Wednesday, May 21, 2008

What Really Happened in Colorado

It has been a year since our trip to Colorado and as I reflect back I can see how it was life changing for me and Tricia both.

There was so much turmoil in my spirit during that last year at Cornerstone, I had picked up a lot of baggage that was really influencing my view of God and how He saw me.

One of my primary strengths is that I care for people, this is reflected in my spiritual gift of pastor/shepherd. At the same time this strength can hide my primary weakness--my obsessive need to be approved by people. This need to seek others approval fleshed itself out in my continual struggle to walk two lives. One life was with the people I care about and who are my dearest friends and the other was my loyalty to my Pastor, Bro. Bob. I was constantly being pulled in two directions and I hated it.

I was so scared of leaving Cornerstone that I continued to live in this grip experience. I had this warped view of logic that said it was okay to try and please both lives, one that disagreed with the direction of the Pastor and the other that got along for security of a job and a paycheck. It was only by God's goodness that He brought my true feelings to light and simply booted me out into the real world.

I made a statement at CrossPoint last week during my sermon that really shook me. I hadn't planned on saying it and I am discovering that alot of what I say comes in the moment. I know, that can be bad because who knows what I am g0ing to say and that can be good because it allows for the Spirit of God to move spontaneously on me. I said during my sermon that I would Pastor for free. I really meant it. I know the Apostle Paul said that elders who teach are worthy of double honor and I appreciate that about 'ole Paul, but if I'm not willing to try and build the Kingdom for free, then I am not called to build it.

At Cornerstone I never had that perspective. I had a lazy, self-absorbed perspective that betrayed the Kingdom. I believe it was God's will for me and the family to get out of there. I am so thankful of my years there and would not trade it for anything.

So, one thing I learned in Colorado was that "I don't have to prove myself to anyone." God made me uniquely me and He is showing me that I am only responsible towards Him. Yes, I am accountable to others, no doubt. But, my perverted view of finding worth in myself through others really had me in bondage. I found my worth through Cornerstone and that was perverted, it would be if I tried to find my worth through CrossPoint. My worth is found in God's love for me. I am His beloved Son, a Warrior Prince. The church does not owe me anything and I don't owe the church anything. I owe God everything.

One of my journals reveals what I am trying to say here: Wednesday the 8th of August, 2007, at 8:51 am. The Sovereign Lord loves me. He also said He sees me as majestic, breath-taking, soothing, and yes, dangerous. My Father is pleased with me for who I am, not what I've done or will do.

More about Colorado later.


CarolSuewho said...

Pastor Paul,

Wow!! I loved this testimony. I, too, always tried (miserably) to make everyone happy. Now that i have read your blog, I know that i too, am one of those who seeks others approval. How can I tell you what a great Pastor you have been to me. You started your journey as the Pastor at Cross Point the very first day I attended service. I can thank Mar, who works at Trinity Lube. He invited me there to your church, my church now. I was so touched when you reached for that box of Kleenex. It touched me to see a man so kind, and so full of emotion. I knew then you had a great love in your heart for Jesus and people. You have in so many ways made my life better. I have spent six of the most horrible months of my life questioning why I am even alive. You made me feel welcome. You made me feel wanted. You dried my tears, and let me know it was Ok to hurt. You hurt with me. When I see you and Tricia with your three boys, it so sweet to me. This is what godly love is all about. Thanks for being a man of God who is not afraid to show that he loves his wife. This is so endearing to me. Your humble spirit has shown me that I can serve God single or married. I can serve him if I walk or if I am in a wheelchair. I don't need accolades from others. I can get that from my heavenly father, Jesus. Thanks for opening your heart, and letting me come into your church family. I know there I am safe. I am loved, prayed for, and taken care of. I do not even see this kind of love from my blood family. Christ has a way of bringing people together, for the betterment of his kingdom. I pray that many will come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior, because of your vision and faithfulness. Thanks for taking charge of my soul. I am deeply touched by the beauty of this church. The man who runs it, and the people who make it so great. I love you, Pastor Paul, and my church family too. You have blesed me so much. You have touched my broken heart. I smile when I think of all of you. You are all incredible believers...
In Christ,
Carol S.Neal

Barb said...

Pastor Paul,
I am reminded of one of my favorite Sunday School songs "Jesus loves me, this I know. For the Bible tells me so." As we grow in our earthly environment I think we often forget of our childhood simplicity where "Jesus loves me" was the focal point of our relationship with God and our fellow Sunday Schoolers.
You have brought back that wonderful, youthful peace and joy to CrossPoint. You have reminded us all that it really is ONLY about "Jesus" and that "He does love us."
I have no doubt in my mind that the Lord directed you, Tricia, Ian, Keagan and Collin to CrossPoint. And with you and your family has come love, joy and faithfullness to God.
How great our God is!

Persalls said...

Pastor Paul,

Thank you for your continued openness in your ministry. I think that is what continues to draw Jerry and I to you and your family. Y'all have been a blessing to us since we have been in Texas. You were one of the first families that reached out to us when we were new to the state. I feel so blessed to say that you both are our dearest friends. To walk the road of Christianity with you and Tricia has been a true blessing. We are thankful for both of you being open and transparent. It has been a blessing to watch you grow as a Pastor these past few months. Your were an awesome youth minister and as senior pastor you are going to be great because you are always seeking God and His direction. Thank you for being that example.
We love you and your family deeply and consider you all more than friends but, FAMILY!
Thanks for sharing your heart with your church.
We love you,
Jerry and Crystal