Summary: The Dow is Down! What would have happened if your had invested in the "Naperville Christian Church Spiritual Index" instead? A fun stewardship message that focuses on the value of eternal investments.

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Investing for Eternity

Naperville Christian Church

David Limiero, Lead Minister

July 28, 2002

*How Are Your Investments Doing? (Part 1)*

Remember the old hymn "All to Jesus I Surrender"? (sing/speak the words of verse 1)

Well I’ve taken the liberty to re-write the words from the standpoint of the average person in our society today:

All to Dow Jones, I surrender

All to it I sadly give

I will ever watch and worry,

In it’s presence daily live

I surrender all . . .

INTERACTIVE/PARTICIPATORY QUESTION: Turn to your neighbor and ask them: "How are your stock market investments doing?" (Going up, going down, or staying the same?)

That’s a silly question isn’t it? Stock market investments everywhere are headed down, down, down. Tuesday morning’s Chicago Tribune carried this ominous headline:

“Dow slides below 8,000 to ’98 level: Triple-digit loss for 3rd day in row”

The story continues:

The Dow Jones industrials plunged below 8,000 Monday for the first time in nearly four years, as investors remain too preoccupied with scandal and earnings fears to shop for bargains.

In a seesaw trading session, the blue-chip index fell 234.68 points, the third consecutive triple-digit decline, to close at 7784.58. The last time the market tumbled to such levels was mid-October 1998, when it finished at 7968.80.

The drop continued the brutal sell-off of the past two weeks, punctuated by Friday’s 390-point fall, the biggest one-day point drop this year.

Investors have coined a new phrase for the relentless declines: "irrational depression," a play on the famous phrase "irrational exuberance" uttered by Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan to describe the stock-market surge of the late 1990s.

The bottom line of the story is this: if you’d invested $10,000 in the basket of stocks that compose the Dow Jones Industrial Average in October 1998, your investment today would be worth $9,768.

Of course, you could be doing a lot worse.

• If you’d invested $10,000 in the NASDAQ last August, today your portfolio would be worth just over $6000 today. That’s a 40% loss.

• If you’d invested that same $10,000 a year ago in an S&P 500 index fund, that fund would be worth just over $6700 today. That’s a 33% loss.

• If you’d invested $10,000 in WorldCom in 1999, when the share price was $60, your $10,000 investment would be worth about $28 today. That’s a 99.75% loss.

• If you’d invested $10,000 in Enron last November, today your $10,000 investment would be worth just nothing. Zero. Zip. Nada. Nothing. A 100% loss.

Perhaps that’s why Jesus uttered these prophetic words:

Matthew 6:19-21 (NIV)

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Let me ask you again: How are your investments doing?

*How are Your Investments Doing? (Part 2)*

Just for fun, I calculated what a $10,000 investment in the “Naperville Christian Church Spiritual Index” would have returned. How would your investments be doing if you had given $10,000 in charitable contributions to Naperville Christian Church?

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