Love Saves. Love Unites!

I don’t believe that it’s wrong that we have denominations. Denominations aren’t an obstacle to church unity. Think about it. Do you go to a church because you agree with its teaching, or do you go because it’s where you were saved, or where you feel loved?

The size of the church shouldn’t be an issue either. I have been to megachurches that have campuses so large that they have gyms for members. But they also have huge hearts for the least among us, and they have built huge humanitarian programs to show their love.

Pastor Matthew Barnett runs the Los Angeles Dream Center. It has five hundred thousand square feet, right by Dodger Stadium. These Christians feed the homeless and take care of the poor. They even paint people’s houses for free, just because they want to serve them. They distribute food and female products in poor communities that don’t have the money they need to make ends meet. They pour a lot of money and effort into the injustices they encounter, in the country and in the world.

Matthew’s father, Pastor Tommy Barnett, runs the Phoenix Dream Center out of the Phoenix First Assembly of God, same deal. And these social justice efforts do not cause division or disunity. The opposite happens. Love creates community!

Love is what it’s all about. Love saves people. Loving them.

Think of a person who has a mental illness. Probably the best healing resource is just to love on them. They still need other sources of help, but just to love on that person instead of shunning them is going to help them more than anything else.

What’s the response to a person that doesn’t have water? Love on them! Get them water. Show them that you love them. Help provide a resource they should have.

God has showed me a lot of things that are not good. Sex slavery is a terrible thing. It’s the devil’s way of perverting love. Sexuality is showing love in a pure way, a beautiful way. And we’ve created evil with it.

But He’s also showing me ways to help out, and the answer is obvious. How can I help a person trapped in the sex slave industry? Love on them. Rescue them!

God is showing us that He sees what’s wrong, and He’s showing us the answer. How does He show us? Through His people! Look at all the people willing to fight evil! He spoke about it in scripture, and He’s speaking to us about it now.

He’s opened my eyes to a whole new area of humanity, to all these people who are so unselfish. They know that love saves people. Love will bring His church together.

See you Monday.

Who Is My Neighbor?

Lately I’ve been describing the lessons I learned from God while I was a young, frustrated, underachieving professional baseball player. The lessons He gave me were sacred. They were about focusing on Jesus. They were about making a vow that I would not live for myself. And they concerned the greatest lesson of all, which is also the greatest commandment of all:

Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:29-31

Last time I told you about a day in 2006 when I read these words and had a conversation with God about them. God told me, “Learn to love your neighbor as yourself within baseball, and then promote that. That’s success, Jeremy. There’s your success.” I knew, right then, that I had the answer to one of life’s biggest mysteries. Continue reading

The Answer Part 2

What I do for a living, which is play baseball, is not my calling. Your calling is also not the same as what you do for a living. No matter what we do for a living, we share the same calling. We are called to love our Lord God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love our neighbors as ourselves.

Baseball is not my calling, but it is my gifting. When we go through life, we have to understand that our gift, the thing that we are gifted at doing, is not our calling. It’s what we add to our calling. We use our gifts to love our neighbors as ourselves.

God showed me that. Continue reading

The Answer

I told you last time about the vision and the vow. The vision is Jesus, and the vow is that no man shall live for himself. But even with that figured out, I was still feeling pretty confused about how to make that happen within my baseball career. I was struggling, and I was failing, and I just couldn’t put all the pieces into place. But an answer was coming, and as promised, here it is.

In 2006 I was traded to the Colorado Rockies. I had a pretty bad year there as well, so things weren’t improving. I was thinking, “I’m not even going to have to quit baseball. They’re going to fire me. I’m going to get released and I’m going to have to find something else to do.”

But in that off season as I was reading scripture, I saw Mark 12:28-31 with new eyes. And everything changed for me. Continue reading

What Should I Pray For?

My son, if you receive my words,
And treasure my commands within you,
So that you incline your ear to wisdom,
And apply your heart to understanding;
Yes, if you cry out for discernment,
And lift up your voice for understanding,
If you seek her as silver,
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
Then you will understand the fear of the Lord,
And find the knowledge of God. Proverbs 2:1-5

Happy New Year! Last time, I promised to describe the meaning that the Book of Proverbs had for me in the 2012 postseason.

During the playoffs, there were a lot of guys playing through injuries, including me. We were all tired. And we had to use everybody in the playoffs this year. There was a new guy every day. And that was huge for us, for the whole team. There was a lot of weight on everybody’s shoulders. We didn’t rely on just one guy to carry us. We relied on everybody.

I relied a lot on knowing and hearing God. Continue reading

The Message of Christmas

Merry Christmas!  What a wonderful, holy day.  God gives us a child, to be our Savior.  God – who has everything – gives His Everything so that we might inherit everything!  LIFE full of LOVE and FORGIVENESS!

Thank you for reading, and for all your support. I’m looking forward to blogging for you in 2013, and I hope you’ll keep reading and commenting. And please remember those less fortunate. If you’re looking for a way to spread the Gospel of love, please visit our partners, and consider giving a gift. The amount doesn’t matter. Remember, it’s not how much the individual gives. What counts is how many individuals give!

I’ll see you here next Wednesday. Meanwhile, enjoy this awesome message about hope and expectation from Pete Greig, Prayer Director of Holy Trinity Brompton in London, England. This is a beautiful time to be celebrating our Hope. Remember, God loves you. He made you just as you are, and He gave you a gifting, and with that gifting you can change the world!

Thumbs Up to God! Part 2

My postseason story in 2010 was about praying for forgiveness and praying judgments off of my teammates. My 2012 postseason story was quite different. Now God was elevating me. He was allowing me to pitch the best I’ve ever pitched in my career. My manager, Bruce Bochy, kept putting me into games in key situations, and I kept executing in those situations.

And the thumb on my pitching hand was sprained! It hurt so much! And yet, when I needed it to, the pain went away. I know adrenaline was a factor. I know there are a lot of different ways that doctors can explain what happened with my thumb. But I truly believe that God grabbed my thumb and took the pain away, right when I needed Him to. Continue reading