What a fantabulous week I spent with 25,000 (!!!) 18-25 year olds in Atlanta at the Passion Conference. I don't even know where to BEGIN! Maybe with the first day?
Ok, so Monday, registration and the first "main session" at Phillips Arena. They couldn't even fit us all in so they also streamed the talk to the Georgia World Congress Center where the remaining 6,000 were. Each venue had their own live worship leader. Among them... Chris Tomlin, David Crowder, Steve Fee, Charlie Hall, Kristian Stanfill, Matt Redman, Tim Hughes. Not a bad line-up, huh?
Well the first night Louie Giglio spoke. Great message. To sum up - A price was paid (Isa 53:10) and a rescue was made (Col. 1:10-14). Then we went to our "Community groups". Each community group was made of about 1,000 kids so there were quite a few groups... bout 20. Each with their OWN speaker and worship leader. I was in the "orange community group" and our speaker was John McGowan (thegatheringonline.blogspot.com) and our worship leader was Matt Maher (www.mattmahermusic.com). They were really great. We then split up into groups of eight and that was our "family group" for the week. All made up of people from all around the US. Well, the world, really. We would come together a few times a day and discuss what God was specifically working at in us. Then, at about 11:15 there was "late nite" and you could pick from about 12 different concerts around the Congress Center and Phillips. I, of course, made a B-line to Dave Barnes and Matt Wertz. LOVE LOVE them...
Ok, day two. Beth Moore did the morning main session. She spoke on humility. KICKED MY BUTT. This was my focus the rest of the week. A whole separate blog in itself. Then in the afternoon after lunch we could choose from about 15 "breakout groups" we could attend. I went to one with Charlie Hall (whom I ADORE) and Tim Hughes (who has written more songs than I prob even know... he's 29). They talked about their ministries and how they came to be worship leaders and song writers. It was really a session for people that want to become those things, but I went anyways. :) It was awesome.
Ok, then at the night session this guy named Francis Chan spoke. He was unbelievable. I was so busy listening to his message that I didn't take a one note. All I did was title my page, "Tuesday Night - main session (some guy I've never heard of)". I will have to buy a copy of that and re-listen cause it was awesome. He's a pastor in California. Anyway, then I came home and played guitar hero with Marie and Ashley and Emily. What a day!
Day Three, Wednesday. I woke up and didn't feel good and couldn't make myself get out of bed. But I eventually did and made it for the last half of John Piper's message. He has some great things to say. So wise and straight-forward. I already purchased his message so I could go back and listen to the part I missed. The breakout group I went to Wednesday was Beth Moore's. It was a 'girls only' thing. Teaching women is her passion. And she's so good at it! I absolutely love her. Her two daughters were there and they participated with her during question and answer time. She spoke about insecurity since that's the problem that pretty much all girls struggle with. Though, her talks could apply to anyone. She has such a great perspective on things. So refreshing. Really good.
That night Louie spoke again. He talked about God's calling on our life. The whole week was kind of centered around the book of Colossians. I don't know if that was planned or not, I'm sure it was, but each speaker kind of reiterated what the prior speaker said and added so much to it. Several thousand people were called to some kind of long-term missions work.
Well, after community groups that night we were asked to leave in silence and head outside. They gave us all a little white candle. When we got outside there was this huge stage set up on the lawn. All 25,000 of us outside in the streets of Atlanta with a lit candle worshiping. An amazing sight and time of corporate worship. In fact, all week was. There is nothing like worshipping with thousands and thousands of people. It's overwhelming. What a blessing to be a part of it. Charlie Hall said corporate worship is like adding a big fat exclamation point to then end of your own personal shout of truth and worship. Worship is realizing what God has done for you, even though he is still so mysterious, but you sense redemption and help and closeness to Him. We can rejoice in the fact that he is closer than our troubles. Hallelujah!
I am anxiously awaiting my 'audio cd set' that I pre-ordered today that has all the sermons on it so I can go through them more slowly and digest all that was taught. My head is spinning right now. I feel like I didn't do the week justice in my lamo blog, but it was awesome for me. God knows that and that's all that matters.
Here are some pictures...
Beth doin' her thing...
My sweet family group.