Jeff Petherick Asks Christians To Rethink Christmas Gift Spending
Author, successful investment manager and philanthropist Jeff Petherick has challenged Christians throughout the U.S. to rethink gift giving at Christmas, with a strategy to give a portion of the money typically spent on Christmas presents to charities and non-profits instead of putting additional gifts under the tree, reports McCain & Co. Public Relations.
Petherick, whose current book, Grace Like Rain: Soaking Up God's Best, Even When We're At Our Worst, was released July 17 by Elk Lake Publishing and New Day Christian Distributors, has issued an open letter with the challenge at his website, ElkLakePublishing.com.
The full content of the letter is below:
I've been thinking a lot about grace this year, especially at this season of gift giving, because grace is definitely a gift we receive. And in the receiving, we, in turn, are empowered by grace in our own lives to show it to others.
Imagine on Christmas Day 2012, in the small village of Dowlaiswaram, India, more than 200 orphans will kneel down in a chapel and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ in one of the most moving displays of worship ever seen. The orphans are cared for by an amazing family, led by Jaya Sankar, with the help of Impact India 360. The chapel was only recently completed with funds donated by one man in Chicago, moved by the work being done in this small corner of the world. Just down the dirt road, past the basket weavers and potters, is a four-story hospital, finished in 2011, constructed entirely on privately-donated funds from Impact India 360. It is waiting to be fully furnished with the latest medical equipment to provide full care, not only to the orphans, but the 40,000 people who live under the India poverty line in this four- square-mile village.
Eight thousand miles away, Americans will spend $450 billion on Christmas gifts this year. Can we even fathom how different the world would be if we simply adopted what Kensington Community Church in Troy, Michigan, where my family and I attend, calls the "Christmas Revolution?" It's simple and it works like this: take a percentage of what you would normally spend on Christmas gifts and give it to those in need. What if all Americans took a 20 percent bite out of their Christmas budget? That would be $90 billion! It's radical to think we could have more peace, joy and love at Christmas time if, as Kensington Church suggests, we chose "a simple Christmas so others may simply live."
Besides, half of the stuff we will get for Christmas this year will get tucked away on a shelf, stored in a box, or put into self-storage. By the way, American's spend another $6 billion each year to store all of our excess junk! Isn't that crazy? Why are we holding on so tightly when the rest of the world is in so much need?
So here's the challenge. Ask a simple question to our Creator this Christmas: "To choose a simple Christmas this year, what percent of my gift budget should go to helping others simply live instead?" It's a dangerous question, but one that is sure to bring more joy than you could possibly imagine. And if you want to help the orphans in Dowlaiswaram, you can see their smiling faces and give online at impactindia360.org/yearend/.
If you choose to give, please be sure to leave us your email address and we will send you an "Indian Christmas" video from the kids at Grace Children's Home that you can share with your family on Christmas day. Merry Christmas, indeed!"
About Jeff Petherick:
In his writing debut, Wavelength, Petherick shared with readers his stressful world as a rising star mutual fund manager in the 1990s, often finding himself in the role of expert for such weighty financial news organizations as The Wall Street Journal, Barron's, CNBC, Forbes and Kiplinger's Personal Finance. He went on to become founding partner in NorthPointe Capital, an institutional investment management firm with $1.5 billion in assets under management.
Petherick followed Wavelength with the release of Grace Like Rain, a book that examines the most powerful and perhaps most misunderstood power in the universe - God's grace - through real-life accounts about a God who did the unthinkable to save the unlovable.
Throughout Grace Like Rain, Petherick writes about grace in action, how God wants people to take the grace they have received and pass it on to others. In the book, he shares gripping stories of people surprised by grace and changed forever.
"Grace is transformative, not only to our lives individually, but to those around us. When we begin to understand this and receive it as a gift, we become empowered to show that grace to others in our lives," says Petherick, a successful investment manager who has been featured as a financial expert by the likes of CNBC and Forbes. Petherick also is a philanthropist who is in demand as a Christian speaker and teacher.
"Jesus told us to be 'light.' However, light without grace is like a light bulb without a filament," Petherick continues. "We will have no ability to illuminate truth without the power of love and grace. Grace Like Rain helps us see how God has used the brokenness and sinfulness of ordinary people to transform them into true light bearers for Him."
Following a life-altering encounter with Jesus Christ, Petherick embarked on many adventures with God, putting feet to his faith in such ventures as co-founding Impact India 360, which in the last eight years has built an orphanage, several schools, an elderly care facility, a church and a hospital.
Impact India 360 also offers college scholarships to village children and is involved in church-planting efforts throughout the region.
Petherick's work with Impact India 360 recently was featured in The Dancer, an award-winning short film garnering more than 15 awards, including First Place, Documentary Short, at the 2011 Los Angeles International Film Festival and Best of Fest/Grand Jury Award (out of 1650 films) at the 2011 San Francisco International Festival of Short Films. The Dancer shows life through the eyes of Satish Kumar, an 11-year-old orphan boy in a remote village in India. After the death of Kumar's mother and abandonment by his father, the youth now lives with 200 other children at the Dowlaiswaram, India, orphanage funded by Impact India 360.
Since beginning his walk with the Lord, Petherick's many adventures have included leading high school and college students on multiple mission trips to minister to the indigenous people of Iquitos, Peru, in the Amazon Rainforest.
Petherick is married to his high school sweetheart, Gina. They live in Michigan and have two children and one grandchild.
Petherick's current release, Grace Like Rain, is published by Elk Lake Publishing and is distributed exclusively to the CBA market through New Day Christian Distributors. For more information about Petherick, Grace Like Rain or Elk Lake Publishing, visit ElkLakePublishing.com.