There is one primary course textbooks that are required for this course:
Optional books that are suggested as additional reading incude:
In Swimming Upstream, Christine Roush offers her story as one who earns and spends money as the typical canvas on which so many families paint their lives. As she grows in her understanding and fiscal discipline, she learns that the apostle Paul's invitation to not be conformed to the pattern of this world any longer is an invitation for all followers of Jesus to begin swimming against the currents of our consumer culture. Christine invites the reader to join her swim team.
Chris fills the pages with stories from her own life and those offered by friends, thoughtful questions, and resources for further information. In a time of economic downturn her book offers hope. In a time of prosperity her book reminds the reader of what really matters.
Money has great power in our lives. Used wisely, it is one key to accomplishing our goals, providing for our needs, and fulfilling our life purpose. In recent years, many of us ignored the wisdom of the past when it came to managing and spending our money. Credit card debt soared, savings rates plummeted, and our home equity became something to be tapped into and spent rather than a source of security in retirement. We felt an insatiable desire for more. And we found ourselves spending tomorrow’s money today in order to have what we hoped would satisfy. The result of all of this was not greater happiness and satisfaction, but greater stress and anxiety.
Enough is an invitation to rediscover the Bible’s wisdom when it comes to prudent financial practices. In these pages are found the keys to experiencing contentment, overcoming fear, and discovering joy through simplicity and generosity. This book could change your life, by changing your relationship with money.
As we enter Thanksgiving and the gift-buying days leading up to Christmas, now is a great time to talk about what is enough. According to the consumer version of this season (in the U.S., at least), excess becomes our expectation, even our norm: excess food, excess buying, excess entertainment and activity.
"Enough" is a word not only of sanity and balance, but also of spiritual grounding. In 2 Corinthians 9:8, Paul says that God gives us every blessing in abundance so that, by always having enough of everything, we may share abundantly in every good work. So our purpose is not to have everything in abundance, but rather to share abundantly. Having enough of what we need (in contrast to everything we desire) encourages us to share abundantly. With the "enough" that God promises, as we know from the Macedonians in Paul's day (2 Corinthians 8:1-6), those who are centered in Jesus Christ can share abundantly, despite material poverty, because of the "wealth of generosity" in their hearts and lives and the sufficiency of God's grace.
One good resource for exploring this idea is Lynn Miller's book The Power of Enough: Finding Contentment by Putting Stuff In Its Place. This book makes an excellent piece for personal or group study. Miller explores Paul's understanding of contentment (see Philippians 4:11-12) and key concepts such as the difference between need and desire, how a surplus economy works, and buying based upon "inherent usefulness." (For example, if the purpose of a car is reliable transportation, then it does not have to be sexy, classy or any of the other intangibles that car dealers try to attach to their products.)
The Power of Enough is very practical. In each chapter, Miller offers personal reflection questions and exercises based upon our daily-living decisions. For example, in his "What Stuff Means" exercises, he invites you to write down what a house, food, clothes, and so on mean to you, where you formed those opinions, and whether those beliefs work for or against you. He then asks readers to discern what is "enough" in relation to their "stuff." Miller's basic principles apply equally well whether you are putting together your first-ever budget, planning for retirement, or deciding whether to invest in stocks or real estate.
In the Bible, "enough" is not just the bare minimum, Miller says, but rather sufficiency in everything. When we recognize that we have enough to be able to share abundantly, no matter what our external circumstances, we know that the things we own have nothing to do with who we are. We are set free, not just to have gifts or even to give gifts, but to be the gifts of God that God designed us to be for the rest of God's world. The sufficiency of God's grace: now that's enough for this season and far beyond!
Stewardship is a dirty word in most churches. Pastors preach about it knowing they must while members sit uncomfortably through the ""it's-that-time-again"" sermons and other appeals. Afire with God urges ministries and congregations to become stewards-in-action in all God has entrusted to us. Members go beyond thinking in terms of dollars contributed to see stewardship as becoming living examples of the gospel. ""Real stewardship is radical, which means going to the roots of our faith,"" writes Schwarzentraub. ""If we take stewardship seriously - and joyfully - it won't be just another addition to the same old programs we've been doing in our congregations. It will change our thinking, acting and imagining. And it will change our vision of ministry, working from the inside out."" The books four chapters are simple and elegant. * Chapter 1 addresses our mixed feelings about stewardship and uses the biblical image of aliens in Egypt. * Chapter 2 uses the experience of Moses at the burning bush as a way to explore foundations of stewardship in the Bible. * Chapter 3 connects stewardship with the mysteries of faith and with John Wesleys understanding of the means of grace, exploring Wesleys life as a steward. * Chapter 4 looks at practical approaches for becoming stewards-in-action. Included are examples for faithful stewardship of the earth, ways to reinvigorate stewardship in worship, long-range planning ideas and plans for individual ministry growth. Schwarzentraub will lead you to a spirited stewardship that embraces every dimension of life and alters your ideas about the topic: converting the noun steward into a verb! Transform who you are becoming and what you can do in the world.