Monthly Archives: December 2011

How To Pay Off Your Mortgage Early

I was told several years ago that if you made an extra principal payment every year over the life of a 30 year loan then you could pay your house off seven years early.

Most of us buy as much house as we can and spend what we make so it is hard to imagine making a thirteenth principal payment.

So let’s say you can’t afford another principal payment a year. Here’s something smaller you might be able to do.

If you had a 30 year fixed-rate mortgage at 6 percent with a $200,000 balance, and you paid an extra $75 four times a year, you could cut one year off of your 30 year mortgage. Or you could think of it like this; pay an extra $25 per month for a year.

Most people pay what they have to  and not what they could. My parents told me a long time ago that even if you pay a little extra each month, it will end up saving you a lot in the long-run.

Lacey and I have a goal of paying down all debt as fast as possible so we can be free to give and go when God call us to do so. I don’t want to be bogged down by debt and the solution is to be disciplined enough to do a little more now so I can save money and have less to pay later.

It just takes a little knowledge and a lot of discipline. I hope this helps someone.

Trust, Marriage, Treasure and Jesus

I had a dream last night about my wife – the details are unnecessary – but it was the kind of dream that gave cause for pause and contemplation.

After some thought this morning the result was one of thankfulness and joy. Why? Because the dream helped me to see how much I trust my wife and that the trust we share is worth more to me than the treasure of Warren Buffet. I mean that because I realize it is so rare.

Now it is true that we have our moments and that I can be a bit overbearing about a thing or two, but that has more to do with me than her. I have some deficiencies and believe it or not, so does she – though few. But I trust her more than any human on the face of planet earth.

So you might be reading this and be thinking something like: “I wished I could trust my spouse.” Or: “I wished I had a spouse to trust.”

But one of the main questions each of us should be asking is: “Am I trustworthy?” Are you the kind of person that is worth Warren Buffet’s treasure?

Introspection is the starting place for all relational improvement. But consider this. Suppose you look inward and then you think: “It’s not me, it’s him/her.” – Which is never entirely true –  Have you done the hard work of loving that person and treating them the way you would want to be treated (Matthew 7:12)? Have you sought to help them be the person Christ wants them to be and the person you need them to be?

Contemplate this also. If you decide to hit the eject button because you are on empty in the trust tank, what makes you think that the next person you pick to trust will be more trustworthy? And furthermore why don’t you trust that God has given you to each other to help each other for better or for worse (Matthew 19:6)? God is the author of marriage and to abandon the covenant of marriage is to abandon trusting God and what He has done.

One final thought. Just in case someone missed this important truth; No one is perfect except Jesus. That’s why we look to Him in all things and for all things. That’s why when it comes to marriage Paul tells both the woman and the man to make Christ their example and ideal for how to interact with each other. The woman is to submit to her husband as to the Lord (Eph. 5:22). The man is to give His life up just as Christ did for the church (Eph. 5:25). We are to forgive each other as God has forgiven us in Christ (Eph. 4:32). You can’t control the other person and their decisions, but you can decide what you are going to do, and until you have fully done what Christ has modeled and asked, can you in good conscience give up?

  • If you have a marriage that is full of trust, be thankful and keep working at it.
  • If you aren’t married, are you a person someone can trust and are you looking for someone you can trust?
  • If you are low on trust and struggling, be brave and examine yourself first. But also realize that it is better to work with a person you know than to think it is going to be better with a person you don’t know.
  • But then count the cost of your actions and what your actions will say about trusting God. Loving people and loving God are not mutually exclusive (Matthew 22:36-40).
  • And most importantly, look to Jesus and emulate Him. He is trustworthy and your chief desire should be to trust Him and live for others for better or for worse. That’s what He did for God’s glory and your good.

What Does A Building Communicate?

I said many times on Sunday that the building a local church meets in cannot be the main thing. The mission of the church is not to build buildings and we cannot afford to let facilities distract us, but neither can we ignore facilities as though they don’t matter. The building is a tool for a church that enables it to accomplish much of what a church is to be and do.

The building is not irrelevant.

As a matter of fact, in our culture and time I am inclined to argue that the building is more significant than it was in times past (1st to 4th Century), and in other countries like China where religion that is not sanctioned by the government is illegal. We might say that a building is not necessary but in some ways it is contextually helpful and portrays certain things about the local church that meets in it.

For example, a building portrays:

  • Our commitment to gather to worship God through Christ and build up His body. A building is a visible reminder to a community and to the people of a church that they have prioritized the assembling of themselves as instructed in the Bible. Does a church need to own a building to gather, worship and build up? No. But unlike a school a church meets in, a building for the church is a visible and tangible commitment to gather and everyone can see that.
  • Our willingness to unify to share resources to maintain a place we can gather.Would I rather give most of the money for facilities to missions? Would I rather give the money I use to pay for my house and utilities to the church and missions? Yes on both. But I do need a place to live just as a local church needs a place to gather and that place represents shared sacrifice for the building up of the body of Christ.
  • Our commitment to staying and pressing forward. Last year the Oklahoma State Cowboys Football Team had an Offensive Coordinator who made plenty of money and never bought a home in Stillwater. Rather he rented a suite in the Cimarron Best Western and ended up staying one year and went on to other things. By his lack of commitment it was fairly obvious he never intended to plant himself in the community. Our building means we are planted here as a people and it represents our presence in this community.
  • Our vision and ambition to share Christ with more people. Our desire to expand what we currently have is one that is based on an immediate need but also one that is based on the hope for a better future. We believe we are going to grow in number and we hope our facility will allow us to grow people in Christ-likeness. Being able to accommodate more people represents the hope of sending more on missions. It represents the hope of seeing more people delivered from sin and addiction. It represents the hope of seeing more people trust and follow Christ for all of their lives and for the rest of their lives. I don’t think the building is the only mark of an ambitious and growing church, but I think it does represent an ambition to do greater things for a great Lord and Savior.

The building is not the point but it certainly isn’t pointless. It in part represents hopes and dreams for the future and I hope that whatever we do, whether we build or don’t build, we will do it for the glory of God and the sake of the gospel of Jesus our Lord. It can be done.