Several months ago a major story concerning a well-know non-profit organization serving wounded vets dominated the news. Claims were made alleging that donations were used for high salaries and expensive parties rather than for helping the wounded.
We’ve had MoneyWise callers express disappointment that their church leaders are not transparent with how the finances are handled. From a biblical point of view, it is imperative for all churches and ministries to be transparent with how donated money is used.
A example is the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 8:19-22, “. . . he [a trusted brother] was chosen by the churches to accompany us as we carry the offering, which we administer in order to honor the Lord himself . . . We want to avoid any criticism of the way we administer this liberal gift. For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of man. In addition, we are sending with them our brother who has often proved to us in many ways that he is zealous.”
People in Paul’s day were wondering how donations were being used, and guess what? That hasn’t changed!
Paul wanted to avoid criticism and questions about how this gift was used. He wanted to handle it in such a transparent way that it would please the Lord and also those who had given. That is why no one person handled the money; other trusted people administered the gift.
Churches and ministries should make their budgets, tax returns and audits (if they conduct one) available to their members and donors. When people realize finances are handled with integrity, they are encouraged and often become even more generous.
I’m often asked on the Compass MoneyWise call-in radio program, should I lease a car instead of buying, because it seems like it’s the cheapest way to go.
My answer is always the same: Don’t even think about it! But a lot more people these days are doing more than just thinking about it.
The car pricing website www.edmunds.com reports that according to their surveys 27% of all cars in our country are now leased instead of purchased. And Millennials (ages 18-34) lease more than any other age category suggesting that unlike older adults they would rather sacrifice long-term financial benefits of owning an auto to get into a bigger or more luxurious vehicle.
Here are the 3 reasons I like to call it care fleecing instead of car leasing!
1st, in addition to the monthly lease payment, you’re wacked by mileage fees if you travel over a certain amount of miles. And most people who lease a car do. Guess what? The mileage fees are steep—normally about 12 cents a mile.
2nd, when you turn the leased car back in, if there are any bumps, bruises or scratches, you pay to repair them – big time!
3rd, when you turn the car back in, unlike buying a car, you have NOTHING to show for it.
Your best decision is to buy a car and pay if off. Then, continue making the car payments…….but to yourself. That way when you’re ready for a newer car, the trade-in plus the cash you saved should allow you to buy the car for cash and never use car debt again!
Recently, we’ve received calls on our MoneyWise radio program wanting to know about Bitcoins and asking our advice about investing in them.
Bitcoins is a payment system that was invented in 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto. Essentially, it is digital currency that operated outside of governments and the traditional financial system. The US Treasury calls it a “virtual currency.”
From my point of view, it’s too risky to invest in them. And some of those connected with this payment system have been involved in questionable activities. The founder was sent to jail, and the Bitcoin Exchange is bankrupt. And if that’s not enough, the founder of the largest of the Bitcoin exchanges was arrested just recently. I don’t know the details, but it may have something to do with the $400 million in Bitcoins that are missing from the company’s accounts.
Investing in Bitcoins is still confusing to me which also violates this important investing rule of thumb: If you don’t understand a potential investment well enough to explain it simply and clearly to your spouse in a way that he or she understands it – don’t do it!
The stock market opened this morning with the Dow dropping as many as 1,100 points. To put this into perspective, the Dow has never closed down more than 800 points in a day!
I briefly turned on a financial TV channel to see what the financial gurus were saying. They were obviously struggling to explain this huge loss. Unlike their usual self-assuredness, they were unable to clearly articulate why it was happening and what was going to happen.
As we’ve been sharing with our MoneyWise listeners for the past couples of years, when any market has six straight years of amazing growth in value and is at or near record highs – we need to be cautious! So, we’ve been recommending no more than 25% of an individual’s investments in the stock market. And we’ve encouraged investors to do their homework and invest in solid companies that have little or no debt and pay a dividend.
The two passages that give us the clearest guidance when it comes to investing are Proverbs 21:5, “Steady plodding brings prosperity; hasty speculation brings poverty.” In other words, be a consistent investor even if you can afford just a few dollars a month.
The other passage is Ecclesiastes 11:2, “Divide your portion to seven or even eight, for you do not know what misfortune may occur upon the earth.” In other words, it’s wise to diversify and not to put all of our investment dollars into one basket.
One final thought. When we face major financial challenges that are global and beyond our control, remember what 1 Timothy 6:17 tell us: “. . . don’t fix your hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.” All riches are uncertain. Stocks, real estate, bonds, and gold go up and down in value. There is only one thing on the planet that is certain and that is the Lord Himself. He told us in Hebrews 13:5, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.”
I have some EXCITING news. I have been listening to MoneyWise for several weeks. I learn new insights every week. After a recent broadcast, I knew it was time to get serious about my faith. I got down on my knees, repented, and asked Jesus to be part of my life. Thanks to God’s grace and mercy I am a new Christian because of your efforts.
I do have some questions for you. I am saving my money to buy a good study Bible. Could you please recommend one? Should I invest in a concordance, dictionary and atlas? Are there other resources I need?
You are a blessing and encouragement to me.
We rejoice when a listener gets out of debt or increases their giving or starts saving for future needs. But the greatest blessing occurs when someone comes to the Savior or grows closer to Him. What joy to learn that Roger has come to know Jesus as his savior . . . and on top of that is serious about growing in Christ.
If you’d like to check out the MoneyWise radio programs, visit www.compass1.org and on the homepage under Radio, click on “Podcasts, stations and news” to locate a station near you.
My prayer for you:
Like Roger from Nebraska, if you don’t know Jesus Christ as your personal savior, you’d come to know him by genuinely asking him to come into your life and become your savior and Lord. If you do know Christ that you would come to know Him very well.
Do you remember when Saddam Hussein was captured, when the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated on re-entry, and when Finding Nemo was the biggest movie of the year? Here’s a hint—it was the last time gas prices were this low. It’s been almost eleven years since we’ve seen gas prices like this at the pump in some states and even though it’s easy to swallow for consumers . . . some investors have a lump in their throat.
Today we interviewed Wes Perry on MoneyWise. Wes is the former mayor of Midland, Texas , and he’s spent a majority of his career in the gas and oil business. Wes is a very close friend and serves on the Compass Texas team.
Several years ago when the price of a barrel of oil was close to $130, I asked Wes if he thought the price of oil would rise to $140 a barrel or sink to $40 a barrel. He answered, “Yes! We’ll probably see both of those prices.”
Wes went on to share with our audience that lower oil and gas prices are all about supply and demand. The world uses about 93 million barrels of oil a day, and its producing 95 million barrels. That 2 million barrel daily surplus is pushing the price down.
It’s estimated that Americans saved close to $14 BILLION at the pump in 2014 and that the average American family will save around $750 this year in gas costs. As Wes reminded us, we should treat this as a gift. So use this gift as an opportunity to get your finances in better shape by giving more, saving more, and by paying off debt as quickly as possible.
On the MoneyWise radio program, I mentioned that the Bible contains 41 “one anothers” in the New Testament. I’ve listed them for you below. They reveal how the Lord wants us to relate best to each other. Although these principles don’t apply exclusively to marriage, they do apply to it.
I recommend that husband and wife choose a different one another each week and really focus on making it a reality in their marriage. Bev and I have done this, and it improved our marriage sooooo much. Memorize a verse each week and ask the Lord to give you creative ways to practice it.
If your husband or wife do not know Christ or are not following Him, still practice a one another each week. You’ll be amazed at what happens in your life and the life of your mate!
Sometimes doesn’t it seem as if every time you turn around, you’re facing another challenging situation? Then, other times, God’s kind blessings are apparent.
Last week was a week filled with the Lord’s gracious encouragement and blessings.
First of all, the leaders of Compass from South America, Asia, Europe, India and North America met together for three days. I kept pinching myself over the privilege of just being in the same room with these godly, capable leaders. We spent chunks of time in prayer, and the Spirit of God had unusual freedom to shape our time and reveal His plan going forward.
When the leader of our Service Center in Orlando, shared, I was surprised to learn from Kelly Laughridge that we are receiving about 2,000 calls—a month! Many of the callers are from our radio audience asking for advice or wanting to Continue reading Challenges and Blessings
Five weeks ago, to the day, I received a hasty email. Steve Moore, my close friend and co-host of the Compass half-hour call-in radio program, MoneyWise, was going in for unexpected heart by-pass surgery.
If anyone was not a candidate, for what turned out to be quintuple by-pass, it was Steve Moore. Steve often rides his bicycle more than 25 miles a day and is lean and in great shape. For the past 22 years, Steve has been the extraordinarily talented co-host of this program—first with Larry Burkett and then with me. He is not only extraordinarily gifted at his profession, he is an ardent follower of Jesus Christ . . . and did I mention Steve is a hoot to work with. He is so much fun!
Today was his first day back on the job, and we were a pair! Steve, recovering from his major surgery, and me from my week-long bout of laryngitis.
Steve often bikes with a group of riders, some of whom do not yet know Christ as their savior. He has shared with them how they can come to know Jesus as their personal savior, and several of them have responded, “That’s fine, but I’ll think about it later. I’ve got plenty of time to make that decision.”
Steve told me that once the pain in his heart went from mild discomfort to serious pain, he didn’t have the ability to do anything. He was so overwhelmed with pain and the Continue reading Steve Moore
“Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap it if we do not grow weary.” – Galatians 6:9
New England has the well-deserved reputation of being a spiritually challenging area—some would even say a spiritually dead area. But I am so pumped up by what the Lord is doing in this part of the country. On Saturday, I had the opportunity to speak at Iron Sharpens Iron men’s conferences in Worchester and Hudson, Mass. About a 1,000 men attended and the Spirit of God clearly was present and moving in the hearts of these men.
I believe that Compass is playing a key role in what I pray, is the beginning of a revival in New England. Our New England Executive Director, Yvonne Mitto, has been a gift from our Lord. A native of Jamaica, Yvonne is an extraordinarily godly and capable person. A growing number of people have joined her who are passionate about teaching others God’s way of handling money. The outstanding Blount Radio Network carries our half hour MoneyWise throughout much of New England.