Believing Without Seeing

When Jesus left, He said to Thomas, “Because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Those who have not seen are the people of faith.

The disciples died for Jesus Christ.  They died on crosses.  And I know they felt some fear, because everybody fears death to a certain point.

But they cheated!  I’m sorry, they did!   Continue reading

How to Fight for the Kingdom of God

Jesus knows our lives. Even when He walked among us, Jesus could see into 2013. He could see how bad the world would become. He could see how comfortable with sin our world would be. Sin is becoming just another part of life, and the prevailing attitude seems to be, “Hey, to each his own.” Jesus looks at this, and He says, “Man! The world needs a lot of forgiveness!

Jesus knows that believers walking the earth today need a lot of hope and encouragement. Continue reading

Let’s Set the Captives Free!

Those of us who are not enslaved are so happy to hear about Jesus, who came to set the captives free.  Just imagine how much sweeter His message will sound to the millions who are literally, physically enslaved the world over!

Churches are increasingly participating in the fight against human trafficking, and they should be. Jesus came to set the captives free, so that’s what the church should be doing. Jesus asked people what they needed and then met those needs. That’s what the church should be doing. Our love comes from Jesus, who died so the slaves could be free.

Free2Play on Facebook

In her comment on my last post, Cathy wrote, “Maybe some of us will be reminded to worship, and act, each time you come to the mound.”  Thank you Cathy!  I pray that some of you will remember to pray for me, and I have a wonderful way for you to act each time I come to the mound.  Join me in using my pitches to free slaves!  There’s a Free2Play app on Facebook designed to help us fight slavery together. Opening Day is right around the next corner! Let me show you how fun and easy this app is to use.

When you click this link to the app, you’ll see the following screen:

Free2PlayMain

If you like, you can explore the features of this page and watch my 2.5 minute video about Free2Play.

Then go ahead and click the large orange button that says, “Get Started!”  That takes you to this screen:

Free2PlayPage2

Check out that black box that says, “Let’s start a roster!”  All the instructions you will need are embedded in the app.  They will walk you through the simple steps you’ll take to get started.  Pick me for your roster!  I’ve pledged to donate $250.00 per strike out, and $250.00 per save or hold, to Free2Play.  Won’t you join me?  Pledge a dime or a dollar, and add it to my $250.00, and together we’ll free our neighbors in slavery.

You’re not restricted to choosing players who have pledged to Free2Play. You can draft any player to your team! Use your baseball smarts to build your roster, and challenge your friends to play with you. This is similar to fantasy baseball, it’s just as much fun, and it’s an awesome way to love Jesus, in the way of Matthew 25.

If you do choose players who have pledged, your pledge is added to theirs, and they are encouraged by your support. That’s something to think about!

Don’t be afraid to give a penny, if that’s what you want to do. Combined with my pledge, your penny has power! Your pledge encourages me to make my pitches! Just remember that your little bit, joined with everyone else’s little bit, becomes a lot. Together, we can do a lot of damage to slavers and to the trafficking industry.

Have fun with this, and let me know how your roster is doing.  See you Monday.

I’m Happy!

As I’ve described, my first few years as a professional athlete were filled with struggle. I wasn’t very happy. Now I’m so happy with my job! I’m happy because I do it with an attitude of loving my neighbor as myself. I get to play baseball with the understanding that I’m playing to serve God and my neighbor, and there is freedom in that.

After I first met Dave Batstone and joined up with the Not For Sale Campaign, we started brainstorming ideas to connect baseball and modern abolition.

Continue reading

Hooked on Abolition

Last time, I told you about how God brought me to San Francisco. I believe He brought me to San Francisco for a reason. Almost as soon as I arrived, I learned to fight human trafficking.

In a previous post, I told you how I got into food initiatives, and how satisfying it is to give the hungry something to eat. It was so fulfilling that I started researching poverty and hunger closely. And then everywhere I looked, I saw a dreadful pattern. Continue reading

The Funny Thing About San Francisco

Here’s the funny thing about San Francisco. For the first seven years of my professional career, I said, “No chance I’m ever signing with San Francisco. I will not go there.” People would ask me, “Why not?” And I would tell them, “Because I don’t agree morally with that city, and I don’t agree politically with that city.”

Anytime my team went to San Francisco to play, either the A’s or the Giants depending on the league I was in, we’d always stay in San Francisco. I would stay in my hotel room the entire time. I would only come out to go to the ballpark. When it was time to get on a train, I wouldn’t even leave the hotel and wait on the sidewalk. Instead, I’d stay inside and look out the doors. As soon as the BART came, I’d run to it, get on, and go to the field. I didn’t want anything to do with that city. Continue reading

Your Neighbor is Hungry!

When I first started learning about the love-your-neighbor-as-yourself mentality, my spirit grabbed it. I mean, I was really excited. I said, “This is it!”

But then when God started teaching me about poverty, I really started digging. I’ve been researching poverty ever since. Poverty is a whole world of interconnected causes and consequences. The more I learned, the more I understood poverty’s complications, and the more I understood how people get trapped in it. And I could feel myself shifting.

I used to look at a homeless guy and say, “Man, you know what, how about you just go get a job. Shave, and go get a job at McDonald’s. It’s not that hard.” That’s how I used to look at it. I had no compassion. Continue reading

Come to Church with Me!

On the last Sunday of 2012, I was the guest speaker at my friend Pastor Eddie Byun’s church in Seoul, South Korea. Being over there and spending time with my brothers and sisters in Korea and Thailand was extraordinary and I am so grateful for the experience. The entire worship service was video recorded and you can watch it online by clicking the link below.

The texts I spoke on were Mark 12:28-31 and Matthew 25:31-46. I know the link is in Korean, but I spoke at the English service, so the whole video is in English. Here’s a program of events to follow as you watch or listen:

  • music of praise (15 minutes)
  • welcome and prayers
  • Pastor Eddie on the impact of Dave Batstone and the Not For Sale Campaign on the ministry of the church
  • at 30 minutes, Dave Batstone speaks
  • at 33 minutes, I speak

Click this link, and then click the picture of the guy with the microphone (that’s my friend Dave Batstone). And then come to church with me! 온 세상을 위한 복음의 통로 CGNTV.

My next few blog posts will transcribe my talk.  See you Wednesday.

Calling All Fans – Be Free to Play

Why do I play baseball? I do it so that others can be free. I play so they can play.

If you’ve been reading my blog from the beginning, you’re familiar with my story. You’ve read about my growing awareness. You’ve learned about how powerful we are when we work together. And you know why I joined Not For Sale’s Free2Play campaign.

Kids are being sold into slavery, and child slaves don’t get to dream. Someone’s telling them, “Don’t bother to dream, because you’re going to do what I tell you to do. It’s going to wreck your life. But I don’t care. You are not a human being to me. You are a business to me. You are a toy to me. You’re an object to my desire. You’re an object to my greed.”

Athletes are great mentors for the issue of human trafficking. You see, we’ve been able to accomplish our dreams, but only because we were free to dream in the first place. Slavery kills a child’s ability to dream. That is why it’s so important for former child slaves to be free to play. It’s through play that they can start dreaming again. Free2Play’s goal is to make that happen.

In 2010, CNN contacted Dave Batstone at Not For Sale to discuss human trafficking. He told them about Free2Play, and our plan to get more athletes involved in the fight against human trafficking. CNN wanted to know who was involved, and Dave said, “We have Jeremy from the Giants.” And they said, “Oh, a World Series champion is helping with the fight against human trafficking!” And he said, “Yes, and we have Matt Holliday of the Cardinals, and Jeremy’s trying to get some other guys.” And so CNN came to spring training and talked to me about why I’m a Free2Play athlete.

That went up at CNN International. It went global! People around the world could see that ball players were involved in fighting human trafficking. This was such a honor for me. When you’re able to reach millions of people with one interview, then you’re making a big dent. It’s not the local news!

We also discussed the groundwork for a Free2Play team. The idea we had was to create a kind of fantasy team. We would get players to join Free2Play, and each player would make his pledge. For example, this season I pledged $250.00 per strikeout and $250.00 per save or hold, and Matt Holliday pledged $500.00 per homer.

We’ve got a lot of players involved now. Check out the Free2Play app on Facebook. You can pick the players you like and make matching pledges. For example, fans can pick me and Brandon Belt, and pledge 50 cents for a strikeout and a dollar for a homer. Or you can pick against me! You can pledge 50 cents for every hit I give up, or a dollar for every time I walk someone.

You can draft any player you want to your Not For Sale team. Every player is eligible. Draft your favorite players and then donate based on any accomplishments you choose. (I explain how to use the app here.) Draft the entire Giants or Tigers roster, and help victims of trafficking while rooting for your team in the World Series! It’s a fun way to raise funds to help with the fight against slavery.

Sometimes the mentality is, “Well, you’re a baseball player. You’ve got money. You’re on TV. You’re doing things most people can’t do. I know there’s a problem, but I’ll let you take care of it.” We don’t want people to think that way. Nothing can ever get done that way. We need everyone involved if we’re going to make this happen.

With this app, we can say to the fans, “We need you help us.” We can say, “We need your help. We can’t do this without you. Please help us in this fight.”

And then when fans check the stats and say, “Jeremy just struck out a guy,” they’ll know it means that together we gave $250.00, plus all our other pledges, to a campaign that’s going to help free children from slavery. Players and fans are connected. We’re all in the fight, and together we’ll make a difference.

When fans, and especially kids, see that there are ball players out there fighting for other people’s freedom, they’ll realize that we don’t play baseball just to make all this money and take care of our families. Obviously that is part of why we play, but they’ll see we have another reason too. We have a purpose behind every goal that we set for ourselves. Why do I play? I play so that others can be free to play.

See you Wednesday.