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Tag: baseball

The Dream of Being a Spectator

You may recall I mentioned a few weeks ago about a new feature in our weekly announcement sheet at First Trinity. Sue suggested I cross-post the articles to my blog. If you want the full context, you can download our announcements sheet.

It’s late August in Buffalo. We’ve just had a beautiful, sunny day, and I’m just arriving at the baseball stadium to watch a game with some friends. There are familiar sounds of people cheering. Smells of popcorn, hot dogs and peanuts. Scorebook in hand, I’m engrossed in the game, soaking it all in.

Being a spectator is a lot of fun. It’s relaxing. It’s casual. It’s easy. But I never dreamt of being a spectator. As a kid, I always imagined myself as the star athlete, the one that others come to watch. The one that makes the big play and wins the game. The hero. But the spectator? Nope.

Being a spectator is fine, but how much more exciting it is to be the doer. To be the one on the field, playing. You know God designed us to be doers, not spectators.

Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. Genesis 2:15

God designed us to serve. Not to be spectators, but to get in the game. Not seated, but serving. Jesus showed us the example we were to follow:

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45

God has a ministry in store for you, one that only you are able to accomplish. It’s the reason He saved us from our sin, “for we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10) Maybe He’s calling you to serve prisoners through Kairos, or reach out to young adults through Lutheran Campus Ministries. Maybe you want to become a Homebound Visitor, being a friend to those who can’t get out on their own. Maybe you’d like to be one of our Haiti Missionaries next year. Come hear what they did at the sharing event and seek God’s advice on whether He’s calling you to Haiti next year. Where is God moving you to serve?

Iron Man Ministry

Grady Sizemore, the Indians‘ center fielder, holds the current streak for consecutive starts in baseball with 360. That means that sometime in 2022, if all goes well, he’ll break Cal Ripken‘s streak of 2632 consecutive starts. Cal did it all with one team over a span of about 20 years. I’m hoping Grady makes it there, all with one team as well.

What would our churches look like if their workers gave 20+ years to a single church? We’ve been blessed with Sue for that long. And Ruth, who recently retired.  Ruth gave over 12,500 days to serving the Lord at First Trinity.  In case you missed it, we’ve posted the audio from the end of the service where we specifically celebrate Ruth’s ministry among us.  We’re thankful for Ruth’s past ministry and look forward to how God will continue using her in this new chapter of ministry!

Actions Affect The Message

The George Mitchell Report into steroid and other drug use has been released to the world.  As expected, upwards of 70 players were named in the report as having taken performance enhancing drugs.  Included are Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, Barry Bonds, Migeul Tejada and more.  These are big names, not utility infielders.  Most disturbing is that so few of the current players listed (only two, plus one more sent information through an attorney) met with Mitchell despite everyone getting invited.

I understand, I think, but it only makes matters worse.  When we don’t know the extent of use, we’re left to speculate as to how deep it goes.  I’ve been sure people were cheating in baseball before this, but now I have to question the accomplishments of so many players.  And what would my team have been able to do if they weren’t playing against cheaters?  Or how much of what my team did do was because of cheating?  My love for the game of baseball is diminished–or at least tainted–because of the actions of some players.

The lesson here for Christians is that what we do affects our message.   If we preach hope on Sunday morning, but repeatedly despair ourselves, what does that really say about what we teach?  Or worse, if we teach against and loudly protest things that are contrary to God’s Word, only to later be found to be doing those same things, what does that say about our message?  What we do–whether we want it to or not–affects what we teach and confess.

Of course, it can also enhance the message we preach as well.  The secret lies in living an authentic, honest life.  That means we try to do the things we teach, even when no one is around.  It means we own our mistakes and admit when our actions don’t match our words.  It means we focus on grace when dealing with others, because we know we’re just as guilty as them.  It means we rely solely on God for our salvation, because we can’t do it ourselves.

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