“ It made me see, with not just my eyes but my heart as well, and has changed my life for the better,” Hernandez said. “One of my favorite things that happened at the event was when I saw hundreds maybe even thousands of people stand up to accept Christ into their lives and my heart was just filled with Joy!”
Hernandez was one of 10 students from First Baptist Church of Eupora to travel to Atlanta, Ga. last week to take part in the 2017 PASSION Conference held at the Georgia Dome.
“The reason we go to big events like these is to plant seeds in our generation so that they may spread the good news of the Gospel and lead people show that they may make the decision to accept Christ into their lives,” Hernandez said. “There’s just so much that happened that I wouldn’t be able to write everything down in under a month! I will never forget these past three days even if I wanted to because God has branded this event into my life so that I will remember his Glory!”
During the first night of Passion 2017, Hernandez said he was in awe of the number of people who showed up.
“You always see tens of thousands of people attend football games and things of that nature but you never see that many people to worship God and his righteousness,” Hernandez said. “But now before my eyes I see his people gathering as brothers and sisters in Christ to worship and praise him for the Holy God Almighty that he is! Throughout the event each day we would have worship and it was amazing that the Holy Spirit was present at all times. Sometimes I would even stop singing to listen to the crowd worship with words filled with love and joy! Even the messages given by the great evangelists that were there filled my heart with conviction and understanding because of God’s Word!”
More than 55,000 people jammed the Georgia Dome, where they joined their hands and hearts in prayer. Passion 2017 is a Christian-based gathering of young adults typically ranging in age from 18 to 25. This is the 20th year for the conference, “which grew out of a Bible study started in Texas two decades ago by Louie and Shelley Giglio as a way to reach college students and their leaders interested in a deeper understanding of Christianity and God.” These days, students come from 90 countries and more than 1,600 colleges.
Marlee Ray said she “really enjoyed all of it!”
“I especially enjoyed John Piper’s message on “the essence of evil” and how the ultimate essence of evil is to lose the taste for God/prefer something more than God,” Ray said. “He also said ‘until we hate the evil inside of us and in the world we will gut the majesty of God.’ I loved this concept because it made me really step back and evaluate my intentions for the things that I do and things that I have sought after in attempt to be fulfilled such as friends, sports etc.”
Ray said Jeremiah 2:13 stood out to her during this event: “For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.”
Tiffany Edwards said at Passion 2017, she learned that God is always there by your side even when you feel like he’s not.
“We let so many things and people sidetrack us from the true purpose of why we are actually on this earth,” Edwards said. “That purpose is to make go out and make disciples in all the earth. What I enjoyed the most was the unbreakable bond that I made with my youth group along with Alex and Victoria and with my family group at Passion.”
Edwards said she honestly believes that Passion helped her with some of the struggles and temptations in her life.
“God surely does work wonders in our lives'” Edwards said. “I am blessed. I am unashamed of the gospel.”
Other students attending from FBC Eupora were Greer Blaylock, Kelly Fulce, Corey Richardson and Taylor South.
On Monday night, the opening of the conference, attendees were treated to a surprise performance by Carrie Underwood, who performed with Crowder, and then did a solo performance of the award-winning “Something in the Water.” Underwood was trending on Twitter Monday night and the Grammy winner took to Twitter to share: “What an incredible night @passion268 ! Thanks for letting me be a small part of it! & thanks @crowdermusic for letting me crash your set!”
But it was the teaching that Cody Robertson, minister of students at FBC Eupora, that impacted him the most at this year’s event.
“It seemed a running theme was how to go through struggles well,” Robertson said. “As a Christian, we know that God’s ways are higher than our ways. God thinks so much differently. How we respond to struggles shows what we believe about God.”
Conference attendees were given a copy of “The Jesus Bible,” which includes contributions from not only Louie Giglio, but other national Christian speakers and authors such as Max Lucado, John Piper, Ravi Zacharias and Randy Alcorn.
In previous years, students who attend the Passion conference have given more than $8 million to fight modern-day slavery through “The END IT Movement.” This year, students will also participate in another effort, “Make History Together.” Attendees were being asked to bring new towels and socks that will be distributed to homeless shelters.
MAKE HISTORY TOGETHER is a missional giving opportunity to impact the one billion children in the world today who live in poverty. Passion 2017 organizers encouraged students “with the help of Compassion International, we have the opportunity to sponsor every unsponsored child in Tanzania, El Salvador and Rwanda — 3 countries in 1 gathering. By doing so, we will have accounted for the most children ever sponsored at a single event.”
Robertson said at the weekend event in Atlanta, Ga. 7,000 children we sponsored from Rwanda, Indonesia, El Salvador, Tanzania and half of the available children in Bolivia through donations at this one event. It costs $38 per month to sponsor a child through Compassion International.
For more information about the 2018 Passion Conference, go to http://268generation.com/.
See a portion of this story in the January 12, 2017 edition of the FBC Eupora Newsletter at br-newsletter-1-12-17