LIVING AN ALL IN LIFE
Joe Champion is a OneHope Board member and I am so excited about his new book, Confronting Compromise. During our fruitful friendship I have seen Joe live out these words that he presents to us today…
I’ll never forget the day I quit quitting! At seven years old, I had decided to take an early retirement from football, the family sport. Then I felt the hand of my mom yanking me out from under my bed to take me to practice. I found out that day, you can run but you can’t hide from “Mama Sara!” My dad, who was an NFL football coach, was much less concerned with my little league participation, but my mom had tenacity that kept me in the game, and eventually led me to a successful college career at Louisiana State University. She taught me a lesson that day that you finish what you start (even if you were involuntarily drafted). She taught me how to be all in. There was no compromise with “Mama Sara.” There was no quit in her game, and on that day, there was no more quit in mine.
This principle of being all in has stayed true throughout my life’s journey. Through my marriage, my parenting, my friendships, and through my relationship with God. My all in attitude has certainly been most critical in pastoring Celebration Church in Austin, TX for the past 21 years. There were times throughout the years when the temptation to quit reared its ugly head. When we planted our church, we did not have the resources of a well-established church planting organization like ARC (The Association of Related Churches), of which I am now a lead team member. We were planted out of obedience to God … and what money was in our savings account (not much). Our faith had to be all in when there wasn’t enough money to pay medical bills, when only 15 people would show up for services in the small library that we rented for Sunday services, and when my own son looked at me one Sunday and said, “Dad, this isn’t a real church. I’m going back to Louisiana.” He was only 8 years old! Yet, over and over again, God would prove His faithfulness. The need for faith remains but the challenges change.
We need more people to be all in. In a time when we will be cancelled for our Biblical beliefs, we have to be all in. When we are burdened in prayer for people in our church who are suffering life-altering circumstances, we have to be all in. When God calls us to reach beyond our cities and into the world with the Gospel, we have to be all in! When things get difficult, because they do at times, we remind ourselves that we are all in. My wife, Lori, and I joke that when it comes to the ministry, we will never quit on the same day!
So how can you have an all in attitude?
We put Christ first in everything
Everything we do represents Jesus to others. Our families, businesses, friendships, words and actions should all reflect Christ. When we do things to please man, and not God, we will arrive at a destination of disappointment. If we do things to please God, we will arrive at our destiny.
We allow God to encourage us through His Word
There will be times when discouragement comes but God has given us the greatest encouragement to press on in His Word. Daily Bible reading should be a non-negotiable for the all in person. Jesus reminds us through His life, death, and resurrection that He was all in for us and we can find fulfillment in returning the favor.
We don’t do life alone
God has not created us to do life in isolation. You need people in your corner who are willing to celebrate you in the good times and comfort you in the bad times. You need people in your life who will give you that half-time pep talk when you need a kick in the pants. All in people don’t bow, they build and you need people to build with you.