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Entries in Financial Testimonies (11)

Monday
Feb082016

Prospering by Accident

Tim and Nikki AbelloTim Abello and his family were exploring a small Christian bookstore near their home in Oklahoma when he discovered a book by Andrew Wommack—You’ve Already Got It! He found the back cover description to be a humorous reflection of his life and walk with Christ. After purchasing it, Tim couldn’t put the book down. In search of more teaching, he visited Andrew’s website and downloaded 250 hours of free audio messages, loading them onto his MP3 player. Little did Tim know that that encounter would be the catalyst behind where he and his family are today.

A year after discovering Andrew Wommack Ministries, Tim felt the Lord leading him to attend Charis Bible College in Colorado Springs (now located in Woodland Park). While there were many reasons this seemed impossible—the Abellos owned a business, had five children, and had recently moved into their dream home—Tim was almost certain they were supposed to go.

Tim downloaded all of Andrew’s teachings onto his MP3 player and listened to the messages for several hours each day.As he considered the prospect of moving his family, Tim told the Lord, “God, if I obey You and move to Colorado and You don’t come through, I’m going to sink like a rock in a pond.” God spoke so clearly to his spirit, “Tim, if you stay here and I don’t come through for you, you’re going to sink like a rock in a pond. Wouldn’t it be better to just go ahead and obey Me?” Things became clear for Tim, and he began confessing that somehow, he and his family were going to prosper more by accident in Colorado than they ever would on purpose in Oklahoma.

Tim and his family traveled to Colorado that fall. He and Nikki started first-year classes even before they had found a place for the family to live. God blessed the Abellos as they moved forward with their plans, and Tim soon secured a place for his family to call home in Colorado Springs. For the first year and a half, this family of seven relied on credit cards to survive. They quickly found themselves more than $60,000 in debt on the cards alone. They also fell eight months behind on their mortgage for their home in Oklahoma and three months behind on their tuition payments.

Abello's RoofingIn the face of negative circumstances, God continued to speak to the Abellos. With a voice of assurance, He said, “Peace, be still. Rest.” Tim eventually landed a part-time job in sales, working for a roofing company. The Lord’s favor was upon him as he performed his job, but as time went on, he found his employers to be handling his customers with less than the highest integrity. After prayerfully considering what he should do, Tim decided to start his own roofing business. As he was thanking and praising God, the Lord spoke to him, “Tim, you’re fixin’ to step into a level of prosperity that you have never imagined. The only thing that will keep you from stepping into it is you’re inability to imagine it.” Since that moment, the Abellos have purposed to stretch their imaginations.

Over the first ten months in business, Abello’s Roofing did more than $2 million in business—more than enough to clear their debt and to begin blessing others. In the Abello’s second full year of business, they saw an increase over the previous year’s earnings. Tim heard the Lord say to him, “The reason this worked is because of your confession. When you spoke those words two years ago…those words went out like little soldiers to perform and create the destiny that you spoke into existence.”

As the blessings continue to overtake the Abello family, they have come to realize that it hasn’t been through their effort that they have prospered; it has been through rest in Jesus’ finished work. Do you want to walk out the will of God for your life, like the Abellos? Check out Andrew’s How to Find, Follow, and Fulfill God’s Will book, and learn how to prosper not just in your finances but in every area of life.

Post a comment below if this has encouraged you.

Thursday
Jan302014

Benjamin Hutcherson: A Good Steward

Benjamin Hutcherson, wise steward, college graduate, artist and CBC-Chicago student.
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Just out of high school, Benjamin Hutcherson was unsure of his future. He made the wise decision to move forward with his college education as inexpensively as possible. Intent on managing his limited finances well, he chose to attend a small community college near his home, just south of Chicago. At age 20, during his two years at South Suburban College, he came across Andrew's Gospel Truth program on television. Benjamin happened to tune in to an episode mid-way through Andrew's teaching on Financial Stewardship—a series that would radically change Benjamin's future.

Although Benjamin had stumbled across The Gospel Truth quite by accident, he recognized Andrew from his childhood. Benjamin's dad, Bruce, would often listen to Andrew, and sometimes he would have the whole family (Benjamin has five brothers and a sister) sit down Benjamin with his father, Bruce, and his mother, Thomesa, during his time at the community college.
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to listen to a particularly impactful part of a message. Benjamin said, "I had a lot of respect for Andrew. The primary thing I remember learning from him back then was the importance of the baptism of the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues. It was in May 2011 that I began actively listening to Andrew’s teachings on my own."

Benjamin was on board with being a good steward of finances, but Andrew's teaching brought something new to Benjamin's attention. He said, "What really impacted me from Andrew’s Financial Stewardship teaching was when he taught from the parable of the unjust steward in Luke 16. I realized that the primary and highest use of my finances is not for my physical necessities, Benjamin (far right) and some of his family. (Click to enlarge)but rather, to make an eternal difference in the lives of other people by sowing into the Kingdom of God."

When he was attending the community college, Benjamin paid for school out of pocket. While his wages, working for a large office supply store weren't high, he was able to tithe as well as cover his college costs. He knew that if he wanted to earn a four-year degree, he would have to transfer to a larger full-time college or university, and he knew his expenses would be significantly higher. As he considered what to do, he continued to listen to Andrew's teachings. He listened to the Financial Stewardship series repeatedly and meditated on the principles he was learning. He also studied Andrew's, How to Receive God's Best,Spirit, Soul & Body, and The Lord met Benjamin's needs even when Benjamin came up short on his end. During his last semester, his school costs were higher, and he actually worked less because of travel. Here he celebrates his 22nd birthday. (Click to enlarge)You've Already Got It.

After deciding to continue his education, Benjamin prayed about what school to attend and how to cover his expenses. Although he could have gotten some financial assistance in the form of college loans, both through the school and through his parents, he chose not to borrow any money. Having seen how so many college students had racked up mountains of debt, he decided that he did not want to take out a student loan or allow his parents to get one for him. "All of those specific teachings were foundational in my decision to go to college debt free. I continued to meditate on those principles," Benjamin said. "I just considered financial debt as bondage and as a curse as described in Deuteronomy 28. I believed that the borrower is servant to the lender as it says in Proverbs 22:7. I didn’t want that for me or my family," he said.

Benjamin pursued his degree in Film & Video with a focus on traditional animation. This is a Character Visualization project from 2012.
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Benjamin's passion for art, drawing and animation to be precise, led him to attend Columbia College in Chicago. His tuition costs leapt from $1,600 per year to $10,000 per semester, plus books, materials and a $150 per month Metra train ticket—a staggering increase. "I did not have a clue as to how I was going to pay for Columbia. So, I registered without knowing how I was going to receive the money. I resolved that either God would pay for it or I would just drop out, simple as that," Benjamin recalled frankly.

Benjamin mediated on the Word and took comfort in the Scriptures about Abraham, and how he simply believed God. "I told myself, 'I don’t care what my bank account says, what my Benjamin and his mother Thomesa, after graduation from Columbia College in Chicago...debt free.
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college advisors say, what my parents say, or what anybody else has to say. I’m going to trust God, and He’s going to provide for me.'"

Although Benjamin refused to borrow money, he did apply for several scholarships, but he never received any of the funding. He said that one of the things Andrew's teaching inspired him to do was give freely. He had always tithed, but had never really sowed into offerings or special projects. Benjamin learned that even though giving may seem like you are moving away from your financial goals, it actually works the opposite way—it moves you closer to your goals. "What liberated me to give so radically was this: Since with my personal money alone, I could never afford to pay to go to college, I would just give as much as I pleased because even if I saved it Today Bruce, Thomesa, Benjamin and his brother Rueben are all studying at CBC-Chicago. (Click to enlarge)all, it would never be enough anyway." Benjamin gave extra to his church and to other ministries, tsunami relief organizations, and he became one of Andrew's Foundation Builders for the new CBC-Colorado campus. Sometimes Benjamin would give away half his paycheck. With regard to his Foundation Builder partnership he said, "I figured that since I wanted to go to school, I should sow a financial seed that would help other people go."

Benjamin learned to trust God and rest in Him. He gave freely, and he received freely. Each semester began the same way; Benjamin would start classes without any idea where his funds would come from, and the provision would come. Even for his last semester, during Benjamin and his brother Rueben, enjoying the 2013 Christmas party at CBC-Chicago. (Click to enlarge)which he incurred higher than normal tuition and book fees, and he actually worked less hours at his job, the provision still came. "When I look back, I think to myself, 'How in the world did I manage to do that every month?' It was an absolute miracle because whenever I try to figure it out mathematically it doesn’t make sense. So I just stop trying to figure it out," Benjamin said.

Benjamin not only earned his degree in Film & Video with a concentration in traditional animation, but he did it with straight A’s and perfect attendance, and he graduated with honors. He did it all debt free!

The summer after he graduated, having not heard back from the places to which he applied for work, Benjamin laid his cards on the table before God and declared that he was willing to put his animation dreams on hold, to do whatever God wanted him to do. To his surprise, God used Andrew's program again to help guide Benjamin. After Benjamin's declaration, he came across Andrew's, How to Find, Follow, and Fulfill God’s Will series on the Gospel Truth. It was the first time Benjamin had ever heard the teaching, and a short time later, he knew that going to Charis Bible College in Chicago was God’s next step for him.

Today Benjamin, his brother Rueben, his mother Thomesa and his dad, Bruce, all attend CBC-Chicago. And of course, Benjamin is attending debt free.

Monday
Jan132014

A Second Look for Judy Rhodes

Judy Rhodes, owner of the consignment superstore, A Second Look, in Phoenix, Arizona. (Click to enlarge)Business owner, Judy Rhodes had a great spiritual awakening as she entered her "golden years." When she was in her mid-sixties, Judy found herself forced into a position of self evaluation. At the time, she was emerging from a season of grief and loss, which left her wondering what to do with her latter years. Over a three-and-a-half year period, Judy lost six close family members, and she had come face-to-face with life's fragile nature. Weighing her own mortality, she gave serious consideration to retirement and began to plan how she would step away from the consignment store business she had started thirty years earlier. God's plan however, was quite different.

Judy's family (L to R): Mickey, Jim, Helen, Larry and Zac. Not pictured: Judy's dad, Jerry. (Click to enlarge)Judy is the mother of five children, and her season of grief began with the passing of her youngest son. When the youngest of her first three boys was eight years old, Judy was blessed with fraternal twins, Mandy and her fourth son, Mickey. Mickey, quadriplegic from birth, was the first to pass away; he died in his sleep at age 30. Seven months later, Judy's brother, Jim, lost his battle with cancer. Two weeks after Jim's passing, Judy's mother, Helen, died. Ten months later, Judy lost her father, Jerry. Six weeks later her 32-year-old son-in-law, Zac passed away. And, Judy at work in her office. (Click to enlarge)11 months later, Larry, Judy's husband of 46-years, died.

Throughout the troubling times, Judy's best friend, Janet, did what she could to comfort Judy as she endured the compounding emotional strain of her losses. As Judy contemplated what to do with the remainder of her life, Janet gave her an audio teaching series from one of Andrew's 2010 Gospel Truth Seminars (GTS). The gift Judy received from Janet changed her life.

After listening to the teaching and being encouraged, Judy wanted to know more, and she began visiting Andrew's website. It wasn't long before she found out that Andrew was hosting a GTS near her home in Arizona, and she made plans to attend. It was at the 2012 Judy and her mom, Helen, in the first retail space. (Click to enlarge)Phoenix GTS that the Lord began to reveal His plans for Judy's future. Andrew's teaching for the weekend was Taking the Limits Off God X 10, and the messages were such a revelation to Judy that she had a complete change of heart with regard to her future.

Before attending the conference Judy felt that she was at the end of her life. She realized that she was now the oldest generation in her family. Crippled by her limited thinking, she thought she needed to plan an exit strategy from her business. Judy said, "When I went to the conference, I learned three things: First, that God could make the latter years better than the earlier years; Second, that there is no retirement with God; and third, that God is able to do far more with my life and my business than I had realized. Since I had a renewed hope for an exciting future, I Judy with her sister and business partner, Jeri, working together on the vision for the continuing expansion of A Second Look. (Click to enlarge)decided to 'go for it' in my business—and my personal life!"

Judy's business is called, A Second Look, and what she started out of necessity, with seven boxes of used clothes in the early 1980s, has become a prosperous consignment superstore with more than 38,000 consignors. Although the business was Judy's idea, it has also been a family endeavor since the beginning. Judy came up with the concept for the store and took the initiative to set things in motion, but her finances were restrictively tight from the get-go. Judy didn't have the means to purchase enough merchandise to sell or to lease a storefront on her own, but her mother, intrigued by Judy's entrepreneurial spirit and the opportunity, helped with the start-up costs. At the time, Judy and Larry were buried under nearly a A Second Look opened in 800 sq. ft., this photo is of the store front after moving into 3,000 sq. ft. (Click to enlarge)half a million dollars of debt, the majority of which stemmed from the birth of the twins and Mickey's subsequent health issues. The medical bills coupled with the fact that Larry, a real estate developer, had run into hard times and severe legal issues, forced Judy to seek an alternative source of income—A Second Look was her answer. In 1989, Judy's sister, Jeri, joined the team as the store's office manager.

In 1993, Judy and her staff moved into a 10,000 sq. ft. space. (Click to enlarge)In 1982, A Second Look opened its doors, humbly housed in 800 square feet of retail space. Judy's consignment business was blessed and it prospered over the years. As business increased, Judy and her family expanded the store. In 1994, Jeri became Judy's business partner when Helen retired. Over 30 years, and up until the devastating loss of family members, the retail space required to house the inventory continued to grow to 26,000 sq. ft. Judy was content They moved into more than 25,000 sq. ft. in 2002. (Click to enlarge)with the success of the store—until Andrew's GTS teaching challenged her to believe God for more.

Soon after her change of heart, Judy announced to Jeri that she was ready for more; rather than throwing in the towel, Judy wanted to move forward with the business. The two women began to dream bigger and planned another expansion of their retail space.

After taking the limits off God... the store expanded to 37,000 sq. ft. (Click to enlarge)Currently, A Second Look occupies 37,000 sq. ft. of space at the Paradise Hills Shopping Center in Phoenix, and Judy and Jeri have no plans to slow down. In fact, as A Second Look continues to prosper, so too do ministries in the surrounding area, thanks to the ladies' generosity. True to Malachi 3:10, the Lord has poured out His blessing upon the sisters, to the extent that they cannot contain it. Surplus beyond their capacity is distributed to 28 local ministries.

Through Andrew's teaching, Judy realized that her thoughts of retreating into retirement had been hindering what God could do through her and through her business. When she began to look at things differently, think bigger and expect more, she was free to see what the Lord had planned for her business. Judy's trust in Him didn't make God do more—her steps of faith allowed her to receive the increase He had already planned for her.

For more details about Judy's financial testimony, and to hear the story in her own words, be sure to watch the video below.