Monday, March 21, 2011

About the Heart

Yesterday was Paul Tripp's last official day on the staff of Tenth. Again, he is not going anywhere but will remain an active member in the church. Here is the Tenth Press article I wrote regarding his ministry.

It’s about the heart. That’s what Paul Tripp tells you. Specifically, it’s about your heart. And if you have sat under his preaching or his teaching or read his books, you have felt uncomfortable, as though he was prying into what you had been keeping hidden even from yourself. If you are parent worried about your children, he has you thinking about your real values as a parent. If you are experience conflict in your marriage, he turns your eyes toward your relationship with God. Likewise, if you are struggling with being single, he wants you to consider how real Christ is to you.

The desire is to apply the Bible practically. Paul is intense about seeing lives changed. He has little interest in knowledge for its own sake. He wants passionately to see the truths of Scripture penetrate into those hearts he tries to pry into. And so he takes his hearers and his readers back to themselves again and again with uncomfortable question of “How is this going to make a difference in the way you think, the way you live?”

The offer of hope is grace. Just as Paul has us feeling worse about ourselves and our ability to make ourselves better, he presents hope. He applies the themes and doctrines of Scripture; he points us to the work of Christ and how it changes the way we should see things. But whatever the specific teaching from Scripture he draws us to, the end result is that he takes us again and again back to the grace of God. And so, however helpless we may recognize ourselves to be, it is God showing his grace to us through Christ that gives us hope.

The necessity of community. Paul thinks relationships are a mess worth making, if only because God has made us such creatures that need one another. It is through each other that we experience God’s grace at work. It is from each other that the truths of the gospel are learned and reinforced. We build faith through community.

Bigger than us. Paul thinks we were created to be part of something big, that we have a desire for transcendence because God placed it there. God constructed us to live for more than ourselves. And so Paul attempts in his teaching to raise our vision for what God is doing in us, and what he is doing in us is transforming us to live for God’s glory.

Heart for churches. “As a pastor, my heart is in and for the local church, God’s primary instrument of change on earth; I love doing anything I can to assist our church leaders to function, in the places God has positioned them, as instruments of redemption.” Oddly enough, it is that very heart for the local church that moves him to step down from his present position in the church. God has granted him a platform from which these lessons can be imparted to many local churches.

And so, as we have given up one minister to serve in the broader kingdom of God, so we give up another to carry out his calling. But not completely. Paul and Luella remain very much a part of our church body. And though his travels continue, he will now have a day to worship alongside of us and to experience the refreshment of the heart that comes from being with the church community. After all, it’s about the heart.


Blogger Judith Sue Mattson said...

Thank you for this gentle and thoughtful summary of Dr. Tripp's official time of shepherding us here at Tenth. I know he will remain a constant for us all in presence and prayer.

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