So, back in April, Brandon and I traveled over a quick weekend to Fort Worth for Passion 2011. WOW. For those of you that are not familiar, Passion Conferences have been around for about 12 years and are aimed at college students, with incredible speakers and musicians. I was blessed to be able to attend one of their conferences, OneDay 2003 in Sherman. Here's a few of this year's highlights for me:
Francis Chan. Oh my goodness. I had read his stuff before, but I had never heard him speak. I was blown away by his passion and humility. He is probably the most humble person I have ever encountered. We had the opportunity to hear him speak twice, once in the corporate setting and once in our "small group" (made up of about 1,000 leaders). During the small group, Chan spoke about his life recently, how he felt God calling him to leave the church that he pastored, but he didn't have direction of what to do next. So what did he do? He traveled to Asia, of course, to spread the gospel! I LOVE that. Have down time? Pick up your wife and four kids and follow the Great Commission in the 10/40 window (least Christian area of the world). Wow. Then, after like six months, he felt God calling him back to the states, but he wasn't sure to where, so he went to San Fransisco to be near his aging mother, and spent his free time in homeless shelters ministering to them.
Then, Chan told us that just in the past week (end of March), he felt God tell him what was next. He told us about, and has since written, a book describing the biblical truths about hell. Chan was so heartbroken as he discussed to false teachings of recent times and the flat out lie that the bible says that everyone goes to heaven. I know so many people think that it's hateful and arrogant and judgmental to say that. However, I believe it's one of the most hateful and unloving things we can do to lead you to believe that there is no hell. Please check out this video if you disagree or if you'd like more information on Chan's new book, and I am more than willing to chat about this topic.
I took this picture from my ancient iPhone -- no zoom, we were in the front row.
Another thing that Francis Chan discussed was being lonely. He had been speaking to a mentor who told him, "Are you prepared to be lonely for God?" Chan sure will be feeling lonely and hated when he tells the unpopular truth about hell. Man, this question sure hit home for me. Last year Brandon and I moved 700 miles away from home, and it was lonely for quite some time. I regret that I did not use this time to glorify God as I should have, but instead I was selfish.
And currently, the question applies to us. We are often feeling lonely in this adoption. There are those in our lives who love us and encourage us and are thrilled that we are adopting. However, there are many, including a significant amount of our family, that would rather we not adopt. "Why waste the money and time? They won't be related to us anyways. When are you having your own kids? If you have to adopt, why can't you get some white kids from this country?" Sigh. Loneliness. However, we KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt that GOD has called us to adopt. So, are we prepared to be lonely for God? Yes, we are. I just have to keep reminding myself of the truth.
ANYWAYS, other highlights from Passion:
John Piper. I know he's one of those guys that you either love or hate, but I love him. This was the third and fourth time that I have heard him speak in person(corporate gathering and small group). Two things really stuck from him.
One, he posed the question "What is at the BOTTOM of your priority list?" What he meant by that, was when you dig DEEPER and DEEPER, what do you really care about the most? When you think about the things that you do or the goals that you have, why do they exist? Then keep asking, but why?
For example... why are we adopting?
Well, we want to provide a home for children who have been orphaned.
Because we care deeply about them.
But why? (I mean, we've never met them)
Because we know a God who loves us and cares deeply for us, so much so that He sent His Son to die so we could be a part of his family. We want to follow that God and welcome children into our family, so we may be an example of the gospel and glorify God.
So when you keep digging, you find the true motivation behind everything that you do. For Christians, GOD should be at the "bottom" -- at the core of your decisions and passions and life.
The second thing that stuck out to me was his emphasis on scripture memorization. Ever since I aged out of AWANAS, I have really stunk at memorizing scripture. :) For real! It is SO important, though. Piper's church produced an app for that. It's called FighterVerses. I think it costs like $2.99, but it is worth every penny. There's one verse (or a short passage) to memorize per week, four different versions to choose from (ESV, NIV, KJV, and LBLA(Spanish)), quizzes on the verses, reminders to memorize... it's fabulous.
David Crowder Band. I just simply love this band to death. If you have never seen them live, you are missing out. Six guys, probably like 20 different instruments (from the regular ones to a banjo and fiddle to a Mac and a keytar and a GuitarHero controller), such range and talent and lyrical genius, it's ridiculous. I am so sad that they are disbanding after the fall! I already have tickets to see their farewell tour, although the closest stop is in Kansas... :)
And also... Chris Tomlin, Kristian Stanfill, Christy Nockels, Lacrae, Louie Giglio, and Charlie Hall. Awesomeness.