I have been struggling to come up with an inspiring message since I put together the Year of HOPE post. Perhaps I have been a bit distracted with all things related to baseball. During the last month and a half, I have been on more baseball fields than I can count and have visited more than a dozen states. You guessed it… my son, Hunter, is on a travel baseball team… emphasis on the word TRAVEL. While watching my son and his teammates evolve as ballers, God has been working His magic in and out of the dugout, on and off the field… as only God can do. And… in Godly fashion… along with His amazing timing, He introduced me to a new type of HUDDLE… a HUDDLE that I refer to as a HUDDLE of HOPE.
It all started with a connection made via Hunter’s baseball coach and Vincenzo Pepe, the Director of the Hudson Valley region of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). Full disclosure, I had to Google FCA to know what the letters stood for. Little did I know… this organization has been around for almost 70 years. Yup… you learn something new every day! For those curious, FCA is an interdenominational Christian sports ministry with a laser focus on impacting the world for Jesus Christ through the influence of coaches and athletes. FCA provides the ability to impact not only the coaches and athletes but all the people in their lives as well as their communities. FCA influences the influencers, and leads the leaders. Ultimately, their ministry magic begins on sports fields all across the globe and flows into the communities these athletes touch. God’s light shines on the fields and beyond… I just LOVE that!
Throughout this summer, on the ball fields, I have witnessed firsthand God’s work through FCA. Hunter became a HUDDLE Leader in June and began by inviting another player to say a prayer prior to game time. “Hunter’s HUDDLE” has doubled in a month… and includes a player who considered himself “not religious” (his words) just a few weeks ago. Crosses are now being drawn by bats at home plate and by pitchers’ fingers on the mound. Eye black is being used to draw crosses across the cheeks of almost half the players on Hunter’s team. God is powerfully working through the work of FCA. This little HUDDLE carries with it a ton of HOPE!
We hosted the first official HUDSON VALLEY FCA HUDDLE the last Friday of July at our home and… Hunter’s HUDDLE is
officially on fire for God. These players now possess an Athlete’s Bible published by FCA containing biblical lessons that weave in concepts of teamwork, respect, the value of sportsmanship, and so much more. I see so much HOPE for the future within this HUDDLE! HOPE in transforming coaches and athletes through the influence of Jesus. HOPE in a growing community of players on fire to have an intimate relationship with God. HOPE in a world filled with disciples who desire to know and grow in Christ. All of these HOPES encompass the vision and mission of FCA.
Unfortunately, the Hudson Valley is known as a dark place within New York State in terms of religion. Only 39% of this region’s population associate themselves with an organized religion while almost 52% of the state, on average, considers themselves part of an organized religion. I firmly believe God is working on changing those statistics through FCA’s foundation, Vincenzo’s passion, and Hunter’s little HUDDLE of HOPE. God is on the move… and with this momentum, we all can help bring God’s light to ball fields and beyond… across the counties of “The Valley”. Now is the time to bring HOPE to the Hudson… through FCA… and HUDDLES in dugouts, between yard lines, in nets and on fields throughout this area. Click the link to learn how you can support FCA and Vincenzo today. And… get ready to see HUDDLES of HOPE hitting home runs for Jesus: https://my.fca.org/vincenzopepe .
I pray that the HUDDLE pictured above will evolve into a HUDDLE like the one pictured here… where players from opposing teams carve time out of their game day to HUDDLE in prayer; giving God the glory… all in Jesus’ name!