Dancing to the bass-pumped rock music. Amicably jostling the sweaty strangers around me. Making vows of celibacy to my true love.
Uncomfortably squirming yet?
No, not that kind of passion. Not just any rock concert. And not just any object of love.
In the Spring of 2008, I attended the Passion conference in Arlington, TX. To put it simply, Passion/268 Generation is a conference whose sole purpose is to make famous the name of Jesus, to make Him the single-most satisfying object of their affection. Boasting a worship line-up of the likes of Chris Tomlin and David Crowder, and speakers such as Louie Giglio, Francis Chan, and John Piper, the Passion Conferences have become a bit of a phenomena amidst young Christians. Energetic and moving songs coupled with Christ-exalting messages have equaled 10 years of thousands of believers uttering the official mantra, “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 2011 just ended off with the last stop on their tour this weekend in Fort Worth. Unfortunately, I couldn’t go, but I’ve been reflecting upon my own Passion conference experience from a couple years ago….
The messages were simple but powerful calls to live holy, to show justice, to love just as Christ loves us. They challenged us to make a difference on our campuses, to increase Jesus’ renown by our words and deeds. And man, we were on board with that idea! We were on fire (inside joke). A few of us who had gone to the conference decided to meet up and pray, to fast, to pass out food and water to the homeless on the streets of Austin. And we did it!
And then we stopped.
“Is this really effective?” “What’s the purpose behind this?” “Okay, this is cutting too much into my life. I’m out!”
We stopped handing out food and water. We stopped fasting. We stopped meeting together…. And we stopped talking about the experiences that had so touched our hearts. Passion 2008 became just a fond memory of a great conference.
We all relish great “experiences” and think that we grow during those events. On the contrary, we’re so overwhelmed by an experience that we’re not able to focus on any one thing. It’s sensation overload!
Bam! Pow! Wow, wow!
You’re hit with truth, enlightenment, emotion, conviction… Should I continue through the gamut?
The thing is, you’re left with just.. An experience.
Growth does not occur during the experience. It happens as you reflect upon what you experienced. Then you’re able to see the truths and figure out how to apply them to your life.
When us conference-goers stopped reflecting upon the conference and implementing the decisions we made, we stunted our own growth and development, as Christians, as people.
You will “experience” something extraordinary at times in your life. Maybe it will be a sunset. A good book. A piece of music. A dream. A downright heavenly piece of pie. Don’t let that encounter woefully collect dust on the shelves of your memory! Write it down! Talk to someone about it! Ruminate on it. Let God use it to change your heart, to change you.
Prove that your life has been affected by it.
Glorify God through it.