Giving Tuesday

November 28th, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving is Giving Tuesday. It was originally started as a way to use social media to challenge the excessive consumerism found in Black Friday and Cyber Monday where BUYING is the mantra. Instead of pressuring you to buy more, Giving Tuesday encourages you to give more.

Generosity is a topic that can be frustrating. People may give because they feel a sense of obligation. Sometimes they give to appear spiritual. Sometimes they feel pressured to contribute to a certain organization. But the best way to give is to an organization that grabs you heart with its mission and vision.

We always encourage people to be generous to their parish and diocese as well as to ministries that are doing the good work of preaching the gospel. We hope that the good work done by Compass Catholic Ministries is on your heart as a place to give so that you can participate in the Church’s work of Evangelization. Galatians 6:6 tells us “If you are being taught the Christian message, you should share all the good things you have with your teacher.”

Every day, lives are changed and hearts are healed by the prayers, teachings, and conversations that happen in the Compass Bible Studies.

Did you know that Compass Catholic has had or currently has Bible studies in about 70 parishes and 20 dioceses in the US? And we are in Latin America: Columbia, Dominican Republic, and Mexico. In the rest of the world, Compass has touched lives in Poland, Croatia and Singapore. The Navigating Your Finances God’s Way and Your Money Counts books are being contextualized and printed in Canada. By translating the Compass material into 6 languages: English, Spanish, French, German, Portuguese and Polish, we can reach 70% of the 1.2 billion Catholics around the world.

The word about Biblical stewardship is spreading and we are helping people everywhere escape from the consumerism that is so prevalent across the world.

God has a plan for each of us as individuals, and also has a mission and vision for each parish, diocese, and the Catholic Church as a whole, as well as each ministry spreading the good news of salvation.

In our world, it takes money to do the tasks that God assigns us and running a ministry in similar to running a business. While our hearts are totally committed to the spiritual aspects of the ministry, there are lots of secular aspects to contend with, such as: the cost to edit, format, proof read and print books. We pay for computer programs and apps that are required in order to run the ministry and keep track of book sales, invoices, inventory, donations. There is a cost to maintain and update the website and send out the newsletters. We travel to conferences in order to spread the word about Compass Catholic Ministries and our mission.

The list of expenses goes on and on and the monthly operational costs average about $7,000. The funding comes from the sale of books and donations.  Every time the ministry grows, the costs increase.

We do everything possible to maximize the use of volunteers. In fact, Jon and I spend almost full time working in the ministry as volunteers, with no need for a salary.

If you are interested in supporting Compass Catholic we can use your help in many ways.  The first way is to become a donor. You may donate by mailing a check or setting up Compass Catholic Ministries as a bill payer vendor with your bank for recurring donations. If you choose to donate by check, please make checks payable to Compass Catholic Ministries, and mail it to:

Compass Catholic Ministries
5840 Red Bug Lake Road #590
Winter Springs, FL 32708

We also accept online donations via the secure PayPal link on our website and you can make a one-time donation or set up a recurring donation at  CompassCatholic.org/donate/.

If you shop via Amazon, use Smile/Amazon.com and choose Compass Catholic Ministries as your charity. Amazon Smile is a website operated by Amazon that lets customers enjoy the same wide selection of products, low prices, and convenient shopping features as on Amazon.com. The difference is that when customers shop on Amazon Smile the Amazon Smile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to the charitable organizations selected by customers. It works whether you are an occasional Amazon user or a Prime account holder.

We can always use more volunteers. We need volunteers who are passionate about using their time, talent and treasure to serve God through this ministry. There are several Volunteer opportunities available

Become a Facilitator and lead a Compass Bible study with a group of friends. Training is available from the Facilitator Page after you create a user ID and password to access it. We are always looking for Parish Volunteers who focus their efforts on coordinating Compass classes and promoting Compass within a single parish.

The Area Volunteer promotes Compass within a local area. The size of the area can be as small as two parishes, or as large as a particular city, an entire state or even multiple states.

And if you have other talents, we are always eager to have people join our mission who can help with Grant Writing; Videographer; Guest Blogger; Editor; Ghost Writer; Translator; Proof Reader.

If you are interested in getting involved or if you have any questions, please contact us.

A lot of times when people are asked to donate to a specific cause, they ask themselves “How much of my money can I afford to donate?” We’re sure that the thought “How much do I have to give?” has crossed your mind. The answer is that you don’t have to give anything. As a good steward, you should be asking the question, “How much do I want to give?” The blessing that we have as good stewards is that we are free to give as much as we want. The whole question of giving shouldn’t revolve around the “minimum” gift, but on the “maximum” gift. Our gifts should come from our heart and should be an indication of our faith. (Cf. USCCB, “Stewardship – A Disciple’s Response; A Pastoral Letter on Stewardship,” p 67.)

Instead of asking “How much of MY money can I afford to give?” the question should be “How much of GOD’s money do I need to keep?” which is a much different perspective.

In addition to what you give to your parish and diocese, we would suggest that you pick one organization to be your major focal point and we hope Compass Catholic Ministries is one of those places in your heart.

When you have found a way to really make your giving sincere and heartfelt, you will make a difference. We cannot do this without your generous support.   We encourage you to join the mission of Compass Catholic Ministries and help us change the world!

When you say “yes” to becoming a partner with us, you’re helping Compass Catholic Ministries teach people to be generous givers, wise spenders and responsible savers. Marriages and families are strengthened and the work of the Church is sustained. Your generosity will touch people and change their lives forever.

For more about the importance of giving, join the Compass Catholic podcast on Podbean as we discuss generosity.

Seeking Godly Counsel

When we really want to buy something, how many times do we slow down enough to seek Godly counsel before purchasing it?

The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are: wisdom, understanding, knowledge, counsel, fortitude, piety and fear of the Lord. So, if we have received the gifts of the Holy Spirit, especially wisdom, understanding and knowledge, then we should inherently know that seeking godly counsel is a wise thing to do.

The Bible gives us many verses related to seeking counsel:

  • A wise man will hear and increase in learning, and a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel (Proverbs 1:5).
  • Through presumption comes nothing but strife, but with those who receive counsel is wisdom.  (Proverbs 13:10).
  • Listen to counsel and accept discipline, that you may be wise the rest of your days (Proverbs 19:20).
  • Prepare plans by consultation . . . (Proverbs 20:18).
  • Where there is no guidance, the people fall, but in abundance of counselors there is victory (Proverbs 11:14).
  • Without consultation, plans are frustrated, but with many counselors they succeed (Proverbs 15:22).

Those are only a few of the 48 Scriptures verses I found that encourage us to seek counsel.

But how often do we actually go out of our way to seek counsel – especially when it comes to financial matters? For most people, the answer is never or not often enough!

Most of us are very proud of our independence, especially as it applies to our financial situation. When we come face to face with a decision, we don’t relinquish control to anyone or seek help–we’re independent, and we don’t need anyone’s counsel. Yet one of the best ways to avoid financial problems is to seek godly counsel before making financial decisions, especially large decisions.

So, who do you ask for counsel, and how do you go about asking? Even though it may take a little courage to ask for advice, our most trustworthy advisors are the ones who have been there all along—parents, or close, trusted friends. Tell them the facts of your situation in a straightforward manner, being totally truthful. Just tackle the conversation head on, open your heart, and listen closely.

If you are married, your spouse should be your number one source of counsel. You will both suffer the consequences of any bad decision, so it is important for both of you to agree on the course of action. If you do not agree, wait, pray and keep talking about it.  Nothing will ruin your marriage faster than making one sided decisions.

We know because that’s what happened to us. We talked around our differences but never came to a decision on which we both agreed. Many years ago, we were in the middle of buying land and working with an architect to design and build our dream house. This was at the same time my husband decided to start his own business and quit his job which paid a generous salary.

The bad news is that we were not on the same page financially. We never really had any financial issues up till that point in our marriage so we never needed to sit down and hash through a budget, talk about debt or plan for saving. The money just came in and went out.

We never thought of seeking godly counsel in an honest and forthright way.  If we did get input from anyone, our questions were couched in language that assured us of getting the answer we wanted, because of course, we knew we were right. Almost as soon as our dream house was built and the mortgage payments started, we ran into financial turmoil.

The verse from Proverbs 12:15 says, “The way of fools is right in their own eyes, but those who listen to advice are the wise.”  And we were certainly fools who thought we were right in our own eyes. The results of those actions were one of the worst financial mistakes we ever made and those mistakes almost cost us our marriage.

Like us, many people have lost a lot of money and have subjected themselves and their families to years of heartache and stress by making bad financial decisions. And what’s really tragic Is they could have avoided most of their difficulties if they had simply sought counsel from someone with a solid understanding of God’s way of handling money.

All of us should intentionally seek to surround ourselves with godly people who can counsel us is different areas. We each have limited experience and knowledge and we need the insights, suggestions and thoughts of others to make a proper decision.

The one common attitude that keeps us from seeking counsel is pride. Some people think seeking advice is a sign of weakness. It’s against our American spirit of independence to ask for help. The American mantra of “Stand on your own two feet” seems to contradict getting advice and counsel from anyone.

Yet this is totally contrary to what we see in the Bible, which encourages a spirit of interdependence in the Body of Christ. In 1 Corinthians 12:12-26, we are described as a body where in order to function properly, we need each other. As we are one body in Christ, God encourages us to seek wise counsel and to rely on each other for Godly advice. The Christian life is not one of independence from one another; we’re to be dependent upon each other and grow together in love and faith.

There are cautions when seeking counsel. First of all, it is important to be totally open and honest. Because of our pride sometimes we don’t give all the facts. We just offer up the facts that will give us the answer we want. This isn’t really seeking counsel – it’s going through the motions. So, when you ask for advice stick to the facts – all of them, and don’t disguise or hide the facts in order to sway the person to give you the answer you want to hear.

You also need to be careful about who you ask for advice. Sales people may get a larger commission by pushing you to buy a certain product. Or they may pressure you to buy immediately so they can make their sales quota. It is certainly appropriate to gather facts from experts (like sales people) when making a financial decision. But godly advice is best gotten from a person you know well and who has no vested interest in your decision other than your welfare.

If you don’t have someone in your life who can give you financial advice based on the Bible, pray for the Lord to bring that person into your life. It will be one of the best decisions you can make. A great way to find godly people is through the Compass Catholic Navigating Your Finances God’s Way Bible study. Get involved with your church community and you’re sure to find brothers and sisters in Christ who are more than willing to help and share the Catholic perspectives on handling money God’s way.

For more on this topic, connect with the Compass Catholic podcast on Podbean as we discuss seeking godly counsel.

The Tradeoff Between Energy, Time and Money

Do you remember summers as a child when you had unlimited energy and all the time in the world to do whatever you wanted to do before the start of school?  And there was no real need for money.

Then you grew up and all of a sudden there was never enough energy, time or money for everything. Seems like with family, friends, work, church and other activities there is not enough time in 24 hours to get everything done we need to do. That makes it really easy to justify spending money on things we are able to do for ourselves, but just don’t have the time or energy to accomplish.

It is tempting to justify paying someone to mow the lawn, clean the house, wash the car or whatever else needs to be done around the house. When we do that we are trading money for the time and energy to do other things. That may be a good tradeoff, but we are using money that could be directed towards things that are more important than paying someone to do our chores.

Balancing energy, time and money can be an art form and it is different for every family and each individual, but it is important to understand the tradeoffs and make a conscious decision.

About twelve years ago, we moved back to Orlando from Atlanta. When we were house hunting, we were very focused on buying a house big enough to be comfortable but small enough to be easy to care for. It is not exactly a zero lot line house but the houses are pretty close together. The biggest benefit to us is that the home owner’s association takes care of the lawn and plants in the front yard, which saves us oodles of energy, time and also money. The side yards are filled with river rock so there is no maintenance there and the back yard is filled with mulch and plants so there is no maintenance there.

Our home is not large by any means, and that is a good thing. We can easily travel without having any maintenance cares above the normal maintenance that occurs when we are home. Just like the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears – “it’s just right!”

A smaller living space keeps us from accumulating a bunch of stuff that we really don’t need or use. It saves time because the less active living space we have, the less time we’re going to spend cleaning it and taking care of it. It saves money because a smaller home has smaller bills – lower property taxes, lower insurance rates, lower energy bills.

We also make conscious decisions about the tradeoff with energy, time and money in how we handle our groceries. Even though we are both working in the ministry out of a spare room in our home, dinner can sometimes be a challenge. We have many evenings where we have to rush off to a meeting or when we arrive home so late in the afternoon neither of us feels like cooking. That’s why we plan leftovers in to our weekly menu so there is something to eat on those evenings when there is no time to cook. It also saves money because it is cheaper to eat at home instead of the time and energy it takes to go to a restaurant.

I consciously make my menus and shopping list based on bulk buys and bogo items. There are lots of items around the house that we use every day and really don’t want to run out of, such as toothpaste, soap, paper towels, laundry detergent and toilet paper. If we run out we have to buy them at the current price. So, we try to buy in bulk or when they are on sale or when we can buy through a bogo. Even if we have plenty on hand, I’ll take advantage of a sale because I know we’ll use them and that saves energy time and money.

Over the years, I have learned that cleaning what’s dirty on a regular basis works much better for me than an all-out blitz to clean everything all in one day. Every day I make sure that errant items are picked up and put away. When needed I will do a more thorough cleaning. This strategy keeps my desire to hire someone to clean the house at bay.

Seems like some days we are in the car a lot and it’s easy to get thirsty and stop at a convenience store for a bottle of water or soft drink. By keeping a bottle of water in the car, we know we don’t have to stop at a convenience store (saving both time and money) and we stay hydrated.

There is always a shopping list on our refrigerator. If we’re running low on anything, it gets written down. When it’s time to go to the store, I start with the list and add what’s needed from my meal plan for the week. Because our schedule is so dynamic, I only shop for 3-5 days at a time. I find that works best for us as we don’t buy a lot of things that go bad because of last minute changes to our schedule. I always check the sale brochure to see what is on sale and plan meals around that so I don’t buy expensive ingredients that will be on sale the following week. Sometimes we’ll be low on something and it is not on sale, and I am pretty sure there is a sale coming up so I just keep it on the list till the next week’s sale brochure comes out.

Since meals are planned around what we have on hand, it’s very rare that we run out of items in the moment, meaning that we rarely have to make “emergency runs” to the store, and the fewer trips I make to the store, the more money, time and energy I save.

There is a great balancing act between energy, time and money. There are a lot of ways that you can spend less time and get more things done without spending the money to pay someone else to do it for you.

The first key point is energy. If you are physically incapable of performing specific tasks around the house, you may not have an option of doing it yourself. If you HAVE the energy and physical ability then it becomes a balancing act between time and money.

Another key point in the balancing act is your time. What are your priorities for spending your time? If you have the money, it may make sense to pay someone to do chores for you if that gives you more time to spend on things that are more important to you, such as time with the family. Of course, getting the family involved in helping you with the yard work can accomplish the same thing, while also teaching children about responsibility and work ethic.

And the third part of the balancing act is money. If you are in debt or you don’t have any emergency savings then paying off debt and saving for an emergency is your highest priority. Those items need to have a higher priority than paying someone to do chores for you.

If you are struggling with balancing energy, time and money, take it to prayer and God will lead you in the right direction. Remember this verse from Ecclesiastes 3: “There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens.”

For more on this topic, connect with the Compass Catholic podcast on Podbean as we discuss the balancing act between energy, time and money.