By Erin Curry
More than 11,000 college students from all 50 states converged on Nashville, Tenn., Jan. 2-5 to worship God during “Passion '05.”
Students gathered at the Gaylord Entertainment Center to be led in worship by Passion singers Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, Charlie Hall and the David Crowder Band and to hear challenging messages from John Piper, Joshua Harris, Beth Moore and Passion founder Louie Giglio.
“We are here for one purpose: to taste and see that the Lord is good,” Giglio told the crowd. “To see what it means to ‘taste and see' and discover the hope of glory, Christ in you.”
In addition to the general worship sessions and various breakout sessions, Passion participants were divided into community groups of 800 to 1,000 students and then into family groups of about eight students each for more personal interaction. The entire event was a continuation of the Passion movement among the 268 Generation, a label based on Isaiah 26:8, which says, “Yes, Lord, we wait for you in the path of your judgments. Our desire is for your name and renown.”
Piper, author of Desiring God, spoke to the students about the true definition of love and how it has been misrepresented in American society.
“You feel loved when someone makes much of you-that's the air you breathe in America,” he said. “Love is not making much of you. It is laboring and suffering, if necessary, to enthrall another person that will make them eternally and infinitely happy.”
Harris, author of I Kissed Dating Goodbye, told students in a breakout session to stop “dating the church.” He described church daters as those who visit church to church and never settle on one congregation.
Moore, author of various Bible studies including Believing God, spoke to the women during a breakout session about becoming submissive roles. Pointing to Ephesians 5:21, which says Christians should submit “to one another in the fear of Christ,” Moore said everyone must submit to someone. Christian women must be both mighty and submissive-and not one or the other-Moore said.
Submission is about order and not about inferiority, Moore said, explaining that the Greek word indicates placing something under in an orderly fashion.
“There's a word for something with two heads-a freak. It's a monster and it does not work,” she said, admonishing girls not to covet the role of a man as the head of the household or the head of the church.
Giglio, speaking in the Tuesday night general session, addressed sexual immorality and warned students not to believe they can fight it alone.
“The Christian life is impossible!” he said. “There is only one guy who has ever been able to pull it off, and he was so good at it they named it after him.”
What students must realize, Giglio said, is that they too often live like they believe only half of the gospel when they say, “I'm a sinner,” and trail off when declaring, “… saved by grace.”
By emphasizing the first part of the phrase, he said, it is easier to give in to sin because people believe that's just the way they are. But the truth of the gospel is that even though humans are by nature sinners, those who have accepted
Christ's work on the cross have been redeemed by grace and are now considered holy children of God, Giglio asserted.
Pointing to Colossians 1:24-27, which ends with, “Christ in you, the hope of glory,” Giglio said the only way to conquer sexual immorality and other sin is to die to self by admitting a total incapability of living the Christian life alone and to accept the gift of the Holy Spirit that is “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
“There is not enough emotion, not enough energy, not enough bravo in this moment [at Passion] to break chains off of us that have been on us for a long, long time, in some cases for a lifetime,” Giglio said, adding that the power of Christ inside an otherwise sinful life is the only way to stop the cycle and set a person on course to live out a destiny as a holy child of God.
Passion participants were also able to focus on God's global purposes by visiting a mobilization area in the Nashville Convention Center complete with nearly 100 tour guides on hand to answer questions and direct students to appropriate options for ministry.
“The mobilization area is right smack in the middle of everything so you can just walk through there and see what God's heart is for all peoples,” Giglio said. “We're not putting missions in a back room somewhere as an ancillary elective to the Christian life. But we're putting the mobilization front and center because we believe everyone is called to God's global purposes.”
Students gave an offering during one of the general sessions to help finance future Passion events throughout the world and to help with tsunami relief efforts in Southeast Asia.
Erin Curry writes for Baptist Press.