Winning Big in the Game of Life!

Welcome to the Launch Program of Carson Valley Christian Center; we have been preparing and planning for this day for months.  And, we’re glad you’re here!  If you are visiting with us today for the first time and do not have a Bible, we would like to give you a special gift today.

The great theologian Alice in Wonderland said this, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there”.  Or, as someone else put it, “If you aim at nothing, you’ll almost always hit it”.

For many of us here today, the road to success seems like that. Many of us Baby Boomers are stressed out about success.  We want to do well in life, to grab hold of the brass ring. George Gallup, a long time researcher of American values and life experience did a survey and found that the number one factor causing stress among baby boomers is not that we don’t have enough time, or enough money, or that we have relational conflict.  No, he found that our number one source of stress is what he called incongruent values.    That’s when we say we believe one thing and then we act in very different ways.  The gap between what we say is important and how we live causes that stress.

So just what is Success for us today?  A recent(1/20/98) USA Today poll indicated the following things associated with success:

-83% Satisfied with your life
-80% In control of your life
-78% Have a good marriage
-69% Really good at your job
-66% Can afford what’s important
-63% Have successful children.

This morning, I want to help us understand what it means to be a lasting success.  What does it means to “Win Big in the Game of Life”? George Barna, a demographer hired by many companies for his marketing insights has recently suggested that more and more people now believe that they are responsible only to themselves; that they determine their own destiny on the basis of their decisions and capabilities; and that simple acknowledgment of the existence of a universal spiritual force is sufficient to appease that force(p. 27..What Americans Believe)

I’d like to contrast the view of “pop culture” with a lasting source of truth and values.  In the Bible in Proverbs 21:21 it say this “He who pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor.”  That is a pretty good definition of success and Winning Big! The Bible is a source of consistent and lasting truth that helps us to navigate the course of our lives in a way that is consistent with the maker of the Universe.  The Bible teaches us that God is not an impersonal life force, but rather that He is a personal God who desires for us to know Him, and to experience real joy and fulfillment in our lives.

 Jeremiah 29: 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

But rather than seeking God, most folks in our world today are trying to “Win Big” by taking other paths.  Let’s look at three of the most common paths on which people travel seeking for success:

1. Possessions. We intuitively know that this is a dead end street.  It was Howard Hughes who was asked “How much is enough?  His response was “A little bit more”.  Your net worth and your self worth have nothing in common.  Your values and valuables have nothing in common.

Luke 12:15  Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

2. Pleasure.  Going for each new level of high.  Experience after experience attempting to keep the rush at peak level. Pleasure is fine, but it is the result of doing what God wants you to do, not the goal of your life.  If you make it the goal of your life, it will evade you. And it clearly leads to self absorption and a treadmill kind of existence.

Maybe you saw the Calvin & Hobb’s cartoon: Calvin says, “I’m at peace with world and I’m completely serene”.  Hobbs:  “Why is that?”.  Calvin “Because I’ve discovered my purpose in life.  I know why I was put here and why everything exists.”.  Hobbs:  Oh really?, Calvin:  Yes, I am here so everybody can do what I want”.  Hobbs:  It’s nice to have that cleared up.  Calvin:  Yes, and once everybody accepts it, they’ll be serene too”.

3. Prestige.  Dress to impress.  “Watch me”.  This is the attempt to gain success by how other people react to you as a person; hoping that your importance and position will secure your sense of success.  And yet this road clearly does not lead down a secure path either.


Let’s look at a definition of success that will get at that “one thing” that Curly was talking about: Here is one way of saying it: Success is the feeling I get when I live out my values. Michael J. Fox in “Secrets of My Success” said “Success lies not in achieving what you aim at, but in aiming at what you ought to achieve”.

In order to aim at the right targets, we need to recognize that God made us for a purpose.  He has invested in you.  He expects a return.  Some day, there will be an audit of your life.

A…The day is coming when God will judge all of us.  And so, each of us must give an account to God for what we do. Romans 14:10, 12

There are 3 Questions that people have asked throughout the ages.  Knowing the answers to these will prepare you for that accounting and help you to “Win Big in the Game of Life”

  • Who Am I? This relates to your Identity

-You are a child of God, made to know and love Him.  This is the beginning place where Winning Big becomes a possibility. Proverbs 9:10″The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

  • Do I Matter? This relates to your Importance

-God made you to be in relationship with Him, and to be part of His team; You matter to God.

Philippians 3: 13  Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,14  I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

  • What am I Here For? This relates to your Impact

1 Peter 4: 10 Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.

Calvin cartoon…”God put me on earth to accomplish certain things.  Right now, I’m so far behind, I’ll never die.”

Once we’ve dialed in our understanding on those 3 critical questions, how then do we guarantee “Winning Big in the Game of Life?”  Here are 3 action steps that will get you personally down the road to Winning Big:

1) Believe that God has a purpose for your life…Proverbs 16: 2  All a man’s ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the LORD.3  Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.

2) Receive God’s Son into your life.  Ephesians 1: 4  For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5  he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will–

3) Commit your life to God-it’s the best investment you could ever make.

Mark 8: 36  What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?37  Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?.  What are you giving your life for?

Why Should I commit my life to God?…4 quick answers

  • Because God shaped you for a purpose-Galatians 1:15
  • Because God know’s what’s best for you-Jeremiah 29:11
  • Because You’re grateful for your salvation-II Timothy 1:9
  • Because God promises to reward your commitment-Proverbs 29:6

4 Things that keep us from this commitment:

  • Short term values
  • Past failures
  • Self absorbed
  • Fear

Christianity is either false and not worth the effort and energy, or it is the one thing that makes “Winning Big in the Game of Life” possible over the long haul.  C.S Lewis once said, “The only thing that Christianity cannot be is moderately important”.

Jesus himself put it this way:  Matthew 6: 19  “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

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Dr. John Jackson is the President of Jessup University. He’s the author of 10 books, the most recent being “Grace Ambassador”. He’s a transformative leader, committed to equipping believers and fostering change in their local communities… Read more

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