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One Line Drive: A Life-Threatening Injury and a Faith-Fueled Comeback by Daniel Ponce de Leon with Tom Zenner. FaithWords. 225 pages. 2021

This book, written by St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Daniel Ponce de Leon is about how his life changed after being hit in the head by a line drive by the Iowa Cubs’ Victor Caratini on May 9, 2017. In an instant, his life changed forever. He had no idea that almost dying that day would be a gift from God. He writes that as strange as it sounds, the injury he suffered was, in some ways, the best thing that has happened in his life. He now thinks of his injury as a wake-up call. It showed him just how far he had to go to grow in his journey as a Christian.
The book takes us through that horrific incident – he had a large epidural hematoma and skull fracture, the hematoma being what turned it into a life-and-death situation, his recovery, his battle to make it to the major leagues – his path took him through four colleges and five minor league towns – and his transformation and the spiritual growth that took place during that period.
Daniel’s head absorbed the full force of the impact of the batted ball, with excessive bleeding taking place on the inside of his skull near his brain. If it wasn’t for the quick decisions and actions of trainer Scott Ensell, Daniel could have died.

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:
BOOK REVIEW ~ More of this review…
BOOK NEWS ~ Links to Interesting Articles
BOOK CLUB ~ Providence by John Piper

Daniel credits his dad, with whom he has always had an extremely close relationship, for instilling a faith him that he has been able to call on countless times. He had a great family life as he grew up. But his path to professional baseball was a winding, pothole-filled, roller-coaster ride of ups and downs that would ultimately test his perseverance, patience, confidence, and faith.
The Cardinals selected Daniel in the ninth round of the 2014 MLB draft. He started the season playing for the Peoria Chiefs, the Cardinals Single-A team. He writes of the long bus rides, low pay and other conditions that players face in the lower levels of the minor leagues,
He also writes of being a Christian man, unmarried, living with his girlfriend Jenn, and them preparing to have a child. Often times, he was reminded of how his pitching performance mirrored the issues in his personal life. He writes of how long it took him to tell Jenn that he loved her. It was only after they met with a church counselor for two months that they decided to get married. They now have three children.
His professional journey took Daniel from Peoria in Single A, to Springfield in Double A, Memphis in Triple A and eventually to being called up to the major leagues and making his first start, a brilliant performance of seven innings of no-hit, shutout ball.
He was impacted by, and would take as his own, a prayer that stated “Fill me with Your Holy Spirit; make me more like Christ; I am at Your disposal.”  He writes that though he’s been knocked down many times, it is his faith that is the only reason that he has been able to get back up. His purpose with this book and his life is to help others understand that God wants to be a part of their lives as well.

  • Finding Hope in God’s Unfolding Plan. John Piper’s new book Providence, is about the precious doctrine of God’s providence. On the Ask Pastor John podcast he is looking at ten implications. On this episode he looks at the final implication.
  • Derek Thomas: The Pilgrim’s Progress. In this message from the Rare Book Series, Derek Thomas speaks on the life of John Bunyan and his classic book The Pilgrim’s Progress. The program begins at the 9:43 point.
  • On Men and Women in the Church (with Kevin DeYoung.  Kevin DeYoung recently wrote a new book titled Men and Women in the Church: A Short, Biblical, Practical Introduction. In this episode of Pastors Talk, Jonathan Leeman chats with Mark Dever and Kevin DeYoung about the role of men and women in healthy churches.
  • Review of Providence by John Piper. Mark Redfern reviews John Piper’s new book Providence. He writes “The vision of God in these pages is (to use some hyphenated Piperisms) hope-giving, pride-humbling, and mind-stretching. If this serves as Piper’s final theological opus (and here’s hoping it isn’t), it will be a fitting summation of the God-entranced vision of life and ministry that he has given to the church for the last four decades.
  • Jordan Peterson’s Fight Against Chaos. Steven Wedgeworth reviews Jordan Peterson’s new book Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life. He writes “Beyond Order doesn’t advertise itself as a Christian book. It’s a sort of perennial wisdom of the world, the best the Gentiles have to offer. Peterson should be considered a sort of modern-day natural-law philosopher. And in that sense, it really is a good book.”
  • Religious Affections: A Reader’s Guide to a Christian Classic. Joe Rigney offers a ten-step orientation to Jonathan Edwards classic book Religious Affections as a whole. Think of these as ten items to keep in mind as you embark on the difficult but valuable journey before you.

BOOK CLUB – Won’t you read along with us?

Providence by John Piper

The providence of God is his purposeful sovereignty by which he will be completely successful in the achievement of his ultimate goal for the universe. God’s providence carries his plans into action, guides all things toward his ultimate goal, and leads to the final consummation.
John Piper draws on a lifetime of theological reflection, biblical study, and practical ministry to lead readers on a stunning tour of the sightings of God’s providence—from Genesis to Revelation—to discover the all-encompassing reality of God’s purposeful sovereignty over all of creation and all of history.
Exploring the goal, nature, and extent of God’s purposes for the world, Piper offers an invitation to know the God who holds all things in his hands yet remains intimately involved in the lives of his people.
You can download the PDF of the book free from Desiring God.
Watch this six-minute video as John Piper talks about the book, and this interview with Dr. Joe Rigney of Bethlehem College & Seminary.
This week we look at the first part of Chapter 7: Remembering the Exodus. Here are a few takeaways from the chapter:

  • So whom was the exodus for: Israel or God? He saved them. For his name’s sake! To make known his power! Both. It was for Israel. It was for God. But it was not for Israel and for God in the same sense. It was for Israel’s salvation. It was for God’s reputation.
  • God’s aim to be glorified and his aim for his people to be satisfied in that glory are not separate aims. Israel’s being satisfied in the God of the exodus is the essence of how the God of the exodus is glorified in Israel. That is the ultimate goal of God’s providence that we are seeing again and again.
  • At the exodus, God made a name for himself by acting as a God of absolutely free grace.
  • His ultimate goal is that those who have eyes to see will come to tremble at his justice and treasure the glory of his grace—his self-determined, absolutely free grace.
  • God’s providence in the exodus (or any other event) is finally and decisively governed not by man’s will or exertion (9:16), but by his own self-determining will.

Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence – married to my best friend Tammy, a graduate of Covenant Seminary, St. Louis Cardinals fan, formerly a manager at a Fortune 50 organization, and in leadership at my local church. I am a life-long learner and have a passion to help people develop, and to use their strengths to their fullest potential. I am an INTJ on Myers-Briggs, 3 on the Enneagram, my top five Strengthsfinder themes are: Belief, Responsibility, Learner, Harmony, and Achiever, and my two StandOut strength roles are Creator and Equalizer. My favorite book is the Bible, with Romans my favorite book of the Bible, and Colossians 3:23 and 2 Corinthians 5:21 being my favorite verses. Some of my other favorite books are The Holiness of God and Chosen by God by R.C. Sproul, and Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper. I enjoy music in a variety of genres, including modern hymns, Christian hip-hop and classic rock. My book Called to Lead: Living and Leading for Jesus in the Workplace and Tammy’s book Study, Savor and Share Scripture: Becoming What We Behold are available in paperback and Kindle editions on Amazon.

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