PASTOR Peter Winston Swart has taken over the ministry at the Lighthouse Church in Rosehill Mall and intends to preach that Christians must make God the centre of all, and allow Him into their lives.
“If God is not Lord of All, then He is not lord at all,” said Swart while addressing the members of the Christian Men’s Association breakfast recently.
“You cannot walk into a company and expect management to give you access to all their corporate secrets. You have to commit yourself and prove your commitment before you get access to company secrets. Christians must learn to make Jesus Lord, and put God in the driving seats of their lives.”
FRONT MAN: The new pastor of the Lighthouse Church at Rosehill Mall is Peter Winston Swart, whose life experiences will bring a fresh approach to preaching the word of God Picture: ROB KNOWLES
Swart was not always religious, and spent his early life in the Cape Newlands area wearing a leather jacket, drinking alcohol and getting high on marijuana.
“We called ourselves herbalists,” Swart joked during his testimonial. “And the leather jacket I’m wearing today was a present from my wife.”
He said he had a fairly normal childhood, and went to a Jewish school where the children, aware of his middle name, nicknamed him Winnie the Pooh.
“It’s a surprise I don’t hold a grudge against the Jewish people,” he said, tongue in cheek.
Life changed for Swart when he read from the scriptures, Hebrews 13.5: “For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’”
“Do you realise the significance of that statement?” he asked those in attendance. “God said He will never leave us, ever.”
When Swart was nine his mother had her first nervous breakdown.
“I had to look after her,” said Swart. “I kept her alive on scrambled eggs.”
Later, in his teens, Swart turned to drugs as a way to escape.
“I really needed some discipline, someone to smash some sense into me,” he said. “At the time my plan was to party hard, die young and leave a good looking corpse.”
Amid his hard partying, Swart met a young woman who changed his life. The woman, Wendy, told him to get his act together, stop smoking weed and get rid of his leather jacket. In six months Wendy and he were living together, and within another six months they were married. The couple have been together ever since.
“I decided that life without drugs and alcohol was better, as I was now able to remember things. When I was drinking and smoking I couldn’t remember what had happened to me the night before. This was certainly better than that.
“We were lying in bed one night and we decided to get out the Bible and read,” said Swart. This was when he had his epiphany that God would never forsake him.
“God put Wendy in my life, and His hand was upon me. We realised that, if I didn’t change my life I was going to hell.
“I knew now that God wanted to control my life, but there was more to come,” Swart said.
Swart studied the Bible and took instruction and was eventually given a ministry in East London where he spent the next seven years of his life. After that he went back to the Cape and Somerset West to assist his son Chris to form his own ministry there.
However, it appears retirement wasn’t in God’s plan for Swart, and he has recently returned to the Eastern Cape, to the Lighthouse Church, to continue his ministry in the Port Alfred area.