On the Road to Financial Peace…

Jeremiah and I just graduated from Financial Peace University, Dave Ramsey’s 12 week financial course. Our lives have been changed forever from the course. Everything he speaks on regarding finances is so contrary to our culture today. Saving is a word people hate because it requires discipline and thinking ahead rather than just spending whatever in the here and now.

As a gradudate of the course, I feel it’s my duty to let others know how greatly it has impacted our life, marriage, peace, future, etc. We have paid off $8,000 in credit card debt in 12 weeks and we are on the road to becoming debt free by Christmas 2008 (including car payment and student loans).

In February, we found a little one is on the way. We feel so much peace towards that knowing that we’re on the path toward wisdom now, and not foolishness. We will be able to teach our baby that one day too. We have (for the first time ever) our $1,000 emergency fund and we’re continuing to build 3-6 months of income towards savings.

In this category on my blog, I will be writing sporadic posts about the 12 week journey and what I learned. Feel free to commment or ask any questions. We want you to be inspired to delve into this course so that your life can be radically changed- forever. As Dave says: “Live like no one else so that you can really live like no one else.”

Continuing on the road…

For Small Group Leaders and Pastors

 Are you currently leading a small group or community group at your church? Or are you the Community Groups Pastor? If you’d like to take a part in a huge project that will impact leaders across the nation, feel free to comment and I will contact you and give more details about how you can contribute to what is going on at Bluefish TV.

Little Girl and Psalm 23

 Since I’ve started my new job at Bluefish TV, I’ve had the privilege of meeting some amazing people. I’ve only been here one week, and it feels like home. Currently, I’m working on editing bios and session descriptions for people like Donald Miller, Margaret Feinberg, and Erwin McManus. These are just a few authors/speakers who will be speaking at our upcoming Fusion and Leadnow Events in Orlando, Seattle, and Dallas.

At Bluefish we create video sermon illustrations for small group leaders, pastors, or youth groups to use in whatever they are teaching on. We also create curriculum and video driven Bible studies. I am on the production team as a writer and work with the creative geniuses that produce these videos. One downloadable video that was launched almost a year ago on Bluefish, Godtube, and Youtube has made it around the world. 

Little did my boss know that his little girl would impact 6 million people! Click here to watch the video. You won’t be able to get enough of it. I’ve watched it about 15 times.

Carved from a Bar of Ivory Soap…

jonasbros.jpg Newsweek claims the Jonas Brothers are so pure they could be carved from a bar of ivory soap. All three of them have made committments to wait for sexual activity until they are married. They are setting the bar high and that is just what we need. Amanda Riddle, one of the brightest-mature teens I’ve ever known, has a poster of the brown eyed brothers in her bedroom. In her eyes, they are the hottest teen band on the planet and the phenomenon is growing. It’s pretty evident the role their parents play in their life. They thought of the purity ring thing and they figured their parents were smart. Now they wear them everywhere they tour. They give credit to their parents for their choices.  http://www.newsweek.com/id/105564

Generation ME vs. YOU

narcisists.gif I stumbled upon the article below in New York Times today that says, “Conventional wisdom, supported by academic studies using the Narcissistic Personality Inventory, maintains that today’s young people– schooled in the church of self-esteem, vying for spots on reality television, promoting themselves on YouTube– are more narcisstic than their predecessors. A study released last year by the PEW Research Center for the People and Press dubbed Americans age 18-25 as the “Look at Me” generation and reported that this group said that their top goals were fortune and fame.

This article is engaging and interesting. It has caused me to search deep within myself. I am 25 yrs. old so I guess I’ve been labeled the “Look at Me” generation. I could say easily, yes, that we are self-absorbed as young people with all our gadgets and new tech., but young people have similar struggles as their parents and our entire culture. The tension within is not merely cultural, but our own sinfulness. We are the most “marketed to” generation ever and we are told if it feels good, then buy it and do it.

Narcissism: The fascination with one-self. Self-love. Do you think it’s something my generation deals with alone? Youtube, facebook, myspace, the wii, x-box, american idol, ipod’s, and iphone’s are not bad in and of themselves, but I can see how others label my generation’s fascination with these material things as just that. The above most certainly can be the vehicle to lead a person down a narcisstic, self-absorbed path when not used with discernment or humility. We could add moderation in there as well. But yet again, narcissism is often just within our sinful nature and we must constantly fight against it- no matter how young or how old (“For above all, guard you heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” -Prov. 4:23)

What are your thoughts?

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/17/fashion/17narcissism.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

From Cradle to Cross

erebus-cross1.jpg  Santa Claus. Reindeer. Christmas trees with lights. New-fallen snow. Crackling fires. Presents. Malls. Traffic. Children’s smiles. Parties. Boxes of chocolate. Fruit baskets. Advent calendars. Comforting lattes and cocoas. Friends. Family. Memories. Letters. Christmas has a way of warming my heart every year. Truly, there is no season quite like Christmas.

And in the midst of all these gifts from God, too often I forget the real meaning of the season. When I truly allow time to reflect in those moments of stillness, what astounds me the most is that God became flesh and made His dwelling on earth. He was born in a manger of all places. He came to the earth in the ultimate form of humility. He grew in wisdom and stature as a man. He experienced much of what we do; pain, happiness, hunger, and yet he had no stain of sin. He died a gruesome death on the cross to redeem this fallen world and restore what had been lost.

We celebrate the cradle and the cross this Christmas. Above all, we celebrate Love.

November Rain

rain.jpg

Swirls of gray and white colored the sky this weekend. Thanksgiving in Dallas was introduced this year with rain, sleet, and more rain. “Why does it have to be raining?” I asked my husband. My attitude before church wasn’t particularly a pleasant one. The weather was ruining my mood. I knew, however, that this shouldn’t be the case. Besides, it was Thanksgiving weekend- a time to give thanks.

The rain continued to patter on the church roof as I sat warm and cozy in my chair beside my husband. The message was on thankfulness. God used my pastor in a way that deeply touched the newfound bitter corners in my heart. He revealed that when we choose to have ungrateful hearts, we easily become bitter, and more vulnerable to sin which can then snowball into countless other problems. Oh but it’s no big deal to complain about this or that, is often a response I have. The truth is that I’m called to give thanks in all things even when things aren’t good or going my way. It’s my attitude and heart that matters.

To Give Thanks… To give thanks when we have to park far away from Nordstrom or Best Buy; disabled people would give anything to park far away and be able to walk. To give thanks when the alarm beeps in the morning startling us out of bed; it’s another day that we’re alive. To give thanks, frankly, when we don’t feel like it. Feelings come and go. There’s so much to be thankful for even just as Americans and we don’t even know it. 

On the way home, I didn’t even notice the windshield wipers were on. I laughed and joked with my husband. I prayed that God would give me those nudges each day to remind me of His goodness.

All Flowers Fade

Flowers fade, as does the glory of man. Within each season, brings unexpected changes, trials, and joys. It has been my prayer that I would wear, within each day, wisdom like a necklace; like a tablet written upon my heart.

Jonathan Edwards said in one of his resolutions: “Resolved, that I will live so, as I shall wish I had done when I come to die” (#17). It is appointed once that man will die. In the midst of this ever changing world in which I can barely keep up, I am resolved, like Edwards, to live as Christ would have me live my life. To live without regrets or “what ifs.” By God’s grace alone, I believe this is attainable.

When my flower fades, I long to hear the words, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

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