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

 

 

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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. 

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. 

Spiritual Training Has Greater Value But We Can’t Neglect Physical Training As Well

1 Timothy 4:8 For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

Paul makes a wonderful point in this short verse.  He teaches us to value the spiritual training that calls each child of God into greater intimacy with their Savior, Jesus Christ.  Each Christian is called to train themselves in the disciplines of prayer, study, etc. just like an athlete trains themselves to run, lift, and swim faster, stronger, or with greater endurance.  These spiritual disciplines have greater value and have a greater impact on the life of the believer and all who are around them.

But, the Apostle doesn’t devalue physical exercise.  Instead, he reminds us that physical training has value, just not as much as spiritual training.  Why is this so?  Because the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.  Paul says in 1 Corinthians:

1 Corinthians 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So, glorify God in your body.

We glorify God by how we care for our body.  Again, the greater glory is spiritual, but the body, and our care for it, gives glory to God as well.

Unfortunately, the Christian culture rarely speaks of physical training and care.  Many spiritual leaders are out of shape and don’t recommend any measure of discipline or restraint.  Very few teachers speak on the sins of gluttony.  Even fewer offer Godly examples of what care for the body should look like.

So, while spiritual training has the higher value and greater impact, physical training is important.  If the body fails, spiritual ministry will be hindered and at times, prevented.

Let’s not be those who neglect one truth by over-emphasizing another.  God desires us to glorify Him both physically and spiritually.

Gordon Duncan

Gospel Rich Books, Editor

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.