Tag Archives: back 9 ministries

Bradshaw: Bragging rights

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Editor’s note: No. 1 Clemson defeated South Carolina, 37-32, on Nov. 28.

By Sherry Bradshaw
Special to Inside The Pew

As I write this blog…I am sitting in my bed…fire going…listening to the hustle and bustle in our home as everyone gets ready for the Clemson-South Carolina game. Biggest game ofSherry Bradshaw the year in most South Carolinians hearts…if they are honest… 🙂

Yes, I am a Clemson graduate and a Clemson fan…of course I am. Since I married a former USC football player some ask if I am still a Clemson fan. In my mind I say, “Really?” and wonder why they would think I am not a Clemson fan. After years of being asked this question I have come to the conclusion that because I live in Columbia, and don’t go to every Clemson game, and I don’t heckle people about “whose team is better,” many others have concluded that I must have “crossed over!”

To set the record straight–always have been and always will be a Clemson fan. But I can honestly say that my identity does not rest there. In fact, having our identity wrapped up in what team you pull for or what school you go to or graduated from is absurd to me. I am not at all saying “don’t be a fan or be proud of your school choice!” By all means be a huge fan, supporter and cheerleader for your school…nothing at all harmful about that.

But when it defines you…
your happiness meter is based on wins and losses and
it separates you from being friends with people who don’t see things the way you do…
then there is a REAL PROBLEM in my opinion…
that is when…we need to check the “idol status” in our lives.

Yes, I do love my team and my school. I have observed something over the last 5 or 6 years. I have found it interesting to watch how people, on both sides of the fence, act when their school is on top or on bottom. I have watched, in particular, some of the biggest fans for Clemson and South Carolina as the successes of both schools have varied drastically in the last couple of years.

I especially love to see who wears their colors after the game in the weeks to follow and who still flies their flags. Is it based on wins? Or true love no matter the outcome? I can honestly say that in the last few years of living in Columbia I wore my orange to the gym for four years straight after losing to South Carolina. Yes, on the Monday after the game I continued to sport my colors. My love meter didn’t rest in the win/loss tally.

Where am I going with this…..??????

Don’t let wins/losses determine your joy, your friends, your loyalty. Watch your words…your posts. Check your “idol meter!”

Of course idolatry can be many things…but “sports and the success of OUR team” is a big one. Funny…how hot and cold I have heard the same people be on Coach Spurrier and Coach Swinney.

Love one year and hate the next.

Wow…just Wow…the mentality: “I will love you now if you are winning.”

I am so glad I am not hated or loved by family and friends based on my performance. I encourage you first, to remain a “loyal and true fan to your school, win or loss”. Second, what really comes from boasting? Can’t we just let the record speak in any year without “showboating” like we were the ones who suited up and did the work?

Everyone is going to know the outcome and the score. Do we really have to “roar” or “cock-a-doodle-doo” when our team wins?

If you disagree…oh well…. just saying…… true peace, joy, and contentment in life isn’t at all derived from wins from your team. It is fleeting, not lasting at all. If you are a Clemson or a Carolina fan, just look at the last few years. Both have won and both have lost. What is your joy meter based on? Where does your joy come from?

I encourage you to look for joy and contentment in things that last….that aren’t fleeting. I encourage you to “re-purpose your fan-ship” into a growing and thriving relationship with Christ. One that could bring you to “raising your hands in worship on Sunday” instead of just in the “stands on Saturday”.

Six years ago it was apparent to me that I could not say I was a bigger fan of the Lord than Clemson if I treated one differently in my praise. “Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks….” (see Luke 6:45). I needed to examine my actions and I realized that when others looked at my life they would probably have said…”your actions are so LOUD…I can’t hear what you are saying!”

What is your heart? It will always overflow into your words and actions! Psalm 33:1, “Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him.”

Columbia, S.C. native Sherry Bradshaw is author of The Front Nine: Making Your Shots Count in Life (Life Bridge Books), and founder of Back 9 Ministries.

Bradshaw: My ever-positive mother helped shape me

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By Sherry Bradshaw
Special to Inside The Pew

Our experiences shape us. NO doubt about it. I am convinced that one reason I have started most every day of my life with a positive outlook is because of theSherry Bradshaw, author of The Front Nine: Making Your Shots Count in Life experience my mother provided. I am not sure she even knew what the result would be when she was actually living it and leaving an everlasting imprint and impression.

It was the experience of the way I woke up most mornings in our home….to the song of…”This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it, whatever it brings there is a song you can sing…you may get tired but don’t fret! Nature is dawning a new day is yawning the sun will be coming up soon, if there is a mountain I will climb it or a valley I will walk through it to wish the top of the morning to you.” Yes, that is how I woke up every day. God used my mother and that defining moment to shape my outlook…daily and in all aspects of life. At 52, I marvel at how many times I wake up with that song in my mind and my heart. I am 52 and haven’t lived under her roof for the last 28 years.

Psychological research suggests that one’s self-concept is defined by a very small number of experiences. Ninety-nine percent of life’s experiences vanish like a vapor into the subconscious. Only 1 percent make it into our conscious memories and less than that, 1 percent of that 1 percent are not just memorable, but truly unforgettable. Those are the moments that they say define us. The positive or negative repetitive experiences can have a lasting impact, depending on how dramatic they are in our lives.

There is no doubt in my mind, now at 52, that my mother’s positive input had a profound effect on the way I have always viewed my day and, thus, my life. I believe God can use every past experience in preparation for our future opportunities. And one way God helps to redeem the past, especially if it is less than good, is by helping us see it through His eyes. His providence, His provision. In light of the enemy and the effects of sin on our lives, either our sin or that of others, HE is willing and more than capable of “using all things for His good, our good and His glory.”

“God causes all things to work for good for those who love him and are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).

I encourage you today to truly grasp that God is a God who makes things new. Lamentations 3:22-24, “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘Therefore I hope in Him!’”

HE is the only one who can make us white as snow. His GRACE can takes us to new and exciting places….to soar…as eagles. Whether or not you were blessed, like my sister and I, with a positive ….mom…YOU can choose to be positive…to imprint the Good.

God can be the enabler to help you do this for yourself and others. He is all powerful and can reshape our thinking and our lives. Read the book of John and then the book of James. Jesus is still in the miracle business. He can take the negative in our lives and “flip flop” it into something incredible. It is called surrender!

Look to Jesus today…Surrender…to the ultimate positive…a life…that Jesus created to be significant…He will show you…He never disappoints.

Sherry Bradshaw is author of “The Front Nine: Making Your Shots Count in Life” and founder of Back 9 Ministries. Bradshaw, a native of Columbia, S.C., is a former first runner-up in the Miss America pageant. She speaks at corporate events, schools, churches, and community organization events.

Bradshaw: That’s just wrong!

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Sherry Bradshaw

By Sherry Bradshaw
Special to Inside The Pew

I don’t think you can go through life without at some point feeling wronged or be wronged by someone. I wish it weren’t true. But in the Back 9, I can say from experience, if you have lived long enough, you will unfortunately feel that way at some point. Depending on the wrong, the hurt can be mild or it can be severe and devastating. The only way I have found to truly get to a place of healing and comfort is in “running” to God, not only running there but camping there.

Only God knows the whole picture, the motives of my/your heart and the motives of the other party. He does have the “helicopter” view and He has everyone’s greaterSherry Bradshaw good in His heart. One of the main responses to hurt is anger and bitterness. It is only in going to a “loving” God that we can find the nourishing help we need to appropriately deal with the pain.

Even when our children were young, I would see human nature (our sin nature) reveal itself when one would hurt the other one–anger, tears, and, at times, “revenge” would be the quickest course of action they would take. I didn’t have to teach them this…Revenge was the direct, almost instant response. In adults…it can be the same way except maturity has molded revenge into a plan of action that is just more crafted and not as obvious.

Revenge is the last thing that God would want us to take into our own hands. Proverbs 20: 22, “Do not say, ‘I’ll pay you back for this wrong!’ Wait for the Lord, and he will deliver you.” I love this scripture and can honestly say for 100% sure that I have lived and experienced God’s delivery.Watch movie online The Transporter Refueled (2015)

Wait is a key word here. Seems simple, but running to God enables you to be delivered from the natural tendency to seek “revenge!” The key is taking a step back, taking a “hard right” and seeking a Holy God! There is much to say in God’s Word about how we should respond when we are wronged.

I love the book of Proverbs. It is full of direction and wisdom in how to live an obedient and prosperous life in Christ. For instance, when you’ve been wronged and you choose to turn around and seek revenge, take a look at what scripture teaches about that choice. Proverbs 26:4, “Do no answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself.” Or, with regard to evoking the “wait on the Lord” scripture, look at Proverbs 25:28, “Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lack self-control.”

One of the hardest, yet most rewarding, scriptures I have ever chosen to live is Proverbs 25:21, “If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you.”

The KEY is seeking the Lord’s approval and rewards and not my/your own selfish desires. God’s way is 100% the best way always. It may not make human sense. I have obeyed at times and trusted that the way I “feel” will change, trusting God with that also. It is amazing, now that I have lived many years that I can truly say that He has and will bring my feelings along!

Sometimes we have to realize obedience to His Word comes before we start to have the “right feelings!” If I had waited to feel like it, it makes me shudder to think where I might be. In fact, I had to learn this lesson through disobedience. Yep…sitting and harboring and “thinking of several ways I could get even or ahead” took me further away from God. It hindered everything about my day and robbed me of the “peace and joy” that Christ desires for us to live.

Revenge, bitterness, and even thoughts of getting even only “tear our city walls down!” Christ created us in His image…He knows what is the very best for us. His desire is for us to lay our hurts at His feet. He promises to bind, heal and, yes, even take care of the “wounders!”

Sherry Bradshaw is author of “The Front Nine: Making Your Shots Count in Life” and founder of Back 9 Ministries. Bradshaw, a native of Columbia, S.C., is a former first runner-up in the Miss America pageant. She speaks at corporate events, schools, churches, and community organization events.

 

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Bradshaw: Wisdom is supreme

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By Sherry Bradshaw
Special to Inside The Pew

Eating salads was something I added to my life in college. It was one of those discoveries that I am so glad I made. I love and enjoySherry Bradshaw, author of The Front Nine: Making Your Shots Count in Life a good salad and find great comfort in knowing I am eating healthy. At least that is what I thought for a while until I decided to become a lifelong learner and read more. It was then that I realized choosing the salad bar for a meal didn’t exactly mean I was eating healthy. It was pretty embarrassing when I learned I was intaking as many calories at a salad bar as Thomas was taking in with a burger and fries! I realized I was absolutely deceiving myself on what I thought was a good choice. I love cheese, croutons, among other things, and a salad “drowned” in blue cheese dressing.

I had good intentions and thought I was making the wisest choice. There are many places in life we deceive ourselves. This is just one simple way I was patting myself on the back for nothing! I wasn’t really getting the benefit from my intentions. Proverbs 14:8 states, “The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception.” I was deceived and realized a healthy salad looks more like loads of vegetables on top of very green lettuce with low-fat dressing. Yuk! It is not nearly as good as my former salads, but for sure more beneficial.

Wise choices aren’t always fun nor do they always taste good. Seriously, being wise doesn’t always bring quick satisfaction. Refraining from gossip could exclude you from a popular conversation. Or, if you are really bold and gently call it for what it is, you may not only be excluded, you may lose a friend or draw ridicule. How about choosing to stay in and study when all your friends are going out? How about playing a game on your computer at work when you should be working? Or justifying paying your personal bills online when you are at work? I vividly remember our kids talking about a golfer calling a penalty on himself when his ball moved; no one saw but him. He chose to call the penalty and it inevitably cost him his PGA tour card!

Making wise and right choices aren’t always comfortable and could cost us in the short-term, but almost always, wise choices bring benefits; those benefits can be years in coming. Sometimes the benefits are peace of mind, comfort, and satisfaction that you personally know you did the right thing even if no other human knows it, ever. I have found in life – confronting wrong, making a wise choice, or simply standing for right – can do many things, but it can bring short-term or long time hurt, devastation, or loss. That is where trust comes in. I have found I can’t trust myself nor others as much as I can depend on and trust a Holy God. It promises in Proverbs 4:11, “I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble.”

I love all of scripture but the most encouraging scripture that I read often and draw from to encourage myself to pick Godly wisdom over human desires or daily whims and temptations is the following found in Proverbs 4:20-27. In my Bible, it is under the subtitle “Wisdom is supreme.”

“My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words, Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to a man’s whole body. Above all else guard your heart; for it is the wellspring of life. Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk from your lips; Let your eyes look straight ahead fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.”

I would like to, but will refrain from writing the whole book of Proverbs from the Bible. If you have never read that book, read it; I believe it is the best book in the Bible on how to live a “wise” life. I have found the more I strive with intention to live the instruction found in the book of Proverbs, the easier it is to run and run with a pace that is challenging, testing, convicting, but most of all, rewarding, and, I do much less stumbling!

Sherry Bradshaw, is author of “The Front Nine: Making Your Shots Count in Life” and founder of Back 9 Ministries. Bradshaw, a native of Columbia, S.C., is a former first runner-up in the Miss America pageant. She speaks at corporate events, schools, churches, and community organization events.

Review: Bradshaw recounts the ‘Front Nine’ of her spiritual journey

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Sherry Bradshaw

By Tonya Whitaker
Inside The Pew

I have to be honest: I am not a fan of golf. However, for some odd reason, I felt the need last weekend to catch a glimpse of The "The Front Nine: Making Your Shots Count In Life" by Sherry Thrift BradshawMasters Tournament. I didn’t witness Bubba Watson win his second green jacket in three years on April 13, but I did use the brief experience to help me relate to the metaphorical backdrop of Sherry Thrift Bradshaw’s release, “The Front Nine: Making Your Shots Count In Life” (LifeBridge Books, $19.95).

I enjoy reading faith-centered literature that places the Christian walk into terms that most people don’t think about; Bradshaw’s book follows this model. Bradshaw’s background in golf was fulfilled through her children. Actually, she is a former World Champion Clogger, Miss South Carolina, and 1st runner-up in the 1985 Miss America pageant.

Bradshaw and her husband, Bill, are parents of three Division 1 golfers – sons Brewer and Thomas (at mom’s alma mater, Clemson), and daughter, Collins, at Georgia. You can safely call Bradshaw a golf mom, as she has spent countless hours on the links with her children as they perfected their golf game.

“The Front Nine” has practical advice on topics ranging from building self-confidence to learning from the “double bogeys” and mistakes of life.

“Through my kids’ participation in golf, I have learned so much about life – patience, kindness, and self-control; God is my caddy,” said the Columbia, S.C., native. “My spiritual gift is to help and encourage people.”

Although the book equates golf to one’s Christian walk, you don’t have to be a golfer to understand its meaning. “The Front Nine” is Bradshaw’s story are the lessons, experiences, and adventures she has encountered. At the end of each “tee,” (better known as chapter) Bradshaw provides notes for readers’ scorecard. Tee #2 on “Your DNA” was interesting. As a child of the Almighty, we are created in His image. Sadly, there are many people walking around today thinking they are worthless. God loves you because He made you! Bradshaw wrote, “Don’t ever let Satan convince you that you aren’t worthy; you are a child of God (John 1:12).”

“The Front Nine” is a message of hope for us. Regardless of past mistakes, the future is always brighter if we cling to Him; don’t allow the “double-bogeys” to deter your path to righteousness. The high point of the book is its brevity; I was able to complete reading it within two hours.

Through her nonprofit organization, fittingly called Back 9 Ministries, Bradshaw is now living her divine purpose by encourages others to be all He created them and to live a life of significance. She has inspired hundreds of audiences at corporate events, schools, churches, and community organizations.

Learn more about Bradshaw and Back 9 Ministries by visiting www.Back9Ministries.org.

Note: In closing, I ask everyone to keep Sherry and her family in your prayers; her mother has recently gone home.