We didn't think it would be that big a deal when we got in the car that evening. Who could have known that God had bigger plans for an amazing concert happening in Toronto (finally!) for everyone who accepts God's grace. I had no idea the amount of students who were Christian of all nationalities right in my neighbourhood, it was impressive. University and college students from Alberta to the GTA were gathered in droves for this free concert that featured David Crowder, Chris Tomlin, and Charlie Hall to lead the crowd in worship and dance. Louie Giglio was a fantastic speaker, and I'll never forget how he showed us all how big a God we love.
David, Chris, and Charlie began the evening together, and then broke off to allow Charlie, then Chris, and finally David to perform with their individual bands. Between sets we were asked to get into prayer triangles (pray with about 3-4 people), Louie put us all at ease, poking fun at the whole situation. How some people try to avoid speaking up in prayer by pretending they're silently praying alone, I'm guilty as charged with that, especially praying with people my own age. We believe it holds such a threat of not looking cool or finding the right words, but when we finally got into our group, I ended up leading the prayer and forgot about the people I was standing with and just lifted my voice to God and thanked him and prayed for others who were searching for his presence, I prayed that struggle would be gone for them and God's embrace would take over. Letting go of our plans and our fears, makes room for God to provide glory.
Louie came on stage after Chris Tomlin and talked to us about our impression of God, and asked us how big we thought we, or the earth, really was in the scheme of all things. He showed us photos from the Hubble space craft from billions of light years away. He explained that God, who created the earth approximately 6,000 years ago spoke and there was light, he's that powerful, and yes, that good to us. He created the sun, which would take over 700,000 years of the gross national product of the world combined to afford enough power to light the sun for 1 second. Light is energy and God creates the energy that powers the joy of our spirits just as he powers the universe, that's why Jesus, the saviour of the world, was called the light of men.
Earth looks like a blue dot from space, something God could have just blew away had he not wanted it on his starry palette, but he chose to include us in his story, and sent Jesus to let us know that he cares enough to pay for our sins and that he's coming back for us in his perfect time before our sinful choices destroy the world. Louie showed us the core of one of the galaxies called the Whirlpool Galaxy, I believe it was mentioned in the book of Revelation, but it was clear to see God's thoughts in his heavenly sketch pad, there was the formation of a cross in the core, and the photo is included in this review so you don't have to search the web.
This was a concert where lifting up God was more important than getting down with the records sales or wardrobe of the performers. That aside, the Ricoh was full, the lighting was fantastic, and the scrim had images of moving through mountains, and across Hawaiian waves, it was beautifully timed to the music. Chris Tomlin performed an incredible song that he claimed he had only performed a few times while on tour; I wish I remembered the name of it, but I'm sure it will be on his next CD. David Crowder has a fascinating voice; its breaks and subtleness are his signature. "Here is our King" and "O Praise Him" were the favorites of the evening and the crowd stayed completely pumped up right until the end.
The Passion Conference is being taken around North America by generous donations from the crowd and has been for the past 10 years, it happens because we make the choice that it's worth it. Just like we make the choice that God is worth investing our time in praising and passing on his love to others that may not know that he's really there for them. Those who went to the Nashville Passion Conference earlier this year helped bring it to Toronto and New York and we donated last night to help keep it going around and back to Toronto. Here's hoping to see you there next year.
To learn more about the Passion Conference please visit: www.268generation.com .