Pastor Tim Lundy shares key biblical principles to guide you in developing a Christ-centered marriage.
Pastor Tim Lundy shares key biblical principles to guide you in developing a Christ-centered marriage.
Tim: I remember a couple of years ago; it was New Year’s Day, and we were having some friends over that night to watch a movie. These friends of ours—the guy that was coming is actually an actor. He’s been in movies. I was thinking about hosting them, and we are going to have a movie and watch it. I am looking at our little TV up there, and I thought, “I hate that TV.” I’ve always wanted the big, flat-screen TV.
As I sat there, thinking about it, I thought, “You know to be a good host, I probably should get one.” On top of that, it was New Year’s Day; so, the football games are on. Then, I open the paper, and they have all these ads: zero percent financing for one year. You know they are wooing me, the whole process. I just sat there, and I kept thinking, “We needed it. The wise thing would be to do this.”
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Friday, November 19th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife Dennis Rainey, and I am Bob Lepine. Will find out today whether Pastor Tim Lundy went ahead and made that purchase or not and how it affected his marriage.
Bob: Welcome to FamilyLife Today; thanks for joining us on the Friday edition.
Dennis: I’ve felt that call.
Bob: You’ve been there.
Dennis: Yes, I remember the days when those flat screen TV’s came out.
Bob: There is just something about the culture in which we live that we’re bombarded.
Dennis: Latest, greatest, fastest, coolest, and if Bob Lepine has got it; then, I’ve got to have it.
Bob: A little coveting going on there that you need to confess?
Dennis: No, not really. Anyway, what you are listening to, or about to listen to, is really a message from a video series called LifeReady Marriage Oneness that we’ve created here at FamilyLife in partnership with Dr. Robert Lewis who is the creator and founder of Men’s Fraternity.
We’ve asked Robert to come alongside FamilyLife and help create a video training curriculum for married couples in the church. That is hosted—now listen to me—it is hosted by you, by an individual, or by a couple who brings this eight session series into your church to equip six, eight, ten, twelve, twenty, fifty couples—however big your church is—and equip them with the biblical core and the fundamentals of the faith for marriage and family giving you a first-class manual.
For those of you who have been to the Weekend to Remember®, you know you get high quality materials, first-class projects that accompany these materials. LifeReady Marriage Oneness is designed to be a turnkey deal for you as individual, or as a couple to bring into your church and to host it for your friends.
Bob: I’ve been meaning to ask you about this because I think there are some folks listening who would say one of two things. They would either say, “You know, we don’t have all that it takes to pull that off.” You are saying you can do this, and they are going, “No, probably somebody other than us. You are talking about hosting a marriage thing. I don’t think we can do that.”
Dennis: Well that is the person we really designed it for is somebody who is really got very little margin but really wants to get it done, wants to bring it to their community, maybe they are really concerned about what’s happening to marriages in their church. We’ve designed this to be just about as simple as it can be, but at the same time, as hard hitting and as life transformational as it can be too.
Bob: What about the guy who would say, “I hear what you are talking about, but that is not the way things work in our church. If I were to go to the pastor and say, ‘Can we do this?’ Our church is kind of one of those: We got it. We’ll take care of it. You just come and we’ll handle it.”
Dennis: Well, they may be thinking that they’ve got to do it. The pastoral staff has got to do it. I will tell you most pastors are overworked and don’t really have enough margin to pull this off. That is why we have designed it to be lead by a couple, or an individual who hosts it in a church on a Sunday night, or maybe it is during the week over a period of eight weeks. It really is about as simple as it can be, but also as about as powerful as it can be.
The guest speaker you are about to hear on this series is Tim Lundy, my pastor here in Little Rock, church of over 7,000 people attending every Sunday. Tim and his wife Lea along with Robert Lewis have designed this material. Personally, I am really excited, Bob, as I know you are, that this is now a part of FamilyLife’s tool kit that we are offering to individuals and couples in the local church to make a difference in the marriages and families there.
Bob: In the eight sessions in the Marriage Oneness curriculum, Tim talks about conflict resolution, about communication, about intimacy, about the spiritual priorities in marriage.
The session we are going to hear a portion of today is the session on money and on finances: how that can be a source of conflict in a marriage, how you work through some of those issues and get a handle on a very practical issue in your life and in your marriage and an issue that creates division among couples. This is Tim Lundy from the series Marriage Oneness talking about your marriage and your money.
Tim: First let’s look at the money mistakes, major money mistakes that couples make. There are five major mistakes. Here is the first one. We live a consumptive lifestyle. We live a consumptive lifestyle. That is part of our culture, frankly. We are built on a consumer culture. It leads to the second major money mistake. That is excessive credit card debt, excessive credit card debt. I want to encourage you, “Don’t build the plastic prison.”
Third major mistake is unwise car purchases. The Wall Street Journal did a report last year, and they noted that most cars lose about 31% of their value within the first year, one third of the value within the first year. I thought the most interesting thing in the article was when they looked at millionaires, one of the most common factors of millionaires was the fact they drove older cars. They just made it a point. They said my money is too important to me to lose a third of it in one year. So, they drove older cars. Unwise car purchases can get you every time.
Fourth one is the non-existent budget. This is a non-existent budget, where you just don’t know where it is going. I love the way John Maxwell puts it. He says, “You got to have a budget because a budget is you telling your money where to go. Instead of you wondering where it went.”
Here is the fifth major mistake is a lack of savings, a lack of savings. I want you to think about savings like police back up. When a police officer goes into a hard situation what is the first thing they do? They get on the radio, and they call for back up.
Those are the five major mistakes. Unfortunately, people live it out over and over and over again. You know, folks, there is a place you can turn though that will help you avoid those mistakes every time. It is one of the best financial resources out there. It is the Bible, the Bible. There are over 2,300 references in the Bible to money and finances. That is a significant topic. It is one of the key topics that Jesus spoke on the most.
In fact, He said where your treasure is, where your money is, your heart is there also. It is one of those things you can’t help but pay attention to and focus on. If you’ll listen to the wisdom of the Bible, it can help you as a couple not only avoid the mistakes, but also unite your hearts, unite your hearts together around that treasure.
You know as you look through the Bible, you’ll see four themes over and over again. It talks about spending money, talks about saving money, it talks about giving money, and it talks about borrowing money. If you were to take those verses and study them closely, what you’ll find is the following wisdom, what I call the Bible’s live, give, save, limit wisdom. It is that simple: live, give, save, and limit. Four things.
So, the first theme from the Bible about money is a really good one. We’re to use it to live it up, to enjoy life together. I think too often we think God is just this Cosmic Cop or the big Lifeguard in the sky who can’t wait to blow His whistle and kick you out of the pool so you are miserable.
I know when I talk about money immediately you think the Bible is just going to tell me this stuff, make me feel bad about it. It doesn’t. Look at Ecclesiastes. It says, “To every man to whom God has given wealth and possessions, He is also given him the ability to eat from them, to receive his reward, to find enjoyment in his toil.” Look at that last phrase. This is the gift of God.
God wants you as a couple to live, but you have got to live wisely. You’ve got to live wisely. That means you live according to a budget. You live according to a budget. It is not rocket science. You can do it. You might be here, and you go, “Even the thought of a budget and finances and all that, it just overwhelms me.” Don’t let it.
There are some simple principles with it. It is kind of like flying a plane. I had the opportunity. A friend of mine works for Federal Express. He trains the pilots there; so, he works in their simulators. I went over to Memphis, and I saw him. They have all of these rows of simulators, 23 million dollar flight simulators. You go into them and you think you are in a cockpit. It is awesome. He could punch up any airport in the world, any city in the world, and simulate comes up on the screen.
I don’t know everything about flying a plane, especially these. These were 737 or MD 11’s. These are complex planes. There are knobs and there are gauges. There is all this stuff; but in one hour together, I could take the plane off. I could land the plane. I almost got the plane under the Golden Gate Bridge, but I kept hitting the water every time. We got that close. I mean just some simple principles. I was able to take off and land.
Here is what I say when I am talking about a budget. You don’t have to be a financial expert. You don’t have to know everything about stocks and money and all the things. If you’ll just sit down and do what we’re talking about this week, look at where your money went and where you want it to go, that’s taking off and landing. You can fly. You can do this. You have to live according to a budget.
As you live according to budget, beware the budget busters, beware the budget busters. Especially, impulse purchases. Especially, impulse purchases. Those two words should never go together: impulse and purchases. Bad combination. There are a very few things in life you need to buy in that moment. Very few things. Yet, it is amazing; sometimes even big purchases, you get so caught up in the moment.
I remember a couple of years ago; it was New Year’s Day, and we were having some friends over that night to watch a movie. These friends of ours—the guy that was coming was actually an actor. He’s been in movies. I was thinking about hosting them, and we going to have a movie and watch it. I’m looking at our little TV up there. I thought, “I hate that TV. I’ve always wanted the big, flat-screen TV.”
As I sat there thinking about it, I thought, “You know to be a good host I should probably get one.” On top of that, it is New Year’s Day, so the football games are on. Then, I open the paper and they have all these ads: zero percent financing for one year. You know they are wooing me, the whole process. I just sat there, and I kept thinking, “We needed it. The wise thing would be to do this.”
I got my keys, and I got the wallet. Lea had given me a green light. She said, “You know you talked about it for awhile. Okay.” We had saved up money, but we had kept spending the TV money on something else. I got to the door even, but this nagging voice just kept going off. You are doing this awful fast. This is a mistake. As much as it pained me, I turned around, hung the keys back up, thought we don’t need a flat screen. This isn’t the time to do this. We haven’t saved up for this.
Now, I have nothing against flat-screens. I have one now. Thank you. I love it. You know what else I love? I have one now, and I don’t have a payment on it. I can enjoy it so much more. Listen to me, when you are in the throes of that impulse purchase, just take this advice, “wait 48, wait 48.” Wait 48 hours. Just give yourself 48 hours. Then, go is this something I still want to purchase after two days of thinking about it and talking about it together?
In all of this, let me give you my recommendation on living. If you would live on 80% of your income. If you would just make a choice, we are going to live and budget to live on 80% of our income you’d be amazed how much it would free you.
Same thing with giving is the key to controlling your money instead of being controlled by it. It breaks that strangle hold over you. That is why Proverbs says a person is generous and yet grows more wealthy; but another withholds more than he ought, and they come to poverty. A generous person will be enriched; the one who provides water for others will himself be satisfied.
You see what that verse is teaching? It says the generous person learns a different kind of wealth. They learn that blessing that comes from giving. They learn how to be enriched in their own life because money doesn’t own them anymore. Your finances, your money, that thing you stress out—giving is the easiest way to break that strangle hold over you. That is why giving as a couple can break it even quicker.
Then, there is the principle of how to give. The Bible would urge us to give first before we spend. Proverbs 3:9 says it this way “Honor the Lord from your wealth, and from the first of all you produce.” I’ve noticed that the longer I hold on to that money the harder it is to give it. As you receive money, if you will just make that choice to give it immediately, it just becomes that habit that comes easier in it.
Let me give you my recommendation: seek to give ten percent of your income away. That is a lofty goal, I know it is. So, why do I say ten percent? Because the Bible uses ten percent as a guide to giving. In its wisdom, it knows if you will strive to give at this level, you’ll transform yourself into a better person. Not just an endless consumer, but a gracious helpful to others giver. Even as I say those words ten percent, some of you go, “There is no way we could give ten percent. That is absolutely impossible.” I understand that. Understand where you are with it.
Here is what I would challenge you to do. Figure out where your threshold sacrifice is, but maybe it is only one percent right now. That is all you could do, that is all you could give, and give that. Give away one percent. Then, give yourself a time period maybe six months or a year. Make it a goal. Go, “Okay, we are going to move, though, from one percent. We want to get up to two percent. Then, as we grow into that, we’ll give up to three percent.”
I’d encourage you to get up to ten percent because it is so freeing when you give at that level, but I don’t want to put something on you that you can’t do. That is a recipe for frustration. We are not here for frustration. We are here for oneness.
Here is a third thing: always save something, always save something. Live, give, and then the third part save. Proverbs 21:20 “There is a precious treasure and oil in the dwelling of the wise, but a foolish man swallows it up.” I’ve given you in your notes a detailed plan. I want to challenge you: follow it accordingly, these three categories.
You need to set up immediately an emergency fund where you have a thousand dollars, a thousand dollars. That’s your savings. That’s your emergency fund. You should always have that in place. Anytime you spend it, your first thing is to replenish that thousand.
Then, you put in the intermediate savings. This should be three months of household expenses. So, after the immediate, you put the intermediate. Then, you put in the long term savings: retirement, kids. I put a category as well, dreams. Some of those trips and those things you dream of the future. You got to have those nuggets out there that you’re saving for that pull you forward.
I’d encourage you if you would just follow that plan, straight down. Get the immediate, then the intermediate. Then, get the long term in place. To do that, here is a recommendation: you need to save about ten percent of your income. You need to save ten percent of your income.
In fact, Dave Ramsey the financial expert says, “If you really want to see this in place, you probably need to shoot for around fifteen percent.” I would just challenge you, you need to be setting aside ten percent. First, immediate, then that intermediate, then you start having that long term savings. You know Ramsey also challenges, “If you are willing to live now like no one else, you can live later like nobody else.” So, that’s that motivation for savings.
Here is the fourth and final money theme from the Bible, limit debt. Look at what Proverbs 22:7 says, “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower becomes the lenders slave.” Listen everyone: debt will be a constant struggle. I wish I could tell you I have been just this sterling example when it comes to this, but you know over the years we’ve made some dumb mistakes. Because there is always some opportunity, there is some new thing. You need to be watching each other. If you will have self control now, it will lead to greater freedom later.
In all of that, here is my recommendation: limit debt only to what you are sure you can pay back. You may need a mortgage. Most of us have a mortgage, but you have got a house there; so, it represents it. You may even have a car note. If you get a used car with that, you can have it at a reasonable rate with that. Try to limit your debt to what you know you can pay back. To what you know that you have in hand. Folks, that is the four things. It is that simple; it really is.
If you will live and give and save and limit, it will produce freedom, but not just freedom. You will experience oneness with money. Good money management will energize oneness in your marriage. No matter where you are right now, no matter what you are facing, you’ll find it is the best investment you can make. Now, I am not just talking about a financial investment; I am talking about the investment in you and the investment in oneness.
Bob: Well, we’ve been listening to Tim Lundy with some wise counsel on marriage. In fact, we ought to send just this session to Congress. What do you think?
Dennis: Limit spending.
Bob: Yes. I just thought a few of those thoughts resonated.
Dennis: They are not going to tithe; they’re not going to give. They sure could use some limit spending. What we are listening to is Marriage Oneness which is an eight session series for marriages and families in the local church designed to be led by you. Not a pastor, not one of the staff members on church, but by you as an individual or a couple, a co-laborer wanting to make a difference in marriages and families.
Bob, a few years back, it hit me we’ve got tons of people in the church who are really concerned and want to make a difference in marriage and families, but they need tools. That is why we partnered with Dr. Robert Lewis to create this series.
It is first class. It is high definition video. It’s got a great manual. It has got a great assessment where couples can get a profile of their marriage and actually understand one another better. This is going to be one of the finest tools available for local churches. All designed to be led by you. I’m challenging you bring this to your local church.
Bob: You can get more information about LifeReady Marriage Oneness by going to our website FamilyLifeToday.com. You can order the resource from us and start using it in your local church. Again, find out more online FamilyLifeToday.com or call toll free 1-800-358-6329. That is 1-800, “F” as in Family, “L” as in Life, and then the word today. Ask about LifeReady Marriage Oneness.
When you contact us, start thinking about this coming spring doing a class like this in your church. Talk to your pastor, talk to your church leaders. Get their buy in and their support. Tell them we will take care of it. We will run the deal if you will just help us spread the word, invite couples to attend. Again, get more information at FamilyLifeToday.com or call toll-free 1-800-358-6329. That’s 1-800, “F” as in Family, “L” as in Life, and the word TODAY.
Now, I just want to take a minute and let you know how encouraging it is for us here at FamilyLife when we get a note from listeners talking about the impact that FamilyLife Today is having on them. In fact, I am looking forward this weekend to being in San Antonio for the Weekend to Remember marriage getaway there getting a chance to meet with some of our listeners.
We always enjoy hearing about how God is using this program in your life, in your marriage, and in your family. We especially want to say thanks to those of you who help support the ministry of FamilyLife Today either as Legacy Partners giving each month or with an occasional donation just to help keep us on the air on this station and on our network of stations all across the country.
This week if you are able to help with the donation we would like to say thank you by sending you a copy of Barbara Rainey’s devotional guide called Growing Together in Courage. She has created this for families to be able to do as a part of your family devotions or at the breakfast table or at the dinner table or as you tuck your kids in at night if you want to read them a story. There are some powerful stories of courage in this devotional guide that Barbara has put together.
You can request a copy when you make a donation to support FamilyLife Today either online at FamilyLifeToday.com. If you donate online and you’d like the devotional guide, type the word “COURAGE” in the key code box on the online donation form. Or when you call 1-800-FL-TODAY to make a donation, just ask for a copy of the devotional guide on courage by Barbara Rainey. Again, we will send that out to you. We very much appreciate your partnership with us and your support of the ministry of FamilyLife Today.
We hope you have a great weekend. Hope you and your family are able to worship together this weekend. I hope you can join us on Monday when Pastors Steve Stroope and Kurt Bruner are going to be here to talk about how families and churches can work together to build faith at home and pass on a legacy of faith to the next generation. We will talk about that coming up Monday. Hope you can be here.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We will see you back Monday for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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