Saturday, January 6, 2007

A Passion for God's Glory

I was there in the beginning. Ten years ago, I joined a group of students from Union University and traveled to Austin, Texas to attend a conference that we knew very little about. In fact, we went to the conference mainly because of an independent band named Caedmon's Call would be playing at one of the late night events. When I left Jackson, TN, I had no idea that I was about to be a part of a truly life-changing experience.

I believe that God wants us to mark significant moments in our spiritual journey much like he asked Jacob to mark Bethel with an altar. Passion '97 is one of those moments that will forever be marked as a spiritual landmark in my life. It was at that conference that I first got a vision of what it meant to truly live for the glory of God.

I remember returning from the conference and literally being speechless about what God had done in our midst. I can still vividly remember sermons and times of worship from that event ten years ago. There were moments in Austin when I truly let myself worship for the first time in my life.

There were only a couple of thousand of us that first year, but the impact of that event is still being felt. Organizers would begin to talk about a 268 generation (based on Isaiah 26:8). Many of today's modern worship artists (Chris Tomlin, Charlie Hall, Watermark, Matt Redman, David Crowder Band, Tim Hughes) and worship songs debuted at or were heavily influenced by the Passion Conferences and subsequent worship albums. A generation of college students were introduced to the intellecutally taxing writings of John Piper. Those same students were also exposed to the amazing passion of speakers like Dave Busby, Beth Moore, and Voddie Baucham. Most importantly, a generation of college students have learned that our primary reason for existence is to glorify and enjoy God.

This week, Passion '07 was held in Atlanta, Georgia. Over 20,000 students joined in singing praises to God and being challenged to reach the nations for Jesus. In the next year, Passion is planning conferences in 20 cities in 15 countries next year. My hope is that their lives were and will be changed as much as this 268 Pastor.

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