John 4:19-26

"Sir," the woman said, "you must be a prophet. So tell me, why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, while we Samaritans claim it is here at Mount Gerizim, where our ancestors worshiped?"

Jesus replied, "Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on the tis mountain or in Jerusalem. You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews. But the time is coming-indeed it's here now- when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship Him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth."

The woman said, "I know the Messiah is coming-the one who is called Christ. When he comes, he will explain everything to us."

Then Jesus told her, "I AM the Messiah!"

Friday, July 25, 2008

golf and accountability

Today, I spent the day with a couple of my good friends, Todd and Ty. We drove an hour away to avoid the pouring down rain, just so we could chase a little white ball around 6800 yards of lush fairway and probably 100 acres of six inch rough, trees, sand traps; which is where we actually spent most of our day!!!

Not really, but you get the point! We had a great time. And what I realized was, if you're playing golf with a couple of really good buds, it doesn't always matter how you play, and we all played really well today, so I'm not saying that to justify a crappy round!!!

I do have to admit. I struggled through the front nine. I played Ok, but I was having trouble controlling distance. For the life of me, I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong. Then, all of a sudden, I developed a wicked left pull. Every shot! I was having to scramble around the greens to save par.

About eight holes into the round, Ty, who is standing behind me as I took one of these wicked-bad shots, started laughing. Naturally, I turned around and thanked him for laughing at my expense!! :) He says, "No! I'm not laughing at you, I'm laughing because I know what's going on with your swing! And your gonna feel like an idiot when I tell you!!!"

First rule in golf: Keep your head down. No problem. I got that one down.... after five long years of horrible duffing!
Rule # 2: Keep your left arm straight, all through your backswing. (unless you're a lefty, then it's your right arm.)
Long story short, Ty informs me that I'm bending my left elbow so badly, it looks like I'm hugging myself. Thank You so much!!!!! Immediately, my swing is back! I'm crushing the ball, right on target, and the very next hole.... Birdie!!!! Not just a birdie either. I knocked the approach shot within 12 inches, from a 130 yards out! (side note-not to be outdone, Todd stuck his approach right beside mine, from about 100 yards out! Two incredible golf shots, if I do say so myself)

So here's the point of the story. It got me to thinking. I can't tell you how many times something goes wrong with a golf swing and you can't see it, feel it, or fix it, you just know something's wrong. The reason is, the difference between a complete shank and a perfectly executed shot is literally... 1/8 of an inch off plane. And you can't always figure out what you're doing wrong. It takes someone else to point it out to you.

Todd and Ty are two really, really good friends of mine. Either one of them can tell me anything, and they know that no matter what, I know their motive is not to hurt me or putt me down. Even if what they're telling me is hard to hear. Just like in Golf, our Christian walk can get out of alignment sometimes. I'm not talking about the really big obvious things that we immediately know... Uh, oh! That was not something Jesus would've been proud of! I'm talking about the litle things, the day to day things that may not seem like they're a big deal, but can gradually pile up and then, Uh, oh! Now we got a pile of junk to deal with.
This is why I have a couple other really good friends that I meet with regularly. They are my accountability partners. We keep maintenance on each other's lives. Every now and again, I'll get an email that is subject headed- Image Consultant! I know, when I see that, that I'm about to get gut-checked! It's a good thing, to know that I can be completely transparent with these guys. There's nothing that I can say that's going to change the way they feel about me, and vice versa with them. We approach everything with love, knowing that we are only bringing these things up, to make sure that we are following the path that God wants us on.
I would highly encourage you, if you don't already, to find a couple people-people you trust implicitely with everything. People who, it doesn't matter what you tell them, good or bad, it doesn't leave your circle... NO MATTER WHAT! But here's the key. You can't just find someone to dump on. You need to be willing to hear what they have to say about it. You need to be willing to take it to God, with them, and see what He has to say about it. And you need to be willing to accept that you may be doing something that is not what God would have for your life. Sometimes it's very hard. I'm not going to lie to you. Sometimes it's like having to stand in front of a magic mirror, one that strips you of all your facades, and shows you the real you. But that's ok, because God already sees that. And there's nothing we can do to hide it. Sometimes we need our accountability partners to help point these things out, and sometimes we need to point out these things to our accountability partners. That's even harder!! But the point of all of this is, we were created to be in relationship. God expects us, through those relationships, to grow in Him, and learn how to love each other, build each other up and hold each other accountable when neccessary. Sometimes we just need someone to point out that our elbow is bending, and messing up our swing!

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