Thank God I Didn’t Hit the Powerball Jackpot!

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You didn’t win the Powerball Jackpot? Me either.

I’ve been wondering what I would do with my life had I had hit the jackpot.

First, I would figure out how I could strategically, intelligently, and in a God-honoring way give away a good chunk of the earnings. I think that would be really fun to see how God can bless Kingdom ministries!

Second, I would not stop working. I would be bored out of my mind if I didn’t have something to do. Besides, I love what I do. I would pastor for free.

This got me to think about my calling and my salary. Being a pastor is great. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some really crappy things that happen. If I didn’t have to depend on the paycheck for being a pastor to keep living the lifestyle I currently live, how would I deal with the crappy situations?

I would like to say that it is my calling that keeps me pressing through crappy situations. But if there was a way to evade crappy situations, would I have enough resolve to press on through the crap? I want to believe that I would. I really want to believe that.

Here’s the thing about crappy situations. Growth and maturity rarely happen without crappy situations. In fact, crappy situations often lead to seasons of growth and health.

But crappy situations are really crappy. They are stressful, uncomfortable, yucky, crappy, terrible, miserable, yuck, yuck, yuck, yucky…you get the point. Crappy situations suck.

One of the first temptations in a crappy situation is to run, bolt, get away, quit. What keeps me and other pastors through crappy situations is our calling.

So I would like to think. I really want to believe that to be true.

But, I am not sure.

There have been some really, really crappy situations where had I been given an opportunity to leave and still support my family, I probably would have. You see, crappy situations really suck. And I don’t like crappy, sucky situations. I would much rather avoid them. Even knowing that most crappy, sucky situations led to my growth, if an opportunity to avoid them were available, I would probably eventually choose to avoid them.

So even if I were working as a pastor without a salary, had I won the jackpot, I am not sure how many crappy, sucky situations I would have stuck around for. I think the temptation to quit on pastoral ministry and do the giving money away full-time would have been too great.

All that to say, “Thank God I didn’t hit the jackpot!” You see, that’s why I didn’t win. Thank God I don’t have to deal with that temptation!

What would you have done had you hit the jackpot?

You Can’t Do Anything!

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You can’t do anything.

I mean it. You can’t do anything.

I am sure you are quite competent in certain things. You might even be an “expert” in a particular field. Some of you are quite talented in the arts, fixing computers, arguing court cases, plumbing, teaching, etc.

One of the strangest stories in the Bible is Numbers 21:8-9:
The LORD said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived.

The Israelites were wandering the desert. They still had decades to go before they would enter the promised land. Going around and round the desert. I get it. It would be pretty depressing. So, what do people do when they are stuck? They complain. And, the Israelites were really good at complaining! People are really good at complaining. You and I would have complained too.

“Why did God bring us out to the desert to just have us marching around in circles. There’s no water in the desert. There is no food in the desert. Oh those onions! I, so miss those sweet onions of Egypt!” (I added the onions part. I don’t even like onions. Who would ever miss onions?!?!)

God punished the Israelites by sending poisonous snakes. People were dying.

When they repented, God told Moses to make the Bronze Snake and put it on a Pole.

Snakes are always bad in the Bible. It was the serpent who messed everything up in the Garden of Eden. Why a snake? I don’t know.

But the thing that is really astonishing is that the only requirement to be saved from death was one thing: Look at the bronze snake.

  • Ouch! I’ve been bitten! I’m dying – No you’re not! Look at the snake

Check out the people who were saved that day – good people, bad people, sexually impure people, sexually pure people, old, young, smart, not so smart. There could have been rapists and murders. The only requirement to be saved was to look at the snake.

Being saved had nothing to do with people. It had everything to do with believing in God’s remedy for death – looking at the snake.

You can’t do anything.

Salvation was totally dependent on the promise of God that those who looked upon the serpent would be saved.

Now, check this out:
Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:14-16).

You can’t do anything. You can’t do anything to be saved. It’s all grace. It’s all God. The only thing you need to do is to believe in God’s promise and look at crucified one.

Look at the crucified one. His name is Jesus.

Believe in Jesus and be saved.

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If You Want to Know What God’s Will for Your Life is, Read This

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I know. That’s a pretty audacious claim. I get it. I bet you rolled your eyes when you read the title. Didn’t you! It’s okay. I would have too.

It sounds absurd for anyone to assert they know God’s will for others. But, I am asking you give me three minutes to read the rest of the blog.

I am certain I know God’s will for your life and mine.

“What is God’s will for my life?”

If you are asking this question, I can safely assume the following:

  1. That you are a follower of Jesus Christ
  2. You believe God created you for a reason and placed you on this planet earth at this particular time to accomplish God’s purpose
  3. That you are not sure what that reason or purpose is yet

Typically, when people are asking such a question it is because they are facing an important decision in life:

  • Should I marry him/her?
  • Should I take the new job offer?
  • What should I study in college?
  • etc.

It is good to ask God for guidance. But how do we know? How can we be certain what God’s will is?

I don’t know the particulars of whether you should marry him or her, or whether you should take the new job offer even though it might mean moving away from family and church.

But I do know one thing with absolute certainty about God’s will for your life.

AND I think it’s because we don’t get this part right that we get so many other things about God’s will confused in our lives.

Ready? Want to hear?

Here you go – God wants you in the disciple making business.

Whatever else it is that you are doing, if you’re not making disciples, that is not God’s will for your life.

You don’t have to ever wonder if this is God’s will or not. This is absolutely God’s will for every Christ-follower. God wants every follower to be about the business of making new disciples.

This poses a serious problem for us. How many of us Christians have shared our faith with someone and led someone to choose to be a disciple of Jesus Christ?


I know. Not many of us. And that’s a serious problem.

Perhaps, the answer to who shall I marry, what shall I study, should I take this new job opportunity lies in the making disciple thing.

I am suggesting that you answer such life questions by asking which of these things will help you to make disciples more effectively?

  • Will marrying him/her help me to make disciples?
  • Will choosing this career use all my God given talents and gifts so that my life can be used to make disciples as a teacher, engineer, plumber, electrician, lawyer, doctor, etc?

Perhaps, when we clearly prioritize the disciple making part of God’s will in our lives, decisions about other life questions will become clearer. Perhaps when we see all things in our life as a tool and an instrument to help us to be about making disciples that the questions to the particulars become crystal clear.

“Go and make disciples of all nations. Baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:18-19)