Yesterday we were so excited to be able to share with everyone the commitment that we are making to support as well as partner with the Miracle Party. For those of you that do not know what the Miracle Party is then I would encourage you to click on the word Miracle Party and follow the link to their website. It is an amazing event that is for children with cancer and it is an opportunity to love on the kids and their families. So yesterday we gave to this organization for several reasons. We gave to this organization as a church because we are blessed to have the family that started the Miracle Party as a part of our team. We gave because we wanted to be able to model what it means to be generous givers to those around us. We gave because we believe that this is a great opportunity to not just give of our finances but our time and talent. So we will be committing to serve before, during, and after the party. We decided long ago that as a church we are not going to be a team that just gives a check but we are going to be giving of our time and talent too. So if you are wanting too or are willing to serve as a volunteer at the Miracle Party then click on the word VOLUNTEER and show them your support. We cannot wait to see what God does through this years Miracle Party and the families that we as Elevation come in contact. We are praying for miracles at the Miracle Party.
As we continue in our series “Where’s my Bailout” this weekend I have to say that I found a great article on handling your finances in a crazy economy. I would encourage you to take some time and read what Nelson Searcy says about certain areas of finance.
Spending is a habit – Does money burn a hole in your pocket? Does buyer’s remorse set in after you have spent your money? If this sounds familiar, how can you manage your spending so you can buy the things you need now and also save for the things you need in the future.
In order to change spending habits, people must first understand how habits are shaped and the ways spending behavior can be changed. In essence, they must identify spending leaks that give immediate satisfaction but do not help reach financial goals and, instead, substitute desirable spending behavior that may not be immediately gratifying but will allow financial goals to be reached.
How to change the habit, Luke 16:11 says, “Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you?” People need to learn to handle the smallest thing God has put under their authority—their money. Larry believes that if the following guidelines are followed it will help control spending.
- Establish self-discipline. Put all spending under God’s control. In so doing, individuals become managers of God’s finances and all spending should then be from the vantage point of whether He would be pleased with the purchase. With God’s guidance, any bad habit can be broken. People need to learn to recognize the drive that places them in a spending situation and then when they shop they can avoid the spending pitfalls produced by that drive by having a purpose for the shopping, a time limit, and a written plan. They need to make a list before they go shopping and then stick to it. In addition, they should limit the number of trips to the store or mall and never shop when hungry or depressed.
- How far money goes usually depends on how much people want something. As such, they need to be in control of the money, under God’s direction, instead of having the money control them by limiting what they do. Once spending has been brought under control, there should be a determination of how much needs to be spent each month in every area of an implemented budget; and, since the basic idea behind budgeting is to save money up front for both known and unknown expenses, there must be a commitment to stick to the budget. Larry believes that if people are having difficulty with income equaling outgo, they must cut some of their outgo. As such, they need to look at their budgets realistically and see where they can start trimming. A budget is a money plan. With it, people can organize and control their financial resources, set and realize goals, and decide in advance how money will work for the good of the family. Therefore, because every purchase should be considered in light of the established budget, buying any non-budgeted items on impulse should be avoided, especially if those non-budgeted items will need to be purchased with a credit card.
- People need to be accountable to other persons for a specified period of time for everything they spend. Ecclesiastes 4:9,10 says, “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.” If there is accountability, people will be more inclined to be more cautious in their spending habits—more of a look now, buy later attitude. So, shop around before buying and learn to say no. Keep a record of spending and purchases and share these with the accountability partner.
- Establish a want-to-buy list. Whenever people feel they need to buy something that is not budgeted, they should put it on the list, but then wait seven days and find two additional prices for the same item, to be sure they are getting a good buy. If they still want the item after a week has passed, they will have thought about it and probably will be getting the best buy on the item. However, they still should not charge it. Finally, people can have only one item on the list at a time, so if they find new “wants” during the week, they will have to decide between the two.
Conclusion A good way to reduce debt is to develop discipline in spending habits. That may include taking away any security that might be used in case of emergencies: credit cards or other avenues of borrowing. By committing not to go further in debt, people begin to reverse the process that produced the debt. Larry often recommends cutting up the credit cards and not taking out any bank or family loans. Then, they can develop a balanced budget that will control spending and will allow them to stay within the parameters of their financial means.
“Where’s My Bailout” during the month of March we are going to be taking a look at dealing with our finances. So many people think that all the church is out for is your money, but the truth is it is more about your heart. So take the time to read through these verses and really ask God to speak to your heart about how you are handling your finances.
1st Genesis 14:20
2nd Genesis 23:16
3rd Numbers 24:11
4th Numbers 31:25-30
5th 2 Kings 5:20-27
6th 2 Kings 16:10
7th 2 Chron. 25:9-10
8th Psalm 37:21
9th Psalm 119:36
10th Proverbs 6:1-5
11th Proverbs 18:11
12th Proverbs 19:1
13th Proverbs 21:20
14th Eccles. 10:19
15th Ezekiel 7:19 – 20
16th Matthew 6:24
17th Matthew 18:30
18th Matthew 19:21
19th Matthew 23:13-14
20th Mark 11:15-17
21st Luke 12:33
22nd Matthew 26:14-15
23rd Mark 10:17-23
24th 1 Tim. 6:6-10
25th Mark 10:21 – 23
26th Mark 12:41-44
27th Luke 12:18-20
28th Luke 16:10-14
29th Acts 8:18-23
30th 2 Cor. 11:7-12
31st 1 Tim. 6:6-10
Bonus: James 5:1-6
I pray that you take the next month to just be able to walk through these verses and know that God wants us to love him with all that we are and what we have.
SacrificiAl living means you cannot out give or out do God
Did you know that in the Bible God actually says, “Try it! Let me prove it to you” He only says it once and it only is referring to one area of our lives. Want to know what area that is? It is in the area of our finances, yep that’s right our money. In Malachi 3: 8 – 12 God is telling his people through a prophet that they have cheated him of their tithes and offerings. That they have not been giving God what he had told them to give. He goes on to say that they need to bring in the whole tithe into the storehouse of the God. He says that once you do that then, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great that you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Let me prove it to you.”
Now I know many people automatically are saying here we go the church has not even started and Scott is talking about money. See I always knew that the church just wanted my money. What I want to say to that is “If you think that is all that I am about or that Jesus us about then you are a MORON!” Of course the church is going to talk about money. Why wouldn’t we Jesus did and I personally think that the church today is way to soft when it comes to this area. I mean Jesus went so far to say in Matthew 6:24 “That no one can serve two masters. For you will hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Unfortunately today a lot of people today make money their God and the God of the Bible is suppose to get the leftovers on Sunday, physically, finacially, and emotionally.
For me this gets really touchy because I really don’t care all that much about money. If I have it that is great, if I don’t well whatever we can have fun without it. But the problem is now as a church leader I really need to set the example when it comes to this area, not that I didn’t before. Michelle and I have always made sure that we were tithing to the church that were involved in. In fact we used to have arguments when we first got married over if we do our tithe or payed a bill. In my mind God always came first and the others would be taken care of. I thought that way long before I read the verse in Malachi, which I have to say was very confirming to me. Michelle and I have been married 17 years on May 16th and we have never starved, all though we were sick of PB&J’s after one season. We have never been without a roof over our head and our kids have always been taken care of in many ways. I say that because Michelle and I have made a commitment to give our regular tithe to the church we are currently serving at and we are going to give another 5% percent to Elevation Community Church. We want to model what Jesus has called us to live, sacrificial lives. It has nothing to do with the exact amount it has to do with giving from our hearts where it becomes a sacrifice. Jesus talks about a widow in Luke 21: 1 – 4 and He says, “but she, as poor as she is, has given everything she has.” This widow was the example that we have been given when it comes to sacrificial giving and living.
When it comes to your life how does sacrificial living play a part?
In this day and age with all of the negative press, the focus on the finances of the world, and which team T.O. is going to play for next year. I thought that we should slow down for a few minutes and just have a good time. That is why I hope that you are able to take the time to watch this video it is about 15 minutes long but I guarantee that when you get done that you will have a smile. Hopefully at the end of this video you will also think of ways to make others smile.
Hebrews 10:24 (NLT) “Think of ways to encourage one another to outbursts of love and good deeds.”
How can you take the time to validate the people in your life today?
This week as I talk with friends and family I can hear the stress in their voices. One of the things that has people so wigged out is the financial issues that we find ourselves in today. That we see in the stock markets as the go up and down. That we see in other countries as they deal with war and fighting. But as I was doing some daily blog reading and checking out some guys that I think are really incredible men of God and gifted in many different areas I found the following video. What I think is so awesome is the content that comes with this video and the issue that we as Americans need to face when it comes to our money and our ability to give it’s control over to God. So be warned this is not a prayer that will give you that warm fuzzy feeling it is a prayer that will challenge your heart and mind.
Today is the day to ask God for not to much or for to little but for what you need today. This would be what I call “the just enough principle”. How can you take the biblical wisdom that Francis Chan shares with us through this short video. I think that in there are principles that we can apply when it comes to more then just money. Maybe it is our clothes, really do we need all the out fits that we have? Do we really need all the technological toys that we have?
What area of your life do you see God challenging you to think about the “just enough for today principle”?