For the past three years, I have attended the Passion Conferences hosted by Louie and Shelley Giglio. The conference is always at the very beginning of the year. Personally, there is no other way I would rather start any year than worshiping and praising God. This past year holds a special place in my heart because three of my closest friends got to go with me.
Every Passion, I attend with the expectation that God would give me a word for the rest of the year. In 2017, my word was WORTHY. All year I wrestled with the idea of Jesus being worthy of all praise, honor, glory, and power. What does it look like to live a life worthy of the Gospel? Some of these questions were answered but some I am still struggling with today.
My word for 2018 is AIM. It stands for Automatic Integrity Momentum. SIKE. It means aim. This year, I want to aim my heart towards Heaven and trust the hands that are aiming me. Unlike 2017, this year isn’t as much of a how than just believe and do. The reason for the word aim is that it was a word I read in the book of Acts but didn’t put too much thought into it until I heard it again at Passion.
“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me — the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” – Acts 20:24
Now, Acts 20:24 has become a life motto. Something I go back to in success and failure, in happiness and sadness, in joy and sorrow, and in hope and fear. It helps me focus on my purpose and pushes me to constantly die to self and live in Christ.
Passion was a great experience and I left Atlanta wanting to be exactly what God wants me to be and nothing else. Quickly, (like usual) I fell down from the mountaintop experience back into regular life. The more and more I experience mountaintop experiences the more I realize that I’m not meant to live there. The mountaintop is a beautiful place that allows us to experience God, but today we have glorified the mountaintop and not the one who made the mountain.
What makes the mountaintop so special is that you can vividly see the impact the presence of God has on yourself and others. Instead of going to a certain venue and hearing certain speakers, what if we positioned our hearts to experience God every day?
“When they arrived, he said to them: ‘You know how I lived the whole time I was with you, from the first day I came into the province of Asia. I served the Lord with great humility and with tears and in the midst of severe testing by the plots of my Jewish opponents. You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house. I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.” – Acts 20:18-21
Paul proclaims that if you want to know how powerful the Gospel is, then look at his life. The Gospel is a story of transformation that everyone has the chance to experience. A man of persecution turned into a man of prayer. Paul experienced God every day by placing himself in a position of humility and dependence upon God.
In this passage, I believe we see a glimpse of how Paul is always experiencing God. Paul placed himself in a position to depend upon God. When he was called to preach he didn’t hesitate and when the opposition came he had to trust God. If you feel like you are on the bottom of the mountain, could it be because you are not even trying to get to the top? Are you stepping out in faith and depending on God to show up?
Today, we see this type of dependence in Louie and Shelley Giglio as they stepped out to see a generation rise up for the glory and praise of Jesus’ name. They are blazing a path for college students to see the beauty of Jesus in a way that is tailored to them without wavering on the truths of the Gospel. Over the years, they have seen thousands of college students come to know Jesus and begin a relationship with him. Passion started as a dream and they sought to see God move in a mighty way in this generation. They are truly a voice of passion to this generation.
During this next week, pray for the courage and the strength to step out in faith. Be willing to lean into what God is doing in your community and join it. If God is placing a dream on your heart, then let this week be the start of making that dream a reality. God will bless your efforts and I believe you will see him in new, exciting ways.
Grace and peace.
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