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Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands: People in Need of Change Helping People in Need of Change (Resources for Changing Lives) Paperback – October 22, 2002
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"Tripp is a careful and skillful physician of the heart. He unites a loving heart with a mind trained to the Scriptures. This book is a great companion for pastors and counselors. It will guide anyone who wants to give real help to others, the saving help that is found in Christ's redeeming work." --Richard D. Phillips
"Helps us help others (and ourselves) by giving grace-centered hope that we can indeed change, and by showing us the biblical way to make change happen." --Skip Ryan
"A wonderful reminder that everyone who belongs to Jesus can help others. God gave us to each other! This is a wise and helpful book that should change your life and that of the church. Read it! You'll be glad." --Steve Brown
About the Author
Paul Tripp is president of Paul Tripp Ministries, 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. Paul is also the Professor of Pastoral Life and Care at Redeemer Seminary in Dallas, Texas, and 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 ten 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. For speaking engagements and other information see paultrippministries.org.
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Tripp then discusses how "God transforms people's lives as people bring his Word to others" (p. 19). We are tools in the Master's hands, and His desire is to use us to speak the truth in love to others, so as to further His transforming work in their lives. This only happens as His Word is seen as more than an encyclopedia of answers to our problems, but as "a narrative, a story of redemption, [with] its chief character . . . Jesus Christ" (p. 27). The sovereignty, grace, and glory of God are seen as the "rebar" running through the pages of Scripture, the themes which give strength and meaning to its message - and to our lives, if we will align ourselves with it.
Central to the development of this book is the conviction that "human beings by their very nature are WORSHIPERS" (p. 44). This defines who we are. The question is whether we worship God or idols. In fact, "stolen worship is at the core of what is wrong with fallen human beings" (p. 45). All of our personal troubles and trials spring out of this "worship disorder." Stress and burnout, depression and anger, breakdowns in relationships, and the disintegeration of family are all fruits springing from this one root: a heart that does not worship God. Therefore, the heart is the target in all personal ministry to others.
Jesus, the Wonderful Counselor, came to redeem and transform human hearts. And following His model, we are called to bring His redemptive word to others. This involves four basic steps: love, know, speak, do. These steps are unfolded in extremely practical ways with lots of personal stories and illustrations. Tripp trains us how to love people the way Jesus does, how to gather information about their lives so as to understand their hearts; and how to speak the truth in love to them so that they can change in in both heart and life to the glory of God. This is an excellent book which I highly recommend, especially to pastors and counselors.
We live in a "therapeutic world" world as David wells would say. This book explodes that kind of cultural thinking of our day, "Sin is the ultimate disease, the grand psychosis." (12) This book deals with sin and it gets deep into the heart, "Sin makes us glory thieves ... it is an intensely vertical war, a fight for divine glory, a plot to take the very position of God ... Sin has made us glory robbers. We do not suffer well, because suffering interferes with our glory." (35) Pages 66-73 on idolatry and pages 78-81 on desires are worth the price of the book and I have read these parts over many times with great benefit.
Again this book is about our ministering to others which is something all Christians are called to do and Tripp is someone who speaks on this topic so well always reminding us that this is the purpose of his book, "Personal ministry must offer people truth that destroys their old ways of thinking about themselves, relationships, circumstances, suffering, and God. The foolish things people do are rooted in a worldview riddled with foolishness. Our problem is not just wrong behaviour and its results, but the thoughts that produced it. ... In confronting people with truth, we confront them with Christ. This is quite radical, for it says that truth, in its most basic form, is not a system, a theology, or a philosophy. It is a Person whose name is Jesus. ... Personal ministry weaves the threads of grace and truth through every part of a person's life. In that it is truly incarnation, because grace and truth will always lead people to Christ." (100-101)
Chapters 7 and following are practical ways on how to minister to others and are broken down into 4 categories: Love, Know, Speak, Do. These chapters deal with how to build strong relationships with people in order to cultivate a healthy/safe environment for ministering to their hearts. We are to cultivate the love of Christ by identifying with suffering and getting involved in people's lives. Throughout the book and even in the appendixes Tripp gives penetrating insight into the human heart and offers much wisdom on how to help people (including yourself) deal with sin in an effective manner.
Mr. Tripp talks about the necessity of helping and encouraging our brothers and sisters by speaking truth with love as God's ambassadors. He also describes in detail how to engage in this lifelong process. More importantly, he exhorts us to examine our own hearts honestly before approaching others. He is honest about the failings in his own life, and also shares some examples from his ministry to make his concepts more concrete.
Note: I've also read and bought Mr. Tripp's book "War of Words," and that is equally excellent, except the focus is more on communicating in a way that a disciple of Christ should.
What I especially appreciate of Mr. Tripp's writing is his focus on our hearts, from which our words and actions spring. He is not content to examine the superficial layers of our lives--he goes deeper to where God beckons us.