A Review of “God and Money” by John Cortines and Gregory Baumer

I recently read, God and Money: How We Discovered True Riches at Harvard Business School by Gregory Baumer and John Cortines – Paperback, given to me by a good friend.

The authors, John Cortines and Gregory Baumer, both graduates from Harvard Business School, met in a men’s Bible study group where they were confronted with a question, “As young Christians with sky-high earnings potential, what should they plant to do with their money?”

Before you think that this book isn’t for you, think with me for a minute. God promises to meet all of our physical needs. God also is the One who gives any person the ability to create wealth. God intends for you to have every need met and to have more than you need.

If you believe those statements, the question is how will you handle the “more” that comes your way.

I think Cortines and Baumer do a good job of addressing how to view wealth in their book.

Here are some highlights and some of my thoughts from the book:

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Is Our Arrogance Killing Our Passion for Missions?

I sat and listened to a friend who has served in East Asia for seven years talk about how they are sharing the Good News and discipling new believers. I found joy in hearing the things God is doing through their work. It stirred up feelings of pride. Pride. Now that’s an interesting emotion in response to what he was sharing.

My missionary friend was giving a report of his work to a team of pastors and lay leaders. The more I listened, I sensed an air of…hmm how should I put it? Arrogance? I can’t speak for my friends in the room, so I have to confess my own attitude.

I have been in these kind of meetings before. Representatives of the American church asking a missionary who has been serving faithfully, sacrificially, on the field for an account of the work they are doing. Nothing wrong with that.

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5 Ways to Help You Use Your Money as a Missional Tool

I bet tax time doesn’t make any top 1o favorite time of the year lists. Doing our taxes is more obligation than anything.

Photo Credit: fpsurgeon via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: fpsurgeon via Compfight cc

It’s not just tax time that is difficult when it comes to money. In most households “money” is a bad word. We don’t talk about it, or when we do, it causes a lot of stress.

I have heard the phrase, “use money as a tool”, and ” money is not good or evil”.

I agree with both. Yeah, easier said than done.

But how many of us view our money as a tool to further a mission? As a Christian, I view myself as the caretaker or money manager of the funds that come my way. I want to manage that money just as wisely as I expect my own financial planner to do with the money I invest with him.

When I think of it this way, I understand that all the money I have has been entrusted to me by the One who owns it all. And He asks me to use it to further His mission.

5 Ways to help you use money as a missional tool:

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How to Be Free with Your Money

This is a guest post based on a Bible Study by Donnie Dixon. Donnie is the Founding and current Family Pastor of The Church at Canyon Creek in Austin, Texas. Donnie has over 25 years of pastoral experience. He and his wife, Carolyn, have four boys.

What does being free with your money mean? Carefree? Expecting free money? No! How about emotional freedom; free from debt; and freedom to give? You bet! God desires money and freedom to be compatible. Unmanageable debt imprisons us.

The average US household credit card debt stands at $15,191, the result of a few deeply indebted households forcing up the numbers. Based on an analysis of Federal Reserve statistics and other government data, the average household owes $7,087 on their cards; looking only at indebted households, the average outstanding balance rises to $15,191. Here are statistics, trends, studies and method behind the average U.S. household debt. (current April 2014)

Debt is like a crazy aunt we keep down in the basement. All the neighbors’ know she’s there, but nobody wants to talk about her. Ross Perot

The Bible teaches us how to be free with our money.

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Who Else Wants to Feel Confident about Their Savings Plan?

More than a quarter of Americans have no emergency savings, according to an annual survey released Monday by Bankrate.com. Of those who do have savings, 67% have less than six months’ worth of expenses, what Bankrate calls the recommended amount, and those with at least three months’ of expenses declined from 45% in 2013 to 40%. (Hadley Malcolm, USA TODAY)

An emergency savings is usually defined as having six months of living expenses available for when of an emergency such as the loss of a job or a major unexpected expense.

In general our society encourages even guilt us into the notion that we need to have savings. Not only an emergency fund, but also hundreds of thousands saved for retirement—whatever that is.

For some Christ followers, a tension exists. If I concern myself too much about savings and retirement, am I lacking faith that God will provide?

How can a person feel confident about their savings plan? Here are a few of my thoughts:

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What Does Your Tax Return Reveal about You?

Like most people this time of year, I am working on my taxes. I kind of enjoy working on them, except the time it takes me to do it. I know, I am a little strange.

I know that for most tax time is stressful. Really anything that has to do with finances is stressful

Tax time adds the stress of meeting a deadline, wondering if we will get money back or owe money, and an in the face look at what our income was for the past year.

It is easy for tax preparation work to turn into a pile of tax forms, receipts, looking for tax shelters, and working with numbers. Lots of numbers.

I guess some people don’t mess with it at all. The only thing they want to know is whether they owe more taxes or not. So they put all their stuff in a box and give it to a tax professional to take care of it.

Maybe the truth is too hard to look at. Been there before. We don’t want to know how little we really made last year. Or how much we are paying in taxes. Or how we are not making ends meet.

I did an internet search about tax returns. Tons of articles about how to cut my taxes, what to do with my refund, how to avoid an audit, and so on.

But I didn’t see anything about what our tax return tells us about ourselves?

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