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"No matter where I am, your teachings fill me with songs." - Psalm 119:54 (CEV)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I Went Expecting - Passion 2012

The pastor had told us ahead of time,

Wanting us to see why it was so important that we should go

All the way to Georgia,

Twelve hours in a van,

Four days of not enough sleep.

"God moves in amazing ways at this conference."

So I went expecting.

Turns out he was right.


I'd felt so distant from God weeks,

Even months before.

I'd been praying that Passion would draw me closer to Him,

That I would know Him more,

That He would move in amazing ways in my heart.



My first request was granted the first night.

Being in a room with forty-two thousand,

All of us worshiping Jesus together,

Louie Giglio speaking of how Jesus stops the funeral procession,

How He brings the dead back to life.

I felt it in my heart:

The deadness of distance

Turning into life-bringing closeness.

He brings the dead back to life!


After that, it didn't seem like much happened . . .

Not much happened to me, that is.

Every time my community group met,

Many shared how they had been moved,

How God was touching them,

Working in them,

Changing their lives.

 
One afternoon,

Many of the speakers at Passion were onstage together,

Taking turns reading from Scripture.

They read through the entire book of Ephesians -

Six chapters -

Pausing after each one

So that we could listen for the voice of God.

The Scripture was beautiful,

But that's not usually how God communicates with me

(Other than to say, "Here's how I want you to live, here's what you need to do.  Go do it.")

So it didn't really impact me very much.

After they finished reading, however, they asked how many God had spoken to,

How many hearts had been moved.

About half of the hands in the room were in the air.

Half.

(That's around twenty-one thousand in case anyone was wondering.)

God really does move in amazing ways at this conference!


I was still waiting, though,

Still praying.

"God, I came here expecting.

You've drawn me so much closer to You,

But You haven't really moved in my heart yet.

I'm still expecting.

I believe that You can still do this,

That You will still move,

Even though there are only three days . . .

Two days . . .

One day . . .

One session

Left."


That's how long it took, too.

We were leaving that morning,

One session left.

I was still praying,

Still expecting that He'd move in me.

He didn't disappoint.


That last morning session was incredible.

The worship was amazing,

The message was even better.

Louie Giglio was speaking again,

(Since he's the only one I've mentioned, I need to stop and say that the other speakers were incredible, as well:  Beth Moore, Francis Chan, John Piper, . . . they were all so amazing!)

This time he was talking about boldness

And about how God uses us,

Probably the two topics I need to hear the most right now.


First, I am not bold.

I am the shy, introverted person who never speaks up in class

Or at Bible study

Unless asked to do so.

I am the person who doesn't like to sit with strangers,

Takes forever to make friends,

And spends most of her time alone, holed up in her dorm room.

(Once I'm around friends, I'm much better, I promise.)

Second, how God can use me has been one of the top things on my mind for the past three years.

Where do I go to college?

What do I study?

You brought music back into my life.  Where do You want me to take this?

What do You want me to do, God?

I want to serve You.

I want to be where You want me,

But I don't know where that is.


One of the best points in Louie Giglio's message went kind of like this:

In our culture, it's as if we have to do so many little things before we can do something great.

You have to go to high school,

Then college,

Then grad school,

Then get a job,

And then God can use You.

The problem with all this is that it's not true.

God can use you right where you are.

"Let's stick a pin in the balloon called 'God's will for your life.'"

God's will for your life is for you to serve Him

Right

Where

You

Are.


That meant so much to me.

I've felt for so long like I need to do x, y, and z -

Finish college, grow more as an artist, get a job -

Before I can do what I feel God wants me to do,

What I feel He's put into my life so I can serve Him.

I've forgotten that I can use my talents to serve Him right here.

My imaginative mind began forming a plan . . .

But more on that in a couple of weeks.


Another cool thing I'd forgotten?

God uses people who work in all kinds of different fields.

You could be a financial planner,

A computer programmer,

A teacher,

A Nascar driver,

(Or a member of a pit crew!)

Anything

And God could use you.

So often I doubt this!

I doubt that God will really use me in the way I feel that He wants to,

But He can,

For He uses all kinds of people.

Wow.

He could really use me.

Wow.

(And more about that in a couple of weeks . . .)


As I mentioned earlier, Louie Giglio also talked about boldness,

About how the only thing we have to fear is living an insignificant life.

That just hit me.

I fear so many things,

The future,

People's opinions of my music,

That God won't use me.

I let these fears control me,

Make me even more timid and shy than I already am.

On the bright side, they keep me humble,

However, they also cause me to hide

Behind excuses,

Inaction.


Speaking of boldness, why am I so scared to tell people about Jesus?

I want them to know Him.

Am I more afraid of opinions I don't really care about -

Or maybe it's actually having to talk to strangers -

Than I am of living an insignificant life?

I don't even understand myself sometimes!


I didn't want to leave that morning.

I wanted to stay in that place,

In that "Passion bubble",

Forever.

I now felt so inspired,

And so bold,

More bold than I'd ever felt before.

I had seen God move

And I had felt God move

And I just wanted to stand up and shout,

At the top of my lungs,

"Our God reigns!

He is not dead,

He is alive!

He is moving!

He is speaking!

Don't you know?

Can't you see?

It's incredible!

My

God

Reigns!!!!!"


If you are an 18-25 year old and couldn't come to Passion this year, I would really, really encourage you to find some way to go next year.  God moves in amazing ways at this conference!  You really shouldn't miss it!

To read more about my experience at Passion, check out these posts:
     At the Dome - Passion 2012
     Incomprehensible - Passion 2012
     I Went Expecting - Passion 2012
     Do Something Now - Passion 2012
     After the Dome - Passion 2012


Linking up with Walk With Him Wednesday today.




Please check out some of the other amazing blog posts, the links to which can be found at the bottom of this post.


Happy Wednesday!

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing. I haven't been to Passion yet, but have been to God! Loved the Giggilio series on the universe. Bud

Sylvia R said...

Mary, this MUST have been awesome! (I'm envious! You can't be over 25! What a bunch of speakers! But I see the place seems to be overflowing with people as it is!
Sometimes what God has to say to me through a conference doesn't really hit me till after I get back home and process. Glad you "heard" from him, that last session.
And yes, we so easily forget that He can use us right now where we are, even in "insignificant" areas of our lives, or in unexpected ones where we aren't even talented at all!
Wonderful!

Mary Schieferstein said...

Sylvia:
Yes, it was awesome! It pretty much blew me away (which is why I'm taking so many weeks to talk about it). And I hear they do let a few adults in . . . you could look into it if you wanted. Oh, and we truly do forget how He can use us. I'm glad this could be a reminder to others and touch hearts other than mine!

Mary Schieferstein said...

Bud:
I'm glad you enjoyed this! Passion is incredible, but the reason it's incredible is that it's about knowing God and growing closer to Him - that's what we really need. And I'm glad you also like Giglio's sermons - so true and so impactful! Thank you for commenting!

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