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Chapter 1 of AWE: Why it Matters for Everything We Think, Say, & Do by Paul David Tripp

Updated: Apr 8

*This is the first of several reflections from Pastor Aaron Adame on the resource we will be looking at over the spring. If you haven’t purchased or received the book yet, it’s still not too late. If you'd like to purchase the book online, please click here.

Why this book?

Paul David Tripp has become one of my favorite authors over the years. As a gifted pastor, counselor and writer, he has a unique talent of getting to the heart of the matter in people’s marriages, parenting, and discipleship to Jesus. We so often want to deal with the symptoms in our lives (anger, resentment, bitterness, depression, anxiety, etc) because they are what we see and feel and experience. However, if we are truly going to be transformed by the life-giving power of the Holy Spirit, we can never just treat symptoms, we must let God search our hearts, expose the core issues, and receive His redeeming work of grace.

Why this topic?

The answer is two-fold: First, as a church, one of our six values (something we are and strive to be more of) is authentic worshippers. Of course, this doesn’t just mean we want to sing great songs on Sunday—though we certainly want to do that—but as you know already, you can sing loudly, but have a heart far from God. What it means, then, is that we want to develop a culture of worshippers whose lives are a constant stream of worship. Paul writes, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship” (Romans 12:1 ESV). The Christian life can be summarized as a life transformed by grace so that one may worship the Lord (rightly) in spirit and truth (John 4). So, as a church, we want to live out this facet of our Christian discipleship to Jesus consistently and authentically.

Second, problems can be avoided when we worship correctly and authentically. In fact, many problems we see in our world today are sourced back to people’s inappropriate worship. As Paul said earlier in Romans 1, “Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen” (Romans 1:24–25 ESV).

All around us are worshipping people, whether they realize it or not. And if they are not in Christ, they are worshipping the false gods of the world; the ones every human creates in the idol factory of their hearts. And because of “awe-wrongedness,” people experience the symptoms of placing their hope and awe in temporal things that can never satisfy. This creates frustration, restlessness, fear and anger and division. But when the soul is united to Christ, and worship of the true and living God is restored, then hope, love, and peace result.

But as you know by now, the issue of wrong worship isn’t just an “out-there” problem. It’s also an “in-there” problem. Yes, even as believers, while we remain in the flesh, we have the temptation to settle our awe and wonder and affections on worldly things. And the result doesn’t give us the fruit of the spirit our redeemed hearts long for.

So, what’s the solution? The solution is to diagnose and discover the areas of our lives that still need to be redeemed by the Savior so that we may experience the awe and wonder of God.

The cameo of the early church as presented by Luke in Acts 2 says this: “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles” (Acts 2:42–43 ESV). These verses (and down to verse 47) are what shape our values as a church. But what I want to draw your attention to is what God produced in the early converts—awe in every soul! Certainly, a beautiful sunset can produce awe. The birth of a child, the sound of a trained voice singing loudly, yes, even a golf shot hit really well can produce awe. But nothing, nothing can compare to being in awe of the Lord!

Our prayer is that this book will help us recapture the awe of God, avoid settling for the awe of creation, and thus experience the blessings of worshipping the way God made us to.

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