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December 2012 - The Last Newsletter

12/12/12-The Last Newsletter

Today I am writing my last newsletter!  12/12/12 is a unique day that may never happen again in the history of the world.  Depending on your world view and understanding of the times,

It could be:

· The last thing I do in this world since some cataclysmic energy must surely accompany this day.

· The last thing I plan to do before the real end of the world on 12/21/2012 (see Mayan Calendar end of world stuff on Google)

· The last thing I can afford to do before the fiscal cliff hits the first of January, 2013.

· The last thing I will want to do since I was disappointed with the election results.

· The last thing I will have to do since the government will take care of me no matter what!

· The last thing I need to do since Jesus is coming soon and will take care of this evil world!

Do any of these strike home?!  Your worldview affects how you relate to the world around you.  There is a lot of energy given to thoughts, assumptions, and expectations.  Even though I am being somewhat tongue-in-cheek, I am not making a negative judgment on these thoughts, just recognizing that we all have them.

As an adviser, I try to be very careful not to let my “opinions” become a barrier to conversations we are having with people.  Our firm’s focus is encouraging people to “start a conversation” with key people in your life.  In fact, it is so important that we sponsor seminars, workshops, and personal meetings with myself and other professionals.  So make your first conversation with yourself.  I don’t necessarily mean you should walk down the street and carry on a loud conversation with your “other” self (Id?) but if that helps you get started, why not?  You might want to be careful if you start arguing though!

After you are comfortable with yourself, then add family members that you trust to the conversation (i.e., a spouse, children, or parents.)  Then consider adding others you trust like close friends and maybe mentors.  Trusted professionals like attorneys, financial advisers, and pastors should be considered also.

You should be asking at this point “But Gary, what are we talking about?  What is the topic of this conversation that you think is so important?”   That answer may lie in how we consider the date 12/12/12.  That question may be “Why are we here for such a time as this?”  Now the only person I have found in my 60 years that has any real good answers on this topic is God.  Others have opinions, He has facts.  I would encourage you to ask Him to join you when you first start the conversation by yourself.  If you sincerely ask, He will join you.  It doesn’t require any fancy words either.  One of the most effective requests I have found is simply, “HELP!”

Our firm regularly encourages people to take stock of where you have been, where you are now, and where you are going.  This can apply to any area of your life--and should.  Conversations help you take stock.  Conversations help you get perspective on your life in detail and the world around you.  Conversations help you define personal assessments, plans, and directions.  Conversations can bring certainty, stability and Peace.

Two days after finishing this letter the tragedy in Newtown, CT took place.  Our hearts ache and our prayers go out to the victim’s of this senseless action. Who are still alive.  The Why question comes up quite often in the aftermath of these events.  There are different variations but the basic question is “Why did God allow this?”  What I said previously in this letter is still appropriate.  Let me encourage you to continue the conversation.  Circumstances do not have to divert us from our path or destroy our Peace.

STARTING THE CONVERSATION

We are very happy to announce an opportunity for you, coming in January.   Because of the positive response to our “In Case I Live” seminar in November, we are sponsoring individual follow-up meetings with Laura Noble, estate planning consultant and Heritage Planning professional.  

Laura’s focus is on Heritage Planning, which is about living well and passing to your heirs MUCH MORE than money or worldly goods.   It doesn’t preclude traditional inheritance but expands it in a very meaningful, life-changing way.   A startling statistic that Laura shared in our seminar was that 90% of families fail to keep their wealth for more than three generations.   This is wealth in the most general terms -- those things that, as a family, we value and want to pass on and preserve.     Heritage Planning focuses on what the other 10% are doing differently.

Gary will be on-hand for these individual meetings and we will allow up to an hour for the discussions.   Our goal is to have a ‘comfortable conversation’ about what Heritage Planning can offer you and your family and to assess whether this type of planning would enhance your goals and desires for your family.  

Please call our office (419) 358-4207 to set-up a time.   I hope you’ll consider making an appointment.   It has been said, “When something is urgent, you rush to do it. When something is important, you must prioritize it.”   Is leaving a  family legacy important to you?

MAKING COURSE CORRECTIONS

“We’re all going to die!”  These were the opening words of the testimony of a young woman whom God healed from near death as a result of metastasized breast cancer as she gave voice to God’s redemption.  God had spoken to her when she was first diagnosed from Psalm 118:17-18, “I will not die but live and proclaim what the Lord has done.  The Lord has chastened me severely but He has not given me over to death.”  She and many who loved her clung to this promise, expecting a miracle.  And in God’s time, while she slept, God spoke to her two years later to get up and eat.  With little to no strength, she struggled to obey. God met her obedience and slowly raised her up.  Aside from her improved physical condition, more important were her strengthened faith and determination to fulfill the promise “and proclaim what the Lord has done.”  As she sought to “live and proclaim,” a greater love for her Lord and others was evident.  His love had taken her through a painful course correction and she was increasing in joy and direction.

God’s kindness leads us toward repentance Romans 2:4 tells us.  Through His kindness and goodness, He allows pain and suffering to come into our lives not only as a result of our disobedience but also to change our focus and selfish ambition back to the plan He has for our lives.  Doesn’t He remind us that we are not our own but His, bought with the price of His life, and we therefore need to glorify God in our bodies? (See 1 Corinthians 6:20 and 1 Peter chapters 1-2)  When we get off track. He is faithful to pull us back from destruction and realign our focus.

The beauty of God’s calling is that He forgives our sins and failures, gives us the tools to follow Him, and gives us a future with amazing opportunities and fulfillment.  Yet He promises suffering for correction and as a means to bring glory to His name, so that we may become more and more like Him.

The young woman was our God-daughter Kelly, lent to us for 6 months by God and her parents when they moved back to Georgia from Ohio.  She asked to stay behind to finish the school year at the small Christian school where I taught and we were privileged to gain a daughter.  This brought change -- a course correction.  And what a wonderful blessing she has been throughout our lives!

December 2, 2012, Kelly fought the good fight, finished her course, and kept the faith. (See 2 Timothy 4:7)  Her cancer had returned and after suffering a little, the Lord took her home to be with Him forever.

We have recurring opportunities to make adjustments to our focus -- change of seasons, holidays, vacations, beginning the New Year.  God has built these into our lives to aid us in turning to Him for help and direction.  Let’s make the most of this season to assess our course, goals, and heart attitude.  What is our long term objective and are these things helping or hindering us to attain that end?  Pray and be willing to let God direct your way.  He is a Good Shepherd and will lead us in the path of abundant life.