Beyond Sunday Mornings: Putting Your Faith into Everyday Financial Actions

Show Notes

I’m back with another Faithfully Engaged episode, and this one is packed with practical wisdom. I had the pleasure of chatting with Ralph Estep Jr., a financial advisor and fellow podcaster who brings a refreshing Christian perspective to managing your money. In this conversation, Ralph shares his journey to launching a daily podcast and integrating his faith into his business. We dive into big topics like standing courageously in your beliefs, bringing truth even when it’s uncomfortable, and living out your Christianity beyond Sunday mornings. Ralph offers convicting thoughts on the loneliness epidemic and why you need Christian community, especially after COVID shook up church attendance. We also chat about raising kids to stand for truth, avoiding spiritual complacency, and putting your faith into everyday actions. Sprinkled throughout are Ralph’s best tips for getting your financial house in order, including budgeting, saving, and giving back. He shares vulnerable stories of making unwise money choices in the past and learning from those mistakes. You’ll be challenged and encouraged by Ralph’s authentic, passionate style and conviction. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, employee, parent or anyone seeking to steward your resources well, there is much wisdom to apply here. After listening, head over to AskRalphPodcast.com to connect more. You can access 300+ episodes packed with practical financial advice and truth. Ralph would love to hear from you!

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TIMESTAMPS:

00:00:00 – Introduction to Consultation Services
00:00:40 – Ralph’s Diverse Roles
00:01:51 – Ralph’s Podcasting Journey
00:04:42 – Impacting Lives and Living Out Faith
00:08:52 – Living Out Faith in Business
00:11:59 – The Power of Faith and Standing for Truth
00:12:39 – Standing Firm in the Face of Persecution
00:14:22 – Setting an Example for Children
00:16:30 – Faith Over Fear
00:20:34 – The Role of Faith in Mental Health
00:24:10 – Impact of Social Media and Technology
00:25:32 – Positive Impact of Churches Post-Covid
00:26:26 – The Importance of Conviction and Truth
00:29:06 – Interconnectedness of Faith, Finances, and Life
00:31:01 – Overcoming Tragedy and Finding Purpose
00:35:48 – The Power of Service in Building Relationships
00:36:52 – Accessing Ralph’s Podcast and Books
00:38:23 – Practical Financial Advice and Relationship Building
00:39:38 – Sharing Faith and Building Assurance
00:41:04 – Conclusion and Call to Action

TRANSCRIPT:
00:00:00 – Johnny Sanders
I am now offering consultation services through faithfully engaged. If you’re struggling to find a church, dealing with a destructive habit such as pornography, or trying to find a way to homeschool your kids but don’t know where to start, come check me out. Go to faithfullyengaged.com consulting to learn more information and to see how we can get started. Welcome back, everyone, to another episode of Faithfully Engaged today. I’m very happy to have Ralph Estep Jr. on today. So, Ralph, why don’t you tell the audience just a little bit about yourself?

00:00:44 – Ralph Estep Jr.
So I’d like to start off by telling you I wear many hats. I’m an accountant. I’m a black Angus cattle raiser. I’m a podcaster. I’m an author. I’m a husband and a father. I have two children. They are 23 and 26. So when I’m not doing taxes and consulting people financially, I’m out in the back pastures chasing down the Black Angus cows or recording my podcast for the next morning. It’s a daily podcast.

00:01:11 – Johnny Sanders
Yeah. Well, let’s start there. On, the podcast, we talked just really briefly off-air about some of the things that we do with our podcast editing and all that stuff. I always find this interesting. I’m a licensed counselor myself for my kind of day job, and I find this with other counselors and then also with other podcasters. There’s just kind of this bond here that we speak different languages than some of the people out there who don’t have podcasts. So just tell me a little bit about your story of being a podcaster. Like, how did you jump into that medium?

00:01:48 – Ralph Estep Jr.
Certainly, I started it back in 2017, actually. I was approached by iHeartMedia about doing a weekly radio show, and they were putting me on, like the AM radio on Sunday mornings or Saturday mornings. I don’t remember. It’s been a few years. And I said, you know what? I’m going to be doing this content. What about doing some podcasting? So I basically would buy half an hour’s time, and I cut it into three basic nine-minute podcast segments. And I did that for a couple of years, and then I kind of got tired of it, and I said, you know, I’m going to put it on the shelf. So I was thinking about things to do to build my practice a little bit more. So this past November, I took it back on in earnest, and now I do a daily podcast. It’s called Ask Ralph podcast mastering your finances. But here’s the key with a Christian perspective, because I think in all things, we have to wear our Christianity as the front of that. You know, it’s what builds our character. So my goal in the podcast, if I can reach one person, if I can help one person have a positive impact on their financial life, then that’s what I want to do. I come at it from a different angle. For me, it’s not about how much money you can make. It’s, are you being a good steward? Are you being transparent? Are you able to be successful so that you can give back? Because the truth is, if you’re not successful, you’ll never be able to bless anybody else. So that’s kind of the focus of my podcast, is, how can I help people? I do a daily show on Mondays. We do a motivational talk on Tuesdays. I like to talk about technology. Sometimes that’s technology for small business people or individuals. Wednesday is my slapstick comedy day. I call it wacky Wednesday, you know, because you can’t be serious all the time. And on Thursdays, I do. I get into tax. I get into the weeds of tax, both business and personal tax. Friday, I do what’s called a financial Friday show. For example, like today, I recorded a show on getting rid of PMI insurance, if that’s something you’re paying. And then Saturdays, a lot of times, I’ll have an interview. I’ll interview one of my clients. And on Sunday, I actually go real spiritual, and I do what I call, my Sunday sermon, if you will. And I try to tie a religious, you know, something financial, if I can, into, you know, the whole Christian faith thing, for example, like I did one a few weeks ago on forgiveness and how forgiveness is something, a gift you give yourself. It’s not a gift you give the other person. So I hope that kind of gives you some background. But I. But I got back into it in earnest. I didn’t realize the commitment I was making with the daily podcast. It’s about ten to 15 minutes long every day, but it takes me a good hour and a half because I’m a perfectionist, and I want to make sure it’s, you know, it’s hitting the right mark and, and helping people, because that’s my goal. You know, a lot of people say to me, well, is it all about listeners for you? No, it’s not, because the truth is if I can find one person that I can help, if one person sends me an email or clicks on my pod page and says, hey, Ralph, you helped me today, then I feel like I’ve done something good. So that’s probably a long answer, Johnny, but that’s the truth.

00:04:42 – Johnny Sanders
Oh, I really like that answer. And I love what you mentioned there of helping one person. That’s something that I’ve mentioned multiple times. If I’ve either gotten that email or something or a $5 donation, like anything like that, it means a lot to show that the work that I put in, the work that you put in, that it’s not about all the praise and how great we are, but it’s impacted somebody and impacted them in that positive way. So definitely relate to you with that.

00:05:15 – Ralph Estep Jr.
And I call it kingdom impact because that’s the truth. You know, we can’t wear, you know, I just wrote a book. It’s called the Gospel of entrepreneurship, how to take Jesus into your business. My central point of that is that as a Christian, you don’t have to check your Christianity at the door. So many people in this woke culture we live in now think, I can’t talk about Christ in my business. I can’t talk about Christ in the workplace. But you can. It’s who you are. It’s what makes up your course. And my podcasts are just an extension of that. Live out your faith. Live it out loud. You don’t have to hide it under a bushel basket.

00:05:49 – Johnny Sanders
You know, when you were talking about all the hats that you wear, that that’s kind of where my mind was going, that sometimes in Christian culture and church culture, it’s like you put on. On Sunday, you put on your Christian hat. I went to church, sang the songs, listened to the sermon, and all that. But then on Monday, I put my work hat on. I don’t. I. I might leave that Christian hat at home. I don’t really frame it in that way, but practically I do. So for people that are in that way, that they’re just using this as another hat, what’s kind of your advice for them, particularly when it relates to their career, of how can they take that next step and show Christian in their values, even at work?

00:06:35 – Ralph Estep Jr.
So the thing I worry about is, are you a lukewarm Christian? And that might sound kind of harsh, but you know as well as I do, you leave church sometimes and people are trying to run you down in the parking lot. It’s like they left their faith at the church door. But to answer your question more in-depth, the truth is you can show it by how you treat others in the workplace. You can show it in what you value. You can show it in something as simple as your work ethic. You know, if you’re there and you’re doing a good job, you’re not slacking off and all those sorts of things. I see a lot of young people who aren’t living out their faith because they’re not, they don’t have that strong work ethic. But like I said, it’s not something. You don’t have to beat somebody over the head with your Christianity. I think that’s the wrong way to go about it. I think if you, you know if you want to live this holier-than-thou mentality in the workforce, you’re never going to reach anybody. You know, when Jesus was choosing his disciples, who did he pick? He didn’t pick the Sadducees. He didn’t pick the Pharisees. He picked people who were fishermen. He picked the tax collectors. He picked people who were doing their vocations. Well, guess what? If you’re gonna live out your gospel and share the good news, pick the people you work with around the water cooler, pick the person in the cubicle next to you, and they’ll see the difference in your life. If you live out your spirituality, live out your Christianity, they’ll see the difference. And maybe they’ll ask you that question. Hey, Ralph, I noticed that you don’t drink. I noticed that you don’t curse all the time. I noticed that you always say a prayer before you eat your lunch. Well, that’s just something. And then we’re planting those seeds, right? And if we can have faith as a mustard seed, remember what Jesus said? If you had the faith of a mustard seed, you could move this mountain. Well, maybe today I plant a seed with this person and somebody else waters it and somebody else cultivates it. So I think in your Christian walk, in your business life, whether you’re an entrepreneur or you’re working as a two-employee for somebody else, you can live out your faith. And I think that’s so important because if you just have your faith on Sunday, I question, you know, how deep is your relationship to Christ? Because it’s all about relationships, right? If you have a relationship with your wife, that relationship doesn’t end when you leave the house. If you have a relationship with Christ, that relationship shouldn’t end when you leave church. So hopefully I’ve answered your question. I know I probably went around the block and circled back a few times there, but, you know, I’m pretty passionate about that.

00:08:51 – Johnny Sanders
Yeah. And I’m glad that you are. That’s something that even if you have been a Christian pretty much your whole life, and. And you take it seriously and everything. It’s a good reminder. I don’t think we ever arrive at being perfect, at witnessing and having our life on. On show that we are Christ’s followers no matter what we’re doing. It’s a great reminder that, hey, if we say that this is serious, it should be shown throughout our lives. And like you’re saying, not just about throwing words out there about how great we are or forcing people to believe our beliefs, but our actions should show that we love Christ. I saw something on Twitter not that long ago, or x or whatever, and it was saying, like, if I charged you of being guilty of being a Christian, would I have evidence to charge you with that? And that was a really convicting thing to look at.

00:09:50 – Ralph Estep Jr.
That one cuts deep, doesn’t it? It does. And how many people could answer that honestly? You know, how many people have checked their faith at the door because they’re afraid of being ridiculed? How many people have checked their faith because they’re afraid of what would happen? And I guess, you know, I hit 50 a year and a half ago, and what used to fill my tank before 50 doesn’t fill my tank anymore because I realized it’s not about money. It’s not about stuff. I’ve had all this stuff. I’ve been very wealthy. I’ve been very successful. God has blessed me more than I deserve. But what I finally realized was it was that relationship. It was that daily walk with Christ that filled my tank. Well, what’s the best way to do that? It’s to share it with other people. I have an accounting practice. I meet with people every day in my lobby. I give away Bibles when they come in for a meeting. I’m not going to hit them over the head with my Christianity, but they might see a cross, they might see my book on display, and they’ll say, oh, you’re a Christian guy. You’re probably really judgmental. Are you? I said, absolutely not. I’m not judgmental at all. If you ask me about biblical truth, I’ll lay the biblical truth on you. But if you want to build a relationship, and let’s talk about how we both can improve, because, look, I heard a pastor say this one time, he got up in front of the whole church and he said, you know, none of us are worth anything. He said, but with Christ, we’re everything. And that is so true. And if you think you’re better than anybody else, you’re nothing. But with Christ, you’re everything. So that’s kind of. My answer to that question is, you know, if you check it at the door, is it really true? Is it who you are? I always say it’s a character thing. If your character is founded in Christ, it permeates your entire life. For example, I have a client come in and say to me, Ralph, you know, I really don’t want to pay a lot of taxes. And I’ll say to them, well, you’re a Christian guy, right? Oh, yeah, Ralph, I’m a Christian guy. Okay. Well, pay unto Caesar what’s due unto Caesar, and give unto God what is unto God. What do you mean by that, Ralph? Well, don’t cheat on your taxes. You want. You want. You want God to bless you in your business, but you rip people off. You know, you want. You want to cut corners and do all these things, and what are you doing? Are you stewarding the resources God gave you? They’re not yours. Nothing we have is ours. That’s the truth. Right? It’s all gifts from God. It’s how we choose to use them. It’s like the parable, the talents. And people. You know, people are. You know, they. What are you talking about, Ralph? How can you say that? Well, it’s my faith. It’s what makes me. And if you don’t like that, that’s fine. There’s the door. Because that’s the point I’ve gotten to in my career.

00:12:17 – Johnny Sanders
Well, that’s an important part there, too, of living in a way that you stand on truth and in a very honest and appropriate way. But, look, we’re gonna be persecuted. And that’s something to be expected, that it will happen, not it might. And if it does, then it does. Like, it’s. The worst thing that can happen is they. They make fun of you. They don’t go to your business or whatever it may be, okay? Like, that shouldn’t be something that is such a high bar. Like, oh, I can’t. I can’t just stand being made fun of or losing a client or whatever, if it’s based on truth, not on you being a jerk, which is a big difference.

00:13:00 – Ralph Estep Jr.
There’s a huge difference.

00:13:01 – Johnny Sanders
Sometimes they say I’m just being persecuted. Like, no, you might just be a jerk. But if I’m staying on truth and you lose it, then you lose it. And. And that is a risk that you have to be willing to take, or otherwise, you’re going to be so sheltered in your faith that you’re really going to stand for nothing. And I’ve thought about this a lot in my kind of personal life right now, I’ve got three young kids, and I interpret things like, of course, through scripture and everything, but also to a lesser lens of who do I want my kids to be? Do I want my kids to see a dad that’s just gonna cower and do everything that the world tells me to do because I’m afraid of confrontation? No, I know. I hear people all the time saying they don’t want kids in this world because of how terrible it is and everything. And don’t get me wrong, there’s bad stuff going on in the world, sure. But you’re, you’re goal there should be to raise kids, to not be like that. And that’s what I want to do. I want to see it. I want my kids to see their dad, see their mom standing up and being courageous so they can make the world a better place. Don’t. Don’t just cower and be afraid. There’s nothing good that comes out of that.

00:14:18 – Ralph Estep Jr.
Here’s a good gospel song, I think it’s called Stand, and that’s what you show to your kids. What do you stand for? Because it’s real easy to cower and let the people of the world say, oh, no, you can’t talk about Christ. You’re one of those Bible-beating rednecks or whatever you want to call it. But you know what? The truth is, I stand firm in the gospel. If it cost me my life, then that’s what it cost me, right? If it costs me business, I’ll give you an example. At the bottom of my emails, I send out a scripture. Well, this one day, I got an email back and said, I’m really offended by your scripture reading at the bottom of your email. I want you to take that off of there. I said, okay, well, then maybe you need to find somebody else to work with, because guess what? I’m not taking it off. This is what I stand for. You know, I think it’s a country song, that says, you got to stand for something or you fall for anything. And that’s the truth. And that’s, you know, my children are a little bit older now, but when my children were younger, I mean, that’s what we did for our children, is that we’re going to stand for something. You know, we drug them to church. Maybe they didn’t want to go. You know, when you were a young guy, did you really want to go to church? Most people, oh, mom and dad had to drag me in there. We tried to find ways to make it interesting for them. You know, everybody thinks that if you’re a Christian, you can’t have fun, you can’t laugh, and all those things. It’s one of the reasons I do my wacky Wednesday shows because guess what? Life is comical. Life is not all serious now. There is a serious component to it. And when you see sin you need to. Do you know how many people want to take up the cross and do what Jesus did? No, they don’t want to. You know, as long as they’re content in their home. Oh, don’t bother me. You know, I won’t say anything, but what kind of message are you sending your family? What kind of message are you sending the world that you won’t stand for what is right? You won’t stand for what is truth. You know, that’s the thing. Like, everything that’s going on in our world right now, in my personal view, is a complete goal, is to destroy Christianity at its core. That’s everything that’s going on. And if we don’t stand up for that, guess who wins? The devil wins, and he’s strong. That the devil is strong. He’s a liar. And the truth of the matter is, if we don’t stand strong in our faith, we’re going to lose. And the problem is, if we don’t stand strong on our faith, our kids won’t because they don’t see that model of behavior. So, anyway, I probably went on too long on that, but that’s. That’s really the truth.

00:16:30 – Johnny Sanders
Yeah. No, and that’s. That’s the challenge we can’t go in with just this loser mentality that it’s all over. There’s no point. Like, again, first off, even before our kids, I mean, God. God is. God is enough. Even if what we see around us is carnage. Like, we need to have faith enough that God has this in control and that we truly believe that. So that’s above all. But, yeah, with our kids. Do you want your kids to learn to just cower in fear and live underneath their bed mattress and hope nothing bad happens? Of course not. Stand. Like you said, stand. Be strong. We just read through my wife and I read through Joshua. Be strong and courageous. That theme is constantly throughout Joshua as they’re overtaking Canaan over there. And that is something that we’re really lacking at times, is being strong and courageous. And the good thing about it is, like, you know, we think of strong and courageous Joshua. You know, they have a sword and taking over all of these lands and everything. You don’t have to always have a sword here. That being strong and courageous could simply be. I just had an episode that aired not long ago with Pamela Garfield Yeager, that we talked about her book, talking about some trans ideology, and she was talking about pronoun usage, how sometimes that’s the compromise, that, well, they’re not asking kids to transition or whatever. It’s just a word. Don’t worry about it. That is a compromise in the wrong direction. And you standing, being strong and courageous could simply just be, no, I’m, I’m not participating in that. That’s not, it’s not that hard to do. Sure, you might get looked at funny. You might have some people that don’t like you, but you’re also going to have people that really respect you more and are going to see that say, you know what they. He’s strong, she’s strong. Why isn’t she afraid like everybody else? Why isn’t she, why isn’t he doing what everyone else is doing? It’s attractive when you are strong and.

00:18:37 – Ralph Estep Jr.
Courageous, and it’s worked in my business. It’s funny, when I relaunched my podcast and I added the Christian element to it, I said, well, this might be a little bit of a challenge and what I have found, and it’s fascinating, I had a guy in the other day, and he’s Jewish, and he says, “I really love your podcast.” I said, “that’s great. I said, I’m surprised with the Christian faith.” He goes, “At least you stand for something, Ralph.” He said “I’d much rather listen to somebody that stands for something. I might not agree with you 100%, but you stand for something.” And I said, “You know, the truth is, we all know who wins in the end, don’t we?” And that’s, you know, right now, we’re going through a tough time financially in this country. And people say, “Ralph, what are we going to do?” I don’t know the answer to that. I think we’re in trouble. I think we are really in trouble. So people say to me, “Ralph, what do I do?” I say, “Well, here’s what you do. You get your financial house in order because you can control that. You be a good steward of your resources. Live on a budget. Look at where your money goes. Make sure you’re spending it in the right areas. But at the end of the day, have faith. Because guess what? I don’t care who’s president, I don’t care who’s in Congress, I don’t care who’s on tv, and I don’t care who’s the social influencer of the day. As long as Jesus Christ is Lord, I have no fear. So you do the best you can, but don’t live in fear.” One of my good friends has another podcast called Practical Prepping, and he’s a no-nonsense guy. Here’s what you can do. And he did an episode the other day because I asked him about it. I said, hey, “how do you balance prepping and faith?” And he goes, “It’s really simple. The Bible talks about it time and time again. You can be prepared, but at the end of the day, have faith that if you have a hurricane coming through your neighborhood, you can prepare for that, have water, have shelter, have batteries, all that kind of thing. If the tornado hits your house, then you move to faith and then you just have to say, well, God’s got a purpose here.” I might not know what it is, but if we live in fear, and I see so many people, Johnny, who are living in fear, they can’t function. We have so many people on all kinds of mind-altering drugs at this point to put down anxiety, to put down this and put that. But maybe it’s as simple as they don’t have a relationship with Christ. I wonder if it, could it be that simple, Johnny?

00:20:50 – Johnny Sanders
There are times that it is. I see this a lot in my own Christian counseling practice.

00:20:56 – Ralph Estep Jr.
Sure. That’s why I figured we talk about that.

00:20:58 – Johnny Sanders
Yeah, no, it’s a great, great question that there are times when the question of, are you reading your Bible? You say you’re a Christian, are you reading your Bible? Are you, are you praying? Are you in a church? Some of those basic ones that like, oh, well, you know, depression, anxiety, it’s a medical thing that wouldn’t do it. You’d be surprised at how many times that can maybe not necessarily get rid of all of it, but goes a long way. Now, I’m not going to sit here and say that there’s not ever a time where maybe we need some extra help if there’s, you know, some pretty significant issues going on. But don’t dismiss those basic things, especially if you’re going to say that you are a believer in Christ and you don’t have a church. That’s something I harp on this podcast all the time. You can’t do it. We’re not built, we’re not made to be Christians on this earth and do this all on our own. And unfortunately, our culture is really ramping up with isolation, especially post Covid, where even Christians, some have not gone back to church and you better believe your mental health is going to suffer. If you’re all by yourself, you’re not around other Christians, you’re not being lifted up in that way. Yeah. Your mental health absolutely will suffer because of that.

00:22:24 – Ralph Estep Jr.
Yeah. And it was a tragedy to me. See what happened in the churches. I go to a local Baptist church here, Middletown Baptist church, and we had in-person services about three weeks after Covid hit. And it was just sad to see it, you know, and how many ministers and preachers didn’t stand up to the government and say, whoa, wait a second, we’re going to open up liquor stores, we’re going to have sports arenas opened up, but don’t let people come to church. Are you kidding me? But how many people from the pulpit addressed that? And that’s the sad part of that, Johnny, you’re right, because Christianity is a group exercise. It’s a one-on-one relationship with Christ. I’m not going to argue with that. But Jesus chose disciples, not a disciple. He chose a group of people because he knew that together, where three or more gather my name, there I am amidst them, right? Is that what the Bible says? Well, how can you think I’m going to watch, I’m going to watch the service on Sunday morning on YouTube or I’m going to watch it and I think there’s a place for that. I think that there are some people that’s opened up a door that we weren’t able to quote the unchurched. But what the tragedy is, I see people now have not come back to church. I see people that don’t come in, you know? Yeah, yeah. I watched you on YouTube. That was fantastic. But did you really experience it? That’s, that’s their decision point. You know what I mean? I get it. But at some point you’re right. I mean, it’s all about the relationship because life is about relationships. And if you don’t have a relationship with the guy down the pew or the lady across the way, the person you go to lunch with on Sunday, think about in your own Christian walk how many people you’ve interacted with at a church who will become lifelong friends, who have become people that you can count on to stand with you when something happens. But if you don’t have that relationship and then the devil throws a monkey wrench at you, what do you go to? Do you go, Mister Google? Let me see what Google has to say about this. Oh, let me, let me go see what Facebook is, let me scroll through some Facebook nonsense or some TikTok. Oh, here’s a person that says, all I need is, you know, me, you know, take a selfie, and everything will be all right. And that’s just a tragedy. You’re right. You’re absolutely right.

00:24:28 – Johnny Sanders
Yeah. Yeah. And it’s. It’s. It’s one of these things to take it on the positive end. What I’ve seen post Covid, I’ll give a little personal story here that the church my wife and I were going to was, to put it nicely, a little bit slower on the uptake of getting back into in-person stuff than we were comfortable with. And because of that, we started looking for some different churches, and we found the church we’ve been at ever since. And we will never forget that week that we came in there. It had been months since we had had people nearby us that we heard their voices singing. And that week we heard that and said, we won’t ever forget that feeling of, like, that was the first time in my life because I’d grown up in the church and had always been kind of used to it. That was the first time in my life that I really felt that absence of worshiping together. And then to feel it again, it. It was incredible. And it’s been our home since. So my point of saying that is, while. Yeah, there’s been a lot of. There are a lot of terrible things that happen post-COVID, and I think we’re still kind of unraveling from that. The people that were open, like your church, the people that are preaching the gospel, they’re a lot easier to find right now. And that’s a really good thing that instead of us only talking about the bad stuff, which there’s a lot, the light is really shown in the places that are preaching the gospel. And we’ve seen. My church has grown quite a bit. We’ve seen this across the country, that churches that are preaching the gospel are a lot more attractive than the ones that are just trying to kind of play nice, because people really saw through that facade after Covid, for sure.

00:26:26 – Ralph Estep Jr.
Yeah. You can’t be a play-nice Christian. I don’t think it works that way. These televangelists get on TV, and they’re great inspirational talkers. But are they Christians? You know, do they convict you? Because guess what? If you go to church and you don’t get your foot, your. Your toe stepped on, every once in a while, you got to wonder what kind of message you’re getting because guess what? We’re all sinners all have sinned and fallen short. That’s not one. That’s all. So if you go to church on Sunday and you don’t walk out of there some days going, doggone, and I got to improve myself, right? Because that’s what it’s all about. It’s that sanctification. It’s an iron sharpening iron. And if you don’t have a church that’s doing that, I’m not going to criticize a church. But find one that does. Find one that challenges you. Find one that convicts you. Because guess what? We are all sinners and we all need to be convicted. And if you don’t have somebody telling you the truth, then find somebody who’s going to tell you the truth. I tell the truth in my podcast, and sometimes people don’t want to hear it. You know, if you don’t, I’ll give you a great example of that. Not Christian-based. If you don’t know where your money’s going, you’re never going to solve your financial problems. If you don’t live by a budget, you’re never going to solve your financial problems. Here’s a really simple one, Johnny. If you spend more than you make, you’re never going to be successful. If you don’t know where your money goes, guess what? You don’t know how to fix the problem. Now, those are truths. Now, they might not be Christian truths, but they’re truths. And people need to hear the truth. We live in a watered-down society where everybody’s afraid to say anything. And it’s just disgusting. It talks about in the book of Revelation, the lukewarm church. This is where we live now. We live in a lukewarm society. Everybody’s afraid to offend somebody. I guess I’m just getting older, Johnny, and I just don’t care at this point, but I’m not going to be mean-spirited about it. You know, for example, I had a couple in last taxes and they were lesbians, okay? And they walk into my accounting practice here. I got across in the waiting room, I got bibles. They walk back in there both cringing in their chairs, and they’re saying, we don’t know what to expect from you. Are you a real judgmental guy? Said, look, you’re here to get your taxes done. I’m going to treat you with Christian faith. If you ask me if your lifestyle is correct, we’ll go down that road if you want, but I don’t think you want to. But I’m going to treat you like a human being. Because that’s what we’re called to do. And if I have the opportunity to witness to them and maybe that makes a change in their life, well, then that’s great. But I don’t have to go into it with a negative, judgmental attitude. But you have to stand. And that’s what I guess I’m saying, is that I got to the point in my life with my podcast, with my practice, with all those things that I just said, look, I got to stand for something. If you come in to meet with me, you’re going to know when you leave, this guy’s no-nonsense. This guy’s transparent. This guy calls it like he sees it, not in a mean-spirited way. But guess what? It’s working. People are saying to me, Ralph, listen, you’re right. You know, I never even thought about that. I didn’t think about how that Bible verse impacts my ability to save money or I didn’t think about how, you know, how I can, how I need to be stewards of what was given to me. Everybody says, well, I should be real successful. But are you handling what God already gave you? You know, you were expecting him to give you more, but are you honoring what he’s already given you? You know, are you living out your faith out loud? Are you? Are you supporting churches? Are you supporting missionaries? What are you doing with the resources he gave you? Are you squandering it away on drugs, alcohol, and gambling? You know, what are your kids seeing? What is your wife seeing? Are you loving your wife like Christ loved the church? Are you preparing for retirement? Sorry, Johnny, I get a little fired up. I apologize. But the truth is, it’s all connected, right? Your finances are connected to your mental health. They’re connected to your Christian walk or connect to your physical health. It’s all tied together. And we can’t live in these little silos of, well, there’s Christianity on Sunday, and then Monday I go to my job, and Tuesday I worry about the mortgage. And it’s all connected.

00:30:14 – Johnny Sanders
Absolutely, 100% it is. And that is by God’s design that it is all connected. We even see this by the nature of marriage. They became one flesh. I mean, that’s. Its interconnectivity is throughout all of Christianity goes back to us talking about going to church. There are no solo Christians out there. There’s not one action that you will have. That one won’t affect anything else. Every action you take will affect something in your life. And two, beyond that, there’s not any actions, any things that happen that are just by accident, that happened for a reason. You may not know the reason. I may not know that reason, but there is a reason for it.

00:30:57 – Ralph Estep Jr.
Yeah, and you’re right. And we live in a disposable divorce culture. Disposable marriage. I’ll give you a personal example. Five years ago, my wife and I. My wife and I split up. We both had enough of each other. We both found other people, and we both got engaged to other people. And in the back of our ears, we kept hearing, wait a second, wait a second. Well, I’m going to tell you something, Johnny. After seven months apart, we got back together. And this September, we’re going to celebrate 24 years together. Now, that’s divine inspiration. That’s God saying, I got control of this. So shut up, Ralph, and start living the faith that you were given, right? It’s not by happenstance. God ordained this marriage. Like you said, two became one flesh. But in this. In this world we live in. Well, just sign this piece of paper and you’re divorced. And that’s a tragedy. I went through that as a kid. When I was eight years old, my mom and dad went to Splitsville. Guess what? I became the man of the house at eight years old. Now, here’s the thing. I could live that the rest of my life and say, oh, I had this terrible tragedy in my life, and I had to be. And not that my dad wasn’t involved. Don’t misunderstand me. My dad was there financially, but I could live a life and go on drugs and do all kinds of things. Or I can say, you know what? Things happen. Get over yourself. And that’s my other message, is, you got to get over yourself. You know, you can’t sit there and wallow in self-pity. Oh, this is so terrible. I’m a type two diabetic. Guess why I become a type 2 diabetic? Because I don’t eat right. Go figure. Right now, I could sit there and wallow in it, or I could do like I did. Lost 120 pounds, and now I exercise every day for 30 minutes. Is it hard work? Yes. Am I doing it? No, God’s doing it because I couldn’t do it on my own, clearly. But I could lay around and I could complain about, oh, the world’s treated me so terribly. Oh, my parents got divorced, and I didn’t have a strong father figure. Or I can say, you know what? Get over yourself, Ralph, and do something with your life. And we. We’re living in a culture now, and I’m really concerned about the younger people, they don’t have the drive that I feel like, and I don’t want to be that old guy. Older young people today, can’t do it. I’m not saying that because I have two young people. I got two of them that are completely different from each other. My oldest son’s in the US Coast Guard, right? And I’m gonna tell you a story about my oldest son because I’m so proud of him. He was diagnosed with Asperger’s when he was a kid, okay? And they said to us, he’s gonna have a hard time in life because he’s not wired like the rest of us. Well, let me tell you something, Johnny. My son was the battalion commander at his military boarding school when he was 18 years old. My son got married a year ago. My son is a senior member of, you know, he’s still an enlisted man, but in the Coast Guard. Guess what he also did? He graduated from Liberty University with his master’s degree. You want to tell me about a kid that’s got wiring that’s not quite right and who shouldn’t be able to accomplish, but look what he’s done with his life instead of wallowing in it. And it was so eye-opening for his mother and me when we realized he’s just different. But God has used those differences. And this kid, I’m gonna tell you right now, financially, he saves every dollar. I’m so proud of him. He saves every dollar. He’s so cheap. And I shouldn’t say that. It might get back to him. But anyway, he’s very frugal. So we go to visit him. We have this little joke. I say to him. Cause he lives in Texas. And I’ll say to him, can you turn the air up a little bit? I’m cold. And he says, well, I’m gonna need some tips for that. So we got a tip jar we put on the counter. But my whole point of all of that is to say that God has a purpose for your life. You can either wallow in self-pity and complain and moan about it, or you can say, you know what, God, show me your purpose and let me live it out loud. And see, I guess that’s where I’m at in my life, Johnny. I’m living it out loud. I’m not perfect. I make mistakes like everybody else. I make financial mistakes. That’s one of the coolest things on my podcast. When I do a podcast about a particular topic, and I say to people, yep, I was in credit card debt. Been there, done that, you know, I made those financial decisions, I made those mistakes. And I think there’s so much more credibility when you can say to somebody who’s going through that as well, you’re not alone. You can do this. And if I can give them action steps because of what I’ve learned, then, hey, like I said, give me a check mark for today with that one person, and then let’s go on tomorrow and we’ll find another person.

00:35:12 – Johnny Sanders
Yeah, absolutely. And I think that’s just a wonderful way to live life. And I encourage everybody listening, as well. What is your one check mark? What’s something you can do to impact somebody? It may not be a podcast, may not be at a big job, or whatever, but I guarantee you there’s somebody in your life who you can impact that. That is something that it could be as little as you give your waitress a good tip and treat her with compassion. It might be that, like, impact somebody every day. That’s a great challenge to have.

00:35:46 – Ralph Estep Jr.
And it doesn’t have to be money, Johnny. It can be service. It can be devoting time. It can be talking. It could do all those things. How many people are living as shut-ins? You can just give them a call once a week and say, hey, you know, misses Jones, I see you haven’t been at church for a while. You know, would you like me to come over and bring you lunch or let me come over and clean some leaves up in your front yard? I mean, you can do things that don’t cost you a dime. Everybody thinks you’ve got to write a check, but you don’t have to write a check. The value of that relationship, what you give that person, an interpersonal relationship, is so much bigger than that. And it doesn’t cost you a dime. It’s service. It’s things that you can do. I call them outside-the-box ways to share your faith.

00:36:25 – Johnny Sanders
I think those are excellent ideas, Ralph. I’m sure many listening are like, hey, I want to, I want to listen to Wacky Wednesday or, you know, some of those things that you’ve been talking about. How can people be in touch with you, listen to the podcast, and also read your books as well?

00:36:42 – Ralph Estep Jr.
So it’s really simple. My podcast is askralphpodcast.com. so just askralphpodcast.com. When you arrive there, you’ll find over 300 episodes. There’s a store there where you can buy my book. I got two books. The first one’s called mastering your finances. It’s a 47-page manual, on how to take control of your financial life, if you read it, you will have a direct impact. It will be immediate. If you put the things into action, you will change the dynamic of your financial trajectory. I promise you that. And the second book I wrote is there as well. And that’s, like I said, it’s called The Gospel of Entrepreneurship. And it’s not just for business owners. It’s for anybody to say, okay, how can I live out my faith, within the walls of my business? And while you’re there, if you want to schedule an appointment with me, I do Zoom consulting for people. Maybe you’re a small business person. Maybe you’ve got some tax issues. Maybe you’re thinking about launching a business. You can schedule an appointment with me right there. And I don’t care where you’re at. I have clients all over the world now because Zoom has opened up the doors. And that’s the coolest thing you learn about cool people, cool cultures, and all that kind of stuff. It’s askralphpodcast.com. you can buy the books there as well. They’re also on Amazon if you want to google my name. Ralph Estep. Estep. They’re there as well. And I don’t. I didn’t write the books to make a mint. That’s not why I wrote them, but. And if you are a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, you can get them for free. They’re right there for you to go and listen to and look at them. Get ready to do an audible version, I think, after tax time. So that’ll get. Open up more doors. But that’s the best way to get in touch with me. Just askrouthpodcast.com. it’s a daily podcast. It’s not a big investment. Like I said, it’s between ten and 18 minutes. Sometimes if I do an interview, it gets a little longer, but, you know, and if you see a topic that doesn’t interest you, skip it. That’s cool. You know, not everybody is going to need to know what, what’s a robocall and how does that impact you? Or what’s PMI insurance and how does that impact you? Like today, I did a podcast I recorded this morning. It’ll, it’ll play next Friday. And that’s how to keep your business and personal finances separate. That’s huge. People don’t realize what a huge problem that is. So that’s what I do. I bring practical advice. I’m not going to be one of these judgmental guys that says, you must do this and you must do that. I’m going to give you action items. I’m going to give you steps. You’re going to hear about what’s going on on the farm. You know, if the cows are getting angry with me because all it does is rain, you’ll hear about that. You’ll hear about my two German shepherd dogs that like to chase foxes. Because guess what I realized a long time ago. I want to build a relationship with my listeners. My goal in my practice is building. Build clients for life. Well, how do you do that? You build that relationship, and I have clients to this day that come in. I’ve been doing this for, on my own now since 2004. I’ve been doing accounting work since I was six. My dad has an accounting practice. So at six, when everybody else is playing with legos, I’m playing with 1040s. I’m messing with a copier, trying to figure out how to make these copies right? But that’s what I bring to the table. And so if you want to set up a relationship with me, go to Astro podcast.com. and I would love to get to know you. You click on the little. We have an icon on our website. You click on a little microphone icon, you can say, hey, Ralph, tell me about this. Or, hey, Ralph, I’ve got this problem. Tell me about that. And we’ve got people to do that. But if you. If you don’t want to do that, you can go out to our repertoire of over 300 episodes. You might find one that interests you, but it’s all about mastering your finances so that you can do good. And from a Christian perspective, I’m not, you know, because the truth is, Johnny, if you want to be successful and be a ratio, you can do that. You know, if you want to be successful and take advantage of people and squander and do all kinds of crazy stuff, you can do that. But you know what I do at night, Johnny? I put my head on the pillow, I ask for forgiveness for what I went through today, and I go to sleep. Do you know why? Because, bless you, the surgeons, Jesus is mine. I have that relationship. And my goal in my podcast is I want everybody else to feel that, that faith, that foundational assurance. And if I can be the vessel for that, if God uses me for that, then amen. That’s what I’m here to do.

00:40:37 – Johnny Sanders
Great. I will include that link down there below so you guys can check out books and the podcast and everything. And Ralph, it was an absolute pleasure to have you on. Is a great conversation.

00:40:48 – Ralph Estep Jr.
Great. Thank you. I appreciate your time and I look forward to your success as well, because guess what? It takes a village here, doesn’t it? If you’re successful, I’m successful. How many people can we reach, you know, let’s get to people finding their purpose and living out that purpose? Live it out loud. I write that when I sign one of my books for people. I say, live your faith out loud.00:41:07 – Johnny Sanders
Absolutely. Absolutely. Well, thanks again for being on. Thank you to those who have listened and or watched on YouTube or Rumble, wherever you’re seeing this. Thanks again for the support. Definitely. Check out Ralph’s website and app his podcast and books and everything, and I will catch you all on the next episode.