September 2017  
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Jonathan Johnson - Baseball: Texas Rangers / San Diego Padres / Houston Astros / Atlanta Braves

Jonathan began pitching in high school in Ocala, FL. He attended Florida State University where he earned All-American honors twice and was MVP of the 1995 ACC Championship Game, the tournament where he led FSU to their first ever ACC Title by pitching 16 scoreless innings. JJ played for the US Olympic Team in 1994 and was a Golden Spike Finalist. He was the first round draft pick (7th overall) in 1995 for the Texas Rangers.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight." (Proverbs 3:5,6)

My father was a minister and my mother was a Sunday School teacher. Obviously, I grew up in a Christian home. I accepted Christ at a tender age and gained tremendous knowledge from both my parents and at church. It wasn't until my ninth grade year that I learned that being a Christian is much more than knowledge. I was living in Cleveland, TN attending Bradley Jr. High School. The school had formed a group called "Straight Is In." This group was made up of ninth grade students who were voted in by the graduating ninth graders the previous year. These students pledged to be leaders for the rest of the student body in academics, remaining drug and alcohol free, and withholding from sexual promiscuousness. My involvement in this group opened my eyes to one of the responsibilities of being a Christian - leadership.

Later that year, God took my relationship with Him one step further; one step closer to Him. In October, my father sat me and my family down and told us he had been given the opportunity to start a new church in Ocala, FL. He closed the meeting by asking each family member to pray and let him know how we felt about the move by the end of the week. That night, I did just that and read my Bible as well. I came across Proverbs 3:5,6. It reads, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight." After reading this, my decision was easy. Even though this meant leaving all I had grown up with, I was ready to step out in faith.

We made the move in January. It wasn't easy for me at first, but my rewards were just around the corner. God blessed me with one of my childhood dreams - playing professional baseball. Pushing 6' and 175 pounds, He didn't have much to work with, so He used my right arm.

My baseball career began to blossom. And once it became obvious that God had plans for me to play baseball for Him, I made a commitment to always use the platform He provided to glorify Him. He guided me through three years at Florida State University, one Olympic team, and eight professional baseball seasons.

Because of my faith and trust, God has not only blessed me with baseball, He has also given me a wonderful wife, Kristin, and the coolest kids ever created, Tucker, McKade, and Susannah.

God wants to have a personal relationship with each one of us - just as we have with our earthly father and friends. Daily communication through prayer, His Word and spiritual literature are necessities in today's world. When we develop this relationship and truly trust Him, He will make our paths straight!