GAINESVILLE, Ga. (BP)--Recently on "MoneyLife," Crown's nationally syndicated radio program, I had the opportunity to talk with a few of our 10,000-plus Facebook fans.

We had posted the question, "What have you learned from the Great Recession?" and many Crown fans contributed to the online discussion. I'd like to share with you a few of their responses, compiled by our program writer, Jim Henry.

-- Jamie Garcia: "SAVE SAVE SAVE! You need to save at least something every month, and it doesn't matter how much or how small. It needs to go into an account that's not readily accessible. We have an account with a bank where we used to live, about 45 minutes away, and we just put in what we can per month. We have it automatically withdrawn, and that way we just kind of forget about it. Right now it's $200 because we're paying down debt, and then that nest egg just grows over time.

"Buy used and save the difference. We never buy new anymore. Eat at home, buy whole foods -- not pre-packaged ones, preferably from the farmer direct. Variable interest home equity loans are not a good choice 99.9 percent of the time. Oh, and don't buy a house because it's a "great deal." Buy it because the mortgage is within your means. That was a big mistake we made, and we're struggling to get through it right now."

-- Bill Wade: "The lessons have been many. I'm the Crown coordinator for my church here in St. Cloud, Florida. My wife and I took the Crown study in 2002 and we've been blessed on the journey and we're on our final destination on the Crown Money Map. We've paid off our mortgage; we became completely debt free in December, 2005. Thank you, Lord and Crown.

"I have learned to be more content and that the NEED is great to teach others God's way of handling money, especially now. Because of the recession, people are so open to hear what we have to say and they're seeking counsel. Many of them are turning to the churches and asking, 'What can I do?' but unfortunately, many people wait too long to seek help and counsel. We have a class of high school students that are learning God's ways of handling money, and they're being taught by previous students of the class.

-- Jim Podraza: "I would say my wife and I have really fine-tuned the 'needs versus wants' scenario. Also while it is hard sometimes, I am holding the line on not taking on any new debt, even when there is a 0 percent financing offer available!"

-- Leanne Suttles: "Our income decreased by 65 percent from 2008 to 2009. I lost my job first, and then my husband lost his job. So we were definitely down to nothing and we have 7 children. We were both out of work and I was pregnant with our youngest child. Four weeks after she was born, I went back to work. I have a teaching degree, and I had lost my teaching job, so I went back to substitute teaching and my husband was at home.

"God had called him several years ago to return to college, but with 7 children and working, he just didn't have the time. So while we were out of work, he was able to go back to school while staying home with our younger children. There was no next paycheck or overtime pay coming, but God provided, sometimes just when the mortgage was due. My faith has moved to a whole new level. God is faithful. I struggled with the bills and the monthly budget, but God was with me. He has never left me or forsaken me!

"God has moved us and grown us in areas of faith that I could never imagine. He is my Source and my Provider."

God uses difficult economic circumstances to cause us to become more dependent upon Him, to be more reliant on His financial principles, and to reprioritize our lives. I trust that you, too, will be encouraged to embrace the lessons that God has for each of us as we journey through the Great Recession together. Remember, He has promised, "I will never leave you or forsake you" (See Hebrews 13:5). That is certainly a lesson we all need to remember.

(c) 2010 Baptist Press. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

June 18, 2010


Chuck Bentley is CEO of Crown Financial Ministries and host of Crown's MoneyLife radio broadcast. If you'd like to follow Crown on Facebook and Twitter, just go to Crown.org and click the icons on right side of the page. Co-founded by Howard Dayton and the late Larry Burkett, Crown Financial Ministries (Crown.org) is an interdenominational ministry with 200 staff and over 10,000 volunteers dedicated to equipping people globally with biblically based financial stewardship tools and resources through radio, film, seminars, small groups and individual coaching.