Monday, April 30, 2007

Do you need "Financial Peace?"

Now that we're done with Training & Certification as Dave Ramsey Financial Counselors, many people are asking, "What do you do?" or "Why would people go to see you?" Things like that.

So, I wanted to provide a checklist. I wanted to give everyone some things to think about and a guide to do a self evaluation on your personal finances to see if you need "Financial Peace."
Here are some questions to ask yourselves:

* Are your personal finances a burden on you? Your Marriage? A reported 55% of families worry about their finances and Psychology Today reports that money is the leading cause of divorce.

* Are you currently living paycheck to paycheck? A reported 70% of families are living paycheck to paycheck. The average family has to borrow money if they needed $2,000 or more for an emergency.

* Are you on the verge of filing bankruptcy? Have you ever filed for bankruptcy? Over 2 Million Bankruptcies were filed in 2005 and more in 2006. 98% of people who file for bankruptcy DO NOT need to. With a good plan and sacrifice, recovery is easily achievable.

* If you lost your job tomorrow, could you stay out of bankruptcy? The average family has $38,000 in debt, not counting the mortgage. Hardly any family has an Emergency Fund of 3-6 months expenses. This is why America saved a -2.2% in 2006. This is why we can't save for retirement, save for college and give to local churches and charities.

* Are you preparing for retirement? 62% of Americans retire on annual incomes below $10,000. You don't have to work for a big company to save tax sheltered dollars for retirement.

* Are you ready to pay cash for your kids college? Rising cost of a college education has many families borrowing from retirement accounts to fund college. That can be avoided with good planning. No matter how old your child is.

* Are you and your family properly insured? Medical bills are among the leading causes of bankruptcy.

* Is your Estate Plan in place for your spouse and family? 70% of Americans have NO PLAN. You DO NOT want the State or Federal Government distributing your assets when you die.

What we do is provide guidance. We DO NOT sell products. We help families achieve Financial Peace by teaching them the basics. We are teachers and consumer advocates and we want to teach you what's out there that's best for you, the consumer.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Pics from Training

Above is Russ Caroll. He's probably the most experienced Financial Counselor in the USA. He started out with Dave Ramsey over 15+ years ago. He's a former Pastor that has found a new calling in his twilight years of his life. Great wisdom and great teacher.

Above is Dave Ramsey doing his radio show, "The Dave Ramsey Show". The studio is visible behind a glass wall from the office complex's front lobby.

Above is me, in Dave's chair. He was in Mississippi doing a live event and he was broadcasting "The Dave Ramsey Show" from Mississippi. So, we snuck into the studio for some quick pics.

Above is a computer screen those in the lobby can see in the studio. It's a list of callers on hold, how long they've been on hold and a general description of what they are calling about. I think the picture speaks for itself. Dave actually handled the call very well. It wasn't a spoof or nothing, the guy was really hurting and Dave really helped him out. It's amazing how many different ways Dave helps people who call and its not always financially.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

We're Certified, We're Home

It was a great day today. We watched a video where Dave talked about what it means to be a giver. How tithe's and offerings transform us into the image of Christ, the ultimate giver. That's the MAIN REASON God calls us to give. When we give, its the best way to mirror the image of Christ.

We learned how to share Christ during counseling, then we prayed, did a little worship, then they handed us diplomas and pictures and prayed over us, blessed us and commissioned us.

Great people, great cause. i'm tired and going to bed.

Uploading pics tomorrow.

Oh, MUCHO thanks to Brandi's mom and sister. They had Jada at the airport for us when we touched down. It was great seeing her again, we REALLY missed her.

Pics tomorrow, I hope.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Day Four: Dave Ramsey Training

11 more hours today. We're worn out. We went over Investment Guidelines, Estate Planning, Business Strategy, Ministry Counseling Services, Starting & Growing your business.

So much information. But what's so great about their organization is that they have made themselves available for us after we get back home. They want to do this the right way. They want to make a difference in people's lives.

Dave was back in the studio today for the radio show. One of the guys in our class had just sold a rental property or something and used the profit to pay off te last of his debt. Fridays on the Dave Ramsey show is a big day for callers to call in and scream, "I'm debt freeeeee!" So, he called the radio show and we all helped him scream! It was pretty fun.

We're ready to get home. We're ready to see Jada.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Day Three: Dave Ramsey Training

11 more hours today. We hung in there pretty good. We learned about:
* Myths about debt
* Dumping debt
* Dealing with collectors
* Communicating with debt collectors
* Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
* Foreclosures/Forbearances
* Bankruptcy

Then we toured more of the complex, The Broadcasting Department specifically. We got to tour the studio where Dave does The Dave Ramsey radio show. He was in Mississippi for a live event and he broadcasted the show from there. We got some cool pics from the studio, but I don't have my camera's ISBL cord to upload the pics. Let's just say a couple of us "filled in" for Dave while he was gone.

We ready to get home. It's going great, but we're getting Jada sick and home sick.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Day Two: Dave Ramsey Training

11 hours of personal finance training. This is hard core. GREAT INFORMATION! We learned about the counseling process, life & health insurance & retirement & college investing. Then we also went over 3 different case studies where we had the initial information and had to give recommendations of how to direct them. It was pretty crazy at first. But, we learned alot.

We also had the opportunity to tour parts of their facility and their staff. These people are WIDE OPEN. It's amazing how this group of peopl are impacting the WORLD. They have a high school curriculum that is in 1,200 highschools across America, public and private. They have Financial Peace Jr., which is a teaching curriculum for 3-12 year olds. They have Financial Peace University, a 12 week bible study and check this out: "On average these families have paid off over $5,300 in debt and saved $2,700 during this 91-day program!" 91 days!

Brandi & I are pretty sure we will start up a Financial Peace University class really soon after getting back. So, be looking out for that.

We took pictures yesterday, but they haven't made them available to us. OK, we're going to bed!

Good Night.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Here we go!!

We got to Financial Peace Plaza in Brentwood, TN today, home of Dave Ramsey's Certified Financial Counselor Training. We go through orientation and introductions and we get to take a break and step out of the meeting room and right across the hall is Dave Ramsey himself, doing the radio show!

After a couple of more hours of training Dave comes in and we get to hear his heart and do a Q & A session with him. This guy is FULL THROTTLE. It was such a blessing to see a man operating in his gift and in his calling. Talk about first class EVERYTHING. This is gonna be even better than we imagined. We just don't give him money and sit in a class for a week. We are part of the Dave Ramsey Family! He ensured us after we complete this training, EVERY resource right there in Brentwood, TN will be available for us. We will not be thrown into Louisiana to fend for ourselves.

He told us the average age on his team is 26-28 y/o. He said you don't get to go work on a project until you cry when you talk about it, that's how passionate he is and how passionate you need to be in order to be on his team. He said this isn't a job, this is his crusade! The passion is contageous!

Tomorrow is gonna be a 11 hour day, so this will be very short.

P.S. They fed us dinner and a movie. The movie was called "Maxed Out." WATCH THIS DOCUMENTARY! It's a documentary about the banks and credit card companies and how outrageous their marketing has become. It'll make you sick, but it'll open your eyes about how little we, as Americans, know about how money really works.

We're going to bed. We can't wait to get home and get people to work toward FINANCIAL PEACE!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

UFC 70 - Upset! Down goes Crocop

This is why I love Mixed Martial Arts. Anything can happen! Its the most exciting combat sport today. Ranking, records or reputation mean NOTHING when the referee says, "Fight!" You better come prepared and ready for battle.

The dude on the right is Mirko "Crocop" Filipovic. He's a former member of the Croatian Special Police & the #2 rated Heavyweight in all Mixed Martial Arts. But, as seen in the pic below, he's on the receiving end of a "Right High Head Kick." It's ironic because Mirko is known for stopping his opponent with his patented Left Head Kick.

So, this is the #2 ranked Heavyweight in the world on his back after eating a high kick from Gabriel Gonzaga. Don't freak out about his foot, he's fine. He walked out of the Octagon unhurt. Well, except a litle dizzy and his pride bruised.

This is the year of the upsets, so far. Everyone was expecting Mirko to win this fight and that would set up a Heavyweight championship battle between Crocop and Randy Couture. But, Gonzaga had a little Right High Kick to say about it.

If you don't know about MMA, get ready. Its the fastest growing sport in the world right now. Don't be ignorant about it. Its fascinating. Its exciting. Its real.

These pics & more from UFC 70 on MSNBC

Friday, April 20, 2007

More Jada Jams & Fun with Laser Pointers

"EZ" Earl @ Healing Place Church gave me this great idea.

Jada jams with "King of Cars" intro:

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Why Tithe? Part 2

Studies & Polls about giving in the USA by church going people reveal that less than 5%-10% tithe consistantly. Results vary across different researchers. The Barna Group ( reports:

*Over 80% of all households donated some money to at least one non-profit organization or a church in 2003, 2002 and 2001, compared with 84% in 2000 and 87% in 1999.

*The proportion of households that tithe their income to their church - that is, give at least ten percent of their income to that ministry - has dropped by 62% in the past year, from 8% in 2001 to just 3% of adults during 2002 (2003)

*9% of born agains tithed 10% of their income to a house of worship in 2004.

*Nearly 9% of the evangelicals tithed in 2002 - roughly three times the national average. (2003)

With all the needs in our community, state, country & the world, as believers, its time to get our houses in order and provide the church with the resources it needs to bring the Word and Gospel of Christ to the lost, bring help to the poor, the widows and the orphans.

A related note, in a previous post ( I noted that in a study and an Associated Press news article: "In fact, the Commerce Department reported Thursday that the nation’s personal savings rate for all of 2006 was a negative 1 percent, the worst showing in 73 years."

The US is saving a -1% savings rate and nearly 90% are not tithing. We are not giving and we are not saving. What are we doing?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Why Tithe?

Malachi 3:8-12

8 “ Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘ In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings.

9 You are cursed with a curse, For you have robbed Me, Even this whole nation.

10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” Says the LORD of hosts, “ If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it.

11 “ And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, So that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,” Says the LORD of hosts;

12 And all nations will call you blessed, For you will be a delightful land,” Says the LORD of hosts.

Virginia Tech & Grace - Part II

There was a comment on Pastor Dino's post about the Virginia Tech shootings that really answered the question that I really already knew the answer to:

"And, yes, I believe the church, which is God's idea, would and should be the first to reach out to one of God's children even when they have destroyed lives-
for even they are redeemable...
How many lives do we destroy every day-by our words, our lifestyle, our actions or in-actions towards one another-We just don't make the national news...
But, God is watching... His eyes go to and fro - just to find one...
My heart cries out to all..."

The obvious answer is that God would redeem the shooter, just as he redeemed Moses, who killed the Egyptian and David, who murdered Uriah and had the affair with Bathsheba.

The next question is, are we at the place where we can apply God's grace ourselves? Reminds me of my post, "Too Much Information." Where I quoted Watchman Nee saying, " All knowledge is the outgrowth of obedience; everything else is just information."

We have the information that we are to forgive, but do we have the knowledge, which is shown by our obedience? How do we put away our anger, bitterness and hurt to forgive others, as we have been forgiven?

To me, this is a spiritual maturity indicator. If we choose to obey and forgive, instead of waiting for justice or payback or waiting for the "feeling" of forgiveness to come, that puts us on a new level in our spiritual walk. That is what others can look at to see Christ working through us.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Virginia Tech & Grace

Pastor Dino just posted a blog about the tragic shootings at Virginia Tech and he asked what were some of our thoughts on the event. So, I responded. Here's a part of my response:

"Then, after thinking about the victims and grieving for the families and friends, I think about the shooter. If he were to survive, would a church prison ministry minister to him? Or do we think dozens and dozens of murders are unforgivable?"

I just want to go deeper into that thought. We absolutely want to minister to the victims of the tragedy, and we absolutely want justice to be served to the shooter. But, do we hold back grace? Even if the justice of the laws of the land is carried out, are we responsible for ministering to the shooter's spiritual condition? Here's some other questions:

Does the victim of adultery forgive the mistress and the adulterer?
Do the parents of a abused child forgive the abuser?
Does the victim of a hate crime forgive the racist?
Do the parents forgive the drunk driver who kills their child?
Do the members of the little Baptist church in Alabama forgive the people who burnt down their church building?
Do the employees of Enron, who are left with NOTHING in the twighlight of their lives, forgive the management team responsible for the Enron scandal?

Where does God's Grace stop? Do we prematurely withdraw the Grace of God? Do we even give the sinner a chance to hear the Good News and accept Salvation through Jesus Christ?

Do sinners see the Hand of God filled with love, mercy and grace? Or do sinners see The Body with clinched fists shaking with condemnation? Do we use the excuse of our anger and hurt to with hold forgiveness. Or even if we are not the offended party, do we use our outrage of the sin, keep us from ministering to the sinner.

I have no answer. But, I just think its something we should think about.

His Heart For Orphans BLOG

Tommy & Aimee Poche', leaders of Healing Place Church's Adoption Ministry, "His Heart For Orphans", has created a HHFO BLOG!

Bunch of info about adoptive families at HPC and education & resources for adoption in general.


Sunday, April 08, 2007

Jada on the swing.

Jada on the swing.

Happy Easter

Jada's Easter Outfit.

My two angels.

Jada's first Easter Basket.

Jada on her new swing at Grandma & Grandpa White's.

UFC 69 in Houston, TX

We had a very well deserved weekend of R&R this weekend. Upon Brandi's request, we put off Valentines Day and her Birthday for one big weekend in Houston, TX. The UFC or Ultimate Fighting Championships. Its a brand of Mixed Martial Arts or MMA. It's the most exciting form of combat sports today.

Here's the Toyota Center, right outside our hotel room.

Here's a shot of the Octagon from our seats. There was no bad seat in the place. Those new arenas are fantastic!

This is Diego Sanchez vs Josh Koschek. Supposedly the most exciting matchup of the night. There was alot of trash talking between these two leading up to the fight. There was even some shoving at the weigh ins. But, the weigh ins proved to be the most exciting action between these two. The played patty cake for 15 minutes and Kos got the decision. Like I said, he didn't win, he just sucked the least out of the two.

This is GSP or Georges St. Pierre, the Welterweight Champion, coming into tonights fight. This pic is him after getting KO'd. He was majorly upset by Matt Serra. Serra is a Jiu Jitsu specialist that KO'd GSP. Major upset, but a great fight.

8 of the 9 fights were outstanding. The place was jumping & the energy was high. We didn't get ANY pics with any UFC fighters. That was the only disappointing thing about the trip. We "could" have gotten some pics at the "after parties", but the after parties seemed a little too racy for us.

We loved it, and would recommend going to anyone who hasn't been to a live event. Great weekend.

Friday, April 06, 2007

HPC's "Our Life Magazine"

I blogged earlier about how much our local church, Healing Place Church, has meant to me & Brandi. We have found a church home that helped us discover what God put us on earth for and provided us with great friends and resources to live the life God intends for ALL OF US! If you are a bored member of HPC, that's YOUR FAULT! So much going on, so many lives being touched, so many opportunities to give our time, talents, touch & treasure to serve The Kingdom and help make Jesus famous!
A little insight as to what goes on at Healing Place Church. Click Below to check it out:

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Jada Videos

The word for today is "momma."

I know where my bellybutton is!

Jada groovin' with the Doodlebops and "Get on the Bus." Hey Jada. Is that the Holy Spirit movin them hips?

Jada helps out by throwing away her own diaper after diaper changes.

Jada Pics! Jada Pics!

Just wanted to give ya'll some visual updates on our girl. Growing like a weed.

Good morning. It's 2pm, but I worked last night. So, me and Jada just woke up from a good 2.5 hour morning nap! It seems she knows when I need a little extra shut eye and stays in the crib longer for daddy.

A rare opportunity to see Jada upset. For you guys! :) Nah, she was just trying to get her toy basket out of the cabinet and it got stuck and Jada got bent.

She is babbling ALOT more lately and we're waiting for her to start putting the babbles together and create English words.

I just wetted her hair a bit for the photo shoot. She loves imitating me by waving her hands through her hair after I dry it a bit. Of course, when the camera comes out, she's gonna run up and stick her nose in the lens. She's a trip.

She's also learned the "Big Cheese" when the camera comes out.

I'm also gonna post some new movies on YouTube.

Only other news is that Brandi got braces put on. Don't look for any pics, I didn't even ask. 15 months I think she has to wear them. Not much soreness or pain yet, except for the metal brackets in the back, rubbing her cheek. I'll try to sneak in a pick or two. I'll use Jada as a decoy.

3 more days until UFC 69 in Houston! We're stoked. Whole lot of pics from that event to come.