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Monday, February 1, 2016

Passion 2016

As I mentioned before Adam and I went as chaperones with several seniors from our school to the Passion conference. We had heard that sometimes they are mission oriented, they have great speakers, great worship and that it was a great way to start off your new year.
This particular conference was not geared towards missions, at least not for me. We heard from John Piper, Louie Giglio, Christine Caine, Ravi Zacharias and a little bit from Beth Moore in small groups. The worship leaders were David Crowder, Hillsong United, Rend Collective and the Passion Band. All in all a fantastic time to hear from God.
Adam and I had a small group that was very non-committal, in fact they told us up front that waking up early and staying up late was not their cup of tea so they probably wouldn't come...and they didn't. In fact Adam and I were by ourselves most of the small group time which allowed us to discuss what we were learning and at the end review our new year goals and change them.
I took notes ferociously, as I usually do when I think I may never be in the presence of something so great again. Remember all of our time in Israel? I documented the snot out of everything we did just in case we don't ever go back. I still have that journal and its beyond precious to me. So, just like that I took as many notes as I could as I listened to the speakers and allowed God to apply some things to my life.
First was Louie Giglio speaking about Matthew 28:1-6 with an emphasis on "Do not be afraid, He is RISEN". He talked a lot about using this to charge into the new year as the victors we already are. I loved that he also brought up the notion that as a society we tend to claim to always be the victim of something..using it as an excuse...my non-compassionate, type A, deal with it inner self was screaming "AMEN"...but I know that for high school girls this can be a major stumbling block. Many of them look to ways they have been victimized as an excuse for never moving forward in their life, never allowing God to free them or completely heal them. As a high school teacher, I see this every year. I have also witnessed girls throwing off every chain that would entangle them (divorce, breakups, gossip) and pressing on towards the goal....those girls are gonna do big things in God's kingdom.
Second, was John Piper who spoke out of Revelation and focused on the beast. His main idea was " Will you worship the beast in your own life?". He also pointed out that before the foundations of the world JESUS WAS THE PLAN. He was never the back up plan when all of sudden Adam sinned. No, God knew that we would need saving and from the beginning Jesus's life was always demanded to make up for our ugliness. Something that he said that really struck me was "Do not be intimidated by brilliant people who live in the dark and don't know the plan of the universe". I admit to being super uncomfortable around scholarly people...christian or non believers. Their haughty words and theoretical debates make me feel as if my knowledge of the world is insufficient. John Piper pointed out though that knowing Jesus, knowing his truth and knowing the one true God makes us more knowledgeable than many scholars.
John Piper also made it very clear to the audience that our goal in life should not be to stay alive, but to stay in love with Jesus. What a refreshing piece of wisdom. In a world full of terrorist, shootings daily and tragedy we ABSOLUTELY don't have to worry about what will happen when we die...if we believe that Jesus is Lord. Therefore, our only goal in life is to love and serve God.
Ravi Zacharias was next. I had only heard of him, never read his books or heard a sermon. He uses a lot of poetry and stories through his speech and its very impressive as he has them all memorized. It was a little scattered for me, and I was warm and had a full belly so I honestly had trouble staying awake....even though most of the seniors claimed that he was their favorite. God speaks to us all in different ways though! I do remember one thing that stood out though was his story of visiting Auschwitz concentration camp. He knew then and there that the heart is evil and desperately wicked. He said "he knew we as people are evil because that (auschwitz) is what we are capable of". He said the ideas behind the concentration camps weren't brainswashed into people, they were taught in the schoolrooms and people were "educated" enough to believe them.
We also heard a brief interview from Levi Lusko who is a pastor in the Northwest and just wrote a book about suddenly losing his daughter due to a full blown asthma attack. His main ministry is centered around "if you take away the suffering, then you take away the ministry". A lot of our seniors needed to hear this as many of them have lost parents recently and don't know how God can use it. We even had some students on the trip who have lost parents to homosexual lifestyles, divorce, abandonment, etc....so knowing that their suffering serves a purpose really got their attention and many of them talked about Levi's interview at dinner that night.
Our final speaker was Christian Caine, a well known lady from Australia who leads a lot of human trafficking reform.One of the first things out of her mouth was " it only takes one quiet generation to loose a nation". Meaning, the rapid decline of Christianity in Europe can be attributed to a 120 year span where Christians were silent there. It reminded me of that quote "Bad things happen when good men do nothing". Even though some countries are now forcing Christians to stay quiet, we still have a lot freedom  here, so we better do something with that! Christine really challenged the seniors to be willing to be a servant first, instead of hoping to immediately be in the spotlight. She spoke about how Joshua was Moses's aid long before God asked him to be a leader. Many times we don't want to be the apprentice and learn before we become the leader. We want God to thrust us into the spotlight but then when we get there we have no knowledge of how to behave there or what to do with such tremendous responsibility. It was exactly what I needed to hear and I felt very convicted about my roles in my current job.

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