RORY- Peace and Tranquility

21 Jul

Rory

Going into the final round of the 2011 Master’s Tournament, Rory Mcilroy had a four shot lead.  On the last day he made this statement, “I came out and was trying to be this player that I’m not.” He shot a final round 80 and lost.

Two months later he wins the U.S. Open by 8 strokes with 16 under par.

In the past 18 months, he changed management for the second time, leading to lawsuits that are still to be decided. And after getting engaged to tennis star Caroline Wozniacki on New Year’s Eve, he abruptly broke off the engagement in May with a telephone call.

Going into the final round of today’s British Open his lead, as imposing as seven strokes in the early stages of the fourth round, was down to two with five holes to play.  

He also faced  a distraction at the 16th: After hitting his tee shot, Mcilroy turned and pointed with his club toward a heckler in the gallery, who was eventually escorted away.  Mcilroy said the man had been heckling him all day and “deliberately coughed on my downswing” at the 16th tee.

 Would he collapse just like he did in the final round of the 2011 Masters?

How do you keep focus when hell lands and distractions are all around? 

Rory said that all day long he had a peace and tranquility.  He had two trigger words that kept him focused: process and spot.  With each swing he would think about the process and not the results.  With his putting he would think about picking the spot and hitting the ball.

1 Samuel 30 says David and his men returned to Ziklag and found all the women and children taken away the men  cried until they could cry no more.  Then the men spoke of stoning David.  Now that sounds like hell has landed!

His focus? The bible says David encouraged himself in the Lord.

It was what they focused on in the midst of difficulty that helped David and a golfer to experience victory.

Whatever you focus on gains power in your life.

Rory focused on what he called trigger words: process and spot.

David focused on God and he encouraged himself.

The same holds true with you and me.

We can focus on our failure.  We can focus on our guilt.  We can focus on our insecurity.  We can focus on what is not fair. When we focus on these things then failure, guilt and injustice gains power in our life.

OR we can focus on how big our God is and how much we are His favored children.  Focusing on these things gains power in our lives.  When we do we experience peace and tranquility.

Victory is ours!

Today Rory Mcilroy won the British Open by simply focusing on the right things. He led from start to finish which has not been done in an Open tournament since 2005.

David gained victory by focusing on the right things. Some how he convince 400 of the 600 soldiers who were getting ready to stone him to go after the Amalekites.  David recovered ALL that the Amalekites had carried away simply by focusing on how big God is instead of how big his problems were, 

Are we experiencing peace and tranquility when hell lands?  Are we gaining victory over the distractions in life?  If not, it could be that we are focused on the wrong things. Victory is ours!

 

 

 

 

WHY DIDN’T USA WIN THE WORLD CUP?

14 Jul

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U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati said, “For the first time in our history, recent history, our players believe they’re capable of beating anyone.  Our players believe that and our play has demonstrated that’s the case.  The Portugal game was proof,  the Americans outplayed the fourth-ranked team in the world. Until 28 seconds to go , we were winning the game.”

Our players BELIEVE they’re capable of beating anyone.

What does the bible say about our beliefs?

  • Proverbs 23:7 (NKJV)  For as he thinks (believes) in his heart, so is he (so does he become).
  • Matthew 15:18 (NKJV) But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart.
  • Luke 6:45b (NKJV) For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks (leaks).

How do you know what you truly believe?

When David faced Goliath he said, “This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. ”  Now that is a pretty bold statement that David better be able to back up.

David was speaking words of faith because that’s what he truly believed in  his heart. Whatever  you truly believe in your heart can’t help, but leak out.

So how do you know what you truly believe?  Whatever LEAKS out of your mouth.

Our problem is not what we say, but what we believe.

Many of us have distorted beliefs, distorted beliefs about God and distorted beliefs about ourself.

Why did it take the Israelites so long to make it to the Promise Land?  They had a distorted belief about God.  They said, “You’ve brought us out into the wilderness to kill us.”  You can’t speak words of faith if you believe God is trying to kill you.

God had to change Gideon’s distorted belief about himself.  Gideon says that his family is the weakest and that he is the least in his father’s house.  You’re not going to be a very good leader if that’s what you believe about yourself.  God had to work with Gideon’s distorted view of himself. He calls Gideon a mighty man of valor.

So why didn’t the Americans win the world cup if they believed they could?

Our  beliefs play a huge role in OUR victories just like it did in David’s victories.

Jurgen Klinsmman the coach of the U.S. Soccer Team said this, “Germany is one of the three or four big teams capable of winning it all.  The USA is not.”

Could that have had anything to do with it?

In conclusion!

Do you have a distorted image of yourself?  Do you have a distorted image of God?

I believe these two areas are the most important factors that keep us from our destiny. Our image of who God is and our image of who we are in Christ are the two biggest factors that keep us from becoming Giant Killers.

Changing what we say doesn’t makes us Giant Killers, but changing what we believe!

 

 

REARVIEW MIRROR

4 Jul

blind-spot-mirror

Aren’t the cars that are going slower suppose to ride in the righthand lane? Isn’t the lefthand lane suppose to be for the cars that are moving faster?

I was recently traveling. As I looked ahead of me you could see cars weaving from the lefthand lane, to the right hand lane and back to the lefthand lane. I found out the reason for their weaving in and out. There was a car in the lefthand lane that was going slower and refused to get in the correct lane.

As I passed these cars I would look in my rearview mirror. There would be a gap before the next group of cars would catch up to them.  Never once did they get into the correct lane.  Then the other cars would catch up and it would slow traffic down and the cars would start weaving in and out.

Then came the quiet whisper, “Quit looking in your rearview mirror.” If we keep looking in our rearview mirror then we can’t see what God has for us ahead.

I was talking to a friend recently who encountered a difficult season of life. He was telling God how he felt like he was coming out of Sodom and Gomorrah. God’s wisdom for him was, “Then don’t look back.”

That’s what the Children of Israel did with Moses. They were constantly looking in their rearview mirror at Egypt. As long as they did that they missed out on what God had for them.

This holds true for any season of life good or bad. God moves supernaturally in our life and we look back expecting God to move the like He did in the past.

I believe God wants to move in NEW ways in our life and in our church.  Let’s stop trying to figure it out and let God be God.

I’m just thankful that while I was looking in my rearview mirror I didn’t run in the back of another car!

Happy 4th of July!

Tim Duncan

24 Jun

Duncan

In 2012 Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs made 21 million dollars.  In 2013 he was set to sign what would be his final contract.  Rather than demanding one last massive payday Tim Duncan cut his salary in half to 10 million dollars.  One year after being the 3rd highest paid player in the league he dropped down to 61st. Duncan’s cut opened up salary cap space to sign several other players.

Leadership requires sacrifice.  It is refreshing to see such leadership displayed in the world of sports in this day and age.

It reminds me in scriptures where Abraham and Lot’s men were fighting with one another.  Abraham made a huge sacrifice.

Genesis 13 (ESV) 5 And Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents, 6 so that the land could not support both of them dwelling together; for their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together, 7 and there was strife between the herdsmen of Abram’s livestock and the herdsmen of Lot’s livestock.

Abraham refused to allow strife into their midst.  His solution was to separate.  Abraham made a “Tim Duncan Move” in this next verse.  He let Lot have first choice of the land.

Genesis 13 (ESV) 10 And Lot lifted up his eyes and saw that the Jordan Valley was well watered everywhere like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt, in the direction of Zoar. (This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) 11 So Lot chose for himself all the Jordan Valley, and Lot journeyed east. Thus they separated from each other.

If you are familiar with this story you know it didn’t turn out too well for Lot and turned out great for Abraham.

One of the greatest responsibilities of leadership is sacrifice.  David tells us that we must sacrifice with the right spirit and then he tells us to trust God.

Psalm 4 (NLT) 5 Offer sacrifices in the right spirit, and trust the Lord.

The result?

Psalm 4 (NLT) 7 You have given me “greater joy” than those who have abundant harvests of grain and new wine.

Abraham’s sacrifice didn’t stop there.  The next thing he was sacrificing was his son Isaac.  Because of that sacrifice we all benefit today.

Hebrews 12 (NLT) 2 Because of the “joy” awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.

What did Tim Duncan’s sacrifice bring him?  Another NBA Championship.

If you are a leader and it seems like you’re sacrificing is in vain.  Know that your championship is awaiting you!!

2014 NBA Champions

17 Jun

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“We responded well from a real tough loss last night. That’s what a coach always looks for. It was great to come out angry enough to try to put last night out of their heads. We played well most of the night, but a lot of the fuel for that came from last night.”

This is a quote by Gregg Popovich the coach of the 2014 NBA Champions San Antonio Spurs.  Listen to what he said, “We responded well from a real tough loss last night.”

How do you respond to the losses you experience in life?  How do you as a leader respond to losses?

One of the most impressive examples of leadership in the bible is when David and his men came back to Ziklag from winning a battle. Upon their arrival they found the place burned with fire and all the wives and children taken captive.  The bible says that David and his men cried until they could cry no more.  Then it said…

1 Samuel 30:6 (NKJV)
6 Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. BUT David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.

David impresses me.  In his greatest loss he ran to God and strengthened himself in the Lord. I loved what David did next.

1 Samuel 30:8(NKJV)
8 So David inquired of the Lord

You would assume that they wouldn’t have to pray about rescuing their families. But David did  seek God’s heart before they immediately went into another battle.

Here’s what impresses me about this loss.  In the midst of being GREATLY DISTRESSED.  In the midst of his team considering STONING HIM, somehow he convinces 400 of the 600 men to UNITE together and go rescue their families.

Now that is great leadership and a great recovery from a loss.

Coach Pop made this statement about last year’s NBA Finals.

“I’ve said many times, a day didn’t go by where I didn’t think about Game 6,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said of the turning point in last year’s finals. “So I think, just in general, for the group to have the fortitude that they showed to get back to this spot, I think speaks volumes about how they’re constituted and what kind of fiber they have.”

What about you?  What about us?  How do we respond when life hands us a loss?

I think the best thing we can do is first encourage ourselves in the Lord.  The second thing would be to inquire of the Lord.

It’s how we respond to the losses of life that turns us into champions!

IN THE ROUGH

12 Jun

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I love playing golf.  The bad thing about it is I spend most of my time in the rough.  The more time I spend in the rough the less I play.

This weekend is the  U.S. Open Golf Tournament.   The most exciting U.S. Open ever was when Payne Stewart drilled a 15 foot putt for the win in 1999!   Sadly, a few months later Payne Stewart died in a plane crash.

This week Payne Stewart was honored at Pinehurst where this year’s Open will be played.  His daughter shared something her dad taught her.

“My dad taught me that in life, as in golf, you don’t always land in the fairway. Playing from the rough builds character.”

As Christians we can learn a lesson from Payne and Paul as well.  Paul was a man who was beaten, ridiculed and thrown in prison, but Paul didn’t pray for God to get him out of the rough.  He learned some things while playing in the rough.

Philippians 4:13 (MSG)  Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am. 

David learned to pay attention to God’s Word in the rough.

Psalm 119:71 (NLT) My suffering was good for me, for it taught me to pay attention to your decrees.

Are you living life in the rough?  What are you learning while you are in the rough? Do you find yourself running to His Word or do you find yourself praying for God to get you out of the rough? Paul said:

Philippians 3:14 (TLB)  I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God is calling us to

It is in the rough where I learned some things.  The more I learn what I need to learn the more I find myself in the fairway.  I wish that were the case with golf.  Anyway, I think I’m getting the itch to go play some golf.

Happy U.S. Open to everyone!

 

 

God Created In Our Image

28 Jan

Genesis 1:27 So God created man in His own image, in the image and likeness of God He created him.

We were created in the IMAGE of God.  My question is what is YOUR image of God?  Let me ask that questions again, What is YOUR image of God?

What I am finding out in the Bible, what I’m finding out in the life of people I know and what I’m finding out in my own life is WE have CREATED GOD IN OUR IMAGE!

All throughout the Bible people created God in their image.  The children of Israel had an image of God that He brought them out into the wilderness to kill them.  God created in our image!

I once had someone tell me that I needed to fear God.  I had this sense that what they meant  was I better be careful because God may “zap” me any minute if I don’t fall in line with what they believed to be God’s will.  I later found out my intuition was right. God created in our image.

If I were to be honest with myself  the image I had of God in the Old Testament was a mean old man.  Kind of like the man behind the curtain on the Wizard of Oz. Or the kind of God that huffs and puffs and blows your house down. God created in our image.

God is loooong suffering!  God is patient!  God is kind.  On our best day God is good.  On our worst day God is good!  That doesn’t mean we get a “get out of jail free” card.  There are still consequences of our disobedience.

I have learned one thing is that God is constantly pursuing us even we we drift away from  Him.  That hit home  more recently when I read the book of Hosea.  Hosea was a prophet  who God told him to marry a prostitute.

Yep!  That’s what I said.  God told Hosea to marry a prostitute AND have a baby with her.

Why would God tell Hosea to do that?  Cause he wanted to use Hosea as an object lesson.  He married her, had a baby with her and then she would go out and have physical relations with other men.  After she did this for awhile God told Hosea to pursue his wife, bring her home and love her.  That takes a whole lot of unconditional love.  (I’m not sure I could handle that one!  Anyway it’s not about me.)

Israel (as well as us) is like that prostitute.  We go around giving away our intimacy to the world yet God still passionately pursues us.

That is the kind of God we serve.  A God who passionately pursues us on our worst day and on our biggest failure.  If God was so mean why would He give His son to die on the cross for us.

Let me end by asking that question again.  What is your image of God?

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