sermon

Can you spend a week without spending money?

Can you spend a week without spending money?

I have loved this series examining our inner life as we conduct a spiritual inventory of our souls.  For the most part, I long to move towards Christ.  But I want to do it on my timetable, at my pace.  Most of the questions we have been asking are pretty subjective and on a sliding scale.  But this week we have a real life, a daily test that confronts us at every turn.

When we allow how we spend money to be an indicator of spiritual health and growth we set ourselves up to examine our motives, to wrestle with our inner life, and evaluate the health of our souls every few hours throughout our day. 

Money, wealth, material possessions, for some reason, are deeply connected to our souls.  Scripture talks about these things over 800 times.  There is something to our relationship with mammon that is in total conflict with our relationship with God.  

God longs to be King of our lives, to be a protector, provider, comforter, and where we find our true identity.  In neutral, we allow money and the things money can buy to usurp God.  By taking a fast from spending money, we are confronted with asking these deeper questions every time we are hungry, bored, anxious, lonely, insecure, or simply need a dopamine rush.  

Yes, you can beat it!

Yes, you can beat it!

Encounter:  Read Psalm 43

I love Lent because it is the one season of the year where it is actually ok to be sad, to be broken, to grieve.  Lent is about dying and death.  It is about ashes.  We are dry bones in desperate need of life, live given to us through the Holy Spirit.  We are mourners, people who are keenly aware of our sin and rebellion and the death that it causes, who are in desperate need of forgiveness and grace.  

It is during Lent that we can own the ways we have fallen short, own the ways that we are still in process.  And if we look too deep down that well we can get lost in despair.  And like Casey Affleck's character in Manchester by the Sea, we can come to the conclusion that we just can't beat it.  Our flesh, our brokenness has gotten the better of us.  

But as followers of Jesus Christ, we know that this is not the case.  Like the end of Psalm 43 says, "Why is my soul so downcast, why so disturbed with in me?  Put your hope in God for I will yet praise Him my Savior and my God."

What does it mean to be generous with our theology?

What does it mean to be generous with our theology?

ENCOUNTER:  Read John 4

There is this strange thing that is common to all humans.  We LOVE our friends, and HATE our enemies.  But because we want to feel justified, we don't come right out and say we HATE our enemies, we get swept up in a more subtle and destructive sin.  The sin of dehumanization.  We "other" people, and by "othering" them we no longer have to consider them.

This is not new.  Many people feel it more acutely right now because their political person just left or just got in, and the sin of dehumanization is the number one way in which the political parties are fighting these days.   What is heartbreaking is when the church gets caught up in this tactic.