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2009 Conversations

2008 Conversations

2007 Conversations

2006 Conversations

2005 Conversations

Benji creator Joe Camp: Moral movies, personal cost (12/26/04)

Gloria Gaither: A Gaither family Christmas(12/19/04)

Allyson Feliz: Olympic medalist  shares passion for following Christ (12/12/04)

Dan Dean: Walking by faith (11/28/04)

J. Don George: Every church can touch the poor (11/21/04)

Brock Gill: Jesus is no illusion (11/14/04)

Ted Dekker: Good, evil and the battle for souls (10/31/04)

Bob Kilpatrick: CCM: Growing and changing (10/17/04)

Eugene H. Peterson: Man with a message (10/10/04)

Caz McCaslin: Fixing kids sports (9/26/04)

Jerry B. Jenkins: A novel approach to evangelism (9/19/04)

Natalie Grant: Living the dream (9/12/04)

Sharon Ellard: A life-changing education (8/29/04)

Steven Curtis Chapman: All things new (8/22/04)

Jim Ryun: Running to Jesus (8/15/04)

George Barna: Today’s church: By the numbers (8/8/04)

Randy Singer: Made to count (7/25/04)

Holly McClure: Morality and the media (7/18/04)

Don Miller and Richard Flory:Taking the Church to today's culture (7/11/04)

Cecil Richardson: Pastoring the Air Force’s 'Pastors' (6/27/04)

Barry Meguiar: Driven by faith (6/20/04)

Thomas E. Trask: Concerned for America (6/13/04)

Dr. David Yonggi Cho: The work of the Holy Spirit (5/30/04)

Tom Greene: High school: A great mission field (5/16/04)

Jennifer Rothschild: Walk by faith, not by sight (5/9/04)

Chaplain Alex Taylor: Forgiveness and restoration (4/25/04)

Joshua Harris: Not even a hint (4/18/04)

Nicky Cruz: Changing America (4/11/04)

Jason Schmidt: Lessons learned on life’s field (3/28/04)

Scott Temple: One church, many colors (3/21/04)

Michael W. Smith: Called to worship (3/14/04)

Representative Jo Ann Davis: Christians in politics (2/29/04)

Darlene Zschech: Sing, shout … just shout the praise the Lord (2/22/04)

Surgeon James W Long: For your heart’s sake, get fit (2/15/04)

Jerry R. Kirk: Battling pornography (2/8/04)

Dr Michael Ferris: A choice to heal (1/18/04)

Chaplain Al Worthley: Outside the four walls of the church (1/11/04)

2003 Conversations

2002 Conversations

2001 Conversations

Lessons learned on life’s field

Jason Schmidt is a Major League Baseball pitcher for the San Francisco Giants. Schmidt, who was selected in the eighth round of the 1991 MLB Draft, made his major-league debut in 1995 with the Atlanta Braves. He pitched for the Giants in games one and five during the 2002 World Series against the Anaheim Angels. Last season, Schmidt compiled the best earned run average and the fourth-most strikeouts in the National League. He was named the National League’s starting pitcher in the 2003 All-Star Game in Chicago. Schmidt recently spoke with staff writer Isaac Olivarez about his career and his faith.

PE: What was it like for you to pitch in the World Series?

SCHMIDT: I think every kid thinks about full count, bases loaded, two outs, game seven of the World Series. We were there. Walking onto the field was indescribable. It was so loud. As a player, you put everything on the line and say, “This is the one game I’ve pitched for my whole career, and here I am.”

PE: What do you remember most from that experience?

SCHMIDT: Obviously we wanted to win. But I don’t mope around about it. I was blessed to be there. My mom, Vicki, had cancer, and she was well enough at the time to be able to make it to San Francisco. For our team to make it that far at that time in my career was a miracle in itself, and she was able to see that before she passed away. It would have been a better story if we had won, but she got to see me make it all the way to the World Series. And you know, it could have been my last one. She got to see me pitch game one, and I think it was perfect timing.

PE: What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to overcome in your life?

SCHMIDT: When I was younger, not having my mom was the worst thing I could think of. A couple of years ago I told my wife that for some reason, I felt we weren’t making Christmas and my mom’s birthday special enough for her. She always went out of her way so much for everybody else, and I just didn’t feel like we were doing enough. I don’t know why I felt like that. I just felt like I needed to take more pictures, more videos and make things more special for her. Then all of a sudden she was diagnosed with brain cancer.

PE: What are some lessons your mother taught you that you will pass on to your children?

SCHMIDT: My mom always taught me to be humble. That was always a big thing with her — be humble and be friendly to people. She was always kind to everybody she came across. She never had a bad thing to say about anybody, and that’s the biggest thing I learned from her example. She was a very giving person. She had a huge heart. That’s something I definitely want my kids to have. She took me to Kelso (Wash.) First Assembly of God and taught me the importance of Christianity. She brought me up the right way, even when I was young and didn’t want to be in church Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night. I look back at those memories and I’m thankful for the way she raised me.

PE: When did you accept Christ as Savior?

SCHMIDT: When I was a young child at a church camp. Two days after high school graduation I was sent to rookie league with the Braves. I was 18. I didn’t have church anymore on Sunday and I didn’t have church on Wednesday. I went off and did my own thing. We had somewhat of a curfew, but I was around all these guys who had already been in college, and they were 22, 24, 25 years old. That was my first time on my own, without any family or anybody to answer to. For a couple of years I went through that and it was the worst time of my life. No doubt about it. I got so miserable. It wasn’t until the winter of 1997 at home in Kelso that I really turned my life over to Christ. I got down on my knees and opened a Bible that my mom had given me a long time ago. I started reading it, and all of a sudden everything made sense. I had read the Bible in the past, but it didn’t make sense to me. All of a sudden, everything clicked.

PE: Tell me about your great-uncle, G. Raymond Carlson. (Carlson was general superintendent of the A/G from 1986–1993.)

SCHMIDT: He married my wife, Bethany, and me in 1997. He was a man I had always looked up to since I was young. I remember him coming out to visit. They’d run out of their way to get us birthday cards every year. He had a great heart for God, and he’d call me periodically to let me know he was praying for me. I remember one time he called and told me, “I know you’re in Arizona right now playing the Diamondbacks. Here’s a church you can go to if you get a chance.” He would let me know about churches I could go to in different cities.

PE: What do you do to remain faithful to God while you’re on the road?

SCHMIDT: We have Baseball Chapel. Every team has one, and it’s a 20-minute service. We get seven guys or so that show up to it. They have fliers they send out every week, and we go through different chapters in the Bible and study different things. I also try to make sure I keep in touch with friends of mine like Tim Cash in Atlanta and another friend of mine in Florida, and we’ll read Scriptures over the phone. My mom was really big in helping me out with things like that, too. You need other people to keep you in check every now and then because playing Major League Baseball is such a crazy life.

PE: How do you share your faith with others?

SCHMIDT: Once a month we do a thing called the “J Zone.” We get about 300-500 kids to come out. We buy them all tickets to the game, sit in the upper deck and witness to them before the game. Not only do they get to hear the gospel, but also all the fans that are walking by get to hear. That’s just one of the things that, when I’m a little down, motivates me back into the Word. When we don’t have church, that’s always there for me. When you get a chance to witness to other people, it really brings your spirits up. Witnessing makes me pick up my end of the bargain a little bit more.

PE: What is the career highlight of your life?

SCHMIDT: I used to tell everybody it was the World Series. But after my mom passed away, I flew back to San Francisco and pitched against the Chicago Cubs. I really didn’t know what to expect. I had so many emotions. It was a very tough time — it still is. But I went out and threw my first shutout of the season. [He struck out a career-high 12 batters in the 5-0 victory over the Cubs.] For me, that was something that I felt like I did for my mom.

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