Francis Chan is a famous former megachurch pastor who could boast about his professional successes in ministry. He's also quick-witted and funny in his sermons.
That is why his efforts to humble himself before God in this arena of 50,000 college-aged students who attended Passion 2017 are so remarkable.
Before addressing the crowds, the other famous pastors who are featured speakers, or even the astronaut who beamed a hello from the space station to the energized audience on earth, Francis Chan acknowledged God. Right before crouching to his knees to pray, Francis read a description of God from the Old Testament that emphasized how holy and fearful it is to be in the presence of God. It was enough to make anyone pause and reflect thoughtfully before just saying “Amen.”
It made sense that Francis Chan would then decide to draw his sermon from Isaiah 55:8-9
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
He cautioned the young listeners not to be so in love with their own thoughts that they had no room for God’s thoughts, which are infinitely higher than people’s thoughts.
He didn’t hesitate to highlight his own struggle in this area. Francis Chan’s mother died in childbirth, which gave rise inside of him feelings of being unwanted, particularly by his father. He never could measure up when compared with his other siblings, he felt. Chan wrestles with all of these feelings of inadequacy on a daily basis.
It is important for him to return daily to reading the Word of God, as the first thing he does in the morning, and the last thing he does at night. It is also important – and this was his prayer for the participants at the conference – that God’s Holy Spirit work supernaturally in his life to allow his heart to accept the truth in the Bible, and live following God’s Word.