Summary: A sermon in the "Lose the weight of ..." series. This message challenges the church to live lives of financial contentment. We shouldn’t bind ourselves in debt, trying to live a life we can’t afford. Debt cripples the church.

Lose the weight of debt

Purpose: To challenge our people to live contented lives financially with the money got has entrusted to us.

1. Why even talk about debt? Hebrews 12:1.

· Debt isn’t a salvation issue. But the way we view money is a spiritual issue.

2. Banker illustration (from radio talkshow host Dave Ramsey, a Christian financial counselor)

· A man walks into a bank and deposits $500 with the banker.

· We assume often that we’re the depositor and that God/the church is the banker.

· But God is the depositor and we are the bankers. He entrusts what he has in us, and expects a return.

· The parable of the talents – Matt. 25:14-30

· Now what if the depositor comes back to the bank and wants a return on his investment. If the banker has taken the depositor’s money and bought a new fur coat for his wife, he hasn’t been the steward he was supposed to be with the depositor’s money.

· We aren’t depositing in God’s bank. We’re stewards of God’s deposits.

3. We are stewards of God’s money.

· Our use of money doesn’t reflect that we believe that it’s God’s money.

· Dating with Dana. Because we didn’t have $8 for Taco Bell, we’d spend $30 at Red Lobster on the credit card.

· Our first few years of marriage (first few Christmases) resulted in a debt that we just finished paying off last summer.

4. Prov. 22:7, Prov. 6:1-5: Debt and Bankruptcy statistics

· 90 percent of Americans live in debt

· 70 percent of Americans live paycheck to paycheck

· Half wouldn’t be able to make it a month if they lost their income.

· The average family’s credit card debt is $12,000.

· 80 percent of graduating college seniors leave college with credit card debt

· 69 percent of bankruptcy filers say the main reason was credit cards

· 19 percent of bankruptcy filers are college students

5. Prov. 6:6-8, 21:20: Saving and retirement statistics

· 56 percent of Americans don’t systematically prepare for retirement by investing.

· The average American saves only 4% of his income. The average European saves 16%. The average Japanese person 25%.

· Of people making $35,000 per year, 40 percent said the best way for them to have $500,000 at retirement age is to win the Lotto.

· 80 percent of Americans believe their standard of living will go up at retirement.

· The reality is that 97 percent of retirement-age Americans couldn’t write a $600 check for an emergency, 54 percent have to continue working and only 3 percent are financially secure.

· Bankruptcies among those 65 and older have gone up 164 percent in the last eight years.

6. Pass out Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps (handout from his book Financial Peace). These steps will help walk us out of debt and into a place where we can use the money God entrusts to us to be a blessing.

· We might think our financial hole is too big. We’re in debt too much.

· But I ask this, "How do you eat an elephant?" One bite at a time.

7. How then shall we live? I Tim. 6:6, Prov. 11:25, 22:9, Rom. 13:7-8

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