2016 NYC - Jan 1 Morning Rally by Eric Russ

In the final rally of the All In Conference, we are privileged to hear from Eric Russ on his thoughts about leaving a legacy in the form of discipleship. Again using his theme verse from the end of Matthew, and II Tim. 2:2, we learn that God’s method to win the world is for his followers to become a “multiplying people”.

What does it mean to multiply? Eric’s definition is helpful:

“Pouring into men and women who are growing prayer, the Word, de-mythologizing their hearts, walking by faith, proclaiming the gospel in word and deed, and multiplying [their] faith.”

This is practically pursued through the reading of God’s word, ministry, and relationship with other people. If one or two of these disciplines is emphasized in the process of multiplication, then the quality of the discipleship will be less.

Flawed theology, an unhealthy view of intentionality and commitment, the lack of appeal, a self-centered gospel, and the fear of failure are five reasons that could keep Christians from discipleship. Eric works through each of these and aims to encourage the hearts of the audience in multiplying their lives, despite those hindrances.

2016 NYC - Evening Rally Dec 31 by Eric Russ

Evangelism is considered to the way that God reveals Himself in the present context. In his third talk, Eric proposes that it should even be considered a spiritual discipline, such as Bible reading, or prayer. Just like other spiritual disciplines, evangelism is found to be sufficient in knowing God and loving him more, and it is not divorced from the gospel--rather, all about it! It is also a means to know God, and not an end in itself.

In light of the Great Commission (Mt. 28:18-20), we are reminded of the story of Israel, how they were called to be a light to the nations, and how, instead, Jesus fulfilled that himself. We now, as believers in him, get a chance to retell his story to those that are in this world.

Not only is it a commandment, but Eric argues for the personal benefits of sharing the gospel with others, like building up faithfulness in us and causing us to be assured in the good news.

He encourages us to work the discipline like a muscle and move in faith, trusting that God will give us discernment and growth. Before ending, the audience is encouraged to fight against typical reasons that Christians do not evangelize. These include (lack of) opportunity, accountability, and growth. To combat these difficulties, Eric gives advice and encouragement for each.

2016 NYC - Morning Rally Dec 31 by Eric Russ

Community continues its theme at the All In Conference, this time with our second speaker, Eric Russ. Starting out with Matthew 28:18-20, Eric discusses some themes of the verse, which include truths like 1) Jesus is the King, and 2) He is empowering us to be His “sent” people. In other words, our mission, based on these verses, is to make Jesus’ name known among the whole world.

In light of the topic of Community, there are two main postures Eric talks about that are common among Christians. The first is Individualism (or Independence), where one feels the freedom from any outside control, no accountability, and a sense of triumphalism (excessive exultations of achievements). The second posture is Codependence. This is where an individual refuses to have their identity informed until it is done so by a certain community. The aim of a healthy Christian community, however, is to avoid these two postures and have a stance of Interdependence. This implies that the whole community is informed by and utterly dependent on Christ.

Finally, Eric ends the message by discussing two ways to avoid unhealthy community. That is, firstly, embrace one’s creaturely identity. Eric states, “God is the bomb, and you are not!”. Secondly, retell the Trinity’s relationship, and model Christian community after its sameness and perfect love.

2016 NYC - Ethnic Diversity By Eric Russ

From his perspective, Eric tells about the racial tensions in our country, and the theology behind reconciling and loving across differences. A truth to remember during this talk is that all Christians have an opportunity in this day and age to remind others of reconciliation in Christ with him and others.

Ephesians 2:13-17 points to Jesus’ desire to be made “one man” that breaks down the walls of hostility between different groups of people, making one body under his Lordship. This implies that when one part of the body is hurting, then another part should naturally be hurting. Eric challenges the audience by saying that when there is injustice done to the body of Christ, it is our problem to deal with.

The practicals that the audience is left with are prefaced by the question, “How do we Love Across Difference?” To apply it, inward assessment is necessary to consider who our “others” are, and what our narrative is. Assessing our thoughts on this subject with those two points will help us in being a loving and reconciling body in the context of racial tensions.

2016 NYC - Evening Rally Dec 30 by Joe Rigney

For his final talk for the CO All In Conference, Joe Rigney walks his audience through the fourth chapter of Genesis. Presenting an interesting twist on the story of Cain and Abel, Joe talks about the presence of “mimetic desire” between two individuals. Mimetic desire is a phrase used to describe the desire that one has for an object, based on the sole reason that a model (or another individual) desires it.

In its positive form, mimetic desire is a kind of bond that friendships can be based upon. The desire for the object is multiplied by the friend’s desire for it, and the friendship with that person grows. In its negative form, this kind of wanting usually has very little to do with the actual object, but the social stigma behind having the object.

Joe argues that negative mimetic desire is what Cain was displaying when he wanted God’s acceptance, did not receive it, and ultimately killed his brother, Abel, because of it. To further his point, he applies this to relationships within Christian community.

The challenge for us is distinguishing why we desire what we do. Are we wanting God because of the community we are in, or somebody else wants him? Are we content when good things happen to our friends or rivals? Through these challenges, we are reminded of the gospel, that God’s acceptance frees us from following suit to please others or desire things because of others.

2016 NYC - Evening Rally Dec 29 by Joe Rigney

The sin of Adam and Eve is the topic of the third “All In” rally. Joe Rigney leads us through the responses that we have to sin, the stages of Adam and Eve’s sin, and then the response that God has to it.

The ways we respond to sin include hiding and blame. We run away to cover up what we have done, or else we deflect the blame to somebody else. You see this latter response, in particular, in the stages of Adam and Eve’s sin:

Stage 1: Passivity. Joe forces us to admit that Adam and Eve’s “fall into sin” was not an accident, but many smaller choices made by a defiant attitude toward God that led them to eat of the tree.

Stage 2: Choosing the Lesser Things. When Adam was given the choice of following the command that God had given him before Eve was made, he chooses to follow along with what his wife is offering. He loves the gift of woman that God has given him (the creature), and therefore puts the created above the Creator.

Stage 3: Abuse. When Adam blames Eve, he knows the consequence of the sin, which is death. On one hand, we see him saying, “God, she is such a good gift; I choose her over you, and on the other hand, he’s basically saying, “Don’t kill me, kill her!” You can see the distinct wickedness in this blame game that Adam plays.

The response that God has to their sin is curses and mercy. God’s curses include all three parties involved -- Adam, Eve, and the Serpent. Each curse points at the the thing that is most important to them. For Adam, it is working, building, and creating. For Eve, it is relationships. For the Serpent, one of Eve’s offspring will finally and forever bruise the Serpent’s head.

The mercy of God’s response to Adam and Eve’s sin is seen through his blessing of kids for them, the clothing of animal skins, and that one special offspring, who will bring ultimate redemption. Joe ends the message by pointing to that offspring as the atonement and giver of mercy and redemption from sin, by his blood.

2016 NYC - Morning Rally Dec 29 by Joe Rigney

The second rally of the “All In” conference starts out with the story of Adam and Eve at the end of Genesis 2, where God’s man is in God’s land, under God’s law, on God’s mission. This is turned upside down by the stigma of the only tree in the garden that God has deemed as a “no”.  

The serpent uses this tree to tempt Adam and Eve to disobey God’s command. We learn from this passage that temptation can either exaggerate true features of the world or deny them. The serpent uses both truths and a lie to lead Adam and Eve into seizing a good thing on their own terms, outside of God’s timing and context, which we identify as a sin.

Joe applies this to our lives by asking the question, “Will God be the supreme object of our desires?” He concludes by saying that God must be the center of our solar system, and only then the planets (or gifts from Him) will orbit the correct way.

2016 NYC - Evening Rally Dec 28 by Joe Rigney

In the first rally of the “All In” Conference, Joe Rigney walks us through the first two chapters of the Bible, detailing the main character of the Story -- God. Genesis 1-2 describes to its readers the ways that God spoke creation into existence and intricately adorned his creation with details that point to his own character. We see in this narrative that God is both bigger than we can imagine, and closer than we can imagine. Just like an author of a book knows its main character, the Creator God also knows his creation intimately.

The story goes on to describe the Creator as one who is a God of “yes”. He places Adam and Eve in a garden of delights that are for their joy, and bids them eat of all but one tree. Every tree in the garden that is for eating are invitations of God to know and love God more. The end of these two chapters leaves us with the man and woman in their lovely garden, where God dwells and is seen through His good gifts.

2016 NYC - Relationships Talk by Zach Rogers

Zach Rogers gives wisdom and his honest opinion about dating within the Christian community. He warns us about making good things into ‘god things’. We can recognize that something has become an idol by how much we strive to protect and control those things. He gives us three tips for the “how” of dating:

  1. Keep other people informed or involved.

  2. Keep dates public.

  3. Keep it short.