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

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Words Every Woman Needs to Hear

Just a quick little post,

A short video to bless you,

Over here today.

You are treasured.

You are loved.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Do Something Now - Passion 2012

One of the coolest parts of Passion was what it was about:

That it wasn't just about worshiping God,

That it wasn't just about learning about God,

That it was also about doing what Francis Chan told us when he spoke,

Reading the Bible

And going and doing it.

There are twenty-seven million slaves in the world today.

Twenty-seven million.

It's not just a statistic.

Those are real men, women, and children

In bondage

With little hope of escape.

Twenty-seven million.

At Passion 2012,

A generation was inspired,

A task was set before us,

And we decided to do something.


God was moving in so many hearts,

Calling us to take up the cause of justice,

To bring freedom to the oppressed.

Our goal was to raise one million dollars.

The organizations we were helping had thought it impossible.

A group of "poor" college students

Raise one million dollars?

But nothing is impossible with God.

The goal was to raise one million dollars.

By the time they told us our goal, several thousand had already been donated.

The first time they mentioned our progress

(I'm reasonably sure it was the first day.),

We had raised over half of our goal.

The first day.

Over half.

Sorry these are kind of blurry.  I think I should have turned my flash on.
Many students had to stand in line to donate.

At some points, the lines had a thousand people in them.

And the students were glad to wait,

Glad to stand in line,

Waiting to give whatever they could

To help end slavery.

A one hundred three-foot hand was erected outside the Georgia Dome,

A sculpture to symbolize the plight of twenty-seven million slaves.

It was covered in items made with slave labor.

Students wrote messages on the items,

Words of hope,

Born of the incredible hope we have

And the hope that we can make a difference,

That we can end slavery.

"Our God is greater!"
Poles were erected,

White flags hanging down,

Twenty-seven thousand of them,

Each one representing a thousand slaves.

They hung over the sidewalks,

Stretching on and on.

We held a vigil,

Late at night.

Forty-two thousand people

Filled up this area,

Prayed for the twenty-seven million.

At midnight, we began to light candles.

Voices began to sing,

First one,

Then thousands.

Oh . . .

We'll be a city on a hill, burning brightly.
We'll be a light to the world, shining Your glory.

Then the sculpture was lit.

There was a huge cheer!

Then people began to chant,

(To this day, I'm not sure if what they were chanting.

It was either "Freedom" or "Jesus".)

Then sing,

Then chant,

Then cheer!

We were moved by God,

And we were so glad to witness Him moving,

Through us,

Through our giving,

Our writing,

The only tiny actions we could take.

We also had another incredible opportunity.

While we were there, we sang many songs.

One of them was written to be shared with the world -

And to share with the world that slavery still exists.

We got to be in the music video.

People were jumping up and down

Every time the refrain came on,

And still singing at the tops of their lungs!

We were fighting for freedom

Any way we could.

The last day we learned how much we were able to do.

We had fully funded all of the original projects.

The leaders of the conference had planned others, though.

They told us exactly what our money had done for each organization,

Gave us an idea of how many we were helping.

Then -

Finally -

We learned how much we'd raised.

I expected two million.

I wasn't disappointed.

The students and young adults alone had raised about 2.6 million.

Two point six million dollars

From college students and young adults!

That wasn't all, though.

The people who run Passion let a few adults join us.

One couple was so inspired

By the way God was moving among us

That they gave five hundred thousand dollars.

Five hundred thousand dollars

Of their own money.

I was just blown away,

In shock.

We had raised over three million dollars

To fight human trafficking.

It blew my mind.

Best part?

It was all Him.

There's no way that forty-two thousand college-age students,

On their own,

Would ever raise that much money

(Even leaving out the five hundred thousand.)

It was Him moving in us,

Through us,

And I was blessed to be a part of it.

If you would like to see (and hear!!!) a little bit of our candlelight vigil, you can watch the CNN news report here.

If you would like to read more about what happened at Passion 2012 (and see awesome pictures), visit this page.

If you would like to read more about how we fought for freedom (and watch the Freedom film), visit this page.

If you would like to donate to Do Something Now and help end modern-day slavery, free the twenty-seven million, visit this page.

"Compelled" is written by Sara Groves and Charlie Peacock, performed by Sara Groves.  "With Everything" is performed by Hillsong United.  "I'm Not Ashamed" is (I believe) performed by Kristian Stanfill and Chris Tomlin.  "27 Million" is written by LZ7 and performed by LZ7, Matt Redman, and Beth Redman (I think).  Many thanks to these wonderful people for their incredible music.

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 over here today.

Please read some of the other posts that can be found at the bottom of this one.  It's such a blessing to be able to be a blessing to others!

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.


(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


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





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!)


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.


He could really use me.


(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,


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",


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!




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!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Incomprehensible - Passion 2012

I need to take a week just to explain the scope of Passion,

Even before I can get into the heart-changing effects.

It's just amazing, being in a room with forty-two thousand other people.

We would go in,

Sit there,

And wait for the session to start.

The floor would already be full.

The lower seating area would be almost filled.

The "club deck" and the top level would fill up - quickly.

One minute you'd be wondering how many people were actually going to show up,

Two minutes later, there wouldn't be a single seat available.

Packed out.


Every day.

I guess I expected this.

After all, I knew it sold out.

Still, to see forty-two thousand people -

It's just amazing.

Even cooler was the fact that I couldn't take a picture of all of them.

I kept trying, of course,

But there was simply no way to fit two-thirds of a football stadium into one picture.

Two-thirds of a football stadium

Absolutely filled with people.

It just blew my mind.

The even cooler thing -

No one came to see a football game

Or watch a movie

Or hear a concert

Or hear a good speaker

(Although there were awesome concerts and incredible speakers),

Forty-two thousand people

Came together in one place

For Jesus.

The camera didn't pick up the white words.  It says, "The Jesus generation united for His renown."

Even cooler?

It wasn't forty-two thousand Baptists

Or forty-two thousand Catholics

Or forty-two thousand non-denominationals,

It was just forty-two thousand Christians.

Background didn't matter,

The tiny arguments we're always quibbling over didn't matter,

There were people from every denomination imaginable

Gathered in one place

To worship Jesus.

It was so cool!

And about that worshiping part - 

Have you ever worshiped God with forty-two thousand other people?

(Unless you were at Passion, I'm assuming the answer's no.)

I have to tell you, it is amazing!

I know it sounds awesome,

But to experience it is just incredible!

It's so loud, too!

Forty-two thousand people singing the same song

At the top of their lungs,

Praising their Savior!

I wore earplugs most of the time to protect my hearing,

But I did take them out once or twice

And that really made me appreciate the scope of it all.

Forty-two thousand!

It was so loud!

I wonder what it sounded like outside the Dome,

How far away our songs could be heard,

Whether any of the people in Atlanta could understand the words,

Whether they knew who we were singing to.

I know they couldn't see -

And I wish they could! -

On top of the sheer number of people,

The experience of singing with them,

Imagine nearly a hundred thousand hands

In the air,

Lifted high,

Praising God.





Okay, I guess that's enough about worship.

But there's so much more to talk about!

Passion provided two meals for us while we were there.

Imagine feeding forty-two thousand people.

Huge undertaking.

The people organizing it were awesome, though.

They called out section numbers,

Instructed each section to go to a specific gate,

Filed all of us out of the Dome and into the Georgia World Conference Center.

Of course, we were all wondering what we were going to eat.

(I don't think anyone got my "a couple of fish and a few loaves of bread" joke.)

They had four or five huge tables set up

With boxed lunches stacked up all over them

And we just walked by and grabbed one box each.

They were nice lunches, too -

Turkey sandwiches (with cheese, lettuce, and tomato),


A pickle,

A cookie,

A mint,

A bottle of water.

We were so grateful for the food

And very sorry for all of the peole

Who must have worked so, so hard

Putting forty-two thousand boxed lunches together . . .

Two days in a row.

(I was going to take a picture and call it "Feeding the Forty-Two Thousand", but I kept forgetting.  Sorry there's no photo.  Just imagine thousands of people - probably at least five thousand - sitting on the ground in circles in a big, empty basement-like room.  It was pretty incredible just eating with everyone else.)

In addition to the craziness of feeding all of us,

There was the craziness of all of us finding somewhere to purchase the remainder of our meals.

I mean, there were forty-two thousand extra people in Atlanta,

All needing to buy the same meals

At approximately the same times

Withing walking distance of the Georgia Dome.

Needless to say, the lines were very long.

The CNN building's cafeteria was so full

That there was a huge line outside

Of people who couldn't get in

Because the cafeteria was beyond capacity.

Think about that for a second.

How often are rooms beyond capacity?

(I have to just take a moment to remember and say, "Wow.")

So, it was mass chaos,

But it was still so cool

To see all these people


Walking in huge groups,

Basically dictating the flow of traffic (from trying to cross the streets in massive clumps),

Young adults all over the place,

And they were all there for one reason:


No, I'm still not done yet,

Nor will I be for at least three more weeks.

Now that I've talked about the big,

I want to talk about the small.

Part of Passion was "Community Groups".

They separated us by the colors of our wristbands,

Put us all in different rooms in the Conference Center.

Each room had at least a thousand people in it,

Probably more.

At the beginning we all sat there thinking,

"They call this a small group?"

It didn't stay that big for long, though.

They told us all to partner up with one person born in the same month as us,

Then for each group of two to merge with another group of two,

Then for each group of four to merge with another group of four

(This time with the goal of eventually having four guys and four girls).

Then we were told to sit down in circles.

"This is your new family," our group leader said.

And we met together each morning and each evening,

Discussed passages of Scripture and speakers' talks,

Shared opinions, thoughts, hidden scars,

The ways that God was working in our hearts.

By the end, we really were a family.

It was so strange to think that we'd probably never see each other again.

We took pictures,

Talked of how we'd keep in touch.

At a conference of forty-two thousand people,

I became part of a group of eight.

It just blows my mind!

(Not as much as God blows my mind, but, still . . . )

It's so incomprehensible

That forty-two thousand people

From fifty states

And thirty countries

All met

In one place

For the glory

And renown

Of Jesus Christ.

It feels so lonely sometimes,

Especially in this generation,

Especially on a college campus,

Seeing everything else that's going on,

Hearing the rejection of absolute truth,

The rejection of one true faith,

One true Savior,

One true God.

Are there really that many,

Are there really, truly that many

Who still call Him Lord?

The answer is YES.

Forty-two thousand 18-25 year olds still call Him Lord.

More, even!

The conference sold out.

More than forty-two thousand watched the live online streaming.

We are not alone.

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!  (More to come on that next week.)

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!

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