Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Slugger

Last night we watched the Home Run Derby; it didn't take long for Josh Hamilton to emerge as "the man".

Given his story, Dirt and I figured that he was a Christian; his transformation, followed by his success and humility had Jesus written all over it.

It's funny, just last Sunday in church I looked around and noticed a bunch of "hard looking guys" scattered throughout the congregation. I smiled. The tattoos on the back of their necks, "love and hate" on their knuckles, pierced ears, ripped t-shirts, disheveled hair, wallets with chains attached to them. Good stuff. I love seeing them in church sitting next to old men in their jackets & ties and upright families (who dress up for church). These guys usually have the best stories, and hearts full of gratitude. They remind me of the twelve.

From wiki:
"Hamilton's struggles with drugs and alcohol are well documented. He finally got clean after being confronted by his grandmother, Mary Holt. Hamilton says he hasn't used drugs or alcohol since October 6, 2005. When giving a brief summary of his recovery Hamilton says simply "It's a God thing." He does not shy away from telling his story, speaking to community groups and fans at many different functions. He frequently and publicly tells stories of how Christianity has brought him back from the brink and that faith is what keeps him going. His wife Katie sometimes accompanies him, offering her perspective on his struggles as well. To go along with the provisions of MLB's drug policy, Hamilton provides urine samples for drug testing at least three times per week. Rangers' coach Johnny Narron says of the frequent testing: "I think he looks forward to the tests. He knows he's an addict. He knows he has to be accountable. He looks at those tests as a way to reassure people around him who had faith." Hamilton approaches the plate at Texas Rangers home games to the song "Saved The Day" by Christian group Phillips, Craig & Dean."

His favorite verse: "Humble yourself before God. Resist the devil and he'll flee from you." James 4:7.

It makes me laugh when people think that being a Christian is "too restrictive", if they only knew that Christ is freedom!

16 comments:

Jermaine said...

Josh Hamilton was truly inspiring to watch last night. I heard a few snippets of his story, but never knew exactly what he struggled through. It is funny how when you see and hear God's redeeming work in various people's lives, you can begin to spot it a mile away. When I looked Josh up this morning, I was 100% expecting him to be a believer. I would have been shocked otherwise.

We have seen and heard similar stories right here in our neighborhood. The church is full of people who know first hand how wonderful and powerful God is. For example, Shawn from church had a similar story and is now running the "Free Man's House" to help other people that feel trapped by alcohol and drugs. The Lord is using him to change lives. Dan is someone else who was an alcoholic and crack-addict that gave his life to the Lord. The Lord is doing great things in his life as well. All believers have similar stories of the transition from darkness to light. We all have not struggled with alcohol and drugs, but what He has done for us is in no way less dramatic and awesome. We are all eternally grateful to the One who set us free. Josh's grateful heart was clearly on display last night.

Josh Hamilton may not be perfect (thankfully our perfection is through Him not from ourselves). He may yet stumble and fall. Regardless, he will never be alone again. God is faithful and true.

I will be rooting for Josh Hamilton from this day forward. He will join the ranks of Tony Dungy, Trot Nixon, and Dwight Howard to name a few.

God is awesome! I love Him.

Casa de Ariel said...

Wow! His story is amazing. He is a inspirtation for kids. So about tomorrow...can I have size regular?

Avery said...

VERY COOL!!!




avery

mainelife said...

Don't you think that in many cases the drug addict/alcoholic simply replaces one addiction (drugs) for another (religion) and never does the real work truly overcoming the addiction?

T5M said...

No, I don't think so, but not having been a drug addict, I can only speak from my experience.

My relationship with Jesus is not an addiction. Nor is my relationship with my husband or with my kids, etc..

Very healthy relationships, not addictions...

I also believe that God is supernatural. Since He creates human beings, He surely has the power to heal them. With Him, all things are possible.

K-Sea said...
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MOM said...

On top of all that Josh Hamilton was or has become, HE IS A CUTIE!

Jermaine said...

A strong family doesn't always get it done. Josh Hamilton came from a very stable home. He didn't have an alcoholic father nor was he abused. His parents made many sacrifices for his budding career. There are people from all walks of life that fall into various depths of despair. There are people that come from broken/abusive homes that do great things. Can any of us absolutely guarantee that our children will not fall into the same trap as Josh? We do our best, but sometimes it is not good enough. Our children become adults and make their own decisions. The world is full of influences outside of the home. Our fate in this world does not rest on the ability of our parents. All people are flawed, none of us are perfect or immune from falling into temptation.

Faith in Jesus is about relationship, not religion. He is more than help in times of despair (although He is there for that as well). He is life itself. In His words..."I am the way, the truth, and the life". Trying to explain the depth of our relationship to Him is like trying to explain the color green to a blind man. We try, but it is a supernatural experience in every sense of the word.

The good news is that anyone who wants that type of relationship can have it. The Bible says..."O taste and see that the LORD is good". There is an open invitation to anyone who wants to taste true freedom. Give Him a try and see for yourself. In the history of the world, He has yet to disappoint.

mainelife said...

Jermaine-
Certainly not on the family and certainly yes on the relationship versus religion (religion is man made, Faith is God-made).
My step-son comes from a stable loving home, was class president, three time NH state Soccer champ and captain of the team, National Honor Student.....good guy who became an addict and almost threw it all away. He is now born-again and lovin' Jesus, but he is an addict to religion. And his relationship with Jesus, his recovery and the decisions that he's made "in Jesus' name" leave no doubt that he's still an addict. He's just a "saved" addict (oh and he's happy and not destroying his body with drugs and alcohol, so it's a positive addiction), but his new-found (four years now) faith, has given me ample reason to evaluate everything I've been taught and believed since the day I was born to this earth and since the day I was born-again and to come to some new conclusions about what I believe and what I no longer believe.

Jermaine said...

Good stuff about your step-son. It is nice to see we can have a healthy discussion about these things. A couple things come to mind when thinking about your step-son. Erin mentioned this and I agree...In Luke 7, Jesus is having dinner with the religious rulers, a woman who was known to be a sinner, comes in and washes his feet with perfume and tears. The religious rulers are angry that Jesus would associate Himself with someone with her reputation. He then tells a parable of the two debtors where one owed the moneylender five hundres denarii and the other fifty denarii (a denarius was typically worth 1 day's wage). When they were unable to pay, the moneylender graciously forgave them both their debt. Jesus then asks which one will love him more. The religous leaders answer correctly and say the one who had the larger debt. Then Jesus said "For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little."

Your step-son is doing what would come natural to anyone in his shoes. When we realize what He has done for us in giving us His Son and making a way for us to spend eternity with Him, we too should be "on fire" for the Lord.

I guess of all the things to be addicted to, there is none greater than God. To take pleasure in Him, to love Him with all of our heart, mind, sould, and strength. Oh how I wish that someone would label be a "Jesus addict", Jesus Freak", or "Bible thumper". Sadly, I fall short way too often. Your step-son has found the greatest thing in the universe. I hope he continues to treasure it as such.

Jermaine said...

Sorry to be so long-winded.

MaineMomKC5 said...

Jermaine, I think it is a very bold statement to say, "In the history of the world, He has yet to disappoint."

I think there are many who could argue with that one. Many who have "left the flock" so to speak, either finding another religion that makes more sense to them, or no religion at all.

Spiritually, for me, I feel very free and very happy. What I cannot reconcile with Christianity is how someone can murder, get "saved" in prison and then go to Heaven. Yet I am a decent and kind person but, according to your doctrine, I will spend eternity in Hell.

However, that being said, I am glad this man was able to overcome his demons. Drub addiction is very powerful - it affects so many, not just the user.

Jermaine said...

I understand what you are saying. "Disappoint" is probably the wrong word. Anyone can be disappointed if He doesn't do what you want Him to do. I guess I believe that He is perfect and knows what is best for us even when we think otherwise.

You bring up an interesting point about being a decent person. I guess the question is who are you comparing yourself to? Yes, decent when compared to a murderer maybe, but what about when you compare yourself to God Himself. Even a single match seems bright in darkness, but how does it compare to the sun?

Have you ever lied? Have you ever taken something that doesn't belong to you? Have you ever been so angry at someone you want hit them? Have you ever in your life lusted after anyone? Have you ever coveted anything that didn't belong to you? Have you ever put anyone/anything before God? He is the standard. I have done all of these things more than once (I couldn't begin to count how often I sinned). The bible says that if we transgress one commandment of the law, we are guilty of transgressing the whole law.

We tend to see our sin in degrees. Some sins are worst than others. Stealing a car is worse than taking a pen from work. While the earthly consequences of these actions may be different, in the sight of God, sin is sin. And it is our sin that separates us from Him. It is a heart issue. We are born with a fallen, very selfish nature (you don't have to teach a child to lie, they do it all by themselves).

God is so gracious that he draws a line and makes it clear that we are all in need of a savior. The Bible says in Romans..."for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God". That murderer doesn't need a savior any more than you or me.

The gospel is so simple, yet so beautiful. Believe that Jesus died for the payment of your sins and you are saved. By the power and grace of God, you will be forgiven for any and everything you have done and will spend eternity with Him. There is nothing we can do to earn that. It is a gift from God. For those that think that sounds crazy and foolish, the Bible talks about them as well...

"For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not {come to} know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom;
but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men."

Jermaine said...

And that concludes today's Bible study. We will have a quiz on Monday.

he, he, he. Thanks for indulging me. I love to talk about these things (if I haven't already made that painstakingly clear).

MaineMom said...
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MaineMom said...

Sorry, Jermaine, I still don't buy any of it. I cannot fathom that my "sins" can be compared to a person who rapes and kills children.

If your religious beliefs bring you happiness, which I know they do, I think that is great. Do I believe in your beliefs? No, but that is the beauty of our freedom.

We can walk arm in arm and still not see eye to eye.