Summary: Idol series deals with dangers of possessions and the intense focus we put on them.



INTRO: Last week we used the American Idol theme to discuss some idols Americans often times put in front of the Lord, and it turned out to be pretty passionate. The three we discussed were: Pride, Popularity, and Power. Today, we have three more P words that interfere with our walk with the Lord, some of them pretty dang serious, some of them sort of funny.


BIBLE VERSE: Matthew 4:8-10

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you bow down and worship me.”

If the Devil uses possessions, materialism to tempt Jesus, how much more do you think he will use it to tempt you? In America, where we are surrounded by possessions and materialism, we have this to a massive degree.

A. Debt Questions:

“Consider the following two scenarios in evaluating the intelligence of using plastic:

1. Ellin is 30 years old. She has a $3,500 balance on her Citibank credit card at 18% interest. She makes the minimum payment each month. How old will she be when she has her credit card paid off?

2. Susan and Tom needed a new washing machine, so they went to Sears and found one for $299. They got a Sears charge card and made the minimum payment each month. By the time the washing machine was paid off, how much did Susan and Tom actually pay for that washing machine?

(Answers: 1. 70 years old; 2. $1,199)”

B. Howard Hughes Example:

“All he ever wanted was more.

1. He wanted more money so he turned inherited wealth into a billion dollars worth of assets.

2. He wanted more fame so he broke into the Hollywood scene and soon became a film producer and star.

3. He wanted more thrills so he designed, built and piloted the fastest airplane in the world.

4. He wanted more power so he secretly dealt political favors so skillfully that two presidents became his pawns.

5. All he ever wanted was more…He was absolutely convinced that more would bring him contentment.

6. Unfortunately, history shows otherwise. He died emaciated, weighing only 95 pounds. His fingernails resembled grotesque long cork screws. His teeth were rotting, and countless needle marks covered his body from his drug addiction.

You probably know that I’m talking about Howard Hughes.

1. Howard Hughes is most famous for the last years of his life, when his mind faded and he lived the life of a wealthy, paranoid recluse.

2. But earlier he had been a dashing and innovative businessman.

3. Inheriting the Hughes Tool Company at age 19, Hughes became a Hollywood movie producer, aircraft inventor, mining mogul, casino owner and ladies’ man.

4. He dated Ava Gardner and Katharine Hepburn among many other starlets.

5. An avid and daring pilot, Hughes set a handful of aviation world records, including one for a 1938 flight around the world in just over 91 hours.

6. In the 1960s his business dealings paid off handsomely and his wealth reached one billion dollars, a staggering amount for the era.

7. In the 1950s certain personality quirks began to dominate and Hughes grew increasingly unbalanced.

8. He dropped from public view and became famous for his wealth and his mysterious hidden ways, surfacing via telephone in 1972 to say that a biography written by Clifford Irving was a hoax.

9. The gossip and confusion about his whereabouts and lifestyle continued after his 1976 death, when various parties contested his will amid much-publicized legal wrangling.

10. Leonardo DiCaprio played Hughes in the 2004 biopic The Aviator, directed by Martin Scorsese.”

C. Plastic Surgery: You know your nation is materialistic, when your country is in the middle of the worst recession in 3 decades with a 10.2% unemployment rate, but a local Chesterfield plastic surgery place is advertising a 5 FOR 5 deal (meaning, your next 5 operations are ONLY $5000 apiece). Folks we don’t get it.

D. Ted Turner Quote (we cannot assume Youth know who CNN/TBS magnet Ted Turner is, remind them):

Even billionaire Ted Turner struggles with dissatisfaction with his income. He said, “It’s all relative. I sit down and say, ‘I’ve got $10 billion, but Bill Gates has $100 billion; I feel like a complete failure in life.” (People 6.12.00, p. 62).


Paranoia actually can be an idol. Establishing yourself with a classified fear, labeling yourself with something that you would NOT do, can be dangerous. For example, I really do not like enclosed places, I know that. When we had our earlier house in a different city, we had a crawl space for the AC unit under the house. It was terrifying to go under there (I actually use to sing the God is Bigger Than the Boogie Man from the Veggies Tales while I was down there). But I didn’t let the fear control me. God says do not worry.

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