Just the other day I was invited to play golf and speak at our church’s annual golf tournament. The six campuses of this mega church in the DFW area gathered together to compete for the trophy that will be displayed for the next year at the church that wins. The course was packed.

As I contemplated what to speak about, the Spirit prompted the topic of influence. As I headed for the tournament I had my talk ready to go, but had room for one more story should it come to me during the round.


About four holes into the round we came to a par three over a lake. There was a boy that looked to be about 12 years old fishing. After hitting our shots to the green we were driving by this young man when I felt the Lord ask me to stop and speak to him. I got out of the cart and walked over as he was tying a new lure on to his line. I asked if I might have a cast. He was happy to oblige and motioned for me to use the rod that was on the ground ready to go.

This was the real deal. An open-faced bait casting reel that could lead to a backlash if you didn’t know what you were doing. I had grown up fishing golf course ponds with this kind of equipment. He was impressed. This is when it got fun.

I told him I loved to fish for fish, but I loved fishing for something else more. He asked me to explain. I said men. He asked what that meant. I said like Jesus’ disciples—Jesus called them “fishers of men.” I said that I love to encourage men and tell them about Jesus.

Then I asked his name. He said it was Mason. I said, “Mason, my name is David Cook.” His jaw dropped. He then said, “That’s my name—Mason David Cook!” We both smiled big, and I told him that it was nice meeting him, that this was not a coincidence and to remember it. I jumped on the cart and drove to the green to putt.

After we finished the hole I remembered that I had several copies of my book, Seven Days in Utopia, in my bag. I drove back to Mason David Cook and said that I had a book for him with his name on the cover. He grinned when he realized I was the author. Then I said that there was a chapter in there about bass fishing that he would enjoy. He thanked me and as I left I noticed him thumbing through the book looking for the fishing chapter.

At the end of my talk about influence that afternoon, I was able to tie it together with the story of Mason David Cook, how God led me to stop even though it was inconvenient, and how God had prepared the way with a chapter about fishing.

I had written that chapter about 10 years before that meeting with Mason David Cook. I now new more than ever the influence it would have at this moment not only for Mason, but for the men hearing this story. I was in awe of a God who knew all of this before the beginning of time. He is the God of influence.