New Hope Notes
Be A Part Of The Story
Pastor Joe Sangl
Hello Church, my name is Joseph Sangl. I am the youngest of 6 boys from a farm just south of Indianapolis. We were not rich, in fact we grew our own food and with 6 sons we could grow a lot of food. I want to share with you a message about the XFactor and finances and really talk about the miracle that God performed in my finances. I pray this will help you.
I started my money journey when I went to college. While in college I started dating a girl. And that’s when my finances started heading down into the ditch. She wrote me many “love letters” and I found out very quickly that she was dating other people as well. In fact some of you are probably dating her right now too. Her name is Sallie Mae, you know the loan company? I had no money, I funded all my college education with student loans. My first weekend there, they said they would give me free stuff if I filled out some credit card applications. It was a very fast application process.
I had no job and no money so I thought that there’s no way they would give me a credit card, right? Wrong, seven days later in my mailbox a credit card shows up. The very next day I started practicing with it. I graduated with “special honors”, a degree in mechanical engineering and tens of thousands of dollars in credit card debt. Now many people graduate with special honors like Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude and Summa Cum Laude and since I was such a terrible student I gave myself the “special honors” the “thank the Laude”, I had a 2.64 GPA. So I got out of there quickly. Be glad I’m not designing anything, it could hurt somebody.
So the first thing a graduate often does is I bought myself a new car. I had been driving a real clunker rusting DatsunB210 which had rusted out floorboards and a door that couldn’t open. I had no money so I financed it. Then I asked my girlfriend to marry me, she said “yes” so I financed the wedding ring, the entire wedding and the honeymoon to Jamaica. I was fired up, but, worse was that the credit card was fired up too, in fact it was melting.
When we came back from the honeymoon, I bought a truck, because every man needs a truck with 100% financing. Then we took on a job transfer from Indiana to South Carolina and then we fulfilled the American Dream; we bought a house. We signed a 95 page document that was a love letter saying you will be broke for life. But that’s not all, we bought furniture financing them for 24 months “same as cash”.
How many brilliant financial decisions can one person make? I made them all. So, all the money just simply disappeared. And the only way I got all that stuff wasn’t because I made a lot of money. It was because I signed a lot of papers. I found myself in a lot of debt. I asked God to help me and He worked a miracle in my life. So today I want to share that miracle with you.
If you are winning with your money, I pray it helps you help others and that you get a tidbit to help you. If you’re broke then I’m telling you this message can set you free. Here are some underlying factors:
1) We all have to deal with money
That’s so true, right? I quickly found out that everything in life, whether directly or indirectly, cost us money. And we have to pay it even if we are burned or buried. That’s kind of sad. Many people are intimidated by money, we get confused about it very quickly. When there’s talk about figuring out finances and investing and mutual funds we ask, “What in the world are they talking about?” It’s like solving an endless riddle.
But we all have to deal with money. Money has a direct relationship to our ability to fund the dreams God has put on our hearts. And your ability to manage that money is directly related to the amount the Lord will give you to manage. So we all have to deal with money. There are probably a lot of questions popping up in everyone’s mind. The biggest question is “Is it really possible to eliminate money and stresses out of my life?” “Yes” is the answer
Other questions might be: Can I really win with money? There’s lot of people not winning with money. Can I really give 10% of my income to tithe, if I do, how can I pay my bills? Is God informed of the Cost of Living? The answer is, “Yes, He knows and yes you can.” If I win does this mean everyone else loses? The answer is that there’s enough for everyone. We live with a God of surplus. He provides food for the sparrow, He owns cattle on a thousand hills and His economy is never in recession. God has enough for everyone. You can win with money.
2) God has blessed each of us
If we really look at our lives we will see that God has truly blessed us. As we read in Matthew 25:14-15:
“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability.” (Matthew 25:14-15NIV)
My challenge to you is I want you to be a part of the story that Jesus shares here. When I read this part of the scripture it hit me hard because I realized I did not have good ability. Therefore God was measuring out what He gave me according to my ability. Let me ask you this, what is your ability to manage what God has given you? And if you truly need or want more to fund the dream God has put on your heart, are you doing what is necessary to increase your ability? After all, who owns it all? God, right? We are just managing it for Him. Jesus is, by sharing this story, teaching us that the owner recognizes the ability of the manager and gives according to his ability. So by increasing our ability, He will give us more to manage.
But how do you increase your ability? I sure didn’t know how.
Let me ask you, do any of you have a child that refuses to clean their room? Well, when our daughter was about 11 or 12, she had the messiest room ever! My wife on the other hand is a neat freak. If something is left on the counter for a few seconds, she trashes it. Everything we tried to do to get her to clean failed, we nearly popped our veins trying to get her to clean. Nothing worked. Then I had a revelation. I told her if she didn’t clean her room right then that I would empty her room of everything and I would decide, with my lack of fashion sense, what she would wear for the next few days. The next morning her room was even worse, so I emptied her room and issued her clothes for the next seven days. Now when we tell her to clean her room she promptly goes and gets it done.
So you see, maybe we need to change our expectation level of what could possibly happen in our finances. If the Lord is for us, who can be against us? We just really need to believe that God is truly a God of surplus. Everything in life costs money. He has blessed us. We can do this.
It says in Proverbs 15:22, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisors they succeed.” In other words, don’t do this alone. So I started seeking people who are winning with money God’s way and who love Jesus. They all said that they took God’s Word and applied it. So get an advisor to help you through this.
Now let us continue in God’s story:
Matthew 25:16-18 says this: “The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money”.
Let me ask this, in the past year how did you do with what God gave you? Do you want this year to be the same or different? What do you need to do differently?
For me, I had a pile of debt, so as I read God’s word and Proverbs 22:7 told me:
“The rich rule over the poor and the borrower is servant to the lender.”(Proverbs 22:7)
I told myself it feels just like that.
Romans 13:8 said: “Let no debt remain outstanding except the continuing debt, to love one another …”
Right then I knew that I needed to clear my debt. And I learned a new word I hadn’t used much in my life; “NO!” It’s difficult to tell yourself “No” but even harder to tell your children or grandchildren “No”. Then I did something even more miraculous, I started a budget. I told God, “You blessed me with this much, thank You for providing for me. I will now put you first, put savings second and I’m going to plan the rest.” Doing that really transformed my life. The Lord worked a miracle in my life and in 14 months, all my debts were paid except for the house. When I turned 38, I paid off the house.
One family that I counseled was badly in debt, couldn’t tithe, couldn’t pay the bills, couldn’t buy much groceries for the family of four, but they spent $400 on some goats they raised for their 4H club. I told them to kill the goats and eat them. They didn’t like me after I told them that, but it would have worked.
What are the “goats” that need to be sacrificed in your life? What “goats” in your life are causing you to lose sleep, or cause you to be more angry, less patient? You need to slaughter them. It will change your life.
3) We will be held accountable
There’s going to be a settling moment in our lives. Truly, at the end of life there’s going to be two questions to answer: What did you do with Jesus? What did you do with what He gave you?
In Matthew 25:19 it reads:
“After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them.” (Matthew 25:19)
You see in this story there are 3 categories of people. I want you to put yourself in one of these categories and I hope it will be in the first category:
1st Category are those who have managed well
Matthew 25:20-23 talks about the ones who managed their allotment well:
“The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’ His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’ His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’” (Matthew 25:20-23)
Many of you may have managed well. You have lived God’s word and succeeded. You’ve done it God’s way and I congratulate you. Now I challenge you to do three things.
1) Wake up every morning and thank God for providing His Word and for being true to His Word. You’ve been blessed to have received Him. So thank God.
2) Go out and tell others. There’s a lot of people who are broke, even our nation is broke. Tell them that God’s Word works. It works for individuals, states and nations.
3) Guard yourself. Here is what I have discovered, as you get stuff it can get a grip on you. In other words, it’s all going to go away if you don’t guard yourself. Continue to do it God’s way and it will last.
2nd Category: Those who have managed poorly
“Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’ His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’” (Matthew 25:24-30)
So which category are you in?
3rd Category: Those who are missing from the story
As I read this scripture, I was prompted to ask, “Who is not mentioned in this story?” And I realized that I wasn’t mentioned in this story. In fact 70% of Americans are not mentioned in this story. You see, the guy that was scolded, he at least kept what he was given, but 70% of us have blown our money away, we financed 30% and more and we have the audacity to say, “God, just has to bless me more.” But I don’t want you to get bitter about this. I want you to get better. I stopped being broke long before my bank account started to show increase and it started when I made the decision to put God first. From that moment on, I was transformed.
A joke which isn’t really funny goes like this: “I’m so broke, instead of tithing to God I bought a new car, now I have a bumper sticker that says, ‘I’m driving my tithe’ ”.
So why on earth should we put God first? That brings us to the 4th point I want to share:
4) We can be financially free
We can be free. I know that if you are struggling right now that that statement will be too hard to believe, but we can be free! If Jesus died upon the cross and paid a debt that we can never repay Him so that we can experience liberty then He can absolutely do it with our finances. But we have to take that first step that will bring our finances in alignment with Him. Put God first with the tithe, savings second, investing third, then spend the rest with a plan.
I found a verse in Malachi that says this:
“’Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.’” (Malachi 3:10)
So if you put God first you will also see so many things manifested in your life as it did in mine. But there is an enemy out there who seeks to take away your joy. Don’t let him. Just trust in God, and put Him first above all else, you too will see a great transformation. He knows right where you are and He can do that which ordinary humans think is not possible. Do you believe it? Do you receive it?
1) Which category of people are you?
2) How well are you at managing what God gives you to manage?
3) How can you increase your ability in managing so that God will entrust more to you?