Tuesday, January 29, 2008

LA Love

LA definitely got on board with Passion's Do Something Now Campaign, wedding worship and justice in amazing ways. 2260 towels and 10,500 pairs of socks were distributed to LA area shelters as a way of extending the Kingdom to the homeless of the city. In addition, $54,000 was given to build 18 wells for African villages. And LA was the partner city for the Passion World Tour stop in Jakarta, Indonesia, later this year. Passion LA gave $42,707 towards the cost of the Jakarta event, helping to make an experience like Passion LA available to the 1.5 million university students there. All this from less than 4000 "poor" college students. Not bad! We are grateful for your support and humbled to be in the story of God. LG

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Beautiful LA!!

Though the weather outside was very not-like Southern California, that didn't stop us from having a beautiful weekend inside...a powerful journey with God that has just begun. Once again, from the look of things, I'd say for about 98% of the people here this was their first Passion gathering. But, as the hours passed, the idea of living for His fame (more of Him and less of me) became a more demanding and attractive proposition. There's so much to be said, but at the end of the day all that really matters is that Jesus was most beautiful in our midst, and His rescue is inspiring us to give our all.

It was so humbling for us to be in the room with students from over 200 colleges and universities up and down the west coast, and with friends from our World Tour city stops Seoul, Tokyo, Vancouver and our LA partner city Jakarta. He is the God of this city...and your city...and greater this are still to come!

Watch for more pics and the LA recap podcast (a serious and not-so-serious look at an amazing weekend) in the days ahead!

Louie and the Passion Team

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Movement and The Music

Passion has always been about the Movement, yet our Movement has always been powerfully wed to the anthems of a generation that is rising up to change the world. Eleven years later that's still the case as we get ready for the release of Passion: God Of This City. Recorded live in Atlanta, Boston and Chicago, this new CD is more than just another compilation of songs (though I'd say the songs are amazing), it's a snapshot of who we are and where we are going as we try to make our lives count for what matters most.

The title says it all (more on that in weeks to come) as we head to the cities of the world with hope that greater things are still to be written in our day. We believe this track (God Of This City) that helped launch our journey in Boston is going to be our prayer for cities in Africa, Asia, Europe, South America, Australia, Central America and Canada, as well.

Joining the upgraded iTunes Bundle releases (Shine, You Are God and Amazing Grace [My Chains Are Gone]) are new songs you've never heard and live versions of some you love. Steve Fee and Kristian Stanfill add tracks to those by Matt, Chris, DC*B, Charlie and Christy, as songs from 07 we didn't release (Walk The World [Bread and Wine]) settle alongside those you guys in Boston and Chicago remember well. Fourteen songs in all. Passion from beginning to end.

You can preorder now or get it anywhere music is sold on February 5. And, everyday until then we're featuring a new clip on the Passion home at 268generation.com (it will we playing when you arrive as the main page music!). We're excited, and praying this disc opens the Kingdom in people's hearts around the globe! LG

Monday, January 21, 2008

Coming To LA!

Finally...a multi-day Passion gathering on the left side of the nation. Not Atlanta, not Nashville...not even Dallas, New York, Chicago, DC or Boston. No, no, no my friends. Next up: LA! West Coast. California. With friends joining in from Utah, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, New Mexico and beyond. We're excited. We're pumped. And we can't wait to see what God has in store.

As it stands, over 200 colleges and universities are represented by those who are coming. 200 schools! That's stunning, and there's no limit to what God is dreaming about for all the students who populate them. Included in the list: Reedley College, Fashion Institute Of Design and Manufacturing and Diablo Valley College. These come to mind because they are written on an orange index card that's sitting on my desk. A few weeks ago, our staff team talked about each of us taking just a few of the schools on the list and praying for them in the weeks heading up to Passion LA. These just seemed to land on my heart as I scanned the list. For one, the weren't the marque names or the most widely represented (the latter would probably be U.C. Irvine right now), but places I was drawn to. I don't know much about any of them (yet, we all should pray for "Devil" Valley College, right?! - JK), but have been asking God to encourage the church in each place and inspire people with vision to see the spiritual climate change so that Jesus name could be known and well represented there.

So if you're one of the thousands headed to the Nokia Theater Friday night, know you're being prayed for and we can't wait to see you there. And if you're somewhere else in the world, please pray for Passion LA like you were going to be there.

A few things to remember if you're coming:
1. The price goes up Wednesday night at 11:59 EST. Yes, you can pay at the door, but save $$ and register now.
2. Towels and socks. For real, it's amazing how many people do not know about Do Something Now. Tell everybody, and come prepared with towels and socks for the shelters of LA. One towel and one package of socks should come with each person!
3. Wells for Africa. Check out Regionals (under LA/Do Something Now) for more info. Let's do something lavish.
4. Also, we'll be taking an offering for Passion Jakarta on Saturday and praying for our stop there on the Passion World Tour. Thanks for helping this event become a reality!
5. Garth is playing sold out shows next door at Staples Center, so plan ahead and come early.
6. Please pray for our team. We have had rough weeks leading into LA on many levels (this goes for many on our team and me with abdominal surgery, for one), and need your prayers as we prepare, recover and lead.
7. Let's ask God to change everything. Rearrange everything. And ignite in us something that will make Him happy.

See you in LA! Louie

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Do Something Now - One Year After Passion 07

As a companion to the world's longest Podcast episode which is now playing at the Passion Podcast [visit iTunes and subscribe or download the DSN-One Year Later installment today], we want to recap what has happened as a result of your efforts at Passion 07. For those just joining us, the Do Something Now Campaign was our way of wedding worship and justice, putting feet to our songs and giving God what He wants most--for us to go to the least of these and meet their needs in Jesus' name.

So, knowing that we were hosting 22,000 "poor" college students and their leaders for four days in January 2007, we did the unthinkable and put a $500,000 challenge on the table. Never counting out this generation's desire to change the world, we linked the momentum of our gathering with eight global causes and asked you to pray, give and go. The results stunned us all, and, I believe, made God really, really happy.

We posted the immediate results after Passion 07 and have told the story all through the year. And, in the spirit of fairness and accuracy, we went back to these organizations one year later to find out just what happened as a result of Passion 07. Did we follow up on what we said we would do? Did we give all we said we would give? Have people gone? And what can we still do to help these causes even though there wasn't a nationwide event this year?

Well, get, ready to be blown away...the results are in. We share more of the story on the current Podcast, and interview Heather Mercer with Freedom Center Iraq and Todd Peterson with The Seed Company and OneVerse, but here's the brief overview.

Cause 1.
Freedom for those trapped in slavery through Stop The Traffik.
Aim: for 1000 people to sign a declaration card to be sent along with hundreds of thousands of others to the UN in 2007 raising awareness of the global human trafficking dilemma.

Result: 3000 signatures were gathered!

Current Need: Stop The Traffik is gathering 1 million signatures for a February 14 meeting with the Secretary General of the UN. You can add your voice and find other ways to make a difference at StopTheTraffik.org.

Cause 2.
Bibles sent to restricted nations through Bibles Unbound.
Aim: to package 3000 Bibles to be sent to people in East Asia, as well as a commitment made by the packager to pray for the recipient for one year.

Result: 4000 Bibles sent. 4000 people being prayed for for one year.

Need: In February, Bibles Unbound is approaching their 500,000th Bible sent. Visit BiblesUnbound.com to get involved.

Cause 3.
Extending the Kingdom to the needy of Atlanta with towels and socks.
Aim: Partnering with 15 Atlanta-area shelters to provide 20,000 towels and 20,000 pairs of socks.

Result: 13,000 towels and 31,000 pairs of socks were collected. That was a pretty incredible sight!

Cause 4.
Clean water for Africa through BloodWaterMission.
Aim: Raise $33,000 to drill 11 wells providing clean water for 11 African villages for life.

Result: $156,000 was given to build 52 wells!

Need: A well can be built for $3,000 and many, many African villages are waiting. BloodWaterMission.com.
(We will continue to support this cause at Passion Regional events in LA, Dallas, DC and Atlanta).

Cause 5.
University education for deserving students through Compassion International.
Aim: Support 20 students in Compassion's Leadership Development Program who have completed the child sponsorship program and are worthy candidates for higher education by paying $250 a month for four years.

Result: Pledged to sponsor 30 students, and 18 were actually sponsored. Once the LDP packets were taken, 40 additional children were sponsored in Compssion's regular child sponsorship program.

Need: To sponsor additional LDP candidates at Compassion.com.

Cause 6.
Fund Bible translations with The Seed Company's OneVerse Campaign.
Aim: Give $150,000 to translate the New Testament for the Dela people of Indonesia by giving $20 per verse for each New Testament verse.

Result: $88,652.77 was given and $355,000 pledged. In the end, $159.914.18 of the amount pledged was received. The Dela translation is fully funded, and Mark, Genesis and Acts are completed. The project will continue for an additional five to six years. Total contribution was $248.566.95 toward six translations!

Need: There are 2000 people groups still waiting for the Scripture in their native language. OneVerse.org.

Cause 7.
Help build a Community Center in Iraq with partner Global Hope.
Aim: raise $55,000 toward the building of an educational/social center called Freedom Center in the middle of a university campus in Kurdistan, see 30 students willing to pray about spending a year there teaching English and have 500 people commit to pray for the Kurds for one year.

Result: $165,000 was given toward the construction of Freedom Center, 1200 plus people took packets to pray for the Kurds for a year and over 500 took applications to go. Of those 500, 50 completed the application process and 21 are now in Iraq teaching in the university as Freedom Center is being built.

Need: 25 more to go as Freedom Center opens in 2008 and an additional $400,000 to complete the 2 million dollar cost. FreedomCenterIraq.org

Cause 8
Life-saving operations for children in the DR with Cure International.
Aim: Provide 51 operations at a cost of $1,000 each. [A donor decided to match what was given at Passion 07 up to 200 operations].

Result: Money was given or pledged for 124 operations and $103,897.87 was actually given. With the matching gift of $103,897.87, which came in December 2007, the total given is $207,795.74, providing operations and hope to 207 children and their families.

Need: Save kids and alter their lives at CureInternational.org.

Total of money redirected to those in need:
Cure International
BloodWaterMission $156,000
Compassion (LDP) $216,000
Compassion (Children/1 year) $15,360
OneVerse $248,566.95
Freedom Center Iraq $165,000

Total $904,824.82

Additional Cure Intl. Matching Gift $103,897.87

Grand Total $1,008,722.60

Wow. That's over 1 million dollars in four days from college students, leaders and volunteers, as well as those who have physically gone, carrying hope in their hands. AMAZING! God really can change the world through this generation! Thank you for being a part of it with us. This is what true worship is all about.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

First Monday Prayer Guide - January

Our staff team started the New Year on our knees this week (a place we hope to be much more in 2008), offering to God ourselves and everything our hands set out to do this year. With four US events and an 18-city World Tour, 2008 is going to take us to some pretty amazing places and allow us to see and experience the beautiful story of God in ways that are going to change our lives forever.

Yet, with the calling comes great challenge and adversity. Though not prone to see evil in every little bump in the road, we do accept the reality that darkness hates the light and attempts to shut down any mission that brings life and freedom. So, as we go in Jesus' name we expect opposition, yet we are always looking to the God who holds us in His hands and has assured us ultimate victory...no matter what.

In that spirit, we are digging into Psalm 33:16-22 as we come to January's First Monday. "No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength. A horse is a vain hope for deliverance, despite all its great strength it cannot save. But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His unfailing love, to deliver them from death and to keep them alive in famine. We wait in hope for the Lord, for He is our help and shield. In Him our hearts rejoice, for we hope in His holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you."

Thanks for believing and praying with us. People just like you are reading this and praying all around the world right now! You have no idea how much your support encourages us. We don't know where we'd be without it.

Please take a minute to post a brief comment letting us know where you're praying from!

16 (2+6+8) Prayer Points for January

1. Pray for one of our Passion staff team members, Daniele, whose brother Diego went to heaven this morning in Sao Paulo, Brazil, after a long battle with cancer.

2. Please pray for all the families of our staff team (mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, children).

3. Several of our Passion staff team and sixsteps family are facing medical challenges, as well.

4. We are twenty days from Passion LA and asking God to prepare the way. Ask God to go before us in every way as the final details come together for this gathering.

5. Ask God to multiply the vision on the west coast, and help the word spread to more and more students in these last weeks.

6. Currently, over 2600 students and leaders are registered for LA from almost 200 colleges and universities. Click the link below of the schools represented so far by those coming to Passion LA, pick a few schools and pray for the students coming from those campuses.

7. Pray that Passion LA will fuel a new wave of students who are in love with Jesus and passionate about seeing His fame known on their campuses.

8. Louie and our Passion team will be in DC on January 8th and Dallas on January 17, meeting with college leaders and sharing the vision for Passion DC and Passion Dallas/Ft. Worth. Ask God to draw the right leaders to these meetings and fill them with synergy, unity and vision for what can be as Passion comes to these regions.

9. On January 19, our City Team Leads for the Passion World Tour will be meeting in Atlanta. Ask for God's favor on these men and women who are volunteering their time to make these world events a reality, and pray for us as we pray and plan.

10. Pray for these City Team Leads and their families as they are taking on substantial roles in addition to their lives, jobs, families, etc. Ask God to multiply their energy, time and passion.

11. We are thanking God for gifts at year end for the World Tour! We have a few million to go, but God provided several hundred thousand dollars in the past few weeks and we want to thank Him!

12. Please pray for the cities where we are a little behind in making plans (or are just exploring as God has put them in our path rather late in the game). Of those we have mentioned, pray for clarity and wisdom, traction and progress in Dubai. As well, there are two as yet unnamed cities we are working on that need a breakthrough.

13. I know we have asked this every month, but translating and signing venue contracts in cities around the globe is a massive challenge. We need supernatural intervention to ramp up the pace and seal these agreements.

14. Pray for Passion Hong Kong. This city is strategic in the nation of China and its future, a place where for now the church meets freely and the gospel is shared openly.

15. Pray for Passion Sydney. We need clarity on dates and venue.

16. Ask that "everything Passion" serves one end: that of making Jesus known. Pray that our name will continue to decrease and His name will increase in all we do!

List of LA Schools
Printable version of First Monday