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«PAUL DAVID TRIPP STRENGTHENING Marriages IN YOUR C HUR C H EQUIPPING MATURE COUPLES TO COUNSEL STRUGGLING COUPLES DISCUSSION GUIDE by Paul David ...»

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PAUL DAVID TRIPP

STRENGTHENING

Marriages

IN YOUR C HUR C H

EQUIPPING MATURE COUPLES TO COUNSEL STRUGGLING COUPLES

DISCUSSION GUIDE

by Paul David Tripp

with Michael E. Breece, contributor © 2013 Paul Tripp Ministries All rights reserved.

7214 Frankford Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19135 (800) 551-6595 Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

PERMISSIONS

You are permitted to reproduce and distribute this Discussion Guide and the accompanying Leader’s Guide unlimited times, provided that you do not charge for the material or alter the content in any way without written permission. You are not permitted to reproduce or distribute the DVD in any way.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Paul David Tripp is a pastor, author, and international conference speaker. He is the president of Paul Tripp Ministries and works to connect the transforming power of Jesus Christ to everyday life. This vision has led Paul to write many books on Christian living and travel around the world preaching and teaching. Paul’s driving passion is to help people understand how the gospel of Jesus Christ speaks with practical hope into all the things people face in this broken world.

For additional resources, visit www.paultripp.com.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A Word of Welcome 4

1. God’s Tools of Grace (I) 5

2. God’s Tools of Grace (II) 9

3. Diagnosing the Problem (I) 12

4. Diagnosing the Problem (II) 15

5. The Responsibilities of Being God’s Ambassador (I) 19

6. The Responsibilities of Being God’s Ambassador (II) 23

7. Calling Couples to a Marriage Culture of Grace 28

8. Calling Couples to a Marriage Culture of Grace: Growth and Trust 32

9. Calling Couples to a Marriage Culture of Grace: Cruciform Love 36

10. Calling Couples to a Marriage Culture of Grace: Appreciating Differences 39 Appendix A: Concrete Descriptions of Love 42

A WORD OF WELCOME

Are you willing to be used by God to help others in the midst of their marriage struggles? Perhaps you are willing but unsure what you possibly have to offer. Or, perhaps, you understand exactly what you have to offer - the truths of God’s Word - but feel very incapable of how to apply that truth to specific situations.

If you are, at least, willing to consider being God’s tool in the lives of others, hopefully, by the time you have finished all the sessions you will be completely willing as well as confident to help others in the midst of their marriage struggles.

In Sessions 1 and 2 you will learn what God has called you to and where to begin. Sessions 3 and 4 will help you identify the root of any marriage problem. In Sessions 5 and 6, you will learn how to function as God’s ambassador in the lives of others. Sessions 7-10 will provide you with the practical biblical principles you can apply to any marriage to help couples live out of their identity in Christ; develop growth, trust and love; and deal with differences with appreciation and grace.

I pray that as you work through this material, your own marriage will be strengthened. I also pray you will understand your role in the lives of other couples and will be willing to be used by God to strengthen others’ marriages as well.

God bless.

Paul David Tripp Even though this DVD curriculum can be used as a stand-alone resource, you may want to expand the study by reading What Did You Expect? Redeeming the Realities of Marriage.

There is a significant difference between the content of the book and the content of this DVD, and the book helps to supplement the material taught on the DVD curriculum.

To order your copy of this book, visit www.paultripp.com/marriage.

–  –  –

OPENING DISCUSSION:

Consider and discuss the following BEFORE watching the DVD.

1. How confident do you feel about ministering into the lives of others? Discuss the reason(s) for your confidence or lack of confidence.

–  –  –

meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

KEY QUESTION: What does it look like to be one of God’s tools of grace in strengthening marriages?





KEY IDEAS:

1. Your life is ministry.

2. Because we are still in the process of sanctification, we still need to work on our marriages.

3. You are an ambassador of God.

4. Your ministry flows from the grace and gospel of Christ in your own life.

–  –  –

2. Dr. Tripp says, “If you’re going to be a tool in God’s hands, you have to know your place in God’s work.” What is our place and what does this mean for ministering to others?

3. What does Paul mean when he writes, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts” and “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly”?

DISCUSSION:

1. What thoughts do you have about being God’s ambassador? For what reason(s)?

2. Compare the “life of ministry” vs. ministry as one part of life.

3. Which of the following statements currently describes you best:

• I want to fulfill God’s purpose for my life by representing God in each of my relationships.

• I want to fulfill God’s purpose for my life, but limit ministry to church functions.

• I want to fulfill God’s purpose for my life, but will often live for my own comfort, security, and pleasure instead of representing God in all aspects of life.

• I am uncertain/scared about what God would want me to do to fulfill his purpose in my life.

• I feel I am more in need of being ministered to than being able to minister to others.

–  –  –

ASSIGNMENT #1:

Write down a list of truths/principles from the Bible that have made a positive difference in your relationships.

They could be truths/principles that you have applied or that others (including God) have applied in their relationship to you. Include a brief description of how each truth/principle was shown.

For example: When I respond to my wife and kids with gentleness, it helps them be less defensive.

ASSIGNMENT #2:

Actively seek ways that you can show God’s compassion, gentleness, patience, forgiveness, and love to others.

Be mindful that every contact you have with another has been planned by God’s sovereignty, and in every contact with another you are God’s ambassador. If there is not already a couple you are ministering to, perhaps God will bring one to your attention as you seek to be his ambassador.

–  –  –

OPENING DISCUSSION:

Share Assignments #1 and #2 from Session 1 BEFORE watching the DVD.

1. What truths/principles from the Bible have made a positive difference in your relationships?

2. How were you able to show God’s compassion, gentleness, patience, forgiveness, and love to others since the last session?

–  –  –

meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

KEY QUESTION: What does it look like to be one of God’s tools of grace in strengthening marriages?

KEY IDEAS:

1. We need more than principles; we need a Redeemer.

2. Every Christian is a teacher and should therefore study diligently to bring the Gospel of Christ to any situation.

3. God positions you exactly where He wants you to be a part of what He is doing.

–  –  –

REVIEW:

1. In what way are we to teach and admonish one another?

2. Summarize Sessions 1 and 2 by answering the Key Question: “What does it look like to be one of God’s tools of grace in strengthening marriages?”

DISCUSSION (continued on next page):

1. As God’s children, we are all tools of His grace. Describe what you think makes a person a sharp and useful tool in God’s hands versus a dull and ineffective tool.

–  –  –

APPLYING WHAT YOU LEARNED:

Imagine you are at Nora and Chris’ house for dinner. Dinner was satisfying and conversation was comfortable as you discussed work, family, and plans for the summer. However, as you sit in the living room, conversation has shifted and Nora is beginning to express some frustrations she is having in their marriage.

CHRIS: “All we ever seem to do is argue. I don’t remember the last time we had a long conversation... and didn’t argue.”

–  –  –

CHRIS: “Nora?... Would you agree?” NORA: “Yeah... I guess. We always apologize to each other though and just move forward. I usually don’t even remember what we were fighting about.” CHRIS: “Well, she forgets if it was something she did wrong, but she has a great memory if it’s something I did wrong.” NORA: “How would you even know what I remember? You love painting this negative picture of me and it’s just not true.” CHRIS: “OK, OK, I’m sorry. We don’t have to start an argument about it.” NORA: “See, there you go again. You’re acting as if I started the argument. It’s always like this;

even if he does something wrong, he has to somehow find a way to blame me. It’s frustrating.” Do you think you should step in and address their problem? What would motivate you to step in?

What would motivate you to remain uninvolved? What could you say to begin to involve yourself?

–  –  –

have died; 15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.

KEY QUESTION: What is the problem with marriage?

KEY IDEAS:

1. Effective cure is attached to accurate diagnosis; therefore, we need to understand the true cause of problems in marriages.

2. The biggest problem of marriages is the sin that exists inside each person.

–  –  –

2. Summarize Sessions 1 and 2 by answering the Key Question: “What does it look like to be one of God’s tools of grace in strengthening marriages?”

3. Why is identifying our own sin as the greater problem the solution to healthier marriages?

APPLYING WHAT YOU LEARNED (continued on next page):

ACTIVITY #1 Select one couple to play Nora and Christ and select another couple to play their friends. Have a couple role-play Nora and Chris by reading their lines. Have another couple be their friends who will step in and apply the gospel to their situation.

[NOTE: This isn’t a counseling setting; these are your friends just sharing their lives with you] CHRIS: “All we ever seem to do is argue. I don’t remember the last time we had a long conversation... and didn’t argue.”

–  –  –

CHRIS: “Nora?... Would you agree?” NORA: “Yeah... I guess. We always apologize to each other though and just move forward. I usually don’t even remember what we were fighting about.” CHRIS: “Well, she forgets if it was something she did wrong, but she has a great memory if it’s something I did wrong.” NORA: “How would you even know what I remember? You love painting this negative picture of me and it’s just not true.”

–  –  –

NORA: “See, there you go again. You’re acting as if I started the argument. It’s always like this;

even if he does something wrong, he has to somehow find a way to blame me. It’s frustrating.” Here might be a good place to speak up and help them. What would you say?

ACTIVITY #2 Have a couple role-play James and Thelma who are having a problem in their marriage. James and Thelma should begin by reading the following lines.



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