Tuesday, July 03, 2007

A Good Wait At The Dentist

I was at the dentist a couple of weeks ago, sitting in the waiting room. At my last couple of visits I hadn't really had to wait at all, so I thought I'd just sit there. But then I noticed there were several others in the waiting room with me, and a couple of them got called in while I was waiting. So I finally decided to cave in and look for a magazine. I moved to a different chair near an end table with a stack of magazines and picked up a sports magazine that I'd never seen before. It was "Sharing the Victory," which is a part of the ministry of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). The cover story was about one of my favorite baseball players, Atlanta Braves right fielder Jeff Francoeur. In it, I learned a lot about Francoeur that I hadn't known previously, including the fact that exactly one year before he made his Major League debut, he was sent to the hospital after being hit in the cheekbone by a 95 mph fastball while squaring around to bunt.

Some of the Q&A from the article (read the whole article here):
Jill Ewert: Obviously you’re passionate about impacting kids, and I know you do a lot of speaking for FCA. Why is that important to you?

Jeff Francoeur: FCA has always been special to me because I got saved [at a retreat] in Black Mountain, N.C., when I was a sophomore in high school. So, I go back every year to do the Winter Recharge with about 400 to 450 kids. It’s a lot of fun. And then I speak at two or three different banquets during the off-season.

I know when I was in FCA, I loved the chance to worship with other people I never knew were Christians. And I think through it you just develop friendships and the chance to grow with other people.

Ewert: Talking about guidance and accountability, one of the most recognized Christians in baseball in John Smoltz. Can you tell me how he’s helped you spiritually?

Francoeur: He helps me out so much. When I got called up in 2005, he took me aside and let me know who on the team were strong Christians I could learn from. That was great because, as a young guy coming up, you’re just trying to fit in. You see all these guys who have been on TV for years, and they’re your role models; but at the same time you have to stay grounded and know where you are spiritually so that you don’t fall. You have to set standards that you won’t sway from. And I think that’s what I’ve tried to do the last couple of years—just let the guys know where I stand with my faith. When you do that, it makes it a lot easier, and guys respect you more.

Ewert: Another veteran Brave, Julio Franco, also said in reference to your group of young players, “We’re raising them to be winners.” Based on what they’ve taught you and what you know about God, what does it mean to be a winner?

Francoeur: People always talk about winning and losing, and I think to be a winner means a couple different things. First of all, when you wake up in the morning you realize that the most important thing is your relationship with Christ. That’s first and foremost in anything. And then, that everything you do is for His glory. Sometimes in this game you can get so lost in doing things for yourself and being selfish. Nobody’s perfect. You like seeing your name up on the scoreboard, you like seeing people wear your jersey; but you have to remember that it’s God who has allowed you to do that. He’s put you in a great position to give the glory to Him.

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