It is strangely ironic that the freedoms and affluence we enjoy in our society are the very things that stand to ruin our children if not addressed early and effectively.
The consumer-credit industry is doing all it can to get your kids to fall for the buy-now, pay-later lifestyle. If you do nothing to intervene, statistics indicate that your child is headed for a life that will be severely impacted not by credit—credit is not the problem here—but by the debt it can create.
When the following three characteristics occur at the same time in the heart and mind of a child, they create a kind of “perfect storm” that has all the likelihood of creating a disastrous situation:
For our debt-proofing purposes, “entitlement” is that demanding attitude that says, “I deserve it now even if I haven’t earned it or cannot pay for it.” Some call it the gimmes, others the I-wants. No matter what you call it, this attitude is running rampant, and not only among kids. Entitlement affects kids and adults alike.
- attitudes of entitlement
- financial ignorance
- glamour of easy spending
Entitlement is subtle. It creeps into our lives when we compare our lifestyles and possessions to those of the people we respect and want to be like. It shows up in new parents who throw all caution to the wind when it comes to nursery furnishings and “mandatory” equipment. It shows up in two-income families who, because they work so hard, feel they deserve to have nice things. It shows up in adults who feel compelled to conform to society’s relentless ratcheting up of standards.
Entitlement is the standard message of marketing and advertising. Look carefully at everything that shows up in your mailbox this week. The message to keep up is relentless. The push for conformity creates attitudes of dissatisfaction and entitlement.
At every turn it seems something or someone is fanning the flames of entitlement in our lives—and our children’s lives too.
Attitudes of entitlement, both yours and your children’s, are an enemy that, if not dealt with, will surely sabotage your efforts to develop financial confidence in your kids.
A frugal lifestyle, where you live below your means, is the best environment in which to raise kids. When children observe their parents consuming carefully, making wise spending decisions, choosing not to buy the biggest and the best, and not living on credit, they begin to assimilate those values.
By telling your children, “We don’t choose to spend our money on that,” you send a positive message that you have money but make intelligent choices about how to spend it.
Clearly, attitudes of entitlement are a serious problem. But they are not terminal. Diligent parents who are willing to be consistent examples and limit setters will find success in tearing down attitudes that have the potential to do great harm.
Excerpted from Raising Financially Confident Kids by Mary Hunt (Revell, 2012).
To go to this post on Mary Hunt's site, click here.
BE A MAN.
My wife and I have been on a spiritual journey within the last few months. It has involved an amount of faith and expectancy that we did not know we were capable of displaying. This journey has been one pertaining to our finances.
If you know me well, you know that I love to talk about finances and how the real blessing comes from putting our full trust in God. For the most part, I feel like we were able to do this pretty well, but like any other ordinary hypocrite, it seems that God did not have full control of our bank account…he only had the authority to periodically audit when necessary. As a result of this, we have been struggling to get by, but failing to see that minor changes needed to be made. They were not big changes, but ones that have kept us falling short on a regular basis.
A few months ago, my wife and I set out on a journey to learn more about finances and to start the process of being better managers of God’s money. Since then, He has been prompting us to make hard decisions that would have not otherwise been the first choice on our list. We stopped putting our hope in credit cards, and started believing that God’s ideas were better than ours.
At first, God’s suggestions came as a small whisper (stop eating out as often, be more disciplined, you don’t need it just because you can afford it, etc), but I realized, the more I followed God’s whisper…the louder it became and the more I began to think like Him.
As we followed basic principles, prayed over our budget, developed discipline, and made a strategy for our life, my wife and I began to see overwhelming blessings in this realm. The bills began to be paid on time, anonymous checks showed up, unexpected refunds appeared, and we began to experience a peace that we have never encountered. I really feel as if God had been waiting until we learned how to manage His resources before major blessings would occur. I don’t care how good the theology is on that last statement…for me it has proven to be correct.
Well, my wife and I are still in the same income bracket…but what I have found is this… I would rather live in poverty with Christ than to be a millionaire without Him.
Somewhere wrapped in God’s small whisper…abundance is waiting to surprise you.
Respond to it.
This post was written by Rev DeCrastos. For the original post, go to: http://other-words.net/2013/03/26/responding-to-whisper/BE HOLY.BE A MAN.
Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.
Most of us have spent a lot of money and a lot of effort on things that do not satisfy. When our efforts do not result in serenity, we become more and more confused and more and more frantic. Into the middle of this chaos and desperation comes an invitation. God invites us to receive 'food' which is designed to delight our souls.
God's invitation is to people who are thirsty or hungry. It is to people who are working hard but finding little satisfaction. The invitation extends to those who have no money or assets of any kind. God is not sparing or stingy. God is an extravagant giver of good things. God wants us to delight in the richest of fare.
The nourishment at God's feast does more than please our taste-buds. This meal is more than mere esthetic pleasure. The nourishment from God's table feeds our souls with delight. It is nourishment that sinks down to the deepest places of our being. God seeds delight in the foundations of our soul. And from these seeds come serenity, peace and the courage to continue.
God, I'm thirsty.
I have spent my money and energy
on things that have not satisfied.
God, my soul is hungry.
I need food for my soul.
Help me to come to you, Lord.
You know my hesitation.
You know how suspicious I am
of such an extravagant invitation.
Help me to come as an eager child
to receive good things from you.
Feed my soul, Lord,
until it is full of delight.
Copyright Dale and Juanita RyanNational Association for Christian Recovery
I’m pro-marriage. I always have been, always will be and I’ll make no apologies for it. As a matter of fact, most of you should be apologizing to me. Yeah, I said it. Whether you're one with a successful marriage who's remained silent on its myriad virtues, or merely a single, lonely critic... America, you've got some 'splaining to do.
Sadly, marriage has become a punchline in today’s society. From referring to the wife as “the old ball and chain” to nearly every poorly written sitcom that we watch, the message we’re sending to today’s generation is clear… Marriage = no fun.
Men on TV constantly joke about how wives are incredibly expensive, demanding and overall vacuums of all things fun. By that same token, the women complain about their fat, lazy, insensitive husbands as they swoon over their trimmed, manicured and chest-waxed Hollywood counterparts.
Ever see a commercial with a wife and husband shopping together? Yeah, we always play the idiot.
I know plenty of people my age that will never get married because they genuinely believe the false cultural meme that marriage has sadly become. There’s only one problem. It’s completely untrue.
Even more of a problem, those who know it to be untrue often do nothing to correct the lie.
As someone who comes from a family of lifers (along with my wife), I just want to say, flat out…
… Marriage is a really good deal.
Let’s assume for a second that you don’t think of humans as inherently spiritual beings. So let’s remove the fact that married people claim to be happier, more fulfilled, complete and purposeful. Some of you are even thinking,
“Love? Who needs love!”
Okay. Here are a few purely statistical reasons as to why marriage (when done correctly) is conducive to an undeniably better life. Hold onto your butts.
1. You’ll be richer – Yes. Not only do married couples make more, save more, have a higher net worth and qualify for more benefits/financial incentives than lonely, single folk… but your kids will be richer too. Which brings me to my next point
2. Would somebody please think of the children!! – The single biggest indicator of child poverty is whether both original parents are still together. Not only that, but children in married households get better grades, are less disruptive in class and less likely to develop behavioral disorders than children from non-married households. So be married long and prosper. Your kids will too.
3. You’ll have more sex… A LOT MORE SEX – Okay so you may not want kids. You may despise them. I get it. Sticky hands. Let’s say you’re just another selfish, narcissistic bachelor (or bachelorette) who quite frankly, isn’t deserving of the unconditional love you may oh-so-luckily find. You just want the sex. Statistically, not only do married people have more sex, they have better, more satisfying sex. If the two of you should hold off on sex until marriage, those statistics become even more promising. Here’s a perfect example of where Hollywood gets it wrong. In the real world, while Alfie fruitlessly toiled away at picking up harlots from the bar, suffering a mean case of whiskey-wiener, Mr. Cleaver was getting busy on the regular. Them’s the real breaks.
4. You won’t be such a pathetic sloth – Married people are more productive. Married men in particular, have higher employment rates, work longer hours and receive better wages. It’s time to stop wading through puddles of your own filth as you reach for the hotpockets and have a dame whip you into shape. You’re welcome.
5. Don’t die sick, miserable and alone. This would seem to be self-explanatory. Sadly, it’s not. Young people think that being young and single is the “fun and free” time of your life, while marriage is something that can wait for the days when you’re ready to grow fat, boring and settle down. Married people not only live longer lives, they live healthier lives. There are too many factors at play here to even list. From married people statistically maintaining healthier weights, being more active and having lower mortality rates, to married women incurring less severe illnesses, enjoying better cancer survival rates and of course… lower rates of domestic abuse (as opposed to those merely cohabitating). Yes ladies, it’s true, living with an uncommitted, self-absorbed jackass can be hazardous to your health.
All of this to basically say that people need to start being more honest and vocal about the virtues of marriage. Americans need to stop feeding and buying into the lie that we’ve all been fed. Whether you’re young old, male, female, marriage (when done correctly) will make your life, and this country better off. The facts are undeniable. If the facts aren’t enough, maybe this’ll help…
Picture coming home every night to your best friend, your greatest fan, and your number one supporter. She (or he) makes each good day better, and each bad day good again. Every day, you get to live what is essentially a 24/7 sleepover party with the greatest friend you’ve ever had.
… Now add sex and sandwiches.
Get married, like, now.
This post was written by Steve Crowder. For the original post, go to: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2013/01/26/man-top-5-reasons-to-grow-up-and-get-married/
BE A MAN.
Unless you have been living under a rock, you have noted the pastor who wrote "I give God 10% Why do you get 18%?" on her receipt. She had taken a large group of people to the restaurant and didn't know about the 18% surcharge for large groups. Hence, she was surprised to see that on her bill. The picture (left) went viral and people all over the internet have posted opinions about the incident. A couple of facts should be noted: 1) The pastor did pay the entire bill, and 2) she apologized for her behavior. She regretted doing so, saying "it was a lapse of judgement" on her part. I have seen people respond to this and say that it was rude behavior, that she is hypocritical, that she believes she is entitled because she is a pastor, etc. I have also seen people state that the friend of the server shouldn't have posted it on the internet, the poster should not have gotten fired, the pastor should pay the server's salary until she get another serving job, etc.This viral receipt has caused quite a storm in the public arena, EVERYBODY seems to have an opinion...I think that there is a larger issue here: The misunderstanding of what a tithe is.When my children were younger, my aunt attempted to teach my son about tithing. What she didn't know was that we had already taught him this concept. She laid out 10 dimes and started to tell him that God only wanted one dime the rest were his to keep. My son, who has always been money savvy, said, "God wants all of it! I give Him one to show Him that I love Him." I was beaming. I thought, "yeah, way to go son!!" My Aunt said that he was correct and that he must have already known about tithing. We had an experience earlier in the week where I taught him the concept. I had given him a small bag of french fries. I asked him to let me have one. He said, "No! These are mine!!" I reminded him that I paid for the fries. I was the one who gave them to him. If I hadn't given them to him, he would have nothing. By all rights, those fries belonged to me because I gave them to him to enjoy. Later in the meal, we talked about how I got that money. "God gave me a job so that I would have money to spend on you so you could get fries. So everything I have belongs to God. He can have whatever He wants because He supplied me with everything. Without God, I would have nothing." He was just a young boy, I didn't want to wear him out. So the next day we picked the conversation back up. "Some people believe that you keep most for yourself and just give God a little bit. In our family, we believe that everything belongs to God. I give Him money at church to help pay for His building and other things." He wanted to know what the "other things" were. I told him about electricity, water, the pastor's expenses... at that pointed he interrupted me, "Does that pay for the pastor's daughter to have things?" I said, "yes." He said, "well, if it pays for her, I don't want to give any!" He was joking.... We had reached the end of our conversation about money and God's generosity. I had worn him out. Nevertheless, he caught on to the concept that I was trying to teach him... Just ask my Aunt.How do you view money? Is it yours? Is it God's?BE HOLY.BE A MAN.
1. Play a sport.
It will teach you how to win honorably, lose gracefully, respect authority, work with others, manage your time and stay out of trouble. And maybe even throw or catch. You will also learn personal discipline. 2. You will set the tone for the sexual relationship,
so don't take something away from her that you can't give back. 3. Use careful aim when you pee.
Somebody's got to clean that up, you know. Maybe you should clean it up... 4. Save money
when you're young because you're going to need it someday. 5. In your house
there is a dishwasher, oven, washing machine, iron, vacuum, mop and broom. Now please go use them. 6. Pray
and be a spiritual leader. 7. Don't ever be a bully
and don't ever start a fight, but if some idiot clocks you, please defend yourself. 8. Your knowledge and education
is something that nobody can take away from you.9. Treat women kindly.
Forever is a long time to live alone and it's even longer to live with somebody who hates your guts. 10. Take pride
in your appearance. 11. Be strong
and tender at the same time. 12. A woman can do everything that you can do.
This includes her having a successful career and you changing diapers at 3:00 A.M. Mutual respect is the key to a good relationship. 13. "Yes ma'am" and "yes sir"
still go a long way. 14. The reason that they're called "private parts"
is because they're "private". Please do not scratch them in public. No one wants to see your underwear. 15. Peer pressure is a scary thing
. Be a good leader and others will follow. 16. Bringing her flowers
for no reason is always a good idea. 17. It is better to be kind
than to be right. 18. A sense of humor
goes a long way in the healing process. 19. Please choose your spouse wisely.
She will be the gatekeeper for your parents spending time with their grandchildren. 20. Remember to call your parents
because they might be missing you.
This post is adapted from a post from the Facebook group Parenthood 101 BE HOLY.BE A MAN.
It was kind of a surreal experience.... We had just arrived at our mission in Quito and here I was less than 48 hours later standing at the graveside of a man I didn't know and hadn't even met.
I watched as the gravedigger dug the grave by hand. He would occasionally stop and put his chin on top of the shovel and seem interested in what was going on as he rested. There was hardly anybody there. Just the man's wife, a couple of other people, the pastor, myself and the Ecuadorian gravedigger. Being one of the few English speaking churches in town, the widow called the pastor with whom I served on staff and asked that he do the funeral. I was there as support.
The story of this man's life ended sadly. He was a very successful American businessman who had visited Ecuador frequently and ended up buying some lucrative property in Quito so that he could retire. He had quite a nest egg. His goal in life was to retire with his wife at this property in Quito and live a life of ease and luxury.
What was interesting was that this man and his wife arrived in Quito about the same time my wife and I had arrived. We may have even been on the same airplane. What he hadn't considered, as he grew older, was that his health wasn't as good as it had been in the past. Quito has an elevation of over 9,000 feet (btw - Denver has an elevation of just over 5,000 feet) above sea level. People who visit Quito often come done with Soroche (altitude sickness). The symptoms are very similar to carbon monoxide poisoning. The stress of the Soroche that he was experiencing taxed his body and his heart stopped working.
So, here we have a man who saved his whole life, gathered quite a bit of money and bought some nice property in Quito so that he could retire, and within 48 hours of achieving his goal, he died. From what his wife described, it also appeared that he died without knowing Jesus as his Savior.
Jesus talked about this. He said, "Now what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your soul?"
Jesus, who taught a parable about a man who amassed fortune and trusted in himself, said, "You fool! You will die this very night. Then who will get everything you worked for?"
Having a goal is not bad in and of itself. However, if your goal excludes God and is just to please yourself, know that you may never reach it. If you do, it won't last forever. Everyone dies.
Then there is reward or payment.Yet, if you have a goal and it includes God and pleasing Him, you WILL reach it.
"Don't store up treasure on earth..."
Make heaven your goal.BE HOLY.BE A MAN
Missionally, churches exist to be a beacon of hope and a safe place for the community. One could look at the church as a spiritual hospital. Those who have wounds can come and their wounds can be bound. What happens, however, when the wounds a person carries was created by a church? I have heard stories of people who flee from churches because of the treatment they received because of their divorce, lifestyle, past, or even because the perception of being “money hungry”.
Let’s face it, churches ask for money regularly. For some, it is a concept that is second nature. Whether it is a bonus check at work, an inheritance, regular pay check, or any other source of income many people choose to give a portion of that money to the church. Others are not used to this idea and are even offended to think that this could possibly be an obligation.
In my other job as an office administrator for a church, I receive 10-15 calls a day asking for money for those who are behind on bills. I also receive the same number of calls from telemarketers wanting to sell me a new service or product that will enhance my life. As a Lead Pastor
, I am also approached by people needing help…which I am glad to take part in.
In today’s culture the average Christian gives a little over 2 percent of their income to God’s kingdom (church or other charities).
What’s my point? If the Old Testament legalism says 10 percent, then aren’t we glad that the New Testament was written to get us off the hook? Wait a minute though…if what we learned yesterday
is true, and Jesus gives his followers a different standard (care for the widow, orphan etc) then this would mean a different level of responsibility, right? Do you think Christ would say “still continue to trust in God, but not nearly as much as you used to…”?
The church may talk about money a lot…but so does every department store, infomercial, telemarketer, car salesman, shopping mall and magazine ad you come in contact with. Mission shouldn’t need a commercial.
Give extravagantly.My next post
will talk about what I eluded to earlier…a new standard for the way a church should welcome people…people with wounds and imperfections.
The posts this week are written by our pastor in honor of Pastor Appreciation Month. For the original post, go to: http://other-words.net/2012/10/16/a-new-standard-pt-2/
You've got to work hard.
You’ve got to out-work the other men if you want to feed your family. That’s your responsibility as a man.
If you want any men to respect you, if you want your wife to respect you, if you want your children to respect you, you pay the bills. You make the money, you feed the family.
We live in this day where there are guys telling their wives:
- “We can’t have kids”
- “You don't make enough money”
- “I don’t like responsibility.”
BE GENEROUS WITH YOUR WIFE
I know guys well, they’re typically not generous. I know this one guy who makes decent money and he’s totally chintzy with his wife. She gets no spending money, can’t go out to coffee with the girls because he’s a total control freak and tightwad. Be honoring of your wife financially. I’m not saying you have to live at a lavish and high level. But what I am saying is live within your means, you make a budget, you tithe, spend, save, invest well.
I know it’s hard to live on one income. I know it’s particularly difficult in this economic climate, but for some of you boys, it’s a built-in excuse to be irresponsible.
RUN THE NUMBERS RATHER ASSUMING YOU NEED A SECOND INCOME
Statistically, if you have children, and put them in day care so mom can work, the other costs that are associated: eating out, take-out, dry cleaning, car, second phone, cell phone, things of that nature, plus the increased tax breaks and costs and burdens very rarely contribute anything to the bottom line of the family. The taxes alone eat a huge portion of it.MSNBC did a big study
on this years ago and they brought the data to the mothers who dropped their kids off at the day care. “You’re providing nothing to the income of the family,” and the women are bawling, having a nervous breakdown on television, saying, “Well, then why am I even going to work?”
Because that guy doesn’t know how to run numbers on taxes. He’s not smart enough to find somebody to figure it out for him. He just says, “Put the kids in day care, get a job, shoulder half of my curse. Oh and by the way, I forgot to run the numbers, come to find it’s not really helping.”
Honor her financially.
HONOR HER PRACTICALLY
With some guys, the house is a wreck. It’s never finished, the furniture’s broken, the car hardly starts, they live far away from community, they don’t have a schedule, they don’t have a budget, they don’t have a plan, the wife doesn’t know what’s going on.
Honor her practically. Do you have a budget? Do you have a schedule? Do you have an integrated plan? Do you have a life?Tomorrow, we conclude our series on being a real man in marriage.
This post is adapted from The Mars Hill blog. It can be found at: http://marshill.com/2010/12/14/how-to-honor-your-wife/BE HOLY.BE A MAN.
Pornography is tearing apart the fabric of our society. You may think this is an overstatement. After reading,“The Social Costs of Pornography”
by the Witherspoon Institute, I think it may be an understatement
In 2008, the Witherspoon Institute sponsored the first multidisciplinary exploration of the social costs of pornography. Scholars from various fields including philosophy, psychology, and medicine were included in the forum. Every major shade of religious belief was represented, including Christianity, Judaism, Islam, agnosticism, and atheism. And both the left and right in American politics were present. They all agreed that there is a substantial multidimensional, empirical record of the harms pornography brings to society. Obviously, such agreement is rare.
Today’s pornography is different from any in the past in three ways. (1) Accessibility
. The Internet has made porn ubiquitous. (2) Quality
. Today’s porn is much more hardcore. (3) Consumption
. Porn consumption has increased radically with the advent of the Internet. 69% of men and 10% of women report viewing pornography more than once a month. 87% of men admit using it in the past year. The researchers conclude, “In sum, there is evidence that more people—children, adolescents, and adults—are consuming pornography—sporadically, inadvertently, or chronically—than every before” (15).
How does pornography actually harm people? The researchers list a plethora of ways. Each of these points is supported with empirical evidence in the report. Keep in mind that these are objective
facts about pornographic consumption, not my subjective opinions.
· Those who view pornography overestimate how frequently certain sexual acts are actually practiced, which increases one’s willingness to do unconscionable things (18).
· Porn viewers physically map their brains based on the images they see. Pornographic consumption re-maps the physical structure of the brain (19).
· Many men who view porn lose the ability to relate to or be close to women (20).
· Porn viewers become de-sensitized to the barrage of imagery, and as a result, child pornography and violent pornographic images often lose their ability to shock and disgust (20).
· Women often report distress and harm when discovering that their husbands view porn. They typically feel betrayal, loss, mistrust, devastation, and anger as a result of their partner’s behavior.
· Porn users have an increased likelihood of divorce and family break-up (23-24).
· Those who had an extramarital affair were three times more likely to have used Internet pornography than those who had not.
· Porn leads men to place less value on marital fidelity and more value on casual sex (24).
· Therapists report seeing fourteen- and fifteen-year-old boys addicted to porn (29).
· An Italian study reported that boys who view porn were more likely to report having sexually harassed a peer or having forced someone to have sex (30).
· Adolescent girls who report using pornography are more likely to report being victims of passive violence such as sexual harassment and rape (31).
· Today’s consumption of pornography encourages sexual exploitation such as trafficking (33).
· Adolescents who view pornography are more likely to view women as sexual objects (35).
· Porn consumption raises the risk of sexually risky behavior (35).
· Men who use pornography are less attractive to potential female partners (37).
· Exposure to pornography decreases sexual satisfaction with one’s partner for both men and
· Chronic pornography use is associated with depression and unhappiness (38).
· Users often report disgust and shame at finding themselves stimulated by images that would have once repulsed (39).
What do we do? For starters, can you help spread the word about the dangers of pornography? Please consider getting a copy of the report, “The Social Costs of Pornography,” and study it. Talk to your friends about it. Share it with your family and church. Blog about it. Or forward this blog to as many people as you can. There needs to be a renewed conversation about how pornography is damaging this generation. We can no longer ignore the most dangerous health hazard to this generation. Our kids deserve better.
This post was written by Sean McDowell. The original post can be found here: http://www.conversantlife.com/morality/the-social-costs-of-pornographyBE HOLY.BE A MAN.