Having been a policeman for over 25 years, Paul was very familiar with knowing right from wrong. He lived his life determined to keep out of trouble and even prayed from time to time. Was this enough though? Paul’s journey taught him that life is actually much more than knowing right and wrong…
Although Paul grew up with a religious childhood, he recalls never having felt a connection; “I grew up aware of Jesus but lived without relationship”. Paul’s early days consisted of being raised in a traditional Church and attending services every Sunday. Time went on and eventually Paul drifted away from his early religious upbringing, only going to church during Easter and Christmas with his mother. He remembers knowing God was there and praying every once in a while but found it was not something he lived by.
"I’ve heard it said that ‘prayer is not a spare wheel that you pull out when in trouble, but it is a steering wheel that directs the right path throughout.’ At that time, my prayer was definitely more of a spare wheel than something that was guiding me."
Having been a policeman since 1990, Paul was always a dedicated worker. His job treated him well, having been promoted to Senior Sergeant at just 35 years of age. While all was going well professionally, his personal life was not quite the same. Paul’s childhood was impacted by the experience of his parent’s divorce and he was determined to avoid that outcome in his marriage. Paul’s efforts to be a better man at home had no success. It seemed that whatever he tried, he just couldn’t get it right.
While starting work in a new role, Paul met a colleague named Lyn. It was evident to Paul this lady was saved and was of great faith. While sharing his problems at home, Lyn asked him if he was a Christian. At first Paul wanted to say yes as he reflected on his religious knowledge, but suddenly in that moment he realised he couldn’t. Feeling convicted, he responded by telling Lyn he in fact wasn’t a Christian.
For many months Lyn fellowshipped with Paul, gently explaining, and demonstrating, to him the difference between mere rule and ritual based ‘religion’ and a real relationship with Christ. Over time, Lyn's friend named Glenda mailed him an envelope. Glenda had never met Paul, but upon hearing about him and praying for him with Lyn, felt called to send him an invitation to an Alpha being run at her Church. After deciding to attend he found he’d left it too late, he was informed by the Pastor that registrations had closed and the session was full. Paul thanked the Pastor he was talking to and went to end the call, when Pastor Glen went on, “But don’t worry, we’ll always make room for one more, I’ll host a table for you myself”.
At Alpha, Paul was overwhelmed by the genuine love and support from his group who patiently answered his many questions and consistently prayed for him and his family.
Through the sessions, Paul was blessed with great friendships, fellowship and an ever growing connection with both Christ and the church community. Paul’s wife witnessed Paul’s transformation and at first was convinced he had joined a cult. “I told her that I had to open my heart and love God above all things which at the time she struggled to understand”.
Eventually, Paul’s most fervent prayers were answered, and his wife joined him at Church one Sunday morning. After running into several people she knew through her early work career, and experiencing the joyful praise and worship music, she too realised she had found ‘home’.
“Many people could say what happened to me is coincidence – there seems to always be a logical explanation for things”
Paul explains further, recalling his experience as a policeman, “If I get to a crime scene and I find your DNA there, you could give me an explanation for that. I then find your car there, you could give another explanation for that. I then find your thumbprint at the scene and you give me yet another explanation of that. I then find a link between you and the victim and you give me more explanations for that. The truth is, each thing in and of itself could be explained away as mere ‘coincidence’ but the sum of all those things says there is a connection”.
“You can’t always prove it but it gets to the point where it becomes harder not to believe than to believe”
Three years on from Alpha, not only Paul’s wife and son, but several other members of his extended family, have come to know Christ personally and are serving His Kingdom faithfully. Since Alpha, Paul has been involved in both kids and men’s ministry at his local church. He continues to faithfully serve and is forever grateful for spiritual role models that encourage and support him daily.