Gordon Goes to Vegas Part Two

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?

Gordon

Gospel Rich Books

If you would like to learn more about Gospel Rich books, we offer a host of challenging and encouraging resources.  You can find them below:

Gospel Rich Books Amazon Catalog

Monthly Gospel Rich Journal

Gospel Rich Books Blog

And to enable more writers to publish their works, we offer the BestSeller Template which is a publisher ready resource that authors can cut and paste their works into to make them Amazon ready. 

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Sheep, Wolves, Snakes, and Doves – Gordon Goes to Vegas Part One

“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” Matthew 10:16

I spent the last part of the past week in Las Vegas at the 10XGrowthCon.  The 10XGrowthCon is exactly what it says it is.  It is a convention that is supposed to teach anyone doing anything how to they can grow it by 10X. 

The conference was hosted by Grant Cardone, a sales and real estate expert, and included such speakers as The Shark Tank’s Daymond John, Michael Jordan’s coach, Tim Grover, Oprah’s life coach, Tim Storey, and the list goes on and on.  There were no seminars and very few breaks.  From 845am until 6 or 7pm each night, speaker after speaker encouraged, rebuked, inspired, and of course, sold their goods.  Who signs up for that kind of thing?  Lots of folks.  10X’s first year was 2017 and 2,000 people showed up.  Year Two?  Over 9,000.

So, why did this pastor, writer, consultant, etc. go to the 10XGrowthCon in Vegas?  Well, just as being a Christian is not a requirement to being a good engineer, it doesn’t take a Christian to know how to grow something.  Principles of growth in such things as social media, technology, etc are ever growing and rapidly evolving.  What a growth conference in Vegas does require is a lot of discernment.  As a Vegas virgin, I learned a lot.

The first thing I noticed was that everyone, not just people at the conference, but everyone was amazingly honest about what they were doing.  What happens in Vegas may stay in Vegas, but while you are there, everyone’s life is fair game.

Even as I waited at the airport in DC, this attitude was prevailing.  I heard buddies talking about what they would do at their bachelor’s parties.  I heard bunches of ladies talking expectantly about their girl’s getaways.  Some were making fun of the other for what happened last time, and others were saying that they were going to have to look out for so-and-so who gets a little too crazy in Vegas.  This excitement continued upon arrival, people jubilantly disembarked the airplane, and some couldn’t wait to start throwing money in the slots in the terminal.    

Within fifteen minutes on the ground, my Uber driver was telling me about Vegas and his personal devotion to the science of the mind.  When he found out I was a pastor, he opened up about the physical and emotional abuse that he suffered at the hands of the church.  My heart was broken for him, and I expressed as much Gospel compassion as I could after having traveled for nearly ten hours. 

All this, and the conference hadn’t even started yet. 

While Vegas is showy and full of lights, there is one thing about it above all with which I struggled.  The smell.  Casinos allow everything:  cigarettes, cigars, vaping, and even pot.  The smell was everywhere.  On a side note, they even have coffee shops where the grounds are laced with cannabis.  Going up or going down?

Day One of the conference, I woke up at 4am since my body hadn’t adjusted to Vegas time yet, and since my marathon is less than three weeks away, I decided to get my long run in:  a half marathon.  From the Mandalay Bay to one end of the strip is nearly five miles.  It goes further, but the more I got away from crowded neon, the less safe I felt.  I ran the five back, took my photo at the legendary “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign, and found three more to finish off the run.  One note:  it’s true that Vegas is the city that never sleeps, but I can attest to this.  The folks walking home at 4:30am might be awake, but they are definitely on their last legs.

Walking into the first day of the conference, I was blown away.  9,000 people, as diverse as the United Nations, joyfully greeted each other.  They asked about backgrounds, professions, and dreams.  It was refreshing and energetic.  Certainly, there were some professional piranhas in the water, but the overwhelming majority were upbeat, encouraging, and offering free, helpful advice. 

And in very Vegas style, the conference began…

Tune in for Part Two.

Gordon

Gospel Rich Books

If you would like to learn more about Gospel Rich books, we offer a host of challenging and encouraging resources.  You can find them below:

Gospel Rich Books Amazon Catalog

Monthly Gospel Rich Journal

Gospel Rich Books Blog

And to enable more writers to publish their works, we offer the BestSeller Template which is a publisher ready resource that authors can cut and paste their works into to make them Amazon ready. 

Gospel Rich Books to Release Spurgeon Classics in the “Pocket Spurgeon” Series

Nearly every pastor references Charles Haddon Spurgeon.  In fact, Spurgeon is where many a pastor goes to find an answer to their Biblical and theological questions.  Surely, he has been quoted in sermons more than any other pastor.

But for too long, Spurgeon’s works have been regulated to academia and the pulpit.  The irony of that fact is that Spurgeon preached to an estimated 10 million people in his lifetime.

Gospel Rich Books hopes to put an end to that irony by releasing a series entitled, “Pocket Spurgeon”.  Pocket Spurgeon books hope to make the impactful words and sermons of C.H. Spurgeon more accessible, by creating editions that are easy to carry and even easier to read.

These books are intended to be bite-sized morsels of his works that can be digested in 90 minutes or less.  They are easy to carry and even easier to read.  No paraphrasing has occurred. What you will read are Spurgeon’s words.

Hopefully, this series will expand and many of his great works will become more accessible in the day to day lives of the laity…just as Spurgeon wanted it.

Our first release is entitled, “The Hold Fast”.  “The Hold Fast” is a sermon (No. 1418) delivered on Lord’s Day morning, June 9th, 1878, at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington. It is based on Proverbs 4:13: “Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life.”

You can find “The Hold Fast” at Amazon, and of course, you can find other Gospel Rich Books there as well.

Hopefully, the works of C.H. Spurgeon will make an impact on this generation as they did on his.

The Hold Fast

If you would like to learn more about Gospel Rich books, we offer a host of challenging and encouraging resources.  You can find them below:

Gospel Rich Books Amazon Catalog

Monthly Gospel Rich Journal

Gospel Rich Books Blog

And to enable more writers to publish their works, we offer the BestSeller Template which is a publisher ready resource that authors can cut and paste their works into to make them Amazon ready.

 

The First Action of Humility is Prayer

The promises of God are true.  They are a reflection of His character, and they are authoritative.  Because of those truths, meditating and praying on them are transformational practices.  Despite that fact, knowing and embracing God’s promises often elude us.  Prayer and meditation are often the desire, but the daily practice of both is rare these days.  As a result, many believers in Christ live weak and faithless lives of desperation.  Yet God promises more:

2 Chronicles 7:14 “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

In this prophecy given to King Solomon at the completion of the Temple, God promises to forgive His people’s sin and heal their land.  What He commands is that His people walk in humility, pray, seek God’s face, and repent (turn away) from their sins.  This is the pattern by which we walk in and enjoy prayers to God that draw us closer to Him and His purposes.

We are to walk in humility recognizing our finiteness before an infinite God.  This includes a recognition of our slavish desire to trust ourselves and our own wisdom before God’s.  This humility has an action though, and that action is prayer.  If we avoid or lose the discipline of prayer, it is because we are walking in the wisdom (or lack thereof) of our own understanding.  Humility says, “I need to commune with God.”

As our humility draws us to God in prayer, we seek His face which is the Biblical equivalent of seeking God’s will.  We seek what is pleasing to the Father.  This seeking immediately shines a light on our sins and transgressions.  The face of the Father stands against sin, and our humility agrees with our guilt.  But if we seek the Father as He has promised, we will walk in newness of life and forgiveness.

Then, our hearts and minds take on a bigger picture:  a kingdom picture.  We pray bold prayers of God’s work in our land which include prayers for family, friends, neighbors, churches, cities, and governments.

This is the call of not only the people of Solomon’s day, but the call of our day as well.

Gospel Rich Books

If you would like to learn more about Gospel Rich books, we offer a host of challenging and encouraging resources.  You can find them below:

Gospel Rich Books Amazon Catalog

Monthly Gospel Rich Journal

Gospel Rich Books Blog

And to enable more writers to publish their works, we offer the BestSeller Template which is a publisher ready resource that authors can cut and paste their works into to make them Amazon ready.

 

 

Thanking God for the Man After God’s Own Heart

A brief mediation on 1 Samuel 13…

1 Samuel 13:13 And Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the command of the Lord your God, with which he commanded you. For then the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. 14 But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought out a man after his own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be prince over his people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.”

I Samuel 13 tells the story of Saul losing his kingship.  In a hasty moment of sin, Saul offered a sacrifice to God that only Samuel the priest should have offered.  Because of this, Samuel tells Saul that God is taking away his kingship and giving it to a man after God’s heart.  We will learn that that man is David.  We can understand it in this way.

Saul lost his kingship, and David took the kingship.

Saul lost his status, and David gained status.

Saul was punished for his sins, and David walked in righteousness.

There is a similar transfer that takes place for those who trust Jesus as He is our man after God’s own heart. Our hope is that Jesus takes our place, but Jesus takes our place in a redemptive fashion.

We didn’t obey, but Jesus obeyed for us.

We earned punishment for our sins, but Jesus was punished for ours.

We deserved death, but Jesus died for us.

We earned the punishment of hell, but Jesus gifts us the reward of Heaven.

Jesus lost his life, so that we might receive eternal life.

Jesus’ obedience gives us hope, so that we can obey and enjoy that hope.

This is all God’s grace to us because we deserve punishment just like Saul did, yet in God’s grace, His has poured grace that gives us hope.

Gospel Rich Books

If you would like to learn more about Gospel Rich books, we offer a host of challenging and encouraging resources.  You can find them below:

Gospel Rich Books Amazon Catalog

Monthly Gospel Rich Journal (debuting this week)

Gospel Rich Books Blog

And to enable more writers to publish their works, we offer the BestSeller Template which is a publisher ready resource that authors can cut and paste their works into to make them Amazon ready.