Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Day Unending Life Began

If you've been anywhere around the Passion Movement in the last year you've come to know and love Ashley Akinns. Her huge heart for life, and her embrace of the grace we all so desperately cling to, has changed our lives forever and put a beautiful face on the mission we carry in our hearts . For those of you new to the journey, this was Ashley's first e-mail to us last year:

January 22, 2007

Hi, I feel kinda weird writing this email. And i doubt if it ever gets to Mr Louie Giglio. I am a Senior at The University of Florida. I got a new roommate this semester and she is a Christian and I have never really been into the whole Christian thing because every pastor or speaker that I have ever listened to didn't speak in a language I could understand. I have believed in God and Jesus, but never really understood it because the preachers at the church that I have always been forced to go to every Sunday of my life. They speak all high and mighty and I never really felt connected, and I felt like God was only for the perfect people.
Well my roommate went to this Passion Conference over winter break. And she came back and moved into my apt and she was real and genuine about all her Christian stuff, like I have never seen before in a person. She said that God changed her at this conference, so i was like what are you talking about. And she told me. She told me about how God was cool, and how God really wanted a deeper relationship with her, and she wanted to really love God the way he loved her, so of course I was like well huh? She then said you need to listen to Louie talk about God, so I asked who Louie was, and she put on the Indescribable talk, and then we watched the Passport talk. And in the Passport talk you said that Christians do not have to just hope for the best at the end, that they do not have to do enough good stuff. You explained how to get to heaven in a simple way, in a way that I have never heard before. I actually got it, I got it that it is not about being so good, cause I am not a good person. I have screwed up a lot. But then you said grace, and talked about how is was different than other religions. Because God is a loving and a kind God who wants to forgive me. My roommate then explained that he wants to forgive me.
Now for one of the reasons I am thanking you. One, I am now a Christian. And two, my roommate said that she had never really cared about telling others about how much God loved her before she went to this conference. So though I am not sure who will ever read this. Please tell Louie thanks from me, for talking about Christ in a way that a college kid can understand. I know that Jesus has changed my life and as I get ready to graduate college in May, I am gonna be a different person. I am sorry this is kinda rambling but I just had to tell you that I now know about the Grace of God, and I have life for the first time in my 22 years


Well, I have to say reading those words for the very first time was one of my happiest days in the history of "everything Passion." Here was a student who had never come through the doors of a Passion gathering, yet because of someone who had (her roommate, Christa) Ashley found the embrace of the God who made her and gave His all so she would know how much He truly loved her and that He always would. It wasn't so much about Passion, but about the fact that one of the students we so desperately love had found the Savior, and, in her words, knew she had life for the first time in her 22 years on this planet.


Yet, soon our joy was mixed with tears as the news reached us that an accident took Ashley from us a year ago today. She only walked with Jesus on earth for three short months, but Ashley's life was forever changed. And through the kindness of her family, who have allowed her story to be told, God is using Ashley to touch the lives of people around the world. It would seem appropriate to title this entry [Remembering Ashley Akinns - 6/21/84 - 4/29/07], but how could we ever forget her? Her story is forever woven into the very fabric of our hearts, and not a day has gone by in the year so quickly passed that we have not thought about her and because of her thought about what it means to really live. Today is a difficult and precious day, in that it's the day Ashley first saw Jesus face to face. Yet, today is a hopeful day because of January 21, 2007...the day, for Ashley, unending life began.

When Ashley's mom wrote to tell me about Ashley's death she said, "I may never meet you here on earth, but I know that someday I will be able to meet you and give you a hug in heaven, but only after Ash does." Well, from the looks of things, I'm going to be one of many in a long, long line of people waiting to meet Ashley as we all celebrate the One who is mighty to save. Yet, we are all going to have to wait until she's reunited with the ones she loved the most, those whose wounds are deepest on this day... those who miss her more than we could ever know.

To Ashley's family and closest friends, our thoughts and prayers surround each of you today. May her life-loving smile brighten the sadness of this day, and may the arms that so tightly hold her now carry you until you hold her in your arms again.


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

We Believe


This quote opened a newsletter from a church we are linked with in one of the townships outside Cape Town, SA.

"People who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are usually the ones who do."

I smiled reading the comment that followed: I don't know who Steve Jobs is, or what he did with his life, but I like this quote of his. It reminds me that faith is believing in things unseen, and that God is doing powerful things through crazy people who believe he can...and will.

Funny, they have no clue who Steve Jobs is. And true.

I've been at GMA this week in Nashville, and every conversation or interview comes back to the same topic, brought up by people with looks that are part "that's amazing," part "are you crazy," and part "thank God it's you and not me" as they say, so I hear Passion is about to launch a world tour!?!?

I've found myself quietly thinking, we are crazy! But we believe we are going to see God do amazing things! And more than ever I'm convinced we need a movement of prayer like nothing we've ever seen before. I'm not talking about a nice post or a few words on our behalf, but a wave of people who feel engaged by the Holy Spirit to kneel down and carry this journey with us. I'll let Him lead you as to how you can be a part of this growing wave, but I am humbly asking on behalf of our team that you consider what role you can play as you believe with us for what He alone can do.

It's not First Monday...but a few brief updates as we form a global prayer triangle and believe together. :)

Mexico City. We mentioned at passion Atlanta we lost our venue. It's back on the table and we need it to solidify soon.
Kiev. Lot's of bureaucratic and governmental hurdles. Word needs to spread.
Stockholm. Pray for clarity with key leaders there.
Sap Paulo. Space is going fast. Pray the right people will be in the building.
Kampala. Massive details for this outdoor event. People to share workload. Many things outside our control.
Paris. Very slow response. Can this really happen, God?
London. Students coming back from term break this week. Vision needs to be spreading rapidly.

We will update with many more needs along the way, trusting an army will be behind us each step of the way.
To make Jesus famous,

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Remembering The Silence

We are just seven days away from a pretty stunning evening in Atlanta. And I can't shake the clarity of His voice in the stillness as 9500 of sat listening together in the silence. So as a reminder, I am posting the opening text from the Saturday PM session. The words came powerfully as they appeared in single file, but the message is the same as you read them all at once. Praying you are well tonight and that the spirit of Passion Atlanta (and all six beautiful regional gatherings) is alive and well around the globe tonight.


PS-Thanks for asking about this week's potential meeting. In hindsight, that was best kept private for other's sake, and I really prefer to keep it personal for now. So no updates, but your thoughts are appreciated! Remember, many people read this Blog, so please respect that sense of personal space and don't ask for now. Thank you!

Welcome To The Silence.

Hi. Welcome To The Silence. Life Is So Loud Sometimes And Just Being Still Even For A Few Minutes Can Powerfully Rearrange Everything That’s Assaulting Our Minds And Our Hearts. Especially When God Is In View. After All He’s The One Who Said Be Still And Know That I Am God.

So We’ve Turned The Volume Down As We Start What We Hope Will Be A Beautiful And Raucous Night In The Hopes That The Things We Need To Hear Most Will Become Really Really Loud.

God Knows Who You Are. Where You Are. And He Knows What You Need In This Moment. He Is Not Looking At A Massive Crowd But The Eyes Of The One Who So Easily Spoke Galaxies Into Their Places Are Looking Right At You. Amazingly He Knows Your Name And The Color He Painted Your Eyes. And He Knows What Makes You Laugh And What Makes You Cry. He Is Not Distracted By What You Think About Him. Or What You Want Him To Think About You. He Knows What He Thinks About You And How He Feels. And He Wants To Say Something To You In The Silence.

I Love You.

Let That Sink Into The Silence And The Stillness And The Soil Of Your Heart.

God Loves You. Oh Don’t Believe The Words On The Screen Or The Words Of Somebody. You Don’t Have To Take It From A Third Party. No. The Father Has Spoken Directly To You. The God Of All Creation Is Engaging You In A Pretty Stunning Conversation. And As Is Always The Case God Is Speaking First. Not Waiting For Your Proposal Or Assessment Of Where You Feel You Are. Or If You’ll Ever Be As Amazing As Something Deep Inside Tells You That You Were Meant To Be. He Isn’t Waiting To Hear About All Your Screw Ups Or Your Great Deeds To Make It Up. No God Is Eager To Share His Take On You.

Here It Is.

Mess Up.
Deeply Loved.

Both Are True And Both Things Set Him In Motion Shaping History With A Story Fueled By Unstoppable Grace. You See God Was Not Shut Down By Our Failure. Nor Did The Consequences Of Our Rebellion Dim His Beautiful Heart Of Love. No We Were The Ones Shut Down When Sin Caused Our Souls To Die. And Die We Did. It’s Bad News Death.
Because Dead People Can’t See. Can’t Breathe. Can’t Help Themselves. Dead People Can’t Do Anything. That Is Why They Call Him Savior. When We Were Dead And Could Not Touch God Jesus Came Down And Touched Us. It Is The Most Phenomenal Thing That Has Or Will Ever Happen To You And Me. Divinity Rushing Into Humanity. God In Skin Marching Steadily To The Beat Of His Own Love. And Nothing And No One Could Alter His Course.

It’s True.

We Were A Mess.
Yet We Were Deeply Loved.

Because Of Our Mess His Embrace Would Demand A Cost Beyond Compare. Because Love Was Accompanied By Justice And Justice Demanded Someone Cover Our Debt Of Sin And Shame Someone Would Have To Stand In Our Place And Pay Our Fee. Someone Would Have To Come To Our Aid.

Even If We Wanted To Pay Off The Price Required By Our Mistakes It Could Not Be So. Dead Men Cannot Stand Up For Themselves. So Another Would Have To Take Our Blows And Swallow The Death Our Sins Deserved. But Who Could Do That For Us. It Couldn’t Be Just Anyone. Because If The Price To Be Offered Was Death The Price Would Have To Be Exacted From Someone Who Was Alive. Yet The Whole World Was Dead In Darkness Until A Miracle Happened And A Light Shone Above And In A Manger.

In The Night The Hope Of Us All Was Born Alive. The Only One Ever Born Alive. And The Only One To Live A Spotless Life Of Pure Faith In God. So On The Friday We Call Good Jesus Was The Only One At The Cross Who Could Possibly Die. Because He Was The Only Living Soul On Plane Earth. Hallelujah. Jesus Was Alive When God’s Love Drove The Nails Our Sin Screamed Out For Into His Hands And Feet. Nails Of Love Punctured Flesh As Blood So Precious Streamed Down To The Ground. A Puddle Of Incomprehensible Love Soaking Into The Soil.

His Innocence Now Gone He Gasped And Cried. Purity Now Covered In Muck And Shame. And When The Sun Fully Scorched The Beautiful Bloom Of Grace Jesus Could No Longer Suck In Enough Air To Breathe. And Finally His Heart Stopped Beating.

In An Instant All Hell Broke Lose And Darkness Covered The Moment As His Lifeless Mangled Body Hung For All The World To See. God’s Undeniable Expression.

I Love You.

His Death Shocked Everyone In Heaven And Hell. Everyone Except His Father Who Was On A Mission Of Love And Saw This Day Coming From Before There Was Time. But All Else Missed It. That’s Why Some Wept In Disbelief As Others Exuberantly Shouted Death Has Won.

The Darkness Threw A Party. But As It Turned Out Hell Partied Too Soon. God’s Story Was Just Getting Interesting As He Spoke To His Son. Rise Up Son I Love. Rise Up Oh My Son.

From The Clasp Of Death Christ Rose. His Father Exhaling Glorious Breathe And Neverending Life Into His Lungs. So Tonight We Will Throw The Party And Invite The World To Come. Because Our God Is Mighty To Save. And The Christ We Celebrate Has Overwhelmed The Grave.

He Is Here Now. This Same Jesus Is Here Now. Offering His Life To All Men. To You. Not You Trying To Live A Better Life. But Christ Living His Life Inside Of You. If You Want A Big Theological Word It’s Called Incarnation. It You Need A Simpler Word It’s Called The Gospel Of Grace. Christ In You The Hope Of Glory.

I Don’t Know What The Loudness Has Been Pumping Into Your Heart And Brain. I Don’t Know If You’ve Been Dragged Into The Depths Of Despair Or If Your Standing On The Deceptive Heights Of Your Own Doing. But In The Stillness Hear This. A Miraculous Offer Is On The Table. God’s Love For You Moved Christ To Take Your Blows So That Now In Him You Can Stand Forgiven And Alive.

And There’s More. Christ Lives To Be In You What You Alone Could Never Be.

Say Yes.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Hope And Love For The Hokies

Today we are remembering the Virginia Tech community as we cross the anniversary of the tragic events that rocked the campus and the nation last year. Our thoughts and prayers are yours today, as well as our hope for a future that continues to honor the dreams of those whose lives were lost. They are not forgotten, nor are all of you at VaTech.

May we show kindness and compassion to all who have suffered loss, and may we live this day for what matters most.

For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. Romans 14:7-9.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Passion Atlanta Isn't Over

Sure, the arena is empty and you are staring up at familiar walls, but Passion Atlanta is very much still going on today as 9500 of you join a whole wave of others who are living out this thing called "making Jesus famous with our lives." Atlanta was amazing, and the roar (think very long and prolonged, deafening, unprompted, errupting roar) of Satuday PM will stay with us for a very long time as we carry this movement to the students of the world. Jesus was the stuff of Passion Atlanta...in the words, in the noise and in the silence. And He is living in us right now.

Thank you for embracing this cause [being rooted in this theological soil of God's glory] and breathing so much momentum into the journey. Do Something Now happened beautifully in ATL, and I believe God is still smiling at the sight of worship that actually gave birth to love that's tangible. Just to recap, you gave 6140 towels, 27,900 pairs of socks [both of which have already landed in Area shelters, along with 1700 Lenny's sandwiches!], $34,659 to build 11+ wells for villages in Africa AND $118,430 for the Passion World Tour. WOW! All that from less than 10,000 college students in 27 hours. Thank you for giving to people like Sam Lu in cities around the globe. They will be blown away when we tell them what you've done.

Speaking of T&S, two of our Passion Podcast listeners from a nearby town came rolling up with a bunch of towels they had collected through their church. AND THESE TWO GUYS WEREN'T EVEN COMING TO PASSION ATL. They just wanted to be a part of this wave of compassion. Very cool!

Enjoy the images. Remember the seconds and moments. Breathe it in. Live it out.

PS-Many words could be added to the previous post, but we have to add Team and Volunteers. Incredible people both.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Passion Atlanta!

Passion Atlanta.
Crazy Crowd.
I Need Tickets.
New Friends.
First Timers.
My Flame.
His Flame.
Sing. Sing. Sing.
Huge Storm.
There Is No One Like You.
Come Holy Spirit.
Shut Up!
Towels and Socks.
Do Something.
11 Wells!
Chain Breaker.
We Are Free.
Lenny's Late.
Overcoming Savior.
"I Want To Win"
Single Words Are Powerful.
Sam's Laugh.
I Want My Life To Count.
Let's Go.
Something Happened.
Now Where You Are.
Holy Spirit Is In You.
For Jesus.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Hello Atlanta

I wish there was lot of time to write, but it's late and we have a long way to go. So enjoy the first night pics for now and I'll be back soon. LG

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Ask-First Monday Prayer/April

Somewhere in between the sovereignty of God (He does whatever pleases Him) and our free choices is an interesting invitation: Ask. It's not that God is at our beck and call, delivering on time whatever our latest whim. Yet, He deliberately invites us to ask of Him the things that are in our heart. Within God's unwavering control, there is room for our requests. And, according to His Word, our asking can effect the outcome of things great and small. What's more He adds: You do not have, because you do not ask God. (James 4:2b).

Given that we are forty days away from a mind-blowing seventeen city journey around the globe, and considering what hangs in the balance as we call a generation to live for what matters most, we must make sure we don't come to the end of the road having experienced less than God intended simply because we didn't heed the invitation to ask.

Clearly, our motives must be true [
When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. James 4:3], so with Jesus' fame in our hearts let's band together across the nations. Don't just glance at the First Monday requests and intend to pray, take a some time alone or with friends and join your heart and faith with people like you who are reading these same words right now. We are all on this amazing wave together, believing that greater things are still ahead.

16 (2+6+8) Prayer Points For April

1. This week 9500 students and leaders are headed to Atlanta for our last US Regional. We are still amazed by what God has done in the five previous cities and asking for something fresh and powerful in these days.

2. Passion Atlanta will gather students representing 551 campuses across the US. Print out the list below, let God lead you to a few schools and pray for the students/groups coming from that campus.

3. As you read in the last Blog post, God has secured a venue for us in Kyiv, Ukraine. We are really thanking Him for making this happen just in the nick of time. Pray that the news of Passion Kyiv (May 16) will spread quickly throughout the city and the nation.

4. Speaking of venues, we just lost our venue in Mexico City due to crazy circumstances beyond our control. We are asking God for clarity and wisdom regarding this stop, and believing these events will be used to lead us to His intended outcome. Pray for our Mexico City team and our partners there as we seek the next steps.

5. Still speaking of venues, as we have seen in Kyiv and Mexico City, venues can change overnight. As well, the right connections are needed in many cities before some venues are even an option. I know we have posted this request every month, but with no venues we have no events. Please ask God to give favor and certainty for the right locations in every city!

6. Leg 1 of the Passion World Tour is weeks away. Pray for Passion Stockholm (May 18). Tickets are on sale now, but there has been little movement. Ask God to expedite the necessary steps for people the hear and a hunger to increase.

7. We are celebrating the fact that over 500 tickets have already been claimed for Passion London (June 5). There is great synergy and partnership happening across the UK. Ask God to increase this sense of unity all the more and create a buzz for the potential this gathering holds as students return to campuses from their term break mid-April.

8. Passion Sao Paulo (May 23/24) will mark our first two-day event, and has the potential to be the largest national collegiate event in Brazil. Several hundred people have already staked their place and a growing network is working to get the logistics in place for this event. We have experienced some changes on our SP City Team and need added energy and endurance as they make final arrangements.

9. In every city we are facing spiritual opposition and introducing a message of truth and grace that defies historical norms. Ask God to pave the way for His Kingdom to come, making way for His will to be done.

10. Ask God to cover every City Team Leader, Passion Staff Team member, volunteer and national partner in these days. Pray over their families and their lives the authority and protection of Christ Himself.

11. Passion Kampala (May 30/31) will be an outdoor, two-day event on the campus of Makerere University. Logistics could be a nightmare, but we are trusting God for a supernatural sense of organization and a powerful outpouring of His Spirit that will alter the future of the nation.

12. Nothing like Passion Paris has ever happened before. We have a strong desire to host this event in the face of uncertain odds (no one knows exactly what will happen or if it will work!) We need to ask God to draw people. The logistics are pretty set, but we need Believers from all across the city and nation to hear the vision and unite for His fame.

13. As of this writing, we still need just under $4 million to meet all the expenses of the WT. That seems like a lot, but almost that much has already been provided. God is big and money is nothing to Him, so we should ask for Christ's sake that He multiply what we have and provide all we need.

14. We are still waiting for a few key pieces to fall into place before Manila is a solid GO. Ask God for creativity and wisdom as we make the final call, and ask Him to raise up a wave of people in The Philippines who are eager to see this gathering happen.

15. Our Passion Team is under the gun and time is short. Ask God to magnify our efforts, multiply our time and show us ways to make progress in shorter steps.

16. Ask God to raise up people around the world who will begin to pray daily for the WT. We want to know there's a massive covering as we head out on this journey for His glory!

Download a printable version of First Monday
Download a list of the universities represented at Passion::Atlanta

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Kyiv Is On, Atlanta Is Maxed!

Just in case you haven't heard the new Podcast, one of our prayer points from First Monday was answered last week when we finally signed a contract on a venue in Kyiv, Ukraine. Our team has been working so hard on this event (and even is on the way to Kyiv as I type tonight) and we were desperately running out of time when friends in Ukraine stepped in and helped secure the Sports Palace for Passion Kyiv. If not the most glamorous of venues, it's got plenty of space for us to have a ton of people for this event.

The date is Friday night, May 16, our very first stop on a World Tour journey that will take us to seventeen cities around the globe. Given the size of the Sports Palace, and the fact that we don't feel like there will be any capacity issues, Passion Kyiv is free. So far, we haven't heard from anyone in Ukraine as a response to the latest Podcast request, so I don't know if we are directly reaching people there. If you have contacts/friends there, please shoot them a message and let them know that Passion Kyiv is on!

Closer to home, Passion Atlanta sold out today. It's one of those happy/sad things, as we are thrilled to have a full house. But I know there are a bunch of people who have waited to the very end and you're not going to be able to be a part of a massive weekend for His glory. Just remember that registrations are transferable, and often groups end up with tickets to spare. So ask around and be creative, we don't want any sold tickets to go to waste.

If neither Kyiv nor Atlanta are close to home, please pray for both from where you are. We are one big family and we are all in this together!