An interview with Trip Lee by Kelly Carr, editor
Trip Lee is a pastor, an author, and a rapper. He is passionate not only about sharing God’s Word in a multitude of ways but also making sure that he keeps learning from others, mentoring others, and giving gratitude back to God. When Trip came to Cincinnati to speak at the Catalyst conference this past spring, he took time talk with The Lookout.
Posturing as a Learner
“I’ve benefited so much throughout my Christian life building relationships with older, more mature Christians,” Trip said. He hopes others will pour themselves into younger generations, just as people have poured into him. “I think being open to having relationships and investing a lot of your time into younger Christians, especially those who show some amount of gifting and leadership skills, is so helpful. I’ve been the beneficiary of this over and over and over again—to the point that when I get to a new season of life, I understand that one of the first and most important things I need to do is identify some people who I can connect with and learn from who are older and more experienced than me who can teach me some things.”
Trip kept coming back to a simple but profound goal for his life that others would do well to imitate: “I want to posture myself as a learner.” He said that when he talks with people, even those he’s just met, “without even thinking about it, I am just trying to think about what they know and what they’re good at so I can take something away that can help me in what I’m doing. I think when we begin to get into relationships with people, that’s when we can see what we can learn from them.”
Trip hopes he never stops learning. “I don’t think there’s an age when we should stop posturing ourselves as learners. Unless you reach some age when God says ‘now you you’re omniscient’ or something, of course there’s something you can learn.” Though in his late 20s himself, he finds that there are younger Christians or new Christians that he learns from. “They’re human beings made in the image of God, so I can learn from them. They’re filled with the Spirit of God—the same Holy Spirit as me—so of course I can learn from them.”
Having the Right Perspective
When talking to Trip or listening to the lyrics of his songs, you sense the gratitude that wells up within him. He gives praise back to God, whether it’s being thankful for his wife and two small kids or whether it’s recognizing the opportunities God has brought his way.
“Gratitude fuels relationships—gratitude for what God has done through somebody else. Gratitude reaffirms your love for someone regularly.” For example, Trip said that in marriage, sometimes it can be hard to serve and love and give all the time. But when he and his wife express gratitude toward the other, they are reminded of why they serve and love and give.
Trip said gratitude puts life into the correct perspective. “Gratitude reminds me who God is and what God brings to the equation—aka: everything! He brings the strength, the power, the gospel, the salvation. He brings all of that to the table. What I bring, what I’ve added to the equation, is my sinfulness, my sincere efforts that weren’t good enough at all. But what Christ has done for me—gratitude then enables me to live in light of it, not to live as if I’m entitled.”
Trip is even grateful for his struggles. “I have an illness: chronic fatigue syndrome. I could ask God, ‘Why give me this? I’m trying; just heal me. I’m doing my best out here—why would you do this?’ That’s what a sense of entitlement would do. But when I’m thinking more of gratitude, I understand that every minute that I have an ounce of energy is a mercy of God. And every day that I wake up, that’s a mercy of God. The fact that I even know God—that is a mercy of his. So if I can fight that entitled perspective and live with gratitude, that can keep me from being stalled by feeling I deserve it all to be great. Instead I’m grateful for anything that’s even kind of good, and I’m looking forward to everything being perfect [in eternity]. For now I’m pressing through, knowing God has given me a lot of grace and mercy.”