Passion conference 2019

9 Things I Learned At Passion 2019

God is awesome. Even four arenas full of awesome.

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For those who may not know, Passion is a Christian conference that seeks to bring together college students for "worship, prayer, justice and spiritual awakening". This year, the conference's attendance sold out four arenas - two in Georgia, one in Texas, and one in Washington D.C.

Passion is so massive for a reason: it offers Biblical teaching, community, support and service opportunities to a mass of college students searching for God's heart in such a crazy time in history. While I did not vet to attend the conference live, I did follow the live stream. Many of the things I learned at Passion I had heard before, but had not been ready to receive with my heart. God had begun softening my heart about a month before Christmas, and Passion came just in time to solidify that new spirit. Here are just a few of the little nuggets of truth that my heart received at Passion this year.

1. If God's not in it, I don't want it 

"If you're not in it, I don't want it." This was a lyric sung by Kari Jobe, and it just resonated with me, especially after all the beautiful reminders this weekend that God has both my own best interest at heart and the interest of all his people. Why would I want anything less than that? As Louie Giglio said, "There is an enemy that also has a plan for you", and I cannot afford to follow any road map but the one that God has laid out for me. (Philipians 4:8)

2. Worship and justice are on the same side of the coin 

I've always thought of spiritual concerns as mostly separate from political or socioeconomic issues, but God wants to see wrongs made right, but through His power. Passion always picks a platform to raise money for in the name of both worship and justice. This year, attendees raised money for the Deaf Bible Society in order to share the gospel with the deaf communities of multiple countries and give them Scripture in their heart language. We raised just under $450,000! College students with no money make for a "loaves and fishes" kind of awesomeness. As Lecrae said, or rapped on Night 2, "Being broke made me rich". (Isaiah 1:17)

3. Joy does not equal happiness, because joy is better than happiness 

Seeing four arenas full of young adults who are as hungry for Jesus as you are gives you a joy I cannot explain. I have an 18 hr course load, a job, and three huge projects this semester, but I am joyful beyond belief because I serve a God who loves me even when I fail miserably and sees me seeking his heart even when I don't feel seen by anyone else. How cool is that?! (James 1: 2-3)

4. An attitude of gratitude changes EVERYTHING!

I've decided to make "gratitude" my word for the year. I've spent a lot of time looking at what others have instead of what immense blessing God has laid right in front of me. I know I'm not the only one that struggles with this, and I just want to shout from the rooftops that thanking God daily will not only delight His heart, but yours too! Thanksgiving heals wounds, y'all! (Colossians 3:15)

5. When you let God remove something destructive from your life, you have to replace it with something better 

It's great to do a clean out of your heart and get rid of things you know will hurt you, but if when let that empty space sit unfilled by God, it will just get refilled by whatever was in there before. (2 Cor. 5:17)

6. Temporary solutions don't work for your heart; it needs a permanent fix 

The only thing that can put broken hearts back together is God's love. It sounds crazy and a little like an episode of Veggie Tales, but it's true. When you bring all your brokenness to Christ and ask Him to make it something beautiful, He shows up and shows out! (Psalm 147:3)

7. You run to who you trust 

Who do you go to when you're having the worst day of your life? Who is on speed dial in your phone? Who do you need in an emergency? Those are the people that you have placed your trust in? In the same way that we are careful who we place our trust in physically and emotionally, so should we only place our spiritual trust in Christ because He has already proven Himself to be our sole means of salvation. (Matthew 6:21)

8. Hope is the architect and faith is the builder 

This one might seem cheesy, but stick with me. Jesus became our architect when he offered us His plan of salvation. His death means that if we surrender to his design, we can have new life! But, we have to put our faith in Jesus daily in order for the structure to be built. Of course, we will all fail miserably sometimes and come very short of perfection, but God's grace is big enough to override all the messes we make.

9. Humans have incredibly short attention spans, but God knows that 

The world "Behold" is a lot in Scripture because God knows that it is difficult to get our attention! Thank goodness He has an abundance of patience with our stubborn hearts.

In short, Jesus is *literally* life, it's not about us, and love wins every time.

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17 Empowering Bible Verses For Women

You go, girl.
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We all have those days where we let the negative thoughts that we're "not good enough," "not pretty enough" or "not smart enough" invade our minds. It's easy to lose hope in these situations and to feel like it would be easier to just give up. However, the Bible reminds us that these things that we tell ourselves are not true and it gives us the affirmations that we need. Let these verses give you the power and motivation that you're lacking.

1. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future."

2. Psalm 46:5

"God is within her, she will not fall."

3. Luke 1:45

"Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her."

4. Proverbs 31:17

"She is energetic and strong, a hard worker."

5. Psalm 28:7

"The Lord is my strength and my shield."

6. Proverbs 11:16

"A gracious woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth."

7. Joshua 1:9

"Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

8. Proverbs 31:30

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised."

9. 1 Corinthians 15:10

"By the grace of God, I am what I am."

10. Proverbs 31:26

"When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness."

11. Psalm 139:14

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made."

12. 1 Peter 3:3-4

"Don't be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God."

13. Colossians 2:10

"And in Christ you have been brought to fullness."

14. 2 Timothy 1:7

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline."

15. Jeremiah 29:11

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'"

16. Exodus 14:14

"The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm."

17. Song of Songs 4:7

"You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way."

Next time you're feeling discouraged or weak, come back to these verses and use them to give you the strength and power that you need to conquer your battles.

Cover Image Credit: Julia Waterbury

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You Are Loved

I am Christian, and I love you!

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To my brothers and sisters in the LGBTQ+ community: I love you. I love you for your bravery, your persistence, your care for others, and most importantly your love. You have faced so much hate your entire life for the simple action of loving and you have responded to that hate with even more love. You have organized rallies, raised money, started social media movements, and stood up for yourselves with dignity, respect, and pride. You ultimately changed the law and are finally able to get married in the eyes of the law.

You are beautifully and wonderfully you. I am so proud of you.

Look, I believe in the Christian bible and the Christian God and I believe He loves EVERYONE! I cannot deny the fact that the bible notes being homosexual as a sin nor can I deny that getting a tattoo, eating pork on Fridays, cursing, sex before marriage, and divorce are sins! Everyone sins daily. To think that the idea of love can be sinful is absolutely disgusting. We are not the judge on earth. My bible tells me I am here to love others and show them the love and light and Christ, not judge them.

We are supposed to have a separation of church and state.

Ignoring all religious beliefs, it is important to remember how separate church and state are meant to be. Any laws that are founded on Christian values that attack or restrict another group or culture should be banished! While the legislative fight was won, the social fight still presses on, with personal and group biases putting down those members of the LGBTQ+ community.

It breaks my hearts to see such hateful Christians.

I know many Christians who are extremely hateful toward the LGBTQ+ community, but I also know many Christians who are members of the LGBTQ+ community. The way I was taught with my religion was to love everyone endlessly. Nowhere does it say in the bible to hate the sinner; you can only hate the sin. If you hate the sin, fine; that does not give you the right to take away someone else's quality of life. It does not give you the right to show hatred—which is a sin in itself!

Keep fighting.

I know it can seem overwhelming, but always remember there are people who are not members of your community that are supporting you and loving you. I will always stand with you.

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