Sermon Tidbits: This certainly is one of the more challenging of topics. Money means a lot of things to each of us. But it is also one of the topics that holds the most promise for simplifying our lives. If we had our money attitudes and actions shaped by God’s wisdom we would discover a new joy and freedom.

Here is the outline from Sunday’s sermon, and the questions will follow:

I. Living simply with money begins with the right money attitudes.

A. We have to value wisdom over wealth.
Proverbs 15:16 Better a little with the fear of the LORD than great wealth with turmoil.
Proverbs 16:16 How much better to get wisdom than gold, to choose understanding rather than silver!

Why wisdom?
• Wisdom keeps us in right relationship with God, our Creator.
• Wisdom helps us fulfill God’s plans for our lives.
• Wisdomdirects us in the path of God’s blessings.

B. We have to value contentment over accumulation or consumption.
Proverbs 10:22 The blessing of the LORD brings wealth, and he adds no trouble to it.

When we think money is the answer to our problems, or buying that one thing will change our lives, we are on the road to creating money-­‐ chaos.

II. Simplicity flows from handling money wisely.

A. Earn your money honestly.
Proverbs 13:11 Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow.

• God is not a get-­‐rich-­‐quick kind of God. He prefers the character-­‐ building discipline it takes to earn our money.

B. Show generosity.
Proverbs 11:25 A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.

Stinginess ruins our hearts. It kills our spirits.
For the Christian, to remove generosity removes the whole system of grace, that our faith rests upon.

C. Plan your spending.
Proverbs 21:5 The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.
This is called a budget!
Proverbs 21:17 He who loves pleasure will become poor; whoever loves wine and oil will never be rich.

A plan helps us set priorities!
A plan frees us to be generous.
A plan forces us to think about the future.

D. Stay out of debt.
Proverbs 22:7 The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.

E. Pay your obligations first
Proverbs 3:27–28 Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act.
Do not say to your neighbor, “Come back later; I’ll give it tomorrow”— when you now have it with you.

He is talking about obligations! Don’t delay in paying. Don’t make someone ask twice!

F. Don’t entangle yourselves in other’s financial affairs.
Proverbs 22:26–27 Do not be a man who strikes hands in pledge or puts up security for debts;
27if you lack the means to pay, your very bed will be snatched from under you.

Money can create great chaos.

But it is never the abundance or the lack of money that creates the chaos. It is our approach to it.
Our attitudes and our actions either create simple living or greater chaos.
We have to trust God to simplify our living by having wise money attitudes and taking wise money actions.

Here are the texted questions from yesterday. Thanks to all who participated.

Q1:: (answered live, but differently) How do we balance contentment and competition? Is it bad to want to better ourselves even at the failure of others?

A1:: I think this is something many of us struggle with. I’m a competitive guy. In fact, in my Strengthfinder’s inventory, it is one of my top 5. As a believer, I don’t think I really want the other person to fail. But I do want to do my best. If winning is your goal. Then reevaluate why you want to win. What will you do with your success? How will it glorify God and extend the reach of His kingdom? If that is your goal, then you’re only competition is agains Satan and his kingdom. 🙂

Q2:: (answered live) How do you stay out of debt when housing costs are so high in this area? Most people do not have the cash needed to purchase a home?

A2:: First, a disclaimer, I have a mortgage on my house. And I don’t think it is morally wrong to do so. Neither do I think that all mortgages are wise. Remember, a borrower is a slave to a lender. That’s true, even with a mortgage. With that in mind, you want to minimize your slavery. How? By saving up a sizeable downpayment, so there is enough equity that you could sell it if you had to, without walking out on an obligation. That is the goal. A second reality today is, it may not be better to buy. I’ve owned homes and it is a huge ongoing expense. It might be more advantageous to rent, believe it or not. You could then save and invest what you would spend on upkeep.

Q3:: I have heard people rail against any form of leisure spending as Christians. Is there any room in wisdom for what amount to luxuries?

A3:: Thanks. I think this a great question. I think it is important to spend on leisure. Leisure is a form of rest and re-creation. I think we are wired for that. The question is “how-much and what kind?” If you follow Scripture in being generous, fulfilling your obligations, then I think leisure spending is okay. At some point, though, I think a Christian will be led by the Holy Spirit, to put some limit on this for the sake of the Kingdom of God. What that limit is should be between God and that person. Throughout Christian history God has used wealthy people and their gift of giving to advance His work. The fact is, someone with those kinds of resources will rest and relax differently than someone in my circles.

Q4:: I like how you prioritize the activities for money, what about tenth for God?

A4:: First, let me explain. The list I gave of housing, utilities, transportation then food; was for those going through money trouble. My point was, if I was going to help someone the easiest thing to help with is food. Rent or mortgage, utilities and transportation funds are much tougher to come by. But the question is, where does tithing fit in? Well, if you have no income… you really have no tithe. If someone is receiving help just to live, I don’t think the tithe is something they should worry about at the moment. But, for the person who is living life and paying their bills, I include the tithe under two of the principles above: pay your obligations & show generosity. I think as Christians, we have an obligation to support the work of God in the church. That is what the tithe is. I also believe that we should go beyond and be generous by giving to the church, to other ministries or to those in need.

Q5:: In your message you said thatour first 3 obligations should be to our mortgage/rent, utilities and transportation. Where then does tithing come in and if you take care of the 3 previous obligations, do you then tithe on what you are then able to do?

A5:: See question 4 for some clarification. But then, where does the tithe come in? In Scripture, we see that the tithe is given first. It is the first obligation. One-tenth of all income is given. So, no we don’t give on the left over. We plan our lives to live on 90% of our income. Sometimes this is tough, especially when we have to make changes to do this. Most of us have increased our level of living to 110% of what we make and then can’t imagine tithing. I would encourage you to start with a percentage which is just a little bigger than comfortable. If God provides over the next 6 months, increase it by 1%. Keep doing this and I’m convinced God will be faithful.

Q6:: Have you helped your kids with college education? If so, have you done it equally?

A6:: As you may know, our 3rd of 4 boys is entering college this fall. Our first son went to a 4 year christian university. Our second son went to a technical school. Our third is starting off his college at a local community college. And our fourth has two years of high school to go.

The answer to the first question is “yes.” We’ve done our best with other family members to help our boys finanically. We have tried to help minimize their need for student loans. The answer to the second question is “no” and “yes.” No, in that the dollar amounts haven’t been the same. But you’d probably be surprised who we’ve spent more money on. Yes, in that we have encouraged our boys to choose the path they believed God was leading them on (without taking into account our help). And then we’ve come alongside to help give them what they need to achieve it. So, the equality comes in that we have been sacrificial in meeting each of their needs. But their goals, desires and needs have been different.