Let’s Get Started

You might recall that the spirit of poverty leaves you feeling like your finances are out of control. The money comes in and goes out without you having control of it. Here are some risky, beginner suggestions to help you practically take dominion over your finances. Consider these ideas and take some action as the Lord is leading you. You should be taking action on at least three of the following 15 items.

  1. Understand what the scriptural power of the tithe is and do it with faith in your heart that God will pour out overflow to you.
  2. Deposit your money into savings and “own it” for a while before moving it into checking to pay bills. Even if it is only for a few days, it will change your thinking and give you a sense of dominion. Works in Kenya with M-pesa.
  3. Take dominion over your finances and pay a bill early instead of waiting until the last possible time. You take authority and decide when to pay the money.
  4. Most poverty stricken people have filled their lives with second rate possessions. Buy something you don’t need but can afford. It should be one nice item of lasting value like a watch or picture for the wall. Get something that you can keep at a very visible, prominent place. Don’t buy the cheapest or even the best deal, but purchase something beautiful that feeds your soul. If you need to do this to break a poverty mindset, you will find it a struggle to do. Buy something you can pay for with cash.
  5. If you have never owned any stock, set aside $150 and buy a few shares of stock to own.
  6. If you have never given away one hundred dollars at one time, do it as soon as you can save it up.
  7. Subscribe to a year of the Wall Street Journal. Let your soul prosper as you read.
  8. Plant or expand some flower gardens around your house. Beauty feeds your soul.
  9. Fix something that is broken around your property. Especially something that has been broken for a long time. Repair or replace it permanently and with good quality materials.
  10. Sign up for a course at a community college or trade school. Look for something you like to do or think you would enjoy. It could be something career oriented like a marketing course or something that feeds your soul like an art course.
  11. Take half of the time you are presently spending on entertainment and use if for learning. Be specific and measureable. Read an economics book instead of watching your favorite sports team.
  12. Follow Dr. Thomas Anderson’s formula to measure if you are on track with growing your net worth for your age.
  13. Develop a ten year financial plan that makes adjustments in all four elements of net worth: income, expenditures, savings and debt.
  14. Find a quiet place and pray the prayer, “Holy Spirit, teach me to prosper”.

I recently came across an old African proverb. Here is what it said…”The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now.”

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Brian Goes to Wall Street

I have my own story about Wall Street as well. In my mind Wall Street was this big imposing financial mountain that was too big for anyone normal like me to climb. I have heard many times the comparison of Wall Street vs. Main Street implying that Wall Street (representing the financial world) is at odds with Main Street (the normal Mom & Pop world where most of us live). Though there is some truth to this comparison I have come to realize that most of what is listed and traded on Wall Street is owned by people who live on Main Street.

So here is my Wall Street story. This is one of those times where I felt the Lord was answering my prayer for the Holy Spirit to teach me to prosper. In order to increase my financial literacy I was in the habit of reading about Wall Street in the Wall Street Journal. I realized that I was scheduled to speak at a conference in Brooklyn, NY in the near future which is in close proximity to Wall Street in Manhattan. I started to get the nudge of the Holy Spirit that I should actually go to Wall Street. I felt I should go there…pray and listen and get a cup of coffee. After finishing the conference and getting directions I set out to visit Wall Street on my way home. What an adventure.

I made it across the Brooklyn Bridge only to become hopelessly lost in a myriad of multiple lane, one way streets and construction in Manhattan. I was finally able to make my way down to the south of Manhattan Island where Wall Street is located, but I still couldn’t find it. Believe me it was a little embarrassing to stop and ask someone for directions to Wall Street in the shadows of the financial district skyscrapers …how intimidating…I almost gave up and went home. Finally I worked my way between a couple of tall buildings and there was the sign for Wall Street. How disappointing!

I was expecting it to be one of these multiple lane streets bustling with traffic and commerce. It is not. Wall Street is two lanes wide (and one of them is for parking) and the section I first found is open only to pedestrians. You can’t even drive on it. It is basically an alley. I snaked my way around and found a way to turn on to the part of it that you can drive on. There is parking on one side and only one lane going one way. This is the same Wall Street that intimidates people around the world? It is just a narrow street.

And then there it was…a parking spot! This was a miracle in and of itself. I self- consciously pulled into the spot and left my car running in case anyone asked me to move. When you are obeying God in new ventures you look for His thumbprint there. This simply means some sign or recognition that you are on the right track. As I sat there with my car idling I saw someone walk by with a coffee cup from my favorite coffee shop. I smiled. Yes! I knew I was exactly where God wanted me to be.

I took my Bible and the pages fell open to the scriptures in Genesis that speak of Abraham being the Father of many nations…right there where he was introduced to El Shaddai…the God of more than enough. That day the wall of intimidation that surrounded Wall Street came down for me. I wrote down the things God was showing me, found the coffee shop, enjoyed a coffee and drove home. I had climbed a mountain.

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Broachers on Wall Street

I was recently stirred by reading about the history of Wall Street in the book Becoming a Millionaire God’s Way by C. Thomas Anderson. What struck me was that the original folks who started to trade on Wall Street were just normal people like you and I selling war bonds. Everyone starts somewhere. Here is a quote from the book.

Throughout history the wealthy got that way in the same manner that they do today. They invested. They watched for opportunities and took calculated risk based on their knowledge of how money works.

 In 1789, the United States government had just emerged from the Revolutionary War and was completely broke. To raise some capital, it sold eighty million dollars of government bonds. The government desperately needed money and those who were aware could invest in the government and earn substantial dividends.

 The men who sold these bonds were called broachers. The term originally referred to those who broached or tapped a keg of wine. They punched a hole in the keg so that its contents could be poured out. The government broachers were tapping the finances of people and bringing them into the government. In time the “a” was dropped and they became known as “brokers.” 

These broachers worked largely in the capital, which was New York at that time. To avoid inclement weather they often worked out of a place called the Turvine Café. This gathering was the beginning of what became known as the New York Stock Exchange. The café was located on a little four block street called Wall Street. When the Dutch first settled New York in 1644, they put brush wood around their complex to keep cattle and Indians out. The governor later built a nine foot high wall, turning the area into a fortress. The street that ran along the wall became known as Wall Street.

I mention this little bit of history because it shows that there have always been opportunities for investments and there have always been investors. There is no reason why you cannot be one. 1

I agree with Dr. Anderson…there is no reason why we cannot become financially literate, develop financial courage and start to prosper. Desire is one of God’s focusing points. He uses it to get people moving. We have read previously that God gives us the desires of our hearts. The very fact that you have an interest in this book and are reading it indicates that you desire to change and learn.

1 Dr. C. Thomas Anderson, Becoming a Millionaire God’s Way, (New York: New York, Faith Words, Hachette Book Group USA, 2006), p.

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Confronting Fear

In the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist bombing and destruction of the World Trade Center in New York City, many people were overcome with fear and intimidation. The magnitude of physical destruction and the sense of violation penetrated people to the core of their being. As different people responded to this tragedy differently, I heard one Christian ministry that felt led of the Lord to confront the fear that was associated with it. They scheduled a meeting on the one year anniversary, right in Manhattan, to confront any intimidation or fear people were feeling in regards to this terrorist attack. This really got my attention as the right thing to do, so my son and I traveled to New York for the one year anniversary of 9/11. It was a great night, and as you know there were no follow up attacks. It proved to be a great lesson for my son in confronting opposition and fear.

We need to face the spirit of poverty head on and confront it. If we are just brutally honest, this is how we develop a prosperous soul. It will take risk and financial courage. Remember the parable of the talents? The one steward did not understand God’s nature and so he did not take a risk with his talent. He was punished by the master for not taking a risk. For those of us who want to understand God’s nature, we are required to take risks. Without faith it is impossible to please God.

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A pastor friend of mine said the following after he was physically assaulted at a New Year’s Eve celebration, “Christianity is all theory until it is put to the test.” His ability to live out Christianity was put to a test, and he passed as he forgave the individual and moved on with life. This statement is true about our belief in biblical prosperity too. It is all theory unless it is put to the test. We started early on by looking at the blessings of Abraham. He was blessed to be a blessing. He received the blessing of God by faith. We need to do it the same way. It has often been said that faith is spelled RISK.

In the book Good to Great, author Jim Collins talks about how to confront the brutal facts without losing faith. Start with an honest approach to assess the given situation. Don’t confuse faith that you are going to prevail with the brutal facts and reality of your current situation. The reality of your present situation, perhaps as measured by net worth, gives the sound footing needed to lift yourself out of it. We must look reality in the eye and confront it.

In order to prosper financially we will have to take risk and confront fear. These next few blogs will be about how to take a realistic assessment of your finances and overcome fear to change that present reality.

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Let’s Get Brutally Honest

From history we know that when William Bradford founded the first English colony in America in Jamestown, Virginia; the first couple of years were very tough for the new colony. One reason was because they took a socialistic approach to farming and had a community garden in which all were to labor together and share the food, but as it ended up only a few demonstrated the incentive to do the work and many died in the first year. After a couple of years they decided to split up the garden into plots and give each family a plot of ground for which they were personally responsible. On this plot they would work and eat the food that was harvested from it. Guess what?…from that point on there was plenty of food in Jamestown! Individuals took personal responsibility for their own provision, it made a big difference and the settlement at Jamestown survived.

To apply this principle, shall we sit around and fantasize about how much we would like to give or shall we start to work the land for the abundance from which to give? Proverbs 28:19 states, “He who works his land will have abundant food, but the one who chases fantasies will have his fill of poverty.” We can’t give what we don’t have, so let’s quit being spiritually lazy and start believing God for abundance. How can we make our soul prosperous? Unless we change some of our thoughts and actions, we will get the same financial result that we have gotten before. We can have great intentions about building a budget, calculating net worth and developing a financial plan, but if we don’t put action to it nothing will change.

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Just do it!

Consider a financial plan for yourself. It is important to remember you are not competing against anyone else or trying to get ahead of your neighbors. This is not a race! That would be a wrong motivation. This is between you and God, and it is about you having the resources to fulfill your destiny. That is…to do all you are called to do on this earth.

You will use your regular net worth calculation to monitor the success of your financial plan. Just do it. Get started. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to start. Just do it. Do not slip into the delusion that you will get rich overnight. Instead plan to move into a prosperous life-style gradually. I have included a simple template to get you started in my book A Practical Path to a Prosperous Life in Appendix F on page 260.

A prosperous person will be outcome-based not hourly-based. The hourlybased person will put in a lot of time and be happy with that even though the objective has not been reached. “I did my best and tried hard. I feel good about my effort. If you want I can tell you about how hard I tried. It is a great story.” But what is the outcome? Either you put a measurable financial plan together or you did not. A prosperous person will look for a way to achieve the goal. Either you will initiate change or things will stay the same. But even if you initiate steps to change some of those steps might not work. Don’t be satisfied to have taken steps, persevere with needed adjustments until change occurs.

Be realistic and recognize failure to achieve desired outcomes, though this should be done in a positive environment. Failure is not the enemy of success but rather the teacher of success. This is a valuable tool. I am sure you have heard of the great number of failures Abraham Lincoln experienced before he was elected President of the United States, or of the thousands of times Edison tried the light bulb before he discovered how it worked. For some, failure defeats them and yet for others failure motivates them.

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Think and Plan Like a Farmer

Everyone knows that a farmer works hard physically. But a farmer has his crops growing while he is sleeping. If it is raining during the night his crops are being watered while he sleeps. Many investments work this way. Think of your dollars invested as working for you as you are sleeping. There is something inherently good about this. It is called passive income because you do not have to do anything for it to yield increase as opposed to active income that is payment for your labor.

Plant a seed and several months later that seed will produce fruit with dozens of seeds. Investing is one way of planting seeds for the future. Plant now, the harvest is in the future. The average stock related investment doubles every 7 years. These are not chance deals with big risk. Begin to live on the harvest and not the seeds. Don’t eat your seed. Make a goal to save and invest 10% of your income. It’s okay to start with 2 or 3% and work up to 10%.

Consider the story Jesus told about the talents (Matthew 25: 14-30). Jesus was literally talking about investing money. Spiritual gifts (what we sometimes call talents) are a secondary application of these scriptures. As we will discuss later a talent in Jesus’ day was a set amount of money. Think in terms of planting, time, and reaping. This biblical principle is called seed time and harvest. It is found throughout the Bible.

Some people are waiting around for God to do a financial miracle. Their faith might be fixed on Proverbs 13:22, “And the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.” If those Christians simply applied the principles in God’s word, the wealth of the sinners would begin to flow into their hands. Instead,they are waiting for God to fulfill his word and he is waiting for them to apply his principles and plant some seeds.

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What if my Financial Plan Doesn’t Work?

My experience is that financial plans seldom work out exactly as written and that they need to be re-written every few years. Here is what Rick Joyner says about planning.

Nothing of lasting significance has ever been accomplished without some type of planning or preparation. Every general goes into battle with a battle plan and every coach goes into a game with a game plan.(2)

When a sports team is preparing for competition the coach develops and the athletes focus on a game plan and practice relentlessly to execute it. At the same time the coach and the players make decisive changes at halftime or mid game as needed to get the victory. Likewise Marines are taught plans and maneuvers and go into every battle with a battle plan. They are told no battle will ever go as planned and that adjustments will need to be made along the way. A financial plan will seldom work out exactly as planned, but will get you far enough to know what corrections or adjustments are needed for success.

Does the fact that the game plan might change at halftime keep a team from developing a game plan? No. Does the fact that the battle plan will likely change during the battle keep the Marines from developing a battle plan? Of course not; they plan to win but are ready for anything that might come their way. Sometimes you win and sometimes you learn. Failure will only make you stronger and smarter.

2 Rick Joyner Prophetic Bulletin, 2008

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Jacob’s Financial Plan

Let us carefully read what Jacob used for his financial plan. It is very detailed and very specific. He planned it carefully and followed his plan and became prosperous.

”…Let me go through all your flocks today and remove from them every speckled or spotted sheep, every dark-colored lamb and every spotted or speckled goat. They will be my wages. And my honesty will testify for me in the future, whenever you check on the wages you have paid me. Any goat in my possession that is not speckled or spotted, or any lamb that is not dark-colored, will be considered stolen. Jacob…took fresh-cut branches from poplar, almond and plane trees and made white stripes on them by peeling the bark and exposing the white inner wood of the branches. Then he placed the peeled branches in all the watering troughs, so that they would be directly in front of the flocks when they came to drink. When the flocks were in heat and came to drink, they mated in front of the branches. And they bore young that were streaked or speckled or spotted. Jacob set apart the young of the flock by themselves, but made the rest face the streaked and dark-colored animals that belonged to Laban…Whenever the stronger females were in heat, Jacob would place the branches in the troughs in front of the animals so they would mate near the branches, but if the animals were weak, he would not place them there. So the weak animals went to Laban and the strong ones to Jacob. In this way the man grew exceedingly prosperous and came to own large flocks, and maidservants and menservants, and camels and donkeys (Genesis 30:29-43).

So where did Jacob come up with this detailed financial plan? The scriptures don’t specifically tell us, but it would seem like he got it from spending time with God. I love the fact that Jacob’s financial plan was part natural and part supernatural. Norm Schlemmer is a church leader and a businessman from Indiana. Here he describes how he gets ideas from God.

Ask God to give you ideas for continuous streams of income. One example I had was when I asked God how I would pay for college educations for my four children.  After I bought my first apartments, the Holy Spirit told me to buy ten sets of coin-operated washers and dryers and put them in the apartments. I paid for them the first year and have now had them for over twenty years. It was very little work, other than hauling the quarters to the bank. They paid for college and then some. They are still producing today with almost no involvement. Being obedient to the Holy Spirit can have great rewards. 

If a farmer plants corn in the spring, he harvests the crop in the fall. If he plants apple seeds in the spring, it may be many years before he can reap. The difference between the corn and the apple tree is that the corn is harvested only once and has to be replanted the next year. The apple tree will yield many years of harvest from one planting. Buying stock in a company can yield many years of dividends. Ask God to show you long-term investments2.

This sounds easy but it is not. However it can be done.

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