it make economic sense?
  2. Do my spouse & I have unity taking on this debt?
  3. Do I have the spiritual peace of mind or freedom to enter into this debt?
  4. What personal goals & values am I meeting with the debt that can be met in no other way?

The difference between debt & cash purchases may be illustrated with the example of the purchase of a new car.

Car Purchased on Credit

Cost of car: $10,000.00
Monthly Payment at 12.5%: $265.80
Amount Paid in Four Years: $12,758.40

Car Purchased with Savings (Cash)

Cost of Car: $10,000.00
Monthly Savings at 6% in Four Years: $12,182.00
Total Cost of Car: $7,818.00

The fact is: Debt always mortgages the future.

Are there times when you may need to borrow? Yes. But whenever you borrow money for any reason, there must be a guaranteed way to pay it back.

Read the following Scriptures for a Biblical view on debt.

Psalm 37:21 - The wicked borrows and does not pay back, but the righteous is gracious and gives.

Romans 13:8 - Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.

Proverbs 22:7 - The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower becomes the lender’s slave.

1 Timothy 5:8 - But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

Luke 12:15 - Then He said to them, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.”

There are two rules for borrowing:

  1. The cost to borrow (after-tax interest) must be less than the economic benefit received (interest, yield, and/or growth in value).
  2. There must be a guaranteed way of repayment.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

"How to Determine Life Style"

Stewardship Lesson #9

How to Determine Life Style

When discussing finances, the style of our living hits very close to home, for this tells exactly what our priorities are.

How fancy of a house do you really need?

How new a car?

How fancy do the clothes that you wear need to be?

Do you really need that new skateboard, or can the old one still work?

These are all questions that, when we spend, reflect our priorities.

We all approach finances similarly to our parents. Either we are attracted to their buying style in a positive way or in a negative way. When it comes to buying, there are some myths that need to be dispelled, especially if we wish to gain control of our finances. They are listed on the following chart for you.

Myths of Buying

Buying Myth
The Truth
Buy now because it will cost more later. Incorrect, because it presupposes that you will need the items you are buying in the future. We buy for our greed rather than our need.
Always borrow to buy.
CONSIDER THE COST OF CREDIT! See the chart & apply it to the cost of credit instead of the return on investment.
You can never accumulate enough.
This is pure greed. Call it what it is.

Note: A wise & knowledgeable person can beat inflation by spending less than is earned because the earning power of money will, over time, always be greater than the inflation rate.

"Guaranteed Success Financially"

Stewardship Lesson #8

Guaranteed Success Financially

Do you remember the Biblical principles of finances? Recap them now.

First, God owns it all. Second, money is never an end to itself, but is merely a resource to accomplish other goals & obligations. Third, if you spend less than you earn & do it for a long time, you will be financially successful.

Time & consistency are the two words that are your friends in financial planning. If you can save the same amount every week & consistently do it, you will be financially successful.

Look at the chart below. In it are listed the rates of accumulation of money using the principles of time & consistency. Suppose you have a goal to accumulate $65,000 for college. You have six years to do so. How much actual money do you need to be able to do this?

As you look at this chart, consider the rate of accumulation by means of interest alone. Is this a wise use of money? In light of the parable of talents, what do you think God would think about a decision to place money in savings at a good interest return?

Compounding of Money
Time + Consistency

5 Years
10 Years
20 Years
30 Years
40 Years


Money can make money for you if you use the principle of time & consistency. Restate on paper the principle of time & consistency & explain how it works.

"Integrated Planning"

Stewardship Lesson #7

Integrated Planning

To plan for the future you will need to do hour things:

  1. Summarize your present position. How much do you know have? List earnings from your job(s) & how much you need to spend. Write this information on a piece of paper.

  2. Next establish your financial goals. Do you want to go to college? If so, you will need about $65,000. Do you want to be able to travel when you graduate from high school? If so, determine how much you will need. Do you want to be able to start a business? If so, determine how much you will need. The point is, you must place monetary value on your goals. Write these down on the same sheet of paper you listed your current position.

  3. Plan to increase your cash-flow margin. If you want to reach your goal, you must increase how much money you have available to you. There are only two ways to do this: You must either cut back on your spending &/or make more money. List ways you can increase your cash flow so that you can reach your goal.
  4. Last, but not least, you must control your cash flow. We already stated that you can never buy everything you want. And we learned that the accumulation of money is not the end goal. Money is only a tool. But to use it as a tool you have to be in control of your finances & of yourself. On the same sheet of paper on which you wrote your income & goals, list five ways you can better control your cash flow. For example, one of our children's goals is to be able to attend college. They need to increase their earnings & cut back on spending in order to be able to have the money they will need. Every penny counts. To control their cash flow, they immediately put money in savings as soon as they get paid. They also combine some money to be able to earn a higher rate of interest in their savings accounts. They are in control of the money, instead of their desires being in control. And if they want something? They put the money aside for 10 days & at the end of that time, if they still think it is important, they buy it at that time. We found that emotional buying was one of the worst enemies to control cash flow.


  1. List the four points of integrated planning.
  2. What action can you take today to reach your long-term goals?

Quotable Quotes: “Money is one of the resources you use to accomplish the desires you have. Success is knowing what God would have you to be & to do, so what when you stand before HIM, you will hear Him say, 'Well, done, good & faithful servant.'”

Thursday, January 30, 2014

"The First Step: Short Range Objectives"

Stewardship Lesson #6

The First Step: Short Range Objectives

There is a Chinese proverb which says, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” The same is true with finances. We have to take the first short-term “now” steps before we can make it to our final goals. In the short term there are only five ways money can be spent:

  1. Given away
  2. Spent to support a lifestyle
  3. Used for the repayment of debt
  4. Used to meet tax obligations
  5. Accumulated or saved

Every spending decision will fit into one of these five categories.

How you allocate the money you have been given by God is determined by two factors: The commitments you already have & your priorities. If you have bought a house, then you must pay for that house. That is a commitment. You also have a commitment to feed & clothe your family. You have a commitment to pay the government the taxes due it (“Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's & unto God the things that are God's”). These are all commitments. It is your priority to give money to God's kingdom because you are in a covenant relationship with Him. It is your priority to place money in savings for retirement so that your living needs can be met at that time. How you spend your money will be determined by your commitments (either good decisions or bad decisions) & by your priorities. This is exactly why stewardship can't be faked. Priorities are shown in what we commit ourselves to & in how we spend the leftovers of the budget.

Of the five choices for spending, three are consumptive in nature: Lifestyle support, repayment of debt & taxes. Money spent in these three areas is money you consume. You never see it again. It's doesn't return you anything.

However, when you save, you accumulate assets & cash, & these increase your net worth. With the net worth, you can then choose a combination of six things:

  1. Financial independence – means that the resources accumulated will generate enough income to fund all of the short-range objectives, with the exception of savings. You don't need savings because enough has been accumulated.
  2. College education for children
  3. Paying off debt
  4. Major lifestyle desires
  5. Major charitable giving
  1. Owning your own business


  1. There are only five ways to allocate money. List them.
  2. Of these five, which three are consumptive in nature?
  3. Which choice builds assets & increases your net worth, thereby giving you more choices in spending & more ways to use your money as a tool?
  4. How can you know what God would have you do with your money?
  5. How can you know how much to allocate in each of these five areas?

To determine what God would have us do in balancing our priorities requires the discipline of spending time with Him.

We can't know the will of God if we don't know God. This, too, is why we can't fake stewardship. Our spending reflects our priorities. And our priorities reflect our relationship with God.