Posts in A Journey of Awe Series
God, Golf and Wal-Mart

Our movie, Seven Days in Utopia, had come and gone from the theaters by early October 2011. So what was to follow? Well the first thing was distribution of the DVD. We wanted a quick turnaround so that the DVD could be in the retail stores by Christmas. We needed a miracle for that to happen. It was well into October and most Christmas marketing strategies by the major retailers were set.

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It Doesn't Compare

I was the Sport Psychologist for the San Antonio Spurs. It was the week of the NBA Finals and the Spurs were in. They were playing for the World Championship. In my line of work this was seen as the pinnacle of success. I was looking forward to the experience but there was a dilemma.

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An Eternal Double Cross

Golf has many interesting terms for wayward shots. Duck hook, shank, slice, chunk, chili dip, fat, skank, are just a few. There is also the dreaded double-cross. While these others come as surprises to most, the double cross happens when we actually play for the ball to intentionally move in one direction but the opposite happens. 

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Treasure in Disappointment

I thought I needed a publisher.  I had just finished writing my first book, Seven Days in Utopia: Golf’s Sacred Journey. So I sought out a friend in the publishing industry who represented one of the most prolific Christian authors of all times. He was helpful getting the book in front of several major publishers. Their feedback was similar - we don’t have a category for a fiction, golf, sport psychology, men’s ministry book. They turned it down. There was no one in the industry it seemed that could catch the vision. It was a major disappointment.

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God's Composer

When a movie is made, the final piece in the final edit is to create the score (background music). In essence the score helps meld the pieces together and helps shape the soul of the film.

As we were approaching the end of our edit for Seven Days in Utopia, our composer, who had been signed, sealed, and delivered, backed out because of a conflict with a bigger more important movie.

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Turn to the Right or Left
“Whether you turn to the right or left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, this is the way, walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21

Have you ever taken a journey using this verse… literally? My wife and I did several years ago. I had just completed eight years with the Spurs and that relationship had come to a close. Two of my business partners had decided to launch out on their own. We were at a critical juncture in our lives. What was next?

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Pleasant Places

I woke up to a message from my builder friend that said, “Today is the day.” My wife and I had been praying for months about purchasing a lot and building a home. It would stretch our budget and we had heard about the stress involved in building a home.

To complicate the decision, I was in the midst of the intense tenure application process at a major university. If I failed in the process I would be let go.

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An Antique Store Christmas

My two daughters and I walked into an antique store when they were very young. Intrigue met them with every glance. History was on display and there was a story behind each item. Porcelean dolls with tattered dresses, ancient doll-houses meticulously built by craftsmen of another era: Shoes and lacy dresses and hats and rocking horses. Their imaginations were ignited and dreams were being sown in their hearts.

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Random Pairing

I have a good friend that has always believed in me. That in and of itself is a blessing. His name is Gary. I am humbled by his gift of friendship. One day he uncharacteristically drove alone to a public golf course in Las Vegas. Upon checking in he was told there was a single on the first tee whom he could join. A few holes into the round this other gentleman shared that his company was looking for a speaker at their upcoming national conference in Hawaii.

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I was about to panic. Our movie was to start shooting in about four weeks and we had not found someone to play the “antagonist” - the world’s number one golfer. We were casting the part as an Asian superstar with the screen name of TK Oh. Tom Lehman and I had been working diligently on this task for weeks.

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An Admiral Surrendered in Utopia

An Admiral showed up several years ago at one of our men’s retreats in Utopia. As he began to share his story during the introductions, he said that he wasn’t a churchgoer and really didn’t know why he was there. He told us that a couple weeks before the retreat a family member in another state was struggling with substance abuse and so he jumped on a Southwest flight in the northeast and flew to the treatment center in the west. Somewhere along the way he reached into the seat back pocket for a magazine to read. Instead his hands felt a book. He pulled it out and discovered a golf novel strategically left there by a previous passenger. Inside the cover was a hand written message that simply said,  “This is for you, enjoy.” The attendants had missed it during clean up on the previous flight.

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God's Buddy

One day while hitting practice balls at the original Utopia driving range, the owner drove by. He lived near the 8th green of this minimalist nine-holer we affectionately called a goat ranch. That’s the name given in Texas to golf courses of this caliber. He stopped to say hello. I asked how he conceived the idea to build a driving range and course in the middle of nowhere. His name was Wayne. His answer was priceless: “Well sonny, I am an ole goat rancher. When the goat business went belly up I had to do something with my property so I built a golf course.” It indeed was a goat ranch and worse yet, a defunct one! Wayne passed away a few years later not knowing how profound his decision to build a course would be to the world.

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