Archive for the ‘Money’ Category

A great assessment tool and challenge from the Living Stones Church’s Stewardship Team.  They are encouraging everyone to grow in their faith, generosity, and commitment to stewardship by asking everyone to identify where they presently live and consider taking up the challenge to move one category to the right!

Take a look my friends!  This mouth is going to cost me $11,000!!!  Yep.  My baby girl went today to get braces.  I’ve never seen a kid so excited for braces in my life (she has no idea what is coming).  We took her to Harrington Orthodontist (because it rhymes with Barrington) this morning.  She has three stages.  First, she is missing a permanent tooth, so the first stage is braces that space out her teeth so they can insert a fake tooth (she got that from Kelly’s hillbilly side of the family).  The second stage is typical braces that straightens out her crooked teeth (again…Kelly wore head gear when she was a teenager…pics to come soon).  And the third stage (which can’t happen until she an adult) is a permanent tooth.

Stage 1:  $3500

Stage 2:  $3500

Stage 3:  $4000

Total:  $11,000

I bet after I spend all this money she gets a college scholarship playing hockey and all of this was for nothing!!

Online Giving

Posted: February 16, 2010 in Finances, Living Stones Church, Money

Just went through the church website to set up (via e-give) a weekly schedule of online giving.  WAAAAAYYYYY  BETTTTEEERRR!!!! Good-bye hand written checks.

It was easy.  It is secure.  You are totally in control of how much, when, etc.

If you haven’t done it – I would recommend it!!!  Seriously!!!  You can find the link here.

5 / 9 / 12

Posted: January 14, 2010 in Finances, Living Stones Church, Money, vision

Living Stoners!!

I just wanted to give a follow-up encouragement to you from Sunday’s message.  By way of refresher, a week before last we discussed some vision and plans we have for 2010.  If you missed it, I would REALLY encourage you to take some time and listen to the message here.

Then last week, we attached some very practical numbers to what we guesstimate the Cost of Vision to be here at Living Stones Church for 2010 with a challenge for everyone to consider the possibility of increasing their giving by either $5 / $9 / or $12 from last year.  If you missed the message, again, I would REALLY encourage you to take some time and listen to the message here.

We presented lots of opportunities and numbers, etc.  But in a nut-shell here is what we are doing in 2010:  We have set a budget for 2010 based on the average giving of 2009 (which was a 13% increase for us over 2008…good job…especially in light of economy, unemployment, etc.  However, and for a little perspective, while we are thankful for a 13% increase, our average attendance went up 60% last year.  Based on this set budget, we have determined three phases we would like to move in for 2010.  In order to do so, it will require responsiveness from Living Stoners.  Factoring in the number of “All-in” family units here at LSC and crunching the numbers for those family units and 52 weeks, we have determined the following:

Phase 1: Fully funding all of the ministry leader’s requested budgets for 2010; hiring a full-time children’s minister; and repaving our parking lot (c. $15,000).  This would require an additional $5 more per family unit per week.

Phase 2:  (In addition to all of the items listed in Phase 1) Be able to hire a full-time worship pastor (which as a sidenote this is different than leading worship on a Sunday morning, but rather someone who can oversee the entire ministry that belongs to worship…which is a lot!); modest investments into some needed building improvements (e.g., back entry way of building, kitchen, replacing our 54 year old windows in the Quarry.  This is possible if we received an additional $9 more per family unit per week.

Phase 3: (In addition to all of the times listed in Phases 1 & 2) Give us some capital resources to invest in plans for impacting the South side of South Bend (e.g., investing in neighborhoods around our church that are largely abandoned); Resourcing us for some initial costs of sending out another Living Stones Church (can you imagine?!?!?); and the possibility for other building improvements (e.g., expanding our “lobby” space which is more like a glorified hallway) 🙂 .  This is all possible if we received an additional $12 more per family unit per week.

SO –

Prayerfully consider what you might be able to do.  For some, $12 per week would be nothing by way of sacrifice.  For others, $5 would be significant.  We know.  But your investment, when added to others who are doing the same thing…would allow us to move forward in vision faster and with greater ease, as well as capture some opportunities that are before us RIGHT NOW!!!

Just for the record, this past Sunday’s offering (which did include many who were making up for being gone during the holidays) would place us at just about the 3rd Phase level.  So…whatever you did Sunday…keep it up!!!

Thanks for your generosity LSC!

Dear Living Stoners (or anyone else who would like to participate),

Wanting to continue in the mission God has given us to make a difference on the South Side of South Bend, we have taken up a special Christmas Eve offering in which every penny of it will be earmarked and given to two places:

1.  Monroe Primary Center.  After a conversation with Principal Jill VanDriessche, we are in a position to help with some much needed afterschool program resources that include book binding materials (so the kids have experience being authentic writers and publishing their books, logic games, problem-solving kits (real life problems that they need to solve), and a Wii enabling the kids to play some “brain games.”

2. Broadway Christian Parish.  They do amazing work in our community among those who are in greatest need.  And they do so with very little resources and with little fanfare.  We are big fans.  They don’t know we are doing this (and hopefully they won’t read my blog).  Let’s surprise them with a generous Kingdom investment!

So that we might be known for our spirit of generosity, I’m asking you to give.  Many of you already did at our Christmas Eve service, but if you missed the opportunity, we will still receive your offering over the next two Sundays. Simply make your check out to the Living Stones Church and in the memo mark “Christmas Eve offering.”

Thank you in advance for your generous spirits!!!

I thought this was a brilliant video created by Elevation Church to drive home the message on the simplicity of handing money God’s way.  They used Elijah Furtick, the Pastor’s four year old, to explain how simple it really is!

Well…I said today we were going to do something crazy (at least for us 🙂 ).  Today we gave back to the church an average week’s offering.  We stuffed envelopes full of cash ($5000) worth and asked the church to use the money to do something good (investment in the Kingdom of God) in our community.  The rules were as follows:

1.  This money can’t be spent on you (or your immediate family).

2.  Invest it in our community (e.g., don’t send it to a televangelist).

3.  If you don’t feel comfortable with this, just put it back in the tithes and offering trays when they come by.

We are following the honor code.  But after the message about Ananias & Sapphira (Acts 5) I’m sure no one will cheat 🙂 .  But now we want to hear about what happened with the money.  Where did it go?  How did it bless others?  We invited people to either write their stories on the questionnaire (also in the envelope) or comment on this blog post.  So…what’s the story?!

This is a big deal for us because as a church we live close to week-to-week (like most American families) and budget a full 52 weeks for the year.  And now we just gave away one of those 52!  We don’t have a savings account stockpiled full of cash.  To give back even one week’s offerings for us is a step of faith in which we trust in the middle of an economic recession we are still called to a life of generosity.  So…as we ask this of the Living Stoners…so we ask it of the Living Stones Church.

And really…it was just kind of fun.

So…be creative, strategic, and shrewd.  You could combine your cash with other family and friends and do something bigger!  Use the cash to buy someone groceries, maybe a coat, shoes, etc.  Just bless someone with no strings attached!

On another topic…the kids were back in the building!!  Hallelujah.  The children’s wing still has a long way to go in regards to decor, but at least they were in the new space.  None to soon.  We had over 100 children present this morning (22 in the 3 & 4 year old’s class at our 11:30 service!!!).  That is something for our modest sized-church!!!!

In every survey and poll you find – the top concern or worry going into 2009 is about the economy and personal finances.  You can’t turn on the radio or TV without hearing words like:  bankruptcy, bailout, economic stimulus package, bear market, wall street, stocks are down, CEO salaries, foreclosures, home values, economy, Brittany Spears (I threw that in to see if you were still reading), etc.

So – we aren’t living in a unique time.  Economies throughout the centuries, including in biblical times have been up and down.  And the Bible has quite a bit to say in the midst of it.  So, let us begin 2009 by tackling head-on all of this talk about the economy and seeing what God has to say in regards to his economy, in the midst of our economy.

Beginning this Sunday – a three week message series entitled, GOD’S ECONOMIC STIMULUS PACKAGE.

January 4 – Opting Out of the Contagion of Fear

January 11 – Kingdom Investments

January 18 – Character that Transcends Economies

Bring a van full of friends, neighbors, family members, and co-workers!!! Unless you don’t have a van, then cram as many of them into your car as possible.  Unless you don’t have a car, then carry as many of them on your back as you can!!  🙂

Opting Out of the Media Blitz

Posted: December 9, 2008 in Finances, Money

Read this article by Michael Hyatt and do the same.  It is so true.

The media keeps telling us we are in a recession.  Thank you, but I’m choosing not to participate.

Dow Jones Craziness

Posted: October 9, 2008 in Finances, Money

The Dow Jones fell below 9000!

What is up with all of this craziness?!!?!

I’m stocking up on cans of Spam even as we speak preparing for the apocalypse. 🙂