Monday, January 18, 2010

Passion 2010

I was privileged to attend Passion 2010 during the first week in January. This is a 4 day conference/worship experience for high school seniors and college aged students. When I first heard about Passion, I wanted to go so badly, but thought there would be no way for me to attend. Cost, timing, and most of all...childcare....were major hindrances. However, I felt certain that God wanted me to get away from the normal routine of life and focus on Him and hear from Him. We began praying for a way for me to attend and I am happy to report that I was indeed able to go.

Here is a recap of my Passion 2010 experience I wrote as soon as we returned:

This past week/end at Passion completely blew my mind. I will never be the same. I guess one is never the same anytime one has an encounter with the living God. Wow. 20,000+ students and adults with hands raised high praising our God in one accord. It was truly beautiful and made me completely lose my fear of death. Does that make sense? I was just ready to be with Jesus, b/c surely as awesome and wonderful as that was...heaven will be infinitely sweeter still.

I'm so so grateful I got to go. God is SO very good to enable me the opportunity to solely focus on worshiping Him and hearing from Him without the distractions of children or other obligations. I had all this bottled up emotional response to God that I haven't let out publicly like that in several years. Hope that makes sense. The first day was just shocking. I was gripped by the very first video presentation which was filled with quiet acoustic piano music and written words of scripture on the screen...the Gospel message. I was shocked at how huge Passion was and remained in a state of bewilderment.

The second day was a time of personal breaking. God used all the speakers and music of that day to make me completely broken over my complacency about Him and my shallow and weak worship of Him. That was my cry day. LOL. Seriously, though, I had to apologize to the students for all my slobbery tears, b/c they just would not stop. It was ok, though. I was in good company. :D

After dealing with my own personal sin and getting right with God, led to the third day: a sweet, overflowing joy-filled day and night with the ability to worship Him with a clean heart. It was amazing. AMAZING. It culminated with John Piper preaching one of the most powerful messages on the Glory of God I have ever heard. Ever. I think it will take a year to fully unpack it, but essentially the message was all about how God does everything for His glory and that is a GOOD thing. And how when I see His Glory and rest in it ....well just about how we are a part of the Gospel story...that God is using us.. "working out our salvation" to bring Glory to His name and proclaim Himself to the nations, etc. etc. etc. And then the see the cross as that beautiful junction in the middle of it all where Jesus absorbed all our wrath...whew. If I could describe the moment in the sermon in that arena when Piper got to the cross in one word it would be a collective TREMBLE. Best though, was that after hearing the word explode in our hearts and seeing Christ revealed in our minds, we were able to WORSHIP Him in truth and in Spirit and I have never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever experienced anything so mind blowing in my 31 years. Oh how sweet. There was complete liberty to worship God with your whole being and no one cared. No one cared! Because we were all doing the same thing.....reaching our souls up to God offering everything we had for Him. It was so incredible I pray I never forget the moment. I wanted it to continue forever and ever but we did have to end the service.

However. After each evening service there was a "late night" where a band played in the arena for an hour. That night was Hillsong United. Whoa. I haven't really listened to much of their music in the past but now I am in love. So the Lord graciously gave yet another opportunity for sweet worship of Him. I was thrilled in my heart that we had most of our group decide to come and explode in worship of the one true God. Jason didn't go b/c he was weary, but almost all of the rest of us came and sat together and just had a sweet freeing time.

Usually I am behind a piano or keyboard and while I am certainly able to worship, every once in a while it is just so precious to be able to not worry about music or chords or whatever and just freely worship Him. So I'm so thankful for those 4 days of that.

The last day (morning really) was just a sweet time of fellowship as a group and reflection on all that God had done at Passion. I was so proud of our group..both college and HSers were open to what God was doing and responsive to Him. We all feel like we have been through something MAJOR together...something life altering that we will remember until we die. I am thankful to God that He permitted me to go and be with my husband and be with our youth. It was great to really know their hearts and connect with them, where before I struggled with this and with my own personal vision for youth ministry. Now I can't tell you how excited I am for what God will do in 2010. The Lord has given both me and Jason some clear direction for our personal involvement with LV students and I am praying for a mighty work of God at our church.

Last night we had a "sharing time" with all the students and adults who attended. I was reminded yet again of the wonderful things I learned and experienced there and how thankful I am I was able to go.

Since returning from Passion, many many things have been happening that can only be explained as God. I look forward to sharing them with you all over time. :)

Much love to all!