Money

And thus begins a new chapter in my life.

Posted on February 6, 2009. Filed under: Church, Friends, Money, Music, Theology |

To my friends, family, my old church family at Pinnacle, I am asking for your prayers. Today begins a new and exiting chapter in my life. I will be doing the very thing that I didn’t want to do after I moved to Atlanta. Today, I re-enter the full time work force.  Not at a church or with a band, but with a Marketing firm here in Atlanta, Dynamic Marketing Concepts. Many of you know that I moved to Atlanta five months ago with the hope and desire of playing music full time. Apart from the will of God, there have been a few different things that have inhibited this from happening. First and foremost, I think it’s the economy. As a keyboard player, I am usually the first thing to get cut from a band, and the last thing to get added. Secondly, I haven’t been apart of the church I go to now for very long- 5 months; the time we have been down here. My church is intentional about creating great environments and using the best talent that they have at their disposal. Being that I just haven’t been there a super long time, as other players have, I haven’t received many chancess to play or lead worship yet, but opportunities are always growing. Some of you know also that I have been approached by a church to be their worship pastor. This is something that I am still considering, but God has not brought clarity to the situation yet, therefore, Susan and I haven’t moved yet. We are quite content serving where we are. Don’t forget also, that there was a chance that I could get a call back from Richie McDonald to play with him, but this too didn’t happen.

So you wonder… If I were asked by someone, anyone, “Josh, do you think you failed? Do you think you made a bad move by leaving your comfort zone and everything you knew to move somewhere to take a chance and doing what you love full time?” To that I would say absolutely not. I don’t believe I have failed. A pastor that I respect very greatly, Pastor Steven Furtick,  said this- “It’s better to take a risk and fail, than to never take that jump, and wonder what could have been.” (That’s a Josh Fowler paraphrase.) So, I do not think that I have failed at all. I think that God is not through with me, and in some ways, he may be just beginning. Am I going to be doing the thing that I am MOST passionate about for a little while? No. At least not on a full time basis. Am I going to be learning a lot, and continue to be shaped daily by my creator? Absolutely! My journey in music and ministry isn’t over, and in fact, I’ll still be doing it part time with a few outside engagements a year. Right now, though, I have to focus on paying off debt. Debt is what has inhibited me from being able to do music in a full time capacity. Take note- God’s word isn’t messing around when it says that “The borrower is slave to the lender. You cannot serve both God and money.” It’s true, and nothing reenforces that point more that when you don’t have any work, but the bills still continue to pile up. Sometimes when you do something risky, you have to be able to not make any money sometimes, and be OK with it. Unfortunately in many ways, I squandered that opportunity in my late teens by making poor financial decisions. In retrospect though, it is going to be a good thing. God has already used me to be able to help some people with their finances, and for that I am grateful.

So for me today, it’s suit and tie. Sharp haircut. Clean shave everyday. Polished shoes. Big elevators, glass office buildings, new horizons, and new challenges. It’s stepping out of my comfort zone, to better fulfill the obligation that God has entrusted me with- to provide for my family. To my Pinnacle Family- Thank you guys for supporting me in making one of the scariest moves that I have ever made in my life. Thanks for enjoying my music, and putting up with my A.D.D. And to the staff there- Thank you for believing in me. To my the rest of my friends and family this is not over. I believe that one day, God will give me the opportunity to minister for him with music full time. It’s all about His time, for His purpose, in His will, for His glory, and For his renown. 

Today, I ask for your prayers. That everyday in this job, that God will keep me from temptation. That as a businessman, I will be above reproach. Pray for me that I can set the standard, and that people can look to the guy who calls himself a follower of Christ, and they would see a good example of a hardworking ethical man who sets the standard in the way of drive, excellence, and achievements. I pray that I can be Jesus to people who don’t know him in the work force. 

Thanks again for your prayers, and check back here daily for updates and creative thoughts.

For the Glory of God,

Josh Fowler

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He finally did it!!! (And a few other things)

Posted on February 4, 2009. Filed under: Church, Friends, Money, Music, Worship Leading |

Alright, your friend and mine, Jonathan Blaylock finally started a blog! You can check it out here. He will be sure to have some good thoughts on life, culture, church, and everything else. Jonathan and I have known each other for years, and it’s been a cool journey hanging out with him! 

Also, I added John Acuff to my blog roll. His site is filled with stuff that everyone will enjoy, and, it’s hilarious! You can check his stuff out here

Finally, Kristian Stanfill has released his new EP entitled “Attention.” It is awesome!!! Click on the link to get it in iTunes!

 

Kristian Stanfill "Attention" EP

Kristian Stanfill "Attention" EP

 

 

Well, that’s about all I got for today. Keep praying for me about the car. Still no good news.

Josh

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Should the banks be nationalized?

Posted on February 4, 2009. Filed under: Money, Politics | Tags: , , |

My good friend Mark and I were talking last week about a very controversial issue that not a lot of people aren’t really talking about, and haven’t really thought of. The banks have done a terrible job managing money. We bail them out (again) and then they give 14 billion in bonuses to top executives. Great plan, right? So here is a concept that I think is crazy. Only some people are held accountable. For example, last week in atlanta, a man steels some bubble gum from a store. He is caught on video tape, then goes to jail, over 35 cents! Yet we have no idea what the banks are doing, where there are no doubt some crooked things being done. Why can’t the banks be held accountable? What if the government took control for a while? They could put a limits on profits, control risk and spending, and monitor the big bonuses. I am a republican, and all about smaller government and deregulation, but what if we can’t handle the freedom? When I was teenager, I overstepped my boundaries and broke the rules. As a result, I was grounded and temporarily lost my freedom until I showed my parents that I could be trusted again. Do you think our freedoms should be taken away if we violate them, at least until we can show we can be trusted again? What if we applied this to the banks, and all the other political screw ups going on right now? What do you think?

Comment.

-Josh

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Charge for ministry?

Posted on January 27, 2009. Filed under: Church, Money, Music, Theology, Worship Leading | Tags: , , |

In your job, what is more important to you? If you are a speaker, would you rather make $30,000 a year getting $500 per event, or $40,000 a year, getting less per gig, but getting more gigs because you are affordable?

Is it inappropriate for people in ministry to charge a price? Or, should we do a “love offering” taking a step in faith that God will provide our needs? 

Is charging for your services a way of charging for the gospel?

 People in Ministry please comment! I would like to see some feedback and discussion on this post. If you know someone who could read this, pass it on…

Josh

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Tomorrow.

Posted on January 24, 2009. Filed under: Church, Money, Music, Self Help, Worship Leading |

What’s up world? Has it been a good Saturday? It’s been cool for us. Pretty laid back, no schedule, you know the drill. I gotta do some minor cleaning stuff around the house tonight, do some laundry, and practice for tomorrow morning. Now I know before I write any of this that I write to a community of people who believe in many different things as far as God and religion are concerned. One of the greatest things about being a Christian is the fact that there is no human needed to talk to God. I talk to him freely, and openly whenever I please, about whatever I please. It could be hardship, situational, for direction, or just to give thanks. But I do it every day. It’s part of who I am.

As part of that daily prayer, I am asking God to give me direction. Susan and I are going to be making some pretty big decisions about our future very soon. Who knows? We may be somewhere else down the road. God only knows. Seriously! If you read this, I am asking that you pray for me that God would give me the wisdom to do what’s right, the courage to do what’s right, even when it’s hard. That’s all we can pray for.

I hope you have a great weekend, and I look forward to re-opening the conversation next week.

Josh

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A fairer verdict on Dubya.

Posted on January 21, 2009. Filed under: Money, Politics |

bush1

As Dubya is leaving office, it is a time where Americans can look back on the great achievements of G.W., and even began to give him the benefit of the doubt. Sure, I do not agree with some of what he has done, but all things considered, I think he did a great job. I had a friend remind me of all that he did in regard to the 9/11 attacks, and he told me that anytime anyone had a negative comment to say about George Bush, it should be stated as follows: “In light of what happened on 9/11 and all that bush has to deal with,_________________.” People forget that the man still had the highest approval rating in history after 9/11. People quickly forget about the good things people do. Bad news make for good stories. I would invite you to read this article by Victor Davis Hanson from Forbes.com Victor is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. Enjoy:

 

Critics are tallying the Bush administration’s pluses and minuses, and some consensus is emerging that in time George W. Bush, like Harry Truman, will be seen in a far more favorable light than his current low poll ratings reflect.

Three great crises marked the Bush administration: Iraq; the “war on terror” following 9/11; and the mid-September 2008 financial meltdown. Yet as critics debate his performance amid these ordeals, lost in the controversies are a number of other lasting achievements.

 

Supreme Court Justices Roberts and Alito have proved superior appointments–far more inspired than any made by Ronald Reagan or George H.W. Bush. The HIV-relief package of some $15 billion to Africa saved millions of lives and exceeded any AIDs effort by any past president,Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton included.

While Bush the caricatured cowboy remains unpopular abroad, the governments of most key allies and neutrals–Australia, Britain, Canada, China, France, Germany and India–remain pro-American and appreciate Bush’s stance on free trade, collective security and multilateral efforts post-Iraq.

What then about Iraq, the war and the economy? Bush–in the uncertainty of a post-9/11 landscape–completed the earlier efforts of Bill Clinton to halt the Hussein Regime. He inherited no-fly zones and legislation calling for regime change, but then got a majority of the Congress to authorize the military removal of Saddam.

Most of Congress subsequently canonized him after the brilliant three-week victory over Saddam, abandoned him when the insurgency took more than 4,000 American lives, and ignored him when–against the advice of the Iraq Study Group, most of the joint chiefs and grandees of his own party–he gave the go-ahead to David Petraeus and the surge.

Millions in Iraq today enjoy the opportunity of consensual government unimaginable in the era of Saddam. Iraq, in short, is Bush’s Korea: a messy and controversial war against authoritarian evil that in time will be vindicated by the growth of a constitutional society in place of a monstrosity.

There remain three great truths about Bush’s so-called “war on terror.” First, the American mainland has not been hit by a major terrorist attack in the last seven years, when almost every expert warned us that it most assuredly would be.

 

Second, our enemy, al-Qaida, is depleted and scattered, now largely isolated to the wild lands of Waziristan. Bin Laden’s popularity and support for suicide bombings have plummeted throughout the Middle East.

Third, reforms in the CIA and FBI, changes in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act’s wiretaps accords, and the Guantanamo detention facility were derided as a veritable shredding of the Constitution. That slur ceased with the election of Barack Obama, who apparently thinks such measures were efficacious rather than unconstitutional, and the media has reacted similarly, seeing such decisions as complex and problematic rather than fascistic.

And the debits? The Bush administration spent too much money during the first term, running up deficits and discrediting the revenue enhancements that accrued from his tax cuts. That said, Bush’s instinctual worries about closer monitoring of Fannie Mae (nyse: FNM – news – people ) andFreddie Mac (nyse: FRE – news – people ) were right; their defenders in Congress were wrong.

His rapid federal infusions of capital to shore up tottering financial institutions probably helped stave off a general collapse. He was about as culpable for the American banking and stock crises as are the leaders in Europe for their own economies, presiding over even greater and more unforeseen economic disruption.

For all the talk of the dismal world that awaits Barack Obama, Iraq is quiet, a policy of containment of, and victory over, radical Islam is in play and federal intervention to restore financial credit and trust has already begun.

Why then such Bush vitriol? The contested election of 2000 for the first time in history required the Supreme Court to adjudicate the outcome, giving the victory to a candidate who did not receive the popular vote. In reaction, Bush was easily caricatured by our influential cultural elite as a bible-thumping, Texas-twanged, inarticulate incompetent. In the euphoria of brilliant victories in Afghanistan and over Saddam Hussein, he strutted and accentuated such stereotypes instead of, as was true later, nuancing them with reflection and humility.

Finally, Bush placed an inordinate amount of faith in less than competent loyalists. A Michael Brown or Scott McClellan would have been over their heads as small-town bureaucrats. Others such as Alberto Gonzales, Harriet Meyers and Karen Hughes were simply unable to overcome media charges that they were mediocrities.

Unmentioned has been Bush’s character of both honesty and resoluteness. He ran one of the most corruption-free administrations in memory, something we are already beginning to appreciate as we compare the prior scandal-ridden Clintons and the Chicagoesque ambiguities that already swirl around Barack Obama and his cabinet appointments.

In time, historians will come to a fairer verdict of George W. Bush; in the meantime such a favorable reassessment has already begun.

 

What are YOUR thoughts on Bush’s 8 year tenure in the Whitehouse?

Josh

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My aggression towards the bailout.

Posted on January 13, 2009. Filed under: Dave Ramsey, Money, Politics, Theology |

Recently, someone forwarded me an email that someone sent them that was in favor of the bailout. The following were my thoughts on the bailout, specifically regarding the “big 3” automakers. The basic mantra of the email was that the patriotic thing to do in this time of crisis in our economy is to go get a new car from one of the big three automakers, and finance it, or even lease it! Also, the email stated that they contributed a total of 30 million between the three of them, to charity. Here’s what I had to say:

 

We’ll call him Jim

Dear Jim,

I feel like I should blog about this. I completely disagree with giving the automakers ANY money whatsoever. Actions require consequences. Period. Many people do not know this about me, but in march of 07, my Toyota Truck was nearly re-possessed. I was behind two payments when I was sent a letter stating that if I did not pay the full balance of 4,250 in ten days, the truck would be picked up because of defaulting on the loan. I called back, begged and pleaded, and worked out a bargain with them where if I paid the to payments that I owed, plus the current months payment, and the next month (a total of four payments) they would let me continue paying on the loan. I paid up, and they reneged on on taking the truck and graciously allowed me to continue paying on the truck for the planned life of the loan. I borrowed money from no one even though this put us in a very hard place financially. We had to make dozens of sacrifices. 

This showed me the harsh reality of where my lack of discipline with money, frivolous spending, and carelessness has landed me: a deficit of nearly 800 dollars a month, hardly any groceries, and some $100 pair of designer jeans. Not to mention the toll that this could have taken on our marriage. I called NO ONE to bail me out. (Keep in mind that there has not been one time in our marriage that Susan and I did not tithe at least ten percent. This was the beginning of the realization that Gods financial provision as promised in Malachi 3 never supercedes bad money management.) We sought financial counseling and it was recommended that we start the Dave Ramsey Plan. We jumped in head first selling the truck, nearly 1/4 of everything else we owned in a yard sale, started delivering pizza, and started knocking away debt tremendously very quickly. We are now closer than ever to being debt free, and even though I have not been hired for the position I have applied for yet, we are living on about $1750 a month, have $500 in savings, have food in the fridge. God honors us when we honor him with HIS resources that he has allowed us to be stewards over. 

Furthermore, the auto industry is the root cause of what I believe is the financial ruin of millions of people through the last 50 years. Practically anyone can get a loan no matter what their credit score is, or income to debt ratio for that matter. People get cars they cant afford, filling them with gas they cant afford, paying insurance premiums they cant afford. Add this to the fact that ANY car you drive of the lot that is less than 5 years old immediately depreciates 10-15 percent, not to mention the new cars that depreciate up to 40% even with all the fancy rebates. I would say that if you asked 100 people who faced some sort of financial difficulty, 90% or more would say that they had an automobile that was too much money for them.

To address the donations that the big 3 gave, which between the three of them add up to 30 million, doesnt even equal 1% of their entire profits from last year. This is sort of like the Pharisees who were praised for their large donations but looking over the woman who gave ten sheckles, I think. What was that for her, as I recall?  It was- one years salary! No ones any more impressed with this than with tiger woods donating 1 million to an orphanage. It is needed? Yes. It is generous? I dont think so. So, I do not praise the auto industry for their giving. I think its nice, but hardly sacrificial. I praise the family who doesnt know how they are going to make it the next week, with 4 kids, that joyfully gives 10% trusting God for the provision. 

If the big 3 didnt crank out another car for ten years, America would have an excess of automobiles to drive. This country became socialist when we did the bailout that 78% of Americans were not for. Ill never encourage bailing out someone for their repeated poor financial management, and for failing to release technology that would save our non-renewable energy. There charitable donations that the big 3 gave dont even come close to the amount of money that they recieved from big oil companies to hold back the current hybrid technology. 

This country needs to learn the value of a dollar. We as a society need to learn to live BELOW our means. If the big three fail, so be it. Maybe it would be a good time or self-examination, and returning, (or coming to, in may cases) to God. What a great opportunity for the church. The Bible is very serious when it says that The rich rule over the poor. The borrower is slave to the lender. Proverbs 22:7. How much longer are we going to allow culture to tell us that in order to be accepted, we must drive the best? I will never be a slave again, God willing! Ill drive my car with nearly 200,000 miles on it that my friends shake their heads at. They ask why would anyone drive a vehicle like that? One of the most hurtful statements that I can remember someone saying to me in my adult life was when I was at my uncle Jeans house in Canton, and his rich arrogant friend looked at me with Susan standing there and he said If thats not a buy-here, pay-here car, Ill kiss your ass! At that moment, I wanted to key his new chevy, and then take a 2×4 to his knee caps. Of course I didnt do that. I told him that when am as old as he is, I wont have all the grey hair he has because I wont be in debt! Ill drive my piece of junk till the wheels fall off!

Jim, on this one I have to disagree. Giving to our country shouldnt be defined as buying a new automobile. Please dont give into the wave of culture that says it is the duty of the taxpayer to bailout big companies for their bad money management. 

Hope this didnt come across too strong, because I dont mean it ill-willed. However, this is something that I am very passionate about. I would love to know your personal thoughts on this.

Josh

 

So, what struck a NERVE with you this week?

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