Bowling Green-Convention President Chip Hutcheson urged Kentucky Baptists gathered Nov. 11 at Bowling Green’s Living Hope Baptist Church to be “all in” for the cause of Christ.
“We, as Kentucky Baptists, must remind ourselves daily to be ‘all in’ when it comes to modeling our faith and obedience to the Lord in the midst of a world that is traveling at warp speed away from God,” Hutcheson urged.
The publisher of the Princeton Times Leader recalled how New York Giants player Paul Gonzalez urged his peers during a 2012 chapel service to be “all in” spiritually, as husbands and fathers, and as team members both on and off the field. Gonzalez’s challenge, he said, ignited a Super Bowl championship run and made believers of the Giants team and the rest of the NFL.
“Are you willing to do whatever it takes?” Gonzalez encouraged his teammates. “What is God calling you to be ‘all in’ about?” he asked, giving them a chip on which they were to write down their commitments to remind themselves daily.
“All in” was not to be just a mantra on game day, on Sundays, nor should it be for Christians, Hutcheson said. “It must be a 24-7 lifestyle,” he said.
An “all in” mindset should apply to each pastor in Bowling Green as well as to those who sit in our pews every Sunday, Hutcheson urged.
“Are we going to step up and be ‘all in’ for the cause of Christ?” he asked Kentucky Baptists. “Are we going to be ‘all in,’ to risk everything to address the lostness that we see in all of our communities.
Highlighting a great tragedy in the history of Israel found in Judges 12, where one tribe, the Ephraimites, picked a fight with the Gileadites, a branch of the tribe of Manasseh, and their leader Jephthah.
The tragedy, Hutcheson noted, was that brethren were fighting against brethren in a senseless fight that cost the lives of 42,000 people. “The Ephraimites show us that it is easy to pick a fight among brethren, and when we do, there will be casualties,” he explained.
Rather than being divisive like the Ephraimites, be “all in,” Hutcheson urged, adding that there is no place for elitism or divisiveness in the church.
Recalling Benjamin Franklin’s advice to our nation’s other Founding Fathers, “Men, we must hang together or we will hang separately,” Hutcheson urged, “Church, let’s be ‘all in’ and let’s ‘hang together.'”
Hutcheson urged Kentucky Baptists to be “all in” in their support of the Cooperative Program. “It grieves me seeing CP revenues continuing to dwindle,” he said. “If we are going to be ‘all in’ for reaching the lost, it’s going to take sacrificial giving.”
Sitting for an hour in a church on Sunday morning is not being “all in,” he continued. “Yet, that is the way far too many Baptist church members live their lives,” Hutcheson said, lamenting that many think going to church on Sunday fulfills their Christian responsibility.
America needs “all in” Christians, he said. “Will you be willing to take the risk to be ‘all in’?”