Financial Freedom God’s Way
Financial Freedom God’s Way
#44 February 3-4, 2024
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Financial Freedom God’s Way
Financial Freedom God’s Way
#44 February 3-4, 2024
/

Seminar: Sharing with Others: Singles
Q&As
Clark Howard: Amazon Prime at $139?
John Maxwell: “Confidence”

(UNEDITED TRANSCRIPT)

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INTRODUCTION

Welcome to Financial Freedom God’s Way Radio. This is where you will learn to identify, apply, and pass on, Bible-based financial principles and applications so that you and your family will not only just survive, but thrive during these very uncertain times.

Hi and welcome everyone, this is Bob Louder from Christian Financial Ministries, and it is an absolute honor to have you with us again, it really is. Now, what is on the schedule for our 30-minute time together today?

  • First is our Radio Seminar. I know you know that God’s Word is important—it is important to you, and it is important to others. However, the question has to come–what “others” are we talking about? With whom can you prayerfully consider sharing some or all of what the Holy Spirit is teaching you about what God has to say about money? I honestly believe that it is part of my job to help you see and consider three underserved groups of people within the Body of Christ who can really use your help. What are these three underserved groups of Christians? They are single parents, Children, and then of course our Senior Citizens. For the next several weeks, we’ll see what the Lord has to say about our responsibilities to help meet the needs of each of these underserved groups within the body of Christ. This week we will start by taking a look at the needs of our single parents and what we can do to help meet their needs.
  • We will also respond to one or two of your questions,
  • Our consumer advocate Clark Howard will give us his opinion if Amazon Prime is worth the $139 annual cost.
  • Finally, Christian author, speaker, teacher, trainer, and coach John Maxwell will share with us His thoughts on the word CONFIDENCE.

So, stay tuned, won’t you.  It is going to be a time together with the Lord you are not going to want to miss.  So, let’s start by making sure He is the one driving this time together—let’s open with a word of prayer.  Father, we thank You for meeting with us, teaching us, and challenging us again today.  Will You please give us ears to hear and the faith to practice all that you have planned for us today, to Your glory, in Jesus’ mighty name we ask, amen.

BODY

Radio Seminar

As we kick off our Radio Seminar time together today, I want you to first recall that God gives you His Word for a really good reason, actually, He gives you His Word for two really good reasons.  Do you remember what they are?  First of all, He expects you to get what He has to say to you—prayerfully, He expects you to get what He has to say to you up and operating in your life—you are to look for applications.  And then secondly, you are to allow His Word to flow through you to be a blessing to others.

So His Word is important—it is important to you and it is important to others.  But the question has to come–what “others” are we talking about?  With whom can you prayerfully consider sharing some or all of what the Lord is teaching you about what God has to say about money?  Who are these “others?”  Now, if you have already asked God this question, then I know that God has already laid some needs on your heart—I know that He already has.  But whether you have asked Him or not, I honestly the Lord wants you to see and consider three underserved groups of people within the Body of Christ that can really, really use your help.  As the matter of fact, my guess is that these same three underserved groups of folks are some of the very folks you are going to find in your own church and in your own Christian community.  What are these three underserved groups of Christians?  They are single parents, Children and then of course our Senior Citizens.  The Lord is going to talk to us about each of these three groups for the next several weeks and today,

…we are going to start with the singles within the Body of Christ.  Why?  Why would we want to start with the singles?  Because in all of the counseling and coaching our ministry has had the privilege to be part of over the last 30+ years or so years, working with Larry Burkett, Crown Ministries, and the Dave Ramsey organization, some the greatest needs we have seen have been in the lives of singles—I’m talking about all singles of all ages.  However, the greatest needs we have found are in the lives of single parents, particularly single moms.

Now, by way of just a little bit of background, in 2021,

  • There were 11M single parent families in the US.
  • 80% of those households were headed by single moms.
  • The median income for a single mom in Georgia was $28,176 as compared to the median income of a two-parent household of $58,700. Now, in case you forgot, the median is the middle number…this is to say that there were just as many single moms who made more than $28,176 as there were who made less than $28,176.

Now, do you happen to know what the Federal poverty level is in Georgia today?  The poverty level for a family of four in GA is right at $33,125 a year—that’s $2700 a month before taxes.

So, what we find is that estimates show that in the State of Georgia, the Median income level for a single mom is below the Federal poverty level for the state of GA.   What this means is that, on average, that single mom is trying to live—she is trying to eek out a living—while operating below the federal poverty level.  So, it doesn’t take much to begin to see the problem, right?  Can you begin to see the problem?  I mean, here’s a woman with dependent children making about half as much as the average family.

Now, given her lack of financial resources, you can bet single moms have a whole bunch of needs, right?  Sure, they do—a whole bunch.  But what are some of the top needs most single moms have?  Well, I want to give you just two or three of them here.  What are some of the top needs single moms have?

  • Well, right off the top—right off the bat—has to be childcare. Now, I don’t know what it costs for childcare where you live—in your part of the country.  But on average, childcare expenses for our local families is $637 per month per child.  That makes childcare one of the biggest expenses the single mom has.  As the matter of fact, some data shows that monthly childcare expense in Georgia can be more that in-state tuition for a 4-year public college.
  • So, this family can spend $637 per month per child IF—that’s if she can find a quality caregiver. And if she can’t find a quality caregiver or she can’t afford a quality caregiver then what she is going to have is either a latch-key kid, or she is going to have well intended grandparents or neighbors, or government sponsored day care centers helping to take care of and help raise her children.  I’m telling you, being a single parent is a hard row to hoe.  So, what is just one thing—one of the top things a single mom needs?  Yes, she needs some childcare help.
  • But then the single mom also needs help with the maintenance of her home and her car. Single women generally have little if any training to do this work themselves, much less the time or money.  Basic maintenance is a big problem.
  • And single moms also need emotional counsel and emotional support.  And they need this counsel and support—listen, they need this counsel and support from both other singles—yes, it’s marvelous to have a singles ministry run by and for singles, now that’s true—but singles need counsel and support from married people as well.  You see, what happens many times is that a man—as part of his supposed “midlife crises”—a man is going to divorce his wife and marry a younger woman.  As a result, what you find many times, is a middle-aged woman with dependent children—she is single, but she does not fit in anywhere.  She doesn’t fit in with the average singles group—the “college and career” crowd—and she doesn’t fit in with the married group any longer—not anymore.  Now, you have to know that most of her friends are who?  Who would most of her friends be?  Sure, most of her friends are going to be married couples because those were the friends she developed when she was married.  However, the fact is, married couples—married couples simply don’t ask divorced women over for dinner very often.  Therefore, this single woman is, and she is going to remain very, very isolated.  As a result, do you know what happens so many times?  Well, many, so very many of these now single moms—and their children—these single moms and their children tend to simply drop out of the church…what a shame.
  • So, yes, single moms, the single moms in your church and the single moms in your community have some very definite needs, and those needs include things like help with their childcare, help with basic maintenance for their homes and cars, as well as their need for emotional counsel and support for themselves and—listen—and they need emotional counsel and support for themselves AND for their children.

Churches have responsibilities.

So, single moms in your church and single moms in your community have some very, very real needs.  Now, that being the case—and it is the case—that being the case, according to the Bible, your church has some responsibilities to help meet those needs.  What can the church do?  What can and should you and your church do?  Very simply, the answer is—get involved and stay involved.  What can this involvement look like?  Let me share with you from experience—let me share with you just some of what I’ve seen God’s people do to help meet the needs of single moms and their children.

  • First of all, your church could offer counseling and coaching—personal spiritual and personal financial coaching and counseling. That’s one thing.
  • Secondly, your church needs to be prepared to help out every now and again with direct financial help. How are they to do that?  Well, one way would be to set up a special benevolence fund—a special benevolence fund for single moms—for singles.
    • Now, this benevolence fund should be geared to initially—initially help meet immediate, short-term needs. Then as your ministry experience grows and maybe as more resources become available, as time goes on, you can consider helping to meet longer term needs.  However, at the start, stick with helping to meet immediate, short-term needs.
    • But whether short term or longer term, I really believe that with a rare, rare exception, you and your church should provide the resource that is needed—do not give the cash for the single to buy what is needed. For example, your church should send the check—the church should send the check to the mortgage company or have someone go with the single mom to buy gasoline or food or clothing or school supplies.  The general rule is to provide the service, not the cash. OK?
    • And it would be well for your benevolence fund to be administered by a benevolence committee—a committee, a group—to be set up to include at least three members, each with different spiritual gifts.
      • For example, one member of your benevolence committee should have the spiritual gift of mercy; they are going to feel sorry for everybody who comes in the door.
      • Another one of your benevolence committee members would need to have the spiritual gift of helps; they are going to want to help everybody who comes through the door.
      • And the third, well, at least one member ought to have the gift of administration to help keep the other two straight.
    • Now, the problem is that in most churches, who do you think is the only member on the church benevolence committee? Yep, you guessed it.  In most churches, particularly in smaller churches, the only member of the benevolence committee is the pastor.  Now, I have to ask you, how many pastors do you know that have the gift of administration?  Now many.  Not many.  You see, a lot of times we force our pastors to work outside their gifts and outside their abilities.  That being the case, a case can be made that the pastor ought not to BE, or not even be a member of the benevolence committee—these are just some good thoughts to consider.
      • So, singles need their church to provide personal and financial coaching and some benevolence support. Now, what else can you and your church do?  Well, you can do a couple of things.  For example, you can help organize help groups to help take care of the home and car maintenance issues.  For example, I know of a lot of churches get some of the men and women of the church together every now and again—on a regular basis but maybe only once or twice a month, maybe only once a month—and they offer free car clinics for single parents.  The singles bring in their cars and the folks at the church will do such things as rotate the tires, change the oil, check the fluids, and replace burnt out light bulbs.  And by the way, these same types of groups can go out and help with basic home maintenance issues as well.
      • What else can you do? You can help out with the childcare.  I know some churches that have their single parents come in for financial coaching.  Then, that same church will provide childcare for whatever the single can afford based on their budget—whether it’s inside the church or whether the church pays to have the childcare done outside the church—the church’s policy is “Whatever you can afford to pay, that is what it’s going to cost you.”  –good program.
      • You and your church can arrange to provide a biblical “Father image” for the children of single moms. For example, I know of some churches that have father-son days out, but the kicker is, if you are a dad, you can’t take your own son.  You have to take someone else’s’ son—you have to take a single mom’s son.  Only, before you can spend the day with a child who is not your own, your own child needs to sit with the pastor and agree that their dad has that child’s permission to spend the day with another child.  Wow, that speaks to the quality of the father/son relationship, doesn’t it?
      • And again, I have to encourage you, do not give money. Give the help.  But what you need to do is to be able to give them the help they need.  Provide the services so that you—so that you and your church don’t become part of the problem.

Single moms have responsibilities.

So, single moms have some needs—yes, they do.  And your church—you and your church have some responsibilities to help meet those needs—absolutely you do.  But so too do single moms have some responsibilities.  Let’s take a look.

  • Single moms should be involved with the church, both in receiving and in giving. What you need to do is to be able to do is to give the single mom a chance to reciprocate.  True, her resources are very, very limited—particularly her time and her money—but given good support from the church, single moms can be very creative, and they can be very productive.  For example, they can help by preparing some baked goods for some or all of the church activities and meetings—they can do the baking with the supplies provided by the church.  Single moms may also be able to do things like help out in the nursery or perhaps even help out with it comes to visiting the shut-ins.
  • And, and single moms must also learn—listen, they must learn to live a very disciplined lifestyle, not only to survive economically, but also to survive socially. What do I mean here?  Why?  Because there will always going to be the critics in the church who will be all too quick to bring accusations against single moms of any age or in any situation.
  • Also, if a single mom turns to the church for help, she should also expect to submit to church spiritual and financial discipline to include to willingly taking part in financial and parenting classes, and seminars and workshops, and all the rest.
  • But most importantly—most importantly, single moms must learn very quickly to shed their pride so they can share their needs. Now, having just said that I have to admit that sharing your needs is a hard thing to do even if you are not a single mom—am I right or am I right?  I don’t know about you, but I know in my life I would much rather offer to help someone else in need rather than admit that I need myself and ask for help—ouch–pride.  It’s the same way with singles.  Singles, especially, particularly single moms, they have the right to expect that the body of Christ in which they worship is going to help meet their needs.  But remember, the Lord said that He would tear down the house of the proud.  So, unless your single moms are willing to go before your church and say “Church, I really need some help,” unless they are willing to do that, your single moms are not likely to receive the help they need and both your church and your single moms and their families are going to suffer the consequences.

So, there you have it…the first of three likely “underserved” groups of folks in your church happens to be the single parents in your church—single moms and single dads.  You have seen their needs, some of the things you and other like-minded folks can do to help meet those needs, and you have also seen some of the responsibilities singles have as they receive help.

My friend, if you didn’t already know—and I think you probably do—recognizing and meeting the needs of the likely underserved members of your church and community is a critically important topic, and it deserves a whole lot more time than what we’re giving it here.  I can only pray that God will touch your heart and help you see the needs single moms and their children have and, and some ways you can get involved and help meet just some of those needs.  The Lord led us to consider singles this week.  Next week He will talk with us about seeing and helping meet the needs of the children in our church and community.

Now I realize that information came fast and furious today so why not consider re-listening to this program by going to our website at www.christianfinancialministries.org. that’s www.christianfinancialministries.org .  

A&As

Rev Louder, I’m a new Christian and a member of a church that takes an offering at each service.  I find myself a bit resentful when the offering plate is passed.  It like the church is begging people to give to God’s word.  Is it appropriate for churches to do this?

John, first of all, praise the Lord and welcome to the family of God.  You’ve started on an adventure of a lifetime that will last for eternity.  As you will learn, the Bible has a whole lot to say about giving but you bring up couple of great points we haven’t talked about.

  • First, the Bible does not regulate how the offering should be collected. However, in 1 Corinthians 16: 1-2, the Apostle Paul does direct a local church to collect money.  Here’s what he says:  “Now about the collection for the Lord’s people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do. On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.”  The first day of the week was Sunday and that was the normal worship day in the Corinthian church.  So Paul was asking them to put aside money on Sunday, very possibly during a church gathering.  As you will learn as you visit other churches, the passing of a collection plate or having collecting boxes in the church are traditions of the modern church.  I don’t believe any Christian should be offended by this.  I suggest you don’t think of it as a sign of begging, but as a reminder to support God’s work.
  • But then in 2 Corinthians 9:7we find that “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, but out of both obedience and out of a joyful conviction that we are to help others as the Lord directs our heart.  To me this means we need to Focus our time and energy on what we can give to others rather than what we can get from them.   John, it’s been said that we make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.  I hope this helps.

Clark Howard

John Maxwell

CONCLUSION

And that does wrap up our time for today, but before we close, I want to share something with you.  As you know, the Lord is building Christian Financial Ministries with a group of volunteers who have a heart to give back by way of community service.  Right now, we are asking the Him to bring us a volunteer Administrative Assistant.  If you live in the Hiawassee, Young Harris, or Hayesville area, have a few hours available each week to serve as mutually agreed, and would like to talk about the Administrative Assistant job description, please give me a call at 678-386-2640; that’s 678-386-2640.  Or you can see a copy of the job description on the front page of our website at www.christianfinancialministries.org.  We would love to have you join the Lord’s team here at Christian Financial Ministries.

Now, well now, let’s close in prayer.

Father, we thank you for bringing us together and teaching us today and for each of the days yet to come to Your glory in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Have a blessed rest of your day won’t you, and we’ll see you next time as we continue down your personal road to Financial Freedom God’s Way.