What a privilege we have as a House to hear and celebrate the stories of people coming to faith in Jesus and moving from death to LIFE! This is why we do everything we do around here…Generosity Sunday, the WINSOME wall…not because of numbers, but because of individual lives and stories.
Some of our favorite Sundays are Baptism Sundays, so we’re excited to start celebrating them more often. Moving forward, on the 1st Sunday of every month, we’ll be celebrating Baptisms as a regular part of our gatherings. We want to give more people a chance to share their story.
How encouraging to see all Jesus is doing in and through our House around our city. #WINSOME
Congratulations to all who were Baptized on Sunday…
There is an inextricable link between grace and generosity. Where one is found you can be assured the other is close by. This is because the very nature of grace is the unconditional and unmerited favor of God, a kindness and forgiveness that emanate from His heart solely because He is a God of love. Nothing we have done, or ever will do, triggers God’s generosity of mercy toward us. In fact, the opposite is true. Without God, we were dead as a result of our sinful choices, separated from God’s love and helpless to improve our plight on our own.
That’s when Christ stepped in and offered His life in our place, His righteousness for our guilt, providing a future arc with God that landed us in His family forever, free and clear of the debt of our sin and shame.
In one act, God’s stunning generosity turned religion on its head, completely upending the system of works and offering equal and complete justification to every single person who puts their trust in Jesus.
This is not just “church talk,” rather the miracle language of the gospel of grace. And once this grace touches our hearts an explosion happens within. Awakened from the dead, our lungs are filled with His breath and our hearts beat with the steady rhythm of gratefulness and generosity. We open our hands, our plans, our dreams and our pocketbooks to God. Not because we should, but because we can…because we may.
We find this spirit of “that we may” lodged in this beautiful text of scripture:
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness and into his marvelous light. For once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God, once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. —1 Peter 2:9-10
Worship is not something we choose to do, it’s something we may do. It’s not something we have to do, it’s something we get to do. The same is true of our generosity, of our giving.
Investing our money in God’s Kingdom purposes is not a penalty inflicted on us as a way of penance for our sins, it is a privilege afforded us when they were wiped away by the mercy of God through the death and resurrection of Jesus. We don’t have to give a dime to God (heaven knows He doesn’t need the money), but we may participate in the most select of all mutual funds, putting our dollars (those entrusted to us by Him) to work earning dividends for us that will outstrip all earthly investment by an astronomical margin.
This is the genius of God’s generosity. He brings us to life, doing all the work necessary to free us forever from the damaging effects of our sinful choices. God’s Son suffers, we are set free. Jesus is crushed, we are cured. Alive from the dead and back from the brink, God invites us to invest the life He has given us (our opportunities, influence, gifts, possessions, abilities) in the story He is already writing in history and eternity. As we do, our investments rack up serious long-term reward for us, treasure in heaven that will never fade away. As well, our open-handed generosity toward God is always met by the return of His limitless provision, the constant supply of heaven meeting every need we will ever have on earth and then some.
The beautiful thing is that our generosity toward God and others is not a labor, but a natural by-product of the kindness of God’s grace striking close to our hearts. As Pastor Randy Alcorn has brilliantly stated: “God’s grace is the lightening, our generosity the thunder.”
Our generosity doesn’t earn us God’s favor anymore than the thunder makes the lightning crack open the atmosphere. In the same way, our giving couldn’t initiate God’s gift of heaven’s priceless Son nor repay Him for the precious blood poured out for our salvation. Though while we cannot repay, we can respond.
On June 22, we will have the opportunity to celebrate God’s grace through our Generosity Sunday giving. For us at Passion City Church, our giving is woven together with the gospel. Grace, worship and generosity are inseparably wed. This is our culture, not a special emphasis. Our heartbeat, not a campaign.
Some have asked is there is a specific goal or cause for Generosity Sunday? Not necessarily, although we will be allocating the first $268,000 from Generosity Sunday giving to seven local and global causes. Rather, Generosity Sunday is an occasion to do more—to give above and beyond our normal giving so that our lives will be aligned with God’s grace and the cupboards of Passion City Church will be full.
For some, this will be the moment you give for the first time. For others, God will be calling you to greater levels of trust and sacrifice. But, hopefully each of us will take a personal and progressive step, one that unites our hearts around the reality of what Christ has done and reflects what our lives look like when lived as thunderous applause to the grace of God that has shocked the world.
Pray. Listen. Reflect. Respond.
That We May,
THAT WE MAY, Locally & Globally:
TOTAL = $268,000
Our favorite Sundays are Baptism Sundays as we celebrate all Jesus is doing in and through our House. How encouraging to hear the stories and see the smiles of people going from death to life in Him!
We’ve just wrapped up two amazing events in Manila, worshiping together with over 17,000+ Filipinos in the Araneta Coliseum and all we can say is—WOW!!! Our prayer is always for these nights to be marked by the power and presence of God, and that was never more true than as we gathered and saw hundreds respond to Jesus the last two evenings.
We’ve loved the opportunity to carry those of you back home at Passion City Church on this journey with us…we’re so grateful for how strongly you’ve supported and given us a sense of unity! Manila gave us an even greater sense of home as some of our Passion City Church family, Crowder and Brett, stepped in to lead with our team.
A few Door Holders from PCC even figured out a way to make it to Manila. One Door Holder shared with our team how many of you back home got together and paved the way through sponsorships for over 70+ Filipinos to be able to attend the events—so amazing! Love the generosity of our House!
Shout out to our on the ground partner Becca Music who did a phenomenal job organizing the event and hosting our team well.
We are headed now to Singapore, for an evening sound check and then leading all day Sunday at 4 gatherings of a local church. Thanks for being in this with us and lifting up our team. Pray for continued strength and energy…Sunday is going to be a long day but we are pumped at the opportunity and incredible privilege we have to lift up Jesus with the Big “C” Church around the globe!
That we may,
When we dreamed of coming to India, we never dreamed that it would be as good as these last two nights! Tonight was amazing as 8,000+ people packed (and I mean PACKED!) into the Thyagaraj Stadium in Delhi. From the downbeat of the first song they were with us, at many times singing so loudly that we had to just step back and listen to the sound of people so excited that they could hardly contain it.
We don’t take for granted the privilege of hosting a worship event in the capital city of the 2nd biggest country in the world, and before we started our prayers were joined with those from leaders from all over the city, that Jesus would be lifted high, people would come to know Him, and that God would use what happened tonight to breathe wind in the sails of the Church in Delhi.
We felt such a sense of togetherness with you as tonight we kicked off over here just a few minutes before the 10AM gathering started in Atlanta at 515. Our house was worshipping at the same exact time on opposite sides of the globe! It is so great hearing the amazing stories of what God is doing at PCC today—Great job Aaron, Shelley, Daniel and team!
We’ve had three events in four days and it has been full, but worth every second! Our team gets a much deserved day off tomorrow (some were on a plane at 4AM this morning after Hyderabad last night!) and then we head towards Manila to reunite with our beautiful Filipino friends.
It may seem repetitive, but we can’t say enough how much we appreciate your prayers. We are seeing Jesus change peoples lives through them!
After all these years Passion finally touched down in India tonight in what was a stunningly beautiful sight.
In the midst of the hustle and seeming chaos that is a Saturday night in Hyderabad (a city with a population larger than Atlanta or Dallas), a sea of 16,000 people jammed onto the sports field at Nizam College to lift up the name of Jesus. They were young and old, loud and reverent…and the whole place came alive on God’s Great Dance Floor!
So far we are two nights into this stretch and we are overwhelmed by the expanse of the Church Jesus is building and the hunger people have for Him all over the globe. Tonight, some came from as far as 14 hours away to be on that field for just a few hours in His presence with His people. And once again we were reminded that it’s a big world, but just One God who frees us, connects us and leads us on.
Our team is doing an amazing job! Putting up an event like this in these places is not a simple task, but both our Passion team, crew and band and our local partners are killing it night after night. We are all in this together!
Thanks for your prayers as we head north to Delhi, a city of 20-million plus where the Irreducible Minimum is this: her people need Jesus!
We are praying and believing for Passion City tomorrow. It’s gonna be a special day in our House! #WORD
Several times throughout the night you heard the statement from our team, “We’re actually doing this!” On some levels it seemed as normal as walking out to lead on a Sunday. The set-up was amazing, the local team had done a great job, there was an expectant crowd, the venue was great (think really big circular three story hotel with giant lobby/meeting/restaurant area in the middle with the room arms curving around and a baseball field sized grassy lawn in the middle) and the production was strong. We arrived, rehearsed and prayed. We prepared and believed.
But on every other level we were like, “Is this really happening?!” We were in Abu Dhabi, the capitol city in the United Arab Emirates. On the way from Dubai some of the highway exits were for the roads leading to Saudi Arabia. Due to some headwind a few weeks prior the gathering had almost been canceled, then the city moved. The event was being held in the middle of the Officer’s Club Hotel and Conference Center. We were in the shadow of the second largest mosque in the world. We had to turn off our walk-in music at a certain point for the call to prayer. And, given UAE is filled with people working and living from different countries around the world, the crowd looked like heaven…and was like heaven.
This: WE. ARE. ACTUALLY. DOING. THIS.
So, how did it all come to be? Well, that’s a long story and some of the details are better left unsaid. But suffice to say a beautiful Church is being built around the globe (at times at great cost) and nothing can stop our God from doing what he has promised to do. Don’t ever count God out!
Thank you to the government and the wonderful people of UAE for your kind welcome and gracious hospitality. We are truly stunned, humbled and amazed. What a privilege to worship such a great and almighty God under a gorgeous night sky. Do not lose your confidence in the One who leads you.
Thank you to our family back home. Our phones were buzzing as your encouragement was flooding our way. Please don’t stop providing the covering we need to proclaim the One who sets us free.
It has been truly stunning to watch what God has been doing in and through Passion City Church over the past few weeks. Sunday was a game-changer as we stepped into the power of our position (which can’t get better) and its ability to shape our lifestyle performance (which matters to God and to the world). Hopefully, our lives are “smelling good” today in a trashy world, one that needs to know that Jesus is alive. #WORD
Then, The Grove simply blew up with God’s favor as He told the story of shade and restoration. The story came to life in a personal and tangible way because God plopped Passion City down at the right time in the right place at 515 Garson Drive. As a result, life and freedom have come to our neighborhood!
But, happily, there is no disconnect between what Jesus is doing on the corner in our neighborhood to what He is doing on every corner around the globe. We are a part of one big Church and we have a calling to share the light and love of the Gospel with every person alive.
That’s what brings us to Dubai, the jewel of the United Arab Emirates today, a shimmering place filled with possibility, inspiration and beautiful people. Rising out of the desert, Dubai boasts the world’s tallest building (almost twice the height of the Empire State Bldg) and an insatiable desire to create what seems impossible. This place is an architect’s dream. If you can design it, they will build it! Think every amazing building you’ve ever seen all in one city.
Dubai is awash with wealth, innovation and an almost palpable urge to prove something to the world. But underneath it all, people are people. And if the irreducible minimum is that people need Jesus, you can safely say this entire city of millions of people is in need today. Once your jaw drops over the opulence, your heart breaks for the people. How can they know where grace and life are found?
What a privilege that we have the chance to step into what God is already doing here and in the other cities we will touch down in over these days. He’s the God of these cities, too, and His Church is being established brick by brick. We want to breathe a little wind into that process tonight in Abu Dhabi (the capitol city down the way that will host us). Thank you for reaching around the world with your prayers and for covering this night with confidence, faith and favor.
Jesus is alive.
Passion 2014 Atlanta Is Here
This week, thousands of university-aged young people and their leaders will converge on Atlanta from across the nation and world. Our Passion City family is working hard to prepare for, host and lead this gathering, January 17/18. We are excited and we need the whole House to lean in, praying for God to meet us in power during these days. If you are not attending or Door Holding this year (and even if you are), please pray. Each day and night this week teams of people will be working at all hours to do the big and small things necessary to make Passion 2014 possible. Please ask God to fill our team with a sense of His presence and to cover us with strength and protection as we seek to serve Him! We believe it’s going to be amazing.
Join Us January 19 As Passion City Church Meets at Philips Arena
Following Passion Atlanta we’ll have one huge Passion City Church gathering at Philips Arena on Sunday night, January 19 at 5PM! As well, we are recording the new Passion album on this night. You do not want to miss it!
This will be our ONLY gathering this coming Sunday. All are welcome and no tickets are necessary. Doors open one hour before the start time. We want to see you there!
For His Fame!