Beach Baptism 10-14-17 | Photo Essay

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We were overjoyed to share in the baptism of three people at Gulf Stream Park on Saturday morning. Gary, Lora, and MaryAnn made the decision to take this important step in their relationships with Jesus by being baptized and publicly professing their faith in Him! If you would like to be baptized, please let us know!


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My Story | Andre Amirato

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We are so grateful to have the Amirato family be a part of Redemption Church. Andre and Angie have been serving so faithfully for the past several years in Redemption Kids, as community group leaders, and many other areas. We are very excited to have Andre be stepping into a new role by helping to start a YOUTH GROUP for the youth at Redemption Church including a special class just for middle schoolers at our Sunday services! Be praying with us that God will continue to bring many new middle and high school students, and for Andre and Angie as they begin this new season of ministry!


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7 Lessons Learned from Missions in Mexico by Julie Ruse

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Julie is a missionary sent out by Redemption Church in June of 2017. Julie has been serving at the House of Blessing Orphanage in Bachiniva, Mexico and will be returning there to finish out a year-long internship. We are very encouraged and privileged to be partnering with Julie as her sending church and seeing how God is continuing to work in and through her journey on the mission field in Mexico. Take a few minutes to read and learn from some of the wonderful things Jesus has been doing in her life this Summer as she shares from her heart in the blog below:

1)  Tres Leches is NOT a Mexican dessert.

Poof- mind blown. Turns out it’s actually a Nicaraguan dish.

2)  It seems like Cinco de Mayo is celebrated more in America than in Mexico. 

Another shocker to me- be careful what you assume!

3)  Sometimes God leads us to serve, not so he can help others through us, but so he can help us through others. 

Thanks, Alesha for sharing this truth nugget so many months ago! I do feel that the summer in Mexico was a season more characterized by God ministering to me than me ministering to children. Ethel Percy Andrus articulates, “The human contribution is the essential ingredient. It is only in the giving of oneself to others that we truly live.” As Jesus himself said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” I thank God for having needy people in my life, recipients for me to love and serve and, therefore, to be blessed by.

4)  Feeling ‘filled up’ is not a prerequisite to serving. The act of giving out is, in itself, filling.

Though similar to the previous point, I have Angie to thank for this revelation. Isn’t it wonderful how God speaks to us through his body, the church? I definitely experienced that in Mexico- shoutout to the Redemption Church family! Anyway, brace yourselves because this is about to get personal. A couple months before the orphanage internship, my boyfriend ended our relationship. This rocked my world. I wondered how I was going to minister to others when I felt empty, like I had nothing to give. I wondered how ministry was possible when I didn’t have a stockpile of joy, wisdom, hope and faith, at the moment, to draw from. This experience really fleshed out God’s promise found in 2 Corinthians, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.”

5)  Hard Bad

My stance on suffering is continuing to evolve. The lessons learned in that area would require a whole other blog (stay tuned), but in brief, our suffering is not meaningless. Paul confides that the ‘thorn in my flesh’ kept him humble. Solomon (wisest man ever) remarked that sadness is sanctifying (Ecc 7:3). In the sermon on the mount Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn…” The brokenhearted get to experience a special nearness to God (Psalm 34:18). And listen to this from the book of Job: “But by means of their suffering, he [God] rescues those who suffer. For he gets their attention through adversity.” That one hit me. Naturally, we humans attempt to avoid pain, but is pain a problem? We know it’s a promise (John 16:33). 1 Peter 4:1 says, “So then, since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm yourselves with the same attitude he had, and be ready to suffer, too…” Do we expect God to protect us from pain? Do we doubt his goodness or his existence when he doesn’t? Listen to the second part of the verse, “For if you have suffered physically for Christ, you have finished with sin. You won’t spend the rest of your lives chasing your own desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God.” Is it worth it to you? Does the surpassing joy of knowing Christ outweigh every loss?

6)  Purity is a process.

My imperfections can be overwhelming at times, and then the devil likes to ride through on the shame train (don’t jump on that train).  But battle after battle, issue after issue, God is perfecting me. Oh sweet victory; I’m becoming more and more free! Philippians 1:6 says, “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” This nods back to the #4 point- don’t wait until you’re perfect to serve because that won’t happen until the end of the world! God spoke to me about the PROCESS of sanctification through Deuteronomy 7:22-32a which says, “The Lord your God will drive those nations out ahead of you little by little. You will not clear them away all at once, otherwise the wild animals would multiply too quickly for you. But the Lord your God will hand them over to you.” So rest assured that God’s got you and he knows what’s up. He knows you completely and is still in love with you. He’s in the process of making you holy, but until that work is complete, his grace covers you. Jesus is your righteousness. Rest in him.

7)  God is the Dream Giver and Dream Fulfiller. 

I heard the phrase ‘Dream Giver’ while watching Disney’s Pocahontas, not gonna lie, and thought there was something beautifully poetic about that title. Then I came to realize that that’s who my God is, both in biblical accounts and in my own life. God knows us better than we know ourselves. I was blown away in Mexico watching the Dream Giver fulfill dreams he’d planted in my heart long ago. I was reading through old journals and came across an entry where I had articulated my life goals in two statements: 1) Impact lives through design and 2) Minister to orphans/ children in need. I had forgotten I’d written these and never imagined how God would weave both dreams into one beautiful design. For those who don’t know, I’ll be staying on at the orphanage to do graphic design/ marketing stuff and admin support. Be encouraged that we serve a big God who is able and active. I’ll close with Ephesians 3:20-21. “Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.”


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CONVERSATIONS | with Pastor Casey Cleveland

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Pastor Daniel talks with his friend and fellow local pastor Casey Cleveland from The Avenue Church in Delray Beach, sharing what it means to serve and love the city of Delray Beach and the encouragement they are to each other as they plough and labor together with their church communities to impact the city for Jesus. Casey describes his approach in the words of another Christian leader, Dr. Paul Tripp: “Love, Know, Speak, Do.” These are the four key steps in reaching the people where God has sent you. “What are the hopes and the hurts and the wishes of your city?” Loving your community begins by being a faithful presence in good times and bad, getting to know personally who these people are, sharing the gospel in a way that is relevant to them and inviting them to be a part of God’s family. Why is it important to love the city where you live? What does it look like and how do we take practical steps to make this a part of our lives? Take a listen.


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Speak Life by Laura Williams

There have been many people who have spoken things into my life that have shaped and influenced who I am and how I see God and the world around me. The funny thing is that when I look back and remember the conversations that have really impacted me, they didn’t stand out as significant at all at the time. They were all in the context of regular life, ordinary circumstance, and friendship. We have all been inspired by great authors or dynamic speakers, but I am so deeply thankful for the people that God has used in my life to share a simple truth or insight that became a part of who He was forming me to be.

The Bible talks about the power we have in our words, and we are told to use our speech to encourage others, speak truth in love, admonish and teach, and build up those around us. I want to share a few of the simple truths I have learned from others through ordinary conversations. These are particularly special to me because God has used them time and time again, not only in my own life, but by allowing me to pass them along to others. I hope you are encouraged and reminded that God can use you in even the most ordinary of circumstances to build someone up or speak a life-giving truth that may impact them in ways you might never see!

One conversation like this was with a woman I honestly didn’t know very well from my church up in Washington. We had known each other for years, but never really spent a lot of time together. I mentioned to her that I was wanting to plant my first flower garden, and she offered to help me pick out some plants at the local nursery. We were back at my apartment, and setting the plants out where they were going to be in the flower bed, and I remember clearly sharing with her that I was struggling with anxiety. It was a new struggle for me then, and she listened as I shared my fears of what the future held. She said, “You are invincible until God decides otherwise.” This impacted my thought life from that point on. In other words, NOTHING can harm me unless and until my loving Heavenly Father allows it. Her words were so natural. And I am sure she probably wouldn’t remember saying them. Today, I still struggle with anxiety, but God has continued to use her words to bring me peace and hope!

Another conversation that stands out in my memory was with a piano student of mine. She was a friend who was preparing to leave for the mission field a few months later. I think we probably spent as much time talking and laughing together as we did doing real piano lessons. During one of her lesson times, I remember her telling me that God could use our time learning piano to change the world! I was kind of reluctant about this because it was really just a means of income, not a ministry. She corrected this by telling me that no matter what we are doing, if we are asking God to use it, He can use the simplest parts of our lives to bring Him glory. He could use her lessons with me to give her the ability to play a simple song on the piano. That could open a door for a conversation years down the road that might lead to a friendship that might even lead a person to Jesus! We have no idea the REAL impact our simple obedience has on the world, and we should never underestimate what we are doing and the power of God to use us! That has helped me through many seasons of life where I didn’t FEEL all that useful or impactful, but I remembered that I really have no idea how God wants to use the simplest things in my life in ways I may never see! The simplest parts of our lives matter in ways we may never even know!

One last woman who greatly impacted me with her words was an older mom in our church. Not a friend really, just a lady I knew and would say hello to in passing. One Sunday morning, I was really having a hard time with our son who was a defiant toddler at the time. Those days are so hard, and I felt defeated and overwhelmed. I was trying to drag my little boy through the parking lot to our car after church (he had decided to let his legs go limp and lie down in the middle of the sidewalk), and this sweet lady was walking by. She took my arm and said, “Remember, God CHOSE him to be your son, and you to be his mom. You are the right mom for that little boy.” Oh my goodness, did I need that to be spoken out loud that very moment! I go back to that very truth often! It reassured me to be reminded that God picked me to parent my son because that was HIS plan, and those feelings of inadequacy that I was feeling in that moment was not grounded in truth! I pass this along to every mama I can because it is so comforting to know that no matter what season of parenting you are in, no matter who your children may be, God still chose YOU to be their parent! I should also mention, that in other conversations that followed with this woman in the weeks and years following, I learned that she had experienced a very difficult time with her son around the same age, and God had walked with her through it. She was passing along the lessons she had learned through her own struggles, and I even learned that from her as well! Our struggles are not unique, and we are designed to walk others through the same. 

There are countless conversations we have all had that have changed our view of ourselves, God, or the world around us. These three are especially precious to me because it was the voice of Jesus speaking through them that truly spoke to my heart. When the Holy Spirit lives inside of us, He is able to speak through us. It is a wonderful and beautiful part of relationship. I pray that as we follow Jesus together, that He continues to open doors for each of us to speak life giving truth in love to those God has put in our lives. And I pray that as He speaks to our hearts through those around us that we listen and recognize His voice!


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CONVERSATIONS | with Pastor Robby Christmas

In Matthew 28, Jesus gave his followers his final instructions: Go and make disciples. What did he mean? Maybe it’s not what some of us have thought. Robby Christmas talks with Pastor Daniel about making disciples as a way of life. “Jesus was saying, ‘Go and do what I’ve been doing with you.’ What was that? He invited them into his life and invited them to follow him.” It starts with sharing the gospel with people who have not heard it and inviting them to follow Jesus alongside you. It takes a commitment of your time. It takes patience as we allow people into our lives. It takes knowing how to share the gospel in a culture where people probably haven’t heard it. Using tools like The 3Circles is a way to start a gospel conversation. “We live in an area that is highly unchurched. We need a movement of multiplying disciples…Take off on the journey. See where God takes you.” - Robby Christmas


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God and Money (pt4) | Saving by Travis Sinks

This is Part 4, in a four part series, click HERE to read Part 1, HERE for Part 2 and HERE for Part 3.

What We’ve Covered

If you’ve been following this series, you’ve been with us as we’ve been covering aspects of God’s will for our finances. How He has a good plan and that we should find rest in Him regarding our finances, how He has called us to live generously, and how to steward our finances well through budgeting, as we are told to live wisely.

There is much more we could cover about finances, as so much of the Bible talks about stewardship and finances, but for the purpose of this series, we’ll end on what the Bible says regarding savings.

Why Save

As we covered budgeting last month, we talked about how budgeting is the way you organize your finances for the fixed and variable expenses you face each and every day/week/month.

Savings has its own three specific goals which are to…

  • Prepare for the unexpected (natural disaster, unexpected car repairs, unexpected health conditions or accidents, etc)
  • Prepare for upcoming situations that will require you to live off of savings (such as retirement, a period of time where you won’t be working because of health, or something similar)
  • Prepare for large purchases that require saving in advance (a car, house, or another large purchase)

As you can see, the similar thread in the goals for saving is the word “prepare”. Saving is a proactive action to get ready for a future event.

The Big Picture

As we cover this topic, you’ll see a theme of accumulating money, investing, and trying to make more money. This is because we’re specifically talking about how to save and invest money - but that doesn’t mean money should rule our lives.

Please do not take this post as an excuse to be all about money, and to forget that money is a gift from God and can be used as a tool to glorify God and to bless people. This post is specifically dealing with how to invest and save money so that it may grow and be used as a tool in a greater way in the future.

Don’t forget that we’ve covered other areas of money in this series dealing with specifically keeping a right heart before God and how to use it to bless others and glorify God. This post is merely dealing with the saving and investing aspect of money.

Savings In Scripture

We see throughout Scripture that it is wise to save and we are encouraged to do so.

  • Through saving during 7 years of plenty, Joseph rescued all of Egypt and many of the surrounding areas from the next 7 years of famine (Genesis 41:34-57).
  • Saving is seen as an act of the wise, while not saving is an act of the foolish (Proverbs 21:20, Proverbs 30:24-25)
  • We’re told that we should not only invest, but diversify by investing in multiple areas (Ecclesiastes 11:2)
  • We see examples of saving for a specific cause and goal (1 Corinthians 16:2)
  • And we see how valuable it is to save, even little by little (Proverbs 13:11)

Saving Is Not A Command

Before we dive deeper into the topic of saving, I want to preface this with a reminder that saving is a wise thing to do, but it is not a command in the Bible.

This means that 99% of people should do it because it is simply wise, but I am not discounting that God may tell you not to.

Jesus certainly did not save money. There have been many godly men in women who have not saved money - and there have been just as many who have saved money.

Just as with many wise things in the Bible, saving should be our default action, but if God tells you to do something different, then you ought to do that.

With that said, most people do not save because of their decisions in life, and not because they truly feel that God has told them not to. If we have not felt that God has specifically told us not to save, then we should be living wisely and saving well.

The Dangers Of Saving

Like all of the good and wise things we are told to do in Scripture, and even the commands we have in Scripture, we can easily turn saving into a bad thing.

Throughout the Bible there are warnings against relying on things instead of God.

Now, just because you save doesn’t mean that you will fall into this trap, but it will increasingly become a danger.

If you remember the second part in this series, we actually talked about how generosity can be one of God’s built in safeguards for us against this danger.

So, let’s not discount savings as a dangerous thing, but let’s save with our eyes wide open and our hearts sensitive to keep God as our only true safety and security. In reality, we can make an idol out of our money whether we have $10 or $100,000 and so we need to focus on God rather than trying to keep our savings low.

Here is some scripture for you to ponder and even memorize as you continue to guard your heart against relying on things other than God:

  • "Whoever trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will flourish like a green leaf." Proverbs 11:28
  • "Take care... lest, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and live in them… then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God…” Deuteronomy 8:11-19
  • "But godliness with contentment is great gain… For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs." 1 Timothy 6:6-10
  • “…Give me neither poverty nor riches… lest I be full and deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?…” Proverbs 30:8-9

Types of Savings

As Dave Ramsey (and many like him) teaches, there are multiple “types” of savings. Each for a different financial stage and for different purposes. The general breakdown is…

  • Emergency fund (depends on your income level, but generally $1500-$3000)
  • 3 month's worth of expenses
  • 3-6 month’s worth of expenses (additional to the initial 3 months)
  • Retirement/401K
  • “Safe" Investments (mutual funds, etc)
  • “Risky” Investments (stocks, etc)
  • Saving for specific items or purchases (home, car, vacation, etc)

Now, in general, it’s ideal to move down this list in order, though you can have some overlap of starting your retirement/401K (especially if you have a company that will match your 401K deposits) at the same time that you’re still building your 3 month's and 3-6 month’s worth of savings.

The Purpose Of Each Type Of Savings

The important thing to gain from this post is the mindset of what saving is used for and how it can specifically benefit you as a wise action. Without connecting your savings to a specific purpose, it’s much harder to save because it seems meaningless and unimportant.

Emergency fund: By having an emergency fund, you are able to handle the miscellaneous bumps of life such as a car accident, unexpected medical, etc.

3-9 Month’s worth of expenses: By specifically having this savings, you are able to handle larger potential life problems such as loss of job, and larger unexpected expenses. The benefit of having these separated from your emergency fund is you can put these savings into higher returning investments that can take up to a month to liquidate because you have your emergency fund prepared to last in the meantime.

Retirement/401K: After you have your day-to-day and short-term savings taken care of, it’s good to prepare for the future where you may not be able to work, or at least make as much money as you do now. Especially in today’s world with matching 401K plans, etc - retirement savings has become much easier, more useful and can be done well.

**”Safe” Investments”: Once your retirement is underway, you’re in a good position to start investing money rather than just saving it. It’s good to start with “safe” investments that don’t have as many “downs” where you might loose money, but tend to grow at a steady and smaller rate than “risky” investments. NOTE: I say “safe” and “risky” because technically no investment is “safe”. Just that some investments are naturally safer than others.

”Risky” Investments”: After you’ve started working with “safe” investments, you’re now in a good position to start with “risky” investments. The reason for this is that risky investments can bring much more lucrative, but they can also be a complete loss. The reason we wait until these other pieces are in place is that the money you use for these investments is not the money you need to live. It is unwise to use your “bread money” on risky investments, but to use “extra” money to try to produce more.

Saving for specific items or purchases: This one is the easiest to remember why we’re doing it, because when you save for that car, or house, etc there’s a specific goal in mind that helps you stay focused and on track.

Next Steps

Each of us will have different next steps based on how far we’ve come with savings this far.

For many of us, this journey needs to begin with starting an emergency fund and simply having savings in the bank. For others, you will be able to start further down the road of saving.

Regardless of your next saving step, please do not forget what we’ve already covered. Saving is one piece of a wholistic plan that God has for our finances that are meant to complement generosity and budgeting.

I encourage you to take time to review through the other posts in this series and make a plan.

And all along the way, have God be the focus. Do not let money, or any other area of life, take place over Jesus in your life as your Lord and Savior.

I especially encourage you to go back to where we started this series. You can read part one at this link.

God can (and should) be our hope regardless of which financial stage you are in.

So let us seek Him, obey Him, and most of all: trust in Him.


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What Every Marriage Needs by Alesha Sinks

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Off and on throughout my childhood, my mom would institute various Bible memory challenges. Often she would pick verses specifically for each child to memorize or allow us to pick our own verses, but there were a few standard verses every one of us had to memorize at some point.

One of them was Philippians 2:3-4.

"Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

I can still say this verse from memory today. As a child, I knew my mother wanted us to memorize this verse as a reminder for how we should view family life, as a reminder for how eight people living together could have a happy, peaceful life.

Now as an adult I see it’s application in every area of life, but most particularly, I still come face to face with my own selfishness most often in my own marriage.

There is a quote that, although perhaps slightly overused, always confronts my sense of entitlement and fairness within my marriage…

"Marriage is not 50-50. Divorce is 50-50. Marriage has to be 100-100. It isn't dividing everything in half, but giving everything you've got!”
Dave Willis

Most of the struggles I experience within my marriage come from me trying to compare myself to my husband. I’ve found that this, without fail, leads to one of two places: feeling superior to my husband and bitter toward him for not helping more, or feeling completely inferior to him and desperately striving to “make it up to him” or “be better for him”.

A closer look, reveals that both of these things are warned against in Philippians 2:3-4. When I feel superior to my husband, I am walking in “conceit”, and when I and striving to make up for my lacking, to impress him, and to be as capable, hardworking, or sacrificial as he is, I find myself working from “selfish ambition”. This is selfishness, because the root of my striving is a desire to measure up. I don’t want to be outdone or humbled.

To be honest, my pride usually blinds me to my husbands work and sacrifice for our family and drops me into the first category. However, neither of these outcomes leaves me, or our marriage, in a healthy, happy place.

So what does Philippians tell me to do instead?

“...in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

Rather than measuring myself against my husband or measuring him against me, both selfish in nature, I am to look at him and his needs as more significant that mine. I am called to lay aside my needs and instead focus on the needs of others.

Just writing those words is painful to my sense of self and all sorts of caveats are instantly flying through my mind. While yes, we cannot serve others well if we do not also take care of our own spiritual and physical needs, the fact still remains that God has called us to put others ahead of ourselves.

(Keep in mind that this verse is for all Christians and I’m simply applying it to my role as a wife.)

As if we need further convincing, Paul goes on in the next few verses to play the ultimate trump card.

"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Philippians 2:5-11

Paul tells us that we should live humbly, putting others before ourselves, because that is what Jesus did.

Ephesians 5:1-2 emphasizes this point again.

"Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

We are called to imitate God, and one part of imitating Him that we so often overlook is humility. Jesus humbled Himself in so many ways through coming to this earth to rescue us from our sin. He laid aside all the glory of God in order to identify with us, to serve us, and to die for us.

The sense of righteous pride and indignation that I so often harbor in marriage feels completely foolish when compared to all that Jesus has given for me.

These verses from Philippians orient us to a new way of living, to a new way of walking through life with our spouse. This kind of marriage is focused on loving, serving and sacrificing for our spouse without keeping any list or tally for comparison. This kind of marriage serves our spouse from a place of love and humility, not give-and-take expectation. This kind of marriage doesn’t stop to worry about how our spouse feels about us or if they think we are doing enough, giving enough, or being enough. This kind of marriage doesn’t stop to wonder if our spouse is doing, being or giving enough to us either.

This kind of marriage is only found and sustained by repeatedly coming to the foot of the cross and reminding ourselves of all that Jesus first did for us, and letting His Spirit move us to greater humility and service from love.

When a couple walks together in this kind of humility and service toward one another, it is a beautiful thing. But don’t be fooled into thinking that this is some sort of marriage level to be achieved. This way of living, that is so contrary to both our culture and our fallen nature, is something we will have to work toward every day of our lives.

This Philippians 2:3-4 way of living is only possible when we are continually seeking Jesus and humbling ourselves first before Him. It is never a state of being that we will perfectly arrive at, but rather a path to continually walk on and reorient ourselves to. It is a path of continual communion with and surrender to Jesus. A marriage built on this foundation it will be filled with all the blessings, joy, love, and holiness that God intended.

Blessings


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God and Money (pt3) | Budgeting by Travis Sinks

This is Part 3, in a four part series, click HERE to read Part 1, and click HERE to read Part 2

Being Wise With Money

Jesus encouraged His disciples to be as “wise as serpents, and innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16). As Christians, we should strive to live wisely.

And wise living includes how we spend our money.

The Basics of Budgeting

Budgeting is one of those things that is extremely simple, but can be very difficult to walk out. And it all comes down to spending less than you make.

Obviously, there’s more to it (as we’ll get into), but we need to remember that the bottom line is that we need to live within our means.

I’m not trying to tell you how much you should spend where, but that you need to be aware of how much you spend in each area of life, and ask yourself if that lines up with what you value.

Fixed And Variable Expenses

The main concept that helps stay within your budget is realizing that some of your expenses are considered “fixed” while others are “variable”. Fixed meaning that there’s very little you can do to change the amount you spend, while you have a lot more control over your variable expenses.

Before getting into how to handle both of these categories, we need to make sure that we don’t allow these terms to enable us to have a “victim mentality” with our finances. Even our “fixed” expenses can be changed. In the “fixed” list I include things such as internet, car insurance, tv, etc. I consider these “fixed” because normally we sign contracts or have some type of commitment for these expenses. However, we can all try to find a cheaper deal for our car insurance, we can all choose to not have tv, we can all choose to have slower internet, or no internet at all, etc.

We use terms “fixed” and “variable” as they represent how we can make decisions on a day-to-day basis, but let us not forget that no one is forcing us to spend any money at all - these are all our choices, and we need to remember that we are responsible for the decisions we make.

Fixed Expenses

I like to start with “fixed” expenses because these are the ones that will have the biggest impact on your financial stability.

Personally, I like to keep my fixed expenses at a minimum. This allows me more freedom to choose what I do in day-to-day life. Because of this mentality, my wife and I have made decisions such as not to have TV (even with a two year old kid).

Some example of fixed expenses to consider are...

  • Tithing/Giving
  • Saving
  • Rent/Mortgage
  • Home insurance
  • Medical insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Car insurance
  • Car payment
  • Car maintenance
  • Internet
  • Cable/TV
  • Phone
  • Utilities
  • Credit Cards/Debt

Variable Expenses

The second category of expenses in our lives is “variable” expenses.

These are the ones you have more control over in your day-to-day decision making. In each of the example categories below, we can choose to buy cheaper, more expensively, or even not at all in some cases.

Variable expenses can be things such as…

  • Groceries
  • Restaurants
  • Gas
  • Entertainment
  • Home supplies
  • Personal care
  • Clothing
  • Gifts

I’ve personally seen my wife spend exceeding less than the average family on things such as groceries and clothing by simply buying less pre-prepared food, and finding which stores have the best deals. It’s methods like those that allow these categories to be more flexible in their total expenses. We have also personally chosen not to drive some places in order to save on gas for some months, or to not eat out as frequently. All of the categories above, and many more, can be adjusted as needed.

Tracking Your Expenses

When it comes down to it, the most important thing in your budget is to track your expenses. Regardless of whether you categorize based on fixed and variable, or other methods, tracking is what allows you to see how much money you are spending in each area of your life.

When you properly track your expenses, you are able to see where your money is going, and then take corrective action. Without tracking your expenses, you will never be able to see if your money is actually going towards the areas of life you want to spend money on. It gives you the clarity to make smaller decisions throughout your day that can have a huge impact on your longterm financial future. I can’t tell you how many problem are solved by simply realizing exactly where your money goes each month.

Here’s a few links to help you get started with tracking your expenses:

  • Mint.com - This is the one I personally use, and love. It is specifically good at online transactions because it connects to your bank and brings all your transactions over to their system so you don’t accidentally miss a purchase. It’s not great though if you use a lot of cash (still works, just more work).
  • Dave Ramsey Budgeting Tools - This site is a great resource, especially if you are just getting started. It has both digital and pencil and paper budgeting methods available. Even better, it walks you through exactly how to use them and set up your budget.
  • Or, if you’d prefer a spreadsheet with the categories we listed above, you can click HERE to download the Excel file or HERE to download the PDF.

Finding Help

Like with most things in life, good stewardship of our finances is 10% knowledge, and 90% action. You can know all of these things, and have it still be difficult to apply. If you’ve struggled with this (as most of us have) please seek counsel and accountability. We are available to help, so please contact us if you would like help in this area. Otherwise, there are many other great resources and groups to help you in this area as well.

“Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.” Proverbs 15:22

Don’t give up. Continue to learn and grow in wisdom regarding your finances and budgeting, and glorify God by stewarding your finances well.


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CONVERSATIONS | with Pastor Lewis Williams


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