Finding Life’s Answers Through Golf.
Running a special on my NEW BOOK for you, one of my special blog subscribers.
You can get (2) books for only $20 AND yes, I will be happy to sign each copy.
More Than A Game (Nashville, TN: In His Grip Resources, 2015)
Looking forward to strolling the fairways of the Orange Country Convention Center among 40,000 golfers as we check out over 1000 golf companies.
What companies do you want me to stop by and visit?
|Date:||January 26, 2016—January 29, 2016|
|Event:||2016 PGA Merchandise Show|
Are you reviewing your life’s bucket list and setting goals to check a few off that list during 2016?
The Masters, golf’s most iconic tournament, was at the top of mine, and in 1997, I received four tickets to stroll the hallowed grounds of Augusta National Golf Club. Wow! The Masters, “A tradition unlike any other,” and I was going to be there.
And it was a Master’s to remember. A 21-year-old Tiger Woods shocked the golf world. He was a bust on the front nine, shooting 40, and seemingly out of contention. However, Tiger amazed everyone with a backside 30, then went on to win the tournament by an astounding 12 shots!
Takeaway: It’s not how you start, but how you finish. Life is like that too.
I may have experienced the opportunity of a lifetime, but when I returned home, my wife of two years announced she was done with our marriage. This on the heels of losing my dream job just a couple months earlier and we were heading deeper in debt.
The cumulative effect put me in a position to experience like never before. I was speeding into an uncertain future with no idea how to navigate it. My world was rocked and at age 36, it was the first time in my life I looked to God and asked some tough questions. “Why am I here?” “Do you really have a plan for my life?”
Have you ever faced a similar fear of living a life that misses the mark and realizing your best effort would not be pleasing and honoring to God? That was me. However, there were two key verses in the Bible that grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. 5“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Shortly after, I realized I needed Jesus to save me from the life I’d created and set me on a path that would have Him at the center. I’ve been living “In His Grip” ever since.
Tiger just turned 40 in December. You could say he is making the turn into the back nine of his life. Maybe you feel you are at a turning point in your life. Are you staring down the 10th fairway wondering where you’re heading? Do you feel like you’ve blown your “round” so far? Take heart. Don’t lean on your own understanding. Submit to Him and He will make your paths straight!
Remember, it’s not how you start but how you finish.
“Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or turn away from them. Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it costs all you have, get understanding” (Proverbs 4:5–7).
Spectators and Players
There are basically two types of people who show up at golf tournaments: spectators and players. Spectators stay outside the ropes, follow players around, critique every shot, talk theoretically about how golf should be played, and repeat comments they’ve heard about swing planes, wedge play, and players with “the yips.”
Players, on the other hand, are inside the ropes. They walk to the first tee and stare down the alley of people lining the tee box to find a place to land their ball. They fight feeling pressured to consistently hit good shots or to recover from poor ones. They experience the thrill of knowing they played their best and the agony of coming up short. They put themselves in front of everyone, know- ing that no matter what they do, someone will criticize them. They play the game because they love the challenges it presents and the sweet taste of success that comes from a hard-fought victory.
So, how would you characterize your life—spectator or player? Either way, I’m glad you’re here. Like the game of golf, this book is divided into three essential sections: Foundations, Development, and Application. Each section has three chapters that dive deeper into each topic.
There are also two things I want to say about this book.
First, my ultimate goal is to encourage you to be the best life player—not spectator—you can be. The Christian life isn’t lived outside the ropes. A lot of people try, however. They say and do Christian things, but their Christianity tends to stay in the theoretical realm. They may know a lot about Christianity, but they don’t truly know Christ. If this is you, I want you to know you were prayed for as this was written. Be set free from the tyranny of the facade of a Christian life. Grab your clubs, duck under the ropes, and let’s play this game called life. There is more than enough room for all who will.
Players press hard toward the goal of knowing—truly knowing—Christ. They step to the tee boxes of life and take their best shots, knowing things don’t always turn out as planned, but realizing that because they are in Christ, even life’s bunkers work for their good. Players know life isn’t easy; it is filled with victory, disappointment, joy, hurt, acceptance, rejection, friendships, betrayal, and so on. But players also know that if they’ve hung in there, they’ll putt out and hear the Father say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Second, this book is geared primarily toward men who want to play the front nine of life well. They want to be good sons, husbands, and dads. They want to honor God. They want to position themselves well so they enjoy deeper intimacy with Jesus and have a greater impact for his kingdom during the back nine of life.
Do you see yourself as a player or a spectator when is come to the game of life? Join me in ducking underneath the ropes of life and together let’s play each shot for the glory of God.
As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. Luke 6:47-48
Most if not all golf teaching professionals have said the grip is the foundation of the golf swing. You may get by with an improper grip for a time, but it will break down on you at the most inconvenient times. When the pressure it on, it will be shown for what it is worth.
Your foundation needs to be “firm” in the sense that it will hold up to the challenges faced on the course. It is firm, not in the sense of rigid or hard, but in something that will last and be effective in all circumstances – tournament play, the final hole of a difficult match, over a pond, or blasting out of the sand. Without a good foundation you have little hope of playing consistently in difficult circumstances.
God offers a firm foundation for life which is like that of a man building his house by digging deep into the earth and putting the house upon rock – a rock solid foundation. Such a foundation is available to anyone who comes to God, hears his words and does what God says.
Your life and my life needs the solid foundation of God’s Word.
KEY VERSES: Joshua 22:1-5
“But be careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you: to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to, to keep his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.” Joshua 22:5
Imagine a dream in which you are playing a very beautiful golf course. Can you see it in your minds eye? The tee boxes are perfectly manicured, the fairways are green and lush, the bunkers full of white, heated raked sand, and each hole has a spectacular view and a challenging, but fair design.
But, as you set up to hit your approach shot into the first green, you notice there in no flag. Later you find it does not even have a hole. The same thing happens on the second and third holes. You realize it is a perfect golf course except for one big problem. Someone forgot the targets. Despite its beauty, this course is devoid of purpose and meaning; it is empty and unfulfilling. Nobody wins, everybody loses when they attempt to play this course.
That is like the course of life with Jesus Christ. Life without him is a life without purpose or fulfillment. Have the things you thought would give meaning begun to fail you? Have you not yet grasped, or perhaps forgotten what God has done for you by sending his Son to give his life for you? It is time to focus on the right target. Guys, I have been there but I know that each and every day I must commit to living “In His Grip”.
The purpose of life is to know Jesus and to make him known. That is the true target in life.
My last trip to in 2013 I had the blessed opportunity to caddy for Zach Johnson in the Pro-am. Here are a few pics from that experience:
Here is a link for pics and video of this great event that allows you to get up close and personal with the pros: http://www.rsmclassic.com/media/photos/
I pray that this note finds you blessed beyond measure. It is hard to believe that we have turned the calendar into October, the best month to get the best date available booked for your IHG Golf tournament in 2016. The early bird gets the worm and you want to get ahead of the pack of events starting to book their dates and locations next year.
Here is a recent article by Lifeway Men to remind us of the eternal importance of reaching men for Jesus Christ…and we get to do it through this great game of golf. How awesome is that? Reach the child and 3.5% of the time the family will follow, reach the mom and 17% of the time the family will follow BUT REACH THE MAN AND 93% OF THE TIME THE FAMILY WILL FOLLOW IN THEIR RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS CHRIST:
In His Grip Golf Vision Video below:
One of my all-time favorite golfers is Phil Mickelson. He is exciting to watch because he rarely plays it safe. His second shot on the par-5, No. 13 hole from off pine straw and apparently stymied behind the trees during the final round of the 2010 Masters at Augusta National will forever be one of golf’s greatest shots. Just thinking about it gives me chills.
But one of the curiosities about Mickelson that I love is that although he plays left-handed, he is actually right-handed. He wound up a lefty by mirroring his father’s swing when his dad was teaching him to play as a child. Here is a great clip of Phil’s and his dad sharing their experience of learning golf and doing life together.
I believe the spiritual application couldn’t be more obvious. There is an age-old debate about whether leaders are born or made. The truth is, everyone is designed to lead even if the only person you are called to lead is yourself. Leadership isn’t incubated in a vacuum. Every developing leader is influenced in some way at an early stage by others. It shapes the person and the leader they become. This is why choosing your influencers is critically important. Do you see in those you imitate the traits of the person you want to become?
Ultimately our model for leadership is our Heavenly Father. Like young Mickelson learning a golf swing from spending quality time with his father, the best way to develop as a godly leader is to spend time with God and mirror Him as revealed in Scripture. Mickelson submitted to his father’s instruction; likewise we should submit to our Heavenly Father’s instruction.
Jesus is our example of both submission and mirroring God the Father. He came to do the Father’s will on earth, even to the point of death. It was His joy to do so (Hebrews 12:2) and the irony is in Jesus’ total submission to the Father, He became the ultimate leader.
If you want to have an influence on the people around you, take your instruction from Jesus and imitate Him as He imitated God the Father. There is no better instructor than the One who is perfect.
Golf is a game of precision and precision takes practice. Sure it’s great to get on the range and work on your game, but at some point you’ve got to tee it up and play for real. However, some people would actually rather spend all their time practicing rather than playing!
Some people live the Christian life like that. God never intended for you to spend your time sequestered in your quiet place working through the daily drills. It’s okay to deepen your relationship with Jesus so that He can transform your character to reflect His glory, but who sees His glory if you don’t get out there on the course of life?
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (James 1:22; NIV).
I love the book of James because there is no subtly. James follows verse 22 by saying that if you stare intently into the Word of God and walk away from it unchanged and forget what it says, you’re like a man who looks at himself in the mirror then walks away forgetting what he was looking at. James’ cure for forgetting is doing.
Let’s face it, you spend time with God, then get in the car to go to work. You catch every light red, get cut off in traffic and spill coffee on yourself; traffic is backed up and you are late. You get there and the elevator is down so you take six flights of stairs and sit down to a billion e-mails that came in over the weekend. Um, yeah, what was that you were saying this morning, God?
Life can swallow you like a water hazard swallows a golf ball. We can drown in the day’s minutia. That daily devotional prepares you for those hazards, but Jesus wants us to get out there on life’s course and aggressively take our shots; to play life with confidence knowing He has prepared us to be the salt and light to others.
Without the preparation, we’ll never reach the potential our Heavenly Father has waiting for us. However, the balanced Christian life requires both preparation and “doing” all that God is teaching.