Photo: Josh Turner
Here is another great young man and athlete who is striving to be like Jesus in his journey in life. Josh is a very talented baseball player in which he can play most any position and even has a couple of times in a game. Josh was born and raised in Salem, Virginia and attends Patrick Henry Community College in Martinsville, Virginia where he just finished his freshmen year. Joshua is very passionate about his walk with Christ and about inspiring others through their journey in life. It is great to see how Josh isn’t ashamed of his faith and is proud to be a virgin. We don’t hear that a lot in the world anymore. Josh’s story has inspired me in my journey. I hope his story will inspire you in your walk and will help you as you travel down the pathway of life. So let me get out-of-the-way so you can read in Josh’s words about his Spiritual Journey.
BEING THE INSPIRATION
Tell me a little about yourself-where you’re from? Family?
I am an only child and I’m actually a “miracle” baby so to speak. My mom had one miscarriage before I was born and one miscarriage after I was born and both my parents saw me as a very “special” being from the beginning. They saw it was a sign from God that it was meant for them to only have one child. Even though I go by Josh, they named me Joshua because Joshua in the bible was a leader, and that is exactly what they wanted me to be, and that’s exactly what I turned out to be. I have never had a drop of alcohol or done any type of drug. I’ve actually never been to a legit party as hard as that is to believe; that just isn’t what I consider fun. I’m unashamed of my faith, and I’m proud to say I’m a virgin and saving myself for the right lady. I’m very quiet and I’m an independent, stay to myself kind of person. My actions are my testament to my faith and I’m not one to push my faith on someone unless need be; however, I’m always trying to find ways to encourage and inspire people and I use every platform possible from the playing field to social media to encourage people.
My biggest goal in college is to start a charity for underprivileged families to spread the good news of Christ and inspire the uninspired.
Other than God, my family is the most important thing to me. Growing up they have been my support base, my rock so to speak. If you want to know where I get my positivity and determination, look at my mother. If you want to know where I get my work ethic, look at my father. Both of my parents instilled Christian beliefs in me from the beginning, for as long as I can remember. I grew up going to church with them and I’ve never really knew anything other than doing things the correct way. My father has always preached to me to give my best in everything I did. Words will never describe how much I thank God that He blessed me with this certain set of parents.
Going into my senior year of high school, I had opportunities from some Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and Big South schools but ended up messing my shoulder up pretty badly about three weeks into my senior season. I then felt it was necessary to go to junior college and use it as a stepping stone. About halfway through this season I walked off the team due to off field issues involving serious drugs and alcohol problems that I didn’t feel was necessary to be around. I felt that my faith and beliefs would take care of things in the end. In the midst of this and with this day in age of social media, I felt that if something were to happen to the team, it would be guilt by association for me which could eventually lead to far worse things for my future, on and off the field. As of right now, I will be playing in the New York Collegiate Baseball League for the Rochester Ridgemen this coming summer, which is associated with Athletes in Action. My general manager has some great connections and I’m waiting on an admission decision from a particular school that he has recommended to me. If things don’t work out, I’ll still continue to follow God’s path for me but I refuse to give up on the dream.
What position do you play?
Wherever I am needed; I’m a true utility player. My dad preached to me from a young age to be versatile. I’ve actually played all nine positions in a game before.
What is your passion in life?
When I was three I was throwing balls up in the air and hitting them over the house. By the time I was five I was already playing coach pitch, not tee ball. My passion is in no question to be a professional baseball player. Growing up people have laughed at that but I’m the one that gets the last laugh in the end. I’ve had teachers and even my own family members put statistics and numbers in front of me telling me how hard it is to make it, and I just laugh it off because it adds fuel to the fire. When I was three years old, my grandmother and I were watching a Yankees game and I told her “I was going to be a Yankee; I was going to be a baseball player.” Tell me how many three-year olds you know that say they want to be a professional baseball player? Fulfilling this dream is something I work for each and every day. I believe that God put the dream in my heart for a reason, and He wants to see me achieve it. I literally think about the announcer for the MLB Draft calling out “ID Number …. Turner, Josh” all the time and the area scout calling to say “we got you.” It consumes my thoughts daily, and they say that you should never give up on something you can’t go a day without thinking about; therefore, I’m not giving up because I believe that my resilience, hard work, God-given ability, and believing in the end result will pay off.
Tell me about your blog- why do you write it? what inspired you to write it?
My blog was a spiritual email list that had roughly about one hundred followers and I would send it out monthly. A follower that was on the list recommended that I turn it into a blog so that others could view it in case they needed encouragement at whatever time for whatever reason. I’m really into encouraging others in their walk with Christ if need be and God has blessed me in so many ways with His word through other people who I kind of wanted to give back to others and start my own way of expressing His love and word through this blog.
James Ramsey who currently plays in the St. Louis Cardinals organization had a spiritual email list going during his senior year at Florida State for some guys that he had played with and against in college and he added me to the list as well, so that kind of sparked my interest and made me start my own email list.
JOSH’S SPIRITUAL JOURNEY
Tell me about your Spiritual Journey in life:
I’ve been tested and fought through adversity all throughout my life and I’ve had to rely on something other than just myself to get me through things. I’ve lost two good friends, one to suicide and one to drunk driving and all I could ask was Why me? I’ve never really questioned my faith; it just took me seventeen years to truly understand what Christ could do for me and what I could do for Him.
My entire testimony can be seen at http://ajoshuaturner.blogspot.com/2012_08_01_archive.html
Share your story of how Christ has changed your life.
To say my life has never been the same would be a complete understatement. I rarely worry and I never see the negative side to any situation. Not to mention one of the most important things is I went from being an awful student in high school to an almost straight A student in college. I really had never read the bible before in my life until I was saved. I not only started to read the bible but I’ve been able to learn what it means to live life as a Christian man and what it means to be a follower of Christ, not just a fan of Christ. I learned not only about God’s love but that it was actually real.
I found out that despite all the things I had done in my life that Jesus had already paid the penalty for them.
I learned about pursuing a life of purity for the sake of Jesus. I learned about not only what type of woman I want to marry but most importantly what type of man I want to be for the sake of Christ for the rest of my life and most importantly I learned that I want to glorify Him in everything that I do. Whether that is through my social life, playing baseball, whatever it can be. I learned how to share my ups and downs in life through my testimony, and I learned how to be a shining example to many. I learned that I still don’t have everything figured out and never will, but that’s what I love about Him, He can take someone like me who has been living a life so far from what they professed and show people that he is real and He changes lives.
When did you start your journey with Christ?
I was saved on May 15th, 2012. 17 years old.
Who instilled your faith in you?
My parents set a perfect example from a very early age on faith, adversity, etc.. but most importantly my parents taught me respect and how to treat others. I’m very fortunate and I hope I can instill the same values in my kids that they have instilled in me.
Was there someone in your life who influenced you spiritually?
Most definitely. My parents first and foremost, both my grandmothers, my best friend and his family, I am Second videos, James Ramsey of the St. Louis Cardinals, Ryan Mathews of the Oakland A’s, Mark Appel of Stanford, Michael Lorenzen of Cal State Fullerton, and Mitchell Traver of TCU.
Is there someone now that helps you in your spiritual walk?
Absolutely. You can never stop growing in your walk with Christ. All the people mentioned above are my main contributors and I have a great accountability group with all of the ball players. I’m very fortunate to know and have contact with some of the best college and pro baseball players out there.
Where do you attend church at?
Fellowship Community Church when I’m in my hometown.
Is it hard to be a Christian and play college baseball?
Sort of but not really, and I don’t mean that arrogantly either. I look at it in the same sense as everyday life. People are always going to mock and ridicule you but God has placed what you need to overcome any circumstance inside of you and I personally know that he has my back through anything. It’s like Mitchell said “I’ve learned that if I live for people’s acceptance, I’ll die from their rejection…so I don’t seek to “fit in.” and that the cream rises to the top.. No one could have said that better.
I want to be different, I want people to mock and ridicule me for standing up for what I believe in, because that means that I’m not giving in to the temptation that surrounds me. Temptation to do the wrong thing will always be there, willing to wash you away… but you have to be able to stand up for what is right and know that the resilience will pay off.
Has sports challenged your faith?
Without a doubt, I was scared to death that my playing career may have been over when I messed my shoulder up senior year but I realized that if it was over, I was being called to do something else and that gave me a lot of peace. I never once focused on any negativity though; I just broke through the wall of adversity and came back quicker than planned. God gives us obstacles just to see how much we want to work for the end result. This season was especially difficult with injuries. In the fall I ended up in the Emergency room after a regular practice because I had torn muscle in my abdomen and had internal bleeding from doing hang cleans in the weight room, and then in the spring I strained my left hamstring to the point where I could barely put any weight on my leg. Things were going pretty bad at my school athletically and it got to the point where I honestly was content to hang up the cleats for good because I was sick of all the bad stuff that was going on. Yet, I asked God to give me comfort, determination, and to put the dream back in my heart, and He did just that.
What is the one thing you struggle with in your walk with Christ?
I would have to say the consistency to let God take the lead even though I know that I can’t do anything without him.
I’ve always been a leader, a “take charge of the situation” kind of person and it is tough for me to do that when the situation is out of my control. I don’t tend to worry or get upset; I just pray and know that something will work out.
Is there more pressure on you to live for Christ as a baseball player?
Absolutely not. Don’t get me wrong, there is still temptation to do the wrong thing and there is still pain and shortcomings, but athletes are role models, plain and simple. They will always have “one up” on anyone in the business world. I use my platform of baseball to be the example that I wish to see in the world. I’ve experienced both the non-college athlete side and the college athlete side of things and from experience I can say that when I’m playing, I’m more focused on everything because I have an allotted time to complete a given task that I know I have to get done; therefore, I can’t stray from the correct path.
Any great stories of how you have witness to others about Jesus?
I try to live the Ephesians 5 lifestyle which is basically how to live out the life that God has planned for me and follow His instruction.
I really just do what I can to influence people in their walk but I don’t push my faith on to people unless they ask for my help. Instead, I look at people just as who they are. The quote “you know my name, not my story” is something I really try to remind a lot of people of and I have to remind myself of it also at times. I’m in no way, shape, or form perfect by any means, and I don’t want to be. I just try to set the best example I can because people are always watching. My actions and my life are my testimony and people have noticed the significant changes that have been made in my life since I was saved. When I help someone out with their walk, I don’t expect them to get it right away and just be changed forever because the walk with Christ takes patience and understanding. I just try to set the best example possible because a glimpse of me may be the only light that a person sees or hears in their lifetime.. doesn’t mean they change their lives on the spot, but they definitely see that I have a reason to do what I do, and if it changes their life for good, then I have done my job. I don’t do what I do for me; I do it to help others and for Him.
Do your teammates know you’re a Christian?
What does it mean to be a role model?
The ultimate question in this entire interview. I’d have to say a humbling experience first and foremost. It’s like Mitchell Traver put it in his article, “I’m not any more special than the guy sitting beside me in Calculus class.” To me, a role model is a label that only very few people can actually fulfill. Someone who is always doing the right thing, who people can look at and see that they don’t take shortcuts or that people can come to and know they won’t be led in the wrong direction. A role model remains positive at even the toughest of times. They take the situation and go above and beyond all expectations, at least that is what I strive to do.
Is it hard as a Christian athlete with temptations that are all around you?
Without a doubt. As I said above, I’m very independent and quiet, I go about my business the right way and I don’t really stray away from the path that God has planned for me but there is a lot of temptation as a Christian because people label you differently. I just tend not to give in to temptation and that is something that my parents instilled into me early on in childhood.
Before a game do you spend time in prayer?
Most definitely.. It gives me a lot of peace and reassurance to know that what I’m doing isn’t for me, it’s for God and I make sure I give Him the glory whenever possible. I say a prayer before every at bat as well. I’m in constant prayer on the field; it keeps me level-headed, humble, and reminds me that I’m out there for a much greater purpose than just to play a game.
Honestly, this may seem so far off the map, but I’m going to have to say Proverbs 31 as a whole because it taught me not only what type of man I want to be to a women, but what type of women I want to find and marry. You see a lot of relationships start and finish these days for the complete wrong reason and I feel that if more people knew and understood Proverbs 31, there would be more relationships centered on God, which most of the time is a relationship that doesn’t fail.
What verse has been the most powerful to you with your walk with Christ and how has it?
Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
I like this particular verse because it takes you back and makes you realize that it doesn’t matter what we think we are going to do or what others think we can or can’t do, because God has our life mapped out and His promises are His promises. We must stay true to His plan through and through.
Any other comments you might like to say.
Just want to thank you for selecting me to do this! I pray that this can help anyone and inspire people to do the right thing. Anyone can follow me on Twitter as well: @ajoshturner
What a powerful witness for Christ and example for young and old everywhere. Josh has a great story, especially when he was willing to step up for what be believed in by walking away from the game he loves to play. I wish Josh the best and I know that God has a purpose for him. Please take some time to read Josh’s blog to learn more about this inspiring young man.