Awesome!

That word is often used to describe everything from your most recent meal to the creator of the universe. That covers a lot of ground.

I have had issues with using that word for some time ever since hearing the song “Awesome God” written and released first by Rich Mullins and then covered or released by every other contemporary Christian artist on the planet, or at least it seemed that way.

Here is the issue as I viewed it. Continue reading Awesome!

The Masters…A Tradition Now Like Many Others

Whether you are a golfer or golf fan if you watch TV in March and early April every year you have probably seen commercial for The Masters, the first of the 4 major professional golf tournaments every year hosted and played at The Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia. The tag line CBS uses for these ads is, “The Masters, a tradition unlike any other.”

Golf, A Game Like No Other

I have been a golfer and continue to be a fan of golf, the game and many of those who play it. I marvel at the skills they display and the game of golf itself is like no other. The tournaments are contested on different courses each week and the professional golfers depend on their own skills, work ethic, character, and mental toughness. Golfers pay close attention to the rules of the game and often call penalties on themselves even when no one else might have seen the infraction. They also hold their playing partners to the highest standard and can call attention to a rule infraction by their playing partners in order to protect the field. All of these factors determine how successful any golfer is or is not on the PGA Tour. Those are some of the primary reasons I love the game, the golfer is dependent on himself for success or failure and himself or herself alone and the character normally displayed is not common any more in today’s society.

A Tradition For Me

The Masters every April has always been my favorite tournament of the year and it has been a tradition for me to watch The Masters on Sunday afternoon every year for the past 40 years. I have not missed very many. Ask my family. Our children have grown up watching it and we have been there to practice rounds a couple of times. Augusta National is a beautiful place, one of the most beautiful I have ever seen. Look back at Abstract or just a different perspective? if you want to see more thoughts on Augusta National.

That is another reason I love golf. It is played on some of the most beautiful places in the world. Augusta National is the top of that list for me and millions of others. The Masters always marks the official beginning of spring for me. I think I can speak intelligently about the subject as I am somewhat familiar with it.

All that to say, what I am about to say about what The Masters did today is hard for me to say but it has so affected me I cannot not say it.

Bobby Jones and The Masters

Bobby Jones along with Clifford Roberts founded The Masters and was known for his integrity while playing the game and in his life after retiring from competitive golf at the age of 28. He was an amateur and played the game because he loved the game. He once saw his ball move, after addressing it, a rules violation, and called a penalty on himself. No one else saw the infraction and even the official recommended he not call the penalty because no one else had seen it. He did call the penalty on himself because he said he would know he saw it move and it was an infraction. This happened during The U.S. Open, another of the four major tournaments each year, and that one stroke caused him to tie for the tournament lead at the end of regulation and he eventually lost the tournament in a playoff.

There are many other instances such as this throughout the history of golf and this integrity of the game is one of the reasons I love it and sets golf apart from many other sports I believe.

Fast Forward to Today, April 13, 2013

Yesterday, during the second round of The Masters, Tiger Woods, one of the best golfers of all time, committed an infraction on the 15th hole. This was seen by millions of people and was clearly a violation of the rule. He made an illegal drop in his words, “I went back to where I played it from,” Woods said, “but I went 2 yards further back and I took, tried to take 2 yards off the shot of what I felt I hit.”  Rule 26-1 is the rule in question. Since he signed his scorecard for a 6 on this hole instead of a 7 he signed an incorrect scorecard and should be disqualified.

The Masters Rules committee said they saw the drop and did not think it was a rule violation, a sad commentary on the rules committee, and did not mention this to Tiger then or when he finished his round before he signed his scorecard. Apparently a television viewer or viewers called in to say Tiger had violated the rules so they then decided to review the issue.

It is the player’s responsibility to know the rules of the game and abide by the rules. If they have a question about any of the rules there is always an official either with their group or one can be summoned to answer any question they have about a rule or situation. Tiger did not ask for help from an official. It is irrelevant whether Tiger thought he was breaking a rule or not. Ignorance of the rule does not imply you do not have to abide by it. If that was the case then all golfers would just plead ignorance when a rule violation was in question.

Review Not Handled Like All Others

Normally, when there is a question about a rule, an official is asked to make a ruling, the ruling is made and play continues. This is normally done before the player signs his scorecard. This did not happen Friday with this situation. Instead, the rules committee apparently had to think about the implications of this issue overnight as they did not summon Tiger to discuss this until Saturday morning. This is one of the reasons I am disappointed with The Masters. They have always been above reproach when it comes to their tradition and the rules of the game in keeping with the spirit of the founder of the tournament Bobby Jones.

Tiger Woods had several hours after this meeting with the rules committee to consider doing the honorable and right thing by disqualifying himself but chose not to. He could have gained much respect and many new fans and possibly more self-respect if he had and would not have his career marked with this asterisk and have “the Tiger rule” follow him around the rest of his career. I did not really expect him to do this but was hoping he might surprise me and the rest of the golfing world.

A Stroke of Preference

This mystique and standard was breached today with this ruling in much the same manner as Kobe Bryant or LeBron James do not get called for fouls that other, non-marquee players do get called for in basketball. Special treatment for Tiger Woods was given today as I have no doubt that if this was any other participant in the tournament this week disqualification would have been the result and it would have been handled Friday night and not Saturday morning. The reasons that seem obvious to me are TV rating and dollars. I never thought The Masters would lower itself to this level but since they have their tag line for me will be, “The Masters, a tradition like many others” and that is sad for me.

Breaking A 40 Year Tradition is Hard

So I will be breaking a 40 year tradition for me tomorrow afternoon. I will not be watching The Masters while Tiger Woods is still playing as I do not want my TV to be counted among the numbers that make up the ratings for the telecast and I want my integrity to remain intact. I cannot condemn their actions and then watch anyway. That would be hypocritical. I know my boycott will not make any difference to CBS or The Masters but it will make a difference for me. It will be hard, as breaking any tradition that has lasted 40 years would be.

After he is done I will probably watch the end of the tournament. I can’t say for sure right now what I will do next year. I do know Augusta National is still one of the most beautiful places on earth and I would like to visit again. I have a daughter and son-in-law who live in Augusta so I have another reason to visit as well. However, as with people, any time credibility is lost it is hard for it to be regained, if it ever is, and it does take time. That will be true of The Masters for me. They no longer hold the highest level of honor and credibility they did Thursday for me. I hope that does return but it will take some time if it does.

Until then, The Masters has now become a tradition like many others, a sad day for golf.

Maybe I will watch, Bobby Jones, A Stroke of Genius to remind me of the integrity of the man who started this tournament. Maybe The Masters Rules Committee and Tiger Woods should re-watch this too.

Those are my thoughts on the subject. I would love to hear yours in the comments.

Until next time…

Originally published on Peculiar Perspective on 04/13/2013

Yes, No or Not Now

Need to be reminded

 

Many of you may already know this or maybe not. I guess that is one of the reasons I write. Those that have knowledge on a particular subject, including me, often need to be reminded. Those that don’t might just learn something new or get a new perspective on what they already know. Come to think of it, that is one of the reasons I read too. I like to learn new things and often need to be reminded.

 

Today’s post is about a topic I have known to be true for many years. I remember hearing a sermon on this subject when we lived in Birmingham in the late 1980’s and have heard it many times since then in other sermons, bible studies, and in conversations with others, which is who I normally have my conversations with.

God, Not Listening?

Many people claim they have been praying for something for years and God is not listening to them or must not care about them because He hasn’t answered their prayers.  You might be wondering to yourself,

“I wonder what Garth Brooks has to say about this?”

Well, he did have a song several years ago on the subject of thanking God for unanswered prayer.  I couldn’t help it because of my peculiar mind but every time I heard this song I either said to myself or to anyone who might be with me at the time, “there is no such thing as unanswered prayer” as that is what I believe.

Could our interpretation be wrong?

The prayers of God’s children, those who have accepted His gift of salvation and eternal life, are always heard by our Heavenly Father and always answered. However, we are often not perceptive enough or wise enough to understand the answer.

No

Often, we will get a no answer and believe it can’t be true because we “know” God wouldn’t do that to us so we ignore the answer and continue following our own plan.

Yes

Sometimes we get a yes answer and have a similar reaction. “God couldn’t really want me to do that” so, again, we ignore the answer we didn’t want to hear and forge our own path. That is called free will, which we all have, but along with that we have to accept the consequences of those free will choices we all make.

Not now

Probably the hardest answer to accept is the not now answer. This is because we all live in the “gotta have it and gotta have it now” world. This could be God trying to teach us patience, which is often a hard and painful lesson to learn or He could just be saying we are not ready yet or He has something better in mind.

.

How do I know what God is saying?

 

The way I understand this is our prayers are us talking to God and God’s Word, the Bible, is Him talking to us. Yes, He still speaks to us today every day through His Word. Of course the catch there is you have to be spending time in His Word to be able to hear and discern what He is saying to you. One of the benefits of my new Early to Rise challenge is helping me be much more consistent spending time in God’s Word reading my Bible every day.

Don’t be anxious

It Philippians 4:6-7 we are told, 

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” ESV

The peace that is mentioned here is one way I believe prayers are answered. You will not get an audible yes or no from God but He will give you a peace about a decision you are struggling with or praying about.  I have trouble with the not being anxious part from time to time but when the peace comes it is obvious.

I have received all three answers to different prayers in my journey through life so far. What you might see too is sometimes when you are praying and hoping for a yes from God He will give you a not now and you keep praying and the not now will become a no. At that moment it is often hard to understand but when we get past this experience and look back on it we can see how God has directed us to the best path for us – not just a good path – and it might not look anything like our original plan.

Sometimes our prayers change

You might also see that request you were asking for change to a different request as you pray and listen (read His word). This happened for me when my mother was battling cancer, which she did valiantly for 17 years. My prayers went from removing the cancer and healing her, which He did for a time, to removing the pain and cancer permanently by taking her home to be with Him, which He did as well.

Don’t take my word for it. Find out for yourself.

Don’t take my word for whether this is true or not. My words will not always be accurate, not because I am intentionally trying to say anything not true, but just because I am human.

His Word, on the other hand, IS The Gospel Truth. Take His Word for it.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” John 1:1 ESV

Until next time…

Originally published on Peculiar Perspective on 03/25/2013

Sheep are dumb

While reading Dr. Kevin Connors post this morning called “The Lord is My SHEPHERD  this morning I was reminded of a truth from the Bible that is a little bit humorous to me as well as being a good reminder of who we are and who God is.  His post is very thought provoking or convicting depending on how your perspective and I recommend you take a look if you have a few minutes.

Sheep are dumb animals.  They don’t do much thinking of their own and tend to follow the crowd even if the rest of the crowd is walking off the edge of a cliff.  My point is they are not very intelligent creatures.  You might be wondering what this has to do with you or me.  Well, here’s the thing.  We, God’s people, are compared to and called sheep many times in the Bible.

English: Very dumb sheep at Treanscrabbagh She...
English: Very dumb sheep at Treanscrabbagh Sheep are not renowned for their intelligence, but these really take the prize for stupidity. But on the other hand, they are most unlikely to escape into the road, and there need be no worry about the bottom falling out of the market for lamb. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The pause and extra space there was intentional.  Did you get the intended meaning? Sheep are dumb. We are called sheep, so, consequently we are dumb creatures too. This is a little bit humorous to me as I try to not take myself too seriously so I don’t mind being called a sheep.

It is also a very real reminder of just how much we really are like sheep and that we need a shepherd.  Jesus is the shepherd.

If you know Him when you hear him you will know his voice.

I hope you do know Him.  If not, He has a book out that has been a best seller for years.  It is His love letter to you. Get it or open yours and read it.

If you don’t have one you can get one free here at Bible.com for your computer, tablet or smartphone.

You can hear His voice and you can know Him too.

The Lord is my Good Shepherd
The Lord is my Good Shepherd (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Until next time…

Originally published on Peculiar Perspective on 03/20/2013

Fog

It was very foggy here on the way to church this morning and that got me to thinking.   Anyone who knows me very well knows that can be dangerous, not really in a physical sense but in the sense you just never know where that may lead.

Fog in Seattle
Fog in Seattle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What does fog make you think of? 

Anything other than you need to turn your headlights on and pay more attention to the road and possibly slow down?

For me, this morning, it made me think of God and His plans for us, His children.   There is a Steven Curtis Chapman song called God is God that has the lines, “God is God and I am not.  I can only see a part of the picture He’s painting.”  That came to mind for me this morning in the fog.  You can see a live performance (well it is a recording of a live performance) here God is God (Live).

Me? A Masterpiece?

God is painting a masterpiece, which happens to be our lives, and He does only show us a part of the masterpiece He is painting.  It can be — usually is — frustrating for us because we want to see the end of the story or three steps ahead but we are only shown the next step.  After we take that step, then we can see more.

We can fight against this reality as much as we like but God will not show us our next step until He knows we are ready for it or until we have learned the lesson He is trying to teach us where we are now, which is one way He shows how much He loves us.

Have children?  Do you act like them or do they act like you?

For parents this is much like we try to teach our children.  We love them and want the best for them but we know if they do not experience the challenges and setbacks that are often painful for us to watch they will not grow or learn and are destined to keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again, and will never achieve the victory they strive for.  As much as we might like to take the fall for them we know that the lessons we have learned well are the hard ones so I suspect that is how they will best learn them as well.

If you are anything at all like me you have given your son or daughter a task to do, knowing that if they are obedient and do the task with the attitude and effort required to do their best job, without complaining, you have a reward for them.  That reward could be taking them to get ice cream or to the movie or a new video game or whatever would be fun and a reward for them.  You don’t tell them you have a reward in mind because you want to see if they will be obedient first.

God does the same for His children.  He requires and expects our obedience to do what He is telling us to do without complaining.  He has a reward for us.  The fog this morning reminded me of that.  Maybe it will be a reminder for you too.

Until next time…

Originally published on Peculiar Perspective on 03/17/2013

Abstract or just a different perspective?

Today I am just taking a cue from the WordPress Daily Post from a couple of days ago which begins with, “No matter how long you’ve been blogging, there is always more to learn.” I have no trouble believing this because that is what I have always believed and try to live by,

 This is true of blogging, or trying to tell a computer to do something which is what I do for a living, or parenting, or anything else you might do.

This particular challenge was to take a photo and modify it here on WordPress.com to make it abstract or not readily recognizable.  Since I have recently done that with the header on my blog I thought I would take the challenge and challenge you too if you want to play along. Take a look at this photo, which is the header of my blog and see if you can recognize what this picture is or where it was taken.

cropped-masters-wed_cx7430001.jpg

OK.  Got it?

If not, don’t scroll to the bottom yet!  See if you can figure it out.

Here are some clues.

This is one of the most recognizable places in the world of sports.

To be a spectator at this sporting event requires you to secure one of the hardest tickets in sports and are allocated by a lottery system.

Many dream of being here and work for years to make it but never do.

Cattle were allowed to graze here during World War II.

The house built here is believed to be one of the first concrete houses built in this part of the country.

The annual event contested here got its official name in 1939.

Participation in this event is by invitation only.

Winners and runner-ups receive medals.

The first television broadcast of this event was in 1956.

The event had its first international winner in 1961.

The event founder died in 1971.

It is one of the most beautiful places in the world.

It is one of my favorite places in the world.

The event co-founder died in 1977.

The event contested here takes place the first full week of April every year.

Okay, if you don’t have it by now then you will probably not get it so here is the full picture.

Magnolia Lane
Magnolia Lane

This is Magnolia Lane, the entrance for participants and members into the Augusta National Golf Club, home of The Masters. I was able to acquire some of those hard to get practice round tickets in 2007 for all three days and again in 2010 for Wednesday. It is one of the most beautiful places in the world to me and The Masters is one of the most spectacular sporting events held.  They keep improving it and making it better every year but also manage to keep the concession prices very reasonable for the patrons, which is what the spectators are called.  They are still much less than most other professional sporting venues.

Well if you played along, I hope you enjoyed it and maybe even learned something. Remember, there is always more to learn.

If you want to know more about The Masters or Augusta National you can visit their web site, which is also a first class productions at http://www.masters.com, It will be here this year in about 3 and a half week and signals the official beginning of spring for me each year.

Until next time…

Originally published on Peculiar Perspective on 03/13/2013

Early to bed, Early to rise, Makes a man healthy, wealthy and blog?

“Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” 

This proverb is most often attributed to Benjamin Franklin since it appeared in his Poor Richards Almanack but was really just a proverb he was repeating.  He never took credit for being the originator of this proverb.  In any case there is wisdom contained within this proverb that many of us who like to think we are “smart” often do not follow.

I am a prime and very stubborn example of this as for most of my 51 years on this earth from high school until about a week or so ago I have stubbornly been trying to disprove this truth.

For the past 8 days though I have been trying something new, going to bed early and getting up early.  To me going to be early is any time before midnight and I have done that on 7 of the last eight nights.  I have been up anywhere between 5:00 and 6:05 AM every morning.

Healthy

As for healthy I have been blessed so far in my life with good health but rising early allows me to get some exercise, what would be considered very low impact weight training on a Total Gym and Ab lounger, the early models of both.  It is something I have been able to do regularly and earlier in the day before life, work, and excuses “force” me to postpone this for another day.

Another health benefit is rising early allows me to get my daily Bible reading and quiet time done and done regularly which improves my spiritual health and builds spiritual muscle which benefits me in everything else I attempt to do.

Wealthy

As for wealthy, rising early allows me to get my physical and spiritual exercises done so I am not feeling guilty for not doing them all day when I am working on my day job.  This makes me much more productive at work and, in time (once I get a handle on the current project I am working on) will allow me to spend more time with my family after work.  Many days there seems to be no “after work” time (working from home is another subject for another day) and I want to change this.  I am not there yet but I can see the “getting there” now.

Being more productive at work might not make me wealthy but will allow me to perform at a level that should keep me employed and allow for me to provide for my family.  Obviously, there are no guarantees here though.

Rising early has provided me with the courage to start this blog, something I have been contemplating for months if not years.  I don’t expect it to “change the world” but I do expect it to change my world by allowing me the opportunity and platform to write and express some of my thoughts and ideas.  I am selfish in that I am writing for me. My secondary hope is that something I write will resonate with anyone who reads the words I string together and make them laugh, cry, go hmm…”why didn’t I think of that” or trigger another thought that really has nothing to do with the words they read.

Wise or Bloggier?

So for me,“Early to bed, Early to rise” does make me healthier, wealthier, and bloggier” (not sure that is a real word).  I hope the wisdom will come someday too.

What Triggered This Change?

My parents often told me I should get more sleep and that not getting enough sleep was going to catch up with me some day.  My wife and even my children have all told me on numerous occasions for many years I should go to bed and get more sleep.  So you can see I have been told, warned, cautioned that this was a good idea.  I guess that proves I just ‘might be’ one of those “stiff-necked people” that God talks about.  I am sure those who know me would have no trouble believing this.

What has triggered this change for me you might ask?  Well, since you did ask…while reading a guest post by Andy Traub on Chris LoCurto’s Leadership and Business blog  I learned about his book Early To Rise: Learn to rise early in 30 days.  He was also giving away a free copy.  The title of the book intrigued me.  His post and thoughts validated, reinforced, and reiterated what I had been told many times before.  I did not win a copy of his book but bought my own copy a few days (actually 3 weeks in people time) later and decided it was time to take action on what I have known and have been told for years. So the book was not ‘the’ reason I decided to make this change.  It was a culmination of what I had been told and really known for years.  The book was just the trigger or catalyst or “the straw that broke the camel’s back.”

So that is how I got to where I am today with this new discipline I am trying to cultivate into a habit.  It is still a work in progress as am I and there are still kinks to be worked out but I “finally” believe it is a discipline that is worthy of pursuit. Maybe I am getting wiser too.

Until next time…

Originally published on Peculiar Perspective on 03/09/2013

A Peculiar Perspective begins!

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailWelcome to my blog called Peculiar Perspective.  More about the title I chose in a moment.

“THE END!”  This is how Zig Ziglar begins his most published and read book, which also happens to be my favorite See You At The Top.  This was an effective and attention grabbing way to start this book, which gave me a new perspective on life and changed my life for the better.  I am glad I didn’t stop reading there.

Steven Covey tells us in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People to

“Begin with the end in mind” and “Seek first to understand, Then to be understood.”

His points are valid when taken in the context they are given.

I understand the points these authors are making in their books but if interpreted or used in the wrong way, or just taken out of context, one could use these as excuses for never getting started whether that be in writing a blog, changing jobs, exercising more, losing weight or running for president.  I have been doing that for too long in regards to writing and that has delayed the debut of this blog but that ends today!

(Wait for applause here…)

Thank you, thank you.  Please be seated.  Thank you for that warm welcome to the blogoshpere. 🙂

Peculiar by definition means odd, strange, weird, unusual, irregular, abnormal, unconventional, curious, or atypical, to name a few synonyms.  I have been referred to as all of the above at one time or another.  Some have told me I have a warped sense of humor.  I don’t understand that.  To me everyone else is warped and I am normal.  God called the Israelites a “peculiar people”.  He also called them “stiff-necked” (or stubborn) on multiple occasions but I will not go there right now.

Perspective is just someone, anyone’s viewpoint, outlook, perception or point of view.  Everyone has one of these and since everyone includes me, I do too.

Peculiar Perspective is what I chose as my blog title since I am a peculiar person, either by God’s or man’s definition, and I do have a perspective or point of view.  I am of the belief that my peculiar perspective on things is similar to many others and really is not peculiar at all but is what was known in an earlier time as common sense.  As this blog develops over time this theory will either be validated or disproved.  Time will tell.

I really do not know what this blog is going to look like as it develops.  I have a lot of ideas rattling around in my brain and this may take many different directions before it becomes focused or it may never become focused on one theme or topic.  I have been on this earth for a little over half a century (that sounds like a long time when quantified that way) so I have many experiences and lessons learned that should be appropriate, interesting and helpful to someone.

I am also not going to try to pin down a specific frequency for new posts.  I expect it will be weekly or maybe 2-3 times a week to start and then will be adjusted based on how that goes.

Jeff Goins says in You Are A Writer (So Start Acting Like One),

“You don’t have to have it all figured out yet. You just need to begin. You’ll figure out the rest as you go.”

That is what I am doing, beginning and figuring it out as I go.

Jon Acuff says in his new book START: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average and Do Work That Matters ,

“the only line that you can control is the START line.”

Zig Ziglar often said, 

“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.”

That doesn’t mean my blog is going to be great.  That is my intention.  However, I will never know unless I start.

So, I am starting right now, right here, today.  No more questions to get answered, books or blogs to read on writing or blogging, over-analysis of whether I should or should not write and what I should or should not write about.  No more trying to make it “perfect” before I publish it.  My delaying tactics are done.  This blog has begun.  Hey, that rhymes. 🙂

Thank you for joining me on this journey into odd logic, or common sense, from a somewhat atypical angle.

Until next time…

Originally published on Peculiar Perspective on 03/08/2013