THE PAUL PROJECT is a ministry that has gone through various stages of development, starting with a vision that I was given many years ago, around the year 2000 whilst I was still living up in Zimbabwe.
In this vision I saw thousands and thousands, hundreds of thousands of people rushing across a bridge like structure into the security of a large walled… ‘something’. I could see that the wall was definitely a man made edifice, because the blocks that made it up were very visual and initially I was very, very close - too close to see above the edifice. I say this to differentiate between a man-made structure and a cliff wall, or a cave. As I watched from my vantage point in the vision, which happened in a small home church leaders lounge, I noticed that the people themselves had no colour - there were no black people, or white people, or yellow people - all of the people were one colour, but to this day I cannot tell you what that colour was. Where all of the colour DID come from, was the garments they were wearing - these garments were so beautiful, the illustration of the Indian lady on the left below does little to credit them, but more to simply try to give you an idea of what I saw. And the colours! Oh LORD they were something to see - colours that mankind doesn’t even know exist!
I’ve borrowed a few images of child prodigy Akaine Kramarik, whose use of colour in her images of heaven are legendary, from Google Images, to try to convey to you the incredible beauty of what I saw…
The point I’m making here is I believe you need to KNOW Who God is, you need to know Who Jesus is before you can go off proclaiming faith in Him. Do YOU have any faith in someone you don’t know?
And I don’t believe the preachers and pastors et al in the churches are teaching us WHO JESUS IS. Sunday after Sunday we sit under great teachings, nothing wrong with the teachings, they are great - they teach us how to be better people, but better people for who? For ourselves? That’s not going to benefit anyone in the long run. We need to be better people for our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. And to do that we need to know Who He is first… Anything that gives us the idea that knowing ourselves better is the most important thing in life will take you away from the truth about life. Because the most important thing in life is not to know ourselves better, but to know GOD better. Read about Mary and Martha in the New Testament.
A missionary I’m getting to know in the Philippines told me that he and his wife had been there for 2 years and in that 2 years, although he had visited many churches, and even preached in a few, in that 2 years he had found precisely THREE Spirit-filled Christians - three believers in millions of people. Three people who know who Jesus is, and can honestly say that HE knows them. I don’t know about you, but if I apply that startling fact to what Jesus said in Matthew 7:21-23, and 25:31-46, it scares the hell out of me, not for myself, but for the many I am supposed to have reached as a believer, as a disciple, who has been instructed by my Master to “make disciples of the nations.”
He’s only going to say that to people who are not connected to Him, and if the pastors and preachers in the churches are not connecting us to Jesus, we need to find another way.
In Luke 2:49, even as a child, Jesus put a higher priority on “His Father’s Business” than even on the concerns of his parents.
How can we “worship” a homeless man on Sunday and then walk right past one on Monday?
Living for JESUS hour by hour
in the Power of the Holy Spirit!
There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all argument, and which cannot fail to keep men in everlasting ignorance.
That principle is condemnation before investigation.
To answer before listening-- that is folly and shame.
These garments appeared to be made from a material that glowed with life itself - it seemed that the fabrics and the colours themselves were alive! It was the most incredible thing to see. As these hundreds of thousands of people rushed across this bridge like structure, I became aware that they were rushing under a huge portcullis - those huge black gates that one sees in medieval castles all over Europe - the ones with the big ugly points on the bottom (see pic) that locked into the ground when they were down and didn’t come up again until someone released the mechanism. The only difference here - and it’s a biggie - was that this gate represented TIME. TIME was running out as these people of all nationalities and ethnic groups, TOGETHER AS ONE in Jesus Christ, were rushing into the security of whatever lay behind that wall. Also, the top of each person’s head was shining like each had a torch or a light of some kind on their heads. I asked the leader of the small house church where I had the vision, what it could possibly mean, and he said that those were their crowns of glory. I’ve since learned that we receive garments of praise (Isaiah 61:3) and crowns of glory (1 Corinthians 9:24-25) when we get experience and share in the New Life that awaits all disciples of Jesus Christ.
Something that struck me with regard to the speed with which the people were rushing under the gate was the absolute urgency of it all. TIME is running out folks, whichever way you want to look at it.
I mean just take it logically. You are a day closer to your death today than you were yesterday, right? In the natural order of things. But what about if the LORD is approaching from the other end of the tunnel? Then our days are going to be shortening twice as fast, if not faster…
This vision stayed with me for ages and I spoke to many people about it - friends, pastors of different churches I attended, my current pastor. No one seemed to be able to tell me what it could mean. Nine years after that and now resident in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, I was sitting talking with my pastor Trevor one day and during our conversation I felt the LORD tell me that I should organise something for the poor of the city. That gave birth to an outreach called The Matthew Lunch. Details about that are available here.
At some point in time I received a free DVD from JOY Magazine (which by the way is easily among the world’s finest Christian magazines!) and nearly fell off my chair when I was watching it and recognised the ‘edifice’ I’d seen in my vision. It was the Damascus Gate into Jerusalem! (See above right).
OK - so the LORD wanted me to get people of all nations, sizes, shapes and colours into the safety of Jerusalem as time was running out.
I got it.
About a year later, ground 2010, going through my second divorce, the LORD gave me another vision. I say vision, but maybe ‘impression’ is a better word. I was sitting at the desk in my office at home one day when in a flash I knew of a way to unite the different churches in the city, and thus uniting the people of the city across racial, financial and geographical borders. It would be done by increasing fellowship between the various church ministries - and achieving things for the people of Port Elizabeth at the same time. The project would involve establishing strong lines of communication and cooperation between the ministries of churches throughout the city of Port Elizabeth, and was to be known as the Paul Project.
In fact when the first concept came to me and I had prepared a PowerPoint Presentation attempting to illustrate what the Lord had placed on my heart, Sally, my soon-to-be ex-wife stood at my side and openly wept at the concept of joining people together across all the borders mentioned above.
Ideas poured into me like sand in an hourglass and I listed them on the forerunner of this site - things like getting folks together to collect broken bicycles, repair them and give them away to kids who need bicycles in the high density areas, collecting sewing machines and lawnmowers that people no longer want and using them to help people who need work develop their own small businesses and so on. Sadly, few churches, including my own saw this as a viable project.
When the LORD tells you to do something, you do it. Only a real fool turns away from the LORD…
An extended period of extreme financial pressure with many trials followed where the Lord was teaching me to rely on Him and on no one else. During this period He brought my ex-wife Sally to my side and she helped me through. My church also helped from time to time, but the real consistent help came from Sally. Our friendship stands as a proud testament to the power of forgiveness… believe us folks, there most definitely IS life after divorce, and the key to that life is FORGIVENESS!
During that period of testing, I felt the Lord urging me to ‘do deeper’. I developed a real craving for MORE of the Word, not more as in quantity but more as in a deeper understanding. I began to research Jewish and Hebrew culture and explore things that seem generally hidden from folks who read the Bible regularly, like what a ‘Sabbath’s day walk’ really means, and why it was so important for God to send a host of angels to tell a bunch of lowly, nomadic shepherds about the birth of Jesus. Started learning Biblical Hebrew.
I also started researching the whole church system itself. Right from the Roman Empire, through Constantine, Martin Luther and the Reformation of the church in 1517 up to today. I am still researching this.
During this research the LORD laid a single sentence on my heart - “Remember that you had the church BEFORE you had the Bible” He said.
Then one day a friend of mine, totally out of the blue suggested that I log on to a website, www.thelastreformation.com, and watch the movie that is there for free download. I did that and was blown away by what the LORD has revealed and done through one single Danish man - Torben Sondergaard (pronounced very soft, as in ‘Sonnergard’). That movie is now available, with several testimonies and the audio version of a book he has written here on this website.
Watch the movie and download the book. If you are a true seeker after Jesus Christ - a true disciple - and you want a deeper relationship with the King of kings and the Lord of lords…this is where your journey will start.
There is a training school in Aarlborg, in Denmark, which I am hoping to be able to attend later in the year in 2017. But there are also 24 full lessons available on the website. These lessons made me think about the whole church system very carefully.
I told my pastor to be prepared for a drastic change in my method of worship. Although I had an idea of what was coming, I wasn’t totally sure.
I think what really made me get up and do something, what gave me the final push was the fact that a customer of mine up in Johannesburg was recently filing for a divorce - we've become e-friends as I have been trying to lead her to the LORD. Her life has not been what it should have been because of an emotionally abusive childhood and other stuff but she was battling to cope with the fact that her husband of some ten years had 'come out' and told her he was actually gay. As if that isn't enough for any woman, and wife, to hear, she came home one day to find her husband watching gay pornography with their 8-year old son. She freaked out as any heterosexual woman and mother would. Cutting a long story short she filed for divorce and after a long time and many thousand of rands apparently, the case finally made it to court. But she phoned me one morning and she was beside herself, almost hysterical on the phone saying that the advocate and her lawyer had told her that she didn't stand a chance against the courts, that the laws had changed so much with the LBGT movement that custody of her child would be given to the father. She said she had a friend who had experienced exactly the same thing and that friend had fallen apart on the loss of her child, taking to drinking and the whole bit. And she was convinced the same was going to happen to her.
I told her that she had to pray - that if ever there was a time in her life that she needed to pray it was NOW.
I even got quite insistent with her on the cell phone via WhatsApp telling her to "shut the damn door and get on her knees NOW!"
Feeling a little sheepish after my rough treatment of someone who was hurting very badly I phoned her a few hours later and asked if if she had prayed and she said yes she had and that everything was now in "His" hands... OK. Well, LORD I thought, now we wait on you.
I thought to myself I would send out a prayer request to a mailing list I have, getting people all over SA to pray for her. As I was writing the e-mail, and giving reasons for the situation that we needed to pray into, it dawned on me I was playing right into Satan's hands. When one sends stuff out on a mailing list you have no idea who you are really sending the stuff to - and the chances of there having been someone on that list whose sexual preferences were outside of the established norm was very good - and that would without a doubt have filtered through to those currently involved in the writing of the hate speech document that Errol Naidoo is busy fighting right at this very moment…
Please DO NOT misunderstand me - whilst I am personally most definitely anti the gay lifestyle, I do not hide that fact, if someone whose preference is this lifestyle should approach me wanting to find their way to Jesus and renounce their current life style, I would ‘move heaven and earth’ as the saying goes to be there for them and to love them - provided they were genuine. You can watch a few brave and courageous testimonies here.
But that's when it hit me. As Christians, as Believers in Yeshua Ha'amaschiach, do we even know each other? Some time back I had another vision in the radio studio I used to present from of a blood stained warrior angel calling out to me to "Make then stop" because the unbelievers - the Sunday church attendees - are actually making the battle in the spiritual realms harder for everyone on earth - I'll explain it to you if we ever meet.
That same night in the radio studio I had a second vision. This time of a boxer, bloodied and beaten, hanging onto the ropes for dear life, taking one pounding after another. In this vision the boxer was barely able to stand - and that boxer was Christianity. No prizes for guessing who the opponent was. Why is Christianity taking the pounding it is? Well, for one because it is the unmitigated truth, and two, because the average Christian in the street is too scared to speak out - afraid of being politically incorrect. I even got suspended from that radio station that I used to present from, because they were concerned that my response to a gay caller had been, to put it mildly, too straightforward.
When was the last time you heard a pastor/preacher warn us about the dangers and consequences of living a lifestyle outside of the Master's chosen Way for us? In the Book of Acts Christianity was originally known simply as 'The Way'... And I honestly cannot remember if I have EVER heard a 'hellfire and damnation' sermon from ANY preacher of ANY church I have attended over the years (I will turn 60 this year), although I have heard and watched many on the Internet.
2 hours after my phone call to my friend up in Johannesburg she phoned me. She was laughing and crying and you could hear the 'snot en tranne' - I got quite emotional too - because she had won her case. The LORD had responded to her prayer. Against all odds, she had won the case and won custody of her little boy. That decided me - the time had come for the church 'system' and I to part.
There is no way for me to be able to obey my Father in heaven - and yours too - if I remain a captive of the church system. How can I go about our Fathers work with my hands tied and shackles on my feet? Obviously this is a metaphorical statement and it makes reference more to what the preachers DON’T tell us than what they do. I don’t know about you but I want to have Peter’s “water walking” faith, I want to have the centurion’s faith where Jesus told him outright that He had never seen such faith in all of Israel. (Don’t get me started on pastors and preachers that refuse to support Israel - uh uh don’t go there dude!) Do you know that God is quite prepared to discuss things with you? There are 2 references that I know of that support this - 2 Chronicles 18:18-21 where God is clearly in a discussion with angels on how to go about something, and then again in the first chapter of Isaiah, in the 18th verse where He says, “Come now, let us reason together.” The last thing I want to do is to take these scriptures out of context, so I strongly suggest that you read them for yourself.
I believe that God is calling us to establish "church plants" into this new frontier that the mainstream church has failed to focus upon. The "Church" is a Church when two believers come together in the name of Jesus. It is not a building. It is people.
It is really very sad that so few people question "Christianity" today. I received a lovely mail from someone soon to be a good friend by the name of Rob who is very keen on the whole house church movement. He put it this way, “There are many who have been hurt by church and are now wandering around the wilderness, but not wanting to go back. Of course we know what Christ said about leaving the ninety nine to go after the one, and so someone must be prepared to be used by Him to do that.”
Another e-Friend in Johannesburg, a lady Pastor who sends out daily encouragement put it this way, “The world is hurtling towards the end times and things will get much worse! So how much more do we need to look to God and His Word to give us hope? We need Him to guide us in the straight path. Is God preparing us to go underground cos of huge persecution coming? Has the established church become such OLD wine skins that God has to do something new? Is the established main line church going to be like the one in Russia - so tied up by government laws e.g. forcing ministers to perform same sex marriage and forced one religion prayer meetings etc, that the Gospel just fades?” And then she finished with, “And another point - my cherished experience of being baptized by the Holy Spirit took place in a house church in Sept 1973 while the established Methodist church to which I belonged at that time never taught anything about the Holy Spirit. Where would I be today without the Holy Spirit?”
The Paul Project is now going to be actively involved in planting Acts churches, some call them home, or house, or organic churches, throughout Port Elizabeth. Prayerfully, this will cause many thousands of believers to come together. Equally prayerfully there will be retired pastors and teachers that will step forward and take the reins to lead small flocks of no more than 20. If you are keen on this idea, please will you contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org?
A parting thought is this - a single snowflake, by itself, is no threat to anyone. But millions of them together can hold back armoured military vehicles. Think about that as you wander around the website. I warn you - it is a website for serious believers…
Thank You LORD for indeed I am overcome by a Glorious Obsession.
They call me the Radical Maverick…
In His Service
PS - Not long after writing this over length introduction, I went to my first ever Karoo Mighty Men Conference and had a wonderful time.. I met some new people and saw a part of the country I’d not seen before - it was wonderful. It was also a blessing in disguise because I broke my leg - you can see a pic of me in a plaster cast below. Whilst that might seem hilarious to some - it actually does to me - I had to wait almost 60 years before I broke a bone - what is definitely NOT so funny is the genuine WhatsApp message in the photo next to the one of me. This was a response from someone (obviously I have removed the names of people) who was looking for help for me to get to the hospital so that a circulation check could be done on the leg to see that the cast was not on too tight. What you read on the screen of my cell phone about people being “too committed to being in church to actually help a fellow congregant” is 100% true.
This is the church we have today.
What does one say?
Check out Ron DiCianni’s AWESOME mural “The Resurrection”. Listen to him tell you about it himself here - http://www1.cbn.com/700club/ron-dicianni-resurrection-mural-his-own-words
Why is it that we would rather look after a homeless dog than a homeless person?