Shevon Nieto

May 01, 2018

 

Shevon Nieto is a Jamaican track star. She joked that she was never interested in being on the bobsled team but with her impressive record, there’s no need to think about anything other than hurdles. She was a two-time Olympian in the 400m hurdles and is also a singer and writer.
Enjoy her story below of how she and her husband Jamie have stayed faithful to God through extremely difficult circumstances.

•When did you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior?
I grew up in a household that all went to church. I was baprtized when I was younger so I’ve always been religious. Even being baptized and being brought up in a Christian household, I’d say I officially accepted Him when I was in college. I felt like I was making my own decisions and felt that my life was in my own hands. I had a feeling in college that there was something in my heart that I needed to do. I decided to reconnect myself and I got baptized.

•What do you think should be the main goal of a Christian athlete during their pursuit of Olympic excellence?
Give all the glory to God. Use your talents the best you can to make Him happy and glorified.

•What are your spiritual daily routines and how have those changed since you were young athletes?
We read the Bible every night. We try to walk, live and talk like Christ. On a daily basis, we stay constantly in prayer.


•Shevon, you were a two-time Olympian for Jamaica. Tell us what motivated you to become one of your country’s best hurdlers.
As a high schooler, I looked at my talent and I knew I had a gift. I wanted to get to the highest level and the highest level was the Olympics. It was an honor to make that team. With everything God has given, I try to be the best at whatever He has blessed me with.

•Where did you see God impact you the most during your career?
With being an athlete it takes so much mental focus and physical strength. It calls you to go into a deep place. I get my strength from God inside. I trust in the strength that He gives me.

•You both have amazing stories and continue to keep God first both individually and collectively. Now that you’re married, where did you learn this discipline?
We first have to thank God for putting us together. We pray together, we support one another and we show each other true love. We find how God wants us to treat one another in the Bible. Everything we need to know and learn is in the Bible. It's a guideline for love. I see it in my mom and family.

•Shevon, what do you believe God was telling you during Jamie’s rehab as you stayed by his side throughout the time leading to the wedding?
I knew that he was going to be OK. I knew to be strong and encourage him. This was actually during the time I was getting ready for my third Olympic games but I decided to not go so I could be with Jamie. I was in the best shape I’ve ever been in but knowing the decision I had to make, God was telling me to stay and be there there for him. I already had everything I wanted. The feeling of being on the podium wouldn't be as good as being by
Jamie’s side.

•Your wedding day has been shared with millions. How have you seen God work through that publicity?
The attention the wedding recieved was very touching. People from all over the world supported Jamie. A lot of people thought it was impossible but to share his walk with the world to inspire the world was definitely motivational. He has the support of millions. It was great to see how many people may believe (in Christ) because of him.

•What is one piece of advice you would give to yourself as a young Christian athlete?
Do everything the best you can and God will do the rest.

•Last but not least, what does Play4Him mean to you?
Exactly what it says, always give God the glory and play for Him.


Both Shevon and Jamie have an inspiring faith. The way they have persevered through Olympic and life trials is truly inspirational. Also, Jamie is currently working on a book that is in the editing process. It should be coming out sometime in 2018. As for an update on Jamie’s recovery, he is walking on crutches and he can walk without assistance for small steps! Praise God!

If you’d like to read more about them both, visit their websites at Shevonsworld.com and jamienieto.com.

Jamie Nieto

May 01, 2018

 

Jamie Nieto is a two-time US Olympic high jumper and ranked in the USA’s top 10 for over a decade. He also
is an actor and has appeared in many feature films. You can view his IMDB profile here.
Enjoy his story below of how he and his wife Shevon have stayed faithful to God through extremely difficult circumstances.


•When did you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior?
I grew up going to church. In 2000, I moved to San Diego and I actually remember the day when i
got baptized. It was March 11, 2001 when I got baptized in the same church where we got ended up getting married this past year.


•What do you think should be the main goal of a Christian athlete during their pursuit of Olympic excellence?
Be very prayerful. End of the day He has a plan for all of us. Trust in that.


•What is your spiritual daily routines and how have those changed since you were a young athlete?
We read the Bible every night. We try to walk, live and talk like Christ. On a daily basis, we stay constantly in prayer.

•Jamie, you were also a two-time Olympian but we’ve been told you once high jumped over a Volkswagen. Tell us about that.
It’s simple really. I felt like I could do it so I did it. A filmmaker friend wanted to get footage of it so we did. Kind of cold but I cleared it.

•Where did you see God impact you the most during your career?
I don’t think there’s been a specific moment but I’ve learned that the only way to get to the next level is through Christ. God has been influential through good and bad. I’ve always prayed no matter what.

•You and Shevon have amazing stories and continue to keep God first both individually and collectively. Now that you’re married, where did you learn this discipline?
I like to look to the bishop that married us. He's been married for 45 years. I look at how he’s treated his wife. Their relationship is one of the longest lasting ones I know. He inspires me to love well.

•Jamie, I know I speak for millions of people when we say that you’re one of the most inspirational people we know. After a freak accident you were paralyzed but you stayed faithful to God and even set a goal to walk Shevon down the aisle for your wedding. Describe those feelings and experience when you made that goal a reality?
It was tough but the best way to describe it is like I was training for the Olympics. A lot of hard work. You kind of get more anxious and I wanted everything to go well - praying and hoping everything went well. I had confidence and when I did do it, it was a relief. It was a very special and monumental day.

•Your wedding day has been shared with millions. How have you seen God work through that publicity?
It’s a blessing to see how many people that have reached out and said that I inspire them and how many are still praying. Maybe they don't pray as much and this could motivate them to pray more. I remember the very first words that came to me after the accident, “Dont worry, you’ll be ok. You'll get through this.” It's a tough pill to swallow but I'm touching the lives I need to and that means a lot.

•What is one piece of advice you would give to yourself as a young Christian athlete?
Jamie: Keep praying and believing in yourself. Everything is going to work out.

•Last but not least, what does Play4Him mean to you?
Jamie: It means playing for a higher power, playing to glorify His name. God gives us everything and can give us even more than we imagine.

Both Shevon and Jamie have an inspiring faith. The way they have persevered through Olympic and life trials is truly inspirational. Also, Jamie is currently working on a book that is in the editing process. It should becoming out sometime in 2018. As for an update on Jamie’s recovery, he is walking on crutches and he can
walk without assistance for small steps! Praise God!


If you’d like to read more about them both, visit their websites at Shevonsworld.com and jamienieto.com.

 

Clint Gresham

November 06, 2017

 

This month’s featured athlete is a Super Bowl champion long snapper who played for the Seattle Seahawks and, more importantly, is a man of strong faith. Clint Gresham is now an international speaker and just released a book titled, Becoming: Loving the Process to Wholeness “which unfolds a gripping and inspirational reality check, reminding us all that the point of life is not the destination, but the journey. Each of us is in the process of becoming who God designed us to be.” Clint provided Play4Him great insight into how he found worth in God and not through his status as a professional athlete.

First off, can you tell us about your book you just released and how you have seen God work throughout the process?

The book is a story which taps into all of things that make up what it means to walk in “wholeness.” I define wholeness as giving up hope for a better past, relinquishing control for a perfect future, and choosing joy and courage right where your feet are. It shows how much of the Seahawks coaching philosophy regarding “the process,” can be traced back to scripture. It will also show people the “false fathers,” which are the things we all look to for love and identity, and show them how to build their life on “the rock.” It’s also about my own story of wholeness and choosing joy. It took a year of my life. I started writing after the Seahawks cut me. It was shocking. I had two years left on my contract. I was at the top for a long time. I decided I gotta figure out who am I. It’s helped me navigate my own identity as a football player. Life is about transitions and I think many will hear their voice on these pages.

 

What are the best stories you’ve received from readers?

Biggest thing is people saying “I thought I was the only one dealing with these doubts, etc.” Church is fantastic because it gives us views of success but those views can turn to judgment. Truth is, we’re all working through something. We need to show others our scars. We can find freedom. “Doubting” Thomas says ‘Let me see the scars on the hands and I’ll believe.” I appreciate Thomas’ honesty. Even though he was wrong, he was right to share struggle. It changed his life. A lot of believers are unwilling to show scars. Scared to look bad. We should want to be authentic.

 

How has writing this helped you personally?

Writing this book helped me grieve the death of my identity as a football player. All of us tend to put our identity in the thing which makes us feel the most significant. Writing this, helped solidify my identity in Jesus.

 

When did you accept Christ as your Lord and Savior?

I love stories of people who have specific moments. I don’t have one and don’t think people should feel pressure to have one either. It’s a process. We make that decision every day. Yeah, I’ve had mountaintop experiences but I say today and every day I’m gonna choose Jesus despite what flesh and emotions tell me.

 

Tell us about your experience being baptized in the Jordan River. That must’ve been an amazing experience.

It was so crazy. Just being in Israel was insane - to walk where Jesus walked. It was an inspiring moment and made the Bible come alive. Something I reflect back on all the time.

 

You can say for the rest of your life, “I’m a Super Bowl champion.” You’ve reached the ultimate goal athletically. What is that like?

All of us said for months, “I keep waiting for it to sink in that we won.” I realized what we all meant was “I keep waiting for this thing to make me happy like I thought it would, and it hasn’t.” It didn’t make all my insecurities go away. It’s cool to show people when I go to speak somewhere around the world, but ultimately anything we look to that is external for significance, has the potential to create a fragile life.

 

Do you ever have a time while playing with the Seahawks where God provided you a divine appointment that sticks out among the rest?

I actually talk about that in the book. There was a teammate that always brought watches to games or when we were traveling. He must have had over $100,000 worth of watches. I told him “You’re more than that,” and he said “I’ve got an image to uphold Gresh”. I know he believed what I said, but sometimes It’s too scary to make changes when we are afraid of what others will think. The praise of people is addicting. Everyone wants to be loved, wants to be significant.

 Another story… I lead a men's group. 10-15 guys. One guy started crying because he was scared of getting cut from the team. He said “Man, I cant do anything else.” I was watching this guy’s identity slip through his fingers. I’ve had lots of conversations to help guys make transitions. Every athlete becomes a former athlete at some point.

 

Is there a specific verse you live by? If so, what is it and why?

John 3:17. I always sign that on autographs. Its says,“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” I think that was one of the biggest hurdles I see with non-believers. They think God is a condemning jerk. God came to bring hope. He didn’t come to condemn; He came to save.

 

You’re now an inspirational speaker that has spoken at many churches, conferences and venues. How do you prepare spiritually for each event?

A lot of it is trusting my own preparation. I learned that in football. Just like any other skill, you practice and you get more confident. I recognize that I don't have all of the answers. People appreciate honesty. I share my story, heart, insecurities, doubts, etc. Because of that, it’s less of a performance. Like I did when I played, I’ll watch video and see what I could have done better. I try to be honest and truthful with myself.

 

Who has made the biggest impact on your life spiritually?

It’s actually the guy that I dedicated my book to, Phil Pratt who was my second cousin. He was my spiritual father. He passed away on Father's Day last year. He was a father to so many people. He influenced the beginning of a major change in my life.

 

What advice would you give to athletes wanting to go pro. How do you suggest they prepare physically and spiritually?

Focus on what you have control over - body language, attitude and work ethic. Never compare yourself to others. Every year I had to fight for my job but I would never compare myself to the guys the Seahawks brought in. Always choose to be the best you every day.

Also, Young Life is a huge part of my story. I had a life outside of football, which is very important. And because it was all about serving others, it helped me see that their was more to life than a sport.

 

Finally, What does Play4Him mean to you?

The title is everything. We play for Him. That guards are heart from performing for people. God is interested in your heart. He's not disappointed by our play. The reasons we feel we let people down is that we play for them. That can’t be the main thing. What has to be greater is the pursuit of honoring God, your sport and doing it all for Him.

 

If you want to learn more about Clint you can go to ClintGresham.com. Read his blog, check out resources for his new book along with the workbook that accompanies Becoming. You can also follow Clint on Twitter and Instagram @gresh49 and like his page on Facebook, Clint Gresham.

Michael Kiyoi

July 17, 2017

 

Photo Courtesy: LAAviators.com

Ladies and gentlemen, meet our very first Ultimate Disc League feature athlete “The Sultan” Michael Kiyoi of the Los Angeles Aviators. Michael was a part of the San Jose Spiders American Ultimate Disc League championship team in 2014 as well as honored as one of the top Players to Watch in 2015.  He took the time to flex his spiritual muscles and share how God has provided him strength through a sport that continues to grow in popularity throughout to the country.


Who do you connect with most in The Bible and why?

I connect with David the most because of the songs he wrote. I have a great love of music and appreciate the depth and importance of each Psalm. Through music we can experience God's love, grace, and creativeness. It offers such a powerful form of praise/worship and David was a true master of it.


Do you have a specific verse or passage you live by?  

Psalm 139 has been a passage that I live by and reflect on often. It points to the knowledge, power, love and eternal sovereignty of God. Verses 23-24 state "Search me, O God, and know my heart. Try me and know my thoughts. And see if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way of the everlasting!" This passage is both challenging and humbling knowing that it is a continuous process.


While Ultimate is growing in popularity throughout the nation, how do you find ways to share your faith?

The way I share my faith is by example and through prayer. If I can live in a way that is glorifying to God it can draw people to ask why. When people ask why I tell them. I also tell my teammates and people in the community that I'm praying for them. Prayer is very powerful and even people that aren't Christian can appreciate it. It demonstrates that you care about them and are thinking about them. Often times it can lead to a non-evasive discussion about faith and God.


Where do you experience God the most in your daily life?

I experience God most through music and playing ultimate. When I'm playing ultimate we are usually outside on a great field or beautiful beach. Before every game or practice we have a tradition of checking in. This is a time for us to focus our minds and prepare for what we are about to do. Before I play I always pray the same four things:

  1. Help me to glorify God and play fairly
  2. Keep everyone safe and injury free
  3. Help me to play for the team
  4. Help me to do my best

Praying these things helps me keep my priorities straight and experience God to the fullest.


What advice would you give your younger self about faith?

I would encourage my younger self to always trust God and know that His plan is good.



As a Christian, how do you think you can make the biggest impact on your team?

I think my biggest impact is helping us to stay positive and play fairly. Spirit of the Game is a governing idea that encourages everyone to be honest, play clean and treat others well. It is a concept that is in line with Christian ideals and something I feel is unique in our sport. Spirit of the Game is very important and we want our team to be known as fair athletes.


Finally, what does Play4Him mean to you?

To play for God is the most important priority and means a great deal to me. God has blessed me so much and it is a true privilege to play ultimate. As for the organization Play4Him, I think it is an awesome and extremely important thing. There are so many young people that look up to professional athletes and it is fantastic that they can see them living glorifying lives even with great success. It's also great to give insight on how a Christian athlete views their job and faith.



While Michael has been honing his craft on the field, he has been a great example of Christ off the field as well. He came down with a season ending ACL injury prior to the 2015 season but he didn’t say “woe is me” and abandon his brothers on the team, he stuck around as an assistant coach for the season. That is just one example of how Michael reflects God and allows Him to use him to his fullest potential. Michael also volunteers in the community and impacts many through his selflessness and work ethic.


You can follow Michael Kiyoi on twitter @MichaelKiyoi

Trevor Oaks

June 23, 2017

Photo Credit: Tony Capobianco

 

This month's featured athlete is a rising star in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization. Currently playing for the Oklahoma City Dodgers (AAA), Trevor Oaks was recently named the Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Week. But it's not because of what he does on the field that he is a Play4Him featured athlete. It's because of Who he plays for! We were able to hear from him about what life is like as a professional baseball player and what it means for him to Play4Him.

 

How has your faith developed over the years from high school, college and now being on the professional level? 

At a Christian High School, I evaluated my spiritual life based off what sins I didn't do, instead of what Christ has done. Saying you were a Christian was easy because you were constantly spoon fed Bible verses and devotions. As I moved into College, I was still being influenced with Biblical teaching, but the training wheels were off and I was able to start making decisions on my own. I began to figure out who I was and see what kind of person I wanted to be. Then once I started professional baseball, I realized how much of a commitment it was to be a Christian. It is so easy to say the right things, but to actually live the right way is a lot more difficult. I have learned that being a Christian takes work; you can't just let everyone make the decisions for you. You have to choose this day who you will serve.

 

Can you explain how going to a religious institution like California Baptist University impacted the way you incorporate God into your career?

I've gone to private Christian schools my entire life and I wouldn't have it any other way. With my Christian education, I feel that I am not only better equipped to handle the ups and downs of baseball, but I have a better understanding of what I'm trying to accomplish. The ultimate goal is allowing God to use me in any way he wants and building personal relationships with my teammates and coaches. I'm thankful for my upbringing and all of the great Christian teachers and coaches along the way that have shaped and polished my character.

 

Where have you seen God make the biggest impact in your career?

Everyone looks at professional athletes and idolizes their lifestyle. On the outside, everything looks amazing and perfect, but a lot of people don't see how lonely it can be, especially for Christians. The first couple years of professional baseball, I had a really difficult time making quality friendships. I had multiple friends on the team, but no one that I could rely on spiritually to keep me accountable and be that loyal friend. I had been praying for a while that God would provide a friend that I could lean on throughout the season. This year, he brought a guy on the team that has a lot of big league experience and wanted to play for one more season to come back and help out some younger players and impact them spiritually. I later found out that he and his wife had been praying that God would provide a player for him to talk to throughout the year. Talk about an answer to prayer! It has been such a blessing to know that God orchestrated the whole situation and provided a friend that has been there and understands the struggles that I'm going through.

 

What is the best piece of spiritual advice you have ever received?

When I was going through the draft process in 2014, I was worrying about every pitch I threw- making sure I was throwing hard enough for the scouts and trying to impress them. My performance started to suffer and my grandfather called me and asked what was going on. After explaining my thoughts, he said that I needed to give my worry to God. Whenever I stood up there and saw the pitch the catcher put down, I needed to let go of the result and just focus on hitting the spot with the best stuff I had that day. "Give it to God" applied to everything that I worried about, and I still use it all the time.

 

Finally, what does Play4Him mean to you?

Play4Him means that it's all about God. My whole purpose in life is to love God and to be ready to be used by him. In a culture that's constantly focused on self-promotion, I want to use this platform to point back to God and make sure people know that it's all about Him and His plan.

Ryan Carpenter

March 20, 2017

 

Our newest Play4Him featured athlete is part of one of the best teams in the National Hockey League, the San Jose Sharks. While establishing himself as a top prospect in the organization, Ryan Carpenter has contributed on the ice and most importantly, in the community. He's been an American Hockey League All-Star and, in 2016, was named as the AHL's Man of the Year for his outstanding contributions to the local community and charitable organizations. Ryan has been the hands and feet of Christ throughout his early career in professional sports and sets a example of how athletes can use their platform to make God known. We caught up with Ryan to chat about his foundation in Christ and how that has transformed him into the athlete and man of God he is today.

When did you personally accept Jesus Christ as your Savior?

I grew up in a Lutheran church and was confirmed at 13 years old. That being said, my faith never became my own until I was a Freshman in college. I was carrying around so much guilt and shame for things in my past. I confessed a lot of my past to a pastor of the campus church and he told me that God still loves me, he forgives me, and God can still use me. I had heard that so many times growing up in church, but when the pastor told me that, it was like fresh water to someone dying of thirst. It gave me hope and experiencing that forgiveness changed me from the inside to where I wanted to live a life that honors Jesus.

 

Do you have a specific verse or passage you live by?

Two verses come to mind:

  1. Colossians 3:23 - to see my training and preparing for games and practices and hard work as something that can honor Jesus.
  2. Ephesians 4:29 - in the heat of competition it can be a battle to lose my cool or think/say negative things to teammates or even myself after a mistake. This reminds me to use my words to build up my teammates and challenges me to be a blessing to my team.

 

 What is the most rewarding part of being a Christian professional athlete? 

Just being able to play hockey for my job is a dream come true. Ever since I was little I wanted to play pro hockey and eventually in the NHL. I still feel like a really big kid when I go to the rink everyday. That being said, having a relationship with Jesus has given me a different perspective on being a pro athlete. I really enjoy getting to share my life story to younger athletes to offer hope and encourage them to use their talents and platforms to make an eternal difference.

 

Here's a funny question...What biblical character do you think would be the best hockey player and why?

King David just because that man was a fierce warrior.

 

How have you grown spiritually since becoming a professional athlete? 

My spiritual growth has been a slow, steady process with a lot of different seasons. The one approach I try to stick to comes from 1 Timothy 4:7 talking about training for godliness. It’s important for me to have my alone time with Jesus for prayer and Bible study, to have fellowship with other believers, and be on mission in whatever city/team I’m playing for. Up, In, and Out. When there is a balance of those three things in my life, I find myself growing the most spiritually and feel like I’m abiding in Christ the most.

 

Do you have conversations with non-Christians on your team about your faith very often? If so, how have you seen God work in those conversations?

Just depends on the teammate. Guys know where I stand on certain issues just from being with the Sharks organization for three years. They see me every day so I hope my character and the way I live my life and the joy that Jesus gives me speaks for itself. I also believe that eternity is written on everyone’s hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11) and so everyone is interested in spiritual matters to some degree. I try my best to avoid forcing conversations about my faith as that can push someone away and make our relationship feel awkward. I don’t want to come across as a salesman, but I’m also not ashamed for what I believe. Also, people want to know that you care about them before they will probably open up to you about deeper stuff.

In college, a teammate gave his life to Jesus and got baptized my junior year. It all happened during a time when I had back-to-back injuries and I missed half the hockey season. Over time, he would ask more and more questions and that gave me the chance to share what Christ has done and is doing in my life. We are still really close friends to this day.

 

As a Christian, how do you think you can make the biggest impact on your team?

I think the biggest impact I could make is an eternal one which would be to point someone to Jesus.

 

Who have you seen exemplify Christ best in your life?

Probably my wife Alexis. Being married you learn quickly how selfish and self centered you are. So many times I have had to ask for forgiveness and grace and she shows me that. Her love for me is a committed, uncoditional type of love, not just based on a feeling, and that’s the same love Jesus has for us.

 

Finally, what does Play4Him mean to you?

It’s so cool to see Play4Him connect athletes to fans and athletes of all ages. It always inspires me when I hear about what God has done and is doing in the life of others and how faith impacts our sports and the way we play the game.

---------------

We want to thank Ryan for taking the time to chat with us while the regular season is winding down and the Sharks are looking to make another Stanley Cup run. If you would like to keep up with Ryan, you can follow him on social media @CarpyDueces

Brett Phillips

March 05, 2017

One of this month’s Play4Him featured athletes is not only the Milwaukee Brewers’ seventh top prospect (according to MLB.com) but he has a laugh that is arguably more contagious than yawning. Seriously, his laugh will make your day. Watch it here. But what is more impressive than his skill on the field and his contagious cackle, is his love for Jesus Christ. As most of you are aware, Spring Training is in full swing and we caught up with Brewers’ outfielder, Brett Phillips, to talk about how his faith in God has helped him thrive throughout his rise to become one of Major League Baseball’s top prospects. 

How did you come to know Christ?

So I went to a Christian school from Kindergarten to 4th grade where I was introduced to Jesus and a lot of the stories from the Bible (thanks to Veggie Tales) but I didn't actually accept Christ into my life until 7th grade. I was at a public school now, and a guy by the name of Gary Hunt ran a Bible study club early before school started. I only attended these weekly clubs because he gave out free donuts for everyone who was there. (Let's be real, who doesn't like free donuts!?) So one day he (Gary) was talking about the way to Heaven, and the only way to Heaven which is accepting Christ into your heart, and that was something I wanted to be a part of. That's where my journey started.

Do you have a specific verse or passage from the Bible you live by?

Isaiah 41:10 says "Fear not for I am with you, be not dismay for I am your God, I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” I just love what Christ is telling us in this verse. My interpretation of it is simple, don't fear anything on a day to day basis because the Lord has “Gotch you Homie!”.

What struggles/temptations have you faced on a consistent basis as a Christian throughout your career?

With being in the baseball business, nothing is guaranteed on a daily basis. Whether you're going to be healthy one day or on the DL [Disabled List] the next. Whether you’re going to have a job tomorrow or you don't. Nothing is promised and it's scary to think about. I need to trust in the plan that He has for me and look to Him in every situation I find myself in.

Has there been a specific moment in your career you've had to step out in faith in a major way?

Not (one specific moment). Baseball has grown me closer to the Lord than I've ever been. Simply because of the solid people I've met along the way who have challenged me to be the best version of myself in the image of God.

How have you grown spiritually since becoming a professional athlete?

I've recently gotten baptized thanks to The Increase Conference (held for Professional Baseball Players once a year) and it has seriously propelled my Faith in an upward direction. Without baseball, who knows where I'd be in my Faith and if I would've met the right people to have helped me out and showed me what it's truly like to Love the Lord.

How do you relate to non-Christians on your team?

The answer lies time after time in the Bible and also in the 2nd Commandment. Said from Christ himself, "Love thy neighbor as you love Thyself." Who am I to judge anyone!? So I just try and love on each and everyone and show them that Christ lives inside me and loves them too.

What role do you think Christian athletes should play on their team?

When you accept Christ into your life you take on a responsibility to go out and make disciples of all nations. By doing so you have to be a role model of good character and judgment and show that you can walk the walk and not just talk the talk. A lot of people can sit back and claim Christ but what are they doing to separate themselves as a Christian to show non-believers the way to Heaven?


Who have you seen exemplify Christ best in your life?  

There are a few people who I have in my life that keep me accountable and it's not always easy doing so, but for you to grow in your faith and spiritual renewal you need help not only from God, but also solid believers around you to keep you grounded. A few guys would be…JJ Johnson who was a baseball coach of mine in high school. Rob Willey, Andy Wilson, and Greg Blankenship are all Men of Christ who have hosted me with their families through my minor league career and they are all men who exemplify how to truly live for Christ. Whether it's a family member or a friend or mentor, find someone in your life who has the best interest in you and isn't afraid to tell you you're wrong.

How do you find ways to glorify God through your play?

I've been put on a platform because of baseball, where what I say and do can be viewed anywhere from a thousand people to millions of people and it's an opportunity to show them that Christ lives inside of me. Whether it's the joy and passion I show on the field to taking the time out of my day to talk to fans or sign (autographs) for them. Whether it's a pre-game prayer on the field or a point up to God after a homerun; these are just a few ways I show an outward relationship that I have [with] Christ to the people around me.

Finally, what is best piece of spiritual advice you've ever received in your career?

The best advice I've heard is that I'm not a baseball player who happens to be a Christian but I am a Christian who happens to play baseball so don't let baseball define who are as a person. Your self worth isn't defined by what you have or what your status is. Your self worth is in Christ alone and that itself is all I need.

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We want to thank Brett for taking the time to share how God has impacted him in countless ways throughout his life and baseball career. God has blessed Brett with amazing athletic abilities and he has worked tirelessly to hone those skills while giving God all the glory. We wish him the best of luck this Spring and look forward to watching him continue to Play4Him throughout his career. If you would like to keep up with Brett Phillips, you can follow him on Instagram and Twitter @Brett_Phillips8

Scott Shimada

February 28, 2017

When God first planted the idea of Play4Him in my head a few years ago, my plan was to just make a couple of team videos. I never intended to start a non-profit. I never intended to make so many individual videos. Or sell shirts. Or pass out player cards.

           But God had other plans.

           He brought so many people into my life at just the right moment to help me. He made it very easy for me to see that Play4Him was not started by me but by Him. There is no way that I alone could connect with all the talented and amazing people that have helped get Play4Him off the ground.

          
           With that being said, I would like to introduce someone that God has blessed us with and the newest member of the Play4Him team - Jon Root. Jon, who is currently the San Jose Sharks In-Arena Host and played football at Azusa Pacific University before recently moving to the Bay Area. He will be the Blog Coordinator, where he will make connections with Christian athletes around the country, interview them and write for our blog. He has a heart for Jesus and has a great desire to share his faith with others through his career in sports and entertainment. Welcome to the team, Jon!       

          I am excited to announce that we will be posting blogs. Hopefully this will be another way we can reach people for Jesus. Our hope is to not only reach those that do not know Jesus personally yet but also encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ in their walks with Him.

Tye Waller

January 19, 2016

It's a privilege to work with a man like Tye Waller.  He exemplifies what Play4Him is all about.  As we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, here are his words about him.

You can also view all of Tye's Play4Him videos at: http://play4him.org/pages/tye-waller

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It is impossible, in fact, to have courage without fear. Courage is another key word in regard to persistence. Courage is the ability to stand up in the face of fear. Fear, however, is a positive thing when it gives birth to courage.

Martin Luther King Jr. was a man who exemplified the traits of courage, passion, persistence, commitment, and dedication amongst others. Dr. King’s commitment to the fight for what he believed in was one of truly having a dream and doing whatever it took to make it a reality. What Dr. King had to persevere in his attempts to get the Negro genuine equality in America was a test of his faith. Dr. King’s passion to see the Negro free was relentless and something that he would never turn his back on. Passion is a desire that is stronger than death; out of this a leader is born.

As we once again celebrate the birth of Martin Luther King Jr., Dr. King’s voice is still speaking to us from the grave. Dr. King’s words were full of life and power that they are still productive today. It wasn’t how long he lived; it was how strong he lived. His voice still speaks through so many people well after he is gone. Dr. King used his voice to give the Negro their rights, as human beings were what he lived for.

What speaks to me today is how he used his faith and the Word of God along with biblical principles to fight his battles in life. Having the ability to walk by faith and not by sight, Dr. King could see how his life and words have progressed to today. The Bible says out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. This truly shows what was inside of Dr. King’s heart that still produces fruit today. I wonder if he would be satisfied? I will let you be the judge of that.

Has Dr. King’s dream become what he dreamed about? What he was willing to live for, he died for. He continued the fight in spite of the abuse, the attacks, the persecution, extensive criticism, and living every day under the threat of death.

Dr. King’s legacy has made the world a better place through the exemplary life that he lived by. We should all take a page out of Dr. King’s book and pursue the things that can make a difference in the world today. What is it that burns in you that were put there from above by the Creator Himself? What is inside of you that will speak now and from the grave, long after you’re gone, that can make a difference in your world and those that you can touch? I believe that we all have something inside of us that the world needs and is why God Himself put us here if we utilize the gift that He gave us.

My prayer is that we all find a way to nurture and refine the gift that God gave us that can make our world a better place by touching the lives of those we are in contact with. Let the words that Martin Luther King spoke of come to life within us to help us get to the mountaintop and to continue to make his dream a reality.                            

                                                                                                                     -Tye Waller