Volume. XXIII, No. 15
Sunday, 12 October 2008

From The Pastors Heart: Money Crisis

Money matter is something that I am not familiar with.  However, recent headlines in the major newspapers talk about economic crisis all the time, and I cannot watch any news program without hearing about some economic woes here and there.  On Monday and Tuesday last week, the Dow Jones industrials suffered a decline of more than 875 points.  On Wednesday I heard that stock markets around the world had experienced record downfalls, and some countries had to halt all trading sessions.  Yahoo showed a list of new items on Friday, and one of them was titled, “How to keep your money safe.”  In fact, this title reminded me of Matthew 6:19-21, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.  Here is another financial report on Friday morning; “The Dow has lost 5,585 points, or 39.4 percent, since closing at 14,164.53 on Oct. 9, 2007. On Thursday alone, “Stocks lost more than 7 percent, $872 billion of investments evaporated,” in the US market alone.  By Thursday night, the Australian market lost $94 billion just this week.  Honestly speaking, I really do not understand how these markets work and function.  I really do not know what it means that those Dow Jones numbers have dropped.  Only one thing I understand is that somehow people have lost their money.  According to the US Congress’ top budget analyst, Americans’ retirement plans have lost as much as U$2 trillion in the past 15 months.  Though I am not concerned about the dropping numbers from the Wall Street (purely out of my ignorance), I am concerned that many retirees have lost their money.  “America\'s biggest financial institutions are struggling; hence, the great volatility in the stock market,” says Bob Walters, chief economist at Quicken Loans.  By noon on Thursday, the Australian share market was again lower than before, and the benchmark S&P/ASX200 was down 89 points, or 2.03 per cent, to 4299.1, while the broader All Ordinaries was down to 4022 by Friday morning.  Banks around the world have cut their interest rates but failed to gain investors’ confidence.  The British government announced 1.23 trillion dollars bail out plan for its major banks.  The German government assured the nation by insuring holding worth 771 billion US dollars.  The governments of Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg made emergency plans to save their banks.  Some reports say that Iceland is on the brink of bankruptcy.  So-called house bubbles are burst in Britain, Ireland, Spain, Italy, France, and Portugal.  In Australia, the unemployment rate has began climbing up. 

Once in a while, we can see despondent faces of stock brokers on newspapers.  It is not unusual to see stock market screens with red colour only.  Commodity prices have gone up, and people are struggling with their mortgage payments.  Some people compare current economic crisis with the great Depression in late 1920s.   None of these developments make us happy.  Instead, we are concerned about our savings and investment.  If we are about to retire, it is right for us to be concerned.  However, all of these downturns in our financial system are like large megaphones that God uses to speak to us.  Money is not something that we can eternally depend on.  Money, by definition, is “a current medium of exchange in the form of coins and banknotes.”  Or it refers to “property, wealth, possession, or resources.”  Money is something we use in order to get something.  It is related to something that we own and desire to possess.  It means that money is a necessity for our living.  We need money for food, house, clothing, education, travel, or anything we need.  Thus, money is not a problem per se.  However, money will be a significant problem when we begin to focus on it and live for it.  Such desire and focus just for more and more money alone is stated as “the love of money.”  For example, let me suppose that we rely on money, and we find joy and happiness in aggregating more riches and wealth, and money is on the top of our priority list.  If that is the case, by now we all feel terribly gloomy because of the stock market crashes.  Probably, when we see those red coloured numbers on the screens, we think they are our blood and feel like dying.  What economists are saying today is of the failures in our bank, economy and financial systems.  Without systems, credit market will not work, and our banks cannot be safe.  When our investments are diminished, and our bank deposits are not guaranteed, we are terribly upset and may experience sleepless nights.  Is that what you are experiencing now? 

Probably, our current economy crisis is far different from the Great Depression.  However, one thing we cannot ignore is that this crisis has happened because of excessive valuations.  Housing bubbles are burst because housing prices have been overly valued.  Likewise, the sub-prime mortgage crisis came to readjust the market with more accurate and realistic valuations.  People have trusted in inflated valuations of their investments and wealth, and when there is a reality hit they are in panic.  Likewise, people have overly trusted in money and wealth.  When money and financial crises come, they are totally lost and people do not know what to do.  When they realize that what they had once trusted is broken, they do not know how to rebuild their life again.  The very foundation of their life has been sunken into deep oceans.  When economy crisis comes and hits us hard, our life bubbles are burst, and our very foundations seem to he shaken.  It is because all of our values, goals, aims, and purposes of life have been rooted and grounded in money, money, and only money. 

From Christian’s point of view, this crisis is working for good for many who have put their trust in money, wealth, and riches.  This bubble burst will help them to refocus on eternal values that will not change.  They will be able to see that money is not something that will be trusted for ever.  Some people have said, “greed is good,” while the Bible says, “greed is an idolatry.”  The Bible does not say that wealth is sinful.  It is God who has given us ability to gain wealth.  Quite often, in the Bible God blessed His people in terms of wealth and riches.  There is a fine line between good wealth and bad.  There is a fine line between wealth as God’s blessing and as an object of idolatry.  Nothing is for us to gain more through prudence, labour, and good investment.  However, greed comes when gaining more money becomes our priority.  Thus the love of money overtakes us.  Then, we are setting an unrealistic goal for more profits, oppressing the poor for more gain, lying in our transactions, and doing irrational risky investments.  How many Christians have left their first love for God because of their bigger success in businesses, corporate profits, bigger chunk of retirement funds, and fatter saving accounts? 

As Adam Smith recognized, the economy is a moral reality.  However, in our personal and Christian life, the economy seems to be a spiritual reality.  The current economy crisis tests our values and spiritual virtues.  There is no way that we, a bunch ignorant of the economy, can fix this problem.  Though many governments are doing cooperative work to resolve the problems at the moment, they have not been able to do it so far.  However, the current crisis is an opportunity for Christians to refocus on right values.  Do not trust in wealth, and do not be consumed by the love of money.  Trust in God and seek for the kingdom of God and His righteousness first.


Your Pastor

More Lively Hope




Kitchen Rosters today - Team leader:Bro Phil Surman

Congratulations & God’s blessings: Bro Leonard Teo & Sis Suzanne Millard on their wedding yesterday in Compton, Quebec, Canada.

Bible Witness– Please help yourself to a copy

Important: Please invite your family, relatives, & friends to listen to Dr Carl Wieland speaking on ‘Creation & Evolution’. All fellowship groups encouraged to attend.

Sunday School Teachers’ Training Course: Members wishing to do this course, please contact Sis Josephine Wong. Current teachers & helpers are encouraged to do this course.

No Bible Class today & next Lord’s Day.

2009 YAF Committee confirmed: President: Clara Sim, Secretary: Tabitha Heah, Treasurer: Marion Chan, Committee Member: Daniel Ki.

Bro Richard Tee & Bro Joseph Lo are organizing a missions trip to Cambodia in Dec 2008. Anyone wishing to join this missions please see Elder Michael Lee


Looking Ahead

Installation of Pr David Weng as Pastor & Baptism on Reformation Sunday, 26 Oct

2008 BPNYC will be held 1-5 Dec 2008 (Melb)


Praise & Thanksgiving

Journey mercies: Rev Tracy Minnick (Qld), Rev Dr & Mrs Patrick Tan; Bro Jonathan Liao (Melb) Dn David Yeo &  his mum (Adl); Bro John (Adl) & Sis Josephine Wong (Adl/Melb); Bro Phil (Philip Is/Adl) & Sis Iris Surman (Melb); Chung & Gan families (Adl), & all those who arrived in safety.

Church activities: Bible Class (Rev Dr Patrick Tan); AFG Retreat (Speaker: Rev Tracy Minnick); AFG Bible Study; E-Ministry; Ladies’ Fellowship; Wed Prayer Meeting & Bible Study; YAF Bible Study.

Anniversary Thanksgiving: Rev James White & Strathalbyn Bible Christian Church

Salvation: Dn David Yeo’s mum recently


Prayer Items

Health & God’s healing -Rev George & Sis Nan van Buuren; Rev John & Mrs Christine McKenzie; Rev Peter Chua, Rev Peter Clements,  Rev Timothy Tow, Dr S H Tow, Preacher Zhang, Dn Yaw Chiew Tan, Dn David Yeo’s mother; Bros Tommy Brooks, Yew Shing Chan, Colin Creaser, S Dhamarlingam, Makoto Kobayashi, Raphael Ng’s father, Richard Pearson, Winston Selvanayagan, Mr Yeom, Hans Ziegelmann; Grandpa Ki; Sisters Myung Ki, Alice Lee’s father, Auntie Oei, Fiona Paauwe; Margaret, Dianne, & Sarah Pearson, Aranka Rejtoe, Susan Veradi, Irena, Giok Yeo’s sister-in-law; & others who are having chemotherapy & radiotherapy and those in affliction.

Missions in Cambodia (Rev David Koo & Life University); Kuching (Teo Family); Laos, India & Pakistan (Pastor & Believers)

Sketch n’ Tell Ministry - Pr H S Lim (WA)

Pastor Ki: future ministry.

Pr David Weng: ministry in Hope. Installation as Pastor on 26 Oct.

Baptism: Sis Judy Li

Journey mercies: Pr David Weng & Sis Susan Weng & Lizzie (Adl); Bro Colin & Sis Kathleen Creaser (SA); Sisters Min Yen Chia & Sheila George (Adl);& others travelling.

Job - Bro Cong Pham & Sis Judy Li.

Sister B-P Churches in Australia - unity & fellowship.



© Hope Bible-Presbyterian Church
14 Bedford Square, Colonel Light Gardens, South Australia 5041