Travis Shelton: Simplify

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Travis Shelton: Simplify

But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 1 Timothy 6:8

“Simplify, simplify, simplify. The simpler you make your finances, the more time and energy you can invest in living a meaningful life.”

Travis Shelton in “750 Sessions, Oh My!” blog post on 5 June 2024. Check out these resources from Travis. Website: www.travisshelton.com / The Daily Meaning blog: www.travisshelton.com/blog / Podcast: https://podfollow.com/meaning-over-money

People ask me all the time.

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Travis Shelton: Nothing

One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. Proverbs 11:24-25

“Nothing changes lives like joyful and sacrificial generosity. Nothing! And I’m not talking about the recipient….the giver!”

Travis Shelton in “750 Sessions, Oh My!” blog post on 5 June 2024. Check out these resources from Travis. Website: www.travisshelton.com / The Daily Meaning blog: www.travisshelton.com/blog / Podcast: https://podfollow.com/meaning-over-money

I love how Travis put this. Because he’s right. Nothing changes your life more than choosing a path of generosity. Nothing.

As today marks Father’s Day in the USA and many other countries, I want to give a shout out to my father Jack, my uncle Jim, my brother David, my brother-in-law Tom, my son Sammy, and all the other fathers out there reading this.

Keep emptying yourself in service to others, trusting God to supply your needs and the needs of your loved ones.

Your joyful and sacrificial generosity to your wives, children, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and others makes a difference. It models for them the way to live, and it blesses you in the process.

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Travis Shelton: Doing Better

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

“People are usually doing better than they think, but they have nothing to compare it to other than social media.”

Travis Shelton in “750 Sessions, Oh My!” blog post on 5 June 2024. Check out these resources from Travis. Website: www.travisshelton.com / The Daily Meaning blog: www.travisshelton.com/blog / Podcast: https://podfollow.com/meaning-over-money

Travis nails this one. God blesses us and we forget how much he has blessed us. We forget that we have His presence with us and in Him we have everything we need.

Comparing always, always, always gets us in trouble. It’s terrible stewardship. Rather than focusing on what we have we focus on what others have. This breeds discontentment.

If social media causes you to stumble, disconnect it. If any activity leads you to compare what you have with others, stop doing it. Comparison always leaves you feeling discontent.

All this hinders our generosity. Our living, giving, serving, and loving gets choked out because of overspending and discontentment. It snowballs into debt and we lose our capacity to give.

Imagine another story. Live that story. Pause to think about how you are really doing and what God has given you. Take time to give thanks and praise God for His blessings and His presence always.

And I thank God I got home safely from a deeply spiritual time in Wisconsin. On the last evening John and I had dinner at the Saint Francis Hermitage (pictured above). I loved the words on the painting: “Jesus I trust in you!”

I pray you take time to reflect this weekend. You doing better than the evil leads you to believe. And Jenni comes home from Black Rock Christian Camp & Retreat Center in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, today. It will be a special homecoming for sure.

For our part, we may be weary from our service, but we are “doing better” than we may think because Christ is with us, has gone before us, surrounds us with love, and strengthens our service.

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Travis Shelton: A well-executed budget

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. Luke 16:10

“A well-executed budget is the gateway to any and every goal you want to accomplish. Once you unlock that, anything is possible.”

Travis Shelton in “750 Sessions, Oh My!” blog post on 5 June 2024. Check out these resources from Travis. Website: www.travisshelton.com / The Daily Meaning blog: www.travisshelton.com/blog / Podcast: https://podfollow.com/meaning-over-money

All the time I hear Christian workers say that they wish they had more funds in their budget. In reply, I say to institutional workers a similar thing that Travis says to individuals.

It’s a famous quote by Adoniram Judson. “It is true that we may desire much more. But let us use what we have, and God will give us more.” Sure you may feel like you need more. God knows that.

If you want him to entrust you with more, you need to use what you have faithfully. That calls for a well-executed budget.

When I was teaching on stewardship at Denver Seminary in 2003, I remember locating a statistic that 70% of people did not live on a budget. I thought, “How can you live within your means without one?”

That stuck with me. It’s been more than 20 years. How can a person possibly give an account for their stewardship to God if they do not keep track. You can’t. That’s why Travis and I are so very passionate about living on a budget.

I call it a spending plan. God gave you that money to use to return a portion to him, to supply your needs, and to have margin for sharing. If you don’t live on a budget, contact Travis ASAP.

And I am flying home today from Wisconsin refreshed by the opportunity to rest and fellowship with a dear brother. As I stated yesterday, it was ridiculously amazing to pursue meaning this week.

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Travis Shelton: Ridiculously amazing

What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Mark 8:36

“If you pursue money, you might find it. It will be cool and exciting. But if you pursue meaning, you will absolutely find it…..and you’ll likely find some money along the way. People who pursue meaning live ridiculously amazing lives. Not easy lives; amazing lives.”

Travis Shelton in “750 Sessions, Oh My!” blog post on 5 June 2024. Check out these resources from Travis. Website: www.travisshelton.com / The Daily Meaning blog: www.travisshelton.com/blog / Podcast: https://podfollow.com/meaning-over-money

What are you aiming for? That’s really the operative question Travis puts before us today. Choose meaning over money. He likes alliteration. It makes it easy to remember. Both start with “M” but arrive in diffferent places.

Again, in other words, I ask you. Which path will you take? You can gain everything and miss everything simultaneously. It’s a great paradox of human life and reveals the simplicity and awesomeness of the Christian faith.

Look at the gain when you choose wisely. Travis calls it a “ridiculously amazing” life. That’s the perfect word for pursuing the opposite of what the world pursues. It opens you to ridicule and peer pressure to conform and it’s also amazing.

I am still in Wisconsin with John. Why fly to a remote place to spend time with a deeply spiritual, humble, and godly friend? To have a ridiculously amazing time, of course. I pursued meaning this week.

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Travis Shelton: Combining finances

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 10:28-30

“Combining finances in marriage always yields better results. Better financial results. Better relational results. Better alignment of meaning and purpose. Better execution of the plan. I’ll die on this hill. Yes, we can do ok with separate finances, but it’s like driving a five-speed car and only believing there are three gears. That third gear feels fast if we don’t know the fourth and fifth gears exist.”

Travis Shelton in “750 Sessions, Oh My!” blog post on 5 June 2024. Check out these resources from Travis. Website: www.travisshelton.com / The Daily Meaning blog: www.travisshelton.com/blog / Podcast: https://podfollow.com/meaning-over-money

I am doing a different kind of work today, spiritual work. I am stepping away from zooms and meetings to spend time with a spiritual friend, John Stanley, in Wisconsin (pictured above). We will talk, walk, listen, share, and even do some fly fishing.

Today’s Scripture about rest also brings the picture of a yoke in view. When we yoke with Jesus, who is gentle and humble in heart, we find rest rather than living in a state of feeling weary and burdened.

And this yoke word picture fits well. The context of marriage is intended to share the burden of life. So, the combining of resources that all belong to God makes sense. Imagine if money and focus went in opposite directions.

Elsewhere Paul wrote this in his second letter to the Church in Corinth. “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” 2 Corinthians 6:14

In modern technical terms, your devices cannot function unless they are in sync. The same is true for finances in marriage. If our finances are separate, our focus will always be divided. Think: his interests and her interests.

Travis makes a good point here, because combining finances leads us to say: What about God’s interests? After all, it’s all His money. Need help, email Travis at thedailymeaning@gmail.com to get more information about combining your finances.

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Travis Shelton: Greater Things

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. John 14:12

“A family’s ability to make progress in any area of life is only limited by their belief in the outcome and their discipline to see it through. Countless people have achieved feats that make my accomplishments look like child’s play. Never underestimate the power of someone crazy enough to believe it’s possible.”

Travis Shelton in “750 Sessions, Oh My!” blog post on 5 June 2024. Check out these resources from Travis. Website: www.travisshelton.com / The Daily Meaning blog: www.travisshelton.com/blog / Podcast: https://podfollow.com/meaning-over-money

Jenni is still back east so I am flying to visit a good friend in Wisconsin, John Stanley, for a couple days. He has become an influential friend and brother that helps me stay centered with Christ.

He’s the one who taught me the Surrender Novena. He got it from Don Dolindo Ruotolo. “Jesus, I surrender myself to you. Take care of everything.” Say that 10 times a day. It will change your life.

Now Jesus said we would do greater things, and Travis and I are convinced it’s possible. We’ve seen it with our own eyes. Our passion (and Travis and I have a lot of passion) finds roots in real stories of transformation.

Yesterday, it was our decisions that got us into debt. Today, I love how belief is what gets you out of debt. Sure, it’s coupled with discipline, but belief is what drives a person forward.

The best part of work for people like Travis and me is this. We love the truth. We proclaim the truth. We feel like a broken record sometimes, repeating the truth, but it never gets old. It never loses it’s power.

It sets people free. But only those receptive enough to acknowledge their bad decisions and lean into the belief that there is hope for their future if they act on what is true. I don’t know where you are but I know this.

If you listen to people like Travis and me, we will finish life with no regrets. Your kids will admire your radical obedience. They will thank you and follow you. And you will have joy and be enriched by God on the journey time and time again.

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Travis Shelton: Debt and Decisions

The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender. Proverbs 22:7

“Debt does not discriminate based on income. It’s not the lack of income that leads us into debt, but rather our decisions. Debt is a trap that’s crushing people from every age, race, income, education, profession, and geography.”

Travis Shelton in “750 Sessions, Oh My!” blog post on 5 June 2024. Check out these resources from Travis. Website: www.travisshelton.com / The Daily Meaning blog: www.travisshelton.com/blog / Podcast: https://podfollow.com/meaning-over-money

It’s been a privilege to journey with Travis over more than a decade since we met in Iowa. He left his corporate job and has found joy helping people find freedom from the slavery of debt.

I read his daily blog and saw this a few days ago. He recounted 10 lessons he’s learned from 750 coaching sessions with people, helping them find new life and learn to make good decisions.

Since 750 is a lot of lessons, I want to reflect on what Travis can teach us this week. Today’s post contains an operative word: decisions. Our decisions to spend money we don’t have to purchase things crushes us. Imagine if everyone simply lived within their means.

It’s about controlling our wants, curbing our desires. But the marketing messages calling us to get more, newer, and better things cause debt to swallow us. Interestingly, the more developed the country, as I see in my travels, the more troubles with debt.

Seriously, in poor places, few have access to credit as we know it. The paycheck cashing places and moneylenders make it big in those places. So the issue is there, it just takes shape differently. Debt is not as widely available.

Javier Espinosa, our new GTP Church Ambassador from Costa Rica recently shared a quote with me along these lines. Javier wrote, *We are born without bringing anything, we die without carrying anything… and in the middle of the interval between life and death, we fight for what we did not bring and will NOT take with us…*

We not only make poor decisions. We fight to keep what God intended us to enjoy and share. So what decisions will you make in the short time you have on this earth to maximize your impact?

Regardless of your past, I pray that you decide today to live within your means so you are agile and free from slavery to debt and able to follow God with margin to live, give, serve, and love generously.

Sound too good to be true? If you are saddled with debt, seek out Travis (contact info above) and check out his resources. He can help you. And keep reading as we will explore more info on this topic over the next week.

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The Shepherd of Hermas: Carry out your ministry courageously

Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order to provide for urgent needs and not live unproductive lives. Titus 3:14

“Then he said to me, “Carry out your ministry courageously; declare the Lord’s mighty acts to every person, and you will find favor in this ministry. Whoever, therefore, walks in these commandments will live and will have a happy life; but whoever neglects them will not live and will have an unhappy life. Tell all who are able to do right not to stop; to work at good works is beneficial to them.

Moreover, I say that every person ought to be rescued from distress, for one who is in need and suffers distress in daily life is in great anguish and hardship. So whoever rescues such a person from misery wins great joy for himself. For the one who is troubled by distress of this sort is afflicted with the same anguish as one who is in chains. For any people, because of afflictions of this kind, commit suicide when they can no longer endure them.

Therefore, whoever knows about the misery of someone like this and does not rescue that person commits a great sin and becomes guilty of that person’s blood. Do good works, therefore, you who have received from the Lord, lest while you put off doing them the building of the tower is completed. For it is on your account that the work of building has been suspended. So unless you act quickly to do right, the tower will be completed, and you will be excluded.”

The Shepherd of Hermas 114, Parable X.4 (c. A.D. 70-140) in The Apostolic Fathers, Greek Texts and English Translations 3rd edition, edited and translated by, Michael W. Holmes after the earlier work of J. B. Lightfoot and J. R. Harmer, 120.

Today is the final post from the Apostolic Fathers. For some of you that’s a relief. I hope you have enjoyed it and that you are blessed when we jump to modern times tomorrow.

Carry out your ministry courageously. Living radically different from the world is not easy at all. It requires courage. And the time is short. Put to work the resources you have. Devote yourself to good works.

I fly home from Washington D.C. today Jenni serves another week at Black Rock Christian Camp & Retreat Center. I appreciate your prayers for her and her spiritual direction and soul care work with 60 summer counselors

Reply if you want a copy of my GTP USA trip report which chronicles the fruits of onboarding three new staff and strengthening our Spanish and Chinese initiatives at GTP.

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The Shepherd of Hermas: Without hesitation

One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. Proverbs 11:24-25

“And from the seventh mountain, where the vegetation was green and blooming and the whole mountain was thriving and cattle of every kind and birds of the sky were feeding on the vegetation on that mountain, and the vegetation on which they fed became all the more luxuriant, are believers such as these:

They were always sincere and innocent and blessed, holding nothing against one another but always rejoicing in God’s servants and clothed in the Holy Spirit of these virgins, and always having compassion for everyone, and from their labors they supplied everyone’s needs without reproach and without hesitation. The Lord, therefore, seeing their sincerity and utter childlikeness, prospered them in the labors of their hands and favored them in all that they did.

And I, the angel of repentance, declare to you who are like this: continue to act like this, and your descendants will never be blotted out. For the Lord has tested you and has enrolled you among our number, and all your descendants will live with the Son of God, for you have partaken of His Spirit.”

The Shepherd of Hermas 101, Parable IX.24 (c. A.D. 70-140) in The Apostolic Fathers, Greek Texts and English Translations 3rd edition, edited and translated by, Michael W. Holmes after the earlier work of J. B. Lightfoot and J. R. Harmer, 109.

These words “without hesitation” really touched me. I love them. These people don’t flinch.

Those who tap into God’s abundant economy as described in today’s Proverbs realize that they don’t end up empty when they show compassion and help others. They end up enriched. They don’t find themselves destitute but find joy when they distribute.

And notice these people are thriving and sustained magnificently by our good God.

I pray this reflects your life. I pray God sees your sincerity and utter childlikeness and, as a result, lavishes on you whatever you need, whenever you need it. This reflects His desire. It requires faith to experience it.

The question is, “Will you?” I pray so. If not, take heed to the words of the messenger or angel of repentance.

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