– So I knew that this talk was coming. It doesn’t always come up, when we do, you asked for it. But it did this year, and it’s interesting because any time that money comes up you can kinda hear a collective either or, right, there’s always this awkwardness around money, there’s always this awkwardness around finances and the church. And I just sat down, I started writing all the notes that I could around why do we feel the way that we do around our money? Why is it such a sensitive topic in the church? And I think there’s a handful of reasons. One is that I think that sometimes the church over talks about this, right, sometimes you feel like every time I come in you’re talking about money, every time I come in you’re asking for money. That’s why we work so hard to steward the funds that you give us well. That’s why we work so hard to never have to put a thermostat on the wall, that we just try to live within what God’s provided for us, it’s an important thing for me. But I also want to say to you that sometimes the thing that we are most sensitive about is the thing that we’re most slave to. Hello?
– [Audience Member] Amen.
– Yeah, sometimes we have some anger over some abuses around what we see in our culture. Doesn’t it feel like the worst people have the most money? Doesn’t it feel like the system’s rigged? Doesn’t it feel like all the good folk are the poor folk, right? And sometimes there’s just some angst about abuses. Sometimes there’s angst about how much we talk about it, and, sure, sometimes there’s angst about how we handle money in the church and we feel some of this hypocrisy. Let me tell you another one that I think is legitimate. I think that most of us feel, have some shame over some struggles that we’ve had within our finances. I think that most people feel like I should be doing better with my money, but it’s really difficult, and I made some really significant mistakes. Anytime money comes up, the groan is either here we go again or I don’t want to feel badly about myself. And I think that it’s important for us to understand that when the Bible talks about money, God never talks about money in terms of currency. He never talks about it in terms of green paper with dead dudes on it, he never talks about economic systems or generation, no, he talks about spiritual realities that show up in the way that we think about and the way that we handle our money. What God would say is this isn’t about your stuff, this is about your strongholds. This isn’t about your stuff, this isn’t about where you live or how much you have or how much debt you’re in or how much you’re giving or any of those, money is just a way that where your strongholds show up in an objective way. And so what I want to do is I want to talk to you today about our strongholds around money, and I want to tell you just on the front end, I don’t need anything from you, okay? There’s no ask at the end. I don’t want anything from you, I do desperately want something for you. And what I want is for you to be free in a context and in a culture where a lot of people are just flat out slaves to green paper with dead guys on it. We’re absolutely slaves to it, and so in Second Corinthians, chapter 10, verses three through five, listen to what God has to say about it, for though we walk in the flesh, in other words, even though I’m made of flesh and bones and this is temporal, we’re not waging war against the flesh. Ephesians chapter six says a similar thing, that we don’t war against flesh and blood, we war against principalities and powers. In other words, that person that you’re sideways with, they ain’t your enemy, it’s the spiritual forces behind, it’s the things that are being drawn up through those interactions. We gotta get this through our head as a church and as a people of God that the battles that we fight aren’t in the temporal flesh and blood, not when it comes to people, not when it comes to culture, not when it comes to cash. We do not wage war against the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare, they aren’t of the flesh. In other words, they aren’t intellectual, they aren’t how strong you are, how much power you have, right. But that have divine power to destroy what? Listen, I know it’s raining, all right, but come on. Divine power to destroy what?
– [Audience] Strongholds.
– To destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to obey Christ. Here’s what the Bible says, strongholds are arguments. Maybe another word to say would be strongholds are lies and arguments and pretensions, some translations say, that the enemy whispers into our ear over life and across our culture. He pitches arguments that are spiritual arguments, and those arguments, listen, produce beliefs. The lie produces a belief, and the belief produces a thought, and the thought produces a behavior, and the behavior turns into a habit. Watch, the lie, the argument produces a belief. The enemy says this, And you say, oh man, that’s true. And you take a step into your thought life and you being to think things and you begin to believe things in your thought life, you begin to have self-talk that is based on a lie. And that lie produces thoughts, and your thoughts produce behaviors. That’s why when the Bible says anything that comes out of your mouth is started in your heart, right? Anything that comes out of your mouth, it started in your heart, your behavior produced habits, and some of us have habits around our stuff and around our money that’s tied to a belief that’s tied to a lie that makes us slaves. And that’s why whenever we talk about money, not to step over abuses, not to step over talking it all the time, I think a lot of the reason is because it’s like, man, I don’t know how to get this thing beat, I don’t know how to step into freedom around this, and you talking to me and telling me the church needs money, it makes me feel worse, doesn’t set me free. Are you with?
– [Audience] Yes.
– Okay, so here’s what the Bible says, you don’t need more discipline to get free. You don’t need better connections. What you need is spiritual weapons to destroy Satanic lies in your life.
– [Audience Member] Yeah.
– You need spiritual weapons to destroy Satanic lies in your life that produce all of these things. So let me just tell you my motivation. My motivation today is twofold. It’s on one hand to expose three lies. And then on another hand to put in front of you three ways to get free that, listen to me, God said will always work. Now, listen, if you don’t get free of the lies, you ain’t gonna believe God when he says that they work, that’s the problem. And so I need to expose the lies and I need to put three things in front of you that will increasingly set you free if you will take God at his word and believe what he says is true. And if you’ll do those things, you will not only see more clearly, but you will be more free. Here’s what I’m hoping, I need you to understand that when you are in bondage to it, it controls you. Okay, watch, some of you guys, you have a time of the month, it’s around the first part or the middle part or the end part, every two weeks, depending upon how that your stress, your cortisol goes up, right, your stress goes up, your worries goes up, your prayers change, you start trying to manage things, how are we gonna do this, why does this keep happening? Listen, it’s controlling you. It’s controlling you. When you get free of it, you control it. When I’m in bondage, it controls me. When I’m free, I control it. And what I want to teach you today is how to get free so that you can control it, and so that you can see money and currency for what it is. It is green paper with dead people on it that is tied to belief systems that produce thoughts and habits that put people in bondage, that’s what the enemy wants. God wants us to look at it as a blessing that can be used for his glory and kingdom. Are you with me?
– [Audience] Yes.
– You’re awfully quiet today, okay. Let’s talk about three money lies. Three money lies. So money lies, and here are the lies around money. These are arguments that the Devil makes around money that I believe affect us every single day, every single day. The first one is this, this will make me safe. This will make me safe. I think one of the favorite tactics of the enemy is to tempt around fear. I think that a lot of us, if we were honest, the things that come out are just symptoms of fear that we feel. And I think a lot of times we’re afraid of missing out, we’re afraid of being insignificant, we’re afraid of not having enough, we’re afraid of God not providing. It’s interesting, because I want you, how many guys are gonna watch the Chiefs today? Yeah, all right. Watch the commercials. Watch the commercials. And as you’re watching the commercials think about the message under the message. It’s never about the truck, right? It’s never about the restaurant. It’s about, you don’t want to miss out on this. You don’t want to be somebody that doesn’t look like this. Just watch the commercial. Listen, you don’t want to be the kinda guy that is in a $4,000 suit holding this beer. It’s amazing how much marketing is fear-based. So look what the Bible says about this, Hebrews 13: five and six, keep your life free from the love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, watch, God says, don’t love money, why? Because God said, I’ll never leave you or forsake you. Isn’t it interesting that God gets to the heart of, you aren’t alone, you have a provider, you have a protector, you have a father who loves you, so you can be at peace and you can rest and you don’t have to be afraid. So we can say confidently, the Lord is my helper, I will not fear. What can man, even if he might have a little bit more green paper with dead guys on it, even if he can make it rain, right? What can man do to me if God’s on my side? You see, the enemy says you’re gonna miss out, and the enemy says people are gonna think. The enemy says you’re not gonna have enough, the enemy says all of these things that are based in fear. And God says, you are never alone. This was never up to you, I’ve got you, I’m with you, you can be at peace, you can be at rest, you can be confident that no matter what happens, you aren’t in it on your own. No matter what happens, this isn’t up to you. Here’s another one in the book of Matthew that is so practical and it’s so good and it’s so easy, you can think about this through your week. Therefore I tell you, this is Jesus speaking, don’t be anxious about your life. Come on, raise your hand if there’s been times where you’ve been anxious about your life. Yeah, the rest of y’all need to be anxious right now ’cause you’re liars, all right? Jesus says don’t be anxious about your life. Well, that’s easy for you to say, Jesus, right? Don’t say, what will I eat or what will I drink or don’t worry about your body, what you’re gonna put on, is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? The commercials you’re gonna watch today, they speak comprehensively about temporal things. Look at the birds of the air. I want to encourage you to do this this week. Look at the birds of the air, they don’t have a farm that they go to to get their bird seed, right? They don’t sow, they don’t reap, they don’t gave in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Think about this, when’s the last time that you walked by and you saw a dead bird and you’re like, oh, that poor guy is malnourished? Never, you’ve never, now, there’s some birds that I wish that I was the case, right? No, God says they don’t have like a place they go to get with that, I take care of all of them, right? Are you not more valuable than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to your lifespan? I mean try that this week, just, Pastor Donivan’s talking about his friend who’s in hospice that if his friend just worried more, his life wouldn’t get longer. In fact, most psychologists say the more you worry, the shorter your life gets, right? But how many of us think, if I just squeezer harder, this will get better? Does that ever work? Has that ever worked for you? No, you’re just strangling it, you’re squeezing the life out of it. And why are you anxious about your clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They don’t toil or spin, you’ve never gone by a field full of lilies and heard. You’ve never heard that, it’s effortless, right? Yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, here it is, O you of little faith? What’s the opposite of faith? Fear, right? Therefore, don’t be anxious, don’t say what are we gonna eat or what do we drink or what are we gonna wear, but how many of us, how many of us on the way here were like, what are we gonna eat during the game? Well, I don’t know, and get in a, well, I want this, and you’re arguing with your wife, right? How many of you were stressed out about what you were gonna wear? Maybe not today, ’cause you’re coming to church, but maybe tomorrow, we spend so much time worrying about, what am I gonna eat, what am I gonna wear, what am I gonna drink, how am I gonna get it, what’s gonna happen, I don’t know. God says let’s just all take a deep breath. Let’s just all relax. The enemy is speaking spiritual truths into your life that are opposite of what God says is true. How would your life change if you just stopped listening to the enemy who says you always need to be afraid and started listening to God, who says, I’ll never forsake you? I’ll never ever forsake you, that’s the first. The second is this, this will make me significant. First, this will make me safe. The second, this will make me significant. This is another temptation of the enemy, it’s around our identity, it’s around, if I had this, people would think something about me. Watch the commercials, watch the commercials. Why don’t they ever put ugly people in the front seat of their car? Have you ever noticed that? Why do they always put the best looking person you have ever seen in the front seat of the truck they’re trying to sell you? What’s the message? If you had this, you would look like that. And how many of you know there ain’t a chance in heaven that’s true, right? This fear, this desire to look a certain way, this desire to be perceived a certain way, this desire that if I had this, I could buy this, and then you would think I’m that. And the enemy says, the only thing that you need for people to think you’re successful and powerful and valuable is a little bit more. Have you ever noticed no matter how much you make, the enemy keeps saying you’re almost there, you almost got it, just a little bit more? I read a study a few years ago that at every single bracket in a salary, they did a poll and said, if you can make any number above what you’re making, what would you like to make? And every single quadrant said 25%. Millionaires, just 25% more. $10,000 a year, just 25% more. Where does that come from? That doesn’t come from physical things, that comes from spiritual lies that the enemy says, just a little more, just a little more, just a little more, just a little more, just a little more, just a little more, and then, and how many of you know, how many of you have gotten the job and realized that it’s never just a little more? ‘Cause it’s not a fiscal issue, it’s a spiritual issue. It’s a spiritual issue. Luke 12 and verse 15 he said to them, take care and be on guard against all covetousness. Wow, isn’t this hard? I’m just trying to watch the game, right, and I’m getting all of these spiritual messages put in front of me, ooh, that looks, oh, I would so, ooh, they would think, oh, it would be, if I just had a little more and could buy that, here it is, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions. The enemy says if you just had a little bit more people would think, and God says you aren’t your stuff. You aren’t your stuff. You aren’t your stuff. Can I tell you some of the worst people I’ve ever met in my life had the most stuff, am I lying? Some of the best people that I’ve ever met, they didn’t have two pennies to rub together. What does God say? God says, you’re significant where you stand because of Jesus. And how would your life change if you could get off of that, if I just had just a little bit more then, if this, then that? That’s the enemy. And if you woke up each day and reminded yourself through the holy spirit of God, I am valuable because Jesus says that I am. I am worthy because Jesus says that I am. Do you see these lies that get said, these lies that produce thoughts, these thoughts that produce behaviors, these behaviors that produce habits, these habits that put us in bondage? Number three, this will make me happy. This will make me safe. This will make me significant. This will make me happy. And here’s the temptation, entitlement. Come on, we’re all right, you’re in church. You’re safe. Can I tell you, let me tell you what entitlement looks like, temporary fun. Right? Come on man, you’ve been working hard, you deserve this. Come on man, they got it, you work harder than them. Come on. What if you went to the grocery store and there was no price tags on it? And you got up and it was like, how much is this gonna be? I don’t know. You know that’s what the enemy does, right? You should buy this. How much is it? Oh, I can’t tell you that. And it’s always more expensive than you thought it was gonna be. Listen, fun is not sin, don’t misunderstand me. And sin is sometimes fun. Can I get an amen? Okay, let’s be honest. The problem is the timestamp on it. Sin is fun for this long, and I gotta live with it for this long. And I bought it over here on credit, and now I’m paying for it for the rest of my life. How many of you guys, you have something that you’re like, man, nobody knows, I deserve this, I’m gonna buy it, I’m gonna do it, I’m gonna take it. And it’s temporary enjoyment often based on I deserve this. Often based on if I got this, I would be. Often based on, I just need it for a little bit and then I’ll give it back. That’s what credit is, y’all, that’s what credit is. So the enemy loves to tempt us on this, Ecclesiastes five and verse 10, he who loves money, it can’t be any more simple than this. He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income. This is also empty, vanity. Listen, if you love money, you can never have enough. If you need it, your income’s never going to be high enough. Here’s the actuality, this is the truth. Romans four and verse seven, blessed, in Greek, happy are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Happy is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin. Watch, the enemy says, come on, man, you deserve this. The Bible says even if you get it, it won’t change anything. Let me tell you what will change something, for Jesus has saved you from your sins by his grace, that’ll change something. For you to wake up every day knowing that I’m forgiven and I’m free, that I’m restored, and that I’m whole, and that even though I did put a bunch of behavioral stuff on credit and I’m paying for it, Jesus paid for it on the cross and my ledger is clean. How many of us though, if we were honest, the decisions that we’ve made around our stuff were toward, I want to be safe, I want to be significant, and doggone it, I deserve it, man? All lies, all lies. And so let’s talk about overcoming financial strongholds. And I’m trying to be as practical as I can with you here today, because I think that a lot of us. If I were to poll your theology on freedom, okay, if I were to say, tell me what the Bible says about freedom, you would probably answer correctly. I think most of us have good theology on freedom, the problem is we have terrible behavior around freedom. This is why I say all the time, if you’re new to church or not a Christian yet, church folks and not church folks have the same struggles. The difference between church folks is that we’re ashamed and we hide it. It’s the only difference, in my experience. If you’re new to Graceway, you don’t need to feel out of place, you don’t need to feel uncomfortable, I don’t need you to wear a jacket or get a haircut, right? This is just a hospital that a couple of us beat you to. And my hope for the culture of our church is that we don’t have to hide our sin but that we can step into relationship and find freedom from our sin together. That’s my hope. Because most people, they know the verses, they’ve memorized the verses. How many of you guys have ever had someone say, if you’re struggling with something, just memorize five verses and God’ll set you free? Has anyone done that? Can I tell you, no. Listen, I have issues in my life, I know 50, 100, 150 verses, but my theology is fine, it’s my behavior, and it’s the things that I’m believing that the enemy keeps whispering in my ear. And how many of you know, the enemy never shuts his dirty mouth? He’s always whispering these same things. My kids and I were watching Remember the Titans, have you seen this movie, with Denzel Washington? He has his playbook, right, he’s got three plays in it. And they’re like, you only got three plays. He’s like, that playbook is like novocaine, just keep doing it, just takes a little time, it always works. That’s the enemy. This will make you feel safe. This will make you feel significant. This will make you feel happy. Three things, and we keep falling down around it while we’re memorizing verses. I’m not saying don’t memorize verses, okay? Memorize verses, but there are some things that we need to do. This is the reason that I teach you the way that I do, is because I want you to know, but I also want you to have certain behaviors, okay? One of those behaviors that I say all the time is that your choices lead and your feelings follow. Choices lead, okay, I’m making a choice based on a truth, I’m making a choice based on what God says is true, and I’m gonna choose based on what God says is true. I’m gonna choose certain behaviors based on what God says is true. You’re not always gonna feel like it, ’cause you’re conflicted because the enemy’s whispering in your ear, right? And so I want to give you three choices to make around your finances that God says are based on truths. And I’m not asking you to feel like doing it, I’m asking you to take steps in faith. You understand what I’m saying?
– [Audience Member] Yes.
– I know you already know, and some of you are like, oh, he’s gonna say this, this, and this, okay? This isn’t about good theology, this is about faithful behavior. Are you with me? So we can get free. The first is this, return the first. Return, return the first. Here’s the text, Deuteronomy 14, 22 and 23, you shall tithe all the yield of your seed that comes from the field year by year. And before the Lord your God, in the place that he will choose, to make his name dwell there, you shall eat the tithe of your grain and of your wine and of your oil, and the firstborn of your herd and flock, that you might learn the fear of the Lord your God always. Now, this is interesting to me, because a lot of times people make this a theological argument. And we say tithing isn’t a New Testament thing, and tithing isn’t, we make it a theological argument. So let me just say it to you this way, so I’m gonna beat you to the email, okay? Do you, under the covenant of grace, are you required to tithe? No. But is the principle in place and does the blessing follow?
– [Audience] Yes.
– Yes. Okay, so if you want to argue with me about which covenant and which dispensation and do I have to, I already got you. You don’t have to, but with the promises that God gives you around tithing, why wouldn’t you? In fact, whenever the Apostle Paul is talking to the Corinthians he says, listen, under the law, they had to tithe, and we always say this 10% thing, right? It was more like 30%, if we’re gonna be theological. 30% tithe. And we’d say, nah, that’s not for us anymore, and Paul says, but they didn’t have the blood of Jesus applied to their life, they didn’t have the grace of God applied to their life. They had the law. We have grace. We’ve been given all these things. We’ve been set free, we’ve been forgiven, we have our eternal inheritance in Jesus Christ, why wouldn’t you, why wouldn’t you, why wouldn’t you step into this practice? Okay. So let me say it to you this way, tithing is not giving, tithing is returning. This is an important thing. My language changed around this a couple years ago, because I always thought, man, I’m giving, I’m giving my 10%. No, God doesn’t talk about it that way, God talks about tithing as returning. The word tithe means tenth. God says return to me a tenth, because I gave you 100%, right? Now, watch, this church believes in tithing. In fact, we give about 20% of everything that comes in goes straight out the door. Because, do I have to do it? No, I want to do it, right? Because of what God has given me, and because the principle produces blessing. And I want this church to be blessed, and I don’t want to act like we earned all hundred percent, so I’m quick to say return, return 10%. Your pastor does this, okay? My wife and I return a little more than 10%, and then we give on top of that. Your pastors do this. You say, you know what the pastors do? Yeah, because if the pastors aren’t doing it, the church ain’t gonna do it. And so your pastors are tithers, your church is a tither. By the way, you’re doing it right now, you’re tithing with the first day of your week. That’s what church is, right? Coming to church is, it’s many things, but a lot of you say, I’m going, and I’m going on the first day of the week to give it to God on the first part of the day. Now, I know a lot of you came to the first service so you can get home and watch the game, all right? But that’s fine, okay ? I have taught you and I ask you to tithe the first part of each day and give it to God, okay? Don’t get on your phone and start checking your email, start checking, just get to it. Get up, and give God at least the first 15 minutes, and spend five minutes talking to God, spend five minutes reading, and spend five minutes worshiping. Just the first 15 minutes. And you’re saying to God with your week, God, I give this week to you. You’re saying to God with your time, God, I give this day to you. You’re saying to God with your money, God, I return this 10% to you, it was all yours, it’s all for your glory, it’s all by your grace, and as an act of worship and surrender, I’m happy to do it. I’m happy to do it. It’s funny to me, church people, we love to go, when Paul is talking in Corinthians about cheerful giver and they say things like, man, but I’m not cheerful, so I don’t gotta give. Talk about adventures in missing the point, right? It’s rhetorical, the idea is, of course you’re cheerful because of everything that God gave you. And if you’re not, that’s called lacking gratitude, come on somebody. Okay, now let me be real with you. I have learned the blessing of tithing the hard way. I grew up, my folks split when I’m 13, we were not well off in any way, shape, or form, and so when I started to make money, I had a mindset of scarcity. And when I’m 19 years old, I go to one of my pastors and I say, I can’t afford to give 10%. And this is what he says to me, I just want you to understand that God expects that you return 10%. And I say, maybe you’re hard of hearing on this side of your head, right, I can’t afford, and he just kept saying back to me, all I can say to you is. And so I was like, I was mad, but I was like, okay, so I started to give 10% when I was 19 years old, I’m 41 now, have never stopped. My wife, this is a huge value for my wife, okay, my wife has the gift of giving, that’s why we’re on the legacy team together. But 10%, 10%, 10%, we’re returning it. I will tell you when I first became a pastor not only was I weak on it theologically and practically, personally, but I was weak on it when I was a pastor, and I would let people come into positions of authority and I would give people influence who had not yet come to a full understanding of the principle of returning a tithe. And let me tell you what I saw, I saw two narratives. I’ve seen it in my own life, I’ve seen it in the church. I’ve been doing this now for over 20 years, and it’s always the same two narratives. One is this, I tithe and God provides, and I don’t really know how. It’s like my money goes longer. I don’t know why, I don’t know how it works, I don’t know what the math is, but it’s like when I give God that 10%, something. Okay, here’s the other narrative, pastor, you don’t understand, I can’t afford to tithe. Okay, listen, I come from a single parent home, I totally get it, but please listen to me. I love you, I care about you, I want you to experience freedom. If that’s where you’re stuck, you’re never gonna be able to afford it. You’re never gonna be able to afford it because this isn’t about your stuff, this is about your strongholds. And because whether the lie is I’m afraid, whether the lie is significance, whether the lie is I deserve, I don’t know what it is, but if you’re stuck at I can’t afford to, I promise you, experientially and I believe theologically you’re never gonna be able to. Okay, so tithing, the Bible, we just read that verse, teaches us, it teaches me about my heart. And so if you’re in here today and you’re like, man, I don’t want to or I can’t, what is that saying about what you believe, about your heart? What is that saying about your desires? What is that saying about your faith in God’s provision? What is that saying about your belief in blessing? Does God bless obedience or does God bless fear? Listen, I know this is uncomfortable, but my heart is to help you experience freedom. Tithing declares something, it declares God is here. That’s what Deuteronomy says. The place where his name dwells. I return 10%, why? Because I want God to dwell here. I want God to dwell over my life, over my marriage, over my kids, over this church, over your life. I want God to dwell in this place, and so I return 10%. This is so strong in the Bible, guys, that I want to challenge you. In the book of Malachi God does something very outside of his character, he says, bring it. He says, test me, test me around your tithing and see if I don’t open up the windows of heaven. Okay, there are many times in the Bible where someone tries to test God, and God’s like, you must be outside of your mind. Have you read the Book of Job? Job’s like, why, why, why, and God’s like, for real, ’cause I’m God and you ain’t. Malachi, God says, I’m gonna come down here and I’m just gonna say, just give it a shot. And so here’s what I want to do, I want to challenge you for the next calendar year, choose to take God at his word. Choose, I know you’re not gonna feel, I know there’s fear, I know there’s significance, will you just choose 10%, return it to God. And see what changes, see what changes. Return the first. Second, steward the rest. Okay, so watch, and this is the, I listened to sermons, I read books, these are the best ways that I know and the simplest ways that I know. Return the first, steward the rest. If you return the first and act like a knucklehead on the other 90%, you’re still in bondage, okay? And so I return the first and I steward the rest. Pastor, what do you mean by that? I mean I need you to get on a budget. 90% of Americans, 90% of Americans do not have a budget. Now, what is a budget? A budget is telling your money where to go before you have it. Come on somebody. Being in slavery, being in bondage, is always making decisions and you’re money telling you how to do it. Having a budget is being free of it and say, I’m gonna spend this before it’s in my account. Proverbs 21 and verse five, the plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty. Listen, how many of you guys have ever been in the store and you made a hasty decision? Checking the account, I don’t know if that’s cleared, that’s good, yeah, whatever, I deserve it. Right? And I have, you can ask my wife, hundreds of times, okay? My wife’s a saver, I’m a spender, I’m like, come on, we deserve this, make it rain. You need a budget, you need a budget, you need a budget, return 10, so I have 90. If God gives you 10 bucks, gotta give you a dollar. I’m living on the other nine. Let me give you a couple, snowball your debt, okay? You got five spots of debt, this is simple Dave Ramsey stuff. Five spots of debt, take your smallest, pay it off, take what you would’ve used to pay it off and start on the second and just get some momentum. Because a lot of you, your debt is caving in on you and you don’t know, and we say I’m gonna go to the biggest one first. No, you need some wins. Snowball your debt, get an emergency fund. Dave Ramsey, I don’t love absolutely everything that he says, but I do love this, you need an emergency fund, ’cause how many of you know Murphy always shows up? It’s amazing to me, the more stuff I have, the more stuff breaks. Have you noticed that? It’s weird, it’s a weird thing. And so I would say if you need to, just save up 500 bucks. So, God, I’m returning 10. God, I’m working to save 500 bucks. God, I’m working on a budget, and I’m paying off debt, okay? And then here’s the biggest one, the biggest one, the biggest one, find a friend to do it with. Find a friend to do it with. Have y’all heard the story of the guy, his house floods, and he goes up onto the rooftop and he starts praying, God, will you save me? And a guy comes by in a boat, right? Hey man, hop in the boat. No, no, no, God’s gonna save me. Okay, fair enough. Hanging out, water’s coming up. God save me, God save me, God save me. A ship comes by. The captain yells down, sir, we’re gonna send the dinghy down, I’ve always wanted to say dinghy in a sermon, all right? We’re gonna. We’re gonna send the dinghy down. Nope, God’s gonna save me. Okay. God save me, God save me, God save me. Helicopter comes by, we’re gonna send the rope down, sir. No, no, God’s gonna save me. Guy drowns, he dies. Gets to heaven, comes to St. Peter, and says, Pete, why didn’t God save me? Pete calls God and says, yeah, the moron you sent a boat, ship, and helicopter to is here. I’m not calling you a moron, I’m calling the belief system a moron, okay? Listen, you can’t do this alone. If you could, you would have. Okay, so let’s just be honest with one another. You need a friend, so let me just tell you, this is the reason that we do groups. I looked it up, we have a financial group. It’s on Tuesday evenings. A financial planner leads the group. I don’t got time for that. No, you don’t want to be free. ‘Cause some of you are so in debt and so in bondage that the idea of it not working on your calendar is like you telling a helicopter God’s gonna save me. God is saving you, get in a group. Get help, be honest. Man, I don’t like people being up in my business. Do you know slavery and secrecy are tied to one another? You’re talking about strongholds right now. You’re only as free as your secrets. Everybody in there is in there to get free. Everybody in there is in there to get help. Everybody in there is gonna have to say, yeah. And we’re gonna get free together by the grace of God. Come on, my wife and I, when we first got married I had a little bit of school debt, bought a car, and we had debt. And do you know what we went through? Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. Why? ‘Cause I want to be free. Well, I got stuff on Tuesday. Move it! Seriously, figure it out friends, figure it out. Let’s be free, let’s be free. Why? So, number three, we can focus on true wealth. We can focus on true wealth. This is a intense story, Luke 12, 16 through 21, and he told them a parable, saying, the land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, what shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops? And he said I’ll do this, I’ll tear down my barns, I’ll build bigger ones, and there I will store all of my grain and my goods, and I will say to my soul, soul, it’s funny when you’re talking to your soul in third person, right? Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years, just relax, eat, drink, and be merry. Now, watch, that’s the American dream, isn’t it? Okay, American dream’s in the Bible, look at God’s response to it. But God said to him, fool, this night your soul is required of you, and the things that you have prepared, whose will they be? So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God. I’m gonna say it to you this way, God never mishandles what you give him. God never mishandles what you give him. You see, you don’t understand what you’re asking me to give up, you don’t understand what you’re asking me to do, you don’t, I don’t, but I understand who you’re giving it to. And God is worthy of what you give him. God is both worthy and never mishandles, and so my heart for you around your finances, listen, I said it at the beginning, I don’t need anything from you, I don’t. You guys, we’re a generous church by God’s grace, but I know for an absolute fact that we have people in here who are in bondage to a spiritual stronghold called money. And I what I want to declare over your life as simply as I can is that Jesus died to forgive you and to set you free, and that he’s worthy of your stuff as much as he’s worthy of your soul. And that whatever you give him in faith of what he says is true, he won’t fumble it. He’ll bless you, he’ll show up, he’ll provide for you. I can tell you that as a testimony in my own life. But in order to do it, we gotta stop believing the enemy, and we gotta start taking God at his word. Are you with me today? Hey, Pastor Tim here, I hope that you enjoyed our service. If it was a blessing to you or God spoke to you, I hope that you’ll let us know. Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to hear what God’s doing in your life and how we might be able to help you in it. If you’d like to support our ministry, you can support us by giving right there. And if you live in the Kansas City area, I hope that you’ll stop by and give us a visit, we’d love to shake your hand, buy you a cup of coffee, worship Jesus together. Let us know how we can be of help to you, and I hope to see you soon.