So, I know this blog post is late, and that’s because I spent the entire weekend at Passion in Atlanta, Georgia. If you’ve never heard of it, it’s a huge Christian gathering of 40,000 college-aged students, and IT’S THE BEST THING EVER. If you are young enough, GO. If you’re older than 25, go as a leader. It doesn’t matter, but you have to go. Next year it’s going to be held at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta January 2-4 and there are going to be 60,000 people under one roof worshipping our Father, so clear your calendars and buy your tickets here! Anyway, I just wanted to share what God did in my life while I was there.
So, I started out the weekend expectant. I prayed the week leading up to Passion that God would move in me like never before and give me more passion in my relationship with him and in my disciple making, and let me tell ya, he did just that and far more! The first night, we heard from Louie Giglio, the founder of Passion, and saw Chris Tomlin and Crowder perform, and they were all great. Then we broke into small groups with 5 strangers, and I was the leader of mine. That was a step out of my comfort zone! I have no problem talking about my faith and praying with people I know, but God called me to do it with these wonderful strangers who soon became my friends. We had so many good discussions about God and how he was moving in each of us.
That was nothing compared to the next day. Sunday, we were pretty much at the arena from 9am-11:45pm. BEST DAY OF MY LIFE. There was SO MUCH JESUS packed into those 15 hours. It was exhausting, but I was miraculously wide awake the entire day. Everyone who sang and spoke was phenomenal (this includes Rend Collective, John Piper, Ravi Zacharias, Levi Lusko, and Passion) but God moved me the most through Christine Caine and Hillsong United that night. Christine spoke the gospel with so much truth and authority and power like I had NEVER seen before, and it was inspiring and convicting. Her whole message revolved around us being willing to be servants of the Lord. She talked about how we need to be willing to serve and trust God’s timing and surrender our lives for his glory. The whole time God spoke the word “SURRENDER” into my heart. I have surrendered my life to God many times, and I thought I had given him everything, but he showed me all the bits and pieces of my life that I was holding back. This time, I really did give him everything. ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING. NO HOLDING BACK. When I told my friend Maggie about how I was feeling, she told me, “when we experience the fullness of God and get that pure glimpse of who he is, we can’t resist fully surrendering to Him!” And that’s exactly what had happened… I just hadn’t realized it in the moment. The whole time Hillsong led worship that night, I was belting the lyrics with as much passion as I could and with the biggest possible smile on my face and the most joy in my heart that I could muster, and it was because I had finally gotten my first FULL glimpse of God’s glory. I saw and believed and was expectant and He met me there. He met me in the mess of my life and showed up with so much love and glory that it was impossible to not jump for joy.
The next morning, Matt Redman and Christy Nockels led worship, and Louie preached the message that closed out the conference. His message was about the next steps. Being set on fire for God is great, but it’s what we do after that that matters. We are to go and make disciples in everything we do. This just set the right tone for me as we left to travel home. I was feeling so ready to be done with high school and really didn’t want to deal with one more semester of it, but this weekend showed me what I’m there for. My work isn’t done. God told me to finish out the school year strong and not waste it. I feel so much better about this upcoming semester knowing that my God is going to do great things and use me to plant some more seeds. I am renewed and ignited with a new passion that I hope never dies out.
Sidenote: Passion always picks one project for the year that they take up a donation for. This year, they decided to build a hospital for women and children in Northwest Syria where they have no access to medical care. The $575,000 pricetag was daunting when you’re asking college kids for money, but oh my goodness, God is good. He moved the hearts of the students and $785,129 was donated!!!! WOW GOD WOW. I’m still in awe. And by the way, Pendants of Praise donated $100 towards the cause, so much thanks to those of you who have supported my business!
Another side note… Here’s a video of Hillsong singing their song Oceans. IT’S SO GOOD.