Paul is one of the most mild-mannered, joy-filled men you will meet.  He is always smiling and encouraging those around him.  He was raised in a Catholic family, one of six kids, 5 of whom were boys.  He attended Catholic schools, and he would say he had a good upbringing in a good family.  However, in all of his exposure to Christ through church and school, he knew about God, he knew about Jesus, and he knew about the Holy Spirit, but he never had a personal relationship with any of them.  He never really understood how much strength in life was available from walking with God.

So, Paul did not live a Godly life.  He went off to college, and then his next college, and then his next.  At his third college, he met Debby, who would soon become his wife.  She, like Paul, did not understand the strength to be found in Christ.  They lived for themselves, focused mainly on going to parties and socializing.  Six months into their young marriage, they found out Debby was pregnant.  Now, this was January of 1974.  One year earlier, January of 1973, Roe vs. Wade had just been passed.  So, with this unexpected pregnancy for two college students, the overwhelming opinion amongst their friends was that they get an abortion.  “It’s just like getting your appendix out,” they would hear.  Thankfully, somewhere deep inside their conscience, they reasoned that abortion was not the right decision.  They were blessed with a baby girl, the first of 4 girls God would give them.

Not long after the birth of their first child, Paul came down with Hepatitis, and then, Debby contracted the same.  They were quarantined in their house, to keep others from this highly contagious disease.  Suddenly, their party friends were nowhere to be found.  Paul and Debby felt alone and isolated.  Debby’s parents had just given their lives to the Lord, and they were glowing with enthusiasm.  They were not afraid of the Hepatitis, and they visited Paul and Debby.  They gave them some Christian books to read while they had this down time.

Paul was reading Chuck Colson’s book, “Born Again”.  At first, he dismissed this as some sort of political dialogue with an agenda, that is, until he got to the end of the book where Chuck Colson shared his testimony.  Paul’s heart melted, and he realized how he longed to really know Christ personally.  He prayed to receive Christ.  For a few weeks, he was hesitant to share this experience with Debby, but when he finally did, he was amazed to find out she, too, had prayed to receive Christ while reading a different book!  Their lives and their household were transformed forever.

Paul and Debby moved forward with grateful hearts.  They couldn’t believe the gift God had given them.  They now had eyes to see all the brokenness around them.  They felt like God “spared” them.  God gave them a heart for people.  They wanted to serve and bless others.  They opened their home for all kinds of people, hosting Bible studies and Community Groups.

In 2009, Paul went on The Journey.  It was truly a blessing, but at that time, it was more of a confirmation of things Paul knew and was living.  He completed the process and merely checked it off the list as a spiritual accomplishment.  In 2011, a group of men in Tulsa, where Paul lived, were inspired by the Influencers in California, to host a weekly gathering where men could meet consistently to be encouraged and connect.  They called it “The Anchor.”  Paul was unplugged from any Christian fellowship when he heard about The Anchor.  He started coming and was blessed by the power of being part of a group of Godly men.  Then, he was asked to lead a Journey Group.  At The Anchor, Paul heard story after story of transformation from men who went through The Journey, and it dawned on him that there really was something special about The Journey.

When he led a Journey Group, it was 10X the experience of being a Participant!  It blessed him so much to be a positive influence on a group of men, guiding them to be warriors for Christ, to be faithful to the Word.  He found it even affect his own life in a new way.  He became even bolder in sharing his faith at work, letting his light shine wherever he went.  He now can’t wait to lead another Journey group.  He believes this is a life-long Journey, with so many treasures yet to discover.

One of Paul’s son-in-laws started coming to The Anchor and plans to join a Journey group this fall.  Last weekend, at a Promise Keepers conference, Paul sat next to his four son-in-laws, all of whom are men of God who want to go deeper.  Paul never received any sons by birth, but as he looked down the row at these young men, he realized God had, in fact, given him four sons.  He was so proud and so grateful!  His dream now is that they all would someday become Journey Guides and help other men find the strength in life that only comes from a personal relationship with Christ.

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