You can listen to this sermon podcast here.
Mr. Rogers was the nicest guy of all time. Seriously, Has there been anyone any nicer? Everything that I have heard about his real life and mirrored his character on TV. Fred Rogers was an ordained Presbyterian minister, but we don’t know about his love for people because of sermons he preached from a pulpit. He said he was inspired to get into television because when he viewed children’s television all he saw was anger. He was displeased with the way television connected with kids.
So, he got on television and loved on people of all races, abilities, and backgrounds. Everyone was equal in his neighborhood. He would always ask, “Won’t you be my neighbor?”
What does it mean to be a neighbor? Who is your neighbor?
Mr Rogers always brought a bag with a special item in it. I brought a mirror today. The mirror reflects who you are. We use it so that we can determine what our present condition is and we can make changes to improve. Scripture is often used in the same way. We look at ourselves in the mirror of scripture.
Jesus said in Matthew 22 that the whole Bible is boiled down to two things:
Matthew 22:37 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. (ESV)
After hearing this thought, a man in Luke 10 asked, “Who is my neighbor?” The scripture says that he was trying to justify himself.
Luke 10:29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” (ESV)
He was trying to find a loophole. Maybe we can be neighborly to only those we like or those we choose or those we agree with or those who like us first.
Jesus goes on to teach them who their neighbor is. He tells them the story of the “good Samaritan”. The whole point of the story is that your neighbor is the one that you don’t pick.
We often want to overgeneralize or even over spiritualize the term neighbor. Instead of it being those living nearest to us, we turn it into a term that is so general it is meaningless. When we insist that we are neighbors with everybody, often we end up being neighbors with nobody.
OR We end up “choosing” our neighbors that are not a hassle or ones that we can control or limit our amount of interaction. The people that live by us, yeah, they are our “neighbors” but they aren’t our neighbors. I mean God was talking about someone else.
The truth is that we don’t have to overanalyze the term neighbor. We don’t have to dig deep into the root Greek word to find secret meaning to the word neighbor.
But, I did and here is what the original Greek word: Pleysion means: “a person who lives close beside others”. The one near/close proximity. It simply means the people that live next to you. The people that God puts in your path.
Mr Rogers got it right in his song when the line said, “Since we’re together we might as well say”
We are starting a sermon series on Oct 8th, 2014 called: Won’t You Be My Neighbor
Jesus used that phrase in one of the most powerful verses in the Bible. In fact, he said that these verses were the foundation for the all of scripture.
Matthew 22:37 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
In Luke ch10, a lawyer asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” He was hoping to find a loophole and not be forced to care for someone who was not like him or agreeing with him.
This sermon series will explore:
- Week 1 (Oct 12)- Who is my Neighbor? Taking the Great commandment seriously
- Week 2 (Oct 19) – The Fear Factor
- Week 3 (Oct 26)- Moving down the line/Baby steps
- Nov 2 – Guest Speaker – Jeremy Foster!
- Week 4 (Nov 9)- The Art of Focusing and Forgiving
Let’s follow Jesus’ command in Matthew 22!
See you Sunday at 9am or 11am (CST) 1650 Lime Kiln Road, San Marcos, TX 78666.
Also LIVE streaming on www.psmchurchlive.com
Hear the podcast by clicking here.
We have been talking about Margin. The extra space of your life. The space between where you are and the maximum of where you could perform. For many in the room there is no margin. We are performing at our max. No extra time to relax or daydream. No extra space in your emotional life. Today, we are going to talk about Financial Margin. In other words. MORE MONEY! Yeah!
Did you know that:
- It is God’s desire that everyone in here has Financial Peace!
- It is God’s desire that you do not worry about your financial future ever again.
- It is God’s desire that you never fight with your spouse over money again.
Did you know that those things can happen without you ever getting another raise? Did you know that Financial Peace, never worrying about money, and never fighting over money has nothing to do with what your income is or what you do for a living?
Instead, it has EVERYTHING to do with your idea of who God is and what his role is in your life.
Today, I want to show in the Bible that you don’t need any more money. You need to trust the provider. He is going to give you peace. And you will start seeing more margin in your finances.
We serve a BIG GOD. God is so Good, that we don’t need to look anywhere else for satisfaction.
The Old Testament called him: Jehovah Jireh, My provider. My provider. I am not my provider. My boss is not my provider. Money is not the proof of my provision. God is my provider!
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for thou art with me. NOT for I have a good job and the economy is going to turn around…
God, my provider is with me!
When God created a need in the Garden of Eden, God was always the fulfillment of that need. Now that there is sin in the world, God hasn’t changed! God is still the answer for every need.
However, the key change is that man no longer fully trusts that God will unconditionally provide. Our dependence has shifted to ourselves instead of God alone.
The way this hits home is by analyzing your “if only..” statements. If only this ____would happen, then everything would be ok. If only I would win the lottery, then I would be set. If only I graduate then everything will be cool. If only I my spouse would listen to me about our money, then it would work.
“If only” statements put the weight on us and drive us away from an all-powerful God.
The reality is that God is so good that he could give you all the emotional satisfaction that you ever desire. It can be completely unrelated to your purchases. Or acquisitions.
HOW DOES GOD LEAD US TO A LIFE OF FINANCIAL PEACE AND MARGIN?
On my first job, I made $3/hour. And I was so happy. I was pulling in $24/day, $120/week, $480/mo. At that rate, I could have made $5700 that year. That is a lot of money for a 12 year old in 1988. That was great for me. I always made more money than my buddies during the summer. I remember by a stereo after saving up that first summer. It had a CD player. I had one Phil Driscoll CD that I played over and over. It was all MARGIN money. I gave the first ten percent to my local church. I saved 10% and then could do whatever I wanted with the rest.
How could that happen? My parents were paying for the standard of living I enjoyed. My house, car, food, toys, etc. I had a good standard of living that I was not responsible for.
The big problem happens when kids in my generation and those after me grow up, they want to continue the same standard of living. The problem is that we don’t make the same amount of money that our parents did. The only way that we can live at the same level of car, house, clothes, vacations, accessories and toys is to use the credit cards that the credit card companies are offering for free.
Most kids start their adult life off with zero financial margin and zero financial peace because their lifestyle level does not fit their income.
FINANCIAL MARGIN IS THE SPACE BETWEEN LIFESTYLE AND INCOME.
MYTH- The issue with financial struggle is that I don’t make enough money.
TRUTH – My financial struggle is tied to my lifestyle.
You start entering a catch 22. It is a downward spiral. You are stressed about life and so you buy something to make you happy. But, you can’t afford it, so you get a loan or put it on a card. In order to pay for the loan, you have to work harder, longer hours, get a new job or a second job, both parents have to get a job or multiple jobs. Why? To pay for things that are now getting older and not as interesting.
Before you get a car paid off, the commercials on TV have convinced you that this new car will get better gas mileage, go faster, hold more people, you will be more accepted as a man, or a mom, you will save the planet by driving this new car and this special only lasts until the end of the month.
I’m not just picking on car dealerships here. It is in the food you buy, the clothes you buy, the computer that you use, the shoes you wear, the coffee you drink, the beer you drink.
Our identity is completely built by the things we drink, eat, wear, drive, play with. We are consuming not just things to keep us alive, but to MAKE US WHO WE ARE.
All of this drives us to NO FINANCIAL MARGIN. God says, “come back from the edge.”
1 Timothy 6:8 So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content. 9 But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.
When there is no Margin, TWO things happen:
- Rob Our Self – financial freedom, kids education, retirement, getting out of debt. We rob ourselves because we are indebted to the creditors. If you are married, you rob your marriage of peace.
- Rob God – When there is no financial margin, we are unable to be a generous giver. We hear stories of needy people or great opportunity to drill wells or feed the poor or whatever. BUT we aren’t able to move and give because we are so strapped with our debt and bills that there is no margin.
The Jews were burnt up and depressed with no financial margin and the prophet speaks to them:
Malachi 3:7 Ever since the days of your ancestors, you have scorned my decrees and failed to obey them. Now return to me, and I will return to you,” says the lord of Heaven’s Armies. “But you ask, ‘How can we return when we have never gone away?’ 8 “Should people cheat God? Yet you have cheated me! “But you ask, ‘What do you mean? When did we ever cheat you?’ “You have cheated me of the tithes and offerings due to me. 9 You are under a curse, for your whole nation has been cheating me.
God required 20% back then – 10% to the temple and then 10% for the festivals and the poor. They quit doing this. They over time quit giving. They consumed on themselves what was originally intended for God. Therefore, when they took over God’s money, they let them live in the world of selfishness. A lack of blessing. They were falling apart. Malachi says it is because of the fact that they have robbed God.
Malachi 3:10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test! 11 Your crops will be abundant, for I will guard them from insects and disease. Your grapes will not fall from the vine before they are ripe,” says the lord of Heaven’s Armies. 12 “Then all nations will call you blessed, for your land will be such a delight,” says the lord of Heaven’s Armies.
Return back to the way of God’s financial plan. Test God in this. Try me. TRUST GOD. What if you were in a position where you put God to the test.
Jesus teaches them the exact same concept in the book of Matthew:
Mathew 6:20 Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. 22 “Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. 23 But when your eye is bad, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is! 24 “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
Invite God back into your finances in by putting him first. He is still the same God. He is still in charge of the financial status of the world. Economy and money and business and budgets ARE NOT a part of a separate world from God and faith and discipleship.
1 Timothy 6:17-19 Teach those who are rich in this world (Americans) not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others. By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life.
It is the same world. Trust God with your money. Trust God with your finances.
Principle (%) Giving breaks the power of money in an individuals life. It breaks the power of ME ME ME. Put Him first.
This week, the principle is exactly the same. Put him first in your finances and see what he can do with the rest. He supernaturally begins to break down your desire for cares of THIS life.
All of the sudden the things of this world are not as important as they were. The name brand, and the rims, and that neighborhood, and that …
If this is a struggle for you, then there is a big opportunity for God in your life.
He is bigger than you ever imagined. He comes through when you put Him to the test.
We are offering two helpful resources this week:
Dave Ramsey Financial Help
Tonight 6pm (free)
One on One Financial Counseling
Click here to listen to the podcast for this message.
Margin is the extra space in our life. The extra money at the end of the month. The extra time you have when you get to work in the morning. The extra emotion peace you have when you get into a discussion with your spouse. The extra space between you and your date and the moment you fall to temptation.
Our tendency is to take everything to the limit. Cram everything in. push limits morally, spend all our money. When this happens we squeeze out margin.
WHY don’t we live with limits? We are afraid because we don’t want to miss out on life and the result is that life gets out of control
The fact is that: We will all live in limits. Will it be the ones that culture sets for you? Or God limits that have margins?
Today we are going to focus on our time and Schedule.
There are so many people in our community that would say:
- “I don’t have time.” There is no way that I could have margin in my time. I don’t have time for margin.”
- “I can’t slow down or stop enough to make margin happen”
I have good news for you. God can lead you to a place of margin.
One of favorite shows around the Steele home is Call of the Wildman – Ernie Brown Jr. “TURTLEMAN”
This show is wildly popular. He is a very likable guy, naïve, and humble. BUT the entertaining part is that he catches LIVE/Dangerous animals with his bare hands. Snapping turtles in NASTY ponds, rattlesnakes, possums, foxes, even skunks.
His show is fascinating because he has eliminated almost all safety barriers. There is no Margin for error. He has his bare hands.
No cages, no weapons, no devices. What is going to happen when there is absolutely no safety margin between Turtleman and the deadly animals? (diving down in murky water)
As you watch it, you think how did they come up with the idea of jumping into the pond and then how did they first person get picked to try it out? Who thought about getting it on video tape? I wouldn’t ever do it, but it is appealing to watch because there is no margin for error. People swimming with alligators and sharks.
And there is this guy thing that says you know if a guy is going to be eaten by a shark, and it going to happen any way I would kinda like to see that…
There is something entertaining about seeing them stretched to their emotional limit. Extreme sports, motorcycles, Skateboarding 30’ above the ground.
As fun as all that is, back here in the real world, there is nothing entertaining about watching people in the real world get pushed to their limit
- There is nothing fun about seeing your cousin’s marriage get pushed to the edge.
- There is nothing fun about seeing a teen skating on the edge of morality
- There is nothing fun about your scheduled stretched so tight that you have to remember if you spent any personal time with your kids that week.
- There is nothing fun about a friend spending to the edge of their finances and then an unexpected injury or bill arises to drive them to bankruptcy.
Our culture says that we have to live there. There is a surge all around us. A pace of life that seems to swallow us up. A life of rapid fire, pedal to the metal.
The reality is that you DON’T have to live there! God has a plan for us where He asks us to back away from the edge.
OVER THE NEXT MONTH, WE ARE GOING TO HELP YOU FIND SOME MARGIN IN YOUR LIFE. SOME BREATHING ROOM. A PACE OF LIFE. A PLACE OF FREEDOM.
Let’s talk quickly about 2 definitions of Margin.
Margins – amount available beyond what is actually needed.
- We have Margins on a page
- There is extra Margin on first class seats on a plane
- Highways have Margin
Margin – Space between our current performance and our limits.
- Running but not as fast as your could.
- Showing up 15min before something begins
- Getting to the end of the month and having money left over.
- Getting in an argument and even when others get angry, you have enough emotional headroom that you don’t blow your top.
We want extra space. We strive for margin in our life, YET how ironic is it that as soon as we find some in our relationships our finances, our time… we eat it. We live life without margin! What happens when margins decrease?
When margins decrease our stress goes up!
- Traffic and running late for appt.
- Financially – money is tight and when someone has an expense, stress goes up!
- Girl in relationship – and you have boundaries, then the guy pushes your margin away. You get stressed.
When margins decrease…Our focus narrows.
We become very self centered. We become aware of our personal needs. Mental Capacity shrinks.
When margins decrease…Relationships suffer.
When you are living your life without healthy margins you are not engaged in relationships.
- You are zoned out in conversations.
- You can be listening to everything they are saying, you can be nodding at all the right sentences and then you realize you haven’t heard a thing they were saying.
- How about worship music at church. You sing every word, throw in a halleluiah and an amen. And then realize that you haven’t thought of one word you have sung.
You are living without margins in your life. Lack of margins destroy marriages. Without margins you can’t listen as a parent.
Here is the key : Relationship happens in the margin of your life.
Our temptation is to get as much as we can crammed into our schedules. We try to get as much as we can with our credit. We try to get as much as we can with our girlfriend before we go to far. We like to live in the danger zone.
BUT Why don’t we DO less? Why don’t we CREATE margins?
Why don’t we buy cheaper cars? Why don’t we get out of that relationship? Why don’t you just break up? Why don’t we just create margin? We have FEAR. We are afraid that we are going to miss out on the good life. I can’t turn down any invitation. I can’t let anyone down.
WE ARE AFRAID
We are afraid of falling behind. Everyone else has their kids in basketball and air hockey leagues, and ballet, and if I don’t HELP my kid keep up, then it will be my fault. All the time we are helping our kids destroy the margins of their life.
WE are afraid that we will end up with a life that is not worth living. HOWEVER:
- Most folks in here are making more money than you ever have and yet we are afraid of not having enough money.
- We have more technology than we ever have had and yet we have less time. We are afraid of not being able to squeeze things in.
- (church leaders!) We are afraid of not mattering. We are afraid of not accomplishing this great task that God has given us or that we have imposed on ourselves. To start a business or change the school system or raise the standard of our local government.
Reducing the margin in your personal life is NOT a success strategy. That is a recipe for disaster.
We live at limits that are self imposed and culturally imposed.
We think we are going to hit a finish line and then there is a release. But that never happens! We are trying to catch up to people that don’t have margins either.
God says for us to “come back” come back from the edge. You might can sustain that pace but your wife can’t or your kids can’t!
Scripture reveals that
We all have Limits!
Financially, I can only afford certain things, I can only do one thing at a time, be at one place at a time.
This is elementary, but it is so true. Emotionally, morally, physically (I can go on 4 hours sleep. Shut up. That is not something to brag about. Go sleep.)
God has a plan for how we should live, and it is within certain limits.
We are Relational Beings.
We are created for relationships. God says we have limits. So he leads us to limits where relationships THRIVE. He leads us there for relationship. Not to leave a mark. Not to matter. Not keeping up with the joneses. (they refinance anyway) If your relationships are suffering, then you have chosen limits that are outside of God’s limits.
When God chose His nation (Jews). He mandated it. Thou shalt have MARGIN.
Exodus 20:8 Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 You have six days each week for your ordinary work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you. 11 For in six days the lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy.
- On Friday night, you hang it up. Even if you haven’t done everything you needed to do, you hang it up. You stop everything for 24hours.
- God even gave margin to the land. You can plant here and not there. Now and not later.
- He gave margins to them financially. You must live on 80%. 10% to temple, 10% to poor
God says I know what you can do, AND I am calling you back. I want you to live with margins!
The Jews told God to FORGET the margins! So, God took care of that situation. He allowed the Babylonians to conquer them for 70 years. The Jews were put into slavery and then all of the sudden the Jews said, “hmmm, maybe margins were a good way to live after all.” God says: “I created time. I created economy. I created morality. I created you as a relational and emotional being.”
Jesus said the most important command was ”love the Lord God with all your heart, soul and mind AND love your neighbor as yourself” This is how you prioritize your life. Loving God and loving others! Make sure you give space for God and others and then the rest is up to you. The Great Commission takes time! Yes, Jesus was subtly telling them that they need margins.
As you squeeze margin our of your life, you squeeze God out of your life.
Relationship happens in the Margin.
Many people in America USED to go to church. And they left, not because of theological reasons, but because THEY GOT BUSY. Their margins were destroyed and they no longer had time for the things of God. Why do we drift from God? Our time, money, affection and morality margins are squeezed. We squeeze out God because we are pushing everything out.
You will thrive, grow, and prosper when you live in margins.
What is crazy is that many of you are probably saying, ‘pastor’ I don’t have time for margins. You are pastor so you have time to pray and read and fast and be with your family. whatevs!
It’s amazing how:
- When you have a heart attack, all of the sudden you make margins!
- When you marriage is on the rocks all of the sudden you take the time to make margins.
- In Texas when we have an ice storm, we realize that no matter what plans you made, they don’t matter. You don’t drive. No matter what tests are scheduled, schools are canceled.
- Many years ago, Christians said, “we can’t live on 90% and give 10% to God. And then the Govt said we’ll take 10% and everyone was forced to live on 90%. Then 15%, then 20%. WE HAD TO and we found a way. Or we go to jail.
THE POINT? You are going to live with limits. Either ones that you choose (mostly at the edge) or ones that God invites you to live with (with margins)
I’ll close with this:
Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.
God will wait for you to let him in. He will patiently wait. If you wait until bankruptcy, illness, divorce, He will come in a be with you.
Why don’t we choose, instead of being forced, to live within the Margin that God gives us
Here is my time.
Here is my morality.
Here is my money.
He will come in and lead you in a life of balance, health, and blessing.
More Financial Peace