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Live On Last Month's Income

Image For they gave according to their means...and beyond their means - 2 Corinthians 8:3

We're hosting a one-day seminar on personal finances called You Need A Budget. It's free and you can sign up here because who wants to keep living paycheck to paycheckdrown in debt and never save any money? Whether you need to start a budget, want a system for managing your money that doesn't take up an entire weekend, or need to tape your piggy bank back together, YNAB can help.

The YNAB Method is built on four rules:

  1. Give every dollar a job
  2. Save for a rainy day
  3. Roll with the punches
  4. Live on last month's income

Live on last month's income. Spend this month, what you earned last month.  How? Save enough money to go an entire month without touching your regular income. Then the next month, spend last month’s income while earning this month’s income. You’ll spend this month’s income next month.

You stress less. You save hours of time not timing bills to paychecks. And no guessing at income; you budget what you already have.

Our next session of YNAB takes place on Saturday, January 25th. It's free, the concepts are simple and I believe it's an investment that can change your life. Click here to register. And if you have any questions, email our Finance Director, Micah Shaw at finances@missionathens.com.

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich - 2 Corinthians 8:9

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Save For A Rainy Day

Image For they gave according to their means...and beyond their means - 2 Corinthians 8:3

We're hosting a one-day seminar on personal finances called You Need A Budget. It's free and you can sign up here because who wants to keep living paycheck to paycheckdrown in debt and never save any money? Whether you need to start a budget, want a system for managing your money that doesn't take up an entire weekend, or need to tape your piggy bank back together, YNAB can help.

The YNAB Method is built on four rules:

  1. Give every dollar a job
  2. Save for a rainy day
  3. Roll with the punches
  4. Live on last month's income

Save for a rainy day. Take those large, less-frequent expenses that usually send you into a financial tailspin, and break them into monthly chunks. The result? Less stress as you get off the personal finance roller coaster. We'll talk more about this on Saturday but here are three reasons why saving for a rainy day works:

  1. It gives you a financial crystal ball that allows you to see how you really spend your money.
  2. It frees you up to buy things without guilt.
  3. It helps you expect the unexpected in your finances and handle it with ease.

Our next session of YNAB takes place on Saturday, January 25th. It's free, the concepts are simple and I believe it's an investment that can change your life. Click here to register by Wednesday, January 22nd.. And if you have any questions, email our Finance Director, Micah Shaw at finances@missionathens.com.

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich - 2 Corinthians 8:9

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Give Every Dollar A Job

Image For they gave according to their means...and beyond their means - 2 Corinthians 8:3

We're hosting a one-day seminar on personal finances called You Need A Budget. It's free and you can sign up here because who wants to keep living paycheck to paycheck, drown in debt and never save any money? Whether you need to start a budget, want a system for managing your money that doesn't take up an entire weekend, or need to tape your piggy bank back together, YNAB can help.

The YNAB Method is built on four rules:

  1. Give every dollar a job
  2. Save for a rainy day
  3. Roll with the punches
  4. Live on last month's income

Give every dollar a job. Your money shouldn't tell you what to do. When you earn money, you plan how you use it, then you follow your plan. You can read more here but here are three reasons why this works:

  1. You'll reach your financial goals with laser focus. Because details turn into better decisions.
  2. You'll 'get a raise.' When you know where your money is going, you're less likely to waste it on things that don't matter to you.
  3. No budget failures, just lots of adjustments. You mean you didn't plan for your broken stove? Adjusting your budget because of unexpected expenses is normal, expected and encouraged.

Our next session of YNAB takes place on Saturday, January 25th. It's free, the concepts are simple and I believe it's an investment that can change your life. Click here to register. And if you have any questions, email our Finance Director, Micah Shaw at finances@missionathens.com.

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich - 2 Corinthians 8:9

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Change Your Life and Our City With Your Budget

Image For they gave according to their means...and beyond their means - 2 Corinthians 8:3

We're hosting a one-day seminar on personal finances called You Need A Budget. It's free and you can sign up here because I'm convinced it will change your life and change our city. Let me explain.

In 2014, we're praying for God's kingdom to come to Athens. We're leaning into God for a manifestation of the real Jesus in our city. We're asking for a movement of God that makes the real Jesus impossible to ignore - a movement that takes place in our church as we follow Jesus together as a family, people who have been humbled because we realize our helplessness apart from the power of God; a movement that begins to change our city because we are not content for racism to continue and we are unwilling to stand by as the unborn and the orphan are turned away.

I believe God is birthing big dreams that will take more than a lifetime to live and begins with a God who is bigger than our dreams. Take your bank account, for instance. I find that most of us would love to be in a financial position to be more helpful than we currently are. Perhaps the reason we're not more generous is that we need to be bringing in more income; I don't think it's a bad idea to do great work that makes a lot of money. But I don't think the issue for most of us is that we don't make enough money - I'm increasingly convinced from my own life and my conversations with you that we're scared and we're stressed.

We're terrified that the money will run out. We're stressed because we always feel like the money will run out. There's no denying that we feel that way and a community shaped by the gospel shouldn't feel the need to put on airs and act like we're not scared and stressed. The question becomes, what will we do about it?

On Saturday, January 25 we want to help you stop living paycheck to paycheck, get out of debt, save money faster and live generously. We're hosting a one-day seminar called You Need A Budget and if you don't have a budget or if your current budget isn't helping you meet your financial goals, you need to be there. It's free, the concepts are simple and I believe it will change you and it will change our city. Click here to register. And if you have any questions, email our Finance Director, Micah Shaw at finances@missionathens.com.

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich - 2 Corinthians 8:9

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For Confused and Reluctant Missionaries

I’m working on this Sunday’s sermon - the fourth sermon in our BLESS series and the most practical of the seven messages that I’m hoping will help us learn to love our city well. Here are two things I’d want you to think about before we jump into John 20:19-22 together: First, you don’t have to become someone else in order to be a missionary. We tend to focus on doing good works or telling people about Jesus - the activity of mission - and forget that missionary is an identity before it ever becomes a set of behaviors. What we do is shaped by who we are. And that means that someone who prefers introverted behavior and helps people primarily with their actions is just as much a missionary as someone who prefers extroverted behavior and loves to tell complete strangers about Jesus.

Second, we should expect to be actively engaged in missionary work as part of the ordinary rhythm of everyday life. If missionary activity is not limited to a particular personality type or skill set, then you and I lose our excuses for not living on mission. Because we get to be ourselves and because we’re hardwired to bless people (more about that on Sunday!), we should find it surprising when we’re not bringing people to Jesus.

Here are a few quick notes:

  • We need other people to help us follow Jesus. One way we connect with other people is through our community groups, which are made up of 6-15 adults who build life around one another. If you’d like more information about groups, you can find a list of groups and a way to let us know you’re looking for a group here, or you can contact BenSheppard.
  • If you are a UGA student coming to our 10:00 gathering, would you try out our 12:00 gathering this week? The 10:00 gathering is full and because it’s the only gathering that offers our ministry environments for children, we need as much space as possible. And if you’re coming to the 12:00, talk to HollyVonLanken about serving in our nursery or children’s worship during the 10:00 gathering. An easy way to give back that helps us shape the next generation for Jesus.
  • Speaking of our children’s ministry, we’re really excited about the launch of our Redwoods environment for 3rd-5th graders this Sunday during the 10:00 gathering. If you have a child that age or want to help make this a great place for our kids to learn to follow Jesus, get in touch with Holly.
  • We have our first membership event of the fall on Monday, October 1st. Look for more details in the next week. If you have questions or would like to register for this free event, contact JimTocci.

~ Matt

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Letter to the Church

Hey y’all, I’ve got eight things to run by you this week:

First, I’m excited to introduce our Protege team for 2012-2013: Michael Mann, Collin Ross, Ben Sheppard, Stephen Terry, Jim Tocci and Holly Von Lanken. A couple of years ago, we launched Protege as an opportunity for recent college graduates to continue their personal development by serving as part of our church staff. We spent a couple of days earlier this week near Blairsville launching a new learning year and I loved our time together. We’ll connect faces and names during our gathering on Sunday and I hope you’ll make every effort to encourage and support them over the next twelve months.

Second, I’m equally excited that Aaron Slaten is now heading up our Protege program. In addition to being my favorite worship leader in the world, Aaron does a fantastic job at developing young leaders so plugging him into this role was an easy win.

Third, Aaron is also one of our elders and earlier tonight the five of us met with our wives for dinner and then took a couple of hours to work through some of the opportunities we have as a church. More details to come but there’s some really exciting stuff on the horizon about community groups, global mission, and campus ministry.

Fourth, I want to thank you for your continued financial generosity to the church. We looked at the numbers tonight and God continues to provide through your investment. We want to keep growing our financial base because of the opportunities we have to leverage our resources for God’s kingdom but y’all have been knocking it out of the park! Thank you and let’s keep going...

Fifth, we’ll move back to two worship gatherings on August 19th, with gatherings at 10am and 12pm. You’ll hear more about this over the next week but I wanted to give you a heads up a couple of weeks out.

Sixth, this Sunday we’ll be in Luke 11:29-36 and talk about what Jesus does to get our attention. If you were hoping to show up on Sunday and hang out with meek and mild Jesus, you’ll be rather disappointed. But a God who can’t challenge you is a God who doesn’t really love you.

Seventh, I’m looking forward to having my friend, Tripp Almon, at our gathering on Sunday to talk about the work he’s doing as executive pastor of Four Corners Church in Newnan. This is one of the Acts 29 churches that we support and I wanted you to hear their story, and if you’re a student, to consider heading to Newnan after graduation to be part of what God is doing through them.

Finally, it’s been an exciting week with the birth of Rilan Josiah Hughes (Josh and Lindsey) and there’s more fun to come with the wedding of Kathryn Torbett and Justin Kimmel on Sunday afternoon.

Much Love,

Matt

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Nine Things

Hey y’all, I’ve got nine things to run by you this week:

First of all, hello from Birmingham. I’ve been here with Lindsey and the boys since Sunday evening so that I could teach at Beeson Divinity School, the graduate school where I received my master’s degree. My workshop was part of Beeson’s annual Pastor’s School - and it gave me an opportunity to talk about the central importance of the gospel, the role of influence in leading others, and the importance of discipling an entire church. Great to be back in a city that was so formative in my life and instrumental in my relationship with Lindsey.

Second, one of the reasons I spent time discussing discipleship in the local church during my workshop is because I’m working with the other elders to nail down some details about how we build out a culture of discipleship in our church. This is not a short-term programming change but a long-term process of intentionally helping each other follow Jesus. One of my favorite descriptions of discipleship comes from Dallas Willard, who says that discipleship is the process of you becoming what Jesus would look like if Jesus was you.

Third, we’re coming home later today so that Lindsey and I can get away for a couple of days to celebrate our wedding anniversary. We actually got married in June 1998 but our time away this weekend wasn’t because I forgot about our anniversary! It just so happens that Alison Krauss will be in concert at the Classic Center on Friday and we figured this would be a fun way to celebrate.

Fourth, our get away will end at Rachael Mirabella’s wedding on Saturday evening. Rachael was part of our first Protege class and did a remarkable job working with our middle school and high school students, as well as keeping up with a lot of the financial details of the church. We hate to lose her to Charlotte, but we’re more excited for her as she starts her life as Mrs. Brent Boyd.

Fifth, speaking of Protege, Aaron and I are taking our new team up to the mountains for a couple of days next week for our annual retreat. This is a great time to connect with our new team members (Ben Sheppard and Stephen Terry), as well as to cast vision and set expectations for the upcoming year. Pray for us and look for more about the retreat and our Protege initiative in the next couple of weeks.

Fifth, we’ll jump back into Luke on Sunday and talk about how hard it is to trust Jesus when we try to be Jesus and act like we’re the king and savior of our own lives. The text we’re walking through is Luke 11:14-28; an interesting scene that involves demons, strong men, someone called Beelzebul and Jesus talking about how to live the life that we all want.

Sixth, with school just around the corner be looking for details about gathering times during the fall and information about plugging into community groups. I love the relaxed pace of the summer and the opportunity that many of us have to travel, rest, and spend time away from Athens. But more than that, I love having all of our family home and getting another opportunity to bless our city as a family of missionaries who belongs to Jesus.

Seventh, one other thing you’ll hear about in August is the Chick-fil-A®  3-on-3 Basketball Tournament and Family FunZone in downtown Athens on Saturday, August 25th. We’re one of the sponsors for the event and we’re asking you to help us bless our city by volunteering for part of the day. We’ll provide you with additional details on particular volunteer opportunities in the next week or two, or you can sign up to help on the tournament website.

Eighth, make sure you stay connected with us through Twitter and ourblog. While you’re at the blog, check out the post on the Acts 29 Pastors’ Retreat that took place earlier this spring. In addition to pictures and video that gives you a glimpse of what Lindsey and I were part of, you’ll get some numbers about the grace God has extended to us as a league of church planting churches. And again, thank you for your continued generosity to Acts 29 churches across the state and around the world. One cent of every dollar you invested went to this year’s retreat, which is heaven on earth for many of these men and their wives. And thank you to our elders who gave me the time away to rest and relax with Lindsey and to love and encourage these men whom God has called me to serve.

Ninth, if you don’t have a copy of Because of Christ, the album our band recorded this spring, you can buy it on Sunday after our gathering - two days before it goes on sale to the public. Again, I’m proud of Aaron and everyone involved in this project and thankful that we’ll have a musical snapshot of this part of our journey together.

Much Love,

Matt

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