Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Yes, America, There is a Punxsutawney Phil, and He's Right...Sometimes

Punxsutawney Phil is a large rodent that is supposedly the prognosticator of prognosticators. The greatest predictor of weather that we have available to us today. At least, that's what the people of Punxatawny, Pennsylvania would have you believe. You see, there are movies named after this groundhog, secret societies built around him, and yes, even a day given over to him in our calendar, Groundhog Day which comes every February 2nd. Hard to believe once you realize his predictor of seeing his shadow is only right 39% of the time. "That ain't so bad," I thought. Until you realize what a professor came up with after running the numbers:

Biology professor Stam Zervanos looked back at Punxsutawney Phil, a tradition now celebrating its 126th year. He estimates that Phil or his ancestors could predict with only 39 per cent accuracy that winters continued to be cold for several weeks following the appearance of its shadow on Feb. 2, or were milder than usual after it couldn’t see a shadow.
Is that so bad? Well, consider this:
According to Encyclopedia Canada, 33 per cent accuracy can occur just by chance. AND... When you break it down by city, the chances of any weather-forecasting marmot getting it right in Toronto fall to about 29 per cent.
Realizing, of course, it's all in good fun, I still think it's funny how much trust we tend to place on a fat rodent every February 2nd to predict our upcoming weather.

Here's a some more numbers for you. 100% of people who tried to get rich with credit cards failed. 100% of people who are in debt are enslaved to their lender (Don't believe it? Try stopping your payments for a while.)  And 99% of people who don't have budgets will not be able to fund their dreams, hopes, and future. 

As I deal with families, they tend to live in the same rut: in debt, with no budget, no plan to get out of debt, and no hope. But, there is hope! No matter where you are financially, you can work yourself out of the hole you have dug. It will take a plan and lots of patience. God promises everyone of us that when we choose to obey Him, He will use all of His almighty power to help us obey Him. You make your plan and God gives His power:
So when I planned this, was I irresponsible? Or what I plan, do I plan in a purely human way so that I say "Yes, yes" and "No, no" [simultaneously]? As God is faithful, our message to you is not "Yes and no." For every one of God's promises is "Yes" in Him. Therefore, the "Amen" is also spoken through Him by us for God's glory. (2 Corinthians 1:17, 18, 20 HCSB)

That is what our series "Man vs. Money" is all about, helping you plan so God can work in your finances. My challenge is for you to commit to get out of debt. For that to happen, you're going to have to live like no one else, so you can live like no one else. Join one of our small groups. Get involved in one of our weekend services. And commit to live your finances God's way.

Looking for His help as I rely on His power,

Pastor Trey

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Not Taking Care of Yourself? It Shows

It comes as no surprise that Demi Moore has taken ill. Supposedly it is due to exhaustion even though many think she has not taken care of herself for several years. The problem is that she seems to have refused to take care of what obviously must be taken care of without experiencing visible consequences.

As MTV news reports:
The news of the health scare may not have been too surprising to celebrity watchers who have been closely keeping an eye on the actress in the wake of her split from Ashton Kutcher.
They reiterate with the concern of those who have been keeping up with her:
Moore had many fans worried about her health after she appeared thinner than usual at several red-carpet appearances...
Whether it is your spiritual health or other issues, there are always warning signs that accompany any lack of care. With our bodies, when we don't take care of ourselves, it can manifest though exhaustion, sleeplessness, or headaches.

However, when it comes to our financial health, we can always point to a single thing...debt. Debt is one of the most telling problems of money and its problems in our lives. It creates the chains that makes us slaves:
The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is a slave to the lender. (Proverbs 22:7 HCSB)
Slaves cannot be happy, nor generous. So, debt must be dealt with if we are ever going to become financially healthy and make a difference in our lives, our homes, and for our children and grandchildren. If we are going to be able to impact our world, we must be not only willing but also able to give to God's kingdom's work through His church and ministries.

So, let's begin the process by taking a ride on the debt snowball together. How?

1. Make an E Z budget
2. Save $1000 for emergencies
3. Stop using credit (begin by cutting up your credit cards)
4. Pay down debt smallest to largest.
5. Sell stuff (most need to begin with your expensive car)
6. Get an additional part time job or work some overtime

This is a list you can use, but there are many more nuts and bolts to what can be done in your personal finances. Join us at Oceanside Church this weekend and in our small groups for "I Was Broke. Now I'm Not." www.MyOceansideChurch.com

Removing the Chains,

Pastor Trey Rhodes

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Wikipedia Blackout and Your Money

Although I don't claim to know everything about it, there is a bill that congress is considering called SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act). While it seems on the surface to be a good law that protects writers and artists, it can have many far reaching affects that can harm the free exchange of ideas on everything from Wikipedia to YouTube to FaceBook and Twitter. For instance, according to abcnews.go.com in an article entitled "Wikipedia Blackout,’ SOPA and PIPA Explained," there is an explanation of the problem with this congressional law:
Internet entities such as Wikipedia, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and Tumblr said the two bills would force them to be online police and hold them responsible if users of their sites link to pirated content.
The companies said the bills could require your Internet provider to block websites that are involved in digital file sharing. And search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing could be stopped from linking to them — antithetical, they argue, to the ideal of an open Internet.
This could be catastrophic to many of our freedoms that we hold dear as a nation. Here's one example of what could happen if SOPA became law: let's say you recorded your child's birthday party and did not edit out your singing "Happy Birthday to You" from your video; the site you posted to can be shutdown; any comments made that referred people to your video can be shutdown; and you can go to prison for 5 years as a convicted felon. That is Draconian, to say the least.  It is scary stuff.

More here from TED on S.O.P.A

Blackout the Internet
Because of that, Wikipedia has fired the first salvo and will shut down on Tuesday, January 17th at midnight and will remain shutdown until Wednesday, January 18th. FaceBook, Twitter, Google, and YouTube are threatening the same thing. That begs the question, "What will we use the internet for?" It seems to me it will become little more than government regulated sites that have government approved content, with government approved responses. That is a kind of America that sounds more like Communist China or Shiite Iran. So, I hope every one of the entities affected will fight back with a blackout in order to help stop SOPA.

Blackout Excessive Spending
Another blackout we all need to consider is a blackout of spending more than we make. How is it possible to spend in excess of your income? Simple. Actually, it is entirely too simple. We use consumer credit brought on by our use and abuse of credit cards and other borrowing agencies to make up the difference. So, here's what I'm calling for, a blackout of any spending except what you have on hand. That is, if you don't have it, don't spend it. Credit can no longer be an option. 

Impossible you say? Maybe so in your current state of financial affairs, but Oceanside wants to help you make that possible. No, it may not happen tomorrow, but it can happen. We want to provide you with the tools and the knowledge and the will to move forward and become financially free. Why is that important? How would you like to have the biggest raise of your life? How would you like to fulfill your wildest dreams financially? Then lets agree to begin the journey to being debt-free. Join us this weekend at Oceanside Church, Saturday at 8:00 p.m. or Sunday at 10:30 a.m. and begin your incredible journey. 
Don't fail to plan your financial comeback, or you'll be planning to fail your financial comeback. Jesus exhorted us:  
“For which of you, wanting to build a tower, doesn’t first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, after he has laid the foundation and cannot finish it, all the onlookers will begin to make fun of him, saying, ‘This man started to build and wasn’t able to finish.’ Luke 14:28-30 (HCSB)
Let's plan for the kind of blackout that can impact every area of your life. You can make a real difference that way.

Moving toward financial freedom,

Pastor Trey Rhodes

Who are you inviting to Oceanside Church this weekend?

If you would like notes for last week's message you can link to notes from Last week's message here: Man vs. Money, Pt. 1

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Countdown to Doomsday

Doomsday in 2012? Well, at least we are told by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists that we are now 1 minute closer to doomsday. According the Washington Post article:

"In moving the clock ahead on Tuesday, the BAS cited the failure of world leaders to achieve significant progress on the reduction of nuclear weapons and in developing a comprehensive response to climate change."

So, there you have it. Scientists have now categorically declared that we are closer now than we have been since 2007. This is in addition to the Mayan calendar as well as other so-called predictors of the end of times. In truth, the Bible tells us:
"understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed." (Romans 13:11 NIV)
In simple terms, the Bible reminds us that of course we're closer to the apocalypse now more than we were before. These scientists are affirming what we should recognize already. Things will get worse before the return of Christ. Although some may call it "Doomsday," to the believer it is "Hope Day." That day is referred to as that "blessed hope" (Titus 2:13).

Regardless of what the Lord's timetable is for us concerning His return, we are called to be living for Him right now. He might come for us, but we can also go to HIm. in the mean time, we are to live our lives in such a way that we point others to Christ in all areas of our life.

There is no better way we can shine our light more than how we handle our money. Maybe the Doomsday you are facing is not one of the atomic variety, but in your personal finances. We are able to live out Christ in front of others in such a powerful way by how we handle our money. Actually, when it comes down to it, most of us just want to know How We Can Survive Money.

Would you like to know how you can get the single biggest raise you've ever had? Beginning this week, we start helping you get that raise. Interested? Join us this Saturday or Sunday at Oceanside Church as begin the journey together and learn how to survive money.

Surviving for Him,

Pastor Trey Rhodes

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

DASH to the Diet that Works

After all the gorging on fatty, high calorie foods during the Christmas season, we should all be motivated to lose a pound here and an inch there. According to U.S. News and World Report, the best way to do that is with the DASH diet. It's simple, they affirm it this way:
The DASH diet offers menus that feature vegetables, fruits and low-fat dairy products, as well as whole grains, fish, poultry and nuts. Limited portions of red meats, sweets and sugary beverages are allowed as well. (Read more here in the NY Daily News)

Sounds simple enough. But here's the problem with this as well as any other diet. It's easy to be motivated to start losing weight and inches, the hard part is keeping it off. This is from someone who has fought "the battle of the bulge" for years. I have come to discover that the simpler the diet, the more I am able transform my motivation to momentum. Once the momentum begins, my lifestyle then helps me keep off the extra pounds longer and easier. It's all about keeping momentum.

I learned this "diet" from the Fitness Together team of Brian and Josh Durbin here in Mount Pleasant. Eat 4 to 5 low fat, low salt small meals, don't drink sugary drinks, allow for anything in small portions (one or two bites of cake on occasion), eat all the vegetables and fruit you want (moderation with bananas), and exercise, both cardio and fitness. Once you start and make it a lifestyle, it's much easier to continue. You can live life healthy and energetic.

As we begin the new year, I am praying not for motivation to live for Christ, but momentum to live for Christ. There are few things more frustrating than driving an old beater, clunker car that can't keep going. You know,  that car that takes constant repairs and calls to AAA to keep it going. You might drive it for a week, but before you know it, you're back down at the repair shop to get it running again. Kind of like Uncle Buck's car...

Do you ever feel like that resembles who you are in Christ? Always trying your best to keep it running, but never quite being able to get there? For you, the challenge for 2012 is to transform your motivation to momentum.

Paul understood that early in his Christian life. There were constant obstacles he faced that all had potential to slow him down and de-rail him from his walk with Christ. In the book of Acts we can read how he overcame that tendency:
But their suspicions didn't slow Saul down for even a minute. His momentum was up now and he plowed straight into the opposition, disarming the Damascus Jews and trying to show them that this Jesus was the Messiah. Acts 9:22 (MSG)
He kept the main thing, the main thing: pointing desperate people to the loving Savior, Jesus Christ. When our tendency is to get de-railed and lose our momentum, do like Paul, tell others about Jesus. That means sharing with your friends, your co-workers, and your neighbors. It is that kind of lifestyle can and does maintain momentum.

Let's keep it simple, help others transform into Christ-followers and that will make all the difference in your life as well. That's maintaining momentum.

So this year,  we are dubbing our year "Momentum 2012." It's all about

  • "Mo" friends and 
  • "Mo" disciples. 

It's pouring our lives into the lives of others as we get to see them experience God's transforming power in their lives.

Here's your challenge: don't walk out of church and small group motivated, move that motivation to momentum and you'll expereince your best year ever. Who knows? You might even see your own life change in ways you never thought possible. It's all about momentum.

Gaining momentum in 2012,

Pastor Trey Rhodes

For GREAT Oceanside Activities and Events coming up, be sure to check out your place for what's happening at Oceanside Church: