The Houston Weekend

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On the journey to Houston, I finished reading Limitless Thinking (by Jeet Banerjee),  and struck up a conversation with an amazing young athlete on his way back from wrestling camp. Who knows, I may have sat next to the 2015 Texas High School State Wrestling Champ, if he gets his way.  Good luck, Josh!

On the way to Houston, there were two specific things I was praying for:

1. Definite confirmation, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that building Zurvita is the right venture to allocate my passion and energy.

2. I really wanted to meet Mark and/or Tracy Jarvis, the couple that owns the company. I also wanted to find some way to connect with Brad Murray, the Master Distributor. I had met him once before and I was hoping to connect again.

The thing I asked God for was just a stolen moment, a chance to look in their eyes. Maybe as they were coming offstage, I might run up and stick out my hand for a quick handshake, or maybe I would happen by chance to pass one of them in the hallway near a meeting room.

My request was inspired by a story Les Brown tells of a woman who coincidentally ran into Mary Kay Ash in the hallway at a Mary Kay convention, and how that chance meeting changed her life–she returned home to building a successful business because of the encounter; she had come to the convention with intentions to quit after the event.

Here’s what happened in Houston:

At the car rental counter, the kind gentleman upgraded me to an Executive class vehicle. When I got out to the parking lot, that class included several trucks, a couple SUV’s, and this Camaro:

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My GPS girlfriend (Serena) led me through the light rain to the home of friends where I would be a guest for the weekend. One of the great blessings of the weekend was re-connecting with Paul and Ivy, whom I had not seen in about 25 years. I got to play music with Paul, who is a phenomenal musician. In fact, we may have sparked a future collaboration around a song I wrote. I remember thinking when I wrote it that it would be perfect for his voice.

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Champions Weekend, opening session began on Friday, July 18, at 9 am. Minutes into the introductory session, the answer to my first request was apparent. I remember thinking, around 9:25 am, “had I flown out here just for this much, it would have been well invested. Now the remainder of the weekend is bonus.”

There were amazing speakers all day, including keynote Darren Hardy.

Day 1 sessions were completed, and I was having dinner with John Rodgers before he headed back to Oregon for a family appointment.

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While we were at the table, John got a phone call, during which he leaned over and asked me “What are you doing at 7pm?”

“Nothing, I’m open,” I said.

After he hung up, he said, “That was Brad. He wants you to go up to the hotel room at 7. They’re having a little get-together.”

Remember I was hoping that one of the people I might connect with on this trip was Brad Murray?

Well, I was so excited about this invitation, that I got there early, before the rest of the group, and so for a few minutes I was alone with not only Brad, but also Mark and Tracy Jarvis, and amazing leader Mike Williams, in the Presidential suite on the 22nd floor of the Houston Hilton. Of the more than 2000 attendees at Champions Weekend, I was favored to be one of about 20 in the room that evening.

After some remarks from the leaders, everyone went around the circle introducing themselves and telling what had brought them there. First they went clockwise right up until me, and then counter-clockwise the other direction from Brad, who was directing traffic, so I ended up being the last one. That means I got to listen to everyone first. What an awesome privilege!

When it came my turn, I said: “I’m a worship leader. It’s my calling, and what I love about everything that I’ve heard in this room tonight, is that I can sense the presence of God here, and this feels just the same as when I’m leading a group in worship. This feels like the culture of the Kingdom. I’ve spent a lot of time and energy going back and forth between pursuing my calling and doing whatever else I had to do to pay bills. What I can feel in the culture of this company is a single pursuit that fulfills both. That is exciting to me!”

That comment sparked a couple of additional remarks and there were nods of agreement. The culture of this group is one of love, respect, and grace, with a clear focus on helping others.

By the end of the first day, both of my specific requests had been answered favorably and beyond my expectation. But wait, it gets better!

Saturday was an amazing day of testimonials, people who have been helped by this company or the product Zeal for Life, all kinds of amazing stories. We were asked not to record audio or video of the product stories, lest they be construed as medical claims. So let me just say, during that day, my conviction about the product was multiplied; my excitement about the business opportunity increased dramatically.

As I left the auditorium Saturday afternoon, I saw people taking photos with Zeal Coach Peter Nielsen, whose message earlier that day had been about Forgiveness. He really brought it home how profoundly un-forgiveness can affect our health.

Here’s a shot with Peter Nielsen, 50-time winner of professional bodybuilding competitions:IMG_2870

At the end of the day on Saturday, Mark Jarvis thanked everyone for coming to Champions Weekend, and he announced that the seminar was concluded. Those people who wished could join us on Sunday morning for worship.

On Friday there were over 2000 people in the room.

On Saturday there were over 2000 people in the room.

On Sunday morning there were over 2000 people in the room and the screens that greeted us proclaimed: Welcome to the Main Event!

Rousing worship, the sound of 2000 people singing together, that’s an amazing sound!

Tracy unveiled a new initiative she and her team have developed, the Feed500 project, a domestic missions project to feed homeless people across America.

Mark delivered a powerful message on Grace and Forgiveness. Something he said that stuck with me: “We want to be recipients of Grace; but we don’t want to be givers of Grace.”

Following an invitation for first-time decisions or for others to rededicate lives to Christ, many went forward to pray with Mark or Tracy. I moved toward the line for Mark but I was intercepted by a stranger who went on to prophesy amazing things about my family, things she couldn’t possibly have foreknowledge of, things that are being fulfilled even in the 3 weeks since!

By the time I got to the line, it had dwindled to just a few people. Mark and Tracy stood there praying with people from about 11am to 2:30pm! I was near the end of the line, and it was nice to be greeted by the smile of recognition  when Mark saw me and hugged me while we prayed together. IMG_2879

Here’s  a tiny detail, maybe trivial, but it was important to me. Tracy’s prayer line got done just a few minutes before Mark’s.  The very first thing she did was bring him a cup of water. Yeah, no big deal, but it meant something to me. It was a very small, and very powerful, demonstration of the culture of honor that pervades this group.

Here’s a shot of me and Mark and Tracy:

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I left the George Brown convention center with such a high level of conviction, that I spoke about the company and the product with the waiter at lunch, the guy who took my Camaro when I dropped it off, the guy who retrieved my wallet that I left on the front seat of the Camaro, the lady who sat next to me on the plane, my old friend on the way back home from the airport when I arrived back in Oregon, and many others of the people who have crossed my path since. Thing is, I’m not trying to bring it up–I’m just that excited about it and sooner or later it comes up, for out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.

There’s one more instance of Favor that I want to share with you. I  dropped off my rental car and I was so excited and distracted by all the events of the weekend, that I left my wallet on the front seat.

High-volume turnaround at a busy airport means that the Camaro would be washed and sent out again within minutes. If I hadn’t wanted to tip the shuttle driver who took us from the rental car drop-off to the airline terminal, I would not have noticed that I didn’t have my wallet. I would likely have figured it out when I attempted to check in for my flight, but by that time the car would probably have gone back out with a new customer.

As it worked out, I was able to hop right back on the shuttle, return to the rental car center, and request a search for my wallet. Meanwhile I had friends and family in Oregon and in Canada praying about it, and yes, a few minutes later a gentleman brought my wallet to me. Had it worked out differently, I wouldn’t have been able to board my flight and I’d be stranded in Houston.

That was my wonderful weekend in Houston.

Stay tuned! As amazing as the Houston weekend was, it was the set-up for the weekend to follow. That next weekend in Canada was the most amazing weekend of my life thus far. I’ll tell you about that in another post, coming soon!

God Likes Me

Below is my first submission to a magazine for which I have been invited to write articles…

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Hello!

My name is Lennox and I’m new to the Sassy Tech Family.

When I was invited to be a member of this incredible team, this master-mind group dedicated to your empowerment, I was asked what I’d like to share with you, our readers. I didn’t have to think about it for more than a few seconds.

What I want to tell you is something I said to a friend of mine about 6 months ago while were on stage at a local church setting up our instruments to lead worship that day. He asked me how I was doing, and I said “I’m great, God likes me!” He quickly reached out to help me understand that it’s better than that. “No, God loves you,” he corrected.

Then I said to him what I want to say to you today. “Yes, I know God loves me. We’ve been taught that all our lives. But the good news is better than you think. See not only does God love us, He also likes us!”

Follow me for a minute here. Have you ever loved someone you didn’t like? Have you ever thought, regarding a child or a parent or a spouse, “I love you, but I can’t stand you right now?” Have you ever sat down to Thanksgiving dinner with a group of people who love each other but don’t like each other very much?

When you love somebody, you put up with their stuff. You endure it, and you get through it. You absorb, and you overlook, and you forgive. You don’t get the most wonderful feeling about them, and you are definitely not delighted by them, but you deal with it, because you love them. Yes, God does that for all of us, every day.

When you like somebody, that’s a whole different story. Your eyes light up when they walk in the room. In fact, you light up at the mere mention of their name. You say their name differently. You brag about them to your friends. You want to hang out with them. You want to be seen with them. You want people to know you’re connected to them.

God likes me. He brags about me to His friends. He lights up when I come around. He says my name differently than anyone else, and He wants everyone one to know that He and I are connected. Do you think it’s outrageously egotistical that I would say that about myself? How do you feel about the idea that God likes you, too? Can you imagine that He is literally delighted with you and not just putting up with you? That He has plans for you, wants to hang out with you and loves everything about you?

Liking someone doesn’t mean you’re not aware of their flaws. But when you like someone, you are patient with their flaws, teaching them a better way, not hiding in embarrassment from their mistakes, or judging them harshly for what they do not know. You’re not ashamed to be seen with them in public.

This is the first article I’ll write here at Sassy Tech Mag. If I’m allowed to write others, I’ll share stories and thoughts and ideas from the journey I’m on, and maybe they’ll be helpful to you in your own journey. And all throughout every article and every story, this will be my theme: Hello friend, God likes YOU!

 

Have a great day!

Stay Strender (Strong and Tender)

 

Lennox