After already trying a couple of times to describe my Passion 2010 experience to someone, I’m realizing how inadequate all my words are. I’m either struggling to find enough words to describe it, or I’m using way too many. The closest thing I can come up with that somewhat gives justice to my feelings is to repeat the theme for the week... Awakening!
Let me see if I can explain...
When I heard there was going to be another Passion conference this year I wasn’t the least bit surprised. I literally thought to myself, “well... I guess they got off their little ‘world tour’ high and now they’ve got to come back to pay the bills”. The event really wasn’t a big deal to me at that time and I didn’t intend on going. My overall perception of the Passion “movement” was becoming more and more cynical ever since I went to their last big event in 2007.
I didn’t like the fact that they kept saying “the movement is turning into a global awakening”. I thought it was trying too hard to make itself into some huge thing that it wasn’t(at least in my eyes). And that view stayed with me for a while, probably because I had chosen not to keep up with what they were doing or attend any of the tour events. I thought they had pretty much passed their prime and most likely wouldn’t make it much longer.
I considered myself a balanced skeptic because I felt like there were just things that the Passion guys didn’t “get”. I respected their heart and loved the music and messages they produce, but I couldn’t help but think they were more concerned with starting a movement and becoming(or staying) the “next big thing”. And God was showing me that it’s not about that. My view of Christ and His church has been so refined over the past several years and I just felt like the Passion crew wasn’t “about” the same thing I was “about” anymore.
But as you can probably already see...I went... and all that got blown away quick!
It started first thing too. In session one, Louie introduced the idea of being “awakened”. And the thing he wanted us awakened to was a true understanding of God, His plan, and how He works His plan. In his final session he rephrased it as having a “complete 180 degree theological turn around” and that is what produces everything else that Passion is. To which I gave a huge “right on!” in my mind. Because that’s exactly what’s been happening to me in the recent months and years! I was so glad to hear that preached out loud to these college students.
The rest of Louie’s first talk was about Lazarus and how the details in that story were so contradictory to what everyone else thought should happen. Lazarus’ family warned Jesus that he was sick and dying. Yet Jesus waited two days before going to see them. He LET Lazarus die. Why?
“But when Jesus heard it he said, ‘this illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” - John 11:4
SO THAT GOD MAY BY GLORIFIED THROUGH IT! That’s why! To which again, I was like “Yes! That’s it! That’s exactly what I’m all about!”. I just never thought that these guys had gone that deep. I didn’t think they understood that God’s underlying purpose in saving us doesn’t have anything to do with US at all! It's all about Him!
As the week went on God continually reversed my perception. Not only by showing me that the Passion movement had really been on this wavelength the whole time, but also by showing me that this wavelength was much bigger than I even thought.
So not only did I NOT get disappointed by what I experienced, but instead God glorified Himself in me far more abundantly than I ever expected. And he did it through the people that I doubted for so long.
The whole week reverberated with the message that the end goal of God is to glorify Himself and that we receive ultimate satisfaction in Him when that happens. I came to a stronger understanding of God’s universal plan that started in eternity past with His predetermining of our creation and purpose. Then because man fell away from Him, God sent Christ to restore us into fellowship with the Father. But I realized this week that so many times we stop with the crucifixion, as if that was the mighty climax in God’s story. But NO! That’s not the end! The end goal we strive for and look forward to is the glorification of God for eternity which will simultaneously overwhelm us with ultimate joy!
That’s the last act! That’s the climax! And that truth was the most important thing I was “awakened” to during the last 4 days. I just pray it happened for every one of the 22,000 students that were there also.
I’ll post more details about the different speakers/sessions in the next few weeks. I just wanted to attempt to convey the fact that God will always blow away your presumptions/expectations when you don’t see it coming. I’m so grateful for how He opened my eyes this week and can’t help but continue to seek His glory as my life’s purpose from this moment on.
I'm also grateful to hear that Passion is in fact becoming a movement that intends to help awaken young people the gloriousness of God! With a goal that is so God-centered, I'm am more than convinced that my generation has the strongest potential for grasping and spreading the truth than any generation before us. So bring it on God! Plant your spirit in us and work out your plan to the glory of YOUR name!
If you have anything to add or are encouraged by this at all I would love to share in that with you. Please either comment here or on my facebook or shoot me an email firstname.lastname@example.org
*photos taken from the 268 blog - http://268generation.com/blog/