New Man Profile — Bernhard Langer

Bernhard Langer“I might be the only guy who’s ever publicly mentioned Jesus Christ twice in eight years in the Butler Cabin at Augusta National.”

 Beginning with a televised remark in 1985, the name of Jesus Christ has been associated with Bernhard Langer for twenty-eight years. He’d just won the Masters tournament and was asked by CBS Sports’ Jim Nantz if he had looked at the leader board during the tournament. Bernhard’s response? “As I walked off the ninth green I looked up at the board and said: Jesus Christ, I thought I was improving and now I’m four shots behind Curtis Strange.” That verbal faux pas caused a firestorm of letters from offended people all over the world.

Eight years later, Bernhard referred to Jesus Christ again in the Butler cabin. He’d just won the Masters a second time on Easter Sunday in 1993. Jim Nantz asked what winning twice was like for him. This time he said that to win on Easter Sunday, during the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, made the victory that much more special. So what took place in Bernhard’s life to make the name of Jesus Christ so much more personal and reverential? Bernhard explained it to a group of us like this:

 “1985 was an exceptional year for me. I was ranked the number one golfer in the world, was newly wed and had money, houses, cars and fame. However, something was still missing. I had a void in my heart I couldn’t explain. Then Bobby Clampett invited me to attend a Bible study one night on tour. PGA Chaplain Larry Moody was the speaker. He talked about Jesus’ discussion with Nicodemus about the need to be born again to enter heaven. Larry went on to explain that we are all born with a sin nature which we can’t get rid of on our own, and that we can’t ‘earn’ our way to heaven. I was raised to believe the opposite—that by living a ‘good life’ and doing the ‘right things’ I would be acceptable to God. However, after studying the Bible, I came to understand that Jesus did for me what I couldn’t do for myself by being punished on the cross for my sins. I saw that only by accepting Him into my life would I have true peace here and assurance of heaven. So I turned my life over to Him—and everything changed drastically. That void was filled.”

 In reflecting on his first Butler Cabin reference, Bernhard went on to ask, “Why do people only swear in the name of Jesus Christ? Ever think about that?”

 That’s a great question, and one I hadn’t really thought about. Could it be that people instinctively acknowledge the highest and most powerful of all names when expressing their emotions of frustration, anger, relief or gratitude? For Bernhard, that name is no longer a visceral reaction to life circumstances—but a friend with whom he’s proud to be associated and the One he proclaims as Lord.

What does the name of Jesus Christ mean to you?

Steve Silver PR Photo (Smallest)Yours for the journey,

Steve 

Steve Silver—July 12, 2013

 

CLICK HERE to view highlights of Bernhard’s 2012 Men’s Golf Fellowship talk.

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New Man Profile – Bob Doll

Bob Doll

Bob Doll

 

“It’s not about the cards we’ve been dealt, but how we play the cards.”

 Bob Doll has been dealt some pretty good cards. As a highly successful money manager, Wall Street executive and media celebrity—he occupies rarified space. If anyone would have reason to be proud of his elite status in a world of elites, it would be Bob. If he demonstrated a little arrogance, we certainly might give him a pass. However, look for pride and arrogance here and you won’t find it. What you will find is a man who, while taking his professional position and responsibility seriously, doesn’t define himself by his business success. He marches to a different drummer and measures himself by another standard.

 Having seen, read and followed Bob’s TV appearances and articles for years, I was a little intimidated when I picked him up at his hotel for a talk he was giving at our weekly men’s breakfast. He appeared with about six inches of early morning financial reports and a worn satchel slung over his shoulder. He greeted me with a hug and the easiest and warmest 7:00 AM smile. This was someone I had known all my life or an old family friend. I’d like to think this had something to do with me, but it had everything to do with Bob—open, warm, humble, loving, focused on my needs rather than his own, and fully giving himself to why he was there. I’ve been fortunate to have known a few men like this in my life who tend to serve as tuning forks for the kind of man I aspire to be.

 C.S. Lewis says something about people like Bob in Mere Christianity, referring to them as “New Men:”

“Already the new men are dotted here and there all over the earth…Every now and then one meets them. Their very voices and faces are different from ours: stronger, quieter, happier, more radiant…You tend to think you are being kind to them when they are really being kind to you. They love you more than other men do, but they need you less. They will usually seem to have a lot of time: you will wonder where it comes from…”

Bob Doll is foremost a Christian—a follower of Jesus Christ. He takes his life as a Christian very seriously. He discussed with us the seven principles he uses to put that “job” into practice: 1. Focus on the best things at the expense of the good. 2. Live a heart-motivated life. 3. Get a grasp on the brevity of life. 4. Remember, it’s not about you. 5. It’s not the cards we’ve been dealt, but how we play the cards. 6. God seeks to answer the deepest desires of our hearts. 7. Live a life of worship.

Live a life of worship. How do we do that? “We all worship something,” Bob said. “I try to live my life with the knowledge that my calendar and my checkbook say a lot about what I worship. How am I spending my time and my money?”

How do you and I measure up to that standard?

Steve Silver PR Photo (Smallest)Yours for the journey,

Steve 

Steve Silver—July 1, 2013

 

CLICK HERE to view highlights of Bob’s 2012 Men’s Golf Fellowship talk.

CLICK HERE to receive Email notifications of other New Man Profile posts.

New Man Profile – Tom Monaghan

Tom Monaghan

Tom Monaghan

 

 

“When I think back on some of the things I did, sins against God, I ought to be shot. I’m very embarrassed.”

Suppose the 19th century author Horatio Alger had to pen a novel with the following storyline:

  • The protagonist grows up dirt poor. When he’s four, his father dies. His mother places him in a Catholic orphanage.
  • The nuns who raise him inspire and form his faith.
  • He joins the Marines and dreams about becoming an architect and amassing a great fortune.
  • Upon discharge, he buys a tiny pizza shop in Michigan to pay for the college and training he needs to become an architect.
  • The pizza business takes too much effort. There’s no money to enter college.
  • After struggling for years, he builds that storefront into the largest privately owned fast food chain in the world. He lives his dream and buys anything and everything in sight—homes, planes, helicopters, yachts, art and car collections—even a major league baseball team.
  • He reads a book which discusses Pride as the greatest sin, recognizes himself in the description, sells most of his possessions, changes his lifestyle, begins giving his fortune away, builds a Catholic university and dedicates the rest of his life to that institution.

Sound too far fetched? Well, that is the true story of Tom Monaghan—Founder of Domino’s Pizza, former owner of the Detroit Tigers and Founder of Ave Maria University. Those are his words at the top of the page. Certainly not the kind of self-incrimination you’d expect from a billionaire, but Tom is far from typical.

Seeing himself in C.S. Lewis’ description of “Pride” while reading Mere Christianity in 1990, Tom became convicted that he needed to root out that “greatest of sins” by turning away from ostentation and serving God. When he sold most of his possessions, including Domino’s, he decided that pro-life causes and Catholic education were where he wanted to invest the rest of his life. Nearly twenty-five years later, he’s given most of his fortune away and is now living a different kind of dream—working for the university he built, where he lives in a 10’ by 12’ student dorm room during the week.

He’s quiet, shy, aware of his limitations—and quick to point those out. The last thing one feels when being with Tom Monaghan is intimidation. He doesn’t project power and asks nothing for himself. He’s a man whose seen and had it all and has concluded that his own life is worthless outside of what he can do for Christ. “I’m working harder than I ever did at Domino’s,” he says.

No doubt he is, but the product and the rewards can’t even compare.

Steve Silver PR Photo (Smallest)Yours for the journey,

Steve 

Steve Silver—June 13, 2013

 

CLICK HERE to view highlights of Tom’s’s 2011 Men’s Golf Fellowship talk.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the Ave Maria University.

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New Man Profile – Mike Whan

Mike Whan

Mike Whan

“I may be the least religious person you’ve ever had speak here.” 

That’s how the dynamic LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan opened his talk to a group of us recently. He had our attention. 

“I used to think nothing was missing in my life,” Mike explains. “I felt like I was a good person. I didn’t cheat. I didn’t lie. I was good to my family. I had my priorities in order. For me, religion was like floss. I only used it when something big was coming up or when something was hurting.” (Mike was the brand manager for Crest while at Proctor & Gamble, so he knows something about flossing.)

Mike was like many people—a normal, successful and decent person with no compelling reason to go looking for a relationship with God. But God came looking for Mike, was knocking on his door.

As Mike tells it, one of His first knocks came through a CEO who was interviewing him for a key position in his company. “He asked me if we could pray before dinner. He thanked the Lord for bringing us together and said ‘we all realize there’s no such thing as coincidence. Mike and I are here for a reason, please show us what that reason is.’” (Mike ended up taking the position.)

Another knock came a few years after the birth of his second son. He and his wife Meg knew something was wrong with the boy’s learning ability, but they didn’t know what it was. “On the way to church one day Meg said to me, ‘let’s just give this to the Lord.’ For me, that translated to, ‘let’s just do nothing.’ But in church that morning I said to the God, ‘I’m out of ideas. If you can give me any, I’ll take them.’  The very next day I received a letter from my parents with an article about autism. My father’s note said, ‘We’ve suspected this for a while, but it’s time for you to know. We think your son might have autism. We’ve been holding this letter for a while but finally had to put it in the mail.’ My first reaction was anger and denial. Then we investigated. Our son turned out not to be autistic, but he did have early learning disabilities which we were able to address.”

The knock which finally got his attention came when Mike and Meg went one Sunday morning to Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA. As Mike describes it, “Out comes Rick Warren, who I knew nothing about at the time. His first words were ‘I’ll bet there are some in the audience who don’t want to be here.’ I’m thinking, Is he looking at me? Then he said, ‘I’ll bet there are even some who haven’t really given their lives to Jesus Christ.’ I slid down in my seat and thought, Cover me, honey, he’s comn’ in.”

The pieces fell into place: the prayer at the interview, his father’s letter, and now Rick Warren’s challenge. Mike decided that morning to hand the “remote control,” as he calls it, over to Jesus Christ. “I finally realized that trusting God with my life is a little like daily flossing. It’s not only good for you, it also makes you feel better. You can’t ignore God’s knock forever.”

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” (Rev. 3:20)

Steve Silver PR Photo (Smallest)Yours for the journey,

Steve 

Steve Silver—June 11, 2013

 

CLICK HERE to view highlights of Mike’s 2012 Men’s Golf Fellowship talk.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the LPGA.

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New Man Profile – Jim Lane

“I violated the rules and my relationships suffered greatly.” 

Jim Lane had become a Goldman Sachs partner at 34, with all the accolades and privileges that brings. Unlike most of his peers, however, he also had a strong Christian upbringing and heritage (his grandparents had mentored a young Billy Graham at Wheaton College).

Jim Lane

Jim Lane

After making personal mistakes which often accompany early success, Wall Street entrepreneur and New Canaan Society Founder Jim Lane asked himself: what’s the one thing missing in my life that could have helped me make better choices? His conviction to change and to restore his fractured relationships drove him to the question. The answer would alter the course of his life.

Jim gleaned that what was missing was a group of male friends who understood the stresses of the marketplace but who also wanted to go deeper in their faith. So, one morning in 1995 a small group of men began meeting around the kitchen table over bagels and coffee at his home in New Canaan, CT. They talked about anything and everything related to faith and spiritual growth. Over the next year, word got out and the group got larger. What those men discovered together was a simple principle that lead to a movement of thousands of men around the country known as the New Canaan Society—that men are designed to be in community. They need each other in order to learn how to love God.

Learning how to love God. It’s an objective which eludes most and challenges the rest. Love is a highly personal emotion based on time and experience with its subject. Our loved ones are close to us, if not in time and space at least in memory and thought. We see their faces, connect with their presence and desire their company. Just think about those you love. But God? How can we make that same kind of connection with Him? Doesn’t He exist on a plane beyond ours? Can we know Him enough to include Him among our loved ones? God WANTS us to know and love him—really LOVE Him. That’s why He sent us His son. Consider what Jesus said:

 “I pray…that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us…I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity…” (from John 17:20-23)

NCS LogoJim Lane and his New Canaan Society friends are living this precept: “Relationship is God’s model,” Jim says, “so community is key. We are learning in this lifetime how to live in community together, because that’s where we’re headed. We’re striving to be a part of the ultimate partnership, and we have the eternal privilege of learning together how to do that. When guys are safe with each other and can be open, honest, transparent and authentic together—God shows up!”

 

Steve Silver PR Photo (Smallest)Yours for the journey,

Steve 

Steve Silver—June 5, 2013

 

CLICK HERE to view highlights of Jim’s 2012 Men’s Golf Fellowship talk.

CLICK HERE  to learn more about New Canaan Society.

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New Man Profile — Ralph Reed

Ralph Reed Time Cover

On May 15, 1995 thirty-three year-old Ralph Reed, a conservative Christian activist, appeared on the cover of Time magazine. The large block letters next to his handsome young photo read “The Right Hand of God.” 

 Not a bad designation for a man who would dedicate his life to trying to ensure that this Grand Experiment called America doesn’t fall into the hands of a succession of political leaders who would jettison its values and drive it into the dung-heap of failed civilizations. Can just one man help avoid that? Of course not. But enough people like Ralph could stem the tide and maintain or return us to a nation pleasing to its ultimate Founder—God.

 Ralph Reed is exceptional because as a young man he understood his purpose: “Our culture bombards us with the idea that we are supposed to rise as high and as far as our talents can carry us on the career ladder. While well intentioned, this can be a misplaced objective leading to spiritual poverty and coldness about a higher calling—a calling from God.”

 My own young man purpose to serve God got all muddled up and watered down with career and financial ambitions. At sixty-six I believe I’m finally on track, but not beyond wandering off the reservation. I need men like Ralph to inspire me to remain singular, to fight and work for something bigger than my own agenda. In my case, that has been to encourage men of my generation to take a closer look at their faith-life: to become renewed and transformed in that area; to make the rest of their life the best of their life.

 Ralph recently spoke to a group of us at a banquet in Naples, FL. From the moment he started until his standing ovation forty-five minutes later, he had the rapt attention of everyone in the room. It was as if we were on the podium with him. Ralph is charismatic, appealing, well-spoken and persuasive—so much so that he even seemed to win over the liberal Jon Stewart on his ’04 and ’08 appearances on The Daily Show. However, those assets alone wouldn’t have been enough to hold our attention. It was his message of a Calling Over a Career, a Testimony Over a Title and Significance Over Success that caught our hearts and fixed our gaze. He used Ronald Reagan, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Martin Luther King and Dietrich Bonhoeffer to illustrate lives spent for great causes.

 Ralph’s concluding challenge to us was: “Many of you have had successful careers, but what is your calling? You may have an important title, but what is your testimony? You may have achieved great worldly success, but what failure are you willing to meet, or what defeat are you willing to encounter and call it the impostor that it is. We now have the greatest of opportunities before us—to truly glorify our Lord Jesus Christ, and to show those who don’t yet know Him that He is the answer, He is the truth and He is the light. That, my friends, is the challenge of our times and the calling on our lives.”

 I believe many of us found ourselves asking if the man speaking to us that night might one day become a future speaker’s example of a life which helped to preserve and to improve a nation and a people.

Steve Silver PR Photo (Smallest)Yours for the journey,

Steve 

Steve Silver—May 31, 2013

 

CLICK HERE to view highlights of Ralph’s 2012 Men’s Golf Fellowship talk.

CLICK HERE to receive Email notifications of other New Man Profile posts.