Keeping Up With the Joneses

Guest ColumnistCommunity News

by Scott Skripsky

Hopefully by now, you have heard the phrase “Financial Peace” circulating at our church.  You may even know that the financial story by “Scott Skripsky” as told in the January Community News (although true) was actually authored by Jim Johnson.  (Even the best church newsletters have typos sometimes.)

Whether or not you know much about Financial Peace University (FPU), you should know that the nine-week course is not primarily for folks who are struggling financially.  Education helps our church support system.  For example, whether or not we have recently lost a loved one, we all benefit from the recent grief seminar because some of us gained tools to help another through grief.  In the same way, FPU equips us to serve our families, our church body, and our world.

Since January, we have been walking through the FPU curriculum for a second time with our SBCC family.  We continue to see families, lives, and (yes) finances change for the good, and we are eager to share our hope and vision for the future of our church.

First of all, FPU is not a ministry opportunity that SBCC offers as much as it is a culture change we hope to achieve.  That culture change is a returning to Scripture as authority for our finances and our lives.  I have walked with Jesus long enough to experience that not all Christians read the Word and glean identical truth and conviction.  However, the Bible does not shy away from how we as God’s people are supposed to handle the resources He has for us to steward.  What I have witnessed in my own life (and dare I say most of my Christian brothers’ and sisters’ lives) is a tendency to prioritize the financial wisdom of the world over God’s wisdom, and we pay a price for it.  When we handle money as the world does, we leave our lives vulnerable to the perils of society, and even if we win with money, it serves no eternal significance.  Before FPU, I was drinking the Kool-Aid big time.  I lived my life as a Christian, but I sure looked like everyone else.  In his January article, Jim also shared some sobering statistics regarding the perils of being just like the Joneses.

Furthermore, I am convinced that God himself is the master giver.  As we experience the joy that comes from a mature stewardship and ability to give, our kingdom efforts are magnified.  For anyone who knows me well, financial joy (as well as peace) is the single most important reason I am so passionate about the FPU experience.

We are committed to making this life-changing course available to every person in our fellowship.  So we need your input about how to reach you.  What has kept you from being able to participate in the class?  Are our Monday gatherings from 7:00-8:30pm at the church too difficult for you in terms of day, time, or location?  Have you not been able to coordinate with your spouse or babysitter?  Is the $95 (for the FPU kit and lifetime membership) a burden at this time?  You may not know that we have provided childcare and scholarships in prior classes, and we are currently planning to help Redeemer Church of Carpinteria launch their first class after Easter.  While homegroups are on break this summer, would you like to be part of this course with a similar 5-10 family format?  Please feel free to answer any of these questions using the FPU suggestion box in the church foyer, and we will keep you posted.  You can also pick up testimonies from some of our graduates there.  We are continuing to add FPU resources to the SBCC library, so drop by and check out all we have to offer.

We would like to build a network of FPU alumni and also need more leaders.  If you are an FPU graduate, or have a desire to serve on the leadership team, please do add your name to the box in the foyer.  As always, Jim and I are only a phone call or email away for questions.  Jim may be reached at or 570-7221.  I (Scott) may be reached at or 817-312-9114.  We look forward to continuing this mission with you all.