Welcome to my 300th post at Living Up to My Name. Over the past 4 years, I have been blessed to learn and share the stories of hundreds of Christian Athletes and the stories of how God has been at work in their lives. I look forward to continuing to share these stories as God uses them to teach me more about Him.
That being said, I’ve been struggling to write a post about a Cincinnati Reds player for the past season and an half. I didn’t write about any Reds player last season, and I didn’t know who to write about this year until last night. A twitter friend of mine told me that during last night’s Reds-Cubs there was talk about Michael Lorenzen‘s new tattoo which featured two number ones and the word “six”. Viewers learned that it was in reference to Romans 1.16, which says “I’m not ashamed of the Good News. It is God’s power to save everyone who believes, Jews first and Greeks as well.” Intrigued, I looked into the story, and learned a lot about the 23 year old rookie and his story. I also learned of a song and a blog devoted to the 116 movement.
Here is the video from last night’s game talking about the tattoo.
First Michael Lorenzen, the 38th overall pick in the 2013 draft. He had been picked a couple years earlier by Tampa Bay but opted for college instead. When he joined the Reds organization, he was an outfielder. And as you can read in this interview with Redsminorleague.com, he resisted the change from outfielder to pitcher at first, but after talking it over, he was ready to try. He said “All right God, if this is what You want me to do, I’m gonna do this. I’m gonna commit to it.” And ever since then it’s taken off.”
Has it ever! He flew through their system, working his way from Rookie league to AA ball in his first season as a pro. He spent last year in AA again, and started this season in AAA, but appeared in only 3 games there before being promoted to Cincinnati. He has appeared in 14 games this season, starting 12. His dependence on God and his desire to follow Him began in his troubled High School days. He was living as an entitled student athlete. He says “I felt like I deserved stuff because I was good at baseball.” Then, one night, everything changed. He shares in this story with Fox Sports “When I was 17, I was high on marijuana on a pier in Huntington Beach and some guy came up and started sharing about the Lord. It was so convicting for me. I thought, ‘Wow, I’m high right now — this guy, this stranger, is talking to me about the Lord. Crazy. It changed my life. To this day I don’t know the guy.” With his brother Matt, who had recently become a Christian helping him, Michael accepted Christ as his Savior. He had found purpose and meaning for his life. and everything changed. Now, with baseball as his platform, he knows he is not playing for himself anymore, but rather to honor God and share Him with others.
In this video, we see how he sees baseball and his relationship with God as connected and important.
Here are my takeaways from Lorenzo’s story.
1- Living it Out – Lorenzen has started a web-site called “Infected Athletes” He says “The message behind it is just we’ve all been infected by sin and the cure is Christ and so, yeah, it’s just whatever I’m reading, whatever I’m studying at the time, I just kind of post what I learn and how we can apply it. The challenge is to apply it. Yeah, we can all read, we can all acknowledge a God, but the challenge, like I said, is applying the Word and living it out.” Lorenzen has gone to great lengths to connect with people to encourage them with God’s Word and how to apply it to life. I agree that study is great, but application of what you are studying/learning is the challenge for us to take up. The world has been infected by sin, but Jesus made a way for the sin to be dealt with. It is a great picture of God’s love. The story of redemption is shown in the logo. Read the meaning behind it here. Sin entered the world via a tree, and sin was dealt with by Jesus hanging on a tree. Cool!
2- 1-1-Six – I get to share Bible stories in many settings – VBS, the after school program I direct, my own kids, and other places in the community. But when it comes to situations outside of those comfort zones, it is tempting to stay quiet. Romans 1.16 is a great verse. God changed Saul’s heart turning him from arresting and imprisoning Christians to encouraging Christians and being imprisoned himself for his faith. He was bold and outspoken, sharing his faith wherever he went. That is the challenge for us. Remember who God is. Nothing is impossible for Him. There is no reason to be embarrassed or ashamed. If you are excited about what God has done for you and the grace you have received from Him. Share it wherever you go. He is worth it. He offers us a cure for our sin disease. Will you stay infected, or will you live life cured, carrying the antidote for sin to the world around you.