God is revealing Himself as the "perfect Father" to a generation plagued by the heartache from fatherlessness, rampant divorce, and anxiety brought about by iPhone addiction, said Louie Giglio at the Passion Conference 2019.
Speaking before thousands on the first night of the conference in Dallas, Texas, Giglio recalled two events that have shaped Generation Z more than anything else: the 2007 launch of the iPhone and fatherlessness, something that has escalated with no-fault divorce. Giglio noted that in 2010 all 50 states had adopted a no-fault divorce law, enabling families to easily dissolve.
"There is a father issue in the world and a phone issue in the world. And you had nothing to do with either one of these things," he said.
"But yet both of these things have a lot to do with you."
While iPhones have put the world at the fingertips of people, showing both the good and bad things happening, the amount of time people spend in front of screens is unhealthy, he asserted. And the fatherlessness that has transpired in the United States over the past several decades has made it far more normal that a father is not present in every home.
"The result of all of this is that we're all living in an uber-anxiety driven world. Depression is off the charts," and something worsened with drug use, he added. This is so much of an issue that the life expectancy in America has dropped for the first time in 60 years due to the increasing number of suicides, he noted.
Giglio said he, too, knew what it was like to be "incapacitated" for months, weighed down by terrible depression and anxiety.
"But I also know this: God is still alive. And God has a plan."
He recalled a time where God prompted him with the knowledge that a young girl was contemplating suicide while at a youth conference where thousands of high schoolers attended. Giglio had a visual impression from the Holy Spirit that someone in the room had devised a plan to commit suicide, and had written a letter in the journal to her family and the details of how she would end her life.
Wanting to be attentive to the Lord in that moment, he interrupted the conference at an opportune time and asked everyone to bow their heads, close their eyes, and began to encourage the crowd, noting that God sees the letter and that she is not alone. He briefly explained what God had shown him without giving details, and asked that if anyone had made suicide plans for them to raise their hand for prayer.
In a room full of approximately 4,000, somewhere between 100 to 200 young people raised their hands that they had made plans to kill themselves. Giglio was later told that where he was ministering that night took place in the ZIP code with the highest teen suicide rate in the nation.
The next day he received a message on social media telling him that she had scrapped her suicide plan, that God had moved in her heart, and that she was going to live for Him. When Giglio clicked on the profile picture, he realized that it was the girl he had seen in the vision. That event set the trajectory for the Passion Conference and his wanting to speak life into a generation riddled with anxiety, and teach them to reject the cultural premise that anxiety and depression is a part of life.
The goal of Passion 2019 is to be "sent out" but before that happens, it's important to know your identity, Giglio stressed.
"God isn't interested in getting you to do something. He wants you to understand that He sees you just like you are, right where you are, and He loves you. And His prayer for you is that you'd let Him set you free in these days."
Being free means knowing deep down in the depths of one's being that one is a beloved son or beloved daughter and that God is the perfect Father, he explained.
"For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear. But you received the Spirit of sonship. And by Him, by this Spirit, we cry, Abba, Father," he said, reading from Romans 8:15.
The primary relationship with God is not as students of the Bible, workers in the Kingdom, but father and child, he went onto say. And thus, he added, the enemy's goal has been to shatter fatherhood.
"If the enemy succeeded in smashing up your view of Father then it's possible that you're going to have difficulty with that primary relationship that God wants to have with you," Giglio said.
Bad earthly fathers, be they abusive, absent, uninterested, or passive compound this problem, he said.
He finished his talk by inviting the crowd to receive the love of the Father, as Abba and for anxiety and depression to break, and for people who were planning to commit suicide.
Passion 2019 is the first year the conference has been held in four different venues — two in Atlanta, Georgia, one in Dallas, Texas, and one in Washington, D.C. — simultaneously. As a result, there has been around 8,000 more attendees this year than in previous years. The Passion Conference began Wednesday and will conclude on Friday.