all in but we are not playing poker

MATT damon plays mike MCDERMOTT in the 1998 movie rounders. he goes ALL-IN

MATT damon plays mike MCDERMOTT in the 1998 movie rounders. he goes ALL-IN

what a weekend.

if you didn’t know, i spent the weekend with forty-six students, leaders, and volunteers in the middle of the western virginia woods, playing tackle football, asking deep questions like, “where is your spoon?’ and building a community of disciples of Jesus. my friend Chris Craddock and his family came as our speaker and talked about life with Jesus and how our ideas of life with Him comes down to one question?

am i all in?

the point starts in revelation 3 where Jesus is speaking to the church of laodicea: he says ““I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth … Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”

Jesus is talking to christians. he is saying christianity as a hobby is stupid. you’re either hot or cold, being lukewarm is meaningless and useless.

our talk took us to galatians 1:10 where paul, who is being attacked by false teachers, defends his ministry by saying: For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I tryingto please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

our point to the students is being a christian is an all or nothing thing. it’s a daily grind. it’s a day-in, day-out life. chris gave examples from his testimony, but it still comes back to the one idea … i am trying to please people (myself included) or am i trying to please the Lord?

why does being all in matter? because in Jesus there is the full life; the abundant life; the life well lived with purpose and meaning and joy in all things. Jesus tells us this in john 10. the theif comes to steal and kill and destroy but Jesus came to bring life.

oh that we may understand that the full life, the good life is not found in indulging in ourselves and indulging in the things of this world but are found in things from above; from God.

in mere christianity, cs lewis says: “if i find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that i was made for another world.” and it is true. we are meant for another world. a world without sin. a world without brokenness.

the world that we live in now was not the way that God created it to be. it is broken. longing for something greater. some one greater. people and objects were not meant to be praised and worshiped and craved for. God was. sin has distorted and altered everything in this world.

so we set our eyes on things unseen, things in heaven. we set our eyes on Jesus. for what is seen does not give us meaning. for what is seen is not meant to receive our affection. it is light and momentary. what is unseen is eternal. and filled with the promise of restoration in a dying and decaying world. what is unseen is the life that Jesus has for us. full and abundant. filled with joy and peace. filled with the promise of restoration of all things.

filled with the promise that God is for us and nothing can separate us from Him.

but that was what the weekend was about … do you know what your son or daughter got out of it?

[digging deeper]

have you talked to your son or daughter about what they learned from this weekend? do you know their favorite moment?

what was their favorite skit? what did the get from their small group time?

these are good continual questions to ask your teen about the weekend?

this week would be a great time start and build a time in for you and your son/daughter to grow together in faith. they need help! they need you to help pull them along, to help encourage them and love them well. they need you to help them organize some time to get into the word.

this is a free devotional book from desiring God (john piper) for advent. this is a beautiful resource to help you grow and disciple your son/daughter through the advent season.


carpe diem … by dying?

have you ever seen the movie dead poets society? i have. when i was in high school too. my friends and i loved that movie. there is a scene in the movie that captures the entire film in three minutes. mr.keating o captain my captain tells the boys that,

“we are food for worms lads. because, believe it or not, each and every one of us in this room is one day going to stop breathing, turn cold, and die … carpe. carpe diem. seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary.”

if this life is all there is, then we should seize the day. if this life, if your job, if that girl/guy, if drinking, if sex, if food, if money, if adventures, if moments, if family, if school, if friends, if sports, if _______ you name it … if these things are all we have, then let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.

this is the entire book of ecclesiastes. solomon, in his great wealth and wisdom, performs a social experiment to see if there is life found in anything that could ever be done under the sun and he finds that it is all vanity. he does everything at a greater and farther advance level than you and i could ever achieve … combined, and he says all of it, he has food. he finds it to be vanity; he has party after party and sees that it is useless under the sun. sex and family and food and wisdom are all meaningless. it doesn’t satisfy.

last night at youth group, megan judy led us in discussion about a very uneasy verse to consider. in john 12:25, Jesus says “whoever loves his life will lose it and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternity.” we looked at similar verses where Jesus tells those listening that he came to bring life, that whoever wants life would deny themselves and follow him, that whoever finds his life will lose it and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Jesus is not talking about suicide. he isn’t even talking about rejecting pleasures (like buddhism teaches). he is talking about focus and intent.

because every good and perfect gift comes from above (james 1:17), good things in this life can not be wasted. because god has determined your alloted place and time of where/when you shall live (acts 17:26), God has a plan for you right where you are and those that are around you. life, in your alloted time and place, can be full and abundant when found in Jesus.

without Jesus, wrestling is about state championships and winning.

without Jesus, your house is just a place where you live.

without Jesus, school is just a means to an end.

without Jesus, work is about getting money to spend money so your kids can have the best ______ to get into the best college to get the best job to get the right amount of money to be secure in their family, etc.

it’s an endless cycle.

but with Jesus.

when we are united with Him, by faith,

we see that work becomes a place of opportunity to serve tired and worn down people.

with Jesus, we see the money we earn as a tool to love our neighbor. we can spend freely because our status, salvation, security, assurance is not found in the back of green paper with dead presidents on it.

with Jesus, we see that school is a means to learn about people’s desires, understand worldly knowledge, and connect with people to serve and love them.

with Jesus, we see our neighbors are around us because God wants to work through us for them to be saved. our house is not a symbol of status or place, but as a place for sanctuary for others to come and be served.

with Jesus, wrestling – or whatever wrestling may be for you – is a tool, an opportunity, a moment to point people to Jesus in the mundane and meaningless things.

and in these moments when the world/culture/society tells us that we are losing, Jesus says that we are winning. in this moments when life seems to be lost, Jesus says that is when life is found.

because Jesus, who had everything, did not come to be served but to serve. and when we live life, intentionally pointing people to Jesus, we have abundant life.

Jesus says seize the day by dying to yourself, and following Him.

may you seize the day

[digging deeper]

romans 12:9-15:7 gives us major insight into how paul applies this understanding (found in 14:7-9) into daily life.

what would dying to yourself look practically? what are some ways you can die to yourself to serve and love your children? your neighbors?

how can you die to yourself so you can find life with Jesus, personally? would waking up early, going to bed early, reading scripture, turning off the tv, saying ‘no’ for your kids, do that?