Having played division one college volleyball doesn’t usually affect my ministry opportunities. Most women’s ministry directors that invite me to participate in their conferences care primarily about my speaking, Bible teaching and worship leading skills, not my ball handling, vertical jump and net skills. But over the years, I have had some pretty cool niche ministry invitations due to my athletic experience.
Case in point, when my daughter Kennedy was in middle school, I spoke and led worship for an FCA volleyball camp in Georgia several summers in a row. It was the best. Kennedy joined me and we made a mommy-daughter adventure of it. She attended as a camper; had great small group time, meaningful corporate worship moments, and got good volleyball reps in. I served from the stage and got to watch her play ball with the rest of the campers. Wins all around.
Each year the Fellowship of Christian Athletes executive ministry team develops a theme and curriculum to be used at all camps, by all sports, all around the globe. One year the theme was ALL IN.
The “All In” message broke down four ways: God is all in, the world is all in, Jesus is all in, I am all in. The key verse was Colossians 3:17, “And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
FCA summarized the theme like this:
A sold-out athlete never wavers in competition.
A sold-out athlete doesn’t look back.
A sold-out athlete is consumed by a single goal.
When an athlete is “All In,” body, mind and spirit, there are no limits on what he or she can accomplish.
I loved the all-in theme that summer and see echoes of it in Psalm 111:1. “Praise the Lord. I will extol the Lord with all my heart in the council of the upright and in the assembly.”
It’s not just a call to sing or rejoice, it’s a call to worship God whole-heartedly from an all-in worshiper.
With all his heart.
Focused adoration and exaltation.
Reflecting on the “with all my heart” phrase in Psalm 111:1 brings a warmth of regret and a tinge of sorrow to my soul. I love Jesus – so much – but often approach His holy, worthy-of-my-every-thing presence with an unfocused, distracted heart. Not with all of it.
How can I be fully present in God’s presence when my attention gets so easily diverted?
What would it look like for me to be all in as a worshiper?
What would it look like to extol the Lord with all my heart?
What would need to change?
It’s what I want and what God wants from me. It’s what He wants from all of us. The Lord wants us to be all in with Him. Fully committed. Yielded to His leading. Focused on His greatness. Responsive to His love.
“For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” (2 Chronicles 16:9)
It thrills me that my daughter Kennedy is now an outside hitter for a division one college volleyball team. I love watching her play. And as I reflect on the work God has done in both my heart and the heart of my girl, I’m stirred with a fresh urgency to be all in when it comes to giving Him thanks and praise.
I want to be a with-all-my-heart worshiper who is fully committed to the worthy, holy and awesome Redeemer who ordained His covenant forever (v9). Don’t you?
Your name is awesome and holy. You are faithful and just, my only hope for restoration and peace. Please help me to honor and revere Your name. Grow me in wisdom and fuel me with Your Spirit to live in responsive awe of Your greatness.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
FOR YOUR REFLECTION and RESPONSE:
Reflect on this ALL-IN worshiper concept personally.
On a scale of 1-10, where would you rank yourself today when it comes to being all-in? Where would you like to be? Write a response or prayer in your journal or on the wall of my blog about this.
Love you guys!
PS. SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Season 4 of the GRACEOLOGIE with Gwen Smith Podcast has begun! All new episodes of fun, faith-focused, grace-filled conversations are now available to encourage you while you go on walks, exercise, commute to work, fold laundry, cook dinner, run errands or travel.