What's the most exciting thing that ever happened to you? Professional baseball has provided me with plenty of excitement and a lot of memorable moments.
I remember how excited I was when I first signed to play pro ball with the New York Mets following three very successful years at Lakewood High School in Southern California.
Catching one of baseball's finest pitchers, Dwight Gooden, for a full season in 1984 was a pretty incredible experience as was getting my 500th hit in 1991.
But my greatest big-league moment came when I was first called up to the majors in September of 1983. There I was in front of thousands of spectators at Philadelphia Veterans Stadium with the likes of Pete Rose, Mike Schmidt and Joe Morgan on the opposing team.
I strolled to the plate for my first major league at-bat and smashed a home run. The feeling was indescribable, and I thought that nothing in the world (outside of perhaps winning a World Series) could be more exciting.
This may surprise you, but I was wrong. I discovered that no home run, no World Series ring, no amount of money and no amount of fame can compare to the joy of knowing God through a personal relationship with his Son Jesus Christ, because that's the only thing that will last beyond our lives here on earth. Not only did I experience real joy through this relationship, but I also experienced a genuine sense of peace on the inside of my life that I never had before.
Playing with the Montreal Expos was an experience that I'll treasure forever. It gave me an opportunity to interact with some players who really had their lives in order. They had a real purpose for living, and it wasn't for the riches of this world and baseball. Their desire was to please God in everything they did and to show love and concern toward others.
That experience helped me gain a greater understanding of what real love is all about. The greatest way that I can show love and concern toward you is to share the truth about God's love for all of us.
It takes the right ticket to get into the ballpark, and the only ticket to heaven is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ -- there is no other way. Jesus said "I am the way, and the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me." (John 14:6)
When I discovered these truths in the Bible, I realized that I needed more than just a dose of God on Sunday morning or night. I needed to ask God to forgive me for pushing Him aside and being selfish. When I invited Jesus Christ into my life, I didn't drastically change overnight. I still make mistakes, but when I continually seek God's guidance, wisdom and plan for my life, I can walk with the Lord. Seeking His guidance includes regularly reading the Bible, praying and having fellowship with other Christians. These things are important when you make a decision for Christ.
Baseball is not the most important thing in my life, but knowing God has helped me as a ballplayer. I'm very competitive, and God doesn't expect me to be timid. He wants me to give 100 percent every time I take the field. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, "God did not give us a spirit of fear but a spirit of power and love and self-control." That's what I pray for daily.
Let me leave you with this. God has blessed me with a beautiful wife Teri, a beautiful family and a successful major league baseball career. The Lord has many blessings in store for you if you'll ask Him into your life. I pray that you will make that decision today.
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.