Should Be Tucson
Sorry for those of you who are squeamish (turn away now), but tonight I should be opening the fall leg of the How Great Is Our God Tour with Chris Tomlin in Tucson, AZ. But today brought an unexpected (and I hope never repeated) emergency room visit and overnight hospital stay in Orange County as a small kidney stone put a massive kink in those plans. Fortunately, things resolved this afternoon, the IV was removed and I was free to go. Hopefully, a day will make a huge difference and CT and I will reconnect in San Diego on Thursday night. Resting now, LG
OK, so you Midwesterners can make some serious noise...not just decibels in the building, either...but a serious shout of justice and kindness for the whole wide world to hear! Passion Chicago rocked as students from close to 300 colleges and universities gathered for a life-rearranging 28 hours that in many ways has just begun. You'd have to have been there to really appreciate just what God can do in such a short span of time, but it's phenomenal to watch and be a part of it as it builds and unfolds.
Some students came from far away places like Florida, Tennessee, California, Boston (yes Boston), South Carolina and Toronto. But most came from the heart of the nation, places like Notre Dame, KSU, ISU, Ball State University, Grand Valley State, Moody, IUPUI, The Universities of Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, South AND North Dakota State Universities, Purdue, Ohio State, Wayne State, Valapraiso, Wheaton, and so many more that I'd love to name. The best part was asking students in the opening session if this was their first Passion gathering and seeing 95% of the hands shoot into the air! That"s brilliant...and exactly why we are bringing Passion to you!
In an effort to wed worship and justice, the Do Something Now Campaign has anchored us both in Boston and Chicago. It's true God landed in our hearts with stunning power (healing, restoring, rescuing, inspiring, solidifying, releasing), but the result of His divine touch in us is now a wave of gratitude that spills over onto others in our paths...and even alters our paths to reach still others with the hope of His Kingdom. To that end, Passion Chicago brought 3036 towels and 9000 pairs of socks to be distributed through six partner agencies throughout the city. As well, they gave $32,612, enough to build over 10 wells in African villages PLUS $24,892 to help take an experience like Passion Chicago to Sao Paulo, Brazil. Your generous hearts are contagious and overwhelming, proof that God can and will use your generation in ways far greater than any of us can fully imagine.
All of us on the Passion Team thank you for letting us share such a beautiful and powerful weekend with you in Chicago. Next stop: LA!
Greater things have yet to come,
PS- For more check the Chicago Rocked Podcast at iTunes later today. More photos are available under the Chicago "P" here.
Sing, Sing, Sing!
Amazing. Loud. Rearranging. Shouting. Wow!
More to come in the days ahead!
From The Windy City!
We're up and running in Chicago and have had a great night. We prayed for all you guys who were in Boston and are standing in your prayers for us now.
Chicago = students from over 300 colleges and universities, many people around four wooden crosses making things right with God, new songs echoing throughout the Sears Center, Jesus putting a new song in our mouths, no more pits!, 5,900 pairs of socks (so far), 1200 towels (so far), no wells yet, but coming, guest here from Kampala, Sao Paulo and South Africa, and people praying all around the world (literally). There's so much more to come!
Thank you Boston for an amazing weekend. Landing in the heart of NE reminded us all of why we do Passion in the first place. Being on your turf (right smack in the middle of BU on Commonwealth Ave.) lifting up the name of Jesus over the campuses, the city and all of NE had a totally different energy than having students from across the world gather in one central location. That's not to say the sense we had walking into Philips for Passion 07 wasn't phenomenal. Seeing 23,000 people in one place is inspiring, jaw-dropping and humbling. Yet being in the middle of New England, and standing with you as few in the midst of many, made for one of the most special steps of Passion's journey to date.
For a long, long time all that's been said of Boston and New England is that there aren't many followers of Jesus there. And while that may be true, I think the tide turned for me this weekend to say to all of you (and to the world), there may not be many followers of Jesus on the campuses of NE, but there are enough for God to change the current and cause the church to flourish.
In a few days we will be in Chicago, but we are carrying all of you guys from Passion Boston in our hearts. Your intensity and appreciation for the significance of the moment were so refreshing. We will not stop praying for you as you continue to integrate the powerful and freeing hope of Jesus into every fiber of your daily lives. And speaking of Chicago, the last thing the Boston folks did was pray for you, asking God to blast into the weekend to come like He did in theirs. And they gave! 18K+ to build over 6 wells for African villages and over 15K to bring an experience like this to students around the world, setting the bar for next weekend pretty high!
We love you Boston and can't say thank you enough for allowing us to share this incredible weekend with you! (And go Sox!)
Louie and the Passion Team
PS- For much more check out the latest episode of the Passion Podcast--Amazing Boston--available late Tuesday, October 16. You don't want to miss it.
Hello From Boston!
Boston is up and running...in fact we've had three amazing sessions and are on dinner break right now, so wanted to send a quick update. The Red Sox crushed the Indians last night a half mile away from here, but no one in this building seemed to care. We kicked off the weekend with a massive celebration as over 1200 students converged from all across New England with a huge desire to go after God and they made so much noise it sounded like 10,000!
Thank you for praying for us and for them. God is stirring deep things and healing deep wounds. Two plain crosses are on the floor of the arena, places people can go to kneel in each session as they encounter the truth God is speaking over them. Under each cross is a basket of blank cards and students have been writing their prayers and responses to what God is saying in their lives. As we have prayed over the cards after each session we have been floored at the depth of the struggles, the honesty and the cries for deliverance, restoration and hope. We have one session to go tonight and we are asking God to let the Kingdom come here, now.
I cannot tell you how humbled and happy we are to be here. This is what Passion is all about...lifting up the name of Jesus right smack in the middle of a university campus. The Agganis is the hockey arena for Boston University (that's a really big deal up here!) and it's exactly where we want to be. It seemed almost every student raised their hand when I asked who had never been to a Passion event before......crazy. That's why we're here.... to make the commute shorter for them and make it possible for them to join the movement of what Passion is all about.
For His fame in Boston and throughout New England.
Rock The Towels And Socks
Hopefully, in a few days I'll have a pic to post of towels and socks piling up in Boston, a small expression to the needy of the city that rescue is here. Following the Do Something Now Campaign of Passion '07, I imagine we will have a similar expression with each successive Passion gathering, large or small. Though towels and socks are not our only DSN goal at the Regional events (we also hope to raise $ in each city to build AT LEAST one well to bring clean water to an African village AND we will be taking up an offering to help move the Passion World Tour along in Kiev [Boston] and Sao Paulo [Chicago]), they are a tangible way to say to those in transitional places in life that they matter to God. While I'm sure few, if any, at the Boston Rescue Mission, the Shattuck Shelter, Sojourner House, Project Hope or our other partner agencies in Boston have ever heard of Passion, our hope is that a clean towel and a fresh pair of socks will convey to them that they, too, have a place in this amazing story of God.
So, if you're on your way to Boston or Chicago this is the moment you:
a) roll down to the nearest Wallmart and pick up a bath towel (or two) and a package of socks for men, women or children;
b) raid the guest towel closet at the house (for those of you living at home and assuming mom and dad will oblige) and stuff said towels in your bag so you won't forget;
c) text all the people you know who are headed to Boston or Chicago with the words (ALL CAPS) TOWELS/SOCKS BABY!;
d) bring towels and socks and drop off in the lobby when you arrive;
e) all of the above.
Remember, it's more than charity (people doing something nice for someone else), it's worship (us doing what makes God really happy).
Together we can make a difference if we do something now!
Bonsoir de Paris
Hello from glittering Paris, a city which is finally growing quiet outside my window as the wee hours of the morning approach. Judging by the pic you'd think we just held an amazing Passion gathering here tonight, right? But not so. Today was just a small step in preparing the way for the Passion World Tour to hopefully land in the City of Lights next summer.
Our Paris Team has been here for several days, making connections and scouting out possible venues. But I just came in last night after a few days of speaking to national ministry leaders from around the world at a gathering on the coast of Spain. Today in Paris we hosted a lunch meeting in a "viby" little art gallery that attracted over thirty ministry leaders from across the city and nation. Our team shared the heartbeat of the Passion Movement and cast vision for what could happen in this place as students come together from multiple streams within the church to amplify the name of Jesus over Paris.
For all of its beauty, Paris is a place where the church is slowly making headway and spiritual darkness seems to shroud the city. Yet, what we saw in our meeting today was just a tiny representation of those who are alive with passion to see Jesus' fame echo in the streets, so there is no doubting God is at work. But in reality, anyone in Paris will tell you the obstacles are daunting and a university-focused gathering like this one has not been attempted for the city. But today many grasped the vision as it resonates with the one they've been carrying in their hearts, and together we want to see God do what we know in and of ourselves we cannot make happen.
This afternoon I was totally floored by the enclosed picture, a small section of a huge photographic mural hanging in the offices of one of Paris' hottest venues. The image is just a random concert crowd, not worshipers of Jesus. But as we stepped into the office lobby I was arrested by the sight of these French young people and thought, what if? What if this was a picture of what is to come, a generation of university students alive to His wonder and engaged for His fame? What if what has never been done before can become a reality? What if a venue was packed for His name and the ripples never ended?
While we still have a few logistical hurdles to overcome before the Paris date is firm, Lord-willing we will humbly come and build up the beautiful church He is building here. What could be better than light in the city that bears its name?