Top Ten Books of 2012. . . # 1 Paul David Tripp, Dangerous Calling

This book was the best book that I read in 2012!  Perhaps you have noticed that the books that stand out the most to me are the ones that probe the soul and stretch the mind.  I would venture to be as certain as I can to believe that the best books are those that cause you to lean back and seriously contemplate the message the author is working to get across to you.  Books that you cannot just zip through without any confrontation of the conscience or personal commitment are the books that will do our souls the best in the end.  This is one of those books!    

Author:  Paul David Tripp  
Publisher:  Crossway, 2012.

Time flies by with an amazing swiftness and I think back to a time when I had just graduated from nursing school.  A young twenty-two year old probably should not have been working night shift in a busy surgical intensive care unit that routinely was filled with trauma-victims, neurosurgical calamities, occasional gunshot wounds, and so forth.  But I did have a very good support staff around me of some veteran RNs who were very helpful in adding knowledge and skill to what I was lacking. 

Routinely there were two surgeons who would make very early rounds around 3:30 to 4:00 AM.  One was a neurosurgeon and the other was a very gifted trauma and vascular surgeon.  Both of them took an interest in me and because of the slower paced early morning hours, there were times when they would have the opportunity to teach me the specific reasons that they were doing particular courses of treatment, prescribing certain types of drugs, and what outcomes they would expect with these. 

The trauma-vascular surgeon was a man whom I learned huge things from particularly in dealing with blunt chest trauma, ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysms, and ventilator management.  One night he told me that he had a very unfortunate thing to happen to him early in his career.  He was doing surgery late one night and in the fraught moments that accompany those emergency surgeries, he accidentally nicked his hand with a scalpel blade.  The problem was that the victim he was trying to save had hepatitis.  The surgeon contracted hepatitis because of his exposure to a dirty case.  He told me that the course of treatment had been very taxing to him and there were months on end when it was a struggle to get out of bed because of the general malaise caused by hepatitis. 

All of those who work in healthcare realize that they are routinely exposed to various types of illness that are contagious and can be deadly.  It is important that they are aware of the latest measures to protect themselves from these sorts of things because any lack of judgment could expose them to contracting hepatitis, HIV-related illnesses, and so forth.  There are reasons that you need to wash your hands frequently, wear face-shields, masks when around patients with TB, and other various kinds of personal protective equipment that assist with repelling those antagonistic things that would cause personal illness.  Healthcare workers understand these things to be the associated occupational hazards that come with the territory.

Those who are involved in pastoral ministry are routinely exposed to spiritual occupational hazards!!!  This book by Paul David Tripp is a very helpful book to help you identify some of those matters.

Tripp divides his book up into three parts:  1—Examining Pastoral Culture; 2—The Danger of Losing Your Awe (Forgetting Who God Is); and 3—The Danger of Arrival (Forgetting Who You Are).  He is very straightforward about dealing with matters of the soul when you are actively trying to help men and women with spiritual direction.  In the introduction, Tripp urges the reader to ‘deactivate your inner lawyer and consider with an open heart’ the matters that he addresses. 

He notes several ways that pastors get in trouble:

·         Letting ministry define their identity.  We must know that we are saints first and preachers second!  A man who gets those things out of order will invariably have a Diotrophese demeanor to overtake him.
·         Letting biblical literacy and theological knowledge define maturity.  Christianity can never be a set of facts and figures.  It must be about relationship with God.
·         Confusing ministry success with God’s endorsement.  Enough said. . . Although ministry success will always be defined by the character qualities that we find in the Pastoral Epistles—not how big or how much the church we pastor does.  That is hard for Americans to understand.  It isn’t that hard for God to understand this because it is in His book. 

Tripp notes the signs of a pastor who is losing his way.  Which is probably worth the price of the book but there are many other very helpful matters that Tripp allows us to see.     

Here is a link on Vimeo for with a trailer for promotion.  You would do yourself well to watch it.  The book is even better than the video.

I would recommend that you add this book to your list to read in 2013. 

Thanks for reading. . .


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