Generosity Killers Part One: Materialism

Many of us want to do more and be more. We want to make a difference in the world. We want our lives to count for something significant.

But our finances are wrecked, sometimes caused by our own doing and sometimes caused by things completely beyond our control. We need to clean up our financial mess, but we don’t want to do it just so we can be rich.

We’ve all seen people that seem to have everything, but in reality they have nothing. They are miserable.

Being “rich” isn’t the answer. Financial health is not even the final answer. What are the Generosity Killers in your life that need to be discovered, owned, and eliminated?

THE QUICK SUMMARY – Enough: Finding More by Living with Less by Will Davis, Jr.

The American way of life pushes people to constantly strive for more–more money, more stuff, and more clout. But how much is enough? And how do we know when we have too much of a good thing?

In this provocative, paradigm-shifting book, Will Davis Jr. challenges readers to discover the peace that comes through contentment with what we have and compassion for those in need. Through surprising statistics, scriptural insight, and real-life stories, Davis gently leads readers to consider living with less in order to do more for the kingdom. Thought-provoking discussion questions and short chapters make this a perfect study for small groups.

No one will come away from this powerful book unchanged.

A SIMPLE SOLUTION

You know the Joneses, don’t you? As in, “keeping up with the Joneses”?

You may not know a literal Jones family, but you have friends, family, neighbors, or coworkers around you – and you try to maintain their lifestyle. Their lifestyle pushes your lifestyle in a way that you try to imitate.

But in the end, you’re never happy or satisfied with more.

Their perceived contentment pushes your discontent.

Your pursuit of the latest and best will cause you to make bad financial decisions, and worse, reduce or eliminate your ability to live a generous life.

But there is a way out – you can have more by living with less.

The principle of having more by living with less means if you grasp and grab and hoard, then you’ll only have what you can hold, and eventually you’ll probably lose that. But if you release it, if you seek to honor others, if you serve others before you serve yourself, if you’re a funnel for what God pours into you, then you will have more blessing, favor, influence, joy, and opportunities than you can ever achieve on your own.

How do I know when I have enough? Can enough even be quantified? In Proverbs 30:7-9, Agur offers the first biblical definition of “enough.” What does Agur pray for? In a word, “enough.” In a phrase, “just enough to satisfy my needs.” And that begs the first million-dollar question: What do I need?

Let’s think about some of the advantages with living with enough. How can mere daily provisions really be better than surplus? Why shouldn’t we want a little more of what we have?

If you choose to pursue the elusive concept of enough, if you limit how you live and what you spend, what’s in it for you? Why should you and I embrace the radical lifestyle of living with less? Here are ten great reasons to live with enough:

You’ll have more time. The irony of having more is that when you finally get what you think you want, you still won’t be satisfied. And your “stuff” will cause you to spend more of what you can’t get back – time.

You’ll have more peace. Having more than enough often increases your stress and distracts you from pursuing God and loving the people he has placed in your life.

You’ll help your relationships. Living with enough will give you more time and emotional energy to invest in your loved ones and even in those friends, neighbors, and co-workers whom God might be calling you to serve.

You’ll be more content. When you declare you have enough, suddenly contentment will become much more second nature to you.

You’ll have less or no debt. If you stop spending money on stuff, you’ll have less debt and eventually will be debt free.

You’ll be prepared for tough times. If you’re living with enough, you’re much more likely to have the financial means to navigate difficult times.

You’ll be better equipped to respond to need. When you have enough, not only will you have what you need, but you’ll be in a position to help others as well.

Your life will be simpler. The more complex your lifestyle becomes – specifically, the more material and financial overhead you have – the less simplicity you’ll enjoy.

You’ll have better intimacy with God. Simplicity creates an environment in which your relationship with God can thrive.

You’ll have more joy. Joy can’t be bought, but it can be stuffed out. Joy thrives best in an environment of less, not more.

Will Davis, Jr., Enough: Finding More by Living with Less

A NEXT STEP

You can continue to push ahead, trying to achieve the elusive twins of security and satisfaction. Or, you can move toward enough. You can take your more than enough and give part of it away, helping someone with less than enough move toward enough. You can strive or you can depend. You can achieve or you can receive. You can hoard or you can share. You can hold onto what you have, settle for the best you can do, and bless no one in the process. Or, you can release what you have, bless countless others, and receive more than you could ever imagine.

Enough author Will Davis has these following reflection questions for you to consider in defeating the Generosity Killer of materialism:

Read Matthew 6:11 seven times. Each time you read it, emphasize and reflect on the significance of one word (GIVE us this day; Give US this day; Give us THIS day; etc.).

Read Philippians 4:11-12 and think about how much Paul’s statement does or does not reflect how you feel.

Considering where you are in your life right now (marriage and/or family, career, housing, retirement plans, etc.), how close are you to being able to declare that you have enough?

What is one action to take this week and move toward a life of enough?

Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix 91-1, released April 2018.


 

This is part of a weekly series posting excerpts from one of the most innovative content sources in the church world: SUMS Remix book excerpts for church leaders.

Each issue SUMS Remix takes a practical problem in the church and looks at it with three solutions; each solution is taken from a different book. Additionally, a practical action step is included with each solution.

As a church leader you get to scan relevant books based on practical tools and solutions to real ministry problems, not just by the cover of the book. Each post will have the edition number which shows the year and what number it is in the overall sequence. (SUMS Remix provides 26 issues per year, delivered every other week to your inbox). 

> > Subscribe to SUMS Remix <<

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

VRcurator

VRcurator

Bob Adams is Auxano's Vision Room Curator. His background includes over 23 years as an associate/executive pastor as well as 8 years as the Lead Consultant for a church design build company. He joined Auxano in 2012.

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6 Essentials of Vision Casting as Modeled by Martin Luther King

His Dream Became a Reality

Over 50 years ago, Martin Luther King delivered his electrifying “I Have a Dream” speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington, which became a flash point for a movement.

The legend endures beyond memory from a dwindling number of witnesses, but no one alive that day anticipated its sweetly patriotic glow.

– Taylor Branch

King’s speech is rightly remembered as one of the greatest speeches in American history. But few people remember that King stood on those same steps at the Lincoln Memorial 6 years earlier, with many of the same civil rights leaders present, and failed to rally the people.

What was the difference?

Vision.

Departing from his carefully written speech after only a few lines, King paused before continuing on with what are surely four of the most famous words uttered:

I Have a Dream…

 

Martin Luther King saw himself as a vision caster on that day – a connector not only to how clearly he saw current life but more importantly, how to get to the next immediate future.

As a church leader, you are a vision caster too.

The language of vision casting employs metaphor and story, but your vision has to have a qualitative element as well. There are six essential elements leaders should include for moving people forward in achieving their vision:

> Common DenominatorDo you build an emotional connection based on shared history? Great vision casting moments start by looking back momentarily before looking forward.

> Burning PlatformDo you frame the larger need and speak to the fear of loss? The greatest mistake in vision casting is not recognizing that vision is always a solution to a prior problem.

> Golden TomorrowDo you promise a better world in which people will want to live? Stop vision casting to make the church better and show people how the church makes life better.

> Wake-Up CallDo you create urgency and induce action? The vision casting moment must remind people why action is required today.

> Mind StretchDo you enlarge faith and challenge the imagination with audacious, God-sized goals? Without a mind-blowing goal in front of them, your people will never have a reason for risk taking, collaboration, and heroic sacrifice.

> God SmileDo you clarify your biblical basis and show how God’s heart is pleased? The vision should be dripping with allusions to Scripture and the unquestionable history of God’s work among the local community.

Auxano Founder Will Mancini created a tool to help leaders like you evaluate your vision casting. Called the “Spider Diagram,” it will help you evaluate your vision casting communications on the six points listed above.

SpiderDiagramPDFFor each essential, the tool has a line to score on a scale of one to five (one being poor, toward the center; five being excellent, near the outer edge). As you measure your vision casting exercise, connecting the scores can plot the vision effectiveness. The ideal is that the vision makes a “wheel” that can roll smoothly.

In honor of Dr. King’s vision, and as an exercise in evaluating an excellent example of a vision casting speech, use the Spider Diagram tool below while listening to the “I Have a Dream” speech.

 

 

Great communicators create movements.

>> Download the Spider Diagram here.

>>Watch Dr. King’s I Have a Dream speech.

 

 

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

VRcurator

VRcurator

Bob Adams is Auxano's Vision Room Curator. His background includes over 23 years as an associate/executive pastor as well as 8 years as the Lead Consultant for a church design build company. He joined Auxano in 2012.

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Clarity Process

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Church Communication Hero: Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. is perhaps the greatest champion for social change in 20th century America. He was also a Baptist minister.

He led a congregation, like many of you.

He sat through church business meetings, like many of you.

He worked to share the story of the gospel with his community, like many of you.

It’s somewhat revisionist and a little demeaning to call his work marketing, but in some small ways it was. He shared a message with his community and nation that ultimately spoke of the gospel story of freedom and redemption. He obviously didn’t use postcards and Facebook and sermon graphics, but he did use marches and rallies and non-violent protest.

More the rest of the story here.

Read more from Kevin here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kevin Hendricks

Kevin Hendricks

Kevin D. Hendricks lives in St. Paul, Minn., with his wife, three kids and two dogs. He runs his own freelance writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. He’s been blogging since 1998, tweeting since 2007 and generally enjoys being a web geek. After growing up in the distant suburbs of Detroit he moved to St. Paul, Minn., to attend Bethel College (now University). He graduated in 2000 with a degree in writing and a minor in art, got married and started a job with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association—all in the span of two weeks. In 2004 he began his journey of self-employment, which nicely complements his introverted nature.

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I ask: “How long have you been coming here?” It’s works in every situation.
 
— Russell C
 
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— Thomas TC Gotcher
 
comment_post_ID); ?> […] source: https://www.visionroom.com/leadership-and-the-power-of-listening/ […]
 
— Bolstering your Leadership Armoury-Part 2- Leadership series – Toyer M–All things testing
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.