Lesson 1

Bring Your Whole Heart

Money can be managed with


Whole Heart Video

Money Problems

money problems


Money is consistently listed as the number 1 source of anxiety for Americans.


Money is consistently listed as a top reason for divorce and the number issue that couples fight about.


There are more payday loan storefronts than McDonald’s storefronts.
The average American debt balance for credit cards, auto loans, and student loans is $13,510.


Roughly 60% of Americans would not be able to pay for a $1,000 emergency with savings.

Half of American households over the age of 55 have no retirement savings.

The Traditional Solution

Gain wealth through personal financial planning.

This solution may create margin and eliminate debt burden, but it often does not fix anxiety and conflict issues.

Justin Bieber

It’s hard to get out of bed in the morning with the right attitude when you are overwhelmed with your life, emotions, finances, your relationship.

Net worth: $285 million


I’m scared about not having enough.

A bus driver about to retire with a net worth of over $1 million.  She gained wealth through wise personal financial planning, and, yet, was still scared.

Latrell Sprewell

Why would I want to help them win a title? They’re not doing anything for me. I’m at risk. I got my family to feed.

Latrell Sprewell turned down a $21.4 million contract with the Timberwolves because it wasn’t “enough” to feed his family.

The Hidden Problem

“During the conquering days of King Charles, an edict was issued that all citizens of King Charles should now become Christians. This edict went out all over Europe. Upon hearing the edict, people were obliged to get baptized. One particular group of people, marching soldiers about to wage war on a neighboring kingdom, felt the urgency to get baptized, so they marched towards a near-by river. As a priest led them through the baptism ritual, these soldiers decided to do a very peculiar thing. They raised their swords high in the air, and allowed all of their bodies to get wet, except for their hands that held their swords. They left their sword hand unbaptized since they had no idea how to reconcile their life as a solider with a life surrendered to Jesus Christ.”

We are not unlike these soldiers in that we often have no idea how to reconcile our money life with a life surrendered to Jesus. Except, instead of swords, we have unbaptized bank statements!

So, a separation has occurred:

Money Life

Jesus Life

This solution requires us to take on full financial responsibility

This is bad, since we were never meant to take bear this heavy burden

It is the hidden cause of anxiety and relational problems related to money.


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Activity: Money Quiet Time

Complete Activity on PDF Worksheet (High School)
Dane Ortlund, in his book, Gentle and Lowly, describes the two main steps of being a Christian:

Step 1: Go towards Jesus
Step 2: See step 1

For this exercise, we want to go towards Jesus with our money life. In doing so, we want to break any separation we may have formed between our money life and our Jesus life.

Money Quiet Time

  • Write down 5 of your latest purchases that you have made the past couple of weeks, from food and clothes, to entertainment and shopping.
  • It is true that you may spend money unwisely. The first step to improving your money life is to experience the love and favor of Jesus, which is not contingent on how good you are. In all of your spending, your first (and most important) response should be to see:
  • How Jesus is PRESENT with you.
  • How Jesus is SUPPORTIVE of you.
  • How Jesus is actively PROVIDING for you.
  • Soak in these first three truths and let gratitude and praise rise up. Actively push away any thoughts about judgement.
  • Now identify two of the financial goals below that are most exciting to you.
    • Own a home.
    • Buy a car with cash.
    • Pay for kid’s education.
    • Provide for my parents.
    • Get out of debt.
    • Go on an international vacation.
  • Next, spend some time with Jesus asking him to reveal how these two financial goals will help you love Him and others in a deeper way.
  • Finally, think about all of your financial responsibilities. Think about worries over paying bills, getting a good paying job, and doing all the right financial things.
  • As all of these thoughts flood your mind, begin to meditate on the following 3 money promises of God:

God as our Shepherd

“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23

God as our Father

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” Matthew 6

God as our Owner

“The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it.” Psalm 24

“He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” Romans 8

If we bring our whole heart to Jesus and baptize our money lives, does that automatically mean we must tithe 10%?

Giving Video

The 10% Box

Wooden Box

We need to communicate our money lives with Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
Too often we shut down communication by putting Jesus in the “10% tithe box.”

  • 10% of my salary goes to Jesus
  • The other 90% is mine: hands-off Jesus!

3 problems with this solution:

Not Biblical

  • Israel gave more like 20%-33% of their income when all of what was required is added up (Levitical tithe (Lev 27:30-32; Num 18:21,24), annual festival tithe (Dt 14:22-27), and tri-annual poor tithe (Dt 14:28-29).
  • Tithing was taught in order to bring about control. 
    • Council of Tours in A.D. 567, and in the Council of Macon in A.D. 585, a penalty of excommunication was prescribed for those who did not adhere to this ecclesiastical law.

Not Followed

  • Average giving among Christians is 2.5% of income and “tithers” make up only 10-25% of church congregations.

Not Grace

  • When commands to give are provided in the New Testament, the tithe is never mentioned.
  • When nudging the Corinth church to give more, Paul explicitly says that giving is not a commandment, but something that “benefits us.” (2 Corinthians 8-9).

2 Seas

dead sea sea of galilee

Dead Sea

  • Jordan River fills it up
  • It’s dead to all life

Sea of Galilee

  • Jordan River fills it up
  • It’s teaming with life

Why the difference?

The Sea of Galilee gives what it receives, whereas, The Dead Sea has no outlet.  It is obsessed with accumulating.

Notice that the Sea of Galilee sustainably gives – it is still a sea (actually a lake), and does not bleed out all of what has been given to it – it manages its resources.

John Stott says, “What dominated Jesus’ mind wasn’t so much the living his life but the giving of it.”

May our money lives obsess about having a generous outlet.

But what if giving seems too scary or irresponsible
given your hard financial situation?

Enjoy your riches

Most financial planning, with its focus on saving as our ultimate priority reinforces an impoverished viewpoint:

It’s natural presumption:
You do not have what you need, so you must plan to get what you need.

The Apostle Paul introduces another way to think: We are already RICH!

“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though** he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. And in this matter, I give my judgment: this benefits you, who a year ago started not only to do this work but also to desire to do it. So now finish doing it as well, so that your readiness in desiring it may be matched by your completing it out of what you have.” 2 Corinthians 8

**John Barclay, a Pauline scholar, suggest that this word should be ‘because’ and not ‘though’, which transforms this passage:  “Because he was rich, he became poor so that you might become rich” means that:

  • Jesus’ riches are his generous nature
  • We are now rich in generosity because of Jesus’ riches
  • We are now meant to enjoy our newly acquired riches for this benefits us!

Activity: Giving streams

Complete Activity on PDF Worksheet (High School)
  • If we are the Sea of Galilee, with the Jordan river flowing through us, we should strategize (and dream) about our streams helping to bring about God’s Kingdom to parched places.
  • As we give, we should align our giving with our talents and time (i.e., time, talents, treasure). We should never separate ourselves from our giving.
  • You should also give where you have strong empathy. Often God gives us experiences where we were vulnerable and needed help, and then equips us with empathy and a passion to help those people who we can identify with.
  • Because we should all be invested in our local church, it is a good general guideline to make sure our giving to our local church is at least 50% of our total giving and at least 10% of our salary.
    • Please do not make this a rule…just a helpful reference to start the conversation with the Lord and your community.

Activity: 7 ways to give

There are many ways to enjoy our riches in generosity.

It is a mistake to presume that a 10% tithe is the only way to enjoy our riches in generosity.  Giving is meant to be:

  • Highly personal
  • A response to the grace of Jesus Christ
  1. How you give should seek to match your personality and passions.
  2. Choose the giving system(s) that sound like the most fun to you!
  3. Feel free to choose more than one system. I personally practice 3 of them.

First Fruit %

Give % of income.

Ex: Give 15% of every paycheck

First Fruit $

Give $ amount

Ex: Give $200 every month

Giving Goal

Give certain amt. by a certain time.

Ex: Give $1 mill by age 70

Increase % every year

Increase giving % ever year.

Ex: Increase giving % rate by 1% from previous year, every year.


Give a % of left-over income after core expenses paid to sustain lifestyle.

Ex: Give 50% of anything left over. Save the other 50%.

Lifestyle Cap

Spend only local household income

Ex: Spend and save no more than $65,000 each year, which is LA’s household median income, give the rest away.

Financial Finish Line

Give all income made above a certain finish line amount.

Ex: Give all income made above $110,000 each year.


Unorganized spending habits, debt and bad credit all get in the way of us enjoying our Jesus-given riches in generosity. Next, we will learn about how spending plans help enable sustainable outlets of generosity.

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