It was St. Paul of Tarsus who first
SPREAD THE GOSPEL
GROW THE CHURCH
SAMPLE CHAPTER 11 - PAUL OF TARSUS THE MASTER ATTRACTOR
Book Chapter 11 - PAUL OF TARSUS THE MASTER ATTRACTOR
Paul of Tarsus was a Master Attractor.
He still is today, an exemplary awesome Master Attractor.
The proof is in the outcome of his missionary work - spreading successfully Christianity from early on.
Paul experienced four visions. He was driven to action by his visions. He took guidance for action from his visions. Paul brought his message to people near and far. In order to bring the good news (gospel), he made countless personal appearances. He travelled inconveniently long distances for many weeks at a time. He traveled by any means of transportation available at his time. He journeyed on the back of camels, horses and sailed on open decks of sea-faring boats.
Paul was a writer. Paul wrote and sent letters (epistles) to publicize the gospel. Not all of his writings survived the decay of time.
Paul was a great communicator. He preached his vision and message in front of public audiences. He spoke to anyone who would listen to his message.
Today there are estimated two billion people living on the face of the earth that consider themselves as Christians. The apostle Paul utilized the full powers of the LOA framework during his missionary life. He deployed every Key Concept of the LOA at one point or another.
Utilizing the Key Concepts of the LOA and the principles of the LOA, Paul was and still remains an unequaled publicity dynamo devoted to the cause of spreading the gospel. It is impossible to estimate the number of living men, women and children that he talked to, and preached during his lifetime. There is no way to tell how many people were present in his audiences during his lifetime. He probably saw and talked face-to-face before several thousand unique persons during his life time-ministry.
Further, Paul had his letters read and recited in public – in homes and in front of congregations (churches in Greek translation) in his absence – by emissaries. Two millennia later, his letters (epistles) are still read in public.
It is my intent in this chapter to show that Paul of Tarsus used all the Key Concepts of the Law of Attraction. His modus operandi was similar to the methods still employed today (21st century), by great communicators, artists, and politicians running for elections, evangelists, and salespeople. Contemporary technology provides videoconferencing, radio addresses, tele-seminars and internet websites. Most marketers, politicians, preachers, singers, artists, and seminar promoters still go also on the road and travel by air around the globe to present and promote - face to face - their cause, their message or sell their products. American politicians running for president start their primaries in Iowa going door to door and promoting their candidacy at voters’ kitchen tables, known as ‘retail political campaigning’.
So did Paul of Tarsus. He was an eager and willing retail, face-to-face evangelist if need be. So are many missionaries who still knock on doors to hand out gospel literature.
Paul marketed intangibles two millennia ago - the most difficult articles to sell. Nonetheless he was successful in selling his ideas and message.
This chapter is not involved in the contents of Paul’s theology.
This chapter is concerned with Paul’s methods of winning friends and influencing people to accept the message of the gospel. If Paul was If Paul was alive today in the age of Twitter he would have had over 2 billion “Followers”. In Facebook parlance he would have scored over 2 billion “Like” clicks. Paul was the first to turn his followers into residents of the global village.[i] This notional global village is the globalism of the Christian faith today. This chapter also shows how often the messenger (St. Paul the apostle) becomes the message.[ii], [iii]
There are other scholarly opinions about Paul’s early origins. Some historians think that Paul was born in 4 BCE to his Jewish parents and was raised in a village in northern Galilee called Jish in Arabic (or Gischala)[vi]. Today the place is called Gush Halav in northern Israel. His parents named him Shaul in Hebrew (Saul in Greek). His parents were taken captive by the Roman conquerors in 2 BCE and were exiled as slaves to the city of Tarsus in Cilicia (corner region between Turkey and Syria). At some point, the family was set free by their Roman masters and was granted Roman citizenship.[vii]
Paul was the beneficiary of wide education. He was fluent in Greek, Latin and Hebrew, or its closest dialect - Aramaic. At about age 19 he went to Jerusalem. Paul claims twice that he learned under the great Rabbi of his time – Rabban Gameliel. Paul was familiar with the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible. In his early life, he was a Pharisee by his own testimony. There is no evidence that he was married or had children, something unusual for a Pharisee Jew.
Later in his life, he went to learn firsthand from Peter whatever he could about the life and ministry of Jesus, since Peter was an eyewitness and pupil of Jesus, whereas Paul did not meet Jesus.
Paul was a prolific writer. He understood well the power of the written word. He is considered the author of thirteen of the epistles in the New Testament. Scholars believe with little dispute, that he indeed wrote with his own hand seven out of the thirteen letters.[viii], [ix] The other six letters were possibly dictated by him to a scribe.
Paul was a public speaker who preached persuasive sermons and mounted his legal defense before Roman courts and on behalf of his companion-disciples.
Paul practiced healing – performing acts of attracting health and healing the sick. Those acts of healing were considered at the time, and remain today in many minds, impressive acts of manifesting “miracles”.
Paul made full use of the Mastermind Alliance concept. Among his close associates and advisers were Luke, Barnabas, Silas and Timothy.
Paul was an empathic listener. He was empathic to other people problems and their life challenges. He displayed the “I feel your pain” attitude. Does that sound familiar to you? As a result he knew how and when to be of assistance to others. That gave him influential advantage in addition to being a tri-linguist, an author and a public speaker. All his talents synergistically enhanced his successful ministry to promoting the message of the resurrection, and human salvation through Jesus.
Stated in other words, Paul of Tarsus had a charismatic personality.
The book of Acts chapter 9 introduces Paul and gives a recount how Paul used Key Concepts of the Law of Attraction. Chapter 16 illustrates Paul’s uses of the Key Concepts of the LOA.
The book of Galatians illustrates many of Paul’s practices as narrated by him.
We shall examine Key Concept of the LOA and see how Paul deployed them effectively during the course of his successful ministry.
IT ALL STARTED WITH A VISION
Paul experienced four visions. According to the Book of Acts, Paul was inspired by each of his visions and was compelled to take action.
His first vision is the most famed one - his conversion on the road to Damascus.
“…And suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven. And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him…” (Acts 9:3-4).
“…And the lord said unto him, Arise and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.” (Acts 9:6-7).
Note that in his vision he was inspired to take action. However, the exact nature of the action was to be clarified later. Paul trusted his inspiration and followed the travel order in blind faith, not knowing what will happen to him next.[x]
A vision, a trance, or a dream can be an intense psychological transformative event to any person. The nature of the vision may be hallucinatory consisting of sights and sounds. Paul’s psychological transformation did not end on the way to Damascus circa 35 CE. According to his own written testimony Paul continued to experience psychological changes. His evolving transformation was now inspired by God. “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, To reveal his son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen, immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: Neither went I to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. Then After three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter…” (Gal. 1:15-18).
After his conversion Paul continued to live three years in personal isolation in the desert of Arabia - the region of the Nabataean town of Petra, west of the city of Maan and north of Aqaba, Jordan. He was not the first biblical visionary who chose personal isolation in the desert and returned back to structured society with a claim of having received a divine message.
After the famed revelatory episode, on the way to Damascus, Paul had subsequently three additional vision experiences.
Second vision. In Troas, we find that Paul was unsure how to proceed in his missionary journey. After some hesitation, “…a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us.” (Acts, 16:7-9). Once he experienced the vision he regained his assuredness and proceeded to act with notable success.
Third vision. In Corinth, Paul encountered opposition to his teachings. “Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid but speak, and hold not thy peace: For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city.” (Acts 18:9-10).
Fourth vision. In Jerusalem, Paul spoke at the temple and his preaching created controversial tumult among the throngs of resisting worshipers. Soldiers had to carry him to the castle where he was detained for his own safety and for the public order. Paul requested to be heard by the council of priests, and his defense speech created further dissention among the restive audience. “And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.” (Acts 23:11). Paul needed all the courage he could muster for the demanding task that lay ahead of him. Paul followed each of his visions with inspired action.
PAUL BENEFITS FROM SYNCHRONICITY
Synchronicity is an enabling mechanism of the Key Concepts of the LOA.
It is the experience of two (or more) events that are occurring together in a manner that is meaningful to the observers of the event.
The synchronous events cannot be explained as a cause and effect. Only persons with a mindset towards attaining a clear intent or a goal will have the capability of capturing the synchronicity of the events. That happens because the RAS of the tuned-in minds are awake, alert and on the lookout for the desired and expected circumstance.
Paul benefited from events of synchronicity.
As he embarked on the road entering Damascus, complying with the vision he experienced, he met his appointed supporter - Ananias.
While Paul gets closer to Damascus, a drama occurs within the city limits: another man (Ananias), experiences an independent vision.
“…and there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here Lord. And the lord said unto him, Arise, and go to the street which is called Straight , and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus: for behold, he prayeth, and hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.” (Acts 9:10-12).
However, Ananias had some reservations:
“Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem:” (Acts 9:13). Nonetheless, his reservations are overruled: “But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel.” (Acts 9:15).
Thus, while Paul was following his vision, another man -Ananias - had experienced synchronously an independent vision that directed him to assist Paul.
This synchronous episode – of two visions compelled two different persons to take inspired actions towards manifesting a mutual objective is an attractor event.
LIFE SAVING SYNCHRONICITY
While on their missionary journey, Paul and Silas stayed in Philippi, where Paul preached his gospel. The local authorities did not approve of the new customs that Paul taught and placed him and Silas in jail. “And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God:… And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed.” (Acts 16:25-26).
Here again Paul is the beneficiary of synchronous events and he gets released from prison during an earthquake (which is not a rare event in Macedonia). Moreover his belief system gets the credit for the ‘miraculous’ release from captivity and turned his jailors into converts. We now know that there is no coinky-dink in life. Synchronicity is available to every person who expects it with an open mind.
Key Concepts – from the framework of the LOA that took place in Acts, chapters 9 and 16 are:
Two men who each experienced a vision
Two men who each took inspired action in their respective time and place, following a vision.
Synchronicity connected the two men who each had a vision.
The LOA matched two men in need with solutions using its own sources of supply
The LOA has unforeseen infinite channels of supply to meet any person’s need
The LOA is inclusive - it does not discriminate among persons.
PAUL THE COMMUNICATOR
In order to influence you have to communicate.
Paul of Tarsus was a phenomenal communicator.
He communicated face to face orally. He communicated in writing. And he communicated through emissaries and trusted followers who read his epistles in front of live audiences in churches. His epistles are still read it today.
Paul employed every one of the ten Key Concepts listed as the framework components of the LOA discussed in earlier chapters of this book.
THE FRAMEWORK OF PAUL’S MINISTRY
As a Master Attractor Paul displayed several traits that rendered him charismatic to other people with whom he came in contact.
Paul was an empathic listener.
He acknowledged the contents, the difficulties and the beliefs of his audience. Paul did not belittle nor avoided the difficult contents and interests that his listeners presented to him.
Paul respected the needs of his audience.
He saw their needs - the spiritual and physical needs and attempted to meet their needs. He responded to his audience. We know that individuals who display the quality of empathy are often perceived as “charismatic”. Charismatic as in being an attractive and magnetic person.
Paul was also revered by his followers for another reason. He performed what was referred to as miracles (“signs and wonders”). The book of Acts narrates at least six episodes where Paul directly cured persons he met during his ministry.[xi] Paul was associated with Luke and referred to Luke as his “beloved physician”. I assume that the two apostles (healers) shared their medical knowledge and put it to practical use whenever the opportunity occurred. In return they garnered respect and admiration from their beneficiaries and the witnesses to the healing episodes. A surefooted way to win friends and influence people.
Paul’s ability to heal sick people and manifest health contributed to his credibility and persuasive persona.
The third element in Paul’s attractive personality is the keen perception when his followers needed food or material support.[xii] When he recognized that relief is needed – he took action to collect and provide the required necessities.
Thus Paul was involved, at least twice, in famine relief and financial support to the community in Jerusalem. Paul leveraged his influence - by directing a methodical fundraising on the first day of the week. Then the collections were brought unto Jerusalem.[xiii]
There was famine during the reign of Claudius Caesar (46-49 CE). The disciples in Antioch “…every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea: Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.” (Acts 11:29-30).
The second relief effort occurred in 57 CE when Paul arrived for his last visit to Jerusalem with a collection of money for the local congregation.[xiv] It was a humanitarian mission. No wonder he attracted followers - Paul delivered.
Paul of Tarsus was the first to organize and integrate humanitarian projects along with preaching of the gospel. The systematic missionary and humanitarian programs were never abandoned in the course of history of the Christian church. The church continues to the present day to maintain the traditional framework of missionary, education and welfare programs.
[i] The credit for this concept goes to Marshall McLuhan.
[ii] As Marshall McLuhan said: The medium is the message.
[iii] Roger Ailes: You Are The Message. Crown Business. 1989.
[iv] Acts 22:3. The author of the book of Acts quotes Paul speaking about himself in the temple in Jerusalem.
[v] Pope Benedict XVI: “Saint Paul”. Ignatius Press. San Francisco. P. 14. 2009.
[vi] The Pauline scholar, Jerome Murphy-O’Connor, attributes this fact to St. Jerome. St. Jerome (Eusebius Sophronius Hieronymus, 347-420 AD), is considered a serious and talented linguist and a responsible historian by all Bible scholars. Jerome was a phenomenal polyglot by any standards. St. Jerome translated the Holy Bible from the original languages, Hebrew and Greek, into Latin (the Vulgate). As result, he was designated as a doctor of the church. Although he lived about 300 years after Paul his testimony is considered by many to be reliable.
[vii] Jerome Murphy-O’connor: Paul His Story. Oxford University Press. New York. 2004.
[viii] The seven letters that Paul wrote are Romans, Galatians, Corinthians (2 letters), Philippians, 1 Thessalonians and Philemon.
[ix] Albert Schweitzer: “The Mysticism of Paul the Apostle”. Translated by William Montgomery. 1931. The John Hopkins University Press. Baltimore MD. 1998.
[x] The word blind is more than a pun in this situation. Paul was actually double blinded.
[xi] Acts 14:3; Acts 14:8-18; Acts 19:11-12; Acts 20:7-12; Acts 28:7-8; Acts 28:9.
[xii] “Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do.” (Gal. 2:10).
[xiii] 1 Cor. 16:1-3.
[xiv] Acts 24:17 and Gal. 2:10.
(C) 2013 Mandy Lender MD
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