How God Made a Leader
By Annika Young
The 700 Club
CBN.com -“It was a challenge for me to see how far I could go. If I died, I died. I didn’t care. I was going down the path toward hell.”
At his lowest, Brian Bolt was a petty thief, a military deserter and a heroin addict; a stark contrast from where he had came from. Brian grew up in a family that was the idyllic portrait of middle class America.
“My Dad was a great Father. He worked hard. I learned the value of hard work from him. My mother was a great woman.”
But to Brian, his parents’ lives were boring, and uninteresting. He craved excitement, and looked for it in other people. “When I was about 11, 12, a lot of my friends were older. They were into drugs and alcohol and I thought they were the coolest people on planet earth.”
So Brian did exactly as they did. “It began to lead me down to depths that I’d never personally seen. It was a challenge for me to see how far I could go.”
His parents had no idea their son was abusing drugs and drinking. They did know he was becoming too much for them to handle, and sent him away to live with a relative. They hoped another environment would help. It didn’t. “I started to get into more trouble. I was selling drugs, stealing from people. I stole a friend’s car.”
Then he had a moment of clarity. “I knew I was going to end up in jail. I decided to avoid that and go into the military.”
It was just what he needed. “I didn’t realize it at the time but I thrive well in a disciplined environment.”
And he was thriving. He became part of a top-secret tactical group who spent hours playing war games in a “think tank” aboard and aircraft carrier. But when his ship would dock in San Diego, idle time would prove to be his downfall.
“So I had the whole day to do whatever I wanted and I was still underage so I would go down to Tijuana to drink.”
One weekend he got so wasted he didn’t make it back to the ship. “I eventually crashed at this girl’s house Sunday night. I don’t wake up till Monday afternoon. I missed the muster. Three days turned into thirteen months. The Navy seized my pay. That’s what they do when you go A.W.O.L.”
Now Brian needed money. The woman he was staying with made him a job offer… with the Mexican drug cartel.
“She says you could work for my cousins. You’d be what we call a coyote. If I ran people across the border, I got $1000. If I ran drugs, I got $3000. All I had to do was jump across the line. I would show my military ID, I’d keep my hair cut very trimmed. You know, I would look the part.”
Meanwhile, back at home, Brian’s mother prayed for her son. “She would call and tell me, Brian I’m praying for you. God has something really special for your life. But I really didn’t understand what that meant. I was like, ‘yeah right. Whatever.’”
He stayed in Tijuana over a year…until his ego almost cost him his life. “I lived like a king down there. I was making a lot of money. I kept getting worse on drugs. I was really prideful and cocky. I knew they were going to kill me so I ended up leaving Tijuana.”
He ended up back in the States in a homeless shelter. “I remember these men coming in and they came right up to me and one of them said, ‘Are you hungry?’ I go ‘yeah, and he goes, ‘why don’t you come with us. We are a church.’ They take me to this home. It’s called Victory Outreach. They say we’ve all come out of addiction. Jesus has done a miracle in our lives. Three days I spent there and I thought to myself, ‘I don’t know if I can do this,’ and so I just left.”
He went back to the streets. His drug addiction and empty pockets made Brian desperate.
“I robbed this guy. His friend came after me. He put the gun to my head. He shot me right in my head. One of the paramedics said to me, ‘son, you’re gonna die. Before you die I need to ask this question, do you know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?’ And I didn’t. When he said that something tugged at my heart and I asked Jesus into my life in the back of an ambulance after being shot pointblank in the head. He prayed for me and said, ‘do you want me to call anybody and let them know you’re going to die?’ I said, ‘call my mother.’”
He woke up a week later in a hospital in San Diego. During recovery, doctors prescribed painkillers, which only whet his appetite again for drugs. Brian was back on the streets, but this time he did something he’d never done before.
“I said, ‘God, if you're real, help me.’ Then I said, ‘God, do you remember that house with them real nice people? I want something like that.’ Maybe a couple of days later these men come right up to me and they just start telling me that Jesus has this plan for my life and they began to tell me more and more about Jesus. And I said, "Well, are you guys from a church?" They said, ‘yeah, we're from a church.’ They said, ‘Our church actually has a bunch of churches.’"
The pieces were now coming together and he was finally starting to understand God’s plan.
“There was this passion that came over me that I wanted to tell everyone about Jesus, that He could change everything. And it was just like that that I didn't want drugs anymore. I didn't want that lifestyle. I had something else to live for.”
That something else is City Reach Church in Pittsburgh where he is pastor and facilitates leadership development.
“I feel like that man died, ya’ know when I got shot. I’m a new person. God uses all the different things we've been through in life, and whatever they are, God uses everything for good.”
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