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From World-class Dancer to Word of God Preacher

Dwayne Lemon

Description

From an early age, Dwayne Lemon had a love and passion for dancing. His talents took him a long way. He was able to do choreographic dancing for famous artists on the world stage. However, after losing his nephew to gun violence he realized that there was more to life than entertainment. After coming across a flyer that invited him to a series of Bible meetings, he attended only to find answers to his hearts deepest questions. A providential series of events led him to humble himself and be converted to Jesus Christ.

Presenter

Dwayne Lemon

Director of P.T.H. Ministries (http://www.pthministries.com)

Sponsor

Conference

Recorded

  • July 10, 2009
    12:00 PM
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Copyright ©2009 Florida Youth Initiative.

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Testimony of Dwayne Lemon

By Dwayne Lemon

Father in heaven, we just rejoice, dear God, that we can commune with heaven. It’s a blessing. Father, we just want to take every advantage that you desire to give to us at this time. Speak to us through the power of your holy spirit and may our hearts be warmed as we see that we truly can overcome even by the word of other’s testimonies. This is our prayer that we ask in Jesus name, amen.

I wanted to let you know that when the book Revelation 12 tells us that we can overcome by the word of other’s testimonies, that’s a very true statement, because when I first came into the Seventh-day Adventist church, the area of service that I enjoyed most was Wednesday night prayer service. And I actually enjoyed that the most, believe it or not, because I loved the testimony time. And I guess that probably came because, you know, a lot of things that I started to do as far as working for the Lord when I came into the church, but prior to that, I was born and raised in Queens New York. I was in the concrete jungle of New York and just trying to figure out where I belong in the whole realm of society. My mother was from the Virgin Islands, St. Thomas, to be exact, and my father was from Charleston, South Carolina. I was not raised in a Christian home. And I tell you the truth, I always tell young people, I did not have the privilege of being raised in a Christian home. And the reason why I say that is because you guys have to understand it’s a privilege to be raised in a Seventh-day Adventist Christian home. Because for those of us who were in the world who have now come into this wonderful, marvelous light, we are now in this light, we thank God for this light, but I’ll tell you the truth behind and under our suits are serious scars. And they may not be physical scars, but they are scars that this world puts on you because of the practice of worldly lifestyle. So, therefore, even though you may say, "Oh, wow, I want to go to the world and I want to try some things out and maybe I can make it back," brothers and sisters, don’t deceive yourselves. No one has the promise of going out into the world, trying a whole bunch of worldly things, and then making it back in.

When I was in Queens, New York, I did not have anything. My parents simply told me, "Look, don’t kill nobody. Don’t steal nothing. And more than likely you’ll make it to heaven." That was pretty easy rules for me. I said, "Alright, I don’t have to kill anyone. I don’t have to steal anything. So it’s all for nothing for everything else." And I lived my life where we were very much into video games and doing a lot of TV and watching TV and things of that nature. But one day my father started to play music. As he started to play certain music, I grew up in a home where there was no hip hop but there was something that was... gentleman by the name of George Clinton, and there was a style of music called P-funk. And this was the style of music that was very much played all throughout my house along with rhythm and blues and R&B. I would listen to these different forms of music, and though my brother Leslie would play the base, and though my brother Michael might sing, I couldn’t play any instruments, I couldn’t sing. But I always found that when music would turn on my feet would start moving.

Next thing you know, I discovered at a very young age, that I had this ability to move to music. I became the little celebrity in my home. Whenever we would have barbecues, whenever we would have people come on by, my father would say, “Hey, Dwayne! Come on out here!” And next thing you know, I’d come in the back yard and he’d say, “Go ahead and do that dance step.” And I’m just doing my dance step and I’m just kind of doing my thing trying to have what I thought was fun.

And I discovered at that age that dancing was a part of my life. And I did not have any type of dancing background, I never took classes or anything like that, but every time the music played my body moved. And what happened is, over a period of time, this was simply something that I did at home. And this was something that I just listened to the music and I’d move to the music, and I just simply considered it having fun. And as time went on, my mother and my father, they saw that I had a talent. They said, "You know, you really know how to dance." And I was just like “Yah, I guess so.” Because quite honestly, I was very insecure. As a youth I did not think much of myself at all. At that time, being a dark skin young black man in those days..., and I was born in 1972, so I just told my age to you. Here it is, that as I was growing up, at that time, people made a lot of jokes about dark skinned kids and they said all these things. So I had extremely low self esteem and I never thought much of myself about anything.

But the one thing that I knew, in fact my outlet that I had at that time because I did not have Christ, my outlet was my dancing. My dancing was my ability to zone the world out, and I could just kind of do something and be in my own world. And maybe that’s why I took it so seriously as a youth. Well, here it is, that as time went on my parents started saying, "You know what! You really know how to dance. You really know how to do this thing." And I said, "Oh, well, you know, ... thanks!" And after a period of time, as I got into my teenage years, I started to get some freedom. Freedom wasn’t something very available when I was young, but once I started getting around fifteen years old, mom and dad started letting me go to parties. So, what happened is I would start going to parties and I would gather with all of my friends and we would go to parties, and it was like every time we used to have this thing. Whenever, we would go to a party, the person who wanted to dance, they would stick their arms out and then the other guy would come behind him and put both arms under him. Then the person would take the guy and spin him around inside the party. And that was the way to get everybody out of your way. Everybody would have to back up and now you’ve got this big stage that you can now dance. And after we kicked everybody out of the way, the next thing you know, I’d jump in and I’d start dancing. And that was my way of just blacking out the world so I could just go ahead and do what I did. And I loved the cheers. Everybody would always clap. Everybody would always say, "Oh, you guys are the best."

We started giving ourselves all sorts of names. And the name that our team was called was Quiet Storm. And we used to call ourselves the Quiet Storm because we started telling everybody that we walk soft, but we hit hard. And that was our motto. We would go inside clubs and we would come in real humble and we just..., you know, it was false humility, but we knew that we were basically going to beat everybody there. But we would walk inside, and we’d just look at everyone and stand back, and just watch them and say, "Okay, he looks like he might be tough and easy. And... oh, I’m not going to mess with him." We used to just size everybody up and then we would start battling. We’d start going back and forth, and back and forth. And we started dancing and we would start going to places, and we would win opportunities to get a trophy or something like that.

Then one day as I’m doing all this dancing and I’m starting to realize that I got this talent, a friend of mine came to me and he said, “Hey listen, you ever thought about going professional?” And I said, “Well, what do you mean?” And he said, “You ever thought that maybe you could make some money doing this thing?” I said, “Man, that would be nice.” Because I was ready to dance for free anyhow, so to make some money, that was like a bonus. That was icing on the cake. So I said, “Alright. Fine. Talk to me.” He said “Well, there’s this thing called auditions." They have these auditions in Manhattan. "We’re going to invite you to come out to these auditions and then we want you to just dance and put together some routine and share it with the people.”

So that’s what I started doing. And next thing you know, I got a phone call. They’d say, "Hey, there’s an audition." And I found out there was this group. They go way back. Some of you may have never heard of them, but there was a group called Third Base. And this group called Third Base had a guy that worked with them named Don Newkirk. And Don Newkirk was an R&B singer. So Don Newkirk, he said, “Hey, I need some dancers.” So he ended up doing a video that was called Small Thing. And it was a really small thing because nobody ever saw it, it seems. Nevertheless, he did this video, and I was a dancer for him. And just to see a camera in front of me and to know that I was going to get twenty five whole dollars, I was like "Man, I’m rich! This is wonderful!"

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I got my twenty five bucks and I was able to dance and I had a camera on me. And one day the video came out, I asked everybody if they saw it. Nobody said they saw it. I was like "Oh well, but you know, it was nice to know that I did something to be on television." And the bug hit me. I started thinking. I thought, I probably could start making some money doing this thing.

So, what happened was... I was in high school, but I was also dancing. And what happened was, one day while I was in high school, they had this group of individuals who would come down. They had gangs in these days, this is late 1980s. They had gangs and specifically there was this gang in Brooklyn called the Decepticons. You know, they used their name from Transformers. The Decepticons were known to be a really tough group of people. They actually committed a lot of really, really bad crimes out in Brooklyn, New York. And one day we were at my high school, and at my high school, which was Springfield Gardens, it turned out that while I was there, everybody knew who I was because I loved to dance and that’s how I basically developed a name for myself. Everybody knew, homecoming king, all this stuff, it's Dwayne Lemons. Well, we had this talent show. And the talent show when it came out, we came out there, me and a few friends, and we started to dance on stage. Well, what happened was, we got off stage and this other group came up on stage and started to dance. They were invited by somebody.

Because our heads were so big and we were filled with so much ego, as we saw these guys on the stage, again we’re standing there sizing them up, "Well, we could take these guys out easy." So what we did was we walked on the stage while they were dancing, and we just started to walk around them and do that up and down thing, you know. Just looking them up and down. We started doing that and the guys stepped back, we understood, this was street communication. We understood, we’re about to dance and battle one another. Not everybody knew that language, so therefore, somebody came to me and said “Hey, why are you guys trying to start a fight when we’re trying to do something positive?” And I wasn’t trying to start a fight, we were getting ready to battle in dancing. The guy says, “Why are you guys trying to start a fight?” and before I could say, "Hey I’m not trying to start a fight", one of my other friends said, “Hey, Dwayne, you don’t have to go for that.” Boom! And he punches the guy in the face.

The whole auditorium jumps on these eight guys who came inside of our school. They’re beating these guys up brutally. I looked at all this and I said, 'okay time to go.' And I took my bag and I left. When I left, I went around the corner just to take a walk and when I came back I saw these police cars and everything and I was like, "What are all these police cars doing here, and ambulances and all this other stuff?" I came back inside the school and people are just crying and they’re sad, and I’m looking around thinking “Wow, what happened?” I just walked in the school looking around and somebody said, “Dwayne, what are you doing here? You better get out of here.” I said, "For what?” They said, “They’re coming to get you.” And I was like, “Get me? I didn’t do anything.” They said, “Nope, they said you started the whole fight. Do you know who those guys are?” I said, “No.” She said, “They are the Decepticons!” I said, “Oh, man!..." So, as of that day, I became a high school drop out. I couldn’t go back to school.

They called my house, they told my mother and my father, "We are going to kill your child." My father, because he had a rough background--he lived a portion of his life as a gangster--my father said, “Look, I got to go to work. But here’s a gun. If anybody comes to this house and tries to hurt you, shoot them first.” And that was his instructions. Very clear. That was the best of what my father knew to tell me. So here I am looking at this gun, and my hand is just shaking just trying to imagine me picking up a gun and shooting it at somebody. But here it is, that was the instruction that he gave me. And it was only through the mercy of God that I was able to have a friend of mine who called the Decepticons and was close to these guys, and said, "Look, this brother’s okay. He didn’t start it. It was somebody else." And the whole thing ended right there. Thank God!

But I stayed out of high school, there’s no point in going back. I might as well just go ahead and try to make a career out of this dancing thing. So that’s literally how it happened for me. I didn’t get the privileges that Brother Myers did that people were calling and saying let me talk to your dad. I was a high school dropout anyhow, so therefore, they figured, you know what, high school dropout got nothing else better to do. Might as well, just go ahead and just start trying to make a career out of dancing, because it was the only thing I had. I didn’t even have a diploma.

One day I got a phone call. One day a friend of mine said, “Hey, guess what? Queen Latifah is auditioning for dancers to take on the public enemy Apocalypse 91 World Tour.” It was called the Apocalypse 91 World Tour. I said, “Really? Alright.” And we all went up to Manhattan, 44th street in Lafayette. We went inside the place to audition. And here goes queen Latifah and I’m just absolutely star struck. I’m looking at the person. My father always said, “Look, even when you’re not cool, try to be cool.” So therefore, as I’m seeing here I’m wanting to go "OHHHH," but it’s just like "Hey, how you doing?" Shake the hand and everything. But I just couldn’t believe I was shaking Queen Latifah’s hand. So I shook her hand, “Hey, how you doing?” She said, “Hey how you doing, so you’re going to audition, huh?” I said, “Oh, yeah.” She said, “Well, show me what you got.” I said, “No problem.”

It was the only thing that I had confidence in. If you would have said image, intelligence, anything else, I would have sunk my head deep down in the ground. But when it came to dancing, that was the one thing I knew I had confidence in. She said, "Show me your stuff." I said, "No problem."

We pressed play. And I’m sorry, but even though I had my friends with me, my teammates, I was like, "Guys, I’m sorry but I’m going to have to beat you all, too, because I’m going on this tour." So we started to dance and boom, boom, boom. I’m just dancing, dancing, dancing, and at one point, Latifah looked at me and she’s looking at me and the next thing you know, my friend TJ did one of his special moves. We had something called power moves so that power moves were different from regular moves. Regular moves were just simply moving around doing whatever. Power moves was that thing you go Bam, and all the sudden everybody’s like, "Ohh," "Oooo," whatever, and they get really shocked by it. TJ had the nerve to do a power move. That brother did his spin, he was excellent on these spins, so he did his power move. Latifah took eyes off me and she was like "Wow." And then I saw her look at her guy. And when she did that, I was like disappointed. And I really started going at it then, and I had this one power move that was a real winner. So I said, 'Alright, I’m going to do this power move.' I did this move that was a combination of gymnastics along with splits and all sorts of crazy stuff. It all happens in three seconds.

I did it and then I looked at Latifah eyes as I did it. And she looked at me. And I got up and I said, 'I got this.' We finished doing the auditions, she said, "You guys are great. You’ll get a call." I came home one night and next thing you know the phone rang. And somebody said, "Hello, could I speak to Dwayne?" And at that time, my name was Fle, because I was extremely flexible, and she said, "Could I speak to Flex?" And I said, "This is Flex." She said, “This is queen Latifah.” Again, I was like, "Hey, How you doing?" She said, “Listen we decided to take you and your friend TJ on the world tour with us.” I said, “Great!” She was like, "Meet us in New Jersey and we’ll do this and do that." I said, “Alright, no problem.” And then I called my mother and father and yelled to Mom and Dad, "We got it. I’m just so excited." My parents were excited for me. They figured as long as he’s not getting caught up in drugs and anything of that stuff, fantastic.

So here I am, I’m driving out to New Jersey. We’re getting ready to go on the tour and I was really impressed. Because when we came to meet at what was called the Flavor Unit, that was the building and office that we were in, she came out there and she said, “Look, I want us to make sure that everyone is respectful to each other. I don’t want you messing around with no women…” I was like 'Wow, this is great. She’s a woman of integrity.' So I loved it. She’s was just giving us all the instructions, and when the tour bus was going to pick us up and so on. Well, the day came. The tour bus came and picked us up and we were on our way on tour.

Me and TJ are just absolutely hysterical we’re going on a world tour. We’re just loving it. And we started talking to everybody, Tretch and a few others from Naughty by Nature there. They rode on the bus with us and there was another hip hop group that came with us. We went on this tour and we started going from state to state dancing. We would dance on stage and thousands of people would just watch us. It was incredible. I was like, 'I can’t believe this. I’m on stage with queen Latifah.' We were dancing and we were making Okay money. They took advantage of us, I found out later on. They knew that we were inexperienced. So they said, “We’ll give you guys a hundred dollars a week.” I was like, "Great!" I was very satisfied with that. And I’m like, 'Oh, boy, this is amazing." And we’re dancing and doing all these things.

One time we were in Kentucky. I remember specifically that when we were in Kentucky, somebody came along and it was Tretch’s birthday. Tretch is again from Naughty by Nature. He said, “Well, hey, it’s my birthday. I’m going to rent out a club and we’re going to bring everybody who wants to come in in. This included local people in the neighborhood.” Big mistake. Tretch said, “Look, I’m from the hood, I’m from the streets, I’m not going to go and do that VIP stuff." He said, "Let’s just let everybody in.”

So I went inside of this place and everybody’s there. You have Buscar Rhyme and leaders of the new school. You had Q tip and tribe called Quest. You had Iced Tea. You had Latifah, of course. You had Public enemy, and Flavor Flav. You had all these people that were at this tour. We’re all there inside of this club. These drug dealers, who were local drug dealers in Kentucky, they came in as well. They came in and they said, "You know what, we’re the stars in here not you." And people were like "Look, we’re just here to have a good time." They said, "No, no, we’re the stars in here. We’ want the attention." And a fight broke out. I’ve never seen so many Heineken bottles get smashed over individuals’ faces. That was my first wakeup call. I and my friend TJ literally had to run and hide under a table. And we saw some things. And when I used to travel in the Adventist church, and when I go and speak to young people and I talk about the entertainment industry, I let them know the dark side, the side that they don’t see. Because when the lights are out, there’s things that you don’t see like I saw in that club.

We saw police officers who came in. They took a man and dragged him inside of the bathroom. Now ladies and gentlemen, there is absolutely no reason under the sun for police officer to do that. If you’re coming in, if you believe somebody had done something wrong, you are to apprehend them and bring them out and put them inside of the police car. These men grabbed this man and brought him inside the bathroom. And all you could here was this man screaming for dear life as you heard everything moving in side of that bathroom. When they took him out, his face was so disfigured and blood was all over his face. And he was just constantly saying, "I didn’t do anything! I didn’t do anything." They were just dragging him and taking him out to the car, after they beat him up. I saw all of this and I remember saying to myself, 'All I wanted to do was dance.' I didn’t know that this was part of the package. Tretch was there and I remember he was so upset over what took place that a police officer put his hand on his shoulder and Tretch looked at him with a look that I’ll never forget. And he told him, he said, “If you touch me again, I’m going to kill you.” The police officer had a gun in his hand. Tretch was so upset that when he said that to the police officer, the police officer backed up and left him alone. He was infuriated.

We had fifteen people who were hospitalized from that event. We went back and started the van and I’m thinking, 'Okay, well, we’re going to go home.' As we went back in the van, we weren’t going back to the hotel. Tretch gave very clear instructions. He said, "Go back to that club." And I’m thinking to myself, 'Why would we go back to the club? We need to go our apartments.' And then he said, "Give me the bag." And all of a sudden, we saw a big white laundry bag get lifted up by another guy and he gave him the bag. And I remember sitting in the back seat and I was saying, 'I hope that what I think is in that bag is not in that bag.' And I saw him reach in the bag. Everything from 10mm to a 9mm block pistol, tech 9 uzzy, all these different guns, and the instructions were clear. "Go back to the club. If you see them, kill them." And I’m saying to myself, 'I’m not a murderer. All I came to do was dance.'

And that’s how the devil works his web, brothers and sisters. We constantly try to experiment with worldly things. And we don’t understand that there’s always more in the picture than that which is before our eyes. Because here it is, "I just wanted to experiment with the world." And say "Hey, let me go ahead and do some dancing." But the devil said "Oh, yes. But I have other plans for you as well." It was only by the grace of God, that when we went back to that club the police were already surrounding it. And they said, "You know what? Turn back to the hospital. We can’t do anything." And then we came back. Shortly after that tour when we came back into New York, I met a guy named Tony Terry and then CC Tennison. And then we started to work with a rap group called, a tribe called, Quest. And then we started to work with a group called Wu Tang Clen. And then we started to work with heavy D and then we started to work with Brandy. In fact, I became a choreographer. I was the one who arranged the dancers and taught them the dance steps to do in the videos. And I began to choreograph and perform for Brandy.

I started to work for all these artists and I’m thinking to myself, I’m on cloud 999 because here I am on stage, I’m working, I’m going on tours, I’m making all sorts of money. Heavy D was offering 30,000 dollars per month to the dancers. That’s a lot different from a $100 a week, isn’t it? I remember it was amazing because all of these people caught wind of the talent that I had. And we would start dancing, I would go to clubs and I would just walk in and people knew who I was. Brothers and sister, I absolutely loved this power. We would have limousines that would come to our house and pick us up and I would slowly walk down the steps. Make sure everybody in the neighborhood caught a good look. And then I’d walk in the car. I was famous. People knew who I was. When it came to dancing and choreography, I now was the guy that they would call to do this and do that. The Boyz II Men tour wanted me to come, we went to London and we worked with Brandy, and Silk, and Keith Sweat and all these other people. We started doing tours and I’m saying to myself, 'This is fantastic.'

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And then one day, my nephew Charlie in Brooklyn, New York, he was very poor. And Charlie made no money and he really wanted to dance. And Charlie said, “Dwayne do you think you could hook me up, do you think you can get me in?” I said, “I’ll do anything I can to get you in.” I didn’t forget where I came from so I was willing to help anybody. So I said, no problem, I’ll hook you up. I tried to get him in, nobody took notice of him. One day the local drug dealer came to my nephew and said listen, you want to make money. He says, I’ll show you how to make five grand in one night. So he said, okay I’ll do it. He agreed to do. So that night he’s behind the booth. Bullet proof door, people come, they give the money, and he takes the money, gets the merchandise, gives them the merchandise and does it for several hours. He made his money. Well, Charlie was not a thug, he wasn’t a rough neck, he wasn’t anything like that. He was a very nice young man, straight A student, but he was broke. He saw his uncle making all this money, but he said, I just want a piece of the pie. And therefore, he dealt drugs that night.

His two friends came to him, they came inside, they started talking to him and having some type of conversation. And it turns out that the two friends ended up getting into an argument. And then the argument turned into a fight. And as they were fighting each other, my nephew being the peace maker that he was, he decided to open the door with all that money and drugs behinds him. He opened the door and he told his friends, “hey guys, come on we gotta break this up.” And he was trying to break up the fight, when he did that, his two so called friends suddenly changed their positions. They shot him twice in his forehead and three times in his stomach with a 9mm block pistol. Laid him out on the ground, they went inside of that place and they took that money and left my nephew there to die. It was four days later that he died, 19 years old.

Sometimes we say to ourselves, I’ll try it just once. We know that the wages of sin is death. And we say I’ll try it just once. And my nephew tried it just once, and his probation closed. Brothers and sisters, God wants us to understand, sin is not a toy to play with, and the devil is not your friend. As I was at that funeral, It had to be a closed casket because his head was to deformed for there to even be an open casket. So I had to look at him and I was talking to that casket and saying, I would have given you any amount of money you needed, why did you do this. And I was so upset.

Well, I need to give you the background of this story. When we were on tour with Queen Latifah, my friend TJ had a Christian background, so he used to always try to tell me about Jesus every so often. But obviously his hypocritical lifestyle didn’t do much for him or me. And I also felt like you know what, I’m not ready for Jesus. I need to make my money and do my thing. Therefore, when all of that passed by, this event happened with my nephew. At the funeral, I watched the casket, I never saw this before, and I’d only been to one funeral before that. I actually saw the casket go down into the grave and that did something to me. And when I saw the casket go down into the grave, it was the first time that I felt like he was being pulled out of my life. You see in the book of Ecclesiastes chapter 7, the Bible says something that I think is very relevant to that experience that I had and perhaps you had the same experience as well. In Ecclesiastes 7:2, “it is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting, for that is the end of all men and the living will lay it to his heart.” And that’ exactly what happened, because when I was in that funeral home, I started thinking about life. It was better for me to go to that house of mourning rather than to be at some club, or some party which was a house of feasting. Because when I was at that house of mourning, I the living, it laid on my heart and I said, man this is the end of life. It was when I saw my nephew go down, all of a sudden, I heard that voice so clearly say to me as I went back to the limousine and we were driving away, I heard a voice say, Will you accept me now? It was like stereo, will you accept me now? I felt like Saul, I knew that it was the voice of God even though I never really studied much about him, but my friend TJ planted a seed.

Ladies and gentlemen, please remember though you and I might think that our young people might be hopeless, and though we might see individuals that seem like they are surely on the road to perdition, keep planting the seed of God’s word in their minds. In God’s timing the seed will germinate. TJ planted that seed and it was at that time that we saw the first bud of life come out of that seed. I said, “yes, Lord I’ll accept you.” I wasn’t done with the entertainment industry yet, but I went back to TJ and I said, “Listen, I need you to tell me what do I do next, what do I do now?” He said, “well, you need to come to church.” I said, “alright.”

We went to Brooklyn, New York and we joined Hezekiah Walker’s church. How many of you ever heard of Hezekiah Walker. Joined his church, Pentecostal church. I went into that church and I was scared to death with what I saw. I saw people running to the left and running to the right and running forward, and doing flips and jumping up and down and speaking languages they never spoke before and having convulsions and moving around. I was like, what is this? I said, Oh no, I can’t get with this, this is a little too energetic for me. So I decided that there was a local catholic church nearby. So I said, let me go by this Catholic Church. And when I sat in the Catholic Church, everything was just like a low chant. I was like, this is alright. And then went I got a little bit of that wine, I said they serve wine here? My kind of church, and sure enough I took a sip, and I started going there a few times.

I was like man this is interesting, but after a while, I thought this is boring, everybody just repeats a bunch of stuff and reading from these books. What are these books? And so I got tired of that. And I went back to my friend’s church and one day they kept telling me saying Dwayne you need to speak in tongues. I said, why do I need to do that? They said, because you got to have the Holy Ghost. I said, well, how to you get. I said, well, okay how do you do that? They said it just happens. I said, alright so I just start coming to church and everybody would just go ahead and start speaking in tongues and having convulsions and I was like okay it’s not happening. I was not going to fake it, it has to be real.

One day, we were in Brooklyn, New York. How many of you remember an artist by the name of M. C. Hammer? His pastor came to Brooklyn, New York. He decided to do this church service. Well, it’s very typical in a lot of these churches that what they do is they will have you get on a line and on that line one by one they lay their hands on your head. And as they lay their hands on your head you fall out and you start having convulsions, you speak the language and then you’re baptized now with the Holy Ghost. They put me on the line, they said get on the line. I said no problem.

So I went on the line and I was just like alright we’re going to see what happens. And as I started getting closer, my friend said. Listen man, you got let go and let God. And I was like alright, I’m going to let go and let God. And I didn’t know what that meant. I went up there and the preacher came to me and he looked at me and I’m looking at him. And then he says, lift up your hands. I said, Okay. I lifted up my hands and he said, in the name of Jesus. When he put his hand on my head, immediately I lost all strength in my legs. I fell back, I was shocked. I knew because I said, I’m not faking anything. And he touched my head and I fell back, and I just said, said Oh yah yaha yah. And I started speaking a language I had never spoken in my life. I lost complete control of myself. I’m there convulsing and speaking this language. I have zero strength and then I’m going through all this stuff and low and behold when it was all said and down. I was like wow, I’m tired. My energy was sucked out of me. It took a while for me to recoup. My friends came up and said Congratulations, you’re filled with the Holy Ghost. I was like, great. We started walking. I’m walking outside with all the other people who are filled with the Holy Ghost. And God allowed me to see something

We went outside and one of the people who was also speaking in tongues with me. That person came out and said boy that was a great church service today and he took a drag on a cigarette. And I looked at that and I said, I thought people filled with the holy Ghost don’t do that. You’re smoking. Another person came outside and they started speaking all this four letter language and started using all this cursing and swearing. Stuff that I was very familiar with. And I said, wait a minute, I thought Christians don’t speak like that. And some of you might say what do you mean Christians don’t speak like that? I mean sometimes after all you get upset and you do kind of get aggressive and speak certain ways.

Brothers and sisters, don’t ever forget the story found in Matthew 26. The Bible says that people came took Jesus away and Peter was there. All of the sudden, Peter’s single and alone. Peter was strong when he was with his boys, but when he was by himself he was a weakling. But here he is single and alone. They come and they say hey weren’t you one of those guys that was with Jesus. Peter says, No, no, no, you don’t know me. Wrong person. They come along again, they say you know what you were one of those guys that was walking with Jesus. Peter says Uh Huh, not me. And somebody got good at this, they said, you know what I know that you were one of those people walking with Jesus, you know why? You talk like a Christian. Peter said, Oh yeah. Let me prove to you that I have no connection to Christ. And the Bible says he began to curse and to swear which tells me that when we curse and when we swear we testify that we have no connection with Jesus. We cannot use the excuses of the trials and temptations of life to say I had to because nobody was tried like Jesus.

I saw this stuff happening, I said, there must be something deeper to this Holy Ghost thing. A friend of mine began to study with me. And I found out that speaking in tongues was a language a literal language that God’s people had a miraculous ability to do on that day of Pentecost. I disassociated myself with that church. I became disgruntled with Christianity and I got to the point where I said you know what I don’t want any of this stuff anymore. And I started to study other groups. I started to mess around with Muslims. Started to study Islam, I started to look at different religions. And I became intrigued by the Muslims because they had dignity. They had this level of discipline in their lives. That I felt like all these wild Christians. That’s what I felt in my mind, these Christians are just so wild, they’re just so happy about everything, but they don’t know what they’re happy about. And that turned me off. The Muslims seemed intelligent. And I liked this intelligent group of people.

So I started to study that stuff, but I still had a draw towards Christianity. So I wrestled, and I got to a point that one night I had a book called the holy tablets on my bed and I had the Bible on my bed and I was kneeling on my knees. And it was a Friday night and I was crying. I said, Lord I don’t know if your Allah, I don’t know if Jesus, I don’t even care if you’re a head of lettuce, I just want to know who you are. Reveal yourself to me. And I told God that night I said, if you don’t reveal yourself to me, I am going to become what was a called a Newabian. It was a different kind of Muslim. I said, I’m going to become a Newabian. And I become a Newabian, I’m going to shake the whole foundation of Christianity myself if I have to. I was angry. But I was very sincere.

The following came by and a friend of mine came by the house. She said, Hey look what I found laying in the street. It was a flyer. Now ladies and gentlemen, you see flyers in the street all the time don’t you? Do you pick it up? Because you have no idea what kind of element might be on the flyer. She picked up the flyer. I must confess at that time in my life, because of my identity issues I was asking questions why is it, and it started with these Muslim guys they had an influence over me. They would ask me questions, let me ask you question, if you believe in Christianity so much, why is it that the angels are white, Jesus is white, Moses is white, it seems like everybody in the Bible is white and the only black guy was Simon of Cyrene who carried Jesus’ cross. What’s up with that? And they would feed my brain with that poison, and develop this bigotry thing in me. I want to show you how God really meets you where you’re at. Oh I love Jesus. It’s amazing how God will meet you where you’re at. Watch this.

God knew where my mind was, and one man that I held in high esteem at that time in my life was Malcolm X. I loved his intelligence, his speech, his intellect, man that’s a sharp brother. Watch what God did, God is so good. He will meet you where you’re at, he’s not going to keep you where you’re at, he’s going to bring you higher, but he’ll meet you where you at. When she found the flyer, it was a picture of a man, who was like this and he looked just like Malcolm X. and when I saw the picture of that guy, I said, Wooo. It was a Christian group, but he looked like Malcolm X. and I said, this looks good. It turned out to be a tent meeting taking place fifteen minutes from my house.

The very first subject that was on it was called the African American and the Pig. And I said, I’ve gotta check this out. I went down there, this was on a Saturday. And that man, his name was Stephen Williams. And Pastor Williams was preaching from Leviticus 11. And he started to show how the pig was a filthy beast. And as a somewhat Muslim, when he was talking about that pig. I was like that’s right brother, because I was somewhat outspoken. I was like that’s right, break it down, break it down, and I felt great because he was talking about the pig and I’m like educate all these Christians. Let them know, no pig. So I loved this. But then he said, and the shrimp and the lobster and the crab. And I was like what? And I never heard that before, because a lot of Muslim guys, they’ll stay away from the pig, but they’ll eat the shrimp and the crab. A lot of them will do that. So I was like you mean to tell me, and it was right there. And he broke everything down.

I had never heard a Christian group speak like this before. Everything he said, he backed it up with the Bible. After the whole meeting was over, I went up to him. And I said, hey how you doing? Who are you people? because I’d never heard of them before. He said, we are seventh-day Adventist. I said, What’s that? He said, sounds to me like you want to study. I said, yes I do. And he did something else. He gave me his personal phone number. I never had a pastor do that. I went home and called the number because I wanted to make sure it was really a real number. You’ve reached the Williams family. Wow this is home. A man came to my house, and I said, God help the poor man who comes to my house because I’m going to annihilate him with questions.

God was so good I’m telling you, the Lord meets us where we’re at. God was so good that he sent a little man from Jamaica named Mervin Morgan. He actually lives right here in Florida now. Mervin Morgan came to my house with a helper. And every time I asked him a question he did something interesting. I would say, how is it that you can say Jesus is the son of God and the son of Man at the same time, that’s a contradiction. How you going to fight back that one. And he would just say you know very good question, I can see you’re a thinker. I was like that’s right. He said, why don’t you go to the book of Matthew 7:23. And he would just constantly throw out books of the Bible. I would go there. The helper would turn to Matthew whatever and it would say exactly what he said. I was like wow,

I said, alright how about this. And I’d give another one and another one. And every time, you know that’s a good question, I can see you’re really studious, you really want to know the truth don’t you. Yes I do. Why don’t you go the book of Revelation chapter 3 and such and such. And after a while I thought he was doing magic because I’ve never seen somebody who could repeat book chapter and verse from memory. I never had seen that before. Everybody got little help notes; this brother was quoting from his memory. I said, how do you do that? He said, those who love God spend time with him in his word. I said wow, okay.

Long story short, after a month, I was baptized into the Seventh - day Adventist church. I started going to my boys who I danced with. I said, you got to hear this. I’ll tell you right now, you gotta hear this. And one of them was my good friend Damien and immediately I started having bible studies with him. And Damian got baptized and I said, alright D. let’s go hit the streets. And we started going door to door. We started going to all our friends, Bible studies. I would call him over the phone and I would say Hey I found out that Jesus is not God. He would say what? I would say, I found out Jesus isn’t God, he’s not equal to him. He would say How do you figure? I would say, John 14:28, Jesus said my father’s greater than I am, so how could Jesus say my father’s greater than I but at the same point be equal to God. And I’d say how you going to answer that? And he’d say, Oh well, my brother if you just simply turn to Philippians 2:6-8, you’ll find out that Jesus was equal with the father, but then it goes on to say, but he humbled himself and therefore in John 15:22 it says that every Lord is greater than his servant. So when Jesus was saying that, he was just simply saying that in his human state, that his father was greater than him, because he came not to do his own will but the will of his heavenly father, do you get that my brother? And I would say, I got it, I got it. And we would just do it back and forth all day. We would call each other and test each other on the word.

I mean we were excited. This truth brought life into my life, this truth got me interested in reading. I ended up getting my GED and then I got an associate’s degree from Atlantic Union college. And brothers and sisters, I’m telling you this to simply say, all along while I was there dancing with all these artists, all along while I was going to these other churches, brothers and sisters there’s so much more to this story, I got mixed up in Martial arts, and that’s a whole big story right there. I was determined to be the next Bruce Leroy. And I was just trying to get it going, but you know what I’m telling you is this. I must confess this is one transition, I’ll wrap it up on this point.

At one point I was still dancing, while I was a Seventh - day Adventist. Heavy D called me. He said, listen I want you to come to California, and I want you to dance for us. And I said, hey man, listen, you know give me Friday night off and then I’ll come. And he said, well, we can’t do that. I wasn’t totally surrendered to Christ yet, I said give me Friday nights off. He said, no. you can come, you can dance and then you can go back to your room if you want and spend the rest of your Sabbath there. I agreed to do it. I sold out on the Lord, I turned my back on Jesus. I went on that tour, we were dancing on Sabbath. And I remember it got so bad, that one night I felt like I missed Jesus because my walk with him was real, it was genuine. And I felt like Lord I miss you. And I used to have this habit in the Pentecostal church that I would just open up my Bible put my finger on a text, and wherever my finger lands that’s where I’ll study.

Well, it was a Friday night, I knew I had to dance, I knew I was going to break the Sabbath, but I said, I’m going to have devotion anyhow. And I just opened up my Bible and put my finger on a text and I lie to you not, it landed on Proverbs 28:9. Proverbs 28:9 says “he that turneth his ear from hearing my law, even his prayer is an abomination.” That’s what the text was that my finger landed on. I closed up the book, I said well, I can’t even have worship. It would be an abomination. Because I knew that I’m going to sin against you tomorrow. That’s what iniquity is. Iniquity goes a little further than simply missing the mark. Iniquity is premeditated sin. You already know you’re going to do it. God says why in the world would I listen, or hear or honor your prayer when you know you’re going to kill my son afresh like Hebrews 6:6 says tomorrow. God says I can’t honor a prayer like that.

So therefore, I closed my bible, I said, I’m not going to have worship now. We ended up flying back to New York; we were getting ready to go for the launch for the world tour. I went to church that Sabbath, and the pastor preached a most powerful message on faithfulness to God. I called Heavy D up and I said listen man, I can’t go on this tour. He said are you crazy, this is going to make you famous. I said I understand, but I can’t go. And they didn’t understand, I had to hang up the phone on them. You’re going to ruin your career, had to hang up the phone. I let it go, and I started to do hip hop gospel dancing.

All there’s so much I want to share with you. I started to do hip hop gospel dancing. And it was amazing, because I would go to different colleges and I would go to churches and I would do this hip hop gospel dancing and everybody was just like cheering us on. And I would get off the stage, and I remember feeling funny. I was like something wrong with this. I mean people would still offer you there phone numbers and they didn’t want to talk about the Bible. And I said, wait a minute that’s what the women in the world do, what are you in church doing this? I found that brothers would come up and they wouldn’t say anything about Jesus, they would say man that spin was incredible, how did you do that? And I discovered that the glory that belonged to God it was coming to me. I remember one day that I started getting happy about preaching. I said, you know I love studying the bible so much, I used to give comments here and there in church and one day somebody asked me to preach at their church. and I went to Brooklyn, and I preached that Sabbath. And when I went to Brooklyn and preached, God used me but he used me for a serious purpose. He used me not so much to win other people, he used me to win me.

God spoke through me to the people and the people were so blessed. I remember I was at the door, and I was shaking hands, God bless you, God bless you. And this man who looked about fifty years old came to me and I was like hey sir, God bless you. And when I shook his hand, and wanted to take my hand back, he wouldn’t let go of my hand. And when I looked back at him again, tears were pouring down his face. And he said, brother, the message you gave me today has changed my life forever. And he picked me up with the biggest hug. And he said, thank you. And he let me go. And immediately the spirit of God said, when’s the last time your hip hop gospel dancing did that for somebody.

Believe it or not, that settled it. I was like got it. And that was the last day I ever did a dance step for the devil. Brothers and sisters, from that point I started going forward in ministry. And there was a subtle, little bug of the enemy that was still there. I really want you to hear me, because what I’m about to say to you applies to everyone in this room, especially to those of us who speak, who preach and who teach the word of God. I’m going to make a confession. When I came into this church and I started to witness and to minister and to preach. Brothers and sisters, something happened. I found that when I would come up on the pulpit, it became my stage. You see Satan does not give up easily. All he did, was what he did way back with Constantine. When he said, okay since we’re persecuting and it’s not working that way, since we can’t get you to do it the pagan way, he said, I’m just going to get you to take pagan systems and we’re going to Christianize it. And of course that’s where we have Sunday sacredness and all this other stuff in the church. but the devil does that with many of us as ministers of the gospel. You know why? I started using the pulpit as my stage.

My memorization of scripture, my memorization of full quotes of the spirit of prophecy. I would start to go on and I would quote and quote and say things and all that stuff. Why? Because the people loved it. They would say, boy you were bad preacher. And I would put forth my false humility and I would say praise the Lord. But I knew in my heart, I loved the attention. I loved the watching, I loved the comments. And I would preach and I would teach the gospel.

One day the Lord started to show me, Son, if you really want me to save you, you have to completely let go of this desire for recognition. I always wanted somebody to affirm me. I always had to look to someone, Jesus was not enough. I had to have someone else, some human beings, another sinner say to me, your work is ordained of God. Your work is approved of God, your work is a good work. It wasn’t enough to simply know Heaven was pleased with that which I preached even if I got not one amen from the crowd. It wasn’t enough. I had to get affirmed by the people. and God began to work on my heart and said Son, this is a greater abomination than when you were dancing in the world because now you’re using my word to uplift yourself. And the Lord had to bring me to my knees.

You know how God humbled me? You want to really know how he did it? I always wanted acceptance. I always wanted people to accept me and to take me in. you know how God got that done, took that out of me? He said, son, my church is going through a crisis, and I need some individuals who have enough love for me and love for the people to give a message that though it might be unpopular they will receive it because like breeds like. And the love of Jesus will move their hearts. It may not be received by everybody when you begin to talk about righteousness by faith. It may not be received by everybody when you begin to really start to share with them the principles of last day events and the need for practical Christianity and the putting away of sin out of our lives. Not everybody will say amen, but it’ll be a work that will be ordained of heaven. You will no longer be a crowd pleaser, but I want you to speak my words and to give it to my people. Give it to them straight, give it to them in love, but give it to them straight. They need it, because I’m coming and I want my people to be ready.

I started to do that. And as I started to do that, brothers and sisters, I’m telling you the truth, not everybody receives the kind of messages that are being given here at this conference. Not everybody receives these messages. Some of these message that are being preached here, not that their erroneous, because they’re far from that. They’re nothing but the pure gospel truth. But when ever you give a message that disrupts someone’s life, you going to receive opposition. And God knew for me this is the best way that I’m going to get you out of that looking for approval from men and understand that promotion comes from the Lord like the Bible says.

As I started to do that brothers and sisters, I have learned what it is to trust Jesus. I have learned what it is to speak God’s word and to give God’s word to his people. I understand that there will be times that these things will create trials. And there’ll be things that we will struggle with. But brothers and sisters, Jesus is about to come. And I’d love to say oh don’t worry about it, Jesus is going to come, he’s going to save all of us in our sins. I would love to say, Jesus is going to come and he’s going to save all of us IN our sins. Is that what the Bible says. Matthew 1:21, what does sit say? “She shall call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins.” And just to imagine victory over sin is the greatest blessing and the greatest message that could be given to mankind. Do you know how many people are currently living under the bondage of sin?

I served as everything from an elder, I’m an ordained elder in the seventh-day Adventist church today. I served as an elder at one time, I served as health and temperance director, personal ministries, director, AYS director, directorship in many different ways in the church but brothers and sisters, I’m telling you the truth I was living in a life of deliberate sin. I would preach on the pulpit in the morning and I would go into the chambers of darkness and practice my sin at night. And I was a member of the Seventh - day Adventist church. I tell our young people all the time, I know what you’re going through. And I say to many of our adults, I understand. We understand, we have to come up here and we have to put on a certain image and a certain face and unfortunately some of us our simply actors. But Jesus is trying to say today, I didn’t bring you this far to lose you now.

Brothers and sisters, if you think that you are here simply because you just registered to be at a conference, no brothers and sisters. Jesus guided your hand when you went on that computer and registered and made the phone calls. He knew that there was a message here that somebody was going to here that was going to change their lives forever. And you’re here. You’re here. The only difference between you and I is that I told my story from up front. But every single one of you in this room, you have your story. Somebody needs to hear your story because people are struggling in this world. Yea, people are struggling in this church.

My hope and my prayer is that as God’s guiding hand has kept this servant, I could not ever have seen that today I’d be living for Jesus like this. I never ever thought that this state of surrender in my mind and in my heart would ever become real. I never would have pictured myself in this picture today. But it testifies the goodness of God and leads us to repentance. Brothers please, and sisters, I am not saying that I am sinless. Heaven forbid. I know my weaknesses. I know that I need Jesus more than I ever have before and every day is going to be an uphill battle. But you know what? If you keep pressing up hill eventually you get to the top don’t you?

Jesus is saying to each and every one of us today, keep pressing. A just man might fall down seven times, but he does what? It does not matter what sin might have bondage over your life today. Jesus says, I can give you victory over it. But you have to willing to accept it. I want you to hear me good, brothers and sisters. I understand that Mommy and Daddy may not have been the most perfect examples. I understand mother and father, that there are times that we might have our own personal struggles, and we’re just simply trying to connect with Christ so we can get victory. Young people I understand that there’s a whole lot of things in this world that is drawing our attention. But Jesus says hold on just a little longer. Jesus has promised I’m coming to finally finish this thing.

Just to imagine, did you know that when we finished saying a prayer as we’re about to say in just a moment. Do you understand that any sin that might have been prevalent in your life is about to be wiped away. And that you’re going to go on your knees as a sinner, but you’re going to rise up as a saint. I want you to really see that because the devil has been whispering in our ears and telling us you can’t make it. You’re not going to make it. You listening to all these high and holy principles, you could never live up to it. We have to be like Martin Luther and say yes I know that I’m a sinner. Yes, I know that I have weaknesses, but there is one who died for me and who is reigning in heaven. And he’s the mediator on my side, and through his merits I’m accepted in the beloved.

Brothers and sisters, if you believe that today, if you want that to be for you. I invite you to stand with me. I want you to know that Daniel 12 tells us that Jesus stands up for us, and when you stood up for him, he stood up for you. I want to let you know, that as Jesus just stood up for you, he’s right by your side right now. There may be crosses to bear. But Christ says, I know how to bear a cross. I know it better than anybody else; Jesus says I’ll show you how to do it. Walk with me. And brothers and sisters, this is my desire to walk with Jesus today, I want to walk with Jesus. brothers and sisters it’s time to be Christians in our hearts. Let us kneel before our God as we rededicate and consecrate our lives to him.

Heavenly father, you have seen all those who have stood up for thee. Lord I’m so thankful that if our minds could just imagine what Heaven looks like. Angels are rejoicing even right now. They are shouting, hallelujah because somebody has made a decision and has said, no more games. I will truly live for Jesus. father I thank you every day, for taking me out of darkness and bringing me into your marvelous light. And father I lift up to you every single one of my brothers and my sisters that as we all on bended knee, that father you once again are reminding them that you have brought them out of darkness, to bring them into your marvelous light. Father seal our decisions, fill us with your holy spirit and we pray let thy will be done. Thank you for the forgiveness of sins, thank you Lord God for the covering of sin. Lord I pray help us to be faithful unto death, so that you may blot out our sins for this is our prayer, our thanksgiving, we thank you for the merits of Jesus Christ and his perfect life. May that life be put into us today, and imparted to us day by day. For this is our prayer and our thanksgiving that we give in Jesus Name, hallelujah, Amen.

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