Category Archives: Money

Random Thought Thursday: April 3, 2014

Miguel Cabrera 15
I’d be smiling too. Miguel Cabrera who plays baseball for the Detroit Tigers will make $49, 423 every time he comes to the plate to bat – for the next 10 years.  The median annual income of a household in Michigan is $48,471 per year. Honestly, I think his salary is ridiculous – as are the salaries of many professional athletes. Kind of makes me sick.

KenalogTwo weeks ago, I declared my willingness to pay large amounts of money for allergy help. Allergy season here in New Mexico has been miserable so far. Well, I’m happy to report that I found the silver bullet – and it only cost me a $50 co-pay! The magic serum called Kenalog was pumped into my veins 2 weeks ago, and in about 48 hours, all of my allergy symptoms were gone. I no longer even have to take an allergy pill!

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Now that my son has committed to run at the University of New Mexico, I can – with a clear conscience – wear the shirt that my wife bought me for Christmas a few years back. Her motives were pure. She bought me a really nice “Lobos” long-sleeve shirt, but it wasn’t until I opened it on Christmas morning and held it up that she noticed the word “Dad” was merged into the design. She had purchased me a shirt made for dads of UNM students! I made sure to mention this to Taylor as he was making his final decision. I asked him if he would be willing to choose his college based on my need to legitimately wear the shirt. I’m pretty sure this was the deciding factor in his decision.

Taylor

Speaking of Taylor, his 18th birthday is Sunday. His draft registration card came in the mail this week, which was a sober reminder to Michelle and I that he is now an adult. We’re so proud of the young man Taylor has become. He’s a pure joy to all of us in his family. His dedication to the Lord, to his school work, to running, and to serving others is admirable. Will you join me in wishing him a happy birthday over the next few days?

Holy Payday!

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A website called “The Richest” just published an article called Living On A Prayer: 5 Richest Holy Men in which they feature a list of the top 10 richest ministers world-wide. I’m still trying to figure out why the title says 5 when they list 10. Anyway, I found the list to be quite interesting. I had no clue one could make so much in the ministry. Needless to say, I didn’t quite make the list. Here it is…

10. Bishop Eddie Long, senior pastor of the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in North Carolina. Net worth: $5 million.

9. Al Sharpton, American civil rights activist, radio show host and Baptist minister in Brooklyn, New York. Net worth: $5 million.

 8. Matthew Ashimolowo, pastor of Kingsway International Christian Center in the UK. Net worth: $6 million.

7. Temitope Joshua, pastor of Synagogue Church of All Nations in Nigeria. Net worth: $10 million.

6. Jesse Jackson, Baptist minister and American civil rights activist. Net worth: $10 million.

5. Billy Graham, Southern Baptist evangelist.
Net worth: $25 million.

4. Creflo Dollar, founder and senior pastor of the World Changers Church in Fulton, Georgia. Net worth: $27 million.

3. Benny Hinn, evangelist, author and host of This is Your Day TV show. Net worth: $42 million.

2. Chris Oyakhilome, founder of the Believers’ Loveworld Ministries, also known as Christ Embassy, in Nigeria.
Net worth: $50 million.

1. Bishop David Oyedepo, founder and pastor of the Living Faith World Outreach Ministry in Nigeria. Net worth: $150 million.

Kick A 103 Year-Old Woman To The Curb?

A Georgia judge ruled yesterday that a 103 year-old woman and her 83 year-old daughter were to be evicted from their home because it foreclosed, so he sent the sheriff department out to do it.  But, the sheriff department couldn’t do it, and neither could the movers.  So they left.  And after receiving pressure from the community, the bank decided to back off as well!  Watch this report and see how this 103 year-old woman never doubted that the Lord would care for her.

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God, Goods, and Hoarding

I will admit that I have watched a couple of episodes of “Hoarders” on A&E.  I’m fascinated by how incredibly bizarre the lives are of those who hoard.  Their houses are packed from top to bottom with things that they just can’t find the willpower to part with. They hoard and stash valuable things all the way down to gum wrappers until there is hardly any room in their homes for them to move around…and that’s when the cameras show up.  The people featured on this show have a serious problem, and their hoarding is often a result of some mental or emotional illness or disorder.

But I don’t hoard like that.  I’m not like them.  I throw things away, and I even give things away to those in need – sometimes.  Plus, I’m married to a woman with the gift of hospitality, which is accompanied by the gift of housecleaning. She has taught me well!  Hoarders have a problem.  I don’t.

Or do I?  Obviously the kind of hoarding featured on the show is the extreme, but after reading this quote by one of my Christian heroes, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, I’m not so sure I don’t have a problem myself.  He wrote these words in his benchmark book, The Cost of Discipleship:

“Earthly goods are given to be used, not to be collected. In the wilderness God gave Israel the manna every day, and they had no need to worry about food and drink. Indeed, if they kept any of the manna over until the next day, it went bad. In the same way, the disciple must receive his portion from God every day. If he stores it up as a permanent possession, he spoils not only the gift, but himself as well, for he sets his heart on accumulated wealth, and makes it a barrier between himself and God. Where our treasure is, there is our trust, our security, our consolation and our God. Hoarding is idolatry.”

I’m not convinced that having a savings is sin, nor am I convinced that I should give everything I own away and expect God to replenish me anew every morning with the things I gave away the day before.  Many of the things I have are things God has given me that I need for the sustenance of me and my family.  However, I have many things I don’t need.

I’ve moved my family 11 times in the 18 years I’ve been married.  I’ve hauled a lot of things from place to place to place.  I’m also well aware that there are many in my scope of influence who do not have what they need.  I have dabbled in hoarding, and I don’t think I feel very good about it after all.  May the Lord continue to press on us the truth that He has blessed us in order to be a blessing to others, and may He remind us often of these words penned by the Apostle Paul.

I do not mean that others should be eased and you burdened, but that as a matter of fairness your abundance at the present time should supply their need, so that their abundance may supply your need, that there may be fairness.  As it is written, “Whoever gathered much had nothing left over, and whoever gathered little had no lack.” (2 Corinthians 8:13-15)

Always Bigger. Always Better. The American Way.

I remember the day Michelle and I replaced our 13-inch television with a 25-inch model.  We were in awe and sat in wonder as we watched our favorite TV shows on the “big screen.”  After about 8 years, we then upgraded to a 32-inch massively large TV screen.  And then in our 15th year of marriage, we made the leap again – from a lame 32-inch model to a huge-antic 42-inch flat screen.  At this rate, we should peak out at a screen the size of those in the cinemas by the time we hit 50 years together.  Always bigger.  Always better.  It’s the American way.

Last year, the Dallas Cowgirls (I mean Cowboys, excuse me) revealed a jumbotron to top all jumbotrons in their new stadium.  Its dimensions are staggering: 72 feet tall and 160 feet wide.  If you’ve seen it on TV, you know that the screen is just massive.  It hangs in the middle of the new stadium and has been known to block punts.  No one could have ever fathomed a screen that large, and the thought of yet a bigger screen was simply unheard of…until now.

The Charlotte Motor Speedway decided to one-up the screen in Dallas with a screen that will measure 80-feet tall by 200-feet wide – nearly 30 percent larger.  The screen will be made up of 158 panels consisting of 9 million LED bulbs, and the entire structure — which will weigh 650,000 pounds when complete, will reach more than 110 feet in the air.  Always bigger.  Always better.  After reading about all of this, I’m just not sure my 42-inch screen is adequate.  I’m praying that God will give me the money to buy a larger screen soon.  Will you join me in praying?  I think He’s all for the American way of bigger and better.

Isn’t He?

Christian Charities with the Highest Administrative Costs

I ran across some interesting information on-line this morning, and I thought I’d share some of it with you.  The non-profit Charity Navigator web site tracks expenses via charities’ disclosure statements to the IRS to provide donors with an assessment of how well charities run themselves. A few Christian charities made their top 20 list of charities with the highest administrative costs.  Here are the three national Christian charities that made the list:

Gospel to the Unreached Millions (GUM) / Administrative expenses: 43.1%
Based in Houston, this evangelical ministry is one of the least efficient in translating donations into international programs designed to spread its spiritual message. With administrative expenses topping 43% and fund-raising expenses more than 38% of its total budget, GUM was able to disburse a mere 18% of incoming money to the targeted recipients of aid in its last reported fiscal year, 2006. Managing a budget of almost $1.5 million, GUM has a poor track record of directing that cash to its evangelical programs.

Changed Lives / Administrative expenses: 47.4%
Changed Lives is a Christian organization based in Tennessee whose message of Biblical values is broadcast streaming over the internet to followers around the world. Carried by speaker Ben Haden, who began his broadcasting career at NBC in 1967, Changed Lives features video lectures on a number of spiritual topics and distributes Bibles and other religious literature for free to its supporters. While the organization’s revenues have increased over the last three reported years, its overhead has more than kept pace, pushing administrative expenses to over 47 percent of the group’s 2008 budget of around $790,000.

American Tract Society / Administrative expenses: 68.0%
Topping the list of America’s worst charities is an organization that spent more than $1.6 million dollars on its administrative expenses in 2007, over twice what it spent the previous year. The American Tract Society, based in Texas, distributes religious literature to spread its message around the world. With a history of low ratings from Charity Navigator, the group’s administrative expenses have consistently outpaced the amount of donations coming in. While the group receives income from other sources than contributions, donors to the American Tract Society may be surprised to know that the recipient is the most inefficient in the country at maximizing the impact of its donations.

Obviously, this research does not speak to the effectiveness of these charities at accomplishing their stated goals, but it does lend insight into how each one spends the money that they collect from their donors.