I could say Passion 2010 was an experience... but I think of it more as an awakening.
On the first night, Louie Giglio talked a lot about living for God and glorifying Him. He said we should live for something larger (that being God) and it made me think about how some Christians lead a Godly life because it's what they "should" do, not because they want to glorify God in their life or be His hands and feet to someone else. Louie also talked about the story of Lazarus (John 11) and how God isn't afraid to move our stone... we can't do enough to make Him stop loving us. John 12:25 says, "Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity." I realized sometimes I lose focus on my life in Heaven, and get caught up in the things of this world.
We (as in, all 21,000 of us students) were split up into groups by the color of our wristbands, and then smaller groups ("families") within that. We did some reading in Colossians 1. Verses 15-20 talk about how Jesus is all there is.... there is nothing else needed, or someone else coming. God is supreme in everything; troubles are not His weakness. My leader said something that I loved and forget way too often, "Before thinking of yourself as gifted or successful, consider yourself as a beautiful masterpiece from God."
Then, there was Beth Moore. Love her! Her message was a major encouragement to me. God equips us with everything good... His plan for us fulfills His will for our life. Philippians 1:6 says, "And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns." And that good work means not one detail of our life is wasted. Beth also said that every bad thing that has been permitted, happened.. to allow God to equip you for what He wants you to do.
She spoke again at another session, talking a lot about our mind, heart and emotions. She talked about spiritual discernment about liars and our motives.... we should ask ourselves if we're usually critical or suspicious, if we're jealous or selfish, and are our emotions getting in the way of our discernment? If we answer no to all those questions, then yes... something is probably wrong. It is the will of God to love people, but love with a smart heart. But, sometimes God may be telling you to run, or take a step back, or ask questions and if the answers don't add up then pray about it and maybe confront.
Francis Chan spoke the next night, and this was one of my favorite messages. For a long time, I've been one to not follow the crowd. I will admit, there were times where I did. Stupid. But, this message proves how powerful God is... and in lamen terms: "God is like a GPS; you take a wrong turn and He 'recalculates'.... He'll get you where you need to be, even if it takes a little longer." I'm sure He's recalculated many times with me. Francis said when we're cleansed from the mud, don't go back to it... you've been given a new nature. 2 Peter 2:20 says, "And when people escape from the wickedness of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and then get tangled up and enslaved by sin again, they are worse off than before." Part of this new nature is reading His word and obeying - without waiting until someone else does first. God gives us everything we need to live a Godly life, in the words of Francis... and we should tremble at His word, even if no one around us is. I am so thankful that God has given me so much grace, and that I've been surrounded by people that keep me away from mud.
Although I was not a huge fan of Andy Stanley - I felt like I was at a high school leadership conference - he had some good points. "It's a mistake to decide what you want to do before you decide who you're going to be." He talked a lot about, who do we want to be? Think about what you want people to say about you at your funeral. That's about as far as his speech went, but when I was thinking about it... we are made in His image, and we should portray and live that out. There are a few things that I need to change, but it's more than a new year's resolution.
Francis spoke at another session, about following Christ and the suffering that that entails. He mentioned 1 Peter 4... which was such a big encouragement to me this semester. There was other verses; Luke 6:22, John 15:18, Romans 8:16, 1 Cor 4:12, Colossians 1:24. He talked about how Jesus suffered, and when we suffer... we draw closer to Him and experience Him in a whole new way. And one of the last things he said, why do you need the Comforter if you're comfortable?
One of the most mind-boggling messages I've ever heard was from John Piper. He talked about God is passionate about His glory, and how we're made to glorify Him. At every VBS and Sunday school class as kids, we were told that Jesus died on the cross for us because He loves us. True. But, He also did it so that we would glorify God. Why do we value the cross? Because it makes more of us since Jesus died for us, or because it makes more of God for His sacrifice? Wow. Makes ya feel kind of selfish, eh? Piper said, "The reason God seeks our praise, is we won't be truly happy without giving it."
In the last message, Louie spoke about how our goal isn't to be better than someone else, but to have the same mindset as Christ. I learned so much over the last few days... but I think the biggest lesson I learned, or was re-awakened to, was about living like Christ. Something he said really made me think, "Sure, your friends haven't seen Jesus yet... but what do they see on your face?"
Passion was more than the speakers, and the singers - both of which were amazing. But, seeing (and I saw, since we had box seats.. hehe) thousands of students singing and praising God is something that pictures and words do not give justice. It's enough to bring you to tears. Like... all these people love God, but He also loves all of us and changes our lives.
There may be more blogs on Passion, I'm still trying to digest everything. :)