Your Money or Your Life: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence

Your Money or Your Life: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence

Resource Review, Simple Living
by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin (Penguin Books, 1992) Review by Dave Klumpp, stewardship resourcer for the Arkansas/Oklahoma Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Why review a thirteen-year-old book from an essentially secular source for a religious audience? Good things endure. Reading this book and writing a “money autobiography” were my most helpful experiences when I signed on to become a resource person for stewardship. If you haven't read this book and put your own “house in order,” it's time you did. Joe Dominguez was a successful financial analyst on Wall Street before retiring at age thirty-one. This book grew out of workshops he and Vicki Robin conducted around the country to help people move toward financial intelligence, integrity, and independence. Debunking the “more is better” myth, they…
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The Art of Debt-Free Living: Living Large on Less Than You Earn

The Art of Debt-Free Living: Living Large on Less Than You Earn

Money management, Resource Review, Simple Living
By Deborah J. Nayrocker (Winepress Publishing, 2005) Review by Michael Meier, associate executive for mission support for the Synodical Relations unit of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. This is one of the better books available to help Christians with personal money management. It is accessible, practical, and encouraging, and it includes a number of helpful tables and worksheets. Nayrocker begins with a brief description of the current culture's financial realities and pitfalls. She then discusses roadblocks to becoming debt-free. After describing the benefits of debt-free living, the author invites the reader to do a financial self-analysis and to develop a manageable plan for getting on the right track. She emphasizes following through to achieve debt-free living. One chapter eloquently makes the case for giving and generosity. This book encourages…
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On Paradise Drive: How We Live Now (and Always Have) in the Future Tense

On Paradise Drive: How We Live Now (and Always Have) in the Future Tense

Holistic, Resource Review
By David Brooks (Simon and Schuster, 2005) Review by John A. Kroschel, who serves with the Upstate New York Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. In On Paradise Drive, David Brooks takes us on a tour of middle-America that is poignant, entertaining, and oftentimes satirical, but always thought provoking. Brooks describes our motivations and our longings, noting that just out of reach, just beyond the next ridge, just with the next home or entrepreneurial scheme or diet plan; just with the next political hero, the next credit-card purchase, or the next true love; just with the right all-terrain vehicle, the right summer home, the right meditation technique, or the right motivational seminar; just with the right schools, the right community values, and the proper morality; just with the…
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Time Warped: First-Century Time Stewardship for Twenty-First-Century Living

Time Warped: First-Century Time Stewardship for Twenty-First-Century Living

Resource Review, Simple Living, Stewardship, Workbook
by Steve Ganger (Herald Press, 2004) Review by Leonard Dale, stewardship specialist for the Central States Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Steve Ganger believes that being good stewards of our time brings us closer to God. His book emphasizes holistic stewardship, which looks at the interconnectedness of relationships, money, health, talents, and time. One of the challenges for busy modern day people is the appropriate use of the time God has given. Time Warped looks at society's inclination toward busyness and offers practical steps for seeking God's wholeness. No one who keeps a schedule, has a PDA, or looks for free time in their daybook can argue with the principles Steve Ganger lifts up. Less is more, balance is normal, the tyranny of time, the real meaning of rest…
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Offerings of the Heart: Money and Values in Faith Communities

Offerings of the Heart: Money and Values in Faith Communities

Congregations, Resource Review
By Shawn Israel Zevit (Alban Institute, 2005) Review by Barbara Fullerton, stewardship development officer for The United Church of Canada. This theologically reflective book discusses money and values in faith communities. It offers fresh viewpoints from the Jewish historical tradition that are biblically grounded in our shared Hebrew scripture. A Jewish spiritual perspective that money is a tool for actualizing God's presence in the world is a core value for this book's systems approach to fundraising, inviting resource sharing for the repairing of lives and of God's world. What a welcome insight to realize we are not “raising” money but “organizing” money already in our faith communities! It is also delightful to read in another faith tradition something we teach in the Christian church—that stewardship is about getting our money…
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Ask, Thank, Tell: Improving Stewardship Ministry in Your Congregation

Congregations, Resource Review, Stewardship
By Charles Lane (Augsburg Fortress, 2006) Review by Michael Meier, associate executive for mission support for the Synodical Relations unit of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Charles “Chick” Lane has written a guidebook for congregational leaders that is refreshingly new in a number of ways. First, the book begins by emphasizing that the goal of stewardship ministry is not to raise enough money to pay the bills, but rather to help God's people grow in their relationship with Jesus through the use of the time, talents and finances God has entrusted to them. The author speaks at length about the importance of growing disciples and provides practical guidance for that effort. There is an excellent section about God's ownership of all we have. Chapter three discusses wealth and possessions in…
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