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Batting With the Bereans

One of the most exciting elements of spring is the beginning of baseball season. The outfield is mowed, the infield freshly groomed and the players make their way on to the field. Some players come prepared to play; others have managed to let the training program go by the wayside. Eventually, all the players get back in shape and are ready to go, come opening day.

The Christian life, however, does not have the luxury of an off-season. Each day presents a new challenge. And each obstacle affords an opportunity for Christians to be God-centered in word and deed.

The Scriptures present a group of God-centered people called the Bereans. These folks were intent on learning and obeying God’s standard as set forth in the Scriptures. Acts 17:11 gives us an inside look at this impressive bunch. “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”

Notice a few things about these godly people:

First, take a look at their personality.  They were noble in character or “noble-minded” as translated in the New American Standard. The reason for their exemplary character is directly tied to their passion; namely, a burning desire to receive God’s message. They received the message with great eagerness, or literally with a readiness of mind. The Bereans approached God and his Word with a sense of expectation and would not settle for anything less.

Second, the Bereans were proactive. They diligently searched the Scriptures to see if the teaching they were receiving lined up with God’s revealed Word. Notice that this searching process which involved sifting everything they heard was a daily occurrence. These people were serious about God’s Word!

One of the greatest ways to emulate the example of the Bereans is to plug into a group of like-minded followers of Christ.  Here you have the opportunity to open the Word of God, commune with him, and develop relationships with people who have similar priorities.

Let me challenge you to “step up to the plate” and take some batting lessons from the Bereans. Let us hold the Word of God high and approach the Christian life with passion, zeal, and joyful anticipation.

Biography · BOOK REVIEWS

THE MATHENY MANIFESTO – Mike Matheny (2015)

“Whatever happened to the love of the game?”  Mike Matheny wants055344669X_b answers in his book, The Matheny Manifesto.  Less than ten pages into the book, I noticed my eyes began to well with tears.  Indeed, the love of the game has been displaced for ego, selfishness, and parents who live vicariously through their kids.

Back to the tears.  As Matheny made his lament, my memory bank rewinded back to the mid-70’s when I played baseball for Lacey Elementary.  I instantly remember the day when my buddy, John Rohr was on the mound.  John loved to throw the knuckle ball.  The only problem is that John’s dad was the manager of the club.  And Mr. Rohr didn’t like the knuckle ball.  So with two down and a runner aboard, John threw a knuckle ball.  “Johnny!” Mr. Rohr yelled.  Strike one!  A glance back to me at second base.  John wound up.  Another knuckle ball.  “I thought I told you …” Swing and a miss.  Strike two!  Another glance back to second base.  Everyone knew what was coming.  John tossed a third knuckle ball and struck out the poor little wretch at the plate!  “You’re out!”  Mr. Rohr couldn’t believe it!  We’ve talked about that scene dozens of times over the last forty years and will probably keep talking for another forty years!

Mike Matheny has a great point.  Young people have lost the love of the game.  I still remember the days of Dairy Queen, … And who could forget the triple play that John Rohr, Steve Robbins, and I turned in 1978.  We never turned another triple play again and I’ve only seen one turned since – at Safeco Field a few years ago.

The Matheny Manifesto is about the love of the game.  Manager of the St. Lewis Cardinals weaves his life story into this fascinating account which is in the final analysis his life philosophy and baseball philosophy.

Matheny explores the keys to success, not just in baseball – but in life.  These keys include:

  • Leadership
  • Confidence
  • Teamwork
  • Faith
  • Class
  • Character
  • Toughness
  • Humility

At the center of the book is a commitment to “old-school” views which find their origin in the teaching of Jesus.  Matheny is quick to give glory to God and is compelled to live out the kingdom priorities of Jesus – both on the field and off.

Perhaps the most impressive feature of the book is Matheny’s commitment to servant leadership, what he refers to as an “upside-down organizational chart.”  Matheny articulates his vision of servant leadership:

The leader, the boss, puts himself at the bottom, in a supporting role, and empowers his subordinates to excel.  Somehow, he loses no power or authority or respect.  In fact, his stature is enhanced because he has honored the people entrusted to him.

While the author shares his original manifesto which was written to parents of a little league team he coached, the essence of the manifesto emerges clearly in the pages of this well-written book.

The Matheny Manifesto will remind you why you love the game of baseball and will spur you on to live life with passion, integrity, honor, and courage!

I received this book free from the publisher.   I was not required to write a positive review. 

 

BOOK REVIEWS · Fiction

CALICO JOE – John Grisham (2012)

John Grisham’s newest novel proves that he is not done writing.  Calico Joe is a departure from the typical legal thriller that readers have grown to love over the years.  This short novel tracks the inner sanctuary of a young boy whose father is a major league pitcher – and a major league loser.  This deadbeat dad mistreats his son and engages in unethical and narcissistic behavior.  He intentionally “beans” a rookie prospect and effectively ends his  career.  The book explores the interplay between selfishness and  selflessness.  It alerts readers to the power of forgiveness.  And it even entertains along the way.

4 stars