Nov. 24 - 30, 2008


Have an Asset-based Thanksgiving

If, during this economic crisis, you have been watching helplessly as your 401(k) has tanked, as your home has lost value, as your company's profits have plummeted and as your job security has eroded, then you may not feel particularly thankful this week. It's true that when we have bad news, we tend to obsess about it -- to the detriment of other aspects of our lives that might actually be healthy and good. Maybe great.

But many of the good parts of our lives are not as easy to count as, say, our retirement pension. No institution will dutifully send us a statement every quarter to give us a gauge on how our marriage is doing, the state of our physical health, or give us an update on our spiritual health. So that means we have to do it for ourselves.

Call it an asset-based Thanksgiving. It's an adaptation of a business philosophy. In asset-based management or planning, an organization looks at what it already has. Because when it comes to meeting goals, it's often easier to use existing strengths than to invest in developing a strength from scratch. So the first step in asset-based management is to take a thorough inventory of assets.

Let's start our asset-based Thanksgiving with a complete list of what you have going for you. Gather a pen and paper and start making a list. Do it on paper rather than in your head. You will come up with a better list, number one. And number two, you can put it away for future reference.

Now try to write down your top 10 assets in a number of areas. Write only assets, not liabilities or areas for major improvement. But even if the asset is not perfect, write it down so long as it is generally good. (For example, your car may not be the latest thing, but it's a real asset if it gets you where you need to go.) If you can't think of 10 in a given category, write as many as you can and get back to it later.
Here are the areas: Marriage, family, friendships, work relationships, hobbies, fitness, health, spirituality, church life, intelligence, reading (or learning), artistic appreciation, entertainment, finance. Are there other categories you would add? Take time to do the list before reading the last paragraph.

OK, now you're done. Look over the list. Impressive isn't it? Maybe some categories are fuller than others, but you probably have assets you hadn't realized as clearly before. Now take the list and put it in your Bible.  Whenever you feel down, or like you have nothing, pull out the list, get on your knees and thank God for each one. Don't simply think the words, say them aloud: "I thank God for my Church. I thank God I can read. I thank God for the ability to play tennis. I thank God for eyes that can watch DVDs on my big-screen TV." You get the idea. When you get through the list, I guarantee you will feel very thankful, indeed.
Happy Thanksgiving!

-Rob Blezard, Webmaster and Editor

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New This Week:

GBODThe Economic Bailout and God’s Investment Plan
How should faithful Christians look at the financial meltdown and the rescue plan? This essay provides good insights. “Greed not only implies excessive desire and consumption, it also includes the acrimonious manipulation of markets, institutions, and individuals. More importantly, greed breaks down the ability for people to embrace deeply committed, spiritual lives.” Click here for “The Economic Bailout and God’s Investment Plan,” from the United Methodist Church’s Center for Christian Stewardship.

Tuck Aaker
Stressful Times
“In a conversation this week with a pastor I have been coaching recently, he said to me, ‘I haven’t slept well all week, knowing that so many people in our congregation have lost significant savings in the market.’ I agreed.” Such times call for new coping habits, and ELCA stewardship columnist Tuck Aaker suggests a number of them.  Click here for “Stressful Times,” from ELCA Stewardship Resources.

Preaching TodayAudio Sermon: ‘Let’s Talk About Money’
Drawing on Luke 12:13-34, Pastor John Huffman of St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in Newport Beach, Calif., reviews Jesus’ teachings on money. Good for inspiration for your own preaching. Click here for “Let’s Talk About Money,” from

Celebrate ‘Buy Nothing Day’
AdBustersChristians who believe the Gospel is countercultural can relate to “Buy Nothing Day” the Friday after Thanksgiving. The busiest shopping day of the year has become the time when some urge non-consumption. Something to think about. Click here for information about “Buy Nothing Day,” from Adbusters, which organized the first such day in 1992 and is truly a little out there.  Not for everyone, but thought provoking.

Stewardship from the Lectionary
Your ChurchLooking for a way to put more stewardship into your preaching? Here is a great help -- a weekly commentary that highlights stewardship aspects in the weekly lectionary texts. Click here for "Stewardship from the Lectionary," from ELCA Stewardship Resources.