Enough Leader Guide Revised Edition: Discovering Joy through Simplicity and Generosity

Enough Leader Guide Revised Edition: Discovering Joy through Simplicity and Generosity

by Adam Hamilton

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781501857904
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Publication date: 05/01/2018
Series: Enough Series
Edition description: Leaders Gu
Pages: 80
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 1.25(h) x 9.00(d)

About the Author

Adam Hamilton is senior pastor of The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas, one of the fastest growing, most highly visible churches in the country. The Church Report named Hamilton’s congregation the most influential mainline church in America, and he preached at the National Prayer Service as part of the presidential inauguration festivities in 2013 and was appointed to the President's Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

Hamilton is the best-selling and award-winning author of Creed, Half Truths, The Call, The Journey, The Way, 24 Hours That Changed the World, John, Revival, Not a Silent Night, Enough, When Christians Get It Wrong, and Seeing Gray in a World of Black and White, all published by Abingdon Press. Learn more about Adam Hamilton at AdamHamilton.org.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

WEEK ONE

WHEN DREAMS BECOME NIGHTMARES

* * *

Main Idea: God's vision of financial management brings joy that the American Dream never can and never will bring.

GETTING STARTED

Session Goals

This session is intended to help participants:

• consider ways in which the American Dream has become an American nightmare

• understand affluenza and credit-itis and why they are dangerous

• learn how our sin nature affects our yearning for more

• consider how a changed heart can lead to changed desires

• discover the connection between simplicity and financial and spiritual freedom

Opening Prayer

Dear God, the topic of personal finances is a challenging one for many of us. We struggle with unwise spending decisions, rising credit card debt, and dwindling savings. We wrestle with the desire for more stuff, newer stuff, and better stuff. We resist the call to simplify and give more generously. Open our hearts to receive your wisdom and guidance, and empower us to respond by applying what we learn in practical ways so that we may become wise managers of our money and possessions. Amen.

Biblical Foundation

Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

(1 Timothy 6:10b, NIV)

The lover of money will not be satisfied with money; nor the lover of wealth, with gain. This also is vanity.

(Ecclesiastes 5:10)

For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life?

(Matthew 16:26)

Opening Activity

Read aloud the excerpt from Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America (see Leader Extra: de Tocqueville's Observation of Americans). Consider how de Tocqueville's words, penned more than 160 years ago, are still descriptive of our nation today.

Ask:

• What are some ways we are "eager in the pursuit of immediate material pleasures"? List responses on a board or chart.

Discuss:

• Would you agree that the love of money is a primary or secondary motive behind most of what Americans do today? Why or why not?

LEARNING TOGETHER

Video Presentation

Play the DVD segment for Week 1, "When Dreams Become Nightmares."

Running Time: 15:24

Key Insights

1. We live in a world that encourages us to live beyond our means rather than be good stewards of our God-given resources.

2. When it comes to material possessions and money, we are not in a position to pass judgment on others, for we do not know their hearts.

3. For many people, the American Dream is a subconscious desire for achieving success and satisfying the desire for material possessions. Generally, it has come to mean consuming, acquiring, and buying.

4. We are affected socially and spiritually by two "illnesses" or conditions: affluenza and credit-itis. Affluenza is the constant need for more and bigger and better stuff. Credit-itis is the idea that we can have something now and pay for it later, which exploits our lack of self-discipline and allows us to feed our affluenza.

5. Most Americans spend money with very little self-discipline, saving less and spending more and more on credit.

6. A spiritual issue lies beneath the surface of our financial sickness: We have surrendered to the sin nature within us.

7. The starting point of the solution to our problem is a changed heart, which results in changed desires and a changed sense of life purpose.

8. As we allow Christ to work in us, seeking first his kingdom and striving to do his will, we begin to sense a higher calling to simplicity, faithfulness, and generosity.

Leader Extra: de Tocqueville's Observation of Americans

Alexis de Tocqueville (1805–1859) was a French political philosopher and historian of the nineteenth century. After traveling in the United States, he wrote Democracy in America (1835), which today is known as his major work and considered an early work of sociology and political science. In it, he offers this observation:

[Americans] are extremely eager in the pursuit of immediate material pleasures and are always discontented with the position that they occupy. ... They think about nothing but ways of changing their lot and bettering it. For people in this frame of mind every new way of getting wealth more quickly, every machine which lessens work, every means of diminishing the cost of production, every invention which makes pleasures easier or greater, seems the most magnificent accomplishment of the human mind. ... One usually finds that the love of money is either the chief or a secondary motive at the bottom of everything the Americans do. This gives a family likeness to all their passions and soon makes them wearisome to contemplate.

Group Discussion

1. What are some ways the world encourages us to live beyond our means? What challenges do you face when trying to save and be a good steward of your God-given resources?

2. Why is it dangerous to pass judgment on others regarding the way they spend their money? Read Matthew 7:1-5. What can we learn from these verses?

3. How do you think most people would describe or define the "American Dream"? How does this dream contrast with other "dreams" throughout our nation's history? How can this dream become a nightmare for people?

4. (Skip this question if you did the Opening Activity.) Read and discuss the Leader Extra: de Tocqueville's Observation of Americans. What are some ways we are "eager in the pursuit of immediate material pleasures"? Would you agree that the love of money is a primary or secondary motive behind most of what Americans do today? Why or why not?

5. In what ways do you struggle with affluenza and credit-itis? How are these "conditions" a problem for us as individuals, as families, and as a nation?

6. How do marketing and advertising campaigns fuel our yearning for more? What are some of the manipulative messages advertisers convey in order to get us to buy their products?

7. What are the root causes of our continual yearning for more? How is sin a part of the problem?

8. What role do you think God wants money and possessions to play in our lives?

9. How is a changed heart the starting point to the solution of our problem with money and possessions? How is this heart change both a one-time event and an ongoing transformation?

10. How has this discussion helped or challenged you?

Group Activity

The author suggests that as we allow Christ to work in us, we begin to sense a higher calling to simplicity and generosity. Have the group share responses to this question:

• If you were free from debt, how might you be able to use your resources to make a difference in the lives of others?

Write the responses on a large sheet of chart paper and post it in the room for the duration of the study as a reminder of the Kingdom work God can accomplish through those who learn to mange their resources wisely.

WRAPPING UP

Taking It to Heart This Week

Explain that there are two resources available to help participants with personal application each week. First, there is the Participant Handout, which includes application activities participants may complete at home. Participants will receive a handout at the conclusion of the group session for weeks 1–4. Explain that these activities are for personal use only and will not be shared with the group. Their purpose is to help participants get the most out of this study that they possibly can.

Second, there is the book Enough by Adam Hamilton. The video segments of this study bring together the main themes of the book. Those who read the book will be better prepared to participate in group discussions and activities. Invite those participants who have already purchased copies of the book to read Chapter 1 this week, if they have not already done so. They may choose to read Chapter 2 as well, if they like, in preparation for next week's session. Those participants who have not ordered/purchased copies of the book will want to do so now.

Notable Quote

"God has a plan for your life, and part of [this plan] is that you are fruitful, that you have a chance to do his kingdom work, and that you live into his will for your life. But our spiritual lives remain immature and unfruitful as long as we're pursuing the American Dream as the culture tells us to."

— Adam Hamilton

Closing Prayer

Lord, we confess that in many ways we have bought into the lie of the "American Dream," which says that success is defined by profits, portfolios, possessions, prestige, and pleasure. We struggle with the yearning for more, and often we try to satisfy this yearning by pursuing material things rather than pursuing you. Forgive us, Lord. Change our hearts, and correct our vision. Give us your perspective on money and possessions. Help us not to focus on all the things we wish we had, but to be grateful for what we do have. Teach us to wisely manage the resources you have given us so that when you prompt us to help those in need, we are free to do it. Enable us to live simply, to be content, and to give generously. Amen.

WEEK 1: WHEN DREAMS BECOME NIGHTMARES PARTICIPANT HANDOUT

Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

(1 Timothy 6:10b, NIV)

Key Insights

1. We live in a world that encourages us to live beyond our means rather than be good stewards of our God-given resources.

2. When it comes to material possessions and money, we are not in a position to pass judgment on others, for we do not know their hearts.

3. For many people, the American Dream is a subconscious desire for achieving success and satisfying the desire for material possessions. Generally, it has come to mean consuming, acquiring, and buying.

4. We are affected socially and spiritually by two "illnesses" or conditions: affluenza and credit-itis. Affluenza is the constant need for more and bigger and better stuff. Credit-itis is the idea that we can have something now and pay for it later, which exploits our lack of self-discipline and allows us to feed our affluenza.

5. Most Americans spend money with very little self-discipline, saving less and spending more and more on credit.

6. A spiritual issue lies beneath the surface of our financial sickness: We have surrendered to the sin nature within us.

7. The starting point of the solution to our problem is a changed heart, which results in changed desires and a changed sense of life purpose.

8. As we allow Christ to work in us, seeking first his kingdom and striving to do his will, we begin to sense a higher calling to simplicity, faithfulness, and generosity.

Taking It to Heart This Week

• Look ahead to next week's chapter, "Wisdom and Finance," and complete the Budget Worksheet at the end of the chapter.

• Choose one type of expense to track this week.

CHAPTER 2

WEEK TWO

WISDOM AND FINANCE

* * *

Main Idea: Biblical wisdom and basic money management principles are essential if we are to achieve financial peace and accomplish God's greater purposes for our lives.

GETTING STARTED

Session Goals

This session is intended to help participants:

• look closely at biblical principles of money management and learn how to apply them to their lives

• review common financial pitfalls and cultural traps and learn how to avoid them

• think about their life purpose — their vision, mission, and calling

• set goals that will enable them to utilize their resources in ways that are consistent with their life purpose

• develop a plan utilizing six basic financial planning principles

• consider how simplifying their lives can help them to get their finances in order and devote more of their resources to fulfilling God's calling

Opening Prayer

O God, we desperately need your guidance and instruction in order to become the wise money managers you desire us to be. We come today seeking your wisdom and your counsel. Open our eyes so that we may recognize the cultural traps we have fallen into. Teach us how to avoid the financial pitfalls that derail us from the path you would have us to walk. Lead us in setting goals and developing plans that will enable us to achieve financial peace and accomplish the greater purposes you have for our lives. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

Biblical Foundation

The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to want.

(Proverbs 21:5)

Precious treasure remains in the house of the wise, but the fool devours it.

(Proverbs 21:20

Opening Activity

Read aloud the following excerpt from Enough:

We live in a time of excessive materialism. Many people today are on a treadmill of consumerism, and that treadmill just keeps going faster and faster. But the day will come when either we are going to break down or the treadmill is going to break down, because we cannot continue to go faster and faster in our passion to consume.

Discuss:

• In what ways are we on a treadmill of consumerism — as individuals, as families, and as a nation?

Write responses on a board or chart, saving them for the group activity later in the session.

LEARNING TOGETHER

Video Presentation

Play the DVD segment for Week 2, "Wisdom and Finance."

Running Time: 18:30

Key Insights

1. Many of us have a bit of the prodigal son in us: We have the habits of squandering and wasting money.

2. As human beings, we have a tendency to focus on today rather than plan for tomorrow.

3. When our life purpose is having as much pleasure as we can in the moment, the things we do tend to become less and less satisfying until finally we come to a place where we're entirely dissatisfied — and often broke.

4. Two of the primary money-wasters we struggle with are impulse buying and eating out.

5. The rule-of-thumb regarding impulse buys is to shop for what you need only. Make a list, buy what you need, and get out of the store. If this is difficult, wait twenty-four hours before purchasing an impulse buy.

6. Society tells us that our life purpose is to consume; the Bible tells us that our life purpose is to love God and to love our neighbors as ourselves. Our money and possessions should be devoted to helping us fulfill this calling.

7. Being able to accomplish the greater purposes God has for our lives requires goal setting and planning.

8. Without a plan to reach our goals, we will revert to being prodigals. A plan gives us concrete steps that we can take to accomplish our goals.

9. Six financial planning principles can help us to become better money managers:

• Pay your tithe and offering first.

• Create a budget and track your expenses.

• Simplify your lifestyle (live below your means).

• Establish an emergency fund.

• Pay off your credit cards, use cash/debit cards for purchases, and use credit wisely.

• Practice long-term savings and investing habits.

10. Simplifying our lives enables us to give more generously and experience the joy that comes from living for something beyond ourselves.

Leader Extra: Three Types of Savings

Saving money is the number one wise money management principle everyone should practice. There are three types of savings we should have.

1. Emergency savings is an account separate from checking or long-term savings that is set aside specifically for emergencies.

2. Saving for wants and goals is setting aside money in advance for things we know we will need or want, rather than buying them on credit. For larger savings goals, routinely deduct a percentage from your paycheck and deposit this amount in a savings account or investment option. Set up a direct deposit so that the money is automatically deducted from your paycheck and deposited into the appropriate account. Do not have a debit card on your savings account, and do not link your savings account to your checking account.

3. Retirement savings accumulated throughout your career is a way to take advantage of the power of interest over time. Here is one retirement savings plan that begins at age eighteen: Set aside $25 per month for retirement, increasing that amount each year by $25 per month while in college. Upon graduation, add an additional $100 per month to this fund, bringing the total to $200 per month. If you do not go to college and begin working full-time out of high school, or if you are already in the workforce now, start saving $200 per month if possible. If you were to follow this plan from age eighteen until retirement, carefully investing the money in a ROTH Individual Retirement Account, you would have over one million dollars at retirement.

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "Enough Leader Guide Revised Edition"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Abingdon Press.
Excerpted by permission of Abingdon Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents

How to Use This Leader Guide,
Week One When Dreams Become Nightmares,
Week Two Wisdom and Finance,
Week Three Cultivating Contentment,
Week Four Defined by Generosity,
Week Five (optional, no video),
Epilogue: Living the Good Life,

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