Paul Tripp on the Gospel of Real Life

November 10, 2016

By Janai Tedder

CIU Student Writer

Imagine driving through a tunnel of magnificent trees every morning on your way to work. At first, you look at the trunks, branches and leaves with wonder and awe. But after a while, they become old and familiar. Instead, you notice the traffic, the slow driver in front of you, the smell of exhaust and the minutes you’ll be late for work. The awe of beauty has been lost.

Paul Tripp, Columbia International University’s 2016 Alumnus of the Year, used this analogy in his Chapel message at Homecoming 2016, to demonstrate his passion to see believers rekindle the awe and wonder of God’s beauty, His grace and the gospel.

Tripp graduated from CIU in 1972 with a degree in Bible and Christian Education. He went on to earn a master of divinity degree and a doctorate in Biblical Counseling. His ministry has included planting a church, founding a Christian school, writing worship songs and touring with a band. Today he is best known as an author, conference speaker and president of Paul Tripp Ministries. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife Luella, who is also a 1972 CIU graduate.

“It’s wonderful when the word of God’s gospel is familiar but it’s also dangerous,” Tripp told fellow alumni and the student body. “When we lose our awe, other motivations creep into both our lives and our ministries.”

Tripp went on to say that awe is a war because awe of God is quickly replaced with awe of self. He was prompt to remind the audience that we are not alone in this war and there’s grace for us in the midst of our failure.

Tripp continued this subject at the Homecoming President’s Banquet. He shared that in October of 2014, he was diagnosed with renal failure which was followed by five surgeries. He says that it is the tough circumstances that show him how the gospel speaks to the heart of real issues.

“There is no human experience beyond the arms of grace,” Tripp said. “Life, the good and the bad, is only understood through the beauty of our Redeemer.”

It is this theme of grace that impacted 1982 CIU alumnus Robert Hale.

“Grace, you can’t hear enough of it,” Hale said. “Hearing (Paul Tripp) talk about uncomfortable grace, in the midst of what he’s going through, shows it doesn’t mean that you’re in a bad place, it’s just part of God’s refining.”

Alumna Phyllis Barnes, class of 1956, was impacted by the way Tripp demonstrated that God applies to everything in our lives both the good and bad.

“The messages Paul Tripp gave were one of my favorite parts of the weekend,” Barnes said. “His messages have been really delightful to me. It really struck me when he talked about how God’s faithfulness never changes even though we do.”

Tripp offered a final application to the banquet audience with four words to remember: gaze, remember, rest and act. He encouraged his fellow alumni to start everyday by gazing at the beauty of the Lord; to remember that beauty is showered down on us by grace and that is what defines us; and to teach your heart to rest because God is. Finally, to live actively with faith, courage and hope not because we’re able, but because of who God is.