Location, Location, Location

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Location, location, location.

When it comes to real estate or business, location is everything.

I once consulted with a congregation that was located in a 90% Hispanic neighborhood. Nothing wrong with that. Except this was a Korean congregation. There were virtually no Koreans living within a five mile radius. In order for Koreans to come to this particular Korean church, they would drive past dozens of other Korean churches.

Location matters. I suggested that the congregation has two realistic options for its future: sell the property and move to where Koreans are, or start ministering to Hispanics.

Location matters.

But I think location matters also in the arena of sin.

When I think about the times I’ve gotten myself into trouble, location absolutely mattered. You see, if I were where I was supposed to be I wouldn’t even had the opportunity to be tempted by sin and commit sin. Only if I were where I should have been, I would have avoided much heartache.

Location matters.

So, where are you?

Life Lessons from Golf

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The key to a good golf shot is to stay nice and relaxed and calm throughout the swing. From set up, to aiming, to the grip, to the swing, and through the follow through. Everything should be nice and easy, loosie-goosie grip, trusting in the swing and the club to do what it’s designed to do.

Once in a while, I have days when I literally can’t hit the ball. It’s almost as if I’ve forgotten how to play golf. It feels like I’ve never even held a golf club before.

I will have weeks and months of decent golf…and then, BAM!!!…out of nowhere comes a day when nothing goes right. The aiming is off. The grip and stance feel awkward. And the ball…oh my goodness…the ball!!! It goes wherever it wants…except for where I want!

I had one of those days this past week. But it’s ok. I learned a huge lesson.

I played well for the first four holes.

And then it happened. One errant shot.

Then the over-thinking, the over-correcting. Then even more “corrections” and “adjustments.” It got so bad, my 13 year-old son tells me swing advice.

When I start to play poorly, I try harder. And when I try harder, I end up tensing up. I end up gripping tighter. Swinging harder. Swinging faster. And each of these things only make things worse, not better. But the thing that is tricky is that during the unravelling I actually think these things are helping.

Things got so bad that I stopped playing after 9 holes and went straight to the driving range. Once I got there, I relaxed, loosened my grip, and took a nice relaxed swing.

Guess what happened?

The ball flew a beautiful trajectory right toward the target.

The key to a good golf swing is to relax, stay loose, and trust the swing and the club to do what it was designed to do. The harder and faster I swing, and the harder I grip the club, the worse the outcome is.

Here’s why I tell you all this. Because that’s exactly what I do when it comes to life. When things are not going right, I try harder, I work harder, I hold on tighter. I really believe that each of these things are making things better. But in actuality, each of these are making things worse.

To make life work, I need to let go, relax, and trust that what God promised works. I need to let go and trust God and let God do God only what God can.

To do that, I need to chill out. Relax. Loosen my grip on things and trust God. Trust in God’s methods.

And once I do that? You should see the beautiful trajectory of a life that trusts God!

Why I Gave Up Football

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I love football season.

I love watching football. I love talking football. I used to love playing football.

I particularly love football when my teams are kicking butt. The Pacific Northwest is a pretty good place for football. The Seahawks were really good for a time and are still competitive. The University of Washington Huskies are getting really good.

It’s fun to watch the Huskies and the Seahawks play…that is until they lose. Then it’s like doom and gloom. It literally takes me a few hours to get back to a semblance of normal. I just feel so terrible and frustrated when the Huskies or the Seahawks lose. But when both lose on a weekend, that’s a bad weekend.

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That’s exactly what happened last weekend. And when the Huskies and Seahawks lose, I feel terrible for hours!

And that’s when it occurred to me…this is stupid. It’s just a game. What difference did their loss mean in our world? What difference did the Seahawks winning the Super Bowl mean in our world? Did our world become a better place because of that? Did anything in the world improve because the Seahawks or the Huskies won? Did anything get worse because they lost?

And here I was getting upset, needing a couple of hours before I could start feeling normal again.

And to top it all off, I was spending about 7 hours watching the games itself. Hello? I happen to be pretty busy on weekends!

So, I made a decision. I would have never thought something like this possible before. In order to protect and honor the Lord’s Day, I choose not to watch the games and I choose not to let the games determine my mood and emotional condition. Until I can watch the games for the pure enjoyment of the game itself without getting emotionally involved, I refuse to have a football game impact my spiritual and emotional health.

So, I’ll catch a few minutes of the game. I will check the score. But I am no longer emotionally involved in the outcome of the game. I like it when the Huskies and the Seahawks win. But if they lose, it’s only a game. If I make it anymore than that, then shame on me.

It’s the day of worship. I am going to honor Sabbath worship.