Eliminate the Shanks from Your Life Swing

Butch Harmon, who has instructed professional golfers from Fred Couples to Tiger Woods, tells the story of the club member who was having problems with the shanks. That is, a poorly played golf shot. He spent 20 minutes trying to get him to work his stance, his weight transfer, his wrists, his arms and shoulders, his chin.  He tried everything but the man still shanked every shot.

He went into the pro shop and told his father the problem.  Claude Harmon went out to the man, watched him swing one time, and told him to keep his clubface square.  Five minutes later the guy was hitting the ball down the middle of the fairway.

Butch asked him how he knew what the problem was after one swing.  Claude said, “I knew what he was doing before I stood up from behind my desk. . . .  A shank is a shank. I knew the guy was hitting it with a shut clubface before I walked out here. The only question left was, what did I need to tell him to get him to stop?”[1]

Jesus already knows what is causing the “shanks” in your life.  He knows why your life “swing” is off.  And he knows the solution before you even know to ask for help.  He knows because he corrected your problem on the cross.  It is there he uttered these words: “’It is finished!’  With that he bowed his head and gave up his spirit” (John 19:30).

On the cross Jesus paid a debt that was owed by those (us) who were unable to pay it. He finished the work of satisfying both the holiness of God and the love of God.  The fact that God is holy is foundational to Scripture.  Holy means he is “above,” he is “higher than.”  He is not just better.  He is not just an improved version of us, but that he is “set apart.”  Way apart.

“Holy” means something that is set apart from us.  And this difference is manifested in the way he views sin.  He sees it differently than we do.  He can have nothing to do with sin.  It has to be punished.

But God also loves.  The fact that God is love is foundational to Scripture.  So he put our sin on his Son and punished it there.  In doing so, he took care of sin and he took care of you and me when we embrace him as savior.

[1] The greatest father: Claude Harmon wisdom and lessons still show the way, Golf Digest, June, 2006 by Butch Harmon at http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0HFI/is_6_57/ai_n26885507/?tag=content;col1

You Can Make it Through the Fire

It seems like recently that many people I know are going through trials. From sickness to family crises to financial turmoil people are going through a lot of stuff.
At the first sign of crises we fall to our knees and cry out to God, keep me from this lord, don’t let me go through this.  None of us want to face adversity. But have any of us thought that maybe we are to go through the trial.  When we go through the trial do we not ever stop and think that God is allowing us to go through this so that we can get stronger. How do we not know that God knows more than we do?
God could be preparing us for something that is ahead of us.  God is getting us ready to face something greater. Just because we don’t see it doesn’t mean it won’t happen.
The truth is when we go through trials, it is those trials that make us stronger. When we go through those trials we realize that God will get us through it.
When you think about trials remember what the 3 Hebrew children went through in Daniel 3. Because of their faith they were forced into the fire. They made it through the fire. In that fire there was someone with them. That someone was the Son of God.
You will get through the fire. It may not seem like it now but you will get through the fire.  And if your not going through a trial right now,  the next time you do go through one pray that God will help you through it not keep you from it.
Jesus spoke these words to us in John 16:33. “These things I have spoken to you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

The Greatest Question of All Time

A BBC magazine answered the “101 greatest questions of all time.”[1] What did they include? Well, questions like “What is OK short for?” Answer? “OK comes from ‘oll korrect’, a deliberately misspelled writing of ‘all correct.’ It was popularized in Boston newspapers around the 1840s when it was fashionable to go around spelling things incorrectly for humorous effect.”

The #1 “greatest question” was “Where is the safest place to stand outside in a thunderstorm?” And, in case you must know the answer, it is “A car or other enclosed metal structure is the safest place to be in a thunderstorm.”

Jesus asked a question that should have been first on the list. He and the disciples were in Caesarea Philippi. Call it the shopping mall of religion. It was located in a region known as Paneon, or the home of the Greek god Pan. Once it had been a center of Baal worship. A temple was located there dedicated to the godhead of Caesar. And other temples of Syrian gods dotted the landscape.

Plenty of gods to choose from in Caesarea Philippi. So Jesus asks his disciples this question: “Who do you say I am?” (Mark 8:29). Oh, at first he asked them what others were saying about him. The answers came back in rapid fire: “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.”

But Jesus was more concerned with their answer to his question, so he asked, “Who do you say I am?” They all looked at this homeless carpenter and thought about that question. We don’t know how long they thought before Peter replied, “You are the Christ.”

[1] “Greatest 101 questions of all time: 1-20” found at  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/


Learn to Let Go

One of the hardest things about pastoring is when people who you have loved and cared for decide to leave the church. For whatever reason they leave on their own accord, whether they decide to go to another church or they quit church altogether.

I have learned to deal with it as much as you don’t like it. There are usually two things that are going on. Number one, God has truly called them else where or number two, they are completely out of God’s perfect will for their life.

The first instance all you can do because it is God’s plan is bless them and pray that God will be with them in their journey. The second instance is the same. Bless them, because if God didn’t lead them elsewhere you have left the door open for their return. At some point if they were out of God’s will they will return. When they do return, embrace them with open arms.

I know that every time we have let someone go and didn’t try to grab a hold and not let go, God sent more people to help us continue to do the work that He has planned for us.

God truly has a plan for all of us. We just have to be listening and know when to leave and not to leave. The problem is we leave many times prematurely before God can do something special in our life at the current place we are at. We as pastor’s sometimes leave the church we are at prematurely. We need to learn to wait and be patient, God is working things out.

I want to leave you with Isaiah 40:31. It says, “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”