“Sunday Golf” Over the past 10 years Sundays, for the most part, have been spent on the golf course. Having been raised to not only go to church on Sunday morning, but Sunday nights as well, having worship on a Sunday outside of a church was uncharted territory for me. Finding myself with 3 children playing competitive golf year round lent itself to having to do worship differently than most.
After a few years of missing church because of golf tournaments on Sundays, I was in a desert. I had every intention of having church later in the day or the next day but it just wasn’t working for me. The nudging voice inside of me, the HOLY SPIRIT, was giving me NO rest or peace on this issue. I began investigating how other people do it. I started with the Christians on the PGA tour–Webb Simpson, Ben Crane, Stewart Cink, Jonathan Byrd, Aaron Badley and Payne Stewart–just to name a few. I found they had early morning, very early morning, services on Sundays when on tour and that most of them treated Monday as their Sunday, a day of rest. In junior golf the only early church service that was ever provided was on Easter Sunday.
Many times I have heard people say you don’t have to go to church to worship and know God. The majority of me just can’t buy into that line of thinking. A Bible believing and teaching church is a representation of Christ. Growing up in church did more for me than just about anything else I have ever done in my life. Weekly I was taught who Jesus was by people who had studied and known Jesus longer than me. It gave me exceptional role models and friends throughout my life. It put people in my path who genuinely cared about me and held me accountable. It allowed me to be obedient to Scripture in “Keeping the Sabbath holy”. It provided a refuge when adversity hit. It challenged me to be more and better, and loved me countless times when I wasn’t very lovable.
We all are hypocrites. So to say the church is full of them, I agree. I belong in the hypocrite category because I am a sinner, but a sinner seeking to be sin-less. With that being said, you can see how I desperately needed to find a way to have church weekly and I preferred to have it on Sunday.
After much prayer and asking God, “To help me and show me the way!” He did. I discovered that great Christian ministers and churches provided online podcasts so that I could have an early morning worship wherever I found myself on Sunday. (After several years my own home church started posting podcasts too!) I immediately bought a laptop and started having worship again on Sunday mornings. A “cold drink” in the desert. As I continued to pray for guidance and help, God so graciously revealed to me that I could take what I was learning to the golf course in the form of evangelism. I could actually live what I was hoping my children would do. What this came to mean to me was an opportunity to share Christ, my faith and my struggles with other parents who were also following their children. After all, any round of golf takes at least 4 hours which allowed plenty of time, if the opportunity presented itself, to get to know someone. I would try to find common ground to share with them as we followed our kids during their round. I would see many of these people multiple times. Over the years many became dear friends. Watching our children play golf took on a whole new meaning to me.
I would like to say that I took advantage of every opportunity 100% of the time, but I didn’t. Sometimes either the timing wasn’t right or people weren’t open. Sometimes my heart wasn’t right and sometimes I was just led to pray without saying much. God is forever faithful to answer our prayers. He more than showed me how to live Romans 12:1-2 on the golf course,”I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual act of worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” And James 4:8,”Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you..”