Passion 2017 came to Atlanta for the 20th year in a row this week, convening for the last time in the Georgia Dome, scheduled for demolition in order to make room for a new stadium for the Atlanta Falcons. My family attended the final Atlanta Falcon game January 1 vs. the New Orleans Saints.
The day after NFL football fans left the Dome, college students piled in from around the country to fill the Dome with some of the finest worship music and most renowned speakers in the world. What a work God has done through Louie and Shelly Giglio and Passion City church to make room for Jesus in my home city of Atlanta and at other locations around the globe through the Passion conferences.
Since I am not in the age range of 18-25, I have always watched remotely, and did again this year. The theme this year seemed to be endurance, preparing for hard times and counting the cost of following Christ because He is worth it. The messages brought tears to my eyes three times and during one segment of Christine Caine chronicling Christ’s endurance, I experienced shivers.
First place on my list this year came from Jay Wolf.
He and his wife Katherine were interviewed by Louie and Shelly. Both were as captivating, clever, Christ-centered and as honest as ever. Beautiful Katherine typically gets most of the air-time. After all, the cerebral hemorrhage happened inside her body, not Jay’s. But Shelly wisely asked Jay how he has remained such a great husband in his additional role as full-time caretaker for his severely disabled bride. (We all know many husbands would have been long gone.)
His answer connected to the story of the prodigal son. Jay said, The real challenge [in marriage and all love relationships] is not to just stay in body, but in spirit with each other….That older brother, you know, he stayed, but I have a feeling that maybe he had left in his heart a long time before. And so for me, I don’t want to just stay in body. I want to stay in spirit with this woman that God has given me and with this heart and this really good story He has given us.
Jay’s answer resonated with me.
This is where I find myself right now. My heart has deadened a bit within the last several years. Sure, I am staying. I am functioning. But my heart is distant from my reality.
I want my heart back.
Please pray for me, as I pray for myself, that my heart comes back in 2017.
What follows is a prayer of thanks for what God has done in my city and the world through the Georgia Dome as we say good-bye. Then have fun clicking around in the links I have gathered in this post for you to enjoy some God glorifying messages.
God, thank you for showing up in the Georgia Dome.
Thank you, Jesus, for showing up in Atlanta at the Passion conferences for the past 20 years. Thank you for what you have accomplished in the Georgia Dome. Only You can be credited for breathing life into that massive concrete structure. The structure is being torn down, but nothing you have accomplished in that space will ever be destroyed. Amen.
Links to the content that brought tears and shivers.
- Jay and Katherine Wolf. Jay’s answer begins at the 21:00 mark but the entire interview made me cry.
- Christine Cain opened the conference and had a segment that made me shiver about Christ’s endurance. The segment begins at 36:36 or listen to the entire amazing message.
- Francis Chan reminded me about how amazing it is that we can pray and how to reject our thoughts and feelings for God’s truth instead. I don’t want to trust myself.
- Beth Moore, seasoned warrior for Jesus Christ, provided the TRUTH about what it means to follow Christ and then reminded us that HE IS WORTH IT. Heaven is REAL. Only SOME will follow Christ with commitment but ALL are invited. I want to be the SOME, and I want ALL to join me through a spiritual awakening. Lord, may revival come to America.
- Levi Lusko talks about what it takes for God to give you a second wind, after your first wind isn’t enough (happens to everyone).
- Louie Giglio talks about the devastating beauty of the cross.
- John Piper talks about what the ultimate essence of evil is, the difference between the root and the fruit. It’s not the surface behaviors we should be focusing on. Evil is far more insidious than bad behavior. The deeper concerns come from deep inside our hearts.
- Carl Lentz passionately asked us to stay awake on ordinary days because God is at work no matter what it feels like and opportunities arise that we can’t miss.
Picture Explanation: Our family enjoys the final Falcons game against the Saints in the Georgia Dome.
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