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Making Change: Week 1 - Less is More

Making Change  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  37:22
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Picture this.
There’s a father and his children are set in a field of large bear traps. The children are blindfolded and their only way of getting out is to listen to the directions given by their father.
They take their first step at the encouragement of their father. You can do this he says. Just listen to my voice. Go slow and do exactly what I tell you. I’ll lead you to safety. Don’t worry, just do exactly what I tell you and everything will be fine.
He tells them, stand right where you are until I call your name and I will lead you out safely. ____________, walk straight ahead…slowly, now stop and take one step to your right, stop. Now _______ turn around. Take 3 steps straight ahead, one more. Stop. Stay right there. Now __________ don’t move. You have a trap right in front of you. Take 2 steps to your left.
Don’t worry about this because I can see the whole field.
While you may be scared to death, if you are one of the kids, you begin to trust your father who can see it all. It’s easy to follow the directions of one who knows the way.
We used to play this game in youth group all the time, only we would change it up. You had 2 people giving you directions, one telling you the truth and one lying to you. not in a field full of bear traps, but in the church hall full of tables and chairs and other creative obstacles. It was easy once you figured out which voice to trust.
One thing we can trust is what God’s word teaches us. One of my favorite verses…one I go back to again and again is John 10:10 “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
God cares how we live.
And I believe that If we would follow the teachings of scripture we would discover this life. I believe that our lives would turn around in just about every way in pretty short order if we would live our lives the way God teaches us in scripture
There is one area that the bible talks about quite a bit. In fact the Bible references money and possessions 2,350 times. That’s a lot. It’s more than Jesus talked about love, and more than He talked about heaven and hell combined. So it’s pretty safe to say that this is an important subject to God.
But we hear another voice more loudly. Another voice telling us MORE IS BETTER, that what we have is not enough…no matter how much we have.

More is better

And for some reason, that voice seems to make a lot of sense. And that is the source of much of our stress in our lives is that many of us have bought into believing that more is better.
Now before you tune me out because I don’t know what I’m talking about, let me ask you.
Had you rather be rich or poor?
Had you rather be hungry or full?
Had you rather walk or drive to the grocery store?
Now do you agree that you want more than less? It’s subtle, but while we know its wrong to say I’m selfish and greedy…it’s still true that we have bought into the idea that more is better.
But don’t hear what i’m not saying here. Is poverty better? poor people often fall into a love of money just like rich people only one loves from a coveting and one from selfishness…one wanting more, one wanting to hold on to it....both of them love money; and that is a sin
So you see, there’s nothing wrong with Money…but rather the love of money is the sin. Why is the love of money a sin? Because we aren’t supposed to love anything but God and the love of Money has a way of rearranging our priorities.
It tends to force us to focus on US and when we focus on US we can’t see HIM and what he wants for us.
The bible teaches us how to keep money in it’s place…so we can keep God in the right place. These four principles we are going to explore over the next 4 weeks. They are based on a series of teachings from Life Church and Dave Ramsey.
I’ll be attaching the study videos to my weekly emails, as well as a download for the study guide. If you would like a printed copy, contact the charge office and we can print it for you. I encourage you to take advantage of this resource. Michelle and I did something like this several years ago and it really helped us get a handle on our finances....we are going to do it again together…I encourage you to do it with us.
But on Sunday’s we are going to work through these 4 principles...
Less is more, Stress is bad, Giving is good, Tomorrow matters
Let’s say it together: Less is more, Stress is bad, giving is good, tomorrow matters
one more time: Less is more, Stress is bad, giving is good, tomorrow matters
4 Principles that if we live them out…if we follow them would change our stress level regarding money and our degree of financial stress. because we woudl be aligning our lives more with God’s design.
Less is more, Stress is bad, giving is good, tomorrow matters
Less is more is a principle taught again and again in scripture. Listen to this:
Ecclesiastes 4:6 NIV
6 Better one handful with tranquillity than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind.
Less is more. It’s better to have one handful and peace than two if it requires toil and chasing after the wind.
How is one better than two. Let’s see.
Can you help her up?
Can you shake his hand?
Can you move the pulpit?
Better is one handful with peace than two with toil and chasing after the wind. If you can get by with hard work and running after the next deal is all you need to do, then what do you need God for?

Less is more when it reveals our need for God

In Jesus’s first sermon he taught this less is more principle. His sermon on the mount explained it well.
Matthew 5:1–3 NIV84
1 Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them, saying: 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
He wasn’t saying that poverty wasn’t more honorable, but what he was saying was that there was something about a poverty of spirit that made us open to the kingdom of Heaven.

Less is more when it reveals our need for God

The pride have no place in the kingdom, for they don’t really need God. Less is more when it reveals our need for God though.
Think about this. What is it best to be in need of? Would you rather have less or God. But see the way Jesus taught it was when you were content with less, having a poverty of spirit, you became more receptive to God at work in you. If you have God you really have all you need.
This is one way Less is more; another way to see this:

Less is more when we respond to Jesus

Just to be put in the right state of mind doesn’t make the difference in our lives. The Lord makes the difference in us.
Psalm 37:16–17 HCSB
16 The little that the righteous man has is better than the abundance of many wicked people. 17 For the arms of the wicked will be broken, but the Lord supports the righteous.
Hear that now. It’s the little of the one who is righteous that is better. It is God who tips the scale you see.

Less is more when we respond to Jesus

Less becomes more when we surrender our lives to Jesus.
And if we have surrendered our lives to Jesus, what business do we have chasing more? It’s like we have it all then

Less is more when we notice the needs of others

Luke 18:22 ESV
22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”
SO how do we live a “less is more” lifestyle?
I asked people this week on social media what were the 3 most important things in their life. did you know no one said their new car, new furniture; iPhone; vacation home;
The answers were like God, Jesus, kids, spouse, things like that....relationships that matter. Significant things are just that, significant.
Do you believe Less is more? are you ready for more then? Ok. 3 things to do in your life in order to have more that matters.

To have more, Cut back

Parsonage with tiny closets
Less is More—Life does not consist in the abundance of stuff!
Every yes you make is a no to something else. But the reverse isn’t true. Just because you say no to one thing isn’t an automatic yes to buying something else…but you are free to choose.
Less Stuff—More Friends.
Less stuff—More time with family.
Less stuff—More experiences.

To have more, Clear out

Difficult for so many—Didn’t grow up with much.
Afraid you might need it—Sentimental.
Simplify…having stuff requires our attention.
Jesus told the young man to sell all he had and come follow him
My life does not consist in the abundance of my possessions.

To have more, Pay off

In football, if a team is driving down the field heading for a touch down…the defense all of a sudden makes a few plays and the offense has to kick a field goal. Sure they scored 3 points, but the defense just scored 4 points in stopping them.
The same applies in our lives when we pay off a debt early. We earn the interest it would have cost us to pay it off month by month…we save money when we pay things off early. And when you pay it off early you’re done. Look at this, if you pay an extra $100 on a 200,000 mortgage, you would save almost 5 years of payments. If you pay an extra $200, you would save 8.5 years and if you pay an extra 300, 11 years early you would have the home paid off. 11 years. What could you do with 11 years worth of mortgage payments?
Some things that people never say:
Debt helps me feel peace!
Monthly credit card payment calms soul.
Owing people brings me joy!

Less is More

The richest people are not those who have the most—need the least!
Less is More—Developing Country—Simplicity
Your life is too valuable, calling too great, your God is too good to waste your life on meaningless things.
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