Friday, March 30, 2007

"Other People's Money": No Such Thing

I've been hearing this a lot lately from some part-time entrepreneurs. The idea is to get a loan to start a business or buy real estate. A lot of midnight infomercials promote this strategy.

Here's the problem:

Proverbs 28:19-20
He who tills his land will have plenty of bread, But he who follows frivolity will have poverty enough! A faithful man will abound with blessings, But he who hastens to be rich will not go unpunished.

I think there's lessons to be learned and character to be built when we are forced to slow down, save up and take our time before jumping into a business venture. Also, going into debt is not the wise way to proceed, in business or in personal finance.

Proverbs 22:7
The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.

If you think borrowing money is smart because you are using "Other People's Money", then see what happens when you miss paying a note or three. You will definitely discover the context of being a servant to the lender. Making payments ties up your money, when it could be used to build up savings or reinvest in your business. There is also an emotional and spiritual effect of having the bank own your home, car or property. It's hard to explain, but think about it and it'll sink in.

Granted, many people have done this and have become successful. But, the risk is very high and with the scriptures in Proverbs 28 & 22, God seems to be strongly encouraging us to take our time. Maybe so He is allowed to open doors that need to be opened and shut the ones that need to be shut.

Using "Other People's Money" is not only going into debt, but it bypasses being diligent by not taking the time to save up. It's the quick and easy way. Nothing great comes quick and easy, maybe something good, but not something great. Some scriptures on diligence.

Proverbs 10:4 Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth.

Proverbs 12:24 Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in slave labor.

Proverbs 12:27 The lazy man does not roast his game, but the diligent man prizes his possessions.

Proverbs 13:4 The sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.

Proverbs 21:5 The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.

All we've got to figure out now is if God is smarter than us or are we smarter than Him?

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Marriage: Learning to Love Day by Day

Here's a comment from a marriage forum I follow. The thread is talking about "Falling in & out of Love."

"Prior to the last two centuries, there was no such thing as dating for marriage. All marriages (including the first one) were arranged. Yet, many people still had loving marriages. How?

They FORCED themselves to learn to love each other. They taught themselves and each other love, and it grew over their lifetime together.

Even in a modern marriage, the "feeling of love" is more like infatuation or euphoria than real love. It can't last long enough to get a couple through the struggles of a lifetime of marriage. That kind of love takes MUCH longer to build."

Nothing breaks my heart more than to hear a couple in crisis say they don't love each other anymore. First of all, to speak that is very dangerous. Second, we have to learn that "love" is not the butterflies in the stomach feeling when everything is going great. Love is a commandment.

When we think that we are falling out of love, we need to be reminded of what Love is according to God's Word.

There have been so many different seasons in my 14 year marriage. With each season, sometimes there is a need to learn how to love again. The addition of Jada, for example, has changed our way of life in a big way. We can't do things as we've done before Jada. So, we have to learn to love in a new way in a new season. We're still building our love.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Coming to Baton Rouge: Weekend To Remember by Family Life

Family Life's "Weekend To Remember" Marriage Conference


April 20-22 at the Holiday Inn Exec Center in Baton Rouge.

We've heard alot about this marriage conference. One of the best there is. Family Life is one of my favorite Christian marriage ministry organizations. They've been doing it a very long time and have alot of respect from the Christian community.

This conference is great for marriages in crisis, marriages going through a rough time or just a simple tune up that EVERY MARRIAGE NEEDS!! Make a great investment in one of your greatest assets! YOUR MARRIAGE!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Parable of the Talents: Alternative Message

I was listening to "Financial Peace University" CD's. He was teaching about the The Parable of the Talents and the importance of being good stewards of our finances.

Then, I started wondering if the moral of the story could apply to areas of my life outside of personal finances. The moral of the story is that God will bless you if you are a good steward of what He gives you. If you are not, do not expect to be given more.

So, what about other areas of my life? What about other gifts He gives me? If I am gifted with wisdom, but I don't use it or if I use it in an ungodly way, will he take that from me? If I am put in a leadership position or head of a ministry, and I don't serve that ministry with the right spirit, will that be taken from me?

What if I'm given the head of a household? What if I'm not a good steward of that responsibility? He will not take a marriage away from me, but He certainly won't give me an abundant marriage.

A few things caught my attention about this parable:
* The Master entrusted the servants with His property. It's not ours to begin with. This is why we can't boast about it or lord it over anyone. We did nothing to earn blessings, they are gifts from God.
* The servants had to work to multiply the Master's property. It takes work! Look what happened to the servant who did nothing with the gift, but bury it.
* God rewarded the faithful ones and then gave them more.. There are consequences for the way we steward God's blessings. We will have to answer for things we do.
* God gave the property of the lazy servant to the faithful servant. My biggest fear is facing God and learning that He wanted me to impact The Kingdom, but because of my laziness, he took away my gift or blessing and gave it to another and that other person was able to partner with God to impact the Kingdom. For me, all I have is a missed opportunity.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Updated: Tax Day & W-4's ** Updated with MSNBC Article

Tax Day: April 15th is just around the corner. Some have already or will be getting some Tax Refund checks in pretty soon. An AP article on MSNBC says the average return this year is $2,548. Look below at the chart and you'll see that its about $200 per month. I've recently adopted the opinion that having a large tax return every year is not smart.

We got some good advice a couple of years ago that really helped us get DEBT FREE except the mortgage. We were getting decent refunds back every year. Then, we were advised to set a goal to break even with taxes and use that extra money each month to help pay off debts.

Here's some numbers that will help you realize what you are missing out on or at least putting off until tax time.

$1,000 Tax Return will bring you $ 83 per month
$2,000 Tax Return will bring you $166 per month
$3,000 Tax Return will bring you $240 per month
$4,000 Tax Return will bring you $333 per month
$5,000 Tax Return will bring you $416 per month
$6,000 Tax Return will bring you $500 per month (several guys I work with have 3+ kids brag about these types of returns.)

As long as you keep the same income and other stuff the same, it is pretty easy to figure out how much you need to pay in each year. Now, me & Brandi keep an eye on how much we pay into Federal Income Tax (NOT Social Security or Medicare)and adjust our W-4's as necessary to hit that target.

There have been studies that show tha a majority of people use their tax returns on vacations or big item purchases. If you have the goal of getting DEBT FREE, maybe adjusting your W-4 will bring in some extra money each month to help you get it done faster.

Me and Brandi have confirmed reservations and flights booked to go to Brentwood, TN to attend Dave Ramsey's Certified Financial Counselor Training at the end of April. We signed up for the Not-For-Profit Training so we'll be able to offer FREE Financial Counseling through Healing Place Church.

Did you know most studies revealed that <5-7% of Christians tithe consistantly? I know many people are in the same position we were. We really wanted to tithe and give above in offerings, but we just had too many bills to do it. We really got freed up and are now able to give as we are called to give. We're ready to be able to help others get freed up to give too.

Here's some suggestions for your tax returns via Personal Finance Section: HERE

Documetary of China Adoption

We had 37 families go to China with us. We were split into two groups after we got there. The Mortinsons were in the other group. Here's a documentary their son put together.

Gives a good idea of what the trip was like.

DOCUMENTARY on Google Video.


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Jada vs. Crawfish

Big milestone for us! We completed Jada's 6 month post placement interview with Mrs. Paula Davis, our social worker for the adoption process. Mrs. Paula says everything looks good and Jada and amazingly mom & dad are doing just fine. I say that because we are still getting adjusted to having a 3rd wheel around the house. It's amazing how spoiled me and Brandi were to each other. None of the books we read or the people we talked to sufficiently prepared us for bringing Jada home.

No worries, for every 100 stressful times we have, one smile from Jada erases them all. She's such a joy to be around. She's outgoing, she's no China doll! We won't have no wimpy girlie chick girl in our house. Not there's anything wrong with wimpy girlie chick girls, but its just not how the Lamberts roll.

Anyway, all we have left is a 1 year post placement interview and that will be that. On with the show. Check out some pics of Jada and Crawfish!

Look at em. Like sheep to the slaughter!

Jada jumped right in. China is no stranger to crawfish, but I don't think Jada has eaten them like this.

She actually have had crawfish before, we just didn't have the camera or clean hands to catch her on film.

She ended up cleaner eatin' crawfish than she did eating zucchini or squash.


Jada's Hair is growing. Even enough to start putting pig tails in. She found a bunch of hair clips, so we hooked her up. She enjoyed it.

Still loving the camera. She knows what to do when we break it out. CHEEEZZZZ!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

"Buttprints in the Sand"

Another steal from Dr. Roger Butner's blog. I've been following his website for a couple of weeks and I've been really blessed by his wisdom and encouragement. This one just made me laugh.

Check out his site. Good stuff.

"Buttprints in the Sand” (author unknown)

One night I had a wondrous dream,
One set of footprints there was seen,
The footprints of my precious Lord,
But mine were not along the shore. But then some strange prints appeared,
And I asked the Lord, “What have we here?”
Those prints are large and round and neat,
"But Lord, they are too big for feet.”

“My child,” He said in somber tones,
“For miles I carried you along.
I challenged you to walk in faith,
But you refused and made me wait.”

“You disobeyed, you would not grow,
The walk of faith, you would not know,
So I got tired, I got fed up,
And there I dropped you on your butt.”

“Because in life, there comes a time,
When one must fight, and one must climb,
When one must rise and take a stand,
Or leave their butt prints in the sand.”

Monday, March 19, 2007

T.M.I. = Too Much Information

Information vs. Knowledge:

I got kicked in the face, in a spiritual sense. It was one of those enlightening moments of humility that puts you in your place. You know, those times where you do an honest look at yourself, your heart, your intentions and see where you really stand. You don't do it to make God love you more, He already gave His only Son for us. Nothing we can do can change His perfect love for us. But, we do it because we know His ways are above our ways, His thoughts are above our thoughts. We follow God's decrees and wisdom because His ways are the secret to the abundant life God intended for us.

Anyway, I took an unplanned break from reading "Lifetime Guarantee" a.k.a., I got lazy and caught up on all the recorded shows on our DVR. I ran across a quote Bill Gillham, author of "Lifetime Guarantee" used from a noted Christian writer. Watchman Nee said, " All knowledge is the outgrowth of obedience; everything else is just information."

In other words, we can simply believe The Truth taught in God's Word, but it's only INFORMATION to us until we OBEY it. Then it becomes KNOWLEDGE. At that moment I figured out I had a little T.M.I. or "Too much information. I need WAY more knowledge.

God help us.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Just in case....

anyone believes there is something glamorous about the lives of missionaries, check out Dave Ohlerking's latest post.

Not counting our mission trip to China, I've been on one mission trip to Honduras with James Pursifull from Bethany. He set us up in a nice hotel and fed us well. Nothing like what 99% of full time missionaries have to go through. Don't get me wrong, they don't want our pity. This is what they are called to do and they serve The Kingdom gladly, without complaining or regret.
My respect and honor for these heroes are rising everytime I read their blogs. Some of the missionaries we support and keep up with:

Gateway International (David & Theresa Greenhough - India)

Children's Cup (Dan & Jean Ohlerking - Swaziland - Zimbabwe - Vietnam)

Support your missionaries any way you can, especially with prayers.