Helping Others Grow in the Stature of Christ

My wife and I made the transition from one church to another. The church we were leaving had been our home the last 12 years. It was the place where our spiritual gifts, individually and collectively, developed and flourished. In our time there, Jessica became the nursery director, and I led a Sunday Bible study.

Small groups were our passion

We had envisioned hosting married couples, of all stages of life, where friendships would be strengthened and relationships grew. The small group would meet monthly and continue for three years. We were blessed to experience God’s grace during this time. We were able to witness first-hand answered prayers for adoptions, restorations and transformation.

The So Easy Transition

We knew the transition would not be an easy walk, as we were leaving friendships behind. Jessica and I understood that wherever God led, we would not sit idle for long. Within two months at our new church, we joined a small group, served on the greeter ministry and volunteered in the kid’s ministry.

A month ago, we were asked to lead a small group. While we were excited about the opportunity, we needed to spend time in prayer. There was a slight hesitation, as we would be “leaving” our small group to start another. We both longed to host again, and after praying, we said “yes” to the opportunity.

The idea of being blessed with a spiritual gifts and not using them is something we agreed we would not do. We are humbled that God gifted us to minister to a small group. First, our Father entrusts all saints with gifts, and then God provides the place to use those gifts for his glory.

Be Diligent in the Small Tasks

So many people we talk to want to make a difference. They commonly think they are destined for great things. We appreciate their desire and eagerness to achieve big things, but they often are discouraged when their current ministry is lacking—family, relationships, finances and the list goes on. Our advice to them is look around and appreciate the current place God has set for you to use the gifts. Become diligent in the small things before you are entrusted with more.

In Ephesians 4: 11-12, we read that all saints are equipped for works. In examining this Scripture, the word ‘equip’ draws my attention. Equip is defined as supplying a need for a particular purpose. When believers understand they are either equipping or being equipped for the purpose of building up and reaching unity in faith, the ministry work should have a sense of urgency.

“And it was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for works of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God, as we mature to the full measure of the stature of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:11-13)

Keep that thought in your mind the next time you’re asked to be a part of a ministry or lead a small group. While the time commitment may be difficult or an inconvenience, your purpose should be to edify the believers to unity in faith. One is playing a part, big or small, in edifying your brother/sister in Christ.

Your ministry workers covet your prayers. Think of ways you can encourage them. Remember the purpose is to build up and reach unity in faith. Church demographics are shifting. So, let’s encourage each other to put the socio-economics, cultural backgrounds and political affiliations aside and remain focused on reaching and helping others become like the “stature of Christ.”

8 Reasons Women Make Better Traders than Men

8 Reasons Women Make Better Traders than Men

8 Reasons Women Make Better Traders than Men

8 Reasons why women make better traders than men

8 Reason Women Make Better Traders than Men

Recent studies have shown that female investors gain more consistent returns with consistent performance

If you’re a man reading this chances are the title either disturbed you or you are  rolling on the floor laughing out loud.  Not what you thought about investing did you?

Why is that?

If you’re a female you might have had a hunch that you’re better than your husband but couldn’t prove it.  Until now that is.  Please don’t gloat about this.   

Ok, maybe gloat for a minute or so.

In a book authored by Louann Lofton, Warren Buffett Invests Like a Girl and Why You Should Too, she brings forth research indicating that women have enjoyed more consistent returns with consistent performance.

The author looked over Mr. Buffett’s investment strategy and he too demonstrated all behaviors listed.

Consistency is what you want.  

Why should you take her word? 

You’re right you shouldn’t but consider that the research she presents was conducted by several teams and all concluded that women are better investors.  Better investors in the sense that they are consistent. 

Eight reasons women performed better include:

  1. Trade less than men do
    1. Will ignore market conditions and not act on a whim
  2. Less overconfidence
    1. Know what they don’t know and are not afraid to question it
  3. Take less risk
  4. Less optimistic
    1. It pays to be pessimistic and a realists
  5. Value research and consider different view points before investing
  6. Peer pressure does not influence their choices
    1. Men will fall into the peer pressure for fear of rejection
  7. Learn from their mistakes
  8. Less testosterone
    1. Are naturally inclined to take less risk

Women in the studies did not necessarily pick better stocks but they had the fortitude not to trade or sell when the market was tanking. 

The men took the money and ran.  The goal to any investment is to ignore the noise and hang on to the stocks for the long term.  The author suggests that investments need be long term and Warren Buffett is of the same logic too.   

Let’s be honest with ourselves.  It’s ok to say we don’t know.  The study highlighted women’s honesty in admitting they knew what they don’t know.

As an example, the author mentions Mr. Buffett’s tendency to avoid technology companies.  These are outside his comfort zone and he avoids them.  He wants to understand the business before acting on.

You know women do outlive their spouses and the sooner you realize that you can win in a man’s trading world the longer your nest egg will last.

Start to hone in on the eight identified temperament behaviors and your portfolio will thank you.

Kaizen Tools

Kaizen Tools Discussed

Kaizen is a well accepted business principal that seeks to improve inefficient practices in industries like manufacturing, logistics, and sales.   Toyota manufacturing is credited for developing the principal. Soon Kaizen would gain popular acceptance in self improvement fields.

The self improvement fields include:

  • Health and Fitness
  • Personal Finances
  • Personal Relationships
  • Kaizen for Productivity and Business

The Kaizen principal is about focusing on the minutiae.  The idea is that one small change makes a huge difference.  It breaks down the job or task into multiple process and then evaluates each process for waste or inefficiencies.  The eliminating of waste speeds up your process. The change is then made and will be monitored before proceeding to the next process.

2 Powerful Kaizen Tools 

Consider these two powerful tools to improve your personal finances:  force multiplier and automation.  Both achieve similar results and your risk-tolerance will depend on the tool you choose.

Kaizen Tools in Your Personal Finances

Automation

Automation is using software to automate and will include automatic transfers. Set up automatic investment for your retirement accounts.  Enroll in your company sponsored accounts and opt-in for the yearly 1% contribution increases.  Take advantage of your health savings accounts (HSA).  These HSA offers tax advantages throughout your life.

Another example of automation is to create an effective spending plan.  Capture all your expenses at the beginning of your pay period and monitor it as you go.  Plan to tweak your spending plan a few times before you can set it on auto pilot.  I will not be one to tell you can’t have the latte or avocado toast. I don’t believe these goodies will keep your from being wealthy.

Force Multipliers

Force multipliers can be describe as tools that help accomplish your desired goals.  If you prefer to handle cash you can use envelope system to handle your plan.  You can plan to keep cash for gasoline, groceries, fun activities, etc.

We started out with an envelope system and would later go to an automated one.  The idea was to get comfortable handling cash and understanding how our expenses would fluctuate.

Another example of a force multiplier can be a certified financial planner.  The CFP depicts a tool that will amplify your production output, i.e. gains and dividends.  Most CFP will not charge an upfront fee but rather they are paid by commission by the investment firm.

Kaizen Tools in Your Retirement Accounts

Automaton can also provide net worth building gains.  Here you think of diversification through mutual funds, company sponsored accounts, and individual retirement accounts.  Diversification will allow you to weather the ups and downs of the markets.

The method can be considered passive income as you don’t have to talk with your broker or review anything.  I don’t recommend you completely ignore your retirement accounts though.

Force multiplier is a tool that can help you achieve great wealth but comes with greater risk.  Think individual stocks here.  If you put all your earnings in a one individual stock the capital gains are impressive in a bull market.

Now when a bear market roars around the risk is great. Stocks in major oil companies, airlines, and restaurant chains have taken a huge loss and have offset previous gains.

The popularity of commission-free trading has open the door for many novice traders.  I consider myself a novice and invest an amount that will not hurt too much if my portfolio has great losses.

Wrapping it up

Kaizen tools are effective in managing your personal finances and creating wealth.  The tools discussed include automation and force multiplier and are but a couple of longer list that Kaizen offers.  However, regardless of the tools used they will require you your buy-in..   You must dedicate time to achieve your desired results.

Download Free Kaizen Report
Download Free Kaizen Report

Two Powerful Kaizen Tools

Kaizen Tools Discussed

Kaizen is a well accepted business principal that seeks to improve inefficient practices in industries like manufacturing, logistics, and sales.   Toyota manufacturing is credited for developing the principal. Soon Kaizen would gain popular acceptance in self improvement fields.

The self improvement fields include:

  • Health and Fitness
  • Personal Finances
  • Personal Relationships
  • Kaizen for Productivity and Business

The Kaizen principal is about focusing on the minutiae.  The idea is that one small change makes a huge difference.  It breaks down the job or task into multiple process and then evaluates each process for waste or inefficiencies.  The eliminating of waste speeds up your process. The change is then made and will be monitored before proceeding to the next process.

2 Powerful Kaizen Tools 

Consider these two powerful tools to improve your personal finances:  force multiplier and automation.  Both achieve similar results and your risk-tolerance will depend on the tool you choose.

Kaizen Tools in Your Personal Finances

Automation

Automation is using software to automate and will include automatic transfers. Set up automatic investment for your retirement accounts.  Enroll in your company sponsored accounts and opt-in for the yearly 1% contribution increases.  Take advantage of your health savings accounts (HSA).  These HSA offers tax advantages throughout your life.

Another example of automation is to create an effective spending plan.  Capture all your expenses at the beginning of your pay period and monitor it as you go.  Plan to tweak your spending plan a few times before you can set it on auto pilot.  I will not be one to tell you can’t have the latte or avocado toast. I don’t believe these goodies will keep your from being wealthy.

Force Multipliers

Force multipliers can be describe as tools that help accomplish your desired goals.  If you prefer to handle cash you can use envelope system to handle your plan.  You can plan to keep cash for gasoline, groceries, fun activities, etc.

We started out with an envelope system and would later go to an automated one.  The idea was to get comfortable handling cash and understanding how our expenses would fluctuate.

Another example of a force multiplier can be a certified financial planner.  The CFP depicts a tool that will amplify your production output, i.e. gains and dividends.  Most CFP will not charge an upfront fee but rather they are paid by commission by the investment firm.

Kaizen Tools in Your Retirement Accounts

Automaton can also provide net worth building gains.  Here you think of diversification through mutual funds, company sponsored accounts, and individual retirement accounts.  Diversification will allow you to weather the ups and downs of the markets.

The method can be considered passive income as you don’t have to talk with your broker or review anything.  I don’t recommend you completely ignore your retirement accounts though.

Force multiplier is a tool that can help you achieve great wealth but comes with greater risk.  Think individual stocks here.  If you put all your earnings in a one individual stock the capital gains are impressive in a bull market.

Now when a bear market roars around the risk is great. Stocks in major oil companies, airlines, and restaurant chains have taken a huge loss and have offset previous gains.

The popularity of commission-free trading has open the door for many novice traders.  I consider myself a novice and invest an amount that will not hurt too much if my portfolio has great losses.

Wrapping it up

Kaizen tools are effective in managing your personal finances and creating wealth.  The tools discussed include automation and force multiplier and are but a couple of longer list that Kaizen offers.  However, regardless of the tools used they will require you your buy-in..   You must dedicate time to achieve your desired results.

Download Free Kaizen Report
Download Free Kaizen Report

 

Kaizen and Personal Areas of Improvement

Kaizen and Personal Areas of Improvement 

The Kaizen Principal is an effective lean methodology. It eliminates waste or redundancy.  This reduction of wastes makes one more efficient and allows you to cut expenses.  Kaizen not only improves areas in manufacturing, logistics, or sales but the principal can be used in areas of personal improvement.

How does this work?

I wrote about 2 Powerful Kaizen Tools that has helped me gain financial independence at a young age.   The change happened as I broke the larger goal of financial independence into manageable tasks.  The tasks followed a sequential order giving me structure and clarity.

My financial independence tasks included:

  • Proper insurances (enough coverage for mortgage, income, and college)
  • Emergency fund (6 month savings )
  • Eliminating debt (mortgage )
  • Growing our income (side-hustles, career advancements)
  • Investing (401K, 403B, IRA etc)

I do want to point out the order or flow matters when you seek financial independence.  It’s very important to follow your plan.  Show yourself some grace when the plan does not go as intended.  Can you say unexpected emergencies?

Personal area I use Kaizen

Your health matters. Alot.  We all have the desire to run every day or hit the gym as often possible.  We plan to watch what we eat.

The reality is we struggle making the time and fitting these desires within our daily obligations.  When you apply Kaizen to your health you take the larger goal and make it into smaller tasks or micro workouts.

Micro-workouts

Focus on smaller workout instead of the usual 30-60min workout.  These micro -workouts include 5min walk around the block or 20 burpees when you take a small break.  I’ve not been able to visit the gym and have been able to carry a workout regime at the house.

The workout takes 10 minutes and consists of cardio like jumping jacks, burpees, and running or walking around the park.  Another workout you may have not considered is gardening.  Consider the carrying, hauling and squatting a gardener does. Plus you soak in the sun.

Your eating habits matter too.  One program I tried was Keto diet and was pleasantly surprised with the results.  The weight came off rather quickly.  I didn’t have to spend hundreds on plans to make keto effective.  I consumed more protein and very little carbs.

The idea is to see your health as a workflow or process: healthy eating habits and workouts. Examine the flow and see what habits you can eliminate and make a new habit.

I provided just one example of many areas of where Kaizen can help you make improvements.  The reality is that you can apply Kaizen to any area you want.

Here’s How

Assign a workflow to any of your areas. If you can easily assign a workflow to any area then you can apply Kaizen to it.  Kaizen works because you can follow the process from beginning to end.  This allows you to see what areas need to change or areas that are causing delays, additional expenses, or grief.

Take Away

  • Develop a workflow for an area you want to improve
  • Break down the area into smaller tasks
  • Take these smaller tasks and review for redundancies
  • Look for ways to automate or apply force multipliers to the task
  • If neither of the above is possible need to evaluate its importance
  • And be prepared to eliminate completely

How to get the most out of volunteering

Read These 5 Suggestions Before Volunteering

Jay Martinez wrote a great piece about millennials being ready to make a difference.   Check it out here. He pointed out that millennials are willing to step up when the church invests in them.  Are you ready?

The Good News

So you might have been approached by someone in the church asking to volunteer or help out in some capacity.  Chances are you’re feeling excited and believe you’re ready to make the jump and volunteer.

Congrats!  Let me share 5 suggestions that will allow you to enjoy ministry to its fullest and at the same time prevent you from experiencing burning out.   Yes,  volunteers will at some point feel overwhelmed and burned out.

Your volunteering metamorphosis will unfold in the following pattern.  The person who asked you to volunteer will be very helpful in providing direction and guidance.  After a while you will begin to wonder, “Where is all the help!”  The person who asked you to volunteer will have probably been burned out themselves.   The freshly recruited volunteer, YOU, is the getaway opportunity they saw and took.  Remember this is not a reflection on their spiritual maturity so don’t be to harsh when left alone wondering where to go now.

Here are 5 Suggestions You Can Start to Practice Before Volunteering

 

1. TAKE YOUR TIME

I’m often in awe of those individuals that join a church and can immediately plug in to a ministry and they excel at it!  Others will jump into as many opportunities as asked to and unfortunately for both, the church and the volunteer, they will slowly start to fade.  They will start to be absentee in their ministry and eventually their church attendance will suffer.  The church body would rather see you in the seats, listening and growing, rather than not attending at all.   On the flip side, if you have been in church for several years you’ve had plenty of time 🙂

2. DON’T ACCEPT EVERY REQUEST

Don’t rush into everything and anything that you are asked to do.  Remember, you have an idea of what needs your time and by taking extra opportunities you will be stretched too thin.  Out of all your priorities one will suffer and more often the ministry will be left unattended.  This will be a good time to evaluate your priorities and shed those time-consuming affairs.  Those that don’t add any value.

3.  ASK FOR HELP

When suddenly you are left alone with a roomful of loving kiddos you need to ask for help.  Don’t let this fester and bring it to the attention of your ministry leaders.  The last thing any church parents want is the kid’s ministry to become a Sunday daycare.

4.  SET BOUNDARIES

Not sure about your spiritual gifts?   Churches offer spiritual gifts sessions and those are great.  I believe in application as well and you might want to try out different opportunities to explore those gifts.  If you decide to do this I strongly encourage you to set boundaries.  For example you can say, “ I plan to serve in this capacity for 6 months” or “ I can only serve 1 Sunday a month”, etc.  You set the time-frame.  This will allow the seeker to plan accordingly.

5. IT’S OK TO SAY NO

Hear me on this- You can say no and it is perfectly fine!  I understand you don’t like to disappoint but master this pointer and you’ll be spectacular .   No one will be offended if you say no.  They will respect that you value your time and theirs.  You may not be ready and it’s ok to voice that.  Leave yourself an opening if that is an area that interests you.

Summary of the 5 Suggestions I shared for a successful volunteer career

  1. Take your time
  2.  Don’t accept every request
  3.  Ask for Help
  4.  Set Boundaries
  5. It’s Ok to say No

These suggestions came at my expense and at the disappointment of others.  I felt obligated to help out as much as possible and the time requirements took their toll on me.  It wasn’t until later in my spiritual walk that I learned how to kindly and respectfully decline volunteer opportunities.  I shared the suggestions to encourage you to get involve and go about it in a strategic manner.

I’ll leave you with the following comment:

Be a specialist and not a generalist.  Be spectacular and caring in one ministry rather than general and unspectacular in many.

Loss Aversion Explained

How this psychological behavior is causing you to lose lots of dollars

Loss Aversion
Loss Aversion

Loss aversion: the pain of losing is twice as strong as the gain

Hey, did you notice an increase in your paystub?  You may want to check it out.   If you did, you are part of the 90 percent of Americans who will have experienced a positive net gain in their take home money.

But have you given much thought to what you will do with that extra money?

Chances are you haven’t given it much thought.  Honestly, I have not done much with mine yet.

Unfortunately, you and I will struggle to save that extra income because it is so much fun to spend rather than save.  Who can relate?

Wait, I have a mental condition?

Yes, we all do!  There is  a psychological behavior that will keep you from saving.  This behavior is known as loss aversion, or the hate of losing.  Loss aversion is a psychological state of mind where the “pain of losing is twice as powerful as the pleasure of gaining”.

We know we need to do something smart with that little extra money and yet we choose to do nothing.   This same behavior is seen  in different areas of one’s life:  health, spiritual well-being, education, and list continues. We know the benefits gained from each of these actions are great, but the pain of losing time, money, relationships, or other resources will keep you from taking action.

Look around your influential circle of friends and you may see the benefits experienced by overcoming loss aversion.   These benefits did not happen overnite.  They probably battled loss aversion at some time yet they did something about it and they took action.

Inaction breeds company and it will have an impact in many areas of your life.

Now that we know that loss aversion keeps us from investing let’s explore the solution

The more steps or actions an activity requires the less likely we are to take a step forward to bettering ourselves.   For example, we need to get in shape and for some reason we believe we need a new workout wardrobe, hire a trainer, and post your accomplishments.  These are but a few things that keep you from taking action.  So many unwritten rules to follow it seems.  But disregard those and get going.

 Let’s look at savings and retirement

The lingo alone will drive one insane!  Annual percentage rate, annual percentage yield, certificates of deposit or CD, bonds, IRA, 401K, etc etc!  That is why your accounts have not grown or you have not started.  According to a report, 50 percent of Americans don’t participate in their 401Ks and reasons stated include: feeling overwhelmed with the many choices, laziness, and struggle with deposits.  I remember feeling all the mentioned emotions as I enrolled in my company 401K.  Trying to be in compliance with company policies, understand vacation policy and now 401K!

The struggle was real and I’m glad I took that plunge. I was afraid to ask questions. Here’s an MBA student who has no idea how to invest, I thought they would say.  I had no idea or direction and no one to turn to.

Don’t let that hold you back! Take action.  My experiences have shown that the first step you take, is the most important one.  Over time you will become more educated and can make wiser choices in your finances.

Turn the challenges into solutions

You might have heard the acronym KISS- Keep It Simple Silly.  Try taking advantage of automatic contributions.   Let the accounts withdraw from your check before you have time to spend it.   If you don’t see it you will not miss it.

Understand as you save more it does not necessarily mean you will spend less.  If you have a budget in place this will keep you focused on your goals.  I’m old school and prefer to look at spreadsheets when using my budget.  There are apps that keep this process simple.  Don’t see saving or investing as a present loss but a future gain or victory.  Keep focused on your goals.

Helpful bits

We are visual creatures.  We like wooing and awwing over beautifully created pictures.  I can spend hours on hours looking through Pinterest and Instargram.  Do the same for  your finances.  Use visuals rather than figures to help you achieve goals.

For example, instead on fixating on a $500,000 retirement, use visuals that that money will help you reach.  Visuals such as vacations, nicer home, or activities you enjoy doing with your family and friends.

Don’t allow loss aversion keep you from achieving your goals.  Learn to focus on the gains and not what you will be losing.  Remember the pain of losing needs to be dealt with.  Keep reminding yourself of the benefits or gains you will be able to enjoy.

How have you been able to overcome loss aversion?  Care to share?