Thursday, November 30, 2006

India

Well, I am off to India for two weeks of ministry. I have the wonderful opportunity to teach Indian leaders from the great city of New Delhi, to the rural regions of Kachhwa, to the southern environs of Bangalore. I really do consider it a great honor to be given such an opportunity. In many ways these leaders are my heroes. The are willing to minister for Christ at great personal cost. I will be traveling with my dear friend and Paul Tripp Ministries colleague, Malcolm Osborn.

I was thinking this morning about the long journey that is ahead of us, landing us in a culture so fundamentally different from our own and I was filled with a sense of the power and glory of God. Why, you may ask? Because it hit me that I did not choose where I would be born on this planet on which we live. Yet, as I travel from the little spot on the globe where I live and arrive in India at the little spot on the globe where others live, I will still be in a spot that is ruled by the same God! And I will be ministering to people who are just as much his children as I am and who are just as aware of his presence as I am right here, right now!

This got me thinking of how many important things in our life, we didn't choose.

- You did not choose the family you were born into.
- You did not choose the period of history you would live in.
- You did not choose the world events that would take place around you.
- You did not control the progress of science and knowledge, but you have benefited from both.
- You did not create the technology that has made your life easier and more comfortable.
- You did not choose what street you would grow up on.
- You did not chose what childhood school you would attend.
- You did not choose how healthy your body would be.
- You did not choose who your parents and siblings would be.
- You did not chose who would be your neighbor, your mayor, your president.
- You did not choose what the economic conditions would be around you.
- You did not choose how safe your environment would be.
- You did not choose how early you would be exposed to truth.
- You did not choose whether you would live in the first world or the third world.
- You did not choose what language you would grow up speaking.
- You did not choose what culture would shape your view of life.

When you really begin to access the sum total of your life, you can only end up with one conclusion. Here it is - God is great! He is awesome in his wisdom, power, and glory. His magnificence reaches beyond the most descriptive and poetic ability of human language. His glory lives way beyond the boundaries of the human intellect to reason. But there is something else to be said. Pay careful attention here. He is great and we are not. We are all tempted to buy into the delusion of our own greatness and our own sovereignty. We really like to think that we are in more control of more things than we actually are. And why do we do this? Because we are terrified of the dependent danger of humble faith. We find it very hard to put ourselves in the hands of Another. So what do we do? It is an awful thing. We exaggerate our greatness and we minimize the Lord's. We take credit for what we did not produce and we fail to give him credit for what has come from his hands. All of this works to make us more comfortable with a dangerous and delusional self-reliance.

So, I am thankful for the trip to India. Not just because I get to minister and to serve, but also because it forces me to be reminded once again of how small I actually am and how glorious God continues to be. This trip invites me to recognize Glory and rest. How about resting with me?

As you leave the blog, don't forget to visit again our website, www.paultrippministries.org. When you go there you can:

1. Learn more about the ministry.
2. Check out the schedule of upcoming events.
3. Listen to the daily radio broadcast.
4. Purchase a resource that will put the transforming power of Jesus Christ
right next to where you live each day.
5. Subscribe to daily podcast and have the radio program delivered to your
computer daily.
6. Make a donation to support bringing the transforming power of Jesus Christ to
individuals, churches, and ministries around the world.
7. Fill out the form, requesting Paul to come to your area for a conference.
8. Read and reread the blog that is daily being updated.
9. Make direct contact with us through email.

May the Lord of it all be your Lord of rest!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Sad Celebrations

In normal life your celebrations don't usually intersect with your sad times and your sad times aren't typically your times of celebration. When you are sad, you don't really feel like celebrating anything much. The opposite is also true, when you are celebrating, you don't want your good spirits dampened by reasons to be sad. We try our best to keep our sadness and our celebration separate. It just makes life less complicated.

But Jesus has called us to be a sadly celebratory community or a celebratory sad community. Now why is this true? It is true because Jesus calls you to a life of uncompromising honesty and a life of unchallenged hope. If you are going to be honest, really honest, then you are going to be sad. Why, because you cannot be honest without recognizing the horrible legacy of damage that sin has left on each one of us and on the surrounding world. Sin damages us, it damages our relationships, and it damages our environment. There is nothing you will ever examine or experience, this side of eternity, that has not been damaged in some way by sin. The destruction is so widespread it almost leaves you breathless. When you are really honest about how broken the world actually is, you cannot help but be profoundly sad.

Yet, we are not just called to be people of honesty, we are called to be people of hope as well. When you begin to consider how magnificent God's love really is, when you begin to understand how powerful his grace is, and when you begin to realize that God is right now exercising both his love and his grace so that this world would be fully and completely restored, you can't help but celebrate. This God who is the ultimate definition of love and wisdom, will not leave us and the surrounding world alone until we and it are fully and completely restored to what we were meant to be in the beginning.

So we should be the saddest and most celebrant community on earth. And we should be sad and celebratory at the very same time. We are sad becuase we know how bad things actually are and we celebrate because we know that the help that Jesus offers us reaches to the deepest level of our need.

Are you sad at the condition of your world and does your sadness dance with your celebration because you also know how great God's life-transforming grace actually is? When you take those honest looks at your world, have you remembered that God will not quit or rest until he has made all things new?
May both celebration and sadness dance in your heart to the rhythm of the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

As you leave the blog, don't forget to visit again our website, www.paultrippministries.org. When you go there you can:

1. Learn more about the ministry.
2. Check out the schedule of upcoming events.
3. Listen to the daily radio broadcast.
4. Purchase a resource that will put the transforming power of Jesus Christ
right next to where you live each day.
5. Subscribe to daily podcast and have the radio program delivered to your
computer daily.
6. Make a donation to support bringing the transforming power of Jesus Christ to
individuals, churches, and ministries around the world.
7. Fill out the form, requesting Paul to come to your area for a conference.
8. Read and reread the blog that is daily being updated.
9. Make direct contact with us through email.

May you weep with joy and celebrate with sadness until He makes all things new once again!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Working Your Way Up

Why do we all seem to want more?
Why is it so hard for us to accept less?
Why do we get haunted by bigger and better?
Why is it so difficult to be satisfied?
Why it is so hard to be content?

Maybe it's a better job, maybe it's a more succulent steak, maybe it's a nicer boss, maybe it's a prettier girlfriend, maybe it's a nicer car, maybe it's a more luxurious condo, maybe it's a better vacation than last year, or maybe it is as little as a better cup of coffee than yesterday's, but the spiritual energies of your life can be consumed by working your way up. What do I mean by working your way up? I mean that, in reality, you are living in a state of constant discontent. Yes, you are thankful for the joy of the moment, but you do not have your head down in prayerful thanks. No, your head is up and you eyes are scanning for the next bigger, better, more satisfying thing. When you are discontent, you are always in someway working your way up the ladder of personally satisfiying delights. You're not really thankful for or committed to what you have because in your heart you think that there must be something better out there and so you are on the hunt.

What is the solution to the "working your way up the ladder" hunt all about? It is about IDENTITY and WORSHIP. When I begin to humbly accept who I am as a sinner, when I honestly face the fact the my deepest problem in life exists inside of me and not outside of me, and when I begin to grasp the reality that God sent his Son to free me from my biggest problem - me, then I will quit working my way up. Why? Because I will be so filled with gratitude that the one thing I desperately needed, God freely gave me in his Son, Christ Jesus. What is this one thing? It is the thing in life that I could not do for myself, yet I cannot live without. By an act of his grace, God has freed me from my bondage to me. He has freed me from my addiction to having me at the center of my universe. He has freed me from the ravenous and unsatisfiable appetite of sin, so that I may begin to experience true personal satifaction where it can only be found - in worship of him. He has broken the power of this addiction over me so that I can be increasingly free where I live everyday.

The key to getting off the ladder and experiencing true contentment is not having more or learning to live with less. The key to contentment is worship. It is only when my heart is satified because of what I have been given in Christ and so much more delighted with God's glory than in the possibilty of possessing the next glorious physical thing, that I will leave the hunt.

Where do you struggle with discontent? Where do you tend to reach for the next best thing? What are you telling yourself that you need? Do you daily remind yourself of who you really are? Do you constantly remember your deepest need? Are you increasing satisfied because you have begun to grasp that you have been given everything you need? And have you realized that that "everything" is HIM?

As you leave the blog, don't forget to visit again our website, www.paultrippministries.org. When you go there you can:

1. Learn more about the ministry.
2. Check out the schedule of upcoming events.
3. Listen to the daily radio broadcast.
4. Purchase a resource that will put the transforming power of Jesus Christ
right next to where you live each day.
5. Subscribe to daily podcast and have the radio program delivered to your
computer daily.
6. Make a donation to support bringing the transforming power of Jesus Christ to
individuals, churches, and ministries around the world.
7. Fill out the form requesting Paul to come to your area for a conference.
8. Read and reread the blog that is daily being updated.
9. Make direct contact with us through email.

May your heart be satisfied the only place where satisfaction can be found!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

It's Raining

Outside, the rain is pouring down. I've looked out the window for sightings of cats and dogs, but only seen raindrops! We tend to not like rain very much. It gets in the way of our obsession with comfort. Rain gets in the way of the comfort of a dry day. Rain gets in the way of the comfort of nicely coiffed hair. Rain gets in the way of dry shoes and pressed clothes. It makes outdoor entertainment and activities difficult.

Few of us look out the window on a raining day and say, "What a great day!" But that's exactly what God's people in the Old Testament did. When you are living in desert-like places a rainy day is a good day. So, in the Bible rain is often used as a metaphor for blessing. The Bible talks about blessings raining down on us. Perhaps there's a connection between the way we tend to respond to rain and the way we tend to respond to blessing.

God blesses us in surprising ways, ways that don't always seem like blessing to us. He sends the rain of difficulty, not because he doesn't love us, but because he does, and he is calling out beyond ourselves to find new and deeper hope in him. He sends the rain of an honest friend to confront us with the need for growth, because he wants to bless us with maturity. He sends the rain of failure, so that we will get our identity from him and not from our acheivement. He sends the rain of want, so that we will grow in faith and courage. All of these things are blessings of his love, but we tend to not see them as blessings. In fact, in the moments when we are experiencing these things we often are tempted to question God's love.

How about looking out your window and thanking God for the rain. And how about asking him to give you eyes to see the surprising blessings he will rain down on you because he loves you.

As you leave the blog, don't forget to visit again our website, www.paultrippministries.org. When you go there you can:

1. Learn more about the ministry.
2. Check out the schedule of upcoming events.
3. Listen to the daily radio broadcast.
4. Purchase a resource that will put the transforming power of Jesus Christ
right next to where you live each day.
5. Subscribe to daily podcast and have the radio program delivered to your
computer daily.
6. Make a donation to support bringing the transforming power of Jesus Christ to
individuals, churches, and ministries around the world.
7. Fill out the form, requesting Paul to come to your area for a conference.
8. Read and reread the blog that is daily being updated.
9. Make direct contact with us through email.

May God rain his blessings on you until you are soppy wet!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Wrong Address

Do you ever think that perhaps you're at the wrong address? Did you ever wonder or wish that the things you deal with everyday weren't meant for you? Did you ever look at the blessing of someone else and wish that it had landed at your address?
Do you ever feel lost in the middle of your own story? Do you ever feel as though you don't have what it takes to deal with what is on your plate? Have you ever felt ill-prepared and ill-equipped to carry the responsibilities that are your daily duty? Does life at times seem too hard? Have you ever wished that you had more control over your own story or a greater ability to deal with all the things that are in your life, but which you did not plan or choose?

Listen to what Paul (in Acts 17:24-27) says about how each of us landed at the place where we now live, relate, and work.

"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breathe and everything else. From one man he made every nation of men that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the exact times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us."

Consider what the Apostle Paul is saying about you life and mine:

1. When and where you live is never a mistake. Although many of the things that have shaped your story are out of your control, they are under the careful administration of the God who not only created the world, but is the ultimate definition of everything that is wise, good, loving, and true.

2. Your life has not worked according to your plan because it is part of a bigger plan. There is One who is Lord of heaven and earth. He has written your personal story into his grand redemptive story. He welcomes you out of your own little kingdom of self to be part of his wonderful, big-sky kingdom.

3. God has you just where he wants you. Sometimes it is hard to face, but God really does determine exactly where you live, who you live with, the exact period of time in which you live, and the exact length of your life.

4. God has a wonderful purpose for bringing into your life the things that you now face. Rather than working to deliver to us our personal definition of happiness, satisfaction and contentment, God is working so that so that we would know him in a heart and life transforming way. So he will put us in places that take us beyond the boundaries of our own character, strength, and wisdom. He does this so that in humility and weakness we will reach for the help that only he can give us. He is working to pry open our fingers so that we will let go of the things that we tend to hold to so tightly, not because he wants us to have less, but because he wants us to have so much more. His rule is never separate from his love and grace. It is comforting to know that his rule is an expression of his grace and his grace would not be reliable without his rule.

5. God does all of this so that he will always be near. Paul's view of God's rule is tender and encouraging. He does not picture God as the ultimate, impersonal chess player, moving the pieces according to his whim. No, Paul pictures a God who understands our weaknesses, who sympathizes with our struggles, and who rules his world in a manner that makes him near and available. And he welcomes us to reach out and find him.

So, even in moments of confusion, you and I can rest; not because we know exactly why God is doing what he is doing, but because we trust him. Real rest of heart is not the result of understanding everything in my life. That will never happen. Real rest is the result of a relationship, just the kind of relationship that God sent his Son to make possible and now invites you to have with him.

As you leave the blog, don't forget to visit again our website, www.paultrippministries.org. When you go there you can:

1. Learn more about the ministry.
2. Check out the schedule of upcoming events.
3. Listen to the daily radio broadcast.
4. Purchase a resource that will put the transforming power of Jesus Christ
right next to where you live each day.
5. Subscribe to daily podcast and have the radio program delivered to your
computer daily.
6. Make a donation to support bringing the transforming power of Jesus Christ to
individuals, churches, and ministries around the world.
7. Fill out the form, requesting Paul to come to your area for a conference.
8. Read and reread the blog that is daily being updated.
9. Make direct contact with us through email.

May God enable you to rest, not because you understand, but because you know and trust the Person who is in loving and wise control over the details of your story.

Monday, November 13, 2006

In Need of Help

It's hard to admit your need of help. It's hard to admit that there are things you do not know and do not understand. It's hard to admit that there are things that you cannot do. It's hard to reach out and cry out for help. It's hard to confess to weakness and ignorance. It's hard to have to depend on another for what you think you should be able to supply for yourself. It's hard to talk about what you do not know and what you cannot do. It's difficult to admit to poor judgment and wrong responses. It's hard to receive correction and to confess to sin.

Why are these things so hard? Because we all like to buy into two very seductive lies. These lies argue against any need to be dependent and they bolster the independence that tends to attract us all. The first lie is the lie of AUTONOMY. Autonomy tells me that I am an independent being, with the right to do what I want to do, when, where, and how I want to do it. Now you may say, "Paul, I know well enough not to believe that!" Yet, every time you defend yourself against the correction of another or tell someone not to tell you what to do, you buy into this lie. The second lie is the lie of SELF-SUFFICIENCY. This lie tells me I have everything within myself to be what I am supposed to be and to do what I am supposed to do. Perhaps you're thinking, "Okay, I do occasionally buy into my autonomy, but I definitely don't think I'm self-sufficient!" Yet, each time you resist reaching out for help or each time you act like you're okay when, in fact, you're not, you have bought into this lie.

Why are these two lies so wrong and so dangerous? Because the Bible clearly tells us that we are people who have been made for COMMUNITY. We were designed to live in worshipful community with God and humble community with people. We were never constructed to live all by ourselves. Even Adam and Eve needed God and one another. Think about this. They were perfect people, living in a perfect world, yet they were still needy because they were not created to live life on their own.

Remember, there are few people more influential in your life than you are because no one talks to you more than you do. You spend each day in constant comversation with you! And the things that you tell yourself shape what you do and say each day. Do you constantly remind yourself of your need of God and others.? Do you tell yourself that it is good to admit weakness and to reach out for help? If you do, it is not a sign that is something wrong. No, by God's definition, that kind of self-talk is a sign that something is very right.

How about beginning to pray these three prayers every morning:

1. "Lord, I am a person in desperate need of help today."
2. "Lord, won't you, in your grace, send your helpers my way."
3. "And please give me the humility to receive the help when it come."

Are you intimidated by your weaknesses? Are you afraid to bare your needs to God and others? Don't forget that Jesus is the Prince of Peace. He came so that we would be able to experience both peace with God and with others. He came so that we would no longer have to seduce ourselves with the delusions of autonomy and self-sufficiency. He came so that we could be the kind of people we were created to be, living in humble worship of him and humble dependency on others, right here, right now.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

It Won't Wear Out

Have you noticed that everything in your life wears out? The sweater that you loved so much and wore winter after winter, is now stuffed in the bottom drawer of your dresser, threadbare, unused, and unwanted. The car that excited you so and that even smelled new, is now just a car, with scratches and squeaks to prove it. The stain-resistant carpet ended up not being so stain-resistant after all. The list could go on and on, but the point is, that this side of heaven, everything in your life wears out somehow, someway. In fact, even you wear out. Your body grows old, weak, and tired. You joints hurt because they are wearing out from all the stress of exercise over the many years of your life.

It's something you and I are used to. So we are happy when a car or an appliance lasts for ten years before it wears out. We are all quite accustomed to living in a world where things simply do not last.

But, if you are one of God's children, there is something in your life that will not wear out. In fact, it has the amazing capacity to be new day after day after day. Scripture says that God's mercies are "New every morning." Now, you know you need mercy, because you know you need forgiveness and help. Almost everyday you mess up in some way. Almost everyday you face things that are bigger than the size of your personal wisdom and strength. You and I constantly need the mercy of forgiveness and the mercy of enablement. And so, it is very encouraging to know that God's mercy is new every day! God's mercy never grows stale and it never loses it's transforming power. God's mercy is brand new morning after morning after morning.

This also means that God's mercy is form-fit for the problems that you are facing right here, right now. Each morning you are given new mercies for the particular things that you will face that day.

So, you can wake up tomorrow with courage and hope. And you can do this, not because of your strength and wisdom, but because you know that the most important thing you have ever been given will never wear out. You can also have hope because you know that the God who has given that new mercy, knows exactly what you are about to face.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Beginnings

Welcome to Paul Tripp Ministries!

Our Mission is to connect the transforming power of the Lord Jesus Christ to everyday life. We do this through a daily radio program, "Right Here, Right Now" on WFIL 560 AM at 11:00 am in Philadelphia (you can also listen to this program by going to our website www.paultrippministries.org). We also conduct conferences all over the USA and the world. These conferences address practical issues of daily life. You will find a schedule of events on our website. We also have a catalog of practical-life print and media resources that are available on our website for purchase. We encourage you to come back to our blog often. Each posting will stimulate you to think in new ways about the struggles of life in this fallen world and what you have been given in the Lord Jesus Christ to deal with them.

We do what we do because we are deeply persuaded that many people have a huge gap in their understanding of the gospel and everyday life. What does this mean? Well, many people have some level of knowledge of the promise of salvation past, that is, that Jesus lived, died, and rose again so that our sins could be forgiven. And many people have some kind of understanding of salvation future, that is, that in the forgiveness I have been given is also a promise of eternity with Christ. Yet, there are masses of people who are not only confused about what God is doing in the here and now, but also have little grasp of what Jesus Christ has given them so that they can face the inescapable difficulties of life in this broken world with hope and courage.

What about you? Are you trying to live without the most amazing, life-transforming grace that has ever been provided? Do you know that Jesus Christ not only promises you forgiveness and freedom, but a whole new identity as well? Have you come to understand that he came to earth to provide for us just what we need so that we would be who we are supposed to be and do what we're supposed to do where each of us lives, right here, right now?

Each blog will connect the transforming power of Jesus Christ to everyday life. Won't you join us?