This past week I had to opportunity to take a couple of great guys to Passion 2012. To be honest I really just wanted to take them because I absolutely love the Passion Conferences. From the music to the messages from people like Francis Chan, Beth Moore, John Piper and Louie Giglio, the Passion Conferences have become a movement for the younger generations. Over the years I have learned many great things from Louie Giglio and his team, this year was no different and I hope I can share some of that with you.
To start, I have to tell you that I absolutely love all of the new music that comes from a Passion event. Tomlin, Redman, and the whole team write some amazing lyrics, Christ-Centered lyrics that connect with people. I also love the rock based musical style but this year we were also able to have Christian hip-hop artist, Lecrae, lead in one of the main sessions. Now I’m not really a big fan of hip-hop music, but if it helps connect the Gospel to somebody, then I’m all for it! (And on a side note, the Passion 2012 album coming out in March is going to be amazing!)
The first night, or kick-off session, was different then any I had ever been a part of before. I’ve been to quite a few, 7 Passion events to be exact, but this one had a completely different vibe from the beginning. As always, there was a big buildup into the first song, but the focus this time was on the Scripture, the Living Breathing Word of God. Now the Word is always the most important thing at a Passion event but this year it was purposefully the biggest thing. Not the music, not the speakers, but the Word. One of the main morning sessions included a full reading of the book of Ephesians for the message. We were asked to read along and at each chapter break, just to simply allow Jesus to speak to us through His Word.
Ok, so now back to the first night. The buildup into the first song, “Here for You” was amazing. I think I’ve said that already but thought I’d say it again. After the music set, Louie came up to set the tone for the conference. Louie was saying that Jesus is here to bring us back to life. There would be no funerals coming from Passion 2012. Ephesians 2 says that without Christ, we are dead. Not unchurched. Not unclean. But fully dead. And it is time for us to rise up and spread the news of Jesus throughout the country.
As the conference continued, we learned of the 27 Million people captured in modern day slavery. This was the focus of the Do Something Now campaign (DSN), which seeks to empower students to do something now by giving money towards certain causes or ministries that have the desire to physically be the hands and feet of Jesus. This year the goal was to raise 1 Million dollars. Here I’ll say that it’s not often you see students wait in hour long lines to give away money. Well, the wait paid off as the students raised over 2.5 Million dollars toward DSN by the end of the conference. We were also told by Louie that they let a few “adults” into the event, and one was so inspired by the students giving by giving $500,000 themselves, we were able to raise a little over 3 Million dollars toward ending modern day slavery, or human trafficking.
Now if hearing that there are 27 Million people enslaved in our world today kind of throws you back, don’t worry, I was there too before this conference. We thought slavery was over. It turns out that we haven’t been paying attention. Now the church has a huge opportunity to step up and be the hands and feet of Jesus. (On this subject I hope to do some research and find out about local stats on human trafficking and blog about them soon.)
By now you’re probably wondering why I titled this post Saying “Yes.” Well, during the conference, Louie was talking to 44,000+ college students about taking part in what God is doing now. Not tomorrow. Not next month. Not in another season of life, but NOW. During this, I was compelled to simply say, “Yes.” I have no idea what God has in store for me and my wife, Bethany, but we both just want to say YES to God.
We are finally taking [god] out of the box. As my friend Kevin says, we believe in the Big G god, and it’s this god that sent His son to die for the world. Jesus came to give life and the whole world needs to hear about it! So, we are saying, “Yes” to Jesus. Wherever He leads we will go. Because if we don’t, then we are living outside of God’s plan for our lives and subsequently, in sin and that’s a place I don’t want to be.
So that’s just a little taste of my Passion 2012 experience. I hope the guys I took allowed God to speak to them through this time also. If I get a chance, I’ll tell you more later.
See you next time.