If you would like to read part one of my Vegas story, you can find it here. Thanks.
Day One of the conference set a tone. In light of the recent shooting in Las Vegas, security was high. 9,000 people entered an auditorium and NO BAGS WERE ALLOWED. The conference gave everyone a drawstring, but that was about all that was allowed. Some ladies with large purses were turned away.
Attendees entered through an airport type scanner with the command to have everything in your pockets in your hand and held above your head. Following that, you were then scanned with a handheld metal detector. Then, you went through another area where you had to scan your attendance bracelet. If successful, it pulled up your name on a screen, and you were finally able to enter the convention. If you left to get food or drink, you had to go through the entire process again. While annoying, I didn’t mind the extra level (or 3) of protection in light of the past Vegas (and recent) school violence.
Despite the long lines, no one seemed to mind. Even after the security check, the same high energy continued. Questions like, “Where are you from? What do you do? What’s your why?” were prevalent.
The ushers led me up an elevator and to my section of the arena. I had the best seat in the house. It wasn’t on the floor. It wasn’t close to the stage. In fact, it was as far from the stage as possible. I was in an upper balcony that provided lots of room to walk around to stretch, and the bathroom was close by and never crowded. I settled in and quickly met the guy beside me, a young Medicaid auditor named Jesse. With my insurance filing background, we hit it off.
After an overly long and self-indulgent introduction, Grant Cardone spoke. Oddly enough, he didn’t really speak a lot over the four days. He left most of the talks to the other two dozen or so guest speakers. Of note, the conference was three days long, and you could pay extra for the fourth, but I declined.
Cardone began with such statements as,
“Meet a new you.”
“There’s nobody pushing you. You can do more. If you know you can do more, you have to do more. If you don’t, you will have this big hole inside.”
The following speaker, billionaire Jordan Zimmerman, continued the theme. He said,
“Never say I wish I would have. Never say I wish I could have. Excuses are lies we tell ourselves to feel better.”
I began to think that perhaps the whole conference was going to be a humanistic disaster. But a few speakers later, Ed Mylett spoke. Ed Mylett is a performance coach and CEO of World Financial Group. Ed was different. He talked about what it meant to be an evangelist and compared the drive and calling of an evangelist to one’s workplace. His faith was clear as a motivator and as an accountability factor for how he did business and how much business he did. It was refreshing.
Several other speakers presented throughout the day: Brad Lea, Forbes Riley, Andy Frisella, etc. Some were inspirational, some combative. Whether the people in the crowd resonated with the speakers or not, each challenged the audience to quit accepting mediocrity. They challenged everyone to seek the best for themselves and their families. Each appeared to genuinely want everyone in the crowd grow.
I left that afternoon exhausted. There was so much data to take in, and I had a lot to process through the grid of scripture and prayer. I met a few people earlier in the day, but having dinner together wasn’t an option. Two doctors and I scheduled a run for Day Two.
But what that all meant was I had an evening in Vegas to myself.
I couldn’t decide where to eat. There were so many options. I took a tram over to the Luxor, looked at their options, and still couldn’t decide. So, I struck out down the strip. I tried to Facetime Amy and the girls to show them the sights, but I couldn’t get a good connection. Instead, I called and sent a few pics.
To be honest, I was lonely, but I did make up my mind where to eat: Gordon Ramsey Burger. My household loves the MasterChef shows, and if Gordon Ramsey was going to make a burger, I wanted to eat it.
Located in Planet Hollywood, I stood in line for about thirty minutes and realized that my body thought it was around 11pm, not 8pm. Lonely, hungry, and tired. I needed to eat and get home as those three are dangerous combinations in Vegas.
I was seated at the kitchen bar which basically is a row of seats for people dining alone that looks out over the kitchen (which was a picture of efficiency). It was good entertainment for this weary traveler. The menu looked amazing, and something exotic was to my liking. I decided on the Forest Burger. The Forest Burger featured tremor cheese, seasonal forest mushrooms, arugula, and duck bacon. I also went with the Truffle Parmesan Fries which they suggested should be eaten as an appetizer. The waiter was shocked I didn’t order a drink. Honestly, I was so tired, I couldn’t imagine anything worse for me at that point.
The fries came out, and please hear me. If you know me, you know I am given to hyperbole, but this next statement is the honest truth. Those were the single best fries I’ve ever had in my life. Don’t get me the wrong, the burger was ridiculous, but those fries? Forget about it.
Not quite stuffed, I ordered a Brown Butter Caramel Pecan Shake to go. “To Go?” Yes, everyone in Vegas walks around with a drink in the hand. Mine was probably the only one that was a milkshake.
On the twenty-minute walk home, I tried to process everything. Does the church do a good enough job of encouraging people to grow? We always talk about spiritual growth in terms of prayer, study, evangelism, etc. Those are good things, but does the church encourage people to grow in their careers and goals to the greatest of their ability? Have we given these areas of growth to the world for them to deliver the message in their wrapping?
I crawled into bed with a mind that was more awake than my body. I was excited about running with new folks in the morning, and there were some speakers the next day that were potentially exciting.
Who knew that the next day would be the day with the most tellable story?
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