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Learning Lessons of Faith Through Baseball

A CHILDHOOD DREAM
Growing up, David and Jason spent their summers on the Little League baseball fields of Texas with their dad coaching them. Their dad wasn’t just concerned about them being the best players but also the best people. He came up with two unique ways to teach David and Jason to serve others and honor God through baseball. First, he put his boys in charge of cleaning up the dugout after each game. Second, David and Jason never played on Sundays. This was a tough one since sometimes that meant missing key games, including one championship. Their dad would tell them, “God will get you boys right where He wants you to go. All you’ve got to do is be faithful right now.”

When visiting family in Georgia, their dad would drive by the Fair Grounds Field in Shreveport, Louisiana.  He would wake them up (they were five years old at the time) and say a prayer, “Lord Jesus, I pray that You would bless my boys. And I pray that one day these boys would get to play together in that stadium for Your glory.” Every year from that day forward, when David and Jason would drive by the stadium they would stop and pray. Even when they were in school at Liberty University they would say the same prayer anytime they would pass by the stadium in Shreveport. After graduating from Liberty University in 1998, David was drafted by the Red Sox and Jason by the Baltimore Orioles. Although they were drafted to different teams they were eager to see what God had in store for them as they began their professional baseball careers in the Minor Leagues.

DYING TO THE DREAM
In 1999, David was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals. He was on the fast track, as his trade from the Sox to the Cardinals seemed to open a direct path for him to the big leagues. For Jason, the summer of 1999 was a real struggle. “I was desperate for God to do something in my life regarding baseball – to make me better or take it away entirely,” shares Jason. The next night, in a game against Hickory, Jason broke his leg and shattered his shin when a runner’s knee hit his right leg. Ten months later after grueling rehab he was cleared to play again. However, Jason wasn’t the same player he had been before. At the end of the season, he was released from the Orioles and his dream of playing baseball was crushed. He spent the summer coaching, but he was miserable. Gradually, he began to accept the reality that his dream of playing baseball was dead. He wasn’t mad at God for taking the game from him because he knew deep down that God would work everything out as He saw fit.

MIRACLE IN SHREVEPORT
In 2000, David had been promoted to Double A. He called Jason and asked him to come visit for the last few weeks of his season in Little Rock, Arkansas. Reluctantly, Jason agreed to come. The next morning Jason did some batting practice at David’s insistence. Immediately, he could feel the desire to play begin to bubble up inside him. Jason felt the immediate urge to pray and ask God for something miraculous. “Let’s ask God to let me play again. And not just play again but play on this team, with you for the rest of the season,” shares Jason. At first, David shook his head in disbelief, but together they got down on their knees in centerfield and poured out their hearts to God. Then in the seventh inning something interesting happened. The second baseman was injured in a routine play and would be out the remainder of the season. Later that evening, Jason had a crazy idea. He suggested that David talk to the manager and pitch the idea of signing him so they didn’t have to go through all the hassle of moving players around.

“I’ll even play for free,” shares Jason. Initially, David feared the repercussions if things didn’t work out, but he knew Jason would have done the same for him. As David pitched the idea to his manager Jason was praying from the stands. The next day the phone rang. The Cardinals decided to sign Jason for the remainder of the season. They both got on their knees and thanked God for His intervention in their lives. They called their parents and told them the good news. The next night at the game Jason got a hit and the team won. Jason was the spark that made it all happen. After the game, the manager announced they would be leaving for Shreveport the next day. The last game of the year was against the Captains at Fair Grounds Field in Shreveport. “This was nothing less than the hand of the living God, working behind the scenes to orchestrate events in such a way to produce an outcome we never could have scripted,” shares David. The next day when they arrived at Shreveport they walked onto centerfield and stopped to pray, “We know You have done this, not just for us, but so that we will forever have a testimony of Your mighty power.” When they finished praying they saw their dad on the upper deck of the stands with arms raised high praising God. Their dad told them, “Boys, never forget how powerful and faithful God is to those who put their faith, hope, and trust in Him. He heard our prayers all those years ago, and now we’re seeing His answer in a very special way.”

After the season ended, Jason got married. Although the Cardinals wanted to sign him again he chose to walk away from the game once and for all. He wanted to concentrate on a new job opportunity as well as building a family with his wife, Tori. David who was already married to Lori with a second child on the way played the following season (2001). With Jason out of the game for good David no longer had the passion for the game like he once did. After the season he asked the Cardinals for his release. Although they never made it to the big leagues, they always had a testimony of God’s amazing faithfulness that He is always working behind the scenes.

AFTER BASEBALL
Their life journey began on the baseball field, but it quickly turned to business as they retired and moved to Charlotte, NC. Although they had no formal business training, they were armed with a core set of life principles that paved the way to their success. Their first step forward was in real estate in 2002. It was a tough business to get off the ground, especially fresh out of baseball and with no real estate experience. This forced the brothers to their knees, and they simply asked God to bless the work of their hands as they applied His life principles to the marketplace. Within 10 years their real estate company topped dozens of business charts, including: Inc. Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine, Wall Street Journal, Ernst & Young, and the US Chamber of Commerce.

Their rise to success earned David and Jason a reality show, Flip It Forward on HGTV.  The show was scheduled to premiere in October 2014, but the show was canceled by HGTV before a single episode aired due to comments the brothers made regarding abortion and same-sex marriage. They thought being with a major network was their chance to do something great for God. After months of planning and five weeks of production under their belt, one of the show executives started following the brothers’ Twitter posts. They were tweeting about their faith, specifically about the July 2nd, 1995 anniversary of their dad baptizing Norma McCorvey (the Jane Roe of Roe v. Wade).  HGTV had some concerns that the audience they were about to reach would think they were “haters.” The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLADD) went into action behind the scenes lobbying HGTV to pull the show.  “The executives had already spent a year with us, and they were our friends,” says Jason. In May 2014, David and Jason got a phone call from executives cancelling the show. They thought being with a major network was their chance to do something great for God – something to influence their culture for the good. The brothers drew strength from how God stepped in during their baseball career and showed His divine hand working. The miracle that God gave them in Shreveport has given the brothers strength to continue to live boldly for their faith.

Mentioned in the Video

 

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Guest Info

Credits

Best-selling authors, latest, Miracle in Shreveport, (W Publishing 2018)

Former professional baseball players

Nationally acclaimed entrepreneurs

Owners of Benham Real Estate Group, a multi-million business, which grew to 100 locations

Named one of the fastest-growing companies in America by Inc. Magazine

David: BS, History, Liberty University
Wife: Lori
Children: Bailey, Ty, Ella, Ava & Chase

Jason: MA, Counseling, American Christian College
Wife: Tori
Children: Trey, Allie, Jake & Lundi

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