Summary: God has direction for his Church and we are told to Live Justly, Lovingly, and Expectantly

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John Ortberg tells a story that we are all familiar of. When we take our children to the shrine of the Golden Arches, they always lust for the meal that comes with a cheap little prize, a combination christened, in a moment of marketing genius, the Happy Meal. You’re not just buying fries, McNuggets, and a dinosaur stamp; you’re buying happiness. Their advertisements have convinced my children they have a little McDonald-shaped vacuum in their souls: "Our hearts are restless till they find their rest in a happy meal."

I try to buy off the kids sometimes. I tell them to order only the food and I’ll give them a quarter to buy a little toy on their own. But the cry goes up, "I want a Happy Meal." All over the restaurant, people crane their necks to look at the tight-fisted, penny-pinching cheapskate of a parent who would deny a child the meal of great joy.

The problem with the Happy Meal is that the happy wears off, and they need a new fix. No child discovers lasting happiness in just one: No child says, I remember that last happy meal, and with that I am satisfied and what great joy I found there!"

Happy Meals bring happiness only to McDonalds. You ever wonder why Ronald McDonald wears that grin? Twenty billion Happy Meals, that’s why.

When you get older, you don’t get any smarter; your happy meals just get more expensive. {Citation: John Ortberg, Dangers, Toils & Snares: Resisting the Hidden Temptations of Ministry (Multnomah, 1994), pp.99-100}

Canadian Stats:

A recent Statistics Canada study suggests Almost half of Canadian households spend more money than they earn, with much of that spending financed by debt. The study compared spending patterns of Canadian households in 1982 and 2001, using constant 2001 dollars. According to the study, 47 per cent of households spent more than they earned in 2001, up from 39 per cent in 1982.

Canadians are increasingly turning to borrowed money to finance their purchases, as they spend more on taxes, homes, health and education. Mortgage debt and consumer debt (credit cards, unpaid bills) have ballooned from a total of $258.2 billion in 1982 to $651 billion in 2001.

"Low interest rates and easy credit undoubtedly influence the inclination of households to borrow as household debt continues to rise to unprecedented levels in relation to household disposable income," said the study.

While the number of spenders increased in all age groups, it was particularly high among households in the pre-retirement years (45-64). Other groups that saw significant increases in the number of spenders were families with children at home or those paying for education, as well as households with mortgages.

Debt-driven spending may be setting the economy up for a fall, it said. "A sudden drop-off in the housing market or a sudden spike in interest rates could throw cold water on the spending party."

Personal bankruptcies are near record highs. In 2003, for the first time ever, the average Canadian household owed more than its annual take-home pay. We carry 74 million credit cards – three for every Canadian over the age of 18. Credit counselling agencies say they’re busier than ever. Students are often graduating with accumulated debt of $25,000 or more. Consumer debt levels are rising much faster than incomes and have been for years. Savings rates are at record lows.

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