Summer 2024

THE INCREASE: Power in the Pregame – J.J. Hoover

God calls us to be uncomfortable. I’ve been experiencing this a lot lately.

This season has been full of ups and downs for me. I’ve struggled with being sent down to AAA, but at the same time I’ve watched God use these opportunities for good. One thing I really love about playing for the Diamondbacks is the pregame Bible studies and prayer times. It’s incredible! I’ve never had something like that on any of my teams before, and this year it’s really impacted me in significant ways. Since I’ve been sent down to AAA, I’ve been able to bring that to the minor league team.

I’ve never been much of a talker—I don’t like it, I’m not great at it, and I’ve always tried to avoid it if I could. But God’s been calling me out of my comfort zone. I’ve been learning how to communicate to others truths from the Bible and what God’s teaching me through it. My teammates and I have gotten into the habit of reading God’s Word, digesting it, coming together to share and discuss it, and then pray together. This has been such a refreshing and rejuvenating experience for me.

“Do not merely listen to the Word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the Word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.” —James 1:22-25

When it’s my turn to share what God’s been teaching me, God always gives me the words. I might not have a clue what I’m going to say beforehand, but when it comes to it, I know He’ll speak through me. In fact, God promises that when we rely on Him—listening and responding to Him—He will fill us with His Holy Spirit’s truth.

“For the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.” —Luke 12:12

God didn’t make the Bible to be interpreted in many different ways. It’s one truth with a concrete meaning and purpose. But what I’ve found really cool about studying God’s Word with other Believers is that we’re able to hear how the Bible applies differently to different people’s lives. The truths of Scripture impact people in unique ways based on their background, personality, life circumstances, and needs. When we come together and share with one another, we are then able to understand, relate to, sympathize with, and learn from the struggles someone else has gone through. I think in this age we often miss out on these deep personal relationships with the people who are right in front of us because we’re too busy spending our time on social media. Stuck on our phones, we miss out on the personal interaction we can have when we choose to do life together. There’s no better way to express love to one another than to show them that love personally and directly.

Get uncomfortable. Choose today to step out and share something God’s been teaching you and watch as He gives you a boldness you might have never thought you had.

J.J. Hoover

J.J. Hoover is a pitcher with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He is a regular contributor to The Increase, providing monthly articles and opinions.

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