Trusting God fully in an area we tend to hold onto tightly.
What’s one fun thing you’d like to do this summer that doesn’t cost any money?
Each of us has experienced, will experience, or is in the midst of a financial storm. Sometimes short-term financial emergencies look like separate, unconnected incidents, but the truth is, repeated events like these are a sign of a larger problem.
Where do you turn when you’re experiencing a financial crisis?
It is almost inevitable that at some point in our lives we will experience a more cataclysmic financial event: a significant illness, the loss of a job, a recession, etc. These events can cripple us if we are not prepared.
The Bible has 2350 verses dealing with money, possessions, and management of our stuff.
Jesus taught more about this subject than any other. He didn't do this because He wants something from us; He wants something for us. He wants us to live with less financial anxiety and more peace.
What has been creating financial stress for you recently?
Last weekend Gene explained a very simple financial plan, based on the wisdom of God's Word, that works for people at any income level. We’re calling it the 100 plan. It’s something Gene and Barbara have adhered to for the entire 25 years of their marriage. It’s often called the 10+10+80 plan or the give, save & spend plan.
The first “10” represents taking the first 10% of your income and honoring God by tithing: giving to the local church that you're a part of.
The second “10” is what we're talking about today. This is where we take the next 10% and save it to prepare for the financial storms that will come in the future.
As a group, take turns reading Genesis 41:1-39.
Genesis 41 tells the story of an economic storm that hit Egypt during the time of Joseph. Through an incredible series of events, Joseph ultimately became the person second-in-command to Pharaoh.
After being sold into slavery by his brothers and later thrown into prison by Potiphar for something he didn’t do, it may have appeared that Joseph's life was doomed. But God gave Joseph the ability to interpret a troubling dream of Pharaoh's, revealing that Egypt would experience seven years of great agricultural prosperity followed by a devastating economic storm: seven years of famine (likely caused by drought). Pharaoh put Joseph in charge of preparing the nation for this coming economic storm.
Have someone read Genesis 41:47-49.
Joseph was wise enough in that time of prosperity to prepare for the financial storms of the future. Today we live in a time of economic prosperity. We tend to assume that as we progress in our jobs and careers, our incomes will gradually increase. This isn’t true for everyone, but for most of us, our income does go up over time. Unfortunately, instead of using this era of prosperity to increase reserves and save for a rainy day, many Americans are buying more, charging more, financing more, spending more, and saving very little.
Have someone read Proverbs 21:20.
Statistics say that, regardless of income, 8 out of 10 Americans live exactly like this. That means 80% of us today are applying the increases in our prosperity to spending, not to saving, leaving ourselves with woefully insufficient savings. Let's be honest, if you live this way, sooner or later there is no financial peace.
Joseph was wise enough in times of prosperity to prepare for the financial storms of the future. He was wise enough to create margin.
Have someone read Genesis 41:53.
It might surprise you to learn you don't have to make a lot of money to accumulate a lot of money. Over time, small amounts of money grow and grow to incredible levels through an amazing thing called compound interest.
Many of us think our circumstances are too tough and too tight to save anything. We keep waiting until we have a larger amount to get going. We don’t need to wait.
If you're 25 years old right now and you save $2.75 a day (which is half of many people’s daily cappuccino budget) and continue until you're 65, your savings would be a little over $40,000. However, through the miracle of compound interest, that $40,000 would grow to over $1.1 million. At $2.75 a day for 40 years, over $40,000 would make you a millionaire with just your coffee money!
That is significant and life changing! We can start small and build on that over the course of our lives.
If you’re currently saving enough for the future, what changes did you have to make to get started? If you’re not, what are one or two changes you can make to increase your savings.
Have someone read Proverbs 13:11.
The question to ask yourself and to spend time in prayer about is how could you start creating margin in your financial picture. Consider where you could find the money to start or increase saving. Gene gave several examples of easy ways to save money.
Share meals at restaurants
Bring lunch to work, eat out less
Order water when eating out
Make your own coffee
Cut cable TV
Review your bills yearly to see if there are better options
Buy on sale, never pay full price
Dave Ramsey estimates the average family could save $200 a month. And $200 a month invested over 20 years with compound interest could grow to $150,000 for your future, just because you eat out less.
When you look at that list and add up the potential savings, how much do you think you could save a month?
Gene also shared ideas that we might consider more radical, like buying used cars for cash or moving into a smaller home.
80% of Americans today are under financial stress. It may be that unless you do something radically different, you will be, too. If you want to experience peace through the financial storms of life, you must create margin.
How would your life change if you weren’t under financial stress?
One of Gene's recommendations this weekend was to consider automating things like tithes and contributions to a 401K. If we don't see it, we don't miss it. When we automate these things, we are never tempted to spend it elsewhere. We make God a priority when we give Him our first fruits.
Do you automate tithing and savings? Why or why not?
If you want financial peace, take the first steps today to doing things differently. Identify something you could take out of your life so you could create margin and have peace to weather the inevitable financial storms. Take time this week to think about what choices you could make that would end up making a big difference.
Break into groups of two to three people and share one thing you could give up or change to save for your future. Then pray for each other, asking God to give you the discipline to say no to spending and yes to choosing financial peace.
If you have never taken Financial Peace University, now is the time to jump in. This course by Dave Ramsey will take you further and faster in this area. We are beginning another round starting July 12 in Southern California, and at-home study kits are available in Park Rapids. More information is available at eastside.com/events.