Some may dub him their Money Messiah or Financial Freedom Fighter. I have called Dave Ramsey, my life-wrecker.

I’m not the person who calls in with thousands of dollars in debt. I’m not the person who has been in foreclosure. I’m not the person who went to jail because I got in a fight with my cousin Eddie because I loaned him some money and he hasn’t paid me back so I went to his house and pummeled him. I’m not that guy.

But I am the guy who has consistently fought with my wife over why we spend so much. I’m the guy who looks at his “budget” and feels like my head and shoulders got knocked down a few notches. I’m the guy who doesn’t like to talk about finances because it might say I’m less valuable than I thought I was. Yeah, I’m that guy.

My wife and I have been reading Total Money Makeover and I have been amazed at how wrongly I had been viewing money. It was an object to be acquired instead of a tool. As a result, I had unwittingly become a tool. I had given into the misconception that “pay grade” = “importance.” I began to realize that so many high-earners are worse off than me. Mo’ money. . .mo’ problems (so I think it goes–but problems persist even when money doesn’t. . .trust me).

Yeah, Dave, with his simple little Baby Steps. His big ole’ debt snowball. His grandma’s simple wisdom. Ruined my life. But, as dialecticism has said, I needed a crisis to find a resolution. Sure, I wasn’t destitute, but I was on my way. Perhaps (I’m no financier nor prophet). But, if nothing else, money has become a tool. . .and not me. So, thanks, Dave. I guess.

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From the website:
It’s possible, you know. More than that, it’s probable. The end of extreme global poverty. 52% of the world’s population once lived in extreme poverty. That number is now 26% — and that percentage was reduced in one generation.

Isaiah 58

1  “Cry aloud; do not hold back;

lift up your voice like a trumpet;

declare to my people their transgression,

to the house of Jacob their sins.

2 Yet they seek me daily

and delight to know my ways,

as if they were a nation that did righteousness

and did not forsake the judgment of their God;

they ask of me righteous judgments;

they delight to draw near to God.

3 ‘Why have we fasted, and you see it not?

Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?’

Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure,

and oppress all your workers.

4 Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight

and to hit with a wicked fist.

Fasting like yours this day

will not make your voice to be heard on high.

5 Is such the fast that I choose,

a day for a person to humble himself?

Is it to bow down his head like a reed,

and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him?

Will you call this a fast,

and a day acceptable to the LORD?

6  “Is not this the fast that I choose:

to loose the bonds of wickedness,

to undo the straps of the yoke,

to let the oppressed go free,

and to break every yoke?

7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry

and bring the homeless poor into your house;

when you see the naked, to cover him,

and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?

8 Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,

and your healing shall spring up speedily;

your righteousness shall go before you;

the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.

9 Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer;

you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’

If you take away the yoke from your midst,

the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,

10 if you pour yourself out for the hungry

and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,

then shall your light rise in the darkness

and your gloom be as the noonday.

11 And the LORD will guide you continually

and satisfy your desire in scorched places

and make your bones strong;

and you shall be like a watered garden,

like a spring of water,

whose waters do not fail.

12 And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;

you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;

you shall be called the repairer of the breach,

the restorer of streets to dwell in.

13  “If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath,

from doing your pleasure on my holy day,

and call the Sabbath a delight

and the holy day of the LORD honorable;

if you honor it, not going your own ways,

or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly;

14 then you shall take delight in the LORD,

and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth;

I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father,

for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”

A Note to the Purchaser

Neckless SalesmanRight now in life I am a salesman. Some people have myriad allergic reactions to the word “salesman.” Some of this is rightly deserved. But have you ever taken a moment to consider whether you are just as allergy-causing to the salesman.

This is by no means a gripe session. Rather, it is a call for Christians to be christianly in their purchasing habits. Day in day out I interact with people from so many backgrounds your head would spin. Some people come in my door thinking that I am wicked – this is before they have spoken a word. Their demeanor says everything. Others open up and tell me about how they are getting ready to divorce for infidelity.

To the one who hates the salesman: Consider that this salesman is performing a valid service to your community. In a world where cyberspace has crowded out human interaction. In a world where people are not challenged to buy something they thought they wanted. The salesman provides some kind of sanity in the consumer’s overly righteous, yet uninformed, way. The salesman provides flesh and blood instead of keys and buttons.

To the one who lays it out: even though it can be over the top, but perhaps this is society’s plea for humanity. Like the hemorrhaging woman who reached out in despair, so to the consumer who has had enough of automated prompts and pixelated faces reaches out to their closest friend – a human.

To the Christian: make sure you are purchasing in a way you would if your salesman was Jesus. Don’t say you’ll come back. Don’t ask for a card when you have no intention of calling the salesman. Have some backbone. Don’t be like the boy who wanted to bury his father, spouting lines to get any kind of decision on his part postponed. Realize that the person attempting to sell you a phone or a car or a television needs to feed his family. He is not a shark (always).

Enjoy interacting with humans. Pay the extra $20 in order to feed your neighbors kids. On-line is cheap, but so is the experience and the loving of neighbor. It requires no backbone on your part – read people-pleasing. It requires no sympathy, empathy, or any other emotion than just getting what you want.

Challenge yourself to buy as you would from Jesus. [Matt 25.40, 45; Heb 13.2)

Jesus Helps Me Trick People

Purgatorio has a helpful summary of the Prosperity Gospel, which is no gospel at all! In case you’re wondering what I think of Creflo Dollar, Benny Hinn, Joel Osteen, etc. See the picture below:

trickpeople.jpg

And he quotes some of these folks:

Paula White “God has spoken to you and right now I want you to obey that God is speaking to send in a sacrificial seed. He’s telling you an instruction of the Lord, an illogical instruction. Well, Paula you don’t understand. I’m telling you, I need to be obedient to the Lord. Cause God even spoke to people, their vacation money, savings, CD’s, and investments and you looked at it and said, ‘But God, this is it.’ And God spoke to you and He told you to sow that into the kingdom of God. And when you obey, that which God has promised to you shall come to pass.”

Creflo Dollar “…First of all, we don’t have two Rolls-Royces. And secondly, the one Rolls-Royce that was purchased was purchased by the donors, or the members of the church, and it was a surprise to me.”

Kenneth CopelandKenneth Copeland speaks in front of his jet he told his ministry would not be used for anything “not becoming to you Lord Jesus.”

Benny Hinn “I place a curse on every man and every woman that would stretch his hand against this anointing; I curse that man who dares to speak a word against this ministry… ”

The Usual Suspects