Sermons about money

I recently stumbled upon these sermons on money.

The Inukshuk points your way home
The title of the series was “The Green that makes us Mean” and a fellow I follow, Wes Draws, linked to it. Way to go, Wes!

Center Point (an American church) and their podcasted sermons on Money.

Update June 14, 2011: A Canadian Church’s sermon, “Made for Generosity.”

Update June 25, 2011: Northpoint – How to Be Rich

Has your church taught on money recently or at any point that you can remember? What did you learn from it?

What “The Cost of Following” Means

We all follow something.

It could be the Joneses. It could be fashion trends. It could be mommy blogs. It could be Jesus.

Whatever we follow, it’ll cost us something.

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I want to make this blog a place where people (including myself), can stop and think about what it means to be a Christian with money.

The name came from this verse:

But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? – Luke 14:28

Jesus’ audience was a large crowd who were “following” him. It was a warning, letting them know it wasn’t going to be easy. The verse that precedes it likens the effort required to that of carrying a cross (a giant, heavy piece of wood that will eventually be used to kill you). The verse before that, describes the degree to which we must be devoted and love Jesus, to be so great it would make our love and devotion to family seem like hatred in comparison.

Whatever the cost is to following Jesus, it’s not going to be easy. It will involve re-organizing priorities and taking difficult steps of obedience. This blog won’t make the decisions easy, but I hope that it can help make it clear what following Jesus with your finances means, and that it’s worth it. 

A prayer:

Dear Jesus,

I want to bring everything in my life under your authority, especially my finances. Please help me to know how to make you Lord of my life, in every sense. 

Amen.

Proud Canadians

Let’s face it, my fellow canucks, we love not being American, eh?

we're #1!

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There’s a lot of prejudice out there, whether we like to admit it to our tolerant selves or not. We especially like to look down on American lifestyle choices. Sprawling Wal-Mart Supercenters, an insatiable thirst for gas-guzzling vehicles, and the land of Coke and McDonald’s. …wait, we have those, too!

You may have been aware that in these last few years the “American housing crisis” – skyrocketing debt and people buying houses they couldn’t afford – did a number on the American economy. But our houses are happily increasing in value, albeit slowly, and last year was the second-best year ever for condo sales in Toronto .

Canadians think they’re immune from a real estate-led economic downturn because our banks are superior to US banks. Because we’re more prudent borrowers with more cautious lenders. Because everybody wants to move here. Because the government will look after things…. Because it’s different here. – Garth

I want to introduce you to a badass of Canadian finance. His name is Garth Turner* and he has a sassy blog. Here’s an excerpt from a series he did called “It’s Different Here”:

Canada is not the USA. But people are people. Americans got house horny a few years before we did. They inflated real estate, dropped lending standards and borrowed too much. So have we.

Garth’s blog is a bit deep if you’re new to economics, but it is definitely one to check out if you want a counter-cultural perspective. And I mean counter to Canadian culture. The incessant message that you need more and bigger and nicer and now has produced a behemoth of Canadian house porn. You know what I’m talking about; the likes of HGTV (a Canadian channel), with Property Virgins, and House Hunters, and Divine Design. I love it as much as the next person. But it also can give us… well, desires. As Garth would call it, “house horny.” (Thanks, Garth!)

Pride comes before a fall. – The Bible

Confession time. I failed a course in university. I honestly thought by the time I was in 3rd year that I couldn’t fail. My grades suffered as I took a demanding position on a leadership team for the Christian club on campus, and took five english courses in one semester. “But I’d scrape by.” I thought, “I always do!”

Then I got 45% in Shakespearean Comedies. I wasn’t laughing.

But I deserved it. I made a mistake and took on too much. I didn’t attend classes or do readings or attend seminars. Duh, of course I failed.

One of the biggest mistakes we can make is thinking we can’t make mistakes. As long as we can pay the bills, we’re doing alright, right? As long as we give to charity, we can spend whatever we want on ourselves, right? Our spouses can look after the money and we can be content to be ignorant, right? We’ll figure out our finances when we’re older, right? As long as we’re not American, we can’t possibly repeat America’s mistakes, right?

Confession time, again. That last paragraph is basically me. Until recently, I felt that because I wasn’t in debt I was good with my money.

I’m not good with my money. I’m just not bad with my money. And honestly, I’m not even sure if that’s true.

This is what this blog is for: Taking a real look at how we (I) spend money and getting it in line with what God wants. Right now, I don’t check my spending and I don’t think about what Jesus would say about it. I’m like the guy who didn’t have much talent for looking after money so just dug a hole in the ground and hid it. That didn’t really impress the boss when he came back.  But Jesus is gracious, and generous, and patient, and so my prayer is that he’d help me out as I figure this stuff out.

A prayer:

Dear Jesus,

Please help me to identify pride in my life that is keeping me from making wise choices about how I manage my money. Give me the courage and humility to address the problems and seek out wisdom from You. Thank you for promising to give us wisdom when we ask.  

Amen.

Do you think you’re better than others when it comes to how you manage your money? What do you think you still need to learn? 

*Garth Turner: You may have heard of him – he used to be on CTV news. A few months ago my husband emailed him a question and his response included the phrase, “you’re delusional,” which tickled us pink and made us love him even more. But that’s for another post.

Debt and Suicide

This is my first blog post.

I’ve started this blog because I am emerging from the longest depression I’ve had so far in my short life. I am 24 and for the last year and a half, I’ve experienced more dark days than I’d care to recount. My life has changed a lot, however, and one of the signs that shows me I’m getting out of my depression is that my passion is back. Both for writing, and for helping folks. This blog is the result of that.

I recently watched a documentary called “Maxed Out,” on NetFlix. I love documentaries. 

I don’t want to spoil it for you, and I plan on writing a review in a later post, but the topic of suicide – as a way out of crippling debt – was a prevalent theme in the film. It broke my heart, because I know quite well what it’s like to feel hopeless. It also broke my heart that so many people who had gotten into the debt that killed them were overwhelmed because they felt alone and incapable of overcoming what had happened to them. This blog is to remind you you’re not alone, and you can do it.

The following is a passage of scripture that was read by Jesus and is about Jesus (he read it to people in a synagogue, so don’t think that the religious have all their stuff together and don’t need a message like this):

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released,
that the blind will see,
that the oppressed will be set free,
19 and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.[f]

– Luke 4

If you identify as poor, or captive, or blind, or oppressed, I dedicate this blog to you. Money is a brutal master. The good news is Jesus, and his burden is light.

If you’ve ever thought about suicide – for whatever reason – check out the  resources available to help you.  While my reasons may have been different, I know what hopelessness feels like, and I can tell you, it’s a lie. 

As I write this blog, I pray it will give courage and power and the know-how to those who are otherwise like a fish out of water with their finances.

Let’s do this thing.