Posted by: pastormikemcdowell | July 31, 2014

July 31, 2014 “All Out Or All In?”

 But Agrippa did answer: “Keep this up much longer and you’ll make a Christian out of me!” (Acts 26:28)

Good Morning Children of the King!

It’s the last day of July. You know what that means, don’t you? It means that the kickoff of the new football season is just a few weeks away! Now I love football, be it high school, college, or professional. I love the strategy and the excitement of the game. When the two teams line up for action, anything can happen. Nothing is guaranteed, no matter how superior one opponent may be to another. A blocked punt, an intercepted pass, a fumble, a returned kick-off could all dramatically change the outcome of a game in a matter of moments. But there are also near-misses, and I confess that I’ve always found it a bit ironic and amusing when broadcasters describe these “non-happening” happenings. For example, how many times have you heard a broadcaster note, “wow…that one was almost intercepted.”? Translation: “That one was not intercepted.”  Or how about, “one more step and he might have broken that one all the way in for the score.” Translation: “He was tackled and didn’t score.” Then there’s the ever familiar,”That one was almost an upset in the making” Translation: The favored team won.  “Almost” is not the same thing as “accomplished”. In fact, it’s the very antithesis of accomplished. Now in the world of sports, it may be considered unfortunate, but hardly tragic, for as much as I enjoy football and other sports, if my team happens to lose, it is not a tragedy. But in the spiritual realm, “almost” can carry the most devastating of consequences. Consider Paul’s defense and proclamation of the gospel before King Agrippa. Agrippa listened carefully to Paul’s testimony. In fact, one translation indicates that he was “almost persuaded” by Paul to become a Christian himself. But almost persuaded is a far cry from accomplished. To be on the fringes of belief is not the same thing as being “all in” as a follower of Jesus Christ. It isn’t enough to acknowledge the existence of God without responding to that conclusion with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. It isn’t enough to compare your own “righteousness” with your neighbors and conclude that you’re a pretty nice guy or gal, especially when compared with them, and then think that’s all and enough when it comes to spirituality and a right relationship with God.  It isn’t enough to be a faithful church-goer without really being transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit in your life. “Almost persuaded” translates to “not persuaded,” and “not persuaded” translates to “not a follower of Christ.”  Don’t live your life on the fringes of faith. Go all in. Love the Lord with all your heart…all your soul…all your mind…all your strength. How about it? Are you all out or all in? Let’s pray!

Glorious Master and Lord; I want to know more of you each day. I want to love and serve you with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. I want to be “all in” when it comes to following you. You are my Lord and my God, and I love you and praise your holy name. Draw me nearer to you this day, I pray, in Jesus’ blessed Name. Amen!

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