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.