Frequency Week 3 . Recognizing God’s Voice

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“The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”  John 10:3-5

Here it says other people are speaking to us, strangers. The world, the flesh, the devil has a voice and is speaking.

Take a look back at our posts on Preparing to Hear God’s Voice and The Whispers of God to find out how you can listen best and how God speaks most.

Today let’s answer the question, “How do we know if what we’re hearing is God, the devil or somethingwe just made it up ourselves?”

“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God…” 1 John 4:1

There are going to be certain feelings or impressions that lead you one way, but first run them through a few tests, some filters.

“There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.” Proverbs 14:12


Testing an Impression

1. Does it line up with the Bible?

God’s voice will never contradict God’s word. God’s Will, will never contradict God’s word. He will never tell you to violate, ignore or disobey the Bible.

He’s not going to say one thing in the Bible and then say to you something else. For instance, in the book of Romans it says as a matter of conscience, we are to pay our taxes. So as we move into tax season, if you feel led to not pay your taxes or cheat your taxes a little bit, that did not come from God.

Here’s another example:

“Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?’ ‘Haven’t you read,’ he replied…”  Matthew 19:3-6

Jesus then goes on to quote the book of Genesis. He quotes the Bible. He asked the Pharisees why they were asking His opinon when it had already been written.

Instead of answering these questions about right and wrong, just point to God and His word. What makes Him God is that He gets to say what’s right or wrong. If we are following Him, we will know the answer.

The context of this passage is divorce, but it could be a number of topics. God does not hate divorced people, He hates divorce. If you are honest, you do too. God hates anything that hurts us. He loves you and he can redeem anything you’ve been through. If you’ve gone through the tragedy of this, God’s word also says that He can redeem and heal anything.

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” Luke 21:33

So, there will even be a new heaven and a new earth, but God’s word will not need to be new. His word is true forever.

2. Will it make me more like Christ?

In other words, will the thing you are feeling, if you follow through with it, will it make you more like Jesus or less like Jesus? This is God’s ultimate purpose for you. This really is our ultimate goal after salvation. Don’t make it your goal before salvation. You have to meet Jesus, love him and surrender your life to Him before you’ll have what it takes to become like Him. You don’t have to get your act together to become a Christian. Salvation is free. You don’t have to earn it.

Once you’re saved we work out that salvation. Regeneration is going to take place. This means that the more you know Christ, the more you become like Him.

Let Him work on your attitude, decision making and all your choices. We are not where we need to be, but thank God, we’re not where we used to be.

At Rock Brook we help you grow in your faith in two primary ways: Growth Track & Small Groups. Visit the connect tab on our website to find out more about these to pathways to growth.

“In your lives you must think and act like Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 2:5 NCV

“We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5

If you still say,”I don’t even know what Jesus would do.” Let’s look at a list found in scripture.

“For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, is considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.”  James 3:16-18

This is a great grid to think through. First notice he says there are two ways to know it’s not from God and many ways to know if it is from God.

He says if it’s not from God, it’s full of envy or selfish-ambition.

God does not give selfish ideas. We come up with them ourselves. If you have a great idea that’s going to make you filthy rich, everyone’s going to be envious of you and you are going to be the top dog, God says that idea is not from Him. God didn’t put you on earth to bless your selfish ambition and live for yourself.

If you get an idea and it’s from God, it’s going to be one of these things…

Pure: An impure thought is not from God.

Peace-loving: Ideas from God promote harmony, not division. God is not going to give you an idea to create conflict in your family, marriage, small group, workplace or at church. To divide people into this side and that side, means gossip is present and gossip is not from God. When we criticize, condemn and gossip about others, we’re just doing the devil’s work for him.

ConsiderateWill your idea help you but hurt someone else? Then it’s not from God.

Submissive: Teachable, the willingness to have the idea checked by someone else, is submitting that idea to them.

Full of Mercy: Will my idea make me more gracious, more fogiving? You’ve been forgiven, so be gracious to everyone else. God has cut you some slack, do that for others. When you think you hear from God, but you’re critical and always judging others, it’s proof you haven’t heard from God. It takes no wisdom or maturity to criticize others.

Impartial and Sincere: Don’t use what God tells you to manipulate others. If God gives you a dream, you’ll never have to manipulate to see it happen. You may have to work hard, but you’ll never have to manipulate or control. God is in control. When God gives you a dream or a word, surrender it back to Him.

What a great list to help us know if we are growing more like Christ. Here’s another filter we can use.

3. Does godly counsel agree?

You’ll be in a situation where people say different things, look for agreement. When you’re working on something or planning something, there’s power in agreement. Don’ trust every spirit, instead test it to make sure it’s of God.

“The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice.” Proverbs 12:15

The wisest people aren’t the ones who know everything. The wisest people are the ones that know they don’t know everything. Wise people ask questions before they answer questions. Wise people know there’s always more to the story.

Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise. Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”  Proverbs 19:20-21

“Surely you need guidance to wage war, and victory is won through many advisers.” Proverbs 24:6

This isn’t suggesting going person to person that when they don’t give you the report you want, so I’ll go to someone else. If you don’t have any agreement, just stop.

4. Do I have peace?

What’s so unique about Christianity is that we don’t just worship an external God, we have God in us. You have this spirit, the Holy Spirit inside of you, and that’s a powerful thing.

You’ve felt it before. You’ve felt the clash of God’s spirit to your flesh wanting to go two different ways. Like the devil on the shoulder and the angel on the other. That’s a cartoon version of a reality.

How does God talk? Peace.

Jesus says it’s a peace the world can’t even give. There’s not a bottle or pill that can give it. God has a peace that the world cannot give. Follow that.

“For God is not the author of confusion but of peace…” 1 Corinthians 14:33 NKJV

He doesn’t author confusion, He’s the God of peace. Some of the biggest decisions in your life will have fears, will make you take risks, but there can be a peace with God about it.

Peace is an inner state, regardless of what’s happening on the outside. Now there’s a difference between peace, and justifying. Being able to justify something verses having peace with God about it.

Justifying something is when you find a reason that you tell yourself is a good enough reason to go ahead with something. If peace is an inner state, justifying is a legal argument. We can come up with an argument and justify why we need to buy this or why we need to do this at work, but when all that settles down, do you have peace about it?

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:6-7

Live in such a way that regardless of what you face, you sense this garrison, this army surrounding your heart and mind with peace. Whatever the circumstances, God is able to guard your heart and mind with peace in Christ Jesus.


Frequency

How do you get this peace daily in your life? This series of posts is called Frequencywe’re trying to tune into a frequency, the voice of God. But that word has a double meaning. Frequency also means, often. In other words, we need to tune in to God’s Frequency, frequently. Here’s some ways that God’s Frequency can have some frequency.

  • Tune in to God every day.

So the goal of daily Bible reading and prayer isn’t just to check a box. No, those are tools to tune into God. The ultimate goal of reading the Bible, isn’t to read the Bible, it’s to lead you to the person of the Bible. To know God’s nature and presence.

The goal of getting in the word is to meet the Word, Jesus Christ. Don’t make the moment the goal, but how well you tuned into God. Make time for God every day, slow down to hear his voice.

“When he gets them all out, he leads them and they follow because they are familiar with his voice.” John 10:4 MSG

People who hear God’s voice are those who spend time with that voice to where they’re familiar with it.

  • Tune out things that oppose God.

You have to actively shut down the voices that oppose God. We should all grapple with how much of the secular, the parts of the world, opposes God.

What in the world doesn’t bother you anymore, but it should?

If certain sins don’t bother you, that’s the problem. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in it, it no longer bothers us.

“They won’t follow a stranger’s voice but will scatter because they aren’t used to the sound of it.” John 10:5 MSG

  • Take steps toward what God has spoken.

Why would God keep talking to you if you didn’t do what he told you before? Take the step.

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”  John 10:27 MSG

Not only do they hear the voice, they do something about it.

They follow.


Check Back

Check back on your discussion from last week. Do you have any more thoughts, questions or conclusions about the message on the Whispers of God. God whispers encouragement, warnings, direction and dreams. Have you experienced that this week?

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcast or Google Play Music

Hear the Word

Read: John 10 & Philippians 4

To know if we are hearing God, we have to be able to recognize His voice. God’s voice will never disagree with His Word, so when we are wondering if God really spoke to us, we can ask ourselves,

  1. Does it line up with the Bible?
  2. Will it make me more like Christ?
  3. Does godly counsel agree?
  4. Do I have peace?

Application

  1. What stood out to you in this message? What was timely for you?
  2. Does it line up with the Bible? Why won’t God contradict what he says in his Word? How exactly do we test what we perceive to be God’s voice against the Bible? Share a situation when God guided you. How did it line up with God’s Word? On the flip side, share a time when you were contradicting the Bible. What happened?
  3. Will it make me more like Christ? What is the difference between wisdom motivated by envy or ambition and wisdom that comes from God? (James3:16-18)
  4. Does Godly counsel agree? Who is a believer that you have gone to for advice? If you don’t have anyone, spend this week praying for God to show you someone you can find Godly counsel in.
  5. Do I have peace? What is God’s antidote to worry, anxiousness and confusion? Share a time when following God relieved these negative feelings.
  6. Tune in to God every day. Tune out thing that oppose God. What are you doing to take steps towards God this week?

Tell Someone Else

This week, pray using 2 Corinthians 10:5 –  “We take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ.” As you go throughout your week and in your prayer life, challenge yourself to take every thought and spoken word and make them obedient to God’s word as you encourage others.

 

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Strapped Week 3: The Buck Starts Here

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Too many of us are living in a prison of financial debt and stress. The good news is we can learn how to get out of financial bondage. Let’s get smart with our money and learn practical and Biblical principles to free ourselves from being STRAPPED.


One of the most overwhelming things about money, is that everyone wants a piece of it. Our desire for this series is to help you in this season of life as we head into the end of the year and start a new year. Let’s learn how to manage our money in a way that we won’t be so strapped.

Week 1 As Christians, we don’t want to serve money. We serve God! Money serves us, as we serve God.

Week 2 There are Godly values that we can to apply to our finances and some practical tools for how to attack debt. Why attack debt? Because debt is attacking us!

God wants to bless you. Not in a prosperity gospel kind of way, but in the way that God wants good things for you! God does not want you to live as the servant of the lender. God wants you to live free and and leave a wake of generosity in your life.

Your Father is the King of the universe and owns the cattle on a thousand hills. He created everything out of nothing and has already given us an inheritance in heaven with Him. The best of our blessings are not dollars and cents or land and property. The best of our blessings are the spiritual blessings we have in Christ. Your Father wants you to live free. Let that idea take root in your life.

Here’s the normal way people think about the flow of their finances:

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We start most equations with ME, and what will advance me. What I want to do, what I want to accomplish, what I want to accumulate, what I want to experience. A lot of people don’t have something bigger to live for than ME.

The number one priority in this way of thinking is for me is to live. Where you want to live, how you want to live, with what you want to live with…

Second is save, when you can and if you can. You want to save, but that’s not the first priority. First priority is living, and if after living well, if there’s something you can save of course you want to do that.

Third is to give your money. You want to be generous. Who doesn’t? After you live and if you can save, any money after all of that, you want to give away.


God wants to flip this equation. God came to flip the script. When Jesus came from Heaven to Earth to live a perfect life in the face of temptation, to die our death on a cross and rise from the dead conquering the grave, it wasn’t so he could simply be another thing on the list of our life.

Jesus came so He could redeem our life and restore the relationship with Him that was lost. That only comes when we make Him number one in our lives.

He came so that everything in our life is ultimately about God, not about us. Here’s a new perspective that leads us to invert this order.

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The first priority is giving now. When God gives to us, the very first thing we think is “I’m going to GIVE back to God.” When God blesses us, the very first thought we have is I want to bless God. I want to bless others.

The second thing on this list is saving. There are things coming around the corner that you don’t know about. If you’re not saving, you won’t be in a position to do anything that is of you own free will, because you do whatever the bills say you need to do.

The third thing in the inverted way of thinking about this is livingWe still have to live, and there’s nothing wrong with that. You have to eat, you need a home to live in and you need to get around town. We’re not removing living from the list. This is not a poverty gospel that says, “I need to be miserable to truly have put God first.”

What we want is to live on what’s left after we prioritize giving and saving. We have to adjust our lifestyle to live on what we can afford after giving and saving. Instead of basing our saving and giving on our lifestyle.

The difference between these two models is the difference between whether you’re going to be the tail or the head. We invert this list, because it leads to blessing. With a lifestyle like the first diagram there is no blessing. With a lifestyle of the second one, there is a blessing.

If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God:

You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country. The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock—the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks. Your basket and your kneading trough will be blessed. You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out. The Lord will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven. The Lord will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to. The Lord your God will bless you in the land he is giving you.

The Lord will establish you as his holy people, as he promised you on oath, if you keep the commands of the Lord your God and walk in obedience to him. Then all the peoples on earth will see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they will fear you. The Lord will grant you abundant prosperity—in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your ground—in the land he swore to your ancestors to give you. 

The Lord will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. The Lord will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the Lord your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom. 14Do not turn aside from any of the commands I give you today, to the right or to the left, following other gods and serving them.”  Deuteronomy 28:1-14

Here the script is being flipped. It’s being inverted so you are able to help others. Jesus says you cannot serve both God and money. You will be the servant of one or the other but not to both. The New Testament tells us that the love of money will be a root to all kinds of evil in our life. So we know, that most likely, the false god in our life is called money.

God wants to help us change from a lifestyle that tries to keep us as the tail of the equation. When you’re the tail, you’re wagged by the economy, wagged and controlled by interest rates, controlled by circumstances or by the accumulation of the bills that come.

God wants to make you the head. A child of promise. This equation begins by saying, “God, I want to follow your ways. I want to follow what you say is the right way.”


Blog funnel 2.002Think about the diagrams from above like a funnel. If this is how your funnel looks, your catch-point is you. Then the catch-point for the blessing of God is very small. That makes the back door for all your money very big. In this scenario, you look around after years of working hard and wonder where all your savings went and why you still have debt.

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But when we invert the principle we start using the funnel correctly. Our catch-point for the blessing of God is really big. If God were to pour out a blessing, we can catch so much more than if we were holding the funnel upside-down.

Let’s take a deeper look at this order of things.

Giving. Saving. Living.


Giving

We recognize that everything we have comes from God and we want to return to God part of everything He gives us. The Bible calls it a tithe, a tenth. The Bible calls the first of every paycheck a first fruit.

When we come to know God, we trust Jesus for our eternity, but what can happen is we live our lives without trusting Him here and now. Most people who love church do not give first. Most people feel they can trust Jesus Christ for salvation and eternal life, but they will not trust him with their money.

But how can you really know that you trust God with all things, if you’re not regularly trusting Him with something that cost you something. Where do you start?

If 10% is not even an option right now, start with a percentage. Be a first fruit, percentage giver. Start with 3% and give that first to get the catch-point for the blessing of God to be the right way and then, work up to 10% and beyond.


Saving

God is calling us to steward our money well, manage it well and save it well. Here are three things to save for:

1. Emergencies

2. Purchases

3. Future

The point of saving money is:

Money + Time + Consistency = Wealth

Don’t try to get rich, quick or put all of your eggs in one basket. Don’t invest in anything you don’t understand. This formula creates margin, it creates freedom.


Living

If you give and save, the money left over will be enough. If you follow God and do what he calls you to do, there will be enough. It may mean rethinking what our living and expenses really look like. It may not live up to what all the pretenders are doing, but it will lead to life to the full.

“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written: “They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever.”

Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.”  2 Corinthians 9:6-11 (NIV)

It takes a season to have a harvest that produces more seed that can be planted again. Our church loves to do this. Collectively as a church body, with what is given, we do this too. We give, we bless others. We save, we don’t operate from offering to offering. We save for emergencies and purchases and the future. We’re not running this series because funds are low. This series is here because God wants you to be the head, not the tail. Then, we live. We pay the bills and operate the ministry.

One of our favorite things is at the end of the year, we do what we call a celebration offering. It’s a thanksgiving offering for what God has done this year. We’ll take the first part of this offering and give several missionaries and amazing organizations we support an extra month of support. Then we’ll save some of it and then further the ministry here. Join us this year for our Night of Worship and participate in our Celebration Offering to begin to turn the funnel the right direction to receive all God has for you.

Celebration Offering Kick-Off

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Check Back

Check back on your discussion from last week. Do you have any more thoughts, questions or conclusions about the message on the three financial values? (Self-control, sacrifice and planning.) How about attacking debt?

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcast or Google Play Music

Hear the Word

Read Deuteronomy 28 and 2 Corinthians 9.

How we handle our finances is an outward expression of an inward spiritual condition. Finances centered on ME will put the priority on living, then saving, then giving. Finances centered on GOD will be prioritized to give, then save, then live on the rest. This enables us to be the head, not the tail. Meaning we are not controlled by circumstances, but we are led by God. Like a funnel pointed in the right direction, this enables us to capture the blessings of God and live a focused life.

Application

  1. Are you a spender or a saver?
  2. Which do you enjoy more? getting or giving gifts.
  3. What’s your vision for your financial life?
  4. Which way is the funnel pointed in your finances?
  5. How are you investing for the future?
  6. Is your life focused? Are your finances focused? How could focusing your finances lead to a more focused life?
  7. Whose life do you need to invest in? What steps will you take to invest in them?

Tell Someone Else

Who do you need to share this message with? Is there someone you’re better equipped to have a conversation with because of this message?

Mark your calendar for the Night of Worship November 16th at 7:00

 

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Strapped Week 2: Embracing Financial Values

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Too many of us are living in a prison of financial debt and stress. The good news is we can learn how to get out of financial bondage. Let’s get smart with our money and learn practical and Biblical principles to free ourselves from being STRAPPED.


Let’s start today’s post with a quick review of last week’s post because each week we are going to build on the week before.

“The borrower is servant to the lender.”  Proverbs 22:7

Last week we looked into the Hebrew word translated as servant. It means a slave, it means to be in bondage. If we’re in debt, if we’re strapped, we’re actually in bondage. Most people don’t go around saying, they are a slave to money. What they often do is say how they would love to have a different job, have another kid or adopt, they would love to be serving, leading a small group or want to be a generous person, but they’re strapped.

The enemy loves it when we are bound up in financial bondage. You can’t do anything that God wants you to do without checking over your shoulder to see if you have the margin to say yes. The enemy knows that as long as you’re in debt, you can’t run with the Spirit of God. You can be on one of two paths in your lifetime. Either you are on a path to bondage or on a path to freedom. Our financial decisions are going to put us on a path to bondage or on a path to freedom.

Christ has come to set us free.

The big idea of the Gospel is that our debt is eternally paid by the perfect life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Our whole Christian story depends on a debt being canceled. Therefore everything that comes up out of our story is predicated on debts being canceled so much so that in the Lords prayer we pray, “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” 

A canceled debt on the cross is what gives me a ledger of freedom and the ability to be called a child of God.

Free children of God need to live fearless and live free. Because you cannot serve both God and money. Today is about debt. This topic is a generational one. Before the great depression in America, only 2% of homes had a mortgage against them. Now, just forty years later, only 2% of homes do NOT have a mortgage against them. How quickly things change. What we also see now is a generation of pretenders. They have the stuff, but they also have the debt. In fact, Scripture addresses this very plainly:

“One man pretends to be rich, yet he actually has nothing.”  Proverbs 13:7

So there are three groups of people today in our country. (1) The haves, (2) the have nots and (3) the have not paid for what they’ve got; they are the pretenders.

Let’s look at three essential values and these will apply to every area of our lives, but these are absolutely essential for us to become unstrapped and debt-free, bondage-free.


Biblical Values

1. Embrace the value of self-control.

“Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control.”  Proverbs 25:28

If you do not have financial self-control, you are like a city without walls, you are defenseless to attacks.

“The fruit of the Spirit is…self-control.”  Galatians 5:22-23

The result of knowing God, is self-control. The hardest person to say no to is yourself. We find every reason to justify a “yes.” We have to embrace the value of self-control. This is not to say, don’t enjoy life. Once you get out of debt and have the money, buy the car, get the whole thing! But when you’re getting out of debt, you need to embrace the value of self-control. 

Self-control means we say “no” for a little while so we can say “yes” for the rest of our lives.

2. Embrace the value of sacrifice.

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross…”  Hebrews 12:2

The joy set before him was the joy of pleasing God and knowing that you and I would have access to God through His sacrifice. He made the sacrifice, the brutal sacrifice for something He wanted even more.

Sacrifice is giving up something you love for something you love even more. 

You don’t want to be paying for this Christmas in May of 2019. So, you give up cable for something you want even more, a debt-free Christmas.

Maybe you want a bigger house, but what you want even more is for one of you to stay home with the kids so you make the sacrifice.

Maybe you’re in college and you like your alone time, but even more than that you want to graduate with no student loans. So, you take in two or three roommates, you sleep on the sofa, you do whatever it takes, you give up something you love for something you love even more; getting out of school without student loan debts.

Maybe you love going to lunch out every day, but you may love even more paying off your car. So you give up something you love, going out to lunch, instead you brown-bag it. Have you heard how much money you can save over a lifetime of working if you just brown-bag it every day? Over $112,000!

Now you don’t have to do that. These are just illustrations on how to give up something you love, for something you love even more.

3. Embracing the value of planning.

“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?”  Luke 14:28

“The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.”  Proverbs 21:5

Let’s get practical here. How can you plan to get out of debt? You can wander into debt, but you can’t wander outYou have to get a plan. The best plan out there is found in Financial Peace UniversityIt covers the whole spectrum of finances. It will teach you a plan in seven steps, called baby steps. Let’s take a look at the first 2 baby steps today.


Baby Steps

1. Save $1,000 for emergencies.

You need to get a little cash built up because things are going to break, you’re going to get a ball through your window, your refrigerator is going to break down…stuff happens and that should not surprise you!

How are you going to get a thousand dollars? You’re going to sell some stuff or get a second job. You can clip coupons to save on things you already purchase. As soon as you get $1,000, put it away in case of an emergency.

2. Attack debt using the debt snowball.

This is the absolute fastest way to get unstrapped and to free yourself from the bondage of debt. So often when it comes to our finances and our debt, we feel like a mosquito at a Chiefs game…we know what to do, we just don’t know where to get started.

Here are 3 steps to a debt snowball:

1. Survey your debt.

Write all of your debts down on one piece of paper. Write down how much you owe and your monthly payments.

Below, is an imaginary list of debts. In the first column is a list of the different people or businesses we owe money to as well as the interest rate. In the second column is the total amount owed and in the third column is the minimum monthly payment.

In this example, notice we owe $450 to Lowe’s, $650 to Target, $1,600 to our parents and so on.

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2. Budget

Make a budge that starts by listing your income and then start writing down all of your expenses. The budget you’re creating will include all of your debts, because you have to keep paying all these minimum payments. If you don’t pay these it tacks on compounding late fees and just increases your debt.

3. Attack debt.

That word attack is crucial, because you can wander into debt but you can’t wander out. How do you attack it? First, find an extra $200 a month. Maybe you will find this money the same way you saved $1,000 for emergencies. Get creative and find $200 extra a month. You may need to eliminate something like satellite television, your mobile data plan or the energy drink or coffee you get each day. You’ll find $200.00 a month.

Here’s how it will play out: Let’s start with Lowe’s. We owe them $450. Your minimum payment is $50. Now, you’ll pay them $50 and add to it the $200 that we just found totaling $250 a month and within a couple of months, Lowe’s is gone!!

You might have noticed how these debts are organized. They are organized by total owed, not by minimum payment or interest rate. Why? Because this is not just math. This is spiritual and emotional. When you break one of these chains of bondage you’re going to celebrate and it’s going to feel good. You want to get to that as soon as possible!

Now, we’re going to let the money start to snowball away the debt and focus on our debt to Target. We’ve already been paying Target $30.00 a month. Now we’re going to take that $30 and add to it $250 a month. We just freed up $250 a month by paying off Lowe’s! Now with $280, in just a couple of months Target is gone as well!

Next is our parents. We are already paying them $200 a month + the $280 that we freed up because we no longer have to pay Lowe’s or Target and at $480 a month that debt will soon be gone as well. So every single month we will apply our snowball amount to the next debt that we owe. We start with the smallest amount of debt so we can knock it out and our largest snowball amount will take out our largest debt. We’re going to wipe out everything we owe but the house.

What is the benefit of taking out debt over just making minimum payments? If you just continued to pay minimum payments on our pretend debt list, like so many people do, it’s going to take you 120 months to pay off your debt. That’s 10 years before you pay off all of this debt and that’s assuming you don’t take on anymore. Now, if you do the debt snowball, your payoff time is only 21 months. That’s a difference of 99 months of not paying any debt!

If you take the $1,110 full blown snowball each month and invest it at 8% for that same 99 months that you would have been paying off your debt, at the end of that time period you will have $153,992.30. In most parts of the world that will buy you a house, paid for in cash. You could be totally debt-free including a house in only 10 years! This is possible!

There’s a plan if you want it. That plan may not have you out of debt by this Christmas. It may be four Christmases from now until you see the light of day. Don’t let that stop you. With God’s help you can do this, but you’ve got to get a little crazy and get a little weird. You’ve got to get a plan and have a sacrificial attitude. You cannot live like everyone else. The more passion that you get about this the faster it can be done and the more good decisions you’re able to make.

Secret Ingredient: A Small Group

The secret ingredient it having some like-minded people help you achieve what you’re trying to achieve. Because there will be a lot of temptation. There’s going to be a lot of pressure. There’s going to be a lot of second guessing yourself. You will need the support of people around with a similar vision.

“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”  Ecclesiastes 4:12

Tell your existing small group what you’re doing and get their support. Maybe you’ve never had a group like that. Here are a couple places to look for a solid group to support your financial goals:

Financial Event, January 5th – at Rock Brook

Financial Peace University: Winter/Spring Small Group Semester (February 2019)

Managing money is one of the most visible, outward evidences of where our heart is spiritually. If you’re faithful with a little, God will trust you with much. Self-control, sacrifice and planning can make a huge difference.

Imagine the peace, if you broke free from this world’s broken system and all the chains of bondage, all for the glory of the One who gave His Son, Jesus just for you.

It can be done! Have hope, don’t give up, fight like crazy and watch as God delivers you from the bondage of debt. It all begins with the cross. That place where God canceled our ultimate debt. God didn’t cancel our ultimate debt so that we could live every day on this earth in financial debt. Before God talks to you about your money, He wants to talk to you about your heart, your soul, and your eternity. He wants to offer you something, not get something from you. He’s offering you Jesus and all of your sin wiped away.


Check Back

Check back on your discussion from last week. Do you have any more thoughts, questions or conclusions about the message on having a godly perspective on money? Has the Holy Spirit pointed out any areas where you are tempted to love or serve money?

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcast or Google Play Music

Hear the Word

“The borrower is servant to the lender.”  Proverbs 22:7

“One man pretends to be rich, yet has nothing…”  Proverbs 13:7

Three Biblical Financial Values

1. Embrace the value of self-control.

“Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control.”  Proverbs 25:28

2. Embrace the value of sacrifice.

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross…”  Hebrews 12:2

3. Embrace the value of planning.

“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?”  Luke 14:28

“The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.”  Proverbs 21:5

Baby Steps

1. Save  $1000 for emergencies.
2. Do the debt
snowball.

Secret ingredient: A Small Group

“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”  Ecclesiastes 4:12

Application

  1. What was your family’s perspective on money growing up?
  2. How has your life been affected by debt?
  3. Which of the three Biblical values do you struggle with most & need to focus on improving?
  4. Are you familiar with the Baby Steps from Financial Peace University?
  5. If you are struggling with debt, what immediate steps do you need to take to address it?

Tell Someone Else

Who do you need to share this message with? Is there someone you’re better equipped to have a conversation with because of this message?

  • Mark your calendar:
    • Financial Event: January 5th
    • Financial Peace University: Next Small Group Semester

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Strapped Week 1: A Godly Perspective on Money

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Too many of us are living in a prison of financial debt and stress. The good news is we can learn how to get out of financial bondage. Let’s get smart with our money and learn practical and Biblical principles to free ourselves from being STRAPPED.


Today we’re starting a brand new series on money, but it’s really all about perspective. Today we’re going to start with a foundation and talk about the heart and money. We’re going to look at a godly perspective on money; today is all about the heart. Then, we’re going to get a little crazy and we’re going to come up with a very different result than what most people have in the world.

“The borrower is servant to the lender.”  Proverbs 22:7

The Hebrew word translated as servant is the word ‘ebed. It means a servant, a slave and in bondageThe borrower, the one who is in debt is a servant, is in bondage to the one that they owe money to. Now, most people don’t go around saying they are a slave or in bondage when it comes to money. But what they do say, really implies that truth.

They say, “Oh, I’d love to get married to my girlfriend but we just can’t afford it!” What they’re really saying is, “I’m in bondage.”

They say, “Oh, we’d love to have another child,” or “We’d love to adopt a child,” or “We’d love for one of us to stay at home with our children, but we can’t do something like that.” What we’re really saying is, “I’m in bondage, I’m strapped.”

Maybe a lot of us are a step ahead of addiction or drunkenness or some of the big things we consider bondage. What we don’t realize is that the bondage of a wrong perspective on finances is a sneaky one, because it works itself into our lifestyle and all of sudden we’re not free to follow God in our lives.

We’re not leaving a wake of generosity in our lives because of the bondage of our perspective.

Take a look at these four statistics that deal with the bondage to money we’re experiencing.

  • 4 out of 10 Americans don’t have enough money to cover a $400 emergency.
  • For those carrying a balance, the average credit card debt is $15,000.
  • The average 21-year-old owes $12,000.
  • By 28, they owe $78,000.
  • The average number of U.S. households living paycheck to paycheck is 78%.

No wonder marriages struggle, it’s no wonder there’s so much tension. No wonder people in their late 20s leave the church and stop focusing on God. They’re in bondage. They have moved their focus to somewhere else.

What these stats mean is that well over a half of us, if we lost our job or didn’t get paid, couldn’t pay the house payment or the rent payment. It’s no wonder there’s so much tension.

Just looking at those stats, maybe you’d say, what’s the big deal? But if we were to translate those statistics, can you imagine what would happen if we ran the church finances this way? If we managed what you gave this way? What if we didn’t have any money to cover an emergency and said, “We’d love to fix the AC but we don’t have any money to cover that.” or “We can’t have church services this week because no one gave last week.” You would be appalled at a church that ran your money this way. The truth is though, we are all stewarding something that’s been entrusted to you by God. Yet, those statistics above are what is normal in the lives of many.

Normal in our culture is debt, normal is car payments, credit card payments, student loan payments, house payments, normal is fighting about money. Normal is divorcing over money, normal is laying awake at night worrying about money. Normal is not serving God in his church because of money.

That’s why we believe, if you’re a follower of Jesus, we are not called to be normal, we’re not called to conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our mind. We are called to be different.

Money is one of the most visible measurements of the condition of your heart.

We’re trying to set you free today. This series is about your freedom. God wants to set you free, because financial bondage stinks.

Let’s take a look at what the Bible says about perspective on money. There are two temptations today of money and we’ll build the foundation around the heart.

1. We are tempted to serve money.

“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”  Matthew 6:24

No one can serve 2 masters. Isn’t it interesting of all the things Jesus could have said, “You can’t serve God and _________…” And He said money. He could have said, you can’t serve God and power, God and popularity, God and yourself, or God and your sexual desires, but He said, “You cannot serve both God and money.”

Why? Because He knew that for many people money and material things would be the number one competitor for our hearts. We cannot serve both God and money.

Most people don’t think they serve money. At one point in your life, you probably have, however. If you’ve ever bought something you didn’t even really need with money you didn’t really have, you were serving money. You were under its powers of the false promises that those things would make you important, special or happy. If you ever didn’t give to someone who is in need because that was your money and you expected those people to make their own money. You were serving money.

2. We’re tempted to love money.

“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evilSome people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”  1 Timothy 6:10

This is one of the most misquoted verses. Most people quote it as saying money is the root of all evil. Money is not the root of all evil. Money is neutral, you can use it for good or you can use it for evil. It’s the love of money that births evil. You don’t even have to have a lot of money to love it. If you’re consumed with wanting more or jealous and critical of people with more, you love money.

Let’s be people who have money, but don’t love it. Let’s use money or leverage money, but not let money have a hold on us.

Money makes you more of what you already are. 

If you’re broke and not kind to people, once you have money you’re just rich and not kind to people. If you don’t have much money and you’re generous, when you get more money, you’re more generous. Money is a magnifier; it makes you more of what you already are. Let’s not wait for more money to do great things for God. Start today! Let’s be who God is calling us to be so that when more comes around, we can make it go farther we can magnify God’s goodness.

“Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless.”  Ecclesiastes 5:10

According to scripture, if you don’t think you have enough money, you love money. Many of us are under the power of money and we don’t even know it. We’re under the power and influence of money and it’s a heart issue. Most of us don’t need more money, what we need is a Godly perspective on our money. We need wisdom for our money.

Let’s call it what it is: bondage, debt, strapped. Let’s get so sick of it that we do something different. Let’s step out of the normal mold and say, “I want to honor God with my money.”

If you’re a Christian, we don’t serve money, we serve God. You cannot serve both God and money. We’re not in bondage to it, we’re not its slave, we don’t serve money we serve God.

Money serves us, as we serve God.

Money serves us as we serve God. Having a godly perspective brings us peace. The fruit of a godly perspective is margin, freedom and direction.

Have you ever met someone with a godly perspective on money, they’re kind of weird, and giddy, right? These kind of people are not fighting, not worried, they’re not strapped. They are able to embrace the life God has for them.

Money serves us as we serve God. You can get there. This perspective on money is going to take some passion, because the enemy is working double-time so that you don’t have a godly perspective on money. The enemy knows he can’t keep us from God’s grace and salvation. So he is going to try to just keep you copying the world with your money and keep you focused on the wrong things. He’s gonna keep you questioning the goodness of God and keep you from real peace.

This isn’t an easy journey. So the best place to start is with the word of God. You can read verses on God’s perspective of money in our {Bonus Post}. It’s divided those into 7 categories so you can take it one day at a time this week. Let God’s word shape your perspective. God has a vision for your finances and that vision is peace.

If you think a godly perspective is going to mean less fulfillment for you or less happiness, you’ve got the wrong God. We’re not talking about a prosperity gospel, we’re talking about peace, fulfillment and significance that you wouldn’t have otherwise known without God. We serve a God who is concerned about your peace and wants to meet your needs. God does not want to harm you, He has good things for you.

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”  Matthew 6:33

Read Matthew chapter 6 this week to see what “all these things” means. Discover every need met, a worry free life, treasures in heaven and a connection with God that you’ve only dreamed of. Too many people are going to get to the end of their life only to realize they weren’t willing to adjust their perspective to align with their Creator, and the Author of their life. Let’s make a shift in our perspective today.


Check Back

Check back on your discussion from last week. Do you have any more thoughts, questions or conclusions about the message on the Bible? What do you think you will most remember from the series “Not So Far-Fetched?”

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcast or Google Play Music

Hear the Word

“The borrower is servant to the lender.”  Proverbs 22:7

Servant: `ebed (eh’-bed); a servant, a slave, in bondage.

The Temptation of Money and Things

1. We are tempted to serve money.

“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”  Matthew 6:24

2. We are tempted to love money.

“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.”  1 Timothy 6:10

“Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless.”  Ecclesiastes 5:10

Money serves us, as we serve God.

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”  Matthew 6:33

Application

  1. If someone were look at your bank statement, what could they tell about you based on the way you spend your money?
  2. In what ways have you been tempted to love and serve money?
  3. What steps can you take to ensure you are serving God and not money?
  4. Do you have any fears in doing what God asks you to do? What is your perspective of God?

Tell Someone Else

Who do you need to share this message with? Is there someone you’re better equipped to have a conversation with because of this message?

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{Bonus Post} Proverbs for a Godly Perspective on Money

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God encourages us to, “Cry out for insight, and ask for understanding. Search for them as you would for silver; seek them like hidden treasures.” (Proverbs 2:3-4) Biblical Proverbs can be a big help to us as we strive for a Godly perspective on money, work and managing our lives. 

Below are several Biblical Proverbs divided into categories. Try reading all the Proverbs in one of the categories each day over the next seven days.


Day 1: The Riches of Wisdom

“Joyful is the person who finds wisdom, the one who gains understanding. For wisdom is more profitable than silver, and her wages are better than gold.”  Proverbs 3:13-14

“Choose my instruction rather than silver, and knowledge rather than pure gold. For wisdom is far more valuable than rubies. Nothing you desire can compare with it.”  Proverbs 8:10-11

“Fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.”  Proverbs 9:10

“Better to have little, with fear for the Lord, than to have great treasure and inner turmoil.”  Proverbs 15:16

“Better to have little, with godliness, than to be rich and dishonest.”  Proverbs 16:8

“How much better to get wisdom than gold, and good judgment than silver!”  Proverbs 16:16

“It is senseless to pay tuition to educate a fool, since he has no heart for learning.”  Proverbs 17:16

“Wise words are more valuable than much gold and many rubies.”  Proverbs 20:15


Day 2: Work Ethic

“Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones. Learn from their ways and become wise! Though they have no prince or governor or ruler to make them work, they labor hard all summer, gathering food for the winter.”  Proverbs 6:6‐8

“A little extra sleep, a little more slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest—then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit; scarcity will attack you like an armed robber.”  Proverbs 6:10-11

“Lazy people are soon poor; hard workers get rich.”  Proverbs 10:4

“A wise youth harvests in the summer, but one who sleeps during harvest is a disgrace.”  Proverbs 10:5

“A hard worker has plenty of food, but a person who chases fantasies has no sense.”  Proverbs 12:11

“Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper.”  Proverbs 13:4

“Wealth from get‐rich‐quick schemes quickly disappears; wealth from hard work grows over time.”  Proverbs 13:11

“Work brings profit, but mere talk leads to poverty!”  Proverbs 14:23

“If you love sleep, you will end in poverty. Keep your eyes open, and there will be plenty to eat!”  Proverbs 20:13

“Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.”  Proverbs 21:5

“A hard worker has plenty of food, but a person who chases fantasies ends up in poverty.”  Proverbs 28:19


Day 3: Greed

“Such is the fate of all who are greedy for money; it robs them of life.”  Proverbs 1:19

“Greed brings grief to the whole family, but those who hate bribes will live.”  Proverbs 15:27

“A person who gets ahead by oppressing the poor or by showering gifts on the rich will end in poverty.”  Proverbs 22:16

“Don’t rob the poor just because you can, or exploit the needy in court. For the Lord is their defender. He will ruin anyone who ruins them.”  Proverbs 22:22‐23

“Don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich. Be wise enough to know when to quit.”  Proverbs 23:4

“Income from charging high interest rates will end up in the pocket of someone who is kind to the poor.”  Proverbs 28:8

“The trustworthy person will get a rich reward, but a person who wants quick riches will get into trouble.”  Proverbs 28:20

“Greedy people try to get rich quick but don’t realize they’re headed for poverty.”  Proverbs 28:22

“Greed causes fighting; trusting the Lord leads to prosperity.”  Proverbs 28:25

“O God, I beg two favors from you; let me have them before I die. First, help me never to tell a lie. Second, give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?” And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name.”  Proverbs 30:7‐9


Day 4: Giving & Generosity

“Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce. Then he will fill your barns with grain, and your vats will overflow with good wine.”  Proverbs 3:9-10

“Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them.”  Proverbs 3:27

“Give freely and become more wealthy; be stingy and lose everything.”  Proverbs 11:24

“The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.”  Proverbs 11:25

“It is a sin to belittle one’s neighbor; blessed are those who help the poor.”  Proverbs 14:21

“Those who oppress the poor insult their Maker, but helping the poor honors him.”  Proverbs 14:31

“If you help the poor, you are lending to the Lord— and he will repay you!”  Proverbs 19:17

“Blessed are those who are generous, because they feed the poor.”  Proverbs 22:9

“Whoever gives to the poor will lack nothing, but those who close their eyes to poverty will be cursed.”  Proverbs 28:27


Day 5: Debt & Lending

“There’s danger in putting up security for a stranger’s debt; it’s safer not to guarantee another person’s debt.”  Proverbs 11:15

“It’s poor judgment to guarantee another person’s debt or put up security for a friend.”  Proverbs 17:18

“Just as the rich rule the poor, so the borrower is servant to the lender.”  Proverbs 22:7

“Don’t agree to guarantee another person’s debt or put up security for someone else. If you can’t pay it, even your bed will be snatched from under you.”  Proverbs 22:26-27

“Get security from someone who guarantees a stranger’s debt. Get a deposit if he does it for foreigners.”  Proverbs 27:13


Day 6: Investments

“The earnings of the godly enhance their lives, but evil people squander their money on sin.”  Proverbs 10:16

“Good people leave an inheritance to their grandchildren, but the sinner’s wealth passes to the godly.”  Proverbs 13:22

“An inheritance obtained too early in life is not a blessing in the end.”  Proverbs 20:21

“Know the state of your flocks, and put your heart into caring for your herds, for riches don’t last forever, and the crown might not be passed to the next generation.”  Proverbs 27:23-24

“She goes to inspect a field and buys it; with her earnings she plants a vineyard.”  Proverbs 31:16

“She extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy.”  Proverbs 31:20


Day 7: Money & Godly Living

“Tainted wealth has no lasting value, but right living can save your life.”  Proverbs 10:2

“Riches won’t help on the day of judgment, but right living can save you from death.”  Proverbs 11:4

“Evil people get rich for the moment, but the reward of the godly will last.”  Proverbs 11:18

“Trouble chases sinners, while blessings reward the righteous.”  Proverbs 13:21

“There is treasure in the house of the godly, but the earnings of the wicked bring trouble.”  Proverbs 15:6

“Fire tests the purity of silver and gold, but the Lord tests the heart.”  Proverbs 17:3

“Better to be poor and honest than to be dishonest and a fool.”  Proverbs 19:1

“Choose a good reputation over great riches; being held in high esteem is better than silver or gold.”  Proverbs 22:1

 

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