Bill Sampen began his baseball career in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization in 1985. He is originally from Emden, IL and played at MacMurray College in Jacksonville, IL. He and his wife, Amy, and his three boys reside in Brownsburg, IN. Bil currently serves as the Senior Associate Pastor at Bethesda Baptist Church.




Bill Sampen

The fact that I have had the chance to pitch in the major leagues is almost amazing. Something I still have trouble believing it.

The feeling I had during my major-league debut, after acquiring my first win and after notching my first save was pretty amazing too.

Although these are times I will never forget, I have discovered over the years that there is more to life than winning baseball games. Follow along and I'll explain.

When I was growing up my main concern was playing sports. I was always playing some form of basketball or baseball. That's all I wanted to do. Then in high school I was cut from our local American Legion baseball team. After high school I didn't see any signs of playing either sport in college anywhere. Sports seemed to be failing me for the first time. So I began to rely more heavily on friends, and wherever peer pressure led I follower. I was looking to have a good time, and if I couldn't find it in athletics I would look to my friends.

Looking back I can see that the good times I had with my friends have one thing in common with the good feelings I had from baseball: the enjoyment never lasted. I felt happy for a little while, but when the feelings were gone I needed something else to make them return.

This may surprise you, but not even a successful baseball career, money, fame or possessions can satisfy your desire for lasting joy and happiness. I discovered in 1984, however, that there was something that could do just that. The answer: a personal relationship with God's only Son, Jesus Christ.

You see, I grew up believing that if I went to church, was a good person and believed in God, I would go to heaven when I died. But it was later pointed out to me that the Bible didn't agree with Bill Sampen's plan for salvation. It had an altogether different plan.

The Bible says that eternal life is a gift of grace (Ephesians 2:8-9), and that I could never do enough to earn God's glory (Romans 3:23). I discovered that the only chance I had to find favor with God was to ask Jesus to take over my life. In John 14:6 Jesus says, "I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father except through me." The "no one" included me.

I finally realized that the hole in my heart was in the shape of Jesus Christ. When I tried to fill the hole with sports, material things and friends, they just wouldn't fit. It was like trying to make a square peg fit into a round hole. It just wouldn't go. The only person who would fill my heart was Jesus.

If you would like to know more about Jesus and what He can do for you, just click the button on the left side of your screen to change your life.