May 25, 2009 § Leave a comment
Life is all at once complicated and simplistic. It’s simplistic because that’s just how it is. It’s complicated because as humans we seem to need to make it complicated. If we just followed our hearts and met our calling…our purpose in life, everything would be so much easier.
That, however, just doesn’t seem to be the way it works for most people. We all have an inner guide. We know instinctively what we are meant to do with our lives and yet we struggle. That seems to be the chosen fate of mankind, struggle. That’s not the way it’s meant to be.
Each of us comes to this planet with a job to do. All the aptitude tests, books and courses in the world cannot tell you what you need to be doing with your life. The thing you most love to do is your calling. How easy is that? Just think about it, the thing you most love doing is the thing that will bring you your greatest rewards. It has been said down through the ages that if we do the thing we most love, we will be successful and will never work another day in our lives.
Something happens to us as children, however, that can throw us off that track. Even in the best households children are instructed by parents who have not yet caught on to what success is all about. In the households where there is physical or emotional abuse…or even substance abuse, it becomes all the more difficult for the child growing up there.
Such situations can easily cause a young mind to decide he or she is worthless and once that decision is made, the child will do all things possible to live up to that horrible image. When we feel worthless, we’re more inclined to do destructive things to ourselves and others. In these cases our self esteem can become nonexistent and we proceed to act on erroneous opinions we have developed of ourselves.
I had an interesting conversation with Brent concerning the writing of his blog post for this week. I read it and thought it was quite good. I knew it had the potential to serve a purpose in the lives of many. As I read it I shuttered at some of the things he endured as a drug pusher/addict and gang member. He wrote about one particular incident that I found horrifying. He went from that horrifying experience to telling about having given his testimony at a prayer service. I suggested that he add words to the effect that it was a powerful testimony. He was reluctant to do so because he didn’t want anyone to think he was bragging.
Brent is a young man who has given his life to the Lord and fully realizes that his salvation and all he is, is because he’s led. He realizes that all he does comes through him and not from him. He gives all glory to God and uses his horrifying past to make a powerful difference in the lives of all who come in contact with him. I can tell you that Brent Williams has make a powerful difference in my life. I am grateful to have the opportunity to work with such a brave and selfless young man.
You’ll be as astonished as I was when you read A LIFE CHANGING EXPERIENCE –continued – Part V of Brent’s Journey http://tinyurl.com/qruyoo
May 24, 2009 § Leave a comment
Part V of Brent’s Journey
Where we left off last week was at the special service that took place during our missionary trip to take the word down to Idutywa in the Eastern Cape.
People started to come forward as the power of God was moving throughout that service and as they came, we prayed for them. We saw people healed and lots of people were saved from their past by the grace of God. Praise God! It was just amazing. The service went on for about four hours and naturally everyone was high in the Spirit.
The following day was Saturday. In the morning we had breakfast and then took about an hour to prepare for the morning service. The day was structured so we could squeeze in four services for the day. We knew we had a long day ahead of us and we were looking forward to every wonderful minute of it. The services would give us yet more opportunities to make a difference in the lives of many.
Early in the morning service they called me up to share my testimony. I had a person with me to translate my message as I spoke. Not all those present spoke or understood English and we wanted to be sure that everyone could benefit from the lessons to be learned from what has come to be known as Brent’s Journey…my journey.
As I spoke of my past I had a flashback to a time when I was someone I can no longer recognize…a thug and a drug dealer, a person filled with hatred for my fellow man…and especially myself. I was confused and obviously, now as I look back, certainly not in control of my own mind. Little did I know at the time that all I had to do was turn my life over to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and the pain and misery would have ended.
This flashback took me back to an occasion when I was hanging out at one of our drug dens, a place we were selling our drugs from. One really crazy gang member, someone I knew personally, came storming in all hysterical and told us that there were rival gang members that wanted to fight him and had told him they were going to kill him. We were busy doing drugs but when he hollered for us to get out our firearms he got our attention. His intention, is seemed, was to kill them before they could kill us. I knew that was exactly what we were going to do. I took another hit of the drugs for confidence before we went out to do battle to the end.
This crazy guy saw me grabbing one last hit and went off on me. He asked me if the drugs were more important than him and then he got this all too familiar look in his eyes. He always had this look when he did something horrific to people. The next thing I knew he shoved a gun down my throat and said that he was going to blow my brains out because I made the drugs more important than his situation. He pistol whipped me across my mouth and my top lip immediately tripled in size. I knew this guy and knew what he was capable of because I had witnessed some horrific things he had done to others. I had witnessed him stabbing one guy in the neck and blood going everywhere. He also shot another guy through his leg and then drove him off to the hospital. I knew what evil this guy was capable of and was both scared and confused about what he was going to do next.
He then suddenly apologized for what he had done and handed me the firearm. He told me that I was to pistol whip his face to make up for the harm that he had done to me. I was totally freaked out and at first refused to do what he said as I was afraid that if I hit him across the face he was really going to shoot me. He told me that if I refused to pistol whip his face he was going to shoot me. So I was standing there not knowing what to do. I knew the possibility existed that this guy could shoot me no matter what I did. I thought to myself that if he was going to shoot me then at least I could get a shot in. So I took the gun and whipped him across the face with it just as he told me to do. I was waiting for him to retaliate and shoot me, but instead he laughed. We ended up smoking drugs together for the rest of the evening, each of us with a thick lip.
As I recalled that part of my life I asked, “Dear God, how did I ever get to such a place in life?” (if you can really call the existence I was part of, living a life). With just the thought of God and how he saved my life, my mind snapped back to the fact it was time to give my testimony…and a powerful testimony it was. I was grateful for the opportunity to let people know that just as God saved me from a life of drugs and crime and brought me to my calling as a dedicated Christian Missionary and Drug Counselor…He would do the same for everyone who calls on His name asking for salvation.
As the journey continues I will share more with you more about both the gangster culture and my walk with God.
May 18, 2009 § Leave a comment
If you’ve read Brent’s Journey, Part IV perhaps you found it a bit unsettling… maybe even a bit frightening. He was just seconds away from pulling the trigger of the gun he had pressed against the head of an innocent and unsuspecting woman. Someone stopped him just in time to save the woman’s life. Does that make Brent a potential murderer?
The Brent who committed that act was not the Brent Williams who today saves lives daily by helping others escape from and/or avoid the situation in which he found himself. Brent was on heavy drugs and seriously addicted. I shouldn’t have to tell you that when you don’t take charge of your own mind, whomever or whatever is in charge is not capable of operating in your best interest. Only you can do that by conscious and deliberate choice.
While you’ve probably never found yourself in such a horrid situation as Brent describes in this week’s blog post, there are other situations that you may create for yourself that do harm to you and keep you from being, doing and having everything of which you dream.
Abundance is your birthright. The catch is, however, that you cannot have it at the expense of others. Whether we are speaking of wisdom, love, happiness or financial gain, we must all achieve our hopes and dreams by serving mankind.
We must believe that we were placed on this earth for a purpose and when we find that purpose and pursue it with passion we will then…and only then… know success. If you’re still searching to find your mission, your life’s purpose, I can tell you without a doubt that you’ll find it in the thing you most love doing.
No matter what you’ve done in the past, know that the past does not equal the present or the future. Today is a new day and it is filled with new and great possibilities for you life.
Use the possibilities of this new day to open your eyes to all the possibilities there are before you and then take positive action to make your life a masterpiece.
Read Part IV of Brent’s incredible journey at http://tinyurl.com/p7uwzo
May 17, 2009 § 8 Comments
Part IV of Brent’s Journey
The past weekend was likely one of the more humbling experiences I’ve ever had…and at the same time one the more exiting ones. We went on a missionary trip to take the word down to Idutywa on the Eastern Cape.
Idutywa is 1400km from our home base at Cape Town. It is a rural area and life there is somewhat different than that of Cape Town. We visited a church over there to do missionary work and to see how we could be of assistance to the people there. Our church and pastor, Pastor Roger, have had a close relationship with the pastor over there, Pastor David Mnikie, for some time. In addition to the two pastors a prophet of God, Carl Wills from the UK was there which made the whole thing all the more interesting and exciting.
On our arrival we were welcomed with such great love and warmth. It was interesting as I looked around at the surroundings and conditions these people were living in. Despite the less than desirable surroundings, there was so much joy and love all around us. It was unlike anything I have seen before. From the minute we arrived we were warmly welcomed. These people attended to our every need and that kind and giving manner just stole my heart.
These people have so little and yet give so much. They definitely made a huge impact on my life and made me question whether I’m doing enough to serve the people around me in my daily life. Here I was in this loving, caring and giving situation and couldn’t help but think back to only a couple years ago when I knew nothing of anything kind, gentle and caring.
My mind flashed back to a time that I can hardly believe I was a part of. My drug addiction took me to some horrible places both in my mind and in reality. In reality I belonged to one of the most notorious gangs in the Cape Flats area. I both witnessed and participated in many weird and evil things.
I was selling drugs at a time when there was a vigilante group on The Cape Flats (the area where I live) that was taking out all the drug dealers. I always feared that they were going to come after me even though they seemed to be taking out mostly the “Big Fish” at the time. I was constantly paranoid and eventually I and my gang got some firearms to protect us against these vigilantes. I stayed so drugged out that most of the time I had no idea what I was doing.
As I continued to think about all the love being showered on us there in Idutywa my mind flashed back to a specific night when I put a gun to the head of a woman who got in my way and I recalled how close I came to pulling the trigger. Someone stopped me before I pulled it but in anger I hit woman on the side of her head with the gun and left. Oh, dear God thank you for sending someone to stop me. How painful it is for me to recall some of the things I did and worse yet what I could have done while I was a slave to drugs.
Fortunately my flashback was interrupted by the serving of supper after which we prepared for the evening church service. As the service continued, more and more people from the community arrived. Young, elderly, people on crutches, they all came. Almost everyone in the community was there and eventually the service was packed. Soon the place was filled with people everywhere. There was a feeling of peace in the atmosphere as people began to come forward as the power of God moved them to do so.
We prayed for those who sought prayer and redemption. We saw people healed and saved by the grace of God. It was an amazing experience. The service continued for about four hours and we all experienced a high that can only be described as Heavenly.
More about this experience next time but in the meantime never underestimate the power of God.
May 11, 2009 § Leave a comment
As both a Life and Business Development Coach I have, over the years, observed an interesting phenomenon. This is something that has always been with us but has been greatly magnified by the rapid growth of the Internet, social networks and myriad new applications that show up each day.
I call this phenomenon 21st Century Confusion and it is a situation in which many are finding themselves. What am I referring to? It all boils down to the fact that we do not really know who we are. We don’t really look within to get to know our inner selves.
Hundreds of thousands are flocking to the Internet in the hope of finally finding fame and fortune. They are rushing in droves to follow the latest and greatest 2.0 media guru. Those who understand and speak this language have something to sell and each week (at least each month) they have a new program to offer for sale. They are the ones finding the so-called fame and fortune.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not knocking those who offer their knowledge for sale. They have every right to do that. Actually, I do that myself. We all know that we can expect to pay for the answers we can’t find on our own. Those who sell information are no more responsible for whether or not you succeed or ever even use it than an automobile dealership is for how well or if you ever even drive the car they sell you.
Life is all about taking personal responsibility, taking responsibility for ourselves and our actions. We and we alone are responsible for the success or lack of success in our lives. We are all born with a God given talent, a purpose, and it is our job to discover that purpose and pursue it. What you are meant to do is the thing you most love doing. What seems to happen, however, is that we have been conditioned to believe that our true happiness lies only in financial wealth. It does not.
Hey, I’m not knocking money. Money can accomplish great things in the hands of someone who understands it and knows what to do with it. To be truly successful in life, however, we must look first within ourselves. The answers are all there. Your creator would not have put you on this vast planet without your own GPS (God’s Positioning System). It’s your job to turn it on and use it.
Stop following the latest and greatest new thing that comes along before you first look inside yourself, turn on your GPS and see where it has been programmed to take you.
May 4, 2009 § 1 Comment
All the spiritual writings of the ages make us aware that it is more blessed to give than to receive and yet many hold on to their time, talents, knowledge and money as if it were a lifeline. The irony of that thinking lies in the fact (yes, I said FACT) that until you give, you cannot get. Furthermore, if you give only in the hope of getting you may just as well not have given because you will not receive.
If all this sounds a bit esoteric for you, you have some research to do. If you study the givers of the world you will find that while they may not live in the mansion on the hill, they are living a life of abundance and want for nothing…including peace of mind, happiness and joy. Life is not about what we have it is about what we give.
There is nothing wrong with wealth. We all know that having money enables those who have it to contribute greatly to all of mankind. You may never have the wealth of Warren Buffett or Bill Gates, but then again you may. Each of them made their money by doing something they truly loved doing, found a way to get paid for it and used it to serve their fellow man.
Modern society has grown to judge people by their financial status and outward appearances and as a result many strive to become wealthy in order to be looked up to and admired and/or to have things that will be admired. In the quest for financial gain it is easy to loose track of all that is really important in life.
If you think or dream about being wealthy, you have it in you to become wealthy or wealthier as the case may be. Be aware, however, that wealth for the mere sake of being wealthy is empty and leads you down the long road to nowhere. Seek instead success in something you truly love doing, find a way to be paid for it and above all use it to serve your fellow man.
I know for a fact that until you share whatever it is you have to give, whether it is time, talent, knowledge and/or money, there is no room for more to come into your life.
Check out Phase III of Brent’s Journey HERE
May 4, 2009 § 1 Comment
Part III of My Journey
After coming clean and being set free from my drug abuse problem I made the conscious decision to dedicate my life first of all to Christ and then to others still caught up in the vicious cycle of drugs. I made the decision to volunteer full time at Impact Direct Ministries, the organization that initially helped me. It was a difficult decision to make because I still owed the banks money and had other outstanding debt owed to other creditors that I needed to pay. Pastor Petersen encouraged me to stay on, reminding me that there were many people out there that needed to hear my story…my testimony.
I had faith and knew God would provide.
Impact couldn’t pay me because the funds just weren’t there at that time and still aren’t. Although Impact Direct Ministries is doing so much good work in this and many other communities they are not being funded by Social Development. All the services that Impact provides are free yet Social Development refuses to give us funding. I’m inclined to believe their lack of support is mainly because we are a faith based organization.
Now, two years later I am still volunteering at the Impact Center and today I can see the fruits of my decision. I still don’t earn a wage but am lacking nothing. God has been faithful and has supplied all of my needs. My joy and payment come form seeing the lives of others transformed and reconstructed just as mine was. Recently I have been offered several high paying jobs but refused them. I was also offered my old job back at L.G Electronics but did not take it. I know that God has placed me at The Impact Centre for a reason and I don’t want to miss it.
We can so easily miss what God has in store for us. I really think that the devil was trying to distract me from what God has in store for me. I am trusting GOD that the Impact Centre will receive funding for the wonderful work they are doing in the communities. I trust God that He will provide for me so I can continue to do what I have come to love to do, Help Others In Need!!!
Helping others has become my passion and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Helping others also brings healing to me and makes me realize that there are those standing where I once stood and that they need my help. In helping others it has become apparent to me that going back to drugs isn’t an option for me.
In the past I did so many things to so many people that I wish I could take back but I cannot. That, however, is the past and today is a new day. I cannot change what I have done to others, and maybe they will never forgive me. What I can change is the life of someone else. This is my way of giving back and empowering people and communities I at one time disempowered through my actions.