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I Gave to the Lotto
Scripture: 1 Timothy 6:7-10; Matthew 25:16; 1 Thess...
I find it interesting that Christians actually believe God would be happy about all that money being donated for the use in the Kingdom when the act of playing the Lotto is really un-Biblical. Why would God honor something that does not truly glorify Him Many will say that this simple and harmless act is not something for Christians to get all bent out of shape over. Some say, I played $1.00; how could $1 dollar be all that bad and seriously, do you really think God cares. But is it only just about $1.00 or is there a whole lot more behind it

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Mike Nobis Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.

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I Gave to the Lotto

This week marks the beginning of a very special campaign for MPCC. 20 some plus years ago this congregation set out on a journey to do what it took to advance the Gospel in Quincy and to intentionally make changes that would cause growth to happen. In fact the congregation back then decided to remove any barrier that kept the church from growing. The truth is, the Church, if it is truly led by the Holy Spirit will grow automatically. I personally feel that a lack of growth is directly related to the absence of the Holy Spirit within a local church. What prevents the Holy Spirit from working? At least in our case we had barriers that prevented us from growing and the solution was easy, identify the barriers and remove them.

I believe God honored those decisions back then that led to where we are today. MPCC has grown but we are now faced with some of the same problems we had back then. The issue at hand is to remove the things that will prevent us from growing. One of the key barriers is our lack of space in our building to grow. How we respond will directly affect our potential ministry opportunities and those we will meet to share the Gospel. This is what our campaign is all about, the direction, the plan and how we finance the plan God wants us to follow.

Mega Millions lottery; how great would it be if one of our members won the winning ticket? I caught myself thinking and wondering what I would do with all that money and how I could affect the lives and ministry of others. I could easily pay for the construction cost to help expand this building and to pay for the second location as well. Putting that amount of money in to the hands of our colleges, missionaries and churches would be powerful for Christ. It sounded so right but Biblically, it is so wrong. It goes against the principles God created in us.

From everything we learned from Abraham and Sarah, what was the one key principle that stood out to you? God has a plan and doesn’t need man’s help to make it better or to help it along. Everything should happen the way God planned and everything happens on God’s time table.

I find it interesting that Christians actually believe God would be happy about all that money being donated for the use in the Kingdom when the act of playing the Lotto is really un-Biblical. Why would God honor something that does not truly glorify Him? Many will say that a simple and harmless thing is not something for Christians to get all bent over about. I played $1.00; how could $1 dollar be all that bad and seriously, do you really think God cares? But is it only just $1.00 or is there a whole lot more behind it?

What do you say? How many feel this is no big deal? How many say we have to be very careful? Why do you feel the way you do?

Yesterday three tickets were chosen worth over half a billion dollars. Lottery agents in New York were selling 1.3 million Mega Millions tickets per hour Thursday. Officials were expecting to sell about 1.2 billion tickets total before the drawing. Americans spend about $60 billion on the lottery every year,” says Stephen Dubner, co-author of “Freakonomics.” “More than $500 per American household goes to playing the lottery.” (CBS This Morning)

Why do you think people play the lottery? What is their ultimate goal? How do they think their lives will be changed? Is this dangerous way of thinking? Why?

There are at least seven reasons you should not gamble with your money in this way — and should tell other Christians the facts about the practice:

1. It is spiritually suicidal.

The desire to get rich is full of dangerous issues. This desire also makes us vulnerable to temptation and can lead us into foolish traps:

1 Timothy 6:7-10 But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

Why are we called to contentment? Does God not want us to enjoy the opportunities that are at our disposal because we have worked hard and are successful? Why is this something that can kill the spiritual life we have? How does it do that?

2. It is a kind of embezzlement.

Someone explain to me what embezzlement is? How can this be compared to embezzlement? What does the Bible say about this?

Managers don’t gamble with their Master’s money. All we have belongs to God. All of it. Faithful trustees may not gamble with a trust fund. They have no right. The parable of the talents says Jesus will take account of how we handled his money. “They went and worked”

Matthew 25:16 The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. So also, the one with the two talents gained two more.

How many of you after you win 100 million dollars would go back to work and continue to work at your same job? Is this a wise thing to do? How does God want us to provide for ourselves?

1 Thessalonians 4:11 Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.

3. It’s a fool’s errand.

What is an errand? A short journey undertaken in order to deliver or collect something, often on someone else's behalf. What then is a fool’s errand? It actually is used in a military sense; a special assignment that is given to a person or group; "a confidential mission"; "the charge was deliver a message" But the errand was a fruitless mission or undertaking.

The odds of winning are nearly 176 million-to-one. I heard someone say that you have a better chance in being mugged by a vending machine than winning that lotto. You take real money and buy with it a chance. That chance is so infinitesimally small that the dollar is virtually lost. 175,999,999 times. Some will ask, “How can this be like a fool’s errand? I invested such a small amount of money on this chance?” The small investments more often are like a fog to keep you from seeing what is happening. You invested in nothing, you fool yourself.

4. The system is built on the necessity of most people losing.

The Lottery is just another form of gambling (without any of the glamour and glitz of Las Vegas, of course). The “house” controls the action, the players will all eventually lose.

5. It preys on the poor.

Who do you think is the target of most lotteries? Who do you think plays the lottery the most? Why?

It supports and encourages “yet another corrosive addiction that preys upon the greed and hopeless dreams of those trapped in poverty. . . The Consumerist suggested that poor people in the U.S. — those earning $13,000 or less — spend an astounding 9 percent ($500 a year) of their income on lottery tickets. . . making this ‘harmless’ game a ‘deeply regressive tax.’” Imagine if the poor saved that 9% and set it aside to be used for future needs?

6. There is a better alternative.

A survey by Opinion Research Corporation for the Consumer Federation of America and the Financial Planning Association revealed that one-fifth (21 percent) of people surveyed thought the lottery was a practical way to accumulate wealth. We are teaching people to be fools.

If the $500 a year that on average all American households throw away on the were invested in a growth fund each year for 20 years, each family would have $24,000. Not maybe. Really. And the taxes on these earnings would not only support government services, but would be built on sound and sustainable habits of economic life. In addition, how would the church be helped if they tithed the income? In most cases, these people are the one asking for help rather than being a help to others.

7. For the sake of quick money, government is undermining the virtue without which it cannot survive.

A government that raises money by encouraging and exploiting the weaknesses of its citizens escapes that democratic mechanism of accountability. As important, state-sponsored gambling undercuts the civic virtue upon which democratic governance depends.

Right or Wrong: If you win, tithe your lottery winnings to the church. Wrong

So, if you win, don’t tithe your lottery winnings to the church. Christ does not build his church on the backs of the poor. Pray that Christ’s people will be so satisfied in him that they will be freed from the greed that makes us crave to get rich.

How is playing the lottery to help win finances for the church a lot like the decision Sarah and Abraham made concerning Ishmael? What can winning the lottery destroy within your life and within your church should you win?

What is the difference between taking a gamble and having faith?

Hebrews 11:1 What is faith? It is the confident assurance that something we want is going to happen. It is the certainty that what we hope for is waiting for us, even though we cannot see it up ahead.

Effective faith is quiet certainty. Two words describe faith: sure and certain. These two qualities need a secure beginning and ending point. The beginning point of faith is believing in God’s character—he is who he says. The end point is believing in God’s promises—he will do what he says. When we believe that God will fulfill his promises even though we don’t see those promises materializing yet, we demonstrate true faith. We invest on what is real and the return that is real, not on something that probably will lead to nothing, and worse, ruin.