Learning to pray inwardly throughout the day * learning to gaze upon Christ with the eyes of the soul * to become acquainted with God in our own souls * to have order in our inner lives * to have increased sensitivity and compassion for others * to discover God as our healer, teacher and guide * to build and sustain an inner fire for God. Would you be interested in gaining any of these as qualities in your life? If so, may I encourage you to spend some time, quiet and alone, with God this week. I cannot tell you how many people have stumbled into this discovery with the Blue Book.

Many of you, who offer me Blue Book feedback, often remark about the depth of insight you see in the contributing author’s writings. You say, “These writers are amazing, where have these people been?!”. Well,. ..most of them have been off alone somewhere just being quiet before God – often in the midst of trying circumstances. The qualities I just mentioned belong to them and they attribute them in large part to having learned how to be still before God.

In behalf of unknown or little known authors. In a kingdom where we are told the path is narrow, are we wise to seek out the best selling authors as our sources of wisdom? In God’s counterintuitive, upside down value system where the last become the first, isn’t it plausible that our best mentors could be the lesser known authors? Note: The Blue Book will introduce you to a core of unsung heroes of our faith. But beware. They speak what at first will sound like a foreign language.

The reason you may not have heard of them is that they are mostly “be-ers” in a world where “do-ers” are the heroes. They are from a small tribe of Christ-followers who have learned to live more out of their hearts than their minds. They have valued His presence above production and intimacy above information. This is foreign terrain to most of us because this type of spirituality has not been modeled for us. You may even doubt that it a lifestyle worthy of modeling. I cannot really debate this but as a red-blooded American male, one with a bit of the “doer-producer” in him, I can offer my testimony.

Note; Our observations and experience regularly confirm that rewards accrue to us when we “do” things. These rewards may include profit, diplomas, titles, wins, visibility, prestige, influence and, last but certainly not least,  a better handicap.

May I confess to you that few things have ever given me as much pleasure as performing well athletically. So, to say the least, it was gratifying to have been flirting with scratch golf at mid-life. For the aging, golf is one the final arenas where we can excel after we no longer have any vertical leap or bursts of speed left in us. I had to put down my clubs though, due to back problems. It seemed like a cruel blow to a guy whose yard borders the signature hole of his city’s finest golf course and who had envisioned his golden years honing his handicap.

Even though it has brought some pain and what I initially thought was loss, the back injury (as bizarre as it may seem) was a catalyst to a discovery that I will never regret; that there are things in us (at a foundational level) that are below all the “doing” that are driving the “performing” and as pleasurable as the rewards may be, the presence of these things render the foundation unstable and they prevent God from building the superstructure He has in mind.

The upside of the back problems is that the absence of golf has created some extra space and time in my life. The back pain also served as an incentive to meet God, preferably as my healer. While I am increasingly convinced that He is my healer, I have not yet met Him in that capacity (at least as it concerns my back). But in my seeking, I have had the privilige of rediscovering Him as Father after He addressed some of the foundational issues of my heart. These foundation repairs have made the absence of golf a non-issue.

However, I offer one last golf tip: You red-blooded big-swinging, golf-studs out there will cut five to ten strokes off your game if you slow your swing down. Granted, you sacrifice that testosterone high you get from flexing your big T-Box-muscles but the gain of finding yourself in the fairway with a real shot at the green (I found) was apt compensation for my loss. No extra charge.

Jim Branch’s motive behind the Blue Book  (and I suspect, its contributing authors) was to present a God to us who is accessible and knowable and to show us a proven pathway.  They are trying to say to us, “Be still and make the discovery in your own experience, that God is deeply involved and invested in you. By learning to be still, we get to unwrap a gift of inestimable value – a functional intimate relationship with God Himself. This is the Pearl of Great Price for those who can spiritually slow down their swing long enough to develop ears that hear. While waiting and being still are excruciatingly painful initially, (esepcially for “doers”), they will seem like a small price when we encounter Him.

Father, continue to pour light into the dark places of our hearts that doubt your intentions to reveal Yourself to us. Help us to make those adjustments, those investments of stillness. In Your presence, help us to convert our losses into gains and our sorrows into opportunities of discovery. If necessary, alter our swings (or remove them altogether) if they are in any way impediments in enjoying our inheritance in Christ. Amen.



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