Friday, January 4, 2013

Passion 2013

Today I am on my way my back from the Passion Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. The conference is led by Louie Giglio, Chris Tomlin, John Piper, and Francis Chan to name a few. There were over 60,000 college students and high school seniors. The vision for Passion is for it to be more than just music and more than just a fun event. The hope is to focus and inspire this generation of students to live with passion for Jesus and His fame. This is based on Isaiah 26:8: "Yes, Lord , walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts."

For more information on the passion movement check out

What is fun for me as a high school pastor is I get to catch up with former students that are now in college. The transition into college for students can be challenging for many students and Passion is a great time to catch up with them. I was reminded of several things while I was on this trip.

First, I am not getting any younger. On this trip I asked a college student if they had ever heard of Alanis Morissette a musician from the 90's. The answer of no was a realization I am not getting any younger.

The most important thing I was reminded of on this trip is I couldn't be more excited about what God is doing among this generation of students. Many people would say they are concerned about the state of our country and even the state of the American church. That they are both falling apart. This may be true in some instances but I wanted you to see that there is hope. That hope is Jesus changing lives and igniting a fire in a generation of students.

Here are a few thoughts they shared with me about their experience at Passion:

"I think I saw the importance of community and how God in Himself is community. Even if it's uncomfortable or you don't want it. And that if we aren't experiencing God at the moment, it's probably because we aren't making disciples. And without this community, the world won't see God. Which for me tied into the freedom issues. And wanting to help free those around the world spiritually, emotionally, and physically."
Carmen Limerick
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"This year at passion we talked endlessly about the slavery that is prevalent in the world. Something that spoke to me, though, is the prevalence of spiritual bondage. Over the course of the week, I felt God calling me to go out to my college campus and reach out to release fellow peers from spiritual bondage."
Robert Garren
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"This year was my third year attending Passion. Having known what to expect in some aspects of Passion, God still managed to blow my mind. Last year God spoke to my heart and told me to seek those that don't know Him. Learning that there are people throughout the globe that have no idea that Jesus was sent to die for them, it broke my heart (and still does). Just imagining the loss I would be feeling throughout my years if I didn't know God exists, makes me numb. I rejoice in the fact that I know God. I know that He loves me. I know He cares for me. I know He wants me to be joyful in Him. Over the past year, since Passion 2012 I have seemed to run away from what God wanted me to do. I came up with excuses. I placed worldly things first and looking back I was miserable. Passion 2013 has taught me that I have been given an opportunity that most people do not chase. I've learned that I should live my life for God. I have learned that experiencing God is what I should thrive for. It's the only way that I will ever be happy. I shouldn't let anyone or anything hold me back. One of the speakers, Francis Chan said it best, "If you really want to experience God, go and make disciples." God has clearly spoken this to my heart and I commit my life to making His name known."
Karla Allen
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Passion 2013 taught me that God can do immeasurably more, in the lives of individuals, in groups of people, and across nations. Individually God loves you no matter what you do because even if you are faithless he is faithful, God represents community within himself through God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit and as a Christian we are called to be in community and coexisting with others. Across nations he calls us to come together and embrace his suffering to take stands for him, such as working together in movements to free 27 million slaves or just going out and making disciples.
Hannah Bingle
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This generation of students isn't the church of the future...they are the church of today. It excites me to see their passion and love for Jesus. Their passion inspired me this week and my prayer is that it does the same for you.