A Pathway to Knowing God – Struggling Well | Ep. 28
Kep has a conversation with his late father’s best friend. James “Trip” Moore tells stories and reflects on the key changing times in his life. And what is most important to him now as he prepares himself for heaven.
Trip Moore was born in Oklahoma in 1951. He heard the gospel and was converted in the summer of 1971 while attending summer school at Oklahoma University. He spent the next few years of his Christian life in a campus church in Greeley, Colorado. In the summer of 1973, encouraged by friends to broaden his vision, he went on a summer-long missionary trip with Operation Mobilization. It was during that summer that Trip experienced Quebec City, a city of about 700,000 people at the time with only 3 evangelical churches of about 30 members each. And several year later Quebec City became his home for the next 35 years.
Trip received a Bachelor’s degree in French and Psychology at the University of Northern Colorado, did advanced studies in French at Université Laval and completed a Master’s degree in counseling under Larry Crabb at Grace Theological Seminary in Indiana. In the years that followed his internship under Larry Crabb, Trip worked in collaboration with him in various projects, the most recent being The School of Spiritual Direction.
Trip has been married to his wife Judy since 1977. They are parents of 3 grown daughters and the grandparents of 7 grandchildren.
Trip is the founder and director of La Clairière Publishing house, established in 1993, where he published dozens of Christian books in French with the aim of promoting spiritual growth of individuals and churches in Europe and the province of Québec. Along with books by Larry Crabb, he has published many important authors in French, including John Stott, Eugene Peterson, Alister McGrath, John Piper, Hugh Ross, Dan Allender, Ray Bakke, Darrel Johnson, Glen Scrivener, Peter Kreeft, Donald Fairbairn, Michael Reeves, and a variety of French-speaking authors.
Trip and Judy returned to Quebec in March 2017 after almost 9 years in Belgium as missionaries. In this role, Trip served as a pastor, counselor, and lecturer in the context of many Belgian churches as well as in Germany, the Netherlands, France, and Switzerland.
Reading & Relating book club
[00:00:28] Kep Crabb: Welcome everybody to Larger Story’s podcast, Relational Spirituality, where you can belong, you can become, and you can be known. I’m your host, Kep Crabb, and I’m joined today by a good friend who I’ve known for a long time, who most would say was my father’s best friend. Trip Moore is joining me today. Trip, thanks for joining me brother.
[00:00:51] James “Trip” Moore: Good to be here.
[00:00:53] Kep Crabb: It’s good to see you. I love to have these conversations because in the last few years since dad’s been gone, you and I have had a few conversations that have been really impacting me. I think a lot of what we’re trying to do with these podcasts is, what does it look like to talk to someone in a way that allows the Spirit in you and the Spirit in me to connect where we really do have some change?
You’re a person who actually has been through the SSD how many times Trip?
[00:01:19] James “Trip” Moore: I’d have to go back and count, but I think the first 50 some odd? There were four years.
[00:01:29] Kep Crabb: You sat in on all that material with dad. I know some of you people who are watching probably don’t know what we’re talking about.
When I say the SSD, it’s actually the School of Spiritual Direction, which was put on by my father Larry Crabb years ago. He did, I think, 77 or 78 schools. That also then transformed into a next step school. This was a week-long, intense time of community. Trip, you were involved with, you said, the first 50 plus.
Tell me about what it was like being a part of that.
[00:02:01] James “Trip” Moore: It was one of the most life-changing things in my life, it had a whole impact on where I’m at today. It was fun because I got to be there when we were starting to plan how to do it and when to do it. Larry wrote this manual, spent a lot of time, went to Florida and worked on that.
I think the neat thing is that we never had to adjust anything from what we came up with for all those years. The pattern, the program we put out there. There were usually a maximum of 20. We cheated some and added a few more at some points, but it was exceptional. It just launched into something so exciting. Many came back over the years and repeated it. Tons of them went to the next step. It was a life changing weekend.
We were very aware from the beginning, this is something God is doing. This isn’t something we’re pulling off. But it was exciting to be there every time because we knew we’d seen it happen, what God would do in different people’s lives.
[00:03:11] Kep Crabb: I remember chatting with Dad probably after the first, I don’t know, 30 or 40 of them, and you guys would be having lunch after the week long event. I would always say to him, how was it? He said it was the best one ever, every single time. Every single time. It was just one of those things. He would often say about the schools of spiritual direction, those were the most ordained things that he was ever a part of or ever had a chance to think through.
It’s so fun to chat with you because I’m wondering, how are you different, bro? How are you different after having sat through 50 plus of those?
[00:03:45] James “Trip” Moore: I’ll tell you. I have to admit that it has totally radicalized my life. It makes it somewhat uncomfortable because I sat there for the first one and the first time he breaks out the seven questions of spiritual and scripture theology. I listened and I followed along; oh yeah, that makes sense. Who is God? It was relational and it became a story as opposed to systematic theology where it’s cutting the truth into little pieces.
Had I gone away after a week, I am pretty sure I would be nowhere close to where I am today, because I got it and I thought, that’s neat, that’s clever, that makes sense. The questions God has chosen to respond to as opposed to the questions we’re asking. As the decades went on, I started realizing that this is a pathway to God’s heart. This is really exciting stuff. At one point we had all the elders from our church go one at a time to those schools in Colorado. Again, just the one week by itself, it’s great, it’s wonderful, but even Dallas Seminary had him do it and put it into a very short thing and then put a booklet out that they sent to every grad from their program over the years.
I think the first question caught my attention the most. Who is God? We’d say we’re Trinitarian, but we don’t live as if we’re Trinitarian. I can’t remember his name, Heimer or something. He said if the Holy Spirit didn’t exist, that would probably change very little of any of our church services on Sunday.
The fun thing is that first book Larry got me into reading was The Communion with God by John Owen back in the 1600s. It’s this thick book in old English, but I was able to pick it up along the way. That consumed me for a number of years. Just this the relational aspect of the Trinity. I have to admit that in the last few years, the second question, the one that’s really gripping me, is, what is God up to, where’s that passion that is in Him moving us toward? What is this goal that He’s pursuing, that I really come to believe that I don’t think many Christians have any idea what it is.
I don’t want to sound pretentious, it’s just that I’ve sat on it for so long and the Lord has opened up scriptures in a way that has just revealed that this is the central passion of His heart. It’s what’s behind the whole thing. We, his kids, don’t understand and see that we’re missing the best part of it because that means meeting him at the level of his heart’s passion. I think he wants us to share that.
[00:06:30] Kep Crabb: Yeah. Trip, I’ve known you for 30 plus years. You and I had a chance to work together with New Way Ministries for different conferences and different things that we were creating and doing. I think that in looking at you now and some of the conversations that we’ve had in the last couple of years, even since Dad’s been gone, you just have a real gentle tenderness to you. I know there’s this real change in respect to what’s going on, how you relate to people seems better.
[00:07:02] James “Trip” Moore: Something’s different. My flesh is still my flesh and when it comes out, it isn’t pretty.
[00:07:07] Kep Crabb: It never is, right?
[00:07:10] James “Trip” Moore: No, it never is. Some people like to define me by that and hold onto that, but I’ve seen it change. The Lord is winning my heart in a way that’s hard to put words to it. It just has a tenderness to it and depth.
[00:07:26] Kep Crabb: I see it, bro. I see it. It’s funny because I think as you get older, you sometimes tend to go a couple of different ways. With you, the tenderness comes out. I think I saw some of that in Dad as well. He was just really more focused. I think the one thing that I’m really starting to take away from Pop’s death was the whole thought of what’s happening after this life.
You and I talked at one point, I remember we were having dinner – I think this was last March – and I said to you, how can we take what you know and give it to someone my age? A mid 50 year old guy from a mid 70 year old guy? And then how can I take that and give it to someone who’s 35 years old or maybe 25 years old? You said, I don’t know if it’s possible because it just requires experience.
[00:08:17] James “Trip” Moore: What I’d say now in response to what you’re saying just popped into my head. I do think it’s possible. God even planned and predestined a context where this would become what moves us and drives us. It’s called the local church. The problem is that in the local church, we don’t have much of an idea of what He’s up to. We’re not seeing what I think the seven questions reveal very clearly.
There was a local church that started in Winona Lake, Indiana about the year that I was leaving to go back to Canada after the masters and the internship. This was a church that was built on these seven questions. At high school graduation, the graduates could get up and talk for an hour about any one of the seven questions. Not only did they have it in their heads, but it was being lived out. I was always so frustrated because I said it looked so good on paper. I love Ephesians. It looks so good on paper. We’ve never seen it lived out. When we were back on the sabbatical from our mission in Belgium, we spent six weeks with them, and it was being lived out. And I said, there it is. There’s Ephesians off the page. It was so exciting. I’m just so glad I have at least one experience, and maybe the Lord would say that you should see all the millions of places I’m doing that, but I know a whole lot of places that aren’t because I traveled with your dad and we visited cities from Alaska to Florida churches.
[00:09:53] Kep Crabb: To Europe, everywhere.
[00:09:54] James “Trip” Moore: I do think it’s the best kept secret and the devil is succeeding at keeping it, because all the other stuff is really nice. But without understanding the relational aspect, and especially the goal we are moving towards, how can we passionately involve ourselves in our project when we don’t really even know what it is? If we simply think it’s getting into heaven and preserving our ticket, which is well preserved, you know what I’m saying?
[00:10:20] Kep Crabb: Unpack that more. You talk about the goal, the desire of relationality. Now what do you think in respect to that?
[00:10:26] James “Trip” Moore: It comes back to the whole idea of wanting to see us become little Christ’s, wanting to see Christ formed in us and to see that lived out. The beauty of the Son is expanded in reality and will be fully expanded in eternity by the way we relate in love and express who He is. But that does not happen by magic. This is the glory part; I’ve always said there are the heights and the depths of this story, and the heights are what God is shooting for and the depths of what we are as we walk into this story by the fall. I do believe that there’s a supernatural power in what God conceives of how Christians are supposed to be transformed in the local church. The methods that most local churches take is not that method. It’s not that path. It’s very different. I think it’s getting caught up with, and also it means you have to face the ugliness of your natural man, the way you’ve learned to survive without God, which is what every man and woman comes into this world with. We’ve found ways to survive by either being really nice or being really mean. To a degree we don’t see that you can’t put to death, like Paul says in Romans eight, the deeds of the flesh. Oftentimes they’ve almost become Christianized. I’m fortunate enough that my snub is so blatant it could never fit into the church and I’m glad, because it forced me to say, what am I going to do with this? There’s something contrary in me that’s powerful.
[00:11:56] Kep Crabb: Just off the top of your head, what would you say Judy would say in terms of how you’re different now? She’s watched the whole process. I know when you and Dad first met, it was under the auspice of him counseling you and Judy in some pretty deep waters and marital struggles.
[00:12:20] James “Trip” Moore: We’d been married for a year and a half, separated for six months and had no hope. I think she sees something that’s competing with my flesh. When you get caught up with what the Lord’s future goal is, and it involves what He’s making us into, when we get caught up in that, there is something that begins to compete with the ugliness of the flesh no matter how strong it is. I think she sees me in that process. When the ugliness comes out, it’s consistent, right up to the end, the flesh is always ugly and self-centered. “Oh wait, God, I got this plan.” I think she’d see something, I see a tenderness in her in my regard that is growing, which I really enjoy and appreciate too.
[00:13:15] Kep Crabb: Tell me what you miss most about Dad being gone.
[00:13:17] James “Trip” Moore: It’s a strange thing. You said you imagined what he’s doing. My images ever since the day he died – I worked in a bank. My family had banks, and so we had these big vaults. At the end of the day, you’d shut them and put the timer on – it almost felt like the big vault door closed. It’s impenetrable and it’s metal and it’s thick. I assume he is having a good time.
We just stimulated each other like he did with so many other of our friends. The Owens book launched us into something, then it spread through Kent and all these other people. We were thinking and throwing thoughts in, and then we got more into the whole idea of, what does the change process look like? I’m finding myself rambling now. I’m losing my train of thought.
[00:14:12] Kep Crabb: That’s okay, man. As you think about Dad, I was talking to someone the other day and I just was thinking, what do you miss? Not most, I don’t think that’s a fair question, but what do you miss?
I love your thought too of, what is he doing now? I’ve got to be honest with you, bro, I think about that all the time. What is Dad doing right now?
[00:14:30] James “Trip” Moore: See, I can’t go anywhere with that.
[00:14:32] Kep Crabb: I can’t go anywhere with it either, but it just excites me to think that he’s doing something. Oh, he’s chatting with Paul, he’s chatting with Jesus. He’s chatting with his dad, his brother, different people.
[00:14:40] James “Trip” Moore: I’d like to be able to go there more, it’s exactly what’s happening. One of his favorite statements was, nothing transforms us more than looking bad in the presence of love, which is what grace is, what the gospel is. I have never tasted that anywhere in the way I tasted it with your dad. We both had, we both have secrets that we’ve never told anyone else, and we both bear each other’s secrets.
This is a funny story, but he had a quick mind and he could see stuff. He was very quick and he could pick stuff up in about five seconds, to the degree that one time when we were having one of the SSDs at the school, there were a bunch of professors from Seminary, The Grace. These were good friends, Smith and I can’t remember the other one. They took him out for lunch and called him out on the fact that he was depending a whole lot on his clever mind to see things and picking up and maybe enjoying it a little too much. It was a powerful tool, but it was also effective because he did see clearly and he had a whole lot of change. I remember once we were having a conversation, I remember I was sitting in my old house and he started off in a direction. I said, Larry, you just put your white coat on. He said, you’re right.
It was deeper than his quick mind. The Lord used his mind, but also his heart and his honesty before God. That guy struggled before God in ways I think very few people do, partly because he was really messed up more than people knew.
See that’s the good part. Us messed up. We all are, but not everybody knows it. A whole lot of Christians. We were raised well. We learned how to live. We had this culture. I didn’t have that. I shouldn’t say that publicly, but I was really glad I wasn’t raised in a Christian home; partly because my home was so crazy that if they’d mixed God into that, I probably would have had to push Him out with all of that.
[00:17:01] Kep Crabb: I get you. Yeah. Knowing some of your backstory,
[00:17:03] James “Trip” Moore: I think that being messed up in ways that you cannot mask or get rid of it is an advantage. Your dad was like that. No one would’ve thought that, but it’s true. He was messed up too. But he got into the relational details. It wasn’t just the big messed upness, so it was a privilege to see the truth that was being taught, lived out in the relationship. We had moments where we would be yelling at each other. Those were rare moments where I’d just break into tears because I thought he was mad at me or something. It was a gift. Your question is what’s it like? It’s just boom, it’s gone. I’m looking forward to reconnecting.
[00:17:49] Kep Crabb: I bet you are, man. Some of the stories you tell me remind me of stories. Some of you watching today know the ones where Dad, even as a young counselor, used to be called Zoro because he would just get in there and just tear people up. He would say, I’d think of 10 things to say to this person and I’d say 11 of them. Yeah. Then in later years, he would say, I would think of 10 things to say and I might say one. I remember hearing that and that really impacted me. What does it mean to really listen well? I think that’s something Trip that you’ve been able to do better through having experienced the SSDs over and over again as you sat with people as a spiritual director who was being paid to listen well. It becomes like what you and I have said before, and this is what I want to get at, is how does it become part of you like that? Because now it’s becoming part of who you are. Like you said, Judy can really see that flesh-spirit battle going on because the Spirit is fighting. The flesh is fighting too, but the Spirit’s going to win this one.
As we think about what Dad did, and going through 50 times, how do you listen better?
[00:19:10] James “Trip” Moore: You discover the inner workings that are going on in the flesh. If you cannot understand, see the flesh, because this whole idea that the pastor is a really good preacher who walks off the stage so full every Sunday and has nothing to do with God is because of his flesh. It’s not always his flesh, but it’s that subtlety there. I saw your dad go into that subtlety, and I’m going into it too. He always used to say, your big ugly battles aren’t your worst problem. In other words, if you struggle with different things, pornography or whatever, that’s not your worst problem. It’s much more relational. It’s much more, what is going on with you and your closest relationship with your wife? To see that fleshed out. I was a privileged man to be able to see his foibles. He probably saw I had a few foibles too.
[00:20:10] Kep Crabb: I saw some of the foibles and he was instrumental in getting some of the foibles out of my life. Having him as a father was pretty special, man. I look back and just, I miss him every day. It’s amazing what his life has done to my life. Now, I think I’ve said this to you before Trip, but I think since he’s passed, I think I know him better. I’m understanding things a little bit better in terms of seeing things for what they are, because he was so not into this world. He really wasn’t. You remember his big catchphrase for the last, probably 10 years of his life, but certainly the last five intensely was, I don’t care. He would say, how was the football game? I don’t care. He just was totally immersed in what’s happening now in his life.
[00:20:58] James “Trip” Moore: And more heavenly minded. It’s so true. He almost couldn’t enjoy it. I can enjoy certain things, like we did a two hour bus line ride in London in one of those red buses. First of all, he didn’t know it was going to be that long. He wasn’t very happy about that. But as he watched people along the streets, he ended up almost in a ball of a burden for the fallen and people.
[00:21:21] Kep Crabb: He had a heart for people and he had a gift. I think what you felt around him was that you felt safe. He had that gift of making you feel safe. I would hear stories of him driving from a speaking engagement in a car with the driver who didn’t even know him. And at the end of the ride, this driver had poured out his entire life to Dad, and Dad was talking to him about what it means to live life like Jesus. It was just amazing. His life was so impactful and I think the hope that I have and that we can all have is, he had the same Holy Spirit that we have in us. He just was a willing vessel to move into those things. He had some gifting too, no question.
[00:22:04] James “Trip” Moore: His gifting, and he had a father and a background that formed him in many ways. One of the advantages of the friendship I had is that had he been my counselor, there are certain things I never would’ve learned about him. There are certain sides of his fallenness that I never would’ve tasted. He wouldn’t have gone off on me in a counseling session probably, but having had him as a friend, that’s a different deal. We had stories both ways. We were walking down a street in Chicago with our wives behind us and we were just yelling at each other. We learned grace through each other too.
[00:22:41] Kep Crabb: You knew that no matter what you said, nothing was going to change how you felt about each other.
[00:22:45] James “Trip” Moore: It took a while because I remember walking down in Chicago, and I remember as we walked in, I said, that’s not going to ruin our relationship. That level is where I realized there was something so solid there. We’ve had many more and other big discussions along the way, but those become very useful too, in a lot of different ways.
I do think that now with your dad and what he puts out there, I really am stuck in the second question. I’m really convinced to the degree that if we can’t answer the second question, you can’t do any of the other stuff. The second question is, what globally ultimately is God shooting for? He created man, and we’re in the church, and He paid the price to bring us back when we flipped Him off. I really think to the degree that we don’t have an understanding of God’s deepest passion of where He is headed. This is one of the challenges. Peter says in first Peter, put all your hope in the glory that will be revealed when Christ comes back. Ask somebody to sit down and write a paper on the glory that will be revealed when Christ comes back. Most of us wouldn’t have much to say.
I’m starting to realize there’s a whole lot to say that the mystery revealed, which is also the hope that we’re supposed to be stirred by, is supposed to be the key motivating and directing thing. And we’re just not. Very few leaders are. I find it very discouraging because we found a Christian model of a church, of how it works without seeing the deeper thing, and it keeps us from entering into the battle in each other’s lives where we become allies.
[00:24:30] Kep Crabb: You’re hitting on so many big points Trip, but one of the biggest I think is the whole notion of the second coming. It seems to me that oftentimes churches are so focused on how to make this life work now. You realize that you have very little control of what really is happening. I guess my question too would be, why is it? Is it through such deep waters and pain and suffering that you really get to know the Lord at a different level? Why does that seem to be the only way in scripture and now in my own personal experience?
[00:25:04] James “Trip” Moore: Maybe because the only way we can move forward is through brokenness and repentance, which requires something to happen that makes us there. It’s not something you can turn on. Your dad was very sensitive to his sins and was easily broken. He was aware of the category and made it real. I think that’s a big part of it. \
[00:25:27] Kep Crabb: How do we keep heaven on the forefront of our mind?
That’s been my biggest focus, man. That’s one of the ways I think about Dad and what he’s up to, what is he doing? Who’s he talking with? It just makes me think that there’s something beyond this that’s way better. It’s so hard to grasp that even as a middle aged man.
[00:25:49] James “Trip” Moore: I think it’s a situation of what we’re supposed to be about now. We don’t have to deal with this now, we can just hope for this. I think they’re very connected and what God is wanting us to be moving towards as believers in local communities. Living in a way so that as we are moving, we’re becoming more heaven minded. We’re becoming more Christlike.. Here’s the deal. It involves awakening our awareness of hope. He says, put all your hope. If you don’t know what it is, you can’t live according to something. You don’t know what it is. We don’t know what it is. So it’s not just His coming back, it’s what is He shooting for? That will be the culmination of. what is this hope that’s supposed to be driving this?
Ephesians and Colossians especially catch my attention these days. It sees the hope of glory. Remember in Ephesians one, at the end, three times it says, to the hope of His glory. To the hope of his glory. To the hope of his glory. Something like that. I don’t know about you, but when you talk about glory, I know that it’s good, but it just didn’t have much content to it. I’ve come to realize, the glory that He’s shooting for is tied to what we are supposedly in the process of becoming.
Glory’s a hard word to understand. Is it flashing lights? Is it intimidation? I think two key aspects of glory are, the glory is the Lord’s pleasure and His beauty. He’s wanting to see His glory increased, so He wants to see His pleasure increased and His beauty increased, and He has chosen to do it through his children as He sees us transferred more and more to the image. He’ll say, I see my son in you Kep Crabb, more than I’ve seen Him before and I love that smell.
I think that we are supposed to live in a way where we start getting the poor taste with each other and know how to pull it out. That’s called church life. That makes crossing the line more exciting, not just, oh good, we’re done with that hard life. I think that’s the part we’re missing. It does require the church functioning in a certain way to happen. It’s not by magic. That’s why Paul says, everything I do is towards that goal to see my people become more and more like Him, where the beauty of Christ in us becomes more and more manifest and challenges the ugliness of the flesh and knocks it aside more and more. It won’t be dead until we cross the line.
[00:28:39] Kep Crabb: That’s when you get to experience your full weight of glory.
[00:28:42] James “Trip” Moore: Yeah. Your full weight of glory. And to get excited about it. One of the things your dad did and talked about was having a vision for each other and imagining what Christ might want to be doing in my brother or sister’s life. If you know their flesh, you’re going to say, we’ll have to see that put to death some. But that’s how we become real allies, not just little Christiany things that we throw around, “trust God” or “it’s a process” and “it’s in the trenches.”
I’m most broken hearted because I have not seen it much anywhere. It goes into counseling sessions, which I’m not against, but the church has something that’s so much more complete than what God intended. I’m not against counseling at all. I was a counselor for 10 years.
I read through the New Testament and I started discovering that the link between the word inheritance, which is supposed to be a tantalizing word, and hope, and they’re the same thing. You see it in first Peter, you see it in Ephesians. Our hope is based on our inheritance. So as soon as you think of inheritance, if you don’t have any idea what it is, you cannot get excited about it. It’s not just the relief of this horrible burden down here, it’s bigger and better than that. It’s actually becoming more and more right now, a person where, still in the process, down in the fallen earth and with our flesh, the Lord can look down and say, wow, I just got a whiff of my son from Kep that I’ve not gotten from anywhere else. The beauty of my son and Him is starting to eek out already. I think he enjoys that. That’s the whole idea, he says that we are like a sweet aroma to him. Even in our mixed state, even in the middle of the process. Imagine if we could actually be that for each other. Yeah, I see your sin, but I know that’s not the worst stuff going on in you and I can call you in, you know what I’m saying? That used to be true and it’s so rare.
[00:30:56] Kep Crabb: But it’s so sweet. He used to say when we had moments like that, I think we brought the Lord some pleasure today. That just makes you think a little differently. You talk about how he had a father that was someone who poured into him, the father I had who poured into me. He also had a chance to pour into you in a way that was different because you were his peer, his friend. You’re a treasure trove of stuff and I just love just getting to chat with you about these things.
I guess the one question I want to ask is, it seems that the race that we’re running that Paul talks about, it gets harder. That’s why I think that the focus becomes how do you finish well. We saw Dad finish. We’re in the process of producing some more books and we’re entitling those “the finishing project” because we had a chance to see that. What scares you the most as you get older?
[00:31:48] James “Trip” Moore: A month before your dad died we spent a week with your mom and dad. I have to admit, your dad was in a state that I’d never seen him in. Almost dead, dying, and it was interesting. One of the most other centered things is he really was scrambling to get things so that it would be easier on your mom once he was gone, and that’s very other centered.
[00:32:23] Kep Crabb: He loved his ladybug. He cared about that one.
[00:32:26] James “Trip” Moore: He was very reduced, which is your dad – he was hardly ever reduced in one sense, even with his illness over the years – so he was having a really hard time; looking for the title of this car he wanted to give to your wife. He was on the edge, so it didn’t bring the best out of him. I took him out for breakfast. We always went out for breakfast. The interesting story is when I was there, we’d go out and he still wanted to walk on his own, so I’d get in front of him in case he fell. I guess the week after that they had him in a walker, either your brother or you, and then the week after that he was in a wheelchair. And then after that there were no more breakfasts.
[00:33:03] Kep Crabb: The week I was there, two weeks before he passed, he was occasionally using a walker but just didn’t want to, and walking very unsteadily on some neuropic feet. I remember picking him up and getting him off the chair and he said, I’m going to fall. I’m like, no, you’re not going to fall. But he refused to use the wheelchair. One thing we really enjoyed was going to the grocery store because he’d grabbed the grocery cart and that worked out really well for him. Just go slow pushing the grocery cart. We’re not in any hurry; up and down the rows getting a few things.
One of the blessings in respect to dad was, I got a chance to see him a few weeks before he passed. The day he died, I was flying out to see him. I got that call that morning. You may remember when I spoke at the memorial service but the thing that I still remember is how this guy finished. I’m so grateful he finished fast. Didn’t hang on. He was so to leave this world. Here’s the one story that I think is really interesting is the hospice nurse who was working with dad. My brother asked the question of this person and said you’ve been around many people that have been dying and for years and how many people would you say that have a complete confidence in where they’re going when they die? And she said, and this is a sad statement, but she said, your father and one other. Two people. Oh my goodness. I don’t want to be that. I want to have a confidence that I know I’m going to be with Jesus. That’s the only thing that would make dad start to cry. He would start to weep when he’d say, I’m going to be with Jesus soon.
[00:34:45] James “Trip” Moore: I know. And that was not just religious weirdness. That was something that developed over the years. I’m starting now to get a glimpse of what he saw, and it excites me. It’s something so relational and so tender and something real. That’s so true of your dad and I’m so glad he was on the fast lane. That he didn’t linger. He chose not to linger. He said, cut me off from all the nonsense.
[00:35:14] Kep Crabb: Oh yeah, shut me down. I’m ready to go. He went quickly. The cancer overtook him pretty quickly.
[00:35:21] James “Trip” Moore: One thing I’d add too is that I do think that, there is a certain sense that says, as long as we’re in these bodies, we groan, burdened. That’s part of the walk of being half glorified and half fallen down here. He even says in 2 Corinthians 4:5 I think he says, we’re longing to get into the glorified state. We can’t wait for that to happen. I think the other side is a legitimate desire, but I think your dad’s was more; he was getting a sweet taste of fellowship with the Lord and he wanted to enter into it fully. That’s a different motivation and they’re both good. That was taking him over and it was fun to see.
[00:36:02] Kep Crabb: It really was. He had one foot in the next life for sure.
[00:36:05] James “Trip” Moore: It made him almost hard to reach at that point. It was probably a mixture of the sickness and all too, but the time we were there was not the time of real good exchanges, but you could just see that the guy was packing his bags and getting close to the door and it was good.
One thing, so it’s funny, he’d never seen The Chosen and so we worked to find a way to put it on the screen and watched a few things and he really enjoyed that just before we got to see the real story.
[00:36:35] Kep Crabb: So there’s a few little things that he really enjoyed towards the end of his life, he liked listening to Alan Jackson sing old hymns.
[00:36:42] James “Trip” Moore: We’d sing that in the car all the time. I have two things in my car too.
[00:36:48] Kep Crabb: Yeah, Kenny was always there. I guess doing a John Piper podcast where he would hear some things and dad enjoyed listening to some of those things occasionally.
It was just fun to see this guy finish. You’re going to get a chance to see him perhaps before me, I’m jealous of you for that for sure.
[00:37:07] James “Trip” Moore: There’s a legacy and it’s very profound. I’m starting to realize to what degree it’s profound because I just don’t see it coming out of very many other people that stand out in the Christian world today. I think he’s tapping into some of the questions, just by making the Trinity – well not that he did it – but he jumped on the bandwagon where the Trinity was coming back, which is the big central beginning point. He did that, but he did go further. He really did. That’s a part that helps us understand how much God wants us to share in the passion of the plan that He created before the creation of the Earth that involves us. He wants us to know what it is and get excited about it, but we’re not.
[00:37:49] Kep Crabb: Trip, something you said at the summit during your time that I had a chance to sit in on stuck with me, and it’s something I’ve used now many times.
Dad is no longer living with faith or with hope. All he’s living with is love because love is the end of the day. Love conquers all.
I love you man, and I’m so grateful to have you in my life and I want to continue to have these conversations with you. These are the kind of things that I’d love to get a chance just to share with people because you’ve gotten something that few, if any, have ever had: a chance to sit in and listen to this teaching over and over again to where it just – like you said, the first time you heard it, it was like, oh, that’s clever and that makes sense, and I’ll chew on that for a little bit. Then the second time it was like, oh, but by the 50th time it’s wow, that’s life changing truth and your life is an example of it.
I think my life is an example of it. We just want to continue to use you as much as you’ll be willing to be used, because what we’re doing with Larger Story is really to use Dad’s statement, what does it mean to put Jesus on display by how we relate to everyone we meet? To our wives, to our friends, to our colleagues, to our acquaintances that we pass. What does it mean to do that? That’s something that I think is something that you have more of a handle on in respect to where you are at. I just want to see if we can get as much outta you before you go see Dad and Jesus.
[00:39:15] James “Trip” Moore: I appreciate that and as long as I’m around, I’m certainly willing to contribute. There were others, Mary Beth and I were together for that whole first long period. Then Kent and Carla, and then what’s her name from Texas, Sonya and others now. The people that came back, some of them had to be wealthy people, but they’d come back on the regular and I’m sure that helped them along the way too.
[00:39:42] Kep Crabb: Just to finish with you, here’s something that you might be interested in just to finish as we wrap up. We captured the video series, the cross to the coming where, we did a 2020 series of dad basically unpacking all of the seven questions. The first course that we’re developing now with Larger Story will be the first two questions. We’re in the process of developing that now. But here’s what we’re going to try to do, and this was one of the things that I think that Dad wanted to do when we captured that video of all the teaching in that it was designed at one point to be able to continue to do something like the schools of spiritual direction.
I don’t think we’ll ever be able to do anything like what you and Dad had put together, and I don’t think we want to, but to take what we do now and what we can offer in this teaching and some facilitation to it and take it to actual communities. Instead of you coming to us, we’ll come to you and now we get a chance just to walk with you guys through this. That’s the beginning of the process as we partner with these communities and churches and organizations. That’s really one of our strategic designs of Larger Story in the next few years because you hit on it, how do we get a chance to work with the church?
[00:40:53] James “Trip” Moore: That’s where it’s got to get back into the churches. I think that’s wonderful. I’m so glad to hear that. I’m excited by that.
[00:41:02] Kep Crabb: As we wrap up, bro, you and I are going to talk about this a lot because I want to pick your mind as we start to put this together. What does that look like? It obviously won’t be what the schools of spiritual direction were from a week standpoint, but maybe something a little more condensed. It gives people a chance. What we’ve also wrestled with is perhaps it’s something that we do in stages, maybe a weekend, three or four times and see how that goes. So you get a little chance to absorb some of this stuff as opposed to what you and Dad did was really sitting down and drinking from the fire hydrant. People would leave with this overwhelmed look in their eyes of, what just happened to me this week. But it was powerful because the power of the Holy Spirit is real man, and I’ve seen it in your life and I’m seeing it in my life, and I definitely saw it in my dad’s life. Trip, thanks for joining me today, bro.
Anything you want to say as we get ready to wrap up?
[00:41:52] James “Trip” Moore: Nope. It’s a privilege to talk with you. I’ve enjoyed every time we get to talk and I hope we continue. It’s fun whether we’re online or not.
[00:41:59] Kep Crabb: Whether anybody can join us or not, it doesn’t matter. You and I will continue to talk, my brother.
[00:42:07] James “Trip” Moore:Okay, sounds good.
[00:42:08] Kep Crabb: I love you Trip. Have a great day. Say hi to Judy for us.
[00:42:10] James “Trip” Moore: Bye-bye.
[00:42:12] Kep Crabb: Thanks, bro