New Hope Notes
When The Financial Roof Caves In
Pastor Elwin Ahu
We are starting a new series called ?Desperate Households.? Our marketing department prepared a nice brochure that you could invite family and friends to our series. Our specific topic today is about ?When The Financial Roof Caves In.? It is a crucial topic of our times. It is important to God. How many times do you think finances are spoken in the Bible? God spoke about finances in the Bible 2300 times. Indeed, it is important! Pastor Elwin will be sharing with us through the different passages in the Bible and analogies about our finances. He will also give us pointers on how to think biblically about our finances.
We live in desperate times. Don?t we? When you read the newspaper or turn on the television, we see various things going on. Either it is in education, or the economy or in the environment especially with what was happening in the British Petroleum oil leak in the gulf, they all affect us. Everything that surrounds us affect us. Conditions of our families are influenced by what is happening around us.
So, I thought it is appropriate to start our new series entitled ?Desperate Household.? As we go on in this series there will be times that the topic might hit you hard. Pardon me for that. The Bible is really going to speak to us on how our households should be. Inside as your insert with your bulletin is a beautiful brochure about our new series prepared by our Marketing Department. Inside the brochure are so many topics related to what is going on concerning desperate families. There will be topics for men about roles of men in the household and this is also for women that don?t have husbands in their homes. Next week I will tag team with my son concerning that topic. Bring your cell phones because we will have live text message time with your questions. Then the following week we will talk about forgiveness. After that during the July 4th weekend, we are going to talk about the foundations of our country which is extended to our homes plus moral values. Then after that we will have the topic entitled, ?Restoring Life to the Living Room? in which where so much things happenings in our homes. Finally, we have the topic ?Blending Families?in the Kitchen.? Sometimes it is in the kitchen things get blended together. Nowadays statistics show blended families are being the norm because of growing divorces. In this topic we are going to talk about the godly principles that will bind these existing families.
Today we are going to talk about what affects so many families. When the financial roof caves in, what do we do in times like this. What do you do? It is one of the main topics around the water cooler lately. The topics are bankruptcies, job loses and foreclosures. They relate to finances. They affect you or someone you know. Finances also affect the stresses and tensions that often times family leads to divorce, substance abuse and disintegration of families. How do we adjust to those issues? Desperate people do desperate things during desperate times.
Recently I read a book written by James Patterson and Peter Kim called ?The Day America Told The Truth.? In this book, it revealed some startling statistics about what people would do in America for one million dollars. Twenty-five percent of people in America would abandon their families for one million dollars. If we divide this auditorium in one fourth, twenty-five will do just that. This side would abandon their families. Shame on you! Twenty-three said that they will be prostitutes for a week or more. 16% would give up their citizenship. This in is in America today folks! Then, sixteen percent would leave their spouses. Now husbands look at me not your spouses. Ten percent would withhold testimony and let a murderer free. Seven percent would kill a stranger. Your spouses are not strangers so don?t look at them. Three percent will put their kids for adoption for 1 million dollars. So many people would just give them away for free. Yes?desperate people do desperate things for the sake of money!
Stress about money affects us in so many different ways. Between women and men, stress affect them in different way. Who do you think gets affected more? The answer is women get affect more about debt. Statistics say that women get affect more. Women that are married between the ages of 30 and 44 get stress more about finances. On the other hand, men get stress more especially if they are single, retired, over 60 and rich. Indeed, it affect us differently.
So, is our finances a big deal to God? What does God say in the Bible about that? Actually, there are 2300 Bible verses about how we manage our finances, debt, and possessions. Why do you think He has done this? God wants us to handle our finances and possessions well because he wants us to grow spiritually. He doesn?t want us to remain babies spiritually. One way of growing spiritually is how do we handle our finances, debt and possessions. Many times it narrow down to who do we trust when it comes to our money matter and things that belong to us. Who do you trust when it comes to these things? When I look at this downward spiral in our economy, I think it boils down our trust in God. It is really a spiritual matter. Here are various coins what does it say in all of them? I have a penny, a nickel, a dime and a quarter. What are the same about all of them. Written on them is ?In God we trust.? Then, on our paper denominations, one, five, ten, and twenty dollars bills, what does it say? In God we trust. In every coin and money denominations we have, it says those words. Do we really mean it? Do we really trust God? Each denomination we agree on how much their values. But we couldn?t agree on our spiritual value. I believe that our economy is falling a part because it is a spiritual issue.
George Barna, who does a lot of surveys about spiritual issues in America, issued this report after doing a survey. The report stated that Christianity is not our default faith anymore. It was an assumption before that if you were born in America you would affiliate with the Christian faith. It is no longer that way. This new report shows that only half of the adults believe that they can pick and chose their faith. Instead of contending with a church or denomination beliefs, they can customize package their beliefs. Most of them say that their faith is still important but faith in what? In conclusion, George Barna said in his report that American nowadays pick and chose what they deem are accurate and important to them base on Christian views and worldviews. They put a customize package. They don?t spend time anymore in participation of Bible studies and listening to preaching. They look at Christianity now like they are tuning a radio. They turn on the dial and stop on what they feel good about. When it comes to down and dirty doctrines of Christianity played, we turn it off. It plays down also in Wall Street and Washington DC with our economy that spiritual matters are handled that way. There is no more moral guidance from the God and the Bible. We need not to look at others but God on this matter of our economy. We need to look at God. So let us read what it says in Luke about us, as Christians in regards to finances, debt and possession.
Let us read..
"He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much. Therefore, if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you?" (Luke 16:10-11)
God is looking at us. America is looking at us, Christians. God is waiting to bless us. He is waiting for us to be good stewards. If you could take care of the little things, God will bless you. God is waiting to bless us and our families and church . If you look with a spiritual eyes, you could see these things in the next verse.
Let us read..
1. Debt is a symptom; MATERIALISM is the root problem.
Materialism is the roots. Goods replace God. We pursue the happiness that We purse goods instead of God. As long as God remains in the second place, we can?t win the battle. Our God is a jealous god. On the other hand, the god of materialism is a hungry god and is never satisfied.
Let us read the next Bible verse?
"Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless." (Eccl. 5:10 NIV)
King Solomon said this during his time. Today we still have this yearning. Why do we still want more? We work so hard. We can?t take it with you. Did you hear about this man that wants take his money to the grave. He ask his wife to bury him with his all of his money. Instead she wrote a check for all his debt and threw it in the grave. Yes? we want to just worship the god of materialism. It starts as children, when their desires of happy meals and toys are where their happiness depends on. Does the things you put all your happiness really bring you happiness? As we get older, things don?t change we want bigger toys and things. We are never satisfied.
Let us read the next Bible verse?
Don?t get me wrong. We need money to survive and for our basic needs. But for some people, they want more. When they lose their jobs, they get mad they can?t get the things they want. We need to put it in perspective. Instead of worshipping the god of materialism we need to have intentional relationship with God. We need to spend time in doing our daily devotions and pursuing God. Reading the Bible.
The next point?
2. CONTENTMENT is key to free you from the stress of debt.
"Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint. Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle." (Prov. 23:4-5 NIV)
Riches don?t last long. In fact it was written in the Readers Digest that some people that after they won the lottery were heavy into drugs, got divorce and lost their money. Never satisfied. Another story said that there was industrialist that was convincing a fisherman on how to get rich. He kept suggesting but in the end the fisherman was satisfied where he was.
?His divine grace has given us everything we need for life and godliness.?( 2 Peter 1:3 )
We already have everything that we need to pursue life and godliness. He has given it all to us. Instead of being bitter with what we can?t have, let us be contented for He has given everything to us.
Let us read the next verse?
Financial freedom isn't about how much you EARN; it's about how much you SPEND.
Hasty short cuts leads to poverty. Fortune 100 rich people has one advice: Spend less than you make. That is it folks. Decrease your yearnings not increase your earnings. Put in line with your spending with your earnings. Biggest culprit of spending is impulse buying. I remember the times that I just sat in front of the television and just buy things I don?t need what was advertised. I kept buying. Another thing that gets us are sale. We ended collecting so many stuff we don?t need. We need to plan what we buy.
Read the next verse?
"Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty." (Prov. 21:5 NLT)
3. Commit yourself to a plan that pay GOD first.
There are all kinds of plans out there. When we do this series, we have outside resources to help everybody. Pastor Wayne mentioned about the envelope plan. What every you budgeted and put in the envelope if it is empty you don?t buy anymore. And there is also the 10-10-80 plan. Ten percent to God. Ten percent to savings 80 percent for your needs. You have to give God first. God doesn?t need our money but he needs our hearts?it is about trusting God.
Let us read the next Bible verses?
"'Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,' says the LORD of hosts, 'if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.'" (Mal. 3:10)
I remember when I first came to New Hope it was hard about tithing. First, I would tithe $5.00. I am ashamed to say. Then as I trusted God I tithed more. It wasn?t just my money God wants but he was after my heart. God also has blessed me more through the years.
Proverbs 3:9 Honor the Lord the first part of your income and he fill your barns with overflow.
In conclusion, in the Story in the book Mark in Bible told about a woman who gave out of her being poor. She was blessed. We need to be a church like her. We need to give to God with our heart.
1. Who do you trust when it comes to your finances?
2. What is the symptom and root of financial problems?
3. Are you going through specific trials that you could share with the group on how God
is walking you through about your finances?
4. Give an example of how the various passages from the Bible affect our finances.
5. What is one of the biggest culprit of debt?
6. What is the real definition of financial freedom? Discuss the Bible verse that goes with