I spent this weekend at what must have been maybe...my 5th or 6th Passion Conference/Event in the last 11 years. This was my first time as a complete "spectator" and not the guy in charge. That was actually nice. I went with some of the college kids from Bayou View. I really enjoyed being with them and seeing them continue to press in to Jesus. My successor- Adam, is not only doing a great job but he drove all the way too!! (When you've driven these trips as much as I have over the years you really appreciate just sitting back and enjoying the ride!)
As always, the worship was amazing and the messages hit their mark. This marks I think the 2nd year that Passion has rallied college students to worship with their life and their "giving" in addition to other ways. There were just over 6000 students at the event in Dallas this weekend and they gave enough money to dig 5 wells in Africa (over $15000.00) and over $80,000.00 to fund the Passion World Tour in Seoul, South Korea later this year. And if that wasn't enough, they gave the shirts off their backs- literally- as they filled a 26 foot truck with their own jeans, hoodies, caps etc. that were delivered to college students at Union University that lost everything in tornadoes a few weeks ago.
Heather Mercer- one of the missionaries that was captured several years ago by the Taliban in Afghanistan spoke briefly. What a challenge. Ministers from Korea were on hand. South Korea has more than 10,000 missionaries serving around the world (2nd only to the US). The college pastor from a single church that has sent out more than 1000 of those missionaries was at the conference last night.
No doubt- God is big and is on the move. Here are a few of my notes from the weekend:
Francis Chan challenged us to be faithful in the small things. He was so dead-on when he said that this generation will give up their lives in a heartbeat- everyone wants to do the "huge" thing for God but what about the stuff we generally consider "little"- like emptying our wallet for those Wells in Africa or getting up a little early tomorrow to spend time in prayer?
Louie talked about enduring brokenness. He said, "One of the greatest ways to make Jesus famous is to praise Him when everything goes wrong, in the midst of brokenness" and "Our message is loudest when our lives are hurt the most." He spoke of exchanging emails with a young man that had lost his sister and was struggling with the goodness of God in a time like that. He didn't offer a pat or trite answer but simply said, "When you're going thru Hell- lock your gaze on the cross of Christ." What does the cross of Christ say to us in times like that? Among other things the cross reminds us that God loves us, that God allows for freedom but always maintains control, that He can take the worst situation (does it get any worse than being betrayed and beaten and crucified?) and turn it into something that glorifies Himself.
In one of our reflective times we were challenged to just be still and hear God's voice. This is what I think I heard:
- I AM forgiven
- You DO love me
- Live in the NOW