Digging in Deeper: Habakkuk 2:9-11

“Woe to him who dishonestly makes wealth for his house to place his nest on high, to escape the grasp of disaster! You have planned shame for your house by wiping out many peoples and sinning against your own self. For the stones will cry out from the wall, and the rafters will answer them from the woodwork.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

How have you come by what you have? Hard work? Probably. Inheritance? Perhaps. Gift from others? Certainly some of it. Did you come by any of it by…less savory…means? Let me change lines of questioning on you. How do you think about money? What does it mean to you? What kind of a role does it serve in your life? These two themes may not seem to have anything to do with one another, but they have a great deal more in common than you might think.

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Digging in Deeper: Amos 6:1

“Woe to those who are at ease in Zion and to those who feel secure on the hill of Samaria — the notable people in this first of the nations, those the house of Israel comes to.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

One of the things Jesus talked about more than just about anything else was money. He spoke frequently about our attitude toward our money and condemned our tendency to trust in it more than we ought. He warned against trying to serve two masters—God and money. On one occasion, He commanded a rich young man to actively sell all of his possessions before he could come follow Him. It’s almost like He was trying to say something. It wasn’t something new though. He was right in line with what the prophets of old had been saying for a long time. Amos gives us a great example here.

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Use It Well

In this fourth part of our series, Simplicity: Finding Contentment in a Busy Life, we get practical. What does it actually look like to live with the simplicity and contentment found only in Christ in some specific situations that everyone faces? We start this week with a situation that is powerful tempting for just about everyone to seek their contentment somewhere other than Jesus. Keep reading to find out where.

Use It Well

By a show of hands, how many of you have heard of Benny Hinn? The televangelist is a longtime peddler of the Prosperity Gospel. The Prosperity Gospel is a uniquely American heresy (that we have unfortunately exported around the world) which holds that God rewards faithfulness with material blessings, that worldly success is an obvious sign of God’s favor. It holds that the contrary is true as well: Poor health and financial loss and the like are signs of faithlessness on our part. If we aren’t seeing the life outcomes we want to see, it is because we don’t believe strongly enough. Hinn’s specialty is healing. His services are filled with him waving a hand in someone’s direction and that person falling over backwards as she is “slain by the Spirit.” In practice it’s pretty wild stuff.

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Digging in Deeper: James 5:1

“Come now, you rich people, weep and wail over the miseries that are coming on you.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Do you remember the original House Hunters on HGTV? I do. It caught on because it’s format was unique. I’m certain there were shows about people buying houses before, but something about the visit-three-pick-one approach caught on. Big time. Like, 183 seasons and almost 1,800 episodes caught on. Not to mention more spin-offs than you can probably imagine. And while there’s nothing quite like the original, the most popular spin-offs are the ones that focus on rich people buying big houses. A recent version is even called “My Lottery Dream Home.” What is it about seeing wealthy people buy stuff the rest of us can’t afford that is so addictive to watch?

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The Problem with Wealth

In part five of our series, Finding Meaning, we look at one last place we often go to fill this lingering void in our lives: Wealth. Money is a tempting source of meaning because it can make so many things happen that seem to be on our behalf, but if contentment is the thing we are seeking in having it, we are going to come up empty. Contentment has another source. Keep reading to find out what that is.

The Problem with Wealth

Have you ever felt like the system is rigged in favor of the wealthy and at the expense of the not-so-wealthy?  The odds are that unless you happen to feel like you’re part of the “wealthy”—that ubiquitous class of people who are imprecisely defined as folks whose net worth number has a couple more zeros than yours does and who serve as a convenient villain for all kinds of occasions—you’ve probably felt like this before.  As fair and impartial as our system is supposed to be, having money has its advantages.  And the more money you have, the more you are able to tap into those advantages.  We defer to wealthy people in ways we don’t similarly defer to not-as-wealthy people.  Humans have always done that.  We have always assumed that people who have lots of money have managed to get that money for some reason and whatever that reason is, if we haven’t been able to get lots of money ourselves, it must mean they’re better than us in some way.  We can try and deny that all we want, but that’s how pretty much every human culture has always worked.  It just is. 

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