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SCF - Baseball

Jarred Smith

As a kid my family and I moved a lot. My dad was in the retail business and he was always being transferred or promoted which always forced my family to relocate. I am originally from Florida but once we moved away in 2000; Virginia, New Jersey, New York, and California were all stops before finally moving back to Orlando in 2004. Life was good. Both of my parents are good Christian people and we attended church quite a bit. Definitely not as much as we should have though. I was always guilty of putting baseball before God. Thinking back to when I was a kid, it seems like baseball tournaments and weekend practices always came before going to church on Sunday mornings. It wasn't until we made our final move to Lake Wales, Florida and began attending First Baptist of Lake Wales that I really started learning about Christ and the ultimate sacrifice He made for my sins. God had been speaking to me but I wasn't really sure what to do about it so I kept my feelings to myself for a while. But finally, during the summer going into 8th grade I prayed for Jesus to be my Lord and Savior as I had accepted Him into my heart and was Baptized that next Sunday. It was as if a giant weight had been lifted off my shoulders.

Everything was going great in my life. I had an awesome family that supported me in every aspect of my baseball career because baseball is all I've ever wanted to do. Then on January 26, 2008 my life would be changed forever. I was at baseball practice that morning when my dad called me off the field to tell me that we had to go because my older brother Jacob had been killed in a tragic car accident early that morning. He was only 19 years old. I lost it. God seemed to be the last thing on my mind at that time except for asking him "why?" Why did this have to happen to my family? Why did Jacob's life have to end so short? were all questions I asked God. I knew Jacob was in a better place because he had accepted Christ at a young age and was Baptized but it was still almost impossible to deal with. The years went by and in high school, although I was a Christian I wasn't living for the right things in life. Baseball was my life. Every single day was consumed with getting better, playing games, working out, trying to get a college scholarship and all that stuff. I was really blessed to receive a scholarship from Auburn University my senior year and graduation couldn't come fast enough so I could prove to everyone I was capable of playing in the SEC.

While at Auburn I made great strides on my walk with Christ. I attended Lakeview Baptist Church every single Sunday, was a member of FCA and went to all the team Bible studies lead by Coach Gabe Gross. God really took a hold of my life at that point and for the first time I really started learning and wanting to learn about God's word in depth. I really looked up to Coach Gabe; not only from a baseball standpoint because he played the MLB for 7 years but also from a spiritual standpoint. He, along with the help of my parents, really helped me realize that baseball isn't everything. "Baseball is what I do, it's not who I am" is something I learned while at Auburn. Since Gabe was a player himself, he always had a way of relating the game to God and how to approach certain things and it just clicked for me. God has blessed me in more ways than I can count and I'm so thankful for His son that died on the cross for my sins so I can be forgiven. I'm still nowhere near nor will I ever be good enough to live up to the standard at which Christ lived. Ephesians 2:8 says  'for it is by grace that you are saved, through faith, and it is the gift of God, not by works, so no man can boast.' I embrace every opportunity I get to tell someone about how great the God serve is and what He can do to change their life because He will change it. It's just a matter of accepting Him into your heart. So no matter where you are in your walk with Christ I'd encourage you to just read a little bit of His word and allow Him to speak to you. Accepting Christ as my Savior was the best thing that has ever happened to me and you can experience that same abundance of joy if you just open your heart  to Him.

Jarred Smith