When Rich Jensen and I started BRS Consulting in 2008 and BRS Financial in 2009 the United States was in one of its most severe financial crises since the Great Depression.
Why would be embark on something so seemingly perilous, you ask? Good question.
The answer lies in our name, “BRS” – which, if you haven’t guessed stands for “Building Responsible Stewardship.” Rich and I had a vision to start a financial consulting firm that brought faith and financial realities together for Christian institutions and their donors, who happened to be our clients.
Rich and I saw an opportunity to bring our respective skill sets and experience together in a unique manner. We were both mid-career professionals who shut down our practices in the San Francisco Bay and Central Florida areas, respectively, and went into full-time ministry with FamilyLife in Little Rock, Arkansas. That’s how we met, and that’s why our home office is based out of Little Rock.
Rich finished his career with Prudential Securities managing its Palo Alto office, where he practiced integrated financial planning, and moved to Little Rock with Mary and their three children to work with major donors to FamilyLife. I shut down my law practice in Central Florida and moved to Little Rock with Tamara and our five children at the time (we’ve been blessed with two more naturally born children and a foster son since moving to Little Rock) to work as special assistant to Dennis Rainey and Bob Lepine.
The long and the short of things, as far as BRS is concerned, is that Rich and I gained a unique perspective on life, work and ministry through our mid-career transitions to Familylife and then our call to BRS. We view our BRS practice through a lens of work-as-ministry. Our experience has given us a unique perspective on financial planning encompassed by what we call “comprehensive life stewardship.” Our clients find our approach refreshing, invigorating and motivating to greater stewardship in all aspects of their lives.
We focus on relationships primarily, not money or stuff or assets or investments. Relational stewardship is ultimate, not financial. This is the key that unlocks a thousand doors in the hearts of our clients. And it expresses our hearts as well. We love what we do, and we love serving our clients by helping them develop comprehensive, integrated life stewardship plans tailored to their personal/relational objectives, passions and interests.
And we are passionate about building responsible stewardship.
As we look to September 2015 and beyond, we believe our message is as relevant as ever. Perhaps even more needed than ever. Many of our clients are asking us to help them discern what is truth and what is error in the myriads of voices speaking through Christian and secular media alike with regard to what might be coming in September 2015.
Jade Helm and impending martial law.
The Harbinger. Four Blood Moons. Economic collapse worse than the Great Depression. Deflation. Inflation. Safe Asset Slaughter. The Fed’s September 16, 2015 Interest Rate Spike – Earnings Yield (E/P ratio) Will Close and Stocks Will Plummet. Buy Gold! No, Don’t Buy Gold, It is Going to Plummet Over the Next 10 Years! Huge profits coming for those who will boldly invest after the bottom drops out!
Rich and I do our very best to bring our expertise together, research the issues and advice in the financial world, and help our clients make wise decisions grounded in a robust biblical faith in the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, in whose good and trustworthy hands is every future reality, probability and possibility. In short, we help our clients walk by faith, not sight, in the power of the Holy Spirit, not the sarx (flesh) of fear, unbelief, pride or folly.
Straight out of Deuteronomy 8, Jesus warns us:
Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions. And he told them this parable: ‘The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, “What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.” ‘Then he said, “This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.
I recently heard a true story of a Christian attorney who passed away a few months ago from a sudden heart attack shortly after completing his economic catastrophe/depression proof home this year – solar powered, independent fresh water source, gated, security system, food and guns and ammo stockpiled, etc. He and his earnest wife had read The Harbinger and, I assume, similar literature. They were convinced that really hard times are coming, and very soon.
I think they may very well be correct. And thankfully at least she will be able to enjoy the security and peace that their planning might afford her if they are right.
But, is their response faith? Does it reflect a “richness” toward God as Jesus warns us must be present if we are to please God as our Father?
The sections in Luke 12 that precede and follow this teaching about the dangers of greed, which is idolatry (unbelief) according to Colossians 3:5, give us an answer.
The first (Luke 12:1-12) instructs the disciples and us that we should not fear those who want to persecute and kill us. They can only kill our bodies. Instead, we should fear God who can destroy both body and soul in hell. This, I think, should dampen the deeply ingrained American impulse for security in Bible-believing Christians, the desire to protect ourselves and families from all lack, want, pain, suffering, harm, insecurity, etc. Sadly, this almost always comes at the expense of unbelief/distrust in God, which in turn ends up defaming God as the world looks on all the angst, perturbation, fear and hysteria. It’s nothing less than rank unbelief, which certainly displeases God.
The second section (Luke 12:22-34) is another one of those problematic texts where Jesus comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comforted. There he warns us not to fret about life and clothing and eating. Trust God your Father, he says. It’s almost like he’s saying, “Remember what I just taught you about praying in Luke 11:1-13? ‘If you, being evil know how to give good gifts to your children, then how much more will my heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?’ Yes, your Father in heaven is a good Father who gives good gifts to his children and will give the Holy Spirit, his empowering and loving and forgiving presence to those who ask him in childlike faith and trust!”
So, it seems to me, that here and in many other places in Scripture Jesus warns us against what seems to be a constant, recurring preoccupation of conservative, Bible-and-gospel-believing evangelical Christians in the United States: the unbelieving/distrusting need for absolute certainty and security of life and food and clothing in the future.
This expresses one deep aspect of the heart of BRS. Rich and I want to help our clients live this kind of life radically abandoned life in the midst of affluence in the United States. It’s not easy. Ask the rich (young) man (ruler). He was the only one who didn’t follow Jesus in the way of the cross when Jesus called him.
Think about that. Rich likes to quote Randy Alcorn a lot, and one of the things I hear Rich say that Randy says is something to the effect that when God blesses us with wealth it might very well be a test rather than a blessing.
We think the story of the rich (young) man (ruler) bears this out.
BRS helps you keep this in mind along the path of faithful life stewardship soli Deo gloria. It’s what we do.
Check us out at www.brsconsulting.com or www.buildingresponsiblestewardship.com (they go the same place). Hope to see you there.
David Sims (Mark 8:34-35)