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Paul Tripp – Glory Propels Excellence

Image Credit: Sebastian Voortman

Paul Tripp – Glory Propels Excellence

“Mediocrity in ministry can convince people that they were right – there’s in no glory to be found here.”

Those 3 words continue to ring in my ears from the Dangerous Calling conference today with Paul Tripp.

When we are gripped by the awe-inspiring glory of God, we are propelled to excellence. That glory doesn't move us to mediocrity. Mediocrity isn't inspired by a right view of God.

“The God of glory is worthy of every ounce of my effort.”

Isn't that the truth?! God isn't worthy of 5%. 50% or 95% of my effort. He's worthy of all of my effort. Every single ounce.

Our pursuit of excellence isn't because we value excellence for its own sake, but because we have been captured by the most glorious God and now have the privilege of displaying Him, making Him known, being His ambassadors.

“We have high standards because we know who we're representing.”

I once heard the definition that excellence is doing the best we can with what we've got. It's not perfection. It's not slickness. It's striving to honour God with our best. It's too easy to settle for less, to settle for mediocrity.

This quote was particularly hard-hitting:

“Mediocrity in ministry can convince people that they were right – there's no glory to be found here.”

What a terrible shame.

What a shame for people to arrive at church on a weekend and conclude – “They don't worship a glorious God. There's no glory to be found here”.

Excellence involves many things. Narrowing the focus. Being organised. Planning ahead. Spending money where necessary. Creating clear expectations. Learning to delegate. The list goes on.

May the glory of God propel us into the pursuit of excellence in every aspect of our lives and ministries.

8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Bren McLean

    May 24, 2012 at 7:03 pm

    I have read about times when the church was leading the world in design and creativity arts. I long for the day when this might be the case again.
    God deserves our first fruits, our best and anything short of that is lethargy.
    “Pursue excellence, not perfection”

  2. Tom Melbourne

    May 25, 2012 at 11:02 am

    Was 1 Corinthians 1-2 addressed at all at the conference? You know, the bit where Paul talks about the worldly foolishness of both the message AND the messengers being crucial to the proclamation of the true gospel.

  3. Steven Kryger

    May 25, 2012 at 11:50 am

    Hi Tom, that passage wasn’t discussed. However, I don’t think the point of that passage is to pursue mediocrity.

  4. Steve

    May 27, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    Hi Tom, that passage wasn’t discussed. However, I don’t think the point of that passage is to encourage Christians to pursue mediocrity.

  5. Pingback: Confession: I have been a bad citizen of blogworld | St. Eutychus

  6. Tom Habib

    June 23, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    “When we are gripped by the awe-inspiring glory of God, we are propelled to excellence”?  What example is there of this from the bible?  Moses?  Isaiah?  Peter?  John?  Surely the awe-inspiring glory of God propels us to reactions other than “excellence”.  I think Tom Melbourne is spot on.  Where do we see the awe-inspiring glory of God most clearly?  In the cross.  Luther’s theology of the cross needs to be used here – measure every doctrine against the cross.And honouring God with our best? What does the cross tell me about my best?  What does the cross tell me about what the world values as best?  This isn’t so much about getting something wrong as losing the right emphasis.  Perhaps true excellence is about excelling in suffering or faithfulness or godliness – not videos and music (1 Cor 4).  I really don’t care about worldly excellence when I am trying to show someone that I worship a great God. 

    “They don’t worship a glorious God. There’s no glory to be found here” – Exactly what they would have thought at the cross.

    Hohne has written a good article to check out:  http://moore.edu.au/the-wisdom-of-the-cross-1/

  7. Steven Kryger

    June 25, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    These couple of quotes were from a larger portion of Tripp’s seminar that will be available in book format later this year. Tripp is far wiser than I, and I recommend reading that chapter to get the full context when it comes out.

    I find it helpful to return to a definition of what excellence is – namely, doing the best we can with what we’ve got. Is this God of glory worthy of our worst efforts? Is He worthy of anything less than our best? Surely not! 

    The cross is glorious – God chose this instrument to display His glory. However, I would contend that this demonstration of glory, this demonstration of God’s love, propels us to worship God with everything – with our all, with our best. It doesn’t instil in us a desire for mediocrity.

  8. Steven Kryger

    June 25, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    I agree entirely: “For us, the wisdom of God casts the long shadow of the cross over the world’s relaxed and comfortable aspirations. In God’s wisdom the truly spectacular lifestyle is one of faithful and probably painful self-sacrifice.”

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