Donny's Ramblings


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An Active Porn Producer Sponsored Me – READ THIS PLEASE!

Later I want to tell you a little more about how Fireproof Ministries at one time supported my son and his mother when I couldn’t do so myself… KEEP READING! But first…

LET ME SHOW YOU SOME OF THE THINGS FIREPROOF MINISTRIES DOES

Jesus Loves Porn Stars:  Setting Up Booths at Porn Conventions

I first met the founders of Fireproof Ministries at a porn show. Their booth was much simpler than it is in this photo: back then it just said “XXXChurch.com – the number one Christian Porn Site”. I thought they were there to make fun of Christians, and I was all over it. I despised Christians, and anything that would poke at them was great in my opinion. I quickly discovered, however, that these people were manning a booth that was doing crazy things: showing love to a group of people at whom most Christians shouted hatred.  Some of those crazy things include doing make up for the girls who are hired by porn companies to run around being groped by porn convention visitors.  When those girls, someone’s daughter – someone’s sister, were sitting in the XXXChurch makeup chair, however, they’d hear words like this: “You’re beautiful.  God loves you.  There is nothing you can do to change that.  We think He has more for you than this, and if you’d like to talk, we’re here to listen.”

As even my own personal story demonstrates: non-judgmental love, which is Jesus’ love personified, changes people.

“Jesus Loves Porn Stars” Bibles

One year Fireproof started handing out Bibles that said something crazy on the cover:

“Jesus Loves Porn Stars”

On the back it asks the question, “Does Jesus Really Love Porn Stars?” The answer is given:  “Absolutely.  That might go against what you’ve heard about Jesus, but it’s true.  Jesus loves porn stars as much as He loves pastors, soccer moms, liars, thieves and prostitutes.  We’re all the same to Jesus.  We’re all just people who need God to save us from the mess we’re in and lead  us to a better way.  So what you’re holding in your hands is a straightforward telling of the story of Jesus…And in it you’ll read about the love-revolution that inspired the women and men who first experienced it to change the world forever.”

Thousands of these Bibles are given away free at porn conventions around the world.  Every one of them was made possible by donors.

Writing “Loved” on Brothel Walls

From teams of women who go into strip clubs to give roses and water to the dancers, to groups of people who want prostitutes to realize they are loved by the Creator of the Universe, Fireproof ministries reaches out to groups many others ignore or despise.  They recently did a make over on a real Nevada Brothel – not the part where the girls worked, but the disgusting area in which they lived when off duty.  On the walls they painted the words “Loved”.  The owner of this brothel welcomes the team to come back, and has even asked them to take certain workers away from the business after a heart softened by love-in-action recognized that an employee desperately needed to get out.

Embroidering “Loved” on Brothel Sheets and Pillowcases

In addition to painting the walls, the bedclothes were embroidered with the words “Loved.”   The team wasn’t there to pass judgment on the prostitutes to whom they were reaching out… they were there to show love in action, rather than just in words.  The staff of Fireproof Ministries believes God’s love really can change a person’s heart, and life.

Witnessing a group of people do things like this really got to me.  For the last four years of my porn-producing career, I watched this group work.  I’d go back and forth between being civil to them, and verbally attacking them, yet their message of love was consistent with the actions they showed towards me.  As that love broke down my walls of hatred and I could no longer justify to myself the things I was doing, I began to talk to God.  When I finally surrendered my life to Him, Craig Gross was the first person I called, and he sent one of the Fireproof Ministries pastoral staff to my house to spend time with me, a flight from Michigan to Northern California – the cost of which I was never asked to reimburse: donors made it possible.

Can you understand why I want to support this group of people?  Does it make a little more sense now? Will you help me do so by sponsoring me for this bowl-a-thon?

AND THAT IS WHY AM I PARTICIPATING IN A BOWL-A-THON

Fireproof Ministries (which includes XXXChurch.com, StripChurch.com and HeartSupport.com) does these types of things and many others that are “out of the box”…. which makes some people raise their eyebrows, while others think they’re the most relevant ministry ever.  When I was a Christian-hating porn producer, their approach to ministry really reached me.  They changed my opinions on what it means to be a Christian, which in turn took away my anger at the church, which eventually led to a place where I surrendered my life to God.  I know the leadership very well, and there is not a single person that doesn’t love God and have a heart for those who are in the gutter looking for a way out of it.

On my Bowlfest 2010 personalized donor page I listed a few personal reasons for doing this – here’s what I wrote:

I have a hard time asking people for money, even for such a great cause as this. But I want to share with you why I’m doing this:

This ministry has changed my life.

Let me explain… I produced porn for 9 years. I hated Christians. I despised the church. I was fueled by this rage. Fireproof ministries broke that hatred down over the course of four years. As they showed what it looked like to be Jesus in Skin, loving where others had hated, my heart softened and I couldn’t justify what I was doing with my life anymore. I reached out to God.

When I left porn I needed help. Fireproof was there being Jesus in Skin again. When they flew a Pastor to my house in California from their offices in Michigan (at the time) I wasn’t charged a dime. When they helped support my son after I’d lost all my income, they didn’t ask for a dime in return. When I mentioned wanting to go to Seminary they stepped up again, paying for my schooling.

Things like that take money. Helping raise that money is one way I can give back. Will you help me reach my goal? I’d appreciate it. Here’s what we’re doing:

On April 24th, I am going to risk total exhaustion, a coronary and possible carpel tunnel to help make a difference. You too can help by sponsoring me in the Bowlfest 2010 bowl-a-thon! I am going to bowl 100 frames to benefit Fireproof Ministries. Fireproof Ministries has several different ministries which are: XXXchurch.com (xxxchurch.com), The Strip Church (stripchurch.com), and Heart Support (heartsupport.com). I would love to make it to my goal of $25/frame ($2,500). I thank you for any donation you can give and remember all donations are tax-deductible!

If you’d like to read more about what this ministry means to me, check out this page on my website: http://www.donnypauling.com/blog/about/

FIREPROOF SUPPORTED MY SON

When I left the porn world I hadn’t saved any money.  I’d made a lot of it, and blew enormous amounts on trivial things because porn “would always be around so why save now?”  Thing is, my child support payments were incredibly important to my son and his mother.  Not being able to provide for them was not only a blow to the ego, but an enormous weight on my mind.  I couldn’t help talk about it, and Fireproof listened.  Checks began to arrive in the mailbox of my ex-wife, helping to pay my child support for the few months it took before I figured out how to support myself and my most important obligations.

FIREPROOF PAID MY TUITION

When I made it known that I wanted to enroll in a Seminary Program, not only did Craig Gross, co-founder of Fireproof Ministries, help me find a good school, he also paid my tuition through the ministry’s Esther Fund.  They do this because they are being Jesus in Skin.  This is a ministry that does a lot more than talk the talk.  They didn’t drag me out of the gutter and then send me on my way, alone.  Instead, they helped where most others never would have:  emotionally, spiritually, big time financially – we’re talking tens of thousands of dollars for ME ALONE.

This amazing ministry is only possible because of donations.  Christians who donated to this ministry in the past allowed Fireproof to be Jesus in skin, and that changed my life.  Let me restate that:  the very Christians I used to hate changed…my…life… even as I hated them. Talk about living up to the term “Christian”…

I realize there are a lot of non-profit companies to whom you can donate your hard earned money.  But I’m sure you understand why this one is personal, and why I’m asking you to sponsor me for Bowlfest 2010 today.  This fund raiser only comes once a year, and this is the first year I’ve participated.  I want to reach my $2,500 goal (or exceed it), and I’m asking you to help me do so.  No matter if it’s $5, $10, $100 or whatever… every single penny helps me get closer, and I thank you for it.

The whole reason for this post is this:  I REALLY need more sponsors.  In addition to the amount that has been donated on this online donor page, I’ve also raised an additional $600 in offline pledges, which at this precise moment (2:45pm PST on April 14th, 2010) brings me to an embarrassing grand total of $1055 (before I’ve counted any contributions of my own).  I won’t settle for anything less than $1,500 AT MINIMUS so if nothing else comes in between now and Bowlfest, I’ll make up the difference personally.   Still, I’d REALLY like to exceed the $2,500 goal I mentioned on my donor page, and every single bit counts.  Counting online and offline pledges, so far I’ve received a handful of $25 donations, a few $50 and $100 donations, one $200 donation and one $300 donation.  Every single bit adds up to bringing me closer to my goal, and I appreciate each one immensely.

As the thread title mentions, even a currently active porn producer made a pledge.  Why?  It was given because that producer knows this ministry is the real deal.  In fact, even porn star Ron Jeremy has donated this year, though not to me.  He is one of Craig‘s Bowlfest sponsors.  Even though he doesn’t agree with Craig’s views on porn, he respects this ministry.  That’s saying something.

Can you help too?  Either

make an online donation here using paypal, a credit card, or a bank account

… or

email me and let me know if you’d rather make an offline pledge.

And thank you for reading this!


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So What Is Strip Church?

A few posts back I wrote about an upcoming Nightline ABC story that I was part of, along with XXXChurch. That segment was rescheduled for this coming Friday. Some asked, “What is Strip Church?” Watch this video to find out (it’s just a little over 10 minutes long):


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Along with XXXChurch, I’m Supposed to Be On Nightline Tonight

EDITED TO ADD THIS:

I must have jinxed things with that who “so far no bump…” thing, because I received this email, which was sent to Craig Gross by Martin Bashir himself:

“They want to run the story on Dec 4th. Exec Prod. loves it but wants it for finale of dancing with stars.”

Last weekend I flew to Las Vegas to participate in a vision night with XXXChurch.  In the very near future, X3 plans to open Strip Church right on the ‘Vegas strip, and their vision is so unique Nightline wants to tell the world about it.

If you remember, the last time I was to appear on Nightline ABC we were bumped a few times by news from Hilary Clinton’s campaign.  So far today, nothing has bumped this segment that I know of. I’m not really sure how much footage they’ll use of me, but that’s really not very important… the vision of this new endeavor is what the world needs to see!

So.. tonight, turn on Nightline ABC and check it out!  Yahoo has your local television listings here.


7 Comments

Along with XXXChurch, I'm Supposed to Be On Nightline Tonight

EDITED TO ADD THIS:

I must have jinxed things with that who “so far no bump…” thing, because I received this email, which was sent to Craig Gross by Martin Bashir himself:

“They want to run the story on Dec 4th. Exec Prod. loves it but wants it for finale of dancing with stars.”

Last weekend I flew to Las Vegas to participate in a vision night with XXXChurch.  In the very near future, X3 plans to open Strip Church right on the ‘Vegas strip, and their vision is so unique Nightline wants to tell the world about it.

If you remember, the last time I was to appear on Nightline ABC we were bumped a few times by news from Hilary Clinton’s campaign.  So far today, nothing has bumped this segment that I know of. I’m not really sure how much footage they’ll use of me, but that’s really not very important… the vision of this new endeavor is what the world needs to see!

So.. tonight, turn on Nightline ABC and check it out!  Yahoo has your local television listings here.


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Welcome to Miami

FYI: I’m speaking in Miami 3 times tomorrow (and already did so twice today) if any Miami readers would like to come out and say hello. Service times and directions can be found on the Miami Vineyard website:

MiamiVineyard.com

After this evening’s service I was informed that Erik Spoelstra, the head coach of the NBA’s Miami Heat, was in the audience tonight. For some reason I find that kinda cool. 🙂


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Interview with Shirley from “God Hates Fags”

I’d rather not call anybody “whacked”, but it seems to me that the “God Hates Fags” people are about as close as one can get, and I don’t really know how to describe them any other way. These are the people who, amongst other things, picket the funerals of our soldiers. They receive a lot of media attention.

Craig Gross from XXXChurch interviews Shirley Phelps-Roper, the founder’s daughter.

The first several minutes of this podcast is a bunch of boring geek talk, but Shirley comes on to rile some feathers at the 14 minute mark (00:14:00). Enjoy! (or not)

I was surprised to learn that many of those in the group have advanced degrees, several being working lawyers. Interesting…


15 Comments

Interview with Shirley from "God Hates Fags"

I’d rather not call anybody “whacked”, but it seems to me that the “God Hates Fags” people are about as close as one can get, and I don’t really know how to describe them any other way. These are the people who, amongst other things, picket the funerals of our soldiers. They receive a lot of media attention.

Craig Gross from XXXChurch interviews Shirley Phelps-Roper, the founder’s daughter.

The first several minutes of this podcast is a bunch of boring geek talk, but Shirley comes on to rile some feathers at the 14 minute mark (00:14:00). Enjoy! (or not)

I was surprised to learn that many of those in the group have advanced degrees, several being working lawyers. Interesting…


10 Comments

God’s Back… (plus JR Mahon and NEOChurch)

Just moments ago I wrote an email and sent it to a few friends. I wasn’t going to share it here, but have changed my mind. The subject line was God’s Back. In the body I wrote:

Believe me, I realize God didn’t go anywhere… that I’m the one who neglected my relationship with Him. The subject/title of this email simply reflects how I feel.

Months before I moved to Corning I felt God wanted me to stay in Redding. I moved anyway, because I was convinced that if I did so my relationship with Wendy would be restored and I’d have a family again. It turns out nothing could be further from the truth. At this point in our lives, Wendy and I can only stand being around each other for a few minutes. Thinking, or hoping, something is going to happen does not always make it happen.

In Corning, my spirit began to die. It didn’t fade completely, of course, but it sure dimmed quite a bit.

It’s only been a few weeks since I’ve moved back to the city I never should have left, and the difference within me boggles my mind. I feel God again. I feel like we’re communicating again. I walk with Him each morning along the Sacramento River trail, and the conversations we have sometimes make me cry. Inside I’m at peace again. Things I’ve worried about aren’t such a big concern.

In Corning, I knew He was there, but just couldn’t seem to reach Him as often or as deeply as I’d like.

Now I’m home, and He’s thrown a welcome back party inside my spirit.

I just wanted to share that with you.

– Donny –

JR Mahon, formerly a Pastor with XXXChurch.com and now the Executive Director for NEOChurch, was one of the friends to whom I sent the email. When he replied I clicked on the link in his signature to visit the NEOChurch Website. I then read the latest blog entry he’d written. I hope you are as touched by it as I was. It’s titled Great First Sunday and reads:

I was reminded Sunday why we do what we do… After a GREAT first NEOsunday service for which we are all very proud of and grateful, we had lunch. In Christian circles thats what you do after church, eat like there’s no tomorrow.

There was a guy sitting at the end of my table at lunch. I had watched this man show up early, help set up NEO and sweat if ya know what I mean while helping. I watched him lift things, move things and generally be helpful to anyone who needed a hand. He looked liked us, acted like us and worked like us. He was a blessing.

There he was again at lunch, at the end of a full table of people minding his own business until I started up. “Hey man where do you live?” I yell across the table. He smiled slowly and quietly made his way over to my chair. Bending down to talk with me he says, “I’m homeless, kinda in between things right now.” Imagine that, a homeless dude helps us move into our new church and I’m yelling across the table were do you live! Idiot!

We talked for about 15 minutes… his life, my life, our ups and downs, the next steps, the faith it requires to conquer sin in our lives. This guy had no air about him, no entitlements, no preconceived notions about us or his situation, he was a part of us and yet knew things most of us would never know or want to know. Like how to get a bed in a mission or simply survive day to day while rebuilding his life and faith and yet he showed up to NEO. He served so the Gospel could hit peoples ears and eyes. I’ve done a lot of church over time but this one moment had me speechless. He brought his faith to NEO. Not his cash. great car, stellar career, influence or great theological knowledge just his appetite to help and serve. He was real and in big need of a God who can and will take care of him every second of his life. I shuttered and looked at myself. Do I have the same appetite?

My new friend showed me faith… faith, that says showing up affords opportunity to serve. Nothing more, nothing less. It was pure in it’s lesson, and smacked of the bitter truth in my life. God is like that John Mellancamp song, “Hurt so Good” or in my life “Sucks so Right”

So… we started NEO on Sundays… all the build up, all the work, all the conversations about lighting, plasmas, children’s ministry, 23 year olds in Jesus costumes, steel things, coffee, greeting, rent for the school and sound systems couldn’t hold a candle to me and a homeless guy sitting at the same table enjoying each-other because God gave us saving grace. Thank God!

See ya all Sunday and thanks for making NEO home.

What an inspiring story.

—–

Here are a few photos, taken with my iPhone, from the Sacramento River Trail, along which I walk at least 6 miles each morning:

On My Morning Walk

Sacramento River Trail, Redding, CA


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God's Back… (plus JR Mahon and NEOChurch)

Just moments ago I wrote an email and sent it to a few friends. I wasn’t going to share it here, but have changed my mind. The subject line was God’s Back. In the body I wrote:

Believe me, I realize God didn’t go anywhere… that I’m the one who neglected my relationship with Him. The subject/title of this email simply reflects how I feel.

Months before I moved to Corning I felt God wanted me to stay in Redding. I moved anyway, because I was convinced that if I did so my relationship with Wendy would be restored and I’d have a family again. It turns out nothing could be further from the truth. At this point in our lives, Wendy and I can only stand being around each other for a few minutes. Thinking, or hoping, something is going to happen does not always make it happen.

In Corning, my spirit began to die. It didn’t fade completely, of course, but it sure dimmed quite a bit.

It’s only been a few weeks since I’ve moved back to the city I never should have left, and the difference within me boggles my mind. I feel God again. I feel like we’re communicating again. I walk with Him each morning along the Sacramento River trail, and the conversations we have sometimes make me cry. Inside I’m at peace again. Things I’ve worried about aren’t such a big concern.

In Corning, I knew He was there, but just couldn’t seem to reach Him as often or as deeply as I’d like.

Now I’m home, and He’s thrown a welcome back party inside my spirit.

I just wanted to share that with you.

– Donny –

JR Mahon, formerly a Pastor with XXXChurch.com and now the Executive Director for NEOChurch, was one of the friends to whom I sent the email. When he replied I clicked on the link in his signature to visit the NEOChurch Website. I then read the latest blog entry he’d written. I hope you are as touched by it as I was. It’s titled Great First Sunday and reads:

I was reminded Sunday why we do what we do… After a GREAT first NEOsunday service for which we are all very proud of and grateful, we had lunch. In Christian circles thats what you do after church, eat like there’s no tomorrow.

There was a guy sitting at the end of my table at lunch. I had watched this man show up early, help set up NEO and sweat if ya know what I mean while helping. I watched him lift things, move things and generally be helpful to anyone who needed a hand. He looked liked us, acted like us and worked like us. He was a blessing.

There he was again at lunch, at the end of a full table of people minding his own business until I started up. “Hey man where do you live?” I yell across the table. He smiled slowly and quietly made his way over to my chair. Bending down to talk with me he says, “I’m homeless, kinda in between things right now.” Imagine that, a homeless dude helps us move into our new church and I’m yelling across the table were do you live! Idiot!

We talked for about 15 minutes… his life, my life, our ups and downs, the next steps, the faith it requires to conquer sin in our lives. This guy had no air about him, no entitlements, no preconceived notions about us or his situation, he was a part of us and yet knew things most of us would never know or want to know. Like how to get a bed in a mission or simply survive day to day while rebuilding his life and faith and yet he showed up to NEO. He served so the Gospel could hit peoples ears and eyes. I’ve done a lot of church over time but this one moment had me speechless. He brought his faith to NEO. Not his cash. great car, stellar career, influence or great theological knowledge just his appetite to help and serve. He was real and in big need of a God who can and will take care of him every second of his life. I shuttered and looked at myself. Do I have the same appetite?

My new friend showed me faith… faith, that says showing up affords opportunity to serve. Nothing more, nothing less. It was pure in it’s lesson, and smacked of the bitter truth in my life. God is like that John Mellancamp song, “Hurt so Good” or in my life “Sucks so Right”

So… we started NEO on Sundays… all the build up, all the work, all the conversations about lighting, plasmas, children’s ministry, 23 year olds in Jesus costumes, steel things, coffee, greeting, rent for the school and sound systems couldn’t hold a candle to me and a homeless guy sitting at the same table enjoying each-other because God gave us saving grace. Thank God!

See ya all Sunday and thanks for making NEO home.

What an inspiring story.

—–

Here are a few photos, taken with my iPhone, from the Sacramento River Trail, along which I walk at least 6 miles each morning:

On My Morning Walk

Sacramento River Trail, Redding, CA


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Please Vote For Heart Support

Heart Support, which is an online community support group for those struggling with various issues such as addiction, suicidal thoughts, depression, eating disorders, and other struggles, has been nominated for a Myspace Impact Award.

The winner of this award receives a sizable donation from Myspace. I’d like you to take 15 seconds of your time to go vote.

Click the graphic above or click here and vote for Heart Support.

Heart Support is a team up of several people you may already be familiar with, including XXXChurch.com and Jon Bell (for those who don’t know Jon, he’s author/pastor Rob Bell’s brother).

Vote, please!