THE Complete Game

The Complete Game

  • February 5-HR King

    February 5: Home Run King

     

    Scripture Lesson: Luke 19:37-40

     

    Today is home run king Hank Aaron’s birthday. Aaron broke the longstanding career Home run mark set by Babe Ruth by hitting 755 career home runs. Aaron played for the Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves before ending his career back in Milwaukee playing for the Brewers. Aaron had to endure racial taunts and even death threats as he approached Ruth’s record, but handled the trials with grace. Hank Aaron not only was a Hall of Fame player, he is a Hall of Fame man. He was the all-time home run king until Barry Bonds broke his record, and is considered one of the greatest players to ever play the game.

     

    Today’s verses come from Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on what came to be known as Palm Sunday. The crowds had gathered on the route that led from the Mt. of Olives down into the Kidron Valley, then up into Jerusalem. It would be akin to our ticker tape parades, with the masses out to cheer. The crowds cheered for Jesus and shouted praises to His name. The Pharisees wanted Jesus to quiet the people, but Jesus told them that if the crowd was quiet the very stones would cry out in praise! So often we get busy in life and forget to praise Him! Jesus is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, He deserves our praise more than just one day of the week. Yet more times than not, we come to Him wanting something instead of praising His name.

    1. How can we praise Jesus today?

    2. Why does Jesus deserve our praise?

    3. Stop right now and praise Him!

    Jesus is our king, may we commit ourselves to live a life of praise for Him and to Him!

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • February 4-Free Agency

    February 4: Free Agency

     

    Scripture Lesson: John 8:31-36

     

    On this date in 1976, free agency began when Judge John Oliver upheld Judge Peter Seitz’s decision to allow Andy Messersmith to be a free agent. Messersmith, who signed with the Atlanta Braves, was given the number 17, the same number as Braves owner Ted Turner’s WBTS TV station. Messersmith’s first Braves jersey had “Channel” in place of his name, but Major League Baseball made the Braves replace it with Messersmith’s name after one game.

     

    In today’s text, Jesus was talking to a group of Jewish listeners about real freedom. Jesus said the truth could set them free. “If the Son sets you free,” he said, “you will be free indeed.” Jesus taught that true freedom comes from following Him. His love for us and His death on the cross indeed set us free form the consequences of our sins and mistakes. The only one way to be fully free from our wrongdoing is to believe in Him! Sometimes we can be overwhelmed by guilt over our past mistakes, but Jesus wants to free us from that guilt. True freedom comes from believing in Jesus, allowing the truth of who Jesus is and what Jesus has done for us to be our guide. When we believe and follow Him, we can find true freedom.

    1. What does freedom mean in Christ?

    2. What is the truth we must know that sets us free?

    3. What does it mean to live a life in the freedom of Christ?

    That is why it is so important to allow Jesus to free us from our past sins and mistakes by simply confessing our sin to Him. We can be a slave to our sinful past, or we can be free. The choice is ours, today and every day.

     

     

     

     

     

  • February 3-Awards

    February 3: Awards

     

    Scripture Lesson: Philippians 3:12-14

     

    Today is the birthday of former Red Sox and Angel great, Fred Lynn. In1975, Lynn had one of the greatest seasons in baseball history. He was named Associated Press Athlete of the Year, Gold Glove winner, American League MVP and Rookie of the Year, and the Sporting News Player and Rookie of the Year. Lynn hit .331 with 21 home runs, 105 RBIs, an on-base percentage of .401, and scored 103 runs with 175 hits, leading the Red Sox to the American League pennant. For a rookie to receive all those awards was unheard of before or since.

     

    Paul wrote to the church at Philippi about the only award that really matters. Paul said he was forgetting what had happened in the past, and was looking forward to what will happen as he strove to win the prize to which God had called him – heaven. When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, it is the beginning of a lifelong journey with Him that ends in heaven. Paul wrote this letter while in prison in Rome. Since the day of his salvation, Paul had lived with heaven ahead as the goal, living each day to the max for God. What a great example for us. It doesn’t matter what awards we receive in this world, it only matters what we are doing on our journey to heaven, serving God!

    1. How does it feel to be recognized for something you have accomplished?

    2. What are you accomplishing for God?

    3. How do we live our lives with heaven in mind?

    Fred Lynn had an amazing season in 1975. Just think what an amazing year we can have if we strive to serve God each day with heaven in mind!

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • February 2-Moses

    February 2: Moses

     

    Scripture Lesson: Exodus 3:7-10

     

    Today is the birthday of longtime player and manager Red Schoendienst. He managed the Cardinals after playing primarily for the Cardinals and the Braves. In 1957, while playing for the Milwaukee Braves, Schoendienst began the year by calling on Hank Aaron to be like Moses and lead the Braves out of the bitter disappointment and frustration of their past seasons. Schoendienst’s words had an effect. Aaron was MVP in the National League that year, and the Braves won the 1957 World Series, defeating the New York Yankees.

     

    In our verses today, Moses receives the call of God to lead His people out of slavery in Egypt. God had seen the misery of the Israelites serving as slaves to Pharaoh, and sent Moses to Pharaoh to persuade the king to set His people free. If you read further in Exodus 3, you will notice that Moses did not think he could do the job. Moses made excuses to God as to why he couldn’t do what God wanted him to do. But, if God calls us to do something for Him, He equips us to do the job. Moses was not a great speaker, so God sent Moses’ brother Aaron along to do the talking. God has a calling for each of us. If we want to find happiness and contentment in life, we will step out in faith and do what God wants us to do!

    1. What do you feel God wants you to do for Him?

    2. What is the calling God is putting on your life? If you don’t know, ask God to show you.

    3. How can baseball play a role in helping you fulfill your calling by God?

    Hank Aaron led the Braves to the World Championship. Moses led the children of Israel to the Promised Land. Today, live your life to fulfill God’s call.

     

     

     

     

     

  • February 1-Time

    February 1: Time

     

    Scripture Lesson: 2 Corinthians 6:1-2

     

    In 1962 on this date, the National League announced that they would go to a 162-game schedule. In doing so, it matched the American League, which had made the same decision in 1961. The 162-game schedule is still in effect today, with each team playing 81 home games and 81 games on the road.

     

    In today’s text, Paul urges the Church at Corinth to receive the gift of God’s grace, but not “in vain.” He tells them, “now is the time of God’s favor and now is the day of salvation.” Do you like to put things off? I remember in college putting off papers and studying at the last minute. Often times we put off important decisions about our faith walk also. We think there is a better time to start living the way God wants us to live, just not today. Someday I will make that decision to follow Him and give my life to Him, we may say, just not today. Paul insists that the time is NOW! God’s favor is upon us, He has given us the gift of His grace, and now is the day to make a decision for Him! God is waiting for us to give our lives to Him, to truly follow Him. My friends, the time is now.

    1. What decisions are we putting off in following Jesus?

    2. Is now the time to truly follow Him?

    3. Why not make those commitments to Christ right now, as Paul says now is the time.

    Some of us have waited way too long to truly commit our lives to living for Jesus completely. Now is the time!!

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • January 31-Joyful

    January 31: Joyful

     

    Scripture Lesson: Proverbs 15:13

     

    Today is the birthday of Hall of Famer Ernie Banks. Banks, one of the greatest of all Chicago Cubs, hit 512 home runs in his career and was always seen with a smile on his face. Even after his retirement from the game, Banks has been known as one of the great ambassadors of the game. You could always see a smile on Banks’ face and could see the joy he got from playing the game of baseball. Banks said, “It’s a great day for a ballgame: let’s play two.” He also said, “You must try to generate happiness within yourself. If you aren’t happy in one place, chances are you won’t be happy in anyplace.”

     

    The writer of Proverbs tells us today that a happy heart makes the face cheerful. Can the world see the happiness in our lives today? What is in our hearts comes out not only in our expressions, but the way we live our lives! When the joy of the Lord is in our hearts, people will be able to see the joy! But the opposite is also true, if we don’t have God’s joy in our hearts, people will see that also. I cannot remember a time I saw Ernie Banks doing an interview when I did not see a smile on his face. Does God’s love and His joy bring a smile to our faces the world can see?

    1. Can people see God’s joy in our hearts?

    2. What changes do we need to make to have more of His joy?

    3. Is God’s joy contagious? Why or why not?

    If we have as the old song says “that joy, joy, joy, joy, down in our hearts”, then the world will be able to see that joy. Are you smiling today?

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • January 30-Saving the Day

    January 30: Saving the Day

     

    Scripture Lesson: John 3:16-17

     

    Today is the birthday of former Brooklyn Dodger Sandy Amoros. A reserve outfielder known primarily for his defensive play, Amoros’ defining moment came in the 1955 World Series. In the sixth inning of Game Seven, with the Dodgers holding a slim 2-0 lead over their arch-rival, the New York Yankees, the left hander came off the bench as a defensive replacement. Yankee catcher Yogi Berra hit an opposite field shot that looked like a sure double as the Dodger outfield had shifted to the right. Amoros seemingly came out of nowhere and extended his gloved right hand to catch the ball. He skidded to a halt before crashing into the fence, turned and threw a strike to cut-off man Pee Wee Reese, who threw to first to double off Gil McDougal. That play saved the game and the World Series for the Dodgers.

     

    Two of the most famous verses in the Bible are the two we read today. Amoros saved the day for the Dodgers on that fall day in 1955. No one has ever saved the day before or since like Jesus saved the day. God sent His only Son to this world to give each of us the opportunity to have eternal life and to spend it with Him in heaven. That is love! God sent Jesus to the world to save the world. All we have to do is believe! God loved, God gave, we believe, we receive! Today do we believe that Jesus died for our sins and God raised him from the dead? Have we asked Jesus into our hearts and asked Him to forgive our sins and mistakes? Then not only has Jesus saved the day, He has saved us!

    1. Have you professed your faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior? If so when?

    2. Is there someone you need to tell about John 3:16-17?

    3. Thank God right now for His tremendous love for us by sending Jesus to save the day and to save us!

    May we always live our lives in appreciation for what God has done for us!

     

     

     

     

  • January 29-Greatness

    January 29: Greatness

     

    Scripture Lesson: Psalm 145:3

     

    On this date in 1958, Brooklyn Dodger catcher Roy Campanella broke his neck when the car he was driving hit a telephone pole in an early morning accident. Campanella would spend the rest of his life paralyzed. At the time of the accident, Campanella had won 3 National League MVP awards and was the first black catcher in major league history. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1969. Campanella died on June 26, 1993 at the age of 71. Tommy Lasorda said, “I loved Roy Campanella. I loved him like a brother. I am going to miss him very much. As well as being a great baseball player, he was a great human being.”

     

    David reminds us in our Scripture lesson today that the Lord is great and worthy of praise, so much so that no one can understand His greatness. When we look back at the greats of the game, we can look at great statistics: how many home runs they hit or how many batters they struck out. We can hear stories of their heroic episodes in the game, and their all-around reputation, for there are ways a player’s greatness can be measured. Isn’t it wonderful that God is so great we can’t even begin to understand just how great He is? Have you ever looked up at the sky on a clear night and tried to count the stars, or stood on a beach and watched the ocean roll in wave after wave? The Creator made all that and much more. God, with His indescribable greatness, loves us and wants a relationship with us!

    1. What are some things that show the greatness of God?

    2. How has He shown his greatness in your life?

    3. Take time right now to praise Him for his greatness.

    There is no comparison between man’s greatness and the greatness of God. May we stand in awe of His greatness and love for us!

     

     

     

     

  • January 28-Guidance

    January 28: Guidance

     

    Scripture Lesson: Proverbs 11:14

     

    On this date in 1949, Monte Irvin became the first African-American player to sign with the New York Giants. Although the then 29-year-old outfielder would play only five full seasons in the big leagues, Irvin was elected to the Hall of fame in 1973 primarily for his outstanding play in the Negro Leagues. Irvin took a young Giant player under his wing, guiding him in his early days. That young player Irvin mentored was Willie Mays.

     

    The writer of Proverbs wants us to see today that without guidance a nation will fall, but with many advisors victory is sure. It is very important for each of us to have someone in our lives that guides us, mentors us, and pours into us on a regular basis. We need the wisdom and help of those who have experienced life to help guide us along life’s pathways in God’s way. Not only do we need to have someone in our lives, we need to be that someone in someone else’s life. No matter what level of the game we play or coach, there is someone younger who needs us to be there for them, to guide them, to encourage them!

    1. Why is it important to find someone to mentor us?

    2. Why is it important for us to mentor someone?

    3. Who is your mentor and who are you mentoring?

    If you do not have a mentor, pray for God to lead you to someone to ask to take on that role. Also today, pray about who you can mentor and make a difference in their lives.

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • January 27-The Right Way

    January 27: The Right Way

     

    Scripture Lesson: Hosea 10:12

     

    On this date in 1982, the Cubs traded Ivan DeJesus to the Phillies for Larry Bowa and a promising young infielder, Ryne Sandberg. Dallas Green, General Manager of the Cubs, had seen Sandberg’s promise while managing the Phillies. Sandberg was one of the hardest workers in baseball and was known for doing things the right way. As a result, he was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2005. He said, when you “Hit a home run,” you should “put your head down, drop the bat and run around the bases, because the name on the front is more important than the name on the back. I played it right because that is what you are supposed to do, play the game right and with respect.”

     

    The prophet Hosea speaks about righteousness or “right living” in today’s text. We are to seek the Lord and live life the right way until He comes. If we seek God today and commit ourselves to living by His standards, we will be living lives of righteousness. God needs us to live the right way by His standards. When we do so, we are rewarded with His righteousness! The world tells us to live for ourselves, looking out for number one. God tells us to live with our eyes on Him, living lives that are pleasing to Him. Today and every day, we must consciously choose living for God His way, or living for the world its way.

    1. What does it mean to live for God?

    2. What difference can living for God make with our families, friends, and teammates?

    3. We can only live for God when God lives in and through us. Do you agree or disagree, why?

    Ryne Sandberg played the game the right way and was rewarded with the Hall of Fame. When we live life God’s way we are rewarded with more of Him! It is our choice each and every day to live life God’s way.

     

     

     

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