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Posts Tagged ‘Georgia World Congress center’

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“Yes, LORD, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts.”   

Isaiah 26:8

Passion held its first conference in Austin, TX on January 1-4, 1997. That event drew around 2,000 students. Louie and Shelley Giglio are the founders of the Passion movement that seeks to see spiritual awakening on college campuses and to see many students to come to know Christ. Several national gatherings, OneDay events and tours would follow along with worship recordings and DVDs. I was introduced to Passion in 2007 (their 10 year anniversary) by the Pastor of my young adult group at that time. He flew over 30 of us to Atlanta, GA for their 4 day gathering at Philips Arena and the Georgia World Congress Center (over 22,000 students in attendance). I was newly single and just went on my first mission trip to Belize. I was pondering God’s will and direction for my life after my 9 year marriage ended. After participating in the “Do Something Now” campaign which raised $1.5 million dollars for global ministries on six continents and listening to Louie Giglio’s message about a party for the nations, I started to see some clarity in God’s calling for me. Passion ’07 absolutely change my life forever.

Fast forward to 2017 and it is now the 20th anniversary of the Passion conferences. In that time I have attended gatherings in 2010, 2013, 2015, a regional gathering in 2008 and a concert on the Take it All tour. Each one of these events were special to me and contributed to me following God’s will for my life. Passion 2013 in the Georgia Dome (over 60,000 students!) was life changing because of the launch of End It Movement  X – an awareness campaign that seeks to abolish modern-day slavery and sex trafficking. I am so incredibly thankful to the faithfulness of the Giglio’s and their staff for pouring into me through these amazing gatherings. I prayed about it and made the decision to attend one more gathering in the soon-to-be demolished Georgia Dome. This time I felt I needed to give back by being a door holder. Door holders are the hundreds of volunteers that serve on different teams such as community groups, logistics and registration. They are the glue that holds these Passion gatherings together. I’m not only excited to being a part of serving these students but also being a part of this 20 anniversary gathering of Passion.

“Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of the wicked.” 

 Psalm 84:10

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Passion ’07

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Passion ’97

Above is a photo taken at the very first Passion gathering in 1997. It’s amazing to know that a gathering of 2,000 students would eventually grow to over 60,000 in a twenty year span. Below are some videos describing the heart behind the lyrics of the worship songs that will be sung at this year’s Passion gathering.

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One of the most incredible moments I had at my first Passion event was to spend time in the Kneel room. I was with my friend Shauna and her and I must have spent a couple of hours in prayer and taking time to journal our experiences. It was an incredible moment and to see all the young adults in silence praying to God was an awesome sight. Kneel is the Passion 2013 prayer journey room where you can spend some quiet time with the Lord. You can posture yourself in any way that suits you before the cross. There are eight stations with different scripture verses and suggestions of things to pray for this generation and for the Passion movement. I wrote pages and pages in my journal of how God was speaking to me. It was a fitting way for me to end my journey here at Passion 2013. I am so thankful to God for bringing me here to be a part of all this.

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Walking in silence

Tonight just blew me away. I didn’t even know how to begin processing what I experienced. That’s why I love the Passion walk back to community groups that they do on the last night. We were instructed to walk to our groups in complete silence the whole way. They really want us to take it the night and process. It was incredible to see this many students walk in silence. You should have seen the look on the security guard’s faces. When I got to my community group, we were given some questions to answer within our group by Gregg Matte. As we began to start, the one female of our group asked if we could pray for her. She was experiencing oppression from Satan the whole time at Passion. Instead of doing the questions, we decided to take turns praying for her. It was an amazing time for us leaders to come along side our sister in Christ and be there for her. This is why Passion does community groups, so we can do life together.

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I think I got five hours of sleep last night. I quickly got up, grabbed my $3 special and headed to community groups. John Piper met with us leaders to encourage us in our respective ministries. He spoke from Matthew 6:25-34 on this topic of anxiety. He encouraged us not to be anxious about tomorrow or this upcoming year 2013.

Dr. Piper first talked about scripture and three ways of how to approach it – Memorize it, Analyze it and Believe it. The original authors did not intend for the books to be split into chapters. He encouraged us to read scripture with the whole book in mind. If we don’t do this, will have a tendency to become moralists (one concerned with regulating the morals of others). He then talked about faith.

Eight key points from Matthew 6:25-34 (ESV):

1. Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? (v.25) Do not get caught up with physical things or outward appearance

2. Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? (v.26) We are more valuable to God than the birds

3. And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? (v.27)We add more stress and trouble when we are anxious

4. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? (v.30)God provides

5. Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ (v.31) – Don’t act like the Gentiles (unbelievers)

6. For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. (v.32)We can trust God – He is all-knowing

7. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (v.33)We have the promises of God for our needs – He meets them

8. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (v.34) –  Each day has enough trouble of its own. God gives us what we need to deal with the trouble for the day. We can’t run tomorrow’s trouble today. (Lamentations 3:22)

Pray and let your requests be known to God!

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7

One thing I took away from this morning was the importance of memorizing scripture. Just seeing Dr. Piper quote long passages of scripture showed me the importance of letting the words of God sink in. I pray that I will spend more quality time in the Word this coming year and truly allow scripture to penetrate me.

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What an amazing night session! I can’t believe all that I’ve experienced so far. Next up was time with our community groups to download and process the day. I know God was speaking to me in many ways and I needed to talk and journal about it.

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Community Groups

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“Isn’t it interesting [that] secular science is addressing the question, ‘Does man have a soul? Is there such a thing as immaterial reality?’ And it’s couched in the category of ‘is there life after death?

I mean look, you guys know I ride a motorcycle don’t you? So, at any moment, especially with the idiot people who cross the diamond lane into my lane, alright, without any blinkers, not that I’m angry about it, but at any minute I could be spread out all over the 210 (Freeway), but that’s not me, that’s my body parts. That key distinction undergirds the entire Judeo-Christian worldview and also your pursuit of reality.”

Francis Chan shared this audio clip tonight from radio KKLA host Frank Pastore. He had been a guest on his show. Three hours after saying this over the air, Frank would be involved in a motorcycle accident that would lead to his death. Our first question in community groups tonight is what we thought of this audio clip. For me, it was a reminder that death is real and that we could go at anytime. We need to live our lives knowing that we can go at anytime.

The next two questions focused on ‘trust’ and how our lack of trust in people can spill into our relationship with God and why should we trust in God’s promises. I’ve always tried to live my life as an open book because it’s my testimony. But at the same time, my trust in people has diminished over the years. Lately I have developed deeper relationships with some of my friends despite my guarded heart. I need to continue to maintain my trust in God as these friendships continue to grow. This is evident in scripture as God has always been faithful and trusting to us despite our shortcomings.

What did I take away from this day? I really appreciated hearing Greg Haugen. I also love that Passion doesn’t just shove stats down our throats and then to do something about slavery. We have heard these past two days of how faithful and trusting God is and that we can’t effectively do justice without grounding ourselves in who He is first. Learning about who God is allows us to to learn who we are and what we are created to do.

After our discussion, Gregg Matte had several people stand up if they had received Christ today. All of us leaders cheered and celebrated with our new brothers and sisters of the Kingdom.

Our focus verse for the evening:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”

Lamentations 3:22-24

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We had a small break in between the morning sessions and the evening session. I couldn’t go anywhere in downtown Atlanta without seeing crowds of students everywhere. Even in the CNN center, young adults were seated on the floor all over the food court. It was actually kinda cool to see! I know a lot of the folks I ran into wanted to know what was going on with all these people everywhere. It opened the door to some conversation about Passion and what God is doing in the world.

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The Georgia Dome is where the main sessions for Passion take place and where we gather together as one body. So where does 60,000 students go for community groups and break outs? The Georgia World Congress Center is a massive 3.9 million square foot building with several levels of exhibit halls and rooms. It is joined with the Phillips Arena, Centennial Park, the Georgia Dome and the CNN center. Despite its size, there were still large crowds of people everywhere as the students at Passion pretty much took over downtown Atlanta for the week.

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