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Entries in England (13)

Thursday
Apr292010

The Lord Directs Our Steps

CBC-UK Director, Paul Flanagan with his wife of 41 years Siew Fong. (Click to enlarge)As a young boy, Paul Flanagan came upon a sad and smelly man leaning against the exterior wall of the church Paul attended daily. He recalls sharing a nine-year-olds' version of the Gospel with the man and then going about his boyhood business. The next day he saw the same man inside the church; he was cleaned up and appeared to be refreshed. Through this experience Paul had unknowingly witnessed the power of God's word at work through him. He continued to go to Mass every morning, served as an altar boy, and attended a Catholic school, but he didn't have a true relationship with Jesus, and took no responsibility for his walk with the Lord.

Paul moved through life aware of God but not walking with Him. After spending fifteen years in the military, he settled into the life of a successful international businessman. Paul was living in Malaysia and was prospering in the U.S. Real Estate markets. Over the course of time he married his wife Siew Fong and they began their family.

Paul and Andrew played a round of golf at The Cavendish in Buxton where Paul is a member.
(Click to enlarge)
Part of Paul's morning routine included driving his son to school. Rather than sit in rush-hour traffic after dropping his son off, Paul would attend daily Mass at a local monastery. He found favor in the Church and became friendly with the Abbot, a man named Jonathan. Jonathan was the head of the Charismatic Renewal Movement at the time, and as such continued to impress upon Paul the need to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. One day Paul gave in to Jonathan's persistence and received the baptism. Paul recalls the moment as being a time when "the lights came on" and "all things became clear" for him.

The Holy Spirit produced a noticeable transformation in Paul and caused a drastic shift in his life. His demeanor changed for the better, and the gifts of the Spirit were prevalent in him. The ability to share the Gospel in simple understandable ways, much like he had with the man outside the church as a boy, was awakened in him. So much so, that strangers would ask him deep theological questions, the kind that many Christians shy away from, and he would find the answer flowing out of his lips supernaturally. It was as if the Holy Spirit in him was answering the questions of their hearts, through him.

Paul comissioning Carolyne Kotze as Director of CBC South Africa.
(Click to enlarge)
Shortly after his baptism experience the enemy came to steal from Paul (John 10:10). Within a small amount of time his mother died, his business went under when the Malaysian government malaysianized the company, froze all his assets, and kicked him out of the country. He and his family returned to England with five suitcases and a meager amount of cash. After their arrival in England, Siew Fong's father died, a month later her brother died, and Paul was diagnosed with cancer. Bang, bang, bang, just like that. However, even with the walls of his life crashing in upon him he had peace, joy and comfort in his spirit, to the point where he felt irresponsible for not being the least bit distressed. Secure in the Lord's love for him he managed to escape the depression that one might expect in his situation. Then the physical pain of Paul's cancer became a reality and he started to suffer. Not having a full revelation of God's plan for his own wellness, Paul underwent surgery and began treatments.

Although he struggled with his own health, he would lay hands on other people in the waiting room of the hospital and see them healed. During one particular week-long stay in the hospital he emptied the ward of other patients. Paul thought to himself, "What’s wrong with this picture?" The Lord spoke to him and asked what he was doing there. After a brief conversation with the Lord about His will for Paul to be well, he checked himself out of the hospital and hit the road running. Paul never looked back and that was twenty-four years ago. Praise God!

Paul ministering with Phil Smythe, pastor of Langeberg Christian Fellowship in Heidelberg, South Africa, the home of CBC South Africa. (Click to enlarge)Every hammer blow that the enemy had sent to drive him away from God and away from the calling on his life to minister the Word with simplicity, only served to drive Paul closer to the Lord. God has continued to reveal himself to Paul and the two share
a strong union. "I am in Him and He is in me, and we are in the Father for eternity. Everywhere we go, we go together,"
Paul said.

In 1990 Andrew ministered at the Flanagan's church in Coventry, England and the Flanagans have been supporters of AWM since. After a decade supporting Andrew from afar, the Lord spoke to Paul to attend Charis Bible College (CBC). He enrolled in CBC-Coventry in 2001. On the first day of school a man paid Paul's tuition for the first year and turned and prophesied over him, saying Paul would be the next director of the Bible College. Paul did not discuss with anyone the words the man had shared, he just trusted the Lord. He went on to graduate from the two year program, and then stayed on for a third year to apprentice under CBC Director at the time, Tom Decker. In 2006, Paul was appointed by Andrew as the Assistant Director of CBC. True to the prophesy six years earlier, Paul took over as Director of CBC- England in 2007.

Since his childhood the Lord has used Paul to deliver His Word to those in need. Now, on a regular basis he is able to minister to the hungry students at CBC. He considers it a joy to interact with them as they progress in their walks with the Lord. Paul especially enjoys watching the Word transform them in the same way it transformed him.

Visit the CBC-UK website for more information about Paul, and Charis Bible College.

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