Friday, June 20, 2008

The pride, The athlete & The bully

In a book called Season of Life a high school football coach explains what it means to "be a man" in today's society. He answers the question, what makes someone masculine? He says when we are young, the boys that are good at sports are esteemed as "masculine." Then as we become older, the young men who draw the most attention from the ladies are seen as the most "masculine." As we become older men, masculinity is defined by how much money we are worth.

Athletes, in my observations both as an athlete and as a high school teacher, are for the most part proud, arrogant, and self-centered. (generally speaking. There are exceptions, of course) They've got it all! Right? Athletic ability and maybe some attention from the opposite sex. That's "being a man." That's "masculine." Our culture is building in our athletes the very thing that God despises, PRIDE. I cannot tell you how much the word PRIDE is used in athletics. The word is in every slogan, chant, and speech. It is printed on handouts and painted on locker room walls.

The result: This pride reveals itself in the way of bullying or belittling those they perceive as "weaker" or "less masculine."

Never have I been more disgusted with pride, then in the PE locker rooms at my high school where I taught. I witnessed so many of my favorite students suffer from the belittling comments and the humiliating treatment that came from some of our athletes. It broke my heart.

Christian athlete, you are not acting like one of His sheep when you conduct yourself with pride. What a great opportunity to be different, to be salty. Stick up for the bullied, invite in the outsiders, serve others, and humble yourself. Serve God by acting like Jesus, not acting like a jock.

1Cr 1:27
But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;

1Cr 8:12
But when you thus
sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ.

Mat 25:40 Jesus said:
"And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'

Read David's prayer to God concerning the proud in Psa 10:1 - 18

I welcome other scripture that applies. Post a comment if one comes to mind!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Josh Hamilton: The real reason for his success

A little background info on Josh's story if you are unfamiliar: In 1999, Josh (right out of high school) was the first overall pick in the MLBaseball amateur draft. Two years later, injury and an addiction to drugs had him out of baseball, separated from his family, and living with his grandmother. While using drugs at his grandmother's house, Josh placed his faith in Jesus. A few years since, Josh is probably the brightest star in baseball right now, he's back with his wife and kids, he has beat his addiction to drugs, and he's crediting God for it all every time someone asks about his incredible comeback.

It really is a great story.

Let me first say I love to watch Josh play, and I root for him in the box scores every day I get a chance to check out some scores. I think he is genuine, and I know God is using him for the Kingdom. That being said...

Be careful with confusing his conversion for the real reason Josh is a superstar in the big leagues right now. What is the real reason he's so dang good? Because he's extremely talented. I've heard people say that going into the draft as a high school athlete, Josh had more talent then any scout had seen since Alex Rodriguez.

Common sense would tell us that even someone with this kind of talent would struggle to have success while injured and/or strung out on drugs. Common sense would also tell us that if this player got cleaned up and healthy, he'd probably be pretty stinking good. That is what has happened. Josh did not receive unbelievable baseball abilities the moment he prayed to Jesus.

Should God receive the credit? Absolutely! God gave him great athletic abilities, put him in an environment where his talent was nurtured, and finally God gave Josh victory over the things that were disabling him (drugs & injuries).

The reason for this post is not to diminish the Glory of God in what Josh is doing, but to say, "be careful" to those who've become infatuated with this Christian man's success instead of his faith.

Be careful that you don't start to believe that a true faith in Jesus will make you hit home runs, hit for average, make sick plays in the outfield, and dominate pitchers. God doesn't change your genes when you place your faith in Him. If you were 5 foot nothing before Jesus, you'll probably still be 5 foot nothing once you've met the Savior.

God can do all things, I got it, but remember that He is carrying out His will for us and not granting us our wishes like a genie in a lamp. God's will for your life may include success in business, success in sports, or popularity, but it also may involve cancer, poverty, or persecution. In fact Paul says we should expect to suffer as Christians.

I think especially in sports, people are open to hearing about God because they are looking for an edge. They want good fortune, good luck, and God's favor on the field. It doesn't work that way.

You may be like Job, and have everything taken away from you for the purpose of God proving Himself to be "all you need." You may be like Solomon, and have all the riches and power imaginable for the purpose of God revealing that all of this "stuff" is vanity and unable to satisfy us apart from God. Either way, God is all you need.

God is at work in Josh Hamilton, and He has chosen to use baseball success to bring God glory. God is at work in many others that are bringing God glory by persevering through cancer, depression, learning disabilities, persecution, bullies, slumps, losing seasons, abuse, broken homes, and poverty.

Faith in Jesus is acknowledging that He is all you need. Faith in Jesus is not a rabbit's foot that will bring you good luck.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

2 Tim 3:1-5: Avoid such people

"But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people."

Is this you? Are these the "Christians" that you are comparing yourself to.

Unfortunately it is the case almost everywhere that there are people calling themselves Christians who's lives are in opposition to what Jesus taught. It is dangerous to compare yourselves to these impostors and let yourself be influenced by their ungodliness.

You might think...
  • it's OK to watch this movie or go to this web site because "so-and-so" does it and he's a Christian.
  • It's OK to treat people this way because "they" do it, and they're Christians.
  • It's OK to talk trash on the football field and act arrogant because my "friends from church" do it.
  • It's OK to talk back to my parents or coach because most of my "church friends" do.

Hopefully you can see the danger in surrounding yourself with such people. Paul was warning Timothy of those in the church that lived a double-life. He told Tim to avoid these people.

In 2Ti 3:13-14, Paul goes on to tell Timothy, "while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed,"

Over time it will become clear the impostors around you are standing on sinking sand as their lives go from bad to worse. Make sure you are not being deceived by them or with them. As Paul says continue in what you have learned, and not in what you have witnessed in these impostors.

Compare yourself to Jesus, follow Jesus, and follow those that are truly following Him.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Summer Baseball Camp - Flagstaff, AZ

June 29th-July 2nd
Location: NAU for housing and dining, Flagstaff High School baseball field
Transportation: Included from Phoenix or Tucson
What you get: 6 practices over 4 days, all meals, dorm rooms, t-shirt, FCA Bible, and FCA Lanyard
Speaker: Darren Carrington, current pastor at The Rock Church in San Diego, CA. Darren is a former NFL safety and will be sharing a message of hope and inspiration in our 3 evening programs.

Baseball Staff:

Bill Berger, Head clinician: Coach Berger was an All-American 2b for ASU in 1972. He was drafted and signed with the California Angels. Bill coached high school baseball in the Arizona for 26 years at Coronado, Saguaro, and Desert Mountain. Coach Berger was inducted into the Scottsdale Sports Hall-of-Fame for his excellence on the baseball field as a player and coach.

Doug Jones, Pitching coach: former relief pitcher in Major League Baseball who had a 16-year career from 1982, 1986-2000. He played for the Milwaukee Brewers, Cleveland Indians, Baltimore Orioles, Oakland Athletics, and the Houston Astros, Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago Cubs . His 303 career saves ranked 12th in major league history upon his retirement, and his 846 career appearances ranked 21st. He held the Indians' all-time record for saves with 129 until Bob Wickman broke it in 2006. A changeup specialist. He was elected to the American League All-Star team 3 times (1988, 1989 and 1990) and to the National League All-Star team twice (1992 and 1994).

George Arias, Infield/Hitting coach: Arias was drafted by the California Angels in the seventh round of the 1993 draft after graduating from the University of Arizona. He made his Major League debut in 1996. Coach Arias was a power-hitting infielder that had success at the college level, the major leagues, and in Japan.

Clay Klavitter, Catching/Hitting coach: Clay is currently the head varsity baseball coach at Cortez High School. Clay brings a wealth of knowledge of hitting and catching to our camp and we are excited to benefit from His passion for coaching baseball and His passion for Christ. Clay was drafted twice out of Glendale Community College and signed with the Seattle Mariners in 1990.

Huddle Leaders are college baseball players that will coach on the field and lead small group discussions off the field. Each camper will be assigned a huddle group made up of 10 campers and a leader.

Cost of Camp: FCA is a non-profit organization who's camps are run by volunteers. All of our coaches and huddle leaders are in Flagstaff for the purpose of serving the kids. FCA does not pay the camp staff, but does pay for the expenses of each coach and his family to come up and stay with us at NAU. Between the cost of transportation, meals, rooms, coaches, families, speakers, guests, t-shirts, Bibles, and the use of NAU's facilities the cost is $395.

Scholarship: Partial scholarships are available to athletes that need assistance. Don't let money be the reason that you don't attend this camp!

Information: or contact Brian at

Legacy Builders- for coaches

I am interested in getting a study going in the east valley or Phoenix. If you are a coach and are interested, please contact me at

If you are in AZ and would like to host a coaches' clinic for your league or school, FCA would love to help put something together. Contact me at

I've seen the fruit of this ministry in AZ and I would encourage all coaches to find a study in your area. Got to the Coaches' Ministry Website

Friday, June 6, 2008

Be Kind

"Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you." Eph. 4:32

"And the Lord's servant* must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone," 2 Tim. 2:24

A reminder to be kind to others today. your parents. your teammates. your coaches. the other team. the officials (umpires, ref, judges, etc.) strangers

Some simple ideas: Smile, open doors for them, say thank you, compliment them, listen. Say hi to a stanger today with a smile on your face.

Even those that are mean, frustrated with you, rude, confrontational, impatient, and/or disrespectful?

Yes. especially those. Prov. 15:1 "a soft answer turns away wrath"

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Selflessness: putting down your thing and picking up His thing.

Ask yourself what God wants you to pick up. What do you need to put down in order to pick it up?

Monday, June 2, 2008

Clay Dyer, pro bass fisherman

At the end of this great piece, Clay says something profound. The man who was born with no legs and no arms says that whatever he's doing, whether it be eating or anything else, if he knows people are watching him, he wants them to be thinking, "I want what that guy's got."

I don't know if Clay is a believer in Jesus Christ, but that comment sums up what a Christian's life should be about.

My pastor preached a sermon the other day on being content with the circumstances that God has placed you in. He said if we want to share our faith with those around us, we should start by living content with where God has us. People should look at our reactions to normal daily life, see how we are satisfied and content, and think, "I want what that guy's got." From this point on, evangelism is easy. It's giving the answer to..."what that guy's got" that is so appealing.

Athlete, your slump, your bad game, or your bad play can be an opportunity to "be different." When others panic, worry, frustrate, or quit, you will shake it off and continue to compete. Maybe people will think to themselves, "I want what that guy's got."

Josh Hamilton and wife to hold Q&A session

Outfielder to discuss recovery with fans after Sunday's game
By T.R. Sullivan /

ARLINGTON -- Josh Hamilton and his wife, Katie, and Baseball Chapel representative John Dee Spicer will be speaking with fans and answering questions after Sunday's game with the Athletics at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. [read more]