Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Word of Faith Leaders in Trouble?

Anyone who watches any news is sure to know that several prominent Word of Faith leaders are being investigated by the Senate for excessive spending and other "crimes that will make the politician doing the investigation look really good for exposing."

I would note that I grew as a Christian in the Word of Faith movement and I still find many of the core principles to be completely consistent with the Bible (contrary to the claims of many Christian leaders). That said, I had a growing discomfort with the ostentatiousness exhibited by many in the movement that became even more pronounced with the Money Cometh message's growth in the late 1990s.

A big problem for me personally was that money wasn't coming, or at least it wasn't staying. It flowed out about as fast as it came in, and it was coming in at a good pace during those years! The main reason for this was that I didn't tightly control my spending and focus intently on getting out of debt. Instead I focused on living high on the hog and enjoying life, a key tenet the movement pushed during those years. Of course, getting and staying out of debt was always a core principle, but it was drowned out by the idea of really enjoying life.

I am firmly convinced that the generosity of my wife and I is what kept us from serious bad times during those years, but I lament how much better I could have done if I had instead focused intently on debt reduction and elimination.

As I noted in a previous post, I am once again seeking to focus on that goal, but I face the common trouble most in my generation hit: consumption! It is a lot harder to change habits than many think.

Getting back to the current scandal, I would note that this has been going on for many years, why is anyone surprised? While I have serious issues with the flagrant waste of the things given to these ministers, I see completely political motives in pursuing them now. If Congress would start really investigating its own waste and foolishness I might take their self-righteousness a lot more seriously.

I am reminded though that judgment begins at the house of God. I expect this is only the beginning of some cleaning. Unfortunately, it will likely also serve as ammunition for those who claim you cannot trust what God has written, including those within the church who are the most loudly proclaiming false prophets in this context. These people fail to take God's promises of provision and blessing above that seriously. Instead they claim that we can never know what God is going to do.

If God hadn't written it, they might be right, but they ignore countless confirmation of the blessing nature of God. I plan on writing more on this in the future, so I will leave this argument incomplete now.

I do wonder if I am one of the few people who believe as I do though. I a firmly convinced it is God's will for people to prosper and I believe it is sin for so many Christians today to not do so. Most of this failure to prosper is more due to slavery to debt than the will of God that many claim. People do struggle, but how many of those are spending hours in front of the television instead of improving themselves? How many are working 6 days as noted in Genesis? (The sixth day could be spend building a business idea improving themselves for a promotion, etc.)

More to come on this....


Getting Into Debt?

Earlier this summer I decided to do some work on the house that really needed to be done, but which caused me to (temporarily) increase my debt load.

We had done several things a summer ago, including resurfacing our pool. This left the concrete around the pool in a very poor state. We made it through last winter (a mild one here), though I was concerned about water getting into the open cracks between the nice "new" pool and the concrete this winter. So I found someone who could do the whole job for a very good price. The problem was I figured we should also replace our driveway which was starting to get some serious and large cracks, to the point I was concerned about a tire getting caught on one of the cracks. I also figured I should raise the "patio" floor a few inches to keep water out (which would flood part of it when a heavy rain came). We were already pouring concrete anyway, right?

Well, a $7K project went to about $17K, though we now have pretty good drainage and a lot of good concrete now. The driveway also has room for my daughter's car as well. Now I just have to work to pay all this off.

We did decide to close in the patio as well. The added square footage should increase the value of our home beyond the price of that area, though it may also increase my taxes in the long run. :(

While we may do some smaller things, including inside and outside painting, our major renovation push is over.

The partial moral to this story is that a deal on a fixer upper house may not be such a deal if you are not good fixing things up yourself. While I believe we got our house below market value, we have easily put much more than the difference into it since then. Looking at historical price guesses (such as at indicates it was worth much less than we thought when we bought it. Either way, we have not gained much value in the time we have lived here.

While my last post was about my newly found desire to get out of debt, I really need to stir up that desire again. It is very easy to lose the focus and fall back into old, bad habits.

The good news is that my wife and I like the house, so we plan on staying a while and enjoying all these renovations. :)