Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Passion 2011

Michael & I watched a portion of Passion 2011 last evening, & I was quite impressed.  More than that, I was moved.  We tuned in to watch John Piper preach, but were obliged to wait through singing for what we considered the "main event".  The singing was followed by reports on money raised for various efforts & a video showing the impact of the global Passion tour.  At first, I was impatient to get on with Piper's sermon, but that quickly dissolved as my heart was drawn upwards in praise to God for what's being done through Passion.  I remember hearing about Passion years ago when I worked at Lifeway, but I haven't given much - if any - thought to it since.  I didn't really know much about it, but to my mind, I thought it was simply an entertainment for college-age kids.  Without any information, I formed the opinion that it was mostly fluff, lacking any true substance.  I couldn't have been more wrong.

Although we didn't hear much of it, what music we did hear was pretty solid.  I was particularly struck by an intentional lull in the singing so that people could go to God in prayer.  That was an awesome moment, to see heads bowed while music softly played; it was obvious that even the musicians themselves were taking advantage of this opportunity to worship God in prayer.  It was nothing short of beautiful.

When Louie Giglio stood on stage & reported the money that those in attendance have donated so far, I was taken aback.  In each & every instance, the goals that Passion set were met & then exceeded.  Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been raised - again, so far, because the event's not over yet - to sponsor Compassion children, to feed children in poor villages, to set girls free (I'm assuming from sexual slavery), to clothe the homeless, to send Bibles out, & a whole host of other things that I wish I'd written down.  I was in tears to see how these people who have just started out in their adult lives were worshipping God & proclaiming Christ as Lord by parting with material wealth.  Their selflessness led me to praise God as well!

Following this was a video showing the impact of the global Passion tour.  I'm not going to pretend to know anything about this, but the video was incredible.  It showed hundreds of thousands of students from all over the planet worshipping God, even in places where Christianity is illegal & persecuted!  What struck me most was how the students in one city prayed for & dontated to help the next city on the tour.  Their hearts were poured out in love & support for Christians they will most likely never meet.  To see students in Kampala, Uganda giving & praying for Paris, France was astounding.  At first, I felt like that should most definitely be reversed; students in rich Paris should be giving & praying for poor Kampala.  But, isn't that just what the hearts of regenerated believers should be like?!  Yes, Kampala has more need than Paris - monetarily speaking - but the heart of a believer rejoices at the opportunity to give, even out of their own need!  After all, Paul praised the Macedonian churches in 2 Corinthians 8 for giving out of their "extreme poverty", even pleading for the opportunity to do so!

Finally - although, by that time it didn't feel like "finally" - Piper stood up & preached an excellent sermon about God being our foundation rather than self.  His question was, "Do you feel more loved by God when He makes much of you or when He enables you to make much of Him?"  He went on to show that there is a foundation to our happiness:  either self or God.  God does make much of us, which Piper deftly illustrated using Scripture, & we rejoice in that, but He does so for His own glory.  Apart from his list of 7 ways that the Bible shows that God makes much of His children, my favorite part was Piper's assertion that we are far too precious to God for Him to allow us to be our own foundational happiness, to be our own god.  Because He loves us so - & because only He is worthy of that title - He alone will be our God.

All in all, I was rather impressed by what I saw last night of Passion & think that I'll be paying more attention to it from now on!  You might want to tune in, too!


Marsha Braswell said...

What an amazing quote - "Do you feel more loved by God when He makes much of you or when He enables you to make much of him?" I had not heard of Passion 2011 before, but I would love to know more about it. Thank you so much for sharing this! <>< Marsha