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Neither Poverty Nor Riches

Alistair Huong


Alistair Huong

Executive Director of AudioVerse




  • September 3, 2017
    9:30 AM
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Father in heaven we thank you so much for bringing us up to this mountaintop for the blessings we have received already and now as the beginning of this new day and this new week we pray Lord for your help we pray for wisdom as we talk about the most practical aspect of our Christian experience something we all deal with and that is money and may we be able to give glory to you even in this area of our lives guide us now help us to hear what we need to hear I mean your holy spirit be here to guide us we pray in Jesus name Amen so the title of our seminar session is beyond the time and why do I call it that and that's because usually when you go to a church or stewardship seminar Usually it's something along the lines of You should be more faithful in return your ties and offerings to the church and that's about the extent of it. But we want to go beyond that right the tide is important the tide and the offerings are an essential part of our of personal finance principles and things like that but there's a lot more to it than that and so while this summer can rightly be called a stewardship seminar I try to stay away from that term because of the baggage people feel like it's a bad word or it's got negative connotations and so biblical lessons on personal finance that is actually what we're going to be. Calling the seminar now we are filling up so let me move my bag and if someone wants to sit right in the front row you are welcome to so. A students in the front row All right so let's continue this session one the title of this first session is called neither poverty nor riches when try to move around so people over here can see. Neither poverty nor riches redefining wealth and process parity OK So we're dealing with principles foundational principles here to start off so little bit about myself why should you listen to me. What right do I have what credibility do I have to talk about money as you say as you are aware you know there are certain topics that you should never talk about if you don't want to offend people should talk you shouldn't talk about people's diet you shouldn't talk about how they should dress and you shouldn't talk about how they ought to spend their money and so I'm not going to talk about the first two but the second one I'm here to rattle your cage a little bit so why listen to me first of all I'm not a professional so I'm not here to give you professional financial advice investment advice tax advice legal advice that's just you know a boilerplate disclaimer at the beginning that you have to understand but I believe this is also one of the reasons why perhaps I have something that might be valuable to you to listen to and that is I don't have anything here to sell you. A man. I've got a free blog I'll talk about that later you can read it or not read it doesn't bother me at all but as far as my credentials I do have a business degree but perhaps more important than that I was a math teacher once and believe it or not all you need to be all you need to know to do you know really sound personal finance is a little bit of math you don't have to have an M.B.A. but you do need to know how to add subtract multiply divide fractions decimals you do need to know that OK So up having been a math teacher I think that does give me a little bit of credibility and also I do have a business degree for what it's worth and that business degree graduate degree I got from Southern avenues university but who cares about that. I graduated debt free that's what matters right so I've actually done a few things that I'm talking about what I'm sharing with you and I paid off my house my wife and I paid off her house. In two years we bought our house in two thousand and thirteen and we paid it off in twenty fifteen exactly the month our daughter was born which there she is she's actually right in the back she doesn't look like this anymore. But in twenty fifteen the year that we paid off our house and the year we had our baby we spent twenty four percent of our take home pay so twenty four percent of our take home income we spent to live on OK we gave away twenty one percent So tides and offerings and charitable giving and we saved fifty five percent OK that's a twenty fifteen twenty sixteen first full year of being parents and as you have often heard children blow up your budget. So yeah our spending did go up a little bit twenty five percent. We gave away twenty six percent and we saved forty nine percent and you see the majority of the change was right here we chose that year to up our charitable giving in our offerings so and I have a whole seminar I'm not going to get into that here but if you look I'll share the link with you later but I have a whole presentation based on the prosecution suppose for why we would want up to a twenty six percent rate so all of this to show these are numbers and if you want to really see the details on our blog we actually lay it all out we tell you exactly how much we earned how much we saved how much we spent how much we pay for groceries how much we space for our cellphone service all that so in twenty fifteen my wife worked half the year before she took off to be a stay at home mom full time so in two thousand and sixteen not only did we maintain essentially our percentages and our savings we lost one income OK So I think that is worthy of note so one minister Sally one stay at home mom you heard I work for audio verse and when we you know when we used the term ministry so. Salary that's a code language it's a euphemism within Adventism we say oh I work for a ministry salary that just means not much right but praise the Lord we have more than more than we need so not a complaint just a statement of fact and there's no secret windfall I don't have a rich uncle that somehow bankrolling us we didn't win the lottery don't play the lottery don't do that and so perhaps those are a few reasons why I have something to share so I mentioned earlier saving the crumbs dot com This is our website you can listen or not listen sorry but you can go and read a lot of the principles that we sharing here this weekend we share there and here we're sort of flying at thirty thousand feet whereas here we get down to the we we get nuts and bolts dollars and cents actual services that we use and where we buy them and how we do it so that's a free resource no charge. At audio Verse dot org We have I have my seminar also entitled be on the tide six hours OK six hours in-depth seminar on the same topic we're talking about today and what I mentioned earlier about biblical reasons how much are we to give in ties and offerings we talk about that OK and there are a few other things that we're not able to cover here this weekend that is included in that seminar so just go to auditors dot org You can look at my name or you can look beyond the tithe as the name of the seminar OK all of this is just introduction we're going to start with a quiz OK first session quiz hope you're awake and really this is a quiz format to help guide our discussion OK So this is going to be the majority of our presentation for this first hour and these are all true and false questions ten quiz questions question number one true or false we shouldn't talk about money because it is the root of all evil. OK that should be a give me question because why would I be here if we should be dark about money right I just spent time talking about a six hour seminar about talking about money so clearly I believe we need to talk about it but of course the point here is. Money as a root of all evil is out a true statement or not is that what the Bible says. First of the six verse ten you guys are sharp for what the love of money is the root of all evil which while some coveted after they have erred from the faith and peers them selves through with many sorrows Is there a difference between the love of money and money itself. Because when we say the love of money where does the problem reside. The person who is in love with the money not the money itself money isn't in animate object. Either paper or gold coins or you know dollars in a spreadsheet it's not capable of doing anything it's the person behind the money so if the love of money is the root of all evil then the issue is with our relationship with money and if that's the issue I feel perhaps it is you're responsible not to talk about money because we're talking about an issue of character now of more WRAL ity All right so let's take a look at a few things right when we think about money what do we think of. Especially here in California was driving up your gas was like three dollars and thirty cents a gallon. I remember when it was like five dollars a gallon you remember that not the road with him and Tennessee Gas was like a dollar sixty nine or something but nevertheless people complain about gas over there just like we complain about that gas here so money is involved with all of our everyday transactions where we pump the gas we swipe the card or whatever. Our smartphones these things are money sucking vampires. Right every couple years you got to spend a couple hundred bucks to drop on another one you cracked the screen you got to fix it the battery goes dead you got to fix it there's not just the physical device there is the service charge right varieties in it's going to eat you alive. And then there's the App Store Oh is ninety nine cents nine cents ninety nine cents how do I spend one hundred dollars on worthless apps this thing as a like in its wireless they say and yet it's wirelessly tethered to your wallet sucking out all your money. Smartphones cost money we don't see it but it does even things like getting sick it costs money right not just the medication not just health insurance I'm not going to talk about politics here but loss of job time right paid time off you might get paid you might not and then all of the associated money that is related to health care relationships how many people have you heard about with relationship trouble that involves money I don't remember the statistics right off the bat but it's something like over half of all divorces or the end rather the majority of divorces all have money as one of the reasons it may not be the cause but it becomes one of the issues that come into the mix and so even in our human relationships money so often get in the way Or how about your. Centric relative who hits you up for money. And then you are being the Good Samaritan you give them money and then the next thing you know they're off on a Bahama cruise vacation what does that do to you inside. What about my thousand dollars I'd loaned you or my hundred dollars or even twenty five bucks how dare you go on you know you know your virgin coconut water or whatever still sleeping on a hammock when you're only twenty five dollars and what happens is relationships begin to fray over money OK So money if is involved with everything OK education. I don't think I have to say anything about this right education costs a lot of money all right when we come to conferences like this G.Y. see every chair we sit in the lights that are on someone is paying for that. Cost money and then in the world you hear about businesses closing all the time they don't make enough money but guess what that's no different from Adam does institutions our schools closing down why not enough to wish right so money what I'm trying to illustrate here is that money permeates every single corner of our lives and for us to say we shouldn't talk about money is irresponsible there are over two thousand tax about money in the Bible and to not talk about money is to ignore a huge swath of what God believes we need to talk about and so. I believe the answer is false we should in fact talk about money so let's continue number two true or false to save money is to be faithless in God's ability to provide for us parentheses particularly for average as we like to say because Jesus is coming soon you guys answer that readily. Not sure. That's fine that's right because you know I think it's something worth wrestling over right yeah exactly right there does need to be a balance we can't be living as though there's no care in the world we just keep storing up more and more we always have to remember the end time context Jesus is in the coming soon and should in fact in fact inform us but let's see what the Bible has to say OK So Matthew six thirty one thirty four familiar passage therefore take no thought saying What shall we eat or what shall we drink or where with all shall we be clothed for after all these things do the Gentiles seek for your heavenly Father know what that you have need of all these things. But first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you take therefore no thought for the morrow for the morrow shall take care or take thought for the things of itself sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof so Jesus himself seems to indicate don't worry about the future just. Right the kingdom of God and His righteousness and he'll take care of the rest is that not what this verse implies OK. Certainly this passage is true I just want you to keep this in mind the words first. What does that mean. How do we seek first the Kingdom of God What are some things practically that we could do to seek first the Kingdom of God. Is not to question OK relation to God prior to excellent and he's holding up the Bible in the back reading the Bible how many of you agree with that OK All right I got a couple hands here yes. OK Thais returning first fruits excellent Was that were you going to say the same thing so you guys are all on the right track but how do we notice that we need to turn the tide. What tells us we need to return the top the Bible how do we have a relationship with Jesus. Prayer Bible study so let's just boil it down OK I'm not trying to oversimplify things but would it be fair to say that in order for us to rightly seek first the kingdom of heaven that we need to be in study of the Bible where we agree with that how much of the Bible. All of it not a trick question OK so all of the all of Scripture we agreed OK let's take it one step further when we read something in the Bible that we should do should we obey it. If we don't obey would we be following or seeking first the Kingdom of Heaven anymore OK So let me put it this way when we say Seek ye first the Kingdom of God It is not a passive sitting back twiddling our thumbs dreaming about some day when God takes us to have seeking first the Kingdom of Heaven requires an active faith a faith that works some of it involves studying the Bible from end to end taking all of the counsel that's been given to us and then applying it through the power of the Holy Spirit well and within us OK So what does a five have to say of us saving money OK so. This is what I'm trying to illustrate let's take a let's take a look at these verses in the will come back OK we'll come back to seeking first the kingdom of heaven Proverbs six verses six three go to the ant consider her ways and be wise which having no guide overseer or ruler provided her meat in the summer and gather her food in the harvest. Time of the book of nature now which is also a means by which got teaches us were looking at the Ant What is the lesson the Bible tells us we need to learn from the ant they make preparation in the summer for the winter that's called Saving. Amen are we in agreement here Genesis forty one verse thirty four thirty six this is a story of Joseph he's brought before Pharaoh Pharaoh has a dream seven plenteous years seven lean years what does Joseph recommend under the guidance of the Holy Spirit what should think a nation of Egypt do let Pharaoh do this and let him appoint offices over the land and take up the fifth part of the land of Egypt in the seven plenteous years. And in the end it says here we shall be in the land of Egypt that the land perish not through the family so what is the council that God through Joseph gives to the pharaoh in Egypt what should they do see a. There is another one Proverbs twenty one this is the same verse in two different versions of the Bible the N.I.V. Proverbs twenty one verse twenty says the wise store up choice food and all of oil and fool's gold there is down. The wise happen to be the ones that we want to be right the Bible recommends us to be wise they save up for the future the King James emphasizes the second half of the verse there is treasure to be desired and oil in the dawning of the wise but a foolish man spends it up so I think it's clear when we take the balance of Scripture is that there is a balance in trusting in God to provide for us. Matthew six thirty three Seek ye first it is still a valid statement I'm not trying to undermine it what I am simply saying is that the way that we seek first the kingdom of heaven and his righteousness is to utilize the fame he gave us between our ears called our brain to read scripture to see what practical guidance it gives us and then apply it in our lives through the power of the Holy Spirit and through that means God provides. And the promise is even if what we do is not enough. God to there to take care of the rest a man. Because of foolish man is the one who says oh God will take care of me so I got a paycheck today let's go spend it all at the outlet mall. You see the difference the difference is the mindset of saying God will provide as a license to be presumptuous versus God will provide as a basis of well he gave me the ability to provide and even if I don't make up even if I don't have enough God is standing there to make up for my lack you see the difference in perspective. And so some statistics here that I think open our eyes a little bit this is from Forbes magazine just recently the statistics show that sixty three percent of Americans don't have enough savings to cover a five hundred dollars emergency can you say a fool spends it all up OK sixty three percent over half of the nation if they were hit with a five hundred dollar bill. Would have to charge their critic. Card go borrow money go further into debt. And I'm just telling you just even with our within our home in like the last two months we had like a two thousand dollar emergency things break air conditioning breaks a lot more breaks flood you known pipes pipes in the lawn break and water leaks everywhere if only emergencies were so polite to comment five hundred dollar increment the reality is really five hundred dollars shouldn't be an emergency OK fifty six point three percent from the same article tells us fifty six point three percent have less than the thousand dollars in their checking and savings accounts come behind. So this is going to show this shows us that with in America today we are indeed the presumptuous fool who spends it all up without proving for the future we ought to be going to the ant and learning from them and here's a really. Convicting quote for some of the five years eight Paul writes but if any provide not for his own and specially for those of his own house he has denied the faith and is worse than an infidel so the Apostle Paul lays it down Fick right he says and I believe he specifically speaking to the bread winner usually that's the man in the house and Paula saying you better provide for your family in fact there is another place in Thessalonians he says if a man does not work neither should he eat Paul is very clear and he says I have given you an example I built tents with my own hands so that I can leave you an example that I didn't have to depend on your charity even though he had every right to. This is a powerful statement that we ought to keep in mind let's not be presumptuous OK so last events page seventy six paragraph four Illinois writes this Christ declare that when he comes some of his waiting people will be engaged in business transactions some will be sowing in the field others reaping in gathering into the harvest and others grinding at the mill It is not God's will that his elect shall abandon life's duties and responsibilities and give themselves up to idle contemplation living in a religious dream. The point here is Ellen Weiss says Occupy Jesus says excuse me Occupy till I come and Ellen while here is applying it by saying don't be so heavenly minded that you are of no earthly good. That you want to be practical you want to be useful and providing for the needs of your family and in turn providing for the needs of the church OK were questionable three now sure false God wants us to live a comfortable life. All right so looks like we got a create a little sister here OK so I guess the concern here is what does the word countable mean. You guys are on the something so it's a maybe right depends it's a it depends answer God wants us to live a comfortable life OK let's see what sort of servant of the Lord has to say councils on stewardship two hundred fifty paragraph two had you and your wife understood it to be a duty all of that's a strong word a duty that God enjoined upon you to deny your taste and your desires and make provision for the future OK let's just pause right there that's exactly what we're just talking about Ellen White here says it is a duty for you to make provision for the future so why your very clearly says it's a duty to save OK but continuing instead of living merely for the present you could now have had a competency and your family have had the comforts of life so just as a at a surface level the word comfort comfortable is a word that's used by Ellen White to describe God's preference for us so yes in a sense that's a true statement the question God wants us to live a comfortable life this statement shows yes but of course we need to move on what's the balance here Agnes home page three seventy nine paragraph three says God does not require that his people should deprive themselves of that which is really necessary for their health and comfort can somebody say man. It's OK to have air conditioning in your house and then. It's OK to have a washing machine you do not have to live in a cardboard box and you know sometimes we get this idea that Ellen White is a sour face dour cloudy woman that's always out with a little stick to wrap you on the hand saying don't buy that don't eat that don't live there. If you've ever been to a house in elms haven you will understand that she lived this she lived in a nice place and she provided for the household that was under her care but here's the balancing statement but he does not approve of want to nurse and extravagance and display now that's still leave some room for interpretation and I think that's how God intends it OK you work that out with him OK The reality is there are certain people who can drive a B.M.W.. OK based on the way that God has blessed them in the type of line of work that they're in and what not whereas there are other people they probably shouldn't even be driving a new Toyota Camry right so I believe that is something that you need to work out the Lord to define what's appropriate in your situation but the balance is there God wants us to live a comfortable healthful convenient life but just shun the extravagance and luxurious display. The OH Roston he makes this funny statement money can't buy happiness but neither can poverty. And you know sometimes we get this idea and we'll get there in a minute sometimes I get this idea that to be poor is to be holy that's not necessarily the case right the Bible does say it is more difficult for a rich man to enter into a kingdom of heaven than a camel to enter the eye of a needle Yes riches can be an impediment don't we don't deny that but yet I'm getting ahead of myself a little bit but yet to be in a state of constant deprivation and need it stirs within us perhaps not the level of greed. But covetousness tempted to steal tempted to be feel discontent because how can they have that and I don't. So yeah money can't buy happiness but neither can poverty true statement OK Number four here's a good one TRUE or FALSE being in debt is a sin. You know every time I ask this question this is the one that gets the crowd divided is it a sin to be in debt. All right some say depends on what kind of depends on the situation and the method. Let's take a look at what inspiration has to say OK the book publishing ministry page two zero nine paragraph four and five Ellen White her self speaking now I write to ask if you will let me have the use of two thousand dollars to help me and bringing out books that the people need if I should fall in the conflict before the Lord's appearing my sons would carry for the work of circulating my books according to my plans when the expense of my issuing of my books is less than the sales will soon pay up all my debts so I will let herself ask to borrow money. So. South of here we have someone who surprised by that and. So having having read this statement and there are others OK. It's difficult for me to say that being in debt is a sin. But the Bible does have something else to say about the matter Proverbs twenty two verse seven says the ball rule or is servant to the lender and the word servant can also be translated slave. And this is a this is just a statement of fact that a question there OK previous like OK I guess we have a few questions or a few cameras that want to take a picture so a borrower is to the lender and Jesus Himself says no man can serve two masters you can either live serve the one love the other. No man can serve God and Mammon. Already move on OK and I want also says this in as Home Page three ninety three Paragraph four be determined never to incur another debt deny yourself a thousand things rather than run in debt this has been the curse of your life getting into debt voided as you would the smallpox. So here's the question is it a sin to be a slave not necessarily but is it a desirable position to be in no is it a sin to have to be sick with smallpox. But do you want to have it so here's the point. Being in debt may not necessarily be clearly demarcated as and. But you still don't want to have it a man. It's a position of slavery and of having smallpox so you are a slave with smallpox. Neither of those things make you a sinner necessarily but yes it's not something you want right so come back the next hour we're going to talk much more specifically about debt. We had number five that was just to whet your appetite. To number five hopefully this is a gimme question a budget is a cornerstone of sound personal finance True or False True OK And next hour we're going to actually take it take apart a budget and actually see how to build one for yourself so councils are stewardship each to ninety four per one in the study of figures like the work sorry the work should be made practical that every youth and every child be taught not merely to solve imaginary problems but to keep an accurate account of his income and out goes let him learn the right use of money by using it so homeschooling parents if you're doing that right now this is something very worthwhile to do. Here's another one Amazon page three seventy four program for all should learn how to keep accounts something like this work is non-essential but this is wrong all expenses should be accurately stated so yes budget is indeed important we'll talk about more about that in the next session OK question number six True or False giving a ten percent ty is the extent of my financial obligation to God. All right I'm a Jew I see South swear on the mountain and you guys are the ones that didn't leave after Sabbath is like the remnant right so you guys knew the answer to this one so let's drive this point clear we need to make sure because this is one of the most foundational principles about for us all finance some twenty four verse one the earth is who's the Lord's and. How much of its fullness all its fullness the world and those who dwell there in So how much in this world belongs they got all of it OK some fifty verse two if I were hungry I would not tell you for the world is mine and all its fullness So how much does God on so the ten percent that we return to God ten percent is that all that belongs to him. But all the other ninety percent you sure. No David was a man who was who loved the Lord and he wanted to build the temple of the story but God there is prophet even said no you should too much blood your son can build the temple you are not allowed to and David said Can I at least drop the plans can I at least go out and purchase all the materials I'll just lay it all out it will be like a Lego set or you can print out this structures for my boy. And at the dedication of the stuff OK this is David dedicating all of the materials that he has gathered for the temple we call a Solomon's temple but it's really David's temple. This is what he said. Now therefore our God we think the end prays like glorious name but who am I and what is my people that we should be able to offer so willingly after the sort for all things come of the end of the line all men have we given the David at the right perspective right for all of you parents my daughter is too young to have done this yet but if you were a child at one point you remember like Mom and Dad I want to you know get your gift but who paid for the gift. Right Mom and Dad paid for the gift mom and dad gave money to little Johnny or whatever to go buy a gift to give back to Mom and Dad This is exactly what's going on David is like of dying alone we have given back continuing for we are strangers before the end so generous as we're all our fathers our days on the earth are as a shadow and there is none abiding Oh Lord our God all the store that we are prepared to build the end house for that Holy Name cometh of dying hand and is all vine own God is the owner of everything and so when we think about the times and the offerings we're not giving our money we're just returning it to him and it's just a reminder for us who owns it in the first place Chris object lessons page three fifty one paragraph two Some think that only a portion of their means is the Lord's when they have set apart a portion for religious and charitable purposes they regard the remainder as their own to be used as they see fit but in this they mistake. All we possess is the Lord's and we are accountable to him for the use we make of it. And so now we come to the famous statement three verse eight. Four Will a man rob God yet you have robbed me but you say where and how we rob the in time and offerings so as ten percent tie the finance the extent if we are only returning the ten percent tie we are still robbing God. Because tides and offerings together. And I will also mention this if we're just giving tithes and offerings no matter what percentage we demarcate And we're keeping the remaining percentage and saying this is mine God You have no right to it we're still robbing God. Because it doesn't belong to us anyway and so I mentioned this earlier I'm going to make this point now I don't have time in this weekend to go over the whole bible study of the biosphere prophecy about the percentages of tides and offerings and what the recommendation is but on the seminar six part series on part six from G Y C twenty fifteen I spent all our dealing with that question how much how do we give how much should our Tod's and offerings be and you'll be surprised how specific god actually is on that point so let's just summarize this point this is important it's got owns everything we are simply managers of what he has placed within our care that's the term stewardship. We are accountable to God for how we handle his money whether by spending saving or giving and this is an important point that tide is simply the dividends you understand in the business environment a shareholder is the owner of the business they might not work there they might not be a manager they might not even be a customer. But because they owned the business they read to receive a percentage of the profits return of them called dividends. And that is simply representing is ownership of the other ninety percent OK So when we think about the tide it's simply our return of the goods that we have grown the increase of the resources given to our care and the ten percent dividend we are returning to God is just the indication that he owns the rest. That's that's all of me. We don't own anything it all belongs to him and it's just a reminder of who's the boss OK so the tie this not forgot yes I understand the church needs it the pay the pastors and yeah all that but the tide is for us to remember we're not the boss God owns it OK so I wanted to make sure we drill that point home Point Number Seven OK investing this is true or false question again investing is gambling it's not Biblical and it's contrary to sound Christian principles False True OK So we've got we've got the divided answers here that's good let's see what Jesus has to say about this Matthew chapter twenty five twenty seven it says you ought to have invested my money with the bankers and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest now this is the passage from the talents the parable of the Talents a man got five talents to talents one talent and at the end of the Day long time later the master comes back to take account with his servants. And the one who brought five more well done the good and faithful servant the one who had to brought two more the one who bear the towel in the ground God said You wicked and slothful servant. Now we we read that parable and we apply it to all sorts of things in fact if you read the book cross object lessons it says all all of the gifts that God has given to us is typified by those towns whatever it is a gives to us we have an obligation to improve and to gain more for the master's use you know you've read it you know it's like our time our speech are held our ability these are spiritual gifts but one of the things that is included. It is money. And it's fascinating how we frequently jump over the literal application the actual substance that Jesus is using to illustrate this point and I've got everything else except the money. And we seem to think it's OK to waste the money or oh not save and not invest when Jesus himself says. The money I gave you you should make good use of it so there's more to go back into the treasury OK And now we're not going to talk about investing specifically this weekend but again G. Y.C. I have a whole hour talking about principles on investing and also you can read my blog for more information but the point simply here is to say investing in fact is something biblical. OK is not the one question over eight True or false God wants us to prosper and to build wealth. True Are you sure. So over here is some say God wants us to prosper to give all right all right so there is a good question there's a clarification what do you mean by wealth What does it mean to prosper right it's a little bit of a tricky question I get I'll give you that but let's see what the White House is saying we alluded to this earlier Matthew one thousand nine hundred four and again I say unto you it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of got you member the rich young ruler. He was a wealthy man but Jesus told him to sell all they have to. Make a demon's was a wealthy man he gave it all to the church which was of a very there are many instances like that James five one two three this one is really bombastic go to now you rich men weep and how for your miseries I should call upon you your riches are corrupt and your garments a moth eaten your gold and silver is cantered and the rest of them shall be a witness against you and shall eat your flesh as it were fire you have heaped treasure together for the last days. Strong words of denunciation upon the rich in fact Jesus elsewhere says Lay not you up your treasures here upon the earth where modern rust does corrupt and these breakthrough of steel but lay up your treasures in heaven right so. Look at these verses wealth is bad right. We just read the verses. We just read the verses being rich is the evil thing. I'm I'm I'm not trying to probe you I want you to think because you remember earlier we talk about seeking first the Kingdom of Heaven right studying the Bible how much of the Bible do we need to read all of it are there other statements in Scripture about wealth OK let's take a look. Deuteronomy eight verse eighteen but valor shall remember the Lord thy God for it is he that give it the power to get well. But doesn't a sound like the Bible talking out of both sides of its mouth on one hand is like it is really hard for a rich man to go into the kingdom of heaven but who gave the rich man's ability to get the wealth in the first place Hon we're feeling a little bit of attention I want you to feel that tension because it's real and we need to we need to wrestle with it we need to come to grips with it Deuteronomy twenty eight verse eleven and twelve and the Lord shall make the plenteous in goods that sound like prosperity to me. In the fruit of the body and in the fruit of like cattle and in the fruit of the ground in the land which a lord sware into the father's to give the this is the promised Israel if they were faithful the Lord shall open on to the his good treasure the heaven to give the rain on to the land and his season and to bless all the work of one hand and valor shalt lend unto many nations I shall not borrow. This sounds like God's ideal for the children of Israel was not just spiritual prosperity but physical material prosperity and I'm going to make this a little side note here and you notice this you shall lend and to many nations I shall not borrow what's another word for that that we just mentioned earlier. It's called investing so God's ideal for Israel was you will have a surplus of means to invest just like Jesus recommended us all right so that was a side note but the point here that we're trying to make is that God does plan for his people to prosper. Progress three verses nine and ten on or the Lord with my substance and with the first fruits of all done increase so shall die barns be filled with plenty and I presses shell burst out with new wine you know this is really interesting because proverb says that our barns will be filled with plenty but then you remember the story of the rich fool. He had a big barn and filled it up he said let's build a bigger barn fill that up and then God says You fool no you not that tonight your soul be required of the because he just want to have a early retirement a kickback and drink is you know a lot of whatever. And so on one hand God says your bonds will be filled with plenty but on the other hand a man who did have his barn filled with plenty was condemned by God. So the Bible is trying to give us two sides that we have to wrestle with in order to find out where the middle ground really is third John two beloved i wish of all things that prosper and be in health even as deisel prosperous and so John here is making a very clear is that the prosperity here. Must mean a physical prosperity because the prosperity of Health is a second point and the prosperity of the soul is another point so it's not like I want you to be spiritually faithful and in the Lord yeah you already are I want you materially speaking to also be in a good position just like your soul is. Counseled us to attribute one thirteen paragraph one the followers of Christ are not to despise while they are to look upon wealth as the Lord's in trusted talent just like the parable that we read earlier by a wise use of his gifts they may be eternally benefited but we are to bear the fact in mind that God has not given us riches to use just as we shall fancy to indulge impulses to bestow or withhold as we please and so this is the balancing point here as our brother over here has been mentioning the wealth is not for us. The wealth is for God's use not merely to feed our own impulses. So the paradox of wealth in the Bible is simply this if I can boil it down the Bible condemns excessive riches. And the reason for that is because excessive riches leads us to trust in Mammon and nodding God It causes us to forget the Lord we are our own gods now we lose the faith in him but yet the paradox is that the Bible also encourages prosperity so how do we harmonize these two points we've begun that process but I don't want to spoil the punchline of this whole seminars we're going to hold on that and it all comes down to this word prosperity what does the Bible mean OK so going to come back to this at the end of our hour together. I want to keep this thought in your mind. Paradox of well our let's get practical now OK. So if we just talk about prospering. Let's talk about some nuts and bolts how that can be done. Question or nine True or false it is better to save small amounts of regularly while young and to save a lot later when we earn more OK let me rephrase this question a little bit because it might be a mouthful. Is it better to save as a young person a little bit at a time. Or is it better to simply wait until a little older when we have a bigger paycheck and to put away larger sums. OK so who says we should save While We're Young OK who says it's better to wait the world or. Both yes I know that's a cop out answer but. Let's take a look at an example to illustrate this we're going to look at thrifty Tiffany and spend the sally. They are the same age and they are friends they graduated from school at the same time at age twenty I'm just using round numbers and Tiffany over here she saves two thousand dollars a year from age twenty to age thirty for ten years and she invests at an eight percent rate of return and I know everyone's going to ask this question Where do I get eight percent eight percent let me just mention that now eight percent rate of return is the historical return of the S. and P. five hundred Index So if you bought an S. and P. five hundred index fund which is available in that pretty much every single retirement plan for one K. with your work whatever you would have gone at least eight percent so that's why I use that number it's a market index I'm just using a standard that is you know. Widely available something that people are familiar with so that's where the eight percent comes from and you backdated over one hundred years eight percent or more OK from the S. and P. five hundred Index so that's where the eight percent comes from are. So two thousand dollars a year ten years eight percent rate of return so over ten years she invested twenty thousand dollars of her own money. And then she quit when she turned thirty she quit not another dime of investments Sally on the other hand remember the same age she says I'm Young let me just live life a little bit I'm going to travel I'm going to fund my friends and you know I'm going to try to you know move up in my career ladder so I can earn more later and so the same year that Tiffany stop saving at thirty years old Sally begins saving OK So she starts ten years later two thousand dollars a year from age thirty to age sixty five K. retirement age and she gets the same rate of return eight percent so she invested seventy thousand dollars over thirty five years. So she puts in more money over a longer period of time. So when they hit sixty five and they decide OK I'm ready to retire who's got more money Sally who says Tiffany to you some say Tiffany has a Sally. Sally All right let's see what the numbers say who has more sixty five. Tiffany will have half a million dollars well as Sally will only have three hundred and eighty thousand dollars. That's one hundred twenty thousand dollars difference but not only that it's one hundred twenty thousand dollars while she put in fifty thousand more of her own money all right so why is this possible how does this work it's all because of the secret called Compound Interest OK compound interest if you remember into your high school algebra remember you have to know a little bit of math right to do personal finance compound interest is the opposite or not the opposite but it's in contrast to simple interest simple interest you just earn the same amount of interest every year or every compounding period or whatever compound interest is you earn interest on the interest you gain so it becomes an exponential growth curve instead of a straight line so here's the exit Here's the actual graph of Tiffany and Sally So Tiffany is the blue Sally is the red and you notice the hockey stick shape here is because eventually even though she only put in twenty thousand dollars eventually the interest on the twenty thousand dollars earns more than the twenty thousand dollars she put in herself so her money now is working for her without any more effort of her own. And even because Sally started ten years later she could never give up a catch up because compound interest was sweeping Tiffany along so much further that Sally would have to go a lot further before she can catch up to Tiffany So the point I'm trying to say is simply this you don't have to get a percent rate of return I was using that as an example but the point is the sooner you start the more time works on your behalf compound interest is a wonderful thing. One is working for you just and just at this point right now and that is you know credit cards. They operate on compound interest as well. Except they're working. Against you. And so you want it working for you not allow the credit card company to take advantage of you using it as oh this is what I'm trying to say the best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago the second best time is now you're never going to be younger than you are today. And so yes it might be a point that you wish you would have done you know long ago but hey it's better today than waiting another twenty years OK So the point the question that we were asking Is it better to save a little bit when you're young or save more when you're old the answer is the sooner the better even if it's just a small amount even if it's fifty dollars a month or ten dollars a month get into the habit of saving just like the ant go to the at the right. OK question number ten this is the last quiz question and then we're going to get into the wrap up of dealing with prosperity what the Bible means when it says prosper so question of intent true or false the best way to reach financial independence is to earn more money. As it pans this I have to say is a little bit of a trick question. OK So what is the best way anyway right what is it in contrast to so there are a couple things what do we mean when we say financial independence different people define it different ways some people say Financial independence is getting out of debt once I'm out of debt I feel financially independent Some people say when I pay off my house some people say what I've actually bought a house some people financial independence is when my investments throw off enough passive income that I don't have to work anymore that's also called retirement right when people retire that's the idea Social Security there for one K. the pension plan whatever no financial independence whatever your definition is you know. Financial independence so what's the contrast to earning more money. The opposite is to spend less and to save more. Is it better to earn more or is it better to save more the obvious answer is to do both but let's suppose that's not possible if you could not. Earn more and save more you had those two options to save more or to earn more which one is better. Well you know that I wrote a blog on saving the crumbs so that's probably a hint of where I land on this discussion but let's look a saver Sam and consumer KARL OK let's use this as an example saver Sam over here he makes a little under the U.S.. Median household income right now I think is that fifty five thousand dollars a year it's an average household income in the United States he makes fifty thousand. He spends twenty thousand dollars a year OK that's his living expenses and so every year he's able to save thirty thousand dollars of his fifty thousand so he has a sixty percent savings rate impressive. OK let's look at consumer KARL OK he earns one hundred fifty thousand dollars three times more what Sam makes. He spends one hundred twenty thousand of it a year and he's saved the same amount thirty thousand a year and that's twenty percent and I want to say that's not too bad right he's saving twenty percent of the income so that we might call him consumer coral but he's not doing horribly. But who is has greater financial freedom OK let's think about this who here is going to qualify for a bigger mortgage for a bigger house. Carle clearly look at his income he's going to be able to get a much larger mortgage approved OK who's going to be able to afford driving a more expensive car. Car of course and he probably is driving expensive car he's spending one hundred twenty thousand dollars a year that money has got to be going somewhere right who is going to be the one that can afford the luxury vacations car so who's the one with all the trappings of the better life car so doesn't that mean Carl has more financial freedom are you sure that's what my television tells me if I want to be happy I need to buy this and that and wear this and apply that when men do whatever take this vacation Are you sure what I'm trying to illustrate is very is a definition of financial independence that the world tries to voiced upon us but when we actually think it through it's not financial freedom at all because if if Carl can afford a gigantic mortgage guess what the borrower is slave to the lender that doesn't sound like financial freedom to me so let me illustrate it this way let's say Sam and Carl are converted some of the avenues they come to see and they say I want to be a missionary I want to spend some time working for the Lord we say Praise the Lord wonderful and they want to spend a significant amount amount of time working for God We say wonderful. Who is able. To take more time to go work for God let me make it clear to you. For each year Sam works he can take over one year off. But Karl has to work for years before he can take one year off. Did you see that because the number we're not we're not we don't care about the thirty thousand necessarily thirty thousand Yeah it's a lot of money we have to remember that but is the percentage of what he needs to spend to live OK so what's going on here is Sam has restrained his lifestyle he's been frugal with his living he's been efficient enough so that he can live on twenty thousand so thirty thousand will pay for eighteen months of his living expenses but for Carl he's going to have to work for years before he can take twelve months off who again now who has greater financial independence. Sam obviously so what am I trying to say what I'm trying to say is it all depends on what your definition of financial independence is if we're looking at how can we be of greater use and service to God. I want to be more like Sam not Mike Caro But here's the ideal right the ideal is of Karl has this income but that level of spending right then he can do a huge amount of good in the kingdom of heaven. So here's the point there is a double benefit of living unless you are able to save a greater percentage of your income immediately OK So Sam was able to save sixty percent of his income immediately and also the total amount of savings required is permanently decrease in the future so for Sam he'll never need to be a millionaire in order to be fully financially free twenty thousand dollars a year you know he could get by with a fairly small nest egg but if you've got a lifestyle that has inflated to be hundreds of thousands of dollars a year you're going to need a huge investment to be able to throw off any amount of cash close to covering your living expenses so there's a double benefit on living on less so if I had to choose. Better to live on less than justice just to earn more but if you do earn more hey more power to you spend less have more to apply to the work of God. So that brings us to the end of our quiz but we're not done with this session because remember we put a little point on the back burner and we need to come back to it OK We're we're building up to the punch line and that is redefining wealth and prosperity that's the point of this seminar What is the purpose of money OK we need to get to the root of this so we talked about money is involved you know why. Money covers everything and we have to have money for every little thing in life but what is it was the actual purpose to summarize money as a tool with only three functions we can boil it down money is good only for three things OK Number one to spend on current needs or wants so you can spend your money on what you want or what you need right now. Money is good to save for future needs or wants and money is to give to give away. Any application of money can fall within one of these three categories where you want to go on a vacation right now you're spending it on a current need or want you want to go on a vacation next year or you're saving it for a future need or want you feel moved to give to a mission project or a student missionary or if that we've heard about here giving it away right everything that we talk about revolves around one of these three things and investing for retirement or something like that would fall under savings. And this is core confirm to us in the Spirit of Prophecy Christ object lessons page three fifty one paragraph three money has great value because it can do great good but money is of no more value than sand only as it is put to use in providing for the necessities of life number one and blessing others in advancing the cause of Christ so the three things to spend on current needs or wants providing for the necessaries of life right now to save for future needs or wants is provided for future necessities of life and to give away is to bless others and advance the cause of Christ to give away. Pay back one slide All right so the three tool with three uses. As so money is good only for these three things and even the Spirit of Prophecy confirms that are we good all right let's keep going. So then what does it mean to be prosperous What does. I mean to be wealthy What does it mean to be rich. Because we talked about earlier how Jesus or rather the Bible recommends. Prosperity. But yet it condemns the rich man you know can lie through the eye of a needle and all of those things what does it mean when the Bible say to prosper. Does it mean. Taking exotic vacations to tropical islands these are the pictures right we get of living the wealthy life driving a fast expensive car having a giant mansion flying on a private jet you know it's interesting because I have spoken with some friends and there is there's something fascinating about this concept of wealth and riches and that is it's a term that we never apply to ourselves it always applies to someone else there was a guy who was talk I was doctors Oh no I'm not rich at all you should see the guys that I play golf with and I'm like well you actually have a golf club membership. That says something about your level of social status so but yet in his mind he doesn't have the bigger toys the more expensive house and more lavish. Lifestyle and so I'm not rich. And really unless your Bill Gates and I think he might not even be the richest man the world anymore right it's like Jeff Bezos now or something but whoever it is there's always going to be someone richer than you and so the term wealth and prosperity and riches it seems to be a nasty subjective term it's like it's always applied to something else somewhere else but never to me and you know probably true you know compared to some people we may not be in that class but then compared to certain parts of the world where extremely wealthy. So we need to see how does the Bible define this because when we say the Bible Jesus says you know or the Bible Deuteronomy read it it's God who gives you the power to build good wealth and you know God wants us to prosper in all these things if we apply the wrong definition of prosperity and wealth to that equation we can end up being a greedy fat cat whatever you want to call it because we need to have a Biblical point of departure of definition here and so what this next verse OK. Is the most important verse I'm going to share this whole seminar. This session and next session tomorrow yesterday everything this next one is the most important one. This is the foundational principle OK of all Christian personal finance and I want you to remember it want you to drill this home in your mind Proverbs Chapter thirty verses eight and nine remove far from me falso then lying give me neither poverty nor riches feed me with the food that is needful for me lest I be full and deny you and say Who is the Lord or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my gosh. The Bible defines prosperity for us what is the goal for the Christian as we're trying to manage our money give me neither poverty nor riches. I don't want to be super filthy rich but I don't want to be in poverty either just like you know the LEO Roston we wrote earlier Money can't buy happiness but neither can poverty that actually is echoing what the Bible actually says and it goes on to explain a little bit because lest I be full and deny you saying who is the lord that's the problem of the rich man that's why it's so difficult for the rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven is because it's easy to say who is this God that I should worship I have constructed a life right is this not great Babylon that I have built that mentality comes self sufficiency. But. On the other side if I'm impoverished I will be tempted to steal and profane the name of God. To be covetous to always be discontent to always have bitterness to always not esteem others better than myself both our sins. And so. The balance is right in the middle neither poverty nor riches but what should we strive for feed me with food that is needful for me so let's summarize what does it mean to be prosperous What does it mean to be wealthy What does it mean to be rich to have are me needs met. To have enough. That's one of the toughest words in the American language I don't want to say English language because it seems to me you know where in America we read earlier fifty three percent or whatever sixty three percent don't even have five hundred came in cover five dollars. We don't have enough but you know we always want more. And more and more and more. And so a call an important corollary to this all right is if this is true that prosperity is having our needs met then there is a very very simple process very very simple formula. To become prosperous. To need less. The less I need the easier it is for me to prosper this goes right back to saver Sam right saver salmon consumer coral sand needed less and because he need to last in a real sense he was far more prosperous than Karl was even though Karl had probably had a bigger income perhaps a bigger net worth who knows. The simple formula to get rich if I can put it that way wealth consists not in having great possessions but in having few wants this is not the Bible but this is what the Bible says First Timothy six verse six but Godly in this with contentment is great again Amen. So in conclusion we need to we're going to move into a little bit of the practical stuff and then the next session we're going to a real practical So how do I know how much I need. Right because that's still subject. And the reality of the matter is if you were a single person living in the dorm your needs will be a lot less than a family of five with kids going to have a schools colleges you know depending on the part of the country you live in. So that's a fact you're going to have to you know this is going to be a personalized thing but here are a few ways to know to figure out that amount OK. Because in order for us to really get practical and having a budget and figuring out how to manage our money in a practical hands on way we gotta have a dollar amount of dollar amount for how much we actually need because it's easy for us to conjure up things that we we think we need. Wants that are not really needs but we convince ourselves that their needs were good at doing that so how do we know what we actually need OK So this is where we're going to do a little homework. First you need to track your monthly living expenses that's we've got to start you've got to start with where you're at so take a look at the previous month take all of your receipts I think I say that look over all your receipts your bank credit card statements create a report of all your spending so if you haven't been in the habit of keeping track you go to your Starbucks of course your you know. A latte no caffeine right. Or your you know i Phone App Store or whatever you just don't keep track of what your spending will start keeping track keep track for a month and if there are recurring things insurance payments utility bills or whatever that comes up once in a while collect all of that and aggregate how much you're spending on a monthly basis you want to create a category spending list so categorize your spending and this is a starting point for the budget which. You want to see is what am I actually spending to live right now. And you don't have to you know don't don't try to manipulate the numbers right be honest with yourself and just listed all out how much I spend on groceries how much I spend on gas how much I spend going out to eat how much I spend on Netflix or Hulu or Amazon Prime or whatever it is right. And you must account for every penny because this is only as good as the data you put in garbage in garbage out as they say in computer lingo. So this sounds like a lot of work and at first it might be but the point of the matter is until you know what where the leaks are unless you actually know where your money is going you can't really do anything about it it's like feeling of I don't feel so well well. What's the problem you've got to actually diagnose the problem. So to eliminate all excuses here are some helpful three tools online tools that you can use to help go through this process these are two services I have used there are others some of them are paid services but Mint dot com This is a Web site that is free for use their ad supported so be aware of clicking anywhere it is operated by the company got into it the same people the right Turbo Tax Quick Books quick in they are one of the giants in the financials software industry and personal capital dot com They do similar work except they're more focused on investment piece of things Mint is more for your. Just account aggregation so both of these services what they do is you log in and you connect them with your financial companies your banks credit cards mortgage companies doing loans car loans all of that and it pulls all of the information together for you into nice. Need reports give you CAN nice colorful graphs shiny you know. It's gotten a free mobile app and so in essence what it does is it collects all the data for you you don't have to manually type it all in the only thing you have to put in are things like you know cash that you span that maybe you know confirm what checks you're writing but even those will import in from your financial accounts and so what I'm trying to say is that this these services are free and so they will do the heavy lifting for you to pull the data together so all you have to do is look at them and to see where is my money going. And that's just the first step OK having a clear grasp of your regular living expenses is essential to gaining control over your personal finances you've got to diagnose the problem first before working on a cure nothing else in the salmon are will matter if this step is not done that's important to keep in mind because from this launching point then you will see OK how much debt do I have what's my monthly debt payment where how much am I spending where can I cut how much do I need to save where do I go with creating my personal budget and those are all stuff that we're going to talk about in the next session So let's summarize real quick session one summary God desires us people to give sacrificially but still build wealth and live a comfortable life it is better to save a little early than a lot later thanks to the power of compound interest it is better to live on less than to earn more money as a tool that's only good only to spend to save or to give away and according to the Bible we are prosperous when we have enough to meet our needs and to determine our needs we must track our living expenses. And so that brings us to the conclusion of our first session together we're going to pray and I'm going to take a break and then we'll come back I believe we start at eleven as I write or close to there and we're going to get into some nuts and bolts about debt and budgeting in particular so let's bear has for prayer as we conclude here this morning Father in heaven thank you for being with us so far this morning we thank you for the blessing of clear Council of what to do with our money Help us Lord to not be impoverished or to be rich lest we forget you and see who is the Lord and let us be poor and covet and blasphemy more God's name. Or lower than you help give us wisdom as we deal with these principles and try to apply the moral bring us back to the next session as we continue this discussion with Jesus. This media was brought to you by audio a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about. 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