Celebrating Two Years of the Christian Financial Alliance!

Today marks two years since the beginning of the CFA!  I thought it would be a great way to celebrate by posting all the questions we have answered iover the past couple years.  Thanks to all our readers for following the alliance, and thanks to all the sites that participate and take seriously the call to live according to biblical truth.  Enjoy!

Tips for Finding a Great Ministry to Donate to

How do you get financially involved in your church?

In your own words, define “stewardship”.

What is the biggest struggle for married couples when it comes to money?

How do you balance giving and saving?

In your own words, define biblical generosity.

Spiritual reasons to get out of debt.

Should the poor give?

In your own words, define biblical contentment.

In your own opinion, what is the “best” thing a church can do with money?

Book Recommendations (2011).

New Year’s Resolutions (2012).

What should a Christian think about retirement?

Why should we handle our money wisely?

Finding Your ‘Calling’ at Work?

To Tithe or Not to Tithe?

Non-Financial Stewardship

Should a Christian give while getting out of debt?

Should churches borrow money?

Learning from financial mistakes

How to fight against the Love of Money

The importance of Thankfulness

Christmas Tips

Great Financial Tools

If you would like to specifically ask a question to the CFA, you can submit it here.

Posted in Christian Financial Alliance | Leave a comment

Christian Financial Alliance: Great Financial Tools

The Christian Financial Alliance  was created to help readers.  The idea is this:  Create a panel of biblical finance gurus.  People who take seriously the call to teach the Bible accurately with grace and truth.  Once a month, we post a question with a response from our panel to provide you with well-rounded, sound, biblical advice.  For more on the Christian Financial Alliance (or to join our team) click here.

“If you could point Christians towards one financial ‘tool’ (non-book), what would it be?”

“Quicken. I’ve used it for years (decades, really) and LOVE it. It has helped me track, manage, and grow our finances to where they are today. (BTW, I haven’t tried out Mint yet since I have a product I like, but from what I’ve heard it’s a suitable alternative to Quicken.)” – FreeMoneyFinance.com

“”YNAB, the most effective budgeting tool I have found out there. My wife and I use and it and love it!” – ChristianPF.com

“I would have to go with Mint.com.  It’s the tool my wife and I use for all budgeting purposes and it’s really aided in our open lines of communication.  Since all purchases can be seen on a computer or phone, we are very accountable to each other.  This is yet another reason why our marriage is so strong.  With nothing to hide, we help each other glorify the Lord with our purchases.  If you haven’t seen or heard of Mint, then you really need to go and check their service out.  The best part is that it’s FREE!” – FreeMoneyWisdom.com

“If I could point Christians towards one financial tool that wasn’t a book, I’d probably point them towards a software like You Need A Budget. YNAB is a budgeting application that helps families to take better control of their money.  It is basically a zero based budgeting tool that allows you to give every dollar a job, which results in families having more money to give and save once the money leaks are plugged. After all, planning ahead and knowing the state of your finances is important!” – BibleMoneyMatters.com

“I would point people to Crown Financial Ministries (crown.org).  Their site is the best ‘one size fits all’ resource I can think to recommend.  Their materials are solid and biblically based.” – DollarsandDoctrine.com

“I think it’s been helpful for my wife and I to use budgeting software such as YNAB (You Need a Budget).  We update our budget each month and track all of our expenses so we know how much money we have left for each budget category.  This has been keey to planning for the future and helping us meet our financial goals.  – OneMoneyDesign.com

“Since many people are trying to get control of their finances and spending during this new year, I’d probably point out different budgeting tools.  A budget is an essential part of any financial game plan.  I wouldn’t push them in one direction or the other, but instead, I’d encourage them to check out their budgeting options in an effort to create a budget that works.” – MoneyHelpForChristians.com

For more on the Christian Financial Alliance (or to join our team) click here.

Posted in Christian Financial Alliance | Leave a comment

Christian Financial Alliance: Christmas Tips

The Christian Financial Alliance  was created to help readers.  The idea is this:  Create a panel of biblical finance gurus.  People who take seriously the call to teach the Bible accurately with grace and truth.  Once a month, we post a question with a response from our panel to provide you with well-rounded, sound, biblical advice.  For more on the Christian Financial Alliance (or to join our team) click here.

“What is one piece of advice you would give Christians approaching Christmas?”

“Take time to enjoy the season. In the rush of all the shopping, parties, planning, and so forth, take time to step back and remember what this season is really about.” – FreeMoneyFinance.com

“For Christians approaching Christmas, I would give the cliche phrase that we hear all too often. “Don’t forget the reason for the season.” What I mean by this though, is that we should not get caught up in the consumerism that has replaced the celebration. To be honest, as a child the only thing that I looked forward about Christmas (besides getting out of school) was getting presents. Now, I am beginning to focus not on the stuff that I can buy others, but celebrating intangible things like family, and service. The best way to afford Christmas isn’t to budget for it in advance, but to avoid the consumerism mindset.” – ProvidentPlan.com

“Not to go into debt over a single holiday!  I’ve seen too many Christians max out credit cards in the name of “Jesus.”  This is not Biblical or very wise.  Instead, go into this next Christmas and get gifts that are thoughtful instead of materialistic.  Set a budget for yourself and ask that God helps you find the best gift possible.” – FreeMoneyWisdom.com

“Enjoy the season.  From conquering the Christmas lists to getting the house ready for family to come over to fighting the crowds, it can be easy to let the stress of the season suffocate the celebration of it.  Try to slow down, enjoy it, and remember Christ…’because that is what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown’” – DollarsandDoctrine.com

“Personally, I’m trying to keep the true meaning of Christmas in mind which is God’s gift in Jesus.  Christmas is highly commercialized and it’s easy to get caught up in the buying frenzy.  If not careful, we can forget that Christmas should be a time of celebrating Christ’s birth and celebrating with gifts to loved ones and friends.  – OneMoneyDesign.com

“It is more blessed to give than receive.  During the Christmas season there is a powerful temptation to turn inward.  We’re encouraged to turn inward and ask what’s missing, what’s lacking, or what do I need?  Instead, we should challenge ourselves to look outward.  Where are people suffering?  What are others lacking?  Move away from the consumerism of Christmas and adopt the heart of Christ.” – MoneyHelpForChristians.com

“My one piece of advice for Christians around Christmas is to keep the holiday within it’s proper context, and to not get carried away with the gifts and consumerism – and the talk of Santa and his elves. Keep it in context of the birth of our Savior, and find meaningful ways to incorporate the true Christmas story into the conversation” – BibleMoneyMatters.com

For more on the Christian Financial Alliance (or to join our team) click here.

Posted in Christian Financial Alliance | Leave a comment

FREE Ebook Giveaway!

To celebrate the beginning of e-books being available for download off of dollarsanddoctrine.com, we are hosting a free ebook giveaway through the month of December.  Any day throughout the month of December, follow the steps below and receive a FREE copy of The Secret of Generosity (PDF File format).  It is simple:

Send an email to rob@dollarsanddoctrine.com with “free ebook dollars and doctrine” in the subject line, and a complimentary copy of the e-book will be emailed to you in return (no gimmicks, no strings attached).

Merry Christmas!!

Posted in Giving | Leave a comment

Christian Financial Alliance: The Importance of Thankfulness

The Christian Financial Alliance  was created to help readers.  The idea is this:  Create a panel of biblical finance gurus.  People who take seriously the call to teach the Bible accurately with grace and truth.  Once a month, we post a question with a response from our panel to provide you with well-rounded, sound, biblical advice.  For more on the Christian Financial Alliance (or to join our team) click here.

“What is the role of ‘thankfulness’ in Biblical finance?”

“I think thankfulness keeps us grounded. When we know our provision is from Someone else and not ourselves (Deut. 8:18), it keeps us humble and, in my opinion, more diligent and conservative in how we handle our finances. As a result we tend to do things that contribute to wealth creation: work harder, watch how we spend our money, avoid debt, and so forth.”- FreeMoneyFinance.com

“I understand thankfulness to have two distinct and yet related roles in Biblical finance. The first is assisting with contentment. By being thankful for what we have, we can more easily avoid consumerism and the unhealthy drive to buy more stuff than we need. Similarly, thankfulness also helps remind us of the importance of giving. Being thankful communicates gratitude for something that someone else has done. After all, it’s rare that you hear someone say that they are thankful for something that they have done themselves by their own power. Thankfulness implies an external force. Whether it is God or someone else in our lives (or both), we become inspired to help others because of the positive influence that others have had on our lives.” – ProvidentPlan.com

“We can choose to focus on all we have, or we can can choose to focus on all we don’t have.  Thankfulness, or the lack thereof, shows which way we are looking.  To put it another way, thankfulness is a fruit of real contentment.  When we are truly thankful it shows we are putting our treasure, our hearts, and our sense of purpose in Christ…not in the next thing on our list.” – DollarsandDoctrine.com

“Thankfulness really comes down to the idea of God blessing us when we don’t deserve anything at all.  In fact, we deserve to starve because of our separation with sin.  However, God’s grace swoops in and blesses us beyond belief (not necessarily financially).  We need to be thankful for what God provides financially and then be great stewards.” – FreeMoneyWisdom.com

“Thanksgiving is an essential element to a healthy financial situation that honors God.  Our giving is motivated by our ability to be thankful.  As Christians, we give according to what we have received (2 Cor. 8:11).  If we do not recognize the kindness and generosity of God in Christ, then we exempt ourselves from giving, and we turn inward.  However, whenever we open ourselves to all that God has done, our hearts will be open to share those amazing blessings with others.  The good news is that when we share, it results in even more thanksgiving to God (2 Cor. 2:11).” - MoneyHelpForChristians.com

“I think being thankful to God for all he has done for us, and all he has entrusted us with is key to having godly contentment and being able to have a right relationship with money where greed and pride in our own accomplishment don’t have a place.  But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. Ephesians 5:3-4  Being thankful allows us to realize that everything we have has been given to us by God, and we are only stewards.  It helps to keep us humble and be more appreciative of what we have.” – BibleMoneyMatters.com

For more on the Christian Financial Alliance (or to join our team) click here.

Posted in Christian Financial Alliance | Leave a comment

Christian Financial Alliance: Fighting Against the Love of Money

The Christian Financial Alliance  was created to help readers.  The idea is this:  Create a panel of biblical finance gurus.  People who take seriously the call to teach the Bible accurately with grace and truth.  Once a month, we post a question with a response from our panel to provide you with well-rounded, sound, biblical advice.  For more on the Christian Financial Alliance (or to join our team) click here.

“How should a Christian fight against ‘the love of money’ so heavily condemned in scripture?”

“I think that giving is the greatest weapon against the love of money. Giving takes the focus off of “me” and “more for me” and puts it on others — the exact opposite of what the love of money does to a person’s life.” – FreeMoneyFinance.com

“One of the best ways that a Christian can avoid ‘the love of money’ or greed is to continually give money to important causes. This keeps us conscious of the important task that God has given us, which includes helping others and restoring the earth. While it is important to be intentional with our finances, regularly giving money away keeps us from obsessing over it or being greedy.” – ProvidentPlan.com

“By going back to the Word.  The Bible needs to be our guiding beacon in this dark world where it seems like everyone worships the almighty dollar.  God to God in constant prayer and this fight will be won rather quickly.” – FreeMoneyWisdom.com

“When we become lovers of money, we’re giving money a place in our hearts that rightfully belongs to God. In order to protect ourselves from this danger, it’s important to elevate God in our hearts and make Him king over our finances. We should study the scripture to learn about God’s purposes for the money that He gives us, and pray for specific guidance from Him about how to best use the resources we have in our lives. If we’re loving God well, everything else in our life comes under submission to him — including our finances.” – GodMoneyMe.com

“I think a simple solution is to give money away (regularly and generously).  It’s hard to love money when you have an open hand and wallet.” – DollarsandDoctrine.com

“In order to fight against the love of money, a Christian should put Christ first in his or her finances.  For my wife and I, giving to God a tithe from our paycheck each month insures God is more important than money.  Giving is an act of faith.  It brings us closer to God and requires us to trust him to provide money and resources to survive.  It’s impossible to love money and put it first in your life if you give to the Lord as the first priority.  Matthew 6:24 – “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”  – OneMoneyDesign.com

“The love of money can easily live in the blind spots of our lives.  Thus, the key to fighting against the love of money is intentionality.  Through reading, prayer, and conversations with others, I think we can begin to discover what ways we love of money. Personally, I ask myself certain questions to help me identify my love of money. How many of my decisions are being made based on the financial implications?  What motivates me to do what I do?  When have I neglected to seek first the Kingdom of God?” – MoneyHelpForChristians.com

For more on the Christian Financial Alliance (or to join our team) click here.

Posted in Christian Financial Alliance | Leave a comment

Christian Financial Alliance: Learning From Financial Mistakes

The Christian Financial Alliance  was created to help readers.  The idea is this:  Create a panel of biblical finance gurus.  People who take seriously the call to teach the Bible accurately with grace and truth.  Once a month, we post a question with a response from our panel to provide you with well-rounded, sound, biblical advice.  For more on the Christian Financial Alliance (or to join our team) click here.

“What is one financial mistake you have made (at any point in life) that God used to teach you?”

“For me it wasn’t one individual mistake, but the fact that I did not manage my finances according to biblical principles — and thus my net worth suffered. When I discovered what the Bible has to say about earning, saving, investing, giving, and the like and then applied it to my life, things changed dramatically for the better and I’ve never looked back.”- FreeMoneyFinance.com

“One of my first financial mistakes was passing up on an employer-matching retirement fund. I was still in college and thought that putting money towards retirement wasn’t a priority. Over the following year or two, I came to realize that God was teaching me to prioritize my future, meaning to cut back on spending in the present so that I can be in a better financial position to help others.” – ProvidentPlan.com

“Just the other night my wife informed me that her car was making a terrible squeaking noise.  Sure enough…her shocks were blown.  Being overly-confident in my car repair capabilities, I spent a hundred bucks on new shocks and an hour and half later I was done.  When I double-checked my work, the car was still squeaking!  Upon closer inspection, her spare tire was loose and it took twelve seconds to tighten it down and cost zero dollars!  A hundred bucks and near two hours down the drain.  This seems like the perfect microcosm of my life–I am often overly confident to make decisions on my own and don’t show as much patience or prayer as I should.” – DollarsandDoctrine.com

“God taught me to not rely on myself recently when I lost my job.  I banked on the constant income and took God out of the picture.  I’m never going to do that again.  It’s a much better practice to thank God for the things He’s given us on a daily basis.  It all comes down to remembering it’s nothing I did, all the glory goes to the Lord.” – FreeMoneyWisdom.com

“I’m sure I’ve made plenty of financial mistakes in my day, but one mistake I’ve made more than once is to put too much trust in money, and not enough in God.  It’s easy to rely on your ability to create wealth and make money – and allow your financial success to create a comfortable life. When that happens it can be easy to forget our great need for God. Proverbs 11:28 He who trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous shall flourish as the green leaf.  Unfortunately it’s been through hard times, like my wife’s near death experience with a blood clot, that we’ve found just how much we need God. When times are hard, and when everything else has fallen away, it’s then that we truly have seen how much God is there for us. The important part is to remember His love for us in good times and bad, and to constantly spend time in the word and building that relationship with Him.” - BibleMoneyMatters.com

“Back in the early 90s I bought a house with no money down… at the top of the market, of course. What God taught me was that I was impatient. More than that, my actions said I didn’t think He knew what He was doing. We lost the house in a short sale.  Never forgot that lesson…” – DropDeadMoney.com

“I’d have to point to the financial train wreck I went through that ultimately led me to accept Christ as my Lord and Savior. More specifically, I took a $60,000 inheritance I received from an uncle and transformed it into $20,000 of credit card debt in two years’ time. From the outside, it looked like I simply failed at a small business. But the deeper issue is that I was looking to money to deliver what it is incapable of delivering – identity, purpose, happiness, love. The more those things seemed within reach, the more I kept grasping by spending. Early in my journey of cleaning up that mess – humbled, broken – an old friend got in touch and shared his faith with me. He said my money problems were really just symptoms of a bigger issue, a faith issue. That put me on a path that has completely changed my life.” – Matt at Sound Mind Investing

“Around 6 years ago my wife and I decided it was time to sell our house and move.  We were living in a convenient location at the time because my wife taught school just a few miles away, however, she quit teaching after we had our first child.   We desired a better location, better schools and an area that was more developed with entertainment, restaurants and shopping.  We prayed about the move, but in the end we stretched to buy more house that we should have.  We gave and saved less for a few years.  We also found it difficult to meet monthly expenses.  All of this added more stress to our financial lives and convicted us as God’s stewards.  Thankfully, increases in pay balanced out our home expenses and we didn’t have to move or downsize.  The process reminded us have our responsibilities as God’s financial stewards and what happens when we don’t make wise decisions.”  – OneMoneyDesign.com

For more on the Christian Financial Alliance (or to join our team) click here.

Posted in Christian Financial Alliance | Leave a comment

Christian Financial Alliance: Should Churches Borrow Money?

The Christian Financial Alliance  was created to help readers.  The idea is this:  Create a panel of biblical finance gurus.  People who take seriously the call to teach the Bible accurately with grace and truth.  Once a month, we post a question with a response from our panel to provide you with well-rounded, sound, biblical advice.  For more on the Christian Financial Alliance (or to join our team) click here.

“What is your stance on the issue of churches borrowing money?”

“Every time the Bible mentions debt, it warns about the dangers of it. So while debt isn’t prohibited, its use is cautioned. For this reason, I think both Christians as well as churches should avoid debt in all but very specific circumstances and when they do, have a clear and reasonable plan to pay it off quickly.”- FreeMoneyFinance.com

“I think churches should spend time to make sure that borrowing money is a smart financial decision. In a perfect world, my response would be to say that churches should not borrow money, but the truth of the situation is that there are times when a church body needs to get into a bigger building or different space sooner rather than later in order to avoid hindering organic growth and development. If that means taking out a loan after careful consideration, then I think it’s okay.” – ProvidentPlan.com

“While I would say there is nothing ‘wrong’ with churches borrowing money, I would go as far as to say that I can’t find anything ‘right’ about it either.  Debt is never used to fund God’s work in God’s word.  Consulting the whole counsel of scripture would not give us permission to call church debt ‘evil’ or ‘sin’, but at the same time we couldn’t call it ‘biblical’ either.  Church leadership must lead wisely in this all too commonly accepted practice.  In all of the books I have read about the Bible and money, churches, and Christian organizations, I have never once read about a church or ministry committed to being debt-free that later regretted it.  Yet, I have often read of churches buried, burnt out, over-leveraged, and undergenerous.” – DollarsandDoctrine.com

“It totally depends on the economy.  Right now, with such low interest rates, it actually makes sense for a church to borrow to do renovations or whatever.  As long as you are borrowing wisely, there is nothing wrong with a church doing it.” – FreeMoneyWisdom.com

“I believe that churches should try to avoid borrowing if they can, while understanding that it isn’t always possible.  If we look to the Bible I can’t really find any instances where debt is talked about in a positive light. It is usually discouraged because being in debt means that you – or the church – will then have obligations outside the church and not to God.  “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower becomes the lender’s slave.”  Proverbs 22:7  At the same time I don’t see anywhere in the Bible that debt is talked about specifically as being sin.  It is mentioned often that we should save, and plan ahead for future goals, and I think that churches should do that when thinking about their spending.  While the Bible doesn’t have a lot of positive things to say about debt, it does say that the wicked don’t repay.  “The wicked borrows and does not repay, But the righteous shows mercy and gives.” Psalm 37:21  The other part of the verse above that should be noted is that the righteous show mercy and give.  I think that’s part of the mission of the church, and having a large amount of church debt can get in the way of our mission to spread the good news to all, show mercy and give.  In that case debt can be an extremely bad thing, and a hindrance.” - BibleMoneyMatters.com

“As long as a church has reviewed their finances appropriately and has a plan to pay off the note without neglecting their ministerial outreach, I think it’s just fine for churches to borrow money.  The church should, of course, try to raise support through capital campaigns in order to borrow as little as possible.” – FaithandFinance.org

“What’s bad for the goose is bad for the gander; what’s unhealthy in your personal finances is also unhealthy for your church finances. Borrowing money always puts us in a position of slavery. When a church borrows money, the bondage of debt can hold them back from pursuing the things that God wants them to do with their money. Churches should be beacons of freedom for a lost world. Going into corporate debt doesn’t jive with that.” – GodMoneyMe.com

“Should someone not get a mortgage to buy a house?  The Bible tells us we should avoid debt, but never tells us debt is a sin.  God provided his Biblical principles to keep us out of trouble.  So, it may be okay to purchase a home with a mortgage, but we should avoid as much debt as possible when doing so and make sure the debt doesn’t impact our ability to give and save adequately.  I believe the same holds true for churches.  Churches shouldn’t over extend so much that they have trouble paying operating costs and carrying out God’s ministry.  Churches, like you and I, need to make sure they are good stewards of God’s resources.”  – OneMoneyDesign.com

For more on the Christian Financial Alliance (or to join our team) click here.

Posted in Christian Financial Alliance, Debt | Leave a comment