A few weeks ago I received a review copy of a new book written specifically for Christians in these tough financial times. The book, Upside Living in a Downside Economy, is written by Mike Slaughter, pastor of Ginghamsburg United Methodist Church in Tipp City, Ohio. The book isn’t a very long one, but doesn’t waste much time in offering up a lot of good insight into why we ought to seek God’s will in our daily money concerns. Obviously that is something that is pretty close to my heart as my site is pretty much founded upon this very idea.
On the back of the book Pastor Slaughter tells us the idea behind the book:
If we truly desire to build sound financial health, we must begin by building a foundation grounded in God’s perspective on wealth and finances.
I agree wholeheartedly with this statement, but I was still interested on how this book would go about doing that.
God’s Perspective On Money, And Right Motivations
The first chapter starts out with the main idea of the book, building a foundation grounded in God’s perspective of money. How do we do that? We go to God’s word to seek out God’s character and his perspective. The author talks about God’s fatherly nature, and how he wants all the best for us. He then goes on to pull out key verses like Proverbs 22:7 (the debtor is slave to the lender) and Proverbs 22:26 (Do not be a man who strikes hands in pledge or puts up security for debts) to illustrate God’s ideas in the specific areas of debt and lending.
He then goes on to talk about how we need to be careful to check our own motives when it comes to money, and how we have to be careful to avoid the “love of money” as it is talked about in 1 Timothy 6. We need to make sure we aren’t becoming Christian Hedonists, proclaiming that we are Christians, but still seeking after the values of our materialistic culture.
Finally he talks about how we need to constantly need to make sure we’re plugged into the true source of life, Jesus Christ, and that we are getting our motivation and strength from him. If we aren’t, it can be so easy to become unmotivated, fall back into old bad money habits, and in the end fail at what we’re trying to accomplish.
The book goes on to talk about how if you have the right priorities, and the right actions, you will get results. He goes on to talk about 7 right actions that we need to perform in our lives:
7 Right Actions
- Planned giving to God: Making a commitment to giving to God, first. I know there is a debate on whether the tithe is mandated or not for New Testament believers, but to me the argument is really a moot point. To me God has us give because it is good for us! Tithing isn’t just giving our hard earned money away, it changes us, and makes us into new people who are more generous and caring. I’ve experienced this in my own life!
- Seek accountability through a group or counselor: It’s always a good idea to have someone to keep you accountable for your financial goals. When you tell someone else your goals, they can help keep you in line.
- Write or re-work a budget: Setting up a family budget is key to succeeding! I preach that all the time here on Bible Money Matters!
- Get rid of credit cards and reduce your debt: Get rid of your credit cards and they won’t be a temptation to spend money that you don’t have. Get rid of your debt because it’s weighing you down!
- Set goals and practice delayed gratification: Set goals for your future, for big things and for small things. Practice delayed gratification and trust that God will provide in his time.
- Nurture an attitude of gratitude: Be thankful for all the things that God has given you. When you are thankful and content with what you have, it makes it that much easier to succeed.
- Pray, pray, pray: Prayer acknowledges that we are dependent upon God and that we trust him to lead, guide and provide. Pray about your financial life!
Creating A Financial Plan
The book goes on to talk about the things you need to do in order to create a sound financial plan. Pastor Slaughter’s plan sounds pretty similar to the plan put forth by Dave Ramsey (7 Baby Steps), Crown Ministries and others. Since I’m a fan of those plans, I also like this one. The basics of his plan are:
- Do a financial analysis: Figure out exactly where you are, so you know where you’re starting from.
- Begin an aggressive program of debt reduction: Get rid of all your debt so you are no longer slave to the lender!
- Create an emergency fund: Save up money for that rainy day.
- Be sure to have adequate life insurance: Buy good term life insurance, just in case!
- Write a will: Write a will and other important docs, and keep them safe!
- Look at your giving: Where you give your money, that’s where your heart is. Make sure you are donating money to causes/organizations that glorify God.
- Create a budget: Set up a family budget, and if you can use something like an envelope system to curb spending.
Sounds like a pretty good plan to me!
Upside Living in a Downside Economy was a quick read, but it is full of good information. It talks about how we can make sure we’re aligning our goals with God’s plan for our life. It talks about how we must make plans, give and be thankful for what we have. It concludes by talking about giving, and how by giving to others we become more like Christ.
While the book isn’t very long, and doesn’t go in depth into topics of creating a budget, setting up a financial plan and other things, I still think it is a worthwhile read. If you’re looking for a detailed planning resource, this probably isn’t it.
I think what it does well is to get you thinking about what you need to do to succeed, about how we need to keep God at the center of our finances. It is more the catalyst towards living well with your finances. To take the next step you may need to get into a deeper program, or get some more in depth reading about the topics.
All in all, a good read, and a worthwhile one.
Who Wants To Win This Book?
Now that I’ve finished reading the book, it’s time to pass it on. I’m going to give the book away to one lucky Bible Money Matters reader on Monday morning at 8am Central! What do you have to do to win?
- Leave a comment on this post telling us about how you’re succeeding in this downside economy!
That’s it, just leave a comment! If you aren’t already subscribed, I’d appreciate if you sign up for free daily updates via RSS or via email, but it isn’t required. Also, if you’re interested in reading the book, you can find it for sale here!
UPDATE: The winner of the book, Upside Living In A Downside Economy, is commenter #15, Efren.
UPDATE: #2 5/26: I have another copy of the book and I’ll be giving it away tomorrow morning at 10am! Those who have already commented are entered. If you haven’t commented, you have another chance now! Feel free to comment for your chance to win! Must be in the USA to win.
UPDATE: After doing a drawing using Random.org, the winner of the second copy of this book is: Kyle from http://www.suburbandollar.com. Thanks everyone for entering!
I would love to win a copy of the book. We are succeeding in this economy by strictly monitoring what we spend money on. Some of the purchases we would have made before, we don’t now. If it doesn’t benefit the entire family, we don’t buy it.
We’re winning in this economy by using old-school methods. We live within our means and are following God’s plan. We give as much as we ever have and are nearly debt free.
God’s Word on every matter, including money, works, no matter the circumstances!
Adams last blog post..Friday
First to comment! should get bonus points!
Rays last blog post..Weekly Blog Review – End of Rally Edition
oops.. you were almost first! ;)
We’re winning in this economy by living by the principles taught in the Veritas Financial Ministries 7 Steps to Becoming Financially Free. We also volunteer at our parish by facilitating groups taking this course.
I would love to win this book as well. It sounds extremely interesting.
Dustys last blog post..eHow vs Infobarrel – Passive Income Royal Rumble
Nate @ Family Reading Reviews says
Please enter me! I would love to win. ;)
We are succeeding in this economy by continuing to tithe and give and then being responsible and good stewards of what God blesses us with! We are also working on building up our emergency fund. We thank God that thus far our jobs have been secure in this time and that even if they weren’t that we would trust Him and thank Him for the non material gifts such as eternal life with Him!!!!
Succeeding by the grace of God, and by seeking to learn.
JLSs last blog post..Book Review: Nelson’s Illustrated Guide to Religions
Eric Starker says
Just winning by continue to do what I always do — plug away at every avenue as a freelancer, and manage my money well (and better every day).
I would love to win a copy of the book. I’m always interested in reading other Christians’ perspective on money/finances. If I win, I will pass the book forward to help others gain the insight of the author.
We are making through this downturn by doing exactly what we do when times are good: spending less than what we earn and delayed gratification. By doing so, hopefully our debt will continue to stay low and our savings will be adequate to get us though any economic downturn.
We’re doing fine right now because we have been seeking to follow God’s ways of handing our money for years. We are faithful tithers, we don’t carry any debt except for mortgage, we have been building up an emergency fund (now at 5 months – yeah!) and we have been trying to make financial decisions that line up with our core values.
I’d love to read this book to get more opinions though. Thanks for the entry!
I am trying to use my credit cards less. I came to depend on them a little too much. I am asking God to help guide me in the right direction and help me to make better financial decisons.
My husband and I are winning in this economy by keeping our eyes on Jesus and praying continuously. Even before this economic “crisis”, we believed in giving to the church, benevolence and missions work. In addition, we believed in living by a spending plan or budget. Now, we are striving to still be generous, eventhough it is not always comfortable. We realize that there are people struggling way more than us. We have many friends, even in the church, who have lost homes and/or jobs; therefore, we have treated people to dinner, donated items and the like. We’re just hoping to stay faithful, generous and sacrificial in the midst of rising prices. Thanks for the opportunity to share.
I have been following the critical steps in my finances for about ten years when suddenly I was blinded by a Christian friend (we’re attending the same church) who encouraged majority of us church members into investing money to his business. After seven months everything went puff, his business crushed and he vanished. We were devastated until now. If we only subscribe to the bible’s principle and if we’ve only trusted God’s wisdom… Anyway, I am still contemplating how to get over it. How can you start with nothing except your faith in God? I mean I am starting at zero.
I’m sorry to hear about your situation. Sometimes people can take advantage of friends, and really wreak havoc in people’s lives like this. That’s why if I’m ever planning on letting someone borrow money, I don’t plan on getting it back. Because if they aren’t able to pay for something themselves, or get a bank loan, there’s a reason why they can’t usually.
All I know is that when we’ve been through hard times, those are the times when we had to rely on God the most, and in some ways, those were the times that we’ve felt closest to God. For example last year was probably the lowest point in our lives – when my wife had her entire leg have a blood clot, she almost died, and was in the hospital for about a month. We didn’t know if she would live, and we were reduced to nothing, but faith and trust in God that everything would work out to his good. As a result we became closer to God, and closer to each other. God has a way of working man’s evil to his good. God bless, and I hope it all works out for you.
Marla T says
I’ve started using lots of coupons and shopping sales trying to get the most for our money. Also spend lots of time shopping garage sales and thrift stores for things we need. Thank you for the entry.
Oh Please let me win…
Kyles last blog post..Giveaway: Book – 10,001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget
Paul @ FiscalGeek says
I love to think of it as winning. Number one Giving lives at the top of my budget and it’s really true when you are right focused many things fall in line and we are very blessed because of it. We’ve paid off almost $15,000 in debt since January by being hyper dilligent, focused and informed. For me the information has been key to overcome my selfish spending self. It seems I just don’t want those gadgets and toys the way I used to. Strangely enough it’s taken this recession to wake up from my stuff induced coma.
Paul @ FiscalGeeks last blog post..A Low-Tech Pocket Budget System
Jason Barthelemy says
It sounds like a good read so I’ll throw my name into the fishbowl…
Jason Barthelemys last blog post..Obsessed People
Baker @ ManVsDebt says
Baker @ ManVsDebts last blog post..Track Your Spending: The First Battle In The War On Debt
I’m winning by cutting back expenses and streamlining my needs.
Jason Barthelemy says
Oops, I didn’t read the contest rules thoroughly. Here’s how we have been thriving in this economy:
Jason Barthelemys last blog post..Obsessed People
heh.. nice. great video.
Being new to the faith, giving to God first was a difficult concept to grasp, but I can see how this is such an important and powerful concept. I just do a lot more research before I buy anything these days. Thanks for your informative site.