When I was serving as a youth pastor in Oklahoma I took a group of high school seniors to one of the early Passion conferences in Austin, TX. What I was unprepared for was the message that would be preached by John Piper. His message to some 6,000 students was not how to date in college or how to deal with stress. Piper stood before the gathered students, who were not supposed to have strong attention spans or care much about doctrine, and preached on Jesus' motive in the cross. That's right. He preached on the doctrine of the cross. And I have never been the same since.
That is no exaggeration. It was at that point where I began to vigorously question some of the theological assumptions of my upbringing. It sent me into a stressful but glorious period of diligent study and prayer. What I came to see was that my God was too small, too man-centered, and too sentimental. I came to see that my view of the cross made it little more than an affirmation of my value. God used that message to shatter me and set me on a course that became, for me, like a second conversion.
Take time to listen HERE.