Passion, Creation and the mystery of mercy …



A stormy week gave way to a gorgeous sunset above the Creation stage in Mt. Union as Chris Tomlin, Kristian Stanfill and Christy Nockels launched into Passion night at the festival.

I was excited to be there, excited to participate in the worship and (most of all) excited to have friends from church with me. I so hope a few of them will come along to Passion 2014 in Atlanta next January either as doorholders or as students.

As usual, Louie Giglio’s message blew me away with its direct, honest, challenge to embrace the mystery of the Gospel. Here are a few highlights I wrote down before the cellphone battery died:

  • When you can add it all up, God must not be involved.
  • Where there’s a holy God, there’s the healing power of Jesus.
  • There are more who are for you and more who are with you than who are against you.
  • The Creator is saying to you – you are a miracle and you’re beautiful.
  • His plan for your life will blow your mind.
  • The God who dreamed up the indescribable universe is the same One who knit you together in your mother’s womb.
  • God does not make anything less than beautiful.
  • Nothing you have done and nothing that has been done to you can stop what God has planned for you.
  • He is the God of the immeasurably more.
  • You have to raise your expectation about what God is going to do in your life.
  • God can put you wherever he wants you.
  • The gospel is the engine that drives everything in life.
  • If the gospel doesn’t stir something in your heart, you will never get to where God wants you to be.
  • If you are over the gospel, maybe you never had the gospel.
  • Jesus didn’t come to make bad people good. He came to make dead people alive.

Ephesians {A Passion retrospective}

I didn’t see this at Passion 2012, but, oh, I heard about it. I was out in my official position to direct the foot traffic of 40,000+ students as they left the Georgia Dome and entered the Georgia World Congress Center to get their lunches. I was talking to a couple of other volunteers when one of the volunteer stationed about 10 yards away came over, walking rather quickly.

“You have to see this!” he said, looking intently at his smartphone.


“They’re reading Ephesians. They’ve been doing it for, like, ten minutes now.”

He then explained that a section was being read and then the students were quiet as they reflected on what they heard.

Today, I am on the road to Passion 2013 (God willing, as this post is being scheduled at the beginning of November!). Take some time today as 2012 comes to a close and listen to Lecrae, Beth Moore, Louie Giglio, Francis Chan and John Piper read the letter of Paul to the Ephesians to you.

Fruitcake and Ice Cream {A Passion retrospective}

The video below isn’t directly from a Passion event, but it is a Passion talk from the Passion regionals. It may not be exactly the same as I heard in February 2008 in Washington, DC with my mini-Bible study group of girls or in Atlanta in April of the same year.

It’s a story of amazing grace that really sticks with you. In fact, one of my former students just wrote me a note recently and included a declaration, “Always a fruitcake!”

The best quality I could find included an introduction and a conclusion from a pastor using the video during a service. Hope that’s not too distracting.

Fruitcake and Ice Cream – Louie Giglio – September 2, 2012 from 4 Points Church on Vimeo.

Satisfaction {A Passion retrospective}

It dawned on me that this is going to be one busy week. Yesterday was Christmas and, before that, all the hustle and bustle leading up to that day. Today I go to work. In the next five days, I will have to go to work, pack for Passion 2013 and get the car ready for the almost 12-hour trip to Atlanta.

Inspired by the “Song for Sunday” posts, I decided to feature snippets from messages at Passion events at which I volunteered. For the most part, I tried to go with a short clip that you could incorporate into your Hello Mornings routine or watch quickly as you’re surfing. There will be a couple of longer ones, though.

We’ll start with the first 15 minutes of Louie Giglio’s message from Passion 2006 in Nashville.

The {Empty} Travel Moleskine

It usually happens along I-83 somewhere between Harrisburg and the outer loop of the Baltimore beltway. I’ll be cruising along, singing along with whatever’s playing over the car radio. (Admit it, you do it, too.) Suddenly, I’ll remember something that I forgot to pack.

Fortunately my great moment of memory usually happens before the one exit at which I can make an easy on and off stop to pick up the needed items. Over the years, I’ve purchased pantyhose, toothpaste, brushes, pens, contact solution and who knows what else at that conveniently located Wal-Mart.

Last January 1, though, I didn’t remember until I was in the thick of the beltway traffic, which was surprisingly robust for that time of day on a holiday. It dawned on me that I had not packed a journal.

Generally, I’m meticulous about journaling while traveling. I write down everything – what I saw, where I ate, who I talked to, what the speakers said if I was at a conference. Part of me thinks that when I’m old I’ll enjoy looking back over the books and reading about my wanderings. The other part is terrified that when I get old I’ll forget that I wandered at all.

So I decided to treat myself to a new Moleskine notebook when I got to the airport.

Traffic turned out to be rougher than I thought and the shuttle ride from longterm parking to the terminal seemed to take just slightly to this side of eternity. It was getting ever closer to the boarding time, making it less and less likely that I would have time to sprint to a bookstore in the terminal.

I made it through security relatively quickly, chucked my shoes back on, tucked my ID and ticket away and headed toward the shops. Clearly, the lines were too long to score some pre-flight fast food, but surely the bookstore would be empty.

It was. Moments later, I had a small, black Moleskine. I hustled back to my gate where boarding was just getting underway.

When the captain told us we could now use approved electronic devices, I pulled out my iPod and Moleskine. I opened it to the inside cover where I wrote what you see in the photo above. This was supposed to be a busy travel year. I was going to co-lead a mission trip to Sweden. I would be going to Texas for meetings for The Seed Company. And, if things worked out right, I would go to the Allume conference on October.

It would be a great year for a responsible, stay-at-home girl with a wayfaring, explorer’s heart.

Over the next few days, I used it to journal through Passion 2012. I took notes on Francis Chan’s and John Piper’s talks (the only two that I saw in their entirety due to my schedule as a volunteer in the student prayer area). I wrote about the art installation going up on the plaza and the students I talked to and the God who talked to me. My last notes were from part of Louie Giglio’s message in the final session.

They turned out to be the last notes I would write all year in the small, black travel Moleskine.

The trip to Sweden was cancelled. My role at The Seed Company changed so I wouldn’t be going to the meetings. Finances were tight when tickets to Allume were available. Now, I can come up with the money, but the conference is sold out.

I suppose there’s some hope that a last-minute travel opportunity will come along, but it isn’t likely.

The wayfarer is staying home home.

It’s disappointing. And that’s where I’m at with it right now. Sure, I filled the gaps with great experiences with my friends and family, but not everything works out with that cinematic moment when you say, “Oh, yes, I see why things worked out the way they did.”

And you know what?

That’s OK.


And, that’s the way it was on the day I wrote this post and left it languishing in the drafts. I didn’t know how to end it. What’s the point? Maybe the whole point was that it’s OK to be disappointed when things don’t turn out the way they should.

Or maybe, just maybe, God wasn’t finished with the story yet.

The very next day after I wrote the above post, someone on Twitter announced that they had a ticket for sale. Not-so-long story even shorter, I will be going to Allume in October if all the transferring takes place as expected.

So, the story goes on. The wayfarer is wandering off again.

Two voices, 1500 miles apart

Powerful new element this year...Photo by Erin at Home with the Boys on the Relevant Flickr stream.

Galveston, Texas • 13 October 2011

Mary is praying with me, for me. Her prayers are animated – energetic even. In the middle of a sentence, she pauses as if looking for the right word then sits bolt upright.

“I’m thinking of a verse,” she says, reaching for her Bible.

“Wait!” she exclaims, twisting around in her chair. “That’s it.”

She points to the banner hanging in the prayer room. The simple, beautiful banner read, “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”

Mary said she saw the word “seek” in big, bold letters. Maybe in red or in a different font.

Just that quick she bowed her head again and returned to prayer.

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania • 29 October 2011

I’m surprised the line isn’t longer. Renee Swope was giving away free copies of her book, A Confident Heart, and signing them. I’m kind of lost in thought as I approach the table.

Renee looks at my name tag. In great, swooping letters, she writes first my name, then hers on the title page of her book. Then, she pauses, holds her pen up in a thoughtful pose.

“There’s a verse,” she says more to herself than to me.

Then, in the same great, swooping letters, she wrote, “Jer. 29:11-13.”

At home • 7 November 2011

Maybe Mary had seen that verse all day so it was on her mind.

Maybe Renee wrote that verse in everyone’s book.

Maybe it’s a coincidence that Mary and Renee – two women who don’t know each other, separated by 1500 miles and two weeks – came up with the same verse to share with me.


But I know our God works differently.

There are no coincidences for a sovereign God so there’s clearly a message for me in these verses.

Seek me.

Seek me.

… when you search for Me with all your heart.

This is where the blog post should come together with a stunning revelation.

But it won’t. it can’t.

I can’t share what I haven’t unraveled.

But I can invite you to follow the unravelling …