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Stewardship on SteroidsIncrease Your Cash Flow, Build Wealth and Become a GREAT Christian Steward.
By David Ellis Conyers
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2011 David Ellis Conyers
All right reserved.
Chapter OneWhy Be a Good Christian Steward When You Can Be a GREAT One?
"By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures." (Proverbs 24:3-4)
If you're searching for hot stock tips, a get-rich-quick real estate guide or secrets about how to earn millions through multi-level marketing, you might as well put down this book. You won't find any of that sensational hype in the following pages. On the other hand, if you're a good Christian steward looking to increase your cash flow, build wealth and create a stream of tax-free retirement income, you're in luck. In the following chapters, I will offer the foundation of knowledge you need to accomplish all this and more.
But why beat around the bush? Let me put this as bluntly as possible: I wrote this book for good Christian financial stewards who want to become great Christian financial stewards. If that sounds like you, you've come to the right place. If it doesn't, you should probably move on down the shelf.
You may be thinking, "I'm not sure if I'm a good Christian financial steward or not. I mean, I go to church every Sunday, and I always toss a $10 bill on the collection plate. But does that make me a good steward?" Well, not necessarily. We Christians hear a lot of talk about "stewardship," but many of us aren't crystal clear on the precise definition.
According to the Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, stewardship is defined as "the conducting, supervising, or managing of something; especially: the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one's care." Of course, the term "stewardship" has a more spiritually profound meaning for Christians. When Christians talk about financial stewardship, the "something" that has been entrusted to our care is money—and in our hearts, we know this money is a gift from God.
What would lead us to believe that God has any interest in how we manage our money? Well, unbeknownst to many, the Bible actually has a lot to say about financial matters. (I'll delve deeper into this theme in Chapter Two: Giving, Money and the Bible). For example, in the Book of Luke, Jesus said, "Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else's property, who will give you property of your own?" (Luke 16:10-12)
In other words, if we want to be responsible Christians and good financial stewards, it behooves us to spend, invest and manage our money in a way that honors the Lord. As author Lynn A. Miller so eloquently explains it, "Stewardship is the act of organizing your life so that God can spend you." After all, any money we have is not truly ours—we are just the stewards watching over it. In fact, according to the Bible, everything belongs to God:
"The silver is mine and the gold is mine,' declares the LORD Almighty." (Haggai 2:8)
"The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it." (Psalm 24:1)
Look at it this way: when you die, will you take your cash, your house, your investments, your cars, your boat, your jewelry and your clothes with you? Of course not! It's not yours to take. Everything we have belongs to God—He simply loans these possessions to us, entrusting us with their care.
So, if you believe that your money actually belongs to the Lord and you do everything within your power to handle your finances in such a way that God would approve, you are probably a good Christian financial steward. If you earn more than you spend, maintain a healthy credit score and contribute to worthy causes whenever possible, this is the financial planning book for you.
But why settle for being a good Christian financial steward when you can be a great one? I can teach you how to do just that. Throughout this book, I'll serve up the powerful techniques you need to boost your cash flow, build wealth and get on the path to stewardship greatness. The methods I teach aren't your run-of-the-mill stewardship or financial planning principles ... this is Stewardship on Steroids. So, get ready to give your finances a serious workout.
By now, you might be asking, "What makes this guy such an expert on financial stewardship?" I guess I could answer that question by saying I've spent the past two decades of my life educating Christian clients about how to manage their money in a way that honors God. As an independent financial services professional, I've coached hundreds of clients over the years, helping good Christian stewards blossom into great ones. But even more importantly, I know this is my calling. It is my purpose in life.
It all started back in 1991. I had just completed four years in the Air Force when I decided to start a career in financial services. From Day One, I was definitely not your conventional financial advisor. I refused to believe The Establishment's lies, and I made it my mission to spread the word by educating and empowering my clients.
Then, on November 23, 2003, I was baptized. The day of my baptism is actually a pretty funny memory for me. Our church had just completed construction on their brand new sanctuary, and I had the honor being the very first person to be baptized there. We attend a good-sized church with about 800 members, so I was little nervous. I had prayed about it a lot and finally decided to get baptized publicly. I figured if Jesus did it publicly, I could get baptized publicly, too.
When I showed up to church that morning, the pastor approached me and said, "Good news and bad news."
"Okay," I answered a little hesitantly. "What's the good news?"
"The good news is we're still going to do this baptism today," he replied.
"Alright," I said. "What's the bad news?"
"The heater in the baptism pool doesn't work."
Let me put this into context: I live in Indiana, and it's pretty darn cold here in November. So, the thought of wading into a frigid baptism pool on this frosty winter morning was enough to send chills down my spine.
When the pastor saw the concerned look on my face, he tried to reassure me. "The water is a little cold, but we'll get in and out quickly ... and we'll get through it," he said.
"Okay," I answered. "We can do this."
Well, of course the pastor got to wear those rubber waders, so he was fully insulated. The cold water would never even touch his skin. I, on the other hand, was going to have to wade into this icy water wearing nothing but swim trunks and a thin gown. I couldn't even see the bottom of the baptism pool because the water was so green. But I sucked it up and waded into the dirty water—and it was freezing cold. It literally took my breath away. I just prayed, "Lord, help me get through this one." The pastor dunked me into the glacial water, and I got through it. But to this day when I think about my baptism, it still makes me shiver.
Although it was certainly a cold baptism, it was still an incredibly powerful experience—and it was a pivotal moment in my life. I had received the Holy Spirit, and I could tell my soul was changing. In the same way that my baptism was crucial moment in my life, I hope this book will be a decisive moment in your life. There is no doubt that some of the bone-chilling information I provide in this book will truly shock you—much like the icy water in my baptism stunned me. It's going to be a startling wake-up call. But where I received the Holy Spirit through faith in Christ and was baptized as a testimony to that event, my prayer is that you will receive a new reality and truth with this book. And my hope is that it will change your life. After all, I feel this is my calling. It's what God wants me to do.
Shortly after my baptism, I had an hour-long discussion with my Pastor about stewardship. When we were done, he asked me to write down what I had just discussed with him. To my surprise, he used it as an outline for a sermon on stewardship two Sundays later, as I recall. This is what I wrote:
A Testimony of Stewardship
When I became saved some years ago, I began to search for my purpose as it relates to God's kingdom. I knew that as a Christian, I needed to "get in the game" somehow. Was I to be a missionary? Was I to preach the good news? What? I wanted to know what I was supposed to do with my life to help advance the kingdom of God. I wasn't getting anywhere on my own, so I eventually wised up and put it all in His hands. He began to show me that He had already given me certain gifts that could be used for His purpose. He also knew that I possessed an uncommon dislike for the condition of poverty. This led me to a genuine fascination of biblical stewardship.
I prayed that God would teach me what His will was in this area—and He has. As for now, my ministry is clear to me. I am a steward of God's resources. I believe that our Lord is pleased to hear and answer the prayers of those who want to become His stewards because He really wants to bless us in the same way we enjoy blessing our children. But it only stands to reason that if you want to be trusted with more, then you must prove first that you can be trusted with what you've already been given. It's difficult to grasp it from a human standpoint, but we need to step out of the flesh and into the will of God, by faith. He will provide as His word says.
In doing this with a cheerful heart, you will not be able to stop the multiplied blessings that come your way. They may come in the way of increased income, healing of a relationship, healing from sickness or illness or disease, or the blessing of seeing a loved one you've been praying for saved through Christ. I believe we also receive many blessings that go unseen. Let us thank the Lord for those.
I tell you this because I want you to experience what I've experienced. It's amazing. I now am able to give more than I earned in years past, and it's all because God saw fit to trust me with more as I passed the tests of biblical stewardship. We have free will. It was my will to pray for God's direction in the area of finances. He did the rest, and all the glory goes to Him for anything He's put in my possession to manage for His glory. Here's a simple plan in regard to becoming a good steward:
1. Pray that God would show you what it is to be the type of steward that He wants you to be.
2. Get in the word and let it become a permanent part of your focus and desire as it relates to God's will.
3. Practice the principles you've learned about giving to the church, missions and to those in need. When you practice these things, you are sowing seed that will grow into a harvest—if you've sown them in fertile soil. However, you are not sowing to get a harvest. You are sowing because as a good steward, you are doing God's will. It just so happens that your seed will be multiplied. I believe that this is simply God's way of trusting you with more.
4. As you've been trusted with more, keep a humble heart. Pray that God will keep you humble. It would be a shame to start believing that you are the reason for your wealth. Never let your heart develop the love for money. It's okay to love what finances does for the kingdom of God, but money in itself is not to be loved. To love money is to worship it. It becomes a false idol. There is only one God, and He commands that we shall have no other gods before Him.
Although I wrote this testimony back in 2003, as I read it today, I realize that there is absolutely nothing I would change about it.
After my baptism, I started thinking about my purpose in life yet again. I asked myself, "What am I supposed to do in this life? What is my calling? What will God have me do?" I prayed about it a lot, and God finally gave me the answer. First, let me say that I have never heard an audible voice from God, but He does speak to me in the form of a gut feeling or intuition. On very rare occasions, He answers me in my dreams, and when He does, it's always very clear. I know when it happens because when I wake up, I feel like I've been spoken to. So God spoke to me in a dream, and He told me, "I have you right where I want you, and I have a plan for you." At the time, I was already working as an independent financial services professional.
I turned to a powerful verse from the Book of Jeremiah:
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11)
"Okay, but what exactly is the plan?" I asked myself. "Am I doing exactly what I'm supposed to do? Am I fulfilling my purpose?" I started to really evaluate my life and the way I worked. I have a wonderful relationship with my clients. I enlighten them and empower them, and I spend a lot of time educating and guiding them. It's incredibly rewarding, but I started to realize—I'm only working with one client at time. I have clients all over the country, from Alaska to New York, but I can only help them one at a time.
In recent years, it came to me: God wants me find a way to reach out to many people at a time. He wants me to educate as many good Christian stewards as possible and help them transform into great Christian stewards. That's exactly why I'm writing Stewardship on Steroids. With this book, I hope to change countless lives by showing readers how to increase cash flow, accumulate wealth, live a financially comfortable retirement and become great Christian stewards.
Retrain Your Brain
Before we get down to the nitty-gritty of my unique wealth-building and stewardship methods, you'll have to take some time to retrain your brain. You see, the "experts" have been forcing financial lies down your throat your entire life. And if you're like most consumers, you've just been eating them up, believing every false word. Unfortunately, your finances are suffering because of it.
But don't worry—you are certainly not alone. Across the nation, there are millions of other victims who have fallen prey to this widespread deception. After hearing financial advisors preach these money management tall tales and investment falsehoods for decades, most consumers have simply accepted these lies as the indisputable truth. After all, why would the "financial experts" mislead us? I'll tell you why: Because "The Establishment" does not truly care about the consumer's financial well-being. They just want to make loads and loads of money.
Who exactly is this ominous group I call "The Establishment"? In my mind, The Establishment is the American banking system as well as the conventional financial advice out there. It's the corner financial advisor who sells mutual funds, stocks and bonds like hot cakes and tells his clients to max out their IRAs and 401(k)s. Contrary to everything you've ever read, heard and learned, this is not the way to build wealth and become a great Christian financial steward.
I know this is difficult to swallow—these are the financial fundamentals you've believed your entire life. But throughout the pages of this book, I will prove to you that The Establishment does not have your best interests at heart. In fact, the financial principles they teach are ineffective at best and reckless at worst.
I'm not implying that all members of The Establishment are evil people. Most of these bankers and traditional financial advisors are just as ignorant as the unsuspecting clients they serve. More often than not, they truly believe in the antiquated financial planning methods they teach—because, like their customers, they've been taught the same lies since they were old enough to count.
In Chapter Three: Fight The Establishment!, I'll reveal more eye-opening details about these shocking financial fibs. By dispelling the myths about everything from interest rates and debt to IRAs and fixed rate mortgages, I'll help you retrain brain so you can identify these atrocious lies. It's time to take off the blindfold and uncover the truths that have been hidden from you. Only then can you successfully build wealth and become a great Christian steward.
Excerpted from Stewardship on Steroids by David Ellis Conyers Copyright © 2011 by David Ellis Conyers. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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