Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Enough: Part 1

Enough: Discovering Joy Through Simplicity & Generosity

By Adam Hamilton

Week One: When Dreams Become Nightmares

Key Bible Verses

  • For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many grieves. I Timothy 6:10
  • Whoever loves money never has money enough;
    whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income.
    This too is meaningless. Ecclesiastes 5:10

  • What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? Matthew 16:26

Key Insights from the Book and the Video

  1. We live in a world that encourages us to live beyond our means rather than be good stewards of our God-given resources.
  2. When it comes to material possessions and money, we are not in a position to pass judgment on others, for we do not know their heart.
  3. For many people, the American Dream is a subconscious desire for achieving success and satisfying the desire for material possessions. Generally, it has come to mean consuming, acquiring, and purchasing.
  4. We are affected socially and spiritually by two "illnesses":
    1. Affluenza – the constant need for more and bigger and better stuff.
    2. Credit-itis – the idea that we can have something now and pay for it later, which exploits our lack of self-discipline and allows us to feed our affluenza.
  5. Most Americans spend money with very little self discipline, saving less and spending more and more on credit.
  6. A spiritual issue lies beneath the surface of our financial sickness. We have surrendered to the sinful nature that is within us.
  7. The starting point of the solution to our problem is a changed heart, which results in changed desires and a changed sense of life purpose.
  8. As we allow Christ to work in us, seeking first His Kingdom and striving to do His will, we begin to sense a higher calling to simplicity, faithfulness, and generosity.

Questions to Think About

  1. What are some of the ways the world encourages us to live beyond our means? What challenges do you face when trying to save and be a good steward of your God-given resources?
  2. Why is it dangerous to pass judgment on others regarding the way they spend their money (Matthew 7:1-5).
  3. How has the "American Dream" changed over our nation's history?
  4. In what ways do you struggle with "affluenza and credit-it is? How is this a problem for us as individuals, as a family, and as a nation?
  5. What are some of the messages that advertisers convey to get us to buy their products?
  6. What are the root causes of our wanting to consume more? How is sin part of the problem?
  7. What role do you think God wants money and possessions to play in our life?
  8. How is a changed heart the starting point to the solution of our problem with money and possessions?

Closing Prayer

Lord, we confess that in many ways we have bought into the concept of the American Dream which says that success is defined by worldly profits, possessions, prestige, and pleasure. We struggle with the yearning for more, and often we try to satisfy this yearning by pursuing material things rather than pursuing you. Forgive us Lord. Change our heart, and correct our vision. Give us your perspective on money and possessions. Help us not to focus on all the things we wish we had, but to be grateful for what we do have. Teach us to wisely manage the resources you have given us so that when you prompt us to help those in need, we are free to assist them. Enable us to live simply, to be content, and to give generously.

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