Category Archives: Heroes

Thank God for Jose Altuve An Athlete We Can Look Up To

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I love improbable success stories. And even more, I love it when the person who has succeeded recognizes his story’s Author.

Sports Illustrated recently named J. J. Watt of the Houston Texans and Jose Altuve of the Houston Astros as its “Sportspersons of the Year.”

Both are among the best players in their respective sports, but that’s not the only, or even primary, reason they were selected. As the magazine put it, these “athletes spoke loudest in their actions and words off the field.”

In the case of Watt and Altuve, the emphasis is on “actions.” Specifically, their contributions to Houston’s ongoing recovery from Hurricane Harvey.

Most sports fans, including Christian ones, were already familiar with the almost literally larger-than-life Watt, whose freakish combination of size and athleticism has made him the most dominant defensive player in the NFL.

But until this October, few, if any, knew much about Altuve, the American League’s 2017 Most Valuable Player. His is a story that is so improbable and inspirational that Hollywood would have rejected the script. But, as Altuve will tell you, the Author of his story doesn’t reside in Hollywood.

Part of the improbability is obvious when you look at him. He is listed at 5’6”. That’s two inches shorter than I am and no one has ever called me “tall.” As Tom Verducci pointed out in his article on Altuve, “Over the past decade every one of the MVPs in the NFL and NBA stood at least 6’ 1” with 18 of those 20 standing 6’ 3” or taller . . . The most popular players in baseball, either by All-Star votes . . . or jersey sales . . .  are at least 6’ 3”. We literally look up to them.”

Despite being the smallest player in Major League Baseball, Altuve is its best hitter and arguably its best player. He has won three batting titles, led the league in stolen bases twice, has won a Golden Glove for his fielding, and is a five-time All-Star. According to the advanced statistical metric known as “wins above replacement,” Altuve did more to help his team win games in 2017 than any other player in baseball.

To call this “improbable” is an understatement. At age 16, he was invited to tryout camp in his native Venezuela. He wasn’t invited back for the second day because he was only 5’5.” Urged on by his father, he returned, uninvited, for the second day of camp and over the next few days played well enough that the Astros offered him $15,000 to sign. That was literally one percent of what another Venezuelan player at the camp who eventually washed out of baseball was paid, but, as Altuve says, he would have signed for free.

The rest is, as they say, history. Among baseball’s all-time hit leaders, only three had more hits at age 27 than Altuve: Pete Rose, Ty Cobb, and Hank Aaron.

As I said, an improbable story whose author, Altuve will tell you, is God. Altuve told the Houston Chronicle that, for him, achieving success wasn’t getting “into the major leagues or [having] the best season in the world. The best success is to live your life the way God wants you to.”

He added, “We need to not just ask God but thank Him for everything like our health, our family.” He told CBN, “I feel like every morning when you wake up you have to thank Him just for another day. I do it every day.”

All of which makes Jose Altuve someone we should all look up to, no matter our height.

 

Thank God for Jose Altuve: An Athlete We Can Look Up To

It’s refreshing to hear about a sportsman who acknowledges God’s providence in his life. As believers we should all be able to agree, as Jose Altuve says, “The best success is to live your life the way God wants you to.” To find out more about this exciting athlete, check out the resources linked below.

 

 

 

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Rachel Scott

Listen to a commentary on why we should never forget her.

A Date of Infamy

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Today is December 7 – a day that President Roosevelt said would be “a date which will live in infamy.” On that fateful morning of December 7, 1941, America was attacked without warning. More than 2,400 Americans died and 1,100 were wounded. Our country was changed forever. This attack led us into war, and the citizens of America responded with courage and resolve. So it may be well to reflect on what took place and how we today must also rise to the occasion of the attacks on America by Islamic extremists.

Today is known as National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. It is a day when we honor the lives lost in that attack on Pearl Harbor and also honor the veterans of World War II. But it can also be a day in which we pay tribute to the men and woman who are currently serving in the armed forces in an effort to promote freedom and justice around the world.

( Read the rest of this spot-on commentary. )

Those who honor me, I will honor


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Mike is a follower of Jesus Christ, and he’s an executive with a large printing company founded on Christian principles. They had worked for two years to land this contract with a major publisher, and they got it. Mike told me about the day when their new client brought in their first job. It was exciting until he saw what it was about. It was all about horoscopes. Mike looked at his Sales Manager who had worked with him so hard to sign up this big company. Then he slid the manuscript back across the desk and said to his client, “I’m very sorry, but we can’t print this. See, we try to run our business by the Bible, and this would go against what the Bible says.”

 Read more …

  • faith
  • temptation
  • righteous living

BreakPoint: Thanksgiving 2017 Squanto and the Providence of God

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Hi, I’m John Stonestreet. Today, we want to share a classic Chuck Colson BreakPoint commentary on Thanksgiving, Squanto and the providence of God.

Chuck Colson: Most of us know the story of the first Thanksgiving; at least we know the Pilgrim version. But how many of us know the Indian viewpoint?

No, I’m not talking about some revisionist, politically correct version of history. I’m talking about the amazing story of the way God used an Indian named Squanto as a special instrument of His providence.

Historical accounts of Squanto’s life vary, but historians believe that around 1608, more than a decade before the Pilgrims arrived, a group of English traders sailed to what is today Plymouth, Massachusetts. When the trusting Wampanoag Indians came out to trade, the traders took them prisoner, transported them to Spain, and sold them into slavery. It was an unimaginable horror.

But God had an amazing plan for one of the captured Indians, a boy named Squanto.

Squanto was bought by a well-meaning Spanish monk, who treated him well and taught him the Christian faith. Squanto eventually made his way to England and worked in the stables of a man named John Slaney. Slaney sympathized with Squanto’s desire to return home, and he promised to put the Indian on the first vessel bound for America.

It wasn’t until 1619, ten years after Squanto was first kidnapped, that a ship was found. Finally, after a decade of exile and heartbreak, Squanto was on his way home.

But when he arrived in Massachusetts, more heartbreak awaited him. An epidemic had wiped out Squanto’s entire village.

We can only imagine what must have gone through Squanto’s mind. Why had God allowed him to return home, against all odds, only to find his loved ones dead?

A year later, the answer came. A shipload of English families arrived and settled on the very land once occupied by Squanto’s people. Squanto went to meet them, greeting the startled Pilgrims in English.

According to the diary of Pilgrim Governor William Bradford, Squanto “became a special instrument sent of God for [our] good . . . He showed [us] how to plant [our] corn, where to take fish and to procure other commodities . . . and was also [our] pilot to bring [us] to unknown places for [our] profit, and never left [us] till he died.”

When Squanto lay dying of fever, Bradford wrote that their Indian friend “desir[ed] the Governor to pray for him, that he might go to the Englishmen’s God in heaven.” Squanto bequeathed his possessions to the Pilgrims “as remembrances of his love.”

Who but God could so miraculously convert a lonely Indian and then use him to save a struggling band of Englishmen? It is reminiscent of the biblical story of Joseph, who was also sold into slavery, and whom God likewise used as a special instrument for good.

Squanto’s life story is remarkable, and we ought to make sure our children learn about it. Sadly, most books about Squanto omit references to his Christian faith. But I’m delighted to say that my friend Eric Metaxas has written a wonderful children’s book called “Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving.” I highly recommend it because it will teach your kids about the “special instrument sent of God,” who changed the course of American history.

How great to hear again from Chuck Colson. I know that I and my colleagues at BreakPoint are so thankful to God for all that He accomplished through Chuck’s life.

And this Thanksgiving on behalf of Chuck and Eric Metaxas, I want you, our BreakPoint listeners, to also know how thankful to God we are for you—for all the encouraging words, and prayer and financial support you’ve provided this ministry over the years. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts.

And before I go today, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that my friend Eric Metaxas wrote a great children’s book about Squanto called Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving. We have it for you at the BreakPoint bookstore online.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

 

(This commentary originally aired November 26, 2015.)

 

Thanksgiving 2017: Squanto and the Providence of God

Get your copy of Eric’s book “Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving,” available at the online bookstore.

Resources

The Miracle of Squanto’s Path to Plymouth

  • Eric Metaxas
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  • Wall Street Journal
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  • November 25, 2015
 
Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving

  • Eric Metaxas
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  • Thomas Nelson Publishers
  • August 2012

Thanksgiving Day Quiz

Read it here,  or listen to the audio of it. 

The Point: What Constitution?

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It’s time for a civics refresh. For the Colson Center, I’m John Stonestreet with The Point.

A new study by the Annenberg Public Policy Center finds that Americans are woefully misinformed about basic constitutional provisions. More than half believe that illegal immigrants have absolutely no rights under the Constitution.

Three-quarters of Americans can’t name all three branches of government. And perhaps worst of all, over a third can’t name any of the rights guaranteed under the First Amendment, including freedom of speech, press, or religion.

This doesn’t bode well for public education, which began as a means of producing well-informed citizens. But Christians should be the first to insist on good civic education, because we stand to lose so much freedom.

In his book, “A Free People’s Suicide,” Os Guinness shows how modern views of freedom are incompatible with the views of the American founders, and argues that “the ultimate threat to the American republic will be Americans.”

He also sketches a plan for good civic education—a plan to implement if our Republic is to last.

 

 

Resources

Americans Are Poorly Informed About Basic Constitutional Provisions

  • Annenberg Public Policy Center | University of Pennsylvania | September 12, 2017

A Life Worth Saving and there are many more like him

 

 

 

 
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His message is one more people need to hear. For the Colson Center, I’m John Stonestreet with The Point.

Last month, Congress heard testimony from Frank Stephens, an actor, Special Olympian, and advocate for those with disabilities. Stephens has Down syndrome, but he had something to say in a country where an estimated 67 percent of those diagnosed with the disorder in utero are aborted:

“I am a man with Down syndrome,” he said, “and my life is worth living. I have a great life!”

His story echoes the vast majority of adults with Down syndrome, as well as their families. A study in the American Journal of Medical Genetics shows that 99 percent of individuals with Down syndrome are happy with their lives; 97 percent of parents of children with Downs expressed pride in their child, as well as 94 percent of siblings.

This information has the power to impact the decisions of parents who get hard diagnoses, and shape our society into one where people with disabilities aren’t considered better off dead.

But Stephens can’t get the word out on his own. We need to speak up, too.

Resources

‘I Am a Man With Down Syndrome and My Life Is Worth Living’

  • Conor Friedersdorf | The Atlantic | October 30, 2017
Down Syndrome Awareness Makes a Difference

  • Mark W. Leach | Public Discourse | October 7, 2011

God does love to use Teenager boys, and girls

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God loves to use teenagers. He’s done it throughout history. When you think about it, the blessed virgin Mary was undoubtedly a teenager. David was a teenager when he was anointed king of Israel. Abraham was a young man when God called him. Daniel was only 12 years old. Oh yes, God loves to use teenagers. 

I remember reading how in 1904 in Wales there was a great national spiritual awakening. In nine months over 100,000 people came to Christ and filled the churches. It was a great national revival, and you know one of the triggers that made it happen was a teenage girl singing in a quartet. And she said one night as she was starting to sing, just before the song, she said, “I love the Lord Jesus with all of my heart.” And when she said that there was a touch of God; the congregation started to weep. They fell on their knees. They began to pray and a great revival spread in that part of Wales in 1904. 

How about today? Are you a teenager? Are you allowing God to use you? As a parent, encourage your teenage boys and girls to really walk with God and be used by God. God loves to use teenagers. 

 

This is Luis Palau

 

The Point: History? What History?

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History, schmistory. For the Colson Center, I’m John Stonestreet with The Point.

Christians of all people should be good at remembering. Why? Because our faith is rooted in history.

We ought to remember those who have gone before us, warts and all. King David, for example, was a “man after God’s own heart.” And also a murderer and adulterer. Yet Israel didn’t write him out of Scriptures.

Tell that to Historic Christ Church in Alexandria, Virginia, which will remove two plaques honoring former parishioners Robert E. Lee and George Washington.

George Washington? The church, as Rod Dreher notes, is on Washington Street. Washington’s picture is on the donations it receives. Throw a silver-dollar across the Potomac and you’ll hit the city that bears his name.

Neither Washington nor Lee were towering figures of faith, but they were towering figures of history—and significant members of Christ Church.

A church with “Historic” in the name should put history above political correctness. I’m not saying history should be whitewashed, but to rework a classic phrase, the best way to avoid repeating history is not to forget it.