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Thursday, March 11, 2010

How did you get started and why do you refer to yourselves as Crazy?


I will take your questions is reverse order. Crazy is a reference to Francis Chan's book Crazy Love. A good friend gave me this book last year for Christmas and I have read it twice now. Basically, Chan is calling Christians to look at their lives and how they live them in comparison to the immense sacrifice by God in giving the life of his Son. Christians should look and act differently than those who do not claim to know God. If we look, act and talk the same as everyone else, there is a problem.

The website dictionary.com has many definitions for Crazy, but an unpredictable, nonconforming person; oddball seems to fit what we are going for here. In general, if humanistic logic would suggest you head in one direction, we want to be deliberate in heading the other way. If the rest of the world is knocking themselves out to save money for a yacht, we want to knock ourselves out to give that same money away.

The great preacher and theologian John Wesley was famous for giving away vast amounts of his annual income and preached often about how Christians should view and use money. I would encourage your to read this article that describes very succinctly what he believed about money.

He believed that with increasing income,
what should rise is not the Christian’s standard of living but the standard of giving
And he lived this out in his own life. It is said that at the end of his life he was living on what would today equate to about $28,000 per year, but was earning the equivalent of $160,000 per year. He gave the rest away - something like 82% of his income. That is what I call crazy.

As a family, we have been pretty frugal in the past few years. We have paid off credit cards, shaved off here and there in the name of efficiency and thought we had our budget pretty well buttoned up. So when we started this venture, we assumed that we would be starting at the proverbial bottom of the barrel. However, after only one day of reviewing our expenditures, we discovered an additional 7% gross income amount that we could recover every month.

By 'recover' I mean money we were spending on ourselves that we can now give to someone else. Here's a couple of examples:

We were paying about $100 per month on Internet, cable TV and telephone service. We don't generally watch that much television, but having 800 channels can be nice and if you go looking, there is usually some documentary or show about outer space on somewhere in there (these are my favorite types of shows). We decided to get rid of cable altogether as well as our home phone. We truthfully do not use our home phone all that much. We both have cell phones (more on that later) and were getting so many marketing calls it wasn't worth answering most of the time. We have a nice high def TV, and with a small indoor antenna we are able to receive 30 or so digital channels. More than we ever watched before and now it's free.

For our home phone, I have a Google Voice account which gives us a local number that can be configured to forward to one or more other lines and we have it pointed to our cell phones. And speaking of cell phones, Shelly had always been a little dubious of the iphone I got her last year. Dubious of the more than $100 per month cost, not of actually using it which she did, a lot. But in the spirit of the effort, yesterday she went back to her old flip phone for 60% less per month. The nice thing is, she can still use the iphone as if it were an ipod.

These are small examples but steps in the direction we are trying to head. I also want to be very clear that the we are not interested in creating another How-To blog on money saving tips for the sake of saving money to buy more stuff. That's what we have done in the past. We now want to look at 'things' differently. We want to be able to ask a very simple question whenever we buy anything - "Do I really need this thing (cat toy, diamond necklace, box of cupcakes, toaster oven, whatever) when there are people outside my door that are starving to death?"

2 comments:

kturner said...

My friend Joshua sent me a link to your blog and I just want to say a big THANK YOU for stating so well your thoughts on how we handle the "stuff" in our life. I have a ministry to troubled youth in the inner city of Indianapolis. 90% of these teenage boys are "fatherless."

The economy has greatly affected our ministry funding in 2009 which has put me back into "fundraising mode" to keep our ministry going. (Don't misunderstand... I'm not asking for money here.)

As I have had conversations with other Christians about ministry support my eyes have been greatly opened to see how much stuff we are stockpiling while trying to convince ourselves we can't afford to give to ministry.

My prayer is for God to lead more people in to ministry and for God to lead more people to be used of Him to sustain those ministries.

Thanks for what you are doing.

Ken Turner
My friend Joshua sent me a link to your blog and I just want to say a big THANK YOU for stating so well your thoughts on how we handle the "stuff" in our life. I have a ministry to troubled youth in the inner city of Indianapolis. 90% of these teenage boys are "fatherless."

The economy has greatly affected our ministry funding in 2009 which has put me back into "fundraising mode" to keep our ministry going. (Don't misunderstand... I'm not asking for money here.)

As I have had conversations with other Christians about ministry support my eyes have been greatly opened to see how much stuff we are stockpiling while trying to convince ourselves we can't afford to give to ministry.

My prayer is for God to lead more people in to ministry and for God to lead more people to be used of Him to sustain those ministries.

Thanks for what you are doing.

Ken Turner
http://kenturnerministries.org/

DaddyDan said...

Ken, thanks for the encouragement. It is amazing how the first thing we throw overboard when things get tight is our charitable giving. I say 'we' because I have been there before. Reality is that it should be the very last thing we consider.