7 Easy Steps to Become A Normal American

What is normal? It’s pretty easy to answer that question. Our nation’s debt is over 21 trillion. Average credit card debt is well over six thousand. So, if you want to be normal, just follow these seven easy steps and you’ll be totally normal!

  1. When you reach your credit card limit move all the debt to a new credit card with lower interest rates. Set it and forget it. This works perfectly! You’ll be just like every other American. Before you know it you’ll have seven credit cards, with 15K on three, but you’ll have enough points you can stay at a two-star hotel at half price!
  2. Get the biggest house you can qualify for and then make minimum payments. Being house-poor is a great way to feel like everybody else. If you want to kick it up a notch, take out a home equity loan so that you can update your home with 200-year-old shiplap and granite in the third bathroom. Your friends will be super impressed and you get to make another monthly payment. Your home will be worth more and you’ll feel like you’re on HGTV! Your home is your biggest investment. Why not make it your biggest liability? Like we always say, “Home is where the heart-ache is.” Right?
  3. Give to the church according to how well the pastor preaches and the ministers meet your needs. Make church about your needs. Think of it as a payment for services rendered. If you don’t like how things are going up there, vote with your wallet. Remember, it’s not spiritual. It’s personal. They’ll think twice about cutting your favorite program that makes you feel good about yourself. Keep telling yourself that the tithe is so Old Testament that giving 10% is irrelevant. Plus, your house costs a whole lot more than the average listing on the Ur real estate market when Abraham was around.
  4. Buy only the food and merchandise that are advertised. Watch a lot of TV, spend a lot of time on social media, and believe all the ads. The food commercials make you ravenously hungry for all the unique ways they’ve invented to stuff the maximum amount of cheese in pizza. Another way to be normal is to join as many discount clubs as possible. Think of all the money you’ll be saving by spending all that money! Also, the more you eat, the more you’ll be able to take advantage of all the health insurance you have for your poor health! Don’t change your lifestyle. That’s too hard. Just take the pills.
  5. When you get feeling really bad about your debt, soothe your anxieties with ice cream. This is such a no-brainer. If you ever get to feeling down about how much you owe, try two scoops of Rocky Road with sprinkles. If ice cream’s not your thing, order a venti vanilla latte with an extra shot of expresso just for good measure. That should keep you satisfied for at least 15 minutes.
  6. Think of your car as an investment that appreciates over time. The fancier car you drive, the more your friends will believe you are doing great! Plus if you’re upside down on your car you can always trade up and tack the loan on the next vehicle. Fool yourself in believing that your car will be a classic in 20 years. That’ll take the pinch out of that 84-month loan.
  7. Buy your kids whatever they ask for so they’ll love you more. By now you are working extra to make monthly payments so don’t forget to buy your kids extra stuff to replace lost quality time with you. They’ll appreciate it. Whatever “it” is. Nothing says, “I love you!” more than buying junk for the kiddos.

These are seven easy steps. They are easy as falling off a log (and into a bayou of hungry alligators)!

If you want to be not the norm instead, then be sure to check out our website: NotTheNorm.LA! It’s filled with resources, stories, and videos to help you be not the norm.

Seven Practices to Get Your Finances Under Control

Can you really live at peace if your finances are out of control?

Can you really do the things that please God if you don’t get your finances under control?

Since I believe that those questions must be answered with “no,” I want to give you seven effective practices to get your finances under control.

First, determine to make getting your finances in order a priority in your life.

This is a necessity for anything that you want to change. If it’s not important enough to put at the top of your “to-do” list, it probably will not get done.

Second, determine where your money is going.

Keep a log of every expenditure no matter how small. You will be amazed at how much money you could be spending differently.

Third, once you have examined the log to find where your money is going, make a plan.

Most any plan will work as long as you work the plan. I would encourage you to gather advice from wise, trusted counselors in the spirit of Proverbs 15:22: “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” I would add a proverb: “a wise man seeks counsel, but the fool charts his own course.” It’s wise to seek God’s leadership through His Word and through His chosen leaders.

Fourth, ask God how He wants you to spend His money.

Prayer really does work. We should seek God’s leadership in all things. Asking Him how to use the resources He has provided makes sense.

Fifth, having asked God for guidance, make a budget.

Get everybody on board and stick to the budget. A budget is simply a plan that is determined by your priorities.

Sixth, get rid of debt.

In recent years, several good counselors have begun to give excellent advice about getting out of debt and staying out of debt. Dave Ramsey would be a good counselor to begin with. One great rule of thumb for debt is this: “Do not go into debt for anything that does not appreciate in value.” You may have to work at this, but over time you should be able to get to the point where you pay cash for large purchases, even automobiles.

Isn’t it amazing how radical this thought process is? That’s why so few people have their finances in order. To live differently, you have to think differently.

Seventh, trust God and obey His Word.

He tells us to tithe (10 percent). How can we ask for God’s blessings if we don’t obey His commands? God’s plan is clear and to the point. He wants us to trust Him with our present and our future. How can we do so if we withhold from Him (Malachi 3:8)? He promises to open the windows of heaven and pour out blessings that we can’t even comprehend (Malachi 3:10). God wants to bless us. He is waiting for our obedience.

I have a friend who runs a business. Here’s what he says: “I don’t see how you can be successful in business if you don’t tithe.” He means that He desires God’s blessings for his business.

May God bless you as you get your finances under control.

What practices do you follow to control your finances?

If You’re Going to Give …

We all understand God is the giver, and He wants us to be givers as well.

But before you give, there are some things you must understand.

First, give yourself as you give your money.

Many people make giving a legalistic enterprise. Or, they make it a quid pro quo. They give to God, and they expect God to give to them.

Giving must be more than finding a way to get more. It must be a giving of self to God that He may grow us through the experience.

The Apostle Paul used the Macedonians as an example for the people at Corinth: “but first they gave themselves to the Lord” (2 Corinthians 8:5).

Second, give your best to God. In the Old testament, giving one’s best was at the top of spiritual requirements.

David talked about not giving anything that didn’t cost him something (2 Samuel 24:24).

In Leviticus, God required that they give their best animals for sacrifice. You can see what a struggle that had to be because giving the best animals meant that they were giving their future.

They had to trust God with their present and their future. When we give our best, we are trusting God with our present and our future.

Third, if you’re going to give, give cheerfully. Don’t make it a transaction (I give to God and he gives me more) and certainly don’t make it a drudgery.

God does want a cheerful giver. “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).

Sometimes, I hear people say, “I don’t give because I can’t give cheerfully.” That is not what this verse means. It means, “get your self cheerful as soon as possible.”

It also means to look carefully at why you are giving. Cheerful giving will be because of our desire to worship, glorify, and please God. It will be because of our deep gratitude for God’s goodness and blessings.

It will be for the purpose of helping others experience what we have found in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Your giving will be good for you, and it will bless you. Be sure to grow closer to God in the process by giving cheerfully, doing your best, and giving yourself to God first.

Compass Financial Resources

CP Makes a Big Difference (Infographic)

Has CP lost it’s relevance? Uh… no. Ask the church planters, missionaries, disaster relief workers, disciples, and church conflict mediators as well as the scads of ministries it creates.  We need CP now more than ever before!

Share this free downloadable resource in a number of ways:

  • Slip it in the worship bulletin
  • Make it a part of your email newsletter
  • Tack it on a bulletin board (if they haven’t been replaced by LED screens)
  • Stealthy slip it on the coffee table of the doctor’s waiting room
  • Email it to a somebody who asks your church treasurer in the monthly business meeting– “Can’t we shampoo our carpet with the funds in that there line item called ‘CP’????”
  • Read it to your baby tenderly before he falls asleep. (We can’t guarantee he’ll be hardcore SBC but he will know the best way to fund the Great Commission.)

¿“Ola, está interesado/a en un folleto que explica el Programa Cooperativo “PC”? Si lo está, descarga aquí.”

Descarga aquí

How to use this tool

CP Infographic is a PDF download. You can click the PDF link below to preview or right-click and click Save-As, to save to your computer.

CP Makes a Big Difference . PDF

Share the Infographic

You can preview the Infographic below. If you find this tool helpful, please consider sharing it by clicking the Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest links at the top of the page.


Navigating Your Finances God’s Way

Every believer needs to know what the Bible says about financial stewardship. As the economy slows and take-home pay shrinks, people are looking for ways to get out of debt and to make their income go farther.

thumbnailNavigating Your Finances God’s Way is a brand new 9-week study that combines biblical principles and practical tips. The study also includes electronic spreadsheets and Money Lounge, an online budgeting tool that utilizes Mint.com and smartphone apps.

If you want to experience a closer relationship with Christ, pray for others, create a budget, reduce your debt and better understand issues such as lordship, eternity and stewardship then this small group may be for you.

What others are saying…

“The COMPASS study stresses the scriptural basis for every financial decision. It teaches participants that there are 2,350 Bible verses that talk about money. It starts with the premise that we don’t own anything; that everything belongs to God. I like the fact that our weekly discussions about every area of finances are centered on Biblical principles.”
Howard Turner, Senior Pastor – Live Oak Baptist Church, Denham Springs, LA

“The proposition to include this topic as a part of discipleship is a great idea. I was surprised to know how much our Lord Jesus Christ taught about money in the scriptures.”
Dr. Carl Gulde, Senior Pastor – Bethel Baptist Church, Colfax, LA

“The COMPASS small group study is exactly the financial resource management partner we’ve been looking for! They merge stewardship and discipleship in the way they should be merged!”
Dr. David Cranford, Senior Pastor – FBC, Ponchatoula, LA

“Having helped train men through Men’s Fraternity, I know how important good resources and small group interaction is to changing lives. Compass knows this as well. Thousands of men and women have found financial freedom and pursued a God-honoring stewardship of their life and possessions. I highly recommend this important ministry.”
Robert Lewis, Pastor and Founder – Men’s Fraternity

To learn how you can start a Navigating Your Finances God’s Way class in your church for, email CP@LouisianaBaptists.org or call 318.448.3402.

Want to see more Financial Planning tools and resources? We offer many tools for your church and congregation.

View Financial Planning Page

Unlimited: God’s Grace & Glory

Unlimited: God’s Grace & Glory is a three-week, church-wide financial emphasis that will challenge your congregation to be a force for total transformation in three areas of ministry.

They are

  • God’s unlimited grace and glory is experienced through the gospel
  • God’s unlimited grace and glory is expressed through our giftedness
  • God’s unlimited grace and glory is exhibited through our generosity

Resources include

Unlimited DVD, PowerPoint overview, resource guide, leader preparation guide, graded lessons, drama sketches, sermon starters with PowerPoint, theme song, letters, and commitment card with offering envelope.

Interested? This free promotional resource is available upon request. Contact CP@LouisianaBaptists.org or 318.448.3402.

Traction: Living in Sync with God

Traction: Living in Sync with God offers an opportunity for people to make significant progress in their journey with the Lord! When a church decides to participate in the Traction: Living in Sync with God emphasis, members will be given the opportunity to remember, respond, return, and rejoice by realigning life with the Lord.

This Leader Preparation Guide will help you make significant traction in your church during the four-week emphasis. Traction will help church members:

Understand that God Offers Spiritual Traction:

  • When We Remember Him
  • When We Respond in Faithfulness
  • When We Return to Blessedness
  • When We Rejoice in Him

This amazing free resource is available to every church or pastor.

Request a copy by contacting CP@LouisianaBaptists.org and 318-448-3402 or 800-622-6549 (La only).

This resource package includes the Traction DVD, PowerPoint overview, resource guide, leader preparation guide, graded Sunday School lessons, drama sketches and much more!

Financial Peace University

daveramseyWhy did Jesus say, “For where your heart is there your treasure will be also”? Because he knew that financial stewardship is a vital part of his lordship in our lives. When Jesus is Lord over our finances, we experience the joy of understanding his ownership of everything.

FPU is a 9-week study designed to help you understand:

  • Working & Saving
  • Eternity
  • Earning & Investing
  • Financial Crisis
  • Giving

To order FPU resources, call the FPU Church Team at 877.378.2667 and mention you are a Louisiana Baptist church. For more information contact 318-448-3402 or CP@LouisianaBaptists.org.