How To Craft A Christian Personal Financial Theology

Photo by UnlockingTheBible

Photo by UnlockingTheBible

Let’s Review

In my last post Do You Have A Philosophy Or A Theology When It Comes To Personal Finances?, we explored four separate money beliefs that I believe many Christians operate their financial lives through one of these four belief systems:

  • Money Belief #1: Money is worldly and a necessary evil to survive. Let’s not discuss it.
  • Money Belief #2: Money is a taboo topic for the church world, but I recognize that money is addressed in Scripture.
  • Money Belief #3: I know what God’s Word says about money. I like my money system better. Now, leave me alone!
  • Money Belief #4: I recognize that I am God’s financial manager. I will follow His instructions.

Unfortunately, I believe many of us as Christians have never connected the dots between the whole money issue being addressed throughout the pages of Scripture and our role as money managers for God. The universal church has done a poor job of teaching and preaching what God has taught us about money through His Word.

In my last post, we also looked at the definitions of “Philosopy” and “Theology.” In simple terms, a philosophy is a life theory invented by man. Man’s theories are flawed and imperfect. A theology is a system of belief based on Scripture. If we believe that God’s Word is holy and without error, then a theological system of belief is flawless and perfect.

I believe Christians today are operating under financial beliefs invented by man, not a system of belief founded upon the Word of God.

Crafting A Christian Personal Finance Theology

Now is a great time for Christians to return to God’s ways about money. We live in a world that is severely confused on how to handle money at any level whether it’s personal finances, business finances, or government finances. This is why we’re living through such difficult financial times in recent years.

So, as Christians, how do we put together a belief system that is completely based on God’s Word? How do we craft a truly Christian personal finance theology?

Here are my thoughts on how to develop a Biblical theology of money:

  1. Be a regular reader of God’s Word. Shocking, I know. That’s rocket science right there! Seriously though, if you want to know what God has to say about money, you need to be reading through your Bible consistently. Don’t just camp out on a single book of the Bible. Don’t just read the New Testament or only the Old Testament. God’s financial belief system is sprinkled throughout the entire Biblical narrative. You can’t just read the book of Proverbs and nail down your theology of money, although that’s a great place to start.
  2. Attend a Crown Financial Bible Study and Financial Peace University. When people ask me the difference between these two small group studies, this is my response: Crown Financial is more of a true Bible study that is heavy on Scripture and truth. Financial Peace University is a practical, step-by-step financial plan based upon Biblical principles. I have done both, and I highly recommend both for a solid foundation in developing a theology of money.
  3. Google it! Again, I’m sure this is all rocket science that never even occurred to you. Type in the search bar “Bible verses about money” and you will receive 3,350,000 results! I’m looking at the search list, and I’m seeing some great pages to open up and explore.
  4. Read blogs that address personal finances from a Biblical perspective. There are many great Christian personal finance blogs out there, today. Here’s a list of the ones I’m most familiar with:
  5. Be sure to focus on these main areas in developing a Biblical theology: giving, tithing, saving, spending, debt, investing, business, contentment, planning, and stewardship. Check out this great article that addresses these issues and more: 250 Bible Verses about Money.

Questions: Have you ever gone through the process of developing a solid, Biblical theology on money? What other steps have you taken in developing your theology on personal finances?






Exclusive Bonus! Subscribe today and you’ll receive a link to download my brand new e-book, Moving From Broken To Superhuman: Your 5-Step Action Plan To Change Your Life, Today!, FREE of charge.

New Graphic

We respect your email privacy

Do You Have A Philosophy Or A Theology When It Comes To Personal Finances?

Photo by Loan Leaders of America Inc.

Photo by Loan Leaders of America Inc.

Money Beliefs

I’ve been involved in studying and teaching the ways of personal finances now for 10 years. It’s been an interesting journey that has impacted my life in many ways; mostly good, some bad.

As I have been on this decade-long journey, it has been thought-provoking to discuss with people their own personal finance beliefs.

We all have a unique set of beliefs or philosophy about money that we arrive at in our adult lives from a variety of sources. The majority of our beliefs we tend to pick-up from our parents (we either embrace their beliefs, or go completely in the opposite direction). Other beliefs, we pick-up from friends and others closest to us. Finally, we pick-up various money beliefs from the society we live in – TV commercials, internet media, so-called financial experts, and so on.

The world’s financial philosophy says one thing. God’s financial theology usually says the exact opposite.

Here’s the weird thing, though. Those of us who name the name of Christ as our Lord and Savior tend to adopt the financial beliefs of our parents, friends, and society over what God’s Word tells us about money. Over the last decade of observing a lot of various money beliefs, I have concluded the following list of four money beliefs often held by Christians:

  • Money Belief #1: Money is worldly and a necessary evil to survive. Let’s not discuss it. Some Christians have a (false) belief that money is a carnal, worldly system that is completely separate from their faith journey. They’ve never been taught or never made the connection that God’s Word has a lot to say about money and possessions. These people may even have the belief that money is sinful and should not be part of our spiritual conversations.
  • Money Belief #2: Money is a taboo topic for the church world. Some Christians believe money is a taboo subject that should never be discussed in church, even though they do recognize that money is addressed in Scripture. I’ve had people tell me directly to my face that we need to stop discussing money in our church because it will run people off to other churches. These same people would probably be more in favor of and less embarrassed by having a sermon series on a Biblical theology of sex than a Biblical theology of money (Personal note: I find this completely bizarre, yet fascinating about our societal beliefs!).
  • Money Belief #3: I know what God’s Word says about money. I like my money system better. Now, leave me alone! Some Christians have a good head knowledge that the Bible does have a lot to say about finances. They have chosen to bury their heads in the sand on God’s money system in favor of the world’s money system. Their actions seem to say, “God, I think the world’s money system is a lot more sophisticated than Yours. Sorry, but I’m going to go along with the world’s system, because it’s better.”
  • Money Belief #4: I recognize that I am God’s financial manager. I will follow His instructions. In this final financial belief, Christians recognize that everything comes from the hand of God, and we are simply called to be good managers of everything that He has entrusted to us. This not only includes our finances, but also our time, talents, resources, and even our physical bodies. Everything we have, everything we are belongs to Him.

Defining The Terminology

So, let’s take a moment and define the terms that we’re talking about in this post.

Philosophy: a set of ideas about how to do something or how to live.

Theology: the study of religious faith, practice, and experience.

Let’s put this in even simpler terms: a philosophy is a life theory invented by man. Man’s theories are flawed and imperfect. A theology is a system of belief based on Scripture. If we believe that God’s Word is holy and without error, than a theological system of belief is flawless and perfect.

So What? Who Cares?

The big deal here for the Christian, at least in my mind, is the “why.” Why are Christians so willing to adopt a financial belief system that is flawed and imperfect when God has the very best financial plan laid out in His Word?

When we embrace His financial teachings, we avoid debt, we save money, we provide for the needs of our family, and we invest in the Kingdom of God through generous giving.

This financial lifestyle is in stark contrast to the world’s financial system.

In my next post, we’ll take a closer look at actually crafting a Christian personal finance theology based upon God’s Word.

Questions: What financial belief system are you currently operating under? An imperfect theory taught by the world, or a perfect belief system written down in God’s Word?

7 Components For A Solid Financial Foundation

Photo by jonathanpercy

Photo by jonathanpercy

Big Buildings Require Massive Foundations

One World Trade Center, the primary building that is replacing the twin towers that were destroyed in the attacks on 9/11, has been under construction since 2004. The architectural planning started well before that.

This new 104-story super-tall skyscraper is now the tallest building in the United States and Western Hemisphere as well as the fourth-tallest skyscraper in the world by pinnacle height. Its spire reaches a symbolic height of 1,776 feet as tribute to the year of the United States Declaration of Independence. This is one massive skyscraper.

Get this, though. The foundation for this huge building took several years to complete.

The foundation for One World Trade Center is some 70 feet below street level and required dynamite blasting down into solid bedrock.

The symbolic cornerstone of One World Trade Center was laid down in a ceremony on July 4, 2004, but further construction of the tower was stalled until 2006. Then, on November 18, 2006, 400 cubic yards of concrete were poured onto the foundation of the One World Trade Center, carried by as many as 40 trucks. The first steel beam was welded on to the building’s base on December 19, 2006.

On January 9, 2007, a second set of beams was welded to the top of the first set. Later in that year, the construction company completed a row of steel columns at the perimeter of the construction site. Two tower crane bases were erected, and by the end of 2007, the tower’s footings and foundations were nearly complete [Source: Wikipedia].

Before the beautiful steel and glass structure could rise high in the New York City skyline, a solid foundation for this large of building had to be created to support it. It took a lot of time, energy, resources, and money to build it. This was a carefully executed piece of the building plan. In no way did it happen on accident.

The foundation is the most critical component for building anything of importance, including a financial plan for your family. Get this part right, and a magnificent financial legacy can be created to give financial life to your family for generations into the future.

7 Components For A Solid Financial Foundation

  1. Commit to a plan that you will build something amazing! When the City and State of New York, the developer, and the architect decided to build a new skyscraper, they just didn’t start digging a hole in the ground, lay some concrete and steel beams, and put a building up. No, they spent years creating various architectural designs, drawings, and models. They created the plan, first, before anything else took place. Then, they committed the time, energy, and resources necessary to execute an amazing plan. The same is true for a financial plan. You and your family need to spend time and energy creating a vision of what you ultimately desire before anything else takes place.
  2. Resolve that you will do rich people stuff. Assuming you desire to create an awesome financial legacy that will last several years into the future, then you need to plan the way wealthy people do. You need to do rich people stuff. Rich people make several wise financial decisions. They have cash reserves on hand for emergencies. They avoid debt. They do monthly budget planning. They ask questions like “how much?” not “how much per month?” and so on.
  3. Put your estate planning in place. None of us know when we will pass away, and it would be foolish to set this piece of planning off to the side until we have the rest of our financial plan is in place. This layer of the foundation is critical and needs to be one of the first parts completed. For the sake of your family, please, please, please, don’t delay doing this part. Hire an attorney and get a state specific will completed, signed, and notarized as soon as possible.
  4. Give strategically. Giving is a part of any healthy financial plan. As a Christian, I believe that God should automatically receive my first 10% that goes to my local church. After you have laid a solid foundation for your financial plan, then you and your family can discuss giving beyond the tithe and where that additional giving should go.
  5. Build up an emergency cash reserve. An emergency fund of 3-6 months of expense cash is your “insurance policy” of sorts that will help you through life’s financial up and downs, such as illness, accidents, unanticipated large repairs, and job layoffs.
  6. Pay off your debt ASAP. The majority of wealthy people do not do debt, especially revolving lines of credit. Commit to getting out of debt as soon as possible in order to give your family an amazing financial legacy.
  7. Invest in your retirement savings. The sooner you can begin investing in your 401(k) and Roth IRA’s, the longer these accounts will have to grow through the magic of compound interest. Get moving!

Questions: How’s you financial foundation? Are you being strategic in laying a great one? Have you even given it that much thought? Is your current foundation strong enough to create and support an amazing financial structure in the near future?

5 Foundational Beliefs A Christian Should Grasp In A Biblical View Of Money

Biblical StewardshipChristianity, The Church, Stewardship, And Money

In the last 30-40 years, I believe the American church has done a poor job of laying a strong foundation for Biblical stewardship. There are a number of reasons for this, but this is not within the scope of this particular blog post.

Fortunately in recent years, other ministries and programs such as Crown and Dave Ramsey have come alongside the church to assist pastors and lay leaders in laying a strong Biblical foundation regarding money and stewardship.

When it comes to Christian finances, I believe there are several key, foundational principles that every Christian should know and understand.

The following list contains my top five foundational stewardship beliefs.

5 Key Stewardship Principles From God’s Word

  1. God owns everything. Psalm 24:1 states, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.” This is the foundational belief upon which the whole concept of Christian stewardship (or management) rests. We either completely believe that God owns everything in the universe (including all of the stuff in our current possession) or we don’t believe this truth. Plus, how we live our lives and manage these possessions demonstrates if we really believe in God’s ownership or not.
  2. Christians are managers (stewards) of ALL of God’s stuff. 1 Corinthians 4:2 tells us “Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.” After we come to grips with the first belief, then this second belief should be a natural outflow of the first. If God truly owns it all, then the stuff I currently possess was given to me by God Almighty to manage for Him. As a result, I am compelled to do an excellent, faithful job so that He receives an incredible return on investment!
  3. Kingdom living should be our priority. Matthew 6:19-21 says, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Once we understand that God owns it all and we are simply managers of His stuff, then our only concern should be expanding His Kingdom on earth while we are here. Our budgets, expenses, purchases, and investments should all be filtered through a Kingdom mindset. The question that should be continuously on our mind: “Does this use of money truly build up God’s Kingdom and make an impact for eternity?”
  4. Debt is unwise. Proverbs 22:7 reads, “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.” Although the Bible never states that debt is a sin, it does make the claim that it is unwise and dangerous. If you are a Christian who thinks debt is just a normal, everyday reality in today’s economic climate, then can you truly say with 100% authority that having debt honors God and His Kingdom? I would argue that it doesn’t. I believe that our personal businesses, families, and churches should all strive to be debt free as soon as possible in order for our focus to truly be on God’s Kingdom work.
  5. Our giving should be percentage based. Check out Hebrews 7:2a, and 7:4-9 “and Abraham gave him (Melchizedek) a tenth of everything … Just think how great he was: Even the patriarch Abraham gave him a tenth of the plunder! Now the law requires the descendants of Levi who become priests to collect a tenth from the people—that is, from their fellow Israelites—even though they also are descended from Abraham. This man, however, did not trace his descent from Levi, yet he collected a tenth from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. And without doubt the lesser is blessed by the greater. In the one case, the tenth is collected by people who die; but in the other case, by him who is declared to be living. One might even say that Levi, who collects the tenth, paid the tenth through Abraham … ” The tithe (10%) is a great starting point for people to learn and grow in their generosity journey. I understand that a lot of Christians are not in agreement with this statement. But, if you take a comprehensive view of Scripture, including Old Testament (pre-Law and Mosaic Law) and New Testament (as stated in this NT passage from Hebrews), almost every mention of money and giving had a percentage attached to it. Why? Common sense would tell us that we don’t all make the same amount of income. Also, monetary types and values vary widely throughout human history. Percentage-based giving makes more sense according to the concept of “to whom much has been given, much more will be required” (Luke 12:48b).

Questions: If you are a Christian, how do you handle your money and possessions? Do you hold to the Biblical truths in these five principles above, or do you struggle with a carnal, worldly view of your finances? Do you think this list of five principles is comprehensive enough, or would you add or subtract anything from this list?

6 Areas To Be A Better Money Manager This New Year

Photo by 401(k) 2013

Photo by 401(k) 2013

It’s A Great Time To Make Some Needed Changes

We’re at the beginning of a new year, and it’s a great time to make some needed changes in our lives. Personal finance is always one of those areas that needs regular attention and maintenance.

With a few tweaks, a few small occasional changes from time to time, we can all be better managers with the finances and resources God has blessed us with.

Here are six areas in which we can be better money managers this new year.

6 Areas To Be A Better Money Manager

  1. Always be working on two budget spreadsheets each month. Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re probably having enough trouble just producing one cash flow spending plan a month. I’m always tweaking my current month’s budget based on any unusual changes in income or outgo. Plus, I’m usually doing some initial financial planning for the month that’s about to follow.
  2. Give at least 10% of your money away. Related to the first point, be sure to plan to give at least 10% of your money away. The tithe (10%) has always been a useful giving tool for the Jews as well as the Christian Church. So, if you’re Jewish, then you can give your tithe to your local synagogue. If you’re Christian, then you can give back to your local church. If you’re not a believer, though, then I would encourage you to give back to a charity or cause you believe in. The Law of the Harvest works whether you are a believer or not.
  3. Avoid debt at all costs. One of the ways rich people get rich is by avoiding debt like the plague. If you currently have some debt, then do rich people stuff this year and get your family out of debt as fast as possible.
  4. Be sure you have the proper insurances in place in order to protect your family. Did you know that the #1 cause for personal bankruptcies in the United States is due to medical expenses? The role of good insurance is to protect your family’s assets from a major financial life event, such as medical emergency, automobile accident, death, house fire, and so on. Make sure your “financial house” is in good order with quality insurance in all areas. You don’t want to become part of these statistics.
  5. Focus on both production and wise management. The people who make money and have money stashed away for a rainy day are focused on two main aspects of personal finance. The first is production. They understand the importance of having a number of personal income streams. They have 2-3 sources of financial income, which could include a full-time job or business, a part-time job, a side business, passive income streams, and so on. Second, wealthy people also do an excellent job of wisely managing all of their streams of income. They leave nothing to chance.
  6. Don’t leave “money on the table” that you can put to good use. My wife is really good at this. Here’s what I mean. Be sure to get the very best price on every good or service that you purchase. If there’s a rebate involved, then make sure you mail those in so you can get your money. If an item you just purchased goes on sale suddenly, then go back to the store and get a price adjustment. Be a firm negotiator in all your spending.

What Areas Do You Need To Focus On?

So, how are you doing in these six areas? Are you doing a good job in a few of these, but not so hot in some of the others? Are there some other important financial areas that I may have missed in this post that you are planning to improve upon this year?

Let’s all avoid any personal “financial cliffs” in this new year. Focusing time and energy in these six key areas will be a great way to do so.