Episode 1. A Personal Wake-Up Call
99% of people in this world find much of their security in money. But what happens when wealth fails us. Today on the program, Berni’s joined by a man who had a couple of series wake-up calls when it comes to money. So join Berni Dymet with his special guest Rick Dunham – as they take a look at faith and finances, from a different perspective.
99% of people in this world find much of their security in money. But what happens when wealth fails us? Today on the program, Berni’s joined by a man who had a couple of serious wake-up calls when it comes to money.
Over the last couple of weeks we’ve been talking on the program about money. Well not so much money but our attitude towards money. It’s a subject that’s dear to our hearts. Most of us feel that we could use more of it, that’s for sure. There never seems to be quite enough to buy all the things we want to buy and to do all the things we want to do and, well you know the rest of the story.
But as we’ve seen as we’ve looked at this subject from, dare I say it, a different perspective God has an awful lot to say about our attitudes towards money. And if you were able to join us over these last few weeks my prayer is that you’ve really wrapped your heart around the freedom that God wants for us when it comes to this whole “money” thing. Profound freedom from the tyranny of wealth that so many people sacrifice their lives to.
Now much of what I’ve learned about God’s perspective on money has come through a man called Rick Dunham. Rick’s an American, lives in Dallas and he and I have had the opportunity over the last, well I guess four years or so to work together. So I’m excited to share with you that on one of his many visits to Oz I’ve been able to collar him and to get him here in the studio.
He’s going to be my special guest on the program this week and next and I really want to take the opportunity to pick his brains and listen to his heart.
Berni: Rick, welcome to the program.
Rick: Thanks. This is really good to be here.
Berni: Now you’ve just finished writing a book on this whole subject of money. Tell us a bit about that. Why have you written that?
Rick: That’s a great question. As we look at our world today especially at the global financial crisis and the fact that so many have lost so much so quickly it obviously begs the question of can we really rely on money to provide the security that really only God can provide?
So I’ve obviously been working in this arena for 30 years and have spent time looking at the Bible trying to figure out, being a bit of a theologian with the theology degree, trying to figure out how this whole relationship of money and our faith fit together. So that’s really what this book is about, trying to help people sort that through.
Berni: Okay. Tell us what you do for a living.
Rick: I have a company that works globally with Christian organisations, helping them raise money. We work in America as well as Canada, here in Australia and New Zealand, South Africa, the UK, Continental Europe. Again working with organisations, helping them to develop the finances they need to fulfil Gods call on their ministries.
Berni: Now fairly obviously you’re an American and for most of us from countries other than the US, we look at the US as the wealthiest country in the world by far. I mean California is the 8th biggest economy in the world, right? Many of us I guess have seen some spectacular financial excesses of some American tele evangelists and we remember how some of them have fallen. So I guess what I’m trying to say to the rest of the world an American talking about money is a bit like a Greek bearing gifts – beware.
Berni: So to put you right on the spot here, why should anyone even bother to listen to you?
Rick: I don’t know if they should. Actually it’s because I come from the very nexus where money is the biggest problem and when I look at the Church today and it’s very easy to draw these universal statements which are not categorically true across the border of every single Christian.
But for the most part the Church in America has been lulled into a false consumerism and materialism without really even understanding it. There’s false belief that money can provide their security, reaching for the American dream and as I’ve stood back and observed not only the Church but even my own life I’ve come to realise that we’ve got it wrong and we’ve got it wrong in a very massive way.
And part of the reason for the book is to hopefully, by Gods grace, try to wake the Church up, they’ve been duped, they’ve been duped by the evil one to believe that money is the source of their security but it is not.
Berni: Now a few years ago you had a bit of a wake up call when it comes to money. Tell us what was going on way back then.
Rick: Now back in 1981, young, right out of seminary with a brand spanking new theological degree, working in a new ministry and thinking I had the role by the tail and within ten months I had been let go from that position, had two house payments, my third child had just been born and there was no possible way that we were going to make ends meet.
So yeah, my wife and I decided we probably needed to declare bankruptcy. We tried everything you could possibly imagine, we had to sell our house, to trade our house, to do anything but we just couldn’t get it done. So by Gods grace some family stepped in and helped us through that period of time but it put us into a position where every foundational sense of security, especially material security had been completely stripped away. And it took us about a five/seven year odyssey that God really taught me a lot.
Berni: How did that feel? I mean you’ve got 2 kids, a 3rd on the way, you can’t make your mortgage payments. How does a guy feel when that happens?
Rick: I think if you were to look up failure in the dictionary at that point my picture would have been right next to the word. A complete and utter failure. I had created one of the most significant disasters you could possibly imagine for a family and man I didn’t have a clue how I was going to get out of it.
Berni: Back then how would you have described your attitude towards money and wealth?
Rick: If I could just have so much money, a certain amount of money I could be secure and fine but as we all know the moment we get any more money it seems like all the expenses increase and probably increase beyond what we just, the raise we received, the amount of money we were able to make. It was the traditional belief that the more money I could have the more secure I would be and God was about to teach me something quite different.
Berni: I was going to say, can you see Gods hand? I mean it mustn’t have been a lot of fun at the time but looking back on it?
Rick: Oh yeah, it’s the things in our lives that often we’ll look back at go, ‘man, I would never ever choose to do that but now looking back I would never choose not to having gone through it’.
Berni: And how did that experience change your attitude towards money and wealth?
Rick: Well actually that particular experience was just the start of a two and a half decade journey that culminated a few years ago when God really got my attention in a whole new way around this issue where He was beginning to put the pieces of the puzzle on the table. And in doing so He was helping me build this puzzle so I could begin to see the picture that He wanted me to see about the role money can play in our lives, it can be sort of devastating to our spiritual walk.
Berni: And that brings me to your passion in this book. If you had to put it together in a couple of sentences, the executive summary, what’s the heart of this new book? By the way what’s it called?
Rick: Financially Secure.
Berni: Yeah well, that’s interesting. We’ll talk about that I guess over the next few days but what’s the nub of this book?
Rick: It’s that we as believers in the western world, have been very subtly duped into believing our worlds truth around capitalism, consumerism, ’cause you know I say it in the book that capitalism, fabulous economic engine to grow economies, to grow nations, don’t have a problem with that. But at the heart of capitalism is consumerism. At the heart of consumerism is self absorption and humanism and ultimately we’ve subtly shifted over to that to believing, as the world does, that it’s about us and it’s not about ultimately what God has called us on earth to do.
Berni: That’s good, we’ll talk again tomorrow.