All posts by Steve

Content in Christ: One Recipe for a Debt-Free Home, Part 1

We love to hear testimonies from young men who have chosen the less traveled and far better route of being debt-free even in purchasing a home. One such guy shared his experience with us recently. It shows how with vision, determination, hard work, and dedication, you can achieve a debt-free lifestyle. Here is Amos’ story, Part 1.

When I was about 16, I listened to your audiobook of Preparing Sons. I liked the book and believe it has had an influence on me. In addition, my family watched and was distinctly changed by Jim Sammons’ presentation of the Financial Freedom seminar. Teaching from the Bible about problems with debt was also included in my Accelerated Christian Education high school math curriculum. Perhaps the greatest influence on me came from memorizing each chapter of Proverbs when I was 13 and then memorizing the book again when I was 14 and reading it through many times in the following years.  

I grew up on a dairy farm. My siblings and I helped on the farm a lot, and Dad paid us by giving us portions from the sales of cows or by giving us calves. I used some of this money to buy beef cattle and thus got more funds. One of my brothers and I also had a lawn mowing business, and I tried never to spend money. I lived at home, used my parents’ vehicles, and didn’t buy myself hip clothing, coffee, or gadgets. I had thousands of dollars in savings by the time I got engaged. However, there is no way at 19 years old it would have been enough to go out and buy an average house.

When I got engaged, it was obvious that we’d need a place to live, and it seemed most sensible to build a house. My grandfather owned a number of pieces of farm land, and he offered to give me the land to build a house on. My grandfather got power put in to the property and set up a submersible pump in the well. He also dug a trench with his backhoe to bury the pipes and main wires to the house.

Dad and Grandpa dug a basement with tractors, and then I rented forms for basement walls from the concrete company so we could set them up ourselves and save hiring labor. We put old scrap metal in the forms instead of buying rebar. The company I bought the cement from also sold me a used concrete septic tank! My dad negotiated a good deal on lumber from a building center. I bought whole pallet loads of OSB and agreed not to return any boards from the loads they delivered. For framing the walls, I bought used boards from a man who was tearing down some old buildings. The boards were rough cut and only had four or five usable feet but they were still solid. We nailed these 4’ 2”x4”s together to make 12’ 4”x6” studs which were spaced every two feet.

Part 2 will complete Amos’ story soon!

 “but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons.”
Deuteronomy 4:9

Christina Mercy Maxwell

After a very hard labor, the doctor deemed it necessary to do an emergency C-section, and at 1:57 p.m. Christina Mercy entered the world. She was 9 pounds 6 ounces and doing fine. Melanie is “okay,” and we are praising God for His mercy and grace.

“He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”

–Micah 6:8

Bunnies and Baskets

We have had a few blog commenters question why we don’t do Easter eggs, bunnies, and baskets. Instead of answering privately, or in a limited way on the blog, it seemed worthy of doing a complete post that addresses the subject because there may be others who are wondering with an open spirit. I’m assuming these were honest questions, and since they weren’t labeled as private, I list them below.

“Steve, with all due respect, what is wrong with the little girls having Easter baskets? You can focus on Christ and the Resurrection but still have baskets and Easter hunts. Millions of devout Christians do it. I’m glad I got to do both as a kid. May Day is coming up. Maybe the big girls and Sarah can help the little girls make May baskets, put flowers in them, and share them with the neighbors, or the folks at the nursing home. I don’t think this would be sinful.” Reader A

“I notice that you’ve stated that you try to focus on Christ. That’s definitely the reason for the season; but, I’m curious what’s wrong with having Easter baskets or sweets? You share gifts at Christmas. . .” Reader B

Christianity is not a democracy, and if millions of “devout” Christians exercise their faith in a particular way, it doesn’t necessarily make it pleasing to the Lord. Living one’s life according to the Bible should be every professing Christian’s desire and practice. I do understand that many churches have bunnies and baskets to perhaps reach the lost. Each person/church’s conduct/choices are between them and the Lord.

Have you ever tried to look at two things at once? If they are any distance apart, you really have to choose to look at one or the other. Bunnies, baskets, and the Lord Jesus are light years apart — there’s no biblical support, not even a natural tie-in or segue between them. Generally, I’ve found the more desirable something is to the flesh, the more likely it will be the one that wins. Give children the choice of bunnies and baskets versus Jesus, and I can guarantee you what most children will choose to anticipate and remember — the morning discussion of Christ’s resurrection or the fun candy filled egg hunt outside? When they get older will they make the right choice? Hopefully, but why set up our children to be double-minded? “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” (James 4:8)

Next, if a Christian’s walk is determined by only things that aren’t wrong, they are missing much that fills a walk that is pleasing to the Lord. They really aren’t seeking God’s best, just avoiding outright sin. Would you rather have a child who just didn’t disobey (according to their definition of disobedience), or one who truly wanted to please you? From my observations, many “Christians” spend empty lives doing things they consider not sin, while missing a fruitful life that is dedicated to following the Lord. “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). Frankly, not doing bunnies and baskets would hardly even qualify as denying oneself or taking up a cross.

The argument for doing something because it was done as a child and was enjoyable is similar to why many participate in Halloween, which is one of the most wicked “holidays” there is. Yet, scores of “Christians” do. Regardless of what one did in the past, shouldn’t the decision for today be made as to what pleases the Lord? Those who share that the bunnies and baskets are fond memories for them, probably lack similar sweet memories of a family who celebrated the resurrection of Jesus Christ and His redemption of fallen man. The bunnies and baskets memories will be paramount.

I want my children’s memories of Resurrection Sunday to be Jesus Christ crucified, risen, and coming again. When they are eighty, I want them to think back on their childhood Resurrection Sundays with praise and joy in their hearts for a God Who loved them so much that He gave His Son for their salvation. Those are the memories I am attempting to build in my children’s lives.

Having an egg hunt for the family on Resurrection Sunday is similar to celebrating Mother’s Day by the family watching basketball, when Mom hates basketball. Resurrection Sunday is a day that is to be all about Jesus!

Regardless of one’s intentions or motives, the Lord does look at what we do and say. Consider when Jesus had just told His disciples He was going to the cross. They knew that meant a horrible and painful death for Jesus and the loss of the One they loved and had given their lives to. Peter’s intentions were wonderful, but his thinking was worldly and not according to the Lord’s will. When Peter protested against Jesus’ crucifixion, Jesus responded with this statement: “Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men” (Matthew 16:23). We see that personal evaluations such as “It’s only harmless fun” or “I see nothing wrong with it,” don’t seem to gather much credit with the Lord unless they line up with God’s will.

There is such blessing in seeking God’s will in things and foregoing man’s ideas. Notice we didn’t condemn those who choose to do baskets and bunnies. That is not for us to do, but each will give account for their actions — even every idle word. “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment” (Matthew 12:36).

Nathan is responsible for whether his girls receive bunnies, and baskets, and I’m pleased they didn’t for reasons mentioned here.

I’ve never given May Day any thought as an outreach. One could put a track in each basket with the flowers and candy. Not a bad idea. Why don’t you do it, and let us know how it goes?

We do give gifts at Christmas, but have nothing to do with Santa Claus. I think a fictitious Santa Claus is a better comparison to an Easter bunny as Santa Claus has as much to do with Jesus’ birth as an Easter bunny has to do with His resurrection.

My encouragement is: know the Lord Jesus as your personal Savior, know His will, obey Him, be at peace with yourself and other’s decisions, and bask in His love. That’s a formula for no regrets!

Steve

“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”

–1 Corinthians 10:31

What’s Up At the Maxwells

Sorry for the silence. We are all doing well as we stay busy with different things the Lord has given us. I, Sarah, am in the middle of a Moody project. No, it’s not Spring Days just yet. It’s nothing too exciting for most of you, but I’ll tell you all about it in May.

The Lord continually sends me encouragement for keeping on with the Moodys. It sometimes brings tears to my eyes as I read how the Lord Jesus is using the Moodys in families’ lives: ways I never would have dreamed of. If I ever doubt why the right guy hasn’t come yet, the Lord gently reminds me of how He has used me for the Moodys at the moment. So, whether Mr. Right is just around the corner, or not for another year or two, I’ll continue on!

***Added***
There were a few that seemed to think I was depressed or sad from my above paragraph. Ummmm. In that case, a huge clarification is in order. I’m not in the slightest. I’m extremely happy and enjoying the life the Lord Jesus has given me. I know that marriage is not the beginning (nor the end!) in life, and my joy and delight are in serving the Lord! In addition, not everyone gets married or gets married young. Hope that helps clarify. Sarah
***********

Cute Bethany.

Dinner one night. Yum.

I was working in the bus on my Moody project, and I saw John and Anna bringing the little girls home. I thought little Bethany was precious next to John.

A picnic with Grandma.


Last night, we had a termite swarm: INSIDE the house. They had swarmed into the sewing room, kitchen, and dining room, and were trying to make their escape out of the house. We began our plan of action with vacuuming them up while bug spray was procured. The above picture was only after they had been sprayed in the garage. I didn’t get my camera out when they were swarming.

I’ll leave you with these verses. All of us have opportunities to “count it all joy.” I think we often don’t view a trial or discouraging time or a patience tester as “joy” but James says to. So, may we all take advantage of those times and learn, along with James, to “count it all joy.”

“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” (James 1:2-4).

Love,
Sarah

Preparing

We are preparing to leave on the trip. We’ll post pictures and an update later :-).

Love,
Sarah

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
(Proverbs 3:5-6)