[This lesson was presented by 2 people.]
Notes of Jeff Lovelace
But it doesnt have to be this way. There are several steps we can take to overcome living like this. God gave us many scriptures dealing with possessions and finances. One new ministry that has started at West-Ark is the Financial Ministry and a portion of that is teaching Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University. The Bible-based study teaches you how to get out of debt and build up an emergency fund. But the class goes further by teaching basic life principles of insurance, mortgages, college funds, and how to plan for retirement. The class causes you and your spouse to interact on everyday purchases and gets you on the same page. It will stop the money fights. The end result is that you can give like never before without worry, guilt and truly be what the bible says, a cheerful giver. We also have a Financial counseling service that is offered by my wife Michelle and I. We can setup a budget and help you get on the right track. This ties well with the Marriage and Family Counseling that David Chadwell has setup as well.
But back to the Financial Peace University class (FPU). We just completed our first class with 16 families attending. All families beat debt, started saving and put themselves in a situation to give more freely and easily. A fun part of the program is to collect credit offers in the mail and tally up how much debt is being offered to the students. Over 13 weeks, these 16 families were offered 5 Million dollars in debt. The key though is to get rid of debt. Our class debt reduction was over $29,000 dollars. Once the savings kicked in after beating the debt, our class saved over $34,000. Thats a differential of $63,000 in only 13 weeks by 16 families. As you can see by having a plan, which is what this class teaches, can really get the ball rolling to put yourself in a much better financial state.
Imagine Yourself Debt Free
Our next class is coming up on January 11th and will run for 13 weeks. The class is very interactive and is fit for any age group or marital status. We will show a preview of what can be expected from the class today after services. Also, I will mention that we are doing a teen version of this class called Generation Change. It will finish up the week before Christmas.
Several of the FPU students were so thrilled with the results of their class, they gave a brief testimonial. Before we show the video, let me leave you with a scripture that says it all. Dont copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think Romans 12:2 (NLT).
Notes of Chris Benjamin
We set this time for responses aside in worship so that we can share with one another. Maybe you have a word of thanks or encouragement. This time for responses in worship is always an appropriate time to share that.
Maybe you need encouragement. Maybe you have a burden with debt or financial stress. We offer the FPU but that's not all. We will pray with you. The elders will pray with you. We will encourage you along the way.
Maybe your burden isn't financial. Maybe it is an addiction of some sort. There are people here who are ready to support you as you seek God's healing and hope. We have no interest in judging you. We know what it is like to live in God's grace and I assure that there will be people here who will receive you with such grace.
Maybe your burden is grief or anxiety. Maybe you are overwhelmed by worry. Maybe you've been carrying the burden of a hurt or gossip from others. Maybe it is something that has burdened you for years. We've set aside this time to pledge our commitment to giving you an opportunity to experience God's healing and hope.
It can seem threatening to name these matters. Perhaps it seems too shameful. But the gospel casts out the burden of shame. Naming the burden is the beginning of healing. Naming the burden means that we have hope and Christ takes it away.
The power of the gospel is what gives us real healing and hope. There are so many offers in this world trying to sell us something that will fix our problems. You can try all of them, but there is no real healing and no real hope apart from the Spirit of Christ. He has given us the resources to really live free.
We've set aside this time in worship to give you the opportunity to respond to the source of true hope and real healing. For those of you who've been baptized it is a time to renew your commitment ...
When you were baptized into Christ, you renounced all other powers including the power of sin. You are dead to those powers and illegitimate gods. You are alive in Christ. May God bless you to live out your life in Christ and not submit to the burdens, worries, fears, and anxieties that distract you from that life.
If you haven't yet been baptized into Christ then what are you waiting for? I mean that in all seriousness there may be a very legitimate answer to that question and I want you to think about it. I can believe that you might have a concern that keeps you from coming to Christ in baptism.
So when I ask, "What are you waiting for?" That's not just a rhetorical question. Let's talk about. But if you want to be baptized into Christ for the forgiveness of sins, then we are ready to rejoice with you.
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