Did you know statistics say half of you have something in common with me today? Half of you have been part of a broken family. When it happened to me, I began searching for ways to escape the pain. Like most broken families, ours didn't have a lot of money. I can remember eating cereal three meals a day and saving redeemable bottles just to have enough money to buy food. I used to stay out on the streets until the middle of the night trying to find ways to keep from going home. I wanted to be doing anything I could do to keep from being reminded of the things that hurt me the most.
Sports became another means of escape for me. I felt if I could go from one sport to the next I would never give myself the opportunity to think. Baseball to football. Football to basketball. Basketball to baseball. The more I played the better I got, and the better I got the more I wanted Steve Foster to shine. I wanted titles next to my name: Cincinnati Red, All Pro, Most Popular, Highest Paid, CEO. I dreamed of the day I would pitch in the World Series and win. I could literally see myself with the ring on my finger, the big house and the fat wallet. It was then I finally realized that I had a problem! How long do people remember who won a World Series? Can anyone tell me who won the '72 series? You see! The resume is wonderful, but titles, possessions and fame could never make me happy.
It was at that time I began to understand that God had created me for much more than the praise of men. He created me and gave me meaning, purpose and direction in life beyond baseball. God loved me, and Christ died on the cross and rose again for me. Realizing this, I made a decision for Christ to come into my life. John 3:16 states "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." We were created with a God-shaped void that only Christ can fill. Having a relationship with Christ is the most important and fulfilling decision I have ever made.
Picture the men who built the first car -- the Ford. They're all standing around it praising one another on what a good job they had done. It looked beautiful on the outside. But you see, that beautiful car body wasn't going to move until it got an engine. It is the same way with us. Until we have an engine -- our heart being directed by Christ -- we can't be the person God wants us to be. We need that relationship.
For me, that relationship meant changes in my life. For example, Christ has taken away the constant fear of what men think of me. This has allowed me to stand up for what is right with my teammates, my friends and others instead of always giving into the pressure to go along with the crowd.
As a result of my relationship with God: 1) I have the motivation to work on strengthening my marriage with Cori, 2) I can work at being a good husband, 3) I can look forword to the future of fatherhood, 4) I can let my guard down and be open with my struggles because Christ knows everything about me and still accepts me -- now that's freedom, and 5) I will think of others before myself. That has taken time and maturity in my Christian walk.
When you discover God's love it doesn't matter if you are a Cincinnati Red, a CEO, a clerk at the post office, a high school student or a homemaker, you begin to grow spiritually and become the person He wants you to be. Before Christ, I ran from my pain and troubles, and believe me, they have not disappeared because of Christ. But Christ gives me the power to look my pain in the eye and deal with it according to His principles!
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