Pastor Mike, the kind people of this forum are simply attempting to explain the mechanics behind the process of salvation; there is no paradox.
Let me explain. God has decided who will live and who will die. Humans are not privy to that information. Still, God has issued a command to believe in him to all humankind. Since he owns us, we are under obligation to obey.
Thus, when we preach, we carry that command to repent and believe, with the understanding that we are only the tools God uses to the end of salvation. We cannot therefore take credit for it.
For the hearer of the message, if he fails to believe, God caused it. If he believes, God put it there. But in no case does any act of God relieve man of his responsibility to obey.
Nor does the presence if an impossible command relieve us of obligation to obey it. Nightmare? Yes. But Martin Luther noted that obligation does not imply ability to fulfill it, and that is precisely the situation of the sinner. That is why he must place his faith entirely on God for his eternal future.
In short, the controlled nature of man's responses is just an explanation of the mechanics of salvation.