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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Summer Madness

It's been a while since I left Oz (that's Australia, if you didn't know) and a few weeks since we've had the chance to catch up. But summer's rolling full speed, and for me that means lots of rooms filled with tons of teenagers...something I really, really love called summer camp.

While most of the year is dedicated to the collegiate scene and sixsteps adventures, a huge chunk of the summer belongs to the youth of the nation, speaking to thousands of them in quite lovely places like Panama City and Myrtle Beach. But it's not the go cart tracks and Alvin's Island outlets that's the draw, rather the chance to serve the future, a privilege that grows with each successive summer season and each room filled with listening teens.

Though I'm presently at camp #2 with a rowdy crowd in the latter mentioned MB, SC, I still haven't fully recovered from my first stop in PCB. The night I was slated to speak belonged to the Cross, as the theme for the week brought us there. So I shared as simply as I could about the Cup from which we must all drink, one which Jesus Himself could not let pass Him by though it contained the most horrific and crushing agony anyone could ever imagine.

As the night began we talked about those moments in life where "we get it." Sometimes we refer to it as the moment when "the light bulb comes on" or when something "clicks," but we've all experienced it in some way.
No one knows how or when it happens, but wow, when it does it's like seeing in color when for ages we have only known black and white.

On this night I was obsessed with a desire for us all to "see" and "get" the cross, to glimpse its beauty and disgrace in a way that would absolutely arrest us in the moment and change the trajectory of our lives forever. Almost jokingly I said, "If you see it like never before as we're moving along tonight, by all means stand up and shout 'I GET IT!' as loud as you can. For that matter," I went on, "stand on your chair and shout it out."

Well, some time had passed when, as we were talking about the final sacrifice of Jesus... the thought that captivated His mind as He held up the Cup before His followers on the last night of His life...a girl stood way in the back and let out a clear and compelling "I Get It!," and proceeded to stand up on her chair. (Forgive me, Boardwalk Beach Resort). A little startled, I looked up mid-sentence and said, "Praise God...that's awesome." As I went back to the story of Inescapable Necessity she continued to stand.

Fortunately, there never was an "Oh, I'm going to do that, too" wave of standers. Yet, as the talk unfolded students began to stand all across the room. First five or six...then two dozen...and then thirty. As we came to the garden dilemma, that defining moment where Jesus, knowing full well that we were doomed under the weight of sin and destined for the coming wrath of God (not "pretty good" as we often think) said yes to the wrath in our place, allowing its crushing blow to fall on Him and not on us, a girl on the front row to my right stood. She tried to get the words out strongly, but her voice broke with the first syllable and her "I get it" squeaked and cracked before she began to sob. I didn't make eye contact, knowing I would most likely lose it myself, but for the remainder of the talk she wept and stood.

Grace was getting clearer as our sin and God's wrath closed in. I'm not sure when or where, but somewhere along the way in the recent journey of youth ministry and the American church in general, the reality of the coming wrath of God slipped out of our thinking about the cross of Christ. About that same time we lost our sense of desperate need, opting instead for a rosier view of ourselves than God's holiness will allow and embracing the cross as a really wonderful gesture, not life and breath and peace and everything. But in this night both the mercy and judgment of God hung in equal measure, the one making much of the other as we lifted the Cup and considered it's mandate for and from our lives.

As the talk ended, across the room many teens stood on chairs, others with feet on the floor and a few were kneeling. All this with no clever tales, just the simple reality that we are guilty without a Savior, having broken every law of a patient, yet righteous God. Many came that night to heed Jesus' invitation to take the Cup and drink from it, to savor its Inescapable Necessity, Radical Mercy, Gruesome Death, God-Sized Exchange and Radical Worship.

What was supposed to be a closing song erupted into almost an hour of thanks and praise. For how could a brief reply express our wonder and gratitude for mercy that would shelter us on the coming day of judgment?

I'll never, ever forget that night and pray for many more like it, though the wind of God blows where it will and the gale that rushed through that place was something precious and rare. So thanks to the vibrant teens that let me share with them in these days and to Jesus who is the sole reason it's all worthwhile.

"They tell of how you turned to God from idols, to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead--Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath." 1 Thessalonians 1:9b-10

57 Comments:

  • I've gotten it but then I so often forget it. It is in the mundane and day to day that I forget. He is...He carries me to the end, even when I don't know I'm lost. Praise God for the cross and what He is doing in us all.

    "If Jesus is not Lord of the mundane and the ordinary than He is not Lord of anything at all."
    -Someone Humble-

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6/13/2007 2:36 AM  

  • That's - once again - an amazing story of the glory and grace of God! Thanks for sharing!

    By Blogger Michiel, at 6/13/2007 3:01 AM  

  • thanks for the update, louie! great to hear another generation rising up =D

    By Blogger steph hsieh, at 6/13/2007 3:53 AM  

  • Wow!

    "What was supposed to be a closing song erupted into almost an hour of thanks and praise. For how could a brief reply express our wonder and gratitude for mercy that would shelter us on the coming day of judgment?"

    That is a profound truth that should be applied to our entire lives!

    Thank you!

    By Blogger Patricia, at 6/13/2007 8:16 AM  

  • thank you so much Louie for sharing that - what an encouragement to hear about the girl who stood and wept, i'm sure, at the feet of her Savior. no better place to be. please keep sharing these stories - they so need to be heard.

    By Blogger anne, at 6/13/2007 9:13 AM  

  • G. od made us to be with Him.
    O. ur sin separates us from God.
    S. in cannot be removed by good deeds.
    P. aying the price for our sin Jesus died and rose again.
    E. veryone who trusts in Him alone has eternal life.
    L. ife that's eternal means we will be with Him forever.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6/13/2007 9:20 AM  

  • wow. how true that we often forget about the deserved wrath of God. that sounded like a wicked powerful moment, Louie. Praise God that the youth of this nation are seeing him.

    By Blogger Joe, at 6/13/2007 12:51 PM  

  • Thanks for the post Louie. It is especially encouraging to me because I am a teenager, it is encouraging to know that there are others out there who are like me. Oh and by the way, I love summer camp too.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6/13/2007 1:31 PM  

  • Louie, I was a youth leader at this event (I'm 23), and I was amazed with this service as well. I have to tell you that your message gave me a clearer understanding of the purpose of the cross than I have ever had in my life! It was incredible. The message the next day on hope was wonderful as well, and it was exactly what I needed to hear that week in PCB. Thanks so much for all you do. God Bless!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6/13/2007 3:49 PM  

  • amazing.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6/13/2007 4:26 PM  

  • Louie, as always, thank you. I appreciate your heart so much and have been so deeply impacted by your ministry for so many years. May His glory continue to shine in and on You.

    C.J.

    By Blogger C.J. Bergmen, at 6/13/2007 10:00 PM  

  • I was there for that and it was truly God because the girl was behind me and she did not care she was just standing and I was like wow that takes guts. But she got it I thought it was going to throw Louie off but he just kept on doing his thing it was really cool...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6/14/2007 8:45 AM  

  • Keep running hard at it, brother. Run well, run hard. Just as you said...The night is nearly over, the day is coming. (Ro 13:12)

    By Blogger Kendra, at 6/14/2007 12:42 PM  

  • Louie - God has given you a gift to be able to know what to do and say at particular moments. I am thankful that you listen to Him and are able to reach the next generation because you hear Him!

    By Blogger Tracy Anne, at 6/14/2007 1:12 PM  

  • Amen.

    What a God.

    By Blogger fredsterific, at 6/14/2007 1:59 PM  

  • Praise God for the way He moved among those young people in Myrtle Beach! Lord, please seal the work you did in each person's heart, and deepen the hold of Your Spirit on their lives in the coming days. Stir up a hunger for the Word, and may they grow deep roots in You. And Lord, now that they've "Got it!" please speak it loud and clear through each of their lives and mouths.

    Louie, may God keep empowering and anointing you to communicate His word to this generation, one group at a time! We'll keep praying for you and for all the other folks who work with you!

    By Blogger Marcia B, at 6/14/2007 2:00 PM  

  • I Get It!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6/14/2007 5:33 PM  

  • my daughter was at mb,sc on june 12.she called me at midnight, to share with me about the cup,the way you had shared with them,thanks for your ministry and love for students. it has been good week. I listen on line last 2 night and have also been blessed.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6/14/2007 10:45 PM  

  • God - thank you, thank you, thank you. We praise you, we praise you, we praise you.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6/14/2007 11:23 PM  

  • I get it...i was dead, and now i am alive. I embrace unfairness, for had we received what we deserve... JESUS!

    By Blogger All For His Fame, at 6/15/2007 1:35 AM  

  • Hi, Im so glad of how God is moving and to see his power. It is a blessing! Thanks for sharing!

    By Blogger Broken Sound, at 6/15/2007 7:28 AM  

  • i just returned from this conference and have to admit that it was absolutely amazing
    thank you louie!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6/15/2007 5:37 PM  

  • Those are things I love to hear!! That's absolutely amazing, especially with it having to do with youth! I'm a youth, so it blesses me even more. You don't usually hear of things like that happening with youth these days. Thanks for sharing!!! =]

    Brittany

    By Blogger Brittany, at 6/15/2007 9:33 PM  

  • Dear Mr. Louie Giglio,
    I was fortunate to be there at that amazing service. God was definitely there with us and was touching the hearts of thousands. My heart was one of those He touched. You explained everything like I have never heard it said before. I finally get the cross and I realize how amazing it all is. I really understand now that Jesus died on the cross for ME and that ALL of my sins were put onto Him along with the rest of the world's. It is so awesome to think that Jesus died so I could have life. Your words touched my heart and I will never forget them. Thanks for making June 11- June 15, 2007 at Myrtle Beach an awesome week, I loved every minute of it! I hope to hear you speak again soon! I'll see you in Heaven someday when I give you a big hug!
    Thank you so much,
    Marissa

    By Anonymous Marissa, at 6/16/2007 12:28 AM  

  • Louie! My name is Jace Powell, I'm 18, I just graduated, and I attended this camp about which you speak. It was so life altering; my life was changed so much for the better.

    I enlisted in the US Army in February. I ship out for Basic Training on July 19th. I really wished that you had said something about God blessing our troops, or asking him to watch over them. Other than that, thanks so much for your time!

    thejace[at]gmail.com

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6/16/2007 10:23 PM  

  • Louie,
    We were there!! We loved it and will hopefully never recover from it.
    One of the girls who was saved that night was sitting outside the door of her hotel room with her boyfriend the next day. They were praying and reading the Bible when another hotel guest walked past them, stopped, looked at the girl and said, "You got it!" Brandy was amazed that anyone could tell there was a difference just by looking at her. She had seen the woman by the pool earlier in the week.
    It turns out this woman was an 86 year old grandmother who was there on vacation with her daughter and grandaughter. She and her husband had been in the ministry for many years. This woman is sending Brandy the book that she wrote several years ago.
    That night when we had our whole group time she was one of the first ones up to share with the group her experience!
    We will continue to pray for you as you speak to other teens for the rest of the summer. Thank you for allowing God to speak through you.
    Carolyn Rains

    By Blogger C, at 6/17/2007 1:35 AM  

  • You are blessed to be able to do the things you do. Keep up the great work!

    By Anonymous Kurt, at 6/17/2007 8:46 AM  

  • Louie wants again you were amazing and awesome...your words are great....our God is Indescribable....last year in daytona was wonderful...this year at myrtle beach was better....we cant wait to see you on tour in St. Louis or maybe next year in daytona

    Keep up all the blessed things you do

    By Anonymous Andrew Shelton, at 6/17/2007 8:12 PM  

  • Mr. Giglio,
    I was there and was touched. It changed my youth group and in the turmoil of our church (denomination changes, the leaving of our pastor and youth minister) it was something that truly moved me to my core.

    Now, as we came back home today to Jackson, Mississippi, all of us are starting something new. I ordered the Indescribable talk and plan to show it to my best friend who has turned her back on God. I've tried talking to her many times but describing God is hard for me since I've grown up in the church. I know the Indescribable talk will touch her and she shouldn't have to spend another day without knowledge of the Almighty God.

    Thankyou!!!
    Roberta
    foxxy.socks@gmail.com

    By Blogger Roberta, at 6/18/2007 12:16 AM  

  • praise God for that : ) i'll def. pray for more nights like that. god bless : )

    rachael

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6/18/2007 5:26 PM  

  • "Mr. Louie Giglio",

    I was with the "rowdy" group in Myrtle Beach last week & wanted to thank you for an amazing week. I had the privilege of witnessing first hand, as our youth developed a burning Passion for God. It was one of the most awe inspiring things I've ever seen.

    Rob

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6/22/2007 10:10 AM  

  • "Mr. Louie Giglio",

    You are an amazing, gifted speaker who is apparently a tool used by God. My chaperone, Rob, was the first person to comment on this blog. He is right - the portion of our youth group that came to MB was definitely moved with a passion to worship THE Lord Most High.

    Your Indescribable talk actually said something to me; actually, it said a lot! I've gone to church since I was three; I'm fifteen now. Ha, you would think that after twelve years in church, I would be a Spiritually sound person who does everything for God. Well, that WAS NOT the case. I have been the world's worst hypocrite over these years. Everyone tells me, "Oh, Michael, you're such a wonderful helper/musician/singer/(anything else you could think of)/person. I can tell God is doing something great with You." Sure He was, but why didn't I see it? why didn't I know it?! My answer came on Wednesday, June 13.

    You showed me how small I really am and HUGE God really is. You explained how God's glory is shown through His awe-inspiring creation. I have never understood it. I've heard the talks, I've "walked the walks", but I did it to make myself look good. I was an ugly person that no one ever knew. I once heard that true character isn't just what people see, but what is done behind closed doors. I was heavily involved in immorality, my biological father and his family was being ripped to shreds, and I was about to enter a huge depression. But I prayed a prayer like I've never prayed before. I told Him, "God, I've prayed for You to change me hundreds of times, but I never saw a change. I want You to do something huge in me this week in MB. I'm going to be a different person this week. I'm expecting it. God gave me a new outlook on life and provided a way out of my deep, dark secrets. Wonderful friends and caring chaperones are currently helping me on my way to life of significance.

    I want to thank you for all that you have done for me and for my youth group. If it weren't for you, I don't know where I would be right now. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!

    Let my God Arise,
    Michael Matthews
    matthew_s_1@hotmail.com

    By Anonymous michael m, at 6/22/2007 7:11 PM  

  • Louie, I'm praying for you and your team!! Hopefully the summer goes well! Love, Jacoline

    By Blogger Jacoline, at 6/24/2007 3:14 PM  

  • Yes, I had always taken the Cup to be "the situation of the Cross" until I was prepping for a message at NorthWood. Fascinating OT references in Isaiah and Jeremiah saying that God's judgment will be drunk like a Cup of Wrath...an obvious allusion Jesus was making. Again in Revelation God says He will make them drink of the cup of wrath in His presence to unbelievers...quite unsavory in every sense. It was the wrath of God He was drinking from....wow!

    We had a similar response at our liturgical Good Friday service which was simply called The Cup (we posted the order of service, scripts and all for free along with sample video of the service http://www.worshiptrench.com/?p=50. Feel free to hack it, or use it).

    I am praying for you guys this summer. Still hear updates through Robby who is designs for Andy. God is richly using you. Great Scriptural core for the summer (yeah, no another David and Goliath camp sermon...hahaha!)

    Jordan Fowler
    crawl in. get dirty. serve the body. www.worshiptrench.com

    By Anonymous jordan fowler, at 6/28/2007 4:26 PM  

  • WOW! That's awesome!

    By Blogger Tiffany, at 6/29/2007 12:34 AM  

  • Happy birthday, Louie!

    By Blogger Boyd Johnson, at 6/30/2007 12:55 PM  

  • That's truly awesome

    By Blogger Kyle, at 7/04/2007 12:37 AM  

  • hey louie thanks for sharing that- truely amazing- an amazing God we serve!

    I hope & pray you would be able to make it to Belfast Ireland some day soon...

    in Him

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/04/2007 8:02 PM  

  • Wow...

    By Blogger jigs, at 7/04/2007 8:51 PM  

  • hey louie! how was the Hillsong Conference?? i'd love to read a post about it! an inside scoop perhaps for us northern hemisphere-ians.. =D

    By Blogger steph hsieh, at 7/07/2007 5:16 AM  

  • Hey Louie!!!
    When Are we taking Passion to Brazil?

    I am praying for that!

    Isabele

    By Anonymous isabele_almeida@yahoo.com, at 7/07/2007 11:27 AM  

  • the glory of God can really be found in everything. thankyou for freely sharing your experience with others.

    may God bless and keep you all.
    see you @ Passion '08

    By Anonymous Meredith, at 7/09/2007 11:15 AM  

  • Louie I was also fortunate enough to be there that night. My name is T.J. Hoover and about 21 leaders and students came from our church in Overland Park, Kansas. Each night we would go back to our rooms and we were all just so excited about God and his plan for us if we allowed him to use us. During that camp I told God I was done messing around when I went to the front and sang along with Chris, "Here am I. All of me. Take my life. It's all for thee." My girlfriend and I both fully committed our relationship to God and told him we wanted our relationship to honor and worship him. Unfortunantly this only lasted for about a week. During that week I was closer to God than I have ever been, and today I realized how much I want that back. I know it is a long road full of hardship and sacrifices, but if it leads to one more soul in heaven, then it would all be worth it. Today I've ben praying to God a lot just asking for his forgiveness that I know is always there, and to keep me on the right path for good this time. I know that my God can work in ways that are far beyond my imagionation if I allow him to. Please pray for me to stay on the right path with God and let my life be a living sacrifice to him.
    Thank you very much,
    T.J. Hoover

    You can email me at tzzzsh@gmail.com

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/10/2007 2:57 PM  

  • Louie, thanks so much for sharing that story. It's awesome to see high schoolers getting the message of Jesus. Deny self, take up your cross, follow Him.

    I hope to spur on our generation with this website encouraging our generation to live missionally:

    www.missionaryroad.com

    By Anonymous Ken, at 7/11/2007 6:39 PM  

  • Hi!

    I've seen your Indescribable dvd at my church, Choose Life, in Pretoria - it was totally awesome!!! When are you coming to us here in South Africa???

    By Blogger Lisl, at 7/15/2007 8:24 AM  

  • I got it! I was there the night that you did that talk & it was truely uplifting & amazing! Your talk that night gave me such a better understanding of the cross & why we are here & what our purpose is. I've attended Big Stuf for the past 3 years & this time that our youth group went..I feel like we were truely transformed as a group not just indivuals. Getting in Rhythm with him that week was exactly what I needed! Thank you so much, Louie! May his glory continue to shine through you! What a God we have!!!!

    By Anonymous Christin - Powder Springs, GA, at 7/22/2007 7:56 PM  

  • I got it! I was there that night and your talk was truely uplifting & amazing! It gave me a better understanding of the cross, why we are here & what our purpose is! I've attended Big Stuf for the past 3 years & I feel like our group was truely transformed not just us as indivuals. Getting in Rhythm with him that week was exactly what I needed. : ) Thank you so much, Louie! May his light continue to shine through you! What a God we have!!!

    By Anonymous Christin, at 7/22/2007 8:01 PM  

  • Hey Louie,
    Must say I hadn't heard of you before Hillsong. Thanks for presenting two of the best messages I have ever heard. You along with John Bevere were my highlights at Hillsong.

    I love seeing people's hearts sold out to God an it's only these types of hearts that have any chance of captivating me for any period of time.

    By Anonymous LayGuy, at 7/26/2007 1:39 AM  

  • I was in Kampala, Uganda a few weeks ago on a mission trip... As I was sitting in an Ice cream store and a fimilar song began to play over the radio "Indescribable" here I was in a very unfimiliar place where most of the people did not even speak my langauge, a place that I had come to tell other about Christ... when in that moment I realized that God was in Uganda way before me and He will be there way after I leave... I was just able to play a small role in His BIG PICTURE. Hearing that song reminded me that my God is so much bigger than I could ever think or imagine!
    You truly are making a Kingdom impact all over the world! thanks!

    By Anonymous jennifer, TN, at 7/26/2007 3:21 AM  

  • Louie,
    I was just at bigstuf in daytona, do you remember the girls name who had cancer and got an elmo doll from lanny? you gave her a hug while you were speaking. her story is awesome and i wanted to pray for her. thanks.
    mike

    By Blogger sheltonfamily, at 7/28/2007 9:57 PM  

  • new post!!! where are you my friend?

    By Blogger ::it's all for Jesus::, at 8/01/2007 12:24 PM  

  • cmon! we're dying for news about how God is leading Passion! New post please! :)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8/03/2007 2:40 AM  

  • how are you louie?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8/05/2007 9:52 PM  

  • i'm amazing at your passion for this generation. you truly believe in us and believe God use us to transform this world for his glory. i simply wish we could be reminded that we not only need to put our faith in him but realize that he has faith in us.

    question- as i journey, trying to find how my passion can be use for his glory, i'm reading and search him more and more. do you have a list of recommended book posted anywhere i could get ahold of. if so i'd love to get that

    be blessed- jp

    By Blogger JP, at 8/07/2007 11:51 AM  

  • i was at bigstuf daytona this year and i remember the night you told that story. at the end you asked people to stand if you want to or have had that moment. after a moment of hesitation i stood and just like you said the girl in the front row couldnt even get the words out i just started crying, it was so amazing. its hard to even talk about it without getting all emotional. haha. and then i went home and was telling my parents this story and started crying again and after seeing how much this trip really changed me they are thinking about chaperoning next year. so thank you for reminding me of this wonderful moment.


    -ashley :]

    By Blogger ashcaked1995, at 8/08/2007 8:30 PM  

  • Did you explode or something? We need you to update.

    By Blogger Tad DeLay, at 8/10/2007 2:59 AM  

  • Mr. Louie Giglio,
    i was fortunate enough to experience that service! i have to agree that the night was absolutely amazing. i wish we could have stayed and worshipped our AWESOME GOD all night long! Thank you! You have changed my life!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8/19/2007 1:45 PM  

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