Three Simple Rules Guaranteed to Improve Your Finances

Three Simple Rules Guaranteed to Improve Your Finances

Money management, Resource Review
by Theo A. Boers (Morris Publishing, 2003), 96 pp.; download from www.ThreeRules.org Review by Laurel Hensel, a member of the stewardship staff of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America I'm sure I was invited to review this particular sixty-seven-page book because I have been drowning in debt nearly all of my adult life. Author Theo Boers, who runs a financial counseling ministry, wrote this book with me in mind. Here are the “three simple rules”: Spend less than you earn. Save now; buy later. Know your debt. Boers dedicates twenty-five addendum pages to financial planning worksheets, assessments, and handy guidelines, which he also offers free online at www.ThreeRules.org/ Since his target audience is young couples, Boers effectively uses the case study of “Steve and Jessica”—newlyweds with student debts, new leased cars, too…
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Generations of Faith: a Congregational Atlas

Generations of Faith: a Congregational Atlas

Congregations, Resource Review, Stewardship
by Carl G. Eeman (Alban Institute, 2003), ISBN 1-566-99-272-9, 185 pp. Review by Sandy Lueschen, minister for personal stewardship for the United Church of Christ Many congregations include four generations—four groups that approach life quite differently, even within one community. Natural generational differences can result in frustration, disappointment, and conflict between the generations, but they also can lead to admiration, hopefulness, and friendship. Based on the landmark generational work of William Strauss and Neil Howe, Generations of Faith interprets the generational types for church leaders. Eeman explains the historical cycle of American generations and gives multiple examples of its impact on church life. Eeman's insights will help leaders take an objective view of generational differences in their congregations and aid them in determining how to meet members' competing needs. Of particular interest…
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Faith and Money: Understanding Annual Giving in Church

Faith and Money: Understanding Annual Giving in Church

Biblical, Budgets, Congregations, Giving, Resource Review, Stewardship, Theology
by Michael Reeves and Jennifer Tyler (Discipleship Resources, 2003), ISBN 0-88177-410-3, 128 pp. A disconnection of heretical proportion exists between theology and practice in the area of faith and money, say Michael Reeves and Jennifer Tyler. The authors feel that quick fixes for funding the budget have predominated, when what is really needed is a long-term, well developed theology of stewardship that is consistent with Scripture, tradition, and practice. The book lays out some of the challenges in stewardship work, along with some approaches that don’t work. The authors focus on establishing a solid scriptural basis for stewardship and the importance of worthy goals, leadership, education, and communication. They also share ideas for both an annual stewardship campaign and a year-round stewardship plan. One idea for a stewardship campaign that…
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Full Disclosure: Everything the Bible Says About Financial Giving

Full Disclosure: Everything the Bible Says About Financial Giving

Biblical, Giving, Resource Review, Stewardship
by Herb Miller (Discipleship Resources, 2003), ISBN 0-88177-411-1, 128 pp. Review by Miriam M. K. Bunge, pastor and stewardship specialist/assistant to the bishop for the North/West Lower Michigan Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Full Disclosure explores twenty financial stewardship themes and includes appendices for ten subthemes. Each theme (chapter) includes stories and quotes, commentary on relevant Old Testament and New Testament passages, and questions upon which to reflect. Whether or not a pastor or layperson is comfortable thinking or talking about giving money and other financial assets to God through the church, this book is understandable, inspirational, and informative. Herb Miller states: Christian stewardship uses the life God gave you for God's purposes. Your money is a tangible extension of that life. God does not so much call…
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Radical Gratitude

Radical Gratitude

Resource Review, Simple Living
by Mary Jo Leddy (Orbis Books, 2002), ISBN 1-57075-448-9, 192 pp. Review by Nancy Arne Jones, vice president for institutional advancement for Lutheran Family Services in the Carolinas. Radical Gratitude is a thought provoking book about the impact the North American “culture of money” has on our spiritual psyches. Mary Jo Leddy suggests that our culture creates in us an endless desire for “just a little bit more”—whether that means money, things, or experiences. Because of this insatiable desire, we develop an attitude of “perpetual dissatisfaction” that, combined with a craving for control, stirs in us feelings of powerlessness, guilt, and resentment. Ultimately, she says, our culture threatens our individual identities and has the potential to destroy our sense of meaning and purpose. Leddy assures us that we can escape the…
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Credo

Credo

Holistic, Resource Review
by William Sloane Coffin (Westminster John Knox Press, 2004), ISBN 0-664-22707-4, 192 pp. Review by Joe Bleakley, stewardship specialist and assistant to the bishop of the Central/Southern Illinois Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Editor Stephanie Egnotovitch has stirred together a lifetime of Coffin's thought on the subjects of faith, social justice, patriotism, peace, the church, life, and the end of life. Credo is a gourmet assortment of vintage William Sloane Coffin—advocate, churchman, prophet, revolutionary, and sage While it could be savored as only a leftist-liberal devotional, Credo has potential for more than that. In Credo we all have an opportunity to relish the values that undergird faith in Jesus the Christ and the vision that empowers Christ-like living. In a world that is fond of mixing everything with Christianity, Coffin reminds us that…
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Giving Together: a Stewardship Guide for Families

Giving Together: a Stewardship Guide for Families

Families, Giving, Resource Review
by Carol A. Wehrheim (Westminster John Knox Press, 2004), ISBN 0-664-22689-2, 112 pp. Review by David F. Johnson, director of stewardship education for the Presbyterian Church (USA). Carol Wehrheim is foremost an educator—a good educator. The Association of Presbyterian Church Educators chose her as the 2001 Educator of the Year. Her book is a needed resource for the promotion and encouragement of the practice of stewardship. Two strengths of this book make it an important resource. The first is that it approaches stewardship as a family affair. It is well known that the family has great influence on a person from childhood to adulthood. The lessons that we learn about sharing, accountability, and generosity as we grow up are most importantly shaped by our families. Other social institutions, such as…
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