Monthly Archives: February 2012

Monday AM Launch: Luke 8:4-15 Parable of the Sower

Do you ever think of the things that go wonderfully in life financially and with your career, and think wow I must be living right for the Lord to bless me this way?  Conversely when there seems to be more bad things happening to you with money, do you wonder if God is punishing you? Not to say we might be enjoying blessing or consequences for our actions, but perhaps something else might be going on. I think that many Americans have a performance mind-set, and look  at their life through the lense of accomplishments and winning.

Consider the Parable of the Sower found in Luke 8:4-15
As a large crowd was gathering, and people were flocking to Him from every town, He said in a parable: “A sower went out to sow his seed. As he was sowing, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds of the sky ate it up. Other seed fell on the rock; when it sprang up, it withered, since it lacked moisture. Other seed fell among thorns; the thorns sprang up with it and choked it. Still other seed fell on good ground; when it sprang up, it produced a crop: 100 times what was sown.” As He said this, He called out, “Anyone who has ears to hear should listen!”Then His disciples asked Him, “What does this parable mean?” So He said, “The secrets of the kingdom of God have been given for you(I) to know, but to the rest it is in parables, so that Looking they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.

“This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. The seed along the path are those who have heard and then the Devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. And the seed on the rock are those who, when they hear, welcome the word with joy. Having no root, these believe for a while and depart in a time of testing. As for the seed that fell among thorns, these are the ones who, when they have heard, go on their way and are choked with worries, riches, and pleasures of life, and produce no mature fruit. But the seed in the good ground—these are the ones who, having heard the word with an honest and good heart, hold on to it and by enduring, bear fruit.

You may have read or been taught that this is a kind of missionary Bible verse, but in my reading it looks altogether something different. Re-read it a few times, contemplating this message. I think you will see Jesus explaining that some do not believe Him, and others do. Those that do believe fall into three camps: 1. The first group are those with shallow beliefs; during difficulty they can’t endure testing (no root), so when life doesn’t work out for them their faith falters. 2. The second group are the babies; they try to live dualistic lives, either consumed by the worries or riches and pleasures (not mature), they want it all; Jesus, riches and comforts. 3. The last group have heavenly foresight; they know their lives don’t consist of what happens to them. They have heard “with a good heart,”  not thinking of themselves. When they encounter difficulty, they think of what is best for Jesus, eternity and for the change and refinement in our hearts that difficulty will bring.

The strange news is we are all of these folks; our faith falters because we have not taken the time to let our roots go deep. We try to live dualistic lives and we don’t grow, and see little Godly fruit in our lives, and when difficulty or riches happen, we look at our lives through performance mentality instead of what God is trying to teach us.  When difficulty comes, and it will to everyone, God in his is ultimate grace allows it to, so that we will start to have that good heart, and walk a different and better path of faith, that grows mature fruit. This painfully has happened to me and feel that he has in many ways saved my life.

Lord help me to have a heavenly, eternal and Kingdom perspective in all that I do.

Friday 2/3/12 Blog Roll, Great Reads from Other Blogs

The following are good articles from this past week from other Christian personal finance blogs that I follow:

Stock Act Gaining Momentum

I previously wrote about the federal lawmakers exemption from insider trading laws, allowing them the ability to buy and sell stocks, bonds and real estate using inside information. The lawmakers have access to privileged information that helped many of them to become multimillionaires, peddle influence, and secretly make the information available to hedge-fund managers that only the very wealthy can invest in.  If anyone else traded on inside information, it is a felony which brings possible fines and imprisonment.

The Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act, also known as the Stock Act has been floating around for several years, would make this practice illegal, has passed the Senate, and is moving to the House, and could be voted on as early as next week. Lets hope that this bill gets passed and becomes law.

Wondering If You Should Invest in Facebook’s IPO

The media chatter seems to be full of information about Facebook’s and Groupon’s initial public offering (IPO) of stock. Many people wonder if IPOs make good investments.

It is very difficult to determine the value of a stock that has been around a while, let alone a new one with little information to go on. Sometimes the initial public offering price is good, because it may be priced low such that if the underwriter has to buy unsold shares. However often most shares of the IPO are pre-sold to institutional investors or other qualified buyers. If the general public wants to buy the shares, they may be buying them after the market may have driven the cost up. For example LinkedIn went public last year with an initial price of $45, but sold $83 the same day. So if you bought it, you may be buying it at the higher cost. This is not to say and IPO may continue to appreciate, however most advisors think that investing in IPOs can be aggressive. If someone fits the model of a long-term investor, using mutual fund type accounts for professional security picking and diversification, then buying individual stocks isn’t really a fit for them, unless only done so with a small percentage of their portfolio.

Talk to your investment advisor about opportunities and risk of investing in IPOs and other alternatives: you might not want to miss an opportunity to get a nice little profit, however be careful to do so only if it really fits your overall goals, risk level and investment style.

Consider too Ecclesiastes 5:13-15 “There is another serious problem I have seen under the sun. Hoarding riches harms the saver. 14 Money is put into risky investments that turn sour, and everything is lost. In the end, there is nothing left to pass on to one’s children. 15 We all come to the end of our lives as naked and empty-handed as on the day we were born. We can’t take our riches with us.”