Thursday, July 23, 2020

The Inner Views of Kalen Bruce

"But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves."
James 1:22

I am so excited to introduce you to a new friend!  God recently orchestrated the crossing of our paths online, and he has been such a blessing to my family and me.  He just recently published a brand-new book that is absolutely wonderful and life-changing, and I will tell you how to purchase your own copy at the end of this post.  I am SO grateful to him for being willing to take the time to grant us an exclusive interview.   He's a Christian, a husband, a father, a USAF soldier, and an author, and I know his words will bless you as much as they blessed Kevin, Zach, and me.

Without further ado, I bring to you ~


Kalen Bruce

Cheryl:  Please tell us about yourself. 

Kalen:  I'm a pretty random guy. My wife and I have been married for 15 years. We have 5 amazing kids, between the ages of 2-14. I've been a financial writer since 2013. I'm a financial coach, and I run a few blogs, with my main focus being Freedom Sprout, dedicated to helping parents raise money-smart kids. I just published my first book, "10 Branches of Growth." My next book, Intentional Children, will be out later this year! For my day job, I'm a War Planner for the USAF. I've served on active duty for about 8 years and I'm not sure how long that will continue. I love what I do for the military, but my passion is in writing and helping people become financially free and free of consumerism. I wasn't raised financially literate and now that I am financially literate, I've been able to help my mom do the same. I was mostly raised by my mom, since I lost my dad when I was 13. In my early adult years, I played drums in a Christian Metal band (I told you I'm random) -- a passion I still hold. I play multiple instruments and hope to return to doing that for God one day soon. I also have a lot of tattoos (call it the military in me), but 90% of them are biblically based and the others are related to world travel. I'm an avid reader and hiker as well.

Cheryl:  We would love to hear the details of your personal Christian testimony.  What life events led you to Jesus?

Kalen:  I actually got saved in a parking lot behind a club called KMA (which stands for Kiss My ***). Excuse the language, but that says something about what I was saved out of. My past life was a pretty dark place. Fortunately, I made some great friends and got saved at the age of 14. A certain youth pastor had a lot to do with it. I didn't step foot in a church for the first time until I was 14. Everything before that involves a lot of stuff adults shouldn't be doing, let alone a child. God's grace is amazing.

Cheryl:  How has surrendering to Christ changed your life and perspective?

Kalen:  I firmly believe Jesus + nothing = everything. I try to do every action in my life for Christ. My sense of consumerism has faded. My love for material possessions has dwindled. Even though I'm a financial coach, I really don't care much about money. I believe giving is so important and ever since we started giving to God's work (I purposely don't use the word tithe, I wrote about why here), our finances have been blessed beyond measure.

Cheryl:  Tell us about your website/blog, "Freedom Sprout."  What is it all about?

Freedom Sprout is about raising money-smart, generous, non-materialistic kids. I write about everything from teaching kids about money to simplifying your life to making the most of your time. It started when I had the realization that kids don't learn a lot of important life skills in school (finance being the primary one). So I set out on a journey to help.

Cheryl:  What is the story behind the name, "Freedom Sprout?"

The name came naturally (or maybe supernaturally) as we were praying and preparing to start creating a finance course for kids (coming soon!).

Freedom: the quality or state of being exempt or released usually from something onerous (a burden).

We’re breaking the generational curses of financial bondage.

Sprout: to send out new growth.

Financial freedom is often a new concept to families.

We're sprouting a future generation of financial freedom.

Cheryl:  What role has minimalism played in your life? 

Kalen:  A huge role. Mostly the detachment from consumerism and materialism. Having five kids, it has allowed us to breathe in a home without being overwhelmed with stuff (read: junk). I write a lot about this, especially in my new book coming later this year.

Cheryl:  Please share some of the main life lessons you have learned about being a faithful Biblical steward.

Kalen:  Give and you shall receive applies to all areas of your life, not just finances, and giving specifically to receive is going to disappoint you.

God doesn't owe us anything, but He has chosen to give us everything. If we are faithful in the little things, He will entrust us with the big things.

Cheryl:  What do you identify as being one (some) of the biggest area(s) of struggle for today's Christian families?

Kalen:  Keeping the family together. As Christians, our divorce rate is no lower than non-believers.

Finances. We, as Christians, are often reluctant to even give 10%, let alone to give sacrificially as Jesus did.

Consumerism. It affects all of us.

Cheryl:  How have you and your wife found victory in these) areas?

Kalen:  Minimalism has led to our victory over consumerism and it has helped with our finances. We are huge givers, but honestly, we could give more. I don't believe we give to the level of sacrifice -- we don't truly feel it. But we're working our way there. As far as marriage goes, it's hard. We've had to admit that. We've had plenty of setbacks, but we both have the mindset that marriage is forever and we will keep our family together no matter what it takes. That's led us to a very happy marriage. However, marriage isn't meant to make us happy, it's meant to make us holy. That's important to know.

Cheryl:  Tell us about Financial Freedom Coaching.

Kalen:  Everyone is capable of controlling their finances. As a financial coach, I help them see that. It's nothing revolutionary. Everyone knows the basics of how to handle money, but we don't do it. I help people figure out how to do it. I would coach for free if it worked, but it doesn't. I've learned if people don't have skin in the game, they won't take the advice and the accountability seriously.

Cheryl:  Can you share with us about your adoption experience?

Kalen:  We adopted a brother and sister (kinship) through the state. It wasn't expensive. Adoption doesn't have to be expensive. That's a myth. If you adopt through the foster system like we did, it doesn't cost much other than time. It's been around 6 years since we adopted. We don't tell people immediately, unless they ask, and everyone assumes all five children are biological. Adoption is beautiful. Christ Himself was adopted by His earthly father. I think too many people say "I would like to adopt one day," like we did for years until God dropped the opportunity in our laps and we had to decide if we were serious or not.

Cheryl:  What advice would you give anyone who is considering adoption?

Kalen:  Start the process of at least getting more information today. If you keep saying you'd like to do it one day, that day may never come. I know too many people who have been saying that for 20 years. It's not always easy, but with God's help it's more doable than you may think. Anyone is welcome to contact me with specific questions if they are considering adopting.

Cheryl:  Please tell us about your new book, "10 Branches of Growth." 

Kalen:  It's a manual for living, written to the 18-year-old me. Everything I wished I knew earlier and written from a Christian perspective. It's a Christian productivity book, specifically directed towards young adults. It covers things like the importance of character, building self-discipline, creating positive habits, controlling your finances, self-awareness, your relationship with God, how to have more energy, and a lot more... it's the 10 areas of life we can grow in and how to do it in under 200 pages.

Cheryl:  What inspired you to write the book?

Kalen:  Myself. It's what I would've loved to have had when I graduated high school. I wrote it as a guide to life for my kids and everyone else who wants a good outline of how to live a life of growth.

Cheryl:  Who will most benefit from reading your book?  Why?

Kalen:  Teens, and young adults (Christians or people on the fence), so I would say anyone ages 16-25, but it's written for anyone and everyone.

Cheryl:  As a source of hope for those who are struggling, please tell us about a dark or difficult or discouraging time in your life and how your faith in God sustained you.

Kalen:  I actually have a recent one. I was deployed to the Middle East when the recent bombing happened in Iraq. After Iran bombed Iraq, they set their missiles on our base. The President's statement deescalated the situation, but we spent a lot of time in our protective gear and under bunkers. The sound of fighter jets gave me anxiety for months, because they sound similar to rockets. This was a problem, because I work at a fighter base and hear them all day. Through prayer and my wife's help I've been able to overcome what they tried to label as PTSD. Prayer is what got me through and helped me escape dark thoughts. Without God, I don't know how I could have mentally handled that load.

Cheryl:  Name some spiritual resources that keep you encouraged during hard times.

Kalen:  For songs, this is where I get weird or random again, because I like a style of music that's foreign to many Christians. I listen to Christian metal bands like Fit For a King, Phineas, Sleeping Giant, For Today, Living Sacrifice, and the list goes on. I connect with that style. I also love praise and worship, like Bethel, Hillsong, and David Crowder. Crowder's Church Music album is a go-to for me, but mostly it's the heavier stuff. For books, I'm a big reader so too many to name, but I would say my main ones are:

Anything by Greg Boyd, but especially Is God to Blame, Cross Vision, The Jesus Legend, The Myth of a Christian Nation, Escaping the Matrix and Present Perfect

Anything by John Eldredge, but especially Fathered by God, Moving Mountains, and Wild at Heart

Anything by Donald Miller, but especially Blue Like Jazz and Searching for God Knows What
Anything by Francis Chan, but especially Crazy Love

Jesus + Nothing = Everything by Tullian Tchividjian

Speaking of Jesus by Carl Medearis

The Bible Tells Me So by Pete Enns

Trust First by Bruce Deel

I'm also a huge fan of Ravi Zacharias, Dallas Willard, Philip Yancey, and Andy Stanley

Scripture-wise, James is my favorite book. I read the Bible daily and have too many favorite Scriptures to name all of them. Phillippians 4:13, as common as it is, is still a favorite of mine. James 1:22. Joshua 24:15. I actually want to get a tattoo of Leviticus 19:28 (the verse against specific tattoos under the Old Testament Law), because to me it shows how we were under the law, but now live under the Spirit, and how it's not what goes into us or what we look like that defiles us, it's what comes out of us and what we produce.

Cheryl:  What are some thoughtful gestures by others that have been most effective in ministering to you in your Christian walk that readers can emulate to help others?

Kalen:  Showing Christ's love through loving me, without throwing Scripture at me before I believed. Loving me where I was.

Cheryl:  What are some of the most meaningful ways the body of Christ can bring peace to a troubled, divided world?

Kalen:  LOVE. EACH. OTHER. That's it: love. We all need to stop judging and start loving. We need to understand that we all have our struggles and we're no better than anyone else, Christian or non. We can't earn our salvation; Christ already did that for us. Through loving and serving others, it's impossible for people to not eventually see the love of Christ. We need to stop worrying so much about being safe and start worrying about living a life of meaning and purpose and love. Another issue I've seen is holding doctrine above the Bible. Doctrine is great, but it can become an idol.

Cheryl:  How can we pray for you and your family?

Kalen:  We will be going through a big move soon, likely to Asia. Please pray for our family's cohesion through this time and our reliance on God. Pray that this move helps us grow closer to God and to each other.

You can connect with Kalen at his website, FreedomSprout.comFinancial Freedom Coaching, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

To order Kalen's brand-new book, "10 Branches of Growth," click HERE!!  

You will be abundantly blessed by reading this book.  It is jam packed with Biblical truths and advice that will absolutely change your life for the better!  It is one of those books that you will refer to time after time as you are faced with new life challenges because its truths can be applied to so many different situations.  As I read it, the precious Holy Spirit inspired me to apply Kalen's words to my ongoing weight loss battles.  It is already helping and motivating me, and I am so thankful God led me to Kalen's book.  I hope you will click HERE and order your own copy today!

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  1. I'm so happy to meet Kalen through this Inner View, Cheryl, and his book sounds like a true winner. Hope he sells lots of copies, and my God bless him and his family during the upcoming move!

    1. I'm so thankful to introduce him to you, Martha! His book is wonderful. It is helping me so much concerning weight loss. It is packed with so many great suggestions and is helping me to become more disciplined. God is always so faithful to send us what we need when we need it! I hope you can order his book. I really think you would enjoy it!

  2. Thank you for introducing Kalen to us today Cheryl. He and his wife sound like wonderful, Christian people who are raising the future generation to serve him. May God bless them abundantly as they continue to spread the gospel message through various ways.

    1. Yes! I thought the same thing. It is so refreshing to meet a young couple raising Godly children. I am so thankful God brought them across our path! Many blessings to you, too, Betsy!

  3. Cheryl, thank you for introducing Kalen to us. How wonderful to see a young family that is totally committed to the cause of Christ in all areas of their personal lives. Wishing you a joy-filled weekend!

    1. Kalen and his family are truly an inspiration! His book is amazing. I am enjoying it so much and gleaning so many truths to help me become more disciplined. I hope you have a wonderful, joy-filled weekend, too, sweet friend!