Up until 10 years ago, the subject of world missions was on the bottom of my list of interests. I just wasn’t interested in hearing a missionary’s stories or listening to a talk about foreign missions. My philosophy was, “We’ve got enough to do right here in our own back yard instead of going around the world to find it.” Having worked in Social Services for over 20 years, I saw plenty of need locally, and that was my thinking.
One day nine years ago, I was walking out of my church, and Brian Kerney was pulling out of the parking lot. He backed his car up all the way to where I was standing. “I want you to go to Myanmar with me”, he said. My reply was, “Myanmar – what’s that?” He told me more about the trip. I had never been overseas and thought this would be a neat experience.
Little did I know that the invitation by Brian would be the beginning of a new, exciting chapter in my life. Read more →
He chose me. Nobody held a gun to his head. In fact, he asked me to marry him. Of all the women in the world, I am the one he wanted; I am the one he promised to love and cherish, forsaking all others. Me.
A few years and a few kids later, I am not exactly the same woman he married. I have a few extra lines and a few extra pounds, but they are merely the scars from bearing what our love has created. He reassured me all the time that he loved the way I look. So as hard as it was, I tried to believe him. I mean, he isn’t the same either. The years have changed him a little too, and it hasn’t affected how I feel about him one tiny bit. We were each other’s, bound to one another in love and spirit, sanctioned by vows we took before God, and physical appearances don’t enter into that. He belonged to me and I to him, and nothing else mattered. This was as God meant it to be. It was holy, set apart, sacred. Read more →
My name is Kevin, and I am an addict. Although my addiction is dormant, I am an addict nonetheless. At the age of 12, my buddy and I discovered a VHS tape that was discreetly marked “XXX”. As many 12 year old boys have done, we put it in the VCR and felt our pubescent hormones go into a raging overdrive. It was fantastic!!! Little did I know that what most view as typical “boy behavior” would become a crucible that I endured until the age of 32.
I think very often the term “life-changing” is thrown around when another word such as “impactful” or “inspirational” might be more accurate. I’m sure I’ve been guilty of that myself at times, but I don’t think it would be an exaggeration at all to describe my first trip to Myanmar as completely and totally life-changing.
Flash back to the summer of 2008. For a few years leading up to that point, God had been giving me a passion for missions. I had served locally in several different ways and had been on a number of service trips within the U.S., but I had never been overseas… nor did I really see a need to go. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, I was presented with an opportunity to go on a mission trip to Myanmar. I was intrigued and definitely interested. For a couple of reasons, though, I ended up deciding not to go. What happened next was unexpected. As soon as the deadline to sign up had passed, I was struck by a deep conviction that by not going I had messed up. I felt like I was missing out on something special God wanted to do in my life. I wondered if I was even being disobedient to God. For weeks I couldn’t shake that feeling. I made up my mind that I would go on the trip the following year. Read more →
I read an article dated July 23, 2013 where researchers at Kansas State University had surveyed 4500 couples and revealed the top reason for divorce. They found that no matter how much a person makes, fights about money are the biggest contributors to divorce. The study also revealed that it takes couples longer to recover from a fight about finances than any other type of fight. Apparently, couples use harsher language with each other and the arguments last longer according to this study.
Kent and I were married nearly 30 years before we were sick enough of living pay check to pay check that we were finally ready to do something about it. Kent would sometimes want to have a budget meeting and I never wanted to because I knew the outcome before it started. There just wasn’t enough money to pay for all the “stuff” we had purchased.
About 17 years ago, in an entrepreneurial spirit, Kent quite his job and, along with his father, started a new business. The business was very slow to get rolling but we hung in there. During the course of the business he was awarded a patent. As time passed our credit card debts kept growing and growing, getting so high that I thought we would never get them paid off. We had no idea what our money was going toward….all we knew was it was gone before we even got it. We had acquired quite a large amount of bank debt and credit card debt. After 6 years of sacrifice and tens of thousands of dollars of debt, the business was a failure. He went back to work for a former employer to try to repay all the debt and fix the budget.
Around this same time someone gave us Dave Ramsey’s 13 Financial Peace University (FPU) CDs to listen to. After listening to them, we were ready to make a change in the way we were living, because the way we were living…..just wasn’t fun anymore. I convinced Kent that we should start tithing and I felt it necessary for our efforts to succeed. We had given to the church but nothing close to tithing. We didn’t know how this was going to work since our budget already needed cut to make ends meet.
We were both on board with making this lifestyle change and we entered this new adventure with “gazelle intensity!” We posted the Seven Baby Steps (FPU) on a bulletin board and marked off every one we accomplished. The debt snowball tool builds excitement as you progress through paying off each lender. Four years into debt reduction, tithing and being responsible with money, we got a call, out of nowhere, from a company wanting to purchase the patent! We believe this was divine intervention….God knew our situation and he could now trust us to make wise choices with money that would help grow His Kingdom.
We are all held responsible for what we have and for the way we spend money. It is our responsibility to be good stewards of the money God has given us to manage. HE WILL BLESS YOU FOR THIS! Now we have frequent budget meetings and discuss our future and we know how much we spend on items like groceries, clothing, repairs to home, and dining out. Following our commitment to God in saving, tithing and debt he has blessed us beyond anything we deserve, in a unified marriage, in peacefulness, finances and all across our lives. Budget meetings are not painful anymore. They are just a time when we sit and talk about our future, our dreams, and plan and pray for guidance on our decisions. In the past I couldn’t imagine paying cash for a large item like a car but we have done that and it is the greatest feeling you can imagine.
One of the most crippling aspects of high debt and poor money management is seeing someone you want to help financially and you simply don’t have the money set aside so you can do it. We now know that we were missing out on some incredible blessing, as a giver. Get on a budget and tell your money where it’s to go before you even get it. Attend a FPU class and start working on those baby steps. You make the commitment and I promise…..it WILL change your life!
New Financial Peace University classes are getting ready to launch at One Life. For more information about the upcoming classes, visit here.
Fresh out of college, we were the typical hyper-consuming, young, twenty-something couple ready to collect as much stuff as our parents had in a short amount of time. The only problem was we just couldn’t wait; we had to have it and we had to have it now. Besides, we were making pretty good money for our age with our combined incomes. Since we worked hard to get through college, we deserved it, right? We rationalized every loan we took out, and got “screaming deals” on everything we bought because we were smart like that. Guess you could say we had a bad case of “stuff-itis.” As you could imagine, this needed to come to an end.
Drugs and alcohol were my life for about fourteen years. At the age of thirteen, I drank and smoked pot for the first time. I always had a hard time being comfortable with who I was. Growing up into my later teens and early twenties I was still searching for my identity. Drugs and alcohol were the crutch that kept me content for quite a long time.