God told me

Did you hear the one about the preacher who reported to his flock that God told him that he needed a new $65 million jet? Did you hear that his last name is ‘Dollar’? It made the news last week. It seems that his old jet is just worn out and he needs another one. Jesus wants him to have it. He wants 200,000 people to give $300 a piece so he can purchase a Gulfstream G650 to “cover the world with the Gospel of grace.”

Now, why didn’t I think of that? I need to get some new dreams. I’m not living large enough.

Actually, I do need some new dreams. It wouldn’t hurt at all if I lived larger. I’m not talking about the ridiculous or absurd. Prosperity theology like the good reverend is pushing does ensure prosperity … for the peddlers of same. I am referring to the impact each of our lives can have when we open ourselves to new possibilities, new challenges.

In 2000, Bruce Wilkinson published a book about the prayer of Jabez. Jabez is mentioned in 1 Chronicles 4 as a very distinguished man who petitioned God to bless him and enlarge his territory. Much was made of the book, both positive and negative. Some claimed it was similar to prosperity theology. Others would agree with the author who posted an article on allaboutprayer.org which read, in part: “Jabez wants to succeed and increase his sphere of influence. The prayer reminds us that everybody struggles with choosing to rely on himself or God. Jabez challenges each of us to ‘attempt something large enough that failure is guaranteed, unless God steps in’ (Wilkinson).”

Are we willing to “expect great things from God; attempt great things for God” like missionary William Carey once said? Jabez also asked God to keep from all harm so he would not experience trouble and pain (2 Chron. 4:10). While it would seem that you cannot do great things without trouble and pain in this world, Scripture says that God granted the request of Jabez. Will He do the same for us?

Paul wrote to the Philippians: “Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus” (4:6,7).

While it may not mean that a $65 million jet will be parked out on the front lawn, it might suggest that God wants to do something mighty in us as well as through us. Expect … attempt, it’s a matter of trust. “For I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13)

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About Mark Wilbanks

Dr. Wilbanks became Wieuca’s fifth senior pastor in February of 2012. Mark’s father, Oliver Wilbanks, served as Associate Pastor here from 1966 to 1982. Wieuca had a tremendous influence in shaping Mark’s call to ministry during his teenage and young adult years. A graduate of both Southern and New Orleans Baptist Theological seminaries, Mark has served churches in Kentucky, Florida, and Georgia. He pastored Southside Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida for 17 years and Bradfordville First Baptist Church in Tallahassee, Florida for ten years. He and his wife, Kim, were married in 1979 and have two sons, Andy and Jordan. Andy is married to Lindsay and they have a son, Cade, a daughter, Ruthie, and welcomed their third child, Samuel, in October.

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