Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Book Review: The MoneySmart Family System



Simply put, TheMoneySmart Family System is all about teaching financial independence to your children. Steve & Annette Economides lay out an elaborate system to cut the financial umbilical cord as soon as possible. Using their 5/50/500 money rule, they seek to share with parents that if they don’t get their kids straightened out early, the lesson just gets more and more expensive!

Basically their program is a points system where they pay their children to do what they should already be doing.  One point for having a great morning, another for doing well in school, another for doing chores, etc.  

We have two children (ages 6 & 8) and another baby on the way, so I decided to implement the program.  After spending a lot of time setting up the program, explaining the program, and implementing the program, we found that it is very time consuming and gets pretty expensive!  Plus I have mixed feelings about paying my children to do what they should already be doing, because it’s right, not because they get paid for it!

Oh, and the Ecomnomides’ are experts on everything that you should and shouldn’t pay for your children!  Grace seems to be out of the question!

Common sense would cover a much of their advice, but I know that it is in short supply today.  I do think that with all the lists, rules, charts, and the like, I’m assuming that both of the authors are very rigid and structured people.  I don’t know how they even keep all of this information straight in their heads?! Maybe they refer to their own book! 

While there is much helpful information in the book, I believe that teaching your children financial independence can be done in much simpler ways.  “Thanks, but no thanks,” Economides.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


 

Friday, June 08, 2012

Book Review - Our Last Great Hope by Ronnie Floyd


 To be honest, unless you're a Southern Baptist, you will have to play a little "catch up" to understand where this book originated.  It is a natural overflow of what Ronnie Floyd learned as he chaired the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force for the Southern Baptist Convention.

Simply put, this book is about the Great Commission and how to reach people with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
 
Ronnie pulls no punches, venturing into every area of our lives - family, finances, and our churches.  It is obvious that Floyd is passionate, I mean really passionate about the Great Commission.

While much of the book is practical, I do have one complaint.  Without meaning to, Ronnie seems to give the impression that he and his have it together when it comes to the Great Commission.  He tends to use himself as an illustration more than he probably should.  He even goes so far as to describe his office and its decorations which help inspire him to have a heart for the world (pages 23-28).

I tend to think that this book will be more interesting to pastors than layman.  I don't see too many average Christians picking it up and reading it.  Of course, that's the problem I guess.  We really do need an awakening to the Great Commission!

   
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Women of Faith Worship - Rejoice CD

You may be wondering why I'm reviewing a music CD.

Well, first of all the CD was free. Second, I'm always on the look out for great music. Third, did I mention the CD was free?

Anyway, how to approach such a review?

I guess song by song would make the most sense.

This is challenging since music tastes vary from person to person. Anyway, here's my take on Rejoice.

01 Beautiful Redeemer
I actually found the song annoying and fast forwarded to the next...

02 So Good
Ah, not so good...

03 Forever Reign
Strange, it seems to be an "echo" song. Most phases are repeated, "You are good, You are good; You are love, You are love; You are light, You are light..." Didn't finish listening, Didn't finish listening!

04 Come As You Are
Beautiful solo voice to begin, then group joins in. Love the message in this song. "He's not mad at you, He's not disappointed, His grace is greater still."

05 Hosanna
Don't really like the "feel" of this one.

06 Our God
I like the Chris Tomlin's version much better. This sounds like a church praise and worship team; nothing to write home about.

07 Glory to God
Amen, all Glory goes to God, but I really didn't like this song. On to the next....

08 You Brought the Sunshine
Too much of a "gospel" feel for me. Got a kick out of the writer's name - Elbemita "Twinkie" Clark!

09 Greatness of Our God
Worshipful. Slower paced and then picks up the pace. The words and message in this one really magnifies the Greatness of Our God. I'm on the fence on this one.

10 Great Is Thy Faithfulness
I'm a hymn lover, so I was interested to hear this one. Tastefully and beautifully done. My favorite song on the whole CD. I loved their "you've been so faithful" in between the verses.

In all honesty, I'm 2 or 3 out of 10 on this CD. I'm sure that some will love it, but if I were listening before buying, I would have passed it up.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Just in Time for Father's Day

Here's a new book for new dads just in time for Father's Day!!

How I wish I had had a book like this before my first son arrived. I'm sure I read books on parenting and fathering, but I still was not really prepared for just how much my (our) life was about to change!

John Fuller, the author, is most qualified to write about this life changing topic. He's a father of six and is the co-host of the Focus on the Family radio broadcast. Rest assured that the book is written from a Christian viewpoint.

I was interested in this book because as a Pastor I always try to put something in the hands of new parents to help prepare them for the adjustment that is coming. First Time Dad fits the bill perfectly.

The book is not just about having a baby and the changes that it brings, John goes much further in discussing the role of fatherhood, the importance of marriage, and the differences between girls and boys, just to name a few.

In all honesty, the title of the book may not do it justice. At the time of this writing I have a 6 and 4 year old, yet I found the content of the book very interesting and helpful even at this stage of the game.

With only 168 pages the book is small enough for even a non-reader to tackle. I've found that expectant dads are interested in this kind of stuff even if they aren't huge readers. This would make a great gift for yourself or someone you love.

Thanks to C. Grant & Company for the copy to review and another to share! I gave it to an expectant Dad at our church; he seemed quite grateful.

Happy Fathering!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Distractions

Distractions, Distractions, Distractions!

Will they ever end?

No, not here.

Everyday I am being pulled in a 1,000 different directions all at the same time.

Madison Avenue screams for my dollars. Facebook and Twitter are clamoring for my time. The TV and Radio are always willing and waiting for my attention. There's gas in the car and places to go! But then I look around at all the work that needs to be done -- weeding the flowers, feeding the children, and speeding to the store before they close. The phone is ringing, again. Another text message just arrived along with 12 more emails. There's homework, housework, and to be honest, more work that I can get to today, or even next week!

Then I remember His words, "Be still and know that I am God."*

Be still? What is that like? Every time I'm still, I fall asleep. I'm exhausted from the sheer pace of the never ending rat race.

Be still?

Be quiet?

Be silent?

Those items fled from my life long ago.

But wait.... He is still waiting for me.

The invitation is still good!!

There's no RSVP required!

When is it again?

NOW!

*Psalm 46.10

Friday, May 06, 2011

Prayer and/or Human Effort?

Charles Spurgeon said a mouthful with this sentence:

"Though effort without prayer would be presumption, prayer without effort is mockery."

Ah, there's one of the great challenges in life and ministry - balancing prayer and human effort!

This reminds me of another famous quotation (attributed to quite a few different folks?), "Pray as if everything depended upon God, work as if everything depended upon man."

There's that struggle again - God's part and man's part.

In reality, I have to pray, and I have to work. So how do I balance all of this?

I think the key is to pray before, during, and after my work!

Praying before starting helps me to examine motives, get clarity, clear direction, and the reason for doing the work in the first place.

Praying during my work helps me to keep my focus right. I'm supposed to be doing this (and everything else) for God's Glory! 1 Corinthians 10:31 Pausing to pray throughout a project reminds me that I am not able nor capable on my own to complete this task. My very breath and strength are gifts from His hands.

Praying after the work is completed helps to ensure that all glory goes to Him, not me. It allows me to see where I have succeeded in glorifying Him, as well as areas where I could have done better. It allows me to praise Him for the successes, and to comfort me in my failures. I can bring any problems, frustrations and struggles to Him.

I guess I could summarize this post very simply with a verse of Scripture - 1 Thessalonians 5:17, "Pray without ceasing."

Nuff said.