About this time a year ago, I was at a pretty low point in my life. I wasn’t happy at my current home church and found myself going less and less each month, to the point where I went maybe once every two months. My Christian walk was at a standstill because the stories I was hearing were repetitive. I had one close friend, but she went to school two hours away. I felt alone and constantly was trying to figure out who I was as an individual. Then I was invited to LifePointe. I’m not kidding when I say “that’s when everything changed”. In the past year or so, I have changed drastically. I have many close, meaningful friendships, and a church that I not only enjoy; but truly learn from. But the most important thing I have learned from LifePointe, or should I say what God has shown me through LifePointe, is my identity through Jesus Christ. I have been told amazing, lovely things about who God says I am that I have never been told before. I have a purpose, and I have been given my gifts and talents for a reason. I thank God everyday for LifePointe, and for the friend that invited me.
(Taken from a Facebook Post)
A year ago this weekend, I started a new journey that has enriched my life beyond the ways I can count and I feel wholly confident that that potential isn’t maximized yet. I have my dear friend, (NAME), to thank for this gift.
This “church” experience is nothing like that which I experienced as a kid. That’s not a dig, it’s just a comparison. Pastor Patrick is a perfect fit for me and his messages make all the “things” relatable and yet profound.
If you read this and want to be inspired by the best, I encourage you to put your butt in one of the seats next week. Do it.
Your message today [(RE)PRESSED GOD #3)] about our perspectives regarding the baptism of the Holy Spirit reminded me of my own experience. I prayed for the baptism and had hands laid on me to receive it and NOTHING. The last lady looked at me and asked if I had something against the baptism. So I talked with my pastor and found out I did. My only experience up to that time was with in-laws that lived like the devil every day, then ran to church on Sundays and spoke in tongues and said "it's fixed". My pastor explained (as you did) that God gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit and it's up to each of us to use it accordingly. Some people "used" it as a get out of jail free card. I didn't have to be like that. I received the baptism with the evidence of speaking in tongues that very evening sitting on my couch. What a tremendous blessing He has been in my life. Yet you remind me that I can be closer still.
Thank you, Pastor! After your fantastic sermon last week (BUILT #4), I printed off the declarations we proclaimed and I decided to read them out loud every morning and night. I never would have guessed how much change that had in only a week! Throughout the day, I found myself reaching for those verses more and more. I am so excited for this new preaching series, and I am committed to reading those declarations each day.
Our worship team is the best!!! I want to give a shout out and a huge thank you to the entire worship team for their dedication and time and energy they put into the weekly worship.
Before LifePointe, I was never one to sing out loud above a whisper in church, let alone raise a hand (or two)! I have found actively worshipping our God is so powerful!! It has been a life changing discovery.
I would like to specifically mention Kyle. His love of the Lord is so evident when he is singing. It brings a smile (& sometimes a tear) to my face watching him on stage. And, something about him makes even me feel like I can sing well, too!
Thank you for serving! You make a huge impact!
I'm half way through reading "The Case for Faith" by Lee Strobel. Incredible! I did not realize there was so much evidence about Jesus Christ. Thank you for pointing me to the writer.
If you remember, beginning August this year I am losing my disability income. So I asked God for about a month to dig me out of the financial crisis BEFORE the end of August. I asked him to show me what he and I could do as father and son to partner together to escape the reality of this fallen world.
Not only has God made it possible to pay off all my debts by 8/23 he has blessed me with a NEW income that far exceeds anything the disability ever provided. A new financial chapter in my life that promises to be more money than I ever thought possible.
God has done the improbable (impossible for me)! Praise God!
(A LifePointe couple who moved out of state)
Hello Pastor and Tina,
I'm not sure if (my wife) replied to you or not, but I wanted to say thank you for the kind words. I also wanted to say thank you for the absolute wonderful experience that we had at LifePointe.
(My wife) and I were truly blessed to find LifePointe and we truly felt it was our home while we were there. The teachings resonated with us, and we started trying to live what was being taught. Pastor, you have a gift of the spoken word, and God has blessed your words with the ability to pierce through a hearts armor and change lives.
In previous years, we went to church but never committed ourselves to regular attendance. LifePointe changed that, and we found ourselves not wanting to miss, planning our Sunday to do's around attending morning services first. If we were out of town or unable to go, we tuned in online, and often still do despite all these miles between us.
Tithing went from a dirty 7 letter word that I avoided with all my might due to misconceptions and previous experiences, to an event we welcomed, and through your teachings made it part of our budget.
LifePointe does so many great things, and has had such an impact on our lives, that stopping the capital campaign contributions, because we were no longer living there, just wasn't even a consideration. God is doing great things with LifePointe, and we were lucky enough to be a small part of it.
Thank you for prodding us to join the small groups. My personality is VERY INTROVERTED, and small groups are nothing but a giant anxiety attack for me (ha ha). However, the relationships we built with our fellow small group friends were amazing, and it helped me realize that relationships and friendships are VERY important. I know it has to be extremely frustrating on your part to every week get up and almost beg people to join small groups or get active with the church, but I want you to know, that continued promoting of the small groups finally led us to join (well that and Tina signing us up) (ha ha ha). I am so glad she cared enough to do that though, because it was an experience I cherished!
So to sum it all up. Thank you!
Our 3 year old son went in for a routine dentist appointment and cleaning. It ended up that had at least 10 cavities and would need a root canal. Once the initial shock passed due to the varying circumstances of his diet and dental layout, we pressed in to pray. We cut certain acidic and sugar filled foods out of his diet as well as adding in mineral supplements with being more diligent to brush and floss. Three weeks later while brushing his teeth one night, the tooth that had needed a root canal was no longer black with rotting or eaten away. In fact, it had grown to where his gums were no longer showing, the hole where the cavity had been was filled and the Black was no longer there. We believe his teeth have been been fully restored.
Hi Pastor Patrick,
Today I watched your sermon on-line called Breaking Free from March 18 when you spoke at [a church] in [our city]. My friend XX attends there and she shared that she was impacted by your sermon and so I went and watched it myself. What a powerful message you shared!
As a clinical psychologist, I have worked with many clients on their emotional strongholds and on their beliefs (or "stuck points" as they are referred to in cognitive processing therapy). The word that you shared about the sycamine tree and the steps you gave on how to walk into forgiveness by differentiating ourselves from those who have hurt us, so as not to demand that the person who hurt us be the one who makes us whole is life-changing! You were able to break down the act of forgiveness into tangible steps that I fully believe will be integral in my work both with Christian and secular clients to help them break free from strongholds.
Today is a day of firsts for me. For one, this is the first time I have taken 8 pages of notes on one sermon! For another, it is the first time I have reached out and written an email to a pastor after listening to a sermon they have preached. I wanted to thank you for allowing yourself to be a vessel and let you know how much I was influenced by your message. I truly believe your words will be instrumental in changing the lives of people that you have never met.
Thank you, Pastor Patrick, and God bless you and your family!
Thank you for the amazing article with Blaine! I am in a recovery group with Blaine (Bartel) and found this article most helpful. I am in the middle of letting God heal my broken areas, that have caused me to have pain and addiction.
Any other tools you can give me, much appreciated. But thank you for the email and insight.
Welcome to Coffee Convo.
If you and I ever have the opportunity to meet, my invitation will be to join me for a cup of coffee.
It’s my favorite drink. Coffee shops all over Tulsa (and America) provide me free office space. My laptop. A super-hot cup of brew. And I’m the happiest you’ll ever see me. (well, maybe not quite)
So from time to time, I thought it would be fun to have cyber-coffee with someone who would bring some “wake you up in the morning” wisdom and cheer.
My guest to today is Patrick Norris.
Patrick is a Pastor and Certified Sexual Addiction Professional and and is devoted to leading people into extensive life change. He founded LifePointe Church in Kansas City and he and his wife Tina have successfully raised two adult children, Evan and Mitchell. Patrick likes the Chiefs, so he isn’t perfect… but I count him a great friend and one of the good guys in the church world.
Here we go….
BLAINE: Hey Patrick, so good to talk to you today. Love all that you guys are doing at LifePointe in Kansas City!
PATRICK_NORRIS: Thanks Blaine. It’s my pleasure hanging out with you, my friend.
BLAINE: So what’s up with a Pastor becoming a Certified Sexual Addiction Professional? Kinda unusual.
PATRICK_NORRIS: Yes. For sure. Over the years I have become fascinated with human behavior. I have always been captivated by studying the Apostle Paul’s own statements of him doing what he wished he hadn’t done, to not doing the things he wished he had of actually done, and finally how he learned to live a transformed life. There is no more ardent template for human behavior than our sexuality. If a person understands human behavior at a sexual arousal level, they will understand better how all behavior takes place. This is a spiritual, psychological and neurobiological issue (spirit, mind and body).
As a pastor, I have crossed paths with so many men who struggled, and now young boys and teenagers that are accessing pornography as young as 6 years of age. Due to the unlimited saturation of private-access pornography (and other immersions in high dopamine electronic activities) we will be the first generation in human history to witness the full reformation of the human brain.
So I felt the Lord’s prompting me to get ahead of the curve in helping people. I do believe there is coming a great tsunami of sexual dysfunctions and flameouts. It will be happening at unprecedented levels. And the folks who are flaming out are great people, having a very sincere and real love for God. These two contrasting ideas of inordinate behaviors and love for God often confuse and harden their own hearts. I have a lot of compassion for the demonic shame and destruction that is leveled against these type people and scenarios.
BLAINE: You’ve been around as a local church leader and Pastor for a three plus decades right? So how would you define the porn and sexual addiction problem in the church?
PATRICK_NORRIS: Like any addiction, sexual addiction is a spiritual, psychological and neurobiological condition for which a person is preoccupied to the point of obsession, has loss of control, even though they know there will be negative/destructive consequences. Some of these consequences can be as simple as living out of alignment with that person’s true values; incongruence of inner values to behaviors will always create damaging turmoil.
In the church, many high values have already been set in our hearts by God. As we surrender in faith to Christ, we find ourselves “desiring” what God desires. In our conscience, we know that porn and sex outside of marriage is sin, and incongruent with God’s peace. Sin is any behavior we choose that violates our own hearts. God hates sin because He loves us. When we sin, we move towards destruction of identity, health, strength and prosperity. God hates what sin does to the people He loves.
In the church today, there are growing numbers who struggle with a sexually incongruent behavior, some estimating between 70-80% of Christian men. Women’s confusion, both as partners of someone who secretly struggles and/or as participants in pornography consumption themselves, disintegrates a sense of Self, worth, and identity.
So the enemy is attacking men and women, our present and future generational leaders, by eroding them at an identity level. Many will not step into their God-given assignments, or will be lethargic, simply because they despise the incongruence and turmoil that abides within.
BLAINE: So here’s a tough one. If a male staff member came to you with a porn problem, how would you guide him, being a brother in Christ, as well as a leader in your community?
PATRICK_NORRIS: As a certified sexual addiction professional, I have been privileged to understand the issue from a Google Earth perspective. I’m more interested in exploring the bigger picture of what has “broken” a person, than I am worried about managing the fallout of their choices.
My first response would be respond with high levels of both empathy and compassion. It is a terrible thing how so many in ministry have suffered in secret, living in fear that they would not be loved if anyone found out. As it’s been said, “The devil lives in our secrets.”
For many, the power behind their addiction is found in trauma processes. We were wounded in relationships throughout our lives, and we are healed in relationship intimacies. The fear of being found out has kept so many people in bondage.
Among other things, I would put them in a treatment process with a competent recovery ministry; one like Chopping Wood, and you, Blaine.
BLAINE: Help us. What is the one thing you learned about sexual addiction in your education that you didn’t quite get before?
PATRICK_NORRIS:The biggest “ah ha” is how addiction is not just a spiritual matter. At the core of human behavior is where spiritual, emotional, psychological and neurobiological influences intersect. A person cannot regulate towards sexual health without these being equally nurtured, processed and re-processed.
Many people in church have heard they just need to pray more, read the Bible more or fast evil behavior away. However, if the spiritual exercises don’t deeply touch the emotional, psychological and neurobiological functions within a person, the exercises become futile. Then the failure to transform steals the last shreds of hope that person has.
What I have learned about the brain (the limbic system specifically) and how it compels behavior has opened my understanding to so many concepts of Scripture and the freedom truth brings.
BLAINE: You’re a red blooded American man. What practices have you come up with to protect yourself from our sexualized culture?
PATRICK_NORRIS: I think the first and most important for me is to nurture a protected soul. This begins with removing all unnecessary drains to emotional health. Things like social media, videos, movies and many TV shows, take chunks of our emotional battery, causing emotional fatigue. Many people live in a constant state of emotional fatigue. They go from recreational “drama” to “drama,” never assessing the impact it has on their emotional state.
We all have a limited emotional capacity, and once the battery is at an alert level, we have no option but to shut down. Necessary emotional drains happen in everyday life; like relational conflicts, cars breaking down, deadlines being met, bills being paid, etc. These take a large portion of our emotional capacity for a day. When we let recreational “drama” hit power drains too, we are left in emotional survival mode. Then, people often don’t have the emotional energy to resist or move away from temptations. At the point of temptation’s surging arousal, they just don’t emotionally care about the consequences. So, first I am focused on limiting the “drama” and drains on my soul.
I also pursue a robust self-awareness. Self-awareness is the ability to attune to one’s underlying emotions in any given moment of life. All behavior is driven by emotional expressions. All emotion is driven by the brain’s functions related to past trauma, or inner thoughts. In cognitive behavioral studies, our deepest inner beliefs and narratives are known to spike emotions.
What you emotionally feel is cord-attached, sending electrical currents from your deeper inner beliefs and narratives. Many of these deeper beliefs are irrational. The “wall outlet” from these beliefs is the limbic brain, and fears from epigenetics and personal experiences of the past. If a person can know the state of their soul - their mind and emotions - and the underlying emotional narratives that have driven them to fear - they have an advantage. To mature in self-awareness empowers for emotional regulation and move us towards healthy boundaries.
Finally, I engage in daily “charging” up of my soul, through things like spiritual connection, spiritual media that stirs my faith on an emotionally level - where truth is processed over my fears. Things like devotional-worship and living in transparent community with other safe people also make a big difference.
BLAINE: Lastly, what would you tell a guy that is struggling with porn privately — is it possible to eventually overcome it alone?
PATRICK_NORRIS:Experts say it is highly unlikely, to it being impossible, for a person bound in an addiction to get free in isolation. Many studies show the recovery power of being in a long-term relationship with a competent mentor and group of others fighting for the same things, applying the same principles and dreaming of a similar tomorrow.
One of the things that a person battling with addiction struggles with is a limitless capacity for self-deception. A person who struggles with addiction often wants to “control” the process of recovery. Interestingly enough, this powering up to “control” prevents them from being able to recover. So they enter a cycle, of overestimating their control of recovery and then back to relapse, all while holding out that maybe they can “control” the outcome next time. It is futile.
BLAINE: Thanks for the cyber coffee my friend. Cheers!
PATRICK_NORRIS: Thank you Blaine!
TELL YOUR STORY: My ex-husband and I were separated in April of 2015, and even though many things about my life were uncertain, including finances, I decided that I would always tithe, no matter what. God's provision has not only lasted the entire time since then, but it's been abundant. He's sent numerous people to give me good prices, help me manage my finances and reduce debt, and even bring financial gifts and items that my family needed.
When my ex-husband and I completed our "Distribution of Debts and Assets" agreement, I was assigned several large bills that I had no idea how I would pay. However, in July of 2017, I received enough money from the divorce settlement to pay off three of those bills. When I received my tax return in 2018, I was able to pay off the remaining two bills, so I am debt-free as of 02/23/18, for the first time in over twenty years. My children and I celebrated by going out for a "Debt-Free Dinner" that same weekend.
I will also be able to pay cash for my next car and start saving for an emergency fund. I had heard the phrase "You can't out-give God" before now, but this time in my life is the best example I've ever seen that it's true. I'm extremely grateful to God for taking care of me and my children, and showing all of us what a generous Heavenly Father He is.
UPDATE APRIL 11, 2018:
"Guess what?" said my mom. "A friend of mine is buying her son a new car, and she wants to give you his old one!"
When I recovered from the shock, I could only say, "What? Really?"
God has brought so many blessings into my life this year, and I was able to see some of them coming ahead of time, such as paying off some debts when my tax return arrived. However, this one came out of nowhere. I had been planning to buy a new car sometime soon, but now I was being handed one! It's bigger and much newer than my old car, drives very smoothly, and is in great shape for its age. When my mom brought me the car and handed me the keys (complete with remote, something else my old car didn't have), I felt as though I had just moved up in the world. God did the "moving", of course; I believe that He loves to "advance" His children when they're faithful to Him.
Thank you so much for your email. My parents have talked so highly about you and LifePointe, and now I understand why. I have to tell you that the fast in January was life altering for me and my family. I can't thank you enough. God is teaching me, healing me, and totally blowing my mind through your delivery of His Word in the sermons and workshops.
Sunday mornings on live stream have been amazing for us as even my children (ages 9 and 5) get excited to sit and listen. And thank you very much for your prayers.....they are much needed and much appreciated!
I hope to meet you in person someday.
Again, thank you for all that you do. You are blessing so many. We are praying for you as well.
I want to thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me. I realize your schedule is packed and you are pulled so many directions. Although I was nervous during our talk, I found it very comforting once it sunk in. I could literally listen to you talk all day. You can never know how much your time and support means to me.
I took your information and ideas to heart and cannot wait for the information you are going to send me.
I started two new routines based on our talk.
1) I started writing letters (journaling) to God. I entitled the file “Dear God” and who knows if it has significance to others I could even make it into a book.
2) I started listening to Christian music on Accuradio while I write instead of my usual 1970-80’s rock.
I can say from only a single day with these two changes I went to bed in a more relaxed state and had the best night’s sleep in a long time. I woke up with more energy and feeling refreshed. Our talk has changed my world.
With all my love and respect,
TELL YOUR STORY: Home groups at Lifepointe have been a life changing. I believe that our life groups is a place where relationships with other believers are built, and also spiritual growth with God through the encouragement of other Christians through Christ Jesus. It has been far to long for our last Life group we are excited about the beginning of a new series of teaching, it is almost like waiting for a new sequel of a movie or a new season of your favorite TV show or the beginning of the start of a new season of your favorite sport. Except that this is so much better than those, this is for the kingdom of heaven
TELL YOUR STORY: I had 2 significant things that started happening during the fast:
The first was my prayer language was accelerated. Years ago my prayer language was a very natural part of my praying and worship. The final few years at my previous church the emphasis was more on salvation (which was awesome, I was able to lead and disciple so many new believers) but there wasn't much emphasis on spiritual gifts so I didn't use my prayer language that much. Ever since I came to LifePointe 7 years ago I have struggled with it being fluent and as "comfortable" as it was previously. It almost felt "forced." The first Wed. night of the fast when we were worshiping I realized I was praying & singing in my prayer language. I wasn't "trying to" or focusing on it, it was just happening. Almost every service since the same thing has happened to some degree.
The other thing is that at almost every service since the start of the fast God has revealed things in my spirit supernaturally to encourage my heart. One example, again on the first Wed., when Pastor read the scripture from Daniel about the angel saying to him, "Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words." On the way to the service that night I was wondering why I was fasting. I didn't feel real motivated or even know if wanted to come to church. But as I was driving I told the Lord that and just tried to share as honestly with Him my feelings, inviting Him into that moment as Pastor would say. I repented and asked Him to give me the strength because my efforts weren't going to accomplish anything. When Pastor read that scripture my spirit leapt, as if God was saying "I have come because of your words. I heard your prayer, your prayers are being answered."
Another example, during Red Ink Revival one night Pastor had a general word about struggles and God delivering people and I felt a weight lifted from me at that moment. Then another night he had a word for me personally which confirmed that. The word was about "pushing reset" and enjoying my relationship with God and being myself. That God wants me to come to Him as I am and not have to try to be super spiritual. That was very freeing. Then this past Sunday, something Pastor Jason said during Amen Corner hit my heart hard. It was a scripture I'd heard countless times but God used it big time in my heart. It was in Luke, the parable of the two debtors. When Simon answered Jesus that the one who had been forgiven much would love the moneylender more my heart was overwhelmed. As he read the words "the one who had been forgiven much" I was overcome with just how much God has forgiven me. I almost have tears in my eyes now retelling that.
It seems as if every service or every quiet time God speaks something significant to my heart to encourage me. It's been amazing!
Pastor, I know I tell you this several times every year during the fast, but thank you so much for all the support during the fast (Red Ink services, prayer/praise nights,Wed. night teachings, daily devos, etc.). I know it's a lot of work for you but I appreciate it so much and just love what God speaks through you and how God uses it to encourage and inspire me! Thank you.
TELL YOUR STORY: During the fast I injured myself at work by taking hit from a drum dolley that had a 500lb. drum on it. The diagnosis was a cracked 6th and 7th rib. In the natural it definitely felt like it, but we serve a God of miracles and supernatural healing. So I prayed along with others over my body and refused to accept that they were broken. I went back to the doctor two days later and had an x-day done and they said that neither one of the ribs were broken, that it appears they were but now they were just swollen. God is good all the time! Glory to God, because in the natural they felt broken, but we have a God of miracles!
I hated my job and I have been praying for a new one. On Sunday the 7th I put on my bucket list I wanted a new job that I love. That night I went to the library to apply for some jobs. I got called the next day Monday the 8th. Had the interview and got the job on Wednesday and then started work on the next Monday. God only could have done that.
Thank you for the blessed words on Sunday night. I am still trying to digest them and let it all soak in.
I turned my back to God for 25+ years. There was so much shame & guilt when I walked in LifePointe's doors the first few times. But through understanding redemption and the grace of God, I have been able to move past that.
There were so many struggles throughout those years away from God, not only for myself, but for my two boys.
I was on anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications. I was so easily angered and had not energy. I had very little joy in my life.
My sons have had their own struggles of depression, anxiety, ADHD and autistic behaviors. They are still struggling, and I believe it is because they do not believe in God. My heart breaks for them. So, I pray that my actions and attitude will let the Lord's love and peace shine through me. I pray that they will see the difference in me now that I have not only turned back to God, but am now seeking first His kingdom. I pray that they will know God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit someday soon.
2017 was so full of blessings (financially, career wise & spiritually), I have a difficult time accepting the fact that God has even more for me. However, after hearing your words at the Red Ink Revival, I believe there are more blessings coming my way that I can not even imagine. I believe there is a special person coming into my life. Someone to share in the joy & love & blessings of God.
You mentioned I need to "rest, just rest, rest." Last night I was watching a minister on TV and he was talking about resting so God can work. That God works when we rest. Coincidence? I don't think so! I am now trying to understand what "resting" looks like for me.
I am so thankful the Lord lead me to LifePointe in 2017, the year that changed everything!
I wanted to thank you and Tina for coming to our Group. It was enlightening to say the least. I have heard about speaking in tongues, and knew it was possible, but other than that I had no knowledge of the subject.
I also wanted to tell how beautiful your language is. I have never heard speaking in tongues before and I was amazed at how easy it seemed to come to you. It was so peaceful to hear and even now touches my heart in a way that is different than anything I have ever felt before. I loved Tina's comment that she speaks her language everyday, because I did not no that was even possible.
My husband and I had a wonderful conversation on our way home. I love that about the Group night meetings.
Thank you for praying over my husband and me, and all the others. That was extremely special to me. Since my Dad and NAME died, I have not had many blessings. It has been a very long time since I have had a blessing.
Thank you again for broadening my horizon and being such a strong man of God. You and Tina are truly an inspiration to me and I love you both.