New Beginnings

by Kent Carlson, Senior Pastor

January, wonderfully, is a month of new beginnings.  It’s the beginning of a new year and an opportunity, in a sense, to start over.  Now, I know the whole idea of new year’s resolutions can be a little silly and often unhelpful.  We all know, with some embarrassment, all the various broken promises and vows we have made to deal with some area of messiness or lack of discipline in our lives.  We realize that ingrained habits and patterns of behavior are rather tricky things to address.  This is the challenge of transformation.  It is always easiest to maintain the status quo.  It is always more difficult to walk into significant and healthy change.

Well, we have several opportunities here at the beginning of the year for this kind of change.  And it is in the area of our personal finances.  Our money, and how we make it and spend it, is one of the most emotionally charged and spiritually significant things in our lives.  Many of us have a sense, particularly in these financially uncertain times,that we simply are not attending to this area of our lives with sufficient diligence.  Speaking bluntly, we spend too much.  We spend more than we make, and we misuse the availability of easy credit.  We don’t want to do this, but we often end up in a bit of a financial crunch.

So for many of us, we are using these lean financial times to make a valiant attempt to get our financial house in order.  Let me mention three opportunities coming up.

First is our Budget Seminar on Saturday, January 29, from 9:00 until 2:30.  This hands-on seminar, led by our friend, Phil Yntema, is an intense one day seminar to help people put together a budget and learn ways to track spending and to start us on the road towards financial freedom.  The cost is $20 per person or $25 per couple.  When you leave the Budget Seminar, you’ll leave with a realistic budget in hand! You can sign up at the Spotlight Booth or contact Pastor Rick at 983-0182 x12.

Second is our Estate Planning Seminar on Sunday, January 30, from 2:00 until 4:00.  This free seminar, also led by Phil Yntema, will give an overview and some extremely helpful information on planning for our financial future while we care for our family and for the work of God in this world.  You can sign up for this at the Spotlight Booth also.

Third is our Financial Peace University.  This 13 week class, featuring the teaching of Dave Ramsey, is a biblically-based, video-driven small group study beginning on February 10.  This class, led by the Chairman of our Elder Board and member of our Administrative Council, Jerry Verseput, will teach families how to beat debt, build wealth, and give like never before.  Diane and I are working hard to move our schedules around so we can be part of this experience.  We want to make 2011 a year where we pay close attention to how we handle our money.  We’d love for you to join us.  There is a preview class on January 23 at 11:00 in the Library.  For more information, contact Jerry Verseput at 817-1940.

Being on the path to financial freedom  is do-able!  I encourage you to consider one or more of these opportunities as we enter into the new year. 

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