In his book, All In, Mark Batterson writes: “Destiny is not a mystery. It’s a decision. And you are only one decision away from a totally different life. One decision can totally change your financial forecast. One decision can radically alter a relationship. One decision can lead toward health – spiritual, physical or emotional. And those defining decisions will become the defining moments of your life.” I want to take Batterson’s words one step further and suggest that one decision, made by a few thousand people, can also become the defining moment in a local church.
I’ve been the Senior Pastor here at Mount Pleasant for 15 years (official anniversary is November 1). I love this church and am thankful every day for the opportunity to be in this position. Over the past 15 years, I’ve had a front row seat to seeing lives impacted and changed by Christ in hundreds of ways. In many ways it’s been 15 years of celebration. As I write this blog, however, I’m aware of the truth that we haven’t even scratched the surface when it comes to the IMPACT we can have on this community and around the world through our different mission partners. What’s holding us back? The answer is simple – an “all in” commitment.
Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not trying to be negative – I’m just being honest. It’s easy in our modern world to create our own definition of what an “all in” commitment to Christ looks like. But oftentimes, when you hold that definition up to the revealing truth of the Bible, it falls short. The truth is many people think they are following Jesus when the reality is they’ve invited Jesus to follow them because while they call him “Savior” they’ve never surrendered to him as “Lord.”
More than a hundred years ago, a British revivalist issued a holy dare that would change a life, a city and a generation. That timeless challenge echoes across every generation: “The world has yet to see what God will do with and for and through and in and by the man who is fully and wholly consecrated to Him.” The original hearer of that call was D.L. Moody. When he heard those words they shot straight to his soul and forever defined his life as he went on to become one of the greatest preachers, evangelists and soul-winners the world has ever known. He wanted to be that man.
I want to lead a church filled with men and women who have taken up the challenge to be fully and wholly consecrated to God. Another way to say it would be, “I want to lead a church filled with people who are all in.” I want to be an “all in” preacher leading an “all in” church that will be used by God to change the world: one life, one family, one opportunity at a time. And that will be my challenge in our next special sermon series, simply called, “All In,” beginning the weekend of October 29/30. This series will last for 4 weeks and will include a special message from our dear brother, “Ajai Lall on November 12/13. Normally at this time of year I spend 3 to 4 weeks talking about stewardship (money management and giving). I’ll talk about an “All In” commitment to generosity, but this series will be about much more than money. I know we live in a day and age when a lot of people, even people of deep faith, choose other things above church each weekend. But I’m making an earnest appeal to everyone reading these words to make the commitment to be a part of this special series. The dates are October 29/30 – November 19/20. There is so much more we can do as a local church if we will just raise the level of our personal commitment. The only real way to predict the future is to create it so let’s live with the kind of commitment that can create a future where God is able to work through us to do things greater than we ever imagined. I still believe that a single church in Central Indiana can change the world. But it requires an “All In” commitment.