Archive for September 10, 2010

Book Review II: Keys to Financial Excellence

Yippie! It’s my second book review. Hope you all will enjoy it =D

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When I first saw this book, my eyes read the title as “Keys to Financial Excellence” whereas my mind read it as “How to Be Rich” =P I was expecting to see tips from him on how to handle money: how much to save, how much to invest, how to choose the right share, etc. After reading this book, actually I have gained more than what I had expected: what God says about riches, what to do to be rich and for what purpose I should be rich (Obviously, saving, investment and share stuffs are my financial consultant’s job :P)

This books consists of 52 chapters, i.e. 52 keys to financial excellence. Pastor Phil divides the keys into several categories: Foundations of Abundant Living, Principles of Prosperity, Principles of Tithing, The Laws of Harvest Living, Principles of Productivity, Reasons to Give Sacrificial Offerings to God, Living in God’s Economy, and Releasing Blessings to Others. In each chapter, Pastor Phil gives some study on a verse in focus.

Well, summarizing 52 chapters is no small deal. Just in case you are wondering, I wrote this post over two weeks.

So, shall we begin? ^____^

Background of the author

Pastor Phil Pringle is the Senior Minister of Christian City Church Oxford Falls in Sydney, a ministry which has established an academic school, Bible Colleges, television ministry, school of art and Christian recording company. He is wonderful preacher and artist and he moves in supernatural gifts. He even can preach and paint in a single service (I remember when he painted a picture of Jesus on the cross while preaching about the meaning of the cross to the congregation =D). He has also authored a number of books such Moving in the Spirit, Dead for Nothing, Inspired to Pray, But God, and others.

Pastor Phil is serving as a board member of Church Growth International.

(Key 1-6)

Abundant living starts when we give. In order to achieve to it, hard work and saving (covered in Principles of Productivity) alone are not enough. God teaches us to give too. Since God is a generous God and always gives, we too should be giving and generous people. Generosity, in turn, opens up wonderful future God has prepared for us and prevents greed to come into our life. When we give to church , we really are giving to God. In the case of giving to God, we should fulfill what God requests: at least we give back 10% to Him.

(Key 7-10)

Prosperity in terms of finance refers to having more than enough, not only “just enough”. While God promises prosperity to us, God wants our vision to He Himself, not money. That’s what we do when we give to Him. Although once in a while God can supernaturally provide for us, this prosperity comes as we work hard and make wise choice. Many characters in the Bible were wealthy people in their time, including Jesus Christ, Apostle Paul, Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah and Jonah. God wants to prospers us financially so we can influence the world more effectively. For instance, by having more than enough, we can be a good Samaritan, build churches, pay ministers and fund mission organizations.

(Key 11-16)

10% is the minimum amount God requires us to give back to Him. Tithing is a command with the promise of blessing attached to it when we obey and curse when we disobey. When we obey God in the area of tithing, the windows of heaven are open and God pours such abundant blessing. On the contrary, when we do not tithe, curse comes upon our finance and the devil is free to shipwreck our finance.  Where should we tithe? Just like we pay when we eat in restaurant, we too give tithe to the local church as it feeds us spiritual food. What to tithe? We are to tithe from all our increase (profit, interest, share, etc) not just from monthly salary.

(Key 17-25)

In agriculture, we learn about sowing and reaping. Similar principle works in the area of giving. Sowing is giving to God, church and needy people, not investing in banks, shares or bonds . When we sow apple seed, we reap apple fruits. Similarly, we harvest time/friendship/money as we sow time/friendship/money. Pastor Phil teaches us not to delay in giving: we give what we have now. Furthermore, we are to sow everyday and in any situation. Unlike natural agriculture where we can sow any seed, there is no guarantee that God will receive our seed/offering. Hence, we need to ensure we give offering that He wants: our best. As with the amount of giving, our sowing is to be in proportional ratio with what we have been blessed. As we obey and give to God, God multiplies the seed we have sown that we may reap abundantly. We need to give with cheerful heart because when we give, we release the control of our money to God. Lastly, God is concerned with our motive of giving: God condemns us when we try to impress others with giving. However, God does not condemn harvest motivation when we give. We also need to be patient because it takes time for the seeds to grow.

(Key 26-35)

In this section, Pastor Phil stresses the importance of of work. God wants to prosper us is through both our giving and working. God wants us to be diligence. In fact, work should be our lifestyle.  As we work, we can use the money we earn to help people in need and to provide for our family. Indeed, sometimes laziness may creep in. However, the key to overcome laziness is “to do it right now”. God does not do for us what we are supposed to do. As for our money, God wants us to be faithful even in little amount of money. There are at least two ways to do so: budgeting and record of spending. We should have the skill to generate income and create wealth. While justifiable loan is still acceptable, debt is not. God will assist us as we work to clear any debt. Furthermore,  we need to work hard and smart. God gives us the power to get wealth, not wealth itself. One way to generate income is through passive income. Lastly, we need to fulfill our basic need first before we fulfill what we want.

(Key 36-41)

Pastor Phil gives several reasons why we should give to God sacrificially. In church, some people give regularly, some occasionally, and some do not give at all. When we give, we encourage other people to give to God too. This in particular is important for a leader because a leader’s giving must be in leadership level so that the members can follow. When we look at Lord Jesus, He was rich in heaven and when He was on earth. However, He sacrificially chose to be poor when He was on the cross. We, therefore, have to give sacrificially like Him. We regularly conduct building fund campaign and we willingly pledge to God a certain amount. Obviously, we are to keep the vow and pledge we have made to God with regards to financial offering. As mentioned earlier, the key to release God’s abundant blessing in our life is through giving. Ultimately, our giving glorifies God.

(Key 42-45)

God’s economy means God’s miraculous provision over our finance. The key to release this is through giving. Our giving has to be sacrificial amount, not just any amount. When we give to God, we may be left lacking in another area. However, this step of faith is the key to release God’s miracles. Sacrificial giving is so powerful that it not only triggers God’s shower of financial miracles, but also destroy the work of the devil. Needless to say, the devil tries all sorts of things to hinder us from giving to God. Hence, we need to protect our tithe and offering and always bring them before God.

(Key 46-52)

This is really a cycle of blessing: as God blesses us, we bless others. The more we give to others, the more God will bless us back. Conversely, refraining self from blessing others invites curses to come. Hence, whenever there is opportunity to give to others, we give. Sometimes we give to others in the form of loan but most of the time we give freely without any string attached. In this last section, Pastor Phil teaches us to whom we should give. Firstly,  we should bless the ministers who have fed us with God’s Word. Secondly, we need to give to church building project. It will be ironic if we stay in beautiful house while church building lays deserted. Thirdly, we give to the work of mission which needs huge finance. The lost need to hear about Jesus. Last but not least, we are called to work hard, give and prosper that we will have more than enough to help the poor and needy.

My View on Health and Wealth

Health and wealth may be a controversial topic. Does God want us to stay healthy and wealthy? Why are there death, disease and suffering? Why are some Christians healthy and wealthy whereas the rests are sick and poor?

Since this topic is too big (and this post is already pretty long), I shall post my view next time. Nevertheless, to give a preview of this particular post, I would like to argue that sickness and poverty only happen in the context of sinful and fallen world. Health and wealth were God’s original design (in the sinless world in as described in Genesis 1 and 2) and will be God’s final design (in the new heaven and earth as described in Revelation). Hence, there is nothing wrong if a preacher preaches about health and wealth. So, stay tuned, ok? :D

Interesting book, isn’t it? Get the copy of “Keys to Financial Excellence” in Attributes today! (http://attributes.com.sg/books.html?p=5)

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Posted September 10, 2010 by Jefri Yue Fei 吴岳飞 in Book Review

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