Links Daily Devotional

The ‘N’ in LINKS

Not forsaking our own assembling together… (Hebrews 10:25a, NASB)

The Year: 1965.

The Tournament: Philadelphia Golf Classic

Occasion: The meeting to discuss the importance of “assembling together.”

The Place: A two-bed room at the Howard Johnson Motel.

The Participants: My brother Babe, new to the faith; Paul Bondeson, even newer to the faith; Joel Golstrand and Kermit Zarley, both members of our University of Houston NCAA Championship teams. All new PGA Tour players. All four followers of Jesus.

Dave Ragan was invited but had a prior commitment he could not break.

The prevailing tenor of the PGA Tour players and officials at that time ranged from negative to hostile toward expressed faith. No PGA pros openly professed faith in Jesus Christ. The church more or less considered golf an adversary because many golfers preferred golf on Sunday to a pew. I was concerned that my brother Babe, Paul, Joel and Kermit—all brothers and friends—did not lose their faith.

I poured out my heart to them about the necessity of meeting together on a regular basis for study in the Scriptures, fellowship, and prayer for each other and other pros on the Tour.

We discussed the model Jesus gave for disciple making: He chose but four men to launch the greatest ministry the world has ever seen. Two brothers, all fishermen. Then added eight more. Then seventy.

My brother and his three close brothers agreed to meet weekly and Dave Ragan became part of their gathering. Gary Player later met with them.

The five and their wives continued to meet faithfully for twenty-some years.

As their careers wound down, a new fellowship emerged with Wally Armstrong, Rik Massengale, Larry Nelson, Don Pooley, Morris Hatalsky and many others, eventually including Scott Simpson, Larry Mize, Bill Rogers, Corey Pavin, Tom Lehman and Bernhard Langer, just to mention a few. This group spanned more than 30 years and became a model to the present core of Ben Crane, Stewart Cink, Zach Johnson, Jonathan Byrd, Webb Simpson, Bubba Watson, Mark Wilson and others who see the importance of being “networked together” in Jesus Christ (the N in the LINKS acrostic).

My former mentor and pastor, Richard Halverson, used to tell us that “fellowship is the matrix of mission.” Only God knows the combined impact of the professionals, their wives, and others of this small group on the world of golf.

Where are you today?

Are you linked together with a group of men and women? Are you fulfilling God’s command, “not forsaking [your] own assembling together”?

Jim Hiskey

August 17, 2016

Copyright 2016 Links Players International

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