Text

http://www.boston.com/Boston/names/2011/09/adrian-gonzalez-keeps-the-faith/WCbQDrEFiabp32tvfPuM6O/index.html

Wow it’s been awhile but hopefully as we approach the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012, postings will return more consistently.

The baseball offseason has been quite an interesting one, with major trades and acquisitions, surprise signings and releases, and of course, major turnover on the Boston Red Sox team.  I’d like to draw your attention to a particular player, Adrian Gonzalez.

Put aside for a moment the whole “greatest collapse in September” deal and let’s look at the character of Mr. Gonzalez. This is the same Gonzalez who is an all-star, gold glove winner, and has Psalm 27:1 etched on his bats.

 1 The LORD is my light and my salvation— 
   whom shall I fear? 
The LORD is the stronghold of my life— 
   of whom shall I be afraid?

This is a man who plays for Boston, a city of volatile fans who can love, and hate you, like no one else can.  So for him to come out in the midst of their failed playoff run and say - 

I’m a firm believer that God has a plan and it wasn’t in his plan for us to move forward,” he said. “God didn’t have it in the cards for us.

must have irked some people.  How much more bold are his words then that the Lord does not serve as a clutch, an excuse to go to when one fails.  That he may be sad, disappointed even at the way the season ended, but that he is also faithful, and knows His Lord as the creator, the planner.

Who knows.  Maybe Mr. Gonzalez was trying to console himself. But I don’t think so.  I think his words are genuine, that he firmly believes his God has a better plan, a better story for him.

So here is my prayer for Mr. Gonzalez as he continues to be a light to his team.  I pray for strength and a bold voice and presence on the Red Sox team.  That he would encourage, affirm and show love and care to his teammates.  I pray for success, so that he would be given an even greater stage to proclaim his faith and glorify the Lord.  I pray for humility in his success, that he would remember where strength comes from.  And I pray that in his struggles, his failings, his shortcomings, that he would know that we have a God who knows us, who calls us by name, who loves us and has already covered us in his mercy and grace. I encourage you all to pray this prayer with me. 

I know I have Jesus, and he’s given me eternal life, and that’s the only thing that means something

Quote

"I was always praying to God, and thanks to God he gave me the miracle of sending me these wonderful people,” Ramos said. “I’m alive thanks to them."

Text

The first time I really thought about the connection between faith and baseball came when I was reading a blog post by San Francisco Giants pitcher Jeremy Affeldt.  I remember reading this and being filled with a sense of hope, that God is working within baseball, even when we don’t see it.  There is hope

"I know and understand what intercessory prayer is.  And I truly believe that God would save a whole team based on the heart of someone who would pray for it, just like when He told Abraham, “If you can find even ten good people, I will save this city.”  (Genesis 18:22-32)"

"I just look at that and say, “God, I know that all of my teammates don’t believe in You, or they might believe in You but they don’t really know You, they just know of You, and right now that’s okay because You know them and You love them.”  And so I pray for each and every one of them.  I go to each position, I stand on each area of the field, and I ask God, “Bless this area, and whenever this person comes into this area, I pray that You would elevate his ability to play.”  And I’ll stand in the batter’s box and pray that God will bless them as they hit.  I’ll sit behind the plate and I’ll pray for our catchers, Buster Posey and Eli Whiteside.  I pray that they will have wisdom, and they will know what pitches to call, and they will see the hitter’s reactions, and that there will be a trust factor between the pitcher and them.

And somehow, some way, whether a player believes in God or not, I believe I stand in the gap for that person.  I stand there and I pray a blessing over them, and over the area that they play, that they will be great.  For whatever reason, I just feel like that’s what I was led to do.  And that’s why I do it.”

Read the full article at http://jeremyaffeldt.wordpress.com/2010/12/07/world-series-disciple-part-5/

Text

Bonham: How important is it for you to use your influence as a clubhouse leader to share your faith?

Berkman: It’s extremely important. I don’t think you can overstate the importance of using your platform or using the position that you’ve been given to affect good in every circumstance that you’re in. Obviously, the only reason I’m where I am is because God has gifted me and He has seen fit to put me where I am. I have to honor that by using my influence and my status on the team and in the game of baseball for good and to His purpose.

Bonham: How do you go about making a difference in the lives of your teammates?

Berkman: The key to dealing with people in general is that they have to know that you care about them. You have to deal with people in gentleness. You have to come along side of them. You can’t push them. You can’t pull them. You have to walk with them. In order to do that, you’ve got to demonstrate care for that individual. That’s my whole thing. I want my teammates to know that I care about them personally. I care about what happens with them on and off the field. When you are in that position, you earn the right to speak into their lives. I try to let guys know that I do care about them and consequently I think they’ll listen to me when I have something to say.

Bonham: How encouraging is it to know that there are several players in the league who are also strong believers?

Berkman: You certainly know the guys on the other teams that share your values and beliefs. There is sort of a loose fraternity. At the same time, I know that every time I’m up there against Jake Peavy, I know he’s trying to strike me out just as hard as I’m trying to take him deep. The good thing about being a Christian is that you have that perspective. Then you can really have fun. Then it’s a fun competition. After it’s over with, it’s over. That’s actually a benefit to have some Christian guys competing because they understand that there’s more than just the outcome to the confrontation that’s important.

Bonham: How do you use your platform as a leader in the clubhouse to speak into the lives of other players?

Berkman: The key to dealing with people in general is that they have to know that you care about them. You have to deal with people in gentleness. You have to come along side of them. You can’t push them. You can’t pull them. You have to walk with them. In order to do that, you’ve got to demonstrate care for that individual. That’s my whole thing. I want my teammates to know that I care about them personally. I care about what happens with them on and off the field. When you are in that position, you earn the right to speak into their lives. I try to let guys know that I do care about them and consequently I think they’ll listen to me when I have something to say. One thing I do enjoy as a guy who’s been around for a while, I see these younger guys coming in and I always like to help them if I can and give them advice. It is difficult. Having been through it, I can reach out to those young guys and make sure that everything is good with them.


Read more: http://blog.beliefnet.com/inspiringathletes/2011/07/st-louis-cardinals-outfielder-lance-berkman-on-christianity-and-competition.html#ixzz1d9593t00

Video

Yet another young player who is firm in who he is in Christ.  Again, unless we know these players personally, we cannot say for sure where they stand with their faith.  But again, I like to be optimistic and believe that they are true men of God who love the game of baseball, but strive to be a witness in the lives of those around them first, including their family, teammates, and fans.  Praise the Lord that a young man, given a HUGE platform with being the rookie of the year and world champion catcher would be firm in who God calls him to be.  

Quote

"As the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
and do not return to it without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seeds for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it"

- Isaiah 55:10-11
Video

The story of Josh Hamilton is a story of complete grace and redemption.  In it, the brokenness and weakness of man is shown, and God and His Son is elevated to the epitome of grace and love.  Here is a true and real story of the power of satan, the knowledge he has of our weaknesses, our buttons, our breaking points.  And here lies a true and real story of God’s power, His strength, His support, His ability to bring us back, pull us out of the hole we dig ourselves into.  Here is a story of the real Jesus, who stands next to us, so that we never have to be alone, we never have to confront our weaknesses alone.  Here is the story of our mighty Savior, the true and living God, Jesus Christ.  

Praise be to the Father that this story of such brokenness, such sin, can be shared with the world so that any individual who comes across this story, knows there’s hope, knows there’s power in His name as long as we call on Him.  

Quote

"

The main thing is to be humble and know what you’re doing on the field, and that is glorify Jesus Christ in the field and off…

God has given me this platform so I can glorify Him…

As for me and my house, we serve the Lord (Joshua 24:15)…

What matters is what I’m doing now for Jesus Christ

"

-

Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals

(words of great wisdom)

Video

A great video testimony by Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals.  

I absolutely love the humility you hear as Mr. Pujols talks about Christ.  Christians are not perfect, but everyday we are called to live out our lives worthy of the calling we have from God and Christ.  Christians are not perfect but we are still called to witness to all those around us through every action, every word, every relationship.  Just watched this for the first time literally right after my midterm and my heart is so content right now :)

Video

"If you’re on the fence, you’re already on your way"

Wise words from Javier Lopez of the San Francisco Giants during the 2010 World Series against the Texas Rangers.

How often do we hear athletes or people in the media thank God after they win an award?  I can’t help but think to myself in those times, are they saying it genuinely or superficially?  Would they still thank God if they had not won?  I don’t know them so I can’t really say but I can hope that it’s genuine.  Thus, it’s great to hear Mr. Lopez acknowledge God’s hand in determining their career, the level they are playing at, and the blessing of the simple ability to do so.  

Almost done with the Giants testimony set :)