Help/Advice for a furloughed federal employee

  1. Pray
  2. Get to Church
    1. We need God and Gods Family
    2. Look to God as your provider and live by faith in tough times.
    3. We need a support group who will listen, care, guide and help us.
    4. They may be able to provide some assistance
      1. Reality: they will not provide you a replacement salary or pay a house payment
        1. Churches usually do not have that kind of funding for one member and most churches will serve many with needs.
        2. But, they maybe able to provide $50-100 to help with a few groceries or have a food pantry.
      2. Examine where your money is going,
        1. Create a budget
          1. You may be surprised how much money is spent on snacks, entertainment, habits, hobbies, etc that are NOT a priority right now.
          2. Focus your grocery shopping on absolute necessities, store brands and search out those coupons and sales.
          3. Tobacco, beer, alcohol and the like are unnecessary drains on your budget. Now is a great time to quit.
          4. Now is not the time for that trip, that upgrade to your truck, a new TV, remodel project, new clothes, etc.
          5. Cell-Phones, internet, Cable TV, Netflix, etc. are not necessities, especially when funds are low.
        2. Focus on essentials
          1. Family
            1. Food (Find local food pantries)
            2. Housing
            3. Electric, Gas, Water
            4. Vehicles
            5. Urgent Medical needs and supplies
          2. Student loans, Cable, credit cards or other bills may need to wait until pay is restored
            1. Contact the companies and explain the situation to them
              1. They may ask for proof of federal employment or other documentation but may provide relief
          3. Look for things you can sell
            1. I know it may be tough but that Motorcycle, Boat, Exercise machine or (gulp) fancy gun you have may be nice but they are not the priority right now.
            2. Have a garage sale or yard sale. (check your local government for rules)
            3. Don’t sell necessities that you will have to spend money to replace.
            4. Remember your kids, they may have too many toys but don’t hurt them by selling them all. Don’t make them think your families survival depends on them selling all their toys.
        3. Find a second job/Replacement income
          1. Mow grass, babysit, pet sit, utilize a skill you have to create or repair something (arts and crafts, wood or metal projects, home or appliance repairs, etc)
        4. The absolute LAST thing you should do is get a loan or break out that credit card.
          1. You will get back pay, true
          2. You will NOT get reimbursed for interest charges
            1. Interest will only drive you deeper in debt after the shutdown is over
          3. I have heard of a few banks offering interest free loans for 60 days and others offering low interest. Check the small print.
        5. Begin NOW to budget and prepare for the NEXT Furlough
          1. Build up an “emergency fund” of 3-6 months of your take home pay for any emergency expense including the next shut down.
          2. Reign in your “everyday” spending
          3. Try living under your means in order to provide for your short term and long term needs.

What can Churches, neighbors and others do to help

  1. Pray
  2. Give more to your church
    1. Speak to your Pastor/Staff about possibilities
      1. Your church may have a food pantry
      2. Maybe they can provide “gift cards” to a local grocery store, gas station, etc
    2. “earmark” your gift for federal employee furlough ministry
      1. Or whatever your church may call their ministry to furloughed workers
    3. Most of us can afford to give a little extra to help.
  3. Help your neighbor
    1. The scale of this issue is HUGE
      1. No one or group can do everything needed
      2. BUT, if we all do a little bit…help who we can under God’s lead and provision…we can make a HUGE impact.
    2. Help your neighbor where you can
      1. Take them a bag of groceries with a note thanking them for their service to our country
      2. Fill their tank with Gas
      3. Pay one of their utility bills
      4. Take their family out to eat
      5. Gift them with a “gift card” from a local grocery store, Walmart, etc.
      6. If they have started a service or “side business” use them to cut your grass, etc.
      7. I know there are some “preppers” out there who have a supply of MRE’s or Freeze Dried food out there – Share a portion with a family in need.
  • There may be a thousand other ways to help, but these should get you started
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ideas for furloghed workers

12-23-2018                  Christmas – Just the Right Time

Galatians 4:1-7 “Think of it this way. If a father dies and leaves great wealth for his young children, those children are not much better off than slaves until they grow up, even though they actually own everything their father had. They have to obey their guardians until they reach whatever age their father set.  And that’s the way it was with us before Christ came. We were slaves to the spiritual powers of this world. But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law.  God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children.   And because you Gentiles have become his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, and now you can call God your dear Father.   Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, everything he has belongs to you.”

Christmas is a wonderful time of the year, or as the song says “It’s the MOST wonderful time of the year.”

Christmas is the right time for:

  • Time
    • Time is our greatest gift
      • Time for family
      • Time for friends
      • Time with God
    • Food
      • Yeah, go ahead and eat those cookies!
      • Christmas Calories are the good calories!
    • Family
      • Christmas should be a family time
      • It is also the right time to try to restore broken relationships
        • Yes, even with that uncle or 3rd cousin
    • Friends
    • Spend some time with your friends
      • Maybe seek to repair some problems in those relationships as well
    • Faith
      • What better time to seek Jesus than on His Birthday!
        • Look for Him among the glittery lights, artsy cards, brilliant trees and nativity scenes
        • If you look for Him He will be found

Why?

  • Because God knows your need for His Son
    • He knows if you’ve been sleeping
    • He knows when your awake
    • He knows if you’ve been bad or good
      • SO REPENT for heavens sake
    • We were slaves to this world and it’s evil control
      • We were “Hades bound with the hammer down”
    • At JUST THE RIGHT TIME – Christmas
      • God sent us a gift
      • A gift that would last more than a day or a season
      • A gift that would last forever!
    • Through the Baby and His Death and resurrection we have
      • Freedom Forever
      • Life, NEW and ETERNAL
      • Become one of the Kings Kids
    • Our ABBA Father gave us a great gift
  • Isaiah 9:6-7 “For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. And the government will rest on his shoulders. These will be his royal titles: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His ever expanding, peaceful government will never end. He will rule forever with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David. The passionate commitment of the LORD Almighty will guarantee this!” NLT
    • Christmas is just the right time for Jesus
      • The King has come to save, secure, serve, help, heal, hold, comfort, care, commit, restore, redeem, energize, encourage, bring life, hope, peace and love; all through Faith.
    • DO YOU HAVE THE TIME? – NOW is just the right time for Jesus

Once there was a time when nothing existed; everything was missing.

The darkness was all there was before the throne of God.

God created everything, including us and He gave us light.

We had the Word, God spoke to men thru the prophets, the Scriptures, dreams and experiences… miracles.

We had Old Testament Times. The days of David, Daniel, Isaiah and so many more standing for God.

Then the people lost their faith, the temples were corrupt and the days were very dark. For 400 years we walked away, lost in this worldly darkness with very few people daring to speak of God.

Spiritual darkness had flooded the earth.

God knew this darkness had fallen and the rebellion of the people of His creation. His heart aches and His love acted.

God gave His wayward creation a second chance….. or another chance. He gave us the opportunity to begin again. He gave us Jesus.

Once again God intervened for those He loved: He sent His Son Jesus to be born in a Bethlehem barn and laid in a feed trough.

This birth was announced by angels and by a new light in the sky. The Light is the World had arrived, come and see.

This season we celebrate the return of the Word, the return of Love for God …. the return of THE Angel of the Lord. Today we celebrate the coming of Jesus Christ. John 1

That light is here for you today. No matter what form the darkness has taken on your path, whether it be relational, financial, spiritual, physical or some other dark form, the light is here for you!

Come and see.

12 9 2018       The bad of Christmas

This time of year we all like to celebrate the GOOD part of Christmas.

John 1:1-5; 14  “In the beginning the Word already existed. He was with God, and he was God. He was in the beginning with God.  He created everything there is. Nothing exists that he didn’t make.  Life itself was in him, and this life gives light to everyone.  The light shines through the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it….So the Word became human and lived here on earth among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son of the Father.”  NLT

The Word becomes flesh, God with us.  Emmanuel.

But we don’t want to be honest about the bad part of Christmas.

Yes, Christmas has a bad side

Reality/ Murphy’s law usually sets in hard
Someone’s sewer will back up
Someone’s heat/AC will go out
Someone’s beautiful light display will fail…at the wrong time
Unrealized expectations
Don’t get the gift you want or need or can even use
Don’t get the reaction you want
Don’t enjoy the day as you planned
Stuff that happens during Christmas
Someone will cancel
Someone will over imbibe
Someone will fight or argue
You know that someone’s pets are gonna tear the tree down!
All your hard work will seem to have been wasted on in laws and outlaws who don’t appreciate everything you have done

Where does Christmas go bad?  How can such a joyFULL season take such a drastic turn…..downward?

When we lose focus on the WHY of Christmas – CHRISTMAS GOES

Christmas goes bad when we lose sight of WHO the season is about!

Learn from Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-42 “As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a village where a woman named Martha welcomed them into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was worrying over the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.”  But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are so upset over all these details!  There is really only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it — and I won’t take it away from her.”  NLT

Christmas isn’t about gifts, or lights or Mistletoe
Christmas isn’t about meals, or snacks or even pie
Christmas isn’t even about time, schedules or travel,
Christmas isn’t about you!

Christmas is about The birth of Jesus! God with us!
In a manger now               Growing up among us
     Dying for us in a few short years            Rising again to save us
Here, With us here today
In us      Around us      Above us       
With us!

Christmas is also about the REASON for the REASON for the SEASON

We had really messed up

God wanted us to have a relationship with Him, an ETERNAL relationship

So He sent His Son as a baby, to be with us, to teach us the right way, to show us the better way and finally to die so we could travel that ONE WAY to God.

Messiah: The Promised deliverer of the Jewish Nation

Luke 2:8-14 “That night some shepherds were in the fields outside the village, guarding their flocks of sheep.  Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terribly frightened, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news of great joy for everyone! The Savior — yes, the Messiah, the Lord — has been born tonight in Bethlehem, the city of David!  And this is how you will recognize him: You will find a baby lying in a manger, wrapped snugly in strips of cloth!”  Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others — the armies of heaven — praising God:  “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to all whom God favors.” NLT

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11-18               Content and ThankFULL

Philippians 4:10-20 “How grateful I am, and how I praise the Lord that you are concerned about me again. I know you have always been concerned for me, but for a while you didn’t have the chance to help me. Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to get along happily whether I have much or little.  I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need.  But even so, you have done well to share with me in my present difficulty.  As you know, you Philippians were the only ones who gave me financial help when I brought you the Good News and then traveled on from Macedonia. No other church did this. Even when I was in Thessalonica you sent help more than once.  I don’t say this because I want a gift from you. What I want is for you to receive a well-earned reward because of your kindness.  At the moment I have all I need — more than I need! I am generously supplied with the gifts you sent me with Epaphroditus. They are a sweet-smelling sacrifice that is acceptable to God and pleases him.  And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.  Now glory be to God our Father forever and ever. Amen.”   NLT

America has become a CONSUMER SOCIETY

  • We all want more….better…faster….newer…shinier
  • We all want the newest and the bestest
    • We seem to never BE CONTENT
    • We never seem to be THANKFUL for what God has provided.
  • Paul was thankful for everything he received
    • Ministry funding
    • Relationships
  • Paul was THANKFULL and CONTENT with what he had
    • Happy when he had much
    • Happy when he had little
      • It really did not matter to Paul – He was good.
    • How?
      • He KNEW He could do ANYTHING and EVERYTHING with the help of Jesus Christ
      • Gave him strength
        • With a full belly
        • With an empty belly
        • With plenty of support
        • With very little support
      • Paul was able to do everything God had for him to do THROUGH Jesus Christ.
  • Does this mean we can drop giving for the Cooperative Program or Vocational Evangelists and just tell them to have more faith?
    • NO
    • Paul told the church at Philippi that:
      • They had done WELL to share with him
      • No other church supported him as they did
      • Their gifts made a DIFFERENCE FOR THE KINGDOM!
        • They needed to know that God led them to give and their gifts were important gifts of faith and obedience to God
          • They were a “sweet smelling sacrifice” that made God smile
  • Paul was content and thankful with everything God supplied him through the churches he served.
    • I am Thankful for this Church
    • I am Thankful for faithful members
    • I am thankful for those who visit
    • I am thankful for those who take initiative to get things done
      • A ministry
      • A project
      • A hug and compassionate ear
        • Self-motivated folks serving God by serving here at First Baptist
      • Are we?
      • Are you?

Be Grateful     Be PraiseFULL           Be ConcernedFULL

Be ContentFULL       Be ThankFULL          Be FaithFULL