DALLAS, TEXAS -- According to Baptist Press, thousands of college students and young professionals in Texas attended Elevate conference Jan. 22-24 at the Dallas-area Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano which is sponsored by the Southern Baptist North American Mission Board. The conference gave an opportunity for the students to explore how to impact their world as Christians, understanding sufferings of Christ, through a preview screening of “The Passion of The Christ.”
Leaders across the nation from entertainment, politics, and other key areas of influence in society such as Robert E. (Bob) Reccord and Hugh Hewitton were invited as the speakers.
In the opening address of the conference, NAMB President Robert E. (Bob) Reccord challenged the participants to live an adventurous life by following the path of Christ:
"From one end of this room to the other," Reccord said, "God is saying, 'I want you to have the adventure of your life. And if you want the adventure of your life, here's what happens: You give away your life to me, and I will give a mission to you that will allow you to change your world.'"
"But God said, 'Don't say you're too young, Jeremiah, because I your God am with you; I will touch your mouth and put my words on your lips. Whatever I say to speak, you do. And I will be with you whatever you go to do,'" Reccord said. "Now that's an adventure. The God who said that to Jeremiah is the same God who says it to you."
Followed by Reccord, a renown author and political analyst Hugh Hewitton gave a practical advice, encouraging people to look at the world and see the flow of history since the time of Christ:
"You've got to know your history," Hewitt said. "Especially you've got to know the five stories that make up the story of why we are here in this building today: the history of the Jews, the Greeks, the Romans, the English and the Arabs."
He also emphasized on the importance of post-graduate education to influence on a national scale and be willing to get work experience in the power centers of the nation such as New York, Washington D.C., and Los Angeles, along with disciplined habit of having quiet time with God.
The evening concluded with a full preview screening of "The Passion of The Christ," which left a deep impression in the hearts of the participants. Jim Caviezel, the actor who played the role of Christ, also joined the ending for a moment thanking the audience for attendance.
"At first I didn't want to watch ... but then I let myself watch it and witness it, because this is what Christ really went through. And I didn't want to avoid it," Melissa Ostrum of San Marcos, Texas, said.
"The second thing is that Christ considered it joy to go through that for us, and in the Bible He tells us we're not going to go through anything that He didn't first already endure," she added. "And He considered it joy because it was worth it. We should consider it joy when we endure pain, suffering and persecution, because that's going to bring forth the patience, the fruits of the Spirit."
The second Elevate conference is planned Feb. 19-21 at the Charlotte (N.C.) Convention Center.