5 Increase Questions with Michael Schlact
By: The Increase Baseball
December 8, 2016
We talked with pitching coach Michael Schlact about how he’s living in the increase of Christ, his faith journey, and the mentors that have impacted his life. Here’s what he had to say.
What effect does your faith have on your lifestyle?
Within the world of baseball you’re surrounded by performance-driven lifestyles. That’s what baseball is all about—who is winning. And if you’re not winning, you won’t have a job very long. But my faith in God is not dependent on if I’m winning or not. He knows I’m not perfect and yet every day He loves me and gives me just what I need. Baseball is temporary, it always will be, and my career could end any day, but God is eternal. His ways are higher than my ways and I know that regardless of what happens in my life, He will always be with me.
Describe how your journey with Christ began.
I grew up Jewish and celebrated my Bar Mitzvah when I turned thirteen, but in high school I met Jillian (who now is my wife) and her family were Christ-followers. We started dating and naturally I wanted to hang out with her all the time. On Sunday she always went to church with her family so I decided I would go too.
Jillian soon invited me to go to a church camp in Florida with her. One night during that camp something clicked for me—God opened my eyes at that moment to see life is not all about me, instead it’s all about what He did. I remember being surrounded by other kids who were singing songs and praising God. I saw the joy on the faces of all the people around me as we were going through what was supposedly the “hardest years of our lives,” but these kids were so happy. I wanted that. That’s when I accepted Christ and committed my life to Him.
Making that decision set off a ten-year stretch in my life where I battled between the world and Christ. I knew I had become a Christian, and I wanted to follow Christ, but the world was just so enticing. I attended a Christian baseball conference in 2010 and the light bulb finally went on. I decided to get baptized and my heart was completely changed—I no longer wanted to live for myself. I finally understood what God was calling me to and what it meant to be a Christ-follower. And though every day is a battle against the world, I choose Jesus; with His help I commit to read His Word and walk as closely with Him as I can.
Who have been the mentors in your life? How did God bring these people into your life?
First, my high school sweetheart and now my wife, Jillian, is the one who took that first step of faith to invite me to church (she was going whether I joined her or not) and to church camp. She introduced me to Christ and still holds me accountable every single day. While many people may not think of their spouse as a mentor or leader that they look up to, I do look up to my wife as I watch her be the wife, mother, and Christ-follower that God calls her to be.
We both really look up to former MLB catcher Eddie Taubensee and his wife René who we first met at the Christian baseball conference where I was baptized. Through any struggle that we’ve faced in our life or marriage, they have always stepped up to be there for us to counsel and encourage us. The Taubensees are an amazing example of a baseball family that serves God, others, and each other. They are true leaders and humble servants and what they have done for me and my family is priceless.
What does the Increase of Christ mean to you?
I have to lay down the things the world tells me I should lift up. Our society tell us that we need to lift up “this” so “that” will happen, increase “this” so “that” will improve. But the only “this and that” which matters is laying down of “this” life so that Christ’s power will increase. I don’t ever have to say, “Look what I did,” instead I get to say, “Look what He did!”
What is your life verse? Why?
“I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” —Ephesians 3:17-19
Every day I try to remind myself that I can never hide from or outrun God. This truth is both terrifying and wonderful because we know that His love and power is so great! It keeps me in reverence of God while continually bringing me to my knees because I know that He loves me despite my mistakes. I take great comfort in the fact that I can never go too far off the map where He will forget me.
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