Tag Archives: Paul Tripp

2013 Resolutions: The Fourth of Four

Recently I read the book Dangerous Calling by Paul Tripp. He openly discusses the culture of the church that typically views the pastor as having it all together all the time and how this pressure can be challenging on pastors. While God has called qualified people to be pastors, they are still people, flawed and in need of a Savior. Their character, convictions, and competencies are those of a leader, but no leader is perfect and expectations must change.

My last resolution is to be a faithful shepherd, pastor of my church, but also to be a fellow brother in Christ with my church. The fourth of four resolutions is simply to be a friend and to be a friend in need. 4a & 4b if you will.

To be a friend & a friend in need

The gospel of Jesus Christ is a powerful thing, powerful to save anyone from a life bent away from God’s desires, transform anyone, and empower all who embrace it by faith to meet the needs of others. Throughout the scriptures, God speaks about blessing people with Himself in order that they would be a blessing for others.

Part of this reality is that I am have been given certain gifts and a certain role in the body of Christ, for me it is to be a pastor. This involves studying the word of God, praying, counseling people in the scriptures, dialoguing about Jesus and His gospel with anyone regardless of their beliefs or background, and cultivating communities that do the same. If you were to boil it down to one idea, it’s to be a true friend to anyone I meet, to love them with the love of Christ that they might know about a relationship with God.

But the gospel of Jesus Christ is also powerful enough for me to confront my weakness. This brings freedom to acknowledge that there are times when I am a friend in need and that God has provided people in my life, from all background or beliefs and especially in the church that share my beliefs to help me when I am in need.

The perception that the pastor has it all together all the time is an impossible expectation because no one does, except for Jesus. We are all in progress, constantly learning and growing, and the gospel of Jesus Christ brings freedom to walk in this reality. This allows me to sit down with a friend and be honest. I can let people know that there are times when I’m tired, times when I’m not as happy as I wish I was or had been last week and that I need their help to change. That there are times when I’m not fired up about reading the scriptures or talking about the Lord, but I don’t want to feel this way and many times it is the help of other people in our community, using their stories and their gifts that God provides a path toward change.

Use My Gifts and Benefit from the Gifts of Others

This also provides me perspective on how I’m gifted and to celebrate how others have been gifted. It takes the pressure off to always have the solution, to be able to say I don’t know, and to honor how God has uniquely gifted other people. God’s design was to gift all of God’s people to serve all of God’s creation.

When all gifts are celebrated, honored, and embraced by the church, the church truly begins to embody Jesus Christ who possesses and exercises all of the gifts perfectly. The church would like everyone they interact with to experience Jesus through them, but it’s only possible when individuals are introduced and invited to experience the entire community of Christ followers.

I hope this year involves helping people identify how they have been uniquely designed and gifted by God to serve others, to equip them and empower them to do so and to see those gifts be used to love others well.

These are my resolutions and I hope that I can look back at the end of the year having been fully present to enjoy my marriage, love my kids, and serve the city we live in by empowering and serving my church. Here’s to 2013.

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Mundane Transformation

What they don’t tell you in college, what your parents don’t prepare you for, what you’re job interview will surely not cover, is that the majority of your life is lived in the mundane. The necessary, tedious, and ordinary everyday activities that aren’t exciting or glamorous, but you cannot avoid.

It’s been on my mind a lot lately, partly due to conversations with college graduates who are joining the cubicle world and have found it, shockingly, less exciting than living with thousands of the same age, same time availability of college life people that allows for spontaneity and the creation of excitement at every moment.

Now the mundane usually frustrates people because they see no grand purpose in those activities and it even can lead some to be depressed when they find their worth in their activity and realize that 85% or more of their activity occupies the mundane. As I’ve thought about it, I can’t help but see the immense value in the mundane in how it transforms us and how we can transform it into purposeful living.

The Mundane will Transform You

I’ve seen from my own life and my friends that the mundane things in life have the ability to bring out the various shortcomings that exist in all of us. Only when the flurry of activity slows and the mundane creep in does the pride of life, the unnecessary frustration, annoyance, and even anger begin to find its way to the surface and can no longer be hidden. The mundane imposes its will on us revealing that we hate to be governed and obligated to do things we deem as unimportant, although they are necessary.

For example, at work you’ll never hear people complain about the opportunity to make a presentation in front of boss, but you’ll always hear the frustrations of having to answer email, respond to voicemail, or file the various “insert-your-corporate-name for TPS reports” to your 11 bosses.  Only the mundane, required tasks reveal the missteps that are easy to hide behind our desired activities.

So the mundane brings to the surface the underlying sins that we’d rather hide and presents us with the opportunity for change. For the Christian, it’s the opportunity to deal with what these sins reveal about why we follow Jesus & how we live out our faith. Is it for the exciting purpose-filled activities that can be glamorous in Christianity or is it simply because Jesus is worth following? Do we choose to live out our faith only in the desired activities or will we choose to live out our faith in all of life, even if that means the majority of life is lived in the mundane?

It will always be our tendency to avoid and discard the mundane in search of the exciting, but the mundane can build the character necessary to be effective in and handle rightly the joys of the more exciting and “purposeful”.

But if it’s true that the majority of our lives are lived completing the mundane, we must seek to transform how we approach the mundane.

You must Transform the Mundane

For Christians, all of life is to be used as a proclamation that Jesus is savior of the whole world and redeems all aspect of our lives for His purposes. If, as scripture says, we are to do everything for the glory of God, then we must even seek to complete the mundane with a mind towards honoring God.

This change in approach will force us to view the minor details and life’s necessities in a new light, with a mind towards completing them with the same excellencies we would the exciting and adventurous, with the same joy we would seek in those purpose filled moments. It creates character into an individual who will not compromise in the difficulties and in the end will greatly enhance the most exciting, purposeful activities we truly long for.

I’ve come to be grateful for the mundane (unfortunately, it’s still usually after the fact) for how it transforms me, but I’ve also noticed that as I’ve approached it differently, seeking to transform even the mundane, I find more joy in life through Jesus Christ because the majority of my life, the mundane, is finally used for worshipping Christ.

At a Desiring God pastor’s conference earlier this year, Paul Tripp said “If God does not rule your mundane, he does not rule you.” It has challenged me ever since and I find that my life is filled with the mundane, but it doesn’t have to be boring or a gap-filler between the exciting, it truly can be filled with joy and used in a transformative way.

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