Central Christian Church Message Podcast

Wisdom in Finances | SELAH | Dave Briggs

November 20, 2022 Central Christian Church of Arizona
Central Christian Church Message Podcast
Wisdom in Finances | SELAH | Dave Briggs
Show Notes Transcript

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Hi everyone. Hey, pastor Cal here. I am so delighted that you are with us today. If you were with us last week, you know that I told you today was gonna be special. We have a special guest speaker who is, uh, somebody who is very near and dear to me in my heart and someone who this church loves. Uh, the, the guy that's gonna bring the message today is gonna bring wisdom from the Book of Proverbs regarding finance.

There are few people I know on this planet more qualified to bring this message than Dave Briggs. Dave Briggs is the guy that's in charge of our ministry that we've called Enrich. And, and let me just tell you a little bit of the backstory. Dave has spent his life in finance, he understands finance, but uh, I got to know Dave when he was the kind of the stewardship guy of a very large, very prominent church in America.

And. I was actually traveling and I said, Hey, uh, let's meet up. I think we met up at a, a restaurant or a hotel or something to have lunch at in, in Indianapolis and I pitched them the idea of leaving that ministry and actually coming out west to come work with us. And, uh, it was one of those men just shoot the flyer to see if there's any way it's.

And, uh, I am absolutely delighted that 13 years ago, Dave Briggs said yes. And so he has been a treasure for us as a church, and, uh, some of you have already gotten to know him, but, uh, I'm just delighted because I just, like I said, I don't know anyone more qualified. So, hey, central, get ready. Buckle up, get your Bibles out, open them up to the book of Proverbs and get ready to.

How to have wisdom when it comes to finances. Put your hands together and welcome to your very own, our very own central treasure, Dave Briggs.

Well, good morning. Let me extend a welcome to all of you who are here, to those who are watching on our other campuses, and to those who are watching online as Cal. Uh, I have been the, uh, the leader of the enriched financial ministry here at Central for the last 13 years, and they have been 13 wonderful years.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here, uh, and very grateful to be on staff here at Central. Uh, prior to that I was at Will Creek Church, as Cal said, for seven years as the stewardship director there. And prior to that I spent 27 years as a finance manager for, uh, for general. And I'm really grateful, uh, for the opportunity to be able to talk, uh, to you about Proverbs.

Uh, I, I've been passionate about, about teaching and discovering what God wants us to know in his word about finances, and actually developed that passion in my early twenties. Been writing seminars, teaching, and helping people with their finance. Uh, just to be able to communicate what God wants us to know in his word about finances.

Uh, Proverbs is an incredible book filled with 31 chapters of rich wisdom on how to live, but also rich wisdom about how to handle our finances. When I was first researching this in the Bible, I discovered there are over 2,400 verse. In the Bible that deal with finances and, and money and wealth, and much of what we find about that is embedded in this incredible book of Proverbs.

So two important themes in Proverbs as Cal taught us last week are wisdom and peace. Proverbs three 13 and 17 says, blessed are those who find. Those who gain understanding. Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. Proverbs one, five says, let the wise listen and add to their learning and let the discerning get guidance.

Having studied money and finances for many years, there's no doubt every one of us needs God's wisdom in this area, especially. You know, you've seen prices. Inflation has hit a 40 year high, and I read just last month of the 30 metropolitan areas in the us, Phoenix has the single highest inflation rig.

You don't need an economist to tell you that you've all been to the grocery store, you've filled up your car with gas, and it looks like we're gonna be in this position for a. With inflation running at double digits, the average American household will lose around $5,000 this year just because of increased prices and for many families, that creates a severe hardship and we simply cannot sit back and do nothing because if nothing changes, nothing change.

So based on that, I'd like to spend the rest of our time suggesting some specific changes while drawing upon God's wisdom to not only offset the effect of inflation, but to bring some peace and stability into our personal finances. This is a message about money, but it's not a message being presented because we want something from you.

This is being presented because we want something. We want you to experience your best life, and that involves doing your finances well, which leads me to the big idea. If you want to experience peace and contentment in your life, you must apply God's wisdom in your finances. Jesus gave us the reason why so many people do not have peace in their financial lives, and we see this in a very familiar passage in Matthew 6 24.

Jesus says, no one can serve two masters. Either you'll hate the one and love the other, or you'll be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. You may be familiar with some translations which stated just a bit differently. You cannot serve God and ma. Now, Mamon is more than just money.

Mammon is the power and influence. That money has to control your thinking and your actions. And Jesus is saying that you'll either serve and be influenced by God or you'll serve and be influenced by the power of money, and you cannot serve both at the same time. There's good news and there's bad. The bad news is that we must invest time, effort, and discipline if we want to experience this piece and contentment in our finances.

But the good news is that with God's wisdom and guidance, we can all achieve it and it will change our futures. And with that as the goal, what I like to do is share with you some specific strategies that can change the way we handle and view our finances to bring about more. And less frustration. So, strategy one, keep score.

Envision this in your minds. Your, your son or daughter has just been, uh, uh, accepted to the high school basketball team and you're excited for that very first game of the season. And you show up and you discover that the coaches got together and decided that they didn't want any of the kids to leave as losers.

And so we're not gonna keep score of this. The players can shoot and dribble and rebound and have a good time, and no one's gonna leave a loser because we're not gonna keep score. My question to you is how much interest would you have in that game? Probably none, because you can't win if you don't keep score.

And it's the same with your finances. If you don't keep accurate track of money in and money out, you won't know if you're winning or. Most of the people not keeping score are losing, even if they don't realize it. Think about this. You've just moved to a different state and you're searching for a church home.

You drive by, you find a place that looks somewhat similar to central and you have a good first impression. Great facilities friendly people. You enjoy the music. And the pastor had a great message and just before he wraps up the service, he says, uh, we're gonna take up the offering now and we really need you to dig deep and give a lot this week because at our church, we don't keep track of our money.

And I'm not sure I can even pay the staff this week because again, we don't keep track of the finances here. And my question is, would you consider attending that? I don't think so. Their lack of attention to keeping track of their money would have you looking elsewhere. In fact, you would not accept a new job at a company that did not keep track of their money for fear.

They wouldn't be able to pay you, and I don't think you would even put your son or daughter into a youth league that didn't keep track of their money for fear. They wouldn't be able to buy equipment or pay the referees. The truth is, and this is important, We demand that every organization we interact with keeps accurate tracking of their money.

Yet surveys show that half the families in America do not keep accurate track of money in and money out. And frankly, that makes no sense to me that we often hold our families to a lower standard than other organizations that are far less. One of the most important steps you can take immediately to offset inflation is to accurately count for money coming into the family and money going out.

You can do it manually on a notepad. You can do it on your phone with an app, and then at the end of every month you can summarize the transactions, determine where the money went, and adjust your spending according. People who change from not tracking their spending to accurately tracking their spending will simply spend less.

In fact, a well respected businessman attended a class I taught a few years ago who told me he was so good at keeping money in his head that he didn't need to track his expenses. He did, however, accept my challenge to track for 90. The next time I taught the class was a couple of months later, he showed up and asked if he could stand and address the class.

He stood up and admitted he was wrong after the first month. He said of tracking he had an extra $500 and he wasn't sure exactly where it came from. And from that point forward he can. He became a committed tracker. It also forms the basis for developing a spending plan that details in. What you should spend in the coming months to stay on track with your personal financial goals, and you'll never be able to develop that spending plan without accurately accounting for money in and money out.

And here Proverbs 27 23 and 24 provide some incredible wisdom says, be sure you know the condition of your flocks. Give careful attention to your herds for riches. Do not endure. See, in biblical times, a person's wealth was in their flocks and their herds, and God is instructing us to know exactly the condition of our wealth and our property.

God is instructing us that this is really important because financial life is hard and riches do not last, especially when they're not being accounted for correctly. You simply cannot win if you don't keep. Strategy number two, commit to living a high value lifestyle. Now, let me define what I mean by high value lifestyle.

Simply put, it's enjoying a higher quality of life and more enjoyment while spending less money. It's been my observation that the average American lifestyle is 15 to 20% too large relative to their. This often leads to no margin, no savings, limited giving too much debt, and usually a lot of relational friction and lack of peace.

Most people have a severe negative reaction to cutting back that keeps them from taking action to right size their lifestyle. However, I believe that there is an opportunity to increase the quality of your life while decreasing your expenses by embracing a system outlined using four boxes. Now, each box has an element of both enjoyment and cost, and let me explain each one as we have a couple of visuals.

The gray box, the first box there is low enjoyment and low cost. The green box is high enjoyment and low cost. The red box is low enjoyment and high cost. The yellow box is high enjoyment and high cost. See, the four box system requires that you start by listing all your major expenses based on where they fit in one of these four boxes.

Every person or couple has a unique set of expenses where they would fall into those four boxes. And where I would fit certain expenses will be different from where you fit certain expenses because we're all unique, but each one of your expenses needs to be slotted into one of these four boxes. To better explain, I'll give you a few examples of some of my expenses where they would fit in those four boxes.

So for me, playing Frisbee golf is low enjoyment and. I can play for free, but I don't enjoy it, so why bother? Regular golf for me is low enjoyment and high cost. I'm not very good at golf and it's expensive. Now. Racquetball or pickle ball is high enjoyment and low cost for me. I've played racquetball a couple of times a week for over 40 years, and my wife and I love to play pickleball together with.

Now our annual family vacation is high enjoyment and high cost. We love to be at the ocean. We love to snorkel, and I know a lot of Arizona families love to spend their vacation at Disneyland. Now we're not talking about skipping the family vacation, but it does suggest we need to be very careful. To plan it, well get the most enjoyment from it, and to be wise, not to spend foolishly or put to put too many items in the yellow box.

Now, here's the way to get the greatest benefit from this. The more items you can move from the red box to the green box or from the yellow box to the green box, the less you will spend and the more enjoyment or high value living you will experience in your. Again, what I have in my red box will not be what you have, but identifying the expenses and what box they go go in is the starting point to making positive changes in your spending.

So I'll give you one more example. I love football. However, going to a Cardinals game is for me, and I know not for. For everybody. High cost and low enjoy. It's a long drive. Gotta pay for parking. I purchase an expensive ticket and probably sit way up in the rafters and hardly can see the field. And then because of traffic leaving the stadium, it's gonna take me a long time to get home.

And when I compare that to having say friends over to the house, maybe throw some burgers on the grill and watch the game together, I experience greater joy with less. Why would I not make that trade in both dollars and enjoyment? I simply move my football from the red box to the green box, and I'm convinced that there are all kinds of activities that will add to the joy and value we experience.

If we systematically eliminated things from the red box and added more to the green box, I could spend the rest of our time listing green box ideas. But here are just a few. And be creative and add to your own list. For example, bike riding, swimming, hiking, running tennis, basketball, high school sports, fishing, camping, backyard grilling, board games with neighbors, sand volleyball, swapping houses with out of town friends, free concerts, reading, canoeing, or kayaking.

And the list goes on and. Be creative, add to your own list, and taking this seriously will free up money to not only offset inflation, but it'll add to your savings. Increase the quality of your life if you take it seriously. Strategy number three, commit to making logical decisions, not emotional decisions.

Our relationship to money comes in three form. The spiritual side is what God wants us to know in his word about money. The practical side are the tools and the methods we use to actually manage our money. The third one though, is the emotional side of money, and it's a side we don't talk too much about, but from my experience, the emotion of money is what causes us, as Cal pointed out last week to do stupid.

Emotional spending robs us of peace, contentment, and money. So let me give you some examples. Studies show that people who pay exclusively with cash spend between 18 and 26% less of their discretionary income than those who live on credit cards. Now I know I've been reminded, especially by young people, that spending cash is so inconvenient.

But that's just the point. Scientists have discovered that your brain reacts differently to spending cash and credit when you spend cash. Your brain registers even without you knowing it, that you have just lost something valuable. And this frequently causes you to spend less. It never happens with credit because seeing $52 slip away from your.

Has a different mental and emotional reaction than seeing a five and a two on a piece of paper that you're signing. And scientifically it works. Even if you don't think so. The less you spend on credit and the more you spend with cash, the greater your financial benefit. Another way emotion causes us to spend impacted me when I was.

I purchased my first car. My senior year in college was a 1967 Green Rambler Station wagon. Now, some of you younger people have never seen a Rambler before because they quit making them a few decades ago. But I dearly loved my Rambler. I even gave him a name, called him Green Buddy, and I remember thinking, I am going to drive Green Buddy for the next five or more.

It was my pride and joy. After graduating, I went to work for GE and I remember my first few weeks of the job driving my Rambler into the GE executive parking lot and, and passing Mustangs and Mercedes and Cadillacs and brand new sports cars. And the more I looked at what others were driving, the less I liked my rambler.

Soon the rambler was replaced. Because I didn't wanna drive that bucket of bolts anymore. And when I replaced my rambler, it was for a more expensive car, and I ended up spending a lot more money. And having done that, it caused me to reflect on something very powerful comparison. Destroys content. My emotion caused me to shift from being contented to being discontented and it cost me money.

But we all do that, whether it's upgrading to the latest phone or buying furniture or clothes to keep up with what others have. And when we do, we hurt our finances and it robs us of peace and contentment because there will always be somebody who has something better than. And if we are spending our time comparing and desiring more, we will live a life being discontented and financially unhealthy.

A 45 year old successful lawyer in Chicago was earning $375,000 a year, and yet she was totally unable to save any money. One day, a close friend challenged her on that, decided to see if she could. Together, they tried to understand why she had not been able to save with such a large salary. What they discovered is when the lawyer was a little girl, she grew up on a farm in a large family, and to support the family.

Whenever she made any money, her dad took it away from her to pay for family expenses and to put food on the table. And what she learned at a very early age. Is that whenever she earned money, if she didn't spend it immediately, it was gonna be taken away from her. And that emotion, which developed as a kid, carried over into her adult life.

But once she understood what that emotion was driving her to do, she was able to overcome it and begin the process of saving. Have you ever heard of the ash experi? Several years ago, Solomon Ash conducted a very interesting experiment in human nature. Now you can look it up if you want to. The ash experiment is very, very interesting.

But he reached some fascinating conclusions. Ash discovered that in a more majority of cases, as a result of his study, people would rather be wrong than different. The emotion of not wanting to be different was stronger than the desire to do the right. And that powerful emotion often drives us to buy things and spend money we know is financially harmful, just so we can fit in with everyone else around us.

See, we must commit to making logical and not emotional decisions if we want a healthy financial life. So let me ask you a question. What are the emotional aspects you may be dealing with that are impacting your. To live a financially healthy life strategy. Number four, build a safety net. You know, I often hear from people that say they just can't make any headway.

They just can't put any money aside. Now, there is one strategy that has helped a lot of people. It's what I call the six month challenge. Now this involves four buckets and a safe. The strategy here is to commit to living differently for six. You start by listing all your normal expenses and assigning them to four buckets in a safe.

Now this creates five different approaches to how you will spend money over the next six months, depending upon which bucket you put your expenses into and which bucket those expenses are assigned. You put giving and saving in the safe, meaning that you will protect those and continue to do those throughout the six month.

C. In bucket one, you put the expenses that are fixed and not easily changed for now, your mortgage, rent, HOA fees, property taxes, et cetera. In bucket two, you put expenses that you have to spend, but you have options to do it differently. Groceries, gas, electricity, water, personal care items, et cetera. In bucket three, you put items that are important, but which you can put off spending for six.

Postpone a remodel or an upgrade, wait to replace something, put off that piece of furniture, or perhaps decide not to purchase any clothes. Not absolutely necessary. And then in bucket four, you put items that you can potentially eliminate or significantly reduce, at least for the next six months. This could be going to the movies, stopping certain subscriptions, playing less golf, eating at home, and not.

Passing up concerts or expensive sporting events, then you develop a goal for each bucket. You could commit to reduced bucket two by say 25 to 30% bucket three by a hundred percent cuz that's what you're postponing completely. And bucket four by 50%. Now this is gonna take hard work and it's gonna be tough, which is by you.

Why? You can only. For six months, but you'll be saving money and creating that financial safety net needed to offset inflation and start to build financial momentum. With this plan, you'll live bare bones for six months for the greater benefit of creating margin in your financial life, and at the end of six months.

Assess what you learned and develop a new list of spending priorities while enjoying the fact that you set aside extra money during the six month challenge. As I said earlier, if nothing changes, nothing changes. And the six month challenge is a tangible way to experience some significant change that will build in, that will build in the critical financial safety net.

Strategy five, commit to allow God's Word through Proverbs to change your thinking and your financial decisions. Proverbs 17, one says, better a try a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting with strife. See what God is telling us is having less. But with it, peace and quiet is a lot better than having.

And having a house full of strife. Proverbs 21 5 says The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty and haste is usually the result of making emotional decisions. Proverbs 2120. The Wise Store up Choice, food and olive oil, but fools gulp, theirs. What God is telling us here is the whys set aside things for the future, whereas the foolish consume everything that comes into the, into their possession.

And Proverbs six, six through eight says, go to the T, you sled consider its ways and be wise. It has no commander, no overseer or ruler yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at. See, God is saying, I gave you an example of the T. The T saves its food during the summer so that it has something to eat during the winter.

That's the example God would have for each one of us. And then finally, strategy six. Live generously. Peace and contentment follow the. Proverbs 1124 and 25 says One person gives freely, let yet gains even more. Another withholds unduly becomes to poverty. A generous person will prosper. Whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.

I believe a lot of people who have stress in their finances are missing this aspect in their lives. I don't always understand God's. But when he says in his word that generous people are prosperous people, I believe it and I believe it because I've seen it. God wants us to enjoy peace and contentment in our financial lives.

And evidence of that is all through God's word, but it requires us to take seriously his guidance to make the necessary changes in the way we think about money and making wise decisions in our financial. God says, if we pray for wisdom, he will provide it. And for so many of us, finances is an area we can use every single bit of his wisdom.

Proverbs three, one and two says, my son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commandments in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and being bring peace and prosperity. As I mentioned earlier, I oversee Central's Enrich financial Ministry, and we're here to help you. We want to help you become financially healthier and spiritually wiser with your money.

So let us know how we can help you. Send us an email@enrichcentralaz.com in our current reality. Each one of us is having to navigate high inflation and a difficult economy. And I firmly believe implementing these six strategies will give us the best chance not only to survive, but to thrive in our financial lives.

And as for you students, it's never too early to start developing wise financial habits. Start now and it'll change your future. For adults who find themselves behind, it's never too late to start. You know, part of why I'm so passionate about this topic is because of what I have personally witnessed over the years.

People who were in difficult financial situations and lost hope, found it. Couples who consistently fought about money got on the same page. Young people buried in debt became debt free, and couples without retirement savings started funding their futures. And in so many cases, people converted financial friction to financial freedom.

Which leads us back to the big idea if you want to experience peace and contentment in your. You must apply God's wisdom in your finances. As I close, I remember something I heard Rick Warren say that causes me often to think about my finances. He said, when we leave this earth and get to heaven, I believe we will be asked two questions.

What did you do with my son and what did you do with what I gave you the first question's about salvation. The second is about steward. It is incredibly important that we know Jesus personally and that we use wisely what God entrusted us to manage well. So I wanna leave you with a challenge starting next month.

Read one chapter of Proverbs every day for 31 days. Read chapter one on the first of the month, chapter two on the second, and so on. And specifically look for God's wisdom. Concerning what he wants us to know and to do regarding the money and possessions that he's given to us. In addition to that, commit to praying each day for strength and courage to follow that wisdom.

And I believe by doing that, you will see tangible improvements in both your financial health and your spiritual wellbeing. So let me close this in a word of prayer. Heavenly Father, as we look into your word and we seek to interject wisdom into our lives and into our finances, I just pray that you would direct us, that you would give us the courage and the discipline and the desire to live financially free by following the guidance and the principles that you have laid it down in your word.

And so I pray for each and every one. That we will go forth with the desire to live financially free and to help us father, to increase our spiritual vitality as a result of having a right relationship to money. And I pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.