Community Group Questions 9/16/12

Tip of the Week:
[vimeo http://vimeo.com/40180349]
Announcements:
Please share whichever of the following announcements apply to your group
  • West Pines 1.0
    • West Pines 1.0 is an event that we have every few months that is all about letting you get to know West Pines better and letting us get to know you better.
    • It's a great first step to thinking through if you should call West Pines your church home.
    • The next West Pines 1.0 is coming up on Sunday, September 30th, right after the second service.
    • We’ll provide lunch and childcare, should you need it. If you’re interested, write “1.0” on the back of your Connection Card.
  • Women of Faith
    • We have one more cool event to share with - please watch this video with me
    • WOF Promo Video
    • There is a table in the back with more info on purchasing tickets for that event

Sermon Title: Out the Window of Opportunity, Part 3: Making Friends

Main Text:  Luke 16:1-13, Psalm 24:1

Topics:

  • Initially this seems like a very confusing teaching by Jesus.  But as we dig underneath the surface we find some really profound truths.
  • Here is how the story goes: there is a wealthy man who catches wind that his manager is wasting the master’s posessions. So he tells him that he is fired and wants a report of all his actions. The manager realizes that his time at the company is coming to a close so he very quickly makes plans for the future. He goes to each of the master’s accounts and cuts them a deal. That way he will be making friends for when he is out of work. He is hoping they will be a good connection for him in the future.
  • What the man does is dishonest. He does it with money that doesn’t belong to him. He is looking out for his own future.  But when the master finds out what the manager has done, he has to admit it was pretty shrewd.
  • Jesus then says that this is what the world does. When it comes to money people are crafty and clever. They know how to set themselves up. The He says, the “sons of light” (those who know God) are not very clever.
  • Then Jesus says, “make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings.”
    • By unrighteous wealth, Jesus is not meaning specifically wealth gotten through evil means. He is meaning worldly wealth. Simply the literally treasures of this world.
  • What in the world does that mean? That’s unexpected. Surely everyone expected to use this story as an example of what happens to people when they steal and cheat. But instead He commends the guy. Is Jesus telling us to do dishonest?
  • Jesus continues his teaching by saying:
    • Those who are faithful with a little, will be given much. But those who are dishonest with a little will be dishonest with much.
    • Be faithful with worldly wealth so you can be trusted with true riches.
    • Be faithful with that which is someone else’s, so you can be given that which is your own.
    • We cannot serve two masters. We cannot serve both God and money.
  • To fully understand Jesus’ point let’s go back and look at some of the features of the story:
    • The man is just a manager, of a master’s money.
    • He sees that he’s not going to keep his current position so he looks to the future.
    • He “makes friends” by helping them out a little bit
  • Jesus is teaching us that we need to be clever and shrewd. We see people all the time, all around us that know how to make money. Many of us know how to make money. People work hard and think hard about how to use all of their assets to make more money. Christians, we should work just as hard, and just as shrewdly to invest in the future... our ultimate future.
  • According to Jesus, this is what it means to be shrewd:
    • Look to the Future: just as the manager realized his time working for the manager was coming to a close and he needed to start looking to the future, so can we. We are only on this planet for a short time. Are we investing for eternity? Are we thinking about what comes next?  The next point tells us how...
    • Make Friends: just as the manager makes friends he will need in the next season, so should we. Who are these friends? The needy around us that we can help with our worldly wealth.
    • You are just a manager: The manager was wasting his master’s possessions. He has no right to do that, they are not his possessions. At the very end Jesus tells us that we have one of two masters, money or God. Either way that means we are simply a manager. If we are Christians, and Jesus is our Master, that means all of our stuff is God’s.  It doesn’t belong to us, we are just managers. Here’s the question, are we wasting our Master’s possessions.
  • Here’s the irony of our Master. Unlike a worldly master, like the one in the story, He wants us to use His wealth to help others. Our Master is loving and wants us to help them.
  • You and I do not have any money of our own. We are just managers of God’s foundation.
  • There are two ways God is putting in front of us that we can invest His money:
    • “Our Kids” - help fund the Expansion of our kids and student ministries
    • “Their Kids” - bring your stuff to WP to sell as part of the Empty the Barn Initiative to raise money to drill a well in Africa.

Key Questions:

  • Who is someone you know or know of that you think is a clever in business? What makes them like that?
  • Read Luke 16:1-13
  • According to the passage what was motivating the manager to do what he did with his master’s accounts?
  • What would be a modern day equivalent to what the shrewd manager did?
  • Read Psalm 24:1. What does that mean about the things we think of as “our stuff”?
  • What makes it easy to view the stuff God has entrusted to us as “our stuff”?
  • Read verse 10-11 again. We are tempted to think that if we had a lot, we would then be generous with it. Why is that wrong thinking?
  • According to Jesus, no one can serve both God and money. Why is that true?
  • What does it look like when a Christian tries to serve both God and money?
  • How will we think, plan and spend differently as we accept the truth that all the money and resources we consider to be “ours” are actually God’s and we are just the managers?
  • What can we do to regularly remind ourselves that we are merely managers of God’s stuff?

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