Sunday March 7, 2010 – Rick opened
reading 1 John 2:20 “You have an anointing from the Holy One and all of you
know the truth.” He focused that Word
for the staff that was present. “God has
His hand on you and will anoint you to provide truth for the boys He has placed
in your care. Thank you for your
work. May God bless you richly and truly
anoint you with His truth.”
Cindy led the boys in singing “Open
the Eyes of my Heart”, “Blessed be Your Name”, “Holy is the Lord”, “Amazing
Grace” and “Mighty to Save”.
Cindy invited Joshua and Austin to
come to the platform so we could honor them for successfully completing the
Joshua spoke to the boys encouraging
them to make the right choice and to stop acting up. They could be in a worse place. “When I entered the program I thought I would
fail but with the help of staff I was able to be truthful with myself and now I
am looking forward to the future. You
can do it. Be thankful you are here.”
Ken prayed for Joshua and
Our morning speaker was Ken Moreland
and his subject was entitled; “God and Golf”.
He began by setting up a tee and a golf ball and then claimed that he
was going to hit the ball through the exit door on the right of the stage with
the driver he held in his hand. Through
out his message he would begin his swing and then stop and continue with this
I've played golf for a number of
years now, and I really enjoy the game because of the challenge, and because of
the satisfaction of making that one good shot, or that one good putt. And those
of you who play golf know the satisfaction I'm talking about. You can have the
worst round of golf going but when you make that one good shot that's enough to
motivate you to come back to the course to do it all over again.
Well, golf in many ways is like life.
It's not an easy game, it has its obstacles and hazards, struggles, victories,
conflicts, and yes its blessings, and when you experience those victories and
blessings you want to experience more.
As I've studied and played the game
of golf I've gained an appreciation for, how like golf, life can be
challenging, and more specifically how living as a Christian in this world can
be challenging. You see both golf and living a Christian life require the
following: " Persistence " Patience " Practice " Mentoring
and training " Faith " Confidence " Passion " and the
desire to keep on playing and getting better no matter what. Golf
also has a way of bringing you to your knees. If you're not modest about your
golfing abilities it won't take long for you to assume a role of humility,
which often times happens as soon as you prepare to tee off from the first tee,
but that's the nature of the game, whether the game is golf or life itself.
Some have said that the game of golf
is a beautiful walk spoiled by a little white ball. Well,
when you stop and think about it, living life itself is a beautiful walk
spoiled by sin, and I think it's safe to say many of us can witness to this
The game of golf requires many
different skills and abilities that take time to develop. For one thing, in
golf there's always the issue of the proper stance, whether you have an open
stance, closed stance, or straight stance. The stance dictates everything,
where the shot will go, whether it's a fade or draw, or whether it's a slice or
In life, we too assume some kind of
stance - a stance for what we believe, for how we live our life, and for what
kind of legacy we'll leave behind. Is our stance so open that we're easily
influenced by the world, is our stance so closed we shut ourselves off from
God's Word, or do we use a straight or more balanced stance keeping the world's
influences and God's word in the proper perspective.
I've also found over the years that
it's very important to find a good coach, mentor, and leader, to help me
understand the fundamentals of the game, and to be able to trust that person
with my total swing, beginning with the stance on through the follow-through.
For my golf game I've turned to Harvey Pinnick and I've tried to learn as much
as I can from this great teacher.
A friend of mine was celebrating a
birthday several years ago and his wife decided to buy him seven golf lessons
for his birthday. My friend looked forward to these lessons. He was always a
pretty good player, but he had kind of plateaued with his scoring and was
interested in tweaking his swing to score better.
After he took his first lesson I
asked him how it went. He said, "The lesson was terrible." I asked him,
"why?" He said the instructor asked him to take a few swings so that
he could get a sense for what he needed to improve. So my friend took a few
swings and the instructor told him, "go put your clubs away, you won't
need them for the first few lessons."
You see his swing was so
fundamentally bad the golf pro had to start from the beginning to rebuild his
swing. It's funny because my friend was getting by and doing a fairly good job
on the golf course, but he wasn't going to get any better until he understood
and executed the proper fundamentals of the swing. My friend had to trust the
pro to help rid him of the bad swing habits he had developed, replacing them
with good solid swing fundamentals.
Well, again the same is true in life.
Many of us can get by doing what we're doing, but our growth levels off because
we don't have a good understanding of how the divine golf pro wants us to live.
And sometimes to grow means we need to start with the basics again, we need to
develop a better understanding of God, what our purpose in life is, build our
relationship with God, and be able, without hesitation, to place our trust in
our coach, mentor and leader, Jesus Christ.
And the truth is, if we place our
total lives in Christ's hands, the rewards are great, Jesus will direct our
lives and make our lives abundant, worthwhile, joy-filled, and fruitful.
One of the golfing fundamentals I've
been messing with this past year has been my grip on the club. Now there are
several different kinds of grips, the overlap, baseball, or interlocking grip.
I used to use the overlap grip, mainly because most of the pro golfers do. But
I changed it to a modified baseball grip because I took the time to understand
which grip was best for my hand size and shot making abilities. After changing
my grip and practicing with it for some time my golf score has improved.
Life is no different. As we go
through life, we all will grip something, and something or someone will grip
us. In other words, others and other things influence us over the course of our
Now when you grip a golf club you
must exert the appropriate amount of pressure on the club grip. If you grip to
lightly, the club goes flying when you swing, often times going further down
the fairway then the ball. If you grip the club too tightly, your muscles tense
up and there's a lack of fluidity in your swing.
The proper grip is one that maintains
the proper amount of pressure on the club grip throughout the swing. I believe
it was Sam Snead who described the proper amount of pressure needed to make a
good swing. Sam said, "When you hold the club; pretend you're holding a
bird in your hand. Exert enough pressure to keep if from flying away, but not
so much that you squeeze it to death."
In life we too must have a grip on
what we're doing and why we're doing it. But the grip we maintain on our life
mustn't be so light that we succumb to every temptation and sin that comes our
way. Conversely we shouldn't be gripping so tightly that we fail to see the
changes we need to make in our lives to be more in line with the teachings of
We need to exert the proper amount of
pressure so that we maintain control over what it is we're doing, yet be
flexible enough to realize we may need to change some things in our life to be
in line with God, and God's call on our life.
One of the greatest challenges for me
as I play golf is keeping my eye on the ball. Most of my miss hits can be
attributed to the fact I lift my head to see where the ball is going before I
even hit it. And keeping your eye on the ball is a basic must in any sport a
ball is used.
The New Testament speaks of
"keeping ourselves in God's love as we wait for the mercy of our Lord
Jesus Christ." (Jude 1:21) God is the one in which we must give our undivided
attention. He must be our focus. We can't live as Jesus would have us live if
we take our eyes off of him.
One of the most exciting things in my
life has been to keep looking to Jesus, to see what's really happening, to know
where I'm headed, and this realization has given me a solid reason for much
hope. If we take our eyes off Jesus chances are we will miss hit, we will
travel down a path inconsistent with God's plan for us.
But lets face it we've all had our
share of miss hits. Sometimes we come up short and it takes a couple of more
shots to get where God wants us, sometimes we end up in the rough so we
struggle to recover, sometimes we end up in a hazard and have to take a penalty
for what we've done. But you know what, regardless of the miss hit, the game
Yes, we may pay the consequences for
what we've done, but we're never out of the game, we're allowed to finish the
round, God never throws us off the course, even if we lose control and throw
And often times when you think back
on the round you've just played, no matter how bad it was, you can always point
to that one shot that will bring you back. You can always see how God was
present and active in your life.
In life it's God's love and
forgiveness that brings us back, that keeps us going on for the
"prize." God never gives up on us. God loves us no matter what we've
done and will grant forgiveness if we seek it.
Life is tough, and some days it's
tougher than others, but because of Jesus Christ, God always offers us a chance
to get back in the game, because God offers Love and forgiveness.
Psalm 130:3-4 says, "If you, O
Lord, kept a record of sins, who could stand? But with you there is
Keeping a record of sins is
equivalent to holding a grudge; it's the same as building a wall between us and
another person, and as you know when we hold a grudge against someone else it's
nearly impossible to openly talk with one another.
God doesn't keep a record of our miss
hits, our sins; when he forgives he forgives completely, tearing down any wall
between God and us. Therefore we ought to revere God, and give thanks for his
willingness and desire to forgive us. When you pray, realize that God is
holding nothing against you. His lines of communication are completely open.
If you truly enjoy the game of golf
and you knew of a way to get better, wouldn't you pursue it? Why would anyone
want to continue to play below their potential, continue to make bogies when
birdies are possible, continue to hook and slice shots when a long straight
shot down the middle of the fairway is possible. If someone knew there was a
better more fruitful way to live, why would they want to continue to sin and
live in sin?
Because "we have been baptized
into Christ Jesus we have also been baptized into his death, just as Christ was
raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may have a new
life." (Romans 6:3-4)
This means we can enjoy our new life
because we have been united with Christ in his death and resurrection. Our
sinful desires, our bondage to sin, and our love of sin died with Christ. And since we are now united by faith with
Jesus in his resurrection life, we have unbroken fellowship with God and
freedom from sin's hold on us.
We don't have to succumb to, or be
content with our life's miss hits; we can overcome them by God's grace of love
and forgiveness, allowing us to grow into golfers, into the disciples, God
wants us to be.
Ken finally hit that golf ball which
exploded on contact.
We closed reciting the 23rd Psalm.
Note: The source of Ken’s message http://www.emmitsburg.net/tumc/pastor_wade/2005/golf.htm