A Bible Study Guide
By Craig Detweiler, PhD
Pepperdine University
When we’ve made a mistake, it is tempting to focus
on our failure. Luke Chisholm has found his significance on the golf course. In his eyes, a good round
makes him a good person, worthy of respect. His
identify is tied to a scorecard. So what happens
when his golf game unravels? We may obsess
over public embarrassments or the disappointments
we’ve kept to ourselves. A fixation on mistakes can
paralyze us. How will Luke Chisholm respond to his
highly visible failure?
At an evening dance in Utopia, Luke dwells upon his
shortcomings until Johnny Crawford interrupts.
At the Dance
Johnny emphasizes the importance of playing the
game in front of you—where the target is. It is tempting to focus upon whatever has ailed us. For golfers,
that may be a bogey on the previous hole. For all of
us, that may be regrets over things we’ve said, decisions we’ve made, opportunities we’ve blown. We
must not let mistakes define us. Failure and setbacks are part of life, an opportunity to learn.
Perhaps we have never confessed our sins and
asked for forgiveness. But even when we may have
admitted our mistakes we may still feel weighed down
by our failings. How do we turn failures into opportunities? Johnny’s advice to play the game in front of
you echoes the fall and rise of Joseph in the biblical
book of Genesis.
Joseph’s jealous stepbrothers attack him, toss him in
a well, and even sell him into slavery in Egypt. But
Joseph perseveres, keeping his eye on the big picture, rising into a position of influence within the Egyp-
tian Pharaoh’s court. After his father dies, Joseph
puts the dramatic events in context.
READ THE BIBLE: Genesis 50:15-21
While Joseph could have held a sizeable grudge
against his brothers, he adopts a divine perspective
instead. He tells them, “You intended to harm me,
but God intended it for good to accomplish what is
now being done.” He rises above the fray.
Disappointments and failure are a part of life. We
must not be overwhelmed by what lies behind. We
must strive toward what lies before us. We fix our
gaze upon God’s greater intentions, finding our identity in Him. As Luke needs to look at the course laid
out before him, so we must aspire to God’s glorious
Recall a major disappointment or embarrassing moment. How did that feel?
When have we focused too much on our failures,
rather than God’s possibilities?
How can we experience forgiveness, trusting in God’s
promises instead?
For further information, read Golf’s Sacred Journey: Seven
Days at the Links of Utopia by
Dr. David L. Cook or go to
Dr. Craig Detweiler directs the Center for Entertainment,
Media, and Culture at Pepperdine University. He is a graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary. His latest book, Halos
and Avatars: Playing Video Games with God offers practical
advice for parents trying to navigate virtual worlds and video
games with their kids.
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