Weatherproofing Your Home in the Midst of the Economic Downturn

with Dennis Rainey | May 19, 2009

In uncertain times, we need to focus on that which is certain – the Word of God. Dennis Rainey helps us find certainty in uncertain times and faith in time of fear, as he offers practical tips for preparing your home to withstand the current economic and cultural storm.

In uncertain times, we need to focus on that which is certain – the Word of God. Dennis Rainey helps us find certainty in uncertain times and faith in time of fear, as he offers practical tips for preparing your home to withstand the current economic and cultural storm.

Weatherproofing Your Home in the Midst of the Economic Downturn

With Dennis Rainey
|
May 19, 2009
| Download Transcript PDF

Bob:  So if you’re counseling somebody and by the way you’ve had to take actions as the president of FamilyLife to make sure the ministry is storm proofed in the midst of this and we have made some of those adjustments that we’ve needed to make, right?

Dennis:  I just want to say here at the beginning of the broadcast thanks to many of our listeners who have stepped up and financially supported the ministry and continue to support the ministry.  You need to know you are really appreciated and your our help is needed.  It’s not going to go away any time soon.  We got to I think hunker down for the long haul and what we want to do Bob and you know this we talked about it.  We want to be here for the long haul.   

Bob:  And I want to remind our listeners there is a matching gift challenge that continues this month.  If you are able to make a donation this month your donation is going to be matched on a dollar for dollar basis up to a total of $356,000.  So you can go online at familylifetoday.com or call 1-800-FL-Today.  Make a donation and know that donation is being matched.  We hope to take full advantage of that matching gift and we just have about a week and half left for that.  So, if you’re able to help today with a donation we would appreciate it.

Dennis:  Yes, I agree with that.  Here’s the first way to storm proof your house.  Embrace the lesson that God’s teaching you.  I think in the midst of any kind of circumstance God’s in there.  He is at work.  He has things He wants to teach us.  And 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 these were among the first verses that I learned as I began to grow as a follower of Christ.  It says, “rejoice always.”  In the Greek the word always means always. 

Bob:  Always.  [laughter]

Dennis:  Pray without ceasing.  Verse 18—give thanks in all circumstances for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  Victor Hugo wrote in his book, Les Mis, this is a really profound statement.  He said, “God is behind everything but everything hides God.”  

In other words, God’s at work all around us we just don’t have eyes to see.  You remember the day I came in your office and said, “Bob, I wish sometimes I had eye glasses.

Bob:  Uh huh.

Dennis:  So I could say here’s where the spiritual battle is coming from.  It’s coming from the world, the flesh, the enemy of our souls.  If you want to know what the Proverbs really can be boiled down to it’s hear, my son, learn. 

Bob:  Right.

 

Dennis:  Learn. Have a teachable heart.  Not a negative, critical speaking heart but a teachable heart that pulls back and says, Okay. God, what do you have for me here? 

What are you trying to do in my life?  2 Peter 1 if you haven’t read it recently it lists a bunch of Christian character qualities.   It says at the end of it it says, for if these qualities are yours and are increasing they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of God.   What it’s talking about there is being a useful person.  A useful follower of Christ.  It’s talking about being a purposeful, fruitful follower of Christ. 

 

Bob:   So, in the midst of any kind of struggle, any kind of suffering.  We ought to step away from the struggle and spend some time asking, Lord, you’ve got my attention.  What do I need to be paying attention to?  What are You trying to say?  What are You trying to do in terms of my character,”

Dennis:  Right.

Bob:  In terms of my family.

Dennis: Right.

Bob: So that you can not miss the spiritual realities.  The spiritual lessons that are being taught in the storm.

Dennis:  He’s trying to give us a perspective of life.  For me, this is how it happened for me, you’ll remember back in October when all of this began to unravel.  At the same time we were experiencing this economic meltdown as a country we had four couples that FamilyLife had brought over from Rwanda.

Bob:  Uh hum.

Dennis:  These were Rwandan leaders.  The Arch Bishop of the Anglican church of Rwanda and his wife along with three other couples came.  And, Bob, I will never forget this.  The Wall Street Journal is talking about billions being lost and trillions being spent and all this stuff.  And, I’m sitting across the table from four couples who when we begin to describe Rwanda they share that the average income in Rwanda is $264 a year. 

Bob:  Wow.

Dennis:  A year.  And so I’m looking at The Wall Street Journal and I’m listening to the cable news and I’m looking at these dear followers of Christ where a million of their relatives were slaughtered and murdered.  And I’m going, what are You trying to teach me, God?  So I’ve written down three things that I’ve come out of all this with.  Number 1, I think God wanted to right size my heart.  All of our hearts can kind of grow in the wrong direction from time to time and we can worship the wrong thing.  And the heart will worship something.  In America I’m going to tell you something folks if you don’t struggle with materialism and worshipping things call me.  I’d like to talk to you because it’s tough living in the culture and not do that.

Bob:  Sure

Dennis:  The second thing God convicted me of was to downsize our standard of living.  So we put a freeze on shopping.  We cancelled some trips that we were going on.   Personal trips and ministry trips.  We stayed home and we cancelled some of the media that we receive at home.  Barbara and I talked about how are we going to respond as a couple by downsizing our standard of living.  I happen to believe that I think what God is doing is He’s creating a new normal for all of us.  We’re going to have to learn how to get by with less and be satisfied with less.  And you know what, we can do that.

Bob:  Uh huh.

Dennis:  The third take away was to supersize our generosity.  We are still working this through but I think as a couple, Barbara and I are evaluating how we can be generous with our time, with our money and with our talent and helping other people because there are lots of needs in the economy. 

Bob:  So you’re saying we really need to be alert to what God is saying to us in the midst of this economic downturn.

Dennis:  And to that point, Bob, the question for the listener is what would you say is the big idea of what God is trying to teach you?  What’s the lesson?  Or lessons?

Bob:  Whether you’ve lost a job or not?  Whether your income has been cut or not?

Dennis:  Whether you’ve felt it or not?  The second way we storm proof our homes is to flex your faith muscle.  Flex your faith muscle.  Over in Numbers 13:33 it talks about the minority report and the majority report.  You remember this.  This was when the spies went into the land and God told them He was going to give them the land.  They had His promise on it.  But 10 came back and said, there are giants in the land.  There are some big dudes back there we’re not going to be able to tackle that.  And two came back saying let’s go.  God said it.  We need to believe it.  We can take them.  The minority report said we became as grasshoppers. 

Bob:  Right.

Dennis:  I think, Bob, in these economic times I think the temptation is to look at circumstances and to completely implode and to become a grasshopper.  To forget who God is.  To not gravitate toward faith.  Faith and fear cannot coexist.  Where faith goes fear flees.  Did you hear that?  Where faith goes fear flees.  What are you afraid of?  Are you afraid of man?  Afraid of losing your job?  Afraid of the future?  Afraid of having to get by on less?  Afraid of not being able to retire when you’d hoped you be able to retire?  What are you afraid of?  I think it’d be important to list your fears and then look to the Bible and ask, what’s the Bible have to say about this?  What we’re going to do on the internet we’re going to post these Scriptures.  Some of you need to get your Bibles out and read these verses about fear and faith.  Psalm 27: 1-3, Psalm 46, Psalm 112, Matthew 10:24-31, John 16: 33, John 14: 1-3, 27, Romans 8, there’s more.

Bob:  And like you said we’ve got the references for those and the actual text of the Bible on our web site familylifetoday.com.  You’re right.  Folks ought to go there and meditate on what God’s word has to say about fear.

Dennis:   Yes, where does faith come from?  Faith comes from hearing and hearing comes from the Scripture.  So, if you want to increase your faith you don’t do it by looking at the headlines of the newspaper, or The Wall Street Journal, or the nightly news.  You increase your faith by looking into the Scripture.  Faith is the refusal to panic.  One of my favorite quotes.  Repeat after me.  Faith is the refusal to panic.  You live by faith.  It’s God’s hand to your mouth.  Whether you work for IBM, whether you work for FamilyLife, for a church, or on Wall Street. 

Bob:  Yah. 

 

Dennis:  Ultimately, God is the One who provides.  Third way to storm proof your home.  This will be a quick one.  As a couple you need to put together a plan.  Amos chapter 3 talks about how can two walk together unless they be agreed.  The answer is they can’t.  You’re not going to be walking together if you’re in disagreement. 

Bob:  Uh huh.

Dennis:  One of the big problems in a financial downturn like we have is a lot of couples aren’t talking.  The man is solving it.  The man is working it out but he hasn’t told his wife.  In fact, one couple I know, the man shared with me he said my wife got a little angry with me because I hadn’t shared with her what the plan was.  Hadn’t talked about it.  So we sat down, he said, and we began to work it out.  Over the next few days we put together a plan on how we were going to respond and how this was going to impact our standard of living and how we should live and how we should give.  And he said you know what that completely disarmed my wife’s anger.  Now guys listen up.  There isn’t a woman listening right now who won’t respect her husband if he will take the initiative and the leadership to know how to lead her well in this area.  Get a plan.  That includes a budget.  That includes addressing debt.  That includes teaching your children how to handle this crisis.  By the way don’t miss this.  Do not miss this opportunity for your children to be taught in the midst of this.  We are raising a generation of young people, folks, who are an entitlement generation.  You have an opportunity to take them into the experience and it would be good for them.  It would be good for your children to do with less.  You may say, Dennis, we already have less.  Well, you know what, I think it’s good for kids to sacrifice.  I think it’s good for them to feel the weight of this.  One time this happened in our home, Bob.  We were sharing about how our support wasn’t coming in on time and it was a couple of weeks later I was fishing up in southwest Missouri with my mom and my sons.  There was a note on my bed with $6 and 34 cents on the note.  And it was a note from one of my sons and it said, Dad I heard you over talking with Mom that you’re facing some financial difficulty.  This is all the money I’ve got. 

Bob:  Wow.

Dennis:  But I wanted to share it with you.  You know, that’s a part of the deal.  That’s a part of what God’s teaching you.  It’s a part of what God’s teaching them.  Take them in to the experience.  Talk about now.  Talk about the future.  Talk about how your Christianity applies to this. 

And two more tips for storm proofing your home.  Encourage one another.  Hebrews chapter 10 talks about let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds. 

Bob:  Uh Huh.

Dennis:  Now ladies, listen to me.  Your husbands are facing tough days in the market place.  There are not many days that I don’t go home where I don’t feel like, man, I am not a winner.  You may not believe that somebody in ministry can feel that way.  Well, I promise you people in ministry are feeling that way.  People in business are feeling that way at work.  There are some men who are fighting for their lives to keep their jobs.  You know what?  They need a helpmate.  They need someone who believes in them.  Who speaks words to them.  Who encourages them.  And you know what?  Some of you men need to encourage your wives in like manner.  But especially the guys, they need to be encouraged in these days.

Tip #5—be ready to share.  Romans chapter 12 verse 13 says, contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.  Let me tell you something.  There are going to be people in your church who lose their jobs.  They will never stand up at church and raise their hand and say we’re having a hard time making our house payment.  We don’t have food money.  There are going to be some single parents who lose their jobs and they’re not going to have anything to fall back on.  In fact, they may have made some choices like the married people do with too much debt and they are in a pickle.  Well, you know what?  It’s rally time

Bob:  Uh huh.

Dennis:  It’s rally time.  It’s time to come around people who are facing tough times who need help and put your arm around them and give them a hug.  And open your checkbook and give them help.  Tangible help.  And maybe you do it anonymously.  It doesn’t really matter.  The point is you step into their lives and exhibit the gospel.  God demonstrates His love for us in that while were yet sinners Christ died for us.  Did Christ die for us while all of our debts were paid.  The answer is no.  He paid the debt.  And you know what?  Some of us may need to get ready to help others who are near us struggling.  Who need help and hope and come alongside them in that manner.  You know in all this, all of us are experiencing storms.  It could get worse.  I want to encourage you grow in the grace and the knowledge of Jesus Christ.  These are days to practice your Christianity.  These are not days to make Christianity a one day a week experience.  Now is the day to walk by faith. 

Bob:  And I think we need to be ready to also give an answer for the hope that is within us.  Not only walk by faith and show that we do have confidence in the sovereignty of God in the midst of challenging times but then be ready to share with somebody who says how do you continue to have a joyful attitude in the midst of this time or how do you demonstrate peace in the midst of the turmoil.  You can say it’s because I know the God who is in charge of things.  We’ve got some resources on our web site FamilyLifeToday.com that are designed to help folks walk through the financial storm that we’ve in right now.  Ron Blue and Jeremy White have written a helpful book called Surviving Financial Meltdown: how to make confident decisions in an uncertain world and uncertain time.  We’ve got copies of the book in our FamilyLife resource center.

 

 

You can go on line at FamilyLifeToday.com for more information about this book.  There is also a copy of a transcript of Dennis’ message today and for an opportunity for you to leave comments to interact with the message and share your thoughts with others.  Again you’ll find all that on our web site familylifetoday.com.  If you’re interested in receiving the materials we’ve talked about and it’s easier to call us our toll free number is

1-800-FL-TODAY.  That’s 1-800-358-6329. 1-800-F as in family L as in life and then the word Today. 

As you were talking about the financial challenges that families are facing I think most of our listeners are aware that we have been facing some of those financial challenges as a ministry.  You mentioned that as we got started today.  I want to thank those listeners who have responded to us called this month or gone to our web site and made a donation.  Your financial contributions are what help keep this ministry on the air in this city and in other cities all across the country.  And now more than ever those donations are appreciated especially this month when we have this matching challenge going on.  We have some friends of the ministry who are aware of the economic challenges we were facing.  They came together and said we’d like to propose a matching gift of $356,000. 

If your listeners will make a contribution during the month of May we will match their contribution dollar for dollar up to a total of $356,000.  To do that we need to hear from as many of you as possible.  In fact we’re asking listeners to just do whatever you can do.  If that’s a $5 donation, or $10, $15, $20, $50, $100 whatever it is you can do.  Either go online at FamilyLifeToday.com or call 1-800-FL-Today.  Make a donation.  Know that your donation is being matched dollar for dollar and you’re helping to get us closer to the total amount of this matching gift enabling us to take full advantage of it.

Again our web site is familylifetoday.com and you can donate online or donate by phone at 1-800-FL-Today.  That’s 1-800-358-6329. Again, thank you for doing whatever you can do this month.  We appreciate your partnership with us. 

Tomorrow we’re going to hear the first part of a classic conversation that took place about six years ago with the founder and president of Campus Crusade of Christ, Dr. Bill Bright.  This was just shortly before he went home to be with the Lord.  What you’re going to hear is as timeless today as it was when he shared it with us six years ago.  That’s coming up tomorrow.  I hope you can be with us for that. 

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'll see you back tomorrow for another edition of FamilyLife Today.

FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas – help for today; hope for tomorrow.  

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