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700 Club

MLB Star: Baseball Mirrors Life

Minnesota Twins Royce Lewis is Minnesota Nice! A gracious soul who thrives as their hitting enforcer, maximizing his moments after significant injuries delayed his young career. The overcoming third baseman delivers after being baseball’s top draft pick – a franchise face whose feet are grounded by an embedded faith.

Question: “For a California kid, what makes Minnesota baseball distinct for you?”

Royce Lewis: “Yeah, for me, growing up, you know, especially in California, I always thought Minnesota, you know, snow, you know, like eight, nine months of the year. Aww, but when you get up there, it's just so beautiful. It's so peaceful. In the summertime, you know, I'm blessed enough to have an opportunity to play the best months of the year for Minnesota. The 'Minnesota Nice' term is definitely a true thing and you feel that and I'm just so happy and respectful of the opportunity I have to be a Major League Baseball player.”

Question: “When you consider all the things that go into your development, what’s the one thing that’s being the primary catalyst to elevate that level of talent?” 

Royce Lewis: “Something at post-draft they told me it was me as a person and how I was and how I responded to them and how I acted that really brought them ultimately to make that decision of taking me number one overall all. The talent was there for sure, but they talked about the deciding factor between me and three or four other guys - that made me and my family excited and happy to be part of this Minnesota organization.” 

Twins Coach, Tony Diaz, endorses Royce as both a talent and person saying, “There’s a lot of players though that have premium talent. What separates Royce even at a young age is his heart and the attitude of gratitude that he brings. Royce is a coach’s dream. He brings that attitude in day in and day out. He brings a smile. He’s very intentional about everything he does and he’s very open-minded.”

Question: “Overcoming can be a beast. Before ’22, you tear the ACL, same leg - consecutive seasons. For that second time around what did you have to pull on?” 

Royce Lewis: “The first time around I learned a lot about myself, and where I needed to grow as a person, and I felt like I grew a lot. And then the second time around, it hurt a lot more, obviously, because I knew that the rehab was going to be automatically out for a year. In a sense, it brought me closer to Him. It made me realize that baseball is not everything and so now when I play baseball, I just take it for the gratitude that it is.”

Question: “Royce, did you have to struggle with the ‘why’ question, ‘why me?'”

Royce Lewis: “If you don't, you're not human, you know. That question of ‘why me,’ definitely was there. It was something that right away I was very upset with God, with myself, with what could I have done different? He opened perspective for me that changed my life ultimately and I'm still growing in my faith and trying to continue to pursue God the best way I can and I'm always learning. I feel like those “pinch-me” moments – I get dreams and visions of hitting home runs or doing something with a teammate, talking to yourself! And I just feel like it’s just God talking to me, letting me know where I'm at in my in my life and that I'm on the right path.”

Question: “You’re the historic grand slam guy! You’ve already made your mark, it’s your signature. Four grand slams in the fewest amount of games – 56! When those bases are loaded Royce, how does that turn to your advantage?”

Royce Lewis: “Yeah, you know, it’s the simplicity approach for me. I think the pitcher...he’s worried about walking me and letting in a run for free. That’s the way we look at it as competitors. That’s like a free base and a free run. So, for him he wants to compete and challenge me. So, I know he’s going to come at me with his best stuff in the zone. And so I’m just waiting for that pitch and do some damage with it and put it in the outfield and I am blessed enough to be the one up at-bat when those situations come and just rise to the occasion.” 

Question: “Those bases loaded opportunities, does that translate to, to a life that can be live with productivity and efficiency?”

Royce Lewis: “Absolutely! It does. Yeah. I always compare baseball to the game of life; you learn a lot. There’s so much more failure in this game then for most of us in life. You know, I’m failing seven out of ten times and that’s a great Hall of Fame baseball career. But in life, if we fail seven out of ten times, we’re probably in trouble. When I’m able to be productive and efficient in this game good things seem to happen. And when I’m able to be productive and efficient in life, I feel like it definitely makes life a lot easier and a lot more fun.”

Question: “The competitive moment provokes in you a rise to the occasion. How is the Christ you walk with an unseen competitor on our behalf?”

Royce Lewis: “He did the ultimate sacrifice. I feel like, that’s why He’s the best competitor there will ever be. To do something that no one is willing to do and to do it it for others who may not be worthy and to do it out of the kindness of his heart. How wonderful of a moment! You know I wish I could go travel and see what it was like in that time and be with Jesus and walk with Jesus. I grew up from my parents just being in a Christian household of learning and being a part of Jesus and then hopefully, you know, I just got engaged, as I become a parent one day, I’m able to teach my kids the same thing and have them grow up in a household where being a Christian man or being a faithful man is safe and comfortable, and welcoming to where you let your kid make that decision on their own. But you also show them the way, the light and the truth. ‘Cuz I feel like the truth is so important, man.”

Question: “As a centerpiece of a Major League franchise, what does the Jesus Christ that you companion with bring to you?” 

Royce Lewis: “He brings a sense of peace when I’m able to pray before the game and when I’m out on that field I know He’s there with me. And sometimes you’re in a situation that you prefer not to be in. I realize now, like my ACL, He set me on a path for better direction. He says, 'your time’s not now, I have a better idea in mind.’ And that’s kind of the feeling and fulfillment I get from the Jesus Christ I’ve come to learn.”

Question: “Tell me about the underrated value of humility. How have you embraced that?”

Royce Lewis: “Humility to me...what it means is someone that has like a knight in shining armor, that armor underneath something, that they may do great things, but they put it off to everyone else because they realize it’s not them that’s doing it. And that’s to me, is Jesus Christ, it’s my parents, it’s the rest of my family, and they’re giving me that armor to be the man I am today and put me in the path to be successful.”

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700 Club

Giving a Loving Home to One-Time Orphan

Kitale, Kenya

Orphaned at the age of four, Billy moved in with his grandmother. He eventually ran away because of abuse and neglect. For two years, he lived in the streets of Kitale, Kenya. Billy said, “Life was hard. The older street boys bullied and hurt me. I had to do bad things just to survive. I snatched handbags and went to the supermarket to steal food. I slept outside, even when it rained. I often prayed to God to give me a home with a loving family.” 
 
A social worker found Billy and brought him to Embrace, a rescue center supported in part by CBN’s Orphan’s Promise. “God is with me, because when I was in the streets, He saw me and brought me here,” said Billy. “I was finally safe. I played without worrying about being bullied or being forced to steal. There was a lot of good food, and I ate until I was full.” 

This center helps children like Billy get on the right path and reunites them into families. Danson is the manager here at Embrace. “When children arrive here, we embrace them, we love on them, protect them, and teach them about God,” said Danson. “We also have guidance and counseling sessions where they have a chance to share their stories.”  

When Danson told his wife about Billy’s background, they decided to adopt him and welcome him into their family. Billy said, “I love my family and I know that I am loved. I am safe and happy where I am. When I grow up, I also want to adopt children from the street like I was adopted. I will love them and teach them to love God like I love Him.” 

Danson said, “To Orphan’s Promise, ‘Thank you for helping us to stand in the gap to rescue and change the lives of these children. Through you, we see hope growing.’” 

Billy said, “Thank you for helping children like me. I am so grateful, because you rescued me, and now I have a family.”
 
 

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700 Club

Newsboys Original Member John James Finds True Freedom in Christ

Newsboys original member John James almost lost everything trying to live a double life. A miraculous encounter reminded him of the truth of true freedom in Christ.

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700 Club

One-Time Womanizer Finds True Love

Jon remembers, “I just wanted my mom to look me in the eyes and say, ‘Son, I love you,’ at the end of the day and gimme kisses on my forehead, or on my cheeks but I never received that.” Jon Nicolas’s mother worked long hours raising five children alone. The stress took its toll and she took her anger out on her kids. When Jon was just seven years old, his mother beat him with her high heels. Jon shares, “And I blacked out. When I regained consciousness, there was blood all over my face and all over my hands.”

This went on for years. By the time Jon was fifteen, his mother kicked him out of the house. Jon says, “I did not have the source of love for me which was the woman who gave birth to me. So, I was always constantly searching for that love and where can I get it? Where can I find it? And I was determined to find it.”

He tried to find that through a string of women and started having sex with them at a young age. Jon remembers, “When that happened that opened all types of doors that led me down a wrong path. All I wanted to do was have more sex.”

Jon continued having sex throughout college and into his 20’s. He also began using marijuana and drinking alcohol. By the time he was 30, Jon had moved to Florida, had married and divorced, and was the father of three children with two different women. Jon recalls, “When I looked into the mirror, I saw nobody. It was just an empty soul. I couldn’t see a reflection of myself.”

Still, he continued to indulge in sex. Then at 33, his live-in girlfriend discovered he was cheating with yet-another woman and left him. For the first time, Jon was heartbroken. Jon says, “The conviction that I felt from how I cheated on her. That was the first time God accessed my heart. That was the first time I actually got anything from God in my heart, because I felt what the girl felt to be cheated on.”

Still devastated from the rejection, Jon went to listen to a motivational speaker. While the speaker challenged him to do more with his life, Jon heard something more. Jon recalls, “I hear God talk to me for the first time. And I hear God say, ‘You have greatness in you because of Me.’ And it made me good. It made me feel like okay, I got greatness, so I wanted to pursue what this greatness was.”

Jon pulled out a Bible and began studying it, learning what it said about greatness – and forgiveness. Jon says, “So, as I read through the New Testament, I learned of repentance. God started to convict me on things I did in my past. And, I also enjoyed when that people that I hurt would forgive me. And, it was that forgiveness. And the forgiveness sets you free.”

Overwhelmed with emotion, Jon cried out in the name of Jesus. Jon reflects, “Jesus showed up in this room, in where I was, and it was a bright light, and I couldn’t move. And I heard a voice say, ‘Follow me.’ The voice said, 'follow me,' and I said, ‘yes.’ And I knew what I responding to, I knew that the voice that said follow me was Jesus Christ.”

Jon accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior. He started going to church and got baptized. Jon says, “And by doing this, my alcohol, and my marijuana addiction, and my sex addiction was completely stripped from me.”

Over time, he contacted the women he had hurt and asked for forgiveness. Then, it became his time to forgive…when he talked with his mother. Jon remembers, “And she acknowledged that what she did. And that was enough for me, but I forgave my mother. And when I did that, that was a release for me.”

He says soon God also answered a prayer to find a woman to share his life with. Her name is Alicia and they soon married, and today they love their blended family. Now, Jon ministers to men, teaching them that the love of God can heal any broken heart.

Jon shares, “God is a loving father, and He's a loving God, and He loves you greater than any love that you didn't receive. If you are out there and you realize you didn't have a loving mom and loving dad, there is a God that loves you to eternity and back, and He's right there available to love you right now if you'll be so willing to accept His love into your heart.”

In addition to ministering to men about the love and faithfulness of Christ, Jon is also a celebrated comedian. You can discover more about Jon Nicolas' clean comedy at: https://therealjonnicolas.myportfolio.com/. A sample of his act (a clean comedy set about Adam & Eve) can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fH76vHAqF-Q

And for inspiration on marriage reconciliation, please visit Jon's testimony here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_0rZ6sepD8 (God Saved my marriage and He will save yours!).

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