Monday, June 27, 2011

The Bible

The Bible-
-39 old testament books and 27 new testament books.
-Written in Hebrew, Greek, and a little in Aramaic.
-Written in 3 continents Africa, Asia and Europe over the span of 1000 years.
-The authors were Kings, Peasants, Philosophers, Fisherman, Poets, Statesman, Scholars, etc...
-Books cover sermons, legal documents, love letters, church letters, hymn books, travel diaries, family tree history, and architectural specifications.
-It covers 100's of controversial subjects with incredible unity from different cultures across 1000 year period in different languages.
-Lastly; this books teachings run contrary to the desires of most men.

And yes this is why I choose to base my whole life on this text.

How about you?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Trials - the Highway to Steadfastness

You may or may not have noticed that we haven't sent out an email in the last two weeks. Well, I can take the blame for that being that it's been my turn this whole time so let me catch you guys up real quick with what's been going on with me over the last two weeks. Two weeks ago today I went home to Georgia for 4 days to be with my wife for the birth of our second son, Jude Michael Evans. She had originally planned to have the baby out in Fresno with me but two weeks into the season I was taken off the AAA roster and it looked as if I was possibly about to be released. With that going on we prayed about it and it seemed clear that she should just go ahead and get back home and have the baby there so if something did happen with me we wouldn't be stuck in Fresno having a baby. So anyway, everything went great with all of that and so after 4 days at home, I flew back to Fresno to join the team. I was excited to get back because I had finally started playing well again and it looked as if things were going to work out after all with me staying with the team in Fresno. Well two days after being back, I get called into the manager's office only to find out that the Giants were releasing me. So I gathered my things, took care of apartment stuff, and began the 36 hour drive home to Georgia the very next day. On my third day of driving, my agent informs me that the Phillies would like to sign me but put me in AA to start with. Again, I prayed for clarity and guidance and it seemed like this was were I was supposed to go so I agreed to sign with the Phillies. I got to spend 3 days at home with my wife and the two boys before I was jumping on a plane and heading to Reading, PA to meet up with my new team. So obviously, as you can see, its been a very eventful two weeks for me and my family and it would take a much longer email than this to really get into the mental aspect of all these events. So here I am, in my hotel room in Reading writing this email, and I want to quickly share with you what I've realized through these two weeks now that I've had some time to process this whirlwind.

One thing that I've noticed throughout these two weeks is how at ease and peaceful I've felt through it all. It's been mentally draining for sure, but I haven't really been stressed or worried about all of this. In fact, my initial thought when I got released was the disappointment of having to leave some teammates of mine that I have become dear friends with during our short time together this season. I wasn't worried about baseball possibly being over or what I was going to do now that it might be over. I was just sad that I had to leave my brothers in Fresno and the amazing fellowship that we had shared. But as far as looking to the future, I felt God's sovereign hand all over me and my circumstances. It actually puzzled me how I felt about all of this so I thought long and hard about why I felt so calm and I came up with this.

James says that we are to count it all joy when we experience trials of various kinds because the testing of our faith produces steadfastness. Now the definition of steadfastness is resolutely or dutifully firm and unwavering. That's exactly how I felt. I didn't feel like I was being tossed around by all of this, but rather I felt firm and unwavering. But why or how? Thats when I realized that I felt at peace and firm through all of this because I had been prepared for this. Now we don't have time to get into everything, but the last couple years of my career have had their fair share of trials (success, demotion, success, failure, success, injury, question marks, uncertainty, etc.) But through all of these trials, I could always look back and see God's hand all over them and rejoice in what He had done. So now these past two weeks, I felt unwavering because my previous experiences had taught me not to worry when things seem to be out of control because God's hand is definitely in the midst of the trials. The constant testing of my faith had apparently produced some steadfastness. I'm at peace and I know without doubt that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him because I've experienced His goodness over and over again already.

Now I know that a "trial" is a relative term and while the aforementioned trials of my own experience are light compared to others, I still consider them trials in that they exposed weakness within me. Tough times are a gift that expose our faith and are meant to strengthen it. They draw us nearer to God and create dependancy on His strength and comfort to get us through. Upon getting through, we come out closer in our relationship with Him than we were before. If we find ourselves communing with the Triune God more frequently during times of trial rather than times of triumph then perhaps prosperity isn't in our best interest. God cares more for our growth than our worldly success or comfort. So while its been a crazy season thus far and I'm not sure why I am here, I have no doubt that I am right where God wants me and my wife and two boys back home are right where God wants them and there is overwhelming peace in that.

Thanks for listening and it was tough trying to keep this email even this short, Ha.

- Terry