Monday, October 7, 2013

Freedom to Give

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Here is the third sermon in the Elephant in the Room series, by Josh Surratt. It's pretty practical financial advice with biblical backing.

I know a lot of people who exist in a state of debt, particularly when it comes to cars. Finance a car, pay it off, finance another one to replace the older car, pay that off...do it again. It's a cycle of constant debt; it's the American way.

There are some pretty gnarly statistics here about debt in the US. I fall into it as well -- buying what I want with money I don't have. Why do we do that? Is it a lack of patience? Is it the desire to keep up with our neighbors?

I understand things like house loans and student loans -- large amounts we could probably never get around. Or could we? I have a friend who was saving up to buy a house with cash, and at the time I chided him for it. "No one does that," I said, probably with a hint of jealousy in my voice.

It's true, no one does that anymore. But as Christians, aren't we called to live life differently? Maybe this is part of it.

At the end of the sermon, Josh says that this obsession with debt is a heart issue. I agree, and would encourage those of us in debt to examine how we got there and figure out ways to change it. Are we serving money, or is money serving us as we serve God?


Notes:
  • Proverbs 22:7 - "The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender."
    • We are slaves to our financial situations: cars, houses, student loans, etc.
      • Statistically, the average American owes 4 times more than he/she makes in a year
    • Debt is the normal way of life
      • But we are called to live differently
  • Temptations of Christ-followers when it comes to money
    • We are tempted to serve money
      • Matthew 6:24 - "No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money."
      • Buying things we don't need with money we don't have is serving money
      • If you've held onto money out of security, you're probably serving money
    • We are tempted to love money
      • 1 Timothy 6:10 - "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs."
        • Money is not evil, it's neutral -- the love of money is when it gets bad
      • It's not about how much you have, but how you hold what you do have, and think about what you don't have.
      •  Your attitude without money won't change when you have more money
        • Statistically, the more you have, the less you give percentage-wise
        • Luke 16:10 - "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs."
      • Ecclesiastes 5:10 - "Whoever loves money never has enough;
            whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income.
            This too is meaningless."
        • In the US, it's usually not an income issue, but a lifestyle issue
  • We don't serve money, we serve God
    • Money serves us, as we serve God
      • Money buys us time
      • Money buys us options
        • With options, we can give more spontaneously
  • 3 Steps to financial freedom
    • Stop the bleeding
      • Self-control
    • Act your wage
      • If you don't have the money to buy something you want, you're not allowed to buy it
      • You can't keep up with your parents, who worked 20 years to get where they are at (for a youngster)
      • Sacrifice is the keyword
    • Get a plan and work it
      • You can wander into debt, but not out of it
      • Proverbs 27:23-24, 21:5
      • Discipline is the keyword
      • Budget = telling money what to do, making money serve us
  • It starts with repentence
    • It's a heart issue

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