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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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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.
This is a critique concerning Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands by Paul Tripp published by P&R publishing company in 2002. This book is part of a series titled Resources for Changing Lives published in cooperation with The Christian Counseling and Education Foundation. Tripp does an excellent job presenting the biblical reason for many life problems Christians face and the biblical solution to those problems. I found this work to be highly edifying and encouraging.
The root of the problem is sin. Christians sin because they are rebellious at heart but God offers another way. God can use anyone and every member of the body of Christ has a purpose. The Christian’s initial purpose is to bring the word of God to others. The problem here is that many Christians do not know how to use the Bible in their own lives and fall short as a result. The root of the problem is the heart of the individual. Every human at heart is a worshiper; some worship sin while others worship God. Those who worship God will deal with conflict. This conflict can come from family, co-workers, themselves, or any number of other things. However, God calls us to walk in him and trust in him to get us through these conflicts. He also calls us to be ambassadors to represent the message, methods, and character of the King. Tripp presents a four part solution to life problems titled “love, know, speak, and do.” This is not a four-step process; rather, “they are simply four important elements of biblical ministry”
Tripp continues by setting the foundation of personal ministry in love. Counselors are to help people with the love that Christ shows the church. Many counselees will face fears and anxieties about their problems and counselors must help them face those fears as opposed to just spouting scripture at them. The counselor must let the counselee know three major things: the counselor has heard his/her struggle, God is there and understands his/her struggle, and the counselor will stand with the counselee and support them biblically. These things will build horizontal trust, vertical hope, and commitment to the process. Suffering will happen but it has a purpose. Counselors can tell personal stories to build a bridge between their past suffering and the suffering of the counselee. The counselor must not assume anything but rather, they should ask questions. All questions asked should be open-ended questions that provoke more than a simple yes or no answer.
Confrontations are necessary and they require love not condemnation. Counselors must not be afraid of confrontation. Confrontation serves a biblical purpose such as when Nathan confronted David and told him a parable that allowed David to see the error of his ways. Counselors must be like Nathan in that they must allow the confronted party the right to condemn themselves and repent of their sins. Tripp follows with a poignant point; the counselor must not become a mini messiah by confusing his or her own personal agenda with God’s agenda. Then, he concludes with the importance of accountability. Accountability provides structure, guidance, assistance, encouragement, and warning.
Tripp points out some biblical truths that were particularly edifying for me such as, “Sin is fundamentally idolatrous. I do wrong things because my heart desires something more than the Lord.” As a Christian, we do not often think in this manner but it is true. He follows shortly with “At its core, sin is moral thievery. It steals the worship that rightly belongs to God and gives it to someone or something else.” In addition, “Every human being is a worshiper, in active pursuit of the thing that rules his heart.” These statements concerning the nature of sin caused me to look at sin in a different manner. I gained a more thorough understanding of the problem of sin and how every Christian is susceptible to the problems it causes. Another enlightening passage is found in Tripp’s section on confrontation: “Failure to make loving rebuke part of our relationships gives the Devil a huge opportunity.” Here Tripp stresses the importance of love and the biblical preparation a counselor must undertake to achieve this love in any situation.
This is a highly edifying and encouraging presentation of the biblical reason for many life problems Christians face and the biblical solution to those problems. This book will serve as a tool that I will use on a regular basis. With the helpful appendixes and homework suggestions, that the publisher gives the counselor the right to reproduce and distribute freely, I will find many uses for this book in the future.