Be Thankful

Posted: November 21, 2012 by John D. Hayden in Sports Devotionals
Tags: ,

“Be thankful not just on Thanksgivining Day, but every day of the week.” Look at what God did for you, is doing for you and what he will do for you in the years to come. You might not score 138 points in a basketball game, but be thankful for the talents God has given you.

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

It is hard to live by this passage, to give thanks no matter what circumstance you are in. We need to be reminded where Paul is when he wrote this passage, in a Roman jail cell. There is always something to be thankful for in our lives. Thankfulnes, or graitude, is a heart posture. We can’t fake being thankful and we can’t fight it either. We need to take long deep look inside our hearts. We can hurt and struggle day by day but knowing that Jesus died for me and went through so much for me, gives me that peace and thankfulness in my heart.  So take the time this week to count your blessings and see what God has done for you and turn your eyes upon Jesus. Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

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Chris Davis: A First Baseman In A Pennant Race

Posted: September 18, 2012 by Ricky Keeler in Interviews, MLB
Tags: ,

Photo Credit: Greg M. Cooper – US Presswire

So far, the 2012 Major League Baseball season has been filled with a ton of excitement. One of the reasons for this new found excitement was Commissioner Bud Selig expanding the playoffs by adding a second Wild Card team. There are new markets that haven’t been relevant in terms of the postseason in years that are now in contention. One of those teams is the Baltimore Orioles.

The Orioles haven’t been to the postseason since 1997, but under manager Buck Showalter, they are in the running for a playoff spot, and potentially, taking the American League East away from the New York Yankees! Despite their run differential issues, they have a belief in themselves that they can win a close game. They have one of the best closers in Jim Johnson and a solid offense, which gets major contributions from my latest interview.

Orioles’ first baseman Chris Davis made his major league debut with the Texas Rangers in 2008. For his years in Texas, he was known as a power hitter, but also as a player who struck out numerous times. In July of 2011, he was traded to the Baltimore Orioles along with pitcher Tommy Hunter.

Now, Davis is making his stride with the Orioles. As of September 17th, he is hitting .264 with 26 home runs and 70 RBI’s. He is hitting .319 in the month of September as he tries to help Baltimore take the next step.  He also has a win this year out of the bullpen in a 17 inning game back in May. On my show last week, I predicted Baltimore taking a Wild Card spot and Davis could be a small reason why!

Here is my interview with Chris about his faith, his time with Texas, what he felt after the trade, and Baltimore’s newfound success in 2012:

1. Chris, how did you come to know the Lord?

Chris: I started going to church with my family when I was young and was baptized at the age of 6 in the First Baptist Church of Longview.

2. Who have been some of your Christian role models both on and off the field?

C: My grandfather (Papa my mom’s father) was one of the biggest Christian influences in my life.  He passed away a few years ago but just the way he treated others and the way he lived his life were and still are an inspiration to me.  On the field I would have to say David Murphy and Josh Hamilton have been the two biggest influences on me.  They both taught me how to play the game for God’s glory and how to enjoy the process and not focus so much on the results.  It’s not about statistics; winning and losing but about how you handle yourself and what kind of image you present to the people who are watching.

3. What is your favorite Bible Verse and how has it exemplified your walk with the Lord?

C:  I have many favorites but I really enjoy Hebrews 12:1-2. (I actually have it tattooed on my right rib cage.)  It is a constant reminder that we will face many things in life that may be difficult and hard for us to understand but anything that we encounter Christ has already experienced and overcome.  We must remember to put our faith in the Lord and continue to persevere.

4. Talk about how God has used you in the locker room in terms of possible fellowship opportunities with your teammates.

C:  I try to lead primarily by example.  I think that it is crucial to walk the walk if you are going to talk the talk.  Many people will not believe what you say if you do not practice what you preach.  I try to control my language, my emotions, and carry myself as a man of God.  We have a number of guys who attend chapel on Sundays and we have actually had a few bible studies throughout the season.

5.  Last season, you were traded from the Rangers to the Orioles. Can you tell us about how you felt at at time and how God helped you get through it?

C: I went through a wide range of emotions.  I was excited to get the opportunity to play everyday in the big leagues with another team but I was also sad to leave behind so many friends.  I think God had been slowly preparing me for the trade for the past few years.  I had grown so much in my relationship with Him and had really learned how to trust Him and not lean on my own understanding.  That was crucial because I went through so many new things after being traded.

6. The Orioles are one of the surprise teams in baseball this year. What can we expect from the O’s down the stretch?

C: You can expect us to continue to play hard and to finish up strong.  Obviously not a lot of people picked us to do this well this year but we felt that we had a strong and versatile team in Spring Training and we believed in each other.  When you focus on the task at hand and worry about meeting your expectations and not others’ anything is possible.

Like I said at the beginning, the Orioles are a team that really feels that they are never out of a game. When doing this interview with Mr. Davis, what stood out to me was the fact that he talked about when you worry about meeting your own expectations, anything can be possible!

This reminded me of the verse New York Jets’ quarterback Tim Tebow tweeted out on Sunday, which comes from the gospel of Matthew when Jesus talks about a rich man entering the Kingdom of God. The disciples then ask Him if a rich man can’t enter, then who can get saved?

Jesus responds: “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”(Matthew 19:26)

The Orioles and even the Oakland Athletics are teams that do not spend like the Yankees, Red Sox, or other teams in the big markets do. However, they put their sight on their own goals and not how everyone expected them to do. With God, we as Christians, need to feel that with God, we can do anything we set our minds too. If we do succeed at those goals, we like Chris, need to continue to give God the glory in everything we do because He is Holy and Almighty!

Even as a Yankees’ writer, I find myself pulling for the Orioles and I wish Chris and his team the best of luck the rest of the way!

(Photo: Twitter/Josh Whipp)

With the Olympics now almost reaching an end, there have been many memorable moments so far in this London 2012 games. There was Michael Phelps in the pool winning his 22nd career medal and 18th gold of his career, establishing himself as one of the best Olympians of all-time. On the track, there was Usain Bolt, who became the first man to repeat as the 100 meter dash champion since American Carl Lewis.

However, I want to keep my focus here on one event that caught my eye during last week. That was the gymnastics. Before the Olympics began, I filled out a prayer request form from a group called Athletes in Action. In the e-mail I got sent back, I received the names of five Christian athletes from all around the world to pray for throughout the Games. They came from a variety of sports from table tennis to swimming to soccer.

The one sport I watched over the past week that made me praise God most of all was the gymnastics. In particular, the athlete I want to spotlight is 16-year-old American Gabrielle (Gabby) Douglas. Douglas won the women’s all-around competition last Thursday night, ending it in style with a dazzling floor routine.

It was her comments to NBC afterwards that made me a huge fan of hers.  This is what she told the NBC reporter:

“It is everything I thought it would be; being the Olympic champion, it definitely is an amazing feeling. And I give all the glory to God. It’s kind of a win-win situation. The glory goes up to him and the blessings fall down on me.”

Douglas is absolutely right! When we give glory to God, win or lose, we are rewarded. However, it is not an earthly reward we should expect, but a heavenly reward. You can still bring glory to God in whatever you do, even if you are not a gold-medal athlete.  Paul tells the people about this in a letter to the Colossians:

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 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 3:16-17)

Today, I exhort you to continue bringing glory to God in whatever you do. Remember that without God, we would not be able to do anything. He gets the glory and like Gabby said, all the blessings come down to us. The love of Jesus should always remain in our hearts! True, we can win a gold medal or eighteen like Michael Phelps, but the ultimate prize that we have is eternal life given through the death of Jesus on the cross!

Jennifer Pinches: A Gymnast for God

Posted: July 26, 2012 by Ricky Keeler in 2012, Olympics

Source: Adam Pretty/Getty Images AsiaPac – October 7th, 2011

After waiting four years, the Olympics are finally almost here. On Friday night, the two week long party kicks off in London, England for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. The Olympics is one of my favorite sporting events because of all the nationalistic pride that is involved and the hard work that all these Olympians have put in for these four years to get a chance at their one shining moment.

Yes, I am pulling for the United States in basically every event, but there is one event where that might just not be the case. As I was coming up with more interview topics for you guys, I thought about trying to find an Olympian who was serving Christ with their talent. Last month, I was able, by God’s grace, to get in contact with such a person and it was a blessing to talk to her.

Her name is Jennifer Pinches. Pinches is eighteen year old from Bristol, United Kingdom. She will be competing in artistic gymnastics for Great Britain. In June, she competed at the British Championships in Liverpool to try to qualify to the national team. It turned out she had great success, which included a second place finish in the all-around competition and a gold medal on the balance beam. It is amazing to see the hard work she has put in and even serving Christ while doing it is amazing and makes you just want to praise God for it!

So, here is my interview with Olympic Gymnast Jennifer Pinches:

1. How did you come to know the Lord?

Jen: I was dedicated by my parents when I was little (instead of Christened) and given the opportunity to go to church and Sunday school each week when I was growing up. I am lucky in the respect that I have been given an easy route to knowing God, rather than having to discover Christianity without my family support, which I think is becoming increasingly difficult nowadays. It seems tome that in our society today, many people say they’re ‘a Christian’ simply because they say they’ve been christened, but most people haven’t actually been given the opportunity to learn and get to really know God or go to church with their parents, other than maybe when they were little or with school or onoccasions like Christmas day…

 Also, places I have been on holiday such as Spring Harvest festival in Mineheadhave given me the chance to really explore my faith and ultimately become closer to God!

 2. Who have been some of your role models on and off the mat?

J: My biggest role model is my dad, who copes with an extremely hectic life looking after me and my three little brothers and working, yet always has a positive outlook and smile. He helps me stay sane through my training and home life, and I couldn’t have achieved what I have so far without his support. He also plays the piano at our church on Sundays occasionally.

In gymnastics, gymnasts I look up to are… Beth Tweddle and Hannah Whelan my training partners and Beijing 2008 Olympians (of course). They have great attitudes to the sport and are so talented too! Other gymnasts I love to watch include Aliya Mustafina of Russia, Youna Dufournet of France and (although nowretired) Shawn Johnson of the USA.

 3. What is your favorite Bible verse and how has it exemplified your walk withChrist?

J: I don’t have one favorite but here’s one I like that could be relating to sport:

‘Philippians 4:13- “I can do everything through him who gives me

strength.”

 4. You are 18 and living for Christ. Talk about your walk with Christ as a teenager and if you had any fellowship opportunities on the mat as well.

 J: Unfortunately, religion has not touched the life of any of the other gymnasts I know. I have been able to introduce my boyfriend to Christianity however as hewas brought up in an agnostic environment where religion was never considered!

5. You live in England and are on the British team. Talk about the atmosphere in England as the London Olympics begin next month?

J:  I am in the gym training 6 days and over 30 hours a week so I am generally sheltered from the growing public interest and excitement building ahead of the Olympics but this is good as focusing on my training is the most important thing I can do in order to hopefully achieve my dream of performing well at the London 2012 Games. It seems the Olympic Games are being talked about everywhere you go at the moment though, in shops, on the news… I really hope that Britain will get behind our selected athletes this year and enjoy it!

6. If someone came up to you and were curious about your faith, what would you say to them?

 J: I would tell them a little about myself but then suggest that if they are interested in Christianity they should try out their local church or find some Bible notes and start reading the Bible- the best place to start must be to read the most important stories and messages in the world in the Bible!

 We, at Jesus N Sports, wish Jennifer the best of luck at the 2012 London Games! We pray that she does her absolute best and that to always remember that whether in success or in failure, to God be the Glory!

Steve Cishek: Setting Up For The Lord

Posted: July 11, 2012 by Ricky Keeler in Interviews, MLB

(Photo Credit: Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Coming into the season, one of the more intriguing storylines around Major League Baseball was the newly formed Miami Marlins. They got a new stadium, a new manager, and brought in some big money free-agent signings in shortstop Jose Reyes, closer Heath Bell, and starting pitcher Mark Buehrle.

As we are in the All-Star Break of the baseball season, Miami has gone through many ups and downs. Some of those include manager Ozzie Guillen’s comments about Fidel Castro, their winning record in May, and Bell’s six blown saves in the first half.

For this interview, I wanted to hear from someone in the organization to reflect on their faith and the Miami Marlins. I reached out to set up man Steve Cishek. Cishek has been in the Major Leagues for two seasons and the 26-year-old righty has had the best season of his career so far

In the first half, he went 4-1 with a 2.17 ERA and one save. In 37.1 innings, he had a 2:1 K:BB ratio and only gave up nine earned runs. This includes a 0.56 ERA in the month of July so far. He is unique with his sidearm delivery, but his faith is what makes him a unique individual off the field.

This is my Q+A with Steve that we did a couple of weeks ago:

1. How did you come to know the Lord?

Steve: When I went to Carson-Newman college (Baptist School) I was introduced to FCA and those people that worshipped every tuesday showed me an amazing deal I was missing out on. I was shown through a friend that since I do not have Jesus I can’t make it into heaven and she and one of my team mates brought me to FCA and eventually helped me pray for forgiveness.

2. Who have been some Christian role models on and off the field for you during your walk with Christ?

S: Definitely one of my best friends, A.J. Battisto who is one of the strongest Christians I know. He is rehabbing an injury for the marlins. Also Chris Coghlan has been very encouraging and we have had some great studies together. Our chaplain Chris Lane is also amazing. He takes time to drive 40 minutes out of his way to teach us and guide us in the word for Bible Studies and Sunday Chapel services. 

3. What is your favorite Bible Verse? Why and how has it exemplified your walk?

S: Colossians 3:23. I carry it in my back pocket when I pitch every game. It reminds me that when I am pitching, I can’t pitch to impress our coaches of staff or any team mates. I’m working for God’s glory. With good outings or bad outings he doesn’t care how I pitch. No matter what He loves me. So it takes an enormous amount of pressure off me to perform for a crowd or coaches. And good outing or terrible outing I always thank the Lord for what he has done in my life and for allowing for me to play baseball.
4. Do you feel religion and sports can co-exist today? Talk about the fellowship you have had in the clubhouse whether its with the Miami Marlins or in the minor leagues
S: Christianity and sports can co-exist yes. As ball players we have an amazing platform to be an example of Christian faith. People are always seeing what we do and if we live it out people notice and ask. It is a great platform to share our faith and what Jesus has done for us. The only tough thing is no one is perfect, and since fans watch our every move we sometimes fail, so we need to be careful.

5. If a teammate or coach came up to you wanting to know about your faith, what would you tell them?
S: I would tell them I am a Christian and if they had the time I’d share the gospel with them.

6. How has the first year been in Miami for you guys so far?

S: It has been a blessing. I love the stadium, minus the Cleavender haha. But it is a great atmosphere and a beautiful park. Also Miami is a great city and living here has been great.

7. Talk about what it is like playing for a manager like Ozzie Guillen .

S: It is great. He is everything you want in a coach. He has our backs, and he loves family. When you aren’t performing to his expectations he lets you know it. And he likes to keep it light. We play hard for Him because we know he demands it from us and I hope that will never change. He has been great for the team.

We at Jesus N Sports wish Mr. Cishek best of luck going forward and continue to pray for his walk with the Lord and pray for the Miami Marlins to play the best they can in the 2nd half as well as glorifying the Lord Jesus on and off the field.

You can follow Steve on Twitter: @srSHREK31

Dave Pasch, Broadcasting For Christ

Posted: June 29, 2012 by Ricky Keeler in Interviews

Photo Credit: ESPNmediazone3.com

When I first started this site, I wanted to use my writing/broadcasting talents to serve my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I wondered how I would be able to do that and if there were any Christian broadcasters out there for a young aspiring broadcaster like myself to look too. Then, I talked to one of those men who have been a huge inspiration to me.

His name is Dave Pasch. Pasch currently works for ESPN as the play-by-play man for both college football in the noon slot every Saturday as well as working NBA,  Big East men’s college basketball games as well as women’s NCAA tournament games . You can also hear his voice on the radio doing the play-by-play for the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals since 2002. When I spoke with Dave on the phone last week, I realized that Christians can be broadcasters because we can do all things through the Lord because He gives us the strength to do it, as Paul wrote to the people in Philippi.

I hope this interview as always encourages you as it did me. I thank Dave for taking the time to talk with me and give me some great words of encouragement both for my future career endeavors and along my walk with Christ!

1. How did you come to know the Lord?

Dave: I was not raised in a Christian home. I grew up in a conservative Jewish home. First, I was older, I went to church to learn about Judaism, a woman who is now my wife came up to me to talk to me about Christ. Believing in Christ did not mean turning back on Judaism. That helped me to get started along the right path. Very skeptical, did a lot about reading and researching. It ed to an intellectual belief that Jesus was the Messiah. I eventually had to come to a hard decision to exercise faith, baptism, and repentance. I was convicted to truly get my life together with Christ. I went along with what my wife thought would be best at first, but over time, began to realize that was only through Christ and His transforming power.. It was a process and it was all about making the hard decision. It took time, but about 11 years. 

2. Who have been some of your role models during your walk?

Dave: There have been Christians, such as friends through the church, pastors, Bible teachers, people in the broadcasting business (NFL Network’s Scott Hanson). God has brought alongside me people to help me grow both inside and outside of the broadcasting world. A lot at first was on my own reading and studying the Word. It was about coming to grips with what was true, but people helped me spiritually and emotionally through the process.

3. What is your favorite Bible Verse and how has it exemplified your walk with Christ?

Dave: Two verses: John 1:14 – About Christ being the true tabernacle. He is the King of Kings. Proverbs 3:5-6: Those verses are verses that I believe in and challenge you to believe more. It is a daily thing to trust and not lean on what you only see and understand. I have always been a skeptic.  To truly make a point, you want to be truly convinced before you share that view, just like before you broadcast a game. It is hard to be on air and not be truly convinced what you are talking about. I have to Lean on Him and trust Him to figure things out and that is still a daily battle. Let God direct my path and align my circumstances without manipulating it in my head first.

4. One thing I have always been curious of as a young writer is how can you glorify God as a broadcaster?

D: There are a lot of ways that you could do it such as the ways God has given you. It depends on who you are around. I have been blessed to work with other Christians that have wanted to grow and do Bible studies. I love to teach and God has opened doors to help minister to others. Being a friend and sharing your faith in a respectful, gentle way. There are a lot of ways to glorify God. Your words have to match your life. Love people would be the first thing! Let them see your heart, see how you live. Show that you care! The key is faithful friendships and building relationships.

5. You are a college football play-by-play announcer on ESPN. What are your thoughts on the new four team playoff coming into play in 2014?

D: I love it. It is arguably the most exciting regular season in sports and I think that will continue. With a playoff, it makes the regular season even better. It adds a couple more games to what you have now. It doesn’t make the other bowl games meaningless. It enhances importance of winning a conference championship. People can’t get enough football and ESPN has the best games for the most part. A lot of platforms are there to talk about those games (ESPN , ABC, Live, Final). So many places people could go to even watch replays of game. Fans are given the ultimate avenues. It is more of a reason to keep up on a day-vs.-day basis. Some teams do not play each other. Teams play different caliber schedules and that is the beauty of college football.

6. The Miami Heat last night won the NBA Championship. What are your thoughts on LeBron James winning his elusive first ring?

D: LeBron is the best player in the world. It Silences a lot of doubters. People will never let him forget leaving Cleveland and how he handled it, but there are some people who will change their mind. In terms of how he handles himself, he has a clean reputation, good with teammates, handles himself well in the media. There are a lot of reasons to be happy for him. It is hard to come up with reasons to criticize because he has the trophy. A lot of people didn’t think they would win it all this year and the Heat went through a ton of adversity in the series and even the cramps for James in Game 4. Last year, they played with a lot of hate and there was a lack of fulfillment. He realized some of the criticism was true, so he relaxed and played a different way with his teammates.

7. You cover the Arizona Cardinals as the play-by-play radio guy. Watching mini-camp, what are your thoughts on the team so far? Have you had a chance to talk with any Christians on the team?

D: Yes, when Kurt Warner was here, I became friends with him and a couple of other Christians.There are  players, coaches, administrators who are Christians. I am not around much to develop relationships in-season, but we had a Summer Bible Study a few years ago. There are plenty  of opportunities to share the faith with the team. The team has to figure out who their quarterback is and I think they will figure it out this year. Training camp we will find out for sure, but in the end, Kevin Kolb is the guy based on potential that gives you best chance to win. You want to see it on a consistent basis. In the 4th quarter, Skelton would play great, but what about the other three quarters? Kolb brings more to the table, but does not mean he will win the job and it is not about the money, but the best player to win. You need a quarterback or even two to go far in the season. Throw the ball downfield and get it to those dominant receivers.

8. If you had a colleague come up to you and asked you about your faith, what would you tell them?

D: I am pretty honest and forthright about my faith when it comes up in a conversation. I am a follower of Christ. I would tell them how I came up with that conclusion, continue to help someone understand. I was reading Isaiah and does that reading make sense to you? It is not a commitment you make only with your mouth, but a full hearted commitment. It takes more than just five minutes. Developing a friendship is important! It takes time, but I would want them to tell me what they believe? Be willing to listen to others. Peter always talks about a reason to be ready to share your faith. It is about knowing what you believe and being able to communicate with it.

We at Jesus N Sports, wish Dave Pasch the best of luck at ESPN and with the Cardinals this season. I pray that all of us look at Proverbs 3 and just continue to trust the Lord in everything that we do and lean on Him in everything that we do in our lives. No matter how big or how small, we can ALWAYS go to Him in prayer!

 

Ryan Mathews: An Outfielder In Action

Posted: June 25, 2012 by Ricky Keeler in Baseball, Interviews

Photo Credit: NewsObserver.com

Another feature on the site I wanted to bring was talking not only to professional athletes, but to prospective athletes as well. This involved talking to some minor league baseball players after they were drafted. I wanted to see how they glorify God with their play both in college and how they are preparing for that as they start their professional career.

For this interview, I talked with Oakland Athletics’ draftee Ryan Mathews. Mathews was taken in the 27th round by Oakland out of North Carolina State University. NC State went on a great run in this year’s College World Series, as they advanced to the Super Regionals before losing to the top seeded Florida Gators. Ryan has also been a part of an organization called Athletes In Action, which has helped to strengthen his faith in Jesus as well as members of his team that take part in a Bible Study. Also, he has already spoken about God to two of his teammates down in Phoenix, Arizona.

Here is my Q+A with Ryan. I hope you all come away from it as encouraged as I was:

  1. How did you come to know the Lord?

Ryan:  I grew up in a Christian family. I was going to church every week ever since I was born, but never really lived it. I went my own way in high school and early college, living life nowhere near what a follower of Christ would live like. I got into a lot of wrong things through high school and it wasn’t until the end of my freshman year of college when I realized I had something missing. I knew it was God, but how do I get close to Him? When I came to NC State, I got involved in a Bible Study and it was a key point to me opening up the Bible for the first time and reading the Gospel. I went with Athletes in Action on a mission trip to Alaska that summer. Allowed me to see what it means to stand for Christ. I got baptized at the end of summer.

2. Who have been some of your role models on and off the field?

R: On and off the field, it would be Christ. I am Constantly reminded of Christ’s humility. Often, in sports, it is easy for athletes to try to elevate themselves over other people and society could do that too. I am always drawn back to the Gospel to the way He lived life on Earth and the humbleness He showed on Earth. Living in a world where most athletes are tempted to be higher than they should be.

3. What is your favorite Bible Verse and how has it exemplified your walk with Christ?

R: The Bible verse I write the most during autographs is John 16:33. I like that verse a lot and it relates to my journey because I have had a lot of setbacks in my athletic career. It could have been easy to give up especially in baseball, which is a game of failure. Jesus tells us you will fail, but not to worry because Jesus has already overcome the world.

4. Talk about some of the fellowship you had in college at NC State or in pro ball now. Can religion and sports co-exist today?

R: Definitely. I had a lot of great experiences at NC State. I got involved with Athletes In Action and the organization changed my life through Christ. Several guys in the team are on it as well and it was the reason I came back to my senior year after being given option to become professional. It is compromised of other believers in the athletic program. It was life changing! So many athletes seeking to live through the same way I was. In terms of co-existing, we could use our lives in sports to spread the Gospel. We are Christians that play a sport, not athletes. The way we play the game and the failures and successes allow us to carry ourselves and encourage other guys in a team-oriented sport. The teamwork allows us to build relationships that we don’t get often with non-believers.

5. If a teammate was curious about your faith, what would you say to them?

R: I have actually been able to meet two believers in pro ball. I love opportunities to share my faith. It’s easy for me to relate to the guys who aren’t Christian because of my experience. It gives me a great platform to share Christ for what He has done for me and relate to their life now.

6. For those who don’t know you, what sports player would you say your game resembles?

R: I would compare myself to Tim Tebow because I am not ashamed about my faith. People at NC State probably got sick of me talking about God and Jesus. When someone interviews me, I talk about faith over baseball because God deserves all the credit and the glory! I would rather be remembered as a follower over Christ. I actually had a class with Tebow my first year at Florida.

7. Talk about the great run you guys had at NC State in the Super Regionals!

R: It was awesome. We ended up having over 40 wins and hosting the Raleigh Regional and winning it. The coolest thing about our run was that we had a big lead against Vanderbilt and they came back and beat us. We were in the loser’s bracket and everyone was down. It was shocking to go from having such a huge lead and being in the driver’s seat to facing elimination after losing lead in the 8th and 9th inning. It was late at night, so we had to play a doubleheader the next day. We didn’t have any time to process anything. We won first game vs. UNC-W and then beat Vanderbilt by one run. We played Commodores for championship with no pitching. We got down early by several runs. Down four runs in the 8th inning, we scored five runs in last two innings to win the regional! A miraculous comeback! In the locker room, I kept hearing guy after guy saying they were praying and knew God answered our prayers, even some who did not follow the Lord! Forget the championship, but to hear ten guys says something like that.

8. As you progress through the minor leagues, what is the one thing you are working on improving about your game?

R: Consistency. Major League Baseball involves playing a lot more games and with wooden bats. There is a lot better competition and once you get here, everyone is really good. There is nothing too much specific. I just got to practice and work hard and do the best that I can.

–  We at Jesus N Sports wish Ryan the best of luck with his pro career and pray that he continue to glorify God on and off the baseball field. You can follow him on Twitter: @RMath13