Monday, February 17, 2014

Road Trip Weekend Wrap-Up

The title for this post could also be "My Synopsis of Passion 2014." I'll admit it, sometimes I am discouraged by culture and things happening in the world. Then I sit in an arena full of thousands and thousands of college-age students worshiping Jesus and I'm blown away - again - by the power of the Almighty.

Here's another admission - I was not all that excited about going to Houston and, more importantly, not excited about having to drive in that awful traffic. But my son, Josh, is now our College Pastor (I feel emotional that I just typed those words - that child I gave birth to is now a College Pastor. I'm overcome with thankfulness.) so I felt compelled to go. I'm so glad I did, it was so worth it.

Friday night started with worship and Louie Giglio preached from Isaiah 6. One of my favorites, by the way. He talked about how Isaiah was undone when he experienced the breath-taking mercy of God. He said, "God is breathtakingly beautiful in His mercy." I love the thought of that.

Friday night ended with a Hillsong United concert which started past my bedtime but, then again, we were at an conference for college students.  Again, I'm so glad I was there. They sang some of my favorites but, maybe, my favorite moment was during an instrumental part of Oceans and it seemed as though the crowd spontaneously started singing the chorus over and over again. It's how I imagine heaven - voices filling the space singing with hearts joined in praise. They ended with The Stand and With Everything. It was incredible.

Saturday morning could not have started any better for this big fan of David Crowder and, perhaps my all-time favorite song, O Praise Him. Following Crowder was Francis Chan. He used chicken bones to illustrate Ezekiel 36. Yeah, real chicken bones. Here's a really great question he posed in reference to 2 Peter 1:5 -- when people say to him they aren't really feeling God's presence he responds, "Are you making every effort?" (Check out verses 6-7 to see the list of things we ought to be making every effort toward.)

Beth Moore taught the next session. My daughter (who didn't go with our group & wasn't sitting near us) sent me this 2 word text following Beth Moore, "KILLED IT." Oh yes, Beth Moore totally did. She said these simple but profound statements, "We were born with a fight in us. There's an ugly fight and a beautiful fight. We can't fight the good fight and the ugly fight at the same time. We are either going to fight for people or with them." She ended her time with statements of confession. Oh, to hear thousands and thousands of college students standing and shouting "I agree" to the great statements of our faith. So powerful.

The next session was about the Bible. The cause that Passion was raising money for at this conference was to buy Bibles for people in Iran. The curator from the American Bible Society was there and her testimony and journey were so interesting. Even more interesting was the story about the 1st Bible printed in America. It wasn't printed in English because that was already being done in Britain. A man named John Eliot wanted to tell the native Massachusetts Indians about Jesus so, first, he had to learn their language. But, it was only an oral language so he had to figure out how to write it then he had to translate the Bible into that language. After a 15 year journey, the first Bible in the American colonies was printed in that language. I can't get over the 1st Bible printed in America was for missions. It's our legacy! The Bible was printed in 1663 and some copies were sent to England along with fundraising letters so that more copies could be printed for the native Americans. Also present was someone representing UVersion, the Bible app. The app has 750 versions of the Bible in 450 languages. Eight-eight people/second open that app. Ah-mazing!

Judah Smith was next. When we talked about Mr. Smith later my son said I was so white, Protestant, old-school. Which, frankly, I am though I like to think I'm fairly well versed in what's current in culture. Once he got through an introductory story that I thought went on just a bit too long (hence, my son's declaration on who I am) what Judah Smith said was so powerful. He said, "God doesn't do renovation. He makes brand new." He went on to say, "Where I stand determines how I walk but how I walk never determines where I stand." He had 2 spots on the platform that he walked back & forth between making his points and made this point, "The great struggle of the Christian life is lived in me instead of in Christ." (2 Corinthians 5:16-21 was his text)

The final session, as is the Passion custom, was taught by Louie Giglio. He was again in Isaiah 6 and said in order to shift from consumerism (in the church) to costly following of God, you must be stunned (verse 5), seared (verse 7), and sent (verse 8). The real encounter with Jesus sends us out. He continued by saying, "The gospel never stops with me."

There are not enough words, or the right words, or I don't have the ability to craft the right words, to express how it impacts me to hear so many college students, young adults, and their leaders packed into a sports arena for the common purpose of making much of Jesus. There are some college students & young adults out there - some that I have the privilege of knowing & traveling with this weekend - that are living it out. Their passion for Jesus is so evident - not just in an arena - but in who they are. I can't wait to see what God continues to do through them.

Serving the King,


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