All In: It’s Now or Never

Watch the All In Video Trailer

The book All In along with this study guide and video are an invitation to experience the kind of life God created you to live. You were designed for more than a life of following a few religious dos and don’ts. Your heart longs for more than an hour of worship each week and a few minutes of devotional reading in the morning.

The Christian faith is not boring, mundane, or safe. It is the greatest adventure any human being can ever experience. It demands all you have and are, and then it demands more. Below is a manifesto that will give you a picture of where God wants to take you. Read it slowly. Read it carefully. Read it with a heart that is willing to go all in and all out for God!

Quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death.
Set God-sized goals. Pursue God-ordained passions.
Go after a dream that is destined to fail without divine intervention.
Keep asking questions. Keep making mistakes.
Keep seeking God.
Stop pointing out problems and become part of the solution.
Stop repeating the past and start creating the future.
Stop playing it safe and start taking risks.
Expand your horizons. Accumulate experiences.
Enjoy the journey.
Find every excuse you can to celebrate everything you can.
Live like today is the first day and last day of your life.
Don’t let what’s wrong with you keep you from worshiping what’s right with God.
Burn sinful bridges. Blaze new trails.
Don’t let fear dictate your decisions.
Take a flying leap of faith.
Quit holding out. Quit holding back.
Push all of your chips to the middle of the table.
It’s time to ante up all of your faith.
It’s time to go all in.
It’s time to go all out.

Now Or Never: Pack Your Coffin

He was a pastor, theologian, and author. His book on discipleship, which has since become a classic, was published when he was about thirty years old.

You might wonder: What does a thirty-year-old know about discipleship? What does he understand about the sacrifice involved in following Jesus? Why listen to a relatively young man writing from his ivory tower of the church and surrounded by his theological textbooks?

Before we are too hard on this idealistic preacher, let’s hear a bit more of his story. Dietrich Bonhoeffer did not live to celebrate his fortieth birthday. He was arrested by the Gestapo in April 1943 and executed by hanging in a Nazi concentration camp in April 1945. His life ended only three weeks before the Germans surrendered to the Allied Forces and World War II ended.

Why was a German Lutheran pastor imprisoned in a Nazi prison camp for two years and then executed? The answer is simple: because he followed Jesus, no matter what the cost. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was all in. He saw the evil that Adolf Hitler and the Nazi movement was bringing into the world and across his own country of Germany — and he stood in opposition.

He joined a resistance movement because his faith in Jesus and commitment to follow the Savior compelled him to push back. He could not remain idle as countless Jewish men, women, and children were being persecuted and executed. His faith called him to dangerous and costly action.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer went all in for the All in All and it cost him everything! In his book on discipleship, aptly titled The Cost of Discipleship, he called people to follow Jesus regardless of the consequences. Before he was forty, he had an opportunity to put his writings — based on the teaching of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount — into practice. As he did, it cost him his life.

As you watch lesson one’s video, consider the following questions:

  • What are some ways a Christian can stand up for Jesus in today’s society?
  • What are some of the possible consequences we might face if we were to actually stand up in this way?

Watch the All In Video Bible Study

Bible Study Questions

1. If you packed everything you needed to follow Jesus for the rest of your life into a wooden coffin, what would you take with you?

2. Read: Luke 9:23 – 25. When Jesus spoke the words recorded in this passage, He had not yet gone to the cross to die for our sins. What images and ideas must have gone through the minds of Jesus’ followers when He invited them to live out the four distinct calls expressed here? In other words, what do you think they thought Jesus was calling them to do when He said:

  • Deny yourself
  • Take up your cross
  • Follow me
  • Lose your life

How do most Christians interpret and understand these same four callings today?

3. What are some signs and indicators that Christians in our culture today are playing it safe and not counting the cost of really following Jesus?

  • When you are operating in “Safe Mode,” how does your Christian faith change and begin to look too tame?

4. Read: John 3:27 – 30. John the Baptist lived and died with a deep sense of commitment to keep Jesus supreme. His motto, “He must become greater; I must become less,” said it all. When you look at the words, ministry, life, and death of John the Baptist, what do you learn from his example of being all in?

5. What are signs and indicators in our daily life that show us — and the people around us — that we have forgotten that Jesus is the center of the universe, not us?

6. Tell about a time in your Christian faith when you were all in, sold out, and unreservedly passionate about Jesus. What led you to that point?

7. Think of the days, weeks, or seasons you are not all in and sold out for Jesus. What leads to such times and what helps you rekindle the fire and get back to a place of full devotion to the Savior?

8. Read: Matthew 4:18 – 22. In this short passage four different men have their own moment of reckoning with Jesus. Each one leaves his nets (his vocation, the family business, his place of security) to follow Jesus.

  • What does this kind of devotion look like today? What is something you have left (or need to leave) as you follow Jesus with a heart that is all in?

9. Joshua 3:5 says, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.” In the video teaching for this session Mark says, “Consecration means to be set apart. It demands full devotion. It is dethroning yourself and enthroning Jesus. It is the complete divestiture of all self-interest. In short, it is going all in and all out for the All in All.”

  • What does consecration look like in your life? What is one step you need to take in the coming days to consecrate yourself to and for God?

10. Mark shares an honest fear he faces as a pastor. He says, “I’m afraid we’ve cheapened the gospel by allowing people to buy in without selling out. We’ve made it too convenient, too comfortable. We’ve given people just enough Jesus to be bored but not enough to feel the surge of holy adrenaline that courses through your veins when you decide to follow Him no matter what, no matter where, no matter when.” Offer some examples of how the church has allowed believers to be too comfortable and how our faith has become too convenient.

Leave Your Comments

Reflect on the video and Mark Batterson’s study questions in this week’s session of All In. What can we do to become more engaged, invested, sold out, and dangerous for Jesus? You’re invited to leave your comments below!

If Jesus is not Lord of all, then Jesus is not Lord at all.

Mark Batterson

Mark Batterson serves as the lead pastor of National Community Church in Washington, D. C. Recognized as “one of America’s 25 most innovative churches,” NCC is one church with seven locations. Mark’s blog and webcast also reach a virtual congregation around the world. Mark is the author of several bestselling books, including New York Times Bestseller - The Circle Maker - and In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day. Mark holds a doctorate degree from Regent University and lives on Capitol Hill with his wife, Lora, and their three children.

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