Those of you who know me and have been listening to my passions for the past many years (thanks by the way) know that what I have labeled Christian Golf Community is materializing before our eyes (praise Him)!!
I was blessed this AM to be questioned by my wife about just that.
What the heck is Christian Golf Community, Bill??
We know about golf, right? It is this amazing sport that captures each of us who have been called to have a passion for the game. We want to play as much as we can. We want to improve our game as much as we can. We enjoy playing with our buddies with similar passions and desires. This is noble, right? It's good to be outside, playing, hanging out and enjoying the game, the gang and the challenges from the sport.
Is that all there is?
Funny, I remember listening to Bernard Langer telling us about his feeling after he won his first Masters. After the glitter and celebration ended, just the next day, he asked himself; "Is that all there is?" Funny. If you'd like, you can hear it from Bernhard here.
What is really noble about life? What is the purpose of life? What are we supposed to be getting out of this life and what are we to be putting in?
This is Golf From the Heart, right, and you know where I'm going with this; The purpose of life is to glorify our Creator, our Lord, Jesus Christ. We are His workmanship and "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." John 2:20.
So a quick segue; this game of golf must be part of "liv(ing) by faith in the Son of God."
We're also called to grow in the knowledge of God, right? 2 Peter 1
5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.
10 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election.
....and we're to do this in community with other Believers in Jesus Christ.
A Christian Golf Community.....
In Phoenix, Arizona we are building a Christian Golf Community.
We have our GPS Program at Sun City Country Club and headed back into the middle-schools in Maricopa County in the fall of this year. We have introduced 30,000+ kids to the game in the last four years. We are hiring 4 PGA Golf Pros to conduct that training in the schools and in our GPS Golf Academy at Sun City Country Club. Those PGA Golf Pros will be committed Believers in Jesus Christ. Their job description will designate that. Their job will be to teach golf to 20,000 kids this next year while representing the aroma of the knowledge of Jesus Christ at the school and on the golf range. (2 Corinthians 2:14-15) The academy will have Christian discipleship training going on weekly as kids learn the game and are guided into a relationship with Jesus Christ.
How will we keep the PGA Golf Pro growing in the knowledge of God, you ask. Thanks
We will be discipling them!!
We have established a fellowship opportunity inside of this website for the PGA Pros in the Section and the Southwest Section will be the place for community and fellowship as well as a Discipling process agreed to by the members of the Section. Our pros and those within the Southwest Section that join with us will be engaged in an Acts 2 community through this forum and will grow and encourage each other as they engage with their students through His inspiration and guidance. What a blessing.
There are several other facets of this Christian Golf Community in Phoenix.
More on this subject ......
Thankfully many of you have been, at least, reading the blog posts and emails I have been sending out. I, so much, appreciate you. Thanks again!!
So, what's up?
What an incredible few weeks I have had and it, certainly, reflects on our focus for Golf From the Heart and answers to our prayers.
Thanks so much, Father, God!!!!!
If you haven't been following, please go back a few Blog posts starting, probably, here "Unity in Golf Ministry", then you can click on a few of the links for discovering our Projects. Thanks.
So, a couple of weeks ago, now, I was blessed to be invited to travel to Phoenix, AZ by one of my friends and his wife. I can't go into the details, but, they felt I might be able to assist them and they wanted to have me come out there to spend some time with them. I am thankful for that as the Lord had a few other things in mind as well.
I was able to visit with my son, Garren (see his photo on the home page) and his wife, Robin. We got to refresh our relationship and hang out with their awesome felines as well. We were hoping to go to the WMO, but, as you know, the tickets were restricted and we could not find any to attend in person, so, we watched on television as Jordan failed to win and, unfortunately, Koepka won with a stellar pitch-in that was deserving of the win (I say, unfortunately, because we weren't routing for Bruce). We, then, watched the GOAT, Tom Brady, former quarterback for the PATS win another Superbowl!!! I had a premonition that morning during my devotional time that Gronk would be used extensively and, guess what, he was awesome. That was fun!!
Got to play Mesa Country Club on Monday thanks to Robin.
a Foundation we had submitted a request for grant to had approved an incredibly sizeable grant for GPS
Tuesday was great as I was able to help my friend and, then, play golf with John Leggat and some new friends at Cave Creek Golf Club. Great fellowship!!
Wednesday I met with Tom Loegering of Sun City CC and the Golf Program in Schools as well as an incredible Brother in Christ, Larry Valenzuela who the Lord drew to GPS almost a year ago now. We were honored to discuss all that has been happening and gain Tom's support for continuing to develop the Spiritual side of GPS as well as begin to reach out to the parents and kids from previous engagements. We, then, met with John Leggat and Juan Chavez of the Urban Youth - Excel and AZ Reach. Juan is deeply involved engaging with youth in Phoenix within the schools and we hope to partner to have their youth participate in our activities as well. Incredible meeting with the primary focus of the Lord, Jesus fulfilling His will for these programs.
Thursday I got to spend the afternoon at Longbow Golf Club outside of Mesa for a great afternoon on the range and putting green. The weather in Phoenix during this time is so awesome.
Friday was miracle Friday!!! Firstly, I was blessed to have a one-hour meeting with the newly elected Secretary of the PGA of America, Don Rae. I won't bore you with the details of Don's position and his influence on the nearly 29,000 PGA Golf Professionals in the USA. Don has been called for "such a time as this" to use his love for the Lord to strengthen him for his mission. He was impressed with our GPS Program as he owns Augusta Ranch GC in Mesa, AZ. He agreed to assist us as able. He also fulfilled prayers of many of us who are passionate about the game of golf and love Jesus Christ to use his travels to the 41 Sections of the PGA of America to reach out to PGA Pros who are Believers to meet with them and encourage them in their faith. Hopefully, this will morph into an effort to use Golf From the Heart and our *I'M A PGA OF AMERICA PROFESSIONAL Community for outreach and communication in the future. INCREDIBLE!!
The other miracle on that day was a phone call I received from my dear friend, John Leggat. He was very pleased to inform me that a Foundation we had submitted a request for grant to had approved an incredibly sizeable grant for GPS. Again, this is a miracle!!!! We are on our way to fulfill our vision to grow the game of golf and introduce families to a loving God.
Wow, Miracle, huh!!!!
Golf From the Heart Projects;
We've been reviewing the various projects Golf From the Heart is engaged in.
So far we have identified the Golf From the Heart community website, Golf Program in Schools, Let's Golf Uganda and Golfing to Greatness. So, now, we're going to expand on our desire for unity in ministries that are using golf as a platform.
The Lord has given us as Believers in Jesus Christ a mandate; Unity
This is a document developed a couple of years ago;
Thank You, Father ... let us seek UNITY among the Brothers & Sisters in golf.
This is an attempt to connect Christian golf groups, golfers and associations. We can help each others' collective ministries & communication efforts if we have the leaders of ministries and/or those in that ministry that are savvy to modern communications through social media; calling, texting, Facebook messaging, Twitter, Instagram, etc. as admins on whatever media group we agree to utilize.
We can TEACH them how to use these forums.
"This is His legacy in us."
The Lord has given us as Believers in Jesus Christ a mandate; Unity.
The scriptures identified within this document validate the mandate.
We believe the Lord wants us to be unified as those with a passion for golf and a love of Jesus Christ;
4:1 “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” Ephesians 4:1-5
John 17:20 “My prayer is not for them alone (the Apostles). I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—23 I in them and you in me--so that they may be brought to complete unity.
Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
What is the problem?
-There is a lack of unity among ministers/organizations using the platform of golf for evangelism, discipleship & events associated with the ministry.
-There is a lack of communication among ministers/organizations using the platform of golf for evangelism, discipleship & events associated with the ministry.
-There is a lack of coordination among ministers/organizations using the platform of golf for evangelism, discipleship & events associated with the ministry
There should be a coordination format & communication network as well as regular get-togethers (conference events online and/or in person) to maintain close relationships & communication as well as encourage unity within the Christian golf community.
”So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, ***to equip his people for works of service***,
***so that the body of Christ may be built up***
until we all ***reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature***, ***attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.*** Instead, ***speaking the truth in love,*** ***we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ***. ***From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows*** and ***builds itself up in love***, ***as each part does its work***. - Ephesians 4:1-8,11-13,15-16
Let's build a database of those called to use the game of golf for Evangelical & Discipleship purposes
And over all these virtues ***put on love***, which ***binds them all together in perfect unity***. - Colossians 3:14
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you ***teach and admonish one another*** with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. - Colossians 3:15-17 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Colossians3:15-17&version=NIV
What is the benefit of Unity in ministries using golf as a platform?
All would be informed of Christ-follower golf oriented outreach events, happenings & news in order to unify in thought & action as necessary for God's will to be accomplished.
Each ministry/minister could use this information to be better stewards as we conduct our mission; “to go”. There may be collective opportunities where ministries may partner & share resources or contacts.
Let's build a database of those called to use the game of golf for Evangelical & Discipleship purposes as well as communicate on efforts.
Once we agree, we could coordinate the database contacts for each ministry. We don’t have to share the databases as those databases are proprietary, but, the content could be shared with each ministry and disseminated through the ministries’ databases.
Next "Unity" part 2
What is Golfing to Greatness?
Mainly, it is a significant part of the Golf From the Heart ministry because it allows male golfers (for now, sorry ladies) to engage in a fellowship together in order to grow in the knowledge of God.
Most of us realize that we are woefully short of a mature relationship with our Lord, Jesus Christ. He calls us in His word to become mature followers of Him and, especially, in Matthew 28:20 we are told to obey all that He has commanded us; "20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
How can we obey all that He has commanded us if we don't know what He commanded us?
In the previous verse to Matthew 20:20 we are told to "make disciples" and how can any teacher teach disciples if one doesn't know how to be a disciple?
So we've got to know Jesus and His commands in order to teach them, right?
the objective is to "Grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ"
Lastly, on this subject, for now. I looovvvvvveeeee these verses from Peter in 2 Peter 1 ...
3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.
You can see that the objective is to "Grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ" which supports my point about why Golfing to Greatness is so important.
The development of Golfing to Greatness began some 9 years ago as I was searching for a more in-depth disciple fellowship experience with other men. I began to search out opportunities and I became aware of Christian Leadership Concepts, a ministry in Brentwood, TN that excelled in small groups of men in discipleship. I found that a man in my church, Scott Thomas, had been preparing to start a new group of 12 men and I joined the men in 2012, I believe. Seven years later, I saw the incredible value of this program and wanted to start a new group.
So, once again, I built it built it.
Also, during this time, say late 2018, I had been seeking out how I could assist many of the ministries using golf as a platform. The PGA Tour Bible Study as well as similar studies on the Web.com Tour, College Golf Fellowship and FCA Golf as examples. How could we help them work with their men to establish and maintain a consistent focus on discipleship with an online presence so that each man, regardless of where he might be; at the weekly tournament, at home, on other business, etc. and maintain a consistent focus on the fellowship. Well, my thoughts became; "Hey, we could establish Christian Leadership Concepts (CLC) discipleship program online by transferring the content onto active forms for use on the Internet. We could send the electronic forms out five times each week as that is what the curriculum called for and conduct a 1.5 hour Zoom meeting each week for all to fellowship together."
I had to go to Hal Haddon, the developer of CLC and past Board President, to ask his permission. That story is captured in this Blog Post.
So, once again, I built it.
Each week for two years I prepared for my CLC local group and copied and pasted the active forms into my database and conducted the weekly fellowship meetings, some of which I have captured on video. Why video? Because, again, with the travel requirements of Professional Golfers, College golfers and FCA coaches, conducting a video fellowship after engaging with the content five days a week fosters a close knit group that are "growing in the knowledge of God."
We have, now, conducted three online Golfing to Greatness (G2) groups; and one locally. We have just launched our Let's Golf Uganda G2G program as mentioned earlier.
Lord, let G2G gain traction where You want it to gain traction. To Your glory, in Jesus Christ.
Next, Unity in Golf Ministry
So, what are we trying to accomplish in Uganda?
We are trying to introduce an entire generation of kids to the game of golf and to Jesus Christ.
Yup, that's right!!
Well, again, we are gathering men from Uganda (and other places as I'll reveal here in a few lines) through prayer and engagement to become "men after God's own heart". That's the name of the first module in Golfing to Greatness. The process has been almost exactly as it is called for in the Christian Leadership Concepts (CLC) model; have two facilitators seek the Lord regarding the men to invite into the fellowship/discipleship program, invite those that the Lord brings into our hearts and seek their commitment to walk along with us on this program. The first time we went with the CLC program the prayer process took over a year. The second time we did it, it took about four months and the third time (as Golfing to Greatness) it took about 6 months. This time, so far, with the Uganda men, it has taken about four months and we are still not fully committed, but getting closer. In fact, at the writing of this Post, we have conducted two sessions with the 13 men who have agreed to participate in this journey.
Why Golfing to Greatness? It has been my experience that if the leaders or members of a group with a focus on ministerial projects are not mature in their faith and have had a fellowship experience to "grow in the knowledge of God" together, then, how do we know we are all on the same faith journey? Therefore, over the past many years each project I engage in with people of faith in Jesus Christ, I have introduced the concept of a deep dive into our faith lives in fellowship or discipleship in order to be unified in the project's direction.
So, Let's Golf Uganda began with Kalema Posiano Ian from Port Royal, Uganda. I met Ochapet Patrick online in a similar way to the introduction to Kalema, through Facebook; finding his heart and passion are very similar to ours. Ochapet lives in Entebbe, Uganda. I met Paul Nteza in Boston as an Uber driver. He is from Kampala, Uganda, not a golfer, but, a sportsman that God clearly brought into my life to join our Uganda group. While Ochapet and Kalema were praying for men to include, Timothy Gary Kyomuhendo of Port Royal, Uganda came to mind and Timothy has agreed to walk with us. Aron Bantu is from Uganda, yet lives in the USA now. Ochapet asked him and he agreed to join us. Steve Goins is a friend of mine through one of my daughters. I discovered he was having some challenges in himself and with his wife. I felt the Lord encouraging me to bring him into a deeper fellowship and he has agreed to join our group. William Wilson is from Uganda. Ochapet knew him from golfing in Uganda. He now lives in the States and is a member of our group. Edrine Okong is an acquaintence of Ochapet from golf in Uganda. He is on the golf team for Howard University and he is a member of our group. Rick Brigham is my dear friend and Brother with whom we have been in a deep Christian fellowship for the past 11 years. He and I decided to implement what Rick has labled "All Needs Met" into our new fellowship and he is a member of our group. Another dear friend and Brother, Dave Kern from Massachusetts has also been in fellowship with Rick and I for many years and he has joined our group as well.
Golf Uganda, yeah, but as you can see we're NOT all from Uganda. So, about 6 weeks ago I was contacted on LindedIn by a US citizen originally from Ghana. His name is Raymond Amezado who is back in Ghana using golf as a vehicle to help peoples' lives and introduce them to the Gospel. He brought the CEO of his organization and his dear friend, Senyo Sosu and, now, they are members of our G2G Uganda Fellowship Group.
So, you can see that prayer for almost 5 months has produced an eclectic group of Believers, many of whom are golfers and several who are not together to grow in the knowledge of God as we seek His face and walk a path to fulfill His will for us.
Trying to follow the Lord's will regarding ministry and the platform of golf.