Stephen was the one who approached
me about going to this conference. I thought twice about it first because it was so far away, but I knew that God was going
to be there, working in the hearts of a generation that is yearning to be a part of God’s glory- and I wanted to be
a part of that.
The conference was 4 days,
3 nights long, starting from Sunday, January 2nd and ending on Wednesday, January 5th, the day we flew
back home. Each morning we would wake up to make it to our community groups by 9am. There were 12 community groups with hundreds
of college-aged students in each group. Although the main sessions were held in the Gaylord Arena (Yes, that’s its real
name), most of the community groups were taken place in different locations in downtown Nashville. It was in these community
groups that we broke up into small groups of 10-12 people, sharing about our lives as Christians and what new things we’ve
learned in the conference. We would meet in the morning at 9am and at night after the main session.
I’ve met some wonderful
people in my community group. All of them were very embracing and loving, and I felt very welcomed even though for some of
them I was the first Chinese person they’ve ever met. One girl openly shared about her struggles with her boyfriend
as if we were all her closest friends.
up at 8am every morning to make it to the community groups on time was hard, especially after attending the late night worship
at 11pm. There were other late night worship sessions we could have gone to, such as Chris Tomlin, Big Daddy Weave, and Shane
and Shane, but we went to see David Crowder for every late night session. The late night worship session would end at around 12am and we’d still have to walk to
our hotel and get ready for bed. We ended up sleeping close to 2am every night, so waking up was a struggle.
messages of Louie Giglio, John Piper, and Beth Moore were very encouraging. Louie Giglio spoke about how at times we can easily live on in our daily lives, not realizing the awesome about powerful God that is all
around us. We need to get involved in God’s magnificent story, which is far greater than any life story that we could
“And you shall love the Lord
your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment.”
Beth Moore spoke about loving God with our minds, which is a concept that isn’t emphasized greatly in most messages we hear about
this well-known verse. The philosophical world that we live in today looks down on Christianity because they think that it’s
a belief of the na´ve and gullible. However, the faith that we believe in does stand up firmly against any opposing philosophical
concepts of the world. Indulging our minds with what we need to respond to the arguments against Christianity is what it means
to love God with our minds. Beth Moore stated, “if in our pursuit of knowledge God becomes small, there is something
wrong.” If God becomes small to us in our classes, in our workplace, or in an intellectual conversation with a friend,
there is something wrong. We need to seek God so that our Christian foundation is so strong, that no secular ideals can shake
it. I’m so thankful for apologists such at Lee Strobel and Mike Licona, for they have helped me in reestablishing my
beliefs by answering the questions that many people ask about Christianity. Case for Christ, by Lee Strobel, is a book that is worth reading, as well as The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, by
Mike Licona, which I plan on reading soon.
John Piper spoke of our pursuit of joy in God. Our joy in God shouldn’t just be the icing on the cake of our service- it is the
cake. How can we love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength if we don’t enjoy Him? Piper said that our joy
in God needs to be so great, “that no pain can shake it and no pleasure can compete with it.” This is how we serve
“Again, the kingdom of heaven
is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid; and for the joy over it he goes and sells all he has and
buys that field.” Matthew 13:44
nature of conversion is all about realizing the joy that we have in Christ, and giving up our lives to obtain that joy. Piper
said that we didn’t need to read that verse in order to know about conversion. Our realization of that joy in Christ
needed to have taken place in order for us to be converted.
“Looking unto Jesus, the author
and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down
at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2
Jesus himself endured the cross by looking onto the joy that He would obtain in His own glory and splendor. If Jesus, in his
act of dying on the cross to save us, sought the joy of God, who are we to serve God on a "higher" motive? Our reason for
serving God shouldn’t be because it's our "duty" as Christians, it should be because there is no greater joy that we
can obtain in this world than to serve God.
said that there are two responses that he usually gets after convincing people that our eternal joy is what we need to seek
in our service to God.
feel relieved that it’s okay to pursue our own joy.
feel guilty because they realize that they aren’t enjoying God as much as they need to.
This needs to be our prayer to God, that he may help us enjoy Him in our service to Him. In the last section of Acts 20, Paul
is encouraging the elders of church in Ephesus to serve God, telling them about his own service to God and that after he leaves,
“savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking
perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.” (verses 29,30) He is basically telling them that serving
God isn’t easy- there are many hardships that we will have to face along the way that will make it difficult for us
to enjoy God in our service.
Lastly, Paul had this to say:
“In everything I did, I showed
you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is
more blessed to give than to receive.’” Acts 20:34
Piper said that the most important word in that verse is the word “remember.” Paul is saying that during those
times you feel it’s so hard to serve God- during those times you feel like you can’t go on any more, remember
the words of Jesus, that it is more blessed to give than to receive. What an encouragement! Thank you Lord for giving me Your
blessed word, that I may walk steadfastly in my joy in You through any turmoil I might encounter.
*You can purchases all the messages from the conference from the Passion website.