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2021 online sermons » Andy Stanley » Andy Stanley - Send Me Away

Andy Stanley - Send Me Away

Hey, today we are in Part Two of this series, Money Talks, and in a few minutes, I'm gonna challenge you to do something I have challenged people to do for years, and for some of you, you've heard me say this before, for others of you, this will be new. For some of you, you've heard me say this before and you never did anything about it, and you're gonna be like, oh no, that again. But I'm gonna ask you to flip the script on your entire financial world, and I'll explain what I mean by that in just a few minutes. For some of you, that's gonna be a little bit more complicated than others, but you are smart people, and you can figure this out, so it's not about how, it's just a matter of deciding that you're going to do it.

Now also, before we get to that part of what I wanna talk about, I just want you to know that I know I am not the boss of you. Nobody died and left me in charge of you. I don't have any authority over you, but I'm gonna use all the persuasive skills I have to try to get you to do something that some of you know you need to do and you just haven't done it, and others, for others of you, again, this is going to be brand new. I have been saying this for so many years and I've gotten so much feedback from people who said, I finally did it, I finally did it and I'm so glad I did, that I know that if you will take this one step financially, you will be so glad that you did.

Now, if our money could actually talk, and our money began to give us financial advice, none of us, for the most part, would be shocked about the advice that our money would give us. The shocking thing is the parallel between what our money would say if it could talk, and what Jesus did say when he did talk. As we talked about last time, Jesus said more about money and possessions that he did about heaven, and perhaps he talked about, more about money than heaven because for most people, there is no money would be worse news than there is no heaven. So perhaps he knew where our hearts were and he knew where our interest was, and so he leveraged what was most important to us to get our attention. Perhaps Jesus knew, as well, that money never promises, that money promises more than it can actually deliver. The promise being, as soon as you get a little bit more, I'll finally deliver, right.

So if money could talk, if money could talk, it would tell us things that we already know. If money decided to start giving us financial advice, I don't think we would be shocked. So last week we looked at the first thing we know for sure our money would tell us, and one of the things our money would tell us, one of the things your money would tell you is this: I can add meaning to your life, but I'm not the meaning of life. I can add meaning to life, to your life, but I'm not the actual meaning of life, that money becomes most meaningful when you begin to view it and you begin to use it as a means to an end that isn't you. The thing that gives anything meaning is that it's a means to an end. That's what meaning actually means.

So last week, I left you with this question to wrestle with, and I hope that some of you did. The question was this: to what ends, plural, 'cause it's not just one thing, to what ends do you want your life to be a means? I mean, do you want your life to be meaningful, yes, well to make your life meaningful, your life has to be a means to an end that's not you, or else you won't have any meaning in life, right. So, you should decide, to what ends do you want your life to be a meaning? When you answer this question, or when you begin to answer this question, your money will follow, and your money will be what it was intended to be all along, a means to an end that goes beyond you.

So that was first, that was last week. Today, the second thing that our money would tell us if our money could talk, is simply this, and you're not gonna love this one. Your self-control determines which one of us, or which of us gets control. Your money would tell you, you know, by the way, this isn't about how much you have, this is about what you do with it. Your self-control is actually gonna determine which one of us gets control. The financial pressure that many, not all, I understand that, but the financial pressure that many of us feel has less to do with how much we make, and more to do with what we did with it, or what we're doing with it.

In fact, the reason I know this is that the financial pressure that most of us feel, and that most of you feel, the financial pressure that we feel would make absolutely no sense to over half the world's population. If you were to sit down with over half the world's population and explain how much money you make, and how much pressure you feel, they would look at you like you are crazy, because in the context of what happens in the rest of the world, we are so ridiculously well-off, and so ridiculously wealthy, but because we have no margin, we feel financial pressure that the, half the world will look at us and say, if I made that much money, I wouldn't feel any pressure, all my dreams would come true.

So we say, if only I had more money. Money says, if only you had more self-control, because your self-control, that's what we're gonna see, determines who or what gets control of your life. If your money could talk, it would tell you, I'm a much better servant that I am a master, because, ultimately, I will always go, I'll always go where you send me. Now, this is where the topic of faith and finances intersects, because if you're a Christian, and by the way, if you're not a Christian, you're gonna be so glad you're not. I'm telling you, at the end of this message, you're gonna turn to your Christian friend and say, good luck with that. But if you'll listen, and if you will decide to do what I suggest at the end, I promise, I promise, you will either thank me or somebody later on. This is where faith and finances intersect.

So if you're a Christian, here's the thing. Your Heavenly Father will always nudge you towards, actually I think I'll let a professional tell you. The Apostle Paul talks about this. The Apostle Paul steps into the pages of history, as you know, as somebody who hated Christians, then he became one. He wrote letters all to, Gentiles, non-Jewish people all around the Mediterranean Rim in the first century, planted all these churches, and he talks about this tension that we all feel when it comes to self-control and our stuff.

Here's how he said it, he says it way better than I ever could. He says to Christians, Jesus followers, he says, look, I say I want you to talk by the Spirit, in other words, walk in sync with the internal spirit, and this isn't spooky, this is simply that God will nudge you in your conscience, that when you decide to become a Jesus follower, when you surrender your life to Christ, your conscience will change over time, and things that never bothered you before will start to bother you, and that may bother you. But the bothering won't go away, because the Holy Spirit of God moves inside of you and through your conscience begins to nudge you.

Here's the direction in which the Holy Spirit will nudge you, Paul tells us. He says, by the way, the outcome of that internal nudge looks like this. The fruit of the Spirit, that is, the outcome of saying yes to that internal nudge, is actually things that you want your sister-in-law to have more of, your brother-in-law to have more of, your children to have more of, your fiance to have more of, your boyfriend, your girlfriend, your husband and your wife to have more of, and your Heavenly Father would like for you to have more of it, too. The fruit of the Sprit is this, it's love, it's joy, it's peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and then here's our phrase, our compound word, and self-control, that the Holy Spirit is going to nudge you towards self-control in all things.

The reason he's going to nudge you towards self-control in all things is because all of these things on this list war with our internal, natural appetites, including our appetite for more stuff, and the security that comes with more money. We shouldn't be surprised that God, who says he loves you, and God, who's invited you to relate to him as a Heavenly Father, we shouldn't be surprised that God would nudge us towards self-control. Why, because he's some sort of cosmic killjoy, because he wants to take over and ruin our lives? No, because God knows what you know. Nobody wants to be mastered by an appetite. In fact, in a room this large and with an audience this large, there are a lot of people who've spent a lot of money wrestling and trying to get free from an appetite, an appetite that bated them into something that they thought would just be a pastime, that bated you into something that you thought would be a pastime. When it was too late, you discovered it was a pathway, and your appetite took control of your life.

If anybody had asked you, who's in control of your life, you would say I am, but secretly you would know, no I'm not. There's something else that's taken over, and if God loves you, then of course your Heavenly Father doesn't want you to be mastered by an appetite. Besides, if you're a Christian, you already have a master. In fact, at the end of the parable that we looked at last time, if you missed Part One of the series, please go back and watch, you can find it on our apps, you can find it anywhere on the internet. But last week at the end of the extraordinary story that Jesus gave, this extraordinary parable, Jesus swings back around and he makes this very familiar statement, something perhaps you've heard before even if you didn't grow up in church. It's not only familiar, it's extraordinarily brilliant.

In fact, it's statements like this, after you begin to understand and unpack what Jesus is talking about, that makes me believe that the gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, are actual events, that they record actual events and actual stories and teachings of Jesus, because I don't think anybody could make this up, and, even if they could, I don't think anybody would make this up. Here's what Jesus says. He says, by the way, while we're talking about masters and who's gonna be your master, and if it's gonna be an appetite or something else, he says, let me direct your attention to this thought. No one can serve two masters. The little word master here, the Greek word is, which is one who is in charge by virtue of ownership, someone who is in charge of another person by virtue of ownership.

In fact, it's usually translated in the New Testament as the word lord. He says, you can't have two lords. You can't have two masters. When we hear the term master, we think, well not only do I not have two masters, I don't have any master. I don't even have one master, to which your Heavenly Father would say, we'll see. Jesus continues, he says, here's your choices. You cannot serve, no one can serve both God and money. Now this is the brilliant part of Jesus' teaching, because if you'd never heard this statement before, and I were to put a blank there, and you were to look at the contrast, you cannot serve both God and fill in the blank, virtually nobody would put the word money there. You may be tempted to put the word devil. You can't serve God and the Devil, you can't serve God and yourself. You can't serve God, you know, I don't know. Jesus says, let's just be honest, okay. What this really comes down to in the real world, is you can't serve God and stuff. You can't serve God in the pursuit of wealth. You can't pursue God in the pursuit of something that you think will make your life richer if you have more of it.

Now here's the interesting thing. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus viewed money along with the quest for more as the chief competitor for our hearts, that Jesus viewed your money and your quest for more as the chief competitor with him, and with his Heavenly Father for your heart and for your devotion. His question to you, his question with me, would be something like this. Do you have money, or does money have you? To which you may shrug and respond, it doesn't have me, 'cause I don't have enough of it to have me. I would like to have so much money that I struggled with it having me. I would like to be more materialistic, I'd like to have more options to see how I could, you know, see how I would do.

I mean, if wealth is a difficult test to pass, I'd like to at least sign up and take the test, right? If having too much creates too much stress, I'd like to sign up and just see how well I handle that stress, right? So who he is talking to? I mean, is Jesus just talking to rich people? Who is Jesus talking to? Is it possible that Jesus is talking to a group of people who get home from work in the afternoon and see three Amazon boxes, Amazon Prime boxes sitting on the porch, who pick 'em up and look at 'em and they have our name on 'em, and we don't even know what's in 'em, and we ordered it, could he be talking to us? It's Christmas every week. Look, I got a prize, who is it from, it's from me. What is it, I don't know.

Could Jesus be talking to people who go to the mall? What are you looking for? I hadn't seen it yet. Soon as I see it, I'll know what I'm looking for, ah, there it is. Here's something I need, I didn't even know it existed, but once I know it exists, now I know I need it, and I gotta figure out a way to buy it. Could he be talking to people like us? See, Jesus, this is why he's so brilliant. I mean, it's 2,000 years ago. He's talking to everyone, and here's why. Because everyone is at risk of making money their ultimate pursuit, or, don't miss this part, or their ultimate concern. Everybody runs the risk of making money or the pursuit of stuff their ultimate pursuit or their ultimate concern, which makes their ultimate, makes it their lord.

Now, here's something really odd that I hope bothers you so much you pay attention to the rest of the message, okay, think about this. If you're, only for if you are a Christian, if you're not a Christian, again, talk amongst yourselves, but for those of you who are Christians, this is a big deal. I want you to think about how much easier it is for you to trust Jesus with your sin, oh dear Lord, I've done it again, please forgive me, please forgive me, and please don't let him find out, okay, in Jesus' name, amen. I mean, that didn't take much. I mean, you're drive, he hasn't even gotten home. In fact, you're somebody who rarely ever prays, but every once in a while, you do a real whopper, and you're not even sure there's a personal God, and you're like, to whom it may concern, please. Whoever, whatever is out there, please don't let them find out, please help me to get home safe. Please don't let there be blue lights.

I mean, you may never pray at any other time, but when you screw up, when you sin, isn't it amazing how easy it is to take our sin and our failures to God? Isn't it amazing how easy it is to take our sorrows to God? God, I'm so lonely, God, I'm just, I'm at the end of, I'm at the end of myself. God, I don't know what to do. God, my heart is so broken, I'm just, God, I don't even know what words to bring. God, they say he's, you heard what the doctor said, I don't have to tell you what the doctor said. God, please don't let him die, please save my little girl, God.

Isn't it amazing how quickly, how easy it is to take our sorrows to God and give our sorrows to God? In fact, most of you, probably like me, at some point in your life, you gave your entire eternity to God. You prayed a prayer that went something like this. Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for this day, 'cause that seems like we have to say it, thank you for this day, but anyway, let's get down to business. I don't, I want to go to heaven and I have been told that if I, I don't even have to sign anything, I just have to read this. Dear Heavenly Father, I ask Jesus to come into my heart and forgive me of my sins, and thanks to you for accepting me into your family. Sound good, right, I mean, think, all of you, kind of poking fun, but it's amazing how quickly and how easily you have given your eternity to God.

Isn't it interesting how hard it is to give your money and your stuff? This is why Jesus was so smart. He said, come on, no more fooling around, don't tell me about your thoughts, don't tell me about your feelings, don't tell me how much you love me, show me. No, he didn't say that, somebody else did, but anyway. It's like, Jesus was so smart, and he never asked anybody to give him money. This wasn't about him getting money. Do you know what this was about? This was him about, this was about him wanting to get you. That's why he was clear. If you haven't surrendered, this is harsh, this is Jesus, you know, if you haven't surrendered what you have, you haven't really surrendered.

If you haven't given him access to what you have, he doesn't have access to you. You have opted for the lesser master, and Jesus addresses this. I mean, Jesus addresses this head on. He addresses this tension between, that some of you are feeling right now, that some of us are feeling right now. He does so, it's so cool because he's so smart, and he's so practical, Jesus addresses this tension in terms that we can all understand. He says, this isn't about either or, this is about priorities. So Jesus, still talking about possessions and money, again, the verse I'm gonna show you is so familiar, but again, taken out of context it could mean a hundred different things. But Jesus is still talking about possessions and money. He says, so here's the way forward. If you wanna get this right, if you really want me to be your Lord, if you don't wanna be driven by your appetites, if the self-control is eating your lunch, if you think too much about it, worry too much about it, here's the way forward, here's the way out. Here's what he says. But seek first, seek first.

The key, this is so important, the key to keeping the pursuit of more, or infatuation with better, out of the driver's seat of your life, is to prioritize something else, seek first. The way forward, the key to keeping the pursuit of more or the concern over even having enough, the way to keep that out of the driver's seat of your life is to prioritize something else over it. So Jesus says, you wanna get this right? You wanna be free, you wanna live a different kind of life? Do you wanna find control over your self-control so that your lack of self-control, especially in the area of finances, doesn't continue to get you in trouble or embarrass you? He says, then here's my invitation. This is, this is amazing. He says, here's what I'd like for you to do. I want you to seek first my Father's kingdom and his righteousness. I want you to seek first my Father's kingdom, my Father's others first, me second, kingdom, and I want you to seek his righteousness.

This isn't a religious word and this isn't a complicated word. If you wanna know what this means, you just read Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John, and watch Jesus, because Jesus was righteousness personified, and righteousness was not stand-apart holiness, and righteousness wasn't praying all the right kind of prayers, and righteousness wasn't walking around like this. Righteousness was, it was Jesus in motion, it was Jesus in action. Jesus, this is amazing, who fearlessly and courageously put other people first. It gets better than that. Jesus, who fearlessly and courageously put you first. He says, I want you to walk in that kind of kingdom. I want you to operate with that kind of priority system. I want you to decide, something's gotta go first, and I'm inviting you into a world where you don't go first, and in the kingdom where you don't go first, you are going to find more peace and more joy and more purpose and more meaning. Because in my kingdom, you will become a means to an end that is not you.

This is, I can't even describe this scene. I'll just do my best. Jesus and his guys are going to Jerusalem, and the apostles, and they got all the camp followers, everywhere he goes, there's new crowds of people. They're going to Jerusalem, and Jesus is gonna be arrested and die, and he knows this. This is our last trip, guys. So he hears the guys behind him, arguing and talking, and he hears him talking about, hey, when we get to Jerusalem, who's gonna be number two and number three, 'cause we know Jesus is number one, I got Jesus, yes I do, I got Jesus, how about, he's number one, okay. Give me a J, okay. He's number one, but there's gonna be a number two and a number three. So they're arguing about who gets to be number two and number three, because they think when he gets to Jerusalem, he's gonna rip off, we've talked about this, his Rabbi robe, he's gonna be Messiah, he's gonna be king, he's gonna set up an earthly kingdom, and whoever's closest to the king, you get to be kingly, you get to live like a king. They're thinking, you know, in terms of the only terms they know, kingdom, empire.

Jesus says, okay, time for a little conference, sends all the crowds away, sits the 12 down, says, okay, let's go over this one more time. We've been over this before, let's go over it one more time. That's not the way it works in my kingdom. Do you wanna be great? He says it in, Matthew, do you wanna be great? Matthew's like, yeah, sounds great to be great. John, do you wanna be great? John's like, yeah, yeah, I'd like to be. Andrew, do you wanna be great? I mean, you all guys wanna be great? Here's how great works in my kingdom. You have to serve everybody else. You have to serve each other. If you're willing to serve each other, you can be great in my kingdom. He says to them, you know how it works in the rest of the kingdoms of this world, right? You know how it works.

The person at the top or the person with all the resources leverages their resources to get more resources. They leverage their power to get more power. They leverage everything they have to the detriment of everybody else. You know how it works in the kingdoms of this world? They're like yeah, we know how it works. Why do you think we wanna be number two and number three? We wanna be the top of that pyramid. Then Jesus, phew, he says, look at me guys, not so with you, 'cause that's not the way it works in my Father's kingdom. You wanna be great in my Father's kingdom, you flip the script and you serve. Then he finishes with this, this shut 'em down. For even, talking about himself, for even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.

Now, come on, let's go. They get to Jerusalem, they have this final passover meal. There's so much drama, and all of a sudden they're talking amongst themselves, and you know, where did Jesus go, where did Jesus go? They look, and he's in the back of the room, he's taking off his clothes, it's like, what's up? Then he puts a towel around himself, they're like, oh no, we forgot to get someone to wash our feet, ugh, we were such big shots coming into Jerusalem, hosanna, hosanna, they're throwing branches down, they're like, we are, you know, we are, you know, they got, we got it going on now. I mean, they are, we are, this is the day before coronation day. It's gonna be amazing tomorrow when he declares himself king right here at passover.

Now Jesus, the king, has got a towel around his waist, and he starts washing their feet and they're freaking out. He's like, sit down guys, Peter, huh-uh-uh, sit down, I'm washing your feet. This takes a long, it takes a long time to wash 12 dirty feet. It's silent. He finishes, puts his Rabbinic robe back on. Nobody's saying a word. He says this to them, he says this to you. I think he says it, first of all, to me. He says, gentlemen, you call me teacher and Lord. There's our word, you call me teacher and Lord, and rightly so, because that's who I am.

Now that your Lord has washed your feet, you are to wash one another's feet. In doing this, I have set an example for you, because the servant is never greater than the master. I have flipped the script on the kingdoms of this world, and if you're gonna be a part of my kingdom, if you're gonna seek first my kingdom, you are joining an others first kingdom. You up for that, guys? And they were. The next day, they watched the king give his life for the subjects, and the world has never been the same. He says to you, join my kingdom, join my world. Join the way I see people, flip the script, others first. But this isn't others in exclusion of you. I mean, you got bills to pay. I mean, you got college tuition to figure out, right? I mean, you got, you got, you haven't had a job for three months and you're starting a job and you gotta catch up, I mean, he understands all that.

Look what he says next, this is amazing. Seek ye first the kingdom of God, seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and, by the way, I love you, and all these things that you worry about, all these things that you fret about, all these things that have to get done, all these things that have to be paid for, all these things that are crucial to being able to survive in whatever century we live in, for us, the 21st century, he said, they're gonna be given to you as well. This isn't either or, this is one and two. This is first and second, because somebody's kingdom has to come first, and your Heavenly Father has invited you into the others first kingdom.

Here's the thing, because he's so smart. Jesus knew what we already know, and what everybody figures out. In fact, if you're 25 years old or older, you have already bumped in the this. If you're 35, it's like, oh yeah. If you're 55, it's like, I wish somebody'd told me when I was 21, right? Here's what Jesus knew that we all figure out. When we put us first, we eventually come in last, and here's why. Because when you put you first, you have a difficult time saying no to you, right. I mean, if you're first, if it's all about you in your kingdom, it's hard to say no to you. The problem is, eventually, you're not mastered by you. Eventually you get mastered by an appetite, or a bunch of appetites. Nobody wants to be mastered by an appetite, and your Heavenly Father doesn't want you to be either. Here's why, because you are a created being, and you were created to seek first your creator. When this gets out of order, our lives become disordered.

So what do you we do? The great news is, Jesus already told us. We have to put something ahead of us. We have to join in a practical, tangible, I see what you did there, way, other people, ahead of us. We have to flip this script, because this is the script that all of us were born into. I'm gonna live and spend whatever I want on me, I'm gonna save a little bit for my future kingdom, and if there's any left over, I'll give it away. This is the Me-First Living with some leftover giving, okay. Welcome to average. You wanna be an average person, knock yourself out. Welcome to just like everybody else, because this is what everybody else does. And, if all there is to this life is this life, you might as well eat, drink, and be merry, because tomorrow you die, and you won't be concerned about your kids or your grandkids, 'cause you won't be around to be concerned, and they'll have un-fond memories of you, but who cares, live it up and consume it all, it's all yours. But, if Jesus is who Jesus claimed to be, let me be more specific, if Matthew was correct, if Mark was correct, if Luke was correct, if John was correct, if Peter was correct, if James, Jesus' brother, who decided his brother was his Lord, is correct, then the wisest thing you could do, the smartest thing you could do, the most thoughtful thing you could do, is to flip this script.

So it's Seek-Ye-First Living, that you give first, you save for your kingdom second, and then you live on whatever is left over. You prioritize something or someone over yourself. This is evidence, this is measurable, this is tangible evidence that Jesus or something or someone else is the Lord over your life other than you. This is what lordship looks like. Or to put it another way, telling your money to go is proof your money ain't running the show, right? Money, you get out of here. Well, what about? I'll worry about that, you get out of here, you go over there and help them. Here money, you go over there and help them. But what about? Money, sh, sh, sh, I'm in control, you're not in control of me. Yeah, but you got bill. Hey, hey, money, you go there, you go there, I'm running this show. You're not the boss of me. Andy's not the boss of me, you're not the boss of me, right. But more importantly, more seriously, now, this is the part you won't believe until you experience it. This is a keystone habit.

Do you know what a keystone habit is? A keystone habit is a habit that affects a whole lot of things that aren't directly related. This is a keystone habit. You get this right, this impacts all of your finances. You get this right, this will ultimately impact everything in your entire life, I promise. Ultimately, this will lead to a deeper, richer, stronger faith and confidence in your Heavenly Father, because when you put him first in a tangible way, in a way that's measurable, in a way that initially feels like it's costing you something, when you know he is truly my Lord because I am saying no to me in order to say yes to him, everything begins to change, and everything will ultimately follow. Jesus was so clear. The litmus test, this is hard for us. The litmus test of our devotion to God is our willingness to put him or others first in the arena of our money and our possessions. Not include them, not include them or factor them in, to put them first in the arena of our money and our possessions.

So if you're not already doing this, I wanna issue you a two month challenge, and I wanna issue this to those of you who are Christians. If you're a Jesus follower, I mean, you're obligated. I mean, not because I'm telling you, but because of what Jesus said. If you're not a Christian, you can do whatever you want, obviously I'm not the boss of you. But I wanna challenge you to at least consider this, okay. For the next just two months, not two weeks, not two paychecks, for the next two months, there's two parts, so don't zone out after I tell you the first one, okay, or don't leave before I tell you the first one either, or don't turn me off after I tell you the first. The first one is this, the first part is this. I want you to choose a percentage and I want, of your income, and I want you to give it away as soon as you get paid. Whether you're getting bonuses, whether you're commissions, whether you're paycheck, however it works, hourly, whatever it is.

I want you to pick a percentage, and I want you to pick a percentage you feel. Don't do, well, I gave a half a percent. You won't even miss it. I want you to pick you a percentage that makes you do a little bit of this. Okay, whatever that is, okay. I want you to give it first. You say, where do I give it? You can give it anywhere you want to. Just pick an organization that supports something you love, something that breaks your heart that you're thinking, wow, I wish there was more of that in this community, 'cause what's happening in my community is great. Just pick an organization, pick two, ahead of time, and don't wait to be asked. You're gonna, as soon as you get paid, as soon as money comes your way, you're gonna take a percentage, you're gonna give it away off the top. But the second part of this is just as important, in fact, in some ways, it's more important, because if you'll do this second part, you will learn something about yourself, and it may open your heart to the love God has for you.

The second part is this: I want you to pay attention to the internal tension that this creates in you. In other words, when you start thinking about this, that battle you start having, I want you to hit pause, and I want you to think about, what is the struggle about? I want you to listen closely to those internal conversations, the ones that you have with yourself, right, the ones that you're preparing have with your fiance, the one that you're preparing to have with your wife, the one that you're already having with me, 'cause you're already arguing with me in your mind, that's okay. I want you to pay attention, and here's why: because I want you to discover what is at, this is so important, you owe this to yourself, you don't owe this to me. I want you to discover what is at the center of your resistance. I want you to discover what is at the center of your resistance. I want you to listen to the excuses you're telling yourself. Then I want you to just give it anyway. What you might discover is this: this is not about money. This is about something else. You might discover this is exactly about what Jesus said it was exactly about, who or what is going to be the master and the lord of your life? If your money could talk, it would say, hey, by the way, remember, I'm a much better servant than I am master. Don't put me in charge.

Now, I've told you this before, I gotta tell you again. I was raised this way. I was, I have never in my life, since I was a teenager, assumed that I could live on 100% of what came my way. So, because I was raised this way, I'm being honest, this is easy for me. I've never not done this. Yet, I look back, and I am so grateful that I was raised to do this, and I know some of you are raising your kids to do this. So this is easy for me, I'm so grateful. In fact, I raised my kids to do this. I didn't raise my kids to do this because I wanted the church to get my kids' money. I raised my kids to do this because I don't want money to get my children. I want them to be free of a constant pursuit of more. I want them to be free of worrying about is there going to be enough? I want them to be able to pray with a clear conscience, God, to the best of my ability, I am seeking your kingdom first and my kingdom second. I can cast my cares upon you because I know you care for me, because I have prioritized what you're doing in my community, in my church, and in the world.

Christians, again, for those of you who are Jesus followers, one last thing. Please don't kid yourself. Until Jesus is first in your finances, Jesus isn't first. You're not a follower, you're a user. Judas tried that. So once again, here's Jesus' words to us. No one, you can try, you can learn the hard way, but no one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. What is he talking about? He's talking about the, he's talking about the, okay, do I add a zero, he's talking about, you're gonna discover it, you're gonna experience it, that tension. You're, when you feel that tension, when you start wrestling, when you start having those conversations, when you start making excuses, when you start talking yourself out of it, you have just entered the war zone that Jesus puts his finger on and invites us into. You're about to discover what's most and who's most important to you. He's so smart. You'll love the one or you'll despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

So my friends, come on, come on. Just two months, two months, and then pay attention to what's going on on the inside. Perhaps you will discover something about you that you didn't know before, and more importantly, perhaps, you, for the first time in your life, would do this, and make all of you available to your Heavenly Father, seeking first the others first kingdom that changed the world once, and will continue to change the world to whatever degree we choose to live like this. And, don't miss next week as we wrap up our series Money Talks.
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