Thursday, January 12, 2012

Passion 2012: Session 8 - Fearless

Well, Passion 2012 has come to a close. I went into Session 8 saddened because this amazing experience of worship and teaching is ending...but then I got excited for what God will do when 45,000 young people with a vision hit the streets. I can't tell you how alive I feel right now...I can't tell you how much God has done in my life in just 4 short days. I feel like God has just wrecked me...even though I've spent the majority of Passion in tears, it's been the most joyful week of my life. I will definitely miss waking up and worshiping with 45,000 other believers and sitting under amazing teachers as they bring the word of God...but something I've learned this week is that I have to be willing to be interrupted. If I'm going to make a difference, then I have to go...and be willing. I have to get out from behind my computer, go to work, go to the store...and be willing to be interrupted. I have to go and do something now. Passion has definitely helped me see that I can do something wherever I am by reaching out. One touch...one encounter with God will change lives.

Louie Giglio started the message by revisiting the Eugene Peterson quote he shared during Session 1:
"They all realized they were in a place of holy mystery. That God was at work among them. They were quietly worshipful. And then noisily grateful. Calling out among themselves, "God is back, looking to the needs of his people." The news of Jesus spread all through the country."
This is where we started...and it has really come true over the 4 days of Passion 2012. It's exactly what has come to pass.

Earlier one of the young door holders told Louie this story:
One of the employees from the World Congress Center came in. Supervisor of some of the custodians and she grabbed me and said, 'What is going on here?' I said, 'It's Passion, university aged young people here for the Passion Conference.' The employee said, 'No, no, no...what's going on here? I feel something in my chest that I've never felt before.' I said, 'Oh, that's the presence of God. God is here, God is back. What you feel is the presence of God here.' The lady looked at me like 'What is that?' I asked her if she knew who Jesus Christ is. The woman said, 'No.' So I told the woman who Jesus was and the woman broke down into tears and embraced the grace of God and mercy of Jesus for her life!"
When God comes...he's not limited by walls or job titles, who is in the session and who is inside of the building. HE's not limited by who has a lanyard or a uniform on. When God shows up, everybody knows that God is in the house and everyone experiences an awakening from the dead.

Grab onto this line: "The news of Jesus spread all throughout the country!" IT is spreading in some phenomenal ways...during one of the worship sessions, "How Great Is Our God" was the NUMBER 1 trending topic worldwide on Twitter! "Passion 2012" and "With Everything"(Hillsong) also were on the top trends worldwide during this conference. In real time...you were talking to the world! How amazing is that? Something as simple as a tweet...God uses to broadcast his name to the world.

There was a feature Thursday morning on CNN about what Passion is doing for Freedom. Louie had everyone tweet to CNN and thank them for telling the story of slavery. As a result of these 4 days...let the one thing that trends wherever you are...be that Jesus becomes the name that spreads all through the country.
Ephesians 6:19-20 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.
Paul is in prison...he has chains on his hands. With a chained arm, he writes that people pray for him. HE didn't ask for prayers of freedom, he asked for boldness in speech. He asked them to pray that when he opened his mouth he would receive words from God. This should be our prayer...a prayer that we move to the top of our prayer list.

The problem we are up against is that we are in a system that is setting us up for a not-yet-arrived-at destination. When we are in middle school it's about high school. When we're in high school it's about GPA and where you are going to college. When you're in college it's about your major and when you graduate and what your summer will entail. When you finally graduate it's about what you are going to do with your life. What that sets us up for, is a not-yet-realized-future-opportunity for somewhere down the road when this and this and this and this are all done...then something significant is supposed to happen. But Jesus has come on the scene and reached out into our funeral procession and wrecked our funerals to awaken us to the reality that God can do anything and everything and it starts the day we become alive in Christ...that's when our mission in life begins...not when this or that is done...now. Get our of the holding pattern the world has set for us. Get rid of the mindset of waiting for the appointed time to do something significant with your life. Jesus raised us from the dead and the day that happened is the day we start proclaiming the power and mystery of the gospel and that is the reason we are alive...so go and do that with everything you have...right now. You don't need to wait to fully participate in the purpose and plans of God...they are right now.

Is it your prayer that when you open your mouth, God would put words in your mouth, that you might fearlessly make known the mystery of what is exploding inside of your heart right now?

The first hurdle to this is a hurdle called brokenness (adversity, trial, hardship). You want to proclaim...but you are too concerned with the mess.

As the Passion crew were in the Dome setting up the lights before the conference...Louie walked into the center of the field and stood there imagining all that God was going to do. At mid-field, there was the newly painted Chick-fil-A Bowl logo. In that moment, it was just him and the logo...a logo that was created in 1964 by a man named Louie Giglio for $75...Louie's dad(henceforth known as 'dad')

Louie and his wife were living in Waco, Texas and for 10 years they had been ministering to college students. For 7 of those years, his dad had been disabled and living in Atlanta. He went from being an active and inspired designer to being completely disabled because of a brain virus. In 1995, they left Texas to move to Atlanta in order to care for his dad. In April of 1995, Louie's dad died. Not only had Louie and his wife just walked through 7 really hard years, but they had left 10 years of ministry behind to come care for his dad...and he died. There's no dad and there is no ministry. So what happens now? Within weeks of that moment...now that God had uprooted them and placed them in a situation of total flexibility and availability...God gave them a vision. It wasn't just one campus, it's the campuses...and 15 years of Passion later...Louie stood in the middle of Georgia Dome looking at a logo. He and his dad were back together again and it was his father's death and all the sorrow and brokenness of that...that cracked open the door to everything that God is doing through Passion.

It's not a this, this, this, this and then over there...it's whenever the awakening comes and you yield into the fullness of God's purpose...it's now that God can use you. Don't let brokenness hold you back from what God has for you. Brokenness is the bow from which God launches the arrows of healing. When Christ was beaten, when he suffered and died...it's by his stripes we are healed. If your past is brokenness, pain, sorrow, disappointment, or a mess...God knows and he thinks it's good because it's from that past that God will send healing. He sends healing through people who know what it means to be healed. They are the launchers of the message of the gospel...don't let the enemy tell you that your brokenness is going to disqualify you from being a part of the news of Jesus spreading all through the country. It took a dead guy (Louie's dad) to start Passion and use you to start the next thing.

The 2nd hurdle is when people say, "I don't know what to do."

Bury that...right now...stick a pin in the balloon of "What is God's will for your life?"...let it die, so you don't have to keep saying, "I don't know what to do." What you need to do is to move to the top of your prayer list: "Pray for me so that when I open my mouth, God will give me words to boldly proclaim the gospel." Where you are right now (Starbucks, Classroom, Dorm, Cafeteria, Grocery Store, Work, Fashion, Computers...wherever) is where God's will has you. You don't have to be involved full time in a major cause...we need bankers and doctors and lawyers and artists and filmmakers...people who do what they do all for the glory of God no matter what it is...go for it but move to the top, above all else, "Give me words to fearlessly proclaim the mystery of the gospel. (In my bank, house, team, neighborhood, wherever I go, let me be fearless to proclaim.)" Don't live an insignificant life...God's will is to fearlessly proclaim the gospel wherever you are. Pursue your passion, pursue what you are good at, go do what you are wired to do...but do it all in the name of Jesus. Just go do it. Right now.

Louie told the story of Trevor Bayne. You may have heard of him before. He is the 2011 Daytona 500 Winner. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Avj1jj6dfw&feature=related) He turned 20 the day before the race. That's pretty cool...but there is something that is even more cool...when he won, all he said is, "I just want to give glory to Jesus." You might be thinking that it's nothing special...that's what they all say when they win...someone was even so bold to tweet to Trevor: "Of course you're giving glory to Jesus because you just won the Daytona 500". Later on in the year, Trevor got Lyme Disease. He was knocked out of line for the final season championship series. Trevor remembered that tweet. When he was out of the season, he went back through his Twitter and found that person who had tweeted to him and responded: "I just wanted to let you know, I have Lyme Disease and it wrecked my year...but I love Jesus." Then, Louie told us that Trevor Bayne was among the crowd at Passion 2012. He's just another college-age person like the rest of us...but he fearlessly proclaimed the name of Jesus while doing what he was good at...racing...and when he was knocked out of the race. Whatever you are good at...do it...and as you do it, pray that God would give you words. Whether it's coming out of a win or dealing with Lyme Disease...whatever it is...do it with that prayer on your heart.

So what are you waiting for? Are you waiting for the system to tell you that now is a good time? Are you waiting until all the brokenness goes away? Are you waiting until grad-school is over? Is that when it's going to happen? The mission is now! You don't have to do anything to make it happen other than walk out of your room and pray that God will speak through you. Ask for those around you to pray for you that when you open your mouth, God would give you words and that you would fearlessly proclaim the gospel. That's all.

Do you know how to get your fears to minimize? (Fear of failure, being made fun of, the unknown, your parents, insecurity, inadequacy, your past, fear of unemployment...etc) Maximize the fact that you are already chained to the unchainable Jesus...nothing else that tries to put a chain on you has any power or hold on you. They chained Paul to a Roman jail cell but missed the point entirely...he had already chained his heart to the unchainable Jesus Christ who will never be stopped...he will always triumph, and you, in mind, soul, and body, are chained to him! You have joined forces with Jesus! The only thing to be afraid of is living an insignificant life.
Ephesians 4:1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.
Being a prisoner on earth does not hinder our service or our call. Out of the bow of brokenness, God flings the arrows of healing.

If you've never heard the "Fruitcake and Ice Cream" story...please go buy it/rent it/whatever you have to do...but just watch it. 5 years ago, a girl left Passion...she left with a heart for the world and God put her in an apartment with a God-hating, Church-hating, Christian-hating, full throttle partying senior. Over the next 14 days...from the 7th of January to the 21st...the roommate went from hating God to accepting Christ as her Savior. Do you know why? The girl who left Passion with a heart for the world...she didn't stumble over the hurdle of "my friends don't care or want or need this."

You don't know if God is turning over the heart of the person shoving hate in your face day after day. Maybe they are 14 days away from having their funeral procession interrupted. Don't be insecure and let your fears stop you from opening your mouth and letting God speak through you. Some people really don't want it, but others are so close that all they need is one person who is fearless!

You don't have to be loud to be bold. Boldness isn't about how loud you are...it's about how confident you are in the gospel. Even when you are in a situation where the other person is just sending you hate...don't be afraid to ask if you can pray for them...if they say no, then don't get up in arms about it...say okay and invite them to lunch or to go play Frisbee or something. Something that simple can provide just as powerful a witness. Love them...keep telling them how Jesus changed your life, not how bad they are. You are an ambassador...don't be afraid of non-Christians or what they think. Believe in the power of the gospel. Don't shrink down...stick around. Even when they are hard on you...of course they are hard on you, they crucified Jesus. He fearlessly hung there and proclaimed the gospel for which he was in chains.

Pray that God would insert you as the arrow and fling you with healing for the world.

In closing...I have to update you with some news. News that showed us how great our God is. It's not about what we did...it's about what God has done through us.

Passion 2012 was supposed to be the end. The Georgia Dome staff told us that the building was unavailable next year. They came back to Louie and said that it will be available for Passion specifically next year. So by the grace of God, Passion will be back in 2013...at full capacity seating: over 70,000...the curtain is coming down!

...but that's not all...

Over the course of 4 days:

  • With the A21 Campaign, we're helping start a prevention program in the UK, educating them on how not to get stuck in slavery.
  • With the Tiny Hands Foundation, we're helping build 8 border stations and 8 safe homes at the Nepal/India border to stop trafficking before it starts.
  • With IJM, we are building 23 rescue operations and funding rescue missions.
  • With Hagar, we are doing an after school program for 25 children who have been sex slaves, we are helping restore them and set them on a new course.
  • With Wellspring for Living in Atlanta, we are helping renovate 12 apartments for girls who have been trafficked, restored, and rescued.
  • With the Atlanta project, we gave $100,000 to the Mayor to stop trafficking locally.
  • With Word Made Flesh we are helping purchase a building in India to restore women who have been trafficked.
  • With Love 146, we are helping train people to go back and restore 1260 people all over the world and provide for reconciliation for 18 rescued children.
  • In Haiti we are helping build a safe house for girls who have been trafficked and rescued.
  • With As Our Own, we are helping an innovation center for girls in India who were born into brothels.
  • With Night Light, we're helping provide jobs for 15 women on the streets of Thailand.
  • With IJM we are helping fund 15 rescue operations in Mumbai
  • With Not For Sale we are helping fund a vocational training program in India
  • Also with Not For Sale we are helping fund a crisis center in Cape Town, South Africa.
  • With Restore International, we are helping fund the fight against trafficking done by witch doctors, by prosecuting witch doctors in Uganda
Can you hear freedom ringing all across the globe?

Now about that $1,000,000 dollars...we didn't give $1 million...we gave (at the conference and online) $2,566,670! In 4 days...we gave over $2 million dollars to end slavery internationally and locally! God is so good to work through us in ways we could never even imagine.

...that's still not all...

There was a married couple who came to Passion. They were so inspired by the giving of poor college students...that they gave $500,000 dollars.

That puts the total of Passion 2012 freedom giving at $3,066,670!

I can't even put into words what is going through my head and heart right now. It's been almost 2 weeks since Passion ended and it still hasn't sunk in. God is so great! Passion 2012 was the perfect start to the year. I can't wait to see what God does on campuses around the globe and what happens for Freedom in the name of Jesus.

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