Small Group Questions

Making Change – Stress is Bad   

Introduction:

Do you ever find yourself stressed out because you feel like you’re living in a prison of financial debt? Or maybe you just struggle with the idea of handling finances God’s way. If either of these apply to you, this message is for you. God wants you to be free from debt not a slave to debt! We have practical and Biblical solutions within our reach and we’ll explore them today. 

Bottom line: Debt mortgages our future and enslaves it to the past.

Something To Talk About:

The old adage says, “If your output exceeds your income, your upkeep will be your downfall.” Stress is the leading cause of health problems. And making, managing, and using money is frequently cited as the leading cause of stress. Whether you’re digging out of debt or planning for your future, investing in a brighter tomorrow starts by making change today, starting with the following two prayers:

  1. God, give me self-control: Nobody likes debt because it has the potential to get out of control quickly. I heard a pastor say that “Getting in debt is as easy as getting down an ice-covered mountain. Getting out of debt is just as difficult as climbing that same mountain” It may sound simplistic, but the solution is self-control. Self-control is controlling your spending habits so that you live within your means. Galatians 5:22-23 says, “ But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control…” Our natural tendency is to get what we want when we want it. So many times debts are the direct result of a lack of self-control. A lot of things we think are necessities are really luxuries. If you’re already in debt, the only way out is to discipline yourself to spend less than you make and to use the difference to systematically meet your obligations until you’re free from debt. Then you must continue living with self-control so that you can build up a surplus for expected future needs.
  2. God, give me a plan:  We need a plan to get out of debt. The foundation for that plan is a paradigm shift. Paradigm is defined as a way or manner of thinking. Debt has been marketed to us in such a way that it’s hard to imagine life without it. We need a paradigm shift to biblical principles. Sometimes, we need a fresh perspective. Here’s a fresh perspective on debt. It’s only been around for about 3,000 years. Pro. 22:7: “Just as the rich rule the poor, so the borrower is servant to the lender.”  (Proverbs 22:7) Develop a plan to reduce your expenditures and stop  borrowing money.  Attack your debts using Dave Ramsey’s debt snowball. List your debts from smallest to largest balance. Now, some of you will say that it makes more sense to pay off the debts with the highest interest rates first. Galatians  5:1 says, “So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.” Debt is slavery. You can’t get ahead financially by staying a slave to debt. How much could you give, save, and blow if you had no payments? What could the people of God do for the Kingdom of God if they were debt-free? I invite you to make a plan to get out of debt. Let me warn you upfront, working to be debt free is not easy. It requires sacrifices. It requires a fight. But anything in life that is worth having is going to require a fight, but a worthwhile fight.   

Discussion Questions:

  1. Describe a time in your life when you felt like a slave or that you had no options because of a debt you owed.
  2. One of the most important pieces of financial advice God offers is to get out of debt because debt creates risk in our lives. What impact has debt had in your life?
  3. What are some areas that we tend to overspend? How can we develop better self-control?
  4. How would you rate your financial stress level at this point in your life?
  5. Do you have a plan for paying off debt? Where do you plan to start? What works best?
  6. How can a plan help? 
  7. What action steps can we take this week to begin getting out of debt?

Take One Thing Home with You:

Debt has become more socially acceptable than ever before. It has become part and parcel of our culture. Indications of that fact are all around us. For example, look at FICO scores. FICO stands for the Fair Isaac Corporation and is used to assess credit risk and determine whether to extend credit. The higher the score, the lower the risk for a bank or lending institution to lend money. We’ve come to believe that a good FICO score is the magic key that unlocks all financial doors, but that’s simply not true. A FICO score is nothing but a measure of the debt you can incur. You can’t have a FICO score if you’ve never had debt or don’t have the potential to incur debt. The calculation for the score has absolutely nothing to do with your income or your potential for success. It is completely based on your debt, what kind of debt you have, how long you’ve been in debt, and how well you pay on your debt. The FICO score has way too much power in our lives. We accept debt as our provider instead of realizing that God is our provider.