Are You All In?

Gwen Smith Blog, Faith, Priorities, Worship 16 Comments

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.

With everything.

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?

Gracious Redeemer,
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.



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!

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Comments 16

  1. I’ve only just read this, are you all in and I so needed to read this today. I have a eating disorder and today I ate a lunch that wasn’t on my food plan, as I read the blog, all in, I need to be all in for my recovery, I need to be all in for my relationship with God.

  2. Blessings dear sisters!

    To those who are yet to be a part of God’s family:

    You were created to know God in a personal way—to have a relationship with Him, through His Son, Jesus Christ! May the Lord bless you as you seek His Salvation!—

  3. Good morning ,
    I can’t tell you how much I look forward to reading y’all’s daily devotions in the morning . I just forwarded today’s devotion to two of my granddaughters that are in volleyball in high school. I’m praying that They too will be All In. I pray that in these crazy , hateful ,COVID, Hurricane evacuation etc times they can find the Good Lord
    have a great day

  4. At one time, I believed I was all in. Then some major opposition (In the form of spiritual warfare) came and I crumbled. Since then, I have been a little more gun shy about jumping back in. I long for the days of less distracted, half hearted devotion. I get up every morning and try to focus. Some days it’s a success and others days, not so much. The best encouragement is the body of Christ. When I am weak, Jesus is strong and shows up strong through others in the body. He sends and provides other members of His body to exhort and strengthen.

    1. I don’t long for half hearted devotion. Lol. I should have proof read. I long for full hearted devotion. I’m sure you knew what I meant.

    2. “14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.
      16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.
      18 And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,
      19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 20 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,
      21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”
      ‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭3:14-21‬, NIV‬‬

      Praying for you ✝️ Jesus is always interceding for us, and always providing new mercies each morning!

      Lamentations 3:21-24, NLT
      21 Yet I still dare to hope
      when I remember this:
      22 The faithful love of the Lord never
      His mercies never cease.
      23 Great is his faithfulness;
      His mercies begin afresh each
      24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my
      inheritance; therefore,
      I will hope in Him!”

      Hallelu Yah!

      1. Thank you Jehrica for these scriptures. I needed to read them! I am trying to get to all-in. The evil one is trying to fill us with fear and hopelessness.

  5. Thanks Gwen for helping me to pause and reflect on where I am at being all-in with God.. Personally I would love to give my undivided attention to my God and my Saviour Jesus Christ. Sometimes things happening around me tends to distract me and my focus is dimmed. I don’t want my focus to be lost on mundane things that often are not worthy of thought. Through His word and promises I regain my strength to continue to worship, praise and reflect on His goodness with all of my heart.

  6. I thought I was all in, but God showed me that when I worshipped my mind was on those around me. I love to worship with my whole body and use my arms and hands, but I often wondered if others thought it was too much! Then God…He told me to keep my mind stayed on Him. I worshipped at home when it was just me and Him. Now at church it’s just me towards Him! All in!! \o/

  7. Thanks Gwen for such a great post. I specifically asked you to be our FCA Volleyball camp speaker and worship leader because of your D1 Volleyball experience, and we got SO MUCH MORE! I’m thankful for you, your ministry, your friendship and your encouragement to live ALL IN with God!

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      YOU, sweet Dinna, are a beautiful picture of an all-in worshiper! I’m sincerely grateful for the opportunities we’ve had to serve along side one another over the years… and for the friendship those opportunities led to!


  8. All in, Gwen! The only way to be. Halfway in means half benefits and only knowing Jesus partially. Thanks for all your hard work! It’s much appreciated by all of us and so necessary at this time especially.

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