While on my sabbatical I’ve been getting ready for hopefully filming with RightNowMedia again in August – please pray it all comes together, I just sent the outline and scripts off. It was so brilliant to do ‘The Discipleship Pathway’ with them last year and I’m blowed away to hear it’s been getting over 3000 completions a month! The next project is more focused on men in particular but I hope will be a blessing to anyone who watches and implements the teaching.
One main focus is on FINANCE. And the other night I had a very clear dream that I should speak and teach more in this area, even though it’s something I’ve never shied away from doing so, because to me anything I can encourage people to put in their heavenly bank account will never be regretted!
Money is something the church often either doesn’t talk about at all, or can come across as desperate or greedy or even have an unbiblical view, but this has been something I have so often actually loved teaching on because stewardship and discipleship are so linked.
As part of my ‘REVIEW’ on sabbatical I looked over the hard drive and found that in various ways I have given a lot of talks that are finance focused at Ivy.
Here’s a section from the start of one such talk that perhaps will be a blessing to you, I might add the rest soon!
AN APPLE A DAY
A newspaper reporter went to interview a successful entrepreneur. “How did you do it?” he asked. “How did you make all this money?”
The businessman was glad to tell his story. “When I married, we only started out with a roof over our heads, and 10p to my name. I went down to the shop and bought an apple, then I shined it up and sold it for 20p. I bought more apples, shined them up and sold them for twenty pence a piece.”
The reporter was nodding away, he thought this would be a great human interest story. “Then what happened?”
My Mum died and left us £20 million.”
I loved that story because it illustrates how we become confused and deluded about how we got what we have.
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”James 1:17
James is telling us to Never make the mistake of thinking you are responsible for all you have. That’s THE MYTH OF THE SELF-MADE MAN (OR WOMAN).
If you made yourself, you won’t amount to much.
Of course hard work and effort matters, but however it comes, every good thing in life is from the Father above who is GOOD – and the source of life itself.
When King David was giving gifts so the Temple could be built and he prays this fantastic prayer where he’s looking back over his life, thanking God and saying ‘Who am I? Who are we? That you would bless us so much? He says ‘Even this gold and silver and all these materials we are giving – they came from you. We are not giving, we’re giving a little back out of all that you gave us.’
We never give TO God really, he owns the cattle on a 1000 hills.
The silver is mine and the gold is mine says the Lord
The EARTH is the Lord’s and everything IN IT. Psalm 24 (not Pastor Paul – INNIT?)
God owns it all, and he wants us to look after his stuff for a while. That’s what the Bible calls stewardship.
God owns the lot, and he wants to give you a lot to look after, and the way that works is if you are faithful with the small things, he’ll give you big responsibilities.
But it all comes from him, and it’s given for us to manage the way HE wants, not just the way I want to.
It’s not ‘your money or your life’ like the robbers used to say
Its your money AND your life.
How can I say I gave Jesus my LIFE, when I am still in charge of my money?
In Dt 8 God’s people who had been slaves and were going to step into the Promised Land and God warned them when they came into a place of plenty never to look at what they had and forget WHO it came from.
Don’t think ‘I did this, I got this’ because it is GOD who gave it to you, ‘HE gives you power (Heb = koach) supernatural ability – to produce wealth. To be successful.’
Why would he warn them about when they had enough? Because here’s what I have noticed – when money’s okay, I can forget God. BUT when everything goes WRONG with my money, I want God very involved in it then. When we get in a financial mess, we want God vefry involved – why? To pull us out, we say ‘You’re in charge now God, I can’t do it without you.’ want him to produce, supply, pull me out, and if he doesn’t I blame him. ‘Lord how come this is a mess? Come and sort it out Lord, I want you in charge of my money.’
But when God does give to us – and he gives to us all the time, we say “Back off Lord, I’m in charge of my money.’
But whose money is it really?
If I say I want to belong to him.
If I say ‘Lord I give you my life’ Do we really mean “I give you my mess, cover my mistakes, do a miracle – don’t let the consequences happen.”
Too many people in church say they gave Jesus their life when all they really did was give him their sin.
We have to settle this question first, before I go on to talk practically as well as spiritually about a subject some people hate to be spoken of in church. And that’s money. Some people want to switch off right now saying ‘I hate when they talk about money in church’.
Do you know who hates it when someone talks about money in church? I’ll tell you!
The devil hates it. Because he wants the church to be poor and peoples needs to not be met. He wants to kill, steal and destroy so he hates it when someone preaches about money.
And people who love money hate it too. They have an emotional reaction.
People who love money more than they love God – they hate it. They switch off or moan because it’s like ‘now you’re getting personal!’
I know this is the case because I used to be just the same. (And I never really gave anything to anything). I didn’t like to THINK about money never mind TALK about it because money for me was a problem. I used it all on me, for me to have a good time.
But there was never quite enough for that, even though I was on good money!
What’s your emotional reaction to the word ‘money’?
What words come to mind?
A lot will come down to your family background and history and how you think about money
Some families never talk about it.
Nobody taught me anything at school about saving or budgets or debt.
They say Money talks, but nobody did. But the Bible does.
Jesus does though, a lot.
And when I gave my LIFE to Jesus he started to talk to me about money too. Not because it mattered that much to him, he said money is ‘a very small thing’ – but it mattered a lot to me. It had become an idol.
What does yours say?
Did it already say goodbye?
Don’t point at me. Or anyone else. Don’t point at God, because all he’s ever done is supply. You did the rest.
The past doesn’t matter. Everything can START to change today. If you decide to do something different, and you keep on doing it. You’ll end up in a different place. (CAP centre, hundreds debt free over the years, and many finding Jesus too which is even better!)
Whatever happens in the future – it’s not too late to change.
An apple a day keeps the Dr away
But you can’t just try to eat 100 apples in a day and hope that’ll make you healthy.
Just have one today. And tomorrow – and things will change – over time.
That’s how we get into a mess. It’s how God can help us out of it
Once choice at a time.
One day at a time.