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January 31, 2015

Financial Freedom – Step 4 of 4: Eliminate Debt

Imagine your financial future without debt. Proverbs 22:7 says, “The borrower is slave to the lender.” You can’t experience true financial freedom if you’re in debt to others. Now that you have a plan, you’re giving to God first, and you’re saving for emergencies, it’s time to eliminate debt! Dave Ramsey’s “debt snowball” technique can get you out of $20,000 of consumer debt in the next 3 – 5 years.

– Begin by listing all your monthly debt payments in order from smallest to largest.
– Find a way to accelerate your debt payoff with extra money. This may mean cutting household expenses from your budget or taking on a 2nd job.
– Apply every dollar of extra money to pay off the smallest debt first, while paying the minimum payment only on all the other debts.
– Once the smallest debt is paid in full, take the extra money and the minimum payment you were paying on the smallest debt and apply it to the next debt.
– Continue this process until you are completely free of consumer debt.

You can do this! For more help and information, visit DaveRamsey.com.

January 30, 2015

Financial Freedom – Step 3 of 4: Save An Emergency Fund

Inevitably, as soon as you start making progress with your money, something is going to break! Are you prepared for the car to break down, the water heater to go out, or a trip to the ER? Most people take 1 step forward with their finances and 2 steps backward because of unexpected emergencies. Today, you should begin to save an emergency fund with a goal of at least $1,000! With $1,000 sitting in the bank, you can avoid future debt and continue to stick to your spending plan even when unexpected expenses arise. $1,000 might seem impossible, but here are some steps you can take TODAY to get one step closer to a fully funded emergency fund:

- Sell Some Stuff! Look around your house for items that you’re not using anymore. Clean out the attic and the garage. Now post those items on craigslist, ebay, or trash to treasure websites.
– Pick up an extra shift at work or odd job and make a little extra income to save for emergencies.
– Cut out an expense or two for this month and save that money for your emergency fund.
– Sell back unused gift cards and save that money for your emergency fund.

You might not get to $1,000 overnight, but over time, you can do it!

January 29, 2015

Financial Freedom – Step 2 of 4: Plan To Give

Now that you’ve developed your plan, ask yourself this question: “Am I really trusting God with my finances?” If you’re not planning to give some percentage of your income back to God, then you’re not really trusting Him. Proverbs 3:9-10 says, “Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.” And Jesus Himself said in Luke 6:38, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Follow these 3 steps in order to plan to give:

1. Revise Your Plan. Go back to your budget worksheet and include giving to God as a monthly expense. Make it a particular percentage of your total income. The Bible sets 10% (a tithe) as a standard and a starting point for giving. You maybe able to start there, or you maybe need to work up to that percentage.
2. Eliminate expenses in order to give more. Ask yourself this question, “What can I cut out of my spending in order to honor God with my finances?” Cutting cable or entertainment or dining out is a small sacrifice to make in order to involve God in your financial future.
3. Determine to give to God FIRST! Remember, every payday is a test. Give to God first and the rest will be blessed. The easiest way to give to God first is to automate it! Go right now to watersedgechurch.net/give and set up a recurring, automatic transaction so that God gets what’s first in your life.

January 28, 2015

Financial Freedom – Step 1 of 4: Make A Plan

The first step toward your financial freedom is making a plan. Proverbs 21:5 says, “The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.” There should be no mystery to your money…you should know what is coming in and what is going out and you should be ready to tell your money where to go so your money doesn’t tell you where it’s gone! Here are 5 steps you can take today to make your plan:

1. Download a budget worksheet. I highly recommend using the free resources on my friend Joe Sangl’s website, http://iwasbrokenowimnot.com/tools/.
2. Fill in your income and every expense. Be honest about your spending! Gather old bills and bank and credit card statements to get the real picture of your spending habits. If some expenses aren’t monthly, convert them into a monthly amount and include them in your plan.
3. Discuss your budget / spending plan with your spouse and agree upon expectations of spending and saving.
4. If you’re spending more than you’re making, cut expenses or increase income. Those are your only two options. DO NOT continue to live outside of your means.
5. Determine a method of tracking your expenses throughout the month. Some options include mint.com or Davy Ramsey’s envelope system or a good, old-fashioned notebook sitting on the kitchen counter. It’s not important how you track your spending, it’s just important that you do it!

January 27, 2015

Exodus To True Financial Freedom

For over 400 years, God’s people, the Israelites, were in bondage until God miraculously delivered them and they made an “exodus” to true freedom. God’s desire for all of our lives is that we would make an “exodus” to freedom in every area of our life…including our finances. Here’s a financial freedom test you need to take:

– Does the subject of money cause you stress, anxiety, or moodiness?
– Do you and your spouse argue / disagree / fight about money?
– Do you owe anyone money for anything other than your home or other appreciating assets?
– Do you have less than $1,000 in an emergency fund?
– Do you think retirement will be a financial struggle for you?

If you answered yes to any or all of the above questions, it’s time for an EXODUS because you are not truly experiencing financial freedom.

Your financial freedom is such a big deal to God that He included over 2,000 verses in the Bible about money and possessions. Think about that! Over 2,000 verses on money and possessions compared to about 500 verses on prayer and less than 500 verses on faith. Jesus talked more about money than He did about heaven and hell combined. God knew that our financial freedom would be important not only in how we live our lives, but how we relate to others and to Him.

Today, ask God to prepare you for an exodus from financial slavery to financial freedom!

January 26, 2015

Sunday’s Quotables

Happy Monday, from Katie, Stu’s Assistant. I hope you joined us yesterday for part 4 of our current series, Exodus, and to celebrate baptism (including Stu’s youngest, Taylor)! Here are a few of my favorite quotes:

1. The real theme of the book of Exodus is relationship.
2. Trust is tested as a relationship is established.
3. Everything in the Old Testament points to Jesus.
4. The clean had to be sacrificed to redeem the unclean. Jesus had to be sacrificed to redeem you and me!
5. Trust fall #1 – Trust me with the first and the rest will be blessed.
6. Trust fall #2 – Trust me for today and I will provide for you tomorrow.
7. Trust fall #3 – Trust me to quench your thirst because the world will never truly satisfy.
8. The Ten Commandments… they were God saying to His people, “Do you trust me enough that my way of living is the best way to live.”
9. There are no trust fall fails when it comes to God because He meets our needs every single time.
10. Your money is the truest test of your trust in God.

January 21, 2015

Video Update… WEC Student Weekend

January 19, 2015

Sunday’s Quotables

Happy Monday from Katie, Stu’s Assistant. I really hope you have been joining us for “Exodus” – this series has been awesome! Here are a few of my favorite quotes:

1. Have you ever had a time where you tried something new only it wasn’t as good as you expected it to be?
2. Faith doesn’t always feel as good as you might expect for it to.
3. Steps Of Obedience Forward Often Make You Want To Take Steps Backward.
4. If God is leading the way, God’s way is always the best way… but it’s not the easy way.
5. When you start to find yourself taking steps of faith and it doesn’t feel as good as you expected that’s the time in life where you’re supposed to keep on stepping ‘cause that’s when you start trusting!
6. It’s easier to live with the certainty of slavery than the uncertainty of freedom.
7. Freedom trumps slavery every time!
8. If you want results different from 2014, you’re going to have to do some things different in 2015.
9. You know what God was saying to Moses? Move on and I will move on your behalf.
10. When faced with steps that require your faith, be still on the inside while you move on the outside.

January 15, 2015

You’ve Got More!

You know that feeling you have when you do something you didn’t think you could do?

– You pushed through a really difficult workout!
– You nailed a very challenging presentation for a client!
– You aced an incredibly tough exam!
– You facilitated a much-needed conversation with your friend!
– You did it! You lost the weight or closed the deal or worked the overtime or mastered the material!

And you proved…you’ve got more! You’ve got more capacity. You’ve got more to give. You’ve got more to offer. You’ve got untapped, unrealized, unused potential bottled up on the inside of you. You’ve proved it already.

Let 2015 push you toward the limit of your more!

January 12, 2015

Sunday’s Quotables

Happy Monday from Katie, Stu’s Assistant. I really hope that you joined us yesterday for Exodus Pt. 2, “Don’t Sabotage Your Future.” If you missed it, you can check it out now. Here are a few of my favorite quotes:

1. Our tendency is to carry things from the past into the present.
2. A lot of us do that in life, we try to bring then into now and when you consistently do that, here’s what happens – you allow the past to have a negative impact on the present.
3. His past experience, what did it do, it determined his present-day reaction.
4. I want you to understand today that some of you are allowing your past to sabotage your present and maybe even your future.
5. You’re sacrificing your destiny at the expense of your history.
6. Don’t let last year condition you for this year because God wants to deliver you into a new year.
7. No matter what God does to bring them out of Egypt, they still had a little bit of Egypt in them.
8. Complaining sucks you in like a vacuum cleaner!
9. Don’t delay what God wants to do in 2015 because of some circumstance, or some hurt, or some rejection, or some pain, or some wrong thinking from 2014.
10. Some of us today need an attitude adjustment because the attitudes from the past don’t belong in 2015 and you need to believe and trust in the promises of God for a brand new season of your life as you leave the past behind.