Tag Archives: Ten PIn Bowling

From the Sidelines

Tomorrow is Wednesday and the day we join other pensioners for our ten pin bowling league. I am one of the worst bowlers in our group but nobody takes it too seriously and we all just have fun.

Some weeks ago I was trying to practice the presence of God by imagining Jesus with me. First I let Him bowl through me. All I can say is, He may have been a wonderful carpenter, but His bowling was no better than mine.

Then I thought perhaps He is my coach. That gave no better results.

Finally I realised that if God is my Father, He would be where any good father would be – watching his child from the sidelines.

I pictured a school cricket match. The fathers don’t go onto the pitch and hold their sons’ bats. Good fathers get enjoyment out of watching their children play whether they are good players or not. They cheer when their children hit sixes or take wickets, and shout, “Unlucky” if they are bowled.

In actual fact, my Father is more interested in my attitude and sportsmanship than in my performance.

So where is Jesus in the bowling alley? He’s standing unobtrusively behind the bowlers. He cheers when I get a strike and commiserates when I throw a gutter ball. He enjoys my enjoyment and smiles when I react in a God-honouring way.

Jesus said, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.” (John 15:9 ESV)

My Prayer

Thank you, Father, that you love me unconditionally, that there is nothing I can do that will make You love me more, or less. Thank You that You are a good Father and are interested in everything I do. Amen.

A Wink and a Nudge

Most of you know I’ve been trying to practice the presence of God in my everyday life. I have come to realize that I can never do it as well as Brother Lawrence who had been doing it for forty years when he wrote his book. I’m happy with baby steps.

On Wednesdays, my husband and I go ten pin bowling. We belong to the pensioners league where the emphasis is rather on having fun than racking up a good score, although there are some good bowlers in our ranks. (Out of my three games I only crept over a hundred in one.)

Image by Pixabay

This week, my husband bowled straight after me so we had very little interaction with each other. One has to concentrate to make sure one doesn’t miss a turn and then there is the fun of encouraging other members in the team and watching them bowl. At one stage he was standing in front of the chairs in the next lane, about three metres from me. He caught my eye and winked.

It occurred to me that that is one way we can be aware of God. We need to concentrate on what is going on around us and the task that engages us, but every now and then we can just lift our thoughts to Him and wink. Just an acknowledgement that He’s with us, we are aware of Him and things are good between us.

Later, as we were walking side by side to the car, I was aware of a touch on my arm, a nudge. My husband was warning me that a car had turned and would pass in front of us. I think sometimes God comes closer to us and we can feel His nudge. Those times when we just had an uneasy feeling about what we were about to do and we didn’t and we realized later that it would have been a bad move if we had done it. Or the times when we felt an overwhelming urge to contact somebody and what a blessing it was to both of us when we did.

If we remain mindful of the things we see, hear, taste, feel and sometimes smell, we can’t but be aware of God’s presence with us in the ordinary things of life:- a grandchild’s hug, a beautiful sunset, a fragrant rose, a refreshing drink or a relaxing bath.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9 NIV)

My Prayer

Father God, may I never be so caught up in my own thoughts, plans or concerns that I miss out on appreciating your everyday gifts of pleasure or opportunity. May my thoughts turn to You at every possible moment. I love You and I am so grateful You are with me even when I am unaware of You. Amen

How Small We are, How Little We Know

On Sunday evening we attended our church’s Carols by Glowstick service. Last year it couldn’t be held because of Covid and the previous year we had been away and had missed it. I was so excited to be able to attend this year with our daughter, our son-in-law and three grandchildren. Maybe I was too excited. You know how you build things up in your mind and then you are disappointed? So it was with me.

The Christmas carols (all three of them) and other worship songs were very well performed, if a little too modernised for my conservative tastes. The registration and distribution of glowsticks was slick and efficient.

There were extracts from scripture highlighting the Christmas story. All good so far.

Then the preacher came. A visiting preacher, a friend of our pastor and an author, Stephen Pohlmann.

Actually, his talk was good. His field of interest is Christian apologetics. However, in my opinion, it was not a suitable talk for a family service. I had been expecting a family service. I felt for my grandchildren. Weren’t they bored to tears?

Perhaps my expectations had been too high. I had expected to sing well-loved carols interspersed with Bible passages and possibly a short talk suitable for children. What I got was a normal evening service, aimed at the youth and young adults with a couple of carols thrown in.

I was disappointed. I considered writing an email to our pastor telling him so. I was still contemplating this when we went ten pin bowling yesterday. My husband and I play socially in a pensioners’ league. One of the other bowlers, who I know attends our church occasionally, asked if I had been at the carol service and how I had enjoyed it. When I told her about my disappointment, she said she had also been disappointed. Moreover, another bowler, who belongs to another church, had attended the Carols by Glowstick two years ago and had so enjoyed it that she invited friends, including a family with young children to attend the event this year. They were bitterly disappointed. Especially as the children were still young enough to believe in Father Christmas and they were told he wasn’t real.

Spurred on by these people who thought like me, I sent the email yesterday afternoon.

Last night we joined the family for supper. I thought I would ask the grandchildren how they had enjoyed the carols service, expecting them to say it was boring or it was so long.

My granddaughter (12) said she had enjoyed it except the music was too loud. When I asked what part of the service she had enjoyed most, she said, “The talk by Stephen Pohlmann. I’ve read his book.”

It turns out my daughter had bought the book after the service and my granddaughter had read it in two days. My grandson (10) had also enjoyed the talk.

How small we are; how little we know.

So I had to send a subsequent email to the pastor, explaining my grandchildren’s feelings on the matter and to admit that perhaps I was just an old lady trying to hold on to how things were done in the past, consorting with other old ladies trying to do the same. I hope our pastor will be gracious.

I do not know everything and my opinion is not the only one. The sooner I learn that, the better.

We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be cancelled… We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us. “ (1 Cor 13:10, 12 MSG)

My Prayer

Lord Jesus, please give me 3D vision so I can see more than one side of any situation. Please help me to see people through Your eyes and not my own fallen ones. Amen.”

The Foul line

Every Wednesday, my husband and I take part in a 10 pin bowling pensioners league. I am not particularly good but I have learned the rules, how to score and the etiquette. Or course, nowadays the bowling machine does everything for you – sets up the pins, counts which ones you knock down, gives advice on how to get the rest and scores for you. It even monitors the foul line, gives a loud beep if you overstep, and displays a big red F next to your score, discounting any points you might have otherwise earned in that frame.

Yesterday, for the first time since I’ve been bowling in the league, I set off the foul line alarm. Not once, but three times. The first time I would have got a strike. I thought I had got a strike until I saw the ugly red F next to my name. It’s not like I did it on purpose! There was something about my bowling style that was wrong. After the third time, I was almost in tears. When I heard the beep I froze and checked the position of my front foot. It was way behind the line. Someone suggested my ball was too low and setting off the alarm. I could barely bowl at all during that game getting my lowest score in a long time.

Some people think God is like a bowling machine, just waiting for you to break one of the rules. They think Christianity is following a set of commandments. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Christianity is about relationship. God longs to have a relationship with us but our sin- nature (wanting to do things our way and being gods of our own lives) causes a barrier between us. Jesus did away with that barrier by taking our sin-nature upon himself and giving us His righteousness, removing the barrier to relationship. That sets us free to have a relationship with Him.

Phil 2:13 reads, “For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”

If God works within us making us want to and able to do things His way, we’ll probably find that we’ll end up keeping the commandments anyway, but that is a by-product. We already have His approval. We don’t need to earn it. It is a gift.