Tuesday, August 26, 2008, 02:15 PMI know, I know…its been forever again…and I promised last time. (I’ll stop making that promise – and keep trying to do better.)
Posted by Kermit
Posted by Kermit
This past week I got to enjoy 2 of my favorite activities: I spent 3 glorious days playing golf while leading a Golf Camp (I know, tough job, and someone has to do it.) in the beautiful Black Hills of SD. I also spent 2 “hot” days seeking to assist Badlands ranchers with their ever “exploding” population of Prairie Dogs.
Following I’d like to reprint an article written by one of our 3 year veteran “God – Golf – Guys” camp: Jeff Mammenga. Jeff has been a faithful regular at camp, and once again showed up this year. He works in Pierre with the Historical Society, and on the side prints an article in the local Pierre newspaper. I’ve not asked Jeff his permission – but I’d like to share his article with you – I don’t think he’ll mind, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy his writing, as well as his perspective on the wonderful time we had in the Hills.
“I’ve spent most of the past four days involved with three subjects very important to me – God, Guys & Golf.
Actually, all three topics were woven into one in the form of a United Methodist Church golf camp, based at beautiful Storm Mountain Center south of Rapid City near Rockerville in the Black Hills. Scott, the camp director, and his staff always do a wonderful job of making our camp a pleasant experience, from hauling us to golf courses to serving us fantastic food.
The camp is a beautiful setting to draw you closer to God, experience great fellowship with other guys, and play golf on some of the finest golf courses in the Black Hills.
This was the fifth year of the camp, which was the brainchild of our camp dean, Kermit, a pastor from North Dakota, and his good friend Paul, from Sioux Falls, who is nearly a scratch golfer and acts as an instructor to the rest of us. This was my third at the camp. I was actually on my way to camp three years ago when my cell phone rang and my wife told me the sad news that my mother had passed away. Now the camp also brings back memories of my mother. I miss her, but even though I miss her face, I know that now she’s in a better place.
There were nine guys at this year’s camp. Joining me from First United Methodist Church in Pierre was Gary, attending golf camp for the second year. The ride out to camp allowed Gary and me to visit and get to know each other better.
An inspiration to all of us this year was Paul’s 84 – year – old father, Erv, who probably hit the ball consistently straighter than anybody else in camp. “Everyday on the golf course is a true blessing for me,” said Erv, who made the first of his two career holes-in-one when he was 72.
I look forward to camp every year because it gives me a break from my regular routine. I love my family, but it’s nice to get away once in a awhile. I also like my job working for the State Historical Society at the Cultural Heritage Center, but we all obviously need a relaxing break from work.
Not that golf is always relaxing, especially when you’re playing courses as difficult as Hart Ranch, Red Rocks, and Hot Springs. Each year I just hope that I play well enough not to embarrass myself. That’s one good thing about the golf at the camp – it’s non competitive, and we’re all out there just trying to improve our games while enjoying the combination of God’s beautiful creation – the scenic Black Hills – and man’s beautiful creations – the golf courses.
Monday at Hart Ranch, I didn’t feel I played as well as I could. One of the signature holes on the course is a par 3 on the back nine, about 125 yards, with a significant drop in elevation. There are trees to the left, rocks in front of the green, and a house dangerously close (at least to me) on the right. I was looking forward to playing that hole and felt really good setting up my shot with my pitching wedge. But when I swung the club, I might have been hoping the house has good hail insurance, because I hit a vicious hook to the left into the trees.
I felt it was a wasted opportunity. But how may times do we feel like we waste the opportunities that come before us in life? When that happens, we just need to keep a positive attitude and move forward.
We were playing a 3-man scramble format, meaning that each guy would play the best of the three shots and there was one team score per hole. My days was salvaged when I was able to get out team on the green ont eh final hole and I made the final putt.
Red Rocks requires accuracy and distance off the tee, so since I didn’t hit the ball well off the tee on Monday, I was nervous on Tuesday. The first hole is about 320 yards long, with an elevated tee box. On the tee, you almost want to stand there and admire the beauty of the course and all the fancy houses instead of hitting the ball. That must have been what I was thinking about instead of concentrating on hitting the ball, as my tee shot went about 20 feet straight right into the thick weeds.
I asked for a mulligan, though, or a second chance, and was given one. This time I was able to hit the ball about 260 yards to the left side of the fairway. Given a second chance, I was successful. I was then able to hit my ball on the green in birdie range. I missed that putt, but gladly settled for a par.
In our discussions, we talked about taking advantage when given a second chance, and how God can give us all a second chance in life.
Hot Springs, like the other two courses, is picturesque and challenging. Each year in camp, we base much of our discussions on a book. This year’s book was “With God on the Golf Course,” by Phil Callaway. It’s a great little book composed of 32 devotionals on a variety of topics. Callaway said in the book’s introduction that it’s not about the mechanics of golf, but about life. Now there’s something we could all use some lessons in!
I’m already looking forward to returning to God, Golf, and Guys next August, and hope to bring more guys from Pierre with me.”
Yup…I’m grateful for “Life Mulligan’s”, aren’t you? Kermit
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Wednesday, July 16, 2008, 03:04 PMDear Friends;
Posted by Kermit
Posted by Kermit
(if I actually have any left reading this after my elongated absence. It's not only 'about time' I get a new post put up...but I want to write about "Time".
I've been busier this summer than most (summers, not people). We survived Annual Conference, and enjoyed 10 days of vacation with the boys in Arkansas and Missouri, and returned home to a hectic beginning of a Capital Campaign that is occupying much of my time. Add to that our annual foray into the Fireworks sales, and it's been busy.
I'm not complaining, and I know everyone is busy...that is not the point or the question. What I'm wondering and wrestling with is WHY? Why do we allow ourselves to get so busy, and often proud of announcing and rehearsing our busyness to anyone who will listen. I remember my mom scolding me many years ago as I complained to her about my busy schedule while looking with her at my planning calendar. She remarked: "Well, who is writing all those things on your calendar?" I got the point, and I hope you all might too. We are sometimes (most of the time) just as busy as we choose to allow ourselves to be.
In spite of our busyness, probably the grander question is have we forgotten God? Are we creating and enjoying any Sabbath this summer? I know my reading and writing and listening (to God) has been diminshed in recent weeks, and I'm paying the price. I'm more irratable (than normal) and probably more demanding of myself and others. I hope to eek out some minutes in the days ahead to return to what I know nurishes my soul. I hope you will too.
Have a great day, summer, life. It's all about how we spend our minutes! Love you, Kermit
2 comments ( 65 views ) | ( 3 / 394 )
Friday, May 30, 2008, 08:46 AMDear friends,
Posted by Kermit
Posted by Kermit
I've been busy lately, as I'm sure most of us are. Just the normal stuff, with a couple funerals, weddings, and presentations to prepare. I'm excited to be planning a vacation with my wife in a few days. After Annual Conference in Fargo (the most appropriately named town in ND..."Its a far go from anyplace".) (Not unlike the most appropriately named town in SD - "Interior...its in the middle of nowhere.") (and the most inappropriately named town in SD..."Scenic"...nuff said.)
Back to the vacation. A friend of mine once said that all of us need something to look forward to every three months, that is a break from our daily routine. This is well over 3 months coming, but we are going to see our boys for 10 days. We'll freeload off a couple other relatives coming and going, but the majority of our time will be spent vacationing with our boys in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas, and a couple days in Branson area.
We've not done a real vacation together for some time, probably since they started playing sports back in middle school. So beside the fact we miss them, and it's been way to long for us to be away, and they live in Nashville, (which is a far go from Bismarck)...we are ready for a break from routine, and ready for a dose of "The Future" (or at least half of it)
Hope you all have some time to relax, renew and recommit yourselves this summer. Hope your "3 month plan", comes to pass for you soon. God bless you all, Kermit
1 comment ( 59 views ) | ( 3.1 / 418 )
Monday, May 12, 2008, 09:57 AMFollowing is a review/eulogy of Larry Norman, the ‘grandfather’ of Contemporary Christian Music; or as it was known then: “Jesus Music”. I was privileged to hear Larry in concert, but more importantly was profoundly impacted by his music in my fledgling disciple days. I have met John Fischer, and he continues to be one of my favorite authors. I hope in some small way, my life journey would honor the influence and the memory of this good man. Because of him, I’d like to be a better outlaw! Though he’ll probably never know it, he helped me get started in the faith, and for that, I remain forever in his debt. For more information about Larry Norman you might visit; wittenburgdoor.com
Posted by Kermit
Posted by Kermit
Some say he was an outlaw, that he roamed across the land,
With a band of unschooled ruffians and few old fishermen,
No one knew just where he came from, or exactly what he'd done,
But they said it must be something bad that kept him on the run.
Some say he was the Son of God, a man above all men--
That he came to be a servant and to set us free from sin,
And that's who I believe he is, cause that's what I believe;
And I think we should get ready, cause it's time for us to leave.
Well, maybe not time for all of us, but most certainly time for Larry to leave. He's already gone, in fact. He left this earth last Sunday morning at 2:45 a.m., and the world has lost a prophet.
There are undoubtedly those who would challenge me on that last statement, but I will not recant. Sure he had enemies among his friends, and he created much of that. He was an enigma--an iconoclast. He could be so far off you wondered if he was only visiting this planet, but he could be so on the mark that you could only credit the truth and light of the Holy Spirit for it.
Indeed, the first verse of his song "Outlaw," quoted above, could have as easily been written about him. No one knew where he came from, but many wished he would go back to wherever that was. He was an outlaw to everything established, and for that he embodied the renegade nature of Christ's first coming.
When you think of it, a guy with shoulder-length blond hair who sang about "sipping whiskey from a paper cup," "gonorrhea on Valentine’s Day and you're still looking for the perfect lay," and "shooting junk till you're half insane," is probably not going to go over very well with the 11 o'clock Sunday-morning worship crowd, especially 35 years ago. But then again, he wasn't speaking to those folks anyway. And to his credit, he never adjusted, like the rest of us did, to the Christian culture that grew out of the movement he helped found. He never compromised for a living. He stayed an outlaw until his death.
For these and other reasons, I have always likened Larry to John the Baptist--a non-conformist living in the desert wearing funny clothes, eating weird foods and hearing voices no one else heard. After having the dubious distinction of being the one to baptize Jesus and prepare the way of the Lord, John lost his head for sticking his neck into King Herod's private life. Larry stuck his neck out lots of places where people didn't think it belonged. It's a wonder he hadn't lost his head sooner.
In a time of spiritual revolution, Larry Norman carried the torch. He was and will remain, through his enigmatic music, a voice crying in the wilderness. I celebrate Larry's final one-way trip to heaven, and if I know him well enough, I would guess he would want us all to make sure we were ready to leave ourselves.
By John Fischer
1 comment ( 40 views ) | ( 3 / 420 )
Thursday, April 24, 2008, 10:12 AM
Posted by Kermit
Posted by Kermit
Tuesday evening afforded me the opportunity to watch Ben Stein’s newest film called: Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. I found this documentary to be interesting and entertaining; having enough interviews and film clips to keep my attention and maintain a certain level of entertainment.
I’m not an expert in either the Evolution or Intelligent Design debate, but if even half of what Ben is espousing were to be true, then his point is quite valid and needing attention. His basic premise is that the Scientific Community in America is denying, ignoring, and disregarding anything the Intelligent Design proponents might be offering to the larger discussion of the origin of the species. He believes this is not only weakening the discussion/debate; but is actually inhibiting the beloved sense of “freedom” upon which this country is so proudly founded. As fascinated as I was listening to the various interviews with Scientific Professors and professionals; I was most intrigued with the connections he attempted to draw between Darwinism and Nazism, and between Nazism’s theory of Eugenics and our modern day Planned Parenthood organization.
Granted, I’m sure Ben had an agenda, and used interview clips that fit his bias and said agenda. That being said, I left the theater with one overriding question: I wonder how the mainline modern media machine will cover, report and critique this modern day documentary? I suspected that this film would not get the positive, even glowing adoration, and certainly not the nominations for film awards, afforded other recent documentaries such as Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, and Michael Moore’s creations: Fahrenheit 9/11, Bowling For Columbine, Sicko and An Awful Truth.
My suspicions proved to be true. I spent an hour or so on Wed. reviewing a number of film reviews from the NY Times, and Washington Post, and MSN. Each of the authors fell in line with the other dismissing and discrediting Stein’s attempt by pointing out his ‘obvious’ bias and misconstrued preconceptions. Funny how ‘their boys’ (Al Gore and Michael Moore) apparently don’t possess such preconceptions. All this simply proves one thing: stated quite clearly in the movie, the definition of Truth is often determined by the majority, and excludes, even “Expells” any minority consideration. Hopefully this brief review might whet your appetite to see this movie, and Ben will give me the appropriate kickbacks this review certainly merits…well…probably not!
3 comments ( 65 views ) | ( 3 / 418 )