The Biggest Spectacle at Catalyst

ATLANTA — It was our first time at Catalyst, and we were prepared for some highly produced craziness.

They have fired a man from a cannon, belly-flopped another guy 30 feet into a kiddie pool, offered camel rides onsite, and set ridiculous world record after ridiculous world record — including bubbles, Frisbees, and whoopee cushions. Not exactly where you expect to find our 67-year-old Pastor John.

But the biggest spectacle at Catalyst, or any other place in the world, is Jesus Christ, the sinless Son of God crucified for sinners. And John Piper had the amazing opportunity on Thursday to speak of this Jesus to more than 12,000 young, gifted leaders gathered at the Gwinnett Arena in Atlanta.

In summary, his message makes clear that you were created to display God. You are made in the image of Another, and all of us have failed to fulfill our one great purpose. But Jesus — the great spectacle of history — has purchased our re-creation with his death at Calvary. And now the best news in the whole world is that, in Christ, God’s unfailing pursuit of his glory has become his unfailing pursuit to make you happy in himself forever.

As many might imagine, it was a sudden shift in tone from the leadership-oriented talks characteristic of the Catalyst movement, but it became clear that this message provides the ground and substance of leadership and ministry — a substance that can never be replaced by savvy techniques, entertaining stunts, or skinny jeans.

Stream or download the 42-minute message, “Identity and Desire.”