Born in Kansas City, Paul grew up in a diversified environment. "My grandfather, the son of a German immigrant and a wild west pioneer, taught me the value of hard labor and the joy of building with my hands. My grandmother, a hearing-aid dependent, literature teacher, gave me a love for words and a spirit of compassion. My father, a trial attorney and tireless sports companion, showed me wisdom, knowledge, mercy, justice, and healthy competitiveness. Last, but not least, my mother, an interior designer and constant cheerleader, pointed me to the canvas with its limitless colors and depth of field.
Speaking of fields, while growing up, Paul's father had front row season ticket seats behind the visitor's dugout at the Kansas City A's baseball stadium, as well as midfield seats to the Kansas City Chiefs at Municipal Stadium. Watching big-league talent up close, especially Mickey Mantle and the Yankees, made it easier to dream stadium-sized dreams.
"Ironically, in that same stadium, I sat nearly that close to the Beatles when they came to town. A few months earlier, I had witnessed the Fab-four on the Ed Sullivan Show. They were so vibrant and joyful. I thought to myself, "I want to be happy... so, that's what I want to do. I purchased a Black Oyster Pearl Ludwig drum set like Ringo's and started a band with a couple of friends called the Kommotions."
Unfortunately, commotion was the path of his mid-teens. The whirlpool of drugs and social rebellion nearly drowned him. Mercifully, in April of 1970, after his freshman year of college was cut short due to student unrest, Paul moved from Kansas to a primitive log cabin at 9,800 feet on the Continental Divide, in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. There, his life took a miraculous turn from commotion to devotion as he witnessed something far greater than what he had seen in those stadiums.
" I was an 18-year-old hippie, strong and independent, yet riddled with fear and hopelessness. Like so many disgruntled youth during the era of Vietnam and social unrest, I tried to find solace in God. An anemic denominational church experience, Transcendental Meditation, the Bghavad Gita, the Tibetan Book Of The Dead, grass, hash, opium, speed and countless LSD trips left me empty. One day, at the post office, I received a box of books from my grandmother about Jesus Christ. I chose one and read it from cover to cover in one day. At the end of the book I prayed a prayer to follow Jesus as his disciple. The next morning brought more than another pristine Rocky Mountain High. I remember waking up and sitting on my porch. Something had drastically changed. I felt deeply loved, so new, so clean, so forgiven and unspeakably peaceful. I was also overwhelmed with thankfulness. Concurrently, songs began to pour out of me like the water in the river next to my cabin."
Paul felt an immediate call on his life to sing a new song to the ends of the earth. With the stage as a pulpit, he sang his newly penned songs at the Narrow Gate Coffeehouse, a place he and his friends established to reach out to hippies shortly after his move to Denver in 1971. His local following thrust him into the now historical, "Jesus Movement", which in turn, led to national and international performances.
Paul is recognized as one of the founding fathers of the Jesus Movement and the Contemporary Christian Music industry. During his 13 year association with Word Records in the 1970s and 1980s, Paul's songwriting, record producing and avant-garde artistry placed him in the forefront along with artists like Phil Keaggy, 2nd Chapter of Acts, Love Song, Larry Norman, Andre Crouch, Honeytree, Keith Green, Randy Stonehill, Barry McGuire, and many others.
Not resting on his laurels, Paul's life after CCM noteriety didn't slide into cruise control. Paul has continued his allegiance to proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ. Even though he has completed 17 solo recording projects, written over 400 songs, produced records for several artists, served as worship leader/pastor, as well as being an author and published photographer, Paul's voyage presses on. He has traveled hundreds of thousands of miles on several continents, still fueled by the joy of the Lord.
"Over the years, I've performed at churches so small that my family nearly outnumbered the congregation. In contrast, I've also performed at large festivals internationally. For three years I had the joy of serving on a Maranatha Worship Team that provided the music for the Promise Keepers Stadium Events, including the monumental, Stand In The Gap, Washington, D.C. Event. Needless to say, it was quite a thrill to sing to a crowd of over 1 million people. That being said, I am mindful that first and foremost, I stand before an audience of One. I seek to pattern my calling to the model that He demonstrated. He spoke to large gatherings, yet, He always sought out the individual person one on one. I hunger to be led by the Holy Spirit. I feel blessed beyond words to have seen and experienced all that I have. I'm humbled that Jesus is still calling me to serve Him. Without a doubt, God uses broken vessels."
After more than three decades of this minstrel's voyage, Paul has no intentions of dropping his anchor."I intend to keep my hand to the plow spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. By His grace, I honor the past, embrace the present, and possess a living hope for the future. I want to finish strong in whatever path He chooses for me. Hardship to joy, the jewels are collected along the way, not, as some perceive, at the final destination. Once there, we will cast our jeweled crowns at the feet of Jesus. Before His throne, I will long to see His face and hear His loving voice say, "Well done thy good and faithful servant."
"I believe God created us to glorify Him. If I can display His love and mercy, in spite of my weaknesses, then what greater cause could one hope to live for." Paul's hopes and goals are found in II Cor. 4:1-7.
Courtesy of Paul Clark
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