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Pastor Paul's Musings What you see is what you get. Son, brother, husband, lover of Colleen, Dad, pastor @enewheart, Simi PD Chaplain, @pastorforlife

15 April 2005 ~ 3 Comments

A JOURNEY to New York …

My body tells me the TRIP started around 3:15 this morning when I rolled out of bed after a whopping 3 hours of sleep. However, the JOURNEY to New York … Queens specifically … began a couple years back.

My process of recovery from burnout led me to study the concept of family systems theory, both personal and corporate. Simply put, we are all put together with a complex set of beliefs, values, and ways of doing life. For any of us, those things come primarily from our “family of origin”, the family we were raised in.

A little known “Kuzmaism” … I have always been intrigued by mafia stories. I’m no expert historian on mob life; I’ve just always been interested. I think some of that is because of a deeper interest that has come to light regarding this stuff on family systems theory.

Much study has been done in the last few decades about how systems theory applies to the life of organizations, including churches. My quest toward understanding this truth led me to a couple of very good books. One of them is The Emotionally Healthy Church, authored by Peter Scazzero, Pastor of New Life Fellowship in Queens, New York.

I vividly remember reading the first few pages and thinking, “This guy is writing my story!” More to come in the next couple of days regarding all that.

For now, suffice this first post to say that the reason I am in Queens right now is to attend a conference on Saturday called “Developing Leaders in The Emotionally Healthy Church” . I have asked the Lord these last years to help me put feet to what I am learning regarding how all this impacts our church life. I believe He is showing the way and the potential resources for learning what it takes to be an emotionally healthy church. I, as one pastor, believe it may be a way toward healing that is more greatly needed than we imagine.

Our TRIP went well … for starters, the Starbucks at LAX was right at our departing gate. Just doesn’t get much better than that. A delightful gate attendant assigned us to a row of three seats with one empty for some space … providing for some creature comfort and a little helpful shut eye.

Our hotel shuttle driver was truly a New Yorker who skillfully guided us through some tough freeways and streets, all the while keeping a van filled with mostly Irish family members in town for a wedding talking and laughing. To top it all off, we ate at an Argentinian Steak House. In Argentina, they eat steak and pasta together – giving me the perfect way to begin such an anticipated trip – steak, fettucine with tomato sauce, and mafioso music playing in the background.

More to come …

08 April 2005 ~ 1 Comment

A Funeral To Die For!

What if you died … and 2,000,000 – 3,000,000 people showed up for your funeral? What of people in sleeping bags and 24 hour waits reminiscent of the Rose Parade on Colorado Blvd.? Except that instead of waiting for a parade of floats, they’re waiting to get a glimpse of your remains instead?

It happened in Rome this week folowwing the death of Pope John Paul II. Did you catch any of it? Absolutely amazing! A good friend of mine, Pastor Bernie Federmann from Lompoc Foursquare Church in Lompoc, CA, wrote,

“I encourage all of you to pray for the Catholic Church – the Priests and Parishes nearest you and to pray for the selection of the new Pope. The Catholic Church is filled with many fine people who truly know and love Jesus and who are truly born again. They deserve our prayers and comfort at this time. God will use your efforts of grace and mercy to touch lives for Him. God Bless the Catholic Church – Guide them, touch them, reveal in fresh ways your Son, Jesus to them. May they see beyond the candles, the traditions, cathedrals, human leaders and have an encounter with the Savior. May we all, see Jesus and serve Him.”

I agree with my friend! While we all may share different opinions about the Catholic Church and the place of her Pope in their theology, one thing rings true this week: Pope John Paul II was a man who loved and served God with all his heart, and it showed. It showed not just for the last decades, but was glaring this week in the affection of those who waited to pay their respects.

Now, I know that many of those who waited did so out of religious obligation, at least in their own thinking and beliefs. However, it’s clear through the many comments and tributes paid by so many who knew him personally and worked alongside him that the respect shown him this week came from what he invested in this life.

When we pass from this life to the next, what will the crowds say? Lord, may we live in this life in ways that cause people to reflect deeply when we’re in the next!

06 April 2005 ~ 0 Comments

A Story Untold …

Mike King is one of our drummers. He and his wife, Gail, and their daughter, Christina, have been a part of our church life for many years. Last weekend, he went into the hospital as a result of some abdominal pain.

This morning, surgery to remove a plum-sized tumor that was totally blocking his large intestine revealed cancer that had spred to the small intestine as well. The doctor felt they were able to remove all the cancer, but Mike will need chemotherapy to be sure.

It was another reminder to me of how fast life can drastically change, and to live in the moments that God has given us right now. Have you ever found yourself fretting over the future only to have the Lord gently (in Mike’s case, not so gently) remind you that He is the One Who holds your days in His hands?

Mike spoke to me of how overwhelmed he has been at the numbers of people who have come to see him. I was able to share with him that he is experiencing the fruit of his love and service to the Lord that he has given for so long to so many. He has no idea how many lives he has impacted as he has so faithfully served Jesus for many years. Now it’s all coming back to him.

Mike is A Story Untold, one of those guys that just lives daily serving Jesus, unaware of how the grinding out of his life through its struggles and turmoil have actually been an example to others. His story is one that will live deep in the hearts of many, completely unbeknownst to him.

Folks, let’s be cognizant of the fact that everything we are and do impacts the lives of those around us. Someone once said, “The biggest decisions of life are always made in the smallest corners of life.” I believe this is so true, and it’s bearing truth through Mike’s circumstances!

Lord, let us be ever aware of how we represent you and your heart toward others!

31 March 2005 ~ 3 Comments

Easter … come and gone

What a great weekend we celebrated at NewHeart! Easter is always an exciting time around most churches, but something different was definitely in the air this last weekend.

I can’t even tell you what it was, but something was different for me. For some reason, from about Saturday afternoon (around the time I start to really focus on Sunday morning), I began to feel a deep sense of excitement and anticipation.

It’s not that I don’t feel excited week to week, but something within me just had a stronger sense of anticipation than normal. When we reached Sunday morning, everything fell together. From the first worship song until the last light switch was turned off and doors were locked, there was a palpable sense of God’s presence on our Easter Celebrations.

Between both celebrations, we had 320 people, with a handful giving their life to Jesus for the first time and many more recommitting to a relationship with Him. It was just awesome!

I am excited about the next several weeks as we continue our series, “Living In Community Without Driving Each Other Crazy”. I would be very interested to hear your thoughts and questions about this intriguing series. Let’s talk about it!

At the very least, leave me a note here that you visited. If I get enough response, I’ll keep doing this. If I don’t, I’ll consider it a good ole college try and put it away. So let me know what you think!

22 March 2005 ~ 1 Comment

First call

Welcome to my blog! I hope you what you find here helps you get to know me better. One of the things I have become well-known for (not by any means on purpose) is for my ability to remember names.

I have to admit that as our church grows, that gets harder to do all the time, try as I may. Some have told me that age has something to do with it, but for the life of me, I can’t remember who they were!! ;^)

I mention that to invite you to post your comments here as well, so that I can also get to know you better. Whether they be about whatever is posted here, a recent message, a question you have about me or NewHeart. Have at it (but be nice!).

May God’s hand of blessing be on you and your family this week as we prepare to celebrate the reason for the hope that we have!