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Lottery Losers

May. 15, 2015By: Darren CarlsonAuthor Bio

Winning the big one does not guarantee anything.

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Jack Whittaker: This West Virginia businessman won $315 million in the Powerball lottery in 2002, the largest jackpot ever from a single ticket in American history at the time. After being robbed of $545,000 in cash while at a strip club, Whittaker's granddaughter and daughter were later found dead, and Whittaker was sued by Caesars Atlantic City casino for bouncing $1.5 million worth of checks to cover gambling losses.

Juan Rodriguez: This New York City parking attendant was earning less than $30,000 in 2004 when he won $149 million in a Mega Millions drawing. But soon after taking the lump sum option of $88 million, his wife filed for divorce and was awarded half of his winnings.

Fred Topous, Jr.: Topous won $57 million, the seventh-largest jackpot in Michigan state history in June 2008, but eventually took a $33 million lump sum. The convicted sex offender, who was released from prison in 2006, needs to register as a sex offender until 2024.

Billy Bob Harrell, Jr.: This preacher working as a stockboy at Home Depot struck it rich in 1997, winning $31 million in Texas' lottery. Some 20 months later, after divorcing his wife and buying a half-dozen homes for relatives, he committed suicide using a shotgun.

Jeffrey Dampier: In 1996, Dampier and his wife won $20 million in Illinois' lottery and used the money to buy relatives homes and to start a gourmet popcorn shop in Florida. Nine years later, Dampier was kidnapped and killed by his sister-in-law and her boyfriend who targeted him for money.

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Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/03/29/lotterys-biggest-losers-big-wins-dont-equal-better-lives/#ixzz1qcD5cyMe

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Does Your Budget or Your Mission Run Your Organization

Apr. 9, 2014By: Darren CarlsonAuthor Bio

Planning a budget is always a difficult thing for churches and organizations. It can bring out all sorts of tension, especially between numbers people (typically accountants) and big vision people (typically vision castors of the organization). The accountants often need a little more faith while the big vision people need a leash put around their neck.

Before your next budget cycle, consider Bill Bright as told by Steve Shadrach:

Each director laid out to the others what he or she believed God wanted to do through their particular ministry the next 12 months. No one was allowed to mention how much different programs might cost until after they had prayed, discussed, and agreed on the overall Crusade ministry plan for the upcoming year. Then, and only then, did they start attaching price tags. Afterward, Dr. Bright would draw a line under the total and say something like, “Here is what we believe God wants us to do throughout the world this next year. The total is $246 million. Now let’s trust Him and go out and raise those funds to fulfill this vision.”

Do you see the difference? Budget pulls one train, vision the other. One way is focused on what things cost, the other on how to fulfill the mission. Sometimes a person will ask me how much a certain project or equipment or materials or training costs, and I’ll shoot back, “It doesn’t matter, because we’re going to spend whatever it takes to fulfill God’s calling for our ministry."

 Shadrach, Steve (2011-03-25). ViewPoints: Fresh Perspectives on Personal Support Raising (pp. 17-18). The Bodybuilders Press.

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