I Got a Golden Ticket!

July 31, 2012 | 33 comments

So the first thing you need to know is this: I’m used to asking for things that I’m pretty sure I’ll never get.

Things like asking to interview — oh, say — one of the biggest names in the Christian music industry.

“Dear Ms. Giglio,” the email began. “I am writing to request an interview with Chris Tomlin in advance of his ‘If Our God Is For Us’ stop in Sioux Falls, S.D.”

Yes, that Chris Tomlin. The one who has been named Male Vocalist of the year three times at the Dove Awards. The guy who wrote songs like “How Great is Our God” and “Jesus Messiah.”

I hit send, and vowed to never to admit to anyone that I actually did something this ridiculous.

And then I waited.

I knew a response was unlikely. I was correct.

(Insert sound of chirping crickets here.)

Mr. Tomlin was, after all, kicking off a nationwide tour. On Wednesday, he was nominated for six Dove Awards. He had interviews with reporters in places like Minneapolis-St. Paul on the same day an Iowa farm wife with a little blog sent in her absurd request.

But this is the crazy way I’ve landed all sorts of interviews with people like Shimon Peres, George Bush and Al Gore and a guy named Denny who once attempted to eat a 205-ounce steak at a central Iowa restaurant.

Of course, back in those days, I actually had press credentials and a paying job at a metro newspaper. So people generally returned my phone calls.

You can take the girl out of the newsroom, but you can’t take the newsroom out of the girl.

So I asked.

This story does not end with me landing an interview with Chris Tomlin.

But this story isn’t over:

Four of us — Joni, Renae, Michelle and I — attended Mr. Tomlin’s concert in Sioux Falls, S.D. last night. We showed up early, because a local Christian radio station offered a candy bar to the first 1,000 people at the door. Golden tickets lay hidden inside five of those candy-bar wrappers. Bearers of the five tickets would get a chance to meet speaker and Chris Tomlin.

The four of us convened a meeting outside the doors. We plotted our most efficient strategy. Each of us went in through a different door, as if this would increase our odds. We would met on the other side to unwrap the candy together. On the count of three …

Our hopes were dashed. No golden ticket. We felt like Charlie Bucket after news broke that a Paraguayan millionaire had won the last golden ticket to see Willy Wonka.

But Charlie’s story didn’t end there. And neither did ours:

We took our seats in section U, behind a guy with a bad cold and a “Got Jesus?” sweatshirt. We were giggling and snapping pictures and acting like a herd of hyenas let loose from the zoo.

The guy in front of us turned around, smiled politely and said this: “You guys look like you’d enjoy this more than I would.” And then, he handed us a coveted Golden Ticket.

(Insert Willy Wonka “Golden Ticket” song here.)

I looked over my shoulder for Slugworth.

And then, the concert began, and we worshipped, and it was heavenly, and we joined all of creation in praise. And, really, it felt like the whole room had sampled Fizzy Lifting Drinks.

After the concert, we were ushered into the Wonkavator — er, back stage — where we met Chris Tomlin and Louie Giglio. And they were gracious and sincere. Louie asked how we four knew each other. And Renae answered on our behalf: “Through Jesus. And that’s the honest truth.”

We took photos. Chris — we’re on a first-name basis now — signed our CDs and T-shirts with a Sharpie.

I didn’t get to interview him.

I had a hundred questions for him about how he sees God and how he enters into worship and how he views every celestial sound as a piece of symphonic praise. I didn’t get to tell him about what the song Exalted (Yahweh) means to me. I didn’t say anything profound or wise (no surprise there). But we did get to thank him for his Christ-focused ministry of music.

Because here’s the deal: the real golden ticket isn’t the one that gets us a back-stage pass. It’s the one that assures us of our shared inheritance in the kingdom of Light. It’s the everlasting Gobstopper of all Everlasting Gobstoppers.

(Take that Slugworth.)

Have you come by for God-Bumps & God-Incidences? Splendid! Pick a button below, add it to your post, then link up! Be sure to visit a few other folks in the list. That’s half the fun. ๐Ÿ™‚




Reposting from the archive today …

by | July 31, 2012 | 33 comments


  1. Michele-Lyn

    What a gloriously fun post! Definitely got God bumps ๐Ÿ™‚ You all looked so full of joy — just beautiful!

  2. ro.ellott

    What a great story… I love when God just decides He will lavish some extra measure of Love and Grace on us…and the joy of receiving is on your faces. fun and lovely post

  3. amy@to love

    wow jennifer! that is an amazing story. i love it! and my eight year old son is standing here oozing smiles and a bit of envy ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Susan (Runnermom)

    Jennifer!!! How amazing! What a God moment! So excited for y’all. Thank you so much for sharing this story and love the pics!! Take care my friend. Love ya!

  5. Joe Pote

    Awesome story, Jennifer!

    It may have been a repost, but it was still the first time I’ve read it.

    Thanks for sharing!

  6. Christina

    Having just read and watched Charlie with my son, I appreciate the golden ticket analogy:) God is so amazing in the way He gives us blessings! What a great experience to meet Chris Tomlin with your friends!

  7. Cindy

    I was riveted by this story. (Did you know you have a way with words?) LOL I can just picture how much fun you and your friends were having.
    Isn’t it wonderful to know that by believing in Jesus, we all can get the golden ticket to end all golden tickets! Thank you for reposting this story.

  8. Susan

    What a fun story, Jennifer!! And I’m so glad it had a happy ending, even if you didn’t get an interview. And I must say that you girls were lookin’ mighty FINE ๐Ÿ˜‰

  9. Jillie

    Me too…first time to read this re-post. Really fun and exciting story of meeting Chris Tomlin! Yes, I too am excited to know we hold a winning gold ticket to one day meet the King of kings and Lord of lords! Where we will have the biggest, blastingest worship service EVER! Thanks Jennifer. Y’all look sooo happy and I know you had the bestest time ever!

  10. Sheila Seiler Lagrand

    Oh, Jennifer, I so needed a lift when I popped in this morning. Boy, did you deliver!

    I love this description of girls’ night out:
    “We were giggling and snapping pictures and acting like a herd of hyenas let loose from the zoo.”

    And I love how even in the Wonkalicious story about attending a concert, you end up pointing us to Him.

    Always, you point us to Him. Thank you.

  11. Mindy @ New Equus - A New Creation

    Oh my! What a TOTALLY AWESOME story! Being a praise and worship leader I LOVE Chris Tomlin’s stuff…and we do a lot of it. What a blessing for all of you! ๐Ÿ™‚

    And because we are all one in Him…it doesn’t matter whether we have a national tour or are a group of friends seeing one. He loves us ALL the same!

  12. Lauren @mercyINK

    What a FANTASTIC story!!! God is so good! Those little surprise blessings are just icing on the cake ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Would love for you to share your story with the HEART&HOME community at http://www.mercyinkblog.com! And thanks so much for hosting the link up again ๐Ÿ™‚


  13. Sandra Heska King

    Oh yeah. I missed this one, too. Your farm wife heart just overflows with God bumps. And the way you tell the story. I’m telling you for at least the 1000th time–I wish I could sit in one of your classes!

  14. Shaunie Friday

    Jennifer, there is nothing I don’t LOVE about this post!! God-bumps indeed, Girlie!! “Itโ€™s the everlasting Gobstopper of all Everlasting Gobstoppers.” No theologian ever said it better!!

  15. Laurie Collett

    Love this post! God delights in giving good things to His children, in His perfect timing!
    Thanks for hosting the link-up and God bless,

  16. Sherrey Meyer

    What an awesome reminder that we each hold a Golden Ticket! Thanks for a boost to my morning. ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. Dolly@Soulstops

    Hooray, for the Golden Ticket, and THE GOLDEN TICKET! Love that you had such a great girls’ night out ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. Elizabeth, wynnegraceappears

    Jennifer, this is a beautiful story and you tell it masterfully. Beautiful pics of you and your peeps. Love that you shared this with us. That wonderful smile of yours…..gift. And God Bless the sweet soul who shared. What a precious gift that night.

  19. Tereasa

    How exciting! I especially love how you wrapped it all up in what really matters. Our inheritance is imperishable. Wonderful!

  20. Jason Stasyszen

    I could feel your joy as I read this, Jennifer! It’s infectious! ๐Ÿ™‚ Great story and point.

  21. SimplyDarlene

    good night irene!

    what a God-grande story!!


  22. Cheryl Smith

    Are you kidding me??? Outstanding! And you just make me smile, from your first audacious request to the last God-worshipping/God-honoring words. I love you top pieces JDL. And in #dude style – #FISTBUMP!

  23. Michelle Eichner

    How fun!! I hope they did the “How Great is our God” rendition where all creation – the stars and whales – sing together. Love, love, love! ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. kendal

    i did an audible gasp when i read the part where you got the ticket!

  25. Pam

    An amazing story… and wow, George Bush and others! I was smiling all through this, thinking of how God gave me boldness to ask for an interview with someone famous and the gift He gave through that. (Maybe it’s time for me to step out that way again…) I love the unexpected twist of your getting this ticket! God’s blessings on all your writing and interviews to come! Keep taking those bold query letter steps!

  26. Alicia

    Oh, Jennifer, I’m laughing with you as this awesome story of grace and lavish love- your pictures capture the awe so well. Keep aiming high. I love it when He hands us that ticket we didn’t expect.

  27. floyd

    How cool is that!!!!! Unbelievable! But then again, God is in the “Unbelievable business!!! Way cool.

  28. Megan Willome

    I’m actually more impressed that you met Louie and Shelly. Before Passion, it was Choice, and it was in Waco! Louie probably saved my life back in college. And you have, too, so it’s good that you two can visit now.

    Time for you to head to Atlanta …

  29. Laura @Pruning Princesses

    You tell a story so well. I love it. What a great bonding experience with your friends–don’t you think that is what God was doing? Strengthening those bonds. I’ve been to Okoboji twice this summer…I wonder if you are near by.

  30. Julie

    Jennifer, I love how God cares about the details in our lives. I love your allusions to Mr. Wonka, but also the way you used your pictures to tell the story.

    Thanks for the reminder and for the joy in celebrating with you God’s goodness.

  31. Dayna DeLaVergne

    Jennifer, I’m so thankful I found your blog! I *always* enjoy reading your stuff!

    Don’t you just love how our God works??!! Much more exciting for him to answer you in that way! And there’s no doubt it came from Him! I tell people that God’s theme song is the old “Twilight Zone” song.

  32. Rebekah

    Jennifer, I am glad you linked to this great story! I love it when a story unfolds like that!



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