Friday, February 7, 2014

go all out 'cuz you are all in

I really enjoyed sharing this first series of 2014 with out church family called ALL IN which was based on Mark Batterson’s book by the same name.  It is also our theme for the entire year.  My prayer for our church family is that we will be ALL IN without following God, sharing our resources and demonstrating God’s love to others.

ALL IN is not an unusual thing.  What we are passionate about leads us to be all in.  If your team was in the Super Bowl, you’d be much more excited about the game.  Maybe your team was.  Mine was not.  Enough said.  If your kid or someone you love is hurting or in need, you’d be all in to do something about it.

For me ALL IN is a phrase that describes as person who is a fully devoted follower of God.  ALL IN is not about doing more.  It is about being who God made you to be.  It is about taking the next step with God.  It is about righting wrongs and loving the unloved.  It is about living outside of ourselves.  Leaving self centeredness behind.  So answer this, are you ALL IN?  If yes, then how?

John 10:10  NASB
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

I prefer to offer people life instead of death.  How about you?  God’s purpose for us is far greater than what we might chose or what others might wise for us.  God has greater days and blessings for us, yet I meet people almost daily who are not willing to accept what God wants.  Too many people are looking for excuses to stop rather than for reasons to push on.  We need courage.  And with that as a backdrop, here is our verse:

Judges 3:31  NLT
After Ehud, Shamgar son of Anath rescued Israel. He once killed 600 Philistines with an ox goad.

Two little sentences is all the Bible says about Shamgar, but this one verse tells us all we need to know about this man.  It was one daring decision and a farming implement is all he needed to deliver an entire nation.

Israel had spiritually backsliding and was in bondage. They were slaves to the Philistines who held tight with fear and intimidation.  But one was tired of being intimidated, and he chose an ox goad to take care of business.  Shamgar was plowing the fields with his oxen, but he didn't know that an ox goad would be used by God as the way Israel was to be delivered.

Shamgar had no army, no alliance and no artillery.  He had was an ox goad which is a long stick used by farmers to prod their animals.  The big deal is that he did not let what he did not have keep him from using what he had to make a difference.

Mark Batterson said there are two kinds of people in the world:  the ‘why’ people and the ‘why not’ people. ‘Why’ people look for excuses.  ‘Why not’ people look for opportunities.

The verse about Shamgar doesn’t give us much of the circumstances.  We don’t know exactly how it happened, but he picked a fight with the Philistines delivered Israel.

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed.

We have a choice.  God didn't make us puppets just to do what He wants.  We have a choice to accept what God says and do what He calls us to do.  Shamgar knew He had to do something.  He spoke up or acted up for the people who couldn’t on their own.

If you are looking for an excuse, you are going to find one.  If you don’t, you won’t.  Shamgar was not looking for an excuse.  What are you looking for? Are you looking for an excuse or are you looking for an opportunity?

Most of us let what we cannot do keep us from doing what we can.  When God begins to get a hold of your heart, you want to make a difference. You don’t let what you cannot do keep you from doing what you can.

Mission trips.  Outreach right here.  Food and clothes.  We cannot save every person or do it all, but we can make a difference.  We can do something. We just need to grab our ox goad and go for it!  And it is not anything huge.  It might be giving a bunch of clothes that creates this domino effect.  It might be sponsoring a child.  It might be serving in a ministry and by serving you touch someone’s life who touches someone else.  It might be teaching English in a foreign country.  It might be fostering or adopting a child.  It might just be going on a mission trip.  I don’t know what it is for you, but I do know this, you can’t be the hands and feet of Jesus if you are sitting on your butt!

Matthew 9:36  NLT
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

You don't have to do something crazy to follow God.  But God might be leading you to do something that will seem crazy to the people around you.  Jesus was crazy.  Mother Teresa said if you cannot feed 100 people, feed 1.  That’s how it starts. 

Simply put, don’t let what you can’t do keep you from doing what you can.  We have already won.  Jesus forgave and did away with our sin, but we’ve got to step into that victory.  We’ve got to go all out because we are ALL IN with Him. 

NOTE: some of this post is from a sermon shared by Mark Batterson.

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