From the monthly archives: December, 2015

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Can you believe this is the last day of 2015? It has been a great year.

As I think about the year we are closing the history books on this year, I am grateful for all the Lord has done in and through our ministry.  I want to share a few of the personal highlights for me…. Our radio reach expanded, growing through 235 new stations. We are grateful to our radio partners and encourage you to remain faithful to support their ministry in your area. I visited the Amazon River in South America and delivered Crown materials to missionaries who use our programs in 119 churches up and down the river.  It was a joy to expand our ministry to some of the most remote people groups on planet Earth. In Africa our short films on finances are reaching an estimated 2 million people each year in villages and huts and farms throughout that vast continent. And in China, Crown’s efforts are rapidly spreading in major cities from Beijing to Shanghai. Thousands are graduating from our small group studies and Larry Burkett’s original material called Business by the Book&tr ...

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One discipline, leads to many more.

When I was in high school, I had a cousin that was very disciplined about working out. If he had a goal to do 20 push ups each day, he did it without fail.  I remember how impacted I was by his ability to stay on track day after day.  When I asked him how he managed to be so disciplined he told me that he had observed that if he was disciplined in one area of his life it tended to help him in EVERY area of his life.  I do know this: the opposite is definitely true. If I don’t have at least one area where I maintain self-discipline, every area of my life seems to be a struggle.  Proverbs 15:32 (NLT) says, “If you reject discipline, you only harm yourself;” As you contemplate the New Year, I want to challenge you to pick just one area of your finances where you will practice absolute self-discipline all year long. It may be spending, saving, giving, working, investing, or resting.  The area you choose should be one where you know you have been putting it off.  N ...

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Want a few tips for starting the New Year off on the right financial foot?

Stop wasting time.  I know it sounds obvious, but all of us do things that are unproductive.  Consider a few of my favorites:  stop watching TV, stop surfing social media sites or checking them frequently to see if you have any new likes.  Stop reading books that have no value. Take an inventory of that one thing in your life that you know is a huge time waster. Now make a plan to replace that with something productive. Ephesians 4:28, Paul says, “Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.”  This verse outlines what to stop doing, what to start doing and what to do once you begin to benefit from this strategy.  Imagine now that whatever it is that you have determined that you must stop doing is replaced with that one thing that will be far more productive like studying for an exam or professional certification, taking on extra jobs or starti ...

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Are you getting enough rest?

Did you know that sleep deprivation is considered by Amnesty International as a form of torture?  There is good reason.  Lack of sleep takes a toll on our health, our mood, our mental capacity and our productivity.  Our bodies naturally desire between 7 and 8 hours of sleep per night and we need at least one full day of rest from work to operate at our highest capacity.  I believe this is one of the reasons that rest is included in the Ten Commandments.  Listen to the fourth commandment.  “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns.” I once observed a co-worker who slurred his speech while talking at an important meeting. It seemed as if he had been drinking. That same day his wife called me and said s ...

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With all the excitement at Christmas what are some ways to teach my children to be grateful and remind them that there are others who are not as fortunate as us?

Friday's Handwriting on the Wall posts will feature Chuck's new ChristianPost.com column, Ask Chuck. Chuck will be answering questions about what the the Bible has to say about money. Please share on #financialfridays and submit your own questions here. @AskCrown Originally posted at Christian Post December 25, 2015. Dear Chuck, We work so hard to give our children a beautiful Christmas experience. Although we are not rich by any means, we are blessed in comparison to many. When it’s all said and done, the kids can be a little “spoiled” on Christmas day. With all the excitement at Christmas what are some ways to teach my children to be grateful and remind them that there are others who are not as fortunate as us? Grateful.   Dear Grateful,  With four sons of our own, we have encountered the same concerns. We want them to have a great Christmas but also remember to be grateful for what we have and to remain concerned about the needs of others. B ...

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Bing Crosby recorded this song and it’s the third best selling single ever recorded. I’m sure you know it.

A young priest, Father Joseph Mohr, had written the lyrics in his native German language a few years earlier but sought the help of composer Franz Gruber, to come up with the music to the lyrics.  In 1818, at St. Nicholas Parish Church in Oberndorf, Austria the song was first performed on Christmas Eve.   This song we all know and love was sung simultaneously in English and German by troops during the Christmas truce of 1914 during World War I. It has been translated into 140 languages and is now in the public domain.  In the midst of all the busy-ness of the season, if you are able, I want to suggest that tonight you take a moment to walk outside, look up into the sky and ponder the beauty of this event as you sing these words:   Silent night, holy night, all is calm, all is bright Round yon virgin mother and child. Holy infant, so tender and mild, Sleep in heavenly peace, sleep in heavenly peace. Silent night, holy night, shepherds quake at the sight; Glories stream from h ...

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Research suggests why we spend more using a credit card than cash…

Bill Hardekopf is CEO of Lowcards.com.  He has some great insight for how to avoid overspending!  “A study from the Journal of Consumer Research sheds further light on why we overspend with credit card payments. It may even help shoppers stay on their Christmas budgets. The study ‘Do Payment Mechanisms Change the Way Consumers View Products?’ shows that paying with a credit cardincreases the natural desire to spend as opposed to cash in identical purchase situations. It describes how perception and evaluation of products differ with cash compared to a credit card payment. Consumers paying with a credit card are much more focused on the product benefits, and make a purchase based on superior benefits instead of the cost. They identify more with words that describe the benefits. Consumers that pay with cash are more likely to choose an option based on cost, even if that option offers inferior benefits. Not only do we spend more with a credit card, but we may not make the be ...

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Debt has some negative consequences….

Scripture clearly discourages debt. It also condemns the misuse of debt and the failure to repay debts (Psalm 37:21; Proverbs 3:27-28). Randy Alcorn, director of Eternal Perspective Ministries, has written a helpful article on the Nine Consequences of Debt.  Today, I want to share with you the top four. Debt lingers. The new boat is fun for a while, but two years later, when it’s sitting in storage, the motor needs repair, and the kids don’t want to ski anymore, we’re still paying for it. Debt causes worry and stress. Stress experts say that the bigger a person’s mortgage (or any debt), the bigger the stress. Debt is a serious enemy of mental health. Debt causes denial of reality. We drive our bank-financed cars, running on credit card gas, to open a department-store charge account so we can fill our savings- and loan-funded homes with installment-purchased furniture. We’re living a lie and hocking the future to finance it. When creditors call many people ...

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Do you struggle with invisible sins?

In 1999, I experienced a genuine repentance from my double-minded ways. While reading God’s Word, I suddenly saw myself as looking in a mirror. The reflection back was that of an idolater. I worshipped God with my mouth but served money with all of my energy. My dreams, goals, and ambitions all involved the pursuit and capture of more money. In reality, money was my invisible master.

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I remember a deep sense of sorrow that swept over my soul. How could I have been so easily deceived? How could I have treated the Lord with such shallow lip service? How could I have allowed money to take the throne of my heart? All of these questions rushed into my mind as I contemplated the reality of my sin.

Coveting, greed, and idolatry are often thought of as “invisible sins” in that we try very hard to hide them. Catholic priests have told me that these are the least confessed sins they hear in their confessional booth. I understand why. Most often, we think they really don’t matter. We rationalize that if we say we love God that should be enough, even though our actions defy the words.

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” (James 4:7-8)

1999 was a turning point in my life that led me to become a single-minded man, loving and serving only One Master. I turned from my idol, submitted myself to God Almighty, and He came near to me. I hope you will examine your heart for invisible sins as well.

Since both men are believers, how do we biblically handle not being paid for the job?

Friday's Handwriting on the Wall posts will feature Chuck's newChristianPost.com column, Ask Chuck. Chuck will be answering questions about what the the Bible has to say about money. Please share on #financialfridays and submit your own questions here. @AskCrown Originally posted at Christian Post December 18, 2015. Dear Chuck, My husband has his own small business, construction, and he was sub-contracted for another small business, also construction. Since both men are believers, how do we biblically handle not being paid for the job? (The main contractor) keeps promising, but not paying. Thank you! A Concerned Wife   Dear Concerned Wife, When it comes to a disagreement within the family of God, the Bible has some concrete advice. You’ve already taken the first step, but let’s look at the rest. In Matthew 18:15-17, Jesus said: “If another believer sins against you go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you ...

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