How Surprised Were You?
How surprised were you to learn that Jesus mentioned money and possessions in his sermons more than any topic other than the Kingdom of God? With all the needs in the world you’d think the Galilean would have focused on other topics in place of money and possessions. You might even think Jesus should have kept his sermons “more spiritual” and stayed away from talk of money and stuff.
Why all the money talk from the Son of God?
IT’S ALWAYS A LOVE THING WITH JESUS
With Jesus, it is always a love thing. Over and over again in John 15, on the night of the Last Supper, Jesus tells the disciples he loves them. Jesus talks about money because he loves us, and he knows money is too often the source of great anxiety and misery in our lives.
In the middle of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:25-34), Jesus addresses how our worry about food, shelter and clothing gives us all kinds of trouble. A man comes to Jesus in Matthew 19:16. The man is incredibly faithful. He loves God and has kept the commandments but his love for his money has him all tied up. Jesus understands the addiction and invites him to make his life about God and giving rather getting and keeping.
If Jesus were to talk with you about your relationship with money and possessions, what do you think he would say?
DID YOU KNOW?
The National Foundation for Credit Counseling does a financial literacy survey of Americans every year. Did you know the 2015 survey (conducted by the Harris Poll) showed the following:
- Only 2 in 5 Americans have a personal budget?
- 30% are not saving for retirement?
- The rate of savings has decreased over the last two years?
- Credit card debt has decreased some but still 33% of us carry credit card debt from month to month?
- 76% say repaying student load debt is impacting their personal financial situation (making it difficult to save, grow an emergency fund, or set funds aside for retirement)?
- Only 6% of Americans say their student debt was a good investment?
- 24% of Americans pay their bills late?
- 70% of us are worried about our finances?
You may not be surprised, then, to learn that 75% of Americans say they would benefit from receiving advice about everyday financial questions from a professional.
If we are a church that loves people and wants people to be well (just as Jesus wanted the rich man to be well…to be free…to be happy!), then we need to offer a resource to help people out. So a team of great volunteers, led by Jonathan Purvis, are working with me to offer a very simple, 4-week series of classes about money we are calling Financial Wellness.
Financial Wellness will be offered on four consecutive Sunday evenings from 5:30-6:30, beginning on September 25th. Sessions will be straight-forward, easily understandable for non-money types (like me!), and last only one hour. They will be held at First Methodist. Presenters won’t be from outside our church, but they will be people you probably know…sharing what they know. Each evening will include a time for questions!
There will be no cost for the course. Childcare will be provided (we would like to know if you will be using our childcare). Light refreshments will be served.
The topics for Financial Wellness will be:
- 9/25 – Financial Health (and Getting Out of Debt).
- 10/2 – Beginning & Building a Budget.
- 10/9 – Handling College (for your kids) & Getting Ready for Retirement.
- 10/16 – Having a Lasting Impact (estate planning & letting what matters most to you now continue to matter).
You can learn more and register for free on our website at: http://www.fumcb.org/financial-wellness
What am I still missing?
When the young man comes to Jesus in Matthew 19, he tells the Teacher how he has kept the commandments. “I’ve kept all these,” he says. “What am I still missing?” (He wants to be sure he has done enough to have eternal life.)
Jesus knows the man is chained up by his preoccupation with money and stuff, so he says, “If you want to be complete, go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor. Then you will have treasure in heaven. And come follow me.”
Every time I hear that story, I find myself wondering what the man was being asked to leave behind? What good and cool stuff was he going to miss?
It suddenly hit me this week that the man, by letting his focus on money consume his life, was missing out on wellness. The thing that kept him from following Jesus was keeping him from living fully and freely. So this week I have been thinking about the adventures the man missed out on in life, the relationships that could never thrive, because for him it was always about the money.
By not dealing directly and faithfully with the money side of his life, the young man was missing out on a life that was deeper, freer, and more joyful. He wasn’t going to be well until he faced his struggles over his addiction to money and stuff.
God wants us to be well in every area of our lives. I hope you’ll join us for Financial Wellness as we are helped to understand this important area of life more clearly, and encouraged to work a plan for increased financial wellness.
How good would it feel to be to live out of a place of financial wellness?
Remember to pick up your OPEN DOOR yard signs this weekend at the picnic. Place them someplace where people will see them for the month of September, and then store until January and April when we will display them again. The OPEN DOOR is a great way for us to reach college students and those persons who may be more open to a non-traditional worship experience. Thanks for helping us get the word out!
See you Sunday!
Grace and peace,
All-Church Picnic Sunday, September 11
One Combined Worship Celebration
10 AM at Buskirk-Chumley Theater
Followed by our All-Church Picnic
11 AM on Fourth Street
Join us for this special day!
THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW BUT MAY FIND INTERESTING
- Small groups are taking off. Watch for the blue Small Groups brochure in worship this week. Groups start the week of Sept 18th, so be sure to sign up soon. You can learn more and signup on the website at: http://www.fumcb.org/small-groups
- Safety & medical emergency. A team is being organized to address preparedness for safety and medical emergencies at First Methodist. If you would be interested in helping, please let us know.
TRIP TO HOLY LAND SET FOR FEBRUARY 2017: JOIN US!
View details online, contact the church office and/or pick up a brochure for the Holy Land Trip in February of 2017. Led by Pastor Mark Fenstermacher, the trip is with experienced tour operator EO (Educational Opportunities Inc.). At this point it appears we may have approximately 20 persons making this life-changing journey. The cost is just over $3,000 per person (including airfare, hotel accommodations, tour guide, motor coach transportation in Israel, morning and evening meals, etc.) for those who did not register by July 11th. Contact Ms. Cath Foreman if you have questions. Click here to view the trip website
This Sunday we begin a new 3-week sermon series titled “Prayer: Keeping It Simple.” Whether you’ve prayed a thousand times or never before, these messages will guide you to consider three essential prayers: “Help! Thanks! Wow!”