FRANKLIN, TENNESSEE, USA. After a long flight from Manila, Deborah and I landed in Nashville Friday afternoon. Despite jet lag, Saturday morning I got up and drove to Bethel Franklin for our 3rd Saturday of the month Men’s Discipleship (& breakfast). James Starr, former Dave Ramsey VP, was talking about money. And he was on the money!
Rather than blog my thoughts about James’ talk, I am editing and posting his notes about the “Love Drawer” concept.
In the words of James Starr, here’s what we all should do to prepare for death from a financial perspective…
The Love Drawer is basically a drawer that houses all of the important information your family needs in case something happens to you. Preparing for death is not a fun task, but it’s crucial to do this for your family.
Every household needs a Love Drawer. It doesn’t matter if you’re single with no kids or 76 and have 12 grandkids—you need a Love Drawer. It’s the last gift you will give your family, so make it a good one. If you truly care about your loved ones, you will take the time to create a Love Drawer.
The drawer should be somewhere in your home and contain everything your spouse or family needs to know when you aren’t around—anything that has to do with your financial life should be in that drawer. You must organize it in a way that anyone can find a specific document in 30 seconds. All files should be clearly marked, in order, and easy for a grieving family member to find. There’s no need to go into extreme detail when creating your Love Drawer. Simply include the appropriate documents in an easy-to-understand format, and you’re good to go!
Your Love Drawer should contain 10 things. Although it may seem daunting to gather all of this material, you will be happy you did once the Love Drawer is created.
1. Cover Letter – This is simply a letter stating the purpose of the Love Drawer. Nothing fancy, just a way to introduce your loved ones to the contents of the drawer.
2. Financial Account – Anything that has money in it and your name on it should be listed in the Love Drawer. This includes account names, amount and account numbers.
3. Funeral Instructions – All details and specifications for funeral plans should be listed so the family can fulfill your wishes. If you are married, you need one for you and one for your spouse.
4. Insurance Policies – All insurance information, including health, car, disability, term life, etc., should be combined into one single document for easy reference. List the type of insurance, who the policy is for, contact information and policy numbers.
5. Important Documents – Any legal or other important documents you have should be noted in the file. This includes deeds, birth certificates, Social Security cards and titles.
6. Love Letters – Since the intention behind the Love Drawer is to keep your legacy going after you’ve passed away, it’s a great idea to include letters to your loved ones.
7. Monthly Budget – Add a copy of your written budget, so your spouse or loved ones know how to operate your household once you’re gone. This will help your family keep track of bills and focus on more important things.
8. Passwords – Write down all passwords, combinations, usernames and PIN numbers. This information allows your loved ones access to any documents, money or information that is left when you are gone.
9. Tax Returns – Keeping tax returns in your Love Drawer is like an insurance policy for yourself in the event that you get audited. Hopefully you never have to pull them out, but if you do, at least you are prepared.
10. Will and Estate Plans – All information pertaining to your will and estate, including names of the executor and Power of Attorney should be located in one file.
If you put your mind to it, you can create your Love Drawer in 30 days! It’s tedious to gather all of the documents and paperwork that goes into the drawer, but it’s a necessary task in order to protect you and your family.
Thanks, James, for the wisdom. Deborah and I are working on all of the above. How about you?
PAMPANGA, PHILIPPINES. Last weekend Deborah and I drove to San Fernando, Pampanga for our Central Luzon Discipleship 2013 conference. We now have 11 Victory churches in the region. About 1000 Victory Group leaders attended the conference. I wish you could have been there. Amazing stories of the gospel changing lives!
As great as the conference was, I had a troubling conversation with a pastor and his wife. I have had similar conversations with pastors on other continents. Here’s the all-too-familiar story.
Some church members recently attended a “prophetic signs and wonders” conference led by foreigners. After the conference, they returned to their local church passionate, excited, arrogant, judgmental, and weird. Since they now believe that their home church is not sufficiently led by the Spirit, they are determined to change their local church culture to reflect the “moving of the Spirit” they experienced at the conference.
First of all, I am not suggesting that the Spirit was not moving at the conference. I am sure there was a real sense of His presence and power. But, there is a huge difference in how a local church is led and how a revival conference is led.
Second, I should point out that the pastoral couple who brought up this concern are both deeply spiritual prophetic leaders. They are not spiritually dull leaders with no appreciation for spiritual gifts. Yet, they were bothered by the obsession with strange religious experiences that these people are trying to import into their church.
One of the primary reasons these conference attendees felt that Victory pastors are not led by the Spirit is because we schedule and post an ending time for our worship services. Guilty. They also mentioned the absence of gold dust and angel feathers. Guilty again. But does that mean we are not led by the Spirit?
Is it possible that the Spirit could have led us to schedule ending times at all our weekend worship services? What if the Holy Spirit actually gave us the wisdom to know that when you do six worship services every Sunday, and two on Saturday, and you want your volunteers to return next week to minister in kids church, that you must stick with a schedule? Wisdom is not incompatible with being led by the Spirit. And weirdness is not necessarily spiritual.
I’m all about the power and presence of the Holy Spirit in our meetings, and especially in our homes and neighborhoods. But I have little tolerance for arrogant and judgmental attitudes that well-meaning spiritual novices bring back from these conferences.
I pray that our churches and our church members will experience a fresh infilling of the Holy Spirit that will empower us to be His witnesses “in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth.”
In other words, I pray we will respond to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit by becoming more missional, not more mystical.
The first job he arranged for me was digging ditches. That’s right, my dad secured my brother and I summer jobs as ditch-diggers, installing underground telephone cables ten hours a day in the 100 degree Mississippi heat for $1.65 an hour.
Since I complained so much about the heat, the next summer he got me an indoor job. So I spent that summer inside an UN-airconditioned warehouse loading fifty pound fertilizer bags onto pallets. During our breaks we would go outside to cool off. The inside of that warehouse was hotter than outside.
The aforementioned fond summer memories flashed into my head this morning as I read Proverbs 12:11.
He who works his land will have abundant food, but he who chases fantasies lacks judgment.
Here are a couple of quick observations about that verse.
1. Abundance and work are connected. People don’t seem to get the concept of hard work any more. They want instant success, promotion, prosperity, church growth, whatever – without actually working. I watch fresh college grads who don’t understand why the CEO has perks that are not available to them. Aren’t we all created equal? Sorry, but it doesn’t work that way. In the real world, there are no participation trophies, the score is kept, and some teams actually lose.
2. Fantasies and work are not connected. It is a simple choice: work or chase fantasies. You can’t do both. How many business people chase get-rich-quick fantasies, while refusing to do the hard work required to succeed? I’ve lost count of kids with athletic “potential” who never make it because they are simply too lazy to succeed. And, I’ve watched too many church-planters chase fantasy strategies that produce nothing but phantom disciples, while refusing to put in the hard work required to make actual disciples.
I am thankful that my dad taught me to love and value hard work.
PS: Lest you think that God’s grace exempts us from hard work, consider what Paul said about both in 1 Corinthians 15:10.
But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them–yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.
BONIFACIO GLOBAL CITY, PHILIPPINES. Today is Araw ng Kagitingan, aka “Day of Valor” aka Bataan Day. Some of you have never heard of Bataan Day, others have heard of it only in the context of the 160 Bataan Death March Ultramarathon because you follow my friend, The Running Pastor on twitter.
I’ll never forget taking my young sons on a tour of Corregidor Island. We toured the caves and the Malinta Tunnel that served as General MacArthur’s headquarters. We climbed on the massive cannons, Battery Way, Battery Hearn, and Battery Geary. After that trip, we watched some classic WWII movies.
To understand why today is a non-working holiday in the Philippines we have to go back to Corregidor Island on April 9, 1942. Not many people ignored direct orders from General Douglas MacArthur, but that’s exactly what Major General Edward King did when he surrendered more than 76,000 Filipino, Chinese, and American soldiers to the Japanese.
That surrender was followed by the infamous 140 kilometer (90 mile) Bataan Death March to Camp O’Donnell in Capas, Tarlac. For days the road was littered with the bodies of the dead, as thousands of starving, dehydrated, wounded, disease-racked soldiers could not keep the pace and were left to die. Thousands more were brutally and randomly executed along the way.
Only 54,000 of the 76,000 who surrendered actually made it to Camp O’Donnell in Tarlac where conditions were deplorable. Some escaped along the way, but about 10,000 died on the Death March.
This, like many events in world history, confirms the doctrine of “total depravity” and makes one wonder what atrocities we would commit every day if not for the restraining power of “common grace.”
So, what will you do on Araw ng Kagitingan? If nothing else, why not thank a veteran for their sacrificial service?
If you are interested in a good MacArthur movie, check out Tommy Lee Jones as General Mac in Emperor.