Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011- The difference one year makes..........

As I sit here on New Year’s Eve with Lora and Lucas watching college football I couldn’t help but reflect on what 2011 has meant to me and my family. Most of you reading this know the journey we’ve been on but I felt the need to summarize.

This time last year (and most previous years) I take the end of the year to reflect on personal goals that were achieved. Things such as my training miles, workout schedules, races completed, business success, and ways to improve for the next year.

This New Year’s Eve I can’t say that any of those things have really crossed my mind. I will always be trying to improve health and athletic wise but I really don’t have much of a clue on how my “total” accomplishments were achieved. The reason? 2011 was a life changing year for me and my family.

In February I was contacted by an FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) ministry leader in Atlanta and was asked to go to lunch. As we met it was expressed to me that God had opened the door for me to enter full time sports ministry as the Director of Baseball/Softball ministries in Georgia. As most of you know baseball has always been a passion of mine and the opportunity to minister to coaches, kids, and parents through this platform was exciting. I knew the consequences would be walking away from our insurance business where I had felt comfortable for the past 12 years. As I went home after the meeting I knew that Lora and I needed to do some SERIOUS talking and praying. As I have stated on several occasions I believe that God seems to speak to our wives quicker than most of us men ( or at least they listen better than we do..ha). This conversation was no different. Lora and I sat down, I explained my meeting with FCA and her response was, “you should have been doing this years ago”. I knew at this point it was time to start praying. It took us 4-6 weeks but it became very apparent that God was working in our lives and it was time to take the leap. So in May the journey began and steps were taken to follow God’s lead.

I could type for hours about how God placed so many people in my path that have been such a blessing but I will simply say this. I can’t thank all of you enough for your support, prayers, encouragement, and the same excitement that I had for what God was doing through the game of baseball to reach the world (you all know who you are). I couldn’t have done this without you. A special shout out to my family, friends, my baseball board members, and of course Lora and Lucas.  I love you all!!

Since entering the sports ministry world this past summer I have been blessed to meet some awesome people, was part of 150 person baseball mission trip to the Dominican, seen young men lead to the Lord, coaches rededicate their lives, and hearts opened to become strong in their faith. The idea that God has chosen me and my family has been humbling to say the least. As I travel around Georgia and Atlanta area I have found that God has given me a voice to speak the Gospel/Truth and give coaches a different perspective on how to approach the game. You see…..a coach has more influence on a group of people in one year than most people have in a lifetime. The goal… them see that and make an impact on young people’s lives.

As 2012 is about 2 hours away I would be honest if I told you that I’m really not ready for 2011 to end. God used this year to change our life forever and I couldn’t be more blessed. However, knowing what He did in 2011 I can only be excited about what’s in store for 2012. My prayer is that all of you have a blessed 2012 and that you too find what it is that God is calling you to.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

14 yr old FCA baseball player making a difference....

I want to wish everyone a safe and happy new year. I pray that all of you had a wonderful Christmas and are now preparing for 2012 and what God has in store for us.

I wanted to share this article that was written about a young man that is part of our FCA Baseball ministry. I meet Logan this past June at a pre mission's trip meeting/practice. I ministered along side Logan while we spent 7 days in the Dominican Republic on one of our FCA Baseball mission trips. As I read this article I couldn't help but think of this passage.
12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.

For those looking to give to a ministry prior to year end we would love to have your support.

By His Power,
Mike Roby
FCA Director of Baseball/Softball
ROMANS 12:1-2

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas from FCA Baseball/Softball

On behalf of everyone associated with our FCA Baseball/Softball ministry we want to wish you and your families a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!
As we approach December 25th our prayer is that all of you will have safe travels and be able to enjoy time with your families.  May we also take time to really celebrate what Christ & His birth means to all of us.  We look forward to seeing what the Lord has in store for 2012!
Luke 2:8-12
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
By His Power,
Mike Roby
FCA Director of Baseball/Softball
ROMANS 12:1-2

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Spoiled vs. Expected......

The other day I was flipping radio stations because I am just not able to listen to Christmas music 24 hrs a day (don’t judge me..ha). As I stopped on a station that I normally don’t listen to I was intrigued by the question they were asking listeners, “are our children (or your children) overly spoiled?”. I began thinking which ended up lasting all day with several conversations with others. I pondered whether or not my child is spoiled and even bigger, are we spoiled as a society. After talking to some close friends and wife here is what God showed me.

Are we and our children spoiled? Absolutely! As I have been blessed with the opportunity to travel to difference countries and some third world countries I have concluded that God has clearly shown me that we are all spoiled. The simple fact that we have running water, air condition, heat, and electricity is more than most in our world even THINKS about having. When you compound that with this time of year and the money that we spend on our children, family, and friends it becomes so clear that as a whole….we are spoiled. But I believe that we need to take it one step further which might open your mind to a whole new idea.

As I spoke to several friends throughout that day and we discussed this topic there was one common theme that I heard over and over. That theme?? EXPECT. We talked about how our children walk into certain store’s and EXPECT to walk out with something. How many of you (I) go into Wal-Mart to grab a household item or grocery item and because our children are with us and ask for a $1-$5 item we grab it because it’s cheap and it keeps them happy? How about when we come home from work or school and EXPECT that our electricity will be on? Our TV to turn on? Our toilet to flush? Our shower/bath to produce water? I think you see my point. We EXPECT these things to happen because that has always been our expectation. If we walked into our homes and none of those things happened we would be upset (and don’t say you wouldn’t). We would call our utility company, service provider, repair person and “demand” that our service be restored……because it would inconvenience us.

As a follower of Jesus Christ my prayer is that fellow brothers and sisters in Christ will see our everyday treasures as a Blessing but my fear is that we view many of our treasures as expectations. When we EXPECT than we lose focus on whom and why we have everything that we have.

Psalm 33:12-13, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance. From heaven the Lord looks down and sees all mankind.”

Ezekiel 34:26, “I will make them and the places surrounding my hill a blessing. I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing.

So, for me the radio station’s question is bigger than just are our children spoiled. The question is have we as a society and body of believers become so spoiled that it has become expected? I hope you agree that God’s blessing is more than we deserve…..and therefore our expectations should simply be to give Him praise for the things we have daily and minute by minute.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

11 yr old team minsters to homeless

Hey everyone,
I mentioned yesterday that one of our ministered teams had done a ministry project in downtown Atlanta.  Below you will find a note from our coach and a few photos.  I'm convinced that God is using these baseball teams/players to reach our communities.  Thanks again for your commitment!
Mike Roby
This past Saturday our team headed down to Atlanta to join several churches in passing out food and clothing to the homeless.  Even more important, we had the opportunity to pray and minister to them.  The event touched our hearts and made so many of us in attendance feel lucky to have the “basics” that God has provided us.  Many do not know that we have 25,000 homeless people in the city of Atlanta alone – so the opportunity to earn a jewel in our crown is very close to home.

My hope is that our players and parents alike will give thanks to the many blessings God provides us with and do everything we can to spread his word and share our good will.  

God Bless you this Christmas!

Mike Nardella
11U FCA Redhawks

Monday, December 12, 2011

10u FCA Softball

I am excited to announce that the south side of Atlanta will have their first FCA softball team.  Coach Darby Steele from McDonough has felt the call to start a 10u FCA travel softball team.  These young ladies will be ministered to through their coach on a weekly basis.  Not only will they learn the game of softball and compete in Atlanta area tournaments they will also be involved in weekly devotions/bible studies.
Darby will be holding team tryouts on Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012 from 2-4pm @ the Salem Baptist Sports Complex in McDonough.  Registration begins at 1:30pm and tryouts are of course FREE.
This will be a 10u (2001 B) team.
For further info please email Coach Darby Steele.  Her email address is:
By His Power,
Mike Roby
FCA Director of Baseball/Softball
ROMANS 12:1-2

Friday, December 2, 2011

Coaches Clinic

On behalf of our baseball board of directors and myself we want to wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday.  As you spend time with your family and friends our prayer is that you will also take time to thank our Lord for the blessing He has given us.  Without Him nothing is possible.

We are excited to launch our first coaches clinic for 2012.  Attached is the brochure/flyer for the Jan 14th clinic which will be held in Lilburn, Ga.  Last year this clinic had 160 coaches attend from every level of baseball.  If you know someone that would benefit from this please feel free to forward.  Not only will these coaches learn about the game of baseball but more importantly they will learn about the game of LIFE and God’s game plan.

For those of you on the south end of Atlanta don’t worry.  We have a clinic coming in February for you as well.  That info will follow in the next few weeks.

By His Power,
Mike Roby
FCA Director of Baseball/Softball

Happy Holidays!

Hey everyone,
First I want to say Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas to all of you.  As we take time to spend time with our family and friends over the next few days, may we also stop and spend time giving thanks to God.  Without Him there would be no blessings.

As most of you know this has been a crazy year for me and my family.  God has completely changed our path and we couldn't be more grateful.  I am thankful to all of you for your patience as this new journey has caused me to take a step back in our endurance team/ministry.  I look forward to seeing what God does in 2012!

Lastly, after speaking with several of you it appears that our schedules during December is jam packed.  We have decided to move our season ending fellowship to January.  We hope to have a date within the next week or two.  Hopefully this will allow all of us to have a little more "free" time after Christmas to really enjoy getting together and not be rushed. Talk soon!

By His Power,
Mike Roby
FCA Director of Baseball/Softball

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A mission trip or a life on mission?

To all who have just returned home from what they perceive as a life changing mission trip to the Dominican Republic and are ready to make a difference by beginning to live life differently, here's your challenge.

"But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourself. Because if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man looking at his own face in the mirror; for he goes away and right away forgets what kind of man he was. But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer who acts-this person will be blessed in what he does" - James 1:22-25

Many of you over the past week or two, as you have changed your place and changed your pace, have heard the voice of God and have had your perspective changed. You're back home and now your challenge begins. Will you have the faith and the courage to live out what you heard God telling you? Will you be a "doer" of His word and be blessed or will you come home, allow yourself to get caught right back up into your old way of life and be a "forgetful hearer"? Hearing Gods truth is only part of the's the easy part. Applying it in your life is more difficult because it very often requires sacrifice. However THAT is where the blessings lie. Unapplied truth is just like unapplied paint. It doesn't do anyone any good. The value is in the application.

Pray for strength. Pray for the wisdom to know what to do with what you heard while you were in the DR. Be a doer, not just a hearer and be blessed.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Simply amazed how God chooses to use us in His plan

So...we are now on the backend of week number two.  My family and I have been here now for 12 days and we have had 124 coaches, players and parents form all across the eastern part of the U.S join us here thus far. As I sit here trying to think of where to begin and what to share with you, my mind is overwhelmed. There is SO much God has done and is doing that I want to share, but it's just too much right now. Therefore, in effort to be as concise as possible, let me just share with you what yesterday looked like....just ONE DAY.

* We purchased and delivered food to feed 120 people for a period of 4-5 days in a village we have visited 3 times over the past 10 days. The head baseball coach of this village, Coach July Bozo, gave his life to Christ when we visited him and shared the gospel with him last week.  FCA has officially "adopted" this village and these people and we will continue with weekly ongoing ministry and discipleship through our on the ground staff, Mike Shaheen.  We shared the gospel with the entire village yesterday (over 400 people) and had well over 20 people give their life to Christ.

* Two baseball teams and one softball team spread out and traveled to separate villages to compete against Dominican teams and evangelize.  One of our teams was invited to play on the Dominican Air Force base against their national team.  We were greeted by a marching band along with the general and chief of command of the entire Dominican military. Although we lost the game 5-0 and were "no hit", I was blessed to have the opportunity to share the gospel with the general, members of his staff, and all the members of the coaching staff and the players.  Praise God that 35 people made a decision to give their life to Christ. Results from the other 2 teams were similar and God has opened doors for ongoing ministry through all three of the coaching staffs and players of these teams as well as with high ranking government officials.

* After dinner, we took our entire crew of 65 on a five block walk to the ocean where we baptized 15 young men, young women and coaches from our group who wanted to take the next step in their faith journey by professing publicly that Jesus Christ was their personal Lord & Savior and celebrate their new birth.  Also among that group was one very special Dominican 15 year old boy who has befriended and become very close with my 15 year old son Nick over the past year.  An incredible ending to another amazing day here in the DR...probably the most powerful day that I have spent here in the last 3 years.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Perfect Timing

Week number one here has just come to a close and 57 people comprised of middle school baseball coaches, middle school baseball players and some parents are returning back to Atlanta forever changed. At 12:30am this morning, a brand New group of 65 high school baseball players, softball players, coaches and parents arrived safe and sound. We all visited a church in San Pedro this morning and now everyone is at our FCA Baseball facility in Boca Chica on the practice field. Everyone is tired and ruining on fumes from the late arrival last night, however at the same time they are all marveled at what they have already seen and experienced thus far.

I have over 1300 pictures from this past week alone and testimonies of God's work in the hearts of each and every person who joined us here for the last 7 days.  I will post those picture on a photo sharing site as soon as I can, however I want to share a personal story of mine here to illustrate how God's perfect timing and His perfect plan.

Many of you know my story of how God used Julio Franco to radically change my life and lead me back to Him four years ago.  I have reached out to Julio SEVERAL times over the past 4 years via text message, phone call, email and have actually had a hand written letter delivered to him.  I wanted him to know how God used his simple act of obedience on January 22nd of 2008 as he shared the gospel at an FCA event that I attended to forever change my life, the lives of my wife and children and through my story, thousands of  others for His Kingdom.  Julio has never responded back to any of my attempts.  However it never bothered me because I knew in my heart that he and I would connect one day when God wanted it to happen.

Yesterday morning I accompanied one of our baseball teams to the village of Consuella, just outside of San Pedro, to compete against their village team.  It's the village that Julio Franco was born in and grew up in.  When I stepped onto the field I saw one young man taking ground balls at 3rd base.  My interpreter told me It was Josh Franco a rising junior in high school and Julio Franco's son. I had the opportunity to speak with Josh for a while and he told me that he and his family had moved back to the DR for a year so that he could train here, avoid the Major League Baseball draft system and sign here in the Dominican.  Josh told me that his dad would be out on the field in about 30 minutes.  Imagine how I felt at that point.

God's ordained timing, just as it always is, was perfect.  Julio and I got to spend close to 3 hours together talking about life and our love for Jesus. The morning climaxed with me sitting on a bucket and sharing the gospel with the team he is training here and on the very same field that Julio  played baseball on as a boy.  All the while, Julio stood behind me and translated.  Eight high school aged young men responded by giving their life to Christ.  Julio had a smile on his face that was priceless. Personally...I was (and still am) in awe of how the God of the universe chooses to orchestrate His plan.

This story is just one of many that have been experienced here over the past week.  We have 76 high school coaches and athletes arriving here tonight who at this point have NO idea as to how God is prepared to move in their lives if they will "be still and know that He is God".  Please pray for well as for my family and I as we head into week # 2 here.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Incredible Bleesings in the Dominican Republic.

I have found wireless access!! What a whirlwind these past few days have been. Where to begin. We all spent Sunday morning worshipping our God with our Dominican brothers and sisters in a Church in Santo Domingo, pastored by my good friend Pastor Abi. All 57 of us were greated with open arms by the people with the church who live in the surrounding sugarcane villages of San Pedro. We worshipped God in both Spanish and English and heard a wonderful message from Pastor Abi about bcearing Kingdom. I believe that I can say that without exception, all in our group were impacted as they realized that regardless of where we find ourselves in this world, there is but one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism and one God the Father-Ephesians 4:4-6.

After church, we returned to our humble abode at the SCORE missionary training center and had lunch, suited up in our uniforms and then headed out to the Highlands complex (our FCA home in the Dominican) and practiced on the fields where the Sanfrancisco Giants train. Then, dinner, devotions and small group sessions with the coaches and players after dinner and everyone crashed.

Yesterday was an amazing day. It was the first time that everyone got out of their "comfort zone" as we traveled to a couple different villages to compete on field against some very good Dominican teams. The look of shock on everyone's faces as we pulled into the villages and first layer eyes on the fields was something else. For the next 3 hours, each team competed against young men of their age who were from an entirely different culture and spoke a language they could not understand. But they were united by the game that thcey were all passionate about. There were at least 100-125 spectators at each game from the surrounding villages watching us play. The parents and siblings of our ball players spent some amazing time with the children of those villages while the games were taking place. WAY too many details to share in the blog, however God was glorified!

More of the same this morning and we will visit orphanages this afternoon. Please keep praying forv us and for the message of Jesus Christ to take hold through revival here in the villages and communities where we are ministering. I will communicate again as soon as possible. We have over 700 amazing pictures thus far, however the connection here is still to slow to upload them to the blog. Guess you'll have to way til we return tonsee them...sorry.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

In the DR safe, sound and blessed!

Hey everybody...all is well. This is the first opportunity that the Internet has been working and it is very spotty right now at best. I just wanted to let everyone back home know that we are here and all is well. Pictures speak for themselves...God bless all of you and I will try to post again very soon.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Ready to go!

Ok...the bags are packed and we are prayed up. God is in control and I wait in anticipation for how He will move in the hearts of all those who have been called to this mission. I will post to this blog with pictures and updates as often as I can. We covet and appreciate your prayers.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Our Perspective of a "Win"

Well coaches, it's the first week in March, the un-official kick-off for the 2011 season. I guess this is where “the rubber meets the road” in respect to all the work you put into your fall and winter workouts. So as we head into the season, I would like to share just a few things from my heart in effort to encourage you, to help keep you focused on the vision of using your influence to impact your teams for Jesus Christ, and to strengthen you as you seek to be a coach who looks to define your wins through a set of lenses that is counter cultural.

Our culture…the world we live in….tells us that our worth is determined by our accomplishments and encourages us to pursue significance and meaning through the things we do. The world of competitive sports (in our case baseball) magnifies this “performance based” system and drives home the lie that “acceptance” is conditional….that it’s based on performance. In turn, this thought process instills a false sense of self worth into young men and leads them into a belief system that tells them their self worth and their identity is based upon what they do and how they perform. As they begin to fail at things in life (and we all do), this false sense of self worth causes them to start making decisions which are rooted in an attempt to meet a desperate need for approval and appreciation. This is an EXHUASTING existence. I know, because I lived that lie for 47 years of my life.

Here’s the truth. Our worth is determined by what Christ was willing to do for us, and in Him, we have an unlimited and unchanging source of meaning and purpose. Who we are in Christ is not shaped by what we do, but by what He did for us on the cross and what He continues to do in us and through us each and every day of our life. As Christian coaches, we have been called to embrace that perspective and share that message with our players, their parents and “all whom you influence” by living it out in our words, our actions and our RE-actions. The reflection of Christ in us may be the first, the last or the ONLY image of Christ that will be seen by those who come across our paths. Romans 12:2 is a wonderful example of how we as followers of Christ are called to live and to coach. I love Eugene Peterson’s translation in The Message:

“Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you and develops well-formed maturity in you”.
In order to live that out, we must first be secure in our OWN identity and our OWN self worth. You’ve all heard of “identity theft”. There’s a thief who wants to steal our identity by trying to convince us that the worlds performance based system is what life is all about. I believe that as coaches, we are most vulnerable to the enemies attack while we are on the baseball field and in the midst of competition. It is during competition that we are tempted to play the “comparison game” as we look at our opposing coaches and their players. Comparison is the death of contentment. It causes us to take on attitudes of pride and it causes us to fall back into the worlds view of performance based self worth as we begin to feel threatened. Then, in the blink of an eye, our definition of a “win” is changed. It quickly becomes about the numbers on the score board, our character is compromised and the enemy has won.

Where am I going with this? I remember reading the book “Season of Life” about four years ago. In the book, the main character, Joe Ehrman, a High School football coach would ask his team before each practice “What’s my job?”, and the team would yell back at him “To love us”. Coach would then ask them “And what’s YOUR job?”, to which they would answer “To love each other”. Reading those words in that book was a defining point in my life. That was the “AH-HA” moment for me that not only caused me to realize the impact of a coach, but it also kicked off the spiritual journey that I have been on ever since. I have come to know now that the words of Joe Ehrman were in actuality the words of Jesus as He gave His disciples a new commandment. A commandment that was RADICALLY different than anything they had heard from any Rabbi or religious teacher before. He said:

“I give you a new commandment; love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also have love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” – John 13:34
That’s how we determine our wins in this life….and that’s how we determine our wins on the baseball field. It begins by loving God and totally embracing His love for us as we recognize the true security and significance that we have in our relationship with Him. The only way to love those “hard to love” people that He brings into our path is through an overflow of the love that we have for the one who makes us who we are. And that comes by putting Him first….by spending time….quality time….with Him. By trusting in the fact that He will honor the time we take away from other areas of our busy days to spend with Him in prayer and thanksgiving.

The simple discipline of readjusting your daily priorities to spend more time getting to know God on a much deeper level through prayer will be the one thing that will radically change your life and the lives of all those He has entrusted you with. And it will cause you to NEVER sway from the foundation of how you define a “win”. Thank you so much for answering Gods call on your life to “Shepherd a flock” for Him. I hope to be able to share time with each of you on a baseball field soon.