In Christ Interview With Paul and Vicki Cardarella
INTERVIEWER: Has anything happened in your life which has served as the occasion for you to study the New Testament message of living by grace?
PAUL: There was an incident. Without going into explicit detail there was a near tragedy in our lives. On the night it occurred Vicki said, “We’ve got to pray.” We were out of the country at the time, so on the flight back Vicki said, “I’m going to call David Kuykendall.” We still marvel at her wanting to do that, but we know why God led her to do so. Through this near tragedy, God brought us to David. He shared with us the biblical truth of our union with Christ. Since Vicki was more spiritually mature, learning the message of grace was another step in her growth. For me it was a giant step. It has made a huge difference in my life. I feel like I am growing every day as a Christian. This understanding has been the catalyst of my growth.
INTERVIEWER: Sometimes when people first hear the biblical truth of their union with Christ it sounds very strange. When David first shared this message with you, what did you think?
VICKI: I had heard parts of it. I had heard that we are in Christ, but never anything beyond that. I had not understood my crucifixion, burial, and resurrection in union with Christ. I did not understand the concept of Christ working through me. All I had ever considered was what I could accomplish for Him. I’m now focused on the Lord rather than myself.
PAUL: I don’t think you can have that focus until you understand who you are in Christ. With David’s help I began to understand from the Scriptures my union with Christ. I’ve always felt like I had to do everything I had to get it done. Now that I understand my union with Christ there is a peace that is growing as I allow Him to take control of the issues of my life. I still struggle, but now that I understand my union with Christ peace is available for me every day. It’s something I that I never really understood. It’s like it went right over my head. I was focused on what I could do as opposed to what the Lord could do through me.
INTERVIEWER: What part do you think brokenness played in your being hungry to know the truth of your union with Jesus Christ?
PAUL: Sometimes the Lord causes or allows suffering in our lives to bring us closer to Himself. There is no doubt in my mind that this is what happened. I had come to know Christ as my Savior, but this incident of suffering opened my eyes and opened my heart to what God could do. I believe He created the suffering to open my eyes.
INTERVIEWER: What are some of the distinctive changes that you noticed in your life once you began to live out of your union with Christ?
VICKI: When you get the focus off yourself and on to Christ, you’re no longer focused on your troubles and you naturally feel better.
PAUL: I feel a greater sense of peace. I don’t wake up like I used to worrying about what is going to happen. Letting the Lord have control of everything takes a load off me. Since we’ve gone through this study, I enjoy peace that I’ve never felt before.
VICKI: Paul is the kind of person who likes to be in control. I’m different−I don’t want to be in control. To Paul this message brought peace that he had never known
before. To me it brought joy that I had never known before. My life is actually more fun now.
INTERVIEWER: Are there other life issues that you think oneness with Christ would address?
VICKI: Yes, when you acknowledge the five commands of Romans 6:11-13, you give up the flesh. So no matter what the struggle, the believer’s union with Christ is the answer.
INTERVIEWER: What are some other Bible themes you have studied that add to the new life you have found in Christ?
PAUL: When I look back on all the things in our lives that prepared us to hear the message of God’s grace, I can see God’s sovereign activity in our lives.
VICKI: God is sovereign, even over Satan. He allows us to experience things that bring us closer to Him. However, I don’t think the Lord allows us to experience more than we can handle. We’ve seen God work in all kinds of things like directing us to a house to buy… He is definitely working in our lives.
INTERVIEWER: Imagine you are standing before dozens of true believers who that there is more to the life in Christ than they have experienced. What would you say to them?
PAUL: First, I would tell them to read the Book of Romans. Then I would tell them to read Our Oneness With Christ. I would then suggest that they read Romans again. I would share with them that the Christian life is not a matter of their performance. The Christian life is letting God live through you. It’s so simple, and yet it’s so profoundly difficult for people to understand they don’t have to be in control. I would tell them about the peace that I now have and that they can have the same peace.
VICKI: I would give them my personal testimony. I would teach them from Romans chapter six, informing them that in Christ they are now dead to sin’s authority. I would explain how this death affects their old patterns. Then I would teach them from Romans six that in Christ they are now alive to God. I would explain how being alive unto God enables the believer to experience the life of Christ in them.
Paul and Vicki Cardarella first got in touch with me in 1999 concerning the crisis that they mention in the interview. We began Bible study immediately. Their hearts were open to the truths of our union with Christ. They have moved to Dallas since then, and we have studied often. For months we studied two nights a week. We still study almost every week. They are growing as believers. They are growing in their understanding and experiencing their union with Christ. They desire that other believers understand and experience crucifixion, burial, and resurrection. In several different ways they are involved in spreading the message of living by God’s grace.
While one does not have to be in crisis to study the “in Christ” truths of the New Testament, the experience of the Cardarellas is very typical. If you are in crisis now, or if you know someone in crisis, this would be an excellent time to consider studying the truths that resulted in the life changes for the Cardarellas. Contact us if you would like to talk, or if you would like to use our materials.
David’s book, Our Oneness With Christ, is available from David Kuykendall Ministries, 318 N. Brighton Dallas, TX 75208. Ph. 214-943-4473. http://www.www.living-by-grace.org. This interview is republished with permission from their Newsletter, vol. 2, #3.