Welcome to Financial Freedom God’s Way, where you will begin to learn, apply, and pass on, Bible-based financial principles and applications so that you and your family will not only just survive, but thrive during these very uncertain times.
Hi and welcome everyone, this is Bob Louder from Christian Financial Ministries, and it is an absolute honor to have you with us—it really is.
First, you are going to dig yet a bit deeper into the second of the two most important financial principles in all of the Bible, which is the principle of Stewardship.
Then, during our Q&A time together we will help set some basics into place when it comes to Bible-based giving—should we give, how much to give, where to give—what does the Bible have to say about giving?
Then, well then, we have a new scam alert for you from the BBB—it seems an old Medicare genetic testing scam has started anew—we’ll talk about it and how to avoid it.
Then we will finish up with a Minute with Maxwell and learn what John Maxwell has to say about the word LISTEN.
So stay tuned, you sure don’t want to miss a single minute of today’s program.
Now, as we start, as we always start, please join me in prayer to make sure He is the one we are going to hear from during these next 30 minutes. . Father, thank You for meeting with us again today. Please give us ears to hear all that it is you have planned for us, to Your glory, in Jesus’ mighty name, amen.
Recall that during our most recent Seminar times together we’ve been looking at the two most important financial principles in all of God’s Word. Why? Because, if you want to move to spiritually higher ground in your finances, you must begin to see through spiritual eyes what you have so long only considered only through worldly eyes. You need to understand and apply the two key, biblical financial principles of wealth and stewardship. What do we now know about these principles.
We know that wealth according to God’s definition
Includes not only the material things like money, homes, cars, and clothes, but it also includes things like our time, talent, abilities, skills. It includes who you are as a parent, spouse, employee, employer. It includes your ability to sing in the choir or play a musical instrument—wealth according to God’s definition includes oh so much more than what we might normally expect.
We also know that all wealth always comes from God.
And what is important to God about the wealth He gives us is not the amount or the value but our attitude and how we choose to use it.
This is all wealth according to God’s definition and it is the first of the two most important financial principles in all of God’s Word.
The second critical biblical financial principle is stewardship
Which reinforces the principle that all wealth comes from and therefore belongs to God—He is the Owner. Well, if He is the owner, what is our role? We are the manager, we are a steward of all that He places into our spiritual trust account.
Recall that we defined stewardship as a manager of somebody else’s’ property.
And during our last couple of times together we’ve seen what stewardship is and what it looks like. Recall that we saw some good and some not so good examples of stewardship from the parable of the talents in Matthew Chapter 25.
Today we’re going to take yet another look at stewardship, this time from the parable of the rich fool in Luke 12:16-20.
Actually, in order to get the right context for this parable, we have to back up a few verses and start with Luke 12:13. It goes like this: “Someone in the crown said to him, (said to Jesus) “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an orbiter between you?”
This man thought he was asking a legal question. Because the rule of the day was that when a father died, he left twice as much of his estate to his oldest son than any of his other sons. Evidently, this son was not the oldest son and so he didn’t particularly like this time honored arrangement. Nope, this son wanted an equal share with his oldest
But Jesus read the true intent of the man’s That’s why He said, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
Then to prove this point, Jesus gave the parable of the rich He said, “The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop.
A couple of things here, first, notice how Jesus described the rich man as a “certain rich man.” He did not say a “good rich man” or “a bad rich man.” Why? Recall that God does not condemn wealth or the wealthy. Remember, money has no
And did you ever notice that it was the ground that produced the good crop. The rich man didn’t produce the “good crop,” the ground did.
Then the rich fool “thought to himself, what shall I do? I have no place to store my crops. Then he said, “This is what I’ll I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”
Do you see where this guy is coming from? Does he consider himself a steward or the owner?
Sure, he thought he was the owner. When that large crop came in and he didn’t have a use for it, instead of asking God, “Lord, why did You give me this surplus, what am I to do with all this?” Instead of going to God for direction, he decided to store it away for himself.
And what was God’s response? “God said to him, “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you, then who will get what you have prepared for yourself? This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward ”
Now let’s bring this parable forward and see how it applies to you and your life today.
You see, my friend, you have GOOD CROPS that come in. What are these “good crops”? Again, wealth according to God’s definition…education, jobs, family, time, your salvation, and all the
But let’s check your
If God were to call you to accountability today, this very day,
if you were to stand nose to nose and toes to toes with the Creator of the Universe this very day,
would He find that you are any different than this foolish farmer?
Do you have a plan for any surplus God may choose to give you? Or if you received a surplus, would you tend to hide it away in your barn? Now, I know you probably don’t have a barn, but you do have checking accounts or savings accounts, homes, cars, jewelry and the like, right?
Are you seeing the link between the principles or wealth and stewardship? You are to be a steward or a manager of God’s wealth…His job is to own, your job is to manage.
Next time we’ll draw to a close our discussions on the two most important Biblical financial principles, the principles of wealth and stewardship.
Today during our Question and Answer Time let’s invest some energy learning about giving. Giving. Now, what we have found over the years is that when most Christians think about giving , it is almost always related to the tithe. But I’m sure you have discovered that as Christians we face other decisions about giving, as well. So, let’s spend a Q&A time together or two talking about giving which will include not only the tithe, but other Q&As that cover giving in addition to the tithe.
However, we will start with a great tithe question…here’s the Question. What is the tithe, and is it applicable today for Christians? I love it…short and sweet…what is the tithe, and does it apply to Christians today.
I have heard it said so many times and I bet you have heard it said as well, “The tithe is an Old Testament law, and not applicable to the New Testament Christian.” Now, we have heard that said but I have to tell you I cannot confirm that from the Bible.
What I do find in the Bible is that the first tithe was given by Abraham 430 years before the Mosaic law ever came about..
If the tithe were only an Old Testament law, why then did Abraham tithe 430 before the law? Hebrews 7:1-10 tells us Abraham tithed to acknowledge God’s sovereignty. He gave as a testimony that God owned everything in his life.
Now, if you look, you will also find that although the tithe is mentioned in the Old Testament, there was never a penalty for not tithing. I mean, can you imagine a law with no punishment?
I mean, suppose you are driving through Hiawassee and you run the red light at the McDonalds corner.
The next thing you know Chief Paul Smith pulls your over and says, “Do you realize that you just ran that red light?”
You answer, you answer very respectively and you say, “Yes sir, I sure did.”
And the Chief says, “Well, OK, I just wanted to see if you knew.”
Now, I’m telling you, that won’t happen so don’t try it. But if it did happen, well, what you would find is that the law that says you must stop when the light is red would be a pretty ineffective law. Right?
Not running a red light is a law and breaking the law has consequences. Tithing is not a law, it is a voluntary act that has no punishment tied to it—consequences, yes, but no punishment..
So, tithing is a voluntary Act
But what exactly is the “tithe?” Well, the tithe literally means a tenth. Since this is the minimum amount mentioned in the bible, it would be logical to assume that it is the minimum amount God wants from a believer. If we can not return even the smallest part to God, it merely testifies to the fact that the whole has never been surrendered to Him. I would represent the fact that we either do not know or choose to ignore the principles of wealth and stewardship.
In the book of Malachi,
the prophet confronted God’s people with the fact that they did not love Him. Yet they said that they did love Him. But the evidence against them was that they didn’t give. Malachi 3:8 says, Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me? But you say, ‘How have we robbed You?” In tithes and offerings.”
An then in verse 10, God says something through the prophet Malachi that every Christian must hear: “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this, says the Lord of Hosts, ‘if I will not open for you the windows of heaven, and pour our for you a blessing until there is no more need’
This is the only place in Scripture where God ever told His people to test Him. Plus this passage makes the principle of the tithe clear. It is an outside indicator of an inside spiritual condition. It is our testimony that God owns everything and our job is to seek His direction to be the best steward possible.
I remember the story of a pastor of a large church
did a survey and found that his church’s giving patterns were pretty much average: 20% of the people gave 80% of the money and a very small percent actually tithed.
One Sunday morning, he took the offering plate through the church himself. He opened every envelope and looked at every check. Now, I don’t need to tell you that this caused quite a commotion, to say the least.
For the entire week after that service the church was abuzz. Some folks were irritated, and everybody wondered what he was up to. The following Sunday he gave a message entitled, “Are you more concerned about what men know that what God knows?”
Remember, giving, even tithing is evidence of an inward attitude that corresponds to an inward commitment to abide by the biblical principles of wealth and stewardship.
That was a great first question, so is the second—here is the second giving question: Our church teaches that the entire tithe should go to the local church. What does the Bible Say?
We just saw that in the Old Testament book of Malachi we’re told that God wants us to direct our entire tithe into the storehouse. So I believe it’s necessary that we compare the Old Testament storehouse to the New Testament church.
The Old Testament storehouse had four functions:
Feed the tribe of Levi and the priests of Aaron. This would seem to be equivalent to our pastors and church staff members today.
Feed the prophets. A prophet in the Old Testament was not necessarily somebody who could “for tell” the future but someone who could “tell forth the truth. Today this would point to our missionaries and evangelists.
Feed the Hebrew widows and orphans living within the city. Today this would be roughly equivalent to the widows, orphans, and invalids in our local churches.
In addition a special tithe was taken every third year to feed the widows and orphans of the Gentiles living in and around the Hebrew city. This would seem to equate to the unsaved folks surrounding our local churches.
Here’s the point: Many churches serve the fourfold function of the OT storehouse, and others do not. Does yours? Do you know? If you don’t know, I suggest you prayerfully and humbly ask. Your decision must be based on your church’s obedience to God’s Word. If a local church doesn’t accept the responsibility of being the storehouse, then believers must help ensure that the fourfold function is accomplished through other means.
Let’s see, I believe we have time for one more short tithing Q&A. Here’s the question: My husband and I both work. Should we tithe from our total income, or just my husband’s income, since I don’t intend to work for a long period of time?
Now, let me ask you this: which what you know, given all that you have been taught about tithing, how would you answer this question? What would your response be…and why?
Well, a good response would be for that lady and her husband to do whatever God convicts them to do. Ask them to get into the Bible, prayerfully read about the tithe, then prayerfully decide together what to do.
When they do, they will discover that the Bible says we should tithe on whatever comes into our possession, and in this couple’s case that would include both salaries. They should also consider not setting their incomes as “yours” and “mine,” “his” and “hers.”
According to Genesis 2:24, God looks at a married couple as “one.”
Scam alert from the BBB
According to the BBB, an old Medicare scam is raising its ugly head again. What is happening is that con artists are claiming to offer “free” genetic testing kits that allegedly screen for heart conditions or cancer. It is really a ruse to steal your Medicare information for fraudulent billing and/or identity theft.
Here is h the scam works.
You get a call from someone claiming to be from Medicare or an official-sounding organization. (One victim reported receiving a call from “the Cardiac Test Center.”) The caller claims to be providing free genetic testing kits. All you need to do is agree to receive a kit in the mail, swab your cheek, and return the vial. The test will tell you if you have a genetic predisposition to heart disease, cancer, or other common conditions. The caller insists that the test will be totally covered by Medicare.
This sounds like a useful (and free) test, so you agree. Of course, there is a catch! Before the company can mail your kit, they need your Medicare ID number and a lot of personal information. Targets of this scam report being asked extensive questions about their health, such as their family medical history and previous diagnoses.
As always, there are several variations of this con. For example, in years past, scammers went door-to-door or set up tables at health fairs. Con artists may even provide gift cards or other giveaways in exchange for your participation.
While genetic testing is a legitimate service—some victims do actually receive a genetic testing kit—the scammers are trying to commit fraud by billing Medicare for the unnecessary tests. For the victims, these cons can lead to medical identity theft and, in some instances, a bill for thousands of dollars. Consumers should always consult with their primary care doctor before agreeing to tests.
Now, that is what the scam is and what it can look like, but what can you do to protect yourself?
· Be wary of any lab tests at senior centers, health fairs, or in your home. Be suspicious of anyone claiming that genetic tests and cancer screenings are free or covered by Medicare. If a product or test is truly free, you will not have to provide your Medicare number.
· Do not share your Medicare number. If anyone other than you physician’s office requests your Medicare information, do not give it. Also, protect your Medicare card by keeping it in a safe place—not in your wallet or purse.
· Do not trust a name or phone number. Con artists often use official-sounding names or appear to be calling from a government or related area code—by the way, Medicare will never call you to confirm your personal information, your Medicare number, or ask questions about your personal health.
· Finally, report Medicare fraud a www.medicare.gov.
Minute with Maxwell
Well, it’s time again for one of our favorite Christian author, speaker, and coaches—It’s time for another Minute with Maxwell. Today, John is going to share with us his thoughts on the word, LISTEN. Let’s listen in.
Wow, thanks John. This Minute with Maxwell makes me want to stop and ask myself this: Are the people around me silent? If so, the reason may very well be because I am not listening to what others have to say. I know that when I’m listening, I’m the silent one—I’m asking questions and listening. It’s only if I choose to listen that I will discover how much others have to say, have to contribute…I just need to hear them out. Ouch, thanks John.
Boy, this has been a great time together.
We started out by continuing our study on Stewardship which is the second of the two most important financial principles in all of God’s Word. Do you remember what made the “rich fool” from Luke 12 a poor steward? It was his attitude. Not the fact that he had so much but his attitude of an owner, not of a steward.
Then during our Q&A time together we started looking into what the Bible has to say about giving—we talked just a bit about what the tithe is—remember the tithe is more than a number, it’s an outward evidence of an inward commitment to live out the principles of wealth and stewardship. We also saw that we are to direct our entire tithe into our local church. We’ll hit on more giving Q&As next time.
You now know what the Medicare genetic testing scam is all about and how to avoid it.
And finally, we just had a great and convicting Minute with Maxwell on the word, LISTEN.
And finally, well, finally, let’s close as we opened, let me close us with a word of prayer. Father God, I thank you for bringing us together today and for each of the days to come to Your glory in Jesus’ Amen.
Have a blesse d day, won’t you, and we’ll see you next time as we continue down your personal road to Financial Freedom God’s Way.