Easter and Your Fragile Relationships

Please enjoy this excerpt from the Gospel Rich Book’s release, “It is Finished”.

Relationships, even the strongest of them, are fragile things.  At work, you can be rocking and rolling along, hitting all of your goals, getting good reviews, and then one day your boss doesn’t interact with you like he or she normally does, and you think, “Uh oh, is my job in jeopardy?”

When parents correct their children, even when they do it biblically, a child can still think, “Mom and Dad are upset with me.  Do they still love me?”

But it is probably Mom and Dad, husband and wife, who have to work through these insecurities the most.  We ask questions like:

“Honey, do these jeans make me look fat?

“Do you still think I’m pretty?”

“Don’t you appreciate all the hard work I do for this family?”

Sometimes, there is great fear attached: “Are you cheating on me?”

I’m hesitant to give too specific examples because I fear it might dredge up fears that you have finally conquered.  But the reason I mention this is that so often, we structure our lives around the fears we have in relationships.  Our lives are governed by the “eithers”.

We either slavishly give ourselves over to try to win people’s approval or at times we stand as far back emotionally as we can from folks to say, “I don’t need you.”

Either direction you take there, you are living your life based upon your relationships with others.

Either slavishly going after approval or standing off from others – either one is still saying, “Hey I am directly based on you.

Either you are loving me or I’m proving to you I don’t need you, I’m still basing things off of you.”

These patterns cause so much damage:  alcoholism, porn addiction, co-dependency, slavish work habits to prove you can provide.  Entire personalities are built around these issues.  Whew, it sounds almost like there is no hope in these things.  And I will say, “There isn’t except for one thing, and that one thing is Jesus.”

As we approach Easter where we gather to celebrate Christ’s finished work for us on the cross, we need to recognize that Christ has made our relationship with the Father secure.  Every single thing necessary for you to be loved, accepted, and forgiven, Jesus has done.  You don’t need to, and cannot, add one thing to what Christ has done for you.

That truth, that realization, should give you rest, should enable you to find that peace that you have never had in any other relationship and it should also free you up to love and live in other relationships with vitality.  The question is, “Do you believe Jesus has accomplished everything for you?  Do you live out that belief?”

“It Is Finished”  is a sweet meditation of the scriptures surrounding the events from Good Friday all the way to resurrection morn.  You can find it here.

The second is “Easter – Simple Sermon Solution”.  This book follows the same themes, but its focus it to help any who might have the privilege of speaking or leading a Bible study around the Easter Season.  It offers a great methodology for organization and delivery.  You can find it here.

No matter what, please take this Easter season to rejoice yet again for the finished work of Christ.  It is our sole hope and joy for this world and the world to come.

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

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.

If you want to follow more of what’s going on with Gordon, check out the website www.jgordonduncan.com and his recently launched podcast at

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/this-is-gonna-hurt-the-podcast-of-j-gordon-duncan/id1356352968

 

 

 

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Celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus is Enough – No Gimmicks Needed

The Easter season is less than two weeks away.  By God’s grace, so much of the world turns their attention to the resurrection of Jesus.  It is a wonderful privilege to celebrate His complete work and have so many aware of it.

It is also an amazing opportunity to invite friends, co-workers, and family to worship.  At least in America, many people consider attending a worship service on Easter.  Some do it out of tradition, others do it out of guilt, but no matter the motive, inviting others to worship is just a bit easier.

Prayerfully, churches will focus on the work of Jesus and not gimmicks.  Giveaways and tricks are not necessary.  Fellowship and worship around the resurrection of Jesus is enough.

It can be, however, a personal challenge to worship on Easter, don’t you think?  Many have attended dozens of services, and the songs and moments are the same.  To enable your worship to be vibrant this year, Gospel Rich Books is releasing two books for your personal devotion.

The first is “It Is Finished” which is a sweet meditation of the scriptures surrounding the events from Good Friday all the way to resurrection morn.  You can find it here.

The second is “Easter – Simple Sermon Solution”.  This book follows the same themes, but its focus it to help any who might have the privilege of speaking or leading a Bible study around the Easter Season.  It offers a great methodology for organization and delivery.  You can find it here.

No matter what, please take this Easter season to rejoice yet again for the finished work of Christ.  It is our sole hope and joy for this world and the world to come.

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

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.

If you want to follow more of what’s going on with Gordon, check out the website www.jgordonduncan.com and his recently launched podcast at

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/this-is-gonna-hurt-the-podcast-of-j-gordon-duncan/id1356352968

 

 

The Gospel of a Runner’s Sacrifice

Acts of selfless charity are rare these days.  Sometimes, they make the biggest impact, and no thanks is even possible.  It is in those moments, we are most reminded of God’s grace and goodness.

This past weekend, I ran the Emerald Isle Marathon.  My goal was to qualify for the Boston Marathon, and to do that, I needed to run 26.2 miles in 3:24:59.  Along the way, I wanted to honor God, inspire my family/friends, and give hope to other epilepsy fighters out there.

I qualified by less than 30 seconds, and I have an anonymous Good Samaritan to thank.

The Emerald Isle Marathon is small.  There are typically less than 100 runners, and this year, there were only 73.  Despite the race’s size, there were lots of folks helping out along the course to make sure everyone was hydrated and making the correct turns.  That’s where my story begins.

Somewhere around mile 6 or 7, I made a turn, grabbed water on the run, and nearly ran into a young boy on a bicycle.  My first reaction was frustration, but I decided to just keep my head down and not let it worry me.  A few moments later, someone tapped me on the shoulder.  It was a runner who I had just passed.  Apparently, the young boy on the bike was there to make sure that no one missed the turn.  I didn’t know that and had run off course.

I quickly turned around and thanked the runner for her selfless act.  She didn’t have to come after me.  She could have just run her race.  By doing what she did, she sacrificed her time, and I passed her again soon after.  I have no idea what would have happened to me if she hadn’t run me down.  I would have continued in the wrong direction to I have no idea what.  I’m sure I would not have qualified without her help.  As it was, I qualified with less than 30 seconds to spare as it was.

After I crossed the finish line, I looked for her because I wanted to say thank you.  Unfortunately, after an hour of looking at every finisher I could, I never saw her to say thanks.  I hope she finished and met her goals like she enabled me to do.

Showing kindness and being selfless is rare these days.  This runner’s kindness was a sacrifice of her time for the sake of me, a stranger.  In the Gospel, Christ sacrificed Himself for me, and I was something more alien than a stranger.  I was His enemy. And while I will not be able to say thanks to that runner, I want to live my life thanking Jesus and reflecting his selflessness to others…just like that one runner did for me.

If you want to follow more of what’s going on with Gordon, check out the website www.jgordonduncan.com and his recently launched podcast at

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/this-is-gonna-hurt-the-podcast-of-j-gordon-duncan/id1356352968

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

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.

 

 

Gordon Goes To Vegas Part Four – Final Recap

You can read my earlier recaps of Gordon Goes to Vegas at Day One, Day Two, and Day Three.

I woke Day Four in Vegas knowing that it was going to be a long haul ahead.  This day of the 10XGrowthCon was packed, and I was flying all night long back to VA.  But I was no less excited as there were a few of my favorite speakers on the docket.

I began my day with 25 minutes of stretching in the hotel room because I knew I was going to be sitting a ton in the next 36 hours.  Feeling great, I packed up my hotel room and checked out.  Thankfully, one of my three buddies from the day prior invited me to meet for omelets again.  A genuine friendship was established.  We talked about ministry, business, and family struggles and have kept up since the event.  That alone was one of the best takeaways from the trip.

With all that done, I headed into the event. Coach Burt began the day.  Don’t know Coach Burt?  He is a former high school teacher and present social entrepreneur/coach.  I loved him.  He was less, “Let me sell you my product,” and more, “I want to see you grow in each and every area of your life.” His genuineness from a stage to 9,000 people made me examine the way I speak, causing me to wonder if I connect with my 100 folks like he did to thousands.

Tim Storey spoke soon after.  Tim Storey is often called Hollywood’s pastor, preaching each week in the hills and even spending time as Oprah’s life coach.  His message was upbeat, genuinely faith-filled, and inspirational.  I am not much for clichés, but sometimes a crowd just connects with them.  He talked about how, once you achieve goals and move into a new area of growth and faith, you don’t want to go backward.  He said, “Once you’ve touched the flames, you can’t live in the smoke.”  Not how I would say it but, wow, 9,000 people ate it up.  I was fortunate enough to meet Tim later in the day.  He made a point to tell me that he was emphasizing faith in this conference, and he hoped it made an impact.  I believe it did.

Following Tim Storey was Lewis Howes.  Lewis is the host of the “School of Greatness” podcast.  I love this podcast and have listened to nearly episode.  Lewis’ quiet humility and confidence are infectious.  His story of missing out on the NFL because of an Arena Football injury and living on his sister’s couch is inspiring.  His talk was a bit similar to others I have heard, but it was fun and full of energy.  Just by chance, as I was walking around the arena to stretch my legs, I bumped into Lewis.  He and I had a real conversation. Lewis’ father is dying, so I asked how he was doing.  I shared the story of losing my father.  It was a nice moment and probably my favorite of the whole trip.

There were other speakers, but I will admit after 24 plus hours of talks, I was beginning to lose focus.  When the time came, I headed to the airport.  If you paid, there was another day of speakers, but I chose not to pay and stay.  I headed to the airport for the long trip home.  I got through security easily which never happens to me, and I walked around talking to Amy and the girls.  Processing had already started because I didn’t want this to just be another conference without any real change happening.

I settled in for the long wait for my flight.  I was sleepy which made me hopeful for dozing off on the plane.  That wasn’t going to happen.

On my flight, I was stuck way at the back.  After an hour or so in the air, I dozed off.  About 15 minutes later, I woke up with a start.  The stewardesses were literally handing a fellow passenger up over everybody, crowd-surfing style, to the front.  He was unconscious.  Anyone who was still awake (or awoken) was shaken.  I eventually found out that the young man fell into unconsciousness, and they were trying to revive him.  He was reportedly alright.

After what felt like the longest night in the world, we landed.  From landing to home took 2 hours.  With just a tiny bit of sleep, I needed to stay awake for the drive home.  Thankfully, my Uber driver was talkative.  A young Nigerian man, he spoke of faith and opened up about the questions of Catholicism versus Protestantism.  Thankful for the conversation, I still struggled to stay awake.  When he dropped me off at my car (with another 40 minutes of drive time ahead), he kindly asked if I was going to be okay.  I was, but barely.  I got home and slept for 3 hours.

All in all, I’m glad I went to the 10XGrowthCon, and I would like to go next year.  I doubt I will ever find a ticket that cheap again, though rumor has it that the conference will be in Miami which would be nice.  I think the talks and notes will continue to affect me, and I imagine processing them here and on my upcoming podcast, “This is Gonna Hurt”.  Look for it on iTunes.

We’ll see what the long-range benefit of the conference was, but I know I’m changed in many ways from the talks, the sharing of the gospel, the lessons in public speaking, and lots more.

Thanks for reading all of these updates.  Feel free to interact with any thought you might have.

Gordon

You can find all of Gordon’s adventures at www.jgordonduncan.com

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

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.

Gordon Goes to Vegas Part Three

Days One and Two of Vegas can be found here and here.

I woke on my day three in Vegas with one of my most look forward to adventures:  Not slots, Not Cirque de Solei, Not Cher.  I was going to go run with new folks.  I met a doctor after my initial run, and he invited me to get some miles early Friday morning.  I met him and his friend at the Casino, and we were off.

New runners talk about one thing: running.  We talked about which races we’ve run, our PR’s, and our overall health.  Eventually, families and faith come up, as did individual business.  This wasn’t a fast run, nor a long one (10K), but running with new friends (which is what people you run with immediately become) is always a blessing.

As my body made the adjustment to the time zone, one thing was clear.  I was starving.  I found a way to get good coffee without waiting in line at Starbucks.  The café near the casino was as good as Starbucks, the line was never more than 5 deep, and they offered free refills, but again I needed food. 

Another discovery was that the Pan Asian place in the food court served omelets in the morning, and they were huge and good.  As I waited in line, I met 3 other 10XGrowthCon attendees.  They found out I was a pastor, they expressed their faith, and we were soon eating and enjoying a little fellowship.  How did they find out I was a pastor?  Well, when folks asked, “What do you,” this is what I say.

“I am a pastor, but I consult in the eye industry and write books because I have 3 daughters who I hope will get married and go to college one day.”

These men worked in the real estate and landscaping industry.  Like me, they were hoping to, “chew the meat and spit out the bone” of the conference.  The time with them was refreshing.  We exchanged contact info and headed on in.  I’ve since heard from one of them.  I hope we keep up.

This day of the 10XGrowthCon was about Marketing.  We heard Russel Brunson speak.  He is the founder of Clickfunels and a master at selling.  He offered a deal to the crowd to sign up for his platform that netted him $3 million dollars in 90 minutes.  Those aren’t typos.

Kerri Kasem spoke.  She is the daughter of Casey Kasem, famed radio host who was the voice of my childhood.  Casey ended each show with, “Keep your feet on the ground and reaching for the stars.”  Her story of perseverance was encouraging and inspirational, especially to young women.

Daymond John of Shark Tank spoke.  Actually, he was interviewed by Grant Cardone.  Daymond’s talk about incredibly practical.  Less, “Go out there and work hard,” and more, “These are the nuts and bolts of starting something new.”  I got to meet Daymond later on in that day, and we spoke of how we both have 3 daughters.  Very nice guy with lots of security.

But the highlight speaker of the day was Roddy Chong.  Roddy is, and has been, the violinist for Shania Twain, Celine Dion, and Trans-Siberian Orchestra.  He began by making 9,000 people do calisthenics and stretching.  He then launched into his story of fighting to get his gigs, culminating with working with Dion and Twain simultaneously.  He played 2 songs for us, and by the end of the talk, everyone gave him a standing ovation with loud cheering.  I spoke to him after the event and told him that when a speaker asks me to stand up or do some other motion, I rarely do, but when he did, I didn’t hesitate.  He asked me why, and I told him that his style made me trust him.  I had the chance to interview with his You Tube channel later on.  It hasn’t popped up yet, but I’ll let you know if it does.

The day ended with a networking party that I was unable to attend because of so many strobe lights.  Basically, I was left with no one and nothing to do.  I stepped into the House of Blues restaurant and chose to eat at the bar because I didn’t want to take up a table for just one person.  I struck up a conversation with a gentleman there and learned a few things.

In this conversation, I learned how things can go wrong in Vegas.  Thankfully, they didn’t for me, but I saw how it all can happen.  This gentleman was in Vegas “entertaining” clients which means paying for whatever they wanted, again which meant doing things that you can only do in Vegas.  By 7:30pm, they were already passed out, and he was waiting for them to wake up to take them out to a concert, drinks, and an adult establishment.  I was invited along.  I saw a few minutes of the concert, but nothing else about that evening held any charm for me.  I was not going to any adult establishments.  Nope.  Ain’t no way.

I walked to my room tired, knowing that the next day for me might very well be 36 hours long.  I was full of thought.  First, the speakers had me wondering if there were ways the church could “market” itself (make people aware of it), without being cheesy or crass.  What are better ways to proclaim Jesus outside of Sunday morning?  I also wondered about the gentlemen I left, and prayed they were safe and not doing anything they might regret.

Day 4 of Vegas plus travel lay ahead.

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.