Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Wealthy Contributors; Neglected Ministries

Every year worthy, and unworthy, organizations receive large gifts from wealthy donors. God bless those donors to the worthy ministries. Many give to great organizations like Samaritan’s Purse, International Mission Board, SBC, and other good ministries.

I was speaking with a friend the other day, and found he and I independently were thinking the same thing. He told of a two million gift to a good cause. But then we thought of other good solid causes that were struggling, and did not receive as much publicity.

Have you got a few million to spare? Looking for a worthy ministry? Looking to endow a ministry?  Want to lay up treasure in Heaven?  Let me tell you of some ministries that could do much good with those kinds of gifts.

The Biblical Evangelist
An old fashioned independent Baptist fundamentalist paper that presents the fundamental or basic Christian doctrines in sermons, illustrations, and Bible studies. They are Premillennial, Pre-Tribulational, and evangelistic. Led by Evangelist R. L. Sumner, former Associate Editor with John R. Rice at the Sword of the Lord. While independent, the Biblical Evangelist has no problem working with conservative Southern Baptists and features their sermons as well. They are a good balance among all the influences swirling in our Christian world today. Many leading conservative preachers have subscribed to this paper for years. They also publish a number of books.

American Council on Addiction and Alcohol Problems (ACAP)
The is the former Anti-Saloon League. They continue to educate and speak out against alcohol and other drug abuse. They work to pass laws to reduce drug abuse. ACAP stands for abstinence from beverage alcohol. We desperately need this kind of ministry in a world awash with drugs, abuse, addiction, and a tendency to legalize even more illicit drugs.

Mission Dignity
This ministry is fulfilling a great need in our day. Many Southern Baptist pastors have faithfully served small churches through their careers, and never made a large salary. They are now retired with very limited finances. Mission Dignity supplements the limited income of retired pastors and their widows. Your gifts can increase their ability to assist these retired soldiers of the cross. This is a ministry of GuideStone Financial Resources.

Connect 316
A Southern Baptist group speaking in favor of Traditionalism in the midst of a rise of Calvinism in the evangelical world. When I was growing up, this view (Traditionalism) was often called either non-Calvinism or Moderate Calvinism. If you believe Jesus Christ died for all of humanity, rather than died only for the elect, you should check out this organization. Connect316 believes Jesus died for all, therefore, whosoever will may come. They also have some great resources.

So, if you have a few million and need a place to give, consider these ministries. They might even accept your gifts of under a million!

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, August 17, AD 2016.

Articles:
Ancient Wine and the Bible - the Book; update
Wit And Wisdom Of My Dad
Up Fool Hill, by J. B. Gambrell

Other articles in lower right margin.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Saving for Retirement

Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. 
-Matthew 25:16
There is desirable treasure, and oil in the dwelling of the wise, but a foolish man squanders it. 
-Proverbs 21:20

Frankie Martin was the treasurer at the first church I pastored. Friendship Baptist Church, Beeville, Texas paid me $600 a month. I also did ranch work on the side. As I recall, Frankie did not ask me or the church, she just started a retirement account for me at GuideStone (then the Annuity Board). $60 a month. She explained a church was supposed to send 10% of the pastor’s salary to his GuideStone Retirement. This did not come out of my salary, but was in addition to it. Frankie is in Heaven today. May God bless her and Friendship for what they did for a young preacher. Since then, I’ve had the next two churches I’ve pastored increase that amount sent to GuideStone.

Assuming God blesses you with a long, happy life, you will one day get old and retire. Serve the Lord and stay busy when you retire. Contrary to a few, there is nothing wrong with retirement. And there is nothing wrong with saving for retirement.

Whatever you think of Social Security, it was never meant to be a full retirement, but a supplement during retirement. You need your own separate retirement fund.

If you are a young preacher, this article is especially important for you. Read every word. Do what I say, and one day you will rise up and call me blessed.

If your job has a 401(k), or whatever kind of retirement plan, give to it. If they match your contributions up to a certain amount, you are foolish not to contribute at least that amount. After all, that is free money; or another way to look at it, you are immediately doubling your money.

Do not take money out of your retirement account, until you retire. Even then, use it very conservatively and wisely.

Usually retirement advisers say if you use 5% of your retirement annually, you will never run out. Start investing now, because that means you will need about 20 times your annual salary. But, if you can’t make that much, still invest as much as you can.

If you are pastor or on staff at a Southern Baptist Church, make sure you have a retirement account with GuideStone Financial Resources, SBC. Some churches, and God bless the ones who do, contribute themselves, apart from the pastor’s salary, to the pastor’s retirement account at GuideStone. If you pastor one of the many churches that do not contribute to their pastor’s retirement, have the church take out 10% of your salary, or more, and send it to your GuideStone Retirement. When you get a raise, put all or some of that raise into your retirement.

One big advantage to having your church send your retirement to GuideStone, is that if you don’t see it, you don’t miss it. This is easier than getting your paycheck, and then having to take 5% or 10% out of it to send to your retirement.

Put your GuideStone Retirement into a good stock market fund that has the potential to significantly grow over time. Something like the Equity Index Fund that generally follows the S&P 500. And remember, some years it will make 10%, some years 1% or worse. But, it will grow over time. Put it in a “safe fund,” and you risk not making significant interest rates; so there is “risk” either way.

This will not make you rich over night, but it will slowly make you financially secure. And think what you can do for the Lord and for others when you are financially secure.

A good rule of thumb is to live on 80% of your income. Give 10% (the tithe) to your church. Put 10% in your retirement. The sooner you start the better. You will be surprised how your retirement will grow over the years.

A good place to start educating yourself about money management is with “The Money Answer Book” by Dave Ransey. I don’t agree with him on every point, but he has some very good basic information. This is also a good birthday or Christmas gift for teenagers and young adults.

GuideStone can give you some great information. Their number is 800/262-0511. Their website is guidestone.org. They even have personal investment accounts, kind of like a bank savings account, where you can invest money in the stock market with them. Of course, it is not federally insured. And, of course, there are other investment companies. I’m just more familiar with GuideStone.

The President and CEO of GuideStone, Dr. O. S. Hawkins, is an outstanding pastor and preacher. Hawkins has published a number of books. Every preacher should get them. His most recent, "The Daniel Code."  It is available wherever books are sold.

Do what I say about investing, and if you end up with too much money in retirement, give me a call.

Objections:
“Jesus is coming soon and I will not need a retirement.”
I believe in the Rapture. I believe in the imminent return of Jesus Christ. I also believe the old saying, Live like Jesus is going to return tomorrow; plan and prepare like He will not return for a hundred years.

“There are ministries that need my retirement money now.”
There will also be ministries that need your giving when you retire. If you don’t save, you will have nothing to give. Also, you may want to include good Christian ministries in your Last Will and Testament. Speaking of a Will, make absolutely sure you have the original Will. A copy may not be accepted by a judge. Make sure your heirs know where the original is.

Disclaimer: I am not a professional financial adviser; I’m just trying to share a little of what I’ve learned. I’m especially trying to help the young preachers. But, don’t sue me if you are unhappy with your investment! Get sound advice from the professionals. Get documentation of your financial dealing, and beware of con men.

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, August 10, AD 2016.

Articles:
The Christian Work Ethic
Quotes by Martin Luther King, Jr.
Baptists on Tithing

More articles in lower right margin.  

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

"Pokemon Go" and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. -Matthew 13:44

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS) has long been known for evangelism and missions. Now it may become known for combining Pokemon and evangelism.

From a Baptist Press Article:

Southwestern set off 80 Pokémon "lures" over a two-hour period, drawing roughly 200 people from the community, reflecting Jesus' declaration in Matthew 4:19 that His followers be "fishers of men." Southwesterners engaged the lost with the Gospel and, as a result, six Pokémon players professed faith in Christ.

"Unlike any other time that we have done outreach in either the community or any type of mission trip, this was the rare opportunity where we didn't have to go find people, but they were coming to us," said Joshua Clayton, a master of divinity student who organized the event "to seize the moment and strategically utilize the game for evangelism."

A Gospel tract produced specifically for the event by Southwestern stated, "Hello, Pokémon trainers! You think hunting for Pokémon is exciting? What if you were to find out that you may have just stumbled upon the greatest treasure ever known?"

[SWBTS student Mark] Becker told them about the parable of the treasure in the field from Matthew 13:44 in which a man sold all he had in order to buy a field containing buried treasure, "because what he was getting was so much better."

Becker compared it to trading an entire Pokémon deck for a Magikarp -- a rare Pokémon -- to show that what is lost is nothing compared to what is gained, [Heather] Mentz said. "He told them that [the apostle] Paul said everything was rubbish compared to knowing Christ, and I think they could tell by our excitement and expressions when talking that we meant everything we were saying."

Evangelism instructor Brandon Kiesling, who coordinated Southwestern's evangelism teams, noted, "When there are so many people involved with something like [Pokémon], you can't miss the opportunity to use it for good in some way especially when the people come to us. Why wouldn't you [seize that opportunity]?"

Read the entire story:

http://www.bpnews.net/47281/pokmon-go-party-draws-6-gamers-to-christ

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, August 2, AD 2016.

See other articles in lower right margin.