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Gary and DeLeon Sheffield

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Inside PowerInside Power (Crown, 2007)
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Gary Sheffield: The Power Within

By Andrew Knox and Aaron Little
The 700 Club Andrew Knox [reporting]: Over the course of his career, Gary Sheffield has played for Milwaukee, San Diego, Florida, Los Angeles, Atlanta, New York and now Detroit -- his seventh stop in a journey that Gary has chronicled in his new book, Inside Power, a journey that didn't always have Christ at the center.

Andrew Knox: Gary, in your book you write, "I was an angry man... yet at the same time when it came to the pleasures of life, I had anything I wanted whenever I wanted it." And you're telling me that that left you unfulfilled?

Gary Sheffield: I really wasn't a person that flaunted around in fancy cars and went after a ton of women. These are just things to erase the void that I was having within myself. I didn't know what it was at the time. It was just living life. I thought I knew there was a God. I always acknowledged that, but at the same time, I didn't live by those laws.

Andrew Knox [reporting]: While his life was full of baseball honors and accomplishments, Gary says something was missing.

Gary Sheffield: Most people think [that] the more wins, the more home runs, the more hits [you get], it makes you feel good, and this is great all the time. But to me, it seemed like the more I succeeded, the more I had to change teams. I was always wanted by other teams, which I took as a compliment, but at the same time, my life was never settled.

Andrew Knox: So your career's going well, but on the inside, you're empty.  You talk about how you know God was calling you. What were you waiting for?

Gary Sheffield: My situation was, when I was being rebellious, I think that's when God sent the signal to me that things were going to change.

Andrew Knox [reporting]: One instrument of change in Gary's life was his wife DeLeon, whom he met just minutes after praying for a Godly woman.

Andrew Knox: DeLeon, you were the answer to Gary's prayer?

DeLeon Sheffield: [laughs]

Andrew Knox: How has Gary changed since he has accepted God into his life?

DeLeon Sheffield: I've seen him change tremendously --- from him not having any type of real relationship with Christ to him really sitting in church and allowing himself to be fed.

Andrew Knox [reporting]: But the change was not overnight.

Gary Sheffield: Hangin' out, partyin' with my friends, coming in at wee hours of the night... That felt good. At the end of the day, I didn't have that peace about it. The Bible was the last thing I wanted to see, because I wasn't totally ready to give all that up. If I'm coming in at 4:00 in the morning and my kids have been in bed since 8:00, 9:00, that's not setting a good example. The responsibility that I have kids [who are] inside my household has made me realize now that I have to be an example.

Andrew Knox [reporting]: While Gary's been known to be one of baseball's most aggressive players, he's the first to admit he's a work in progress.

Gary Sheffield: This is what people don't understand. When they might see me do something that's not "God-like", then they say, "Well, I thought you were saved?"  I am saved.  I'm not perfect. I have emotions still. My name's still Gary.  These things here are not all cleaned up.  I'm showing you my path. This is where I'm trying to go.

Andrew Knox [reporting]: His path is one that leads to a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.

Gary Sheffield: Regardless of what you're searching [for], you ain't gonna find it until you include God. Because, if you have a problem with women, drugs, or whatever the case may be, the only person that can fix that problem is God. Once we say, "I surrender. You take over God. Whichever way You want me to go, that's where I'm gonna go," I think that's the only way. I've tried it all. I've tried to do it myself. I resisted. I've argued with God. I've went at it. I've never won the fight [laughs]. It's things that you want to do in the flesh that goes on every second in the day that you have to go the other way. That's the most difficult part. But, the reward at the end is the most gratifying reward ever.


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