Monday, October 28, 2019

Reflections from the Home Team, October 28, 2019

“A man who gives his whole heart to God will quickly learn that the Holy Spirit will lift them up and take them to some amazing, successful places. A star athlete who knows this as truth acknowledges that the game doesn’t mean everything to them. They acknowledge that God comes first in their lives, baseball second.”

Greetings from Cedar Falls,

Well, it’s that special time of year again when it all boils down to two teams who have worked very hard all year to get the opportunity to play for a World Series Championship.  This year’s series has been a bit upside down given both teams are undefeated on the road, and winless at home. The Playoffs have been filled with excitement and the Houston Astros and the Washington Nationals are making history as they played the first World Series game in the nation’s capital since 1933.

While both teams put great teams on the field this season, what makes me take notice this year is that a number of players on both teams are aware that there is more to life than the game they so dearly love. There are players in both dugouts who acknowledge that the talent they have has been given to them by God. 

Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon is having the best season of his seven-year MLB career. He is in the running to be awarded the National League Most Valuable Player award. The 29-year-old Houston native is living a dream as he has now played and won two World Series games in his hometown of Houston. Rendon has been the focus of several articles recently quoting a remark he made last year in which he proclaimed that he wanted to be “more Christian than a baseball player.”

"I want to be known as a Christian baseball player and I'm still trying to grow into that, but in the end, I want to be more Christian than baseball player. If I just try to stay in the Word and try to surround myself with good people and have good community, I think that will just guide me on that path. You want to plan for the future, but I’ve come to learn your plans don’t always come to fruition. Obviously, with my faith, too, I don’t want to seem like it’s all about me, me, me. It takes away from what I do for Him, for the Lord.”

Astros second baseman Jose Altuve was the hero of Game 6 of the American League Championship Series last Saturday when he hit a walk-off, two run home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning against the New York Yankees to send the Astros to the World Series. After hitting that home run, Altuve wasted no time in praising the Lord for the accomplishment. In the past, Altuve has expressed how important his faith in God was when growing up in Venezuela. 

“I grew up in a family that always told me that to achieve success, we needed to have God first. To achieve success wasn’t to get to the major leagues or have the best season in the world. The best success is to live your life the way God wants you to. If you can do that, if you can be good with God, then I think you will have success in your life.”

Star athletes are often seen as role models, both good and bad. I prefer to focus on the good, players like Clayton Kershaw, Aaron Judge, Albert Pujols, Brian Dozier, Jackie Robinson, Mariano Rivera, John Smoltz and of course Anthony and Jose who are willing to share their beliefs openly and honestly with their individual fan base while using their platforms as professional ball players to do so.

As I’ve come to know, a man who gives his whole heart to God will quickly learn that the Holy Spirit will lift them up and take them to some amazing, successful places. A star athlete who knows this as truth acknowledges that the game doesn’t mean everything to them. They acknowledge that God comes first in their lives, baseball second. These Christian baseball players are spreading their faith and using their platform to reach people who have never heard of the Lord before. What a wonderful way to use the talents he has bestowed upon them! As 1 Corinthians 10:31 says; “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31

Enjoying the World Series each October has always been a joy of mine, but even more so when I see the young men who are leading their clubs do so with enthusiasm not only for the game, but also sharing enthusiasm for their faith. None of us are perfect, including these “superstars,” but because they are keeping their focus on who called them more than what they were called to do, they keep a balanced perspective which allows them to handle the ups and downs that come their way.
I’ve been working hard to keep that balance the past few weeks as my mother has been struggling with some memory and physical issues.  It has been hard on mom as well as all of our family.  I am especially grateful for the love and care mom has been receiving at Western Home Communities throughout her stay there. Some wonderful folks who not only focus on mom’s care, but also on WHO called them to be her caregivers.
I have also found much comfort in Psalm 92:12-15 which reads;
“The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the LORD, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, “The LORD is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.”
It has helped me reflect on how I can take heart in the joy and wonderful memories mom has helped create for me, even though our current reality is quite challenging. One of the greatest privileges of my adult life has been to pray for my mom who turned 92 this past summer. I do what I can to care for her needs and I love to pray for her.

I often pray for protection... I pray that mom will keep on leaning on God, her Rock. I pray for His protection over mom because He is her ultimate refuge. I ask God to protect mom from the evil one, and to show the way out in moments of challenge and frustration while asking for His guidance for wisdom, discretion and understanding as we take each day, one at a time.

I pray mom will be courageous and confident in God’s presence, and that He will meet her needs. I also pray He will show me how to meet mom’s needs in ways that will please Him while equipping me to be a good steward in mom’s care. There is much I can do, but He is ultimately the great provider. 

I pray for continuing purpose, helping mom flourish with an eternal perspective, seeing beyond the confusion and challenges that currently exist in her world. Mom has lived as a faithful role model, and I have learned from her the gifts of kindness and gentleness which have been important life lessons for me.

I also pray that I will continue to be open to be receptive to what God may still want me to learn as we continue on the remainder of our life’s journey together. Even though it has been a rough few weeks, I have much to be thankful for. A special thanks to each of you for being there... for all of our family.

In Christ’s love and comfort,


Are you or someone you know fighting cancer... struggling with the physical, emotional and spiritual issues that accompany a cancer journey or other serious health issue? Making ourselves available to others can open up the doors of opportunity for deeper relationships, healing, and transformation. For many, time is one of the most valuable commodities in today's fast-paced world. Sharing time with others is a wonderful gift. It says, "Here I am. . . for you. To listen, to care, to serve." The power of presence should never be underestimated!  

Be an encourager in someone else’s life!

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