Saturday, March 19, 2011

Shepherds Retreat

Dear NorthPoint Family:

What an amazing time we had last weekend with almost all of our Children, Spouses, Interns, Shepherds, Board, and Staff! This was a special and wonderful time of playing, praying, dreaming, and waiting on God.

Our prayer going in was that God would speak to us. I personally wanted to hear from our leaders, and see what they sensed God saying to them! Several leaders shared that they wanted to hear what others were thinking. Many desired a deeper relationship with the brothers and sisters in Christ.

Friday night I spoke about Vision. Saturday morning Chris and Michael spoke about Mentoring. Saturday evening I spoke about Outreach and Chris spoke about Multiplication. Sunday morning I preached about the call of Gideon.

Many important things were said and done over the course of the weekend. I would like to share some key moments, and their significance with you.

On Saturday evening Chris was teaching and God showed up. In the midst of his message he became very focused, anointed, and challenged us to stop thinking of NorthPoint as an 86 year old church. Stop thinking, planing, and evaluating based upon the past. Those of us listening had a strong sense that someone above and beyond Chris had spoken to us!

We are a church plant.
We are a new beginning.
We are not what we were...
we are a new thing!

Then, on Sunday morning in the middle of worship, the second God moment happened. Doug Jr. shared, "When you begin a church plant you commission your pastors." In the midst of the worship service the congregation took over and laid hands on Karen, Shannon, Chris, and I for a time of prayer and commissioning. The spirit of the moment was very strong, and clear. We are a new work, we are a church plant. This is truly a new beginning. Interestingly, several others in the congregation had a sense that this needed to be done before Doug spoke up! The spirit was speaking to the congregation.

There are several powerful components to what happened.
Things that were spoken to us in the past suddenly connected with the present.

First were the words of Pastor Deon Robert spoken in Waco, Texas back in June of 2009. He challenged us to go home and kill our church. He challenged us to go home and die. This was not morbid heresy... it was directly from God's word.

Galatians 2:20 (NASB)
20 "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer declared:
"When Jesus Christ calls a man He bids him come and die."

We can't build a church, but God can! We must be willing to die to our agenda, that Christ's life might flow through! God has taken us down paths that I never would have imagined or planned!

Then, the words of Harold Weitz came ringing back from Waco. This pastor/prophet from South Africa stopped our group in a hallway and said to us, "You are in a nine month pregnancy, and you will deliver!" I have pondered his words since that time but never sensed a fulfillment.

Sunday afternoon Doug Jr. made the observation that it was nine months from the time we left the Sierra Way property until our retreat at Forest Home. We checked the calendar and learned an amazing thing! Our first services at the Elks Lodge took place over the weekend of June 11, 12, and 13. Our Shepherds Retreat took place over the weekend of March 11, 12, and 13. This was exactly nine months to the day!!!

I have spent the past week reflecting upon many things. In October of 1995 I came to Calvary Baptist Church to win souls and make disciples. Over the last 15 years we experienced arson fires, bankrupt insurance companies, the demise of a very selfish toxic church culture, the implosion of a school that was on our property, a financial meltdown, and the transition to a Life Group based ministry model!

It is safe to say that God has killed a church, and this pastor. I no longer see myself as the leader who will "build the Kingdom." I now see myself as fortunate to be a part of a grand experiment. What now excites me is the willingness of our Interns, Shepherds, Coaches, Board, and Staff to submit to one another, and to God. The decades old spirit of "us against them" has been killed! It is dead! It is gone!

Ralph Neighbour has taught me that there is a profound difference between a man formed, and a God formed movement. In many ways Calvary Baptist Church was man made! NorthPoint Christian Fellowship is in the process of being God made! I can feel the difference!

Last Sunday truly was a birthday for NorthPoint! The church born in anger and rebellion 86 years ago is dead! The work that was born Sunday March 13th is alive. We are going to humbly seek God's face, His will, and His plan for His church! I am happy to be dead, and agenda free!

I am ready to join with the NorthPoint family and see what God has for us! My prayers, love and blessings are with each of you whom God has called to take this journey! Only He knows what He has called us to be!

See you Sunday,
Pastor Paul


  1. Amen, It truly was a great weekend and a new beginning for NCF.

  2. Hello Pastor,
    I am blessed to see how GOD is blessing NCF.
    How profound and clear His direction has been for you and now you now get to see the fruit-the harvest. I'm praying God will continue to walk before you and guide you all in His path for the New NorthPoint Christian Fellowship...
    Be Blessed...