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Posts Tagged ‘Downtown Atlanta’

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It was a quiet walk to community groups. I said my goodbyes to my friends that I had made in the neighborhoods on my daily walk. It was cool to hear them talk about Passion, our shouts and the beam of light from last night. As I passed through the plaza, I couldn’t believe that just 12 hours ago I stood here with my brothers and sisters in Christ shouting out for Freedom.

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My Community Group (minus two) all week at Passion 2013

This was our last time getting together as a community group. I felt very blessed that God put me with these people. Even though we had exchanged information, something in me knew this would be the last time I see all of them. It’s hard these days to stay in contact long distance. So I really tried to soak in the moment of being in fellowship with them for the last time.

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Gregg Matte giving out books

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As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.

Ephesians 4:1

Gregg Matte gave out some books and CD’s to start off the morning. He spoke on the above passage about living a life (that’s already) worthy for the Lord. He talked about how we are like tarnished silver – if we continue to read God’s word, the junk starts to come off.

He then gave an illustration from a visit he had on a visit to the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. He saw the painting Saint Paul Writing His Epistles by Valentin de Boulogne. The painting started off as a self-portrait and then he painted a picture of Christ over it. Then he painted over that with a picture of the apostle Paul. The cool thing is that you can still see the picture of Christ if you turn it upside down.

We’ve painted our own self-portraits. The face of Christ begins to seep through as we begin to grow. Now we can go out into the world with the face of Christ on our own painting (ministry, home life, work, etc). Gregg then had us answer some questions on how our week at Passion went. It was a time for me to reflect on how God had spoken to me while here. We closed with this verse:

and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Ephesians 3:19

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Saint Paul Writing His Epistles

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After community groups, all 60,000 of us gathered around the Georgia Dome in front of the large End It structure that had been displaying our photographs all week. Many of us were singing songs of praise with candles as we were waiting to see what Passion had in store for us. Then the words SHOUT for the 27 million came on the screen and we all started to shout as loud as we can. A beam of light shot straight up into the night sky as we were all shouting “Freedom” and “End It”. Even though the light source was made up of forty lights, one unified light was seen – just as we all gathered as one unified body to stand up for injustice. I heard the light could be seen as far as 15 miles away. The light stayed on all through the night and it was all over the news the next day. I had several people ask me what the light stood for as I walked back to my hotel. They could even hear our shouts. I told them that it was a beacon of hope for the 27 million people held in modern-day slavery.

END IT MOVEMENT

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Making the stand to end modern-day slavery

After community groups, I finally made my way to the Freedom Station. Passion isn’t about coming to an event, it is about experiencing God and making a difference in the world. The Freedom Station is a place set up for us to learn about modern-day slavery and to give of our funds to partner with nineteen different organizations so we can shine a light on it. I was blown away with the stats. There are about 27 million people in slavery today. In brothels, factories, quarries – all working as slaves. Here are some other stats that are mind-boggling:

50% of today’s slaves are kids

$90 is the average amount slavery victims are sold for

80% of sex trafficking victims are women

120 children an hour are sold into slavery

200, 000 slaves are working in America today

17,000 people are trafficked into the U.S. annually

Atlanta is in the top 14 of cities in which children are being used in prostitution 

The slavery ‘industry’ rakes in $32 billion dollars a year

I was in a daze reading all these stats and looking at the many faces of victims hanging from the ceiling. Yet at the same time I kept hearing what God has been saying through the speakers all week – He can do immeasurably more and we are His people. I do feel this is the generation that can be the voice to end this. This is why I came here – to be part of this and to be a voice. It is who God made me to be.

After experiencing the Freedom station, I was wiped. It was midnight already and we have to be at community groups at 9am. I was ready to just soak everything in and get some rest. I spent some time praying and gazing at the buildings of downtown Atlanta. I was very thankful that God brought me here to experience Him for these few days. I saw that the “End It” structure outside the Georgia Dome was starting to put our pictures up. Basically you snap a picture of yourself and tweet or Instagram it with the hashtag EnditMovement and they post it on the End It sign. It signifies those of us who are standing up to end slavery in this generation.

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End it Movement

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Downtown Atlanta

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Tonight was David Crowder Band night. He really got the crowd fired up with “Here is our King” and “There is none like you”. Louie Giglio spoke from Acts 1 & 2 and from Psalms 86. He talked about how heaven is going to be a huge party consisting of people from all the nations. And it’s our job to make sure everyone gets invited to the party. I sat with Ron Merrell and Chris Simning – two guys that have really inspired me and have become an encouragement in my life. I was also with Ryan, Chad, Annette, Mat, Amaris, Liz and Alex. We ended up ditching our community groups that night and hanging out at Landmark. It was good to fellowship with people from my church. We rarely had time to see each other all week.

Two heroes of mine - Ron Merrell and Chris Simning

Two heroes of mine – Ron Merrell and Chris Simning

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Hanging at the Mall

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Praying for a homeless man

Praying for a homeless man

World of Coca-cola

World of Coke

Hanging with Ryan

Hanging with Ryan

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Josh and Matt goofing off

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