Fighting for the Kingdom

Jesus knows our lives. Even when He walked among us, Jesus could see into 2014. 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. And we need a lot of His wisdom!

We need wisdom even when we do something really obvious for His Kingdom, like fighting human trafficking. There are tons of groups out there fighting human trafficking. Tons of them! But Dave Batstone of Not For Sale has an approach that really speaks to me. Dave uses a lot of wisdom. Not only is he fighting human trafficking, but he’s using entrepreneurship to do it. He’s creating opportunities in work and in life for former victims, and saving potential victims from falling into trafficking networks.

People involved in fighting trafficking face a big question. Once you rescue slaves from traffickers, what are your next steps? Once you rescue children, what are you going to do? Do you have homes for them? What about the adults? Do you have jobs for them? Can you help them support themselves and their families? Can you help them rehabilitate, laugh again, thrive?

Too often, people don’t have an answer for that. All they can say is, “I don’t know! I just know I’m supposed to rescue them.” Well, yes you are, but it doesn’t make sense to do that without a plan. You need a strategy! You need goals and tactics! You need to take care that you don’t add to the harm already done to them.

We should have already learned this lesson. Remember when we used to pick a poor country and go down as a church? We’d say, “Oh, we’ll build this poor village a church. We’ll build them this, that, and the other. We’ll build them some homes!” And we did. And then we just left. So what happened? We built homes, churches, schools, clinics, and community centers. We built buildings for them, buildings they needed, but they had no way to take care of them. They had no money and they had no supplies. So after about three or four years, the buildings crumbled. In the end, the people we went to serve didn’t have buildings anymore. They had rubble. All we did was trash their village!

We threw ourselves into “helping” when we didn’t have a goal or a purpose. We had no strategy. We didn’t understand why we were doing something to help. We had no wisdom. Our thoughts ran no deeper than, “Oh, this is charity.” So we did the wrong things. And that’s why there are a lot of people now saying that charity is hurting people.

The Book of Proverbs speaks all the time about Lady Wisdom. Lady Wisdom says, “Do not deny me. Because if you deny me, the road you go down will lead to death.” And so I’ve been asking God lately to give me wisdom. There are so many things going on in the world today that don’t look right to me, even though people are saying it’s okay. I need wisdom to know how to handle it. I need wisdom to speak into people’s lives. Wisdom will show us how to fight for the Kingdom of God.

See you Thursday.

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

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.

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

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.