Summary: All people can be freed from the disease of materialism by replacing love of money with Godly contentment.

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All people can be freed from the disease of materialism by replacing love of money with Godly contentment.

1. The average American is addicted to spending.

Did You Know…

• BusinessWeek says that total household debt in the US was more than 100% of our disposable annual income last year. Now that is scary.

• The total consumer debt is at 1.7 trillion dollars. (You can visualize a trillion dollars as a stack of $1000 bills placed one on top of the other, flat side on top of flat side, reaching 67 miles high.)

• The personal credit card debt carried by the average American is $8,562 and the total interest paid in 2001 was $50 billion.... an average of $1000 in interest per consumer.

• The average consumer carries 8 cards and 20% of cards are maxed out.

• There were 1.3 million credit card holders declaring bankruptcy last year. Bankruptcies have exceeded 1 million per year every year for at least 7 years now.

• IRS tells us that 85% of those reaching age 65 do not have $200 in the bank and that 87% retire on less than $250 per week for life.

Something is obviously going seriously wrong in our country. More and more people are spending than they make each month. And it’s a dangerous trend – for each person as well as for our country.

Maybe this is you. IF so I want you to know it doesn’t have to be that way. There is a way out of debt – and the patterns of behavior that cause it. And I am praying that as a result of this message many of you will change the course of your financial future. Because God wants you to be free from financial bondage.

TRANS: But if we are going to be set free from financial bondage we need to understand…

2. Debt is a symptom, not the root problem. Materialism is the root problem. (1 Tim. 6:9-10, Luke 12:15)

Materialism: seeking happiness through the accumulation of material things.

In Dangers, Toils & Snares, John Ortberg writes:

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: "Remember that Happy Meal? 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.

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