I read this the other day and could not help but share it … so so true!

One of the lessons I’ve learned while being in the ministry for the past 40+ years is sometimes what people say isn’t exactly true…things such as… 

(WARNING…you will probably only like this post if you are a pastor or a staff member of a church!) 

What They Say: “I’m looking for a church that preaches the Word!” 

What They Mean: “I’m looking for a church that preaches MY view of the Word. I think the BLANK translation should be used…I think BLANK should be talked about a lot while BLANK should be ignored. And if you ever stop preaching my view of the Word I will leave and tell others that you don’t preach the Word!” 

What They Say: “Lot’s of people have been coming to me and saying they don’t like this…” 

What They Mean: “I basically only have three friends…and all of them think exactly like me. The other night we were enjoying a time of self righteousness because, after all, we are right about everything…and were also slandering you (in the form of prayer requests) and thought it would be wise to approach you with our pet peeve. We’ve actually talked to no one else about this but said “lots” because we wanted to validate our dysfunction.” 

What They Say: “I’m leaving the church.” 

What They Mean: “Beg me to stay. If you will just ask me I will share with you several ways you can compromise God’s vision that He’s given you, thus becoming nothing more than a people pleasing pastor who is more interested in popularity than obedience. If you don’t bow to my demands I will remind you that I tithe and that the church needs my money, reducing you to a mere preaching whore…one who is paid for a service for the pleasure of another person.” 

What They Say: “I want a church that is more focused on discipleship.” 

What They Mean: “I want a church where everyone knows me and how important I am! I don’t want to reach people who are different from me, be it economic class or race or even musical preference. I already know WAY more than I do…but I somehow equate spirituality with knowledge rather than application and I rather enjoy feeling intellectually superior to those who don’t know as much as me.” 

What They Say: “Don’t take this personally…but…” 

What They Mean: “I am about to lower the BOOM on you…but you can’t get angry because I told you not to take it personally. Even though you have dedicated your life to this and pretty much invest every ounce of energy you have to this cause…and I think about it once or twice a week…you need to receive my attacks, even when they are personal…and you cannot retaliate because, remember, it’s not personal.” 

OKAY, that was fun! I typed it all with a smile. Trust me…I’m not mad or frustrated with anyone…I just thought a pastor or two MIGHT get a smile out of this. 🙂 


One of the struggles that I feel Christians face is the one to stay focused…here are a few things that I am currently learning and trying to apply when it comes to F-O-C-U-S 


If focus is going to be maintained…it isn’t going to happen by accident, you will have to fight for it. 

Let me drill down on this for a second…in the last meeting I had with my mentor he mentioned that a move of God will have two characteristics… 

It will fire people up!
It will piss people off!
And caution MUST be taken with both groups… 

The first group…out of pure passion…will want to do more than God has actually given you the vision for…they will want to add things to it. BUT…in order to be true to God and His calling we simply must do what the Lord has led us to do…no more, no less. 

There are also some lazy people in the group who often want to piggy back their idea on the vision God has shared with you. They will call and begin to tell you that the church needs to capitalize on certain opportunities…but when they are challenged to lead the charge in the idea they are bringing up…they will often make a remark about how they don’t have time. 

I usually share two thoughts with people like this… 

#1 – If God placed something in your heart to do…then do it, don’t delegate it and then think you’ve honoured Him! 

#2 – Your burden will never become my passion! 

The second group…out of pure stupidity…will begin to attack the vision and tear you down personally and even go as far to tell you all of the reasons that what you want to see happen cannot happen. 

I seem to have the spiritual gift of pissing people off…and I’m perfectly okay with that…if I am constantly making people happy then I’m not hearing from Jesus! 

I don’t try to make people angry just for the sake of doing so…I would say that is sinful…but I’ve GOT to be true to the vision He’s placed in me…and when people get angry and criticize the plan…it fires me up!! 

That is why…as a leader and a disciple…you’ve GOT to be willing to fight for the dream and desire that God has placed within you. 

F = Fight

O = Optimistic

Call me crazy…but I am an optimist…I always see the glass half full! Let me be very clear…I’ve never met a person who enjoyed or embraced a pessimistic leader or even a believer for that matter. 

Sure, we will all have our days marked with doubt; however, if a leader doesn’t fully believe in the vision that he or she is casting…and at the first sign of resistance want to throw up their hands and quit…then how in the world do they expect other people to fully buy in? 

If God places something inside of you…then you have to believe what His Word says in Philippians 1:6…that HE began that work…and HE will complete it. 

NO ONE can be held accountable for the optimism in relation to the vision other than the leader. And so…if the people around you don’t seem to be optimistic…take a look in the mirror before talking down to them. 


Many times God will change things up in order to get us to focus on Him more…and one of my prayers lately has been, “God, please DESTROY my preconceived notions of how church should be done and place YOUR HEART, MIND and DESIRES in me!” 

In reading through the book of Acts lately it has been so clear to me that God had to do some MAJOR changing in the church to get them to remain focused. 

In Acts 2 He changed the idea that the church was supposed to remain a group of 120 people who were committed to being “deep!” 

In Acts 6:1-7 He changed the idea that the pastor needed to do everything & the people were merely to observe and not participate. 

In Acts 8 He changed the idea that church is always safe.
In Acts 9 He changed the idea that some people are beyond the reach of His grace. 

In Acts 10 He took Peter through a very uncomfortable experience in order to change the notion that the Gospel is limited to a group of people who looked and acted just like him. 

Intense focus requires allowing God to change us in order that our attention on Him may become more intense! Change isn’t always comfortable…but it is often necessary. 

I personally believe that many churches are a change or two away from experiencing God’s blessing and favour like never before…just my opinion! 


If we are going to remain focused as leaders then we’ve got to understand that God is in complete control…despite what our current circumstances are telling us. 

In any significant move of God that I’ve ever had the privilege of being a part of…there was always a phase in which I begin to ask questions like… 

Has God forgotten about me? Has God abandoned me?
Did I hear correctly?
Is God on a coffee break? 

I think we’ve all been there…and it is often during these times that He teaches me how HUGE He is…how He is always working…and that HIS plans will take place in HIS ways in HIS time…and that I am not the one who gets to direct His will…but rather participate in it! 

When things seem most out of control…He is most in control! We cannot proclaim to be believers in the Sovereignty of God and then freak out at the first sign of the wheels coming off! 

Understand this…no matter what happens…no matter WHAT happens…God is still God…He still reigns…He is not worried…we shouldn’t be either! 


The more we having going on in our lives and our ministry the less we can pay attention to. 

Please read that sentence again… 

God didn’t call me to do everything…and He didn’t call you to either! 

One of the goals I am setting for 2022 is to continue to simplify my life and the ministry that I am in charge of. 

Making things simple allows me to enjoy the quality of my life more…and allows me to actually accomplish more than I ever thought possible. 

I pity the pastor that feels like he must do everything and refuses to seek the face of Jesus and beg Him to reveal the gifting in his life…and then pursue that revelation with every single ounce of energy he has. 

Leaders and believers have GOT to be about hearing from Jesus as to why He put us on this earth “for such a time as this!” 

Look at the life of Jesus–how in the world did He accomplish so much in three years? Simple– he was focused…He kept things simple and honoured His Father first! 

What are the things you need to stop doing? Hint…they are the things that bring you the least amount of joy and sense of fulfillment…they are the things that you dread…and they are the things that keep you from being who God called you to be–and you do them out of a sense of guilt rather than a sense of destiny. 

Make a list…cross things off…simplify…focus! 

An Aha Moment.

 Sometimes it is good to ask yourself a series of questions. And, if we answer them honestly and don’t become defensive we can, at times, even have an Aha Moment. But, if nothing else happens we will be a little more in touch with ourselves and that is always a good thing.

1. What is it that God has called you to do? 2. What is unique about you – the strength or ability that you bring to the table, the relationship, or the thing God has spoken to you about?
3. What is your single greatest strength?
4. How can you change to be better organized to move forward in life?
5. How do you need to connect with and build relationally with?
6. What three things would you do to give you a 50% increase in your your satisfaction level in your life (or to decrease your level of frustration)?                               7. Do you know why you do what you do?
8. What are you most excited about?
9. What is your biggest obstacle?
10. What three changes could you make right now that would be most pleasing to God?

Just some thing to think about as we are about to start a new year.


Recently I noted in my journal seven things that I honestly feel each minister…heck, EACH CHRIST FOLLOWER must be willing to do if we want to have an effective ministry / lead an effective life. 

(I took this out of John 14-16, some of the richest teachings of Jesus…in my opinion!) 

#1 – We Have Got To Be Willing To Serve – John 13:1-5 

I often joke with my people that I do not have the spiritual gift of mercy or compassion; however, that is not an excuse for me to be unmerciful in all that I do. 

There are times when we are called out of our comfort zone…and our gift zone…to serve people in a way we’ve never served them before. We must be willing to be stretched this way by the Holy Spirit and the needs of others. 

If anything is “beneath” us…then we truly are not beneath Christ!

#2 – We Must Be Willing To Love – John 13:34-35

Christians fight too much–period!
Jesus said that the world will know we are His by the love we have for one another. 

When someone doesn’t believe the particular brand of theology we embrace…we need to love them anyway. I am begging God to raise up a generation of leaders who do not feel that everyone needs to be the same…and who are secure enough to learn from people who do not believe exactly like them. 

Jesus didn’t say they will know we are His disciples by the way we blog against one another OR attack one another…but by the love we have for one another. 

As I mature I am learning that I can love a brother or sister in Christ without having to agree with everything they say. 

#3 – We’ve Got To Be Willing To Trust – John 14:1
If I could apply this verse my life would be so much better!!! 

We live in a world that is completely out of control…and because of that we often make the mistake of thinking that God has lost control. 

But reality is this (if you are in ministry) – God wants your church to grow more than you want it to! God wants your life to be abundant way more than you do… 

One of the mistakes I have made so often is thinking that if I don’t preach well that the Kingdom of God is in danger…not true. 

One of my sins is that I take myself way to seriously. Sure, I need to spend time studying and preparing for the message…but at the end of the day I’ve got to trust that God is going to do all that I cannot do! 

And so…there needs to come a point where we desperately trust Him…even though we may not be able to see Him! 

The world needs way less of me…WAY more of Him! (John 3:30)

#4 – We’ve Got To Dream Big – John 14:12
Out of all the verses in Scripture that both excite and confuse me–this one takes the cake. 

However, I believe what Jesus said here is true…and so one of the things I always want to be accused of is dreaming big. 

How about you? For some reason the children of the King are the smallest dreamers on the planet. 

And personally..I’ve seen way too many people live for lesser dreams when God has an Ephesians 3:20 life that is merely a prayer away! 

I personally think the church should be outdoing Netflix and Disney! I think we have not only the ability to create…but the POWER of the HOLY SPIRIT! Having Him actually empowers us to both dream big and then accomplish the very dreams that He placed inside of us! 

I believe God wants MORE for the church…and I want to see what Jesus was talking about in this verse happen! 

#5 – We’ve Got To Be Willing To Stay Connected – John 14:15, John 14:21, John 15:5 

Jesus said if we love Him that we will obey Him…but the only way to do this is by staying connected with Him on a consistent basis. 

I believe that satan doesn’t want to necessarily make us sin…he just wants to get us so busy that we don’t have time to consistently connect with Christ. 

When I travel my computer will often flash up a message, “You are about to lose power–please connect to a power source and recharge your battery before you lose everything.” 

DANG…I think Jesus was saying that same thing in John 15:5! 

One of the biggest temptations of a Christian leader is to become busy. Most of us have cell phones and gadgets strapped around our belt…we don’t look like a Christian leader – we look like flippin’ Batman. I once read, “If I were satan I would invent a device that people carried that made sure their calendar was always in front of them!” 

The enemy can make us so busy that we don’t necessarily sin…we just don’t have the time to live our lives in complete obedience! 

#6 – We’ve Got To Be Willing To Play When We Are Hurt – John 15:18 

Life hurts…pastors and Christians are often carrying wounds with them…but–we CAN’T GIVE UP! 

Jesus went to a cross…and took a beating before He went. The least we can do is endure a little criticism and being kicked out of the social club at work and school! 

Leaders: if you are leading then you will be condemned and criticized…move on…play hurt…and talk to God a lot about it. David, a man after God’s own heart, did in the Psalms. He was so honest with God that it scares me just a little. 

Leaders–we need to play when we are hurt. If the devil takes us out it needs to be done in WAY more dramatic fashion that a blogger, and anonymous letter or a church member on his 4th church because “he can’t find one to meet his needs!” 

#7 – We’ve Got To Be Willing To Be Spirit Led – John 16:12-14 

One of the most awesome privileges of following Christ is having Jesus with me every single day through the presence of His Holy Spirit. 

I am NEVER alone…and I do not have to figure life out all by myself. 

I always advise leaders and Christians to take some time to pray…and then LISTEN. I believe that God is ALWAYS speaking…but many times we aren’t listening, thus being the reason that we miss Him at times. 

I have made SO many mistakes in life when I didn’t listen to the Spirit’s leadership! 



So what’s involved in changing something up? 

C = Calculation 

If a change is going to be made I believe some time must be spent investigating the possible outcomes that will be associated with it. Some of the biggest mistakes I’ve made as a leader have been changing something without thinking it through. 

H = Hesitation 

When it comes to changing something that we’ve established…we always hesitate. Don’t get me wrong, I think pausing before making the change is healthy…however, when hesitation turns into an excuse to delay the obvious…problems WILL occur. 

A = Anticipate Resistance 

The very first reaction to change will always be some sort of resistance. As I leader I am coming more and more to understand that the first question a person runs through their mind when change is introduced is, “How is this going to impact me?” And…if they detect that it may impact them in any negative sort of way…their natural tendency is to resist. 

N = Necessary 

Change is SO necessary! That statement was EASY to accept when we first began because we were changing the ways that other people did things; however, in the past couple of years or so it has become a sobering reality that the changes that are necessary are things we once thought of as edgy and innovative…which ISN’T easy…but, like I said…is necessary. 

G = God Factor 

What changes are God telling you to make? This could be personal…or even church wide. I know that He’s been speaking into me very directly lately and telling me some personal changes that I need to make in regards to the ways I lead myself and His church. God isn’t a dull God…and so following Him should never be either. He isn’t telling me the “why’s” right now…just the “what’s”…and getting comfortable with that has been an adjustment…but a good one! 

E = Expectation 

Whenever God leads us to change–we can expect fruit to come out of it. (See John 15:4-5) I have found myself getting way too nervous in the past when God leads me to change something when, in reality, I have NEVER screwed anything up by simply being completely obedient to Him– even when that includes MAJOR change. 


The other morning I spent some time reading through Isaiah 42 and Isaiah 43…and several questions popped into my mind that I thought might be beneficial if I shared. 

Isaiah 42:1, “Look at my servant, whom I strengthen. He is my chosen one who pleases me. I have put my Spirit upon him. He will bring justice to the nations.” 

Question #1 – Am I living a life that fully pleases God? 

I once heard it said, “You can please God and disappoint people, or you can disappoint God and please people…but you can’t do both.” How true that is.

As I look back in life some of my biggest mistakes have been when I’ve… 

Tried to please myself – Seriously, I am probably one of the most selfish people that I know. I can honestly say that 99.9% of the time things have gone wrong it is because of my selfish desires. The Bible says in James 4:1-3 that this attitude is just not a good thing to have– ever. ANYTIME I place what pleases me in front of what pleases God–I screw up. 

Tried to please others – One of the largest temptations a Christian leader faces is the one to try and please everyone. It can’t be done. If you are a leader (or a human being for that matter) SOMEONE is always going to be angry with you…no matter what you do. AND you will also discover that everyone has an opinion as to how you should live your life and handle your ministry. 

(Remember–opinions are like rear ends…everyone has one and MOST of them are incredible large and stink!) 

The verse spoke volumes to me. I literally stopped and prayed when I read it, asking God to show me how to live a life that is FULLY pleasing to Him. 

That’s what I want…more than anything in the world. And in doing so I know I will have to cast some things aside AND be willing to disappoint people. 

How about you–would you be willing to ask God that question? 

#2 – Am I allowing anything to cause me to lose heart? 

We live in a very discouraging world; in fact, I believe that discouragement is one of the number one weapons the enemy will use to try and strike at people–especially Christian leaders. 

And so…if there are things that cause me to lose heart, that take away my joy…then I MUST continually remove them from my life. 

That is why I don’t read certain blogs anymore–they were joy killers. (And for believers out there who says you do it and it doesn’t effect you–you are full of crap, it’s ripping your joy out– STOP IT!) 

I have literally had to decide to not hang out with certain people because, after meeting with them I wanted to set my head on fire and have it put out with a sledgehammer. 

(I know that doesn’t sound very godly…but if everyone would be honest for just a second–we all have people like that in our lives…it’s just that many don’t have the courage to admit it!) 

I can’t allow discouragement to take a hold in my life–Scripture says in Ephesians 4:27 that we should not allow the devil to have a foothold…and one of his STRONGEST footholds on believers and church leaders is discouragement. 

That is why I don’t see hateful and mean spirited emails and letters…all it does is take a shot at my soul. I am open to rebuke…in love, but that never makes it way to me in an unsigned letter or anonymous email. 

What needs to be removed from your life to protect you from discouragement? 

The Bible states: “Sing a new song to the Lord…” Isaiah 42:10 (NLT), 

#3 – What “old song” must I stop singing to make room for something new that God wants to place in my heart? 

Every church leader and planter is going to face this issue one day. 

I have planted a number of churches … and worked closely with many others. And, in each case the traditions that the leaders are now having to attack are the ones that they helped to develop. The ideas that we are now calling “outdated” are the ones that were once a brand new thought in our minds. 

Honestly, there are times when I have been in a meeting and have wanted to halt the conversation because, well, to be honest, I didn’t like what was being discussed. It was tearing away at what I had shed hours of blood, sweat and tears over…but…God has been slowly showing me that I must celebrate the songs that we’ve sang…but I must always be open to the fact that He wants to do new things. 

Is there anything in your church that was once a good idea that isn’t anymore?
We’re hitting this hard…and it’s tough for me…but I know it’s going to be awesome in the end. He REALLY brought this home for me when I read Isaiah 43:16-19… 

“I am the LORD who opened a way through the waters, making a dry path through the sea. I called forth the mighty army of Egypt with all its chariots and horses. I drew them beneath the waves, and they drowned, their lives snuffed out like a smouldering candlewick. But forget all that–it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it…” 

I should CELEBRATE all that God has done…but ANTICIPATE that He is going to do more and be willing to change ANYTHING that He needs to change. 

I’m asking Him to “put new songs” in my heart. Here’s the last one for today…

Isaiah 42:16 (NLT) – “I will lead blind Israel down a new path, guiding them along an unfamiliar way. I will brighten the darkness before them and smooth out the road ahead of them.” 

#4 – Am I Sincerely Seeking God To Lead Me…Or Am I Trying To Lead Him? 

There have been so many times I’ve taken my thoughts and dreams to God, asking Him to bless them and allow them to come to fruition instead of asking Him what His thoughts and dreams are. 

Here’s a confession–on my best day…I am still nothing more than a blind man who desperately needs the leadership of Jesus in my life if I am going to accomplish anything significant. (John 15:5) 

And the thing I am learning more and more is this–God WANTS to lead me in the right way. He wants me to get things right. He wants me to succeed in life. AND–HE WANTS TO SPEAK TO ME and show me how to get there–but this requires me giving up what I want and asking Him to open my eyes to what He wants. 

This text says that He will lead me along an unfamiliar way. I believe the churches best days are yet to come. I believe God is going to do things we’ve never seen before…but in order for us to get there we have to be willing to walk in unfamiliar ways…and the only way to successfully do that is LISTEN to and FOLLOW the voice of God. 

He’s always speaking…many times though I’ve not been listening. 

He will smooth out the road ahead. He will brighten the darkness…at least that’s what His Word says. So…I’ve got to trust Him with my future. 

This has RADICALLY changed my prayer life. Instead of taking a wish list to Him every day I am simply asking Him to allow me to see as He sees and feel as He feels…THAT IS MESSING ME UP! It’s a process…but I’m giving up my desires and asking Him to put HIS in me. 

I may do a decent job leading my current ministries…but I do a HORRIBLE job when I try to lead God. I’m blind without Him…but with Him I can’t go wrong. 

How about you–are you SERIOUSLY seeking what God wants…or are you trying to get Him to buy into your plans? 


It’s been said that the two biggest life change factors are: The people I hang out with and the books I read. 

God’s been reminding me lately that this is so true in my life, and this truth has so many implications: 

This is why my personal alone time with God is so important! Spending time reading God’s Word and talking with Him is THE BIGGEST catalyst for change in my life! 

This is why I need to constantly assess who I’m hanging out with and make sure I am rubbing shoulders with people who are wiser, smarter, more successful, and closer to God than I am! 

That’s been a big part of the year 2021 for me personally. It has meant stepping away from some relationships, looking for new relationships, and embracing and hanging out with some really neat people whom I have just come to know. 

This is why I need to be even more diligent and systematic in my personal reading and leadership development time. I read quite a bit, but I need to read MORE! So, I am consciously increasing the time I dedicate to reading each day. The has meant getting up earlier in the morning and moving away from the television earlier in the evening.

Right now, here are a few books I’m reading: The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, Simply Jesus, a novel called A Time For Mercy, and The 12 Ways of Christmas.

Who are you hanging out with? 

What are you reading? 

If you tell me the answers to those two questions, I’ll tell you what you’re becoming. 


In the Christian world, we often talk about “stewardship” in terms of money. 

However, from God’s perspective, stewardship is about so much more than money! 

Being a good “steward” is about being a good MANAGER of all that God has entrusted to us. 

That includes how we spend our time! 

In fact, I would even be so bold to suggest that TIME management is more important than MONEY management, because how we spend our TIME greatly affects how we spend our money! 

Currently, through a Re-Read of Ordering Your Private World by Gordon MacDonald, I was reminded once again that for me to be everything that God wants me to be, I must think of my time just like my money: 

I must track where I’m spending it. 

I must separate, not just in my mind, but on paper, fixed expenditures, from variable expenditures. 

I must plan ahead.
I must think in terms of budget categories.
I must reserve some on myself, for my own personal health and vitality. 

If I don’t decide where to spend it, other people will decide it for me! 

I must say “No” to the good things to say “Yes” to the best things. 

It all belongs to God, so I must ask myself daily: “Is God happy with the way I managed it today?” 

Final note: I learned early in my ministry that there are three things you can do with your time: Waste it, spend it, or invest it. I am now, in the wisdom of many years of experience, learning how to invest it. 

Christmas “Charity”

Christmas “Charity”


The word charity became most famous in the English language by its use in the King James Version of the Bible, especially in Paul’s chapter on love….

1 Corinthians 13:1-3 KJV “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.”

He goes on to describe the characteristics of “charity” which we will read in a few minutes

The problem with the word “charity” is that it has suffered some disuse as the word love has replaced it in modern translations.

And “love” can and does shave so, so many meanings in our world today Read more


Most of us have made some dumb mistakes with money… 

I did…and I wanted to share them with you… 

#1 – I Did Not Place Jesus First In My Finances OR…in other words…I did not tithe. 

I used the excuse that I could not afford to tithe…and it was through some painful financial lessons that God actually showed me that I could not afford NOT to tithe. God kept bringing me back to Matthew 6:21 and Matthew 6:24 over and over again…and in the fall of 1976 I completely surrendered the 10%. (And I’ve never missed it!) 

#2 – I treated tithing as the finish line. 

When I began tithing I sort of expected God to strike up the heavenly marching band…and for about a year I was quite proud of my newly formed spiritual discipline…until… 

In the summer of 1977 I head a preacher say: “We all know that Scripture says to tithe…what I want to ask tonight is what are you doing with the other 90% to advance His Kingdom; after all, He does own it all!” 

That statement hit me in the face like a ton of bricks…Psalm 24:1 became more real to me than ever before…and that night I surrendered the other 90% to Jesus! 

Tithing isn’t the finish line…it’s the starting point…God has called us to be generous givers – HE IS!!! (2 Corinthians 9:15) 

#3 – I thought I could NEVER get out of debt. 

I was earning $5,600.00 a year and had my first of six children. Debt kept piling up. Credit cards (and there were a few) were maxed out. 

I felt trapped–heck, I was trapped…and I had just about given up hope until I heard God say that if I would continue to tithe and give over and above my tithe He would take care of things. So, I did just that. 12 months later I had paid a $6,000.00 loan off at my local bank and my credit cards were all caught up. I paid more debt off than I earned in the year. Supernatural, yes! Impossible? No!

#4 – Seeking to live the “minimum payment” lifestyle. 

I remember my first credit card…after getting it I stopped at a store and purchased something I really didn’t need. It was $300…and when I got the bill in the mail the next month the payment was ONLY $15!!! (I didn’t know what 19% interest meant!) It was the beginning of a PAINFUL lesson for me–making the minimum payment is NOT a great financial plan! 

Within four years I was carrying maxed out balances on around seven credit cards and “successfully” making the minimum payments every month…which was KILLING ME financially. I reasoned that if I continued to make the minimum payments that I would one day be out of debt…which WAS true…but “that day” would have been in the year 2900 at the rate I was going! 

#5 – Transferring credit card balances 

Don’t roll your eyes…some of you do this! I would get a “convenient” credit card offer in the mail and it would say, “transfer your balances today and get no interest for six months.” What the offer didn’t tell you is that the interest rate was an arm and a leg after that six months. 

I always told myself that I could pay off the balance within six months–WHICH NEVER HAPPENED! I realized then that Proverbs 22:7 was/is true…in just four years of having a credit card (which was only going to be used in case of an “emergency”) I had DISCOVERED that the key to my financial freedom wasn’t in obtaining another credit card but rather to live within my means and don’t buy anything on credit unless I was able to pay it off completely when the credit card statement came in each month. 

#6 – STUPID car decisions.
I used to be the guy who said, “I will always have a car payment.” 

I used to be the guy that when a car needed a repair I would say, “Go get another one, you don’t want to sink money into that old thing.” (Which, by the way, is STUPID financial advice! Seriously! Spending $300 to fix a leak…or $45,000 on a new car–DUH!!!) 

Today I own my cars…they do not own me…and that is a very freeing feeling. Most people I have talked to who are strapped financially could free themselves up so much if they would just sell their car…but their desire for status rather than financial freedom will prevent them from it most of the time. 

#7 – Not having an emergency fund. 

One of the things that I have just accomplished is to have an emergency fund. Emergencies are going to happen, the car is going to break down, the kids are going to get sick, the tire is going to go flat…and that if money is set aside for these emergencies then they are less worrisome when they take place. 

Just sharing what I have learned over the years …