Archive for April, 2007

Savings accounts = fun for everyone!

April 29, 2007

So I opened two online savings accounts today. That’s right – two. I opened one with ING, because Bethany has said how good they were, and I found a link that gave me a $25 sign-up bonus (sorry, Bethany, I wish I found this when you signed up!). Then I found another link for E-Trade for another $25 sign-up bonus. E-trade also has a much higher rate (5.05% over ING’s 4.50%), but if their customer service doesn’t impress me, I might close it and stick with ING.

I also found out that E-Loan has a savings account yielding 5.25%, but you need a $5,000 minimum deposit. Alas, I will have to wait quite some time before I have that in savings. Oh well, they didn’t have a sign-up bonus anyway. 😉



April 29, 2007

I’m running on a split five hours of sleep right now. I got two of the five on the way back from today’s volleyball tournament. It was a lot of fun playing and spending time with Jill, but I’m wrecked from head to toe. My legs feel hollow and brittle.

I got an email back from Sam, the speaker at Lake Champion this past weekend! We started talking money stuff, so I got his email and shot him a few questions about the stock market, money in general, and what the church should be doing to equip itself financially. His answers were brief, which is to be expected as he juggles a family, a church-plant, teaching courses at NYACK, and trading stocks. One noteworthy thing is that he gave me his top five stock picks and asked me to watch them for the next six months. More to come on this, but it will be an interesting exercise – I’m very skeptical.

Now I’m going to crash so freakin’ hard. Last ACF Sunday for a long time tomorrow.

Give the people what they want

April 28, 2007

As if you’re hanging on a thread for a new post…

I’m very tired, and I’m working on finishing some projects before the weekend. Let me lay this out in a formula:

Tired => Easily Distracted = Not Getting Enough Work Done = More Time Spent Doing Work => Getting More Tired

It’s a deadly cycle. And, FreeCell cruelly asks me to play again after each game. I’m doomed.

Tomorrow I’m getting up at 6 am for a volleyball tournament. Jill worked out details and a team from her friends, so we need to make the two hour drive to …somewhere?… early tomorrow morning to make our first game at 8:45 am. I am stoked for this. I miss volleyball tournaments.

And, finally, the update to make everyone jealous of me. I just finished a project in Microsoft Access that took me about two months.  The work on this droned on.  Anyway, during a strategy conference call yesterday, I estimated my new project delivery to be about three weeks out.  My bosses, giving me approval for both projects, decided I had done a great job, had been working hard, and that the end of this new project would be a great time for me to take a week off.  Take a week off! Just take it off! Booyah. I’m going to Disney World. But, not really.

Ok, enough distraction for the moment – I need to wrap up this last site before the weekend. Bye.

Wedding songs

April 26, 2007

We finally picked out the song to which we’ll dance with our parents:

Our song – “Feels like home” by Randy Newman (sung by Bonny Raitt)
With our parents – “Lullaby” by Billy Joel

I felt the man tears coming a bit, and Emily almost lost it listening to these. We’re really doing it, Harry.

Movie I found through another blog

April 25, 2007

Thanks Chris Thomas for commenting on my blog post (if you ever read this again).

I found this through his blog: Maxed Out.

I linked you right to the trailer page, because the flash intro on the main page is ridiculously long. Amazon said it comes out in June. Some parts of the trailer seem a little hyped, but for the most part it’s real. This movie isn’t for the weak hearted. It is just sad, like watching something die.

FreeCell Crisis

April 24, 2007

I need to win more games to hit my goal. I’ve lost a number of games in a row, and now I need to win something like 40 or so games to get back on pace. Come on, Jon, bear down!

God blesses us with money

April 24, 2007

How much wealth is too much? Does God want us to give everything away? Is it ok to have nice things, go on nice vacations, go to expensive colleges, buy new cars…?

These types of questions pervade Christian thoughts on finances and can be at times haunting. I realized something, though, that helped me think about this kind of stuff more peacefully. As stewards we don’t own anything. We don’t own our money, our time, or even our bodies. God trusts us to manage His resources. We accept giving our time to God, whether it be serving in ministry directly or making a career to provide for our families. We also know that God commands us to rest (Genesis 2:3, Exodus 20:8, Psalm 127:2). In the same way, we understand our bodies are a temple, and God wants us to eat right and to keep fit (1 Corinthians 6:19). But, God also make food taste so good, and Jesus often shared meals with friends and made wine at a wedding.

We can make the analogy from time and food to money. God gives us blessings and comfort in the form of money just as He gives us rest from work and double fudge brownie sundaes amongst chicken (insert your own foods, if necessary). What does rest in the form of money mean to you? Does it mean spending a bit extra to go to the movies weekly? Does it mean buying the nicer brand of something just because your special someone likes it? This may be more controversial, and probably less practical to most, but does it mean saving for early retirement to spend more time with your family and in ministry?

We can’t get lazy or gluttonous with our money either. Does gathering more possessions and always splurging consume you? Go ahead and trim the fat from your budget. Find those areas that aren’t restful and aren’t serving God. Eliminate them. Plan for the future and save for what’s meaningful: Christmas presents, the next car, a house, children’s college funds.

Ultimately, it’s His money, so we need to talk to Him about it. Pray over your money if you aren’t doing it already. When you get that check or when you sit down to budget it out, pray over it and ask Him for peace and guidance. You’ll probably find that His vision will help you see past bills to the reasons we work. You’ll see payments on a car used to visit friends. You’ll see payments on a house to raise a family in. You’ll see tithes to a cause you see God moving in. Money isn’t so important now is it?

Who decided bras weren’t sexy

April 23, 2007

Watching so much TV throughout my workday, I have the luxury of seeing about a million bra commercials (…I’m NOT pumped up about this). Something I realized, though, and as a guy it’s hard to think about these things this way sometimes, was that I would feel really awkward if it was my sister or one of my girl friends on these commercials, dancing around in her bra and underwear. It would feel so revealing, but somehow we don’t really see these commercials that way, because they’re on all the time. I suppose there’s really nothing I can do about it, but it’s kind of a pain sometimes to be a guy and surrounded by all this stuff.

Lake Champion

April 23, 2007

We headed up to Lake Champion again this weekend. There were (I’m guessing) around 5 or 6 hundred youth there from CMA youth groups in the tri-state area. This was the Junior High weekend, so they were crazy. Every time we go up there, we’re surprised and dumbfounded. First, we were amazed when we saw our first crowd-surf worship session. Well, this weekend we saw a massive conga line of worship. Oh, Lake Chamption, you amaze me.

What a great weekend, though. Nature is beautiful, and I love the people I went with.

VA Tech

April 20, 2007

Really there’s not much to say beyond what I assume you understand already. It’s tragic. It’s just heart-breaking.

Something hit me, something I wanted to share – what if an individual like this, who was so driven, wasn’t consumed by sin but was passionate about Christ? What could he have accomplished? What great potential was lost that day. And, in considering his life and inevitably his fate, we’re hit with the hard reality of hell. It’s clear he did not love Jesus; no, he hated Jesus, and now his soul is eternally apart from God. He’s in hell.

What’s harder yet for me to swallow is that people all around us are heading there. This is not a freak occurrence; it’s an epidemic. Something in us allows us to neglect the reality of the situation. Ask for the nations! Tell everybody! Do it!!! People need Him!