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This weekend I had the most incredible opportunity to attend the Passion Conference down in Houston. My first impression, having been in that building tens of times for Rockets games, was “wow, this is one of the few times I have seen Toyota Center this crowded” (sorry Rockets).
As the weekend unfolded I was completely unsure of what to expect. I knew the lineup of speaker and worship leaders, but I wasn’t sure if I would get bored after hours and hours of worshipping and listening to sermons. As the Passion Band started us off I knew this was going to be different than just any old church service. I knew that God would be at work in Houston, TX that weekend and that it would be one to remember.
Probably one of my favorite moments, for whatever reason, was hearing “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)” sung by Hillsong United on Friday night. It is such a powerful song and was just a powerful way to end the first night. It left me wanting more (even though we were completely exhausted by that point).
After a short (too short) night’s sleep we were up and at em early for Saturday’s events. I was really struck most probably by Judah Smith’s message that day. Besides his multiple references to his “World Champion” Seattle Seahawks he really stressed this idea that when we become Christians we are literally new. In 2 Corinthians 5:17 Paul writes:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
I don’t really know why, but the way he emphasized this made me think of my own life. When we become Christians we don’t just get a hardware and software upgrade or a refurbishment, to put it in nerdy computer terms, but instead we are bought completely new. Christ died for not only the sins we’ve committed in the past, but also for every sin we will ever commit. How powerful is it that we have a God who willingly sent His Son to die one of the most horrible, gruesome deaths a human can die, and a Savior Jesus Christ who was willing to bear my sin and accept this horrible death that I should have died? Powerful.
As I look back on this weekend my prayer is that the same passion (no pun intended) and energy for God that I had during those two days I can keep going in my everyday life. It not every day you get to worship with Chris Tomlin, David Crowder, Kristian Stanfill, Matt Redman, Kari Jobe, and Hillsong United or hear sermons from Francis Chan, Beth Moore, Louie Giglio, or Judah Smith. But even after I am back at Baylor and out of the bright lights and sounds of Toyota Center I want to have the same fire and motivation to seek Jesus that I did this past weekend.
I want it to affect my relationships, my outlook on life, my view on the world, and want those around me to see the difference.
This weekend I will never forget and hope, Lord willing, I will be able to make it back for Passion 2015!
Once again it is a new year. 2013 was incredible, and I am looking forward to an even better 2014.
This past January I set out to do an experiment for myself. For the month, I deleted every social media application from my phone in hopes to get rid of something that I felt like was very, very distracting to my relationships with people.
We live in an age where technology dominates the social scene. Many kids have trouble developing socially because of things like texting, Facebook, Twitter. We constantly want to feel like we are connected with the world. Sometimes this is to a fault, where we feel like every moment we aren’t busy we have to be stuck on our phone or our laptop.
What I have learned over the past month is not only is the above true, but being constantly locked in to technology takes me away from experiencing the beauty of the world and its Creator. One of the most beautiful creations God has given the world is us, humans. This social, physical experience with other humans is a part of life that I know I do not embrace enough. By far I would rather text someone than talk to someone on the phone. When I am hanging out with people I also have an urge to check out what’s going on in others peoples’ lives by checking out their News Feeds or Timelines.
What I have found in the last month is I am not a good enough listener, and often times it is due to me checking out technology too much. Being a better listener will help cultivate the relationships I have and help me build new ones in the process.
What is something I am working on now? I am trying to realize that that text or notification can wait if I am with other people. Rarely will it be important enough to warrant an immediate response, so I might as well jus drop my phone and listen. I would encourage anyone who reads this to try to become better at listening to other people. It’s helped me in the past month with my relationships, so I hope it’ll help you too.