The Holiness of Success

Sometimes people wonder what keeps me focused on social justice. They ask me, “What makes you do all this for other people?” Well, I do it because I care about other people. I love them, and I love the God that created them. It’s the same God that created me. He saved my life! So I want to help save others.

I’m focused on success for the same reason. I focus on success because I want to achieve something, not only for myself, but for those who do not have. I’m talking about those who do not have food, or clean water, or a mom and dad to love them, or even basic freedom.

I’d love to see that same approach to success take root in the world on a global scale. Continue reading

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

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.

REBBL Launch Party

Charity can do more harm than good when it’s not done with wisdom. You can hurt people when you don’t plan for sustainability.

When I sign on with a group or an organization to help them and support them, I want to do it in wisdom. I want to do it with understanding. So I ask God for wisdom. I ask Him to show me certain groups and people that He feels I should connect with, based on my understanding of sustainment, and based on my understanding of wanting to use wisdom when I give money and lend support. Continue reading

The Secret Is Love

Because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed. John 20:29

Jesus knew how hard it would be for us to believe without seeing. It’s as if he told us, “I know it’s going to be hard to do. I know it is. I know this is going to be really, really difficult. But when your soul feels real love, the love I’ve showed you, you’re going to be okay. You won’t miss it that you didn’t see Me, or walk around Palestine with me. It won’t matter that you didn’t see the miracles with your own eyes. You won’t miss it at all, because your soul will crave My love. And when you accomplish just a little part of loving others the way I love you, it’ll feel so good to your soul that faith will seem easy. You’re going to believe in Me.”

And I think that that’s what happens when you get together with other people and help build His kingdom. Continue reading

Justice

So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”

Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” Luke 4:16-21

I finished my recruiting talk for the Free2Play team by telling the players and their wives a little bit about the different scenarios. “We need to join together,” I said. Continue reading