Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

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.

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Photo Credit: John McDonnell/Washington Post)

For the next part of our Jesus N Sports Interview series, I called up a great college football player as well as a great brother in Christ. He is going to be a redshirt junior at Virginia Tech this fall. He is also expected to be one of the top Heisman candidates this season as well a projected top five-top ten pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.

His name is Logan Thomas. Logan started his career in Blacksburg as a backup to Tyrod Taylor. 2011 was Logan’s breakout year. He completed about sixty percent of his passes, threw for over 3,000 yards and nineteen touchdowns. But, what makes Thomas special at his position is that he is a dual-threat quarterback. He also ran for 469 yards and eleven touchdowns. He can make plays with both his arms and legs. This is why he is a Heisman Finalist and is working on leading the Hokies to great things in 2012.

When conducting this interview, I felt truly blessed to have ten-fifteen minutes of Logan’s fellowship. As you read the Q+A that we had, I hope you are all as encouraged as I was reading this interview. I know I say that a lot, but talking with all these athletes has given me great encouragement to keep striving for the Gospel and running the race! I hope and pray this leads you along that path as well:

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

L: When I was young, it was in my family. I was raised by my grandparents and I went to church every day. They have been together for 47 years now. I was saved when I was five years old thanks to my grandparents.

2. Who have been your role models along your walk with Christ both on and off the field?

L: My main role model has been my grandmother. She calls me twice a week and reminds me to pray every day. On the field, never really had a role model till Kevin Durant who is not afraid to show his faith.

    3. What is your favorite Bible Verse or the Bible Verse that best exemplifies your walk with Christ?

L: Psalm 23 – Every day is a struggle, every day is a fight. With God’s help, the day will go by easier and He will always have your back.

4. Logan, do you think religion and sports can co-exist in today’s locker rooms? Talk about some of the fellowship you have had with teammates at Virginia Tech.

L: Religion and sports can co-exist. Guys in our locker room are not afraid to stand up for what they believe in. We do share time every Friday where a group of guys who are saved have a chapel. We have speakers come in and tell stories. Last year, before the Marshall game, we had a guest speaker tell the story and a lot of his brothers got saved. It was one of the most joyous Friday nights of my life.

5. If a teammate came up to you and asked about your faith, what would you say?

L: First, How well do you know Christ? God has always been there for me and you even if you don’t know Him. You never know what kind of struggle you are going through. Many people blame God for struggles, but they do not know God can pull out of them. They will see how God is working in my life. You tell them about the Bible and to read the books and you tell them how to be saved. We have a team chaplain, so I would take a brother on my team under my wing and be there for him. Our team chaplain has been a blessing for all of us. His name is Johnny Shelton and he has helped me in my walk drastically.

6. You guys just finished up spring practices. How is the team looking so far?

L: We are looking pretty good. Our offense and defense will be stronger than we are last year. Guys are clicking on all cylinders. We have more seniors that know what they are doing and are ready to step up. Questions about our tailback, but the tandem/trio can make up for the loss of David Wilson. Our goal is a division championship, then an ACC Championship, and hopefully a National Championship.

7. My last question is what is it like to play for Coach Beamer?

L: It’s an honor to play for Coach. He is a great guy, he is not afraid to let you come in his office and that is how the whole coaching staff is.

We at Jesus N Sports wish Logan and the Virginia Tech Hokies the best of luck in 2012!

Finishing Strong

Posted: June 3, 2012 by Ricky Keeler in 2012, MLB
Tags: , ,

Photo Credit: MIke Stobe/Getty Images

The fans waited over fifty years and 8,019 games for history to happen.Friday night, it happened for the New York Mets over at Citi Field with their ace Johan Santana. Yes, for the first time in franchise history, a Mets’ pitcher finally threw a no-hitter in their 8-0 win over the St. Louis Cardinals.

For Santana, his night did not come with its usual control of his pitches (five walks), but what amazed me about his performance was his endurance. He came into the year with issues about his shoulder, having missed last year due to shoulder surgery. He threw a whopping 134 pitches! The Mets have been one of the surprise stories in baseball this year with their 29-23 record (as of June 1st) and are doing better than their cross-town rivals right now.

What I want to focus on is the no-hitter itself. It is tough to get the last out in baseball, but it is also grueling to get through all nine innings without allowing a hit. You can be dominant, but sometimes have to rely on your defense like Santana did when he was assisted by Mike Baxter’s great catch in the 7th inning.

The 9th inning is the toughest. Just knowing you are three outs away from history, it is tough [with all the fatigue] to finish with the same kind of stuff that you started with. David Freese of the Cardinals gave Santana a tough last out, but that 134th pitch was a swing and a miss to seal the deal!

As Christians, we have a similar scenario. We are taught to finish the race and run the course with Christ! However, it is not an easy feat. Just take a look at one of the heroes in the hall of faith (Hebrews 11). It is the judge Gideon. People tend to focus on the story of Gideon in terms of the good things he did and how he went from working in a winepress as the lowest in his family to becoming a leader of 300 men in his defeat of Midian. (Judges 6-7)

However, what goes overlooked is the power and prestige he got and how he changed as a person. After his defeat of the two kings of Midian (Zebah and Zalmunna), Gideon felt a sense of power and vengeance, killing the people of Succoth and Penuel who would not help them by providing aid to him and his battle weary troops. This was not the same timid Gideon we were introduced to in Judges 6 & 7. After the defeat, the people of Israel approach Gideon and request that he become their king. Gideon responds by saying the right things:

I will not rule over you, and my son will not rule over you; the Lord will rule over you.” (Judges 8:23)

To some, this sounds like a denial of a position, but to others, it could sound like a qualified acceptance. Towards the latter part of his life, Gideon acts more like a king by making a golden ephod that had Israel go into spiritual idolatry or taking on many wives. He even names his son Abimelech, which means “My father is king”! He does not back up the theology he speaks with his actions.

Today, I exhort you to keep the faith and finish strong. Unlike King David, Gideon did not repent for the sins he committed, so first, I pray that you continue to repent to Jesus of all your wrongdoings as will I. But, don’t look ahead to the end! We are not promised tomorrow and we are called to live for Jesus EVERY DAY! ‘Finish Well’ today is the key here! I know it may seem tiring, but God did not say there would not be trials and tribulations along the way! Think of ways, in which we can finish not only today, but this weekend, or the rest of this week.

In the end, I hope that we can all be like Paul who said “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7).  As I wrote earlier, that 27th out can be the toughest, but we have to remember and thank God for getting that 27th out for us on the cross for our salvation when He said “It is Finished!” (John 19:30)