Posts Tagged ‘God’

Photo: Josh Turner

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.

OPPORTUNITIES

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.

JOSH’S PASSION

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.

JOSH’S INSPIRATION

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.

THE CHALLENGE

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.

JOSH’S WALK

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?

Yes indeed.

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.

Favorite  scripture?

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.

Photo: Bob Jones University Athletics

Photo: Bob Jones University Athletics

“I just want to exalt Jesus Christ as much as I can.”

I was blessed with the opportunity to visit with Ray Holden, JR about his passion in life. Ray plays basketball for the Bob Jones University Bruins. This past season was the inaugural season for the Bruins basketball program but this also was the first athletic season for the University.  The Bruins play in the USA South Athletic Conference and are a Division III athletic program. Bob Jones is a Liberal Arts College located in Greenville, SC and has an enrollment of about 4,000 students. Ray is one of them majoring in Youth Ministry and playing basketball. He wants to exalt Jesus in every dribble he makes on the court and every walk he takes off the court. His passion is sharing the love of Christ with everyone around him. Here is his interview with me:

Tell me a little about yourself-where u from? family?

My name is Raymond (Ray) Holden Jr., I’m 19 years old, a freshman Youth Ministries major at Bob Jones University. I am a proud athlete for the BJU Bruins basketball program. I’m from the inner city of Baltimore, Maryland and I have five other siblings, three older brothers, one older and one younger sister. My dad passed away six years ago and God has blessed me with a great mom who is loving, hard-working, and amazing in all that she does.

What made you go to Bob Jones University? talk about Bob Jones a little bit please.

It was truly the Lord’s plan for me to attend Bob Jones University. At the time I was running away from basketball and BJU didn’t have a team but they do have an outstanding ministry program and that’s the primary reason why I was attracted to the school. Bob Jones is a Liberal Arts College with an emphasis on building their students up to be great men and women for Jesus Christ. The school does a great job exposing its students to a number of things whether its drama, operas, sports, etc.

Talk a little about your coaches.

I couldn’t have been blessed with a better coaching staff. All the coaches have impacted me not only to be a better player but to be a better man as I grow in the Lord. I have been given books to read and inspirational posters or text messages a number of times that have encouraged me to do my best for God’s glory.

I saw that you are majoring in Youth Ministry? Is that your passion?

Youth Ministry is the biggest passion I have! Jesus Christ saved me at a young age and has changed my life dramatically as a teenager. I believe that teenagers and even those who are younger are the future and reaching them for Jesus Christ can have a huge impact on the World.

What is your passion in life? Would you like to go to the NBA one day?

My biggest passion in life is Youth Ministry but I would love to play in the NBA if I ever had the chance to. Reason why is because it’s such a huge platform to share Christ with others. Sometimes I dream of being the Tim Tebow of basketball.

Is there a difference going to Christian college than a non-Christian college?

I believe there is a difference between attending a Christian College and a non-Christian College. I have experienced both and I am more appreciative of attending a Christian College because I am constantly fed the Word of God whether it’s through class, chapel, small groups, basketball or personal devotions. Also, the environments are totally different in a number of ways and at a Christian College you really don’t have to worry about a lot of things. Well at Bob Jones you don’t lol.

What is its advantages and disadvantages?

Some advantages of a Christian College are spending time in God’s Word in chapel every day. Opening God’s Word with a body of believers is a blessing and having that freedom to worship is a privilege. Another advantage is that there are a lot of people who share the same faith as you. Also, the teachers and faculty do their best to help you grow in Christ as well. In addition, at a Christian College you really don’t have to worry about things like safety or things being stolen. Some disadvantages of a Christian College are becoming “stale” in your faith. Sometimes it is easy to hear God’s Word and tune out the preacher. Another disadvantage of going to a Christian College is meeting people who think they are holier than others.

Tell me about the Bruins? Was this season their first basketball season?

We just finished up our inaugural season and it was a great experience. Even though it was our first ever basketball season we did a good job being competitive with most of the teams we played and represented Christ well. We also progressed and learned how to deal with adversity as the season went on.

Your theme this year was Know God. What does that mean to you?

To me, knowing God is more than just having a head-knowledge of who God is. Knowing God is knowing Him through experience and having that personal relationship with Him that is solid and genuine. There’s a difference between knowing of someone and getting to know someone. When you get to know someone you spend time getting to know all about that person to help build your relationship.

Tell me about your Spiritual Journey in life: Share your story of how Christ has changed your life.

Growing up I was a rebellious kid with a really hard heart. I honestly didn’t care about life and I was quick to step on someone else to get the things that I wanted. To make a long story short by experiencing things the hard way and through a number of circumstances God got my attention and I trusted Him as my Savior at the age of nine. I struggled living the Christian life because I was living a double life. Around my friends I would do things to make it seem like I was tough but in church I would put on a whole new facade that people could see and know that I was a believer. I was challenged a number of times through sermons I’ve heard to be sold out for Jesus and not live a double life like James 1:8 tells us. So, I responded and told God I wanted to go into full-time Christian service. Ever since I’ve made that decision I have moments where I struggle but God is always shaping me and refining me through the refiner’s fire to convict me of sin so that I can confess it to Him and repent from it. It’s an ongoing process.

When did you start your journey with Christ?

March of 2004 is when I accepted Christ as my Savior and ever since then God has been faithful and has been molding me into the man who He wants me to be.

Who instilled your faith in you?

My Youth Pastor Aaron Finley

Was there someone one in your life who influenced you spiritually?

Three men come to mind: My Youth Pastor Aaron Finley, my high school coach Chris Gorham, and a teacher in my high school John Gorham. These three men have always been there to answer questions for me or just sit down and talk with me on how to live a spirit filled life. These three men have influenced and inspired me so much growing up and I thank them for that.

Has there been any dramatic events in your life that has shaken your faith or pulled you away from it? If so, how did not let your faith been shaken and how did you stay strong?

Although I didn’t have the best relationship with my father, I think when He passed I struggled the most because I know he died without Christ. I was always questioning God and asking Him why did He allow that to happen. Shortly after I lost my dad my best friend since 1st grade was hit by a car and killed. I didn’t understand but I would constantly remind myself that God’s ways are not our ways nor are His thoughts our thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9). I also viewed the death of my father as God calling me to the ministry because our lives in this world are only but a vapor and if I’m going to share Christ with someone I cannot hesitate and think that they will be here forever because they won’t. So it has encouraged me to step up and share the gospel when I’m given the opportunity to.

Is there someone now that helps you in your spiritual walk?

My coaches here at BJU, my high school coach and my youth pastor.

Where do you attend church at?

Grace Bible Baptist Church in Baltimore, Maryland.

Did you ever have to choose between faith and sports growing up and today?

Yes, Steve Pettit my sophomore year of high school, that summer had preached a message on double-mindedness and I realized I was double minded because I wanted to play basketball for the rest of my life but also be in the ministry.

Is it hard to be a Christian and play basketball?

It can get tough because as a believer in Christ you always have to be careful of how you react to different things on and off the court.

Any great stories of how you have witness to others about Jesus?

I was in Chicago doing a basketball missions trip with my high school team and we made bracelets just like the wordless book bracelets with the colors-black, red, white, green, and yellow-but instead of string we used a basketball net. Anyway, we were doing some sight-seeing in downtown Chicago and someone came up to me and asked what was the meaning of my bracelet. I shared the gospel with the teen and asked him if he knew Jesus Christ as his personal Savior he said no. So I asked if he was interested in accepting Christ as his Savior and he said yes. That day in the inner city of Chicago near the Giant bean I led a teen to Christ, gave him a bracelet, and encouraged him to tell his friends the gospel as well.

Has sports challenged your faith or faith challenged your sports?

My faith has challenged my sports by testing me on whether or not I was really playing sports for my glory or God’s glory.

What does it mean to be a role model?

To be a role model is to be a leader or an example setter. These people have to be willing to lead others in a positive way, and to impact the lives of those following their examples.

Is it hard as a Christian athlete w temptations that are all around you?

It is difficult because people tend to place you on a pedal stool and soon pride will creep in just before you stumble. I try to remind myself daily that the pleasure in Heaven is far more and far greater than the temporary pleasures we can receive instantly down here on Earth.

Faviorte scripture? Faviorte song?

Two Favorite songs because I can’t have one haha are His Robes for Mine by Chris Anderson and Struggle by Tenth Avenue North. My favorite passage in the Bible is Acts 20:19-24

What verse has been the most powerful to you with your walk with Christ and how has it?

Philippians 3:7-8 says, “But what things were gain to me those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord for whom I have suffered the loss of all things and do count them but dung that I may WIN Christ.” The things in this world that I achieve and gain are nothing compared to what I can have in Jesus Christ.

What advice would you give my 11 yr old son who plays basketball but has to sit on the bench sometimes.

Remember if you quit now that will be the pattern of your life. Your time will come and once you are given that one shining moment make sure you play hard to please your Savior not man and God will bless you for that. 1 Cor 10:31

Any other comments you might like to say.

“What it all boils down to is that I’m a nobody who knows Somebody that everybody should know and that’s Jesus Christ!”

Ray tore his ACL and Meniscus recently. This is what he said about going through this ordeal in life. “At first I was a little down about it but I thought to myself maybe this is God trying to get my attention. When sheep wander away from the shepherd, excuse the analogy, but the Shepherd breaks the leg of the sheep so that the sheep would not wander away anymore and now has to depend on the Shepherd. God has something to teach me and I’m honored that He chose me to have this injury because He wants our relationship to grow.”

Ray is a great young man and I’m so thankful to have this opportunity to share his passion with you all. I decided to start writing more about Christ and sports. The best way to do that is to interview these athletes who are passionate more about Christ than they are about the sport they are playing. Look for more interviews to come. Thanks to Ray for blessing us with his story and sharing with us his passion.