Thoughts on Passion’s Whole Heart

Is this Passion’s Whole Heart, delivered to us here in 2018?

I’ve followed Passion Conferences since 2000, even writing a review on this blog about one of their albums, and taking any opportunity to bring them before our church or students.

My well-versed and trustworthy friend returned from this year’s Passion conference saying, “Passion was good this year.”

“Oh yeah? But how was the music?”

He replied, “This is easily their best year in, well, maybe ever.”

Can I just take a moment and say what you’re thinking? I hate it when someone tells me what to think, like, “Bro, this movie will change your life” or “Oh my, that person is just the best” or “You’ll really like* that dessert that has milk, buttermilk, heavy whipping cream, and cream cheese. Life. Changing.”

*I dislike milk heavy items, so I’ll never ever believe you if you say this to me.

I digress.

So when my friend told me this, I thought, “I’ll be the judge of that.” I found a track online and thought it sounded weak. Of course, wanting to exert my superior, although somewhat removed, opinion, I told my friend, to which he said, “You should listen to it again.”

Four weeks later, I’ve sang four songs from the album to my daughter almost each night for a week, the life-giving lyrics resonating deeply within as we sing their truths.

“Almighty God,” written by Daniel Bashta (the How He Loves writer) and Sean Curran (side note: a guy in Atlanta once gave me Sean’s number to call if I ever needed a worship leader. Wish I would’ve saved it), has a great message, as any song about God being Almighty is a good song. We don’t have enough of those in rotation, do we?

“God, You’re So Good” is the track I heard online about a month ago. The tracking and mixing wasn’t final which makes a bigger difference than you’d imagine. On second listen, this song speaks to God’s goodness. What is really powerful are the identifying statements in the bridge, where you’re reminded of what Scripture says of you, “I am blessed, I am called/I am healed, I am whole/I am saved in Jesus’ name.”

The best line of “Whole Heart” is “Your love/it comes with no conditions/You give us your whole heart.” The writing is anthematic, shouting declaratively about God’s love.” Also what I love about this song? Louie Giglio has a writing credit on it. Yep, Louie has written songs for Passion since it’s inception, I believe. His songs are sparse, but his lyrics are so deep to the soul.

My favorite song, at the moment, is “More Like Jesus,” pictured above. A couple new to the Passion leadership helped write this, and in it, the chorus gently and prayerfully says, “If more of You/means less of me/take everything. /Yes all of You/is all I need/take everything.” May we be more like Jesus.

His name.

His fame.

Worship music helps orient my heart around what matters most (sure, I listen to 80s and 90s almost every day too, but I indulge on a daily diet of worship songs too).

Maybe we could all be more aware of what music points us toward.

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The Poverty and Wealth of the Second Day of Christmas

“On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…”

…a poor man’s gift.

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This Christmas, I want to encourage you to give what you can and here’s why:

Regarding the birth story of Jesus, we find in the Lukan account that Jesus was 40 days old when his mom and dad took him to the temple in Jerusalem, 5 miles or so away, to complete her purification and consecrate him to God.

Which is where we read this:

24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” Luke 2:24

According to Jewish law, the customary sacrifice for purification after birth was a lamb. But what about the poor, those who couldn’t afford purchasing a lamb?

Thankfully, a provision was made allowing those in poverty to purchase two turtle doves instead.

TC Butler writes, “Unable to offer a lamb, they presented birds as a poor person’s substitute.”

And Mary and Joseph certainly were destitute; she had mentioned that she was “humble”, i.e. poor, in her song to God in chapter one of Luke.

Mary and Joseph gave what they could afford.

Which is entirely countercultural to what we see in America, isn’t it?

So why do stories about extraordinary gifts in dire situations seem to excite our souls?

For example, do you remember the short story called “The Gift of the Magi?” The story is one of a poor couple wanting to get each other presents. The wife gets her long hair cut and uses the money to buy her husband a chain for his pocket watch. The husband, meanwhile, sells his pocket watch in order to buy his wife combs/brushes. The moral of the story is that it’s the thought that counts. In fact, it’s the giving that matters.

Give what you can.

So many people overextend themselves, going into further debt. It causes further strife and anxiety.

And that’s not what Christmas is about, not even on a secular level.

No, instead, in the Christmas story we find a wife and her husband giving the most that they could afford, and it ended up being a display of wealth more than any could imagine.

Giving doesn’t need to involve expense.

Two turtle doves will do just fine.

The Unseen Miracle Part Two

Did you read part one?

Jesus works in the unseen middle, performing miracles we may never see. Unseen miracles happen everyday.

When Water Drops Collide

But sometimes those miracles aren’t just for you. Sometimes Jesus does a miracle for you, but it benefits someone else in a way you’d never imagine.

My wife pointed this out to me.

Look again at that text:

On the third day there was a wedding at Cana… When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine”… Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew)”… John 2

At the end of that passage, we see another amazing thing (that’s the beauty of God’s Word; He likes to reveal Himself to you and to me in many ways):

The servants were there the whole time, and they experienced the miracle from a different perspective.

Sure. There’s the unseen miracle.
But then there are the servants who listen to Jesus say, “Fill those jars”. So they find some water themselves and then they fill the jars, themselves. And then Jesus says, “Take some water out of the jar you yourself filled, and bring it to Kid & play (ok, maybe that wasn’t the name of the party thrower, but they did throw a house party, right?).”

And they did. And that’s when it happened, right before their eyes: the master tasted wine, not water.

The miracle meant for the house guests was now seen from a different perspective. John writes, “The servants who had drawn the water knew [where the wine/miracle came from].”

They knew. They knew that Jesus performed an unseen miracle.

Sometimes your miracles aren’t just for you.

Knowing this, what should you do the next time an unseen miracle comes your way?

The Unseen Miracle

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We are all looking for miracles.

You begin to feel your world crumble, and you look for a miracle.
Your finances begin to worsen, and you look for a miracle.
A loved one gets diagnosed with cancer, and you look for a miracle.

We are all looking for miracles.

So, I was looking at this passage recently, and I noticed something strange (let’s see if you notice it):
On the third day there was a wedding at Cana… When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine”… Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.”… John 2

So what’s so strange about this miracle?

The strange thing to me is what we don’t see in this text.

John tells his readers that he recorded all these accounts and miracles so that we may believe, yet he leaves something out of the recording of this first miracle.

He pretty much leaves out the miracle. Think about it: most times that we read about a miracle that Jesus does, we see a before state, a middle action, and a final result.

Someone or something is a particular way, and then Jesus does something (speaks, makes super mud, touches someone), and then that someone or something is different.

In this account, Jesus tells the servants to fill up a jar, then we don’t read that Jesus does anything, and then Jesus tells them to take some out and give it to the party thrower.

There’s no visible middle action.

And that’s ok.

You know what that tells me?

Jesus is working in the unseen middle of our lives, performing unseen miracles all the time. And you may never notice what He does — that He put food on your table, or that He put someone in your path today to encourage you, or that your money seemed to stretch a little further this week.

Jesus works in the unseen.

Quit looking for the neon sign, or the miracle in plain sight. And realize that there are unseen miracles everyday.

Even right now.

A Sea without a Shore

Tonight we’ll finish up our series A Sea Without A Shore, an Easter series based in Mark about hope and life.

And particularly about the love of Jesus.

Tomorrow I’m going to post a look at the creative process behind crafting that series (believe me, it was elaborate).

Until then, enjoy this song from David Crowder, Sometimes.

(it’s where we got the idea for this series, kinda)

What words are you aching to hear this Easter season?