A Summer with Orrin — Financial Independence

9 10 2018

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Stick with me on this principle because it is deeper and higher than you would first think.  I will do my best to explain what I captured.

One would expect to hear that freedom is created when getting yourself out of debt.  There is no doubt that debt in your life becomes an anchor that controls your every move. If your debt is not affecting you and your decisions, it is only because you decided to become callus.

Let me explain.  After graduating college (undergrad and grad school) and getting married in 1999,  I had amassed $142,000 in student loans!  Crazy, I know.  I began to talk with everyone I knew about getting out of debt and the answer in return was “just get use to it”, “that is the way it is”, “you just move from debt to debt, so welcome to the real world”.  I heard this so much that I stopped thinking  about getting out of debt and just learned how to “get by”.  I would pay the payment each month and that was it.  I even added a mortgage and car loan on top of the student loans.  Living day to day became my M.O.  Never allowing myself to look at the big picture (because the big picture or big debt was overwhelming). This was truly hardening of my heart and mind to the possibility of freedom — I was becoming callus to it all.   Now, if you are at this point in your life, I understand.  You need to let a program like the Financial Fitness Program into your life. You need to  learn the basics and application of the Offense, Defense, and Playing Field of finances.  It will have generational impact as it has with me.  Worst case scenario, you can be financially secure.

But what I learned from Orrin this summer, was on the far other side of financial freedom.  I watched a man who’s income is very public with the Income Disclosure Sheet of the Life Company, begin to answer, ” what legacies can I help and create to serve my fellow man?” He and his beautiful wife, Laurie, decided that their current properties and lifestyle had fulfilled many of their dreams, and now it is time to help this world be better.  What would it be like to say that you have been so blessed in so many ways that it is now your turn to bless. That God gave us time and finances to serve so let’s spend them in a worthy cause.  I know we all have a soft spot for some cause, big or small. How would you dent this world if you could.

I watched them dig deep into ONELife for Life. A mission that is out of Flint, Michigan and lead by Pastor Eric Stewart.  Its focus is to help bring babies to full term.  The mission had determined that a large number of babies lives were being terminated due to financial strain of the mother or father.  Isn’t that crazy!  Our finances can control life and death!  It makes my heart hurt just thinking about it.  Pastor Stewart and his church, ONELife, started filling the need for caring and finances for the mothers and the babies.  Orrin raised his hand and said that he is all in by becoming a main benefactor to the mission.  He also speaks out of the work that ONELife for Life does and uses his influence to attract more help.  What would it be like to be able to use your time, money, and influence for a cause the you personally find dear to your heart?

I watched Orrin assist a friend that was going through a very difficult moment in his life.  Orrin choose to be the “good Samaritan ” both spiritually and financially.  The situation required nothing of Orrin except loss, but he choose to help take on the burden.  Orrin did not weigh the loss verse gain financially. He only knew that his friend might break completely in the moment, so how could he just sit by and watch.  Wow! What would you do if you could serve even when it wasn’t warranted or deserved?  What could be your impact?

The principles of “service over money” and “impact over bottom line” became so evident to me this summer.  I watched with my own eyes as these principles came into fruition.  Orrin was able to completely put the financial question “how much can I spend” out of the equation.  He was in for the impact on those God had placed before him.  I observed him display what Paul says in Philippians “learned to be content “.   Orrin was content to give freely and completely.  He needed no other reason than “this is what we are called to do”.

We all so desperately need those like Orrin in our life.  We need to watch their coming and going.  We need to see their actions.  See the good that they are doing and realize it is not for show.  Their deeds make us stronger and create a desire in us to be better for Kingdom causes.  Get yourself an Orrin because they are out there right now serving people.

God bless, Aron

Steel the Mind, Tender the Heart. 

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The True Hero and the NFL All-Star

8 04 2013

A lot of the readers out there including myself grew up as NFL wannabees.  We worked hard when we were young and continued that work through high school and maybe your hard work took you to college to play.  Either way, that dream lived for a lot of us to one day get into the big show, the NFL.  Just yesterday, my pastor turned me onto the amazing testimony of Jason Hanson, the place kicker for the Detroit Lions.  No matter what your thoughts are of the Lions, you have to give respect for this gentleman.  I looked up some of his statistics:  Over the course of his 20-year NFL career, he holds the NFL record for most games played with one team. He holds the NFL record for most 50+yard field goals. He also is tied or the most 50+ yard field goals in a single season. He is the first player in NFL history to score 2,000 points with one franchise and has the most career games with one team. His consistency and his accuracy defy reason. He is the first kicker in NFL history to go 8-for-8 on 50+yard field goals in a single season. He holds NFL record making 24 consecutive field goals of 40+ yards. Amazingly, after the 2010 NFL season, Hanson has only missed eight extra points in his 20 year career! In addition, he can be counted on when the game is on the line, accounting for 17 game-winning field goals.

Here is his thoughts on all that:

I’ve had a wonderful career. I’ve been to two Pro Bowls. I’ve kicked several game winning field goals. I’m proud to have been with the Detroit Lions my entire career, and I want to finish well.

DETROIT - SEPTEMBER 18: Jason Hanson #4 of the...My greatest struggle is not the pressure of making the kick when the game is on the line, or driving the ball deep on kickoffs. Actually, my greatest struggle has nothing to do with my performance on the field, or dealing with all the external elements. It’s an internal struggle. It has to do with not allowing my identity to be dependent on my performance.

God has used football and kicking to shape me. I don’t know how I could kick without my faith. God has given me ability and a mind to use. I find peace in knowing that. I train as hard as I can. I execute my technique as perfectly as I can. And if I miss, I know that God still cares for me and has a plan for me, and my identity does not depend upon a field goal.

Which is not to say that a missed field goal does not bother me. It does. If I miss, I’m more upset than anyone. But even if I lead the NFL in humiliation, I know that my hope is not tied up in what happens on the football field.

I grew up in a Christian family. I was a decent guy, and never visited the wrong side of the tracks. I didn’t come to Christ because I had hit the bottom. In fact, my story is somewhat the opposite. God worked through my success to draw me closer to Him. Success can be as big a test as failure. I began to experience how good it was to succeed. I was a consensus All-American my sophomore year at Washington State. I’ve signed nice contracts. I have a certain amount of celebrity. But I’ve discovered it’s all empty. It can’t satisfy. The greatest despair in life comes from reaching your dream and discovering that’s all there is.

I’ve always liked the Bible story of the rich young ruler, who had everything a person could want – fortune, good reputation, power and influence – but he was missing the most critical thing – a relationship with God.

Over the years, as I tasted success and found it empty, I have become more and more convinced that everything the Bible says is true, and Jesus is exactly who He says He is. In fact, I’ve based my entire life on Jesus being who He says He is – the Savior of the world.

Jesus said, “Come, follow Me.” And I have. And in Him alone I have found peace.   Having a relationship with Jesus Christ is something you can always rely on. I’m going to make mistakes, maybe miss a kick or whatever, but I know no matter what, I have my relationship with Christ. And that’s the most important thing of all.

 

Great stuff!  Do you think Jason claims that he is the hero of the story, or someone a lot bigger?  Most see his fortune, cars, and big house and believe it is only the skill and money.  Jason also has a marriage that lasts from 1992 and 3 children.   It makes one think.  No matter what you think of God and His Savior, you can’t deny the evidence.  You must get around people like Jason to truly see if it is real.  But where?  I get this opportunity with my friend and mentor, Bill Lewis .  He has all the success one would like, but consistently gives God the glory.  I would compel you to look into the depths of the Life Company.  Not the surface, but the heart is where the meaning lies.  They welcome your presence and your desire to be more.

God bless, Aron

Steel the mind and Tender the heart.