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Category Archives: Paul David Tripp

Dr. Paul David Tripp is the president of Paul Tripp Ministries (www.paultrippministries.org), a nonprofit organization, whose mission statement is “Connecting the transforming power of Jesus Christ to everyday life.” This mission leads Paul to weekly speaking engagements around the world. In addition to being a gifted communicator and sought after conference speaker with Paul Tripp Ministries, Paul is the Executive Director of the Center for Pastoral Life and Care in Fort Worth, Texas, and has taught at respected institutions worldwide. As an author, Paul has written many books on Christian Living that are read and distributed internationally. He has been married for many years to Luella and they have four grown children.

Paul David Tripp on The Best Worship Service Ever

An Extended Meditation on Revelation 19:6-8

(These articles were composed by Paul David Tripp on October 6, 12, 20 @ http://www.paultripp.com/articles/)

12_article_graphic_worship_reclamation

Five Important Things

The Book of Revelation can be confusing and potentially intimidating. Many would prefer a simple Psalm or Proverb with our morning cup of coffee instead of the eschatological numbers, symbols and creatures that populate the final pages of Scripture.

All that imagery has significant meaning and relevant application to your life, but it does require a lot of study and understanding. So when people ask me about the Book of Revelation, I say that in its most simple form, it’s a glorious portrait of the risen King Christ.

THE BEST WORSHIP SERVICE EVER

I would argue that the best depiction of that glory is found in Revelation 19:6-8. Sometimes I close my eyes and try to imagine being in attendance at the most vibrant and exuberant worship service ever recorded. Check out these words:

Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure.” (ESV)

I love those three verses because it enables me to visualize the intimate and raucous celebration that is to come. But while I wait for that celebration, those verses also require that I re-evaluate my priorities. How so, you may ask? Think about this: those in the rejoicing multitude have lived life on earth and now exist eternally on the other side. By eavesdropping on their song, we can learn what’s truly important for us today.

FIVE IMPORTANT THINGS

There are 5 things that the great multitude is celebrating:

1. God Himself (vv. 6-7)

Those in the multitude celebrate that God exists. It sounds a bit dumb, doesn’t it? But, if you were to honestly assess your life, you would find streaks of “godlessness” every day. That doesn’t mean you’re temporarily an atheist or indulging in wild streaks of debauchery; it simply means that you’re making decisions that forget the presence of God.

Imagine how your relationships, your ministry, your work, your calendar, and your budget would be transformed if, before every desire, word, and deed, you remembered the presence of the Lord. But we’re amnesiacs, God-forgetful people; our hearts are prone to wander. Would you humbly admit that you forget God more than you should?

2. God’s Reign (v. 6)

Those in the multitude rejoice that God Almighty reigns with power and precision. How often do you and I forget about his sovereignty and try to work out life on our own? We wish we could turn back the clock and change the past; we try to manipulate people and locations in the present; we fret constantly over the future.

If you rested in the active reign of God, your life would be marked by peace and confidence, even in the darkest and most unpredictable of times. Would you humbly admit that you fearfully try to control more of your life than you should?

3. God’s Glory (v. 7)

Those in the multitude are intimately experiencing what they were made for: the glory of Another. It’s clear from Scripture that you and I were not designed to pursue and accumulate as many pleasures and treasures as we can, but to live for the glory of God.

Think about how many times you choose the kingdom of self over the kingdom of God. I’m not talking about big moments; I’m talking about the 10,000 little opportunities you have each week to pursue God’s kingdom. Would you humbly admit that you love little glories more than you love the Glory of God?

4. God’s Invitation (v. 7)

Those in the multitude recognize how significant their inclusion at the Marriage Supper is; they have made themselves ready. In other words, they’re celebrating redemption and the fact that their lives have been joined together with Christ.

There are some days when you and I are joyfully married to Jesus the Bridegroom, but there are many days when we treat our lives as if they belong to us. Remember, Christ died so that those who live may no longer live for themselves. Would you humbly admit that you don’t always want the invitation to live for Jesus?

5. God’s Grace (v. 8)

Finally, those in the multitude are celebrating their wardrobe, the fine, bright and pure linen they’re given to wear. This represents the grace of God that has transformed their heart from the inside out.

One day, you and I will experience completely pure and transformed hearts. But a filthy heart needs to be cleansed before it becomes pure, and that cleansing process – called sanctification – requires pressure and heat. I’ll be the first one to admit – I often struggle with God’s way of purifying my soul. Would you humbly admit that you don’t want sanctification as much as you say you do?

DON’T BE DISCOURAGED

As I reviewed these five important things that the great multitude celebrates, I was discouraged by how short I fall. I forget God; I try to control my future; I pursue self-glory; I’m not excited to die to self; and I don’t rejoice when sanctification comes my way.

But then I remembered – these people are on the other side. They no longer wrestle with sin like I do. One day I’ll be able to celebrate with unrestricted joy and passion!

Until then, every day will be a struggle. That’s why I encouraged to you five times to “humbly admit” your shortcomings. Remember, God gives grace to the humble, form-fit for the specific battle of that day. And, in the midst of your failing, Jesus will never turn his back on you; your the bride of Christ, and nothing can remove the love he has for you.

Value Clarification

Last week (above) I wrote about Five Important things to remember during our days on this earth. If we remember God, God’s reign, God’s glory, God’s invitation, and God’s grace, it can radically transform the way we live in the here and now.

I was inspired (and challenged) by the voices of those in great multitude, found in Revelation 19:6-8. Remember, these people have concluded their broken, earthly existence and now reside eternally with God. That means they see with clarity and value with purity what God sees and what God values.

By eavesdropping on what they have to say, we can receive the grace to see and hear where we’re so blind and deaf. Here’s one of those areas where we need help:

1. VALUE CLARIFICATION

Human beings are value-oriented. That means we assign value to people, places, objects and ideas and rearrange our behavior, schedule and finances to pursue those things that we have named as valuable. Our hopes and dreams are shaped by what we value. We find our identity in how successful (or unsuccessful) we are in pursuing those values.

There’s nothing wrong with being value-oriented; that’s the way God created us. Animals were designed to live by instinct; humans were designed to live with values.

However, we weren’t created to define our own values. Since we were created in God’s image (Genesis 1:26), we were created to live under God’s value system. But because of sin, we stray from those values, and humanity has been in trouble ever since.

You could argue that every single act of hurtful behavior in the history of the world has been a result of an incorrect value system. The evidence is everywhere: we need our values clarified.

HEAVENLY VALUES

Let’s read the song of the great multitude again:

Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure.” (Revelation 19:6-8)

Notice what they’re NOT celebrating:

– I was the most beautiful, most intelligent, and most popular person.

– I was married to the most beautiful, most intelligent, and most popular person.

– I had kids who were successful in 3 sports and won scholarships to the best colleges.

– I climbed the corporate ladder faster than any of my colleagues.

– I was always being recognized as the most successful individual in my department.

– I bought such a comfortable house and lived in such a great neighborhood.

– I had season tickets on the 50-yard-line during that Super Bowl season.

– I spent each summer at the sweetest vacation spots.

– I always wined and dined at the finest restaurants in the city.

If you follow my teaching, you should know that I don’t think there’s anything wrong with financial success or business renown. I also think there’s plenty of evidence in Scripture that reveals God’s desire to see his children enjoy the pleasure and comfort of the created world (as long as the heart is worshiping properly).

But, when we listen to the voices of those on the other side, they’re not celebrating success, renown, comfort and pleasure; they’re celebrating those Five Important Things:

(1) What God wanted was more important than what we wanted.

(2) What God decided was more important than our career path.

(3) What God received glory for was more important than our popularity.

(4) What God named as good was better than what we thought was good.

(5) What God brought into our life was more fulfilling than a lifestyle of comfort.

A CALL TO REMEMBER

I write these Articles for several reasons, but perhaps one of the most significant reasons is because you and I are amnesiacs. We’re forgetful people. Another way of saying that is to echo Robert Robinson’s hymn – “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love.”

Today, would you humbly admit with me that you forget what’s truly important? Would you be willing to re-evaluate your priorities once more? Would you confess that your values need to be clarified, not just once more, but every single day?

Thankfully, God has given us his Word to remind us. He has provided us with thousands of reminders, scattered through the pages of Scripture.

On top of that, God has lavished us with grace: enabling grace to choose the right values, forgiving grace when we fail, and and perhaps my favorite – the grace of future completion (Philippians 1:6).

There will be a day when you and I, like the great multitude, will see Christ face to face and forever have our values clarified. Until then, we need all the grace God provides.

The past two weeks (above) we’ve been studying the “best worship service ever” found in Revelation 19:6-8. By eavesdropping on eternity, we’re reminded of what’s truly important in this life and what we won’t be celebrating in eternity.

The voices of those in the great multitude certainly help us with Value Clarification, but they also help us in this area:

2. WORSHIP RECLAMATION

I purposely chose the phrase Worship Reclamation instead of Worship Inception or Worship Commencement. Inception and commencement would mean that we need to launch or initiate our worship. Reclamation (to reclaim) means that our worship is already ongoing and needs to be recovered, rehabilitated and redirected.

You don’t need to learn how to worship or how to begin worshiping. By nature and hard-wiring, you ARE a worshiper. Every human being has been designed by God to worship during every minute of every day.

In a perfect world (literally), God was meant to be the constant recipient of our worship, but Romans 1:25 says that sinners now exchange worship and service of the Creator for worship and service of the creation. That’s why we need our worship reclaimed – because it’s currently directed at something other than the One who is alone worthy of our worship.

WORSHIP AS AN IDENTITY

When we read Romans 1:25, I think our immediate tendency is to find practical ways to “worship and serve” God more. For example, we look for areas where we can spend less money and time on us and commit that money and time to the ministry of the local church.

I want to encourage those actions, because they’re biblical, but you need to consider your worship as an identity before you think of it as an activity. You, the worshiper, are always attaching your identity – your meaning, well-being and sense of purpose – to something or someone. And where a worshiper finds his or her identity, there they’ll find practical ways to worship.

Another way of saying that is this: something, or someone, is always ruling the heart of a worshiper. Since the Bible says the heart is the control center of the human being, whatever rules your heart will automatically exercise control over your desires, thoughts, words and actions.

The summary question of this Article is this: where are you finding your identity, and how is your identity shaping your worship?

DANGEROUS PLACES TO FIND IDENTITY

Last week (above) I wrote about 9 things you won’t be celebrating in eternity. I think that list is helpful to review again, because if we won’t be celebrating those things in eternity, we shouldn’t be worshiping them today. If we don’t want to worship them today, we should avoid placing our identity in those things.

Here’s that list again, phrased slightly differently, and why we need to place our identity, and consequently, our worship, in God alone:

(1) SELF – This life is not about you. You were brought into a world that is, by definition, a celebration of the beauty and intelligence of God.

(2) MARRIAGE – No human being can satisfy your soul; only God can. If you place your identity in your spouse – or any other person, for that matter – you’ll always be disappointed.

(3) KIDS – Your children are not actually your children; you gave birth to them, but they don’t belong to you. Your kids are from God, they exist through God, and the glory of their lives points to God.

(4) SUCCESS – God calls you to be fruitful and productive, but the moment you take on your success as an identity, you’ll become a slave to a never-ending stream of potential opportunities.

(5) RENOWN – Again, this life is not about you. Your primary job description is to be an ambassador for and herald of the glory and renown of your Heavenly King, the Lord Jesus Christ.

(6) COMFORT – Comfort is not sinful, but you’ll never find paradise in a fallen world. Also, the work of the gospel will often call you to uncomfortable people in uncomfortable places.

(7) EXCITEMENT – Go ahead and buy season tickets for your favorite football team, but if a touchdown excites you more than the life-transforming ministry of the local church, you need to re-evaluate your eternal priorities.

(8) LEISURE – Again, this world will never be a paradise. It’s not sinful to enjoy a vacation, but remember that this life is a preparation for your final destination.

(9) PLEASURE – Pleasure was created by God for you, but the created pleasures of this world are meant to be a finger pointing to the ultimate pleasure – an intimate relationship with the Creator.

We need to remember again that God is the only One who exists in the universe who is worthy of our worship. Additionally, he’s the only safe place to seek identity. All forms of worship and service to the creation come with life-threatening danger, but worship and service of God come with the promise of life, both now and forever more.

Would you admit with me today that it’s tempting to seek identity in all the wrong places? And would you admit with me today that no matter how long you’ve walked with Jesus, your worship needs to be reclaimed? God gives grace to humble and will never withhold love and forgiveness from the repentant hearts of his idolatrous children.

 

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PAUL TRIPP: 6 Essential Commitments For A Solid Marriage

WDYE? Tripp

COMMITMENT #1: We will give ourselves to a regular lifestyle of confession and forgiveness.

COMMITMENT #2: We will make growth and change our daily agenda.

COMMITMENT #3: We will work together to build a sturdy bond of trust.

COMMITMENT #4: We will commit to building a relationship of love.

COMMITMENT #5: We will deal with our differences with appreciation and grace.

COMMITMENT #6: We will work to protect our marriage.

*SOURCE: Paul David Tripp. What Did You Expect?? Redeeming the Realities of Marriage. Wheaton. Crossway Books, 2010. (Many times in the book – from the Table of Contents and following).

 

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Dr. Paul David Tripp on God’s Plan For Your LIfe

That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple. – PSALM 27:4

Now, admit it—you love yourself, and you have a wonderful plan for your life. Somehow, someway we all are too focused on our own lives. All of us get captured by what we want, what we feel, and what we have determined we need. Every one of us is a dreamer. We have all been given the amazing capacity to envision the future and to plan toward it. A dream is imagination coupled with desire and projected into the future. There are things that you would love to have as part of your life. There are things that you would like to accomplish. There are locations you would love to experience. There are relationships you would like to enjoy. There are situations you would like to avoid. Every day you get up and you work toward some kind of dream.

But dreamers don’t just dream their dream; they also dream to be sovereign. In some way, at some time, all of us have wished that we had enough control over our lives to guarantee that we could experience the things we have dreamed. We would like to control people and situations just enough to ensure that the “good things” we’ve dreamed would actually come true. What does the Bible call all of this? The Bible calls it worship.

You see, you and I are worshipers. This is one of the things that separates us from the rest of creation. As worshipers we are always living for something. Something is always laying claim to the affection and rulership of our hearts. There is always something that commands our dreams. There is something that we look to for identity, meaning, and purpose, and that inner sense of well-being that everyone seeks.

Scripture says that there are only two choices (Rom. 1:25). Either you are living in pursuit of the creation or you are living in pursuit of the Creator. You are looking for your satisfaction and meaning in the physical, created world, or you are finding it in the Lord.

This means that there is a war of dreams that rages in our hearts, and in the middle of the fog of this war it is so easy to get it wrong. It is so easy to think that because we have our theology in the right place, because we are biblically literate and functioning members of a good church, that our lives are shaped by worship of the Lord. But that may not be the case at all. On closer inspection, it may actually be the case that underneath all of those things we are driven by personal success, or material things, or the respect of others, or power and control. I am deeply persuaded that there’s a whole lot of idolatrous Christianity out there. The most dangerous idols are those that fit well within the culture of external Christianity.

It’s here that Psalm 27 is so helpful and convicting. What is David’s dream for his life? What is his plan? Well, the answer sounds so spiritual as to be impractical, but it gets right to the heart of why we were created in the first place. David says, in Old Testament language, “I want to spend my life in worship of the Lord. I want to dwell in his temple and gaze upon his beauty.” The shekinahglory presence of the Lord filled the holy place of the temple, like a cloud. It was a physical picture of God dwelling with his people. David was saying, “I want to be where God is. I want to do what I was created to do.”

No, David isn’t some super-spiritual mystic. David gets it right. His quest is for a life shaped and directed by a daily worship of the Lord. David knows who he is: a creature created for worship. David knows who God is: the only “thing” in the universe truly worthy of worship. His dream is the best dream that you could ever dream. Far from being impractical, this dream, if lived out at street level, will bring purity and peace to your life.

What is your plan for your life? How close is your plan to the plan God had for you when he gave you life and breath? Is there, perhaps, something in your plan that competes for the place that only God should have?

May your plan for you be identical to his plan for you!

 Take a Moment

1. How close is your dream for your life to the plan for life to which God has called you?

2. Is God calling you to let go of a dream so that his plan for you may flourish?
*The article above adapted from the excellent book by Paul David Tripp. A Shelter in the Time of Storm: Meditations on God and Trouble. Wheaton: Good News Publishers/Crossway Books. 2009, pp. 149-150.

 About the Author:

Dr. Paul David Tripp is the president of Paul Tripp Ministries (www.paultrippministries.org), a nonprofit organization, whose mission statement is “Connecting the transforming power of Jesus Christ to everyday life.” This mission leads Paul to weekly speaking engagements around the world. In addition to being a gifted communicator and sought after conference speaker with Paul Tripp Ministries, Paul is the Executive Director of the Center for Pastoral Life and Care in Fort Worth, Texas, and has taught at respected institutions worldwide. As an author, Paul has written many books on Christian Living that are read and distributed internationally. He has been married for many years to Luella and they have four grown children.

 He is the author of the following excellent Christ-centered books:

Dangerous Calling: Confronting The Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2012.

Forever: Why You Can’t Live Without It. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2011.

What Did You Expect? Redeeming The Realities of Marriage. Wheaton: Crossway, 2010.

The Power of Words and the Wonder of God (contributor). Wheaton: Crossway, 2009.

A Shelter in the Time of Storm: Meditations on God and Trouble. Wheaton: Crossway, 2009.

Broken Down House: Living Productively in a World Gone Bad. Shepherd Press, 2009.

Helping People Change (with Timothy S. Lane). Greensboro, N.C.: New Growth Press, 2008.

Whiter Than Snow: Meditations on Sin and Mercy. Wheaton: Crossway, 2008.

Helping Your Adopted Child. Greensboro, N.C.: New Growth Press, 2008.

Peer Pressure. Greensboro, N.C.: New Growth Press, 2008.

A Quest for More: Living For Something Bigger Than You. Greensboro, N.C.: New Growth Press, 2007.

Grief: Finding Hope Again. Greensboro, N.C.: New Growth Press, 2005.

Lost in the Middle: Midlife and the Grace of God. Shepherd Press, 2004.

Pastoral Leadership for Manhood and Womanhood (contributor). Wheaton: Crossway, 2003.

Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands: People in Need of Change Helping People in Need of Change. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R, 2002.

Age of Opportunity: A Biblical Guide to Parenting Teens. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R, 2001.

War of Words: Getting to the Heart of Communication Struggles. Phillipsburg, NJ P&R, 2001.

 

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Paul David Tripp on The Benefits of Waiting

“Caught in the Middle”

Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD! – Psalm 27:14

We spend a lot of our lives “caught in the middle.” We head to work and get caught in the middle of a traffic jam. We enter a conversation and get caught in the middle of an argument. We make an investment and get caught in the middle of a market downturn. We join a church and get caught in the middle of a theological con-troversy. We dream of our future and get caught in the middle of things we did not foresee and would not have chosen. We really do spend much of our time caught in the middle of being caught in the middle.

When you are required to wait, it means that you are caught in the middle of something, and when you are caught in the middle of something, it immediately means that you are part of something bigger than you. Being caught in the middle is disconcerting and irritating because we all tend to give into the delusion that we have more power and control over our lives than we actually have. Self-sovereignty is the dream of every sinner. It’s hard for us to trust ourselves to the wisdom, power, and control of another. We want to write our own dramas, and we want to be the central character of the story. But the spiritual reality of the universe is that we are not the authors of our own story.

Our story is a part of a larger story that is part of a larger story that is written by the Lord. In this story we are never on center stage. That is a position to be occupied by the Lord alone. When you recognize that you are caught in the middle of some-thing, you are recognizing something that is profoundly important. Let me detail how practically important this insight is.

First, it means you were meant to live for something bigger than yourself. You are not in control. Your story is not ultimate. You have been created to be part of something that is larger than your wants, your needs, and your feelings. You are connected to something that is bigger than your relationships, your situations, and the locations that you move in every day. You are waiting, because God said you are a part of his kingdom. God, whose timing is always perfect, works according to his wise plan and at the right moment. But as you wait, he is doing something in and for you. He is crafting you into the per-son his grace alone enables you to be.

Second, it means you were created to be dependent. The independent, this-is-my-life-and-this-is-what-I-will-do-with-it view is a delusion. The thought that you have everything you need to be what you are supposed to be and to do what you are supposed to do is a fantasy. Each of us is dependent on God for our physical life. We all know that we do not control the many, many things around us that must work in order for our lives to work. We all know that our life doesn’t work according to our plan. We couldn’t write the story of today and accurately predict what we will face. Contrary to what we often think and how we often act, we all live a life of reliance on God.

Third, it means that the things you need most you cannot provide for yourself. God has controlled the forces of nature and the events of human history in order to give me the one thing I desperately need and could never earn, deserve, or achieve—new birth. Without the intervention of his powerful heart and life and his transforming grace, I would be a dead man walking. But he has given me life, and he is now working to change me into what I, if left to myself, could never be. I wait because his grace is still at work. I wait because he is not done and I am not yet complete.

Fourth, it means the final chapter of your story has been writ-ten but has not yet unfolded. There are more places God has written for me. There are more characters to appear in my story. There are circumstances that he has designed for me to encounter. There are moments of blessing and times of difficulty that have already been written into my story by the One who is not only in control but is also wise, gracious, kind, and good. He already knows the exact path he will cause me to walk and how that path will result in his glory and my good. I could never write an autobiography that would accomplish what his story for me already has and will accomplish.

Fifth, it means that the One you are waiting for is trustworthy. I know that there are times when waiting is painful. I know there are times when it seems as if it is impossible to wait. But you and I must remind ourselves that we wait not because irrational and impersonal forces function as obstructions and interferences in our lives. No, we wait because the world is carefully administered by the one Person who is ultimate in power, ultimate in authority, and ultimate in wisdom, while at the very same time being ultimate in love. You are being asked to wait by One you can trust.

Sixth, it means that in those moments when you are caught, you can rest. Don’t give way to panic. Don’t give into doubt because this is not what you would have planned. Don’t allow yourself to play out all of the “what if’s” and “if only’s” in your mind. You are waiting because there is a plan. You are waiting because your life is under the control of One who is wise and good. You can rest, not because you know what is happening, but because you know the One who is in control of what is happening to you right now. You can rest because you know he has made you a part of something wonderful, and he knows what he is doing in you is good, even though at this moment it feels as if you have been caught in the middle.

 Take a Moment

In what area of your life do you tend to be frustrated and irritated because you are “caught in the middle?”

How would your living change if you embraced the reality that God has already written a better story for you than you could have ever written for yourself?

Article Above adapted from Paul David Trip. A Shelter in the Time of Storm: Meditations on God and Trouble. Wheaton: Crossway Books. 2009.

 About the Author:

Dr. Paul David Tripp is the president of Paul Tripp Ministries (www.paultrippministries.org), a nonprofit organization, whose mission statement is “Connecting the transforming power of Jesus Christ to everyday life.” This mission leads Paul to weekly speaking engagements around the world. In addition to being a gifted communicator and sought after conference speaker with Paul Tripp Ministries, Paul is the Executive Director of the Center for Pastoral Life and Care in Fort Worth, Texas, and has taught at respected institutions worldwide. As an author, Paul has written many books on Christian Living that are read and distributed internationally. He has been married for many years to Luella and they have four grown children.

 He is the author of the following excellent Christ-centered books:

Dangerous Calling: Confronting The Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry. Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2012.

Forever: Why You Can’t Live Without It. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2011.

What Did You Expect? Redeeming The Realities of Marriage. Wheaton: Crossway, 2010.

The Power of Words and the Wonder of God (contributor). Wheaton: Crossway, 2009.

A Shelter in the Time of Storm: Meditations on God and Trouble. Wheaton: Crossway, 2009.

Broken Down House: Living Productively in a World Gone Bad. Shepherd Press, 2009.

Helping People Change (with Timothy S. Lane). Greensboro, N.C.: New Growth Press, 2008.

Whiter Than Snow: Meditations on Sin and Mercy. Wheaton: Crossway, 2008.

Helping Your Adopted Child. Greensboro, N.C.: New Growth Press, 2008.

Peer Pressure. Greensboro, N.C.: New Growth Press, 2008.

A Quest for More: Living For Something Bigger Than You. Greensboro, N.C.: New Growth Press, 2007.

Grief: Finding Hope Again. Greensboro, N.C.: New Growth Press, 2005.

Lost in the Middle: Midlife and the Grace of God. Shepherd Press, 2004.

Pastoral Leadership for Manhood and Womanhood (contributor). Wheaton: Crossway, 2003.

Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands: People in Need of Change Helping People in Need of Change. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R, 2002.

Age of Opportunity: A Biblical Guide to Parenting Teens. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R, 2001.

War of Words: Getting to the Heart of Communication Struggles. Phillipsburg, NJ P&R, 2001.

 

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Dr. Paul David Tripp on “Why Does God Ask Us To Wait?”

Spiritual Muscle Development by Paul David Tripp

So, what happens inside of you when you are asked to wait? Is waiting, for you, a time of strengthening or weakening? Have you ever stopped to consider why God asks you to wait?  Let me point you to one of his purposes.

Waiting Is Giving You Time

When God asks you to wait, what happens to your spiritual muscles? While you wait, do your spiritual muscles grow bigger and stronger or do they grow flaccid and atrophied? Waiting for the Lord isn’t about God forgetting you, forsaking you, or being unfaithful to his promises. It’s actually God giving you time to consider his glory and to grow stronger in faith. Remember, waiting isn’t just about what you are hoping for at the end of the wait, but also about what you will become as you wait.

Waiting always presents me with a spiritual choice-point. Will I allow myself to question God’s goodness and progressively grow weaker in faith, or will I embrace the opportunity of faith that God is giving me and build my spiritual muscles? (see Psalm 27:4)

It’s so easy to question your belief system when you are not sure what God is doing. It’s so easy to give way to doubt when you are being called to wait. It’s so easy to forsake good habits and to take up habits of unfaith that weaken the muscles of the heart. Let me suggest some habits of unfaith that cause waiting to be a time of increasing weakness rather than of building strength. These are bad habits that all of us are tempted to give way to.

Habits of Unfaith

Giving way to doubt. There’s a fine line between the struggle to wait and giving way to doubt. When you are called to wait, you are being called to do something that wasn’t part of your plan and is therefore something that you struggle to see as good. Because you are naturally convinced that what you want is right and good, it doesn’t seem loving that you are being asked to wait. You can see how tempting it is then to begin to consider questions of God’s wisdom, goodness, and love.  It is tempting, in the frustration of waiting, to actually begin to believe that you are smarter than God.

Giving way to anger. It’s very easy to look around and begin to think that the bad guys are being blessed and the good guys are getting hammered (see Psalm 73). There will be times when it simply doesn’t seem right that you have to wait for something that seems so obviously good to you. It will feel that you are being wronged, and when it does, it seems right to be angry. Because of this, it’s important to understand that the anger you feel in these moments is more than anger with the people or circumstances that are the visible cause for your waiting. No, your anger is actually anger with the One who is in control of those people and those circumstances. You are actually giving way to thinking that you have been wronged by God.

Giving way to discouragement. This is where I begin to let my heart run away with the “If only_____,” the “What if_____,” and the “What will happen if_____.” I begin to give my mind to thinking about what will happen if my request isn’t answered soon, or what in the world will happen if it’s not answered at all. This kind of meditation makes me feel that my life is out of control. And I am able to think my life is out of control because I have forgotten God’s wise and gracious contol over very part of my existence. Rather than my heart being filled with joy, my heart gets flooded with worry and dread. Free mental time is spent considering my dark future, with all the resulting discouragement that will always follow.

Giving way to envy. When I am waiting, it’s very tempting to look over the fence and wish for the life of someone who doesn’t appear to have been called to wait. It’s very easy to take on an “I wish I were that guy” way of living. You can’t give way to envy without questioning God’s wisdom and his love. Here is the logic: if God really loves you as much as he loves that other guy, you would have what the other guy has. Envy is about feeling forgotten and forsaken, coupled with a craving to have what your neighbor enjoys.

Giving way to inactivity. The result of giving way to all of these things is inactivity. If God isn’t as good and wise as I once thought he was, if he withholds good things from his children, and if he plays favorites, then why would I continue to pursue him? Maybe all those habits of faith aren’t helping me after all; maybe I’ve been kidding myself.

Sadly, this is the course that many people take as they wait. Rather than growing in faith, their motivation for spiritual exercise is destroyed by doubt, anger, discouragement, and envy, and the muscles of faith that were once robust and strong are now atrophied and weak.

One of His Primary Shaping Tools

The reality of waiting is that it’s an expression of God’s goodness not empirical evidence against it. He is wise and loving. His timing is always right, and his focus isn’t so much on what you will experience and enjoy, but on what you will become. He is committed to using every tool at his disposal to rescue you from yourself and to shape you into the likeness of his Son. The fact is that waiting is one of his primary shaping tools.

So, how do you build your spiritual muscles during the wait? Well, you must commit yourself to resisting those habits of unfaith and with discipline pursue a rigorous routine of spiritual exercise.

What is the equipment in God’s gym of faith? Here are the things that he has designed for you to build the muscles of your heart and strengthen your resolve: the regular study of his Word; consistent godly fellowship; looking for God’s glory in creation every day; putting yourself under excellent preaching and teaching of Scripture; investing your quiet mental time in meditating on the goodness of God (e.g., as you are going off to sleep); reading excellent Christian books; and spending ample time in prayer. All of these things will result in spiritual strength and vitality.

Is God asking you to wait? So, what is happening to your muscles?

About the Author: Paul David Tripp is the president of Paul Tripp Ministries, a nonprofit organization whose mission statement is “Connecting the transforming power of Jesus Christ to everyday life.” Tripp is also professor of pastoral life and care at Redeemer Seminary in Dallas, Texas, and executive director of the Center for Pastoral Life and Care in Fort Worth, Texas. Tripp has written many books on Christian living that are read and distributed internationally. He has been married for many years to Luella, and they have four grown children. There are very few people today who can apply the gospel to every aspect of life as practically as Dr. Tripp. The article above is adapted from: http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/spiritual-muscle-development, January 26, 2011.

 

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Paul David Tripp on What We All Hate: Waiting!

5 Reasons Why God Calls Us to Wait – By Paul David Tripp

In ministry you will be both called to wait and also find waiting personally and corporately difficult. So it is important to recognize that there are lots of good reasons why waiting is not merely inescapable but necessary and helpful. Here are a few of those reasons.

(1) Because We Live in a Fallen World

We are called to wait because the broken condition of the world makes everything we do harder. Nothing in this life or in your ministry really functions as originally intended. Something changed when sin entered the world, and in rebuking Adam, God summarized that change: “cursed is the ground . . . through painful toil you will eat of it. . . . It will produce thorns and thistles for you. . . . By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food” (Genesis 3:17-19). Sin brought friction and trouble and pain and sweat and a thousand other “thorn and thistle” complications to absolutely every aspect of life. We find ourselves waiting because everything in a fallen world is more laborious and entangled than it really ought to be.

Sin also put greed and fear and arrogance and jealousy and self-worship into the souls of all who live this thorn-and-thistle life. We must wait because, by being selfish, impatient, competitive, driven, anxious, and angry, we make life and ministry harder for one another in an endless variety of ways. This is why the seemingly easy leadership conversation becomes the full-blown conflict, why the once-sweet ministry relationship gets stained with hurt and acrimony, and why the church at times sadly functions as a tool of personal power rather than an instrument of worship and redemption.

Processes and people are all affected—everything and everyone has been damaged by the Fall. We must wait, because in a world that is broken, everything we do is harder and more complicated than it was ever meant to be.

(2) Because God Is Sovereign

We must wait because we are not writing our own personal and ministry stories. Life does not work the way we want it to, in the time we want it to. You and I do not live in the center of the universe. That place is forever occupied by God and God alone. Our individual stories and the stories of our churches are part of the great origin-to-destiny story that he alone authors. Waiting becomes immediately easier when you realize God is sovereign (and you are not) and when you further reflect on the reality that he is the ultimate source of everything that is wise, loving, and good.

Waiting, therefore, is not a sign that your world is out of control. Rather, it is a sign that your world is under the wise and infinitely attentive control of a God of fathomless wisdom and boundless love. This means you can rest as you wait, not because you like to wait, but because you trust the One who is calling you to wait.

(3) Because God Is a God of Grace

Waiting is one of God’s most powerful tools of grace. It’s important to realize in your ministry that God doesn’t just give us grace for the wait. The wait itself is a gift of grace. You see, waiting is not only about what you will receive at the end of the wait. Waiting is about what you will become as you wait.

In calling us to wait, God is even rescuing those of us in ministry from our bondage to our own plan, our own wisdom, our own power, our own control. In calling us to wait, God is freeing us from the claustrophobic confines of our own little kingdoms of one and drawing us into a greater allegiance to his kingdom of glory and grace. Waiting is more than being patient as situations and other people change. Waiting is about understanding that you and I desperately need to change, and that waiting is a powerful tool of personal change. God is using the grace of waiting to change us at the causal core of our personhood: the heart. Now, in ministry, that’s a good thing!

(4) So We Can Minister to Others

Waiting is central to any ministry activity. If you are truly committed to being part of what God is doing in the lives of others, you will be willing to wait. Personal heart and life change is seldom a sudden event. Usually it is a process. You and I do not determine when and how the winds of the Spirit will blow, and people do not often become what they need to become overnight.

This means that in ministry we are called to have the same conversation again and again. We are called to pick that person up after each failure, to be willing to forgive and forbear, to remind him or her once more of God’s presence and grace, and to be willing to have our lives slowed down and complicated in the process. People of grace and love are always people who are willing to wait.

(5) For the Increase of God’s Glory

Finally, we are called to wait because everything in life and ministry exists not for our comfort and ease but for God’s glory. The whole redemptive story is written for one purpose and one purpose alone: the glory of the king.

Waiting is hard for us because we tie our hearts to other glories. We so often are tempted to live and minister for the glory of human acceptance, of personal achievement, of power and position, of possessions and places, and of comfort and pleasure. So when God’s glory requires that these things be withheld from us—things we look to for identity, meaning, and purpose—we find waiting a grueling, burdensome experience.

Waiting means surrendering your glory. Waiting means submitting to his glory. Waiting means understanding that you were given life and breath for the glory of another. Waiting gives you opportunity to forsake the delusion of your own glory and rest in the God of awesome glory. Only when you do that will you find what you seek, and what you were meant to have: lasting identity, meaning, purpose, and peace in Christ. In this way waiting is is much more than a burden for you to bear; it is a precious gift for you to receive with joy.

Dr. Paul David Tripp is the president of Paul Tripp Ministries, a nonprofit organization whose mission statement is “Connecting the transforming power of Jesus Christ to everyday life.” Tripp is also professor of pastoral life and care at Redeemer Seminary in Dallas, Texas, and executive director of the Center for Pastoral Life and Care in Fort Worth, Texas. Tripp has written many books on Christian living that are read and distributed internationally. He has been married for many years to Luella, and they have four grown children. *This Article originally appeared on the Gospel Coalition Web Site on October 24, 2011.

 

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Book Review: Lost in the Middle by Paul David Tripp

Great Help For Applying God’s Grace To Your Life

 I want to write out the outset that this book (along with “The Holiness of God” by R. C. Sproul; “Heaven” by Peter Kreeft; “Emotionally Healthy Spirituality” by Pete Scazzero and “Prodigal God” by Tim Keller) has been one of the top paradigm shifting books I have read to help me change my thinking – radically. I also, have to write that I do not have the skill or ability to describe or recommend this book with the superlatives it deserves. I can only write that if you are struggling with “mid-life crisis” this book is absolute MUST reading and I’m confident that you will be much better off by reading it.

All that written – on with the review. I have personally battled depression my whole life. I am a perfectionist and have had to learn to “chill out” over the years, because I have found that things break, plans don’t work out the way you thought they would, and God is sovereign and I’m overwhelmingly NOT!

In this book Paul Tripp brilliantly exegetes reality and brokenness in this fallen world in which we live. He gives dozens of illustrations from the Bible, and men and women in the 21st century to point out the various manifestations of why so many people struggle with the mid-life years. I have read the book twice (and I’m certain – I will read it again) because so many of the stories are about my own struggles. He brings out in the open so many thoughts, and questions that many of us wrestle with and answers them with penetrating insight, theological depth, and practical life giving grace.

This book is not an easy read. I think the more you struggle with life (especially in your middle years) – the harder it will be to read. I found myself crying, and physically aching as I read some of the stories and analysis from Tripp’s pen. However, in the final analysis the book leads you to a fresh new start and brilliantly applies the gospel to your life. Brimming with hope – Tripp shows very practically how God’s purposes and plans for your life will be fulfilled, no matter what you have done, or how you feel at this stage of life.

I have been immensely helped in so many ways from reading this book. Let me list just five:

1)    It was just flat out helpful to have so many of the things I’ve thought and felt be identified and addressed so insightfully by the author – in other words – “I’m not crazy” – there are actually millions of people that have gone and are going through what I am during this stage of life – and they are still trucking!

2)    I learned to appreciate the realities of God’s design for humanity and how His plans will culminate – my story is a part of the fulfillment of the Great Story of the Bible. Tripp helps you to see that nothing in your life is wasted, and that Christ’s victory on the cross is also your ultimate victory as well. Your failure has been nullified by Christ’s Person and Work on your behalf. We have fallen, but He has picked us up. We have failed, but He has succeeded, and ultimately everything will be made new and perfect again – forever!

3)    I was so encouraged over and over again. Sometimes I feel like a major failure in every area of life: as a Christian, pastor, provider, husband, father, taking care of myself physically, and the list can go on and on. However, Tripp is able to bring out the positive realities that result from recognizing our weaknesses and how that makes God’s grace such a wonderful reality for us.

4)    I felt like I got to sit down with Jesus as I read this book. Perhaps one of the most helpful things he did in the book is show how much we are like the people in the Bible (even though we think we are not). The author has such a good grasp of theology, the Bible, and what God and people are like – that almost everything he writes is penetrating the deepest recesses of your soul. I think Paul Tripp is very wise, because he has a very intimate relationship with Jesus and brings that relationship to the reader in the book. It made me want to know God more intimately, the Bible more than I do, and to walk more closely with Jesus.

5)    It made me even more excited about Heaven and to live for that which will last forever. It made me want to live more simply, for others, and for those things that will please my Master – Jesus. Like many of the Psalms – I started reading the book in a discouraged and depressed state, and by the end of the book I was able to praise my Lord with a smile on my face, and with joy in my soul.

I feel like this review is rubbish compared to how GOOD this book actually is. I can only say that this book will help you to understand your sin, need of a Savior, and need for His grace more than you ever have before. Also, that His grace is MUCH greater than all your sin. One more thing – anyone at any life stage can benefit tremendously from this book – you don’t have to be struggling through mid-life to benefit from this book. Get this book, get copies to give away, and grow in His amazing grace. Thanks, Paul Tripp – and I hope that many more people will read and benefit from this book – I sure have!

 

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