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Wearing my faith on my coffee sleeve!

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1 Peter 5:6

Parable of the Talents

Today, I will be leading a team bible study on the parable of the talents after our first plyometric workout of this fall.  I am really excited for this!  I am excited for both the physical workout that the coaches will put us through, and also for the spiritual workout I will get as I lead the bible study.  The parable of the talents is something that I have heard time and time again from my dad.  My dad is a motivational speaker and he doesn’t even know it.  He will always put a sticky note on the bathroom mirror with scripture on it and the scripture is always something that involves hard work.  He believes that everything we get is obtained by hard work and using the gifts God gave us to their fullest.  When I was a 12 year old playing baseball for the Beaver Valley Baseball Club,  he suggested that my number be 52.  He did this so it would be a constant reminder that hard work pays off. So naturally my dad drools when he hears the phrase “parable of the talents”.

When we look at Matthew 24:14-30, we see the story of hard work and using God’s gifts he has bestowed upon us.  Jesus tells a story of a master giving talents to his workers.  Now in biblical times, a talent was not a physical gift, rather it was a sum of money equivalent to 20 years wages.  Today we use the term ‘talent’ as an ability such as athletic ability or talent in the classroom.

“15 To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17 So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money.”

Further on in the reading, we see the master come back some time later to check on what the people had done with the talents he had given to them.  The man with 5 talents doubled his and the master was happy.  The man with 2 talents doubled his and the master was even more thrilled for he had done a lot with little given to him.  However the master was displeased when he saw that the man he had given one talent to was lazy and buried his talent.

20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, “Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.” 21 His master said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant.  You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.” 22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, “Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.” 23 His master said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.” 24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, “Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.” 26 But his master answered him, “You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed?

After reading this story, I realized that with hard work, we will double the talents given to us.  But I also realized that doubling these talents is not for our own glory.  The two men who doubled their talents did this because it was something they needed to do.  They were obliged to do the work the master sent them out to do.  When God gives us gifts, he does not want us to sit on our hands and just watch our talent.  He wants us to go out and use the talents and not only grow ourselves but also influence others.  He wants us to be good stewards and go do the work that he has blessed us to be able to do.  He does not want us to be slothful servants! (as my dad has called me if I neglect to get the extra baseball swings)

#ballin4Christ

Video

Time is Love

Spend some time with God!

Mind, Body, and Soul

It has been awhile since last time I have made a blog post, but here I am!  I am back, and expect plenty more posts as I settle into college.

… Speaking of this college stuff, things are going really well here at Ohio State!  It has truly been a blessing in every way out here.  I laugh at myself because about a year ago I was extremely stressed about where I was going to school but little did I know how much God had planned for me out here.

When I got here, I was reached out to by an upper classman on the team that invited me to the Athletes and Action (AIA) kick-off.  I had a great time and later attended the bible studies and fellowship meetings that are a huge part of AIA.  The first bible study I went to I was really excited.  I was around a ton of Ohio State athletes ranging from the famous football and basketball players to the not so well known sports such as rowing and the pistol team.  Being around this group of people was inspirational and encouraging to maintain and grow my walk with God.

One topic really emphasized for the athletes was the growing of our mind, body, and soul.  We all have to attend class (unfortunately) in which we grow our minds.  We also obviously practice all the time which grows us mentally.  But most importantly we need to grow spiritually and AIA has been a God send to athletes who want to expand their knowledge of the one who saved them.  They have awesome people who lead the bible studies and it is also a great place to meet people.  It is also at 8 at night which is perfect because we practice right after we finish classes for the day.

I encourage all of you to time the time to grow in mind, body, and especially spiritually.  Dive into the word and explore the love God has for us.  Go to the gym and after that read the bible and grow in your faith!

#ballin4Christ

Video

Doing it With God

This is my first Vlog of the summer! Hope you enjoy and take something from it! #ballinforChrist

WPIAL Championship Vlog

Here are my thoughts on the championship game!

Click below to check it out!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FkW4sWZcC-A

 

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Click the link to check out what #ballinforChrist means to me!

Dedication Through Tough Times

On Friday, my little brother got a knee surgery.  This is a hard thing to overcome in both dealing with the pain and dealing with recovery.  He will have to be in crutches for 6 weeks which is another obstacle he will have to overcome.  His life will be hard for the next few weeks and I feel for him.  He is getting his meniscus repaired, which will allow him better range of motion to his damaged knee.  He will have to be dedicated to a full recovery so he can come back for the baseball season.
This whole knee surgery sounds pretty awful right?  Well imagine having to go through this operation 3 times!!!! I know I would not be able to handle this!  When unfortunate events happen to us, the question usually comes up “why did this happen to me?”  We have to trust that God is at work in every aspect of our lives.  In my brother’s case, he is trying to get into the military academy.  This is extremely hard to accomplish and if he does so, it will be something worth trying for.  To get into the military academy, one must be dedicated and willing to do hard in both the classroom and in life in general.  With God having Jake go through his 3 knee surgerys, he is teaching Jake to preserver and to be dedicated.
God uses everything for good! Through tough times he can bring us closer to him or teach us things that will prepare us for later in life.  Look how God is using 3 knee surgerys to teach Jake dedication to prepare him in his attempt to get into the military academy.
Romans 8:37-39
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord Through Christ we are more than conquerors. Nothing can separate us from his love.”
If God called us to be more than conquers, then we have to expect to have obstacles.  The good news is that God uses these obstacles that we overcome with Him to better ourselves and our faith.
#ballinforChrist

Immersing Yourself

Through my travels as an 18 year old,I have learned a lot but yet, I still have a lot to learn.  There is one thing I have picked up on life and it is the importance of surrounding yourself with positive and God loving people.  Doing so keeps your heart and mind toward God at all times.  In a secular world, it may be tough to do so but this makes it even more important.  For me, I know how easy it is to slip up; and I want nothing more than to grow in my faith with Jesus Christ.  As my youth pastor Bubba Smith says, “We need to cross the line and not look back in our journey towards seeking Jesus Christ.”  I find this so inspirational and one way to help you cross the line and not look back is to set up reminders everywhere you look.  I try to follow people who are on fire for God on twitter so I can see what they do to seek God.  I also follow many organizations that tweet bible verses.  This keeps me always thinking about God’s word.  Also, every sunday I exchange bible verses with my great friend and baseball coach, Joe Baisle.  Today he sent me Deuteronomy 10:12, “12 And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul,”  This goes right along with what I am writing this blog about.  This verse says to serve, love, and obey Him.  A great way of doing this is to immerse every aspect of your life with God’s word.  If you do this I can guarantee you will see him working in your life in more ways you could ever think of!  I am continually amazed by how God works in my life!

#ballinforChrist

College Recruiting Rollercoaster

Some of you may know and some of you may not but I recently committed to The Ohio State University on a baseball scholarship.  Looking at the end result of this process may look like it was all glamor and smiles.  But actually, things were bleak at times and I sometimes even started to doubt who I was as a person and especially as a baseball player.  Looking back on the whole process knowing what the end outcome would be, I realized how foolish I was.  I started to doubt God and the role he played in the whole process.

Now let me go back to a time where dreams were set high and I thought I could conquer the baseball world.  I was just entering my junior year and I was asked to come on a visit to Stetson University in Orlando, Florida.  I went down and when I did they offered me a scholarship pretty close to a full ride.  I was ecstatic and immediately gave glory to God (which is easy to do when things are go well).  Just when I thought things couldn’t get better, Virginia Tech started to show some major interest and even came to see two of my high school games; one of the coaches being the head coach.  I went and took a visit there and fell in love! I would walk around campus saying things like “when I come here” and “after I go here” instead of praying about my decision and thinking about where God wants me to go.  But why should I care about things like that? Things were going great! I was doing this all by myself…  This is when things took a turn for the worse.  VT called and said they were no longer going to recruit me and that they were going to move on.  I can not explain how hurt I was.  All I thought I was going to have was being flushed away like the goldfish you really loved.  And once again, like I do so many times, when things got bad I turned to God.  I prayed telling him that I was turning the whole process over to God and putting it in his hands.  My dad said it best when he told me that I could not trust God with some things and not with others.

It wasn’t a week later and I started to get phone calls from Arizona State.  For those of you who do not follow college baseball, ASU is a top 5 program year in and year out.  I had conversations with the coach quite often and my dad even spoke to the athletic director on numerous occasions.  Instead of doing the same thing I had done with VT and tried a prayerless and not trusting approach to my decision, I remembered that I was going to trust God with the whole process.  To make a long story short, the same thing happened with ASU that had happened with VT.  They said they wanted to see me again and were unable to because I was in the State Tournament with my Legion team.  Who knows; if I chose to attend the tournament in Indiana where ASU was going to see me again, maybe I would have gotten am offer to the school.  But after prayer, I chose to stay with my team in the tournament, ultimately losing any chance to have ASU see me again and offer a scholarship.

After ASU backed out, it would have been easy to have the same emotions I had with the VT situation.  But instead, I had turned it over to God knowing he had a plan for me like he promises in Jeremiah 29:11 (11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future).  And to top it off, Stetson had pulled their scholarship in the same week so now I had nothing.  I needed to trust God more than ever.  I knew he had a plan and I was anxious to watch it play out.

With summer baseball coming to an end I was looking forward to the exposure I would get with the Allegheny Pirates.  After the first weekend both Georgetown and Temple university showed strong interest.  I visited both schools and got scholarships but I did not feel comfortable making my decision quite yet.  I wanted to see what the rest of the fall season had to offer.  So going into the last weekend not really sold on either Georgetown or Temple, we made the trip out to Ohio State for our last tournament.  I had no idea what God had planned for me in the next week.

I thought I played real well at OSU and apparently they thought so also.  I received a phone call from the head coach, Coach Beals, early that next week and went on a visit that Wednesday.  I loved it there and they offered me a scholarship that week and I made my commitment soon after that.  I could not have been any happier!

It was amazing how throughout the whole process I had no idea where I was going to end up.  If I learned anything, it was that I need to trust God in everything I ever have to face.  God knew where I  was going to end up going to school before I even went to kindergarten!  I was taught that turning everything over to God makes the stress of situations go away because of my rooted faith in God!  I have to thank him for teaching me this lesson in high school so I will be ready for any challenge I will have in my life.