Trade Deadkine Special – A Life of Worship – Chase Headley – New York Yankees

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Padres third baseman Chase Headley

Calvary Church, the church I attend, is striving to connect what we learn on Sunday Mornings to the ins and outs of every day life.  Our pastoral staff ends each service with a challenge for those in the audience to “go and live lives of worship.” What does that mean?  It means treating our life, our work, our home and our interactions with others as ways to demonstrate what God is doing in our life.  I really enjoy the challenge that our church puts out.  It is a true statement.  Sunday mornings and the rest of life are not disconnected.   The other 6 days is when we live out what God is teaching us on the Sabbath day.  And that is how new Yankees third baseman Chase Headley has chosen to live his life as a Major League baseball player.  As you can read in this article from Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the All-Star became only the 8th third baseman in baseball history to win both the Golden Glove Award (top fielding third baseman) and Silver Slugger (leading his position in homeruns)  Check out what he says on this CBN.com video

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Headley is a power hitting third baseman

As you can read in this CBN transcript,  Headley say “Anything we do can be an act of worship.”He continues “And those days you go out there and you don’t feel good and you’re a little bit tired and you don’t feel like being there on the practice field, you know, that’s where I go to. I say, ‘Hey Man, I’m doing this for God today!’ Whatever it is, I’m taking ground balls on the backfields, ‘Hey I’m doing this for Jesus’.

Headley grew up in a family where God and religion were not very important.  He attended church at Christmas and Easter.  It was a friend in High School that invited him to a Fellowship of Christian Athletes event.  There, he accepted the gift of grace, forgiveness and eternal life. Now, that relationship with God and desire to serve Him motivates Headley to play baseball in service to God.

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Headley is also a Gold Glove fielder

In the FCA article, we read Headley say “I can worship Jesus by the way I play baseball and in how I interact with teammates, opponents, umpires and fans. I try to let my life reflect my faith in Christ.”

My takeaways from Headley’s story:

1- Live a Life of Worship – To truly live for God means to serve Him in all that you do.  We tend to think of “worshiping God” as something we do on Sunday morning through singing, listening to a message and giving our tithe.  But God invites us to take Him with us into our every day activity.  He wants to be the most important part of our lives.  That means worshiping him is more than spending an hour with Him on Sunday morning.  God has a plan for each of us.  To follow that plan, wherever it leads, and to make God a priority in our life is worshiping God.  I pray that God will help me serve Him with all I have, every day of my life.  I pray that He will be the motivation for whatever I do, be it as a father, husband, co-worker, teacher or in anything He leads me to.  Thank you Chase for this challenging reminder.

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Headley strives to honor God on the baseball field and in all of life.

2- What complete’s you? – Headley is a power hitter.  In his best season so far, he hit 31 homers.  Part of Headley’s routine on home runs is to point heavenward as he approaches Home Plate.  When asked about it, his answer is…

Thanking God for giving me the opportunity to play this game, to have an impact. Again, it’s a worship, saying ‘I love You’. This is about You. This is not about me. I look at it to take the spotlight off me and to put it on God and that’s where I want to be a mirror. I want it to, whoever looks at me to see Christ.” 

He continues by saying “For me I always thought, ‘Man if I could ever make it to the Major Leagues, my life is going to be complete.’ I can tell you it’s not any different than it was before, other than the fact that I have Christ in my life. That’s what completes me. That’s what gives me the sense of peace, my sense of purpose.”

What is it that completes you?  How can you serve God with your life and make everything you do an act of worship to Him?  That is what He desires from each of us.  Let’s make Him number one in our lives.

Brother in Life, Faith and Baseball – Stephen Drew – Boston Red Sox

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Red Sox SS – Stephen Drew

Imagine you are 11 years old and your brother – a star at most levels – is a 20 year old baseball phenom.  Maybe you are so proud of your big brother, you try to copy him.  Stephen Drew did.  His brother – J.D. Drew – was a budding star with the Cardinals and had a gorgeous left-handed swing.  So Stephen – wanting to be like his big brother, taught himself how to bat left-handed, even though he was a natural righty.  And it worked. He committed so completely to the change that he only bats left-handed and has been a left bat for 8 major league seasons. There is another brother, too.  Tim, a pitcher, falls between his two brothers and played for parts of 5 seasons.  The Drew brothers were all first round picks in the Major League Draft.  They are the only set of 3 or more siblings that were all first round picks.  You can read this great article from FCA Magazine about the Drew Brothers.   While I have always thought that the comparisons to successful brothers would be hard to deal with, Stephen talks about how it has been helpful.  He says “In this game, you can get caught up in life here at this level, and it’s really nice to have two older brothers who have gone through it and understand.”

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Red Sox Win 2007. #7 is J.D. Drew

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Red Sox win 2013. #7 is Stephen Drew

One of the things that Stephen and J.D. have in common is they have both won World Series Titles while wearing number 7 for the Boston Red Sox.  And while it is great to reach the ultimate reward as a baseball player, there are critics and challenges to face at each step.  Stephen says in this ESPN article, ”My faith is going to keep me strong.  That’s what I go off of. I don’t look at the outside world. You’re going to have fingers pointed at you. There are times they’re going to hate you. There are going to be times when they love you. That’s just life.” Oldest brother J.D. talking about his brotheradds “Just seeing how strong they are and how they walk in their faith. I see how they handle their lives, and that is ultimately something I benefit from. And that’s also what I’ve tried to instill in them—just to say, ‘Hey, you are going to go through your ups and downs, but don’t question your faith and don’t question God.’ People are going to have their ups and downs, but stay in the Bible and study. And I see that in them.”

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Stephen Drew, a natural righty, bats left like his big brother J.D.

My takeaways from the Drew’s stories

1- Imitate the example – Stephen, trying to copy the example of his big brother J.D. taught himself to bat left-handed even though it is not natural.  If we are trying to live life as Christians, we are to follow the example of Jesus.  He hung out with the unlovable ones in society.  He resisted temptation.  He went to uncomfortable places and did uncomfortable things.  We are called to follow His example.  Are we ready to step out of our comfort zone and do things that do not come naturally to us?  When we trust in Jesus as our example and make ourselves willing to let Him change us, it may be uncomfortable and unnatural, but following His example will lead us to success.  We just need to remember that we may not define success like God does.

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Former MLB pitcher Tim Drew

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Former MLB outfielder J.D. Drew

2- Don’t look to others for validation – The reality is that a professional athlete is one of the top 1000 players at their sport in the world.  And yet, because their job is played out in the spotlight, people who are far less talented then them have opportunity to tear them down, belittle their skill set and question their worth.  This will happen to each one of us if we place our value in what others think.  God is the only one whose opinion should matter to us.  And He loves us enough to not leave doomed.  He values us enough to offer us life with Him.  May we only live to impress Him.

3- Younger are examples, too - J.D. Drew talks about the example he sees in his younger brothers.  We are not limited by age.  Over and over in the Bible, we see young people that God uses to lead the way (David, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, Daniel, Mary, to name a few).  Jesus also teaches us to have faith like a child and Paul tells young Timothy not to let anyone look down on him because he is young.  Whatever age you are, God is ready to use you to let others know about Him and to lead them to meet Him.  Put Him first, live for Him and watch Him use you to change the lives of others, too.

How to Save a Life – Matt Szczur – Chicago Cubs

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Cubs OF prospect Matt Szczur

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Szczur with the Championship Trophy at Villanova

Happy Birthday Matt Szczur (pronounced Cesar)!  Today, he turns 25.  He is working his way through the minors in the Cubs system.  He has played a handful of games with the Cubs in each of the past 4 seasons. In the minors, he continues to hone his skills and develop his game.  He was also a football star in college, leading Villanova to a National Championship in 2009.  But the championship game is one that he was willing to skip.

You see, as a freshman Szczur and many of his Villanova teammates registered as willing bone marrow donors.  You can read the story here.  He was told that there was a 1 in 80,000 chance that those registered would be called to donate.  And Szczur got the call.  There was a girl – 15 months old at the time – who needed a transplant and Szczur was a perfect match. It looked like the procedure would happen during football playoff time, but that was OK with Szczur – he knew that helping to save this girl’s life was more important than any football game.

It turns out that there was a delay. The call came  during baseball season.  Being a donor meant taking some medications and putting his body through some pain.  He talks about how awful his body felt as he recovered, but that he never hesitated to do it.  Check out the feature that ESPN:60 did on him – and have your box of tissues ready.  It is great.

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Szczur, noted for his great speed, makes a diving catch

You can also hear Szczur talking about baseball and about his story with radio host Dr. Dwight Allen here.  He shares how he has seen his prayers answered with her health.  He talks about how his faith guided him to donate marrow and helps him in all of life.

This story connects with me in a couple different ways.  First of all, as a dad, there is a hopelessness that I feel when my daughters are sick.  I want to make their suffering stop.  My daughter, Olivia, when she was 3 years old, had an appendectomy.  Not a particularly dangerous operation but unusual for someone so young.  I can’t imagine having to deal with something as scary as leukemia.

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Anastasia Olkhovsky with her mom was the recipient of Szczur’s marrow

Secondly, the girl recipient lives in Ukraine.  My wife and I served as missionaries in Ukraine for a couple of years and look back with great fondness on our time there.  We were actually planning on being there on a mission trip right now, but our trip was cancelled due to the unrest.  Now, to hear all the bad things that are happening in Ukraine right now, my heart breaks.  I am praying for a resolution to come quickly.

My takeaway from this story:

No hesitation - Earlier this year, I blogged about Daniel Murphy and the controversy that was stirred when he chose to skip opening day to be with his wife for the birth of their first child.  He didn’t hesitate and neither did Szczur.  Even if it meant missing playoff or championship games.  When compared to saving a life, sports and games are a distant second.  Szczur had the perfect match – the perfect solution to the illness this girl suffered from.  As followers of Jesus, we also have a perfect solution to the illness that the world suffers from – sin.  Are we willing to sacrifice our own interests and schedule to share with people who are in need of knowing God?  Or is our stuff too important and we only choose to help when it is convenient for us?  I know that I am guilty of the second many times over.  It is hard to sacrifice what is important to us.  Szczur was ready to skip out on the championship game. He was willing to miss out on some games where pro scouts could make or break his future.  He even put himself through pain and discomfort in hopes that his actions might make a difference.  There was no guarantee that the girl would survive, even with the transplant.  But ask him if it was worth the risk to his career and pain?  No doubt the answer is yes.  The same is true when God uses you to share His love with others.  Thanks for the reminder Matt Szczur!  Happy Birthday to you!

All-Star Special – Real Not Routine – Mike Matheny – St. Louis Cardinals

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Matheny as a player was a 4 time Gold Glove winner

allstar gameI imagine it would be hard to take the place of a Hall 0f Famer. The St. Louis Cardinals were managed to 2 World Series titles in the past 8 years by legendary manager Tony LaRussa.  He retired after winning the 2011 title and he was replaced by Mike Matheny who at the time was not only the youngest manager in the Majors, but also had not managerial experience.  He was  known mostly for his defense, considered one of the best defensive catchers in the game during his career (He won 4 Gold Glove Awards).  He is one of only 3 catchers in history to play in 100+ games in a single season without committing an error.

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Matheny (far right) is the 8th manager in history to lead his team to the playoffs in each of his first 2 seasons winning the N.L. pennant last year

And while there were some critics who questioned his hiring, he quickly quieted them with a great season, one that saw him lead the Cardinals to the playoffs via the Wild Card, and saw them advance to the League Championship Series where they were defeated by eventual World Series Champs the San Francisco Giants.  Last season, he would go a step further as the Cardinals made it to the World Series, where they were defeated by the Boston Red Sox.  But as the manager of the National League’s representative in the World Series, Matheny will manage the National League All-Star team this season.

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Matheny’s Manifesto was a letter to parents of a youth baseball team encouraging them to be supportive but not interfering

Matheny was asked to coach a youth baseball team a few years ago.  He wrote a letter to parents outlining his expectations. – The Mathen  You can read it here.  In it he outlines his expectations for respect and class from himself, his players and their parents.  He also goes on to share how his Christian Faith will guide his decisions and actions.  He will not force his viewpoint on others, but he will be honest and unashamed about what he believes and why.

In this fascinating interview,  Matheny shares that he was brought up in a Christian family.  But he admits to “riding the coat tails of my parents”.  A guest speaker at his church challenged him to consider who God really was, and it was at this point that he chose to have a true relationship with God.  In his own words, he says his relationship with God became “real instead of routine”. He knew that part of his purpose would be to represent God as well as he could in all situations, good or bad.  In his words (taken from a FCA feature on him)

“I always felt I had the responsibility to be an example of how Christians ought to compete,” he says. “I still have those conversations with Christian players. We’re held to a higher standard. We’re serving a God who knows our intents and purposes. We should play the game in a way that honors Him, and that should be with a fierce competitor’s heart.

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Matheny will manage the National League All-Star Team

Here are my takeaways from Matheny’s story:

1- Real not Routine – What Matheny said spoke to my heart.  God calls us to a real relationship with Him.  It is not enough to attend a church service, sing some songs and go through the motions of Christian faith.  It is about truly getting to know the Creator of the Universe and allowing him to be Lord of your life.  A pastor friend of mine would often conclude messages by calling people to a real, genuine faith in God.  He would say it like this.  ”Do you know what 2 words do not go together?  - No Lord” If you are really making God Lord of your Life, it will change your life.  You will do what He leads you to do and you will align your desires with what He desires.  And when we do, life is not routine, but an adventure that will prove over and over again that God is Real.

2- The Thin White Line – When a baseball player goes onto the field of play, or when we enter our chosen vocational field, we are faced with a choice.  If God is real to us, do our actions reflect it.  This goes beyond our workplace, too.  It is in how we parent, how we live in relationship with others, how we drive our car and treat others at the store.  God knows our hearts and our words and actions are a reflection of what is happening inside of us.  If we find that we are mean, selfish, or harsh with others – that comes from what’s going on inside.  I know that I often don’t like what comes out of me.  But the Bible tells us that  Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control  are the what is produced from God’s Spirit at work in us.  If we have that true relationship with Him, He will show up in our interactions and use us to share His love with others.

 

All-Star Special – Big League Ace – Madison Bumgarner – San Francisco Giants

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Giants Pitcher Madison Bumgarner

allstar gameWith the Mid-Summer classic in town, All-Star fever is here.  Here is the third post in my “All-Star” week.  This time around, we check out the story of San Francisco Giants Lefty Madison Bumgarner.

Bumgarner is  considered the “ace” of his team. Which on a roster that boasts names like Lincecum, Hudson and Cain is pretty high respect.   Let’s take a look at some numbers. He chose to forego a college scholarship and go pro right out of High School.  He was drafted 10th overall in 2007 and after an amazing run in the minors (He went 34-6 with an ERA of 3.00) He made his Big League debut at the age of 20.  In the Majors, he will pitch in his second All-Star game next week. He also has 2 World Series Rings and is one of the top young lefty pitchers in baseball.  Here he is during the 2010 World Series, explaining in his own words the role that faith in God plays for him.

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Bumgarner’s All-Star games now equal his World Series rings

You can read this great article from Sports On Earth, where he is compared to Clayton Kershaw, whom I have blogged about on this site.

But it has not always been simple and easy.  As you can read in this article from Yahoo! Sports, he has gone through his parents divorce and the death of his sister (who died of cancer during his rookie year)  And yet, what he said in the video above shows his strategy on coping with the good and hard things that life brings his way.  A complete dependence on God is the only way that he is where he is today.

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Bumgarner hits a Grand Slam against the Rockies earlier this year

Here are my takeaways from his story:

1 – More than an Ace -An “ace” carries a tremendous burden for his team.  Each team goes to great lengths to find an Ace – the top pitcher on the team.  His role is to be dependable – to be counted on to end losing streaks, and to give his team a reasonable chance to win every time he takes the mound.  We all aspire to make a name for ourselves, to attain the top of our profession or to be “all we can be”.  When we put ourselves at the top of our priority list we tend to be defined by what we do, not who we are.  Bumgarner says in the video that he aspires to be known as a Christ-follower above all else.  At the end of the day, he believes that his identity in Christ is his most important characteristic. May we all aspire to the same.  To let God in us be our one true identity.

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Bumgarner, now 24, is in his 6th major league season

2- The Giving Tree – The Yahoo! article compares Bumgarner’s story – his upbringing in Hickory NC, to the Shel Silverstein story “the Giving Tree”.  In that story, a young boy plays with a tree, and as the boy ages, his needs and wants change.  The tree is always giving whatever it takes to keep the boy happy and coming back.  At the end of the story, the tree is used up and is only a stump, and the boy – now an old man – uses the stump to sit on.  The article talks about his home town being that tree.  But more than that, this is a story of all of us.  God watches out for us, giving us His best and wanting the best for us.  Often we take what God gives for granted.  But unlike the story, God’s resources never end.  He always wants us to get to know Him more and spend time with Him.  He gives good gifts, but the best gift He offers is Himself on the cross – the ultimate Giving tree.  He took our place, forgave our sins and invited us to spend eternity with Him.  We just have to accept the gift and let Him guide our life.  

 

All-Star Game Special – Lessons from a Fisherman – Charlie Blackmon – Colorado Rockies

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Rockies Outfielder Charlie Blackmon

allstar gameAs the All-Star game approaches, I continue my focus on some participants in the Mid-Summer classic.  This time around it is Charlie Blackmon of the Colorado Rockies.  He has a huge beard, he is an avid fisherman and he is a devout follower of Christ.  Seems similar to some guys I read about in the Bible.

Charlie Blackmon was drafted 3 times in his life,in 2004 by the Florida Marlins (24th round) in 2006 by the Boston Red Sox (20th round) and in 2008 by the Colorado Rockies (2nd round).  He signed with the Rockies and worked his way through the minors, spending essentially 1 season at each level.  He made his debut in Colorado in 2011 and split the next 3 seasons between the majors and minors.  He was expected to be a platoon player this season, but then opening day came and he did this.

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Blackmon, the “Bearded Wonder” will play in his first All-Star game next week

A 6 for 6 day will turn some heads.  He finished with 5 RBI, 4 extra base hits and fell a triple short of the cycle.  He has played in 89 of the Rockies 92 games and was named to his first All-Star game.  He is boasting an average just under .300 and 13 home runs.

As you can read in this article from the Denver Post, Blackmon doesn’t take himself too seriously.  He is having the time of his life living his dream and knows that “God has a plan for everybody and I try to do my part, and it’s more than just the baseball stuff”.  God’s plan for Blackmon has led him to be a deserving if improbable All-Star this year.

Here are my takeaways from Blackmon’s story:

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Blackmon is an avid fisherman. And a fisher of men

1- Fisherman and Fishers of Men – Blackmon is an avid fisherman.  At the start of this article, I drew a connection between some of the disciples who were fishermen and Blackmon, a devout Christian himself.  What I have always enjoyed about the story of Peter, Andrew, James and John is that Jesus called them to leave their life as fishermen and repurposed them as fishers of men.  Instead of catching fish, they will be capturing people.  Instead of simply ending lives of fish, they would be calling other people to die to themselves and experience true life with God.  For them, a fishing reference connected them to their purpose.  For Blackmon, it is baseball.  What has God equipped you to do?  How can you use that which He has already given you to help others know Him.

2- Juggling Life -We learn in the Denver Post article that Blackmon is also a juggler.  When I learned how to juggle, I would watch my friend and instructor Darren Collins  start some of his shows by asking the audience (mostly kids) to say “Praise God” in the event that Darren would drop a ball (or whatever he happened to be juggling).  Why?  Because we are not perfect and each time our imperfection shows, we can be reminded that God loves us and offers us forgiveness.  Each mistake we make gives God an opportunity to remind us of how amazing his grace, love and forgiveness is.  We all have some juggling to do in this life, with work, parenting, family, finances, serving others.  We are bound to drop the ball over and over again.  Praise God that He loves us and offers us forgiveness and restoration.

All-Star Game Special – Time for a Change – Jonathan Lucroy – Milwaukee Brewers

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Brewers Catcher Jonathan Lucroy

allstar gameIt is the mid way point of the baseball season and that means it is time for the Midsummer Classic – The All-Star Game.  This year it is in my city of residence – Minneapolis – and though I will not get to go to the game, I will focus a couple blog posts on some of the players on the rosters.

First focus will be on “the most underrated catcher in baseball” as he is called by SB Nation.  He is having a great, all-star worthy season and has been a part of the Milwaukee Brewers solid season.  He is top 10 in hits and batting average.

Lucroy worked his way to the majors quickly.  He was drafted in the third round of the 2007 draft and made his debut less than 3 years later.  He has made a name for himself both as a hitter and as a catcher.  His baseball skills have always been with him, and while they continue to improve, he has always had a solid foundation of baseball skills that have served him well.

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Lucroy is top 20 in many offensive categories in 2014

But his life outside of baseball was not going as well as his life between the lines.  As you can read in this article from Athletes in Action.  He says “I knew I was not living the right way and there were a lot of things happening in my life which were taking me downhill.”  

But like his baseball skills have given him a good foundation to draw on on the field, the foundation laid in his childhood about God and the importance of faith gave him something to draw on.  The article goes on to say that Lucroy became a Christ-follower and hopes that his daughter, Ella, will see his example and follow God, too – learning from the mistakes he had made in life.   His “walk up” song has been “Fight Inside” by Red, which talks about the struggles we have to do what is right.  Check it out here!

My Takeaways from Lucroy’s story:

1- A Firm Foundation – Lucroy knew that he was headed down the wrong road, and returned to the God he had learned about as a child.  I have worked and served in Children’s ministry for over 20 years.  Few things energize me like sharing the truth about who God is to young people.  I am always learning from God’s word and wish to challenge people of all ages to allow God to teach them through the Bible.  Sometimes I wonder if the excitement I feel and the words I speak connect with the people I speak to, but I also know that God can use my flawed human efforts to share His perfect love with others.   Isaiah 55.11 says

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Lucroy has become one of the top catchers in baseball

My word, which comes from my mouth, is like the rain and snow.
    It will not come back to me without results.
    It will accomplish whatever I want
        and achieve whatever I send it to do

I know this is truth.  God’s word gives us a strong foundation that can guide us for life.

2- Fight Inside – Lucroy used this song by Red as a “walk up” song.  It connected with him and the struggle he faces to do the right thing consistently in life.  It is not a new struggle, nor is it one unique to Him.  It is something that we can all relate to at some level.  Every day is full of battles between doing the right thing and doing the wrong thing.  Without God active in us, helping guide us to make good choices, life is impossible.  But with God active and working in our life, he can make a huge difference in our life and help us make a difference in the lives of others.

Lucroy will be here in town next Monday at the All-Star Game.  Lucroy, will be one to watch and cheer on as he continues to live for God and point others toward Him.

A World of Faith – Faith in God at the World Cup – Team U.S.A.

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U.S. Captain Clint Dempsey

imgresWhile I am not an American citizen, I am a green card holding resident and as such, I am hoping for a great showing for the Yanks at the World Cup in Brazil.  It brings me great joy to share the stories of a few members of the USNMT and their faith in God.

Here we go:

Clint Dempsey:

You can read in this feature on him by Sports Spectrum Magazine that Dempsey has lived a life affected by tragedy.  At the age of 12, his older sister (aged 16) died of a brain aneurysm.  In college two of his teammates were involved in a car accident – one killed and the other would never play soccer again.  But through all that he has faced, his faith in God – instilled in him by his grand-mother, has become very important to Him.  This article from Christiantoday.com talks about the role that faith plays in his life even now on the biggest soccer stage in the world

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U.S. Goal Keeper Tim Howard

Like Dempsey (and all of us, too), Tim Howard has also faced some challenges in this life.  As you can read in this article from Athletes in Action, his parents divorced when he was 3.  At the age of 12 he was diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome.  And also like Dempsey, his faith in God was greatly influenced by his grandmother.  Now he enjoys using soccer as a platform to share his faith with others, encouraging them to trust God, no matter what their struggles are, and to understand that winning, losing, playing time – all those things are pretty insignificant compared to knowing God!

Here is a video of him talking about his faith

 

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U.S. Goal Keeper Brad Guzan

Beyond the Ultimate did this feature on US Goal Keeper Brad Guzan.  In it we learn about Guzan’s faith that his parents instilled in him at an early age, and how it has helped guide his life since that young age.  He knows that God has been with him all along.  In the article, Guzan gives a great reminder that “when things are going well – great – I give praise to Him; and when things are not going well, I ask for His guidance and His help to keep me going in the right path.” He goes on to say that he knows that soccer and all it has provided for him can be taken away in the blink of an eye and that following God is all that really matters.  Check out the video below.

 

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U.S. midfielder turned defender DaMarcus Beasley

DaMarcus Beasley :

I also want to draw your attention to Beasley.  U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann asked him to change position from mid-fielder to left back (defender). This is a pretty drastic change.  He had been one of the top scoring threats for U.S. for a decade,  but with the change Beasley said

“the goal was now to stop strikers from doing to him what he’d been trying to do to others for so long“.

He had been one of the U.S.’ top scoring threats for the past decade and now, his focus would be on defending his own end.  He agreed and finds himself playing in his 4th World Cup.  When asked why he made this big change without hesitation of complaint when, he said

Even if I thought things were not going the way they were supposed to go, I have always had faith that God would open that next door for me to walk through. A lot of what I do is based on the grounding I have with faith. 

There is a lot to learn from the example of these men.  Depend on God in hard times.  Trust Him at all times.  Be willing to follow where He leads and understand He is more important than anything else.