Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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Financial Wisdom for God's Glory 2

Leslie Basham: Are you purposeful with your money? Here's Jan Thompson.

 

Jan Thompson: We are here not to be consumers. We are here to be givers. But we often can't give because it's all getting stuck in the dike of poor money management survival, trying to get the point of success where we have financial freedom in order to get to that point where we can truly make a difference in God's kingdom.

Leslie Basham: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Tuesday, July 27.

 On yesterday's program you heard members of our audience answer two questions. What's one blessing you've seen related to finances and what's one challenge? You can hear that program at ReviveOurHearts.com. Now let's hear the next part of that conversation between Jan Thompson and Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

 Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Jan, as you hear things that these women have been sharing, this has to be hugely motivating to you.

 Jan Thompson: It lights a fire in me.

 Nancy: I could see it in your face. Jan, by the way, is a certified financial planner and has a business that helps people with financial solutions. And Jan, I asked you when we were talking last night how you first got interested in the whole issue of helping people with their money. It goes way back for you.

 Jan: Way back. I can hardly tell this story without really going back. There are five markers in my life that really define where I am today. I call them the five “M's” in my life, the five markers. It started when I was six years old. My makeover with Christ when I found my Savior. My parents led me to the Lord by my bed.

 My next “M” came at age 19 when I found myself at the altar of my church surrendering my life to full-time Christian service. I'm very grateful God called me to ministry before He called me to my marriage which is my next marker. But Tom was called to ministry and I understood what that call was. What I didn't understand was that I knew I was probably going to be a non-traditional pastor's wife.

 I had a love of finance from a very young age—not a love of money, but a love of understanding biblical finance. I didn't know how my interest in the business world and my interest in my degrees and all of my education is in business and my Master's degree is in finance and my license and certification are all in very non-traditional ministry roles. How could a pastor's wife do this kind of ministry?

 But I have a wonderful husband who saw that God had uniquely gifted me in some areas and instead of trying to fit me into a role as a pastor's wife, he really did nurture and encourage this area.

Then my fourth marker was motherhood. God blessed us with two incredible children. I wasn't sure I’d be a very good mother because I have a very analytical brain. I'm very much a doer. I don't do well with conversing on a two-year-old level, so I wasn't quite sure how I would handle this.

But when God sends you children, while they don't come with a manual on how to raise them, His Word is right here. We started digging as soon as we knew our daughter was on the way in understanding how we could be godly parents to raise these children the way He wanted.

Then my fifth marker was after my children were back in school. I really felt this burning passion in my heart to develop a ministry in money from the lessons I had learned along the way as a young child through the degrees, through the practical application, through the very lean times, through the no money times. I kept watching as I kept going to God's Word and digging out His principles to figure out how to deal with this stuff. God took the practical education side, melded it with the true wisdom of God's Word and had me start this company.

So that's how I got there today. My very first recollection of dealing with money was kneeling by my bed when my father brought in ten pennies for my allowance, the first one that I remember. He laid them out on the bed for me, and he said, “Janny, this one's for Jesus, this one is for your piggy bank and the other eight are for you to spend.”

I am so grateful for parents who while they have never had a great deal of wealth, one of the underwriting principles that I love to teach my clients is it's not how much you have. It's what you do with what you have that makes the difference. I've got clients with enormous incomes but have very little to show for it. And conversely, I have clients with very modest resources that are extraordinarily content that are living according to God's principles and are having an enormous impact on the world around them. They're living a true significance that's not defined by the net worth statement but by their application of the principles of God's Word.

So having started as a child from that very first experience and in growing up with financially responsible parents, getting the proper education, most of all though digging into the principles of God's Word have brought me to where I am today.

Nancy: And God's given you a mission statement for your life. Tell us what that is.

Jan: Yes. In 1986 I was reading in Matthew 25 the parable of the talents. Now we all know the parable of the talents. But I was convinced that day that God wrote that parable just for me because out of it He did birth my mission statement back in 1986. Let me just briefly remind you of that parable.

The master went away, and he gave three of his servants different amounts to manage. When he came back, what did two of them do? They had doubled the resources, and they were very happy to meet the master when he came back. There was one, however, who the Scripture said was afraid. He'd buried the talent. When the master came to him he said, “Here it is lord, everything right to the very last penny.” What did the master say to him? "You don't know how to manage wisely."

There are two principles that come out of that Scripture that birthed my mission statement. Number one, those who know how to manage well will be given more to manage. A light bulb went off in my brain. The second principle is those who don't manage well not only will they not be given more but what they have will be taken away and given to those who do manage well.

So from that parable my mission statement was birthed. “To educate, equip, and empower people to be the best trustee possible of the resources God's going to give you to manage throughout your lifetime.”

Nancy: Jan, do you find that a lot of women, Christian women, feel that that's just an area their husband handles, and they don't realize why it's important for them to be involved and educated in this process?

Jan: Ninety-six percent of women, if the statistics hold true, will be handling money at some point in their life. Women outlive men. It's just a fact of life. So if you are single, you better learn real quick. If you're married, then what I’m finding is more and more men are bringing their wives in. They don't feel that they need it, but they want to make sure that their wife is connected to someone who can help them in this area when something happens to them. So women, while they want to be educated, they're afraid of it. If they stick their head in the sand, maybe it'll all go away, and it doesn't.

Nancy: Do you find that women have a lot of fears in relation to finances? And what would some of those fears be?

Jan: Women's greatest needs that I find are security and freedom. I heard that theme over and over again as each one of you shared. Those are the two areas where there’s a common denominator. Women want security, and they want freedom. The second one is they want to make sure they're leaving a legacy and teaching their children how to manage.

So you are right where I would expect you to be in seeing the demographics and the types of issues that women deal with.

Nancy: So if they want security and they want freedom, does fear come from feeling like they don't have security or have freedom?

Jan: Yes. Absolutely. In a marriage relationship, that often comes from poor communication. You're both living in your own little worlds and either you're afraid to talk about it, or if you do talk about it, it creates an explosive environment instead of a productive environment.

Nancy: Is it your experience that most people today are not financially free?

Jan: It's my experience today that we are all spending about 10% more than what we have coming in.

Nancy: And what's the result of that? Let me do a little math here.

Jan: Right. You can't do that very long. One of the non-negotiables of biblical finance is you must learn to spend less than you earn. A very simple statement; very difficult to practice. It's usually because we won't take the time to dig deep and find out what is coming in and what is going out, and does this truly honor the Lord in the way we are managing it?

Nancy: But the first thing you want a client to do, I assume, is to realize that it is possible. And you have a goal. You want to get people on a pathway toward the end of their life being where God wants them to be. Kind of describe that progression that begins with just basic financial survival.

Jan: There are three roads that I find everyone is on when they come into my office for the first time. They are either on the survival road where they are just either barely making ends meet or have no idea if ends are meeting or they are severely in debt. Typical characteristics are fear, being overwhelmed, not wanting to deal with it, not wanting to address it, coming in kicking and screaming because someone has told them they need to get in and deal with this. It's a very difficult place to live.

Then my goal is to move them from that phrase to what we call the success phase. Now success isn't quantified by the net worth statement or a dollar amount. Success means that we are incorporating all of these biblical principles into our areas of finances and that we are living according to God's Word: that we're getting out of debt, that we are managing His resources wisely, that we are building up that what I call the “woulda, coulda, shoulda amount,” that emergency fund. Whatever could happen will probably happen or should be prepared to happen.

All of these basic areas of the nitty gritty of financial planning that is an area of success. But ultimately my goal in our personal lives and Tom's and my marriage and in working with my clients is to get them to the significance phase. Significance means we are at a point in our lives where we have quantified how much is enough. We are now living according to God's principles. We have determined that we can now start giving more. We can get beyond that tithing amount or whatever percentage God put on your heart and truly start something significant for kingdom purposes.

We are here not to be consumers. We are here to be givers. But we often can't give because it's all getting stuck in the dike of poor money management survival. We are trying to get to the point of success where we have financial freedom in order to get to that point where we can truly make a difference in God's kingdom.

Again, I want to stress this is not talking about being wealthy. I'm talking about being at a point in your life where you've defined a standard of living, and you know that this honors the Lord, and you know you can give with absolute freedom way above and beyond whatever the tithing commitment may be that you currently live at.

Nancy: So the goal isn't just to be comfortable in old age.

Jan: No.

Nancy: You and Tom really have a shared mutual commitment to be in a place financially where you can be investing as much as possible in the kingdom of God.

Jan: That's right. Fortunately, while we are very different—we came from very different backgrounds financially when we married—we did come with one common denominator, and that is regardless of what we had, the Lord would be first. In the very difficult days of living on faith support and itinerant ministry where there wasn't enough to pay the bills anyway, God always got a percentage right off the top of what we committed.

So while he came in with debt, poor spending habits—he is the spender in the family, and I am the saver in the family. We had a very, very challenging first few years of marriage in these areas.

Nancy: You were telling me when we were talking . . . Tom and I were talking last night, and we're not talking about just a little bit of money. We're talking about a little bit of money. Some months it was $90.

Jan: Actually, there were some months where there was nothing.

Nancy: This was a ministry where whatever came in that month from people who supported your ministry was all you got. There was no salary.

Jan: Exactly. Right. But the very first thing we did in our marriage was we set up what we called a blessings book because we knew when we chose this area of ministry and chose faith support, it was going to really stretch me in particular because I have the husband who is saying, “God will provide.”

And I wanted to say, “But how?” and quantifying everything all of my life and managing things closely. I came into the marriage with no debt. I came in with assets, fully paid for vehicle. I paid my own way through college with no college debt. I married a man who had college debt, no vehicles, other kinds of debt issues and was a free spender. So when we come in together, I was very grateful that at least while we had both been called to ministry, we knew that we were going to have to make some adjustments both of us—me in not having so much control over our finances and him in probably realizing he can't be a free spender.

We did agree that the Lord would get a certain percentage of everything that came in. With that one common denominator—we struggled with everything else but we did have harmony there—we started concentrating on the areas where we had harmony while we worked through the difficulties where we differed.

Nancy: You really have watched not only in your own lives but in those now with your business practices, you have really seen God take people through that mode where it seems like they’re barely surviving into a place of being financially free and from a biblical standpoint not to live under the pressure of debt, to be able to give to God's kingdom work. Tell us about someone who comes to mind who has really applied God's principles and has seen some real changes take place.

Jan: I think immediately of—and I actually have permission to use this woman's name because it's been such a dynamic relationship with her for four years. Jennifer's husband was one of the first pilots sent over to Iraq. And if you remember the very first crash that occurred over there, they ran into a mountainside. Her husband was the co-pilot.

Jennifer was six months pregnant when this happened, had never touched money. I mean, her husband took great care of her. She was encouraged to come in and see me shortly after all of this happened. I remember watching this very timid, very pregnant young mother terrified of life. But she loved God, and she knew that somehow God was going to do something through all this. So many of our meetings, we were just having prayer meetings together because the only thing she could do was weep and cry and grieve. In dealing with widows, I find for the first six months we don't do anything except pray and get into God's Word together.

As I started with teaching her the very basics of finance—how to build a cash flow statement and how to understand what’s coming in and what’s going out—we put the Lord at the very first on that spending plan. Dan was a Christian, but because he handled everything, she had never had to deal with these issues. But she understood as a Christian and having studied these issues together in my office that she did want to embrace that concept.

You know what I notice when we put God first on that spending plan . . . I prefer the term spending plan to budget. What do you think of when you hear the word budget? Tom and I call it a ball and chain around our ankle. I don't want a ball and chain around my ankle. I want to understand everything that we have that's given to us by God is owned by Him. It's not the ten percent, twenty percent, whatever percent that He has put on your heart to give. He owns it all. We are simply the manager.

So that was the very first principle Jennifer and I worked through—there was some life insurance money; there was some income coming in from the military—that God owned it all. So we just sat and laid all of this out. We understood what her cash flow needs were, and we just prayed together, “How do You want us to manage this?” As she put God first—interestingly enough, she was a spender—it put everything else in perspective. She started being more sensitive to how was she going to manage the remaining money. How was she going to answer to God for this?

So it was an interesting perspective to see. She is now four years into this. She's the poster child for doing everything right. She now is having an influence with all the other military widows. A number of them Jennifer is now sending to my office saying, “Would you do this again with this one? Would you do it again?”

She is now compounding her ministry of having just learned those basics, seeing God supply. She is financially free. She is managing wisely. She has a beautiful three-year-old boy. God has provided beyond . . . She just can't say enough about how God's taken care of her. But getting her arms around it, with the very first thing of recognizing God's ownership over it all, not just the tithing part of it, everything was a key.

Nancy: That really is the starting place for anyone wherever you are financially in this season of life, whether widowed, single, married, divorced, younger, older. The starting place is putting God first, realizing that God owns it all. Before you figure out what you're going to do with it all, you have to realize who owns it and in your heart and mind actually go through this mental step of transferring ownership of everything you think you have to God.

Perhaps you need to do or sit down with your husband and do, whether you've got money coming in that you don't know what to do with it or you've got more bills sitting on the table than you do income. Perhaps to stop and do what Jan just said she did with this woman and that is to to lay it all out, those bills, the statements, the assets, just everything that relates to your finances, lay it all out before the Lord.

And say, "Lord, first of all we recognize that You are Lord over all of this. To be Lord of our lives you have to be Lord of our finances, our resources, our stewardship. It belongs to You. We give it to You. We want to handle our financial resources from this point forward for the rest of our lives in the way that will bring the greatest possible glory for You. That means we need wisdom. We need Your direction. The way You're leading someone else to apply these biblical principles may look different than how You lead us to apply these biblical principles. But we're going to ask You for wisdom and direction."

How many women have shared, “My husband and I are not on the same page”? Well, what a way to start and get on the same page, to get before the Lord together and say, “Lord, direct us. Show us.” Jan said she and her husband both had some changes they needed to make to be one in their marriage. They started not by arguing with each other about it but by going together before the Lord and saying, “Lord, we agree. Money belongs to You, and we're asking You to direct it.”

So whether it's Jan and Tom's lives or Jennifer that we just heard about or your situation in life, start at that point, laying it before the Lord saying, “Lord, its all Yours. What do You want us to do with this, and how can we glorify You and further Your kingdom in this season of life and for the rest of our lives? How can we glorify You with our money?” Let's pray.

Father, thank You for the wisdom of Your Word and for taking the time and the effort by Your Spirit to inspire so many, many places in Scriptures, thousands of them, that talk to us about the use of financial resources. You must believe this is important. And so we thank You for the privilege of examining Your Word. Thank you for someone like Jan that You have blessed with insight and understanding into what Your Word teaches about financial management.

Lord, we just want to start by saying we recognize Your Lordship over us and over all that we think we own. You really own it all. And we say we want You to exercise Your Lordship in our lives and in our homes, in our present, in our future, in our families. I pray for these women and their marriages and their children, some without a husband. I pray for Your blessing with these women at this season and every season of life as they and we commit our resources to You. May You be glorified and Your kingdom furthered. We pray in Jesus' name, amen.

Leslie Basham: I'll tell you about one next step you can take in response to the wise counsel we've gotten from Nancy Leigh DeMoss. Our guest Jan Thompson has written a booklet called Managing the Money Maze. It will lead you through the process Nancy's been describing. You'll be challenged to acknowledge God's ownership of everything. You'll tackle some projects to help you think through this issue, and you'll get some practical tips on moving from survival to success to significance.

When you donate any amount to Revive Our Hearts, we'll send you a copy of Managing the Money Maze. This ministry is funded by our listeners. If you believe in what we're doing and see the value in it, would you help us stay on the air? Donate any amount at ReviveOurHearts.com and indicate that you'd like a copy of Managing the Money Maze, or ask for it by phone. The number is 1-800-569-5959.

Jan Thompson regularly meets with clients offering financial expertise, but today you have a unique opportunity to interact with Jan online at no charge. Just visit the Revive Our Hearts listener blog. Find today's transcript at ReviveOurHearts.com and at the end you can read comments from our listeners. Add your own and interact with Jan. She's our guest live blogger today. Again it's at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Well, are you a generous person? Tomorrow Jan will describe the joy of giving when you have a lot and when you have just a little. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Jan Thompson is a registered representative offering securities through Securities America Inc. member FINRA-SIPC and advisory services through Securities America Advisers Inc. The information provided in this program is for general education purposes only and should not be construed as specific investment advice. Please consult a financial adviser regarding your specific situation prior to implementing an investment plan.

The names used in this broadcast do not necessarily represent the experience of any one client. These examples are intended to illustrate various examples of investor psychology and should in no way be construed as an endorsement of the performance of services provided by Janice Thompson, Strategic Financial Solutions, Inc., or the Securities America companies.

Revive Our Hearts is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the speaker, Janice A. Thompson. This material is for general information purposes only and should not be considered a recommendation to buy or sell any security. Because the information is general in nature, you should discuss specific advice with a financial professional.

 

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.

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About the Teacher

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love for Christ and His Word is infectious, and permeates her online outreaches, conference messages, books, and two daily nationally syndicated radio programs—Revive Our Hearts and Seeking Him.

She has authored twenty-two books, including Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free, Seeking Him (coauthored), Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together, and You Can Trust God to Write Your Story (coauthored with her husband). Her books have sold more than five million copies and are reaching the hearts of women around the world. Nancy and her husband, Robert, live in Michigan.