Giving Simply

“I never carry my checkbook to church. Ninety percent of the time I make financial giving decisions, it’s in front of the computer monitor. How can I even participate in supporting the church financially when you don’t have online giving or even automatic transfer?” The young woman looked around at the room filled with stewardship…

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Money Sanity Solutions

Written for “Live Free,” the 2015 issue of Giving: Growing Joyful Stewards in Your Congregation, by the Ecumenical Stewardship Center When it comes to money, families often go silent out of fear or taboo, or else yell in rancor, born of financial anxiety and family conflict. So how do children learn healthy money habits from…

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Giving Tuesday

What a beautiful gift some anonymous donor has made for the United Methodist “#GivingTuesday”! For the one day of December 2, every gift made online to The Advance at www.umcmission.org/give will be matched, up to $1 million. “The Advance” is a collective term for hundreds of grassroots United Methodist mission projects in the U.S. and…

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‘Tis the Season

By now, those of us who attend worship somewhere most likely have noticed that ‘tis the season for financial commitment programs – what many church leaders call “stewardship campaigns.” It’s when we think about God’s overwhelming generosity of blessings in our lives, and respond by financially supporting God’s work right here on earth, primarily through…

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Dealing with Possessions

“Too much stuff” can be a challenge at any point in life. I read a terrific article by two newlyweds who discovered a way to “navigate the jungle of wedding gifts,” offered an alternative giving site for their wedding, and worked out some powerful “slow living practices” that they are instigating in their young-adult lives.…

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The Power of Enough

As we enter Thanksgiving and the gift-buying days leading up to Christmas, now is a great time to talk about what is enough. According to the consumer version of this season (in the U.S., at least), excess becomes our expectation, even our norm: excess food, excess buying, excess entertainment and activity. “Enough” is a word…

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Scripture Texts in “Enough” Program Guide

6 Key Financial Principles: 1. 2 Cor. 9:6-7 – Pay tithe and offerings first 2. Prov. 27:23f – Create budget & track expenses 3. Mt. 6:19-33 – simplify your lifestyle / live below your means 4. 1 Tim. 6:9-12 – Set up an emergency fund now 5. Prov. 22:7 – Pay off credit cards; use…

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Two Resources for Family Finances

What might you do if you wanted to help members of your congregation hone their personal or family financial planning? Here are three resources that would encourage them and also help them with practical financial issues: 1. Freed-Up Financial Living is a terrific plug-and-play resource that gives both foundational biblical financial principles and all the…

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Teaching First Fruits Living

Teaching First Fruits Living helps people put God first in their daily lives. Christian educators not only get to share the priceless knowledge about God’s presence, but also can guide people to respond to God through an essential pattern of “first fruits living.” What is “first fruits living?” It is giving to God the first…

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Good News and Taxes

Okay, so we are getting closer to the U.S. tax deadline of April 15. It’s not as easy anymore (if it ever was for us) to just turn over our financial plans or receipts and have someone else do it for us: a spouse, an administrative assistant, a doctor or even an employer. These days,…

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Financial Security and the Bottom Line

Financial security is a subjective thing. Certainly, it has to do with making our income and expense numbers come out right. But it also depends upon perception: our emotional well-being and personal answer to the question, “How much is enough to live on?” One devotional Scripture for today is in Hebrews 13, which says in…

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Christ Church Teaches Healthy Money Habits

What are youth learning about healthy money habits from the adults around them? How can local churches help shape young people’s financial values? The issue is urgent, and some churches are stepping up to the task. Take Christ Church in Richmond, Virginia, for example. To grow generosity among their members, they knew they needed to…

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Basic Training

Written 1/11/2011 for the General Board of Discipleship of the United Methodist Church       After an extended time off, my spunky horse needed to go back to basic training. For horses, this instructional time includes ground work, safety issues, and fundamental cues for mutual respect and attentiveness. It emphasizes communication and affirms our core relationship…

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The Power of Enough

As we enter Thanksgiving and the gift-buying days leading up to Christmas, now is a great time to talk about what is enough. According to the consumer version of this season (in the U.S., at least), excess becomes our expectation, even our norm: excess food, excess buying, excess entertainment and activity. “Enough” is a word…

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Enough: Discovering Joy, Simplicity, Generosity

In an intriguing article from Luther Seminary’s e-newsletter, Stewardship for the 21st Century, Linda Rozumalski writes about “the theology of enough.” Practicing this theology counteracts the attitude of acquisition, she says, and breaks the illusion that we own and control our lives and the things that we have. One way to develop this “theology of…

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