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Summary: In this sermon we try to bring our finances under control through CONTENTMENT and CONTAINMENT.

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Introduction:

A. The story is told of two friends who met on the street.

1. One of the men looked so sad and was almost on the verge of tears.

2. The other man asked, “Hey my friend, how come you look like the whole world has caved in?”

3. The sad fellow said, “Let me tell you. Three weeks ago, an uncle died and left me 50-thousand dollars.”

4. “That’s not all bad!” replied the friend.

5. “Hold on, I’m just getting started. Two weeks ago, a cousin I never knew kicked-the-bucket and left me 95-thousand, tax-free to boot.”

6. “Well, that’s great! I’d like that.” The friend replied.

7. “Last week, my grandfather passed away. I inherited almost a million.”

8. “So why are you so glum?” asked the friend.

9. “Well, this week…nothing!”

B. Oh, the challenge of money and possessions – how much is enough? “Just a little bit more” is the mantra of generation after generation.

1. Jesus warned us about this in Luke 12, saying, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” (Lk. 12:15)

2. But that’s not what the advertisers tell us.

3. Everyday we are bombarded with advertising on billboards, in magazines, on radio and television, and now even on the internet.

4. All of these ads are designed to make us go buy something new.

5. New cars, new clothes, new electronic devices – and the advertisers insinuate that by buying these things we will have a better life and we will certainly be happy.

6. And we all know how that goes – the newness wears off…the car gets rusty, the clothes wear out, the batteries die, and the newer, better, faster electronics become obsolete within months.

7. And the cycle starts all over again.

C. One of the more dangerous developments in the last decade or two has been the move by the advertisers to target our kids.

1. Nathan Dungan, president of Share Save Spend, and organization that helps youth and adults “achieve financial sanity shares the following startling statistics:

a. The average child experiences as many as 3 thousand advertising impressions each day.

b. Children today spend five times more money than their parents did at the same age (and that is adjusted for inflation).

c. Young adults (aged 25-34) are one of the fastest growing age groups filing for bankruptcy.

2. He says that the list of what people believe are their “needs”, verses their “wants” has grown dramatically in recent years.

3. Dungan wonders aloud, “Is an iPod really a need?”

4. I thought the title of his recent book is catchy – “Prodigal Sons and Material Girls: How Not to Be Your Child’s ATM” (2003).

D. The truth of the matter is that we, Americans, are addicted to spending.

1. Where we are getting into the most trouble is that we are spending more than we earn.

2. How can a person spend more than they earn? You guessed it – credit cards.

3. The total consumer debt is at 1.7 trillion dollars.

4. The personal credit card debt carried by the average American is almost $9 thousand dollars per household.

5. There were 1.3 million credit card holders declaring bankruptcy last year.

6. Bankruptcies have exceeded 1 million per year every year for at least 7 years now.

E. Now that I’ve described the challenge that we are up against, let’s discuss the solution.

1. We in the second lesson of a series we are calling “Spiritual Dollars and Sense.”

2. Last week we started the series by discussing where our money comes from and the perspective we should have about money.

3. If you missed the lesson, I would encourage you to see Greg Mork and get a copy, or go to our website and listen to it online.

4. If we are going to learn some spiritual dollars and sense, then we have to understand, first of all that God owns everything – everything is His. That’s the right foundation.

5. Once we understand that, then we can proceed with the next principle, and that is that God gives us the ability to earn a living and provide for ourselves.

6. God expects us to employ our gifts and talents in order to provide for ourselves, and support the work of His Kingdom.

7. And as we earn money and invest it in spiritual ways, we have to keep it in proper perspective.

8. Money must not be allowed to take over and become our God.

F. I want to give us two words to focus on that I believe will help us reach the goal of having spiritual dollars and sense with regard to our spending.

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