Experience the Gift of Friendship with Jesus
Wally Armstrong encourages readers to discover a dynamic relationship with the Savior
Seattle: Although professional golfer Wally Armstrong had pursued a relationship with Jesus for over 35 years, he always sensed that there was something missing. As Armstrong puts it, there's a big difference between believing something is true and experiencing something as real. In Practicing the Presence of Jesus: Experience the Gift of His Friendship (Summerside Press, October 2012, ISBN 978-1-60936-702-2, $12.99), Armstrong shares his personal journey of discovering Jesus as a real companion and true friend. Not surprisingly, a major event along the path happened on the golf course.
In the spring of 2004, at the Masters tournament in Augusta he saw something that would open his eyes to seeing Jesus in a new way. That day on the golf course, Armstrong and a friend saw a crowd gathering around a fellow golfer and another man. When Armstrong asked who the other man was, his friend answered, “oh, that’s Jesus.” Although it was actually only actor Jim Caviezel (who played Jesus in The Passion of the Christ), the experience stuck with him. What would Jesus look like if he were on earth today? How would he interact with those around him? In that moment Armstrong was able to focus on a reality he hadn’t grasped before. Armstrong writes, “that day, ‘Jesus’ looked like one of us, and that was exactly the point.” He realized Jesus offered him the same gift of friendship that he shared with his disciples two thousand years ago.
In the months leading up to the Masters, Armstrong had been motivated by a deep spiritual hunger to get a firm grip on who Jesus is today and how to relate to him. Armstrong brought the same performance-driven mentality from the game of golf to his faith walk—working as hard as he could to gain Jesus’s approval. He had begun the process of searching out what it meant to not only accept Jesus as Savior, but as friend. His search led him to a dusty old book first published in London almost a century ago. This book made a profound impact on him and provided the basis for the “chair experiment” that Armstrong details in Practicing the Presence of Jesus.
Armstrong shows readers how to discover the same daily, personal relationship with Jesus that he has by doing the same experiment that he did–using, of all things, an empty chair. Envisioning Jesus as an active part of our daily life allows us to better experience him up close and personal, as a companion and friend rather than keeping him at arm’s length as a royal judge. He also outlines three daily practices to better experience the presence of Jesus—meet, walk, and share.
“Receiving Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior is the most important event in any and every life. It is the centerpiece of the Christian faith,” says Armstrong. “Yet there’s an overlooked gift that was powerfully exercised by the early followers of Jesus that has been laid aside by modern Christianity. That gift is receiving the offer from Jesus to become his friend, and that’s what this book is all about.”
“Our goal for each day is to step out of the boat like Peter did. We have the same opportunity they did to walk toward Jesus, growing every minute closer to his side. Except instead of walking toward him on the water, we can start sitting beside him in a chair.”
“We all hunger for connection, for friendship, and for more in this life. Wally Armstrong has written a powerful book that will help you find what your heart longs for most.”
~ Kevin G. Harney, Pastor and Author of Reckless Faith
“Wally’s transparency and quest regarding his desire to experience Jesus’ presence in everyday life is something we can all identify with. This book will inspire you to know Jesus not just as a Savior but as a close friend and companion.”
~ Craig Altman, Pastor, Grace Family Church
“Speaking as a pastor for over thirty years, I can testify how easy it is to be more like Martha (busy serving in Jesus’ name) and not enough like Mary (experiencing Jesus himself). After hearing and reading Wally’s story and testing out the “chair experiment” on myself and others, I can confirm that practicing the presence reawakened my spirit, soul, and body to his reality and friendship.”
~ Matthew Nail, Pastor, The Church at Quail Creek
“This book brings into focus an important but often neglected aspect of our Christian faith—our personal relationship with God through his Son Jesus. With a refreshingly new look at that relationship, Wally helps us ‘see God’ and, in doing so, assists us in deepening our faith and experiencing Jesus in a remarkable new way.”
~ Dr. Rick Alexander, Physician
About the Author
Wally Armstrong is a professional golfer, teacher and dynamic life coach who has competed in over 300 PGA Tour events, including the British Open, the US Open, and the Masters, and was awarded a lifetime membership in the Tour. In his first Masters appearance, Wally finished in fifth place, setting a rookie record for the lowest tournament score of eight under par.
As a golf instructor and clinician, Armstrong has taught golf all over the world and has produced more than twenty golf instructional videos and DVDs covering every area of the golf game.
He is the author of seven books, including the bestselling In His Grip (with Jim Sheard and Billy Graham) and The Mulligan (with Ken Blanchard). He resides in Maitland, Florida, and has been married to his wife, Debbie, for forty-one years. Together, they have three children and seven grandchildren.
Armstrong invites readers to visit his website, www.oldprobooks.com, for more insights about the wonderful opportunity each of us has to know Jesus as the real person that he is.