Steve Cishek – 1 Corinthians 10:31

Steve Cishek

Pitcher Steve Cishek.  Photo by Keith Allison

The New Year will soon be upon us.  We prepare to say goodbye to 2017 and welcome in 2018.  Many of us will use this as an opportunity to recommit ourselves to live better lives than we’ve been living. 

My very first blog post here on A Lamp unto My Cleats was about relief pitcher Steve Cishek.  Cishek will be experiencing a new beginning this year as well.  On December 16, 2017, he signed as a free agent with the Chicago Cubs; his 4th big league team.

Below are Cishek’s thoughts about New Years Day;

“So many people go out and make New Year resolutions.  New Year resolutions are a great thing, but how many people actually stick to it and follow those changes they want to make?  Let’s look at a list of New Year resolutions made by people this year:

  1. Weight Loss/ Working Out
  2. Stop Smoking
  3. Learn Something New
  4. Eat Healthier and Diet
  5. Be Less Stressed
  6. Drink Less
  7. Make a Health Appointment
  8. Devote More Time to Hobbies
  9. Visit a New Destination
  10. Help Someone Else (described: so it will make you feel better)

All of these resolutions are not necessarily bad things.  In fact many, if not all, are good ideas.  However what [is] the common theme of these resolutions?  Self.  Self improvement, making yourself feel better, satisfying yourself… you get the idea.  As Christians, we need deeper and less self-centered resolutions.  Resolutions that bring God all the Glory.  1 Corinthings 10:31 says, “so, whether you eat, or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

Cishek has some suggestions as to what a Christian New Year’s Resolution should look like.

  1. Resolve to serve Christians in the church
  2. Resolve to believe God is good, wise, and sovereign when life is tough
  3. Engage in Gospel conversations with people in my life
  4. Putting to death fear of man
  5. Resolve to softening our hearts while listening to the Word.
  6. Pray and actively engage in these resolutions

May God bless each and every one of you with a safe, happy, and healthy 2018!  To read further on Cishek’s New Year’s Resolutions, check out his blog.

James McCann – Mark 10:27

 

James McCann

Detroit Tiger Catcher, James McCann.  Photo by Keith Allison

 

1-in-4.

Jim and Carla McCann were a Christian couple living in Southern California.  About 5 years into their marriage, they were ready to start a family.  Carla became pregnant, and, for nearly 9 months, everything was perfect.  About 3 days before he was due to be born, the boy stopped kicking.  Carla went to the doctors and learned that her greatest fear had become reality; her baby boy had died in the womb.

The doctors told the young couple that they could try again, but that it would likely take a long time for her to conceive, due to the trauma her body had just experienced.  A few months later, however, she was expecting another baby.

13 weeks into the pregnancy, Carla receive terrible news.  She had suffered a tear in the amniotic sac.  The child in her womb was given a 1-in-4 chance of surviving.  Even if he did survive, however, he was almost certain to be born with mental or physical disabilities.  They were given their options and advised to have an abortion.

Carla tells Jason Beck of mlb.com; “Being people of faith, we decided we were going to see it through.  It was a leap of faith, but it really wasn’t more than what other people do every day – putting one foot in front of the other.”

Only Carla didn’t take many steps at all for the next 6 months.  She stayed in bed, watching a lot of Lakers games and a lot of Dodgers baseball games.  She jokes that she named her son James after James Worthy, and knew he would be a baseball fan because of how much baseball she watched.

On June 13, 1990, Carla gave birth to a healthy baby boy!  He had no physical handicap.  No mental handicap.  When she first saw her newborn child, her first words to him were “not bad for a 1-in-4 chance.”

That child grew up to be an All-American Catcher at the University of Arkansas.  He became the 76th overall pick for the Detroit Tigers in the 2nd Round of the 2011 draft.  He made his major league debut on September 1, 2014, and became the Tigers starting catcher the following year; pretty impressive for a man that was never supposed to be born in the first place!

James McCann knows why this all happened.  It was all a gift from God.  He now includes his favorite Bible Verse, Mark 10:27, along with the autographs he signs.  Jesus says “With man it is impossible, but not with God.  For all things are possible with God.”  This verse is very personal to McCann.  He explained in an interview with Liberty University; “From day one, the doctors said it was impossible.  That’s man telling my parents it was impossible.  And, obviously, God had other plans… But when you put your faith in God and you trust in god, He has a bigger and better plan that that.”

In Galatian 6:17, Paul says that he bears in his body the marks of Jesus.  He urges the Christians in Galatia that, when they gaze upon the scars from the beatings he suffered for trying to preach the Gospel, they should be reminded of the wounds that Jesus suffered for them on the cross.  Likewise, the life, health, and success of James McCann serve as a daily reminder of the power of God.  To Him, all things are possible; even what man says is impossible.