Breaking the Spirit of Mammon | The Blessed Life: Week 4

You may have heard the phrase “money is the root of all evil” but is that actually true? If you’ve felt like the grip of money has been on your life for far too long, this week is for you.

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    Welcome to Crossroads.
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    My name is Lena Schuler, I'm the Crossroads Anywhere Community Pastor.
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    We're so glad to have you as part of our church today
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    from anywhere you might be joining us from.
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    We're in a series right now called The Blessed Life.
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    And I have just been so blessed by this series.
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    I've really been energized by it.
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    And I hope that you have been too.
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    And today is actually a really special day for our church
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    because we have baptisms happening in all of our locations
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    and across many of our communities in the country.
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    People who have decided to publicly declare their faith in Jesus.
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    And so more of that to come and a little bit.
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    We'll hear more context for that.
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    And we'll actually get to see people who are being baptized in one of our locations today.
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    If you would like to be baptized,
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    you can chat with us on the Crossroads Web site,
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    And we would love to get you connected to other people near you
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    in order for you to be baptized.
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    Right now, we're going to spend some time worshipping together.
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    So why don't you turn the volume up and sing with us as we worship.
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    Well, we're going to do something special this weekend
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    at all of our different sites and all the services.
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    We're having people get baptized.
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    What does that mean?
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    A major theme throughout the entire Bible
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    we're going to talk about a little bit later
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    is the theme of freedom, going from bondage into freedom,
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    going from slavery and going into life.
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    And baptism recognizes that all of us by nature
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    are enslaved to our own lust, our own passions, our own sin.
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    And Jesus is the one who sets us free.
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    Jesus goes up on the Cross and He dies for all of my sins,
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    are transferred to his account while He's on a Cross.
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    And all of His righteousness is transferred to my account
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    or your account whenever you receive Him.
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    And so someone gets baptized when they have received Christ
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    and they go into what's known as a watery grave,
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    just as Jesus was placed in a grave
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    and then came back with power three days later.
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    So too, we go voluntarily inside the watery grave
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    and we come back out.
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    We come out with a new sense of power.
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    This is what baptism is.
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    This is what's happening in all the lives that you're going to see today.
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    And we're gonna hear one story of a woman who was,
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    gosh, who just four weeks ago,
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    like zero church engagement or God engagement at all.
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    And just happened to pop in a Crossroads.
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    Let's listen to her story.
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    - My husband and I have spotted Crossroads Eastgate.
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    And I asked him if he would like to check it out with me.
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    It really surprised him because I've never asked to go to church.
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    I don't know what is that drew me there.
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    I have to say it was Jesus.
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    Like, I have a crazy need to be there and I have no idea why.
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    So we went the following Saturday to our first service
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    and that was a communion service.
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    The communion was completely bizarre, totally foreign and awkward.
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    Awkward and wonderful all at the same time.
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    I mean, there were so many emotions, like so many emotions
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    I think because I've been so bad and I have so much sin
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    and I didn't live my life right at all,
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    I feel like I was really releasing a lot of sin and a lot of sorrow.
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    That was that was the moment that made me want to come back for more.
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    It just blew my mind that it was really lifted up off me
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    because I didn't think that was possible.
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    I want to get baptized because I think it will be a amazing start
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    to acceptance I'll find in myself will be something
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    I can't even comprehend right now.
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    That God I was so scared of is the one that sets me free.
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    I want more of that knowledge and freedom of walking with Jesus.
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    I mean I couldn't ask for anything better than that.
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    You know?
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    - As a church, we believe that we are meant to care for people in need.
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    We believe that part of being a representation of Jesus
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    means that we are a blessing to our local communities,
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    to families and individuals and organizations right near us.
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    And so this is going to be the 24th year that as a church
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    we've participated in the Thanksgiving food drive.
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    And so if that's something you want to do,
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    if you recognize, man, God has blessed me
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    and I want to be a blessing to other people
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    in the midst of this holiday season,
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    we would love for you to participate in the Thanksgiving food drive.
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    If you live near a Crossroads location,
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    you can head to one of those locations and pick up a box and a list
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    and do the Thanksgiving food drive with your local community.
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    And if you don't live near Crossroads location,
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    then you can still participate in the Thanksgiving food drive.
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    It's actually really simple.
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    First you pick an organization or a family
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    that needs a Thanksgiving meal this year.
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    Second, you contact them and say, "I'd like to give you a meal."
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    Third, you buy a box.
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    Fourth, you fill the box with a list of foods
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    that we actually have for you on the Crossroads Web site.
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    And then fifth, you actually get to deliver that box to them
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    so that they get to have a fantastic Thanksgiving experience
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    around a table with great food and friends and family.
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    And so we would love to have you as part of this.
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    There will be over 14,000 families around the country
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    that will get to partake in a better Thanksgiving experience
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    because of generous and loving people
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    that are part of the Crossroads community.
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    And you could be one of those people.
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    So we'd love to help you do this and celebrate that you're doing this.
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    And so you can click on the chat button on the Crossroads Web site
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    and we'll get you started in the Thanksgiving food drive.
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    And, you know, one of the other things that we do as a church is we go.
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    And I want you to get to experience another culture,
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    another group of people, and go on an adventure.
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    - A Go Trip is about going.
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    Going outside your comfort zone.
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    Going to a new place.
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    Going beyond normal.
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    Going where you want to go instead of where you've been.
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    Your normal life is getting you as far as you can go.
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    And where are you going right now?
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    You're going the way of normal.
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    If you want to go further than you are right now,
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    you have to go outside of what you're comfortable with.
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    That is the role of Go Trips, they're beyond normal.
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    They stretch you, they push you, they give you actual capacity.
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    Muscles you didn't have beforehand
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    that now can take your normal life beyond the normal
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    and you get to help people.
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    You get to take on actual physical problems
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    and make a difference in somebody else's life
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    and the trajectory of their family and their village.
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    People you encounter will be changed because you stepped out
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    and you went on a Go Trip.
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    Let's Go.
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    - You could go somewhere in 2020.
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    We have trips happening all over the world.
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    In Bolivia, South Africa, India, New Orleans and more.
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    You know, I came back from South Africa a few years ago different.
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    I came back a different person with all kinds of amazing memories
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    and just feeling more adventurous and closer to God.
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    And I want that for you.
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    And I want you to make new friends in the midst of this, too.
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    And so if you want to sign up for a Go Trip,
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    don't let money be the reason that you don't do this.
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    You would be surprised at how God shows up
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    and the ways that you might end up being blessed in the midst of this.
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    And if you're looking for a way to meet other people from your church,
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    you're looking for a way to involve your friends
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    in something that's part of the church.
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    A Go Trip might just be the right thing for you.
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    So you can head to
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    to see all of the trips that are happening in 2020
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    and actually sign up to go somewhere.
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    As a team we go and as a team we give.
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    And if you are new to Crossroads,
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    you're just joining us on Crossroads Anywhere,
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    we are so glad to have you.
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    No pressure at all here.
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    But if you're part of the team and you want to give,
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    you can do that by heading to
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    And in the midst of this Blessed Life series,
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    we've been talking about how God blesses us.
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    Sometimes He blesses us financially
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    and other times He blesses us in completely different ways.
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    - From a young age, my mom taught me that tithing is just what you do.
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    You just take 10 percent off the top.
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    You tithe that and then 90 percent is yours.
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    And I was always doing that.
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    And it started to become kind of dry for me because
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    it was just something I did, it was just obedience thing.
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    And after doing that for some time,
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    we did the Obsessed Journey here at Crossroads.
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    And I believe it was March of 2018.
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    And the Obsessed Journey showed me,
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    "I don't know if I totally trust you with my money, God.
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    I'm doing this, you know, 10 percent.
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    It's cool.
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    I'll give it to you."
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    My dad has not been in my family for quite some time,
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    and seeing God as a father has been kind of a difficult thing for me.
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    After doing that journey, we had to open our finances
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    and kind of ask some type of questions within our small groups
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    and ask the Lord, "What is an uncomfortable amount
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    for me to start giving?"
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    God asked me for 20 percent gross.
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    I said, "How about 15?
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    How about 15?
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    Meet me in the middle and we'll just do 15."
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    God said, no, thanks.
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    He asked for 20 percent.
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    And so I just said, "That makes me uncomfortable."
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    But I said, OK.
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    I'm not going to sugarcoat it.
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    It didn't feel good in the beginning.
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    I lived paycheck to paycheck and I grew every single day.
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    I kind of started to trust God a lot more because
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    it wasn't just I'll trust Him in prayer.
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    It was I'm going to take action.
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    I'll trust Him with my money.
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    I'll put my money where my mouth is.
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    What I saw was that in the midst of God asking more of me,
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    I saw the Lord double what I was making in a year.
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    It was not one paycheck.
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    It was not all of a sudden.
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    It was just these incremental gains.
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    He used my relationships and my money in much more effective ways
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    than I could have ever thought to use them myself.
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    Whether it was a smaller car payment,
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    because I was able to refinance it or get a cheaper vehicle.
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    Whether it was moving into a place that was a little bit less expensive
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    and finding a roommate to share the place.
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    Bringing people into my life as coaches and mentors.
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    I've just seen God really come through.
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    And not just a finding a check on the ground kind of way,
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    winning the lottery kind of way, but a lot more practical,
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    a lot more day to day learning.
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    Finding people that can guide me and coach me in specific ways.
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    I've seen God really orchestrate my life
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    once I've started to be obedient.
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    Tithing for me was an entry point into the generous life,
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    that once I was kind of fulfilling the obligation of tithing
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    to give the 10 percent that it changed the way I looked at money,
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    that money lost its weight in only being a servant to myself.
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    And I've seen God come through as a good Father.
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    - I want to go relatively deep today.
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    Can we do that today?
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    Can we do that?
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    It doesn't matter if you want to or not?
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    I'm going to do it anyway.
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    I'm going to give us a big, big little macro over the whole Bible.
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    A macro thing of the message of the Bible,
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    which is about us being in slavery
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    and then us being free.
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    Or us being oppressed and then us having liberty.
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    This is a theme that goes throughout the whole Bible,
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    Old Testament and New Testament.
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    And it's a theme that's regularly understood for those who are blessed.
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    The blessed life is when there is a zone, you understand the zone
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    like a rainforest, and you understand that in this place
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    there's moisture, there's vitality, there is growth.
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    And when we get outside of the place where God dwells,
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    the blessings don't come as quickly
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    because we're outside of where that zone is.
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    The blessed life is understanding where God wants us,
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    where God is, and doing what we need to do
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    to experience all that He has for us
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    I'm going to pray about that before we go any further today.
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    So God help me to be clear today.
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    Help me to be helpful.
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    Help me to help all of us see You
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    and Your amazing weighty character in new ways,
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    ways that we haven't seen before,
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    in ways that could totally change our life right here and now.
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    Thanks, God, for just the privilege of talking about weighty concepts,
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    amazing concepts that are going to happen today.
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    I pray these things according to the character and identity of Jesus.
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    So the Bible is a very complex book.
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    We have Old Testament.
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    We have New Testament.
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    And themes go through Old and New Testaments.
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    Some things in the Old Testament, the Testament before Jesus came around
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    that are not relevant for us.
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    Other things that are in the Old Testament
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    are giving us a precursor, a preparation
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    for all that would be experienced in the New Testament and today.
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    One of them is the understanding of slavery to freedom.
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    So in the Old Testament, we have a common theme of slavery
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    in the nation of Israel.
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    They're enslaved to the nation of Egypt.
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    And while in slavery, God comes to an emancipator.
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    His name is Moses.
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    He is going to be the savior, if you will,
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    of the nation of Israel.
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    And he is going to lead them out of slavery.
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    And all kind of weird spiritual stuff was happening
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    because there's a spiritual realm that's operating
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    throughout the world and all time.
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    And we see glimpses of this as Moses
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    is trying to bring the nation of Israel to freedom.
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    He sees the burning bush and an angel talks with Moses.
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    God gives him the ability to do supernatural things
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    like take a staff, throw it on the ground
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    and it turns into a snake to try to impress Pharaoh,
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    who's the leader of the Egyptians.
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    He gives Moses the ability to take his hand,
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    put it into his coat, pull it out, it's got leprosy.
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    Put it back in and put out, it's healed.
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    And he does these things to try to get Pharaoh's attention
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    that the God who is is about to do something.
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    And through these spiritual things, like there's magicians
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    and spiritualists are trying to replicate these things.
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    It's an incredibly spiritual story.
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    On the surface, it looks like an emancipation story,
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    but it's really a spiritual realm story.
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    And Moses takes the nation of Israel across the Red Sea and into freedom.
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    Moses is a prefigure,
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    or also known the theological circles as a type of Jesus.
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    Jesus is the Savior, the emancipator for the entire world
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    in the way that Moses was the savior, emancipator
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    for the nation of Israel.
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    And when we understand this,
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    all of Jesus teachings start to make sense
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    because what He's trying do is He's trying to emancipate you and I.
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    He's trying to get us out of our hangups.
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    He's trying to get us out of our enslavement.
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    He's trying to get us out of our petty preoccupations.
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    He's trying to get us out of our addictions.
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    He's trying to get us out of our our futility in our mind,
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    thinking that we can live our life without the Creator who made us.
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    All of His teachings, all His miracles are for this.
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    So in the Book of Luke 16:9 and following,
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    I"m going to read it you, Jesus is going to talk about mammon.
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    No, not gluten, mammon.
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    I mean, there's those two entirely different things.
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    We're going to talk about mammon.
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    And a lot of times when we read these verses
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    or different translations,
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    they insert the word money in for mammon.
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    They're very close, but not the same.
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    Let's just listen to what Jesus says as He uses this word mammon.
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    Here he says:.
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    You cannot serve God and mammon.
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    Jesus is saying it's not possible.
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    If you want God, you can't have mammon in the center of your life.
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    If you want the weightiness of God,
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    you can't want the weightiness of men.
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    What? Okay fine, Brian.
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    What is this? gluten mammon thing?
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    Is this some new diet?
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    Mammon is a spirit.
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    Mammon is a spirit.
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    This is the only time,
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    Jesus is the only one who uses the word mammon in the entire Bible.
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    It's like He's putting a name on something.
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    There's all kinds of theories as to what exactly mammon is.
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    It's an Aramaic word.
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    Some say it traces to an Aramaic word, which means riches.
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    Others look at it at mammon being, quote, unquote, the thing you trust in.
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    Mammon is a thing you trust in.
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    But Mammon is a spirit.
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    It is an entity.
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    It has the personality.
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    And to understand Jesus words, we have to see it this way,
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    that it's not just some currency.
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    It's something that wants to have a power over us.
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    And could we just say that while money isn't exactly mammon,
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    money has a power over us.
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    Do we think it's really accidental that we put
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    on our dollar bills and our currency "in God we trust"?
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    Of course, it's in God we trust,
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    and mammon says our almighty dollar
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    is the almighty God of our life,
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    because money dictates my happiness for many of us.
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    Money dictates my security.
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    Money dictates my friendship choices.
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    How many of us have friends and economic classes above us or beneath us?
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    Normally it's just right where we are.
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    How many of us have bad attitudes about people
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    who have less money than us,
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    we think they made bad decisions
  • 00:29:44
    and therefore they're just not very smart?
  • 00:29:46
    Or how many of us have a bad attitude about people
  • 00:29:47
    that have more money than us who we assume
  • 00:29:49
    they have no character and they've cheated
  • 00:29:52
    or twisted things to get where they are?
  • 00:29:54
    Why do we think these things?
  • 00:29:56
    Because mammon messes with us,
  • 00:29:59
    and Jesus coming, is it a spirit, it's an entity.
  • 00:30:04
    Just like there were entities, spiritual entities,
  • 00:30:07
    way back with Moses.
  • 00:30:08
    So today there are entities that are trying to enslave us,
  • 00:30:12
    trying to keep us from having the life that God wants.
  • 00:30:15
    When we look the prosperity gospel, which is just awful,
  • 00:30:18
    this idea that the prosperity gospel,
  • 00:30:20
    this idea that God wants everyone to have money and health
  • 00:30:24
    and everyone will have money in health,
  • 00:30:26
    if you're just blessed by God.
  • 00:30:27
    And the way you get that is by giving money to somebody.
  • 00:30:31
    This is mammon speaking to certain preachers
  • 00:30:35
    to manipulate and twist.
  • 00:30:37
    There are amazing godly people all over the world
  • 00:30:40
    and all through all of creation and all of history
  • 00:30:44
    who have had not health nor had wealth,
  • 00:30:46
    yet walked very, very close with God.
  • 00:30:49
    But mammon deludes some of us into believing
  • 00:30:51
    that we can control God by giving us certain things
  • 00:30:55
    if only we give more money away.
  • 00:30:57
    it doesn't work that way.
  • 00:31:00
    The Antichrist in the Book of Revelation
  • 00:31:03
    is seen not as bringing nuclear wars.
  • 00:31:05
    The Antichrist is seeing as controlling currency
  • 00:31:09
    and causing us to be afraid about whether or not
  • 00:31:11
    we will be able to buy and sell thing,
  • 00:31:15
    that's because mammon is a liar.
  • 00:31:17
    It's a spiritual entity, the personality that actually lies.
  • 00:31:20
    And how I know that is this:
  • 00:31:22
    we believe that money is going to solve our problems.
  • 00:31:25
    We believe that money can make me happy.
  • 00:31:27
    We believe that money can bring me joy.
  • 00:31:30
    Realize that of all the people Jesus interacted with
  • 00:31:34
    who had hang-ups and addictions and issues
  • 00:31:39
    and all kinds of maladies and all kind of loneliness,.
  • 00:31:42
    he never once said, "Dud, you just need some more money.
  • 00:31:46
    You just need some Ben Franklin's. That's what you need.
  • 00:31:48
    You you need something -- That's all you need.
  • 00:31:50
    Oh, I see your problem.
  • 00:31:52
    Oh, I see.
  • 00:31:53
    Oh, I'm going to get you some more money.".
  • 00:31:54
    Money is never the ultimate solution to our lack of joy in our lives.
  • 00:32:01
    Money is never the solution to a marriage being broken.
  • 00:32:05
    It may contribute to it, maybe help,
  • 00:32:07
    but it is never the ultimate solution.
  • 00:32:09
    Money is never the thing that fixes our self-esteem problem.
  • 00:32:14
    It never is.
  • 00:32:17
    Money is never the thing that makes us feel great about where our life is going.
  • 00:32:23
    Money is never the thing that gives me peace
  • 00:32:26
    because there's all kinds of very rich people just recently,
  • 00:32:30
    very rich people, Anthony Bourdain, Kate Spade, on and on,
  • 00:32:33
    who had a lot of mammon and they didn't have peace
  • 00:32:38
    and they ended their life.
  • 00:32:41
    There is a spirit that rests on money.
  • 00:32:46
    It's not, as Adam Smith, one of the founders of capitalism, says:
  • 00:32:53
    It is not a neutral medium of exchange.
  • 00:32:56
    This table is a neutral thing.
  • 00:32:58
    It's never gonna make me do something, man,
  • 00:33:00
    but money will make me want to compromise my values
  • 00:33:04
    or think about compromising my values.
  • 00:33:06
    Why is that? It's because there's a spirit of mammon on money.
  • 00:33:10
    It's personal. It's manipulative.
  • 00:33:13
    Mammon is used or it uses us.
  • 00:33:18
    We either use mammon or it uses us.
  • 00:33:23
    You probably heard of that phrase: money is the root of all evil.
  • 00:33:26
    It's not money is not the root of all evil.
  • 00:33:30
    The love of money is the root of all sorts of evil is what the Bible says.
  • 00:33:33
    Here's exactly what it says:
  • 00:33:46
    So for many people, the love of it, the wanting of it,
  • 00:33:50
    causes us to pierce ourselves with sorrows.
  • 00:33:53
  • 00:33:54
    Because we talked, we're out of the blessed zone.
  • 00:33:57
    When we're not operating in the blessed zone,
  • 00:33:59
    we can't experience all of God.
  • 00:34:02
    The tithe, as we've talked, returning to God 10 percent of what it is.
  • 00:34:06
    Which is really again, amazing.
  • 00:34:08
    No investor continues to give any entity money
  • 00:34:11
    and only once a one time 10 percent payment on it.
  • 00:34:14
    Nobody ever. No investor would ever, ever, ever, ever do that.
  • 00:34:18
    But God says, I'm giving you the ability to have this money.
  • 00:34:20
    I'm giving this money and I want you to return it to me.
  • 00:34:24
    Return the first 10 to me.
  • 00:34:25
    It's not even give it to me.
  • 00:34:27
    Return it to me. Why?
  • 00:34:28
    Because God says that thing right there,
  • 00:34:30
    that's like mine.
  • 00:34:32
    And I'm giving it to you and I want you to return it.
  • 00:34:34
    And when we don't return that, those of us who are Christians,
  • 00:34:38
    those of us who say we possess the Holy Spirit,
  • 00:34:41
    when we don't do that what we're saying is money actually owns me
  • 00:34:46
    because money is using me.
  • 00:34:48
    And we end up piercing ourselves with all sorts of woes.
  • 00:34:53
    You know something doesn't own you when you can release it.
  • 00:35:00
    When you can't release something, it owns you.
  • 00:35:03
    When you can't break up with your boyfriend or girlfriend,
  • 00:35:06
    it's dysfunctional maybe.
  • 00:35:09
    They own you.
  • 00:35:10
    But when you can release something, it gives you freedom.
  • 00:35:15
    I don't know why God says 10 percent,
  • 00:35:17
    He just says it over and over and over and over again all over the Bible.
  • 00:35:20
    I spent a whole week talking about that.
  • 00:35:21
    I don't know why. I know why.
  • 00:35:23
    What's the magical thing on 10 precent?
  • 00:35:24
    I don't know why.
  • 00:35:25
    Maybe it's just that God knows that we need the regular test,
  • 00:35:31
    the regular habit of, "Okay, I just got this money.
  • 00:35:34
    Oh, but it doesn't own me.
  • 00:35:35
    And just to prove it to myself and the mammon, I'm going to release it."
  • 00:35:40
    We either use mammon or it uses us.
  • 00:35:41
    We can use mammon by blessing people.
  • 00:35:43
    You can use mammon by building into our future.
  • 00:35:45
    We can use mammon by pushing God's agenda forward.
  • 00:35:48
    We can use mammon by doing things for a rainy day.
  • 00:35:52
    We can use mammon, but to be clear, if we're not using it
  • 00:35:56
    and the way we use it is releasing it, it's using us.
  • 00:36:00
    Mammon is on all kinds of things, even on Halloween candy.
  • 00:36:04
    I don't know if you saw this recent video that went viral.
  • 00:36:07
    It appropriately went viral.
  • 00:36:09
    And if you haven't seen it or if you have seen it,
  • 00:36:11
    you're going to enjoy seeing it again.
  • 00:36:13
    Watch how one little guy stands against the spirit of mammon that is selfish.
  • 00:36:30
    - Oh, no, there ain't no more candy. - Oh, that is really nice, Jackson.
  • 00:36:36
    - Here's some more.
  • 00:36:39
    There you go.
  • 00:36:41
    - For the next kids.
  • 00:36:48
    - That is a kid who's got a good heart right there.
  • 00:36:52
    We said all along money is a matter of the heart.
  • 00:36:55
    Giving is a matter of the heart.
  • 00:36:57
    And whenever we give, when we tithe,
  • 00:37:00
    it's going to be some combination of our faith and our math.
  • 00:37:04
    Our faith and our math.
  • 00:37:06
    Not everyone can go to 10 percent right away
  • 00:37:08
    because of a whole bunch of things.
  • 00:37:10
    But all of us have to be moving that way
  • 00:37:13
    if we want to get into the zone.
  • 00:37:15
    If we want to get into the blessed life,
  • 00:37:17
    we have to return to God what is His.
  • 00:37:19
    There's a measure of faith and math.
  • 00:37:22
    There's a progression that we have to go to.
  • 00:37:24
    And the only ones of us who will ever want to do that
  • 00:37:28
    are those of us who want to use mammon.
  • 00:37:30
    And the only ones who are closed to that
  • 00:37:32
    are the ones who are being used by madmen.
  • 00:37:34
    Because mammon will always tell us you can't do it.
  • 00:37:37
    Mammon will always tell us God won't be faithful.
  • 00:37:39
    Mammon will always tell us this is crazy talk.
  • 00:37:44
    It always does.
  • 00:37:45
    This mammon and he's very consistent with all of us
  • 00:37:48
    because mammon is not a neutral medium of exchange.
  • 00:37:53
    It's a personal, spiritual, lying entity
  • 00:37:57
    that wants to keep you and I from experiencing our God.
  • 00:38:01
    Jesus says:.
  • 00:38:10
    Jesus says we're all going to fail,
  • 00:38:11
    we're all going to die at some point.
  • 00:38:13
    And when you die, there's gonna be people
  • 00:38:14
    based on what you did with Mammon,
  • 00:38:16
    you're going to make friends in the next life.
  • 00:38:19
    People you have brought to Christ,
  • 00:38:21
    who you have funded for a missionary,
  • 00:38:23
    people who you have fed and extended their life.
  • 00:38:26
    They're going to welcome you.
  • 00:38:27
    You can use your mammon or it uses you.
  • 00:38:30
    You can use your mammon for internal purposes
  • 00:38:33
    to actually buy yourself a welcoming committee,
  • 00:38:36
    to buy yourself friends.
  • 00:38:38
    Third thing he says is that small, small beginnings
  • 00:38:43
    turn into larger outcomes.
  • 00:38:46
    Small beginnings turn into larger outcomes.
  • 00:38:50
    He says:.
  • 00:39:06
    God looks down and before He makes a further investment in your life,
  • 00:39:10
    because that's what God does, He makes investments.
  • 00:39:12
    Before God makes investments in our lives,
  • 00:39:14
    He looks to see the return of the last investment we make.
  • 00:39:19
    And if the return on the last investment wasn't up to where He wants it,
  • 00:39:24
    He's not apt to make investment.
  • 00:39:26
    Investment language, Jesus uses again and again and again
  • 00:39:30
    and again and again and again. Use it again.
  • 00:39:32
    We understand that kind of language because we realize,
  • 00:39:35
    "Oh, I just -- that company, they're not having any return.
  • 00:39:39
    But I just like the logo and colors, so I'm just gonna keep putting.".
  • 00:39:45
    No, it doesn't work that way.
  • 00:39:46
    You want to see return.
  • 00:39:47
    And Jesus says this is how God is.
  • 00:39:49
    And it starts really, really small.
  • 00:39:51
    You don't make a big massive investment in something
  • 00:39:53
    that hasn't exhibited level of performance.
  • 00:39:56
    No matter how much money I've made,
  • 00:39:58
    as long as I've been tithing,
  • 00:40:00
    it's been very, very difficult tithe.
  • 00:40:02
    It was incredibly difficult to tithe on minimum wage at $3.35
  • 00:40:05
    an hour.
  • 00:40:06
    Incredibly, incredibly difficult because that it's unbelieve--
  • 00:40:12
    And I will tell you, making way, way, way, way, way,
  • 00:40:16
    way more than I am, I have plenty of money, thank you very much.
  • 00:40:19
    Crossroads is very generous with me.
  • 00:40:20
    Plenty of money and I have different revenue streams that come to me.
  • 00:40:25
    I would just tell you, it's just as difficult when you have more money
  • 00:40:30
    because the numbers are larger.
  • 00:40:32
    You're like, "Oh, my gosh, that amount of money.
  • 00:40:34
    Oh, my goodness."
  • 00:40:36
    It is never easy for anybody to be a blessing to anybody.
  • 00:40:41
    It is never easy.
  • 00:40:42
    It's never easy to give and return to God 10 percent.
  • 00:40:47
    It isn't.
  • 00:40:50
    And that's why whatever financial patterns you have,
  • 00:40:53
    when you have less, unless the Spirit of God intercedes,
  • 00:40:58
    whatever patterns you have, when you have less,
  • 00:41:02
    mammon will have you have those patterns when you have more.
  • 00:41:06
    People very rarely change, even though God is a God of change.
  • 00:41:11
    So when you spend to zero when you have minimum wage,
  • 00:41:15
    when you make $250,000 a year
  • 00:41:18
    and financial manager tell you this, you still spend to zero.
  • 00:41:23
    "Where did the money go?"
  • 00:41:24
    When you save when you're a minimum wage
  • 00:41:27
    and when you're getting more, you save.
  • 00:41:30
    When you tithe when you're here, you tithe when you're over here.
  • 00:41:35
    And God is the one who changes,
  • 00:41:37
    but mammon is always telling us we're in a unique situation
  • 00:41:42
    and this just has to be the way it is for this season.
  • 00:41:44
    When reality that season always goes on
  • 00:41:47
    because mammon always deludes us and has one goal,
  • 00:41:51
    and that is to keep us away from God.
  • 00:41:53
    Because mammon wants all the attention.
  • 00:41:55
    Mammon wants to be the weightiest thing that our life revolves around,
  • 00:42:00
    instead of God being the weighty thing that our life revolves around.
  • 00:42:08
    I had to say this earlier.
  • 00:42:09
    I've tried to say this every weekend and I forgot, sorry.
  • 00:42:12
    We're not in the middle of a campaign, by the way.
  • 00:42:15
    We have no campaign coming up,
  • 00:42:19
    not the next two weeks or whatever, however long the series.
  • 00:42:21
    There's not gonna be a card you have to fill out
  • 00:42:23
    and like come forward and drop it.
  • 00:42:25
    None of that's happening at all.
  • 00:42:27
    We've done those things before.
  • 00:42:28
    We've done campaigns before.
  • 00:42:29
    God is -- just to give you a peek behind the curtain here.
  • 00:42:32
    God has really blessed our church.
  • 00:42:34
    Can we just give God a hand, thank Him for blessing us?
  • 00:42:36
  • 00:42:37
    God has blessed our church in a huge way.
  • 00:42:40
    He's given us opportunities and people and experiences
  • 00:42:43
    and recently He's just blessed us.
  • 00:42:46
    One of the ways He's blessed us is through campaigns.
  • 00:42:49
    Campaigns is how we've been able
  • 00:42:51
    to have building structures in different states
  • 00:42:55
    and have CityLink to help people who are in poverty
  • 00:42:57
    and feed people every day
  • 00:42:59
    and have structures for people were hurting in Nicaragua
  • 00:43:02
    and Bolivia.
  • 00:43:03
    All these things have come out of out of campaigns.
  • 00:43:07
    God has blessed us with them.
  • 00:43:09
    And while He's blessed us, I will just tell you,
  • 00:43:13
    part of why campaigns have gone really well with us
  • 00:43:16
    is that we've outsmarted mammon.
  • 00:43:20
    We understand how mammon makes us think
  • 00:43:22
    and we come against those things.
  • 00:43:24
    And that's why we're not doing any of the campaign playbook
  • 00:43:28
    during this series, because it's not a campaign.
  • 00:43:30
    We understand how mammon works.
  • 00:43:32
    Mammon says, "Well, you don't know what they're doing with that money.
  • 00:43:36
    Who knows how many, they're mismanaging their IT accounts
  • 00:43:40
    or how much Brian Tome gets."
  • 00:43:42
    So we go a campaign, here's the defined projects over here.
  • 00:43:45
    "Oh, oh, I understand these are the things.
  • 00:43:47
    I can forget about that."
  • 00:43:48
    We're over here and we're like, "Well, I don't -- I can't --
  • 00:43:52
    I can't really afford to do what I do.
  • 00:43:54
    I'm not all excited about the normal ministry of Crossroads,
  • 00:43:57
    but oh, oh, oh, oh, feeding some people over here and doing--
  • 00:44:01
    oh, I'm really excited about that.
  • 00:44:02
    Over here one of things is, well, I don't know.
  • 00:44:04
    Brian Town, what does he do?
  • 00:44:06
    Whenever I've done campaigns, I've told you what I give.
  • 00:44:09
    And I'm not telling you this time
  • 00:44:10
    because that's a tool I've used to try to loosen you up
  • 00:44:13
    to help you understand, I give and I'm walking my talk.
  • 00:44:16
    But I'm not telling you how much this time
  • 00:44:18
    because it's not about me this time.
  • 00:44:21
    It's not about Crossroads.
  • 00:44:22
    It's not about campaign.
  • 00:44:24
    It's about you.
  • 00:44:25
    Isn't it great when someone tells you it's about you?
  • 00:44:28
    It's about you and your walk with God.
  • 00:44:31
    It's about you in your spiritual maturity.
  • 00:44:35
    It's about you and how much you want the blessings of God.
  • 00:44:39
    It's about you and your choice to have yourself marked
  • 00:44:45
    as somebody who has a spirital to weightiness about them
  • 00:44:49
    and honors God and honors His ways.
  • 00:44:53
    And this idea of little things lead to big things,
  • 00:44:57
    we've gotten to where we are not just because the blessing of God.
  • 00:45:00
    We've gotten to where we are
  • 00:45:02
    because of managing the little things that we have
  • 00:45:04
    and God has seen fit to keep throwing things our way.
  • 00:45:08
    In the early days of Crossroads, and I do mean literal days,
  • 00:45:12
    like the literal days that Crossroads had started.
  • 00:45:14
    I want to say maybe a month or two in in 1996.
  • 00:45:19
    We knew of a ministry here in Cincinnati
  • 00:45:22
    where I'm preaching right now, that did a great job with people in poverty.
  • 00:45:25
    And we're like, we need to just make a commitment to this place.
  • 00:45:28
    We we a commitment.
  • 00:45:29
    And we found out that we were actually
  • 00:45:31
    the largest church giver of this ministry.
  • 00:45:34
    And our church at that point was, I don't know,
  • 00:45:37
    300 people on a weekend or something like that.
  • 00:45:40
    And it was really a stretch.
  • 00:45:42
    It was a huge stretch for us.
  • 00:45:43
    Like that, we're going to commit this.
  • 00:45:45
    I think we had three staff members at the time or something that.
  • 00:45:47
    So making a commitment like that, it was a huge, huge thing.
  • 00:45:51
    Brian Wells, one of our early people at Crossroads,
  • 00:45:54
    actually at Crossroads before me, still on our board.
  • 00:45:58
    He handed out to our staff of three $100,000 Bars.
  • 00:46:01
    Remember those bars? They were amazing.
  • 00:46:03
    Do they still make $100,000 Bars?
  • 00:46:06
    He handed out those bars and everyone was afraid to eat that bar.
  • 00:46:10
    The reason why we didn't want to eat the bar
  • 00:46:12
    is we don't want to ruin it
  • 00:46:13
    because he bought that bar the day after somebody --
  • 00:46:16
    The day after we made the decision as a board
  • 00:46:19
    to bless this ministry with money
  • 00:46:21
    we weren't sure how we're going to get
  • 00:46:23
    and we got an anonymous $100,000 check.
  • 00:46:26
    And we remembered the goodness of God.
  • 00:46:31
    And I know decisions like way back when
  • 00:46:34
    prepared us for this.
  • 00:46:36
    And this prepared us for this.
  • 00:46:38
    And this prepared, because God's looking to see can we handle more?
  • 00:46:43
    He's looking to see what we want our life to revolve around.
  • 00:46:46
    He's looking to see who we really love.
  • 00:46:50
    See, how we use mammon indicates how much God uses us.
  • 00:46:55
    I don't know if you ever heard anybody say that clearly,
  • 00:46:56
    but Jesus says this.
  • 00:46:57
    How you use mammon will indicate how much God uses you.
  • 00:47:03
    You can have the American dream
  • 00:47:05
    and you can you can beat your neighbor with having more toys when you die
  • 00:47:08
    and all that stuff.
  • 00:47:09
    And that means nothing about how much God is using you,
  • 00:47:12
    how welcoming God is going to be in the next life.
  • 00:47:14
    That means nothing related to sensing the blessings of God.
  • 00:47:19
    People can have plenty of toys and plenty of digits
  • 00:47:23
    and not the blessings of God.
  • 00:47:24
    Jesus says this:se, whose?
  • 00:47:38
    In other words, what's another man's?
  • 00:47:39
    Another man's is what God's is, which is when he reserves a tenth.
  • 00:47:46
    Now, the nation of Israel was tying into all of these truths.
  • 00:47:51
    And I'm going to go through one of the more weighty passages in the Bible in like 10 minutes.
  • 00:47:56
    Do you believe I can? Do you believe?
  • 00:47:57
    Do you believe?
  • 00:47:58
    All right. Here we go.
  • 00:48:00
    Exodus 32,.
  • 00:48:02
    Exodus 32, we have the nation of Israel
  • 00:48:05
    who comes out of bondage to Egypt.
  • 00:48:09
    They come into a fresh place, the new place.
  • 00:48:12
    And things are stressful.
  • 00:48:13
    Sometimes when you have freedom, things are stressful.
  • 00:48:15
    They had somebody feeding them back here in bondage.
  • 00:48:18
    Now they've got to fend for themselves.
  • 00:48:20
    They've got to trust for God to drop manna out of the sky and all kinds of stuff.
  • 00:48:23
    There's actually a lot of tension when you're in freedom.
  • 00:48:26
    There really is.
  • 00:48:27
    It's not like God sets us free and, woo-hoo, it's easy.
  • 00:48:30
    No, there's tension because spiritual growth
  • 00:48:33
    always has a level of tension to it,
  • 00:48:35
    just like physical growth and mental growth
  • 00:48:38
    has a level of of tension to it.
  • 00:48:41
    So God brings Moses up on the mountain where Moses
  • 00:48:45
    is going to get the tablets and the law and all these things.
  • 00:48:47
    And here's what happens.
  • 00:49:06
    He's very funny.
  • 00:49:08
    No matter, no matter how poor you think you are,
  • 00:49:12
    someday someone's going to say,
  • 00:49:13
    "You know, as far as this guy, Moses,
  • 00:49:16
    this guy, whatever happened, I don't know."
  • 00:49:17
    Some day people around Crossroads will go,
  • 00:49:22
    "As for this guy, Brian Tome, whoever he was,
  • 00:49:24
    whatever's become of him, let's move on to something else.".
  • 00:49:27
    Same with you. I don't care if you started a business
  • 00:49:29
    or don't care if you've got a family of gazillion
  • 00:49:32
    or I don't care, I don't care what you've done.
  • 00:49:35
    There's coming a day far sooner than you think,
  • 00:49:37
    where you would be irrelevant and people are like, "Yeah, well, whatever."
  • 00:49:40
    People are about the now, not of the past.
  • 00:49:43
    This is the way it's happening with Moses.
  • 00:49:45
    So he's got this sidekick, Aaron, who tries to appease the masses
  • 00:49:49
    who are not liking this discomfort.
  • 00:49:50
    So Aaron said to them:.
  • 00:50:16
  • 00:50:19
    These folks have seen the real God miraculously deliver them,
  • 00:50:24
    the real God bring plagues on their enemies,
  • 00:50:26
    the real God part the waters, the real God feed them.
  • 00:50:32
    How short their memory is that they start feeling a little skittish
  • 00:50:38
    and they create their own god, a golden calf.
  • 00:50:42
    And they actually say it was this thing
  • 00:50:45
    that brought me to where I am today.
  • 00:50:47
    See, that's what mammon does.
  • 00:50:49
    Mammon makes us forget about the true past.
  • 00:50:53
    Mammon makes us forget about the real God.
  • 00:50:56
    Mammon is always drawing us to itself, in this case, the gold, the gold calf.
  • 00:51:01
    And here's how even more insidious this is.
  • 00:51:04
    These people were just released from slavery.
  • 00:51:06
    Do you know any slaves that have jewelry?
  • 00:51:09
    You know any slaves that have Tiffany's and Saks Fifth Avenue
  • 00:51:12
    and David Erman?
  • 00:51:14
    Do you know anyone who does?
  • 00:51:16
    How did these slaves have gold to be able to melt it down
  • 00:51:22
    into a golden calf?
  • 00:51:23
    They have it because God bless them.
  • 00:51:26
    He blessed them where they were able to plunder the Egyptians
  • 00:51:31
    and all of their jewelry and fine minerals before they left.
  • 00:51:36
    They actually went up to them and just ask them for it
  • 00:51:39
    It was like a haze came over the Egyptians.
  • 00:51:42
    So the very thing that God has blessed them with
  • 00:51:47
    is now the very thing that's pulling them away from God.
  • 00:51:50
    Crazy thing for a lot of us.
  • 00:51:52
    The very thing God blesses you with, a living, a livelihood, a whatever.
  • 00:51:57
    If we are not careful.
  • 00:51:58
    we will use that thing
  • 00:52:00
    to distract us from God and pull us away from God.
  • 00:52:04
    And this is what happens with a nation of Israel
  • 00:52:07
    in this awful chapter of their history, which I'm telling you.
  • 00:52:10
    I'm telling us today, because this is still happening today.
  • 00:52:14
    With God's people this is still happening today.
  • 00:52:17
    Taking the blessings of God and keeping them for ourselves.
  • 00:52:21
    And not only keeping them for ourselves,
  • 00:52:23
    but actually making a false God and worshipping it.
  • 00:52:29
    So God and Moses are still up on the mountain.
  • 00:52:32
    God finds out about this.
  • 00:52:34
    He knows this is not good.
  • 00:52:35
    God gets really, really angry.
  • 00:52:37
    I'll pick this up at verse 9.
  • 00:52:57
    One of the things I love about God
  • 00:52:58
    and love about what the Bible says about God
  • 00:53:00
    is it gives us a very wide range of emotions that God displays.
  • 00:53:05
    You can't put God in an emotional box.
  • 00:53:07
    He's incredibly joyful, his incredibly loving.
  • 00:53:10
    We see this in Jesus.
  • 00:53:11
    He's is incredibly generous, and He can be incredibly intense.
  • 00:53:19
    And this is one of those times, he's like,
  • 00:53:21
    "I can not believe what I'm seeing."
  • 00:53:24
    And he just process out loud to Moses,
  • 00:53:28
    "Moses, I'm about to start fresh with you.
  • 00:53:30
    Wipe them all out. We'll start fresh with you.
  • 00:53:31
    This is a stiff necked people."
  • 00:53:33
    You do not want God, friends, to think that you are stiff necked.
  • 00:53:36
    Stiff necked means, "I have my beliefs.
  • 00:53:39
    I'm going here towards the way of mammon.
  • 00:53:40
    And I just can't change.
  • 00:53:42
    I can't move.
  • 00:53:43
    I don't care. I don't care what the preacher guy says.
  • 00:53:46
    I don't care what the Bible says.
  • 00:53:48
    I know what --"
  • 00:53:49
    When we're like this, we're asking God to literally break our neck.
  • 00:53:54
    We're asking Him to take drastic measures
  • 00:53:57
    because He loves you more than you love your own ways.
  • 00:54:02
    And He's about to invoke some discipline on his people in this situation.
  • 00:54:08
    So Moses comes down, I'm jumping forward to verse 19.
  • 00:54:17
    Now Moses is hot.
  • 00:54:19
    Now he's ticked off.
  • 00:54:24
    He's got a little bit of anger management issue here.
  • 00:54:27
    God has blessed him with writing on tablets and he smashes them.
  • 00:54:43
    Now, what is going on here?
  • 00:54:46
    I understand the anger management thing.
  • 00:54:48
    I understand that one. But wait a minute, whoa.
  • 00:54:50
    He takes it and he grounds it down.
  • 00:54:54
    And then he stirs up and water like a gold Ovaltine he makes.
  • 00:55:00
    And then everyone's got to drink it.
  • 00:55:01
    What's going on there?
  • 00:55:02
    I told you here that there's things that are
  • 00:55:03
    in the Old Testament that that translate to today,
  • 00:55:06
    that the trickle over.
  • 00:55:07
    Here's what's happening.
  • 00:55:10
    The plunder that God blessed them with
  • 00:55:15
    that they are now serving mammon, they are serving it,
  • 00:55:18
    and they're not serving God is ground down to water.
  • 00:55:22
    And why would they be all this water?
  • 00:55:24
    Why put it in water?
  • 00:55:26
    I'm going to use this word intentionally
  • 00:55:28
    because all the blessings of God, they're pissing them away.
  • 00:55:34
    The blessings that God had given them and brought in,
  • 00:55:38
    they now consume it and it's (sound effect).
  • 00:55:40
    That's what we are, we're consumers.
  • 00:55:41
    Gosh, we're not even citizens anymore in America.
  • 00:55:44
    We're American consumers because mammon just expects us to consume.
  • 00:55:49
    We're expected to keep the economy rolling
  • 00:55:51
    and keep spending like everybody else does
  • 00:55:53
    and keep riding it.
  • 00:55:54
    We're defined by our consumption.
  • 00:55:58
    And we pee it away.
  • 00:56:00
    And many of us can never get ahead,
  • 00:56:02
    not just because of mammon is using us
  • 00:56:06
    and we're refusing to release mammon
  • 00:56:08
    to go back to the God who gave it to us.
  • 00:56:11
    But we just can't control, my kids say this.
  • 00:56:14
    They say, "Dad, I don't know that if it's God blesses me
  • 00:56:18
    with more because I tithe 10 percent
  • 00:56:20
    or if I'm just more cognizant of what to do with the 90 percent.
  • 00:56:24
    Maybe I'm a better manager of the 90 percent."
  • 00:56:29
    You either get ahold of mammon or mammon gets a hold of you.
  • 00:56:32
    And here God gives us an example of what happens
  • 00:56:35
    and what many of us are experiencing
  • 00:56:37
    when we take the blessings of God
  • 00:56:40
    and we don't use them the way God has told us to use them.
  • 00:56:48
    I'll jump ahead down to verse 19,
  • 00:56:50
    there's a day of reckoning I don't have time to get into.
  • 00:56:52
    It's pretty intense.
  • 00:56:53
    And the tribe of the Levites are part of this day of reckoning
  • 00:56:57
    with the nation of Israel.
  • 00:56:58
    And then God sees what happens with the Levites
  • 00:57:01
    and how they've been different.
  • 00:57:02
    And here's what says:.
  • 00:57:15
    The Levites become the Old Testament priests.
  • 00:57:17
    The Levites get to be the ones who are actually inside the temple,
  • 00:57:23
    experiencing the presence of God in the Holy of Holies.
  • 00:57:27
    They actually get to live off the tithes of the rest of the nation of Israel.
  • 00:57:31
    They're bringing to the temple and they do this,
  • 00:57:33
    they're able to do this because
  • 00:57:35
    they're getting the blessing of God
  • 00:57:38
    because they're coming against mammon.
  • 00:57:40
    They're coming against anything that isn't God.
  • 00:57:46
    I have to tell you, I know all of us in here,
  • 00:57:49
    God has blessed you.
  • 00:57:50
    There are things that God has brought your way and He is testing you
  • 00:57:54
    and He's testing me to see what we will do with what He has given us
  • 00:58:01
    and whether what He has given us becomes our golden calf.
  • 00:58:05
    And by the way, our golden calf could be money.
  • 00:58:07
    Our golden calf could also be our body.
  • 00:58:09
    Our golden calf could also be our family.
  • 00:58:11
    Our golden calf could also be our country.
  • 00:58:13
    It is anything that we worship
  • 00:58:16
    and we put the most weight to, instead of the one true God.
  • 00:58:20
    And we know that it's God when we're able to return to Him.
  • 00:58:26
    Your dad wants to bless you, I'm going to tell you that right now.
  • 00:58:29
    He wants to bless you.
  • 00:58:32
    And He needs to know that He can bless you more.
  • 00:58:35
    This is the story that Jesus gives us
  • 00:58:39
    and it's the story of the nation of Israel.
  • 00:58:43
    And I want to just seal this in our minds for a moment.
  • 00:58:45
    Let's just sit for a moment.
  • 00:58:46
    I've said some heavy stuff today, have I not, heavy?
  • 00:58:49
    Let's all just exhale right now.
  • 00:58:53
    OK. Let's just close out our time just with a moment of silence.
  • 00:58:57
    And just see if God says anything to us.
  • 00:58:58
    Take your hands and just put him face up on your on your palm.
  • 00:59:02
    It's a universal receive sign.
  • 00:59:03
    God, would You seal something for us
  • 00:59:07
    if there's something that has been said today
  • 00:59:09
    You want to stick with us in our brain.
  • 00:59:14
    Hear our thoughts as we try to hear Yours.
  • 00:59:31
    - I hope that you get to experience The Blessed Life this week.
  • 00:59:36
    And, you know, if you want prayer right now,
  • 00:59:39
    we have staff and volunteers that would love to pray for you over chat.
  • 00:59:43
    You can head to,
  • 00:59:44
    click on that chat box
  • 00:59:46
    and give us your name and what you want prayer for.
  • 00:59:49
    And we have someone that will pray for you right now.
  • 00:59:52
    I hope you have an awesome week
  • 00:59:54
    and we'll see you back next week for another week of The Blessed Life.

Process, journal or discuss the themes of this article - here's a few questions to get the ball rolling...

Welcome to the Post-Weekend Push with Brian Tome.

  1. The macro theme of the Bible is freedom. We see it all over the place, from a guy named Moses all the way to Jesus. On this Veteran’s Day week, when we celebrate the men and women who have fought for freedom, let’s begin with this question: what does “freedom” mean to you?

  2. Mammon is a spirit, and he is present when we trust in anything that is not God. Mammon wants to be possessed, wants to use us, and will lie to us. What lie about money does Mammon specifically speak to you? (Ex: You’ll never have enough; if you just made a little bit more you would feel secure; your money is all yours, etc.)

  3. In Exodus 32, we find the story of the Golden Calf. God rescued his people from Egypt, allowed them to plunder the Egyptians, and they turned his blessings into an idol. Can you relate to that story? What blessings are you tempted to elevate to the place only God should occupy?

  4. There are two ways to be stiff-necked: (1) When you don’t do what you know you are supposed to do or (2) When you do what you know you shouldn’t. Either way, God breaks stiff-necks. Don’t want to experience that? Identify where you are being stiff-necked and one way you can begin to move in the opposite direction.

  5. When there are difficult things that God has called us to do, there is oftentimes a blessing on the other side of it. What is the difficult thing God wants you to do? How can you get moving?

  6. Pray: After everyone shares the difficult thing God wants them to do, take time to pray for each person and scenario. Pray is the thing that elevates our lives beyond the scope of our own power.

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Nov 9, 2019

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