Saturday, January 2, 2010

Pray for Passion

Thirteen years ago, a college student sat among many his age stunned by the answer to the question, "For whom did Christ die?" He would never be the same. (For the answer to that question, read John Piper's article or listen to his sermon . Note: I do not wish to enter into a theological debate so please refrain from sending comments that would stir up a discussion to that end. Thank you.) In that sermon, the Lord used His humble vessel, Pastor John, to lay a foundation for what was to come for the young man and his future wife and family. For, if the Lord had not so powerfully spoken through him--if Louie & Shelley Giglio hadn't invited him to speak--if the vision of Passion had not been cast, we wouldn't have had ground to stand on when we heard the words, "brain cancer."

Now, I know God could have used a myriad of mouthpieces but He sovereignly chose the Passion Conference in Austin, Texas in 1997. Two years later as a college Freshman, my heart was set aflame to say "Yes, Lord...whatever You have for me, my answer is Yes, Lord." At the time I had no idea I would be saying, Yes, Lord. I will walk the path of brain cancer with my husband for Your glory and my joy."

"Yes, Lord, walking in the way of Your truth, we wait eagerly for You; Your name and renown are the desire of our souls." Isaiah 26:8

So, I ask you to pray. Pray that there will be another young man, another young woman whose view of God is much too small--whose foundation will not be enough on which to stand when their world falls apart--whose purpose in life is the eternally dismal "American dream" instead of the infinitely joyous joining with the saints for the advancement of the gospel to the ends of the earth. Pray they will be utterly ruined. For His glory and their joy.

For more information go here.


angie said...

Was at that first Passion - praise God for rising up Godly men and women through the teaching of those days. I still have my notes from Piper's sermon, the first time I sat under his teaching.

Praying for y'all and thank you for continuing to update and share this journey so we know how best to pray for you.

Emily said...

May the Lord ruin all of us...for His glory.

TLC said...

Beautifully spoken truth.

TedE said...

No argument. Just gratitude, praide, and prayer to God for you and the way God uses His servants for His glory.

Kevin Schaub said...


I was a student a Wayland Baptist University when I first heard your husband preach (2002, I think). We are praying for you, Matt, and your kids every day.

I'm a student now at Southeastern Seminary. I don't know if Matt will be able to visit in February as scheduled because of his treatment, but know we care about you guys and are praying!

Right now, my sister is at Passion in Atlanta. She made the long drive from West Texas with some friends, and I now know how to pray for her while she is there. Thanks so much for this post!

Kevin Schaub

TedE said...

Oops - hit the wrong key - not "Praide"; but "praise".

Carrie said...

We were also there. Now, we are serving in China, which would have been so far away from reality had we not heard so much overseas encouragement from Passion.

Andrea said...

My husband, Matthias, and I sat under Louie and the crew during two different pivotal times in our lives. They pushed up to give up our lives for His glory. It has led to a road of sacrifice and joy. Praise God.

We are pleading grace and mercy for you and Matt as you walk through the fire.
Just so you know, you are both suffering so well to the outside world. I am encouraged and inspired to continue to give my life away through your example. We love your family....

Monte Lawlis said...

Betty and I are praying. Deeply moved by this.

Melanie said...

I just returned home from volunteering at Passion 2010 yesterday and today. I'll be headed back tomorrow. Thanks for sharing these words. I am blessed to be a part of what God is doing in the lives of the 22,000 students who have come to Atlanta for "such a time as this." We had an amazing opening session tonight. You have encouraged me to pray specifically for each student I helped register today for the conference...for each student that I pointed in the right direction...and for the group I asked (with a smile on my face and joy in my heart) to please not play football in the registration area...You gotta love college kids! I will continue to pray for your sweet family. God is being made known to many through Passion and through your lives. Blessings!!

The Berry said...

My family and my church have been praying for your family, like so many thousands.

Thank you for sharing this story of faith in He who is faithful.

I hope it's ok that I linked to your post. If not, accept my apology and let me know so I will take it off.


Liz said...

Awed by the Lord's infinite wisdom and the mysterious way His plan is always so simple, but so detailed, and His power moves forward in such mighty ways...still, after all these years.
He never ceases to amaze me and He is Lord!
I was first introduced to Passion, by CD, in 1999...that recording impacting my life and worship in ways that still bring tears to my eyes, even now. Thank you for reminding me to pray for their ministry, the vision that God has given them.
And I continue to pray for you, Matt, and the children, praising Him for your faithfulness. He is stronger!

Kari said...

Powerful post. Thank you. I am praying daily for you and your family.

Anonymous said...

Praise be to our God forever and ever.

Jenny said...

I was there too, that first passion years ago. my whole paradigm was shifted in those days and much of the teaching and worship received during that time has shaped me as a mom, wife, friend.......... To God be the glory.

roBUT & loLER said...

Praying. My heart is stirred with the same hope for others and the same gratitude for ground I could stand on during trials. I wish the revelation of The big, mighty, and sovereign God for all!

Lauren said...

THANK YOU, LAUREN for this post! I am always drawn to the feet and heart of Christ through your writing and the contents of your heart--no matter the season you are experiencing! I am thankful for the many ways you and Matt have purposefully chosen to stubbornly follow in the shadow of Jesus. May you continue to seek and find your sufficiency and strength in the arms of our great God. It has been such an honor for me to be one of the many who contend for God's glory in your family! I praise the Lord for your authentic and recklessly devoted trust, faith, and ultimate hope in Him and Him alone!
Lauren Cunningham
Abilene, TX

Them Chandlers said...

I accidentally deleted a couple of comments (debra--one was yours! agh!). So if you come back and your comment doesn't appear, that's why. Sorry!

kelly summers said...

thanks for sharing!

prin said...

"Pray they will be utterly ruined."

Love that part the most.

Helen said...

What a gift John Piper is to the body of Christ!
Lifting you up daily before the throne of grace. Can I just say that I want to be like you in your joy and love for the Savior in the midst of your suffering! You make Christ look amazing!
Grace to you this week.

Hannah Beth said...

Yes Lord! I served at Passion07 while I was still an Atlantan. Met my now husband 2 weeks later and 3 years after that, here I am in snowy cold MN. But my heart is in ATL this week. Couldn't make the trip as I prepare for surgery that may lead us to parenthood. His ways are not my ways and I thank Him for that! Praying for you Chandlers and for His prescene to fill that arena and change lives.

Evan said...

Wow... as a student here at the conference, and regular listener of Matt's, reading this post was eye-opening. It just seems like sometimes I divide people into corners based on the type of ministry they do... there's the Baptist/Evangelical corner, then the reformed/missional corner, then the Passion corner, etc..and they all have their different players and styles. But to hear that you guys were so impacted by the same things happening to us right now is just complete destruction of the walls that make those corners.

It's just further proof of what we're learning... that EVERYTHING is woven together and planned as part of God's masterpiece. And despite our differences, we're all in the same story with the same purpose.

Humbling... thank you.

Kim said...

As a mom with a daughter at Passion right now, it's such an encouragement to hear you say that. It is exactly what I am praying for her...and for myself, both personally that she may never outpace me and to be ready to let her go toward the upward call of Christ.

Pray for the parents of these young men and women. How good it would be for my generation not to be left behind.

Karen said...

Good stuff here- keep writing, please!

The Benson Blog said...

I remember that Passion conference well - had my own influences there. :)

Love reading your heart Lauren. I've definitely thought for some time that you should eventually write a book. I could see that as an incredible tool the Lord could use in many many ways.

Love you ~ Julie B

Andi said...

God destroyed me at a Passion event too... OneDay 2000. Such a sweet time of hearts bowed down and faces in the dirt. Since then, I've had the joy of serving the Passion ministry by volunteering at several events.(Sad I had to miss out on 2010.)
I love their heart for the collegiate generation and their desire for the fame of Jesus to be proclaimed among the nations.
Praying that hearts will be wrecked by Jesus through the teaching and worship going on in Atlanta in these few days.

Love you guys so much Lauren and greatful to be under your covering. Our little family is praying for you. Thank you for your authenticity, transparency,encouragement and heart of worship... even in the struggle.

EO said...

Beautifully said, Lauren. Both you and Matt continue to minister to us in this. Thank you, and praying continually.

bina said...

Wow! Your testimony shines a spotlight on a glorious God. Thank you. Praying for your precious family.

Kathy said...


you have been such a wonderful person to follow on this blog and your twitter.

Please pass on to your husband as well. You 2 have boosted my faith to imeasurable lengths through your strength and trust in God. What a joyful experience i'm having seeking him daily in new ways.

You have opened my eyes to things i never realized were there! Thank you from the depths of my heart, Thank you.


decade number three said...

Lauren, I don't think i can even possibly explain to you where i was before that post. Sad and getting sadder. Wondering where God was. I don't like where i live. I am less than happy at my job but lift myself up with "at least i have one." It has been a long time since i have been this depressed. I have been a Christian my whole life. I have prayed and studied the bible for as long as i can remember. I thought i WAS pursuing God. After hearing this sermon, however, i realized that while i was doing all the right THINGS, i was not PURSUING. I was so busy being unhappy and swimming in my unhappiness that I was not pursuing.
This sermon changed my way of thinking which i hope will continue to change my life.
Thank you so much for sharing!

Anonymous said...

I am a college student that just left PASSION 2010. We had an amazing time and more importantly our group of 25 felt God's glory and presence more than we had in a long time. We work and attend a college ministry in North Carolina and I can tell by the conversations we had that the face of our ministry will be different because of what we experienced at PASSION 2010. I also am a girlfriend to a future minister and preacher. I, too, feel the call to ministry with him and we had several conversations about life together in the ministry. I watched him be completely mesmerized by John Piper's sermon last night and joy filled my heart, knowing that God would be using him to do the same. We both can't begin to express the excitement we have to serve the Lord in ministry for the rest of our lives in whatever capacity He calls. We are praying for you, your family, and Matt during this time! Thank you for your prayers as well!

Kristen Heffelfinger
North Carolina

Mrs. Josh McPherson said...

My sweet husband also sat under the teaching of Pastor Piper at Passion 2005. It was a life-changing, vision-altering, doctrine-sustaining encounter.

For when he returned home, we found out (only a month later) that our first child would be born with Spina Bifida.

Embedded in our hearts was the knowledge of a sovereign and holy God...whom we could trust, no matter what.

My husband pastors a church here in Washington state and we are one of many families (across the nation) blessed by the ministry of you and your husband.

And now, because of your testimony during these dark days, we are challenged and pointed toward our holy God even more.

Praying for you and your family in these difficult days.

Blessings to you Lauren

Ruth Lee said...

Lauren - My name is Ruth Lee McLain and my family and small group are praying for y'all.

I emailed Chris Chavez and asked him to forward the email onto y'all. My dad(Ron Baker) was diagnosed with a brain tumor (GBM stage 4) on Oct 18, 2005 and he was 52 and in great health. The Lord chose to take him Home 20 months later on June 11, 2007. Our doctor was Dr. Karen Fink who y'all are using, as well. My mom and I poured ourselves into prayer and research. We have saved all of that research and would love to email it to you if you would like. We are lifting you up and praying for healing until the Lord shows us something different.

In Christ's love,
Ruth Lee McLain

Amy said...

I still have my notes from Piper's message at Passion 99 in Fort Worth. Thanks for the reminder to pray for those at the conference this year!

Autumn said...

My Passion Experience

22,000 college students from 1,200 different colleges nation wide came together for 4 days in Atlanta Georgia.

And we all were able to get away, and to listen to amazing speakers and amazing worship leaders and we got to hear from God.

I can't speak for others but I know I'm not alone, but my life was changed in 4 days
But it wasn't just words, 22,000 college students gave over $600,000 for projects around the world.

Projects to build borders to stop sex trafficing of unwilling women in Nepal, clean water wells around the world, sponsoring children to a better education.

Building a school for those who are not deemed good enough to receive an education, starving children, underprivileged women.

And at the end of the conference someone matched what we raised.. So in 4 days 22,000 college students.

All with jobs, school, lives raised over one million dollars to better our world

I've never.. Been prouder of my generation.

I am still speechless...4 days of amazing worship, digging into the Word of God with some amazing speakers that God has called to live for Him and bring powerful messages to people of this world, & being with 22,000 college students plus other people who who there and seeing everybody sing and lift their hands to the Most High has been eye opening or has awakened me to see the bigger story or picture of why we are here!

Caroline said...

I just got back from Passion 2010 - know that your prayers were answered as 20,000+ college students were awakened to the big picture of God's glory, and that the suffering that He allows His children to walk through with Him will be used to get more of Jesus, and to declare and display His grace, hope, and glory to a broken world.

Reading your blog and hearing about what y'all are walking through has encouraged me in a season of my own brokenness. I'm continuing to pray for your sweet family to hold fast to Jesus. Thanks for praying for all of us at Passion!

Helen said...

Praying for you today...

Ed Katterson said...

Yesterday I pondered Jn 17 and was overwhelmed as I read vs 26 ..."that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them." Reading all of these comments, seeing the type or quality of love expressed to you, I think I see the Love that Jesus spoke of. We at Bethlehem Baptist too, love you and pray for you diligently, sorrowing yet rejoicing with hope.
And, God used Passion 97 on CD to ransack my life in the summer of 03. Praise God I'll never be the same.

Kevin said...

That's great news. I had already heard part of that story, told from Matt's perspective, but I love that you were in on that too. God is good.

Nominate someone or something in need said...

love it:) well said! Lauren, you guys are constantly on our hearts and in our prayers...we love you guys!

Christine Hoover said...

I was there too and it changed me too. I remember being overwhelmed at John Piper's talk and at hearing Sons & Daughters for the first time. I especially remember Louie asking us if we would be so surrendered to Christ that we would be willing to die for Him, if ever given the opportunity. That moment has come back to me many times after having a son diagnosed with autism. I have not been asked to give up my body to death, but I have been asked to be a living sacrifice....dying to my plans and submitting to His everyday.

Lauren, you came with Christy Nockels to a college women's conference I planned a few years ago in College Station and I had the pleasure of meeting you there. I really liked you and enjoyed those few moments with you. I am praying for Matt, but I have many times been burdened to pray for you specifically as you serve and support him and care for your kids during this time. I will continue to pray for you!

Thanks for this post. I am encouraged.

Rebekah Wallace said...

hi Lauren :)
thankful for your blog as I have been reading for a few months after being so encouraged by Matt's teaching over here in Holland, Michigan. My husband and I had the sheer JOY of being part of Passion 2010 and I am so thankful for the way He moves. praying for your family on a regular basis.

Anonymous said...


We are praying for you and Matt and the kids in Israel. May the LORD's grace continue to be poured out onto you as you walk through this. And may His healing come quickly to Matt.

May His Name be glorified and magnified all over earth through the testimony of your family.
Melissa Wilson

steph said...

Was at 2010.
Was absolutely ruined to myself.
Praise Him.

Helen said...

My husband and I wanted to do something to bless your family, so we ordered a few cd's and had them sent to your church address. These two cd's are put out by Sovereign Grace Ministiries and we sing many of these songs at our church (Covenant Life-Gaithersburg). When my Matt was having his brain surgery last year, these words ministered to my soul..I hope they do the same for you. We pray for you every day and thank the Lord for your faithfulness and love for Him.
Helen and Matt Lowe

Jaime said...

Once upon a time on the blog you mentioned shaking out your clothes before putting them in the dryer. I have always done that, but never heard anyone else actually say they did that too. Anyway, its really random, but I am occasionally reminded to pray for you and your family now as I transfer my clean wet clothes to the dryer. As a stay at home mom and mother of two I am always doing laundry! Don't know if that blesses you or sounds totally weird, but either way, I wanted to tell you that God is bringing you all to mind and that I am praying for you.

The Mendonsas said...

"As for God, His ways are perfect" Psalm 18:30

A beautiful verse when we're not in the midst of tragedy and suffering. A much harder verse to believe in the depths of our being when confronted with the illness of a loved one, a child born with a handicap, a country plagued by poverty and suffering beyond comprehension.
Thank you, Chandlers, for being a living example of a faith more precious than gold! May God continue to show us all the perfection of His ways and may we desire Him more than any other thing. Praying for you always. We love you.

Simplymeg said...

I praise God that you were there. I praise God for The Chandlers pouring into us to be saved. I praise God that I have come to rejoice in God our Father as Lord and Savior. You, Lauren, like Matt are so gifted in your message. Through God and in His name!! Thank you!!

Be Blessed!

Joey said...

For what it's worth, Passion shifted the eyes of one of my students from self to Christ, and he's living out that change in Azusa, CA.

Anonymous said...

If only these words could penetrate to the core of our being and give us also the ability to count all as loss.
"Pray they will be utterly ruined. For His glory and their joy."
We are praying for your family and so challenged and encouraged as you suffer well with Christ.

Susan said...

I just found your blog today, a month after Passion 2010. I attended Passion 2010, and first off, what Autumn and Caroline said were both 100% true. Passion 2010 (and when I went to the DC Regional event in 08) really just completely opened my eyes to the glory of God. The whole time I was there, God did amazing, amazing, amazing things, but the one point where everything just made perfect sense was a point in John Piper's sermon. After Piper spoke, if I remember correctly, at one point Louie came out and just read some Scripture. Philips Arena, completely packed out, was filled with a holy silence as the Truth of God's Word permeated thousands of hearts and "How Great Is Our God" spontaneously started being sung throughout the whole arena. (I can't speak for the Georgia World Congress center that night, as I was in Philips). I want to thank you and everyone else who was praying for Passion 2010. God was there, and hearts were definitely changed because of it.

Unknown said...

I stumbled on your blog and saw this post. It's been a good 8 months since Passion, coming up on 9. I was there. And I was one whose foundation was not enough to stand on when my world fell apart. I was changed.
Thank you so much for praying. I don't know much about the battle your family has faced with brain cancer, but I am a firm believer that Adonai is our healer and I will definitely pray.
God bless you!