Sunday, September 16, 2012

Equity is Key

Just a short but important note for the kids.

If you rent an apartment, you give away about $800 each month. That's $9,600 every year. Over the course of ten years, that's $96,000.

If you put that money toward mortgage payments, you get to keep this money in the form of equity.

So, if you have $96,000 in equity, and you want to purchase a larger home, you have almost $100,000 to apply toward the new home. But, if you have rented for the last ten years, you are back to square one.

You have to live somewhere. Your Dad has rented (for various reasons) for 25 years. That means that I have lost almost a quarter of a million dollars in equity. When it comes time to retire, if I had the equity, I could sell the home and travel, pay for doctor's bills, etc. Or, just retire on a beach somewhere.

But I don't have any equity.

Some folks lost a lot of the equity in their homes when the housing market crashed in 2008-2009. But, none of them dropped back to square one. Owning is always better than renting.

My advise to you: Buy a house as soon as you can.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Sowing Seed

For the boyz and lil' girl. Some ponderings.

I've been reading a lot on financial principles and wanted to pass on a few thoughts. First, think about gravity. Gravity is invisible. We drop a ball and it falls to the ground, but nobody really knows how that happens. It's just the God created this world to operate on certain principles, and so it happens. Second, we don't have to know how or why gravity works in order to take advantage of it. We've all seen children playing on a see-saw; one going up and the other going down. They don't stop to think why they are going down, but they can enjoy it nonetheless.

Well, money is like that. It operates along certain invisible principles. One of those principles is that when you give money away, you get more money back. The Gentleman who created the universe said it this way,

"Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again." (Luke 6:38)

The Lord Jesus was telling us how the world operates. Think of the first time he explained farming to father Adam. That must have been some conversation!

'Now, Adam, if you want more corn or wheat for next year, you have to throw some of it in the backyard this year.'

'Huh? That sounds crazy. Why don't I just hold on to what I have?'

'Trust me. I designed things to work this way.'

But it's not enough to just throw the seed in the backyard because some of it might land on a rock or a patch of hard ground or it might be devoured by birds.

"A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it. And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it. And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold." (Luke 8:5-8)

This is why some folks give to the church for years but never prosper. Their church is hard ground. It's not fruitful for the Kingdom of God. It has a name that it lives, but it is dead. And, sometimes the preacher is just one more bird trying to devour their hard-earned cash.

And, many churches are extremely wealthy, but the Lord says, "he that giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want." (Prov. 22:16) Your tithes and offerings might be working against you!

Where then is the good ground on which to sow? The poor are a good ground into which to sow. And, they're everywhere!

"He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again." (Prov. 19:17)

The word used for poor in this verse literally means door in the sense of hanging on a hinge, or dangling like the leaf of a book. The poor, if you don't know who they are, are the ones whose lives hang by a thread. The poor are not welfare moms with big screen t.v.'s and 4G cell phones. The poor are the destitute. They are the homeless. They are the ones who are holding onto the slimmest bits of life trying to survive. In Matthew 25:40, the Lord calls them "the least of these." The least. The lowest. The untouchables.

I always think of Tony Robbins who grew up very poor. One year, some kind-hearted strangers brought his family a turkey for Thanksgiving. Tony was so moved that he saved up his money so that he could give away a turkey himself the following year. The year after that, he gave away two. Today, the Anthony Robbins Foundation gives away millions of dollars in food each year to the poor.

This man is now worth over $480 million. I don't think he's a Christian, but I do think that he accidentally stumbled across one of the Lord's principles for making money: give to the poor.

Another point that I would like to add for the boyz and lil' girl. When you give, do it in Jesus' name. If you give $5 to the local mission, put a note in it that says the money is from the Lord Jesus who loves the poor. By doing this, you are attaching God's glory to the seed.

We are stewards of the Lord's stuff. When we give in our own name that is like Bill Gates' assistant giving away Bill Gates' money but using the name John Smith. It robs Bill of the bragging rights, but it also robs the seed of Bill Gates' reputation. For example, if John Smith makes a million dollar donation to an obscure foundation, it will go unnoticed. But, if Bill Gates' makes the same donation the press will pick up on it. Other wealthy men will consider giving to this little known foundation as well; the million dollars might turn into two million, or ten million. That is the power of the name of Bill Gates.

So it is with our money. Attach the True Owner's name to your giving. In the spiritual world, this will make a difference.

Don't ask me how. It just will.

"The LORD maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up." (I Samuel 2:7)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Be Bold, Buddy

In the book of Joshua chapter 1, we find Moses dying and Joshua receiving the command to lead the people into the Promised Land. The Promised Land is a place of plenty. It is literally what the people have been dreaming about for years. It is their heart's desire.

What does a person need to achieve their greatest dream? Is it intelligence? Is it passion? Is it a sense of duty?

We are only six verses into the book when the Lord God speaks to Joshua,

"Be strong and of a good courage."

This word is so important that the Lord repeats it to Joshua in the very next verse:

"Only be thou strong and very courageous" (v. 7)

And then after a few words of instruction, the Lord repeats it again,

"Be strong and of a good courage"(v. 9)

And, just in case Joshua was missing the point, the Lord adds,

"be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed" (v. 9)

The Lord does not say, Keep your guard up, study hard, or take your vitamins. He doesn't say, Get up early, dress for success, make friends and influence people. The Lord tells Joshua that the key to success is courage. Are you being courageous, or are you holding back?

For years, I was told that the key to success was mediating on God's word, as found in verse 8. But it's not. Success is found when we apply God's word, and that takes courage.

Dani Johnson, millionaire for Jesus, says that God will bless any business that glorifies his name. She speaks of Jesus, gives in Jesus' name, and glorifies Him every chance she gets. She is bold.

Are you?

My boss owns a roofing and siding company. We do a million dollars in sales every year, and we're growing. He also speaks of Jesus, prays with customers, and gives in Jesus' name every chance he gets. He barely graduated from high school and he has a past that should hold him back. But he's bold for God, and he is prospering.

Are you?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

When Jobs Don't Count

Job creation is not bad, if the jobs created are value-producing jobs which add to the REAL GDP of our country.

Let's look at a typical household -- mine. I have a job at an office where I provide value to the overall market through utilizing management and clerical skills. I earn a set amount of income which I bring home to my family as a paycheck.

My wife sees that paycheck and says, Wahoo!

We're kind of an old-fashioned household where I make the money, and she takes care of the bills and the household upkeep. She works hard, and uses a portion of my income to buy little extras like groceries, clothes for the kids, etc.

Now, let's say that she wants to use a portion of my income to buy new drapes, but I want to use that same portion of money to buy a lawn mower which I will use to mow neighborhood lawns and thus add to our overall household income. We argue a little, she gives me that look, and I cave in. We have nice drapes, but no lawn mower.

Has our overall GDP (i.e. household income) increased?

No. We have taken our limited funds, redistributed them, and our house looks nicer. She provided work, received money, used that money to purchase stuff, but our overall income stayed the same. Actually, we're poorer in the long run because money which could have been used for capital investment was used toward cosmetic, short-term comfort.

Now, the USA is a household and in that household the Government is the wife of Small Business. Small business works hard and actually increases the income (the real GDP). Small business (and large business) brings home the bacon. The government works hard, too, but doesn't actually increase the income; it actually drains the real income by using the household income to buy drapes, build roads, feed welfare recipients, etc. These are NOT bad things. But, they do drain our economy.

When the government-wife wants to use money for a new ironing board and the small-business-husband wants to use that same income for new tools, new workers, and new resources, then small business should win. This would increase the overall income of the household n the long run. However, government gives small business that look which says trouble is coming, and small business forks over the money, in the form of taxes, to the government.

Government declares that it will use this money for job creation, but these jobs will be ones which drain the REAL income of our country. The people will work hard, get paid, and be happy. But, in the long run, our economy will suffer loss of capital, production, and overall growth.

It's wonderful that the stay-at-home government-wife wants to work so hard around the house. But a flurry of activity at home merely serves to mask the fact that the small-business-husband has unfulfilled earning potential which can only be realized through the actual production of value-providing goods and services OUTSIDE the home.

That's where free trade and economic growth actually occur.

Sorry, Obama, er, I mean, honey.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Aidan at Seven

This is just so that I don't forget.

Aidan is on his 3rd money-making scheme: 1) 25cents for admission to his top bunk when he was six yrs old, 2) selling rocks to raise money for a band, 3) 25cents to use his bike pump on your tires.

He made 25 cents on the first one, nothing on the second, and he's up to 50cents on this latest one.

His teacher this year (2nd grade) says he's still behind. I think that she's afraid he's going to own her someday LOL

Anybody need a tire inflated?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Jesus is My Happy Meal

"No, Daddy, we want to go to McDonald's!"

"We want the TOY!"

I've just finished listening to Seth Godin's Purple Cow, and now I'm listening to his other audio book Free Prize Inside. Godin very clearly sets forth the need to be remarkable in today's market, and he likens the WOW! factor of extraordinary products and services to the 'free prize' inside a box of Cracker Jacks.

It's an understatement, but when I received the Lord Jesus Christ as my Saviour, I got more than I was expecting.

I just wanted to go to heaven when I died. I just asked for forgiveness of sins.

I wasn't expecting the free prize inside!

"He that hath the Son hath life" (I John 5:12). I got eternal life, but I also got ABUNDANT life! And righteousness. And healing. And hope. And peace. And wisdom. And so many other things that are all wrapped up in Christ. To have Jesus is to have these things; he is those things to those who believe!

A friend of mine said to me, after accepting Christ into his heart, "If you would have told me that He takes away the guilt, I would have gotten saved sooner." Another friend told me that she had never experienced hope before she met Christ. For her, hope was the prize inside; hope made salvation remarkable.

So, 'taste and see that the Lord is good,' and enjoy the gifts that are 'in Him.'

Because Jesus is both the Happy Meal and the Free Prize inside!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Kingdom of God is Purple

I've recently finished listening to Seth Godin's Purple Cow. Godin postulates that in today's market, the standard 'p's of promotion, product, publicity, etc., require an additional 'p' which he aptly calls purple. A purple cow standing in the midst of a field of ordinary cows would be attention-getting, and not-at-all ordinary. Godin thus uses the word purple as synonymous with the word remarkable.

Purple products are advertised through word of mouth. They don't require mass media blitzes. They don't need TV ads or magazine spreads. Consumers are obsessed with products that are purple, and their purple-ness spreads from neighbor to neighbor over backyard fences and around family barbecues.

The Kingdom of God is purple.

Well, that's not entirely correct. The Kingdom of God in its purest form is purple, but unfortunately, it is all too often presented as a stale, boring, and dry version of itself. Clothed in the suit and tie of religion, Christianity is seen as a list of rules and requirements, and not as the very LIFE of God flowing joyfully from the hearts of the redeemed.

"[T]he kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and JOY in the Holy Ghost." (Romans 14:17)

As Tony Campolo once wrote, "The Kingdom of God is a Party!" It's a celebration! It's contagious! It's heart-warming, life-giving, and you want to tell everyone you know! It bubbles forth like a fountain of living water. It can't be stopped! It's unique and irresistible!

In its original form, the Kingdom of God 'went viral' immediately after the Resurrection of Christ, and it hasn't stopped since!

Even its critics can't stop talking about it!

True Christianity doesn't require its members to tell others about Jesus, and there are no demerits if you keep it to yourself. But why would you want to?

The Kingdom of God is remarkable ~ it's purple!

Have you discovered this wonderful, oh-so-purple life?