February 2008: The Convenience Store
Ciao! ~ an Italian "Hello" to you this month, a greeting that also means "Goodbye."
. . . 'eTouch' is designed for anyone who has been 'YWAM-touched', anyone who has ever served in Youth With A Mission, or anyone who just kinda likes to hang out with us . . . We want to be a blessing and an encouragement. This is our way of saying "thank you" for your part in missions.
Please send us names, cities & email addresses of people you know who would like to receive this little monthly communiqué. Peter Jordan, Editor
1. Matters that Matter ~ The Convenience Store
2. Profound & Pithy ~ Timeless Wisdom
3. This 'n That 'n Feedback
4. Donna's Corner ~ Following Jesus is NOT . . .
5. Renewal Gatherings ~ Ideal for Your Holidays
1. Matters that Matter ~ Another Inconvenient Truth
I have a grave concern about an epidemic that is running wild throughout the world ~ and no less in the body of Christ. What causes my unease? The curse of debt!
The world of banking and credit loves it when you owe them money. And they love it more when you can't pay them back on time each month. They thrive on you; they harvest huge profits from you. Just check out their earnings and look at the bonuses they dish out to their top executives. They are very successful at what they do.
The borrower, who pays excessive monthly interest rates, is truly the slave of the bank and their credit cards. Read Proverbs 22:7.
Everywhere I look I see people in slavery ~ usually to a credit card and the bank behind it. Month by month that painful and inconvenient statement shows up; most are unable to even come close to paying it all off, so the minimum payment of 2% is submitted (if possible) and yet more interest piles up. And the bankers rub their hands together in delight.
Far too often this indebtedness involves running up convenient and easy-to-be-had, pain-free credit card purchases; but the pain will surely come ~ little thought is given to paying off promptly (and it's not the same as it is with weightlifting; debt pain brings no gain). That innocent little piece of plastic that is so convenient, has a voice; right there in your wallet it seduces you with it's siren song, "You need this pair of shoes"; "That motorbike is so you ~ only a few extra dollars a month"; "You deserve that trip ~ you can't afford not to take a little vacation at that price."
Instant gratitude is a sign of our times. And Donna and I fell into the trap.
Without really knowing why, just before we and our four young kids joined YWAM in 1976, we got out of debt. We had owed $5000 to Donna‚s parents who had helped us buy our first house. Strangely, they didn‚t even want us to pay them back, but we did. Even though we rented our home to others when we came into YWAM (the rent barely covering the mortgage), we still only had enough ready cash for one month in our school. (After two years in YWAM we sold our home thinking that we had a nest egg‚ for our retirement. Wrong. The Lord asked us to give every penny of it away. But that's another story.)
As brand new YWAMers, with not one single promise of support from family, friends or church, the miracle pipeline of provision started flowing right away and has continued all these years (though the flow was a bit sluggish at times). With God as our new source, we made it through those early lean years without going into debt. There were times when we wondered if we'd make it though . . . once we didn‚t even have 35 cents for our laundry (but that too is another story). It was a learning time; it was a time to be trained in the ways of God, trusting him with our lives and the lives of our children; to discover that he truly is a faithful and loving God.
Then we blew it.
In 1988 after 12 years we moved away from the large YWAM Kona community and started the ministry of YWAM Associates International, seeking to maintain relationships with those who have served and then gone on to other spheres of society. Alone as a family but having lots of company, we were living in the beautiful but pricey city of Vancouver, when suddenly we discovered that we could even buy groceries with a credit card; and lots of other things that we thought we needed, but wouldn't have previously purchased. Before we knew it, we were in debt to the tune of thousands of dollars, and with no way to pay it off. So we could only make the monthly minimum payment, having to choke down the excessive interest rates being charged by our kindly and benevolent credit card bank.
After a couple of months of this, the realization finally sank in that we were mired in debt and our prospects of digging out looked slim. Even the most generous donors don‚t like to give to missionaries to get them out of debt. So we did the only thing we knew to do, and that was to repent and ask the Lord to forgive us for our presumption and for our greed in buying things we didn‚t really need. We promised God that by his grace we would never fall into the debt trap again. Slowly, over a period of months, denying ourselves some things, we climbed out of the slippery slavery-pit that had bogged us down. And by his grace we have stayed out of the mud of debt.
Debt had turned us into slaves to a bank. Rob Bell in his book, Velvet Elvis, writes about a visit he made to Turkey where he noticed a large number of half-built homes with no signs of ongoing construction. The Muslim culture, he discovered, does not allow for financial debt, so the work only proceeds when there is more money saved up. It‚s pay-as-you-go rather than pay-as-you-want.
Debt is one of the greatest holdups for the church to fulfill its commission and truly be the church. And debt keeps people out of missions and drives them home from the mission field. And plastic debt is the easiest hole to slide into and flounder around in. Debt is subtle, seductive and beguiling for those of us who are unaware of the hidden reefs that lie beneath its smooth and welcoming surface; they're hidden reefs that lure us to financial shipwreck. The whole credit system is geared to high interest rates that lie in wait to suck you dry. The word for this is usury - the charging of excessive interest. (Nehemiah Chapter 5)
Usurious debt is both wrong for lender and borrower. (Debt is usually OK if what you buy will increase in value - such as a house which usually grows in value.) In many places a car is a necessity and that kind of loan should only be entered into wisely. Here‚s a tip: establish your credit directly with your own bank by negotiating a small and relatively low-interest loan and then paying it back on time.
Now here's the novel way that banks and credit card people look at you and me. To them we're either a Revolver or a Deadbeat. What does that mean?
A Revolver is a credit card user that constantly carries a balance and is charged regular, monthly interest on their charges. Credit card companies love Revolvers because they, in essence, increase the bottom line for the credit card company and make them a nice profit. Further, from an insider perspective, the best customers not only carry a balance, but also make their payments late, triggering extra fees and a higher interest rate.‰ Stephanie Andrews http://ezinearticles.com/?Im-a-Credit-Card-Deadbeat:-You-Can-Be-One-Too!&id=81004
A Deadbeat, on the other hand, is the tag‚ that credit card companies hang on anyone who pays off their total bill each month and on time. Think about that! You‚re being faithful and you‚re called a deadbeat! Just the name Deadbeat‚ gives a little glimpse into the whole credit philosophy. Deadbeats pay no interest - their only added cost is the annual charge for the credit card.
Credit cards used wisely can be a great blessing, providing for free flights and other goodies. For some tips on how to take advantage of the system go to Gary North's webpage http://www.lewrockwell.com/north/north284.html
What about those of us who are being crushed and weighed down and choked by the horrible weight of an impossible debt-load? Must we, like the Israelites in Egypt continue to make bricks without straw? For those of us in debt, are we condemned like a hamster, to plod away forever on a revolving treadmill? Is there an out? Is there hope?
There's always hope. Hope is the confident expectation of God's goodness to each one of us. There's always a way out though it may not be easy. Pain and sacrifice and humbling may line the walls of the tunnel that leads to the beckoning light of debt-freedom. And there are those who can help practically if you are currently mired in the mud and are willing to endure whatever it takes to pull free from the clinging muck that so easily entangled you in the first place.
Shakespeare, whose principles were of the world, wrote, "Neither a borrower nor a lender be." But the bible does not forbid lending. Nehemiah didn't. And Jesus said, "Do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you." (Matt 5:42) If you ever do lend to someone, it might be good - without saying anything - to think of it as a gift. Then if it is paid back, you‚re doubly blessed.
And finally, if you‚re in bad debt - credit card debt especially - deal with it; treat it the way you'd treat a case of bubonic plague - go to the doctor (in this case a wise financial physician who knows how to treat your disease). Then stay out of debt.
Just stop it!
In 2002 the average US family owed about $9000 in credit card debt (CardWeb.com). Let's assume that's your debt, and you‚re paying an interest rate of 18.9% (it may not be that high right now); if you never used your card again, and faithfully made the minimum monthly payments ($180 which is 2% of your balance), it will take 65 years and almost $41,000 to pay off your debt - and you never did charge another thing to your card!
Instead of 65 years, it will only take seven years to pay your debt off if you arrange to make twice-monthly payments of $90 (total payout reduced to $24,694).
Credit card companies take $90 billion a year in penalty fees and interest payments just from Americans. A credit card is a tool. Like any tool it can make your life easier if you know how to use it. But it can mess things up terribly if you don't. It can be a good way to lose friends. Use it properly. If you have any doubts, get a debit card instead. Without sound financial help, most people just keep on paying the minimum payment on their card each month.
HELP is available! I just Googled "Getting out of Debt" and there's lots of advice out there. Better yet, humble yourself and go to a friend who knows his or her way around responsibility in finances. It will take humility, loss of face, call it what you will, because nobody likes to admit that they can't handle money.
It could be painful for a while, but you'll no longer be a slave! Remember in the movie Braveheart, the last word in the last scene bellowed out by William Wallace? . . .
"Freedom"! If you're still in debtor's prison, with God's help start freeing yourself today.
2. Profound & Pithy ~ Timeless Wisdom
You can't keep trouble from coming; just don't give it a chair to sit in
Freedom is not the right to do as you please . . . but the liberty to do as you should
God still speaks to those who take the time to listen
God does not look at the price of the gift, but at the cost to the giver
God makes a promise. Faith believes it. Hope anticipates it. Patience waits for it
(Above from God's Little Acre)
Unforgiveness imprisons you in the past and destroys the possibility of change
Adults are just kids who owe money. (What a sad observation.)
3. This 'n That 'n Feedback
Remember from the last eTouch? . . . "When you are dissatisfied and would like to go back to your youth, think of Algebra." I liked Algebra! It was homework that I didn't like about my youth! I loved the "love story" and Donna certainly brought out some good points about clogged arteries! Dannie Hawley, Guinea, West Africa
Thank you very much for eTouch, it's a true blessing and reminds me of the spirit of YWAM. Even 23 years after YWAM, I still feel part of the work. I got to know my husband during my six years at Lausanne, and we still have many friends from that time. I find that a true string of love holds us together - after years you meet someone from YWAM, and right away you feel connected! Dorothee Eisenhut, Switzerland
Another great love story - thanks for writing Part 2! So cool how God does things that at the time don't make a lot of sense to us but the final conclusion is always quite surprising. I think you should write a short book with all the love stories in them for unmarried men and women to get encouraged to trust God and wait on Him and see the unpredictable but exciting results - reminds me of the recent Super Bowl! I can't wait to read Love Story Part 3 (The Third Generation). Kindy Peaslee, NY
I read it beginning to end right away. It took me back a few years and forward a few steps. It was just the thing I needed right now. Chris Deahl, WA
Cardiologist Wanted! To partner in Missions & Medicine with a fellow heart-specialist; think of the possibilities! To connect write to Peter: firstname.lastname@example.org
4. Donna's Corner ~ Following Jesus is NOT . . .
. . . convenient!
Jesus challenged all of us about being willing to leave home, mother, father, children or fields for His sake and for the sake of the gospel.
He also said, "Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the Kingdom . . . No one puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the Kingdom." (Luke 9:60, 62)
We are back on the Kona campus, living in old Building 2, in one room, directly beneath the two rooms we lived in for 11 years ˆ from 1977 to 1988. It wasn‚t convenient coming back here for four months, settling into a new location, looking for furniture to make our little home, 'homey.' But we are so very content because we believe we are in the center of God‚s will.
Jesus said things like . . . if you love Me you‚ll be obedient to Me . . . even when you don‚t understand . . . the righteous will walk by faith not by sight; faith in who I am and in what My Word says . . . they will be led by the Holy Spirit who lives within each one who has Me as Lord and King of their lives.
He wants to lead us even in the details. A knock came to our door around 2am a few weeks ago; a student was in pain and fearful because of the pain. It wasn‚t convenient to get up and put on my housecoat and go to another building, but it was God‚s will. It isn‚t always convenient to stop and listen to someone‚s heart and their questions when you are fast asleep or on the way somewhere.
Following and walking in obedience to Jesus is not convenient, but if we love Him and love others we‚ll be willing to lay down our agendas, our schedules, our desires and our 'rights' and say, "Father, your will be done, whatever you say, I will do, whatever you speak I will speak, I just want to please you." We‚re here on earth to please God and walk in obedience to Him. It‚s not going to be convenient, but we live for eternity when we will see Him face to face.
Look and read about Jesus‚ life, He only came to please His Father. He said, „I seek not to please myself but Him who sent Me."
When you‚re led by the Spirit of God you have nothing to fear, no fear of man, no fear of being 'used' by people; just the fear of God which is to hate evil and is the beginning of wisdom.
Time is going by so quickly, live each day for Him and with Him, being content in any and every situation.
Love and Blessings,
(References: Mark 10:29-30; Luke 9:59-62; John 14:12-31; Heb 10:35-39 & chap 11; John 16:12-15; Proverbs 8:13; 9:10; Phil 4:11-13; Romans 8:14-18; Gal 5:26)
5. Renewal Gatherings ~ Perfect for Your Holidays
Please pray for us during Feb 24 ˆ Mar 1 as we host a unique inTouch Renewal Gathering in Kona, Hawaii. 130 people will be 'embedded' with the All Nations-All Generations DTS each morning then will have their own program in the afternoons and evenings. Wish you were here!
Looking ahead to the coming Northern Hemisphere Summer . . .
June 8-14, Chico, California ˆ Speaker Donna Jordan
Contact Dave McPherson: email@example.com
Europe 2008: go to www.intouchcamps.com for full details on all European Camps
July 6-12, Choose from two in Norway (both the same week)
*Grimerud, Speaker Dan Sneed ˆ with Peter & Donna Jordan
Contact Lidvard Andreasson: Lidvard@online.no
*Land of the Midnight Sun Camp, Borgen, Speaker Al Akimoff
Contact Roy Jones: firstname.lastname@example.org
July 13-19, Restenas, Sweden, speakers Derek and Trich Dodd, YWAM Ireland
Aug 2-9, near Paris, France, speakers Jeff & Romkje Fountain, YWAM Europe leaders
Aug 24-30, Chatel, Switzerland with Gary & Bev Killingsworth from YWAM Scotland Restenas, Paris & Chatel Camps led by Roy Jones: email@example.com
Till next time here's a parting thought . . .
Life is a gift to you. The way you live your life is your gift to those who come after you. Make your gift an excellent one.
Ciao! And Many Blessings,
Feel free to use anything from 'eTouch,' in whole or in part, in any way that will glorify God and advance His Kingdom.