WINNING SPIRIT: Astros' Ensberg learns from Piper, MacArthur
EDITORS' NOTE: BP Sports columnist Tim Ellsworth was in Florida last week to cover spring training as baseball players get ready to begin a new season. This is one in a series of stories published by BP.
KISSIMMEE, Fla. (BP)--Video games may be a popular diversion for baseball players when they're away from home. But for Houston Astros third baseman Morgan Ensberg, his free time is spent in more substantive ways.
Ensberg is an avid reader, and he especially likes Christian books. He ranks authors such as John Piper and John MacArthur among his favorites.
"I end up reading so much that I just grab a book that's recommended and I'll just plow through it," Ensberg said. "And then I'll have to think about it for a little bit."
With a lot of down time, Ensberg said it doesn't take him long to read a book. Normally he can get through one in just a few days, although he likes to take his time to absorb fully the writer’s message.
"It's the same as reading Scripture, for me at least," he said. "You have to sit and meditate on it. I don't want to just read it and throw it out."
Three books quickly came to mind as Ensberg's favorites:
-- "Jesus Among Other Gods" by Ravi Zacharias, which offers proof for the divinity of Jesus and is a book on apologetics.
-- "Battle for the Beginning: Creation, Evolution, and the Bible" by MacArthur, which argues for the existence of Adam and Eve as historical figures and for the reliability of the first three chapters of Genesis.
-- "The Problem of Life with God: Living with a Perfect God in an Imperfect World" by Tommy Nelson, which is based on Ecclesiastes and reminds the reader that true fulfillment comes from obedience to God.
Ensberg, who attends First Baptist Church of Houston, Texas, is also a fan of history. Right now he's reading "His Excellency, George Washington" by Joseph Ellis.
But while Ensberg may enjoy books like these, he knows they aren't as important as Scripture.
"The key is staying in the Word, though," Ensberg said. "Reading books on the Bible are great because it's great support. It helps me understand. But I think to truly be blessed you really need to be in the Word. Every morning, without fail, I'll wake up and read a chapter in the Bible."
For Ensberg, it's the Bible that helps him as a baseball player stay focused on what matters most.
"I think Scripture is what you really lean on, and I think that's clearly your directions in life," he said. "You have God's wisdom in there."
Tim Ellsworth is director of news and media relations at Union University in Jackson, Tenn. He writes a weekly column on sports and faith for BP Sports.