THE Complete Game

The Complete Game

  • January 28-Guidance

    January 28-Guidance

    Scripture Lesson: Proverbs 11:14

    On this date in 1949, Monte Irvin becomes the first African-American player to sign with the New York Giants. Although the then 29 year old outfielder will 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 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 trade Ivan DeJesus to the Phillies for Larry Bowa and a promising young infielder, Ryne Sandberg. Dallas Green, Cubs GM, 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. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2005. “Hit a HR, 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 is speaking about righteousness or “right living”. 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 His way!

  • January 26-Joy

    January 26-Joy

    Scripture Lesson: John 15:9-11

    Today is the birthday of baseball’s funny man Bob Uecker. He had a very undistinguished big league career as a player hitting only 14 HRs with a career average of .200. Uecker has become one of the best loved men in baseball because of his work as an announcer (Hall of Fame in 2003) and his ability to use the game to make us laugh, often at his own expense. “When I came to bat in the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded and two outs, I looked in the other teams’ dugout and they were already in street clothes.” Bob Uecker has a great sense of joy in his life and shares that joy of the game with us freely.
    These words from John’s Gospel were spoken by Jesus to his disciples on the eve of His death. He wanted the disciples to know the key for having joy in their lives. The keys are to remain in His love and to obey Him. When we do those two things, Jesus tells us we will have His joy in our lives and our joy will be complete. Our joy is not complete when we don’t obey or love. Sometimes we wonder why we aren’t happy and why things seem to not go our way. Our joy should be based on loving Jesus and serving Him. If we are struggling with the absence of joy in our lives, then we must look to see if we are truly obedient loving followers of Jesus.

    1. On a scale of 1 to 10 rate your joy, 1 little joy, 10 abundant joy.
    2. Now rate your obedience to God, 1 not obedient, 10 following God closely.
    3. Do the numbers match? What does that tell you today?

    Jesus wants each of us to experience a joyful life. He has given us the keys: loving and obeying. The choice is ours today, let’s choose joy!!

  • January 25-Core Values

    January 25-Core Values

    Scripture Lesson: Romans 12:9-13

    Ray Kroc fast food giant and owner of the McDonalds fast food chain buys the San Diego Padres for 12 million dollars in 1974. Kroc was one of the best loved owners in baseball. He brought the same core values that he instilled in McDonalds to the operation of the Padres. McDonalds’ core values have always been: quality service, cleanliness and value. Players enjoyed playing for him and Kroc brought the same enthusiasm he used to create McDonalds to making the Padres better.

    Paul gives a glimpse to the Church at Rome, in our verses today, some of the core values of the Christian faith. Love must be sincere, hate evil, cling to good. Be devoted to each other in love and honor each other. Serve the Lord with zeal, be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer. Share with those in need and be hospitable. Can you imagine what a difference we could make in this world for Christ if we just lived by these values? God could really use believers to live lives that reflect these basic values. Because if we reflected these values we would be reflecting Him!

    1. What does it meant to you to hate evil and cling to what is good?
    2. What does it mean to you to serve God with zeal?
    3. Will you commit this day to living these values?

    Ray Kroc was a beloved owner because he cared and showed that caring in many ways. We are beloved children of God, let’s show His love by being a reflection of His values.

  • January 24-Patience

    January 24-Patience

    Scripture Lesson: Psalm 40:1-4

    On this date in 1937 Wee Willie Keeler was elected to the Hall of Fame. Keeler was known as a very patient hitter and in his 19 year career, Keeler hit .341 with 2,932 hits. Keeler said,“ I keep my eyes clear and hit’em where they ain’t. Learn what pitch you can hit good and wait for that pitch.”

    King David reminds us in Psalm 40 that if we wait patiently for the Lord, he hears us. Not only does God hear us, He responds to our needs! David tells of God lifting him out of the pit, setting his feet on a rock, putting a new song of praise in his mouth, and that many will see and put their trust in God. We are blessed when we put our trust in God. It all comes together when we wait for God. Waiting takes trusting! Sometimes we want to act and make things happen when it is best to wait upon the Lord. Today let us all take the opportunity to WAIT for the Lord, trusting Him to be there for us and to meet our needs!

    1. Describe a time that you were not patient and did not wait for the Lord. How did that turn out?
    2. Describe a time when you waited on god to act and he met your needs.
    3. Patience comes from trusting, do you agree or disagree? Why?

    The group U2 has a great song based on this Psalm entitled “40”. Why not take a few minutes to find it online and listen gratefully for God’s care for us when we trust and wait on Him!

  • January 23-Defense

    January 23-Defense

    Scripture Lesson: Ephesians 6:1-3

    On this date in 1979, Willie Mays receives 419 of 432 votes to be elected to the Hall of Fame. Mays was a one of a kind player that combined power, speed , and defensive wizardry. He was the first player in major league history to finish a career with at least 300 HRs and 300 stolen bases. Mays’ running catch in the 1954 World Series is considered one of the greatest catches in baseball history. Mays ended his career with 660 HRs and 338 stolen bases. Willie Mays will always be known as one of the greatest players to play the game both offensively and defensively.

    Paul is warning the Ephesians and us today to get ready. Satan is going to attack us and try his best to separate us from God by bringing temptation and the opportunities for sin into our lives. Satan is crafty and his forces of evil are strong, too strong for us to stand up against alone. Paul wants us to be strong in the Lord and to suit up, putting on the armor of God. With God’s defense ( His armor ) and His presence with us Satan does not have a chance! God’s armor is the best defense against Satan and the forces of evil. When we suit up God’s way, Satan cannot break through that defense. Our best defense against Satan is God’s presence in our lives and wearing His armor.

    1. How does Satan try to wear down your defenses?
    2. How often are we guilty of thinking we can stand up to Satan ourselves?
    3. What is your biggest temptation?

    Willie Mays was one of the greatest defensive players of all-time. He worked very hard at being that kind of player. It takes hard work for us to be great defensive players against Satan, relying on God’s presence and His protection!

  • January 22-Calling

    January 22-Calling

    Scripture Lesson: Ephesians 4:1

    On this date in 2010, A’s prospect Grant Desme, announces his retirement from baseball to pursue his calling to become a Catholic priest. In 2009, the 23 year-old minor leaguer hit .288 with 31 HRs and 89 RBIs playing in Low A and High A. Desme had just been named MVP of the Arizona Fall League, where most of baseball’s best prospects play winter ball.

    Paul is urging the Christians in Ephesus to live a life “worthy of the calling you have received”. God has a plan for each of our lives. When we live lives worthy of His plan we will follow Him where ever He leads. Sometimes that means giving up something we enjoy or a path in life that we would choose for ourselves. Desme would have never been happy even if he made the major leagues, which looked pretty promising at the time of his retirement. He knew God wanted him to serve Him by becoming a priest not a baseball player. It takes courage to follow God’s path instead of our own. The only way to true peace as a believer is to follow the path God has laid out for us. True happiness and contentment only comes to us when we are in the center of His will following His path for our lives!

    1. Have you asked God about His plan for your life?
    2. What can keep you from following His path for your life?
    3. Will you commit right now to not only seek God’s path, but also to be willing to follow His path, wherever it might lead?

    God never promised us easy lives…what He did promise us is that He would never leave or forsake us. Take courage, take a stand, and follow Him.

  • January 21-Character

    January 21-Character

    Scripture Lesson: Romans 5:1-5

    On this date in 1960, St. Louis Cardinal great Stan Musial asks for and receives a pay cut from $100,000 a year to $80,000 a year. Musial says he was over paid in the 1957 and 1958, and that his salary should be cut based on his performance in 1959 when he hit only .255. Musial known as “Stan the Man” is the most beloved Cardinal of all-time. It is easy to see why this man of character is much loved by Cardinal fans even today!

    Paul is writing to encourage the Church at Rome in these verses today. He gives to them and us today some of the building blocks of our faith, perseverance, character, hope, and love. God has given to each of us who believe the indwelling Holy Spirit. His Spirit, living within, aids us in our daily living. Our character as a believer is built by allowing the Holy Spirit to have control of our lives. When the Holy Spirit leads us we will be men of character. Men of character, much like Stan Musial, will do the right thing at the right time. What this world needs more of are men of character led by the Spirit of God!

    1. On a scale of 1-10, one meaning little or no walk ten meaning closest possible walk this side of heaven, rate your willingness to walk with God being led by the Holy Spirit.
    2. What can we do to improve that score?
    3. Describe a time your character helped you make the right decision.

    True character can only be built by a vital, alive, and growing relationship with God. If we are serious about becoming men of character God can count on each day, we must surrender our lives daily to the leading of His Holy Spirit.

  • January 20-Eyes

    January 20-Eyes

    Scripture Lesson: 1 Peter 3:12

    In 1966 Boston Red Sox great, Ted Williams, is elected to the Hall of Fame. Williams is the last batter to hit .400 for a season, hitting .406 in 1941. Twice AL MVP, Williams set the all- time record for highest on base percentage for a career with a .483 OBP. Williams lost five years of his career to military service, serving both in World War 2 and the Korean War, as a fighter pilot. His tremendous eyesight of 20/10 enabled Williams to excel as a fighter pilot and a hitter. His above average eyesight enabled him to recognize pitches sooner. Williams is often referred to as “Baseball’s Greatest Hitter.”

    Peter tells us today in our Scripture lesson that,” the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayers”. God watches those who are living right lives and not only that, He hears their prayers. If we are living for God, He is there for us watching over us and listening for our prayers. The Creator of the universe loves us enough to watch over us and desires from us that we pray to Him. As busy as he must be, God takes time to be involved with us as individuals on a daily basis. The key for all of this boils down to one thing…are we living for Him? Together with God there is nothing we cannot accomplish, because He is actively looking at us and listening for us!

    1. How does it make you feel that God watches over you?
    2. Are there changes we need to make in our lives to live for Him? If so what changes?
    3. Thank god today for His amazing personal interest in you.

    Ted Williams had amazing eyesight that enabled him to do great things on the baseball diamond. God has blessed us by watching over us and listening for our prayers, enabling us to do great things for Him!

  • January 19-Dreams

    January 19-Dreams

    Scripture Lesson: Genesis 37:1-11

    Today is the birthday of former Tampa pitcher Jim Morris. Morris, who made his Major League debut on September 19,1999, as a 35 year old rookie, had his story chronicled in the movie, “ The Rookie”. He always had the dream to play big league baseball. Morris said,” I consider myself very lucky. God has a funny way of bringing some things around and knocking you in the head with the ultimate destination. Something I should have achieved quite easily took me a long time to get around to it. It came in His time, not mine.” Morris had his dream come true, just not when and how he imagined.

    Our Scripture lesson today is the beginning of the Joseph story. Joseph had dreams that he would be the most powerful of any of his family. You talk about ups and downs, Joseph’s life would read like a Hollywood movie. Loved most by his Dad, sold into slavery by his jealous brothers, rose to prominence as the chief slave of Potiphar, captain of the guards, lost that position and thrown into jail by being falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife, became chief prisoner, forgotten by Pharaoh’s cup bearer, interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams, became number 2 man in all of Egypt, and finally reunited with his family. God used the many twists and turns of Joseph’s life to literally save the world from a severe famine. Sometimes things don’t go like we think they should or want them to go in our lives. We need to realize today that if we follow God, He always is working in and through our lives. Our lives are not our own! God will position best in life to make a difference for Him.

    1. Look back over your life and think about how God has changed your plans for His plans.
    2. Why is it so hard to simply trust God and follow His plan for our lives?
    3. What dreams has God placed in your life?

    Jim Morris’ dream came true….Joseph’s dreams came true….our dreams will come true when they are God’s dreams for us!

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