Trip To The Northeast U.S.A.

Sorry to have posted this article so late.  My wife, Nancy, and I took a trip in our little Nissan Rogue car beginning on September 7th and arriving back home in Lavon, Texas on Oct. 28th, 2012.  We drove almost 6,500 miles.   

Speaking in the Churches

During this time I conducted what is generally called “gospel meetings” for six different churches located in Virginia, New Jersey, Maine and Alabama.  I preached on 33 different occasions.  In addition, I spoke to many groups of  young people from K-12 in both public and private schools.   I was interviewed by the local newspapers and radio sports programs in some smaller towns and we met all kinds of interesting people.  All together, Nancy and I met hundreds of people both inside and outside the church.    Also, along the way we experienced the beauties of nature and the turning of the leaves.  We drove the mountain roads around Clintwood, Virginia, as well as saw many of the historic sites around Williamsburg.  

These gospel meetings were generally on week-ends (Friday thru Sunday) and so that gave us some time to do some sightseeing.    The meeting work was generally on two major topics, “The Emotions of a Christian” and “The Authority of Jesus Christ – How it is understood and applied.”  These lessons are designed to motivate  Christians to whole hearted devotion and service to Jesus Christ and are generally well received.   Usually the best compliment I receive has to do with helping others understand the Bible text and how it applies to daily lives.  In other words, I break it down in plain words for the common person.  The lessons on “The Emotions of a Christian” has to do with developing the emotions of God – to love what God loves and to hate what God hates.  These lessons are hard hitting but practical.   The series on Bible Authority is primarily taken from the letters of the apostle Paul to the Corinthians.   Paul is careful to establish the authority of Jesus Christ, which includes apostolic authority, as the foundation of the church, and uses this basic premise to solve every problem in the church at Corinth.  In these series, I usually include one lesson on Psalm 73 and another on “Living Godly in an Ungodly World” based upon Peter’s writings. 

Each local congregation is autonomous and independent of any other church or rule except that of Jesus Christ.  Desiring to do some preaching in the Northeast, where I had spent so much time as a professional baseball player,  I contacted about 100 churches and six invited me to come and speak.   I am always grateful for such invitations and realize the grave responsibility of proclaiming the pure gospel of Jesus Christ.  I ask people not to accept what I teach based upon my person, but to prove all things in the light of the Bible.  My lessons are Christ centered and Bible centered.

Speaking in the Schools

My baseball background usually gets me into the schools.  Most kids are willing to listen to a 20 year veteran of Major League Baseball.  I usually go with a friend who has some contact with the schools and talk to the principal and explain my purpose in speaking to the young people.   My main message has to do with morals and ethics by drawing from my baseball experience.  I usually end with a “question and answer” session with the kids.  I keep it lively and interesting and generally have no problem connecting with the kids, or if I am addressing the upper grades, “young men” and “young women”.  Sometimes I will wear my “monkey suit” as I call it – my Yankee cap and uniform!   In the public schools, I am not allowed to mention God or Christ, but generally the lessons I bring are based upon biblical principles.  In the public schools I usually stress staying away from tobacco, alcohol and drug use and emphasize the three “R’s”.   When drawing from my baseball experience, I emphasize both my “highlights” and “lowlights” in teaching values.  I place special stress on how to overcome adversity and the obstacles in life and how we ought to treat others.   In the private schools, there generally is no limitation on speaking about God and Christ.  I speak in all the schools without accepting a fee.

One of the most unexpected events was at a middle school in Maine where I spoke to 250 kids and wore my Yankee cap and jersey.  Even though this was “Boston Red Sox” country, I was received with much yelling and applause, and after a long question and answer session, many of the kids came up to hug me and wanted photos with me.   For a brief moment, I was treated as a celebrity--Strange world!

One of the most interesting schools was “Athens Bible School” in Athens, Alabama, where I spoke to the upper grades and the baseball team.  This is an accredited private school (K thru 12) that uses the Bible as the heart of its curriculum.  They also have a very good sports program.  This school was established in the 1960’s and receives no funds from churches or other religious institutions, but has graduated outstanding students who have gone on to institutions of higher learning.  It gives parents a real choice in the education of their children. 

I give away these little autographed cards with my photo and stats.  It is amazing what a small thing can do to make people happy and be willing to carry on a conversation.  Baseball crosses all ethnic, social, political and national boundaries.  The same is even more so regarding the religion of Jesus Christ which literally applies to all men everywhere and can span all boundaries.  And on the scale of importance, baseball pales in comparison.  On this trip I gave away about 600 baseball cards.   Also since returning home, I have mailed out 650 cards to schools who requested them, for which they were willing to pay a nominal fee.  On the card is my website which will direct people to the “Pitching for the Master” blog.  Hopefully some of these people will read the blog. 

Nancy and I took a lot of interesting side trips.  We spent three days in Amish country outside of Lancaster, PA at a “bed & breakfast” with a Mennonite family who owned a dairy farm.  We also spent three days in the Cooperstown, NY area, where the color of the trees had reached a brilliant peak.  I visited the Baseball Hall of Fame several times, wore my Yankee cap and jersey and signed a lot of autographs for the people.  We also drove through the White Mountains of New Hampshire and along the coast line of the Atlantic Ocean.   We visited many small historic towns along the way both coming and going.  We stopped by and visited old friends.  Between us we took about 1300 photos.  We had a great time, and it is a trip that we will long remember. 

I might add this final note.  During this trip both the Major League Play-offs and World Series were taking place.   The presidential election was going hot and heavy.  In some places we had no access to T.V.  Since returning home, Hurricane Sandy took place and the elections were finalized.  Both events have affected millions of people.  Fortunately none of the churches I visited in New Jersey were severely affected by the Hurricane, but everyone will be affected by the elections.
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Note: All of my articles can be accessed by going to and then click on the Pitching For The Master blog button.   If you desire to be placed on my special e-mail list for advanced attached copies of monthly articles, or if you know others who would like to be placed on the list, please let me know by contacting me at my E-Mail address:    The photo at the beginning of this article shows my wife Nancy and me on the only sandy beach in Maine at Acadia National Park.  I think that this is about the only ocean beach to be found in Maine.

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