Friday, March 29, 2013

A Challenge

Fellas, sorry its been a while since I've last had something to say.  As our spring trainings wind down I thought this would be a good time to issue a challenge to the readers of this blog or competitors at any level.  I want to speak to the ones who call Jesus their king.  All of us have platforms, all of us have a circle of influence... All of us can make a difference for the Kingdom.  Recognize it, embrace it.
  I pray that 1 Tim 4:12 would be a guide for you this season.  I pray that we as believers would not shame the name of Jesus, instead, be a shepherd for those who are lost.  I pray that we would not be filled with doubt, but with the power of The Holy Spirit.   I pray that as success finds us that we remember to give thanks to the One who allows such things.  Adversely, when we struggle, I pray that we would have faith that our Lord is with us and through our perseverance we will grow stronger (James 1:2-4).
   Do not be just hearers of the Word... Be doers as well.  Lets let the lives we live be a billboard for Who we believe in.

Have fun, be strong, love all... Be Men of God this season.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Your Career is NOT Your Calling

For the sake of time and space I'll just start this post with a confession - For the majority of my life, I thought I was called to be a successful baseball player and then give all glory to God. While partly true, an even deeper truth eventually opened up my eyes and radically liberated me from this box that I had placed myself in. This deeper truth is the fact that:

Your career is NOT your calling.

You see, baseball is the stage not the show. The story never changes. There can be a wide variety of cast, crew and venues, but the story remains the same. You, me, the broadcaster, the parking lot attendants - we all have the same calling. The CEO and the custodian wear different costumes, but the call remains the same. We as believers in Jesus Christ our Lord are all called to faithfully follow Jesus and gather more followers. There are an endless variety of vehicles you can drive down that straight and narrow path.

"And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." (Colossians 3:17 ESV)

"Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ." (Colossians 3:23-24)

Scripture claims that you don't play for the name on the back of the jersey or the front of the jersey. Scripture says you are to play for the name on that empty tomb. You will not receive your eternal reward based upon your stats, your bank roll or the number of followers you have on Twitter. You will receive your reward based upon your faithfulness because of Jesus' faithfulness. So continue to compete for your career but stay committed to the calling -  Faithfully follow Jesus and gather some more followers.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Good Teammate Part 2 By Atlanta Brave Matt Pagnozzi

When I think of a good teammate I think of a person who has certain qualities. Some qualities that person may have are trustworthiness, loyalty, selflessness, being a servant, leadership, and a likeable personality always helps. A good teammate has certain qualities that make others around them better.  A good teammate is infectious and genuine.

While thinking about a “Good Teammate” I realized how they are found not just in the athletic realm, but in everyday relationships too.  For example, think about your “teammates” at work, at home with your Family (Wife, kids, parents, friends, ect.), at Church, and your relationship with the Lord.  All of these relationships will benefit from being a “Good Teammate.”  The Bible is a great source to find the above traits.

1 Peter 4:8-10
Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.  As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace.
This verse focuses on the need for teammates to use their talents to serve others.  Being kind and serving gladly, instead of complaining, are tremendously important skills for teammates.
Proverbs 27:17           
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
The e-Fellowship verse.  As teammates, our expectations and attitudes and behaviors absolutely impact those around us.  We all are sharpened and improved by the interactions and examples of our peers.  And we all benefit from those around us helping us learn together.
Psalm 100:2 
“Serve the Lord with gladness!  Come into his presence with singing!
Colossians 3:23
“Whatever you are doing, work at it with enthusiasm, as to the Lord and not for men.” with gladness!  Come into his presence
If we apply these biblical commandments and principles to our lives and live by them, maybe someone will think of us as a “Good Teammate.” Or better yet, we make those around us better. I don’t believe that it is by coincidence these examples, traits, and principles that are found in The Bible are the same ones we value in “Good Relationships” or the ones found in a “Good Teammate.”

Monday, March 11, 2013

What Makes a Good Teammate? By Brett Caroll

I think to make a good teammate you must first have a model of a what a good teammate is. Maybe it's a leader, mentor, teacher etc..., but for me, that's Jesus.  He has made the biggest impact on me and His impact spills over into the club house and on the field.   If guys on your team know you care about the game, them, and winning, respect will follow. In my opinion, respect and trust is something that is earned. If a teammate can truly check his pride and ego at the door and play self-LESS for the betterment of the team, with the one common goal, to win a championship, then we all get better.  This can help make the journey of the game sweet. Also, I think its important to encourage and celebrate other guys, taking the focus off of ourselves.  I realize this can be hard for men, especially being in this competitive profession, but its truly freeing since God controls our destiny. I want my teammates to know that I have their backs on and off the field. Winning is not ultimate, but how you play the game and care for your teammates is crucial when wanting to make an impact. That's the stuff you really remember about people on this journey. Coming from the lenses of a believer, "what makes a good teammate" question can have many layers. If a teammate truly knows your care about them on and off the field, then by God's grace, doors may begin to open for authentic conversation. In my experience, this makes the season a lot  fun and brings joy to the grind. Try to get to know your teammates on a deeper level if they will allow it. I believe this starts with prayer and asking God, "Who are some guys to lock arms with?" and maybe if the Spirit is leading, share the gospel? In the end, this is really what it boils down to, baseball is just a tool in the hand of our powerful King to reflect HIS glory and win souls to Christ. I am so humbled by what God's grace has done in my life on and off the field that this frees me up to love on my teammates where they are and be unashamed of Jesus Christ.  To sum it all up, this game is imperfect and so are we, but praise Jesus for the saving work on the cross and His grace. As Christians and as Men the greatest thing we can do for our teammates, is humble ourselves, put your teammate's needs above your own, so that, in the end Christ is reflected and glorified.  To me, these are the ingredients Christ gives us to not only make a great teammate, but a great husband and a great friend. God is still growing me in these areas so I am not wearing the superman cape, but grateful His grace is sufficient. "He must increase, but I must decrease" John 3:30 

Detroit Tiger Matt Tuiasosopo's testimony for E-Fellowship

I want to welcome Matt Tuiasosopo to the E-Fellowship crew. Matt is guy I have known for almost 10 years just from the game of baseball. We both grew up playing in the same high school conference, and we have competed against each other professionally for years as well. Matt is one of those guys that I try to yell at during batting practice to get some quick face time with, because for anyone that knows him he's got that presence about himself, and he flat out loves Jesus. His testimony hits home for me and I'm excited to have him be apart of this ministry. Enjoy...

My Story - 
Before I came to know Christ I lived a live fueled by fear.  Although I grew up in a Christian home and learned God loved me enough to give His one and only Son to die for me, I found myself constantly FEARING failure in all areas of my life.  I made sure I did all the right things because If I didn't perform well at home, school or in athletics I was so afraid of getting in trouble and being disciplined.  I knew that God, as well as my parents, loved me but my identity wasn't secure and found in Jesus, it was in my performance in life and relationships and success and failures in sports. 

I remember saying the "prayer" when I was younger at church but looking back I don't think I fully understood and realized what I was doing.  It wasn't until February of 2012 that I came to know Christ as I fully understood and experienced the Gospel for the first time in my life as God began LIFTING me from the pit of destruction and shame.  For a long time I had lived a life divided, as I went to bible chapel sunday mornings only to chase after the pleasures of this world sunday nights.  Fear crippled my life and caused me to be a peacemaker at all costs which led to deception in my marriage.  My performances in sports guided how I saw myself and if I failed, I took it as God didn't love me and I chose to rebel against Him, making many poor choices.  I almost lost my marriage and as I sat in my shame and guilt, God did what only He could. He saved my life when I couldn't save it myself. He turned my ashes into beauty.

Today I stand amazed by God's radical grace and mercy that are new every morning of my life.  I never forget that when I was powerless and dead in my sins, God moved and raised me to life.  Since I have received Christ into my heart I can't stop SINGING songs of worship and praise to the almighty Creator!  Everyday I remind myself that I am loved and accepted by the King Jesus no matter what happens in my life.  My hope and my trust is in Christ alone and to Him be the Glory always and forever!

Monday, March 4, 2013

We're Back


It's been a while since you've heard from any of us, but that's been the funny thing about this group for the last 6 years or so. Every now and then we take an unintended Sabbath from writing which normally does exactly what the Sabbath was meant to do and refreshes us. “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath" (Mark 2:27 ESV). Thank you Father for the Sabbath. Teach me how to rest.

So since it's been a while, allow me to bring you guys (and gals) up to date with where God has guided e-Fellowship over the last few months. I retired from baseball in September and began life in full time ministry with Unlimited Potential, Inc. (UPI) in October. UPI seeks "to ReachTeach, and Train baseball players for the purpose of Sending them out into the world to share the good news of Jesus Christ." I have also been graciously blessed with the opportunity to be the chaplain for the Atlanta Braves. Needless to say, my plate is pretty full these days. 

That being said, I no longer felt that I could commit to managing e-Fellowship any longer so I talked to the other guys about what they wanted to do moving forward. To my excitement, they all decided to not let this thing die and have recommitted to writing again periodically with Ben Julianel and Blake Hawksworth now taking over the operations of e-Fellowship. I am currently operating and managing the UPI website and will be writing over there a good bit. However, I will continue playing a role in e-Fellowship as I will also write over here from time to time. 

I have greatly appreciated all the kind words about the e-Fellowship emails and the concerns expressed lately about the emails hopefully continuing. It excites me to be able to announce that e-Fellowship is back in the game and ready to get back into its regular routine of sharing our life with Jesus. I hope lives are touched and even transformed as e-Fellowship continues to be used by the Spirit for the work of the Kingdom. Nice talking to you guys again and we'll talk to you soon.