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Books for Financially Troubled Christians

Looking for a good resource to help a fellow believer rechart his or her financial course? Need some guidance yourself?

This summer, I read what appears to me to be each of three ministries' best single book resource for Christians' personal financial management. Here's the author, title, and website link to each along with my brief assessment of its strengths and weaknesses or best applications (in alphabetical order by author):

Ron Blue, Master Your Money (2004), http://www.ronblue.com/
Blue’s Financial Planning Process offers steps to rise from one’s current status to achieve long-term goals. It's a comprehensive, biblically based plan for Christians at all financial levels. Some may find its terms and detailed schedules overwhelming. He doesn't offer as many nuts-and-bolts of balancing one's budget, but, as a CPA, it's probably my favorite of the three. Website: Points to resources available at Amazon.com; personal financial recovery is not its major focus.

Howard Dayton, Your Money Map (2006), http://www.crown.org/
Crown and Larry Burkett's Christian Financial Concepts merged in 2000, three years before cancer took Burkett home. Many were blessed (including the Pfaffe's) by his ministry initiated in 1976. Dayton's Money Map depicts seven Destinations on his "journey to true financial freedom." Before explaining Destination 1 beginning on page 107, the book offers a broad array of topics that present biblical truth on giving, honesty, work ethic and other basics--good material for group Bible study, I believe. The meat for the reader looking to dig out of crisis provides easy-to-read, easy-to-accept, general teaching for the "journey." Ideal target for this book: the believer looking for Bible-rich teaching on personal finance and help to better manage his resources, avoiding the mistakes of his or her past. Website: Resource-rich; opportunities to learn more without breaking out your debit card.

Dave Ramsey, The Total Money Makeover (2007), http://www.daveramsey.com/
Ramsey's book offers an in-your-face challenge to reverse your finanical downward spiral--just what we often need. Yet, through his frequent testimonials by Christians who have been "madeover" he offers encouraging hope to his readers. His book is narrowly and specifically focused on taking what he calls Baby Steps to get out of debt and become financially fit. His motto: "If you live like no one else, later you can live like no one else." It's not a biblical apologetic for doing so, but he does draw his readers' attention to Scriptural applications. I like his approach to dispelling common myths of personal finance. Ideal target for this book: the believer or unbeliever looking for direct, motivating teaching for recovery from near or real financial ruin. Website: Flashy; opportunities to buy more help.

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