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Posts tagged ‘New York Yankees’

Christian Coach A-Rod Had Fired Prophesies God’s Love Over Third Baseman.


Alex Rodriguez
Alex Rodriguez (Facebook)

I’ve always loved the term “We’ve come full circle.” Circles are my favorite shape. They ring themselves around life like God’s bow around a package—and a few weeks ago, God drew a circle around a part of our life in the game of baseball.

After spending 32 years in the game, you begin to think nothing will surprise you, but Bobby and I were surprised one cloudy morning in October 2009 when we received a call from the Yankees’ general manager explaining we lost our job as third base coach for the team we loved. He told us Alex Rodriguez got us fired by complaining to the owners, citing he was uncomfortable with Bobby as a coach.

We were stunned. Was it because I had consoled his wife (now ex-wife) and prayed with her about the struggles she was enduring in their marriage? (A week later, A-Rod was publicly palling around with Madonna.) Was it because Bobby was closer to other infielders on the team and A-Rod felt threatened? Could he sense a spiritual tug as we covered him in daily prayer, for us only to get thrown under the bus by the very man we prayed for?

Whatever the case, the fallout from that firing was painful. We counted a financial loss of around $1.2 million as the Yankees went on to win the World Series the next year and had many playoff appearances and pay increases in the years to follow. We spent 16 years in the minor leagues before landing that job, each of us working two to three jobs apiece to try and make ends meet. We knew our hope was in the Lord, but at times it was difficult to watch A-Rod garner a string of titles and accolades. His stunning looks and baseball presence seemed to keep him exempt from the harsh winter of reality. Even after allegations of performance-enhancing drug use stung A-Rod’s stellar record of accomplishments a few years ago, he seemed unfazed by consequence or regret.

A few weeks ago, the minor league team Bobby manages for the Toronto Blue Jays had a double-header with the Tampa Yankees. And there on third base was A-Rod, nursing a hip injury as he staged a rehab stint on his way back to the big league team. Bobby has seen A-Rod in passing over the years, but this visit proved to be more.

It was a “full circle” encounter if there ever was one. Alex’s eyes locked on Bobby as he moved toward the coach’s box next to third base. As Bobby thrust his hand out to shake, Alex lunged forward into an awkward hug—the kind of hug that lasts a bit longer and holds a bit tighter than usual. A bit stunned, Bobby pulled back and looked Alex in the eye. As the pitcher took extra time to warm up, Bobby realized God was giving him the gift of time—stolen moments to speak into this ball player’s life.

“I’ve been praying for you, Alex,” Bobby said with a warmth in his smile. ”I know you’re going through a lot right now, and I want to tell you something.”

Alex remained frozen on third base. As if time stood still, he leaned in to listen.

“All the things you’re going through right now [a drug investigation by Major League Baseball and the threat of a lifetime ban from baseball]—it’s too much for you to handle on your own,” Bobby said. “Without God, you’ll struggle to make it.”

Alex listened intently as Bobby continued.

“I want you to know that you’re not alone. The Lord is with you, and He won’t fail you. No matter what you’ve done or what lies ahead, He loves you.”

Alex quietly lifted his voice as his eyes looked through Bobby, as if he was in communion with something Bobby couldn’t see. “I guess I’m learning what’s really important,” he whispered.

“You are,” said Bobby, “so don’t forget what God teaches you.”

As Bobby moved to his perch in the coach’s box and Alex took his position at third, I swear you could see a full circle drawn around these men. Isn’t it like God to have the last word when we let Him? Hope, fear and forgiveness tied in a bow.

We may never have another conversation with A-Rod, but God knew a circle needed to be drawn, and Bobby was the one to draw it. He could have snubbed Alex with an unforgiving glance or smirked in pleasure, watching Alex grapple with his current life predicament—but when you’ve encountered the God who loves, all you want to do is share that gift. The gift of coming full circle.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

GARI MEACHAM

Garri Meacham is an author, speaker and teacher. Her next book, Watershed Moments, is coming out in October 2013.

‘The Straw Man’ Trades Baseball Bat for a Church Pulpit.


Darryl Strawberry
Darryl Strawberry (Andrew Innerarity/Reuters)

Former Major League Baseball superstar Darryl Strawberry is taking the widely quoted scripture of 2 Corinthians 5:17 literally these days: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (KJV).

At 51, the former four-time World Series champion, who hit 335 home runs in his career with the New York Mets and the New York Yankees, possesses no memorabilia from his solid baseball career in his modest two-story home in St. Peters, Mo., a town 30 miles west of St. Louis.

There is nothing that reminds him of the man—and the sports hero—he used to be.

And that’s exactly the way Strawberry, now a pastor, wants it.

“I got rid of it all. I was never attached to none of that stuff,” Strawberry told USA Today. “I don’t want it. It’s not part of my life anymore.”

His baseball accomplishments, including his eight All-Star game appearances, are listed on his bio on his website, StrawberryMinistries.org. However, the first bullet point on the bio reads “ordained minister.” He formed his own ministry three years ago.

“I finally have found my purpose in life,” Strawberry says. “I’m over ‘Strawberry.’ I’m over Mets. I’m over Yankees. I’m not a baseball player anymore. That person is dead.”

Strawberry’s new life purpose is serving Jesus alongside his wife, Tracy, “by speaking a message of hope and helping others transform their lives through the power of the gospel,” he says.

“I was once very lost and tormented but now I am found and free in Christ Jesus. I want everyone to experience the saving and transforming power of Jesus Christ,” Strawberry says on his website.

While he chooses not to live by his past accomplishments, Strawberry realizes he can’t escape the public’s perception of his status as a baseball superstar. The former National League Rookie of the Year led the league in home runs in 1988, and he drove in more than 100 runs three times.

He was also named by the New York Times as one of the most famous celebrities in New York City at one time during his career.

But that time in Strawberry’s life also trudges up some of his most painful memories. Alcohol and drug addiction ruled—and ruined—two marriages and any kind of a family life with his six children. He spent time in prison, and crack houses were a regular hangout for him.

“I used to be a big shot, let’s put it that way,” Strawberry told USA Today. “But I want nothing to do with baseball now. I have no desire to be working in baseball, no desire at all.

“I love the game, don’t get me wrong. But, I love the Bible more. I want to help people save their lives and have the responsibility of leading people into following Christ. It’s so hard to describe what that feels like. But I’ve never been happier in my life. It’s so much fun being a pastor.”

The Strawberrys met at a narcotics center convention in Tampa, Fla. Tracy, who had been clean for a year, was a cocaine, crack and crystal meth addict before she turned her life over to Jesus.

After they met, Tracy continued on the straight path, while Darryl insisted on continuing his path of destruction.

“I wanted to save Darryl,” Tracy told USA Today. “I saw the greatness in him, the potential. I would chase him, banging down crack house doors, pulling him out. To some people that was heroic. But that was crazy and dangerous.”

The two broke up several times before Tracy rendered an ultimatum to Darryl: Clean up your act or the relationship is done.

Darryl followed Tracy home to Missouri, and the two began a new life in pursuit of Jesus instead of fame and riches.

At the Mets’ request, Strawberry will be in New York for the upcoming All-Star game festivities at Citi Field. He says he’ll be uncomfortable with the autograph and interview requests, but this is a special occasion.

“I always believed there was a greater purpose to life. Now I’ve found it,” he says.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

SHAWN A. AKERS

Good Fathers Make Sacrifices That Count.


Family time dad

Remember the “golden days?” You were a man with youth on your side and full of idealistic dreams.

You were a sight to behold. Golf multiple times a week and a roaring social life. You had it pretty good, didn’t you? As Bob Seger once sang, “you were like a rock.”

Then like a powerful late summer hurricane, your life was transformed. You had not an ounce of resistance towards her. She made you want to be a better man, a different man.

Now, you sometimes sit in your “man-cave” and reflect on how life has changed. Chucky Cheese is your nightclub. Changing diapers is your extreme sport. A soccer game where nobody is even keeping score is something you are psyched about all week.

Isn’t it beautiful? As good fathers, we sacrifice so that our family may thrive. The following list accounts for a few of the things we have put aside:

1. The Lifestyle. Jimmy Buffett would have been proud to know you. No responsibility was felt towards anything and your life revolved around the next bit of fun. It was a shallow existence, but you were just the man to make it rock. Eventually, last call always occurs. The lights come on and the party is over. You still slip out on occasion to catch Monday Night Football and see how many .50 wings you can down. But Margaritaville has long since closed. Nowadays. you sip ice tea and your wing man uses a sippy cup.

2. Stepping Up To The Plate. Sometimes you can’t believe the words are coming from your mouth. “I sound just like my Dad” you think to yourself with a slight bit of fear. Then, you remember you are the Dad now and that a different set of priorities now rest at your feet. You are the responsible one now. Discipline and guidance have now been reassigned to your department. You step up to the plate and you deliver, because that is what a good man does.

3. Tick Tock. Time moves like a bullet train. Even Christmas sneaks up on you like a fleet-footed time bandit. There is always something else that needs done and somewhere else you need to be. Then, you see those big brown eyes staring up at you. The only place you know you will be is right where they want you to be. You slap the time bandit upside his head and you sit down and play Candyland. A good Dad knows the meaning of the phrase “time well wasted.”

4. Mean Green. Sure, with your money you would love to upgrade the golf clubs. That 80-inch hi-def at Best Buy taunts you every time you walk by it. But you leave those items in your dreams. Or on a “wish list” that gets larger every month. You work hard so your family has the things they need. Luxuries are for them when possible. College funds, insurance and retirement plans are where you have your spending sprees now.

5. The Sandman. No, not the future Hall of Fame closer of the New York Yankees, but The Sandman who used to allow for a great night of sleep. He seems to be tardy in your life a great deal now. Remember sleeping past 10:00 am once upon a time? You are lucky to make it past 8:00 am on the weekends and 6:30 am during the week. Work starts early and ends late. Saturday morning arrives and before the sun can fully rise a little face is staring in yours wanting your full attention. Your first instinct might be to gently take your forearm and shoo her back to SpongeBob. But you don’t. Thoughts of your Mom screaming “Are you going to sleep the whole day away young man?” race through your head. This while you eat your Frosted Mini-Wheats watching SpongeBob and your daughter explains who Mr. Krabs is. “No Mom, I’m apparently not going to sleep any whole day away ever again.”

6. The Dream Job. You work hard and you’re talented. Naturally, opportunities arise. There is always a kicker though. This one moves the family across the country. That one requires that you travel three weeks a month. The money is incredible, but how much of your soul is required to take it? You come home and your son plops in your lap and tells you all about his day. His best friend across the street helped him make a skateboard ramp. At that moment, you realize you are just fine where you are for now. The corporate ladder only needed to be climbed just so far. Your dream job has already been realized and business is booming.

7. The Cool Factor. Nobody likes to think of themselves as a nerd. You have friends and people like you. You’re cool right? No, sorry Dad, you aren’t. You look ridiculous when you wear those hideous jean shorts your wife bought at Target. Your belly is chubby and your haircut long since went out of style. You wear plaid shirts and khaki pants on a daily basis for goodness sake. All you need is the pocket protector and you just got cast for “Revenge of the Nerds Part 8.” No, you aren’t cool, but there is a very positive trade-off. You are Superman in the eyes of a special little child. Superman trumps cool…always.

8. The Rabid Fan. Back in the day you had season tickets and never missed a game. You found the fact that some fans came late and left early nauseating. Come rain, sleet, wind or snow, you were going to the game and staying until the clock hit zero. You were the most rabid of rabid fans. One beautiful wife, two adorable children and a mortgage payment later, those tickets are long gone. Occasionally, you spend what amounts to a full car payment to take the whole family with you for a game. You arrive late because your daughter puked on the way. You leave early because your son’s diaper is full and you forgot the diaper bag. You don’t know the final outcome and, at this point, you don’t really care. Then your mind drifts to this weekend’s big game and you get excited once again. The big game between the Westminster Dragons and the Shady Oaks Tigers. Dreams of “scholarship” dance through your head as your daughter scores her third goal. Rabid fan reborn.

9. Coup d’état. A man’s home is his castle right? Son, you’ve been overthrown by the Prince and the fair Princess. Tiger is finally playing like himself again and you would like to watch it on the big screen? Sorry Charlie. This is the final season of Veggie Tales on TV and every episode is “special.” Think you might surf the Net a little bit and see what’s going on in the world? Nope. The Princess is playing a game involving lots of furry animals, while talking to her friends on the phone who are doing the same. Do you know who the low man on the totem pole is, Chief? In almost every instance, it’s Dad. You just shake your head with a smile and go take a nap. That’s what was going to happen while watching golf anyway. Life is good.

10.  Spreading Their Wings. She just learned how to ride a bike and now she’s backing your car down the driveway. A few days ago, she was playing with Barbies and now she has a date coming to pick her up. Yesterday, you were holding her hand walking into kindergarten and now the trunk is packed for college. The most difficult sacrifice for any great father is letting go. But we do. They spread their wings and off they soar. We taught them well and they are majestic as they fly towards the horizon with the sun at their back. Job well done Dad. Job extremely well done.

How to win the Super Bowl!


Acts 1:8

This evening the world will watch the Chicago Bears beat the Indianapolis Colts (I mean play the Indianapolis Colts). I shouldn’t have made a prediction like that! How many Bears fans do we have here this morning? Great! How many Colts fans do we have here this morning? Wonderful! How many Jesus fans do we have here at the Grace Baptist Church this morning? Raise your hands! Oh that is great!

This morning I want to compare the playing of the Super Bowl, and all the fans that will be watching the Super Bowl to that of the Christian life. Now, there is a greater Super Bowl being played, even as I speak! King Jesus, and His team is on one side of the playing field, and Satan and all his demons are on the other side of the playing field! Which side are you going to be? I hope you are on Jesus’ team, and you can be on His team before you leave this morning!

As I thought about how to win the Super Bowl, I thought about how the Christian life is compared to the sports world. We have a lot in common with the world of sports. The Bible even pictures the Christian life as a boxing match, a race, and a wrestling match.

Now how can you win at the Super Bowl of Life?

1-Tell everybody whose team you are on!

Acts 1:8 says
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

A true fan is not ashamed to stand up and be counted for his or her team! As many of you have already stated, a fan is not hesitant to say what team they are pulling for, unless it happens to be the New York Yankees! Just kidding! Are there any Yankee fans here today! I’ve tried my best to convert you into Brave fans, but all to no avail! You want to be a winner right, so you pull for the Yankees, instead of the Braves! Well friends, I really do not know who will win the big game tonight, but I guarantee that the Colt fans are going to let everyone know when Peyton Manning throws a touchdown pass, and the Bears Fans are going to let everyone know when they score a touchdown or kick a field goal.
I’ve even seen fans would fight you over their team if you said something about them.

It is easy to tell who a true fan is pulling for. Just look at their shirts, coats, socks, and even their underwear and they will have the logo of their favorite team on them. It is said that Michael Jordan, the greatest basketball player ever, would wear his North Carolina Tarheels gym shorts underneath his Chicago Bulls uniform. Once a Tarheel, always a Tarheel. AMEN! That is why the Lord painted the sky above us Tarheel Blue! How many Tarheel fans do we have here today? How many Duke Blue devil fans do we have? If those fans can tell everyone whose side they are on, let’s go out into the world and let them know we are on God’s team!

By Marvin D. Patterson

Biblical Leadership Styles: Swaggerers vs. Performers.


“Batting fourth for the New York Yankees and playing centerfield, number seven, Mickey Mantle.”

Few ballplayers have ever played the game as Mantle did. He launched home runs like missiles. As a switch hitter he was dangerous from either side of the plate. And, because of his enormous power, cautious infielders would take a few steps backward as he stepped to the plate. And, as if playing tricks, Mantle would often lay down a bunt. He ran with the speed of a cheetah-gracefully yet powerfully. His throwing arm held runners in check like a cop with a radar gun. He was as complete a player as ever was.

But getting Mickey to the “bigs” took more than raw talent. It also took the advice of someone whose feet were firmly planted on the ground.

During Mantle’s first spring training, the 19-year-old farm kid from Oklahoma hit nine home runs in his first eleven games. The New York media dubbed him the next Babe Ruth. Mickey’s name highlighted every sports page in America. And though he had never played a real Major League game, he was being declared a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame.

Soon, this young man with the thick arms and southern drawl began to swagger. Baseball came too easy. His enormous talent had been matched by a new found ‘tude. And the season hadn’t even begun.

Then a postcard arrived from home: “Mickey, now that you’ve made the headlines, why not settle down and make the team. Strut less and focus more. Love, Dad.”

There’s a big difference between looking good in spring training and performing well over the long haul. That’s true in any sport. Swagger won’t get it done. Never has, never will. Performance is what counts.

That’s also true in ministry. Performing – the Bible calls it “humbly or fervently serving the Lord” – is the residue that comes from “fighting the good fight” and “keeping the faith.” It’s the payoff for being “knocked down but never knocked out.”

This is nothing new to the people of God. The storefront window of Scripture showcases both groups – the swaggerers and the performers:

* Cain swaggered while his brother Abel performed.     * Super-strong Samson swaggered but super-fearful Gideon performed.     * Self-aggrandizing Saul swaggered while God-fearing Samuel performed.     * The prophets of Baal swaggered while the Prophet Elijah performed.     * Peter swaggered while Paul performed.

Putting each of these under a microscope reveals a common thread – performers have a laser-like focus on the eternal. But the swaggerers are prone to distraction.

Performers aren’t defined by their bios. Business cards can’t tell who they are. Their identity is in their obedience. Hebrews 11 is filled with men and women who performed “by faith.” Their actions were by faith because the reasons for their actions weren’t always apparent. And yet, they continued anyway, and always by faith. Day in, day out, their personal calendars always read the same:

* Noah – Build boat. Catch animals. Watch for dark clouds.     * Moses – Pitch tent. Judge. Talk with God. Pack up tent. Follow pillar of fire.     * Job – Assess profit/loss sheet. Itch. Scratch. Wonder, “Why me?” Trust God.     * Jeremiah – Preach. Weep. Hide from king. Preach. Weep. Hide from King.     * Paul – Plant a church. Travel. Straighten out a church. Travel.

They all performed by faith.

Performers aren’t known by the sizzle of their ministry, but rather by their passion for following God. They rarely get their due, but getting their due isn’t their goal. They know the agony of defeat more than the thrill of victory, yet the ultimate victory is always in their mind.

Making headlines isn’t important to performers. Having made the team is.

The Psalmist said, “Zeal for Thy house has consumed me.” The psalmist was a performer.

Ron Walters Senior Vice President Ministry Relations

© Copyright 2012 by Ron Walters

 

by Ron Walters.

 

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How to win the Super Bowl!


Acts 1:8

This evening the world will watch the Chicago Bears beat the Indianapolis Colts (I mean play the Indianapolis Colts).

I shouldn’t have made a prediction like that!

How many Bears fans do we have here this morning?.

 Great!

 How many Colts fans do we have here this morning?.

Wonderful! How many Jesus fans do we have here at the Grace Baptist Church this morning? Raise your hands! Oh that is great!

This morning I want to compare the playing of the Super Bowl, and all the fans that will be watching the Super Bowl to that of the Christian life.

Now, there is a greater Super Bowl being played, even as I speak!

King Jesus, and His team is on one side of the playing field, and Satan and all his demons are on the other side of the playing field!

Which side are you going to be?.

 I hope you are on Jesus’ team, and you can be on His team before you leave this morning!

As I thought about how to win the Super Bowl, I thought about how the Christian life is compared to the sports world.

We have a lot in common with the world of sports.

The Bible even pictures the Christian life as a boxing match, a race, and a wrestling match.

Now how can you win at the Super Bowl of Life?

1-Tell everybody whose team you are on!

Acts 1:8 says

But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

A true fan is not ashamed to stand up and be counted for his or her team!

 As many of you have already stated, a fan is not hesitant to say what team they are pulling for, unless it happens to be the New York Yankees!

Just kidding! Are there any Yankee fans here today! I’ve tried my best to convert you into Brave fans, but all to no avail!

You want to be a winner right, so you pull for the Yankees, instead of the Braves!

Well friends, I really do not know who will win the big game tonight, but I guarantee that the Colt fans are going to let everyone know when Peyton Manning throws a touchdown pass, and the Bears Fans are going to let everyone know when they score a touchdown or kick a field goal.
I’ve even seen fans would fight you over their team if you said something about them.

It is easy to tell who a true fan is pulling for. Just look at their shirts, coats, socks, and even their underwear and they will have the logo of their favorite team on them.

It is said that Michael Jordan, the greatest basketball player ever, would wear his North Carolina Tarheels gym shorts underneath his Chicago Bulls uniform.

Once a Tarheel, always a Tarheel. AMEN! That is why the Lord painted the sky above us Tarheel Blue!

 How many Tarheel fans do we have here today?.

 How many Duke Blue devil fans do we have?.

 If those fans can tell everyone whose side they are on, let’s go out into the world and let them know we are on God’s team!

By Marvin D. Patterson.

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