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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Wanting To Be On This List

“I want this.” Have you ever heard someone say that? Around Christmas time, it’s easy to hear people say that.

Ironically, at the end of the year, some magazines put out a list of “Who’s Who”, a list of people that others want to be.

And yet sometimes we can’t control the lists that we’re on, can we? That’s usually the way it is with family and relatives.

Just look at Jesus’ list of men in his family tree in Matthew 1:1-16. You’d expect all these men to be leaders, full of grace and guidance, people worth emulating.

But it’s not (not entirely, at least).

Some of the people on the list are quite the opposite, while others are what you’d expect. The types of men in this list are wealthy farmers, shepherds, mayors/city founders, harp players, kings, ordinary guys, and a carpenter.

For example,

  • Abraham was “a tender of livestock” and very wealthy.
  • Isaac was “an accomplished farmer and herdsman”. He, too, was good at what he did.
  • Jacob’s story is that of deception, a herdsman who had deceived and been deceived by others.
  • Judah, “a leader among his brothers”, a shepherd.
  • Nahshon, Aaron’s brother-in-law and leader of people of Judah.
  • Salmon, the founding father of the little town of Bethlehem.
  • David, once a shepherd, became the second king of Israel.
  • Solomon, the wisest of all, and the third king of Israel.
  • Rehoboam, the king of the united kingdom which split underneath his rule.
  • Asa, king of Judah, “traveled a long way with God before getting off track” (NLT).
  • Jehoram, an evil king who killed all brothers out of a jealous rage.
  • Uzziah, king of Judah, great military builder, became proud, and tried to do priestly duties, something he wasn’t wired to do.
  • Ahaz, an utterly horrible, reprehensible king of Judah, even sacrificing his own sons to fire ‘gods’.
  • Hezekiah, a king who reopened the Temple in Jerusalem, tearing down all that his dad Ahaz had done.
  • Amon, a very evil king, only reigning two years until his officials assassinated him.
  • Josiah, “the last good king of Judah” who made many religious reforms.
  • Jeconiah, son of Josiah, and just an ordinary guy.
  • Zerubbabel, the “recognized leader of the exiles (to Babylon under Cyrus)” who rebuilt the Temple.”
  • Joseph the carpenter, Jesus’ earthly father.

Some people were the best at what they did, and now history remembers them, and we learn from them.

Some people weren’t the best at what they did; in fact, some were really bad. Yet God chose to glorify himself through them.

Some people were lazy and/or unproductive, not contributing anything, and all we see is their name on a record.

Which tells me this:

God can use anyone, but He wants to use you. When someone asks, “Where did Jesus come from,” may we remember that Jesus comes from a long list of ordinary people, that Jesus comes from the kind of people that God wants to include, and that Jesus comes from people that want to be used.