Archive for December, 2012

Financial Survival for Christians, Part 8 (DIY)

December 31, 2012

Title: Financial Survival for Christians, Part 8 (DIY)

Text: 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12

Time: December 5th, 2012

 

A few years ago I started a message series call, “Financial Survival for Christians,” which grew into eight separate messages, and which has proven very popular on the Internet. Every time I visit my sermon series web site I see that more and more people have read and commented on this series, more than on any other messages I’ve given. So the Lord is using “Financial Survival for Christians” as a tool for helping people get through the economic recession that started here in the United States a few years ago. The series doesn’t attempt to explain how to ideally organize one’s finances, but instead focuses on surviving financial crises or setbacks in life. That’s why a lot of the material in my messages isn’t found in conventional Christian books on financial money management, or on popular Christian radio shows, such as The Dave Ramsey Show. I’m trying to help Christians through financial crises and help them survive so that at some future time they can then organize their income and expenses in a more systematic way. But in the meantime, I show how the Bible has a message for those Christians that are struggling to make it financially in these difficult times. Today, I’d like to talk about the very important principles in financial survival of DIY – or in other words, learning to “to it yourself” as much as possible. What is DIY? It’s simply the ability to tackle one’s own repair or maintenance job without needing or having to call in someone else from outside, an expert or repairman, to survive. And as we all know, to hire someone to do repair or maintenance work is costly. So in a time of financial crisis it’s important to do as much of our own repair or maintenance work as possible, in order to save as much money as possible. Now obviously, it’s easy to talk about repairing or maintaining one’s own possessions — that is, it’s easy if one has the skill and experience enough to do it. Some things we won’t be able to repair or maintain on our own because we lack such skill or experience. But the truth is, there are many or even most things that we can repair if we know how to read an instruction book and use a few basic tools. Unfortunately, we’ve grown used to having everything done for us in our modern, contemporary society. It used to be that boys were taught how to use basic hand tools, and girls were taught to use many household tools as well. But today we’ve become spoiled in our modern, prosperous age into becoming almost useless in fixing or maintaining our own possessions. It used to be the case that farmers and their families would repair and service nearly all of their farm and household equipment. But today it isn’t the case with most modern families. So we have to make a special effort to learn and gain knowledge and skill on our own. Fortunately, there are resources to do this. Today’s passage is 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12, “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.” Let me say three things about this important verse. (more…)

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Should Christians Accept Government Aid or Assistance?

December 31, 2012

Title: Should Christians Accept Government Aid or Assistance?

Text: 2 Thessalonians 3:10

Time: November 30th, 2012

 

We’ve passed Thanksgiving and we’re headed towards Christmas for this year, but before I get into my usual holiday message series I’d like to speak on a subject that has been in the news a lot this year, particularly with the presidential election and the ongoing debate over the role of government. Today I’d like to talk about the question of government aid or assistance – should Christians seek it, should they receive it? The question comes up a lot in relation to the role of government – should it play an active or passive role in our lives? The President believes in an active government, or in other words, a big government that touches the lives of nearly everyone, every day in some way. While the Republican candidate for President, Mitt Romney, talked about limited or small government that focuses more on the really big issues of defense, security, and the more traditional role of authority and power in society. The President wants to increase government assistance in our country, like an expanded food stamp program and extended unemployment benefits. He has a more socialist vision, like more of what we see in Europe and less of what we’ve historically known here in the United States. While Republicans generally favor limiting government to a few key essential roles, while promoting personal self-reliance and self-responsibility among citizens. But as it turns out, it’s the President’s vision that seems to be winning out gradually in our country, as the last election showed. People seem to be learning more and more in the direction of European socialism and less and less in terms of the original vision of our nation. So then the question becomes, “What’s a Christian to think? What’s a Christian to do?” Do we join the crowd and begin to think differently about the role of the state? Do we join the bandwagon towards increased government intervention into our lives on every level? Should we take all the government benefits we can get, like most people seem to be doing? Or should we stop and consider other possibilities? Well, it’s my firm conviction that as Christians we need to think long and hard before we buy into the vision of big government and the expanded role of the state into every nook and cranny of our lives. Even if we qualify for some or many of the government benefits included in relief, assistance or aid programs we shouldn’t automatically sign up to receive them. There are certain principles we must follow in thinking about whether we should apply for and, if we qualify, whether we should receive government aid – first, is this an emergency situation? Second, is this a last resort condition? Third, will this situation only be temporary?  We need to think through these issues and not just follow the crowd in turning to government for help. Let’s look at these three things. (more…)