Last week I attended Passion for two of the four scheduled days. If you are unfamiliar with PASSION, please investigate. YOU need to know what it is. Short summary: THOUSANDS of college kids on fire for Jesus and working to use that passion to change the world. In my last post I referred to my reduced participation as Passionlite. Let me tell you, there was nothing “light” about it. It was heavy, weighty and full of truth.
As an official grown-up it was strange role of leadership for me. I’m not going to lie, there is (much to large) part of me that worried about fitting in – in Atlanta, with a charismatic extrovert campus minister and a bunch of trendy, visionary students. I’m an introvert, I panic in dicey situations and I am precariously close to not being “relevant” in the lives of these kids. I am probably one child-raising reference away from them tuning me out. But as I share with you what God spoke into me, I must begin with these students.
We took 18 students. Every single one of them blew me away with their authenticity, sincerity and on a practical level, their awesome ability to adapt to unknown situations and look out for each other. The narrative of our Marta debacle is worth its own blog post, but the short version is that they impressed me with maturity and resourcefulness. I have been bragging on them to everyone.
And these students are empowered. As I type, they are rallying their friends, peers and anyone who will listen to raise money, support and jump on board the End IT Movement in a real way.
And I saw myself. As Francis Chan said in his sermon, my “fifteen-year-old self” who was only in love with Jesus and sharing Him with my friends. I remember that. I once was a crazy passionate girl that LOVED Jesus so much I wanted to burst, and the thought of not serving Him was more than my little heart could bear. And then life happened…..
Boys broke my heart, knowledge filled my head with doubt, my worth was defined by my roles: wife, student, teacher, mother…… and I forgot my first love. And during my time at Passion, I heard my Lord calling me back to my first love.
In Jeremiah, the Lord speaks to his people saying, “I remember the devotion of your youth, your love as a bride, how you followed me in the wilderness, in a land not sown.” (Jer. 2:2) I have heard this whisper…. the Lord calling me back….reminding me of my unbridled passion and my youthful fearlessness in following him.
How can I not? How can I deny this call? As I stood amidst the massive crowd, nearly 60, 000 people, I felt undone. Last year Louie Giglio’s movement left Atlanta and traveled to Vancover and then several cities in Africa. The numbers in these places are were comparable. I don’t know about you, but I had never been in the middle of a crowd that large. SIXTY THOUSAND people! And that is infinitesimal compared to the crowd we will encounter in heaven.
Most people have a mental happy place. My best friend’s includes a house, a porch and panda that will hug her. My sister’s involves a box. Mine often consists of a green wheat field. That is beginning to change.
When I pray, when I am anxious, I imagine heaven. Nothing spectacular, but I see white and a massive crowd of people worshiping with me. All the saints of ALL TIME, numbers inconceivable all glorifying our Father, adoring the Son.
This is my happy place. This is what I saw during worship. Inthemidst of the dark dome, full of light and sound and the voices of 60,000 saints. 60,000 saints glorifying the Father, adoring the Son. And this, this tiny glimpse of heaven will sustain me.
9 After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.” ~Revelation 7:9-12