Sunday, February 1, 2015

Passion Conference: Yes, Lord!

I spent most of today, a Saturday (it's already technically Sunday, but I don't count it til I go to bed) doing housework with the Passion conference live stream on all day. If you haven't heard of the Passion conferences, or 268 Generation, you need to know. Go check out for more details. The "268 generation" comes from Isaiah 26:8- "Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your truth, your name and your renown are the desire of my heart." Passion conferences are geared toward singles, ages 18-25, & their leaders. So why is this married, with 5 children, 35 yr old woman talking about, listening in on, & now blogging about Passion?!

If you're a church goer, you have been impacted by Passion whether you know it or not, as most of our current praise songs have been written by the worship leaders of Passion- Chris Tomlin, David Crowder, Nathan & Christy Nockels, Matt Redmon, Charlie Hall, Kristian Stanfill, etc- are all a part of the Passion music worship team. These leaders write songs with deep truth of God, mostly Bible Scriptures put to music, regularly. Louie Giglio, founder of the Passion conferences, is a well known Bible teacher, along with many of those who've shared God's truth at Passion: John Piper, Beth Moore, Matt Chandler, Christine Caine,  Francis Chan, along with others.

Thing is, many of them were leading ME in worship at our Monday night Bible study, Metro, in Houston, TX, as an 18 year old, single girl. Or during our worship services at Houston's First Baptist Church. I had NO idea what amazingly talented people were leading me into His presence in song, and challenging me in His truth. I just knew at the time, that I'd never experienced such personal & real nearness of God like that before. And I certainly needed it. I needed Him. Desperately. (I realize, I still do. The desperate need of Him is continual.)

So there I was, having just come from a time of complete rebellion, hard hearted, having tried to do it  all "my way"-first, as the pharisaical church brat; then later, completely outwardly rebellious-  the guys, the partying, & all that comes with it. It was in the summer after I graduated high school in 1997, that I reached my breaking point. In a series of events that rocked my world, I was left broken. It really is the only way to describe it. Broken. A broken mess.

A broken mess that has a momma that prayed for me continually, and asked everyone she knew to pray for me too. God heard those prayers and turned my heart back to Him. (That whole process is it's own post, or a coffee date.) So, at the very end of September 1997, I was driving from small town Nazareth, PA, to big city Houston, TX.

I'll never, ever forget those years sitting under their teaching & worship leading. It's not a form of Christian name dropping for me. Yeah, it's pretty fun that all those Christian "big names" (in a worldly sense..ha, isn't that ironic) were the ones that I learned from, but it was in my parent's home where I'd heard it first. It wasn't that it was new to me. But it was NEW to me.

Really, it's how absolutely INCREDIBLE that season of Jesus becoming my dearest Treasure, my heart's deepest desire, & my deepest joy was in that timeframe.  It was in this season that Christianity was no longer about rules to follow, or things to do (or not do),  or certain actions or causes to do or stand for- it became simply about JESUS. Jesus as THE prize, THE main point, THE reward. Not using Jesus to get something else that I valued, but Jesus BECOMING who I valued! There's a big difference. I pray if you're reading this, God will make it true for your heart as well.

So tonight, as Chris, Kristian, Charlie, David, Christy, and all the rest of the Passion band heart was so full. They took it way back, singing some old school Passion songs, and I remember. I remember the battles, the struggles, the offerings. I remember singing "Better is One Day in your courts..." as an 18 yr old single girl who so wanted a husband (in ministry) & a family one day, but wanted to want Jesus more. I remember offering up my desire for a husband (like daily) and singing on the top of my lungs that song, Psalm 84, tears streaming down my face, believing that YES, Jesus, you are worth more than me having a man! And tonight, 17 years later, I sang it with tears streaming down my face while laying on my bed with my pastor-husband, the daddy to our 5 beautiful children, as we watched those very same worship leaders lead us in praise via live stream. I.can't.even. The very thing I laid at His feet, He gave. And then song after song, it was one after another, of beautiful truth that represented some other timeframe, some other struggle, some other beautiful representation of His mercy and grace. And it makes my heart absolutely SWELL with joy.

Our God is absolutely, unbelievably amazing. In His "yes"...and in His "no." He doesn't always give us what we've offered up. But He always, always gives us HIM. And that, that is more than enough. HE is more than enough.

"In His presence is fullness of joy, and at His right hand are pleasures forevermore."- Psalm 16:11

Sunday, January 11, 2015

New Year, New Resolutions: Blogging Again!

Well, it's been 3 years (to the day) since I've posted on our blog. THREE.WHOLE.YEARS. I'm attributing (blaming) that partially on Facebook, since before I created a Facebook account (as one of the very last people in our circle of family and friends to join the Facebook world), I was faithfully posting on our blog, as a sort of journaling. Then, Facebook entered life, and I started sharing more on there rather than on here. But, since Facebook isn't exactly the place for sharing deep thoughts, and I'm sure my forever long posts (where you see the "...") are annoying to a large number of people, I'm committed to blogging again.

I had made a New Year's resolution last year to begin blogging again, and it was one of them that got put to the wayside. I kept waiting for ideas on what I should even blog about...should I scrap our old family blog, and start a new, more focused one? Should I only record our family things, and things we learn from them? Then I stressed, and that shut it all down. I don't always do well with decision making.

Last weekend, I looked at my list of New Year's resolutions from last year, and marked by the ones that I didn't accomplish. They got written into my list for 2015. This whole blogging thing was high on the list. I definitely want things to be recorded. And while I journal personally, those thoughts and prayers aren't for people to necessarily see. Some things, I'd like the opportunity to be talked over, challenged, discussed, or as an encouragement or help to someone else. More than anything, I want to help others to see Jesus for who He is- Worthy, and to share in Treasuring Him. The thoughts, things we learn, questions we wrestle with, and personal testimony of how we get to see God in the everyday...I want to share them, with whoever will "listen" as a source of encouragement. I know sometimes I need to "see" Him at work in others lives to keep on believing Him in mine.

I'm currently feeling in a place of contentment. Not exactly content with current circumstances, or really liking certain things, but, I am "okay" with it NOT being okay. I feel content IN God, in what He has right now. That's why I just went ahead and moved the undone resolutions from last year into this year's list. His grace empowered us for what was to be for last year. Yes, there are things left undone. And while often times that may frustrate my perfectionist personality, I think lately, I'm seeing more and more that my imperfection only highlights His pure perfection. I'm not going to stop making goals, or not have New Year's resolutions for fear of not reaching them. I'm believing God has given me what He has set out for me to aim for this year. And, I KNOW He will be glorified regardless of if that list is completed. He'll get the glory in giving strength to complete whatever He empowers me to accomplish, and He'll get the glory in my getting to see Him as God, the only one who can accomplish all He sets His mind to, in whatever I fail to check off that list. Isn't that the point, anyway? His glory!

Praying for grace.