Baltimore Orioles’ Luke Scott faithful to ‘planting seeds’ while hitting ‘lefties’ & ‘righties’

By JOSHUA COOLEY
Special to Florida Baptist Witness

BALTIMORE (FBW)—Aaron Cole vividly remembers the first time he met Baltimore Orioles slugger Luke Scott.

It was a cold winter morning nine years ago. Scott was a junior outfielder on the Oklahoma State University baseball team with a nose for trouble. He and Darren Heal, his best friend and teammate, loved to carouse. When the two of them got together, they were “ornery,” as Cole recalls.

Days before the meeting, Scott’s mother, Jennifer, called Cole out of the blue. She and her husband, David—residents of DeLeon, where they attended First Assembly of God church—had become Christians several years earlier and now felt a deep spiritual burden for their son. Though Luke had been reading the Bible Jennifer gave him two years earlier, there was no discernable fruit in his life.

Jennifer looked up the First Assembly of God congregation in Stillwater, just a few miles from Oklahoma State’s campus, and dialed the number. Cole, the church’s longtime senior pastor, answered her call, and after listening to her story agreed to contact Luke.

He didn’t have to. Two days later, Luke walked into the church unannounced and introduced himself: “Hi, I’m Luke Scott. My mom said I need to talk to you.”

And so began the radical spiritual transformation of one of baseball’s most outspoken Christians.

On June 9, 2001—a year and a half after he met Cole—Scott placed his faith in Christ.

“God has worked miracles in my life and brought me here, and I’m very thankful,” Scott said. “It’s the best decision I’ve ever made.”

The Orioles, it appears, made a pretty good decision by acquiring Scott. He came to Baltimore in the December 2007 blockbuster trade that sent five-time All-Star shortstop Miguel Tejada to the Houston Astros for five players. In his second full major league season last year, Scott, 30, hit .257 with 23 home runs and 65 RBI in 148 games playing mostly left field.

“I was very pleased to see the talent and the power and the ability to play every day,” said Orioles hitting coach Terry Crowley. “I don’t say that lightly. He can hit lefties, and he can hit righties.”

For Scott, the climb to everyday-player status was arduous. Drafted in 2001 by Cleveland, he spent his first three years in the minors, got traded to Houston shortly before the 2004 season and didn’t enjoy a full big-league season until age 28, when he batted .255 with 18 home runs and 64 RBI in 132 games in 2007. But the Astros, with a glut of outfield talent in Lance Berkman, Carlos Lee and Hunter Pence, considered Scott expendable.

Scott’s first season in the American League was a wild roller-coaster ride. He hit. 279 in March/April, .212 in May, .333 in June, .185 in July, .326 in August and .181 in September/October. He is hoping to rediscover his 2006 comfort zone, when he hit .336 with 10 home runs and a .621 slugging percentage in 65 games after being called up for good by Houston.

“God had a big test for me [in 2008],” said Scott, who still resides in DeLeon Springs for part of the offseason and attends his parents’ church. “It’s the same with 2007. I had an Achilles’ [heel] injury, and I kind of changed my batting stance a little. I was locked in during 2006. I haven’t felt that the last two years. I kind of miss it, but I have the potential to do so much better.”

The Orioles acknowledged the potential by avoiding arbitration and signing Scott to a one-year, $2.4 million deal in January. He is an extremely diligent player who takes notes on every pitcher he faces and religiously reviews video footage of his at-bats, looking for any helpful morsel of information.

“He’s one of those guys that when he gets hot, he can carry you for awhile,” said Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail.

But Scott’s one-year contract also sends a signal that the Orioles aren’t fully convinced that he is a long-term solution to their rebuilding project. Despite his solid play in left field last year—he only made two errors in 205 total chances—he will likely be relegated to mostly DH duties this season thanks to Baltimore’s acquisition of 24-year-old prospect Felix Pie this offseason. Nick Markakis, 25, who just signed a six-year, $66 million contract in January, is entrenched in right field, and rising star Adam Jones, 23, looks like a keeper in center.

Scott is taking everything in stride.

“I’d like to stay healthy throughout the year and maximize the potential the Lord has given me,” he said. “I’d like to get back to 2006. That would be nice. I’ve worked hard to get here.”

Spiritually speaking, Scott’s clubhouse presence is a boon to any team. He’s a faithful prayer warrior and a winsome ambassador of Christ, according to those who know him well. In fact, Scott led Cincinnati Reds center fielder Willy Taveras to the Lord when they were roommates during their time in Houston’s organization, according to Cole.

“It’s amazing to me how many people in pro baseball have been affected by Luke,” Cole said.

Chris Adomanis, the Orioles’ Baseball Chapel leader, will be relying mainly on Scott and second baseman Brian Roberts to be strong spiritual influences on the team and invite players to Bible studies.

“We are to be in the world and not of the world, and that’s what they’re doing,” Adomanis said of Scott and Roberts. “We want to really focus with those guys this year on being a witness for Christ.”

Ultimately, Scott sees this season through the lens of a biblical allegory. He is a farmer who has worked his fields and is anticipating a bountiful spiritual crop, both on the diamond and in his relationship with God.

“I’ve been planting seeds,” Scott said. “Now I’m waiting for the harvest to come. There are a lot of things I don’t understand. God’s ways are higher than mine. But whatever he wants me to do, I’ll do. He is faithful.”

Original Article: http://www.floridabaptistwitness.com/10182.article

Sandra felt as low as the heels of her shoes when she pulled open the florist shop door, against a November gust of wind. Her life had been as sweet as a spring breeze and then, in the fourth month of her second pregnancy, a “minor” automobile accident stole her joy. This was Thanksgiving week and the time she should have delivered their infant son.. She grieved over their loss.

Troubles had multiplied.

Her husband’s company “threatened” to transfer his job to a new location. Her sister had called to say that she could not come for her long awaited holiday visit. What’s worse, Sandra’s friend suggested that Sandra’s grief was a God-given path to maturity that would allow her to empathize with others who suffer.

“She has no idea what I’m feeling,” thought Sandra with a shudder “Thanksgiving? Thankful for what?” she wondered.. “For a careless driver whose truck was hardly scratched when he rear-ended me? For an airbag that saved my life, but took my child’s?”

“Good afternoon, can I help you?”

Sandra was startled by the approach of the shop clerk. “I . . . I need an arrangement,” stammered Sandra.

“For Thanksgiving? I’m convinced that flowers tell stories, ”

she continued.. “Are you looking for something that conveys ‘gratitude’ this Thanksgiving?”

“Not exactly!” Sandra blurted out. “In the last five months, everything that could go wrong has gone wrong.”

Sandra regretted her outburst, and was surprised when the clerk said, “I have the perfect arrangement for you..”

Then the bell on the door rang, and the clerk greeted the new customer….

“Hi, Barbara, let me get your order.” She excused herself and walked back to a small workroom, then quickly reappeared, carrying an arrangement of greenery, bows, and what appeared to be long-stemmed thorny roses. Except the ends of the rose stems were neatly snipped; there were no flowers.

“Do you want these in a box?” asked the clerk. Sandra watched was this a joke? Who would want rose stems with no flowers! She waited for laughter, but neither woman laughed.

“Yes, please,” Barbara replied with an appreciative smile.

“You’d think after three years of getting the special, I wouldn’t be so moved by its significance, but I can feel it right here, all over again,” she said, as she gently tapped her chest.

Sandra stammered, “Ah, that lady just left with . . . uh . . ..

she left with no flowers!”

“That’s right,” said the clerk. “I cut off the flowers. That’s the ‘Special’. I call it the Thanksgiving Thorns Bouquet. Barbara came into the shop three years ago, feeling much as you do today,” explained the clerk.. ” She thought she had very little to be thankful for. She had just lost her father; the family business was failing; her son had gotten into drugs; and she was facing major surgery. That same year I had lost my husband,” continued the clerk. “For the first time in my life, I had to spend the holidays alone. I had no children, no husband, no family nearby, and too much debt to allow any travel..”

“So what did you do?” asked Sandra.

“I learned to be thankful for thorns,” answered the clerk quietly.

“I’ve always thanked God for the good things in my life and I never questioned Him why those good things happened to me, but when the bad stuff hit, I cried out, ‘Why? Why me?!’

It took time for me to learn that the dark times are important to our faith! I have always enjoyed the ‘flowers’ of my life, but it took the thorns to show me the beauty of God’s comfort! You know, the Bible says that God comforts us when we’re afflicted, and from His consolation we learn to comfort others.”

Sandra sucked in her breath, as she thought about what her friend had tried to tell her. “I guess the truth is I don’t want comfort. I’ve lost a baby and I’m angry with God.”

Just then someone else walked in the shop.

“Hey, Phil!” the clerk greeted the balding, rotund man.

“My wife sent me in to get our usual Thanksgiving arrangement, twelve thorny, long-stemmed stems!” laughed Phil as the clerk handed him a tissue wrapped arrangement from the refrigerator..

“Those are for your wife?” asked Sandra incredulously.

“Do you mind telling me why she wants a bouquet that looks like that?”

“Four years ago, my wife and I nearly divorced,” Phil replied. “After forty years, we were in a real mess, but with the Lord’s grace and guidance, we trudged through problem after problem, the Lord rescued our marriage. Jenny here (the clerk) told me she kept a vase of rose stems to remind her of what she had learned from “thorny” times. That was good enough for me.

I took home some of those stems. My wife and I decided to label each one for a specific “problem” and give thanks for what that problem taught us.”

As Phil paid the clerk, he said to Sandra, “I highly recommend the Special!”

“I don’t know if I can be thankful for the thorns in my life” Sandra said to the clerk. “It’s all too . . fresh.”

“Well,” the clerk replied carefully, “my experience has shown me that the thorns make the roses more precious. We treasure God’s providential care more during trouble than at any other time.. Remember that it was a crown of thorns that Jesus wore so we might know His love…. Don’t resent the thorns.”

Tears rolled down Sandra’s cheeks. For the first time since the accident, she loosened her grip on her resentment. “I’ll take those twelve long-stemmed thorns, please,” she managed to choke out.

“I hoped you would,” said the clerk gently. “I’ll have them ready in a minute.”

“Thank you. What do I owe you?”

“Nothing. Nothing but a promise to allow God to heal your heart… The first year’s arrangement is always on me.”

The clerk smiled and handed a card to Sandra. “I’ll attach this card to your arrangement, but maybe you would like to read it first.”

It read:
“My God, I have never thanked You for my thorns. I have thanked You a thousand times for my roses, but never once for my thorns. Teach me the glory of the cross I bear; teach me the value of my thorns. Show me that I have climbed closer to You along the path of pain. Show me that, through my tears, the colors of Your rainbow look much more brilliant.”

Praise Him for the roses;

thank Him for the thorns.

God Bless all of you.

Be thankful for all that the Lord does for you.
“Live simply, love generously, care deeply, speak kindly,
and leave the rest to God..”

New  Pledge of Allegiance

Now  I sit me down in school
Where praying is against  the rule
For this great nation under God
Finds mention of Him very odd.

If  Scripture now the class recites,
It violates the Bill of Rights.
And anytime my head I bow
Becomes a Federal matter now.

Our  hair can be purple, orange or green,
That’s no offense; it’s a freedom thing..
The law is specific, the law is precise..
Prayers spoken aloud are a serious vice.

For praying in a public hall
Might offend someone with no faith at all.
In silence alone we must meditate,
God’s name is prohibited by the state.

We’re allowed to cuss and dress like freaks,
And pierce our noses, tongues and cheeks..
We can carry smut, but not the Bible.
To quote the Good Book makes me  liable.

We  can elect a pregnant Senior Queen,
And the ‘unwed  daddy,’ our Senior King.
It’s ‘inappropriate’ to teach right from wrong,
We’re taught that such ‘judgments’ do not belong..

We can get our condoms and birth controls,
Study witchcraft, vampires and totem poles.
But the Ten Commandments are not allowed,
No word of God must reach this crowd.

It’s scary here I must confess,
When chaos reigns the school’s a mess.
So, Lord, this silent plea I make:
Should I be shot; My soul please take!
Amen

Bret Lane is the brother in law of a very close friend.  He has Cron’s Disease and is now in ICU with a stomach full of infection.  The doctor’s feel he may not make it, but he can make it with the help of God.  Let us pray for him and ask God that if it is in His will, that he will survive, so that if he is in need of salvation, that his family may bring it to him.

Thank you very much.

April 27, 2009

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington , DC 20500

Mr. Obama:

I have had it with you and your administration, sir. Your conduct on your
recent trip overseas has convinced me that you are not an adequate
representative of the United States of America collectively or of me
personally.

You are so obsessed with appeasing the Europeans and the Muslim world that
you have abdicated the responsibilities of the President of the United
States of America. You are responsible to the citizens of the United States.

You are not responsible to the peoples of any other country on earth. I
personally resent that you go around the world apologizing for the United
States telling Europeans that we are arrogant and do not care about their
status in the world.. Sir, what do you think the First World War and the
Second World War were all about if not the consideration of the peoples of
Europe? Are you brain dead ? What do you think the Marshall Plan was all
about?

Do you not understand or know the history of the 20th century? Where do you
get off telling a Muslim country that the United States does not consider
itself a Christian country? Have you not read the Declaration of
Independence or the Constitution of the United States? This country was
founded on Judeo-Christian ethics and the principles governing this country,
at least until you came along, come directly from this heritage. Do you not
understand this?

Your bowing to the king of Saudi Arabia is an affront to all Americans. Our
President does not bow down to anyone, let alone the king of Saudi Arabia.
You don’t show Great Britain, our best and one of our oldest allies, the
respect they deserve yet you bow down to the king of Saudi Arabia . How dare
you, sir!
How dare you!

You can’t find the time to visit the graves of our greatest generation
because you don’t want to offend the Germans but make time to visit a mosque
in Turkey . You offended our dead and every veteran when you give the
Germans more respect than the people who saved the German people from
themselves.

What’s the matter with you?

I am convinced that you and the members of your administration have the
historical and intellectual depth of a mud puddle and should be ashamed of
yourselves, all of you. You are so self-righteously offended by the big
bankers and the American automobile manufacturers yet do nothing about the
real thieves in this situation, Mr. Dodd, Mr. Frank, Franklin Raines, Jamie
Gorelic, the Fannie Mae bonuses, and the Freddie Mac bonuses. What do you
intend to do about them? Anything? I seriously doubt it.

What about the U.S. House members passing out $9.1 million in bonuses to
their staff members – on top of the $2.5 million in automatic pay raises
that lawmakers gave themselves? I understand the average House aide got a
17% bonus.I took a 5% cut in my pay to save jobs with my employer.

You haven’t said anything about that. Who authorized that? I surely didn’t!
Executives at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will be receiving $210 million in
bonuses over an eighteen-month period, that’s $45 million more than the AIG
bonuses. In fact, Fannie and Freddie executives have already been awarded
$51 million – not a bad take. Who authorized that and why haven’t you
expressed your outrage at this group who are largely responsible for the
economic mess we have right now.

I resent that you take me and my fellow citizens as brain-dead and not
caring about what you idiots do. We are watching what you are doing and we
are getting increasingly fed up with all of you. I also want you to know
that I personally find just about everything you do and say to be offensive
to every one of my sensibilities. I promise you that I will work tirelessly
to see that you do not get a chance to spend two terms destroying my
beautiful country.

Author uncertain…

SNOPES: http://www.snopes.com/politics/soapbox/ihavehadit.asp

marys_little_lambMary, had a Little Lamb,

His fleece was White as snow.

And everywhere That Mary went,

The Lamb was sure To go.

He followed her To school each day,

T’wasn’t even in The rule.

It made the Children laugh and play,

To have The Lamb At school.

And then the Rules all changed one day,

Illegal it became;

To bring The Lamb Of God to school,

Or even speak His Name!

Every day got Worse and worse,

And days turned Into years.

Instead of Hearing children laugh,

We heard gun Shots and tears.

What must we do To stop the crime,

That’s in our Schools today?

Let’s let The Lamb come back to school,

And teach our kids to pray!

My daughter, Kimmy, has gone into labor a month and a half early.  Please pray for her and the baby boy, as his lungs may not be quite developed yet.  I am not certain if she is going to give birth tonight or if they are going to be able to slow the contractions and prolong the birth.  She is 3 cm dilated and was rushed to Savannah Memorial Hospital late tonight, her husband, Jeff is meeting her there.

Thank you,

-Scott and Patty

Heather is 15 yrs old and is in the hospital.  Her Dr. is out of town and we need his partner to be available for surgury tonight, or else she will have to continue until monday enduring abdominal pain.

Please pray for the Dr.’s availability, her safety in surgery and her recovery.

She is the daughter of Gary (police officer), one of our church members.

Thank you,

-Scott