I’ve learned one major lesson since being involved in ministry full-time. When God is about to do something amazing, be on guard. Something is sure to happen that will try to divert your focus and energy from what is important. This is what happened on our way to Las Vegas to do ministry recently.
During a short layover in Salt Lake City, my wife and I got off of the plane to stretch our legs. We had lived there for 9 years and wanted to see what had changed. While we looked in one of the small stores, my wife found some packaged salt that came from the Great Salt Lake. On the package they talked about “millions of years” so I told her to get it so I could use it in my talks. She also grabbed a pack of gum. Our $4.53 purchase took an interesting turn when my wife paid the bill.
The lady took the $50 bill and marked it with a pen. The mark turned black, and the mood changed dramatically (it was supposed to stay brown!). The next thing we knew, a supervisor appeared from out of nowhere and checked the bill. Then she informed us that the bill was counterfeit and called the police. You should have seen the look on the officer’s face when I told her we were on our way to Las Vegas—the money laundering capital of the world! I wanted to tell her that I was on my way there to preach but felt very awkward, given the circumstances. (I am sending her a letter, though, sharing with her all that happened since our encounter, and will try to witness. Please pray this will have an impact.)
By then, my wife and I were close to having a stroke. Our plane was less than 20 minutes from departing, and I was supposed to meet some friends in Las Vegas that night.
To make a long story short, we lost our $50 bill—half of the money we had with us for our trip (we have since had the money replaced; we found out that there has been a major problem with counterfeit money in the northern Kentucky area). But we were able to make the flight, just barely, and after a lot of talking with the ticket agents. They had already closed the door and didn’t want to let us on. Finally we made it to Las Vegas!
I spoke at Calvary Chapel Spring Valley while waiting for our Grand Canyon Raft trip. What happened there helped me to see the big picture more clearly.
There was an amazing turnout. We had been told to expect 350 people, but when I got up to speak they were still bringing in chairs. We were informed that nearly 700 folks showed up and they had to use an overflow area outside of the main auditorium. Praise God!
The people really responded that night. You could feel the Holy Spirit’s presence. It was very encouraging because I could tell that everyone understood our passion for the authority of the Word of God. When it was all over, four people received the Lord. I was overwhelmed.
After the talk one of the pastors shared how pleased they were with the response. He requested that I let them know if I ever return to Las Vegas, because they would like to have me speak again. What an honor!
Well, it just so happens that I am, in fact, going back to Vegas to speak at a dear friend’s church on July 9, leaving the evening open. Spring Valley has been gracious enough to allow me to speak at their evening service and will be broadcasting it live, globally, via their website. If you would like to “tune in” that night, please go to their website’s live message section and press the Sunday evening service button. We’ll start at 6:00 pm (CT). I will be speaking on “Racism: What Is the ‘Biblical’ Answer?”
If Satan could have had his way, the Salt Lake incident would have totally gotten me out of focus and upset. My wife reminded me afterwards how we’ve seen this over and over again since going into the ministry. When bad things happen, expect God to do something amazing!
If you are having challenges in your life, let me encourage you: God is in control. There is a plan and a purpose for what you are encountering. God will never give you more than you can handle. Trust Him to bring you through and allow Him to teach you through the circumstances. He tells us in His Word:
And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope (Romans 5:3,4).
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