10 Questions With Ben & Julianna Zobrist

Welcome to 5 Questions With.....

Except you'll notice that today it's 10 questions. That's right! This is another Super-Sized edition of the 5 Question feature.

Today's guest are Ben & Julianna Zobrist. Baseball fans will know that Ben Zobrist has been the starting 2nd Baseman for the Tampa Bay Rays since 2009. Julianna Zobrist is a Christian singer and musician with a just released album, Say It Now.

As their schedule allows, they also travel and minister together. They share about marriage, relationships, baseball, and faith.

In this interview they cover all of those topics.

Let's get to it:

1. Ben, how did you come to faith in Christ?

I came to Christ through the consistent teaching of the gospel by my parents and reinforced through a Sunday school lesson about heaven and hell. I was 5 years old and understood that if I died, I had to have my faith in Jesus Christ dying on the cross for my sins to be able to go to heaven. It was for fear of the alternative of hell that I first made that decision....a Godly fear no doubt and I am thankful that God began a work in me at such a young age.

2. Do you feel baseball is your calling?

I feel that baseball has been my calling vocationally for a certain period of my life, but someday I'll be done playing baseball and I look forward to whatever is the next thing God calls me to do vocationally. I think we are all called in a greater degree by our spiritual gifts rather than the job we are currently doing. If we are employing these on a regular basis, we will be useful to God in whatever job we end up doing.

3. How hard is it to walk the Christian life in a fishbowl setting like baseball?

I think there are things about baseball that make it harder to walk the Christian life and there are also things that make it easier. Knowing people are watching all the time keeps me accountable in the way I act. The fans, my teammates and the game itself keeps you on your toes. Overall, I wouldn't say it's any more difficult than any other Christian persons walk. We all face the same challenge of a sinful selfish nature and we all have the same power available to us in Christ to overcome it.

You talk about your identity in Christ. Can you explain how verses like Gal. 2:20 impact your life?

Verses like Gal. 2:20 are a great reminder that we have been changed and we are different because the Spirit of Christ has taken up residence in us. When we are struggling with the old nature, we must put it quickly behind us because the old has gone and the new has come (2 Cor. 5:17). If we are new creations, we need to live like it.

5. Juliana, how did you come to faith in Christ?

My story is not one of some obvious dramatic transformation, but is much like many others. I grew up going to church every time the doors were open not because my heart was completely there, but primarily due to my father being the head pastor. Christianity was normal to me. Not only normal, but expected. Spiritual disciplines were common and Christian "lingo" was cool amongst peers. A large part of my thirst for knowledge was to please the crowd I was around. And I definitely was a pro at playing to whatever crowd I was in. It wasn't until my sophomore year in high school when i went to an event called SEMP that trained students how to evangelize and then sent them into the streets of Chicago to do so, that my faith was put to the test. For the first time I didn't know what to do. I wanted to impress my peers with a "star for every convert" but I also did not want to talk to strangers on the streets about something I wasn't sure I believed. It was then that I decided, I needed to either discover what it really meant to be a Christian, or stop calling myself one. At that moment, in my humility, God opened my eyes. And in His loving kindness, he patiently continues to open my eyes and reveal to me who He is and who I am. The more clearly I see myself, the more clearly I realize my need for my Savior. All of my "good works" become nothing, and His ability to use a sinner like me for His glory is nothing short of a Miracle. He rescued me out of darkness and has made me alive with Him.

6. Your new album, Say It Now, is now available. What is the story behind the title track?

Say It Now is a shout out to women. It is my fist pumping encouragement to be bold. We were not left on this planet to just be beautiful girls. We were not left to be the perfect mother. We were not left here to be the most godly wife. We were left to proclaim the name of Christ, using those avenues of girl, wife, and mother to be our springboard for loving Him. We spend so much energy pressuring one another in our "churchy" manipulative way to be perfect. Have the perfect home. Perfect godly marriage. Perfect godly kids. We make idols of the good things and good gifts God has given us. Gifts that are to be used to make His name great, not ours. We need to proclaim our weaknesses because only then will others see our need for our Savior. And that is the point. To draw near to Christ, Abide in Him, and be bold for the Gospel. Say it now!!

7. What has been the highlight of your career thus far?

The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of "moments" as an artist was when I got to open for Casting Crowns. My new album was almost completely written, I was six months pregnant, and working so hard to finish it. I had a performance boot camp with my band where we rehearsed all day for three days and days after. The anticipation of performing for what ended up being over 8,000 people was so exciting. The show went seamlessly and for most everyone in the crowd it was the first time they had heard of me. So to walk to my tent and see a line out the door of girls and boys and moms and kids waiting to talk to me was one of the most rewarding experiences.

8. Is there a time God made His grace evident to you in a real way?

God makes His grace evident to me every day if I have the eyes to see it. Just recently I was down in the dumps having a much-loved pity party for myself because I'd just released my album, but I was going on the road with Ben to Boston. I thought to myself "I should be working on my music, I just released my album, what am I doing? Why aren't I touring?" etc. etc. you know how those types of pity parties go. But as I prayed and eventually repented of my selfishness, God quietly reminded me of my priorities. How to sacrifice and love my husband, how to sacrifice for my children. Many times that means having to step away from music. Not a week later I was sitting on the couch with my three year old and my seven month old. Zion had peanut butter and jelly all over his face, I was nursing Kruse, we were watching Curious George, and I got an email. My album was in the Top 100 Albums on iTunes. I started crying immediately and laughing at the same time. How gracious is the Lord to me! It was as if He was saying "Jules, be faithful with what I have given you...two kids and a husband to love...and let me take care of the rest".

9. How do the two of you balance career, ministry and family?

Balancing career, family and ministry is a question we get often. I could write a book on it, but in short, our lives are our ministry. Baseball is Ben's springboard for loving Christ and sharing Him with others. Music is mine. Zion and Kruse will have other avenues one day like school and sports. My mom said to me once in regards to parenting, "God blesses the motive, not the method". And I believe she is so right. We can spend so much time trying to do things for God, when He simply wants our hearts. The more we walk with Him, abide closely to Him, love Him, then he accomplishes the things in us that He wishes to accomplish. And life becomes less about what we do, and more about loving Him through the avenues He brings to our lives.

Practically speaking though, we made a commitment to never be away from each other more than 6 days. So the kids and I pack our suitcases every week and join Ben on the road. We have grown very accustomed to life in hotels and Zion and Kruse sleep in the same room, wake up and pick up the phone to order breakfast. Haha.

10. What is the best part of working together in ministry?

The best part of working together in ministry is the accountability it brings. When life gets busy sometimes it's easy to not set aside time for reading together or talking through deep truths. But when we do ministry together, Ben and I go on walks to prepare and end up praying and talking for hours about various spiritual things. Ministry together is bonding because it's eternal work. Our hearts are woven even stronger together as we seek the Heavenly.

Thank you so much for taking the time to do this Ben and Julianna.

You can read more about the Zobrist's ministry and order Julianna's new CD on their website. Make sure you check it out: The Zobrists

To see past 5 Questions guests see the 5 questions page under the tab above.


No, No, No

No Reserves

No Retreat

No Regret

These were the words that were found to be recorded in William Borden's Bible when he died in Egypt in 1913.

I just recently heard of the story of William Borden. Heir to the Borden, Inc. empire, William Borden had an encounter with Christ and then felt the Lord's call on his life at the age of 16. His family was very wealthy and after sending William around the world, he informed his family upon his return that he would be giving up everything for missionary work.

He wrote "No Reserves" after renouncing his fortune for missions.

He wrote "No Retreat" after his father told him he would never let him work in the company again.

He wrote "No Regrets" shortly before he died of meningitis in Egypt.

He left behind money for missions and a testimony of a life turned over completely to Jesus Christ.

What testimony will we leave behind?


Running For My Life by Lopez Lomong - A Book Review

Running For My Life is the story of US Olympic athlete Lopez Lomong. This inspiring book chronicles his story from a kidnapped lost boy from the killing fields of the Sudan, and follows his barefoot escape to the refugee camps of Kenya. The story doesn't end there. After 10 years in a refugee camp, Lopez is taken in by a foster family in the US.

The book follows his struggles with adapting to life in the US from high school to university. Lopez earns a degree and a spot on the 2008 US Olympic team. Lopez is still running.

I was not familiar with Lopez Lomong's story before reading this book. Now, I can't stop thinking about it. Encountering hardship that would kill stronger men, God leads Lopez on a path that brings Glory to His Name!

I was challenged by this book. I found myself wondering how I would have handled these situations. Lopez does not rest on his laurels and today he has partnered with World Vision to bring hope and help to the people of Sudan.

This is a book I highly recommend. You will find yourself drawn in to the Lopez Lomong story and your eyes will be open to a life outside of the comforts of home!


Confessions of a Lapsed Blogger

I love to write.

When this thing first started I stepped in a bit tentatively but over time I found a rhythm. I originally used this site to house my Just A Thoughts with an occasional devotional thrown in. After awhile, I decided to add book reviews, interviews, etc.

I used to blog like crazy. I increased my posting rate to every 2-3 days. It became an obsession.

It became an idol.

I cut back last year and posted less.

This year I have cut down on my posts again.

Part of that was business at work, part because I was working on a book. The book is now completed and yet I have been hesitant to jump back in here. Life has just been to crazy.

I've also been thinking a lot about eternity.

Not in a maudlin sense. I've just been meditating on Psalm 90:12, "So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom."

I have spent this last bit seeking God as to what He would have me do next and blogging has just not been on the list.

I am not done writing. I am chewing on other book ideas while finding more joy in teaching and preaching lately.

Pray for me.


Survive125: I dare you!

Could you survive on less than $1.25 a day?

Survive125 is a game brought to you by 58:, a global initiative to end extreme poverty by living out Isaiah 58. And Compassion is part of the 58: Alliance.

In Survive125, you are asked to make the daily decisions nearly 1.3 billion people living in extreme poverty face every day. In doing so their struggle becomes yours.

My daughter and I tried the game. We couldn't make it. Are you ready to play?

Well hang on. It's 8 minutes long but I want you to check out this video first.

What is 58?

58: is an unprecedented global alliance of Christians, churches and world-class poverty-fighting organizations working together to end extreme poverty in our lifetime.

Three of the organizations I am passionate about are a part of 58: Compassion, International Justice Mission and Living Water International. Who's missing? YOU!

Play the game, watch the video and remember, for 1.3 billion people around the world, poverty is not a game!