Project Description

The Heart of the Matter

American culture has taught us that talking about finances is taboo
Many college students report that their families never discussed
finances, income, spending, saving, budgeting, debt, and loans.

Young adults have grown up with limited experience, knowing how to
earn income and manage and invest money well.

The thing is, we don’t intuitively know how to manage our resources
well. It’s something we learn with time and intention and putting it into
practice.

We need to get comfortable with talking about difficult subjects in
church.

There is no better place to learn about principles in life than from
God’s word

God gave us this incredible gift to help us because he knows best.

Staggering Statistics (Individual slides)

    1. A 2014 poll found that 72% of respondents reported feeling
      stressed about money within the previous month.
    2. Stress over money has been linked to depression, anxiety and is
      a top cause of conflict and divorce in marriages.
    3. 77% of American households have some type of debt.
    4. Total personal debt in the U.S. is at an all-time high of $14.96
      trillion dollars.
    5. 64% of Americans currently live paycheck to paycheck.
    6. 48% of American consumers with annual incomes over $100,000
      live paycheck to paycheck.
    7. 1⁄3 of Americans with annual incomes over $250,000 live paycheck
      to paycheck

    Consumers in all income brackets reported struggling to make ends
    meet.

    People in America are largely living outside of their means,
    debt-ridden, dealing with marital and mental health issues related to
    finances.

    I propose that there is no better time to reevaluate our financial
    situations than right now.

    How can we view our finances through the lens of God’s word? (and
    not just the lens and experience of the average American)

    The Spence’s Personal Story

    In just a couple weeks Eric and I will celebrate 17 years married.

    We were young and in love.

    Very little money, one bedroom apartment, all hand-me-down furniture.

    Bought our first table with only two chairs.

    Year of single income, low expenses, no kids.

    Years of double income, low expenses, no kids.

    Years of single income, high expenses, lots of kids.

    In all those years, the one financial constant was that not tithing was
    never an option, non-negotiable.

    The amount we could give was not the primary focus, honoring God in
    all financial seasons was the goal.

    “We will eat beans and rice before we will rob God” (Malachi 3)

    That’s strong language. But it’s not my language. It’s God’s language.

    Malachi 3:6-10 “I the Lord do not change. So you, the
    descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. Ever since the time of
    your ancestors you have turned away from my decrees and have
    not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the
    Lord Almighty. “But you ask, ‘How are we to return?’

    “Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How
    are we robbing you?’
    “In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—your whole
    nation—because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into
    the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in
    this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open
    the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that
    there will not be room enough to store it.”

    Resourcing the mission of the kingdom is not up to people who don’t
    know Jesus. It’s up to those of us who believe God to financially
    resource God’s house.

    Tithe is specifically God’s design to resource His house. HIS idea. HIS
    plan.

    2 Chronicles 31:5-10 As soon as the order went out, the Israelites
    generously gave the firstfruits of their grain, new wine, olive oil
    and honey and all that the fields produced. They brought a great
    amount, a tithe of everything. The people of Israel and Judah who
    lived in the towns of Judah also brought a tithe of their herds and
    flocks and a tithe of the holy things dedicated to the Lord their
    God, and they piled them in heaps. They began doing this in the
    third month and finished in the seventh month. When Hezekiah
    and his officials came and saw the heaps, they praised the Lord
    and blessed his people Israel.
    Hezekiah asked the priests and Levites about the heaps; and
    Azariah the chief priest, from the family of Zadok, answered,
    “Since the people began to bring their contributions to the
    temple of the Lord, we have had enough to eat and plenty to
    spare, because the Lord has blessed his people, and this great
    amount is left over.”

    The chapter goes on to explain all the work they put into stocking and
    overseeing the storerooms of the temple. It concludes with this:

    2 Chronicles 31:20-21 This is what Hezekiah did throughout
    Judah, doing what was good and right and faithful before the
    Lord his God. In everything that he undertook in the service of
    God’s temple and in obedience to the law and the commands, he
    sought his God and worked wholeheartedly. And so he
    prospered.

    Hezekiah prospered because he sought to honor God and worked to
    obey him wholeheartedly. There was enough to eat and plenty to
    spare because the Lord blessed his people.
    The Bible has a lot to say about how to honor God in the way you give
    and spend your resources.
    We have to decide that we believe God and we’re going to do what he
    says before it feels right or is convenient.
    That takes faith.

    Faith

    Merriam-Webster’s definition of faith: belief and trust in and
    loyalty to God.
    It takes great faith to trust God with your life and future.
    It takes great faith to trust God with your finances.

    If you’re going to honor God’s design for your finances, you start with
    your faith, not just the behavior of tithing or of giving offerings.
    We have to ask ourselves honestly:
    Do we believe God? (Not just believe in God.)
    Do we believe God’s word to be true?
    Are we willing to act on his word and put our faith into action like King
    Hezekiah and the people of Israel?

    Faith Calls Us To Action

    Our belief in God and belief of his word will propel us into action
    James 2:17 So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it
    produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.
    Our faith should be producing good works; it creates action
    We can’t wait until feel like or all the circumstances are just right
    If so, we’ll never make a move
    If we operate out of how we “feel,” our judgment will be clouded by the
    emotions of current, temporary circumstances
    “Faith is not primarily a function of how you feel. Faith is living
    out and believing what truth is despite what you feel.”

    -Timothy Keller

    When pilots are flying in a situation of low visibility they have to go by
    what their indicators tell them, not how they “feel.”

    6

    If you’re in a situation where things are difficult you can be tempted to
    make decisions that “feel” right but are actually motivated by your
    desire to avoid pain or sacrifice.
    We often want to opt for the easiest route that requires the least
    amount of faith because it feels “safe” or “comfortable.”

    There is a great temptation for us to allow our financial status to
    dictate our behavior rather than us deciding that our faith will
    dictate our financial status.

    In other words, is our money deciding how we live or are we telling our
    money where it should go? (Dave Ramsey’s idea)
    Luke 16:13 No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one
    and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the
    other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.
    When we give our tithe and offering to God’s house we are breaking
    the curse of being enslaved to money
    We are prioritizing God’s word
    In doing so we are reflecting the very nature of God himself
    God gave his first and best, his son, Jesus
    John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave his one and
    only son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have
    eternal life.

    God gave. He gave his firstborn, His firstfruits, His tithe.

    He did that for us. For you. For me.
    He was willing to make a temporary sacrifice for an eternal profit: the
    salvation of mankind

    Are we willing to make a sacrifice?
    Are we willing to put our faith into action?
    I’m not just asking you today if you’ll be willing to tithe or give
    offerings, or provide for local kids in our school supply drive
    I’m asking you to believe God
    Believe his word

    Be willing to listen to God and do what he says
    When you do that, your action will follow your faith
    When your heart is tied to what God says, it will compel you to obey
    him because you love him
    Matthew 6:21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be
    also.

    Ask yourself today “Where is my heart? Where does my treasure lie?”
    My prayer is that our treasure rests in Jesus; that we will seek his
    kingdom first; that we will put our faith into action and watch him fulfill
    his promises to us. I have seen him prove faithful over the years of my
    life. I know he wants to do that in your lives as well.

    Stand to worship

    Pray

    If honoring God in your finances seems like a foreign idea because
    you can’t even confidently say you believe him, you have to start
    there.

    If you’re sitting here today you don’t want to be enslaved to money or
    to the things of this world, you can surrender your life to Jesus and live
    under his protection and provision
    If that’s you today, will you raise your hand?
    Will you pray with me out loud today?
    Lord Jesus
    I know you went to the cross
    For my freedom; my salvation.
    I believe you,
    I believe your word.
    I don’t want to be enslaved to this world
    God, thank you
    For choosing me,
    For loving me.
    Today, I’m giving my life into your hands.
    Help me become the person you created me to be.
    Amen.