Matthew 6:24 “Extravagance” JUMC Stewardship 20121104

MT:6.24 No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.

The 5 Core Practices of Making Disciples for the Transformation of the World
Radical Hospitality, Passionate Worship, Intentional Spiritual Growth,
Risk-Taking mission and service, and EXTRAVAGENT GENEROSITY

Let’s start with a confession (it’s good for the soul, right?)

When we first heard that Extravagant Generosity is a core practice of The Methodist Way our thoughts are usually less than charitable. We just might be really ready to write the whole thing off. Is it an institutional gimmick to make raise more money? Plus, folks already have way too many assumptions, opinions and personal baggage when it comes to money.

• It is heart breaking to know people who will not darken the doors of the church because they think the church only wants their money.
• It turns our stomach to see how some misuse their faith to make themselves rich.
• What percent of our church time is spent on buildings, budgets and finances compared to time in ministry?
• Far too many congregations make decisions based on cash flow rather than faith and trust in God’s calling.
• Many people leave church over money issues and never come back into the fellowship.
• Individual families fight about money more often than any other issue.
That’s enough baggage for a three year world tour!

Wouldn’t it be great if we never spoke about money in Church again?
The Spirit reminds us that we would be unfaithful, and even harmful, especially given where and when we live.

Think honestly about our society: We live in an extraordinarily materialistic and consumerist society.
40% of Americans spend 110% of their annual income each year

Dave Ramsey Quote: We buy things we don’t even need with money we don’t even have to impress people we don’t even know.
We are immersed in a culture
• that feeds an appetite for more and bigger (Gluttony and Greed)
• that fosters the myth that self worth is found in having what others have (Envy)
• that furthers the lie that money and possessions equal security (Pride)

In short, rooting our life on the dreams and promises of easy money, material happiness and worth and value based in what we can grab leads to a society of communal slavery, an enslavement to several of the seven deadly sins.

This is not of God.
Jesus came that we would not be slaves to false teaching, sin, and fear.

In Matthew 6:24, Jesus says
No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.

Our culture exalts an unsustainable, suicidal system of gluttony, greed, envy, and pride. (We have seen this most clearly since 2009 since the housing and banking crash we have seen at every level of our society our short-sightedness and false trusts.) And honestly, we are only beginning to see the consequences.

So What in the World are we do HEAR when we say:
God’s practice of Extravagant Generosity is the answer.

Extravagant Generosity is a spiritual discipline
• Extravagant Generosity is not based on God’s demand for wealth, rather for as a sign of our trust in God’s work and plan.
• God doesn’t need money, instead God wants us to know that we don’t need to trust wealth more than we trust God.
• Extravagant Generosity is about our spiritual maturity that grows as we give. The more our Hearts experience giving the more God like we become.
• Extravagant Generosity is a set of spiritual disciplines given to us by God for our own good. They are classic disciplines:
For gluttony there is temperance and self control.
For greed there is charity and sacrifice.
For envy, patience and satisfaction.
For pride, humility and service.

Be Extravagant in self-control, sacrifice, patience, peace, humility and service and you will Become the Generous Person God’s desire we know.

Practicing the disciplines of Extravagant Generosity breaks the chains of our unsustainable, suicidal system.

In the weeks ahead you will receive two pledge cards. One for the operating costs of ministry for 2013 and one for the debt retirement that has made our facilities possible place to serve. In the mean time we can practice our GENEROSITY by completing the work we have begun in this year. We are significantly behind and need to finish this year in faithfulness…

Jump in and give like God gives.. and you will see God work and shine all around and through your gifts and living!

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